Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Anti-Vaccination Conspiracy...The Superstitionists Win Another One.


Over the weekend, you might have heard about this:

EDMONTON—Health officials in Edmonton are warning passengers who arrived in the city on a flight from Vancouver earlier this month that they may have been exposed to measles.

The warning further extends to anyone who was in Edmonton International Airport during the hours immediately after the Air Canada plane landed on April 9....

And, especially if you like to read stuff (rather than just listen to soundbites), you may have seen this:

...British Columbia is currently in the grips of a large outbreak, with at least 375 cases so far...


What you very likely didn't see, read or hear is why this outbreak first erupted out in the Valley:

...The pastor for the community at the centre of the Fraser Valley measles outbreak says he sees vaccines as an interference with God’s providential care.

Rev. Adriaan Geuze says his 1,200-strong Reformed Congregation of North America in Chilliwack mostly shares that view, which is why vaccination rates in the community are “very low.”

“We leave it in (God’s) hands. If it is in his will that somehow we get a contagious disease, like in this case the measles, there are other ways, of course, to avoid this. If (we get sick), he can also heal us from it,” he said in an interview Friday...


So there you have it...

Because, you know, if you insist on a separation of church and state and if you rely on evidence instead of superstition and prejudice?


You must be a bigoted secular-socialist-marxist-atheist zealot.

Oh, that and up-is-down and two-plus-two-equals-five.

(and antibodies are conceived of immaculately and expanded without exposure to foreign antigen)

The Onion pretty much gets it right on this one....
So....Why the huge drop in measles cases in the early 60's on the graph above?...You got it.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

At The End Of The Day...

...You've Gotta Listen To Something.

So, here's the thing...

When the day winds down I still like to listen to terrestrial radio.

And, given the dreck on the no longer so Giant 98 in the evening/late night time slots these days, the only thing left, especially if I've already heard Ghomeshi earlier in the day, is sports talk radio.

Which, if I don't want to listen to regularly scheduled smarm-swarms, pretty much means that the only option is the reincarnation of Dan Russell's long-running show way down the dial at CISL 650.

And, for the most part, I like the format, and the co-hosts, including Lee Powell.

But last week, when the Abbotsford Heat were leaving town at a total cost of $12 million to Sliverville taxpayers (including, I assume, Mr. Beer 'N Hockey) I was pretty darned miffed when they had Ryan Walter on and never once directly raised the matter with him, especially after Mr. Walter did his best to make it sound like the owners of the Heat actually did all of Abbotsford a favour when it let them terminate the contract early for the low, low price of $5.5 million.

Which I guess, brings to mind that old adage that all sportsmedia coverage, at its core, is little more than  advertorial copy meant to boost the profile of the home team.

Of course, this particular sin of omission by Mess'rs Powell and Russell is nothing compared to the abject sins of shillophantic commission that happen all the time on the sports talk stations.

The worst local example of which I reckon was....


Ironically, in my opinion at least, the good Mr. Jordan Bateman has been on this one lately...Why ironic?...Well, you know....Astroturf and three billion dollar ice bomb toll-bridges and all that...


How Do You Stop The Snooklandians?...Stand Up To Them.


Remember when the Snooklandians told us last Monday that they were going to let the worst of the land-rapers do whatever they wanted, without environmental review, based on a pile of jibber-jabber about forest ministry frameworks that made no sense at all?

And remember how they, the Snooklandians I mean, rescinded that order* less than a day later?


What caused the rapid climb down?

Well, in large part it was due to the swift and unequivocal actions of a young woman named Sharleen Gale.

Mark Hume told Ms. Gale's story in yesterday's Globe. Here is his lede:

Sharleen Gale, the young Fort Nelson chief who shook the government last week when she kicked its officials out of an energy conference, knew a showdown was coming and she’d have to be strong.

That’s why she held the sacred eagle feather in her hands when she took the podium at the BC First Nations LNG Summit and – with representatives from about 60 bands and major industry players looking on – told government delegates to get out.

“I respectfully ask government to please remove yourself from the room. I’m going to ask industry to stay,” said Chief Gale, whose stern face only partly hid her anger...

Amazing what a little truth speaking to the stupid can do, eh?

*Of course, the reversal is very likely only meant to be temporary.
It really is worth reading Mr. Hume's entire piece...Ms. Gale is not against gas extraction per se...She is, however, incensed at the wanton ways of the Snooklandians...Wonder how long it will take for some Astroturf group to start floating deflector-spin codswallop to the contrary?


Sometimes A Snooklandian Is Just A Snooklandian...

...And Sometimes He's The Third Man.


Update Tues Apr 22nd 6:00pm...The original form of this post indicated that Mr. Paul Fraser was appointed B.C.'s Conflict of Interest Commissioner by Christy Clark....That was incorrect...The good Mr. Fraser was appointed by Ms. Clark's predecessor, Mr. Gordon Campbell...The post has been corrected...Thanks to an Anon-O-Mouse who caught the error

Remember what our fine Premier, Ms. Christy Clark told the proMedia, and anyone else would listen after Matthew Millar's third story broke in the NaPo about her demonstrable pre-premier connections to a subsidiary company of RCI, which itself is a company that our fine Premier has done her best to pump while in office?

I mean, it was only a couple of weeks ago, right?


For the record, here is what Ms. Clark told the VSun's Rob Shaw:

...“I never did any work for the company, I wasn’t paid by the company, I never attending any meetings at the request of the company, and as far as I know the company never really got off the ground,” she said at the legislature...

Which is a pretty emphatic statement, no?


As we have already pointed out, there is documentary evidence that suggests something quite different may have gone down said 'company' given their letter-based overture to the University of New Brunswick a number of months after their incorporation which was dated a full  two months after Ms. Clark's first monetary compensation was due to arrive based the 'company's' original invitation/contract to her.

An invitation/contract, by the way, that Ms. Clark herself signed off on.

And last week Bob Mackin unearthed more paper involving additional overtures to (gasp!) Ms. Clark's old alma mater, Simon Fraser University.

And while very few of the proMedia heard have followed up on such documentary evidence, have no fear because the good Premier offered a 'don't worry, be happy' - type solution that seems to have satisfied said herd:

...(Ms. Clark) said she’d be happy to forward the matter to B.C.’s Conflict of Interest Commissioner for review...


With all of the above as pre-amble...

Please recall that the Conflict of Interest Commissioner that Ms. Clark was referring to is a very fine public servant by the name of Mr. Paul Fraser who was originally appointed by Ms. Clark's former boss, then Premier Gordon Campbell.

And please also recall that Mr. Fraser was forced to recuse himself from John van Dongen's recent complaint that revolved around Ms. Clark's actions in the run-up up to the sale/not sale (i.e. 990 year lease) of BC Rail by Mr. Gordon Campbell and friends, one of whom Ms. Clark likes to give bundles of our cash so that she can fly on private jets to exotic and hard to reach (by commercial airline route) locales like Edmonton and Regina.

And with that we finally arrive at a number of matters that get to the real heart of the matter here....

First, this, from Matt Millar's original VanObserver piece about how Ms. Clark once worked for Burrard Communications in her pre-Premier days just before the fine folks from BurrardComm went to work flack-hacking for Enbridge:

Which is how we know that BurrardComm, whose founder is Ms. Clark's former husband Mr. Mark Marissen, did such flack-hacking.


Just who is this John Paul Fraser fellow named in the federal lobbying documents anyway?

And why does J.P. have a monicker that is so similar to that very fine conflict commissioner that we discussed above, but only because Ms. Clark herself indicated that he should make a ruling on the appropriateness of her not having disclosed her association with Burrard, Translink and a subsidiary of RCI, which itself has a business relationship with BurrardComm.

Well, as you may have already surmised, Mr. J.P. Fraser is the son of Mr. P. Fraser who is the above-mentioned conflictyness commissioner.

And what, you may be wondering, is Mr. Fraser the younger up to these days?


Kai Nagata filled us in on that one in his recent Mark Marissen-approved piece on the Dogwood Initiative's website:

...Where is John Paul Fraser now, the former Enbridge lobbyist? He’s an assistant deputy minister, appointed to lead the government’s strategic planning team after helping Clark win her leadership campaign...

Put another way, the former Enbridge lobbyist, MMarissen business associate, and son of the current conflict commissioner is now a full-fledged member of the Snooklandian flack-hackery that is paid, not by them, but instead, by you and me.



Protestations from Ms. Clark herself, and from Mr. Marissen also, about Ms. Clark's lack of direct involvement with various companies and entities Burrard Communications has worked 'for' and/or 'with' in the past based on when she was 'hired', whether or not she was officially 'lobbying', and/or whether or not she, herself, was 'paid' are not the point.

And neither are the bleatings of press poodles who say that everything is fine and on the up-and-up because of multiple such 'technicalities'.

Because what all of this demonstrates, regardless the technicalities is that these fine folks are now, and/or have been, at some level, all in this together.

And that's what matters.

And that, in my opinion, is what should be followed up and chased down by the local proMedia like it was a thousand million back-decks (built from the product of raw logs shipped back from overseas), coming down the mountains.



Monday, April 21, 2014

At The End Of The Day...It's Good To Know Where The Turf Is Laid.


Astroturf, that is.

The patch of fake, non-grassroots, plastic sod up for discussion today is a fine little pipeline boosting outfit called "British Columbians for Prosperity".

The fine folks laying this turf used to have 'International' in their name but Alison, who has done all the digging on this one, figures that was likely removed because they getting revved-up to start smearing environmentalist advocacy groups in an ethically oily manner for their ties to similar grass roots groups in the States.

Interestingly, it turns out that a certain 'crisis consultant' is apparently working for this particular group of turf layers:


Wonder if this will be noted by various and sundry on-air folks the next time the good Ms. Mills shows up on a CBC TeeVee or LongWave station near you to give her latest 'insightful' commentary on various and sundry goings on in British Columbia?

Personally, I won't be holding my breath for full disclosure from the MoCo....After all they have never, to the best of my knowledge, mentioned Ms. Mills involvement in a most interesting internet gaming initiative either....


This (Slow) Day In Snookland...The Return Of Turdstormer Bill.



Look who has been tweeting again...


Mimosas for Easter Monday Brunch while phone fiddling, perhaps?

Because the last time Mr. Bennett tweeted in such a manner one really had to wonder if he had climbed aboard the Twittmachine while tying one on, big time.


Meanwhile, in case you missed it amongst all the codswallopanarianistic deflector spin, Mr. Bennett has been doing a little of that 'straight talking' he is so famous for while explaining why the ALR as we know it must be dismantled.

Here is what he apparently told Bill Tieleman:

...Bennett was clear that he decided to change the ALR because he has been "listening to his constituents for 13 fucking years!"...


There you have it.

The rationale for Snooklandian policies of public destruction in a nutshell.


Tip 'O The Toque to reader S.H. for the heads-up on the latest twittscapade from Mr. Bennett.


Late Winter Jukebox Goin' Down...All Ten Tunes.


Springtime tunes comin....Promise.

#9_1913 Massacre. (6:11)

Date: March 5, 2014
By: RossK

#8_Mr. Bojangles (5:33)

Date: March 2, 2014
By: RossK

#7_Fare Thee Well. (4:26)

Date: February 22, 2014
By: RossK

#6_Tower of Song (4:44)

Date: February 21, 2014
By: RossK

#5_Tupelo Honey (2:50)

Date: February 14, 2014
By: RossK

#4_Pocahontas (4:15)

Date: February 9, 2014
By: RossK

#3_Pay Me My Money Down (2:06)

Date: February 2, 2014
By: RossK

#2_Travelling Alone (J.Isbell Cover) (3:51)

Date: January 25, 2014
By: RossK

Bonus Track....Most recent Sunday one comin'...with duets!...promise..


Goodbye To My Friend Ian.


I have a select number of very old friends who I know so well that, when we get together after long partings, we can get into very intense things, immediately, without preamble, almost as if 20 years ago was yesterday.

I did not know Ian Reid for nearly that long.

And I did not really know him all that well.

But, because of the connection we made, I felt like I did.

Because whenever we met, or talked on the phone, or E-mailed, we almost always got down to brass tacks pretty much immediately.

And we almost always talked about politics.

Or, at the very least, political goings on.


The last time Ian and I talked in person it was together with our mutual friend Norm Farrell.

And the politics talk was intense.

And then, somehow, near the end of our conversation the issue of what we'd all do if we had the time came up.


In my own head I've often thought that if I was retired I would have the time to do the real research so that I could try to write with the insight of Norm and the passion of Ian.

But I didn't say that.

Because before I could, Ian fixed me with that gaze of his and said.

'I'm pretty sure that when that happens Cal will be making music full-time'.

Which flummoxed me.

Not because Ian was wrong.

But rather because he was probably right.


I got an Email from another old friend late last night who I haven't really known since we were both kids, back before either of us knew Ian.

He wanted to pass along a message from Ian's daughter.

I'm sure she wouldn't mind if I excerpted just a few lines from it:

My father, Ian, died peacefully this afternoon in Vancouver, after a long illness... 

 ...It's impossible to talk about his death and his life without talking about politics. (Don't let me get started on talking about music.)...

Talking about music, indeed.

I recorded this for Ian late last fall:

A while back Ian and I got to kibbitzing back and forth (usually on comment threads) about who our real musical heroes were...In the end we settled on two war horses from our youth (who were, of course, also young colts themselves as well back then)...His was Bowie... Mine was Springsteen...Which, of course, led to....This.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

At The End Of The Day (Easter Morning Edition)...


...It's pretty weird to discover that your Mom has something in common with Marc Maron.


Despite the fact that I blather on about his work all the time, most of you probably have no idea who this Marc Maron guy is.

Which is neither here nor there, especially if you only come by looking for the politics talk.

But for the purposes of this post it's probably worth mentioning that Maron is about the same age as me,  is kind of neurotic and a bit of an obsessive-compulsive who just won't let things go. He also has a very strange relationship with guitars as well as stray cats, and he seems to want to know a little bit about just about everything there is to know about anyone and anything, anywhere.

Oh, and he is also the ultimate DIY guy who builds one of the most successful podcasts in the entire universe in his subterranean homesick bluesroomish garage twice a week.

He started the podcast a few years back out of necessity after the bottom fell out of his semi-successful show business career that began while he was an acolyte of Sam Kinison at the Comedy store in the late '80's.

And, luckily for him (and us that listen), Maron pretty much kicked all the stuff that Kinison got him into quite a longtime ago now.

Except for the nicorette lozenges, which he apparently sucks on constantly.

All of which brings me to the goings on at my parents' house last night.

We were sitting around in the living room half-watching the hockey on the TeeVee and playing made-up Password (just guess who gets to be Alan Ludden) which littler e. loves, and during a break in the action my brother, who is the real guitar player in the family, headed outside for a smoke...

As he went out the door our Mom yelled 'Why don't you try the nicorette candy!'

'Good idea,' I said absent-mindedly as I tried to think of the next set of clues.

'Well,' she said. 'It's what I do. In fact, I've got one right now.'

I had no idea.

I honestly thought she had quit cold turkey.

After that we watched the tail end of Easter Parade on PBS (Stevie Ray was already done for the night).

Mostly for the tap dancing given that that's e.'s real thing.


That and the trumpet.

(and I'm not joking)

A little later my brother and I got to talking about the time Oscar and Felix showed up on Password...The ultimate in early ABC cross-promotion, I reckon...Which reminded me that the love of Ludden's late life was none other than a pre-Susan Nivensized Betty White.
Actually, in the spirit of full disclosure, I should probably mention that, in addition to straight-up comedy and a hate-on for Lorne Michaels (who apparently passed on him in the early 90's), Maron also once worked the politics angle too....But even then there was a little time for fun and games.
It's almost 9:00am now on chocolate run Sunday morning and still nobody is up?....Geez...What's my family coming to?...Talk to you all later have a good third of four days...Speaking of which, 
The Third Man' post  is comin' promise (although Uncle Bob Mackin kinda/sorta beat me to it)...In the meantime, E. has me working on....This.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This Afternoon In Snookland...Blame The Regulators.


Remember when our Premier threw Work Safe BC under the bus in the wake of a decision not to proceed with a criminal investigation into sawmills that keep blowing up for no good reason at all (i.e. because the owners of such mills can't be bothered to clean up the explosive wood dust on the floor).

Well, just in case you don't, here's a primmer from a piece by Gordon Hoekstra in the VSun published back in February:

...The premier said Thursday there will be no inquiry.

Clark took exception with WorkSafeBC’s handling of its investigation into the Babine Forest Products explosion on Jan. 20, 2012. The wood dust-fueled explosion killed Robert Luggi Jr., 45, and Carl Charlie, 42, and injured another 20 workers.

“I am deeply disappointed with how WorkSafe conducted this investigation,” Clark told reporters at a news conference on Thursday. “WorkSafeBC should have known what was required by the criminal justice branch in order to proceed with a case to court.”...


Now, just two months later we have this from Justine Hunter in The Globe:

The owners of the Lakeland sawmill in Prince George invested millions of dollars in recent years to boost production, but didn’t put the same effort into safety measures, an investigation into the explosion that killed two workers has concluded.

Greg Stewart, president of the company that owns Lakeland Mills, said Tuesday his company will embrace a culture of safety when a new replacement mill opens this fall, but maintained management “did everything reasonable to ensure our mill was safe.”...


No need for an inquiry here, no siree.

And certainly no need for more regulation, which Snooklandian jobs minister Shirley Bond also pooh-poohed back in March.


Just move along folks, 'cause we've gotta make sure we have the safest sawmills on earth.

Safest on earth for the cronies that is.

If you are interested in such things, you may want to go read the old Hoekstra piece, in full, as it contains some notable names in terms of blue ribbons and independent investigators and such...