Monday, July 11, 2011

Selective outrage

Mark Steyn: “It’s time to re-aim our pitchforks” The News of the World hacking scandal versus the corrupt Atlanta Public School System (and the ATF guns-for-Mexican-drug-cartels) scandal:

The News Of The World, a populist, tabloid, low-life newspaper ... last Monday, it emerged ... hacked into the telephone of a missing schoolgirl subsequently found dead, as well as those of family members of the July 7 Tube bombing victims and of British servicemen killed in Afghanistan. On Thursday, Rupert Murdoch's son and heir announced the entire newspaper would be closed down. The whole thing. Gone.
... In the week of the News Of The World revelations, it was reported that the Atlanta Public Schools system has spent the last decade systemically cheating on its tests. Not the students, but the Superintendent, and the union, and 38 principals, and at least 178 teachers – whoops, pardon me, "educators," and some 44 of the 56 school districts ... in order to improve overall scores and qualify for "No Child Left Behind" federal funding that could be sluiced into maintaining their lavish remuneration. ... The whole rotten stinking school system is systemically corrupt from the superintendent down. But what are the chances of APS being closed down? How many of those fraudulent non-teachers will waft on within the system until their lucrative retirements.
Brian Lilley asks "where's the outrage?" over deadly hospital C. difficile superbug outbreaks compared, say, with the huge reaction to the relatively minor Maple Leaf Foods listeriosis outbreak:
... deadly outbreaks of C. difficile in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, Niagara and several other cities and towns. Thousands of people have died, more than 2,000 in Quebec alone, as well as hundreds in Ontario, 91 at one Burlington hospital. Canadian hospitals have been dealing with this problem since 2002 but there has been very little public anger over these thousands of deaths.
... bad deli meat from a Maple Leaf Foods plant was linked to 57 people falling ill and 23 people dying from a listeriosis outbreak, the outrage was fast and furious. Investigations were launched, a class-action lawsuit was filed. Maple Leaf issued an apology, pledged to do better, changed its practices and settled the lawsuit within a few months for $27 million.
Terence Corcoran hilariously satirizes the Competition Bureau, with Commissioner Melanie Aitken proudly reviewing her mandate and record of successes (Bell Canada’s misleading advertising fine-print, CREA’s “abuse of dominance” and a VISA, Master Card “price maintenance” investigation) - all conveniently annotated in footnotes with Competition Bureau “fine print”. Footnote 1 reads:
1. Competition Bureau promises and commitments are limited to certain sectors of the economy and may not apply to you as a consumer or corporation. The Bureau’s claims to be a fearless champion of competition are invalid for regulated industries, government monopolies, liquor boards, electricity pricing, industries under foreign and national ownership limits and restrictions, farm marketing boards, chickens, eggs, milk, ethanol, advertising by political parties, governments and political institutions, subsidies that create uncompetitive advantages for individual companies or industry sectors. All of the above, and many other sectors and behaviours, are technically exempt from bureau rules and enforcement. Competition is not subject to definition and should not be seen as synonymous with free markets. Many restrictions apply. All statements and policies are subject to situational adjustment, reversals and arbitrariness. But the pay is good. 2. ......
Seems to be a pattern there.

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