1. Hidden Gem: MoneyGrubbingLawyer. Professional presentation, well-written with a wicked sense of humour, you’ll find everything from recipes to advice on charitable giving and that’s just in the last few days before he took a break for the holidays.
This one never disappoints.
It’s a blog you should be reading but likely aren’t.
Don’t bother trying to figure out which local lawyer is behind this. Unless you know already, he’s pretty well hidden.
2. Angles, angles, angles. Consilient, once the proud recipient of bags of government cash goes tits up in a huge meltdown. Said government cash, of course, featured prominently in an auditor general’s report only last year. The meltdown got reported, but not the wider connections to government cash. Not like it’s the first such case of such a company with government money finding itself in difficulty or cash going out without the sort of oversight that would make the auditor general happy. It’s public money, people, and the public ought to know how it’s being handed out. Incidentally, wonder what happened to the people who ran SAC manufacturing?
- How golden is your parachute? Maybe a question on that last one could be posed to the department that hands out the government cash to these companies, maybe to its newest assistant deputy minister who – following the Consilient implosion - wound up working for the people who, from the looks of things, she negotiated with to get the cash for Consilient in the first place.
3. Under-reported Story of the Year: The Meltdown and Its Local Impact. The warning signs have been there for months. The sudden increase in in-migration that follows the pattern before a major recession on the mainland. The credit crunch. The auditor general’s repeated warnings about government finances built on “volatile” energy prices. Funny no one seems to have figured that maybe a bubble or two might be bursting long before they burst.
Even after the meltdown started, the CM were still offering up completely wild, unsubstantiated (read: bullshit) predictions about major projects like an aluminum smelter coming to Labrador or similar dubious bits of commentary that at least, at the beginning, tried to persuade everybody that this economic thingy was a problem for people other than those living in the “Have Province”. And while we’re at it, didn’t anyone draw a connection between the “Have” announcement - sudden, off the wall and all – with the efforts to convince everyone we live in a bubble?
The economic crisis isn’t close to finished, let alone close to finished with Newfoundland and Labrador. Let’s see if anyone follows up hard on Jerome Kennedy’s year-end musings with David Cochrane about “efficiency” in the public service or better yet, let’s see if someone can pin down the province’s finance minister on this deficit thingy and how long he’ll tolerate deficits before, as he suggested to Cochrane, there might have to be some changes.
4. Over-reported Story of the Year, a.k.a Load of the Year. “Have status” or more specifically the political use to which the thing has been put. It’s the most over-reported story of the year. It even turns up as the Premier’s Big Accomplishment according to his year-end self-assessment.
No one in the conventional media bothered to point out that:
a. he and his crew didn’t have anything to do with it; but,
b. can take away it with a heartbeat on March 1 if the Prem and Jerome opt for the O’Brien Equalization formula.
To go with it, there’s the Bristol Communications rim job cum rip off using a Danny Williams speech to a Tory 500 buck a plate fund raiser of all things to celebrated something that is - in essence - a complete fiction. Does have status really change the way people around these parts looks at themselves? Anybody in Newfoundland and Labrador whose personal self-esteem shot up as a result of that bit of “have” news needs to see a psychiatrist not a politician or a publicist.
5. The One to Watch for 2009 in Newfoundland and Labrador: The Meltdown. The full implications haven’t been felt yet. There are aspects that will make life very uncomfortable for politicians, let alone the rest of us. Watch for a major problem in Grand Falls once the reality of the mill closure hits home and people making twice the average provincial weekly wage find themselves living on pogey with no chance of a job at Hebron (it hasn’t happened yet), Lower Churchill (a big puff of smoke), the Second Refinery (hahahahahaha!) or Alberta (Sorry, not hiring right now). If oil stays below US$40 a barrel – and it’s more likely to do that than average US$60 – then the provincial treasury is going to be a wee bit bare. A few politicos might even decide to pack it in early, especially if the heat builds up.
6. National Snooze: We said it here already. Some still don’t believe it. Iggy as Liberal leader killed the coalition and with it the prospect Stephen Harper will be facing an election in the next 24 months. Harper will be able to retire in a couple of years having served as PM as if he had won a majority. He’ll hand off the party to someone more personable who will then demolish the geriatric Harvard prof in a stunning election win, that is, if the Ig-meister hasn’t been deposed in a coup before then. Jack Layton will stay smiling in 2009 although no one can explain why. (Possible answer: he and Jack Harris are busily trying to recruit Danny to take over the top Dipper job. There’s potentially a good fit there all-round, especially for Harris who has made a political career taking Danny’s lead.)
7. Being leader opp is like being waterboarded? In the case of Michael Ignatieff, we predict a bright future on the lecture circuit with Christopher Hitchens. When he’s out of Stornoway and the nation’s capital, Michael will write an article for Vanity Fair in which he compares his views on leading a political party to his views on torturing al Queda prisoners. Seemed like a good idea at the time but once he actually experienced it, the idea wasn’t so appealing.