Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sun Media embracing 'shock value' over accountability: media watchdog

Sun Media embracing 'shock value' over accountability: media watchdog

"The value of any media organization is entirely based on whether the public sees them as reliable and trustworthy," he said. "The way we feel this is best done is by having a mechanism in place — whether it's a press council or an ombudsman — who is able to act as the agent of the public inside a media organization.

"All media organizations have a right to their concept of a free press and free speech, but when the public is cut out of that, I think it lessens the value of that organization inside a democracy."

I'm not sure that I understand where the OPC is coming from here. What value is this organization other than to ensure that all media outlets toe the same line? What value does this organization have other than to allow one's competitors to dictate your editorial policy? A private sector newspaper has the ultimate arbitrator of disputes that bypasses the need for an ombudsman - the right of the reader to stop reading, and the right of the consumer to vote with their feet.

One need only view the remarks of Jeffrey Dvorkin who surmises that this move signals the move towards unaccountable "shock value" reporting to sell newspapers in order to understand this move by Sun.

I have to disagree with Mr. Dvorkin, however - this move actually weakens and delegitimizes the OPC itself. All of a sudden, the power to tell Quebecor what they can and cannot report is gone. It's no surprise that Mr. Dvorkin is upset at the move, but I wonder if he can make the case as to what his organization did for Quebecor in the first place.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mail watch continues...

I was told that I was mailed a cheque "right after the postal strike was finished".  I was curious as to how long it would take for it to reach my address.

We are now 2 weeks after the Posties went back to work, and it still hasn't arrived.  Ten business days when it could have been put into my mailbox, but not only that, 2 full weekends when it could have moved as well.  To put it into perspective, I could have walked from my house to the point of mailing and back in the time its taken this 1 envelope to run through the mail system.

I think that this shows the true relevance of Canada Post.  As I mentioned in a previous post, the fact that the Posties first walked off the job in the heart of a modernization program which, I assume, would use more machinery and technology to sort and direct mail faster and more efficiently than people can do.  Now the Posties are struggling to clear the backlog without overtime or additional workers being allowed just simply because they refused to allow modernization to happen.  It only serves to make it even more irrelevant the longer someone has to wait for their mail.

Monday, July 11, 2011

CBC's switch to DTV transmission will leave some viewers without access

It should read: CBC loses justification for $1.1 Billion in subsidies.

The CBC, however, argues that maintaining over-the-air signals for small numbers of viewers is not an efficient use of the broadcaster’s $1.1-billion parliamentary subsidy.

It is only replacing the transmitters in places where it has a television station that originates programming: London, for example, does not have its own station; the signal is a retransmission from Toronto, while Saint John, although it is the larger city, receives a retransmission of the Fredericton signal. (Moncton, meanwhile, will only keep the French service.) 

I have, in the past, viewed the CBCs mission as one of  ensuring coverage.  If there is one particular segment of the population who are least likely or least able to buy cable or satellite services, it would be someone in a remote locations.  These are also the areas which are likely to request or require specialty services like programming in a different language; Cree, Dene or any of the Inuit languages among them.  It would be because of these services that I would have given CBC a pass because they are currently covering all areas of gathered population with at least a repeater tower, if not a normal one.

That stops now.

By failing to continue to service all areas, regardless of profitability, the CBC loses all moral authority to receive my tax dollars.  The point of the subsidy isn't to ensure service in the most populous areas, the point is to ensure carriage in the least populated areas.  The point is to provide a service for a segment of the population who would have few or no other options. 

The CBC estimates that less than 1 per cent of Canadians will be affected, but critics point out that the public broadcaster has a mandate to reach all Canadians. 
 Let's do the math...  1% of 33,000,000 is 330,000 people.  Regina, Moose Jaw and Weyburn encompass approximately 300,000 people.  Figure a farm trading area within range of approximately 50,000 people.  The 1 transmitter for Saskatchewan will serve 350,000 people in a population of 1 million.  That leaves 700,000 people in Saskatchewan alone who will be no longer receiving a CBC over the air signal or 2% of the population.  The Lloydminster tower may cut into that percentage, but not by much.  In essence, Saskatchewan alone proves the CBCs numbers wrong. 

I could go through all the provinces and make an estimate of what isn't going to be covered, but I will make a guess that you will see between 25% and 40% of the population no longer serviced by the CBC without cable or satellite services.

He said going digital in all mandatory markets would cost the CBC another $50-million, but he hopes the broadcaster might work out a plan with the CRTC to keep analog transmitters running. However, CRTC spokesman Denis Carmel said the CBC has not made any applications to maintain analog signals.
Moreover, the CBC isn't even providing digital in all mandatory markets.  I don't need a dictionary to tell me that mandatory means MUST.

The complaint with the cost of replacing all the transmitters is a strawman.  The United States shut down all high powered analog TV signals over 2 years ago.  They were one of the last of the completed conversion nations, the rest having made the conversion within the last decade.  To be quite frank, the CBC could have been chipping away at the conversion over the last decade in order to get it done on time and less disruptively than they are doing now.

In short, if the CBC isn't going to service all of the population, then they shouldn't receive subsidies from the population.

Re: Gun Registry Seperatism

BACK OFF GOVERNMENT!: Gun Registry Seperatism: "The Quebec government, stubbornly, is considering passing a long-gun registry of it's very own if Ottawa turfs the federal one. How quaint..."

Not only is Quebec looking to do their own registry if the federal government successfully shuts the national one down, CKOM reports that Quebec will be looking for "help" from the federal government when they do so. One can only assume that that help is monetary, but I have a thought for Quebec:

You wanted the registry all this time, you pay $1 Billion and it's yours. The federal government will, of course, delete all information from the rest of the provinces, leaving a registry with just Quebec names. How does that sound to them?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The problem with public servants

... is that they don't know what the public actually thinks is important anymore.

Harper to be targeted by government union:

The union has asked its members to lobby lawmakers in their constituencies, a strategy that could be especially effective in districts where Conservatives won by a narrow margin, Gordon said. The union will also try to sway public opinion by calling attention to any services that are cut as a result of the government’s efforts to eliminate the deficit.

“We are going to let the community know what their” lawmakers have done, Gordon said. “There were a number of them that didn’t win with too many votes,” he said, referring to Conservative lawmakers.

The problem with this strategy, is if the general public doesn't see a problem with a particular program getting cut then this strategy may backfire.  Think of it... if the average person, who sees the government spending record amounts and in a deficit position, is told that the government cut a program that doesn't affect them, are they really going to care?  They may actually be happy that the program was cut so that the government takes care of that deficit.

Realistically, people are only going to care if it affects them directly in the pocketbook.  To be quite honest, it doesn't take 400,000 people to write a cheque.

"Because you have the right to be asked"

... Except that you don't have the right to tell your neighbour what he or she can do with their grain, just like your neighbour has no right to tell you what you can do with yours.

Let's put the CWB issue into perspective - if they have the right to tell you who you can or cannot sell your wheat and barley to, do they then have the right to tell you who you can sell your canola, peas, lentils, mustard or oats?  Can they then tell you that you MUST seed a certain number of acres of any single crop that you won't normally seed?  Can they then tell you that you aren't allowed to seed any crops at all?

I know this is a slippery slope argument, but this issue isn't about the freedom of farmers to pool their grains together to get the best price.  This issue is about the freedom for some farmers to vote with their feet but to still produce a crop which is by far easier and less cost intensive to sow and harvest.  Nobody is saying that the CWB can't continue after August 2012, they're just saying that the CWB doesn't have the right to force only Western Canadian wheat and barley farmers to sell to one entity.  They're saying that the CWB must compete for your business, not take it for granted.  The ending of the monopoly will eventually have ancillary benefits by reducing the red tape involved in setting up manufacturing facilities in Western Canada to process the grain that is produced here, and it allows producers to sell their grains to those facilities without having to pay to haul it to the coast, even though the grain is going nowhere near the coast.

CWB proponents may think that they have the right to choose whether the monopoly should stay or go, but in the end, if even 1 producer votes to get rid of it, then it should be gone.  Nobody should be forced to sell to someone they don't want to.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Skipped computer test blamed for StatsCan error

Skipped computer test blamed for StatsCan error - Saskatchewan - CBC News

Of course, the real story is... "We screwed up, give us more money and more unfettered access to personal information."

The documents do not indicate why the crucial test was omitted, but refer in general to "challenges in regards to funding and finding IT expertise for IT conversion, especially given the complexity and scope of the project."
I don't care how many computer glitches you have in your data, a knowledgeable professional should have known that the information was wrong and ensured that the release wasn't done. A knowledgeable professional would have acknowledged the error and been transparent in the revision of the numbers, especially when they almost triple the growth forecast for the province. In fact, and knowledgeable professional DID spot the error and question it.

Unfortunately for Statistics Canada, that knowledgeable professional was with RBC.

The "Human Right" to procreate

I’m sorry Miss Pearce, I may be soft-hearted but I’m not soft-headed. I refuse to work hard and pay for your “human right” to sponge, and rear a child who will sponge with you.

Read it all

H/T: Charles Adler

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Like getting beaten over the head with a big fat Rainbow stick

As I watched this video, the only thing I could think was that Rob Ford made the right decision in not bowing to the pressure.  Not necessarily because I didn't think he should go, but because this would have happened regardless of if he had shown up.

Just once though, I would like to see an activist actually think about the imagery that they are portraying.  The fact that they are on camera bashing Ford (in effigy) with a big stick with a rainbow handle tells you all you need to know about their frame of mind and that Pride week isn't about pride anymore.

h/t Canadian Conservative

Celestial Junk: Ahhhh!

From: Celestial Junk: Ahhhh!

10:1 ratio Democrats to Republicans, and people call Fox News unbalanced???