Jamaica Scorpions, on the back of another shallow batting display, were yesterday defeated by 117 runs on the final day of their top-of-the-table WICB First-Class Championship clash against leaders and title-holders Guyana Jaguars at Sabina Park. Starting the day on 83 for three and needing another 244 runs to win, Jamaica were blown away for 208 midway the post-lunch session. Leading the Guyana bowling charge was outstanding 19-year-old left-arm spinner, Gudakesh Motie, who claimed six for 33 to take his tournament-leading tally to 34 wickets. The lanky Motie, playing in his debut first-class season and fifth match overall, last year represented West Indies Under-19s at the ICC Youth World Cup. “It was a disappointing performance, particularly as it relates to our batting,” bemoaned Scorpions captain, Paul Palmer Jr. “Our bowlers did well, especially in the first innings, but our batsmen did not back them up.” He added: “It is now a setback for us as Guyana have moved further ahead in the standings. But it is still midway the season and we still have time, so hopefully we can catch up with them.” Jamaica now have three wins and two defeats and lie third in the standings on 53 points. Guyana, unbeaten after five matches, extended their tally to 85, while Barbados Pride, who defeated Leeward Island Hurricanes by 10 wickets, are second on 63 points. The tournament, being played on a home-and-away basis over 10 rounds, will take a break to facilitate the holiday season, as well as the NAGICO Super50 regional one-day tournament, which bowls off in January. Volcanoes, Red Force draw AT THE BEAUSEJOUR CRICKET STADIUM: Windward Islands Volcanoes drew with Trinidad and Tobago Red Force on the final day of their fifth round game here yesterday. Scores: VOLCANOES 306 (Shane Shillingford 64, AndrÈ Fletcher 63, Mervyn Mathew 48 not out, Devon Smith 32, Liam Sebastien 30; Imran Khan 3-100, Narsingh Deonarine 2-29, Uthman Mohammed 2-51) & 198 for seven (Devon Smith 56, Shane Shillingford 34, AndrÈ Fletcher 29). RED FORCE 382 (Yannick Ottley 99 not out, Yannic Cariah 70, Narsingh Deonarine 60, Marlon Richards 60; Kevin McClean 4-66, Shane Shillingford 3-109).
DES MOINES, Iowa – Longtime Drake University Athletics staff members Brian Brown and Natasha Kaiser-Brown are leaving their positions to pursue professional opportunities at the University of Missouri, the couple announced Thursday, Aug. 4Brian Brown has served as the Franklin ‘Pitch’ Johnson Drake Relays Director for the past 11 years while also fulfilling duties as an associate athletic director and assistant track and field coach. Natasha Kaiser-Brown has been the head coach of the Bulldogs’ track and field programs for the past 15 years.Brian, who received his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Missouri, will assume the role of Assistant Athletic Director for Mizzou Made within the Tigers’ athletics department, while Natasha—a Missouri graduate, former Missouri assistant coach, and one of the most decorated Mizzou student-athletes in history—will serve as the Tigers’ associate head track and field coach.”I want to thank Brian and Natasha for their extraordinary commitment to Drake University for more than a decade. Both have been integral parts of our athletics department’s success since arriving in Des Moines,” said Drake Director of Athletics Sandy Hatfield Clubb. “Brian’s vision and leadership has helped advance the historic Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee to one of the marquee events in the world, while Natasha has led our track and field programs and its student-athletes to great success on and off the track.”During his 11 years as the director, Brian Brown has widened the scope of the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee to include events such as the invitational pole vault at Jordan Creek Town Center and Capital Square and the Grand Blue Mile. Inside Drake Stadium, his vision helped created world-class fields that served as either Olympic or World Championship previews and rematches. This past year, the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee attracted more than 50 athletes that will represent their countries in the upcoming Olympic games.”I am grateful to Drake University and Sandy Hatfield Clubb for trusting me to be a member of her administrative team and to lead such a historic event,” Brian Brown said. “The Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee has been a labor of love, and I’m proud to have played a role in the magnificent history of the Relays. The decision to accept this new opportunity came after much prayer with my family, and I believe it provides a new avenue for me to make a positive impact on the lives of others.”Natasha Kaiser-Brown, a Des Moines native and Olympic silver medalist, has guided the Bulldog track and field program since 2000, and has helped the team set 40 school records while consistently producing Missouri Valley Conference champions and NCAA qualifiers. Under her leadership, the program has blossomed academically as the women’s team recorded the 12th highest grade point average in the nation in 2015 while both the men’s and women’s teams have been named U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Associates All-Academic teams each of the last five years. Kaiser-Brown came to Drake from Missouri after seven years as an assistant coach at her alma mater.”It is very difficult to leave a place after so many wonderful years,” Natasha Kaiser-Brown said. “I cannot thank the administration, staff, and faculty enough for all that they have done to support, shape, educate, and challenge me. I will forever be appreciative of the opportunity to be a part of the Drake family and will greatly miss working alongside my colleagues and the amazing and talented men and women of the cross country and track and field programs.” Drake will begin immediate national searches to fill both positions.”It is a testimony to how special Brian and Natasha are as people that Missouri would shape positions specifically to attract the couple. Each of them in their own right has left big shoes to fill. However, both have advanced the University in ways that make it possible to attract world class talent to lead Drake into our next level of success,” Hatfield Clubb added. “We wish both of them and their family the absolute best as they begin this next chapter of their life.”Print Friendly Version
Public trust in scientists exceeds their trustworthiness, experts warn.Nature is worried. People trust scientists too much. In the Nature Editorial this week (“Misplaced faith”), the subtitle is suggestive. “The public trusts scientists much more than scientists think. But should it?” On one hand, the editors are glad that polls show the majority of people giving scientists high marks for reliability despite a flurry of scandals in recent news. The recent retraction of that gay-marriage paper (see 12/12/14 and Science Magazine report; see more below) is a case in point. But on the other hand, they know better.Media coverage of the same-sex-marriage retraction was laced with portentous language, claiming that faith and trust in science had been profoundly shaken. Yet, as researchers who follow misconduct issues will know, faith and trust in science have survived worse in recent years.That should not be taken as an excuse to ignore the problem of research misconduct or to minimize its importance. And although high-profile fraud makes headlines, a broader and more common set of unappealing behaviours — from corner-cutting to data-juggling — lie under the surface. Convention says that a tiny minority of scientists cheats, yet academics and researchers frequently make the case that irregularities are widespread. A 2014 survey of hundreds of economists, for example, found that 94% admitted to having engaged in at least one “unaccepted” research practice (S. Necker Res. Policy 43, 1747–1759; 2014).… it seems that the wider public’s view of science and research is rosier than that of many people who are directly involved. For how long can this continue?As insiders, Nature’s editors get a view of science’s dirty laundry that the public is blissfully unaware of. And they’re not alone. Other writers have pointed out reasons to doubt the iconic image of the scientist in the white lab coat, altruistically researching nature’s secrets for the pure love of the truth.Influence or influencer? Anna Gielas, in a PLoS Blog printed on PhysOrg, turns scientific journals into carts pulling the horses. Rather than depicting them as channels for research dissemination, she argues that journals are often instruments that shape science and academia. Tracing the history of academic journals over centuries, she shows them to be dynamic, evolving instruments that often made or broke personal reputations and, sometimes, shaped political decisions. “I wish to learn how we have created this unique and intricate communication system,” she ends, “—and why we have endowed it with so much power.”Measurement power corrupts: What’s science without measurement? In The Conversation, Aussie academics Mike Calver and Andrew Beattie warn that “Our obsession with metrics is corrupting science.” Specifically, the process of ranking scientific papers by citations and other arbitrary measures lets some scientists game the system, and consigns other worthy research into dustbin of obscurity. Ranking has been a poor predictor of Nobel Prizes, they point out. (See also Nature‘s list of “sleeping beauty” papers whose merits were not recognized till after the author’s deaths.) Merlin Crossley, another Aussie dean of science, replies in The Conversation that “All academic metrics are flawed, but some are useful.” Useful to whom? He presents the “best-in-field” fallacy by arguing that it’s “better than the alternative.”Correlation not causation: Speaking of measurement, Science Magazine enjoyed a list of “spurious correlations.” These come about through “a technique known as ‘data dredging,’ in which one data set is blindly compared to hundreds of others until a correlation is identified.” For instance, one can show that “The number of civil engineering doctorates awarded in the United States between 2000 and 2009 was strongly correlated (95.9%) with mozzarella cheese consumption during the same period.” The editors comment, “Presented as a series of graphs prepared from real data sets, Spurious Correlations serves as a hilarious reminder that correlation most certainly does not equal causation.” It also implies that drawing valid conclusions requires honesty and training in logic.Conflict of interest: A Policy Forum statement in Science Magazine shows that scientists are also stakeholders in government decisions. Fifteen academics from Harvard, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Center for Science and Democracy and some other foundations are upset that Congress is making “attacks on science-based rules.” But rules are not discovered by scientists; they are matters of policy decided by parties with competing interests (including taxpayers who have to foot the bill, and legislators who have to prioritize limited resources). Rules might be informed by science or metrics, but as we have just seen, metrics can corrupt if not properly interpreted. These academics vent the emotion of righteous indignation, pretending their own interests are not part of the equation.There is a growing and troubling assault on using credible scientific knowledge in U.S. government regulation that will put science and democracy at risk if unchecked. We present five examples, and the false premises on which they are based, of current attempts in the U.S. Congress in the supposed pursuit of transparency and accountability but at the expense of the role of science in policy-making.A look at their five examples shows it heavily weighted in favor of government regulation and the ability of scientific institutions to police themselves. At whose expense? And for which group’s interest?The scientific community needs to push back. Elected officials respond to constituents, and there are scientists in every congressional district. With leadership from professional societies and scientific organizations, scientists across the country should tell their members of Congress how much they value the opportunity to engage in informing policy and how important it is that these attacks on the process are defeated.They end by claiming they are all for transparency and avoidance of conflict of interest. Their concerns may well be justified in some of the specific cases they cite, but their own comments betray a lack of objectivity.Whose conflict of interest? Policies that attempt to control conflict of interest may themselves be flawed, an article on Science Daily suggests. Some scientists are objecting to the stringent rules of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) on disclosure of financial ties to health industries, claiming that “there are negative consequences of such policies.” One thing seems certain; policies will be made by fallible humans who may not be aware of all the influences behind their decisions, or willing to admit them.Scientific fraud made several headlines recently. Most recently, the exposure of Michael LaCour at UCLA as a fraudster for his Dec. 2014 paper on gay-marriage persuasion was noted by Science Magazine (which retracted the paper last month), Nature, and major media outlets. But few are pointing out that his credibility should have been suspect at the start, since he is a gay activist and recruited only gay activists in his “experiments” on interviewing people—and they only tested the ability to persuade people for gay marriage, not against it. That seems hardly a controlled experiment. In other headlines, social psychologist Jens Förster is in deeper trouble after investigators found further evidence he “made up” his data, Science Magazine says (see 5/22/14). Förster still maintains his innocence. Nature reports that Paolo Macchiarini, inventor of the artificial windpipe, has been charged with misconduct for “misrepresenting the success of his pioneering procedure.” And in a PLoS Blog piece posted by PhysOrg, Beth Skwarecki asks an unusual question, “Was it unethical to hoax the world about chocolate as a weight loss ‘accelerator’?” It’s another story about P-hacking (tweaking significance measures) to pull a causation out of a correlation.When you envision a scientist, stop thinking of the cartoon drawing. Picture a real human being, just like yourself, getting out of bed each day and getting dressed to go to work. Like each one of us, the scientist is a complex mix of influences, beliefs, biases and desires. Many scientists usually work in an academic environment that is profoundly leftist in ideology and subject to speech codes or standards of political correctness (we admit exceptions, of course). The scientist has undergone years of rigorous study and practice, part of which constitutes indoctrination into certain ways of thinking. He or she attends conferences with colleagues at which habits of behavior are reinforced by groupthink, where independent thinking is tolerated only to a point. The scientist does not observe nature as a newcomer, but follows years of tradition, working on some specific puzzle in the current paradigm. Scientists are often dependent on government funds, or else support from private industry, which also influence their judgment. Like other humans, scientists desire fame and recognition for their work.Lest one argue that it’s the scientific community that protects against bias and makes science a self-correcting enterprise, let’s get real. A community is a collection of fallible individuals. Academia can reinforce bias as much as prevent it. Look at the articles above; journals, peer review and other aspects of self-correction can end up shaping policies and attitudes, even facilitating fraud. Nature just told us that people have an undue trust for science as it really us. Standards have evolved over the centuries; are we to believe that what Newton or Faraday did in their day was unscientific by today’s standards? Peer review is under attack from many quarters these days. Journals are evolving to adapt to social media. And how can they protect themselves from computer-generated fraud? (see Evolution News & Views article).Never forget that science cannot work without (1) a commitment to truth, and (2) honesty. Those are not discoveries of science; they are prerequisites for science. Logical reasoning requires both. So what are we to expect when evolutionary scientists tell us that crime is a product of evolution? (see PhysOrg). Carried to its logical conclusion, that rationalizes fraud as an evolutionary strategy. Science needs God to say, “Thou shalt not!” (see 5/24/15). The current flood of scientific misconduct is to be expected from a culture that has abandoned Biblical morality for evolving strategies, and truth for pragmatism.So what are honest truth seekers to think of science? We have to judge it based on the evidence and the logic, and on the individual researcher’s character. We cannot take a scientist’s word for anything. We need to be aware of the biases that influence their statements. We need to examine their “materials and methods” that formed the basis of their conclusions. We need the courage to fight a strong consensus when it is wrong. We need to complain when they fail to be truthful or honest. In a sense, we need to be scientists ourselves, if we take the root of science to refer to “knowledge.” Since knowledge is defined as a “justified true belief,” no scientific statement should be accepted at face value because “science says so,” but because its truth is justifiable.(Visited 28 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
24 July 2015The South African Revenue Service (Sars) introduced a new, state-of-the-art container scanner at the Cape Town harbour on Wednesday.This is the second scanner of its kind in South Africa; the first one was installed in Durban. It will be used to clamp down on illegal trade, which robs the country of millions of rand in unpaid duties and taxes.“With the new high-tech scanners in Durban and Cape Town, Sars is doing end-to-end integrated cargo scanning for the first time,” the organisation said.“In other words, our risk engine, case management system and scanner software is now integrated into one solution that is automated and real-time, with the whole process recorded on the Sars system from beginning to end.”Game over for criminalsSars commissioner Tom Moyane told Fin24 that “we should deter those who would like to avoid paying their fair value in terms of customs. That game is over.”The scanner cost R38.5-million but Moyane said this was a worthwhile price. “You want to talk about return on investment? Let’s talk numbers: R986-billion is what we collected. Customs contributed approximately 9% to 10%.“Utilisation of the scanners is to deter and detect that which we would not have been able to bring into the fiscus. So if we used the scanners a year before, we could have collected close to a trillion (rand),” he explained.How it worksThe scanners use X-ray technology coupled with radiation scanning to detect up to 40 different materials, including aluminium, steel, plastic, and organic components, according to the technology news website, MyBroadband Business Tech.It is also able to scan through 380mm of solid steel, and cargo can be scanned in under 12 minutes. Sars aims to complete a hundred inspections a day.The radiation portal will also be able to tip off customs officials if radioactive material is being smuggled.SAinfo reporter
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Once again, it’s time to submit nominations for ASI Awards, which will be presented during the 2020 ASI Annual Convention on Jan. 22-25 in Scottsdale, Ariz.The deadline for all award nominations is Nov. 15.There are five awards open for nominations: The McClure Silver Ram Award, the Camptender Award, the Distinguished Producer Award, the Industry Innovation Award and the Shepherd’s Voice Award.The McClure Silver Ram Award is dedicated to volunteer commitment and service and is presented to a sheep producer who has made substantial contributions to the sheep industry and its organizations in his/her state, region or nation. The award may recognize a lifetime of achievement or may recognize a noteworthy, shorter-term commitment and service to the industry.The Camptender Award recognizes industry contributions from a professional in a position or field related to sheep production. Nominees should show a strong commitment and a significant contribution to the sheep industry, its organizations and its producers above and beyond what is called for in his/her professional capacity. Nominees should be well respected in their fields by their peers and by sheep producers.The Distinguished Producer Award was launched in 2014 to recognize the 150th anniversary of the national organization – the oldest livestock association in the country. This award is a way to recognize an individual who has had a significant long-term impact on the industry, including involvement with the National Wool Growers Association or American Sheep Producers Council, the predecessor organizations to ASI.The Industry Innovation Award recognizes the accomplishments of an individual or organization that improves the American sheep industry in a game-changing way, regardless of whether its impact is felt at the regional or national level.The Shepherd’s Voice Award for Media recognizes outstanding year-long coverage of the sheep industry by either print or broadcast outlets. The award excludes all publications and affiliates related solely to the sheep industry, allowing for recognition of outlets with general coverage for excellence in covering sheep industry issues.Nominations must be submitted to ASI by Nov. 15, and past recipients of these awards are not eligible. To receive an application, call 303-771-3500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I cannot think of MGR declaring war on the Centre on the question of rice. He is merely blaming the Centre for his and his ministers’ incapacity, inability and inefficiency…. Such a man can never revolt against the Centre – ever.M. Karunanidhi in OnlookerThe marriage of Maneka with Sanjay was,I cannot think of MGR declaring war on the Centre on the question of rice. He is merely blaming the Centre for his and his ministers’ incapacity, inability and inefficiency…. Such a man can never revolt against the Centre – ever. M. Karunanidhi in OnlookerThe marriage of Maneka with Sanjay was the result of a conspiracy of certain forces who wanted to infiltrate into my house. Mrs Indira Gandhi at a party conference in LucknowWith advancing age and an erratic memory she (Mrs Gandhi) is suffering from great mental strain. This is obvious from the fact that at a serious party meeting in Lucknow she talked less about Punjab and Assam and more about Maneka…. It is not in the interest of the country to have an unwell prime minister.Mrs Maneka Gandhi in a statement to the press in New DelhiGuru Govind Singh created us and if Mahatma Gandhi is going to abuse him why should we consider him as our rashtra pita (father of the nation)? These slaves, the press, television, the media, they accept this; we don’t. Harminder Singh Sandhu, general secretary of the Akali Dal youth wing in SundayThe basic problem with Indian businessmen is that they cannot move an inch without protection. They often talk of competition; in real life they cry like babies seeking mother’s protection. Competition and protection cannot go hand in hand. Industrialist Jit Paul in BlitzTennis is a sport in India … only (when) people and the tennis associations start thinking that tennis is a job, an education and a full-time profession that the game can improve in this country.advertisement Vijay Amritraj in Weekend ReviewIn a democracy…new sections of people are under a state of constant and unremitting competition for a place in the sun. The…government-owned media defeat the purpose of promoting the dynastic ruler by over-exposure. To please every section he has to indulge in banalities. He becomes a bore. From a bore to a political hack is a short road. C.P. Ramachandran in The Sunday ObserverI have more experience than him (Farooq Abdullah). He is very young… I advise (him) just as any mother would her son. Begum Abdullah in ProbeI never thought I was a good actress. I really can’t act… I am always worried about making grammatical mistakes. I go cold (before the camera) and my palms begin to sweat. Raakhee in FilmfareNo girl has offered to go to bed with me in return for a part (in a film). I wish it would happen. Manmohan Desai in GentlemanI like females who are above thirty – ripe and who know the ways of the world, no inexperienced youngsters. Shashi Kapoor in StardustNTR is not the first – and will not be the last – political leader possessing a promising potential to be led up the garden path by “chamchas” who force their patrons to attempt too much too soon. N.C. Menon in The Hindustan Times
Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES Rafael Nadal sweeps into Italian Open semis; Roger Federer, Naomi Osaka pull out injured Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue Catholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too ‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Duterte wants probe of SEA Games mess PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess And their preparations start with a duel with a familiar foe in the Chinese, who have dealt the Azkals a heavy beating in their last two meetings, including an 8-1 drubbing in Guangzhou two years ago.In the 23rd match between the two countries since 1913, the Azkals lost to China, 3-0, in the group stage of the Asian Cup in January.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsIn a statement, the Philippine Football Federation said the Azkals are also slated to play a practice match against a local club on June 9 in Guangdong Province. Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting MOST READ Two-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transport CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/DENNIS MALLARIThe Philippines’ men’s national team will head to China during the international window in June, playing a couple of matches, including a duel with the Chinese national squad in Guangzhou.The Azkals are looking to build up their squad in preparation for the World Cup Qualifiers in September this year.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments
(Eds: Repeating after making correction in heading)Hyderabad, Oct 31 (PTI) In the best form of his life after winning four Super Series titles in five months, star India shuttler Kidambi Srikanth today said that the days of domination of Lin Dan or Lee Chong Wei are over and the tournaments are more wide open than ever.Srikanth, who became the first Indian and only fourth mens singles player in the world to win four Super Series titles in a calendar year, said not a few but many players, including him, are capable of winning top tournaments these days.”For a long time I think (Malaysian) Lee Chong Wei and (Chinas) Lin Dan have dominated badminton. And now it has become more open. Me, Viktor (Axelsen) and even other Indian players are winning tournaments. It has become more wide open and its always good for the sport when you have so many champions,” he told reporters here.Srikanth was felicitated at the P Gopichand Academy here after his recent victories at Denmark Open and French Open. He won Indonesia Open and Australia Open in June and then bagged the Denmark Open and French Open this month.”These days, there are many players who are playing really well and anybody can beat anyone on their given day. So, its always important to be at your best against anyone,” he said.Asked if he thinks Lee Chong and Lin Dan are nearing the end of their careers, he said, “I cant really say thats their end. They have played at the highest level and really have the experience to come back. One cant really take them lightly. Lin Dan played in the final of World Championship. They definitely are tough every time you play them. But, we need to believe in ourselves that we can do well.”advertisementSrikanth might be inching towards the World No. 1 sport after winning the French Open last weekend but he said he was not thinking too much about the rankings.”To be frank I dont really think too much about the rankings. I really did well in the last eight to ten months. I want to just keep playing tournaments and enjoy playing the sport,” he said.Asked if he will become World No. 1 if he wins the upcoming China Open, Srikanth said, “Thats how it is. If you do consistently well, rankings do follow and I dont want to run behind the rankings. I really want to play well in the tournaments.”Srikanth said he will be competing in the Nationals (next week), besides the China and Hong Kong Open and the BWF World Super Series Finals in Dubai in December.”I am very happy now. All the four Super Series are different. After I won the India Open in 2015, it took a long time to win the Indonesia title,” said Srikanth, who beat Axelsen in mens singles quarterfinals in the Denmark Open Super Series Premier.He said match against compatriot H S Prannoy in the French Open was also a tough one.”I was really thinking to play well because I played a great match against him (Viktor) in Japan Open but I lost with by just two-three points. I didnt want that to happen. I wanted to do better and luckily I was able to do it. I am happy with the way I played that quarter final match. He has been in a great form and that win gave me a lot of confidence,” Srikanth said.”Going into the French Open, it was a tough draw and with top players losing in initial rounds, there were so many thoughts running in my mind, but still I told myself that I will take it round-by-round. I fairly did well at the French Open,” he said. PTI VVK PDS PDS
EDMONTON – Fresh off uniting Alberta’s feuding, floundering centre-right to forge a unified opposition, Jason Kenney begins work in 2018 to build on those gains ahead of a provincial election.Regardless of the outcome, says Calgary pollster Janet Brown, Kenney’s audacious unity plan galvanized Alberta politics in 2017 and reordered its landscape.“He hit four home runs and there were lots of naysayers that said he couldn’t do it,” Brown says. “He laid out a five-point plan and he has just effortlessly been ticking off (the boxes) one at a time.”Kenney, a former Conservative Calgary MP and Stephen Harper lieutenant, won the Progressive Conservative leadership in early 2017, arranged a merger with the Wildrose Opposition and its leader Brian Jean, and got that merger ratified by both parties.He then beat Jean to become leader of the new United Conservative Party and, on Dec. 14, won a seat in a Calgary byelection.Kenney has made it clear he will campaign on fixing an economy that has been decimated by low oil prices.Premier Rachel Notley has responded by saying she won’t make things worse by slamming spending into reverse. Her government has continued to borrow billions of dollars for day-to-day operations and capital projects, while increasing the minimum wage and imposing a carbon tax.The economy is rebounding, but Notley faces criticism that it isn’t going fast enough, or that her efforts have saved the present at the cost of a future debilitated by debt payments.Kenney, in his UCP victory speech, laid down the gauntlet on the core issue, saying his party seeks, “people who understand the creative power of a free economy, that we cannot mortgage the future of the next generation through fiscal irresponsibility.”Brown, along with Calgary political scientist Duane Bratt, says jobs and the economy are uppermost in Albertans’ minds and the unifying force for Kenney’s party.“The unifying theme is anger at the NDP and the desire to throw the NDP out,” says Bratt of Mount Royal University.Adds Brown: “The economy is the thing. He’s had some missteps on social issues, but as uncomfortable as Albertans may be on individual social policies, their concern about the economy and their desire to get the economy on track is outweighing all of those things.”Social issues are what Notley’s NDP believes could ultimately be Kenney’s Achilles heel.He has taken a laissez-faire approach to social issues, tying institutional compassion to the economy while broadly urging tolerance for all.“We are one step closer to a government focused on prosperity so that we have the means to be a compassionate and generous society,” he told supporters after he won the leadership. “We don’t care in this party what god you worship or who you love.”Kenney, however, has been criticized over the issue of gay-straight alliances in schools.The clubs are designed as safe havens for kids who may not turn to anyone else, or can’t look for help at home. Nevertheless, Kenney has said that teachers need to have the authority to tell parents when their children join an alliance — unless that could bring a child to harm.Advocates and the NDP say that threatens to out children to their parents and could lead to kids avoiding the groups altogether. Kenney says teachers have the tools to handle it.The Alberta Teachers’ Association says it doesn’t want the responsibility and instead endorses a bill passed this fall by the NDP that makes it illegal for anyone to tell parents when a child joins a ga-straight-alliance.The bill was opposed by the UCP.Brown says Kenney is taking a pragmatic approach.“He’s smart enough to know that he’s never going to be the choice among people who are highly preoccupied with social issues,” she says.“But if he can just assure those people who are only moderately concerned about social issues that they don’t need to fear him, then that’s just really what he’s got to do.”