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September 07, 2005

Crazy making

There are many people to left of centre who believe the mainstream media is reactionary, one-sided and serves only the interests of its corporate patrons. Strangely enough, there are many people to right of centre who believe the mainstream media is hopelessly biased, one-sided in fact and serves only the interests of its "liberal" social agenda. Small side bar here: many will be surprised to learn these propositions are not mutually contradictory.

Fine. Here is what drives me crazy. So many of these same people will cheerfully rely on fragmentary, hurried reports by this same mainstream media as a basis from which to indict, try and convict, in no particular order, the President of the United States, the Governor of Louisiana, the Mayor of New Orleans, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and others for what is at base an act of God. While I am quite certain we shall learn in the fullness of time of more than enough incompetence to go round I find it difficult to express my feelings on the matter while there are so many bodies still lost to the waters.

Here are some issues about which I have yet to make up my mind: culpability for the loss of a sailor to a newly acquired Canadian submarine, the extent and character of corruption evident in the contracting out of federal ad dollars in the run-up to Quebec's referendum and the loss of a commuter on the London Underground. None of these are in the news right now because of the nature of a beast whose focus is relentlessly directed toward current events. More important to my point, none of these are hot issues in the blogosphere. This is also appropriate because none of us yet know the results of commissions and inquiries into their causes and, hopefully, how best to avoid such problems in future. But sober second thought is not the reason for their absence. Rather, because none of these issues are in the news and thus provide little mileage for the various partisan axes that are always on the grind.

Here is a suggestion. Take a moment to investigate your own municipality's emergency preparations, give some thought to their strengths and weaknesses and start raising questions with your elected officials now rather than the minute you realize that, impossible as it seems, the worst has arrived and you never got round to checking if the batteries in your radio were still working. Because at that point you may be certain that fingers will be pointed and outrage will be expressed but you will still be up the proverbial creek without a paddle. And the blame will not rest entirely with those brave folks who are on their way to help you.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at September 7, 2005 08:34 AM

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Not to overly play my role as the Mayor of Simpleton, I wonder if we ever know, if we ever get to the conclusion. For example, do we know whether the 1995 referendum vote in west Montreal was rigged by the PQ? I am working my way through a couple of books which touch on 1700s pamphleteering in the upper end of the 13 colonies and the similarities to how communications occur in both blogging and MSM is interesting. Note also news in The Globe over the failure to communicate the need to evacuate after the flooding has included the inability to used communications media - not just the refusal to take the message given. The levelling of radio antennas cause a failure to communicate emergency messages just as Pennsylvanian mountains caused the limit on discourse on the proposed constitution in 1787.

So...there is a point...not only have batteries but have batteries in a radio that will get you access to a station out of your zone for daytime coverage. In eastern Lake Ontario that should include 1180 Rochester and 570 Syracuse as well as 1010 Toronto and 580 Ottawa. Then get a phone you do not plug in. The sort that cost $7.99 and have no features. Once we have done these things we can talk about pigeon rearing for idled bloggers.

Posted by: Alan McLeod [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 7, 2005 10:48 AM