Friday, September 30, 2005
This just in from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA:
"For the fourth consecutive year, NSIDC and NASA scientists using satellite data have tracked a stunning reduction in arctic sea ice at the end of the northern summer. The persistence of near-record low extents leads the group to conclude that Arctic sea ice is likely on an accelerating, long-term decline."
“Considering the record low amounts of sea ice this year leading up to the month of September, 2005 will almost certainly surpass 2002 as the lowest amount of ice cover in more than a century,” said Julienne Stroeve of NSIDC. If current rates of decline in sea ice continue, the summertime Arctic could be completely ice-free well before the end of this century."
Didn't NASA get the memo that all research satellites are now to be used to blow stuff up real good?
And as for those NSDIC scientists - you can be darned sure that they will receive no more of their technology-driven, athesist-based politically-slanted research funding next year. Not to mention the fact that Scooter Libby is reportedly getting ready to give Judy Miller her next big scoop - that NSDIC scientist Julienne Stroeve was recently spotted on a Houston freeway riding shotgun in a hopped-up Cadillac Escalade driven by that notorious commie-loving bugman-hater Ronnie Earle.
Update: The NSDIC is also reporting that the Northwest Passage was essentially ice free for the first time ever last winter.
Double Secret Probation Update: And you thought we were just joking about the change in policy on the use of research satellites, right?
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Scott in Montreal has stumbled upon something extremely revealing about the editorial policy of the Canned West (not)Global Media Empire.
Specifically, here is what those not-so-magnificent AsperSons want in an Editorial Writer for the Ottawa Citizen:
"The successful applicant should be an elegant writer with a commitment to the principles of small government and individual freedom."
The silver lining in this very ominous dark cloud given this chain's market hegemony in many Canadian locales?
Guess this means they will soon start going after the size-inflated, freedom-suppressing Bush Administration, or at very least the Canadian representative of said Administration .
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
It's nice to see that the bugman, US House Leader Tom Delay, was gracious enough to step down after he was indicted, in Texas no-less, for money laundering.
And we really found it interesting that another bigtime republican pol, feline extinguisher Bill Frist, is being investigated by the SEC after he bailed out bigbigbigtime on a huge pile of family private healthcare company stock just before it took a nose dive earlier this year.
But the latter news has us a little nervous.
Well, given that the Martha Stewart insider trading/prison story was just played to the hilt on the small screen by Cybill Sheppard, does this mean that if Frist does go down that the Waterheads running the TV Networks will go berserk and bring us a Cybill-Martha/Bruce-Bill hybrid thinly disguised as a shoulder pad-assisted Rethuglican Reagancomical Reprise of this?
The first phase of job action by British Columbia's public school teachers began today and they are taking a lot of flack from the usual mediamavens.
Over at the Tyee, John Malcomson takes Keith Baldrey to task over the latter's sloppy analysis. Mr. Malcomson also explains why the government might be happy to have set up an untenable bargaining climate.
"In looking at the current impasse, a better case can be made for the provincial government purposefully constructing a non-workable negotiating structure, one incapable of yielding any purposeful outcomes for teachers. Why do this? The answers are largely financial and budget-related. It saves money. It makes a freeze on public education spending easier. It allows Victoria to give out more tax cuts. And to spend money in other areas that have been given higher political priority."
Good stuff, and required to keep folks with influence like Mr. Baldrey on their toes.
In other words, it's the kind of piece that will help inject a little rigour into our local mainstream media.
Monday, September 26, 2005
Man, as if those protest(100,000) vs. anti-protest(400) numbers from last weekend in Washington weren't a stark enough illustration of how Americans really feel about the war, it looks like the 'Billionares For Bush' have not yet rallied the rank and file to start forking over hard earned cash to help increase their profit margins in Iraq:
"An extraordinary appeal to Americans from the Bush administration for money to help pay for the reconstruction of Iraq has raised only $600 (£337).....
The public's reluctance to contribute much more than the cost of two iPods to the administration's attempt to offer citizens 'a further stake in building a free and prosperous Iraq' has been seized on by critics as evidence of growing ambivalence over that country.
This coincides with concern over the increasing cost of the war. More than $30 billion has been appropriated for the reconstruction. Initially, America's overseas aid agency, USaid, expected it to cost taxpayers no more than $1.7bn, but it is now asking the public if they want to contribute even more."And the Cheney administration's response?
USaid's Heather Layman denied it was disappointed with the meagre sum raised after a fortnight. 'Every little (bit) helps,' she said.
Is it possible that folks down south just might be ignoring the corporate media and instead are starting to let their current leaders know that they don't believe in naked aggression in ways that really count (at least for those leaders)?
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Up until all the recent kuffufle demonstrated that US giant Maximus has been completely useless at taking care of British Columbia's MSP and Pharmacare inquiries, there was a lot of speculation that these Masters of Call-Line Disaster were also going to get the private contract to run the province's NurseLine.
The NurseLine allows anyone in BC to call up a nurse anytime to get advice. It's good practice, it gives assurance (my wife and I have used it with sick babies), and it's designed to cut down on needless emergency room visits.
And it is so successful that last year it reportedly received 250,000 calls.
So, apparently, we should all be immensely relieved that the contract has gone to the private company 'Clinidata' which is described in the official BC Govt Press Release in the following manner:
"An established provider of telehealth services in Canada has been selected to proceed to contract development negotiations, as government seeks a new contractor to deliver BC NurseLine and other related services in British Columbia.
Following an intensive nine-month competitive process, Clinidata Corporation has emerged as the preferred candidate. As Canada’s leading provider of patient-centred telehealth advisory, nursing triage and health information services, Clinidata has the program management and information technology skills to address the current and future requirements of BC NurseLine and BC HealthGuide.
The company already operates telehealth services in both Ontario and New Brunswick. With more than 350 professional nurses across six telehealth centres, Clinidata is the largest nursing triage service in Canada, and among the top five providers of nurse tele-triage in the world."
Sounds pretty good, huh. After all, couldn't help but notice that emphasis on Clinidata's 'Canadianness' in every single paragraph of the lead.
So why then did the propaganda-puff-piece also slip the following statement?
That raised our eyebrows, perhaps even more so than Sean Holman's suggestion that Clinidata has had Maximus-like problems of it's own in the past.
Specifically, we went sniffing about to find out who actually controls Clinidata.
Turns out that it used to be owned by a Canadian company called 'Oracle - The Assistance Group' until late 1998 when it was swallowed whole by Sykes Enterprises Inc. of, you guessed it, Tampa Florida.
Which means that like Accenture and Maximus before it, when push comes to shove, Clinidata is subject to the whims of the clampdown.....errrr.......the US Patriot Act.
But still, that's not so bad, right. Everything's going to be alright because, for sure, according to B.C. Health Minister Boy George Abbott:
So rest assured, with this decision, the SS Gordon Campbell has made sure that nobody is going to try and outsource those nursing jobs to ensure that profit margins be met.
But then we read this, from the front page of the parent company's website:
"Sykes Enterprises, Incorporated ("SYKES" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:SYKE), a global leader in providing outsourced customer contact management solutions and services in the business process outsourcing (BPO) arena....."
Hmmmm.......that's interesting, we thought, as we rubbed our chin before writing ever more complicated boolean script which generated stuff, a whole lotta stuff, like this:
"Sykes Enterprises has informed Florida officials that it will close its Marianna call center, and will lay off 145 of its Marianna employees Saturday and the remaining 121 on Oct. 2 (2004). The disclosure came just weeks after the Tampa company said it would shutter its only other Florida call center, located in Palatka. The announcement Tuesday brings to nine the number of U.S. call centers that Sykes plans to close in 2004. Only five other U.S. call centers will remain: Bismarck, N.D.; Wise, Va.; Morganfield, Ky.; Ponca City, Okla.; and Sterling, Colo. At one time, Sykes had nearly 20 call centers in the United States.
Total layoffs among the nine facilities to be closed this year is expected to exceed 2,500.....
Like many of its competitors, the company is shutting down U.S. call centers and opening up new ones in offshore locales like the Philippines and India, where relatively low wages allow Sykes to meet client demands for reduced pricing."
Feel better now?
Original Link Source: on the outsourcing from the 'Left Coaster'
Just in case you need another jolt in the spine: turns out that Mr. John Sykes the founder of Sykes Enterprises Inc. (ie. not the Infinity Broadcasting guy or the musician) likes to stay on the good side of the Cheney Administration. For example, in 2001 Mr. Sykes gave $100,000 to the Bush Cheney Inagural Committee.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
If S.M. Holman is right it all came down to the CC Machine not being able to bring in the Bus-Block Vote when it, well, counted.
Which perhaps makes it clear just how many current Martinis really do owe their seats to the type of machinations previously perfected by groups like the BBoys and their ilk.
Speaking of which, according to Mark Hume, Justice Dohm has delayed the big trial again. It's now set to start Feb 2006 at the earliest.
Which is fine with us, because the closer the climax comes to 2009 the better as far as we are concerned.
But back to the matter at hand.
Is today's result a good thing or a bad thing for Jim Green's candidacy?
I'm not really sure, although I have a feeling that he would have done a pretty good job of turning Ms. Clark's polarizing rhetoric back on itself.
One thing I am sure of, however, is that no matter who wins in November the new mayor will actually care about what happens to Vancouver, both now and in the future.
And that is a victory for all Vancouverites.
btw: Best comment on the Public Eye comment threads once again goes to 'Name' who asked, "Any word yet re whether there might be a deal in the offing on a brand-new duplex at 16th and Columbia?"
Sure, there are many political points to be scored on the mess that B.C.'s Children and Families Ministry has become.
But now is not the time.
Paul Willcocks, who knows the whole story, makes it clear why.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
A couple of readers took me to task offline for not providing a link to Vancouver Mayoral hopeful Christy Clark's sudden seizure of the Crystal Meth Road as a campaign issue.
So, I went directly to the candidate's website and found this, which is apparently an important part of her top priority for the City - Public Safety:
"Crystal meth is particularly disturbing because of the long-term mental health impacts and rapid decline that characterizes the drug. This is not a downtown eastside issue- it's citywide. It's in our schools. It's in Kerrisdale. It's in Cedar Cottage. It's in the West End....."
Glad to know that Ms. Clark knows that this scourge is affecting my neighbourhood.
Just can't help but wonder if she actually knows where that neighborhood is (hint: it's the one that could be mistaken for a softwood lumber issue if one were, oh say, a Provincial Cabinet Minister).
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Can't find it now on the extra-cryptic, not-so Giant '98 website but I could have sworn that I heard Vancouver mayoral hopeful Sam Sullivan say that his candidacy represents the big tent division of the Non-Partisan Association on the 8:00am newscast this morning (I'm doing my best to not listen to CBC's Harrison Bergeronesque newscasts for the duration).
All of which is interesting because, as Frances Bula reported this morning, Mr. Sullivan is now also contrite about his earlier floating of conspiracy theories regarding Christy Clark's membership sign-up blitz. This, of course, hasn't stopped Sullivan's campaign and it's shadowy men from a shadowy planet from dumping these evil-inside CC Machine theories directly into the lap of the NPA braintrust. This is a story that Sean Holman is all over.
"Last night, a special meeting of the Non-Partisan Association's board of directors was held at the Marriott Pinnacle Hotel to discuss concerns about the mayoral nomination process. Those concerns were contained in a letter sent to the board last Friday by Warren Smith, a representative of nomination hopeful Sam Sullivan's campaign. Those familiar with the letter inform us the Sullivan campaign challenged the eligibility of 194 new association members to vote at the upcoming Saturday nomination meeting. According to review of 429 forms conducted by the campaign, those members aren't on the provincial voters list. Additionally, Mr. Smith questioned whether former Campbell administration cabinet minister Christy Clark's mayoral nomination campaign paid for the memberships of those they signed-up."
As for Ms. Clark?
Well, she seems to be leaving her Machine in the dust and is going waydown low, for example accusing Mr. Sullivan of wanting to legalize more drugs and ranting on about enforcement, enforcement, enforcement, bad Jim Green, enforcement, reckless Jim Green, and that oldtime, Christy-era S.S. Gordon Campbell bugaboo, Crystal Meth.
Update: Demonstrating her exceptional grasp of all things Vancouver, apparently Ms. Clark had a little problem identifying areas of False Creek at an NPA public forum recently. But mistakes like that paled in comparison to her confusion over which party she is seeking to hijack. Specifically, she exorted a crowd of Partisans to bring sanity back to the city by returning a - get this - COPE majority to council.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
This, from current US Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins, on the extraordinary rendition of Marer Arar almost makes one pine for the the good ol' days of Mr. Cellucci:
As described by Canadian Press reporter Jim Brown, Mr. Wilkins "seemed puzzled" when asked if his government had regrets about the Arar affair. "You talking about regrets by the United States? The United States made that decision [to deport Arar] based on the facts it had, in the best interests of the people of the United States, and we stand behind it."
In other words, screw habeus corpus, not to mention international law.
After all, you kidnap people and deliver them to dictatorships for torture based on the facts you have, not the facts you wished you had.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
I first learned of him was when I saw a smug and smirking TV anchor dismiss him as a fool while he worked like a demon to raise the meagre funds he needed just to get to the Atlantic Coast so that he could dip that artificial leg in the ocean.
But there was no stopping Mr. Fox, and within a few weeks many came to know his perserverance and his courage.
And by the time he got to Ontario his great, good heart was on display for all to see.
And then there was the tremendous dignity with which he died.
And thus was born perhaps Canada's greatest ever Horatio Alger story ever.
But once born something extra has to happen to turn a mere story into a legend that inspires future generations even further.
One of those extras is the Fox Foundation itself, which has been the model of integrity since its inception.
Another is the myth makers, folks like Douglas Coupland, who have helped keep the story alive (and in this case I mean that in a good way).
And then there is his family, individual members of which have consistently displayed many of the qualities of the boy himself. Like his mom Betty, for instance. When you hear her speak it is like that Marathon of Hope is still happening, right now.
But there is something else that you rarely hear about that may be as important as all of that, at least in the long run.
And it is something you very rarely hear about from the corporate shills, even amongst those who work hardest to never show their smirks or smugness in public.
That secret was inadvertently revealed late last week when an editor-type showed up on Michael Smyth's radio show to pump up the volume for the Vancouver Province's wall-to-wall Fox coverage this weekend.
Then they took calls, one of which was from an old-timer who had a tangential part in the original Marathon who said something that invoked a stunned silence from the host.
And that is the fact that the annual Terry Fox Run has never been brought to you by a bank, or an airline, or a running shoe company, or a make-up maven, or a media conglomerate.
To his great credit, the editor guy jumped in and pointed out that this is not an accident and that it was actually something that Fox himself insisted on from the very beginning.
Which is very likely another example of the kid's guts and his bedrock moral compass but, if you think about it, is also pure genius on a whole lot of levels.
Not the least of which is the fact that it ensures that no corporation will ever be able to attach itself like a leach to the Fox Run so that it can suck the life out of it before it moves on to next year's latest thing.
Case in point - when millions of kids run around their school to raise money for cancer research in 2010, do you seriously think any of them will be wearing one of those brightly coloured wristbands that are so popular today?
Saturday, September 17, 2005
After backing down earlier this past spring, it looks like those guys with guns are making noises about bringing their act North to the 49th parallel, again:
"Civilian border patrols, like those that have generated fierce debate in the Southwest, are planned to start along New York's border with Canada on October 1.
The leader of the Minuteman Civilian Defense Corps, Chris Simcox, will be keynote speaker at a four-hour meeting planned for Saturday in Babylon, on Long Island. The meeting is intended to organize and train volunteers to patrol the Canadian border in New England and New York. Mr. Simcox's group started patrols in Arizona in April and plans to launch a nationwide effort in October, according to a spokeswoman for the Minutemen, Connie Hair."
Clearly, these Nattering Neighbobs of Nascarism have not yet gotten wind of the 'McSorley Project':
"....(T)he way I figure it we could take care of these Minutemaid Men in about, well, 15 minutes, by massing our own homegrown, hockey stick-assisted V-group within spitting distance of the line on our side of the border in southern Manitoba.
We could call it 'The McSorely Project', fronted by the man himself, with chief lieutenants Dave Semenko and Todd Bertuzzi.
Of course, the head of the propaganda unit will be a guy that Bill O'Reilly will go absolutely bonkers over, Dave 'Flapping Gums' Williams.
And once they suckered the Anita Bryant lovin' Squeezers-of-the-Juice across the Frontier, the MProject would then kick their butts straight north all the way to Flin Flon - former home of the master of the two hander, Paddy Ginnell, not to mention the very best Mary Jane tunnels government money can buy.
The weird part about all of this is that some Canuckistanis have been bamboozled into thinking that we actually deserve it.
Update: Writing in the comment thread, Name informs us that the Juice Boys are here on the Left Coast as well, just south of Abbotsford apparently. For more of what Name has to say on one of our favorite topics, the Vancouver Election, check their comment out on this thread (@ 4:02pm Sept 17th).
Friday, September 16, 2005
Sure, Mr. Brown may not have been qualified to run FEMA, but at least he knew something about something - maybe.
But get a load of this......
"WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 - President Bush is to pledge in an address to the nation from New Orleans on Thursday night that the federal government will provide housing assistance to victims of Hurricane Katrina and also help reimburse the states for costs they have absorbed in taking in evacuees, a White House official said Wednesday......
....Republicans said Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort, which reaches across many agencies of government and includes the direct involvement of Alphonso R. Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development."
Did we miss something here?
When exactly did it become possible to use the Great Rovian Spin-Machine to turn water into wine? or food? or medicine? or new buildings? or schools? or highways? or anything of any substance whatsoever?
And as for the CronyCorps Brigade that will be paid cost plus to do the 'hard work', it appears that they have been given carte blanche(dubois?) to pay the folks they hire to do the actual work a less than decent wage.
" WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush issued an executive order Thursday (Sept 8/05) allowing federal contractors rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to pay below the prevailing wage."
Do these people have no shame?
Thursday, September 15, 2005
The 'War On Drugs' that is:
"VANCOUVER (CP) - Two years after the experimental safe injection site opened in Vancouver, both police and health officials are declaring the so-called shooting gallery a success. "It's been looked at very critically," said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall. "On all the measures that we've looked at, we've seen some measures of success......
....Vancouver Police Constable Tim Fanning said a combination of an increased police presence and the safe injection site have made the area safer for residents....."
Can the American DEA indict and extradite a Provincial Health Officer?
How about a City cop?
Or, better yet, how about a former Mayor who came to see the junkies and the sick for what they really are, people not criminals, and then mustered the courage to stand up against his own party, the same party that now appears to be ready to annoint a carpet-bagger because they think she will win, and do the right thing.
Rafe Mair and Charlie Smith strongly suggested as much this morning on the Mr. Mair's radio show.
Mr. Mair based his hypothesis on the fact that he received a call from a local heavyweight begging him to do an editorial backing the formerly Smilin' One.
Smith agreed, based on the same argument that we made previously (ie. Sullivan lost the 'grassroots' NPA membership sign-up race to Port Moody resident Christy Clark 2-1).
The pair of prognosticators then danced around the subject of the electability of both Mr. Sullivan and Ms. Clark against Jim Green.
Which was fine and dandy, especially the stuff about the ageless Lotusland Rainmaker Mae Brown, who, according to Smith, is apparently backing Clark.
But why, we wonder, did they ignore the elephant in the room.
You know, the one at the buffet table that has been ignoring all the food of any 'Substance' whatsoever while it gobbles canapes and swills, you guessed it, 'Martinis'.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Jim Elve, who I have a lot of respect for, has written a post about Frank Stronach I never thought we'd see.
Essentially, Jim describes how the Man from Magma and patriarch of Canada's political version of Veruca Salt is going the extra mile to help folks who have been left homeless by the hurricane on the Gulf Coast.
"In addition to numerous auto parts plants in Canada and the US, Stronach is also owner of some horse race tracks and has a training facility in Palm Beach, Florida with dormitories. At his own expense, he has airlifted over 200 refugees to the facility where he is feeding and housing them."
Elve then gives background on his wife's good experiences working for Magma and Stronach's future plans to help out further by providing land for medium-term trailer court accomodation for the displaced.
In the end, even I must admit that Stronach, a man who has previously been involved in some less than overtly socially responsible endeavours like supporting Austria's ultra-rightist leader Jorg Haider, is doing the right thing.
But it is not my intent to fully dissect Mr. Stronach's ultimate motivations here.
What I'm really worried about is the fact that the response of Mr. Elve and folks like him, heck folks like me, to this kind of stuff is potentially very dangerous.
Not because we shouldn't help get it done because, of course, we have to.
But, if at the same time if we start to find ourselves buying into the premise that individual citizens and groups can step in and do the really big jobs when big government inevitably fails, then I fear that people like Tom Delay, Grover Norquist and, yes, even Gordon Campbell have won.
Here's Norquist, the man who has long said his job as Neandercon Ramrodder is to shrink government, at least in terms of programs that actually help people as opposed to those that help corporations, to a size where he can easily strangle it in the bathtub, on one of the opportunities that natural disasters present to the Cheney Administration and his cowed Congress (warning, pdf):
MEMORANDUM From: Grover G. Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
To: Members of the United States Senate
Re: Death Tax Repeal/Katrina
In light of this week’s tragic hurricane in Louisiana, some politicians have suggested that tax cuts in general and death tax repeal specifically should not move forward. This is a similar argument which was made following the Iraq War and the 2003 tax cut. That analysis turned out to be very wrong......
In other words, always strike while the iron is hot because when people are distracted by disasters and troubled times that is when it is easiest to jam the knife into the withered corpse of a government formerly known as 'By The People, For The People', and twist it hard.
Now, there are some that might say I am completely off base here, and that the work of good people like Frank Stronach proves it.
But the thing to realize is that even with his vast, indeed almost unlimited, personal wealth Stronach has so far only helped a few hundred with their most basic needs.
Even if we are extremely generous that is less than 1/1000 of those affected. And it does not include long term rectification of health, transportation or housing infrastructure or the huge panapoly of social services that will be required to get an entire city back on its feet.
And so my point is that only the collective will of the people can handle such a huge undertaking.
Which, of course, is what real governments are really for.
That's what FDR's New Deal, which Mr. Cheney's sock-puppet has so cynically invoked numerous times recently as a smokescreen for the latest round of corprocraptic cronyism soon to be dubbed as 'trickle-down entitlement' programs, was really all about.
Note: You can see the extremes of the positions on this score by perusing the comments to Jim's post. But, again, most of them involve discussions/expositions of the true intentions of Mr. Stronach, rather than a discussion of the big picture. I think this is important, because if progressives can frame arguments on health care, peace keeping, contracting out, education or all manners manners infrastructure in terms of what really works (ie. responsible government programs with strong oversight) and what really doesn't (ie. cost-plus no-bid contracts and no risk/no capital investment privatization of the people's assets) then we can make headway and shed the counter-productive coatings of slime that is inevitably generated when one spends all of one's time and energy rubbing up against the slime merchants in an effort to expose them for what they really are.
Update: The cynics amongst us, having seen what happened in Iraq, might actually think the apparent absence of a plan to deal with trouble might actually have been the plan in NOLA. Which, of course would just be crazy talk, right? Except, then along comes stuff like this.
The Globe and (nolongerempire)Mail's gossip lady, Patricia Best, while working behind the subscription wailing wall, mentioned that Conrad Black himself attempted to float a real Lead Zeppelin at a recent Center of the Universe get together where the high and mighty came to hear Robert Kaplan (this one, not that one) wave his Rumsfeldian Pom-Poms.
The gist of it?
Apparently the Nixon family has asked the embattled, but never bitter, tycoon to go long for the Trickster's legacy and write him a biographical blockbuster.
Then, after the successful self-induced launch of this, 'Look at me, I still matter!' scrap-iron Airship, Mr. Black immediately crashed it by informing Ms. Best's spies that he turned the Nixon folks down, flat, because he is way too busy reading to write another book.
Reading what, we can only wonder?
History, legal briefs, or maybe all that stuff that was in those boxes he was so eager to get his hands on?
Updated Thurs Sept 15th to reflect a more accurate reading of Best's piece based on the day late rescue of the print version from the recycling bin.
The Brawler vs. the Popinjay.
Galloway vs. Hitchens reffed by Amy Goodman today, Wed at 4pm? Left Coast time, streaming here.
If you miss it, I'm sure it will be on Democracy Now tomorrow.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
"Initially, the media concentrated on the provincial angle. That made some
sense since the two aides, David Basi and his brother-in-law Robert Virk,
were important figures in Premier Gordon Campbell's government.
But it soon became clear that the police were casting a wider net. Officers
searched the offices of two key Martinites Bruce Clark, the Prime
Minister's chief fundraiser on the west coast, and Eric Bornman,
communications director for the federal Liberals.
As well, police visited Mark Marissen, B.C. campaign chair for Martin's
leadership, and asked him to hand over what he later called important
documents he may have inadvertently received.
Most attention, however, focused on Basi. In addition to his provincial
role, Basi, too, was a key figure in Martin's successful campaign to take
over the federal Liberal party.
Described as a bright and energetic organizer, Basi recruited thousands of
new Liberals many from his own Indo-Canadian community to capture riding
associations for Martin.
Known as Basi's Boys, the new members flooded ridings. In one particularly
high-profile case, they took over the Liberal constituency association of
then natural resources minister and Chrétien supporter Herb Dhaliwal."
Toronto Star, Feb 24, 2004
"The Non-Partisan Association's board members have requested Christy Clark and Sam Sullivan's mayoral campaigns appoint two representatives each to the committee responsible for organizing the civic party's October 12 fundraising dinner. Those appointments haven't been formalized. But Ms. Clark will likely put her brother Bruce and horse baron Pat Kinsella on that committee...."
Public Eye Online, Sept 13, 2005
"(Christy) Clark's goal was to sign up at least 2,000 new members in order to give Sam Sullivan a run for the leadership. She handed in her nomination papers on Aug. 31.
Party members will vote on Sept. 24 for the NPA nomination. In the last week, Clark has divided her time between phoning NPA members and community leaders and briefings on civic issues, working from a waterfront office downtown.
Her team includes husband Mark Marissen, the federal Liberal's top B.C. organizer, and Mike Hillman, a federal Liberal vice-president."
Vancouver Province Sept 11, 2005.
In other words the latest flood is over; add 'em up.
(nolonger)Smilin' Sammy is doomed.
And why should the NPA braintrust and/or horse barons be worried anyway.
Don Cherry says he won't cross the CBC picket line to report to duty as Hockey Night in Canada's designated screamer if the lockout continues.
And according to William Houston it is because:
a) His late father, a union man, would be upset with him.
b) His partner Ron McLean, who he describes as a sort of a left-wing commie, would give him grief.
c) His blue collar image would take a hit.
And all three are backed up by direct quotes Houston attributes to Cherry, who also goes on to trash the Canadian Media Guild.
In other words, this is a man who has made a career by cultivating the image of the straight shooter who is readily admitting that he does not have the courage of his convictions.
In our books we call that gutless.
And if Cherry could only untwist his own pretzel logic, he himself might call that being a Chicken of a certain Scandinavian persuasion.
Sure, sure, I realize it's as dangerous to categorize the best bloggers as it is to pigeonhole the best musicians.
But in this case I can't help it.
Because for awhile now I've been pretty much convinced that Matt St. Armand is a Billmon we can call our own.
And now Mr. St. Armand has really nailed it by opening a second shop, the HotDog Factory Part Deux, where he concentrates on all things Canuckistan.
So, forget about what Peter C. Newman has to say about our resident silver-haired albatross for a moment and get a load of this:
".......It was during Brian Mulroney's tenure as Canada's leader that I became so incensed by the news of his daily outrages, that I turned away. I'm embarrassed and chagrined to admit it, but I quickly found reading or watching Canadian news so intolerable, I just turned away. Since then, I've cultivated a frightening and abiding ignorance of the details of Canadian politics. I know what is happening in a general sense, but the Mulroney Government so triggered my gag reflex that I turned into exactly the sort of apathetic citizen I've grown to resent.
Mulroney supporters would rightly me accuse of scapegoating Brian Mulroney for my own human frailties and shortcomings in dealing with a situation I found fraught with affront. But that does not diminish the fact that Brian Mulroney was a disastrous prime minister. I hope that he's among the most hated prime minister's, as well.
When he skulked out of office, I was pleased. When the Progressive Conservative party was voted out of existence in the early 1990s, it finally seemed that Canadian democracy had worked...."
See what I mean.
Monday, September 12, 2005
S.M. Holman has Ms. Clarke sans 'E' declaring for Mayor of Vancouver tomorrow (Tuesday).
Now, of course, it is entirely possible that the Big CC Machine may have used tried and true Marissen/BroClark-assisted tactics to sew up NPA party nomination votes without any help whatsoever from the last remaining remnants of the BBoys, but does she have the backroom DBoys solidly behind her?
One has to wonder, especially given the fact that Creme Queen, Ms. Clark plus 'E', last week declared her support for (nolonger)Smilin' Sammy Sullivan who carried the water, bigtime, for the DevBoys on the KnowWards thing.
And once again, we ask: Whatever happened to Peter Ladner? Is it possible that he is having corrective surgery to improve his 'Vision' of Vancouver?
It seems two things happen when the Roving Cheneyburtonians are confronted with something scary.
Not something real and scary.
Like a looming threat, either man or nature made, because for that they just turn turtle and wait to see which way the wind blows the next newscycle before they do anything.
What we're talking about here is something that scares them politically.
Of course, the first thing that they do is slime, slime, slime, slime, roast and flip to marginalize the scary thing.
Remember how they did that, and are still doing it, to grass roots organizations like 'Move On' (yes, the very same folks that have rallied hundreds of thousands of citizens of America and the World to help clean up the mess in the wake of Brownie et al.).
The second thing they do is imitate the thing, also known as 'Astroturfing' (ie. they lay out the green to make a phoney, plastic copy of the real thing and call it their own).
And thus, 'Move America Forward' and its ilk were born out of slush funds and wayward PACs.
All of which goes to show that this business of hiring Clint Black to 'Iraq and Roll' the Cheney Administration's commemorative efforts to bash Richard Clarke yesterday was very important indeed.
Not just because it was not cheesy or even laughable (ie. only 13,000 people showed up to the pre-screened [not]Freedom Walk that even the Washington Post pulled out of because they were able to get up the gumption to declare the event political and manipulative), but rather because it shows how scared the Rovians are of what almost happened last November.
Of course, as deflector spin the Screamers (with help, we're sad to say from our [dis]own[ed] National Post) have been telling everyone that will listen that the involvement of folks like Michael Moore and Bruce Springsteen on the Demo side is what tipped the balance the Republican way last November.
Don't believe it.
And don't just take our word for it.
Because the sounds of Rovian-hired gunsells in action speak much, much louder than words.
After an instant conversion to the Church of the Sacred Bleeding Spaghetti Monster that occurred faster than you can soften a package of Top Ramen or be teleported to The Land of Sapporo Ichiban, Scott Murray came up with the Prayer of the Pastafarians:
Who art in the colander
Hallowed be thy sauce
Thy serving come
Thy strands be wrung
On forks as they are on spoons
Give us this day our daily meatball
And forgive us our starchiness
As we forgive those who are starchy against us
And lead us not into Kraft parmessan
But deliver us from Chef Boy Ardee
For thine is the garlic
And the onion and the bay leaves
For ever and ever.
Beam us up Scottie!
Sunday, September 11, 2005
When I find myself in times of trouble, the Flying Spaghetti Monster speaks to me.
Original Link Source: somegirl at the AllSpinZone.
It's stuff like this that makes you realize that satire is sometimes the very best weapon of massive reconstruction.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
I was forced to climb into the cigar tube again last week.
This time it was headed to Toronto.
Which, all things considered, is not a bad place to go to in September. Still warm, not humid, and hockey season has not yet started in earnest.
Thought maybe it might have, however, as the taxi swooped off the Gardiner Expressway into the downtown core late Tuesday evening and ran smack into the throngs milling around the Air Canada Center.
But then the driver and I both realized that it couldn't possibly be a sports crowd because there were too many women and too many overdressed men.
Turned out it was the Elton John 'Go Large or Don't Go At All' Tour (or some such thing).
Stayed at the Delta Chelsea just off Yonge near Carleton, which I've always thought of as the Empire Hotel in that Joni Mitchell Song about the couple in bar with 'a little money riding on the Maple Leafs', if only because the place is a little old, a little tired, and only a stone's throw away from what used to the Gardens.
Which, of course, is dumb because it's probably really a dive out in Scarborough, or even Saskatoon, for that matter, but I told my wife enigmatically that I'd be calling her from the Empire Hotel Bar that night anyway when I left that morning.
She didn't get it, but my oldest kid did.
And here's something weird that happened the next morning.
I awoke early to polish my Science geek wares for the show-and-tell session that had brung me East in the first place and stumbled upon the entire CBC One Toronto Morning show team on the UofT College Radio Station.
And it was rip-roaring fantastic....Andy Barrie, Kevin Sylvester and Erika Ritter completely unshackelled, having a go at everything from politics to culture to current events and back again with style and elan completely unsquelched by dictorial edicts from management.
Turns out there is a bushel full of this stuff that can be downloaded for podcasting from Todd Maffin's 'CBC Unplugged' site.
Which is also fantastic.
Except for one thing, which came to me as I climbed back into the cigar tube with a half a dozen shows loaded onto my machine for the trip home.....what if they're so good at this thing that it actually takes the edge off the demand and allows the Braindead Braintrust to lock them out even longer?
Update: In case you were wondering, there has been some stuff uploaded from CBC Vancouver and most of it is not half bad. Even better, I have only found one that is dragged down by significant Cluffie time.
And I needed those shows, because Mr. Milton's folks loaded us into the plane and then made us sit there for two hours while they fixed a cargo door, a door that was sitting on the tarmac, in plain view, before they forced us into the tube.
What was worse, the movie was Mr. & Mrs Smith which, as far as I can tell, is some kind of ultraviolent, totally banal, collagen-enhanced metaphor of a Superpower gone wrong teetering on the brink of fascism (rated PG, of course).
I made a mistake last night.....
Fell asleep, on sleep, listening to Dan Russell on the (nolongerso)Giant'98.
Which meant that when the alarm went off after the extra sleep time this morning I was woken by the less than dulcet tones of the Premier's brother, Michael Campbell, and his Talkin' Money Minstrel Show.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you feel about credulity, I never got to the inevitable jive talk about the absence of real estate bubbles, the need for structural corrections, and/or the joys of speculative precious metal investing .
Because, apparently, Mr. Campbell was reading directly from his very own, much coveted, gilt-edged 'Offshore Talking Points For Future Cheney Administration Collaborators' playbook this morning.
As a result, Campbell led off his program with a frame game rant against any and all who questioned the Cheney Admin's response to the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina.
Guess Mr. Campbell is too busy to read commie-pinko, off-the-deep-end stuff like, oh say, the Op-Ed page of the New York Times.
"Surely there are loyal Republicans among the 50 directors of state emergency services. But President Bush chose to make FEMA a dumping ground for unqualified cronies - a sure sign that he wanted to hasten the degradation of an agency that conservative Republicans have long considered an evil of big government. Katrina has proved that federal disaster help is vital, and that Mr. Brown and his team of advance men can't do the job. What America needs are federal disaster relief people who actually know something about disaster relief."
So, by mistakenly stumbling upon Mr. Campbell's ill-informed tirade, we can only wonder if we've managed to identify yet another member of the local chapter of the Herr Zeller brigade.
Hmmmmm...wonder where that mythical Cheney Admin. (Export Edition) playbook might have come from? Could it have been delivered by Cheney Admin. advance men prepping the local Zeller brigade in front of the Maximum Leader's aborted visit to his Oil Sands?
Friday, September 09, 2005
Joachim von Ribbentrop was the German foreign minister that cajoled British high society and Prime Minister Lloyd George into cosying up to the little Bossman in the the mid '30's.
He was also the man who bamboozled Neville Chamberlain into appeasement in 1938 with endless talk of bombs and death and weapons and mass destruction when he was Ambassador to Britain.
Always one who could be counted on to say anything in the cause of his mustachioed boss, Ribbentrop drove friends and enemies alike around the bend. Case in point - here's what Benito Mussolini had to say about him:
"Ribbentrop belongs to the category of Germans who are a disaster for their country. He talks about making war right and left, without naming an enemy or defining an objective."
Now, while it might be a stretch for some, others might find some parallels between von Ribbentrop and former US Secretary of State Colin Powell.
And not just because Powell could give the kind of great bamboozlement about bombs and death and WMDs that would make Ol' Ribby* weep if he were still with us today.
Because it turns out that Mr. Powell has something else in common with his historical counterpart - unwavering loyalty to the bossman to the bitter end.
Here's the end story on von Ribbentrop:
"Ribbentrop was a defendant at the Nuremberg Trials, and the Allies' International Military Tribunal found him guilty of all charges proffered against him. Even in prison, Ribbentrop remained subservient to Hitler, stating "Even with all I know, if in this cell Hitler should come to me and say 'Do this!', I would still do it."
And here's what may be, hopefully, the end of story for Powell:
"Asked about editorials asserting that he had put loyalty "ahead of leadership," Mr. Powell parried the question. "Well, loyalty is a trait that I value, and yes, I am loyal," he replied. "And there are some who say, 'Well, you shouldn't have supported it, you should have resigned.' But I'm glad that Saddam Hussein is gone."
Notice that the this pseudo 'objective' is finally stated now, almost three years after all the talk of bombs and death and weapons of mass destruction.
*Ol' Ribby: You just know that would be the knickname that would have been given to him by a certain (notso)World(ly) Leader if he were onside, and on point, today. Heck, in the eyes of the folks running the Cheney Administration Ribby might have even been just the right pick to be the newly unveiled head of FEMA, or at the very least their Ambassador to the UN if not for the presence of the irrepressible Mr. Bolton.
And In This Vein: If you think about the historical parallels in this way, it's not that difficult to view B. Liar as Shrub's Neville the Appeaser instead of anything even remotely Churchillian.
Media workers that is.
Just in case you needed another reason to shun those finest of the unfine offerings that the Pacific Newspaper Group serves up every morning.....
Apparently, the folks who run the (notso)Magnificent AsperSons western print organs, the Vancouver Sun and the Vancouver Province, are crying foul because one of their favorite whipping boys of late, the Telecommunications Workers Union, is being supported, big time, by their own workers, the Media Union of B.C.
Essentially, the Jedi Knights (ie. the Media folks who work for the AsperSons) are calling Telus what it is, which, to put it politely is an "unfair employer" . This because of Telus' attempts to turn the Telcom workers into McSerfs.
The 'unfair employer' declaration is important because it could invoke clauses in the Media Union's collective agreement with PNG that would allow members the right to refuse advertising copy from Telus Bossman Darren Entwhistle.
In other words, this is a case of workers banding together to help each other - the only hammer they've got.
And, of course, people getting together to fight the robber barons, be they the Trusts of yesteryear or the Bernie Ebbers wannabes of today, is the only way that we have ever improved our lot. And this is a hammer that Mr. Entwhistle is trying to take away from his workers by offering up scab-o-liscious side deals and a piece of silver errrr, I-Pod, or two.
Jamie Pitblado, the PNG's resident flack hack, and a man who apparently does not believe in irony (or cause and effect), had this to say:
Perhaps the people running the PNG should have thought of that before they started pumping out the puff pieces in support of Mr. Entwhistle's Bust-A-Thon.
And the response from Telus?
They say there have been legal decisions that have supported 'its' approach to labour negotiations.
Thus, their strategy couldn't be any clearer than that
The 'its' win, the people lose.
Update: The hitmeter is going crazy on this one....and as far as we can tell it looks like it is coming from the TWU discussion board; but we can't get in there to have a look. If that's the case, could somebody drop us a line on the comment thread and let us know what's up - thanks.
DoubleSecretProbationUpdate: Holy doodles! More than 100 hits in the last hour alone? This little blog hasn't seen numbers like this since the days when we did our (very) small part to help break this story which, for those keeping track at home, was BH (ie. Before Holman) btw.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
What with the Hollinger and Radler trials/plea bargaining deals looming, it looks like Conrad Black's early out deal on the National Post with the departed Izzy and his not so magnificent AsperSons might have been The Marauder's last good one.
But these days even slightly silver clouds above Mr. Black's head are lined with lead. Case in point, recent reports are speculating that Gerry Schwartz is involved with a group making a play for the finest money losing fishwrap producer that money can buy.
Which has us wondering - why would Mr. Schwartz want to do something ridiculous like that?
Because even for a turn around artist this one has the smell of never ending switchbacks to red ink ville.
....Mr. Schawartz is eyeing Ms. Amiel's old mega-column spot for his own Ms. Reisman.
So, how does all 'Heather's Picks' on all matters all the time sound?
The mind reels.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Despite the fact that really big bossman Dick Cheney is no longer to be feted by local faux boss Michael Walker, you can still let the Fraser Institute know how you feel about their work stocking, supplying and running the Herr Zeller Platoon.
We have it on good word from our friend, green party stalwart and baseball fanatic Bob Broughton that there is a protest scheduled for:
1770 Burrard St. (at W. 3rd Ave.)
which is in front of the Fraser Institute head office
The added bonus?
Given Mr. Cheney's absence we're pretty sure that no one will be herded into a (not)Free Speech Zone/Goat Pen.
At least not this time around.
Monday, September 05, 2005
This just in......
The maximum leader of the Cheney Administration will not be coming North to do a little advance work on the annexing of the Oils Sands after all:
TORONTO (Reuters) - Vice President Dick Cheney has canceled a planned trip to Canada's main energy producing region because of Hurricane Katrina, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said on Sunday.
The association was one of the organizers of the trip, which was designed to give Cheney an insight into Alberta's vast oil sands region, where steam is used to extract oil from oil-bearing rocks.
The oil sands sector is booming, and as operations expand, the region looks set to provide a safe and reliable source of oil for the United States, the world's biggest consumer.
Cheney had been due to visit Calgary, Alberta, on Thursday for a meeting with provincial and federal officials and then travel on Friday to Fort McMurray, center of the oil sands operations.
Cheney's office was not immediately available to comment.
Now, ostensibly, Mr. Cheney is staying home to help out with the tragedy in New Orleans.
Which is ironic in the extreme, given that a pretty strong case could be made that a small group of volunteers from Vancouver has so far done significantly more to help out the victims of Hurricane Katrina than he has.
And besides, the cancellation could not have possibly had anything to do with mounting threat of on the ground protests, in full view of the TV cameras, could it?
Because as far as the Roving Halliburtonians are concerned free speech is only free when it occurs outside of the Camera's Red Glare.
Update: This post was in no way meant to belittle the efforts of other volunteer groups large or small, of which there are many from all points on the compass, who are doing the good, hard work. We were just attempting to point out the difference between true hard work and untrue lazy spin.
When, exactly, we wonder did Mr. Bush decide that all he really wanted to do while New Orleans Was Sinking was to become a member of the Tragically Hip?
And the irony of the story?
Increasingly, it appears that the real thing is being banned from the airways for the duration.
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Last week Pat Carney went off the reservation and suggested that Canuckistan should fight back:
"What is there to talk about?" asked Senator Pat Carney, a former trade minister who now represents British Columbia. "We won. The Americans won't abide by the rule of law." That pretty much sums up the sentiment of the entire country.
But an even more subtle statement from Eric Reguly, one of the Globe and (no longer Empire)Mail's above-the-fold business analysts, was an even bigger sign that more and more of those who were previously on the free trade side of the border-line-in-the-sand are starting to realize that Canada could be in big trouble:
Reguly then goes on to reel off a list of resource industries and even breweries that we have lost control of recently.
He does this to make a point about the change in foreign investment laws, altered US SEC reporting on petroleum reserves, and the possibility that the head of the Cheney Administration could be coming North next week to reluctanly aggree to take the riches of the oil sands off our hands.
Now, for those of you who have watched 'The Sound Of Music' 317 times like I have (majority of viewings when girls have been sick/afflicted with chicken pox), or even if you haven't, you will remember that an Anschluss works best when it is helped along by folks like Herr Zeller:
Herr Zeller: Perhaps those who would warn you that the Anschluss is coming - and it is coming, Captain - perhaps they would get further with you by setting their words to music.
Captain von Trapp: If the Nazis take over Austria, I have no doubt, Herr Zeller, that you will be the entire trumpet section.
Herr Zeller: You flatter me, Captain.
Captain von Trapp: Oh, how clumsy of me - I meant to accuse you.
So who is our Herr Zeller now?
Could it be Ralph Klein?
Or Anne McClellan?
Well, actually, thanks to a very good piece in the Georgia Straight from Charlie Smith, our money is on a fine fellow named Michael Walker.
"U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney is visiting Alberta in early September after he received a special request from Michael Walker, executive director of the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute. Walker, who told the Straight that Cheney has been a fishing buddy for more than a decade, said he finalized the details of the trip during a visit with the vice-president at the White House in June.
“We invited Vice-President Cheney to come to Canada, although I heard yesterday, now, the deputy prime minister [Anne McLellan] is claiming she invited him,” Walker said. “He is coming up for a private visit with myself and another friend of his up in Alberta, where we’ll go off up in a lodge for a variety of purposes.”
And who, we wonder, is that secret 'friend' that is joining the big Mike and the even bigger Dick at that private lodge?
We're not entirely sure, but we can't help but wondering if, in the spirit of the economic annexing of Canada*, it is perhaps a former Enron executive who is promising a new 'kinder' and gentler Terasen Gas.
*Remember that 'Once the economic levers go....' quote from John Turner oh those so many preCarney-assisted sell-out years ago? Could it one day soon come to trump Mulroney's short term election winner 'You had a choice, sir.' from the same debate by miles and miles once that border is all gone?
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Direct from the horse's unambitious mouth:
"I believe that I am the right person for the job. Vancouver is a great
city. It is the heartbeat of this region and of this province, and when
Vancouver is working, British Columbia is working.
But given how quickly this has unfolded, I feel that I have a
responsibility to consult widely with the grassroots members of the NPA to
determine if they agree. I want to ask them if they feel that I am indeed the
right candidate at the right time for the City of Vancouver."
Why, exactly, does she feel she is right for the job?
And why does a mostly fawning local media, Vaughn Palmer excepted, seem to feel she is right for the job?
And is she suggesting that Vancouver is the industrial hub of British Columbia?
Has she been to Vancouver lately?
And we're not talking about a quick trip to the West End for sushi and a round of Blitzkrieg Bop at the BabyGap.
And what, exactly, is the grassroots of the NPA?
Could it be another one of those last minute push polls designed to bury the formerly Smilin' Sammy, whose looking more like the Buddha everyday, followed by a fawning Gary Mason (even pushier) column?
And does the NPA braintrust even care about the grassroots when there's all that creme out there that needs waylongterm Rapid Transit Line protection?
And are they really willing to take a shot with this horse sans the 'de la' in the second creme (ie. large green) in the gate?
And are they not worried about that obstacle course just past the finish line otherwise known as the Basi/Virk trial?
Or is the finish line all they really care about?
We've got questions......who's got answers?
Kudos to formerly Sean, now Sean Michael, Holman for nailing this one down almost from the start, both at 24 Hours and the even more up to the minute Public Eye. But what's with that double-barrelled first name?
Could it be a prelude to an Izzy Stone-like transformation somewhere on down the line? Sheeesh. More questions.....
One more: Whatever happened to Peter Ladner anyway?
Update: Not sure if they're answers, exactly, but Jamie Lee Hamilton has some pretty interesting opinions about how the grassroots just might be uprooted.
DoubleSecretProbationUpdate: Occasional reader Big Audible Dyn-O-Mite suggested offline that the title to this one should perhaps be PooMoo instead. We dunno(o).