Friday, December 19, 2014

Two Competing Views Of Christmas....In Letters!


First, from one of JRR Tolkein's many letters as 'Father Christmas' to his kids (shown above):

Cliff House
Top of the World
Near the North Pole

Xmas 1925

My dear boys,

I am dreadfully busy this year — it makes my hand more shaky than ever when I think of it — and not very rich. In fact, awful things have been happening, and some of the presents have got spoilt and I haven't got the North Polar Bear to help me and I have had to move house just before Christmas, so you can imagine what a state everything is in, and you will see why I have a new address, and why I can only write one letter between you both. It all happened like this: one very windy day last November my hood blew off and went and stuck on the top of the North Pole. I told him not to, but the N.P.Bear climbed up to the thin top to get it down — and he did. The pole broke in the middle and fell on the roof of my house, and the N.P.Bear fell through the hole it made into the dining room with my hood over his nose, and all the snow fell off the roof into the house and melted and put out all the fires and ran down into the cellars where I was collecting this year's presents, and the N.P.Bear's leg got broken. He is well again now, but I was so cross with him that he says he won't try to help me again...

Second, from one of John Steinbeck's many letters to his friend Adlai Stevenson:

New York
Guy Fawkes Day

Dear Adlai,

Back from Camelot, and, reading the papers, not at all sure it was wise. Two first impressions. First, a creeping, all pervading nerve-gas of immorality which starts in the nursery and does not stop before it reaches the highest offices both corporate and governmental. Two, a nervous restlessness, a hunger, a thirst, a yearning for something unknown—perhaps morality. Then there's the violence, cruelty and hypocrisy symptomatic of a people which has too much, and last, the surly ill-temper which only shows up in human when they are frightened.

Adlai, do you remember two kinds of Christmases? There is one kind in a house where there is little and a present represents not only love but sacrifice. The one single package is opened with a kind of slow wonder, almost reverence. Once I gave my youngest boy, who loves all living things, a dwarf, peach-faced parrot for Christmas. He removed the paper and then retreated a little shyly and looked at the little bird for a long time. And finally he said in a whisper, "Now who would have ever thought that I would have a peach-faced parrot?"

Then there is the other kind of Christmas with present piled high, the gifts of guilty parents as bribes because they have nothing else to give. The wrappings are ripped off and the presents thrown down and at the end the child says—"Is that all?" Well, it seems to me that America now is like that second kind of Christmas. Having too many THINGS they spend their hours and money on the couch searching for a soul. A strange species we are. We can stand anything God and nature can throw at us save only plenty. If I wanted to destroy a nation, I would give it too much and would have it on its knees, miserable, greedy and sick. And then I think of our "Daily" in Somerset, who served your lunch. She made a teddy bear with her own hands for our grandchild. Made it out of an old bath towel dyed brown and it is beautiful. She said, "Sometimes when I have a bit of rabbit fur, they come out lovelier." Now there is a present. And that obviously male teddy bear is going to be called for all time MIZ Hicks...

{snippety doo-dah}

...Someone has to reinspect our system and that soon. We can't expect to raise our children to be good and honorable men when the city, the state, the government, the corporations all offer higher rewards for chicanery and deceit than probity and truth. On all levels it is rigged, Adlai. Maybe nothing can be done about it, but I am stupid enough and naively hopeful enough to want to try. How about you?



Both of the above were brought to our attention by the always fantabulous 'Letters Of Note'.


Does Harvey O Know The Real Reason We Are Being Saddled With Site C?


Why yes, I think Mr. Oberfeld might:

...This week, the Liberals launched their campaign for 2017 … although no one seemed to realize that (especially the media, who are supposed to be “professional” observers and analysts!).

The announcement that the government will proceed with the Site C Hydro project, was largely proclaimed … not by the Minister responsible for BC Hydro Bill Bennett … but by Premier Christy Clark herself.

She LOVES to take credit for all BIG projects that the Liberals believe MOST BC voters will approve: that should have been the hint of what’s really happening.

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

Thousands of jobs … not only up north (heartland!) but that the Libs believe WILL be under way, despite all the legal challenges, environmental protestors’ threats and any other obstacles that the $8.8 Billion project will face in the next year or two...


You can argue that this is actually a crazy-legged take on the thing given the total fantasy that the LNG Seven Multination Sparkle Pony Army has turned out to be.

But, before you do please remember the following...

1) Those paying attention (and that includes you Grant) knew it was a fantasy from the beginning (i.e. before Pamela Martin even started to run for that elevator).

2) The Lotuslandian proMedia, even though they knew it too, pretty much played the fantasy game straight up throughout the election period (i.e. it is only recently that they have begun to rein in expectations - surprise!)

3) In terms of raw politics, the fantasy strate(r)gy worked.


What's the way out of this proMedia-assisted paradox of debt doom wherein the electorate can be periodically bamboozled into voting against both reality and their own best interests?

I have my ideas...

Feel free to tell us yours.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Is It Possible That BCUC Hearings Could Have Told Us What Site C Is Actually For?


All right.

I'll admit it...

I've been hanging back, waiting to see, hear or read a cogent argument on why we actually need Ms. Clark's really big boondoggle. 

And now, after reading Damien Gillis' recent piece over at the Common Sense Canadian, I'm not sure there is one to be found.


...(Credit rating concerns will) be compounded by the lack of need for the project, as we learned throughout the JRP’s hearings. This notion has been reinforced by both the premier and BC Hydro’s confused messaging around the project.

At first, Site C was to power BC’s homes, but when we became a solid net exporter of power in recent years – according to BC Stats – the rationale morphed into powering energy-intensive LNG projects. But BC Hydro undermined that statement during the JRP hearings, saying it was instead to export excess power to California – likely a money-losing proposition for BC.

Then, just last week, Christy Clark went back on her LNG argument, admitting that Site C was notin fact required for that industry. Even Hydro acknowledges we won’t need the power from Site C until 2022 at the earliest, but the crown corporation has a long history of exaggerating demand, and, thanks to improved conservation, BC’s power consumption has barely risen since the early 2000s and shows no signs of increasing – an important fact Hydro ignores...

Oh boy.


The Transit Tax...Making Poor People Pay To Help...Poor People?


Interesting perspective in FABula's Globe piece and her blogpost from Los Angeles where an increase in the sales tax is already being used to pay for transit improvements:

...(While in Los Angeles I) had a chance to interview one of the architects of the coalition that helped get 67-per-cent approval for a half-per-cent sales tax in LA in 2008 to pay for $36 billion in transit improvements.

Denny Zane is one of those great old-fashioned American leftists, still fighting for the people. In his downtown office building, complete with a giant photo of a young Cesar Chavez, he talked for an hour about how to win the transit fight and why it’s important. Interestingly, there was a lot more focus, when he talked, about how important transit is to working-class people than I hear in debates around Vancouver (where the left and the NIMBY right seem to view it currently as some evil developer plot)...

All of that sounds good and is hard to argue with on a number of levels.

But one has to realize that in California, and especially SoCal, all pretence of a progressive tax system is long gone.

Have we really been pushed that far down the Prop 13 rabbit hole by the longtail of the Golden Era?

And, as someone who crosses Cambie, twice, everyday in the high '20's, even if it is not an evil developer plot, why shouldn't they pay too?

The developers I mean.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What To Be Looking For In The Tubes With You...


From the NYT's Listings section:

*Rufus and Martha Wainwright's Noel Nights (Wed/Thurs Dec 17/18)
The prodigious siblings revive their giddy, glittery collaborative holiday show in New York after a three year absence. The yuletide offerings will include performances by them and several members of their talented folk-pop family: At 8pm, Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street.

I figure there will be lots of stuff up by midnight.

In the meantime...


Us?....Tonight we go to the train....The Stanley Park Train!


How Much Lower Can The No-Longer-So Giant '98 Go?



In response to this.....

There was the following:

And just who is this good Mr. Drex fellow?

Well, he is the formerly obscure radio guy toiling away on the mid-island who, it would appear, at least in part, was able to parlay the notoriety from a little bout of jock-schlocky milfyness into, wait for it...

An evening gig on CKNW.



How Far Has The No-Longer-So Giant '98 Fallen?


This far:

What was posed as a joke on CKNW’s morning show today ended up greatly offending many people listening.

“What are the three names on the “F***, kill or marry? Rona Ambrose, yes, Laurine Harper – so disrespectful – they can’t do that – and Michaëlle Jean.”

That’s what listeners heard this morning on a simulcast with CFOX host Jeff O’Neill...

{snippety doo-dah}

CKNW Brand Director Ian Koenigsfest has apologized for the comments heard on the simulcast.

“I personally don’t find that funny….I think it’s offensive to women, and at the first opportunity I have now I want to apologize to women, and men, who listen to CKNW who heard that this morning.”

Please note, that the cross-over zoo-jock concerned is the same fine fellow that was previously involved in....


And you want to know what is doubly egregious?....Well, if you go and read the entire piece linked to and quoted from above, which is from CKNW itself, you will see that the writer of the piece has actually attempted to dress this up as a news story with comments from members of public interest groups for 'context' and everything...Heckfire, as late as last night they were even labelling it as 'Breaking News', bolded and encased in red....Shameful in my opinion.... Really shameful.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

This Day In Clarkland...What Else Will Be Dumped On 'C' Day?



Apparently Ms. Clark's minister responsible is going to make an announcement on the site C dam today.

And who knows what he's going to say given the bizarre increasing of the price tag last week and the even more bizarre 'Coal for Christmas' follies over the weekend.

After all, it's not like the fine folks of Clarkland have given us a coherent policy framework to follow or anything.

But here's what I'm really wondering....

What trash will be dumped by the government behind the huge media spin cycle that will be cranked up by this announcement so that no one will really notice.

A huge cut to a social program?

An announcement that all school trustees will immediately be replaced by factbending missionaries?

News that BC Ferries will now be subsidizing helicopter routes to make British Columbia's bureaucrats even more efficient?


Maybe something that really matters like, say, oh I dunno....

The dumping of documents about those Health Ministry firings?


Monday, December 15, 2014

Podcasts At Ten...Which Ones Are Best?


Slate has their Top 25 list out. 

They figure the top single episode of all time is Maron's 2010 interview with Louie C.K.

It really is successful on a whole lotta levels, from the personal to the biggest of themes, show business or otherwise.

And you can hear both guys go through how they grew up and started making stuff/art they could really call their own.

As you might expect Maron responded by re-releasing the entire thing, which is two hours long, today.

And in so doing he actually pre-empted today's interview.

Which will be out tomorrow - Annie  Clark (a.k.a. St Vincent).


History Belongs To Those That Write It.


If history really does belong to those that write it I, for one, sure am glad that an excellent blogpost from  Jim Quail, prompted Charlie Smith of the GStraight to take a good, hard look at the record of the BC Liberal's 'Mr. Competence', Rich Coleman:

Here are a couple of snippets, but the entire thing is worth reading (note the echoes, also, of the digging of Norm Farrell):

...(W)here the deputy premier really risks embarrassment is with LNG.

As I reported earlier this year, the B.C. Liberal government woefully missed the mark on its forecasts for natural-gas revenues. That's because politicians like Coleman and senior bureaucrats misread the impact of America's fracking boom.

Here's a figure that highlights the level of incompetence: in the 2010–11 budget forecast, provincial natural-gas revenues were expected to reach $1.25 billion by 2012–13.

The real figure turned out to be $144 million. That's a $1.1-billion forecasting error by the B.C. Liberal government!

{snippety doo-dah}

...Lawyer Jim Quail wondered in his blog post how the media would cover an NDP government promising that a "wonderful new industry" would "eliminate the provincial debt", only to see companies "dropping out of the game one at a time", with the biggest "shelving their plans, probably for up to 10 to 15 years".

He then urged his readers to imagine if this NDP government were still claiming that this new industry "was a done deal and would be operating in full gear by 2020", and "if the press still covered this fiasco as though the NDP government knew what it was doing and might be telling voters the truth".

"But that's what's happening in British Columbia in the Liberal government's LNG fantasy," Quail noted. "If they were the NDP, they would be laughed out of office."

And this is why Coleman can expect much rougher treatment from historians than he'll ever receive from the B.C. media...

As for Mr. Smith's dig at the 'B.C. media'?


You know.