Thursday, April 24, 2014

April 24:Some good reporting

Though section A is its usual bleak self, it does have one story that looks like an example of good reporting and good writing. "Assess shale health effects: experts"

The story is by Adam Huras, and it's an extensive and detailed interview with two, qualified experts on the importance of the Dr. Cleary report. This is the report that considers the social and physical effects of shale gas development on people. This is also the report that the Irving press thoroughly butchered when it appeared. We never did learn what was in it, and the paper promptly buried it before we could find out.

There is far too much solid material in this for me to quote it with any effect. You have to read this one - and it's worth it.

It concludes with an intriguing statement by one of the interviewees, "In New Brunswick, you're going to learn from our mistakes in Pennsylvania."

That must be a mistake. The industry has assured us many times there have been no mistakes anywhere.

I have some nervousness about this one. It's certainly the best that has appeared in a paper that has deliberately suppressed information about shale gas. But the two experts are here to deliver a talk at the request of the Energy Institute. And there is more than a hint in here of sympathy for the industry.

And I am nervous at the TandT suddenly turning honest. Is this, I wonder, the beginning of a soft sell?

Read this because it does, at last, give us some hint of what was in Dr. Cleary's report. But keep your guard up.

For a view of Ukraine, the best story by far to appear in the Irving press is a letter to the editor in today's paper. "Question authority. think for yourself"

There is more information about Ukraine in this one letter than I have seen in everything the Irving press has reported. It points out that the US has consistently broken promises and moved in on Russia with air and missile bases.

I would only add that Ukraine is showing all the signs of a civil war, a victim of its own political and ethnic differences, and it's own economic collapse.  Various nationalist groups are raking advantage of this, including those that are not represented in the government. Similarly, NATO leaders are using the confusion of this civil war to their advantage.

There's also a story on our promise to send  fighter jets to the region. The headline refers to "Opposition parties demanding more information". But the only party mentioned is the NDP which, I regret to say, favours sending the jets..It does so on the ground that this is an "international obligation:" That is rubbish.

It can be argued we have an obligation to defend NATO if it is attacked (though even that obligation is limited.) But NATO is not being attacked. NATO is attacking. We have no obligation of any sort to support attacks.

Ukraine is a country with enormous problems and few resources. What it needs from all sides is help to straighten itself out. What it does not need is to be used an an excuse for a war which would be the final disaster for Ukraine - and for a lot of others.

The two editorialc are both brainless and harmless. One says that Alward is right to repair damaged roads. (Wow! Who would have guessed?)
The other is about a commission of four that the province has appointed to regulate combat sports - you know, the ones where one guy trips the other, them pounds his head into the canvas.. What worries the editor is that this will lead to more and more  members on the commission, and a dreadful waste of money.
Cheer up, eds, I doubt whether any boondoggle in regulating combat sports is going to come anywhere close to the handout to Irving of our forest.

Norbert has an interesting and highly readable column on science and religion. It beats anything I've seen on that awful Faith page on Saturdays.

Alec Bruce has an excellent column on how Harper's penny-pinching on essential matters like statistical gathering - as in the census. That leaves the government in a hopeless position when it needs those figures to decide policy. (Meanwhile, he will spend millions to fly his closest friends to Israel so they can hear him give a speech of impossible promises to the Israeli government. All to get votes.

Beth Lyons has a column on the right to abortion. The column is really a pause to take breath - and it's a very good read.
Now gotta rush to get ready for a hectic afternoon. Tomorrow is rough, too. We'll see.

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