Saturday, February 9, 2013

CBC News Anchors Make Our History

What makes a great news anchor questions Rick Salutin in the Star and why hasn't Peter Mansbridge lived up to the mantel?  Well, the quality of the stories for one. Journalists and anchors should have a story to tell and must have risen up the ranks as writers, correspondents, been in the places where history was being made.  And when they retire, I'd like to hear about all the behind the scenes true thoughts that they have about their careers, unvarnished Kissinger style.  What did Mansbridge really think about Conrad Black's answers?  Who did he hate as an interviewee for deceptiveness, evasiveness.

What makes stations ditch their anchors like Anne Mrovskovsy or Laura Di Batista?  People didn't like the elocution?  Too forceful or light weight.  Unable to keep up with the fast thinking required?  Was it presence that gives gravitas.  If so, then Andrew Coyne has the connections, writing ability, thinking skills to look critically and question.  Similarly Matt Galloway.  Do you remember when the TTC chair said that if buses were full then mothers with strollers could just wait for the next bus?  Galloway responded, "Do you know how ridiculous that sounds?"  Brilliant.  Natural, real and to the mark.  However much stations may want to groom the faces and voices of their station, sometimes the quirkiness of individuals are what we want.  What Canadians don't want are the plastic people of American television.  One of each flavor, but the women must be young, curvy, slim and smile a lot.

Barbara Frum was to me a staple of Canadian radio and television even though her voice was whiny and the manner of questioning somewhat predictable.  Was Carol Ott on 'As it Happens' a duplication of the Frum brand?  A voice clearly not made for radio.  But I don't want to hear inappropriate laughing at serious topics or undervaluing of stories that impact on issues  I care about.  Like foolish howling after the wolves story to make light of the plight of killing an alpha female that horrified locals.  I would expect anchors, newscasters to be people who are sensible, not products for their station, puppets moving to a script.  To be cheery irregardless of the material.

Steve Pakin was a CBC news anchor who's moved to CTV TVO and has all those qualities of being bright, producing his own material, takes part in the field and doesn't march to the tune of station ratings. be continued.

Friday, February 8, 2013

What's Wrong with Market Side Economics?

Teachers and fishermen surplus
There's a mis allignment of skilled workers and jobs in the Canadian economy that is slowing Canada's growth according to a recent Agenda episode

I say that the wrong metrics are being applied because markets should not be dictating policy else we will have economists like Benjamin Tal offering fixes for a wide range of situations that he has no right or reason or accountability to comment upon.  Yet that is where such a conversation is headed. 

  • Let's transform the school system to align demand by industry else we shall import skilled un unionized labor to do it.

  • Let's manipulate immigration so that only tar sands workers or fish packers or migrant workers are invited to come to Canada because local labor is too expensive.  Or, our Chinese companies want Mandarin speakers.
  • Let's factory produce chemical, mechanical, industrial engineers not bothering with scientists who are the apogee of today's climate change crisis management team.
  •  Teachers and fishermen are surplus.  Really?  In today's knowledge economy?  When fish from the sea is about the only fresh, un gmo'd product left to eat?    
Seriously, I can see why this one sided view of an economy driving policy is taking us down a path we have no good reason to go.  

Please take the time to make a comment on The Agenda website because Steve Pakin is one of the best interviewers on television today and the programming is excellent.  Unlike Power and Politics, a bully pulpit from my point of view, the Agenda is non biased - generally fair.  Let them know your view.

Read one comment that said there is no labor shortage in the US but that companies are using third party rejection mechanisms 

We already have witnessed the rejection of coal miners in B.C. by a Chinese owned company. 

The Mind of Winter and the Conservative Brain

Where do our most deep seated political convictions come from?  Our parents, habit, life experience, gut, influence, media messages?  Are they tainted by robocalls?  Is it our reptilian brain or rational brain that has the most sway?  Can we be fooled by images of 'presence' in candidates that portray honesty, gravitas, intelligence which suggest perfection?  And can these thoughts move us from being a deep-seated believer in the ideology of our party if the conditions are right?  

Are Canadians capable of moving from being liberal in mind and political affiliation to conservative at heart as the harper government would like to transform us to be?

The answer lies in the wisdom of the cryptic Snow Man poem an apt metaphor for what's at the heart of being Canadian.  And it isn't really an answer I can provide but rather what you take from it yourself.  Sorry, if you're disappointed.  You'll have to use your brain the get at the answers for how and why you vote.

The Snow Man

by Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
Ok, I lied.  Even though the snowman is stark, staring, intransigent, I think he's in a good place because he is what he is.  And the person who identifies with him gains some solace in knowing that there's some permanence there.  To me, politics may be a messy, dirty, unscrupulous game run by weasels who don't deserve to be there, there are some who can make it a better place.