26 June 2005

The Sunday Papers

1. Over at the Telegram this fine overcast Sunday, you'll find a story confirming what readers of this blog have known for some time: The United States is not interested in putting a radar system in Goose Bay. You won't find the story online; just head over there and complaint about the lack of online content. Anyway, the story by Jaimie Baker quotes a spokesperson for the missile defence agency who notes that American ballistic missile defence is relying on upgraded systems at Thule, Greenland and at Fylingdales in the United Kingdom. Of course, regular readers of these e-scribbles already knew all about that.

The company in the news, Raytheon, has been in Goose Bay of course, but, building on a CBC story recently by Peter Gullage, my bet is they were merely scouting potential deployment sites for a mobile form of the X-band radar. It would show up in Goose if there was some problem with the main sites in Greenland and the UK. Raytheon, who is contracted to actually deploy and maintain the transportable system, would most likely fly in, fold out the tents, set up the trailers and then bugger off again with the whole thing once the job was done.

Anybody who has suggested otherwise was sadly misinformed.

2. Meanwhile the Spindependent is celebrating the last Sunday in June by continuing to foist a bullshit story about Halliburton and engineering jobs from last week's issue. There never was a trade-off of the Halliburton site in Mount Pearl for Terra Nova engineering and procurement jobs. The entire Spindy story from last week was based on the allegations of one individual - former Liberal cabinet minister Chuck Furey. Geez, why not quote Sue, guys. She has about as much cred on some issues as the guy who seems to be rebuilding his profile to take a run at Roger Grimes' old job.

Never mind that his story didn't make any sense - Halliburton was never in a position to trade anything related to Terra Nova development - the Spindy just wanted to run anything they could to give some vague support to publisher Brian Dobbin's lunatic column in which he claimed, among other things, that the feds never did anything to make Hibernia happen.

On those issues, Brian might want to talk to one of his columnists, namely John Crosbie, before he demonstrates yet again that really he is a guy with cash to pour into a failing newspaper, but not a heck of a lot of anything else.

My personal favourite Spindy piece this week was the front-page contest to find the top 10 Greatest Newfoundlanders and Labradorians of all time. Everywhere else, including the UK they settled on just one. I guess we are just so special, rare, unique and different - as the Spindy and the pseudo-nationalists keep telling us - that one is insufficient; we need . More likely, this is like Chuck Furey's favourite phrase when he was industry minister, namely "world-class". Anyone who says something is world-class is giving proof it isn't. The need for 10 "greatests" sounds just like that "world-class" crap: yet more pointless self-massage.

But as if the whole contest wasn't looking as lame as the "balance sheet" crap from last fall, seems the Spindy can't even get a few simple facts right. In the front-page story, they make reference to some possible nominees, like the first woman ever elected to the House of Assembly.

Problem? Of course there is, for the pseudo-nationalist rag. The Spindy calls her Hilda Squires. The first woman legislator in this province (when it was a proud country) was Lady Helena Squires, a fact easily checked in any of a number of reference books.

Ryan and the happy band at the Spindy must be looking for jobs over at the department of InTRD: a simple google search for "first woman legislator in Newfoundland" revealed a raft of hits, including this one from the National Library of Canada. There's a link in there to a bio of Lady Helena (her family pronounced the name hell-eena).

When you're done with that, have a read through Ivan Morgan's column in which he slags Bill Rowe for suggesting independence for Newfoundland might be the solution to all our ills. Ivan is absolutely correct in saying a columnist's first duty is to move papers. But his take on Bill is kinda funny on a number of levels. I've known Ivan for years and like his style; it fits with the Spindy's approach. But hey Ivan, a better way of tackling Rowe would have been to continue his "separation theme" - the cure for all our provincial ills would be to separate the northeast Avalon or maybe the whole Avalon from the rest of place island and let Labrador go separately as well. You'd have taken a much funnier poke at Rowe's inadvertently self-lampooning writing style, and moved a few more papers of your own.

Ah well, time to get some chores done.

Like checking to see if I have a spare alternator for a 1919 Vickers bomber in the basement.