Good news

Every now and then in the weird, dismal and depressing news stream a few cheery items come bobbing along. First off, in New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is thinking about axing jobs – government jobs, and quite a few, in fact – up to 15,000 according to the Times. It’s a start. The Economist of a couple weeks ago put the coming battle with public sector unions on the front cover. The lead editorial was a little too conciliatory but at least there are signs of people waking up to the social catastrophe that public sector unions represent.

Elsewhere, from the often wacky world of health news, a little ray of light came in the revelation of the fraudulence of the alleged contribution of the MMR vaccine to autism. Pseudo-science doesn’t often get so totally torpedoed in this way, so it’s nice to see it when it happens.

Then there was the study in education suggests that test-taking can actually improve learning more than other methods. Mud in the eye for the teacher’s unions and the other flaky defenders of unquantifiable, results-free teaching, for whom it is an article of faith that test-taking is irrelevant when it isn’t damaging.

And finally, Bjork is on the warpath against Vancouver-based Magma Energy Corp, seeking to prevent the takeover of an Icelandic geothermal energy producer. This is exactly the kind of thing a variety of pundits predicted in the run-up to the Harper government interfering with BHP Billiton’s attempt to take over potash production in Saskatchewan: that it would inspire protectionists and other enemies of trade everywhere. We applaud this campaign and hope that Canadian investments overseas are blocked, blocked and blocked again until it starts to sink into the cementheads at home that this isn’t the way things work in a global economy.

Of course, public sector unions, teachers unions, health kooks and protectionists are about as well-immunized against reality as it is possible to be. So hearts and minds aren't going to be won there, no matter what the news. But it may help to erode the credibility of their positions with the general public, by however little. All in all not a bad week for common sense.