Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Manitoba Links Weekly: The Price of Safety, Helmets With Eyes, and The Clitsome Era Begins (ManLinkWeek 20)

ManLinkWeek arrives once more! I have good news and I have bad news, but let's switch it up for a change and start with the best news:

[Arctic Ice Hockey: Winnipeg Jets Trade Johnny Oduya to the Chicago Blackhawks for 2nd & 3rd Round Picks]
Occasional superheroics aside, the end of the Johnny Oduya Era in Winnipeg -- two goals and a minus-nine on the year, with a $3.5 million cap hit -- kind of, how do I put this politely, couldn't come soon enough. I will say that I've never seen anybody turn the puck over quite as skillfully or as gracefully as he could, at times showing an almost preternatural ability to put the puck right on the tape of an opponent's stick.

His roster role as Third-Pair Defenceman With Amusing Name was supplanted by the Jets' earlier waiver-wire pickup of Grant Clitsome -- whatever his nickname is, it must be amazing -- and the acquisition of a second- and third-round pick for Oduya puts General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff halfway to sainthood. (If he had also found a way to unload Antropov, the canonization would be happening as we speak.)

Certain moments of Winnipeg Jets history are burned indelibly into our collective psyche, so I believe I speak for many when I say that I will always remember Johnny Oduya for his contribution to our team's inaugural season opener:

We wish Johnny Oduya the best of luck in his future endeavours.

[CTV Winnipeg: Winnipeg police told to step up number of tickets handed out for traffic offences]
But, alas, escapism into sports coverage can only last a man so long. Hey, remember how frequently and vehemently we've been told that traffic enforcement in Winnipeg is entirely about safety, and most certainly not about revenue? Well, you may also recall that last year the Police didn't bring in enough... safety, so the Chief of Police had to appear before City Council to try and explain why the force hadn't met its... safety targets.

Now, just by complete coincidence, the highest levels of the Winnipeg Police Service have laid down non-negotiable monthly quotas of... safety that must be met across the city, quotas (or, as they prefer to refer to them, 'specific expectations') that just happen to be set "significantly higher than we have been historically producing". How much higher? Officers in Division 11, the downtown core, handed out roughly 250 traffic tickets last year; this year the top brass have "clearly articulated" that the same officers must hand out a combined 650 to 700 tickets, nearly three times as many as the year before.

What this boils down to is that every single officer across the entire city is now expected to bring in one ticket's worth of... safety for every single shift they work, every workday of every week of every month of every year. And should that opportunity not arise on one shift, well, that'll just have to be two on the next shift, then -- and, oh, this will be a primary component of performance evaluations each year, just by the by. But no pressure! It is also noted that "this in no way diminishes [an officer's] ability to apply common sense and under appropriate circumstances issue warnings", the appropriate circumstances being if the vehicle contains the seven-hundred-and-first person pulled over that month.

So is this tripling of traffic enforcement to be conducted instead of officers' other duties? No, no, no -- this is on top of officers' other duties. What, all of that, in one day? Well... there may have to be some overtime involved, as loathe a proposition as we know that may be. Alas! A noble sacrifice, surely, in the name of... safety.

Man, I don't know about you, but I feel safer already! And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to be compulsively scrubbing my licence plates for the next two or three months or so.

[Metro Winnipeg: Tweet and you will find]
Meanwhile, provincially, the Manitoba Progressive Conservatives are... oh, wow, Christ, really? Really? Ha! Ha ha ha! Look out, everyone, here comes the power of social media! Imagine the drama and intrigue and excitement and entertainment of a leadership showdown between Greg Selinger and Scott Fielding, or between Greg Selinger and Leanne Rowat! Zing! Pow! Ratings!

oh jesus this entire province is doomed

Okay, all right, all right. Look. Things may not be going particularly well on the civic front, and there's definitely nothing encouraging going on provincially, but at least federally we know that--

[Observations, Reservations, Conversations: Rigged Elections]
--oh, who am I kidding.

I wish I could say that I was genuinely surprised by any of this -- by anything, really, any more -- but, nope, our federal system is a poisonous wasteland of duplicitous polemic cheating slimeball lunatics. (And child pornographers, of course; mustn't forget that tidbit.) Heads should roll for this but won't, everything remains terrible, there's your Canadian politics update.

Augh, this is all so awful. Can we go back to sports again? I need some sports, here, I need something to--

[The Manitoban: U of M home to hockey robot]




Phew! Okay, that's better. I'm better. Moving on.

[the cold cold ground: strangebrew]
Real talk: if you walk into a beer store, behold the wide world of malted beverage products that are available to you, and then still buy Budweiser, I am going to think less of you. Sorry! Ain't no two ways about it.

The brainwashing of successful marketing is my only plausible explanation for why anybody drinks Budweiser -- nobody can even identify it in taste tests, nor is it competitively priced against similar products -- but dang if this branding exercise isn't going to sell like crazy, as frustrating as it'll be to watch and as specious as the purchaser reasoning will inevitably be. "It tastes better!" No, it doesn't, Budweiser has specifically ensured it'll taste the same as all its other beer. "It uses Winnipeg water!" Yeah, but so do Half Pints and Fort Garry, and the hell if I've ever seen you buy either of those. "It has a Jets logo on it!" So does everything else in this godforsaken town, but fine, I guess you've got me there.

Augh, great, now even sports-related stuff winds me up. Thanks a lot, Labatt's, now I hate everything.

[The Crime Scene: Defending the indefensible]
Still, things could always be worse; you or I could be the person tasked with publicly representing and defending Graham James. See? There's always a bright side! Er... such as it is.

ManLinkWeek returns next Tuesday, although this time -- and for sure, this time -- I'm going to have other blog content coming long before then. So watch this space!


bwalzer said...

At a rate of 250 tickets a year that means that there were entire 24 hour periods where no tickets were issued at all. I personally witness several traffic infractions every day during the 1.5 hours I am out and about.

Kicking traffic enforcement up a notch shouldn't be all that hard. The real question here is why no one is doing it now.

Anonymous said...

Man, am I glad I don't drive anymore.

Ben Century said...

You're wrong... There's no Jets logos on the monuments on Memorial Blvd. Maybe we should change that to co-ordinate them with the rest of our airplane-themed city.