Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Sunday reading.

- Daniel Kaufman notes that the EU is on the verge of implementing new standards for transparency in oil extraction - while recognizing that big oil has fought the effort every step of the way in an effort to keep its activities secret. And Shaun Thomas discusses the no-knowledge zone set up around the Northern Gateway pipeline, as Nathan Cullen's questions within the review process revealed that the federal government hadn't so much as talked to First Nations or affected industries about the possible impact of an oil spill.

- But then, the Cons can at least claim consistency in their general preference for ignorance. And the sudden elimination of a low-cost, high-use library program from Prince Albert's federal penitentiary certainly fits into that worldview. Meanwhile, Frances Woolley asks some questions as to how economists should deal with the first data set from the National Household Survey since the Cons scrapped the long-form census.

- And in case there was any doubt why the Cons and the facts tend to end up on opposite sides of any issue, Randeep Ramesh points out that the numbers being thrown around by the U.K. Conservatives as the basis for attacks on social programs aren't any more plausible than the since-debunked ones used to justify austerity for austerity's sake.

- Haroon Siddiqui continues his criticism of the Cons' push toward temporary and disposable foreign workers, this time labelling Jason Kenney as the headhunter-in-chief for employers looking to drive wages down.

- Finally, Tabatha Southey nicely lampoons Fox News North's attempt to strongarm the CRTC into handing it mandatory subscriber funding:
(A)n ideologically right-wing news organization is asking a governmental regulatory body to force private businesses, in the form of television providers, to carry it in their basic packages – thus demanding that cable subscribers pay for a channel whether they want to watch it or not.

“And why does Sun News Network believe the CRTC should do this?” you might ask.
“Is this not the same Sun News Network whose vice-president, Kory Teneycke, complained in a 2010 commentary in the Sun chain’s newspapers that mandatory carriage was ‘tantamount to a tax on everyone’ with cable or satellite service?” You wonder, because you are very well read.

“Is it not a bit surreal that we should be forced to pay for a television station that devotes much of its airtime to complaining that we are forced to pay for another television channel, the CBC, which we watch in far greater numbers?” You demand to know, because you spend a lot of time thinking about Canadian broadcasting regulation.

Well, the Sun News representatives explained, the CRTC should grant them increasingly difficult-to-obtain mandatory carriage status because, without this government assistance, the network cannot survive as a business, and also because Canadian content is inherently good for us.

Just as there are no atheists in a foxhole, there are apparently no free-market capitalists in a financial black hole, and the people at Sun News cannot spread the blame for their poor ratings thin enough.

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