Saturday, August 27, 2005

We Jam NoMo


Here's one of those modern truisms that somehow means nothing and everything at the same time.

'Never go to the videostore without knowing what you want before you get there.'

Unless, of course, you happen to frequent a good one.

Our old good store was a place with a crummy name - 'Smash Hits Video'.

It was on the edge of campus and it was run and, here's the important part, owned by a small group of young kids that knew something about movies.

Smash Hits disappeared when the very fine fellows who redeveloped the Village wouldn't give them a lease because, rumour has it, they were holding the space for Blockbuster.

The irony, of course, is that the Blue Death never showed up and in it's place there is now one of those office warehouse-type, almost stupidstores.

Even more ironic is the fact that we, and our neighbours that used to frequent Smash Hits, have also been disappeared by a different, but similar thinking, very fine re-developer.


But all is not lost because have a new good movie store now, 'Cinephile' on Main St. in the 20's.

The catalogue is great, but what I really like about the place is the people and the advice they give. Like an old Hal Hartley recommended awhile back, or the docummentary that serves up the real story of that group of young kids in the SoCal 70's that quite literally invented what has now become modern skateboard culture.

And it's not just highbrow or, maybe more correctly, brow-wigglers that the Cinephile folks tell me about.

Example: A couple of weeks ago we had a house full of on-the-cusp-of-teenager-hood girls and, except for a vague notion that I would like to treat them to something other than a H.Duff/L.Lohan vehicle, I had no idea what to get..... In less than 10 minutes, which was much longer than needed because I so much enjoyed hearing the dozen or so rapid-fire capsule reviews first, I was in and out with John Hughes' 'Pretty-In-Pink' which was a big hit all round, the young and creepy James Spader notwithstanding.

And last night was even more difficult. My mission was to find a non-Disney, or worse disneyfied, film that everybody from age 6 to Fogeyville would like.

The answer was Ghostbusters.

Which itself is old enough (1984) that that none of the young ones had seen it. And old enough that we the fogeys had forgotten some of the best parts - like Rick Moranis as the not-quite, but almost, hoser accountant who becomes the Keymaster to Sigorney Weaver's something or other......


Now, I guess those in the know could accuse me of playing a little bit dumb here.

Because it turns out that movies are the only reason that I still buy a print version of the NY Times, once a week, on Fridays, for the reviews, especially the ones by Manohla Dargis.

But yesterday Ned Martel wrote about a (not mocking) documentary that I won't need movie store help to see - 'We Jam Econo'.

It's the story of the Minutemen.

Not those whackos on the borders, but rather the musical duo of D. Boon and Mike Watt from days of yore.

Those who have been hanging around these parts for awhile may have noticed I am a sucker for just about anything DIY. So much so that in my advancing middle age I am increasingly suckered by things pretending to be done by somebody themself which I just realized may be why I need help from folks like the ones at the Cinephile occasionally. Yikes!

But I digress, as usual.

Because even I remember that the Minutemen were the real thing. And it sounds like the movie, by Tim Irwin, gets to the heart of that which matters.


I was in a garage band once.

A very bad one, at least my part in it, but it truly was more fun than anything else before or since.

My brother though was in a much better band, one that became more than just kidstuff.

Anyway, not long ago I visited him in his basement studio and we jammed a little.

That studio is gone now, but he still plays.

And last night I dreamed that the documentarian came for him.


Sunday, August 21, 2005

When Darkness Falls


Well, it looks like Vancouver resident and former Hollinger bean counter David Radler just might be getting ready to rat out his old buddy Conrad Black:

"A longtime business partner of the former press baron Conrad M. Black was indicted on fraud charges yesterday and - in what may be bad news for Lord Black - has agreed to plead guilty and cooperate in the investigation."

All of which is interesting, and important, in and of itself.

But on top of all the ins and outs, not to mention the hand wringing about whatever will become of Ms. Amiel's jewellery, we also found this little tidbit about the case to be extremely interesting.

"Patrick Fitzgerald, the United States attorney in Chicago, said at a news conference that the investigation into the former controlling shareholders of Hollinger International was continuing. Mr. Fitzgerald declined to say whether charges would be filed against Lord Black."

Not the business about the charges, because that part hardly matters at the moment.

Instead, what caught our eye was the name of the prosecutor.

That's right, Patrick Fitzgerald, the same guy who is working on the Valerie Plame case.

Now, you might say this is all just a coincidence of geography (ie. both cases are being prosecuted in Chicago).

Except for one thing.

The proximity of many of the principles in both cases to this 'Prince' of a guy.


Blowed Up Real Good


You wanna hear about my best Thompson experience?

Reading him I mean.

Spring 1982, or maybe 1983; little red log cabin in the Sooke Hills with a wood stove.

Woke up in the middle of the night, picked up the Vegas book, started reading it for maybe the 15th time, only this time did it right through, which was easy to do because that's how he wrote it, or so he said, in between bouts of heavy work on the Salazar piece which is why he was really hanging around with Acosta at the time.

Anyway it wasn't the weirdness I wanted in the middle of the night in the middle of the woods.

It was the cadence, with the rush and the whoosh bookending all the stops, stutters and tangents.

Melodic and percussive at the same time, not so much like Mr. Zimmerman as, well, dare I say it - jazz.

Was light when I was done; knowing how much Thompson liked to swim, jumped out of the sleeping bag, ran down the path and jumped into the freezing cold lake to clear out the jets....

As it were.


Saturday, August 20, 2005

Before (And After?) Roe v. Wade


Cathie from Canada has reminded us about two important bits of living memory history that we are in great danger of forgetting, seemingly on purpose, for a whole lot of reasons, almost all of them bad.

She brings one of the bits back to the top of mind via her dissection of the Smirking Chimp's 'Iraq War in Seven Acts' (Of the Intellectual Dwarf's) in which each act, and in particular the current 5th, is almost exactly like that which occurred previously in Vietnam.

The other is Cathie's own direct reminiscence about what it was really like before Universal Public Healthcare came to Canada.

"I remember the doctor's strike in July of 1962 in Saskatchewan. I was a teenager at the time, and I remember how scared we all were without doctors. And a baby died of meningitis because his parents couldn't find a doctor to care for him. I remember my parents, both CCFers, talking about how important it was that the government hold fast and keep up the fight.

According to a doctor in Prince Albert, who was one of the few at the time who supported medicare, the first summer medicare was in force he saw dozens of people with medical conditions they had neglected for years, because they couldn't afford a doctor and had been too proud to ask for charity.

We need to remember all of this -- how painful and dangerous and humiliating it was to be unable to afford a doctor; and how hard it was to bring medicare into existence. We simply cannot loose it just because we take it for granted now."

I was a teenager in the 1970's, so I do not remember my parents' concerns about how they would pay the doctor's bills if I had become catastrophically sick when I was an infant.

But I did start my own family in the 1990's while living in the States so in this case I'm lucky, I guess, that the present day taught me history while I worried about my own child.

Anyway, because of my age I do remember the courage of Dr. Henry Morgentaler in Canada and the importance of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in the States. And while I never had occasion to be directly involved in a situation where I would have needed the services they made available to all who chose to use them, I did have a friend who did.

And now, because of my obsessive reading, I find out that the good Doctor, on the cusp of fame and fortune, tried to access those services for his wife Sandy, but could not because she ran into trouble too soon.

"And so much for all that. I have to go upstairs and call the hospital. Sandy is in there again with another miscarriage - a real nightmare version, this time, since it puts me head on with the abortion laws. She's only two months pregnant, but the pain is so bad she can't stand up....and the pigs say they can't do a therapeutic abortion. All they do is keep her drugged up on codein and wait for God to work His Will. The D&C operation is as simple as pulling a tooth, but they won't do it.....and this is Colorado, which recently passed a "liberalized" abortion law. Man, I'm coming to really hate that word 'liberal'"
Hunter S. Thompson,Letter to Oscar Z. Acosta (his 'Samoan' Attorney), March 1970
Reprinted in: The Gonzo Letters Vol II, Simon and Schuster, 2000, pp 286-7.

At two months! This is way before quick, with a woman who had a history of life-threatening difficulties and still she and her husband could not make informed decisions of their own just three years before the first of many final decisions on Roe v. Wade.

Which makes it all the more important to forget about sifting through the tea leaves of 50,000 pages of side issues about what he said or did 20 years ago. Instead, during his confirmation hearings Democratic Senators must somehow find the gumption to ask the following direct question of Bush Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts:

"If there was a constitutional challenge to Roe v. Wade how would you respond?"

And if Mr. Roberts does not answer this direct question directly it is the Press' job to keep pressing him until he does answer directly.

It is the only way that the people of the United States will know what they are really getting.

And if Mr. Roberts does say that he would vote to overturn and he is still confirmed without a nuclear option-invoking fight from the Democratic party liberals and progressives in the States who believe in a woman's right to choose will finally come to understand that, in its present day guise at least, the Party has forsaken them.


Friday, August 19, 2005

Shame Takes A Beating


A while back I introduced you all to my dastardly French friend, the guy who first introduced me to the vagaries of the American Newswell.

Anyway, it was this same nefarious cheese-eater who also introduced me to the remarkable comic book adventures of the boy wonder Franco-hero, Tintin.

And at first I mostly looked at the pictures. But now that my immersion-trained kids have been helping me to really learn French I can actually read the Tintin stories now.

And one of my most un-favorite favorite bad guys in the stories is Basil Bazaroff the weapons trader who starts wars and then sells his wares to both sides.

In other words, a war profiteer who, it turns out, is actually based on the real thing, Basil Zaharoff, a man who miraculously made gazillions by selling to the British, French, Germans and Russians both before and during World War I.


Now, of course, there are many, many war profiteers running around these days.

And many of these modern war profiteers have, like Zaharoff did before them, managed to acquire all sorts of titles and honours from the very same government officials they helped put in power.

But here's a new one for the history books and all those Wikipedia entries not yet written.

It is a band of brothers recently described, sans irony, by business writer Matthew Goldstein which we have decided to call The Terror Profitteers:

"A month ago, Fortress America Acquisition (FAACU.OB:OTCBB - news - research - Cramer's Take), a so-called blank-check company dreamed up by (former congressman Tom) McMillen, raised $42 million in an initial public offering. The Bethesda, Md., start-up, whose only products are the resumes of its politically connected board, hopes to use those funds to buy a company that "contracts directly with the government on homeland security projects.

After the IPO, McMillen, Fortress America's chairman, owns 6.6% of its stock. In the offering, Fortress America priced its shares at $6. Buyers into the IPO also got warrants to buy two additional shares.

The money raised in the IPO is being held in an interest-bearing bank account until Fortress America finds a company in the homeland defense space as a merger partner. But even as that search goes on, McMillen stands to score again with another homeland defense firm he helped found.

Last Friday, Global Secure, a company McMillen resigned from earlier this year, filed a registration statement for a $100 million IPO underwritten by Jefferies (JEF:NYSE - news - research - Cramer's Take) and Morgan Keegan. McMillen, the former chief executive officer of Global Secure, owns 12% of the Washington, D.C., company's stock.


...Like Fortress America, Global Secure is banking on political connections to resonate with investors. Global Secure recently named L. Paul Bremer III, President Bush's former Iraq envoy, to its advisory board. Other advisory board members include Mark Holman, a former deputy assistant on homeland security to President Bush; Richard Armey, a Texas Republican who served as House Majority Leader; and Howard Safir, the former New York City police commissioner.

Safir is chairman of another company trying to cash in on the homeland defense business, GVI Security Solutions (GVIS.OB:OTCBB - news - research - Cramer's Take).

Some of the political notables aligned with Fortress America include former Sen. Don Nickles (R., Okla.), who was once chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, and Asa Hutchinson, former undersecretary for the federal Department of Homeland Security."

Can't wait to see which former Roving Cheneyburtonians make a killing off an IPO designed to cash in on the privatization of the extraordinary rendition.


It is a term that does not exist for these people.

Original Link Source:
PeeDee at Moon of Alabama


Thursday, August 18, 2005



No, Dr. DPU is not a newly minted silicon chip-based rapper.

Although he does seem to know a little about the code.

Instead, if you happen to be the parent of, or even remotely associated with, a pre-teen girl on the cusp of the big change, he gives great advice*.

Like this:

"Last night, went shopping with the stepdaughter, who is in the agonizing early stages of her body changing to that of an adolescent. She's been reluctant to accept these awkward changes, and so her mom and I thought that the best solution was a shopping trip with me.

So she and I went through the cashout line line with a basket of expensive girl shavers, melon-scented shaving gel, and teen tampons. The cashier, a bored-looking young woman, saw us standing together buying all this girly stuff, and practically wept at the cuteness of it all.

After getting home, we destroyed some tampons by taking them out of their torpedo housings, throwing them at each other, and getting them wet to watch them blow up to what appeared to be minature wet sheep......"

Go read it all, because it only gets better after that.

Who the hell needs Dr. Phil anyway?

*Not to mention giving great 'Dad'.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

IPods Of Evil


Apparently, as outlined recently by the Tyee's Tom Barrett, union busting at Telus is now known as a 'culture of a competitive meritocracy'.

And to help facilitate it all 'The Man' at Telus, Darren Entwhistle, has instituted the power of the 'Fi Fo' strategy which, if you are a numbers cruncher, is not quite what you think it is:

"In accounting, it stands for "first in, first out." At Telus, after Entwistle's arrival, it stood for "fit in or f**k off. "

But now it has gone one step further as The Man's minions attempt to cajole workers into becoming become scabs by offering them the latest from 'Jobs'.

Steve Jobs that is.

"Bruce Okabe, Telus vice-president of business solutions, confirmed that digital music players are being offered to workers who agree to cross the picket line and return to work under a new imposed contract agreement.

"Supplying MP3 players to employees was our idea," said Okabe.

"It allows them to plug in and cross the line without having to listen to threats and catcalls on the picket line."

He said the players are worth $60-$100.

Telecommunications Workers Union spokesman Ron Palmer said the player being offered is in fact a $300 IPod unit."


What's next?

Will The Man offer up tailor-made Stepford Wives to the first 100 red-blooded Linemen to sell their brothers and sisters down the river and cross the line?

And what if the only taker was a Alberta!

Update: But seriously. Wouldn't it be ironic in the extreme if the locked-out workers were to take a few thousand of the little Jobssian players on spec and then simultaneously plug them into Woody Guthrie, Billy Bragg or, maybe even best of all given the tenor of the times, Dewey Finn stickin' it to 'The Man' while they close ranks and dig in for the duration.


Outraged By The Outrageous


By the time the dog days of last summer rolled around Donald Rumsfeld had pretty much made Kool-Aid of the original batch of Abu-Ghraib pictures.

And remember how the Rumskullian One managed to play up the fact that nobody could have foreseen this crazy thing called digital imaging that had wormed its way into the hearts and minds of the torturers..... errrr.... interrogators and minders of the privatized American prisons in Iraq.

It was a ploy that worked so well that the mop-up right-sided attack dogs easily got the great majority of the petrified punditocracy swallow their disgusting codswallop with little effort.

Take, for example, the much publicized statements of Senator James Inofe (R-The Wishbone Offense):

" I watch this outrage -- this outrage everyone seems to have about the treatment of these prisoners -- I have to say, and I'm probably not the only one up at this table that is more outraged by the outrage than we are by the treatment."

So if that is the case, why are the generals that went to the mat with Mr. Rumsfeld last year now scared crapless about releasing the latest batch of pictures?

Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has warned that the release of new photos and videos of detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison would lead to violence against U.S. armed forces worldwide and endanger the lives of Iraqi and Afghan civilians."

Hmmmm......could it be that those images are so vile that they will lead to true outrage both at home and, worse now that the waterheads know it matters, at AQ and AQ wannabe recruitment centers the world over?


Apparently the answer is yes; here's more from the good General:

"Even if the images were redacted to obscure identifying information, he (Myers) says, the release of the videos and photos would "aid the recruitment efforts and other activities of insurgent elements, weaken the new democratic governments of Iraq and Afghanistan . . . and increase the likelihood of violence against United States interests, personnel, and citizens worldwide."

All of which has us wondering, Tom Waits style:

"What are they (really) doing in there?"

Update: From the 'More Of The Circle Game' dep't or, perhaps more to the point, the 'Reaping of the Whirlwind'...Myers et al. have been trying to argue that releasing the latest batch of images, which some have predicted are very, very bad indeed, would be an infringement of the prisoners' rights under the very same Geneva Conventions that the Cheney Administration has already worked so hard to nullify for these very same prisoners. Have these people no shame or is the entire thing is just an endless cycle of the 'Variations of the Mules'?


Rafe Mair Goes Noocular


Today, in his weekly commentary in the Tyee, Mr. Mair pulls no punches on the takeover of Terasen by the Texans formerly known as Enron:

"I am just a poor one time lawyer, one time politician and part time environmentalist who does a bit of broadcasting and writing. I know nothing about oil and natural gas except what it costs me. But I do know bullshit when it wafts my way, especially if the source is anywhere near where politicians ply their trade, PR people hang out (usually the same place) or when CEOs of large companies tell us about the huge social benefits they are about to confer on our province by reason of their utterly unselfish corporate policy."

Hey Zeuss!

This is giving me the heebie jeebies, because we were saying essentially the same thing a scant two weeks ago.

What's next?

A seance perhaps?

With the ghost of Pat Burns where we partake in a vulcan mindmeld and start responding to every post on the comment thread with the preface:

"Gazetteer on the line, go ahead Doll!"

Update: Heres a wild one. Mr. Burns, who was with the CJOR at the time, once turned down $14K a month to jump to rival CKNW. And this was nineteen freakin' sixty-five!!! We reckon that's about $4.8325 million annually in present tense loonie dollars. Hell, aren't those Jim 'Rome Is Burnin' or even Rush Limbought figures, for local talk radio, in the fishing village that was at that time known as Vancouver?


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Ms. Invincible


We first got wind of this from the SpinDentist of AllSpinZone.

And that was a prediction that the Blind Boys (and Girls) of Bushwackian Bellicosity were girding their andro-atrophied loins as they prepared to attack Cindy Sheehan once again, this time because her husband has filed for divorce.

Alas, it has come to pass (no links provided; can be tracked down with one step googling if you have the stomach to wallow in the slime).

I guess the thing I ask myself about a matter such as this is the following:

What if Ms. Sheehan's son were not dead?

Would she be so radicalized?

Would she be spending so much time on this cause?

Put another way, on top of everything else, this glorious woman has likely sacrificed her marriage in an effort to help Americans get their country back.

And more and more she is becoming completely invincible to the feeble onslaught of these imbeciles.

Billmon really lays it on, demonstrating how absurd the position of the Roving Cheneyburtonians really is when they have to enlist all the big guns in an effort to silence an unarmored woman who has done little more than walk out into the hot Texas sun and ask questions that no one in the petrified punditocracy has had the guts to ask themselves.


The Fifth 'W'


In this morning's post we obliquely laid out the who, what, where and when of the BC Ferries reservation boondoggle.

Paul Willcocks, who is extremely careful in attributing motives to any and all things nefarious, was, however, good enough to expedi(a)dite* matters and point the way to the fifth 'W' of journalism.

Which, of course is "why".

Why, indeed, would Mr. Hahn charge us $35 a roundtrip reservation?

Well, apparently, because he can.

According to Mr. Willcocks:

"BC Ferries is taking advantage of a large loophole left by the government when it restructured the operation.

The Ferries Commissioner is charged with regulating BC Ferries' rates and service to protect the public interest, recognizing government has given up control and the corporation has a monopoly.

But the legislation didn't include reservation fe(e)s in the charges subject to regulatory review."

And what's more, as long as BC Ferries and the Provincial government continue to ignore the Commisioner's requests for an explanation for their charges they can also state that there has been no significant increase in fares.

Got that?

Reservations are not fares.

And money out of your pocket is not cash.

Instead, just think of it as confetti.

Of the most golden kind, of course.

Mr. W., the answer to your previous request is buried within the word marked with the asterisk. Went from $1200 direct from AC/United to $800 with the exact same flights and fare class with these folks.


The Gouging


In my job I get to travel a little bit.

Not a huge amount, but it's gotten to the point where it has become a slight point of friction between my wife and myself.

This despite the fact that it's not as if I'm constantly jetting off to paradise.

Because usually it's stuff like Ottawa in November, Toronto in January, or Edmonton in March with an occasional science geek-a-thon in a place like Philadelphia or Houston thrown in for good measure.

But this December I've hit the jackpot. A double-whammy round-tripper, first to Hawaii and then San Francisco before coming home again.

Now, the fine public institution that I work for recently sent me an edict that all airfare had to be booked through their preferred (read: contracted) travel agent.

Knowing from previous experience that this agent will not get me the lowest possible price regardless airline or fare (for complicated reasons, it has been rumoured to have something to do with a 'selfless' corporate kick-back scheme) I promptly told the administration of the apparently still public institution that I work for to take a hike to the big double hockey sticks at the far end of HeVille (ie. not Duncan).

And I was able to get away with such blasphemy because, in my case at least, the institution that I work for pays for absolutely nothing. Instead, it all comes from research grants that my lab has garnered in peer-reviewed funding.

Put another way, that means that what I do is paid for with monies raised by folks banding together in various charitable organizations and working like heck going door to door, baking cakes, making calls, staging balls, and having relays etc.

Thus, there is no way that I'm going to waste travel money to, what I suspect, is to help the institution generate bulk mileage- assisted cheap tickets for Associate VP's and the like to fly to meetings to confab with other Associate VP's about who knows what, or some such thing.

OK, ok, ok, maybe they do use the tickets for useful things but, regardless, the point is that, I always book everything myself, usually directly through the Airlines.

Except that this time around I went with one of those online booking agents, the one that many have told me is the best around these parts.

And it was good. In fact, I was able to knock $400 off the best direct from the airline deal for the double-whammy round-tripper.

And what did they charge me for it?

Five dollars.

Five freaking dollars to put together a delicate itinerary involving two countries and three airports on a very tight schedule during the highest season for travel to and from the accursed Lono's former Islands.

All of which has me asking once again, as my family gets ready to make that extremely complicated, trapezoidal straight-shot from Vancouver to Victoria on 'our' ferries......

Why is it that 'we' let Mr. Hahn gouge us $17.50 to make a reservation on one of 'our' ferries that is a thousand times more simple than the one I just expedi(a)ted for the airfare?

And, what's worse, why do we let him do it to us both going and coming?

Think of it this way: everytime we make a reservation which allows Mr. Hahn to predict load and adjust schedules ahead of time we hand him $35 and effectively say....."Thanks for letting us be the suckers who pay you to screw us while we make your job easier".

Think perhaps that is too harsh?

Well, if that's the case, why do tickets for just about every mode of transportation known to man generally cost less when you book ahead?

Except, of course, for B.C. Ferries.

And don't even get me started on the bloody parking lots again.


Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Hollowness Of The Stay-Puff Marshmellow Men


Mike Duffy, CTV's highly photogenic political puff-pundit is scared.

And he blames his fear on people like Carolyn Parrish and the Iraq Invasion/Occupation naysayers.

At least that's what the Puffmaster Flash told Rafe Mair on Friday when the two were discussing the softwood lumber dispute.

Essentially, Duffy's thesis is that we have made the big bad Americans (ie. the Roving Cheneyburtonians, not the people, of course) mad which is why they are punishing us by ignoring NAFTA tribunal rulings.

And even worse, they are going to continue to rub our nose in it, willy-nilly, because we are completely powerless to meaningfully defend ourselves in any and all trade wars.

To which we respond........



Because, in case Mr. Duffy didn't know it we, Canada, and not Iraq, or Hugo Chavez, or even those good ol' boy Prince Kings from the House of Saud, are the biggest single exporter of petroleum to the U.S. of A.

Here are the numbers, by way of the US Dept of Energy:

Total Imports of Petroleum
(Thousand Barrels per Day)
Country May-05 Apr-05 YTD 2005 May-04 Jan - May 2004

CANADA 2,188 2,190 2,123 2,087 2,121
MEXICO 1,826 1,632 1,640 1,751 1,654
VENEZUELA 1,574 1,567 1,582 1,603 1,588
SAUDI ARABIA 1,526 1,494 1,573 1,519 1,417
NIGERIA 1,214 1,243 1,134 1,270 1,167
IRAQ 588 542 536 674 664

And in these $70 a barrel days that's what we call leverage.

So, why should we be afraid of the bully boys again Mr. Duffy?

On the contrary.

We say.....

' Bring 'Em On.'

Thanks to: Richard Cranium of the AllSpinZone for bringing these numbers to our attention in a much less tongue-in-cheek, deadly serious post on the current situation in Venezuala.
Greg at Sinister Thoughts has a good, succinct post on the cave-in of the President's Choice brand of Provincial Marshmellow Premier Men.


Saturday, August 13, 2005

After The Boys, And Girls, Of Summer Have Gone



Except for the work she did as Myrna Turner in the TV version of the Odd Couple, I'm no great fan of Penny Marshall's.

But there was one part in 'A League of Their Own' that I really dug.

And it wasn't the scene where the male manager browbeats the female outfielder and then after a tear emerges, tells her, emphatically, that, 'There's no crying in baseball!'.

Instead it was a Tom Hanks scene of a very different kind, one where he isn't mugging for the camera.

Hanks is at the ballpark alone, at night, and he's in the batting cage. There's a pitching machine on the mound serving him up a steady diet of gopher balls.

And the swings come slow, steady and methodically.

In other words, the real thing. Hanks is not acting. He is hitting. Like when he was a kid.

Muscle memory and real memories.

Then he pulls one hard, on the ground, into the hole.

'Awwww, come' on.....double-play ball!' he shouts, even as he's rolling his wrists and cocking the bat so that he can snap off an impercetibly different swing that drives the ball deep into the gap in right centerfield.

And then, if you're paying attention, you realize that even the great Jimmy Foxx, who Hanks is loosely portraying, did the same thing a million times for real and likely a million times more in his dreams.


Jimmy Foxx, Double X, could knock the crap out of the ball. He once hit 58 homeruns for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1932. And despite being well-liked by everybody, he had his own demons, which included the regret of not quite catching Babe Ruth, and worse, alcohol. Foxx died, broke and broken, at the age of 59 when choked on a piece of meat cooked by his brother.

And as for Josh Gibson.

He might have been the best power hitter of them all.

In 1934 he hit 69 homeruns for Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Crawdads that is.

Gibson played his entire career in the Negro Leagues. He never got to play against Ruth or Foxx.

He died at age 35, despondent and depressed, in the dead of winter, 1947.

Three months later, in spring's full bloom, Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier.


When I lived in the States, not so long ago, we lived on the northern edge of Oakland.

Gertrude Stein once said of Oakland that 'There's no there, there.'

By the time I got there I would beg to differ.


Because it is one of the few cities in the United States where there is at least some measure of true integration.

Sure, there are still ghettoes in Oakland where a whiteboy in a Homestead Greys cap from Ebbets Field Flannels has to watch his step.

But there are also bars and cars and amusement parks and diners and schools and hospitals and theaters and entire neighborhoods where everybody gets along.

Put another way, when the Rodney King riots flashed across the the US, and particularly the inner cities of California, a few years ago nobody torched Oakland.

Hell, even Tom Hanks grew up in Oakland. And he did so at about the same time as Dave 'Hendu' Henderson was emerging as a highschool star in Northern California.

Maybe that's where the actor got his swing.


I came of age in early 70's Canuckistan.

Many would call that time a golden age.

I would call that a crock.

Because the world, at least our world, is a much better place now.

And most of that has to do with the tearing down of ghettoes.

Social, not physical, ones.

And this great dismantling has come our way by way of a few of my favorite things....

Things like 60% acceptance rates for women in medical school.

Things like wheelchair access for all.

Things like public school access for kids of all abilities and ailments.

Things like open access to information for anybody that wants it.

Things like the freedom of choice for anybody to be whoever or whatever they want, be that lifestyle, or baseball player, or whatever.

And maybe most importantly, for us Canuckistanis at least, that multicultural thing.


You're not sure about that multicultural thing?

Been listening to talk radio? Been reading the National Post? Been watching Mike Duffy on TV? Been busy buying property in gated communities?

Well, forget all about that for a moment and just take a look at Vancouver.

Or, better yet, buy yourself a Sunday transit pass and travel all over the City of Vancouver.

It's an amazing place.

In fact, I would go far as to suggest that it is the world.

Heck, I would even go one step further and suggest that my neighborhood is the world.

Last week we had a block party. We closed the street. And while we didn't sod it, we sat in the middle of it, we ate in the middle of it, we drank a little in the middle of it, we played badminton and skipped rope in the middle of it, and we told each other our stories in the middle of it.

I am new to the street.

But now I know my neighbour, T's, story.

'T' came to Canada from Hong Kong in the '50's and worked some of the same tugboats my Dad did but only as a cook because, at that time, they wouldn't let him use his engineering ticket.

T's youngest kid just finished University. His oldest got his degree a few years go. His house is a gaudy yellow but he has a great garden.

And now I know that 'G' is from Kansas and still coaches Little League baseball even though his kids are all grown up. 'G', who was the flipper of the beef at the party, once saw Buck Leonard play for the Kansas City Monarchs when he was a kid. 'G's wife 'B' is from Germany and their next door neighbour 'H' is from Austria. 'H' is slowed by Parkinson's; his son is a not-quite famous former punk rocker that I once idolized a little when I was a kid. Everybody on the street watches out for 'H'. 'S' and 'R' are from New Delhi. 'S' flipped the veggie burgers on his barbeque right next to 'G's beef on his. 'S's wife 'R' organized the whole thing with 'B'. My immediate neighbors, 'F' and 'S' brought sate. They are Thai and both their husbands are far away for months at a time; it's a long commute from the old home to the new home. 'J' escaped Poland in 1982. He is a master craftsman and he likes my old VW (not-so)Microbus; 'H' and 'C' are Quebecois; my youngest immediately ran off to play with their youngest, both of them were babbling in French. I sort of learned the language, an hour at a time, during that so-called golden age; my kids have really learned it at immersion school; earlier this Spring my oldest kid also learned the culture when she went and lived with a Quebecois family on an immersion-assisted exchange program.

See what I mean.


So why did I decide to get up and write all this ramble-tamble of endless pre-amble on a late summer Saturday morning when so many big things are going on in the world and I've got a million little things to do (including getting yet another repair done on that cursed VW)?

Well, last night, just as I was falling asleep, I read Ted Radcliffe's obituary.

Radcliffe was a catcher with a cannon arm who liked to scawl 'Thou Shalt Not Steal' on his chest protector.

And he may have been the best of them all, a six tool talent who could run, throw, catch, hit, and hit with power.

I know, that's only five.

But Radcliffe could also pitch, and because of that Damon Runyan dubbed him 'Double Duty'

Mr. Radcliffe, whose Negro League career spanned more than two decades, was 44 when Jackie Robinson took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers for the first time in 1947.

As such, the closest he ever got to the major leagues was a stint as a scout, beating the bushes below the Mason-Dixon line for the Cleveland Indians in the 1960's.

There's a vignette in Ken Burns' 18 hour documentary on the history of Baseball in America where two old Negro Leaguers sit in a present tense diner. They are done reminiscing and Burns somehow cojoles them into singing 'Take Me Out To The Ballgame'.

The singing is unremarkable, made even more so by the fact that one of them momentarily forgets the words. But what is remarkable is the thing you can see in their eyes as they leave the present and move back into the past towards those things they did so well.

Things that everybody did separately in the 'good' old days.

Luckily for so many of us, we do them together now.

I have seen a few of the modern day's best play, up close and personal. But my all time favorite is not one of them. That would be Hendu. I have never seen anyone play the game, before or since, with such pure joy. Was he shuckin' and jivin' sometimes for the fans in the bleachers of Oakland's former Alameda County Coliseum when he patrolled centerfield for the A's? Maybe. But who the hell cares. I sure don't. He was the perfect foil for Rickey in left and the outlaw, Jose Wales, in right (and hitting second behind Rickey and ahead of the Outlaw and the Andro-Gobbler, Big Mac, didn't hurt his BA either given all those fastballs that position in that batting order dropped in his lap; for those of you with a Great White North hockey handicap, think Blair MacDonald playing on a line with Gretzky before a sleek young Finn named Jari Kurri came along).


Friday, August 12, 2005

The Roasting


If the Roving Cheneyburtonians and their Sock Puppet are getting roasted on the Cindy Sheehan issue, who is really to blame?

The Commies?

The Pinkos?

The Anti-War Nutjobs?

Barbara Boxer and Maxine Waters?

The Ph.D. students at the University of California Berkeley campus with nose rings who are in 'relatively close proximity' to Ms. Sheehan's hometown of Vacaville California?

Well, actually, none of the above.

Because, as the Peking Duck has pointed out, the blame looks to be resting squarely on the the shoulders of the Media Megalomaniacs that have been on the frontlines of the Slime-O-Rama. Thus, in addition to Ms. Sheehan herself, Mr. Bush will.....

"....also have Bill O'Reilly and Michelle Maglalang (Malkin) to blame. She (Sheehan) was a curiosity a few days ago. Then they turned the big guns on her, and whaddayaknow, a star is born. Thanks for your good work. Now let's watch Fox News and Rush Limbaugh continue running on overdrive with stories of Sheehan torturing small animals and passing out ricin-soaked brownies at the playground."

Real moral of the story:

"They only slime that which they fear the most."

And quite a few folks are suddenly waking up to that fact thanks to Ms. Sheehan.

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: She's Got the Power.


Fat City



Here's a thought.

Instead of the taxpayers, why don't the greedheads, those who are going to make a fortune a gazillion times bigger than Ross Rebagliati's appetite after a monster dube-in-half-pipe session, cough up the dough for the capital costs of building everything from highways, to sewers, to the onsite venues required for the upcoming Olympics?

And we could start with the biggest, of the biggest snout-in-troughers.... Intrawest:

"In a move one senior official called the most significant change in the company in 10 years, Intrawest this week announced a corporate shuffle aimed at “growing” the company’s resort business.

Today’s move by Intrawest, the parent company for Whistler Blackcomb, brings together a number of disparate elements within the company to form something called the Leisure and Travel Group.....

The group, which is to be headed by Dan Jarvis and Hugh Smythe, brings all company operations except for real estate development under one umbrella.

The move, Smythe said, is meant to “create a more systematized approach” to the resort business in an effort to increase the number of visitors coming to Whistler and other Intrawest resorts..........

Dave Brownlie, formerly executive vice-president of Whistler Blackcomb, is now executive vice president and chief operating officer of Whistler Blackcomb and Panorama resorts.

Doug Forseth retains the title of senior VP of operations for Whistler Blackcomb. He will report to Brownlie and will take on the added responsibility of guiding the company’s preparation for the 2010 Olympics.

Smythe said Brownlie’s focus will change to one that looks at coordinating company-wide efforts and finding “synergies” within the company....."

'Reporter', Squamish Chief, May 21st 2004.

Of course, making the land-rapers pay their fair share to have us rocket their profit margins into the stratosphere will never be easy as long as the Man from Marathon is running the Province and a chap named Hugh O'Reilly is running the township of Whistler.

What's that you say?

O'Reilly is leaving?

By gum, you're right.

And surprise, surprise here's why:

"The current mayor of Whistler, Hugh O'Reilly announced last Wednesday he would not be seeking re-election, instead taking a job in Hawaii to sell real estate for a division of Intrawest Corp."
Sean Holman, Public Eye Online, Aug 05th 2005

So, what do you do to counter a little piggy-in-a-blanket politico like that?

Well, you could go throw the bum out and go looking for a very different candidate with a different set of principles and a very different election platform.

Like, maybe the following, which was the manifesto of a certain someone who ran for Sheriff in the mountain resort town of Aspen Colorado not so, so long ago:
  1. Sod the streets at once. Rip up all the streets with jack hammers and use the junk asphalt (after melting) to create a huge parking lot and auto-storage lot on the outskirts of town.
  2. Change the name "Aspen" by public referendum to "Fat City." This would prevent greedheads, land-rapers and other human jackals from capitalizing on the name "Aspen."
  3. Drug sales must be controlled. My first act as Sheriff will be to install, on the courthouse lawn, a bastinado platform and a set of stocks—in order to punish dishonest dope dealers in a proper public fashion.
  4. Hunting and fishing should be forbidden to all non-residents, with the exception of those who can obtain the signed endorsement of a resident—who will then be legally responsible for any violation or abuse committed by the non-resident he has "signed for."
  5. The Sheriff and his Deputies should never be armed in public. Every urban riot, shoot-out and blood-bath (involving guns) in recent memory has been set off by some trigger-happy cop in a fear frenzy.
  6. It will be the policy of the Sheriff's office savagely to harass all those engaged in any form of land-rape. This will be done by acting, with utmost dispatch, on any and all righteous complaints.
Hunter S. Thompson, "The Battle of Aspen"
Rolling Stone, October 1, 1970. Republished in RS 970, March 25, 2005.

Yup, that's right, Thompson ran for sheriff on the 'Freak Power' ticket at the tail end of the '60's. He felt that his country was doomed to hell by Nixon. He was in a rut. He was unable to come up with the follow-up to Hell's Angels and he owed Random House a fortune on advances from a book he had been promising them for almost two years whose theme was 'The Death of The American Dream'. He never did write 'that' book, but he only lost the election by a handful of votes, then Warren Hinckle published the Kentucky Derby piece in the soon-to-be-extinct Scanlan's Monthly, and the rest is Gonzo history.

Update: Turns out that soon to be former Whistler mayor O'Reilly actually lived in Aspen, as a ski-bum of sorts, in the early 1970's. Wonder if he ever ran into, or was run out of town by, the good Docktor or his buddy, lawyer, touch football partner, and soon to by Vegas fellow traveller, Oscar Zeta Acosta?
Sure hope this slakes Thursday's thirst after an extended HST hiatus; now I've just got to finish that darned thing I promised Mr. Barnes.


Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Real Secret And Duplicitous Plan


Remember the big, fat wedge issue that was apparently 'inadvertently' served up to the big Red LINO* Machine on a silver platter just days before the B.C. Provincial Election?

Well, it looks like maybe it's actually morphed into a bit of a wedgie for Mr. Campbell, as has been noted by our good friends over at Have You Had Enough Yet:

"So maybe BCTF President Jenny Sims is right and she was promised a meeting with His Worship Gord Campbell. But the deal is now off, according to a CBC news item....


....The moral: anyone wishing to talk business with the Preem had better learn to suck up. Be perky. And no suing the Preem just because he went on television during the election campaign and scored big political points telling lies about you.

All this should allow the newly arrived golden decade of prosperity to kick off with a great strike in the school system. Coming to school near you this September or October."

All of which is ironic in the extreme given that it was Mr. Campbell who, in a hastily called news conference after the Great God Of Flackitude had been servicely primed by his good friends at CanWest (not)Global, accused the NDP and the Teachers of having a secret and duplicitous plan to if throw our children out on the street if the socialist hordes won the election.

And that got us to wondering just how many members of the LINO caucus can even spell 'duplicitous' because, in the lexicon of Napoleon Dynomite at least, such a 'skill' might come in handy given the fact that their fearless leader appears to be a most excellent example of the term.

*LINO: Liberal In Name Only


Wednesday, August 10, 2005



It looks like the NPA tent just might get bigger.

Way bigger.

And we're not talking about that little town in Saskatchewan.

Because Sean Holman is reporting that Vancouver Downtown Eastside activist Jamie Lee Hamilton has significant support behind her effort to secure one of the party's nominations for Parks Board.

Which would be pretty interesting, not to mention downright entertaining, if it were to happen.

And from a big picture point of view it also suggests that the group some like to call the Developer's 'Cash Cow Coalition Party' (CCCP) truly is trying to broaden* it's base.

But, then again, others might surmise that what it actually means is that they are having a heckuva time scaring up viable candidates.

Speaking of which.....if Peter Ladner really is in trouble re: the party's mayoral nomination, it would be interesting to contemplate the possibility of a total NPA implosion if he were to accept an offer from a group of folks with Vision for a centrist councillor's slot with expanded responsiblities for, say, alternative transit development and pre-Olympic bike-a-thons**.

Not that we want to be giving Mr. Ladner free political advice.....we're just suggesting that he might have considerably more leverage with the CCCP's backroom boys than he realizes.

*Pun not entirely unintended.
**If such a thing were to happen nobody could fault you if you were to lay down a big fat a wager betting that Fast Eddie G's Masonary Man will be the last to break the story six weeks after the fact.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Church Of The Sacred Bleeding SUV


Apropos of our previous piece on the bicyclification of one of Vancouver's main arteries and the greedhead pressure being brought to bear on those who support it, along comes today's column from Globe and Mail media mop-up maven, Margaret Wente.

"The other day I stuck the nozzle in the tank of my dainty little SUV and paid for my first $50 fill. It was a shock, but I knew it was coming, and I know it's going to get worse. Gas prices in Toronto are about to hit a dollar a litre, and the outlook is not good. I have a feeling that one day I'll remember my $50 fill as fondly as a 25-cent Coke."

So, clearly Ms. Wente is fond of her Cute-You-Vee. In fact she's very fond of automobiles in general, as becomes abundantly clear as you move further into the bowels of the piece.

"....No matter how good you make it, public transit will never be able to compete with cars. Cars are private. They're convenient. They're comfortable. They're fun."

That's right. Because when you're spam in a can 24/7 the whole world smiles at you. And as for the rest of you who can't afford the $50 dollar cutesy tankful or those of you who have a different philospophy of being in and of the world.....well, screw you Jack and Jill, because Maggie the Magpie is free to be, well, free.

".....break our dependency on cars? Never. We may have to run them on electricity or wind power or moonshine. We may have to pay a fortune for the privilege. But pay we will. Cars mean freedom, and freedom's worth a lot."


You reckon David Frum just called up the Cheneyburtonians to ask if they could put the Magginator on the payroll?

After all, wouldn't The Junta be ecstatic if it could convince the serfs the next time out that, after an initial diversion to make the world safe for NASCAR, that the war against Iran was actually designed to strike a blow for the liberation of global, single occupancy vehicular commuters everywhere brought to them by those freedom-loving folks from GM, Ford and the non-Daimler part of Chrysler.


That Was Then......


A lot of folks, myself included, were impressed when right-sided Vancouver councillor Peter Ladner had the guts to vote with both the Lites and the Classics on a progressive decision that could help give the people of the city a leg up on the once all-mighty SUV invasion.

And we were all the more impressed because Ladner's decision was sure to raise the ire of a certain mythical group of Backroom Boys that run the Developers' CashCow Coalition Party with an iron fist.

Not to mention the NPA.

Here was Charlie Smith's take on the issue on July 21st:

"An NPA elder statesman has suggested that Peter Ladner might have hurt his mayoral chances with his recent vote concerning the Burrard Bridge. Ladner, a commuter cyclist, voted with th COPE members of council to set aside two outside traffic lanes on the bridge next year for cyclists on a minimum six month trial. NPA Coun. (and fellow potential mayoral candidate) Sam Sullivan was the only member of council who voted against the initiative."

Well, apparently, the BBD-CCCP goons have since gotten to Mr. Ladner.

And while they left no visible marks, speculation is rampant that the goonsquad did pin the misguided cyclist down and whisper four little words into his ear.

Because the July vote was then, and this is the August now, as reported by the no-longer-so-Giant98:

"The NPA's Peter Ladner initially voted in favour of taking away two lanes on the bridge from motorists and giving them over to cyclists for a six month trial period beginning next April.

Now Ladner has changed his mind and is withdrawing his support for the initiative.

He says the experiment is being interpreted as a power grab for cyclists and he says as a result tension is mounting."

And those four words that caused Mr. Ladner's spine to turn to jello as he feebly tossed his principles out the window?

Well, only his panniers know for sure, but rumour has it that they were actually a two and two combination.......

"Nancy Chiavario"


"Philip Owen."

Note: All similarities between the mythical/satirical BBD-CCCP goonsquad and any heretofore unmentioned real life NPA bagmen are purely coincidental, not to mention unintentionally intentional.


Monday, August 08, 2005

Screwed By The Surplus


Cue the Whirlitzer and start spending a few mill on the PropMachine, because British Columbia definitely is:

The best place to......
Get help if you happen to be a kid, or a parent, or a family in trouble.

Well, actually, apparently not.

Paul Willcocks summarizes the Morley Report:

"It's grim. Families who need help to avoid tragedy can't get it, because there's no money or time. Scared teens who want to kick their addictions are turned away, because there's no treatment programs. Young adults suffering from fetal alcohol effect are launched alone into the world at 18, to become criminals, addicts, prey. A little continued support and their lives would be saved (and taxpayers would be spared the far more costly consequences of their later disasters)......"

There is!

And if the newLINO Centrists (are you paying attention Ms. Taylor? Mr. Oppal?) don't have the guts and/or clout to step in and correct this situation by convincing his Gordness to spend, let's say, a measly 2 or even 3% of that bloody surplus (ie. $75 million of $2.6 billion), well, we will remember, and we will do our best to make sure that the entire province remembers to ensure that they are thrown on the top of the scrap heap with the rest of the Red Meat Faction when the SS Gordon Campbell is completely dismantled next time around.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Not With A Bang....


.....But A Whimper

When the heat was really on, Richard Nixon resorted to a Massacre, Saturday Night Fever style:

"On Friday night, October 19, 1973, President Nixon began what many people have since come to regard as the most reckless step of his political career. Plagued by the Watergate and related scandals, and ordered by the courts to relinquish the tapes of nine of his private conversations, Nixon announced that he had effected a "compromise" that would both allow him to maintain the confidentiality his office required and give Special Prosecutor Archibald V. Cox the material he needed to conduct his investigation at the same time.

Under the plan, Nixon would submit summaries of the relevant portions of the tapes to Judge John J. Sirica, and an independent verifier, Senator John Stennis of Mississippi, would be allowed to listen to the tapes to authenticate the version given the judge. It would be Nixon's last bow to Cox---the Special Prosecutor would have to agree not to use the judicial process to seek further tapes or other records of Nixon's conversations in the future.

Because of this shortcoming and others in the plan, Nixon's aides knew that Cox would not accept it. On Saturday, as he refused, White House chief of staff Alexander Haig ordered Attorney General Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson resigned instead. Haig then ordered Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to fire him, and Ruckelshaus also resigned. Finally, the number-three man in the Justice Department, Solicitor General Robert Bork, was named acting attorney general, and he fired Cox......"

Now the kicker here is what happened after.

Not in the Congress, or the Senate, or anywhere else in Washington for that matter.

But instead what happened out in the rest of the country, amongst the peons, far from the Halls of Power:

"...What came to be known as the "Saturday Night Massacre" then unleashed the torrent of public anger at Nixon that had been building across the nation. In a period of ten days more than a million letters and telegrams descended on members of Congress, almost all of them demanding Nixon's impeachment. Before long, according to some, there were three million letters and telegrams, and an impeachment inquiry was begun."

So the question is, is there another massacre coming for Patrick Fitzgerald, the special counsel who is putting a hammerlock squeeze on the Cheney (mal)Administration over the Plame Affair and other possible impeachable acts?

Well, if it is, it looks like it might be a slow, twisting in the wind that will bring Mr. Fitzgerald down this time around rather than a quick, messy bludgeoning.

Because, instead of Borking him, it appears that they are instead stripping Fitzgerald of his protector in the Department of Justice.

Specifically, the man who appointed Fitzgerald in the wake of John Ashcroft's self-recusal when it was pointed out he was in a conflict of interest, James Comey is stepping down.

And that leaves Fitzgerald in the hands of a DoJ that is now run by the memo-writer extraordinare, Alberto Gonzales.

And what's worse, Fitzgerald may actually be under the thumb of this paper-pusher:

"Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum is "likely" to be named as acting deputy A.G., a DOJ official who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter tells NEWSWEEK. But McCallum may be seen as having his own conflicts: he is an old friend of President Bush's and a member of his Skull and Bones class at Yale."

Which has us worried that Fitzgerald's investigation may soon fall prey to extinction by a thousand memo-assisted paper cuts.

Which would be a great tragedy.

Not so much because it might prevent the indictment of all the deserving players/conspirators involved, but rather because it may work to blunt the American public's lion's roar that saved saved them from a constitutional crisis three decades ago.

And now, more than ever, America, as well as the entire world, needs to hear that roar.


Saturday, August 06, 2005

Defusing The Google Bomb


There is absolutely no insight in this post.

In fact, what we are going to say below is, if possible, even more obvious than the most half-baked Gary Mason column.

But it has to be said if only to ward off all those people (could it only be one, from multiple ISPs, operating systems and browsers?) that keep bombing us using 'Erin Airton' as the search term.


Yesterday, after she was cornered like a rat on a sinking ship by both Mr. Schrek and Mr. Mair on the Terasen issue, Ms. Airton executed a perfect double reverse spin-o-rama from the piked position by saying that Canadians don't have the 'guts' to do to an American what the Americans are doing to Marc Emery. The double came when she turned back this deranged argument on itself to imply that no Canadian company had the guts to buy Terasen.

While Schrek and Mair moved on, we believe that calling us, the Canuckistani People, gutless is a scurrilous charge that cannot go unchallenged.

To whit:

Was it gutless when we went to Afganistan to fight the real terrorists?

Was it gutless when we did not go to Iraq to kill people that were not?

Was it gutless to say no to a thoroughly offensive missile defense program?

Was it gutless when we had the guts to pass a same sex marriage law?

Are we gutless because we still protect our pension funds?

Are we gutless because we can still go to any hospital in the country?

Are we gutless because we still have a social safety net?

Are we gutless because we still have (a few) public institutions that serve the public?

Are you gutless because you espouse a quisling's position on BC Hydro privatization that is apparently directly antithetical to your own?


We now return this blog to its regularly scheduled attempts to illustrate the non-obvious.

Thank-you, and goddess bless the Revello during these hottest of the hot days.


Friday, August 05, 2005

Spiking The Kool Aid


Apparently, in the eyes of CNN at least, cussing is now officially worse than treason.

"While discussing Rep. Katherine Harris's (R-FL) plan to run for a Senate seat against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), (Robert) Novak told (James) Carville, "Just let me finish what I'm going to say, James, please. I know you hate to hear me." Carville said to host Ed Henry, describing Novak: "He's gotta show these right-wingers that he's got backbone, you know. The Wall Street Journal editorial page is watching you. Show 'em you're tough."

Novak responded: "Well, I think that's bullshit, and I hate that." He then said to Henry, "Just let it go." As Henry asked Carville a question, Novak walked off the set.

After the segment ended, Henry apologized to viewers for Novak's leaving the set "a little early," adding: "I had told him in advance that we were going to ask him about the CIA leak case. He was not here for me to be able to ask him about that. Hopefully, we'll be able to ask him about that in the future."

Now you might conclude that all of this means that the pressure is getting to Mr. Novak as well as CNN, which quickly moved to suspend him indefinitely.

And you might be right.

But then again, what if all this kuffufle, essentially about nothing (ie. Novak's reputation, not the Plame outing itself), has another purpose?

And it doesn't require a hat or Reynolds wrap to start thinking this way.

All you have to do is ask yourself the following.

Which got more play in the mainstream American media today, the Novak tantrum or the fact that two members of the pro-Israeli lobbying group AIPAC were indicted for receiving and passing on US state secrets?

Update: Doug Ireland, by way of Common Dreams has a very interesting analysis of the AIPAC thing and its implications for the Wolfowitz/Feith/Franklin axis of boweevil derring do.


Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Fetish of the Firewall


Linguini linguist Jim Bobby recently got into a tussle with a group of folks that live just east of the Rockies who want to set up their very own Republic of the Marvellous Marv Alberts.

And apparently it all begins with firewalls, both metaphorical and literal.

Even big business is getting into the act.

Exhibit A: In an effort to prevent their docile workers on the Alberts side of the continental divide from running amok and uniting with those radicals from the left coast, the boys with the fabulous hairpieces running Telus decided to build their own firewall around a union website with - gasp! - pinkopicketline photos.

Too bad that in doing so Telus also blocked out hundreds of other sites as well which, at least on the face of it, is the kind of free speech suppression you wouldn't normally expect from a union-busting, freeper loving operation to undertake. Rob Cottingham and his trusty side kick Thomas Dirks have the been riding the story into the sunset.

On the other hand this could be viewed as one of those examples of the ideological spectrum's extremes coming together on the darkside of the moon.

Because while he likely never sported a rug as nice as the Marvellous One's , big Joe Stalin was never averse to throwing his workers from the tops of flaming walls into the red hot lava moats below when he decided it was time to crank up yet another slave labour-assisted five year plan.

Update: Tom Barrett, over at the Tyee has a nice piece on the broader implications of Telus' actions for ISP regulation (the discussion thread is pretty good too).


Creationism Rising


Well, it looks like Stockwell Day and his compatriots down South just might have to partake in a wee bit of revisionist thinking.

Because if dinosaurs walked the earth with men six, or even ten, thousand years ago that looks to be at least 18,000 years after God or, perhaps more likely, the Goddess made this.

Now that's what we call Intelligent Design.

In a purely artistic, rather than a functional, sense of course.

Original Links Source: Rooks Rant.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Bob & Doug Milobender


Billmon has worked himself into a lather because a Canuckistani heavy-hitter named MDS Nordion, a company that makes medical radioisotopes, has managed to pull off a reverse N/CAFTA, lobby-assisted legislative swindle.

As a result, the US government is all set to sell Nordion a big whack of weapons grade uranium sans security restrictions.

"Now I bow to no man in my love for my would-be adopted mother country and her proud commercial traditions, but the idea that a medical company in the Great White North has enough weapons-grade uranium to recreate the Manhattan Project is frankly terrifying. Think about it: the Mackenzie brothers with nukes."

Now I can understand why Billmon might be a wee bit upset. After all, this means that if we don't straighten up and fly right one of those Big Apple mushroom clouds that Ms. Rice likes to talk about just might be generated by hosers rather than terrorists.

We do think Mr. Mon is a little off base, however, with respect to the identities of the potential hoseriferous, back bacon-sucking perpetrators.

Because if anybody is going to build a beauty of a fissionable take-off vehicle it will not be Bob and Doug.

Instead, we think that it is much more likely that Geddy Lee will be responsible, especially given the fact that just the sound of his voice is enough to cause certain Randians heads to explode.

Not to mention the fact that, as he ages and loses his hair, Mr. Lee is starting to look more and more like a certain comedian who once played Major Major Major in the Mike Nichols/Buck Henry cinematic take on the Joe Heller classic.

Which reminds me.....

Is it possible to play 4 rounds of 'The Beer Hunter' when you're two short of a two-four?


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Team


In response to our previous post on the coming establishment of EnronNorth, reader 'public static' had this to say about the folks who are helping push the deal:

"I swear to work for those people you must have to huff gas until you pass out for 7 straight days..."

Which may or may not be true.

But, regardless, we figure that there is a group of folks in Victoria with a buzz on these days. And that would be the members of the 'Offshore Oil and Gas Team', a LINO flack/hack group whose job it is to open everything up for Mr. Nancy Kinder and his ilk so that they can work their big money, neandercon-inspired ponzi magic on all of us.

Seem far fetched?


But let's watch what happens to the Gasbag Team's budget, which is sure to be buried in Hansard but we're counting on Holman and/or Willcocks to dig it out, before we make the call for real.

Still, I wouldn't be averse to giving up short odds right now to get some action on a wager that the Gasbaggers' budget will go from the mid-sevens to something in the low eights in the coming year or two.

After all, what's 10 or 12 million dollars a year, a significant proportion of which will go straight down the gullets of high-priced lobbyists, media-monopolists and mid-level Martinis when you've got a province to sell off.



Monday, August 01, 2005

A Kinder, Gentler Enron?


Just getting back from holidays, so am a little wobbly and even less insightful than usual......

Didn't go south this year...... Except for short trips down to Pt.Roberts, where the border guards are still human, we just can't bring ourselves to do it.

Instead, we went native in the wilds of just-off-coast, left-sided Canuckistan (a.k.a British Columbia's Southern Interior).

Much of it is privatized, and I'm not just talking about our gas company which apparently has just been sold lock, stock and two billowing barrels to Kinder-Morgan which is fronted by, yes folks, that's right, that Richard Kinder just in case you were wondering where the hearts, minds and gubernacula of the Neandercons running the Good Ship Lollipop (ie. the S.S. Gordon Campbell) truly lie.

What really got to me on this holiday is the state of B.C.'s public campgrounds. Clearly, they are being run into the ground, quite literally, by the private contractors who now control them. The exception on this trip was a little place at Otter Lake which is tucked into a high valley between the Hozameen and Okanagan Mountain Ranges. It was fantastic - not because the company running the place is any great shakes (ie. all they really want their value-added for no value $6 a night reservation surcharge that makes their no capital investment-assisted, gravy train profit margin even richer than usual) but rather because the three young kids doing the actual work of running this little outpost really love both what they do and the people that come to visit them. Heck, one of them even brought us...... get this.....frozen chocolate-covered cherries when he found out that we were having a reunion of sorts with another family we semi-regularly head out into the woods with.

So, here's the thing.

Do you seriously think that Richard Kinder and his Ranger friends are going to give a hoot in hell about any of us peons, either the indigenous campers or the folks running 'our' campsites, when they buy up that all that ranch land up the road in the Bernie Ebbers firesale and then gobble up every bit remaining range and forest land from the Coquihalla to the Kootenays for their own private hunting and fishing reserves to be protected by razor wire, laser-guided attack dogs, Mr. Coleman's minions, and roving packs of 2nd line trigger happy punks on nitro-burning ATV's who couldn't quite make it with Kellogg Brown and Root?

I think not.

A couple of random musings after being offline and almost totally in the grips of Canwest (not)Global's print media organ grinder monkeys for 10 days or so.....the Province is no longer my derriere polisher of last resort because the National Post, even sans Conrad the Marauder, is a truly vile pile of xenophobic spew filled to bursting with gutless, posturing wonderment....Gary Mason should change his name to John Obvious; I mean, who the the hell is he writing for, people in BC who know that real estate is overpriced, that labour relations are on the rocks, and that Vancouver's upcoming civic election is going to be interesting, or is he still pitching his job to fast Eddie G. months after he got the gig?