Saturday, April 29, 2006

Just For You


My wife C. sings and dances in a group that is obsessed with musicals.

Of course, when you dive headlong into the world of showtunes things tend to spin out of control once in awhile.

Unfortunately, I'm the type of unobservant, word-obsessed dolt that can completely miss this 'live-life-to-the-fullest' stuff without even realizing it.

But even I couldn't ignore the obvious when C. started bringing home outlandish shoes and boots from the Sally Ann which she then spraypainted an even more outlandish, glittery gold.

This from a woman who was wearing a pair of striped overalls, a ragged t-shirt, and gumboots when I met her across an orienteering pond during staff training at summer camp a million or so compass spins ago.

Anyway, after I finished cleaning up the gold-embossed newspaper that was all over the basement floor, I asked C. what this all about.

She just said something to the effect that being outlandish at least twice was actually double the fun.

I had my doubts.

But then I saw the group perform, and it become abudantly clear that they were having more fun than was supposed to be humanly possible.


Unfortunately, one person who is not having so much fun this season is my wife's friend K.

K. has been unable to make it to rehearsals because she is very ill.

So C. makes regular trips to take K. soup and stories, and solace I think.

Once, she even took her a poem:

The world around us is full of beauty,
splendor that most don't see,

little everyday miracles,

like the blossoms on a tree.

Things like children's laughter,

and the sparkle in their eyes.

Things like rising and setting sun,

when vibrant colours streak the sky.

So when you see a sun set,

or the shimmering morning dew,
think of it as beauty,

that was created just for you.

Our oldest kid, E., who is just edging her way out onto the precipice of her teen years, is growing up with the constant clash that comes from inheriting the 'live-life' gene as well as this 'word-obsessed' introspective business from her two parents. Luckily, E. also has something else; something far more special that is hers and hers alone.

And you can see a glimmer of that something special in the poem that E. wrote for K.

Which pleases me more than you can know.

Way more.


Friday, April 28, 2006

There Is A Town......


Last night I got home from work late and exhausted.

I wanted to blog a little more on this stupid 'Appeasement of the Softwood' thing but I was just too down and disgusted.

I mean, it's very hard to not to be depressed when even CBC Radio jumps on the hamster wheel and starts spinning rightward, running as fast as it can in the direction of the neoRovian kant.

A 'Made In Canada' deal?


Next thing you know, they'll be telling us that Joe Canadian really does wear a checked shirt and that he plays in all-day road hockey games that only stop for passing streetcars.

And, oh ya, he just loves the CPC and he will never cut and run or sign-up for something as stupid and worthless as Peacekeeping.



I finally managed to get the kids to bed and, instead of heading for the subterranean blues room where the laptop lives, I plopped myself down on the couch and punched up 'The Last Waltz' on the DVD player.

Of course, I really only wanted to listen to one song.

It was Our Neil, completely dishevelled, gliding through 'Helpless' with the then still Young Canadians that used to be Bob Dylan's backing band.

And Joni was there too, in soaring voice with a grace and beauty that still makes me catch my breath everytime.

God, it was powerful.

And now Neil is at it again.

As we mentioned last week he's been working on a new album that goes after the Cheney Administration fearlessly, tooth and nail.

And true to form, once again, he's not singin' for Pepsi or Coke, and he sure as hell isn't singing for 'No Madison Avenue War.......'

Instead, he's singing for us, and he's doing it for free.

Thanks Shakey.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006



A couple of days ago we suggested that the coming appeasement on softwood would make Stephen Harper into Neville Chamberlain amongst the lumberjacks who like to loiter down at the waterfront docks while singing old Monty Python songs.

But now that we think of it - especially given the way Little Stephen has been sucking up to Jean Charest these days, perhaps this appeasement/armistice in the face of a coming occupation has the whiff of the Vichy to it.

OTTAWA (Reuters) The provincial government of Ontario said on Wednesday it was "very upset" at a purported framework agreement for resolving the U.S.-Canada softwood lumber dispute.

Ontario Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay also contested the federal Canadian government's assertion that there was no deal yet. He referred to a briefing by the Canadian ambassador to the United States, Michael Wilson, the lead negotiator for Ottawa.

"I've just gotten off the phone with Washington, with our negotiating team there, after they've been briefed by Ambassador Michael Wilson, who basically told our people at noon today that there's a deal, and we're very upset with the deal that's there," Ramsay told CTV television.

He said the deal provided for quotas to be put on Canadian lumber exports to the United States, which he said would be divided unfairly among Canada's provinces.

"Part of this quota system that we're going to come out of this (with) has to be set fairly, and for Ontario it's not, because it's taking one of the worse years of Ontario's exports into the United States under a very punishing tariff regime under this dispute, and set that as our benchmark.

"And it's going to cost thousands and thousands of jobs to Ontario."

For those who dream of langorous bubble baths and face peels when they think 'Vichy', think again:

The Vichy government was the regime set up in France by Marshal Henri Pétain in July, 1940, subsequent to the Franco-German armistice of June 22.

Petain was by then 83 years old. He had been due for retirement before WW1.

Its effective control extended only to unoccupied France and its colonies.

The Third Republic was voted out of existence by a truncated parliament, and a new constitution established a corporate state.

Sound far fetched?


But don't forget that since the beginning we have won this lumber thing at every level, on every playing field, both in the courts and in the tribunals.

And now Little Stephen and his 'Man Of Courage' David Emerson (MP for Vichcouver-Kingsway) are giving it all away.

Which has us wondering - why, exactly?

Is it so they can suck up to the Masters of Destruction even more than they already have?

Is it to make sure that Corporations like Canfor get an immediate and massive cash injection, some of which can then be passed along to courageous former executives?

Is it to signal that the economic occupation has begun in earnest?

I guess we'll know that the answer is yes to all of the above when Richard B. Cheney reschedules his Katrina (and possibly threat of protestor)-interrupted visit to the private game farms/oil sands of Northern Alberta with Michael Walker and the rest of the NeanderconNorth delegation so that he can have a few pops, take a few shots at the les visages, and deliver us from evil into the waiting arms of Halliburton and the Carlyle Group.*

*And don't forget the kinder, gentler Enron, KinderMorgan, that will pump the stuff straight out of Canuckistan thanks to the British Columbia government currently led by the doubly courageous Mr. Gordon Campbell.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Attack Of The Neocon Stem Cells!


Who would have guessed that the American Neocons would be so into cloning themselves.

The Conservative government (of Canada) has taken steps to keep the public from seeing images of flag-draped coffins when fallen soldiers are returned home from Afghanistan.

For the first time since the Afghan mission began, the government will shut down an Ontario airfield when the remains of four soldiers killed over the weekend are returned Tuesday.

Government officials said the new directive is permanent.


Is it possible that the disgraced, but technically adept, Korean stem cell guy has moved to Calgary?

Regardless, noted gene hunter and self-professed neandercon eradicator Dr. Ernst. V. Goebbelmeiner is reportedly starting to comb through the DNA of Little Stephen's Miracles in a race against time to identify and eradicate the PNACkian gene cluster before it can mutate and generate a cancer that first engulfs and then destroys the entire Canuckistanian body politic.

Here's hoping Dr. Goebbelmeiner is able to complete this invaluable incognito research before his funding is cut-off, his wife is smeared, and his data are Swift-boated.

Original link source: pogge.


Monday, April 24, 2006

A Softwood Treaty Named......



So, here we have it, apparently.

At long, long last.

Peace In Our Time

Canada and the United States appear very close to a historic breakthrough in the enduring softwood lumber dispute.

Industry sources who have been briefed on the discussions told The Globe and Mail that U.S. President George W. Bush called Stephen Harper on the weekend to outline an offer. In it the United States would lift duties on Canadian lumber and return most of the $5-billion it has collected from Canadian lumber companies.

Sure, sure.

And that piece of paper Little Stephen waves in the air when the deal goes down tomorrow or the day after?

Would that be the one that locks us into the appeasement of a restrictive, non-free-trade agreement? Specifically, a rumoured percentage restriction of the US market at a time when we have literally millions of board feet of beetle infested lumber to cut before it turns to sawdust.


Next thing you know they will be calling David Emerson 'Mr. Courage'.

Oh, wait, hang on a second.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Buying Off The Base


When the CPC braintrust came up with the $1200 dollar bribe to kill the national childcare program awhile back I figured it was just a sop to the faithful that they would roll over on and then blame the screaming meanies while promising to do better next time.

Truth be told though I was only kind of joking because, while the parallels are there, even I didn't think they had gone all in on the Rovian Bandalero Bangwagon.

But now it does look like such a cynical buy-out of the base really is the way Little Stephen and the Miracles are actually going:

At a children's playgroup in the urban sprawl that surrounds downtown Vancouver, Harper challenged his opponents to vote against the Tory plan to give parents of pre-schoolers a $1,200 cheque, and warned he would be happy to fight an election over it.

"We know this is popular," said Harper. "We are going to proceed with it. It will be in the budget. So I hope the opposition considers the alternatives very carefully," the Prime Minister said as children shrieked in the background.

And if this gambit works, one can only wonder what the price for the assasination of public healthcare might be.


Would $5,000 and a case of chewable Flinstone vitamins make the nut amongst Canuckistan's new dumb?

Dunno for sure, but I am certainly not convinced the odds of it happening are actually that long.

Oh ya, and as we also predicted a few days ago - Here Come Da' Turf!


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Watch What They Do....

.....Not What They Say




Sure thing.

And Mr. Emerson would be, what, exactly?

And as for all that 'we love whistleblowers' malarkey, well, get a load of this:

Susan Delacourt Toronto Star; Apr 14/06
OTTAWA—The new, heavy communications hand of Conservative Ottawa has reached into the realm of fiction, with an Environment Canada scientist muzzled from speaking about his novel on climate change.

Mark Tushingham's new book is called
Hotter than Hell, but yesterday he was plunged into the icy reality of the new Conservative communications regime, where ministers, MPs and the media are encountering strict new controls over the flow of information to the public.

Shortly before Tushingham was due to give a luncheon speech in Ottawa about his novel — a futuristic account of Canada and the U.S. at war over water resources in a globally warmed world — he received an email from the environment minister's office, warning him not to attend the event.

All of which came hot on the heels of the latest revelation about Little Stephen and His Miracles real intentions regarding global warning:

The new Conservative government has decided to slash spending on Environment Canada programs designed to fight global warming by 80 per cent, and wants cuts of 40 per cent in the budgets devoted to climate change at other ministries, according to cabinet documents obtained by The Globe and Mail.

Of course, Mr. Stephen Harper denied it (but not really) with weasel words while his (anti)Environment minister, Rona 'Don't Call Me Susan' Ambrose, simultaneously ran around telling every hack that would listen that Canada's commitment to the Kyoto accord must be battered and shrunken until it can be taken into the bathtub and drowned.


It all sounds so familiar, in a Four Horsmen of The Apocalypse (ie.Rove/Atwater/Ailes/Norquist) sort of way.

So enough with the codswallop about how the sky isn't falling just because we are now being ruled by neo-Straussians who are determined to turn all that progressive Canuckistan holds dear into South Dakota.

And besides, how will we even know if the sky is falling if we are choking and blinded by greenhouse gases while the unimpeded UV rays turn our skin to jelly and force us to crank up the airconditioning in January.

Update: Many thanks to reader ArC for the link to the FourHorsemen muzzle and to LarasDad for letting us know that Mr. Harper's muzzles are now everywhere (ie. even the military), which has us long before somebody like Rick Hillier is forced to pull a Colin Powell in an effort to get us to go along with a questionable, pre-emptive invasion of some other middle eastern country whose name also starts with an 'I'?


Keep On Rockin' In The Free World


Looks like the godfather of grunge, irrascible iconoclast, and former Winnipegger turned Redwooder, Neil Young, is getting set to go long against the reign of George W. Bush. This, according to Editor and Publisher:

NEW YORK As an E&P "Pressing Issues" column recently noted, rock star Neil Young is the son of a famed Canadian journalist, so it should not surprise many that he recently recorded a song in California with a very reportorial -- or at least pundit -- feel to it. It’s called “Impeach the President,” so there can be little question what it is about. Apparently it was recorded with a 100-voice choir. Rumors have circulated the past few days on the Web, but E&P has tracked down the strongest confirmation in a blog kept by Sherman Oaks, Ca. musician/singer Alicia Morgan.

Here is what Ms. Morgan herself had to say:

On Wednesday, I was at work when I got a call for a Neil Young session the next day. Needless to say, I was excited about it - Neil Young is one of my musical heroes. When my husband and I got to Capitol, we found 98 other singers, a collection of L.A.'s finest. All I knew was that we were singing on a new Neil Young record, but when the lyrics we were supposed to sing flashed on the giant screen, a roar went up from the choir. I'm not going to give the whole thing away, but the first line of one of the songs was "Let's impeach the President for lyin'!" Turns out the whole thing is a classic beautiful protest record. The session was like being at a 12-hour peace rally. Every time new lyrics would come up on the screen, there were cheers, tears and applause. It was a spiritual experience. I can't believe my good fortune at being a part of this.


And who ever said the 'Guess Who Suck' and that 'The Jets Were Lousy' anyway.


Wrong troupadour. Same iconoclasm.

But it really doesn't matter.

Because whether we drive a hearse or elbow our way through the underground every morning we are all Winnipeggers now.

For an audiolink to a distinctly strong ode to 'One Great City' go to CBC Radio 3 here, wait for the intro to play, click on Mr. Sampson's set, and enjoy.


Friday, April 14, 2006

Keeping The Light Shining On....

....The Legislature

LedgeRaids 'R Us

There's a new place in town to keep track of the goings on in the never ending (or is that never starting?) LedgeRaid/InfluencePeddling Saga in Victoria, British Columbia.

And it's called, appropriately enough, 'The House of Infamy'.

Fantastic 'Ledge-In-Light' photo credit - Agape.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Is It Time For Canada To....

.....Crank Up the Centrifuges?

Proliferations'R Us

Here's an interesting little tidbit from Sy Hersh's 'Let's Nuke Iran' piece that Mr. Bush is calling 'wild speculation', but not denying:

The rationale for regime change was articulated in early March by Patrick Clawson, an Iran expert who is the deputy director for research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and who has been a supporter of President Bush.......


.....Clawson said that he would prefer to rely on sabotage and other clandestine activities (to deal with Iran), such as “industrial accidents.” But, he said, it would be prudent to prepare for a wider war, “given the way the Iranians are acting. This is not like planning to invade Quebec.”

So, to use a little Rumskullian logic on that last sentence....How do they know that planning to invade Iraq is not like planning to invade Quebec unless they have already, previously in the past, made plans to invade Quebec (presumably to augment the state of Vermont's late winter supplies of Maple Syrup to turn Vermontonian's against the evil regime of former governor and noted public health care lover Howard Dean)?

But, more seriously, all of this crap makes one wonder if it is causing even relatively sane and stable regimes like, say, I dunno, Venezuala to start thinking that the only way they can truly protect themselves from imminent invasion and/or bunker-busting bombing with or without 'industrial accidents' (on the scale of, maybe, Bopal or something?) is to start making and/or acquiring nukes of their own.

Which, I suppose, could lead to the emergence of a whole new set of big money global markets for war profiteering jackal corporations run by Goldtriggerfingeresque Madmen.

Sheesh. That irony sure can be a hard, not to mention lucrative, mistress.

She sure can.

Update: Cathie has the Best of the Bloggodome's take on the lunacy.

Here Come Da 'Turf.....

......Astroturf That Is



What do we think of the bloviation for the nation that is Stephen Harper's newly unveiled 'Accountabily Act'?

Well, in terms of pure political spinmeistering it's can't lose stuff. In fact, overall, it looks like the mainstream media has taken the whirlitzer by the horns already.

But what does it really mean?

Well, we figure it means third party think-tanks and so-called advocacy groups will now hold sway in the Canadian political discourse.

Of course, there will be some legitimate ones in there, but just like in, dare we say it, 'The United States', most of it will be big money-driven hucksterism that is accountable to no-one except those that are footing the bill.

And that is the 'astroturf' of our subtitle - fake grass pretending to be the real thing.


Are you ready for groups like 'People for Truth, Private Power, Justice, Private Healthcare and The Canadian Way'?

Well, you should be, because they are soon to be quoted by, and given face time by, a CanWest Global/BellMedia/Chum* organ near you.

*Please note: We no longer consider the C(h)orus of Weasels to be in the game


Monday, April 10, 2006

Dirty Tricks In My Neighbourhood?


Mike Watkins is reporting that strange things are happening to the 'De-elect Emerson' campaign:

Someone out there in Vancouver-Kingsway is worried about the De-Elect Emerson signs going up all over the riding. In addition to the odd sign being stolen – which the De-Elect Emerson folks will happily replace – someone has been leaving in sign-owner’s mailboxes what looks to be an official letter from the City of Vancouver regarding political signs.....


......In a foolish attempt to intimidate riding residents, someone in the Grays Park area is trying to impersonate the city by leaving part of an actual city letter in sign-owner’s mailboxes. This letter is of course fraudulent, confirmed by the city:

Date: Thu, 06 Apr 2006 08:38:37
From: Rockett, Alan

… yes you are completely entitled to have the sign on your private property. It looks as though someone in the neighbourhood has copied the letter regarding election signs on city property, is copying it, and leaving it in mailboxes around your area. I have had other people ring me regarding this letter. By chance is there any official letter head from the city at the top of the letter??

Thank you for your inquiry and again, you are completely entitled to have the sign on your property.


Alan Rockett
Street Activities Coordinator
City of Vancouver

It turns out what is being left in mailboxes appears to be a copy of a real letter sent out by Mr. Rockett during the last election that has had the top half (city letterhead logo and original addressee) cut off.

Tres bizarre, n'est pas?

But have no fear Canuckistanians - to quote (sort of) the 'Leaker In Chief"*

"Fool us once....we won't get fooled again."

And, Hey!......I only live a block and a half from Gray's Park, and I even serve on the Park Patrol on those crazy weekend nights when the yutes get all hopped up and start causin' trouble - sure hope we see, and document (because we never intervene - we are not vigilante Minutemaid Men, donch'ya know), some junior Segretti's messin' with people's lawn signs.

*aka Lancelot Link Secret Chimp


Saturday, April 08, 2006

When A Dad Loves His Daughter


My wife C. and I have two daughters.

Our youngest kid, who just turned seven, is a tap dancer that wants to be just like Juni from the Spykids movies. She also loves to climb into the treehouse to eat her lunch when I bring out the stinky pickles and cheese. In fact, E. the Younger did that today with her edamame beans.

Our oldest kid is thirteen and she is stuck right smack in the middle of that place where she is both the little kid her little sister is and the young woman she will soon become fulltime.

And because of all that E. the Elder has recently forced me to think pretty hard about some of the larger issues that affect young women everywhere.

You know, all that stuff Heather Mallick likes to write about.

Anyway, if and when the time comes, I can only hope that I can do as much for my daughter as a guy named Doyle Niemann did for his daughter Cassie.

It's quite the story, and it just turned one year old:

By Matthew Mosk
Washington Post
Wednesday, April 13, 2005; Page A01

Cassi Niemann didn't know exactly what legislative district her father represented or the precise jargon to describe what he was doing in Annapolis last week.

But in the posting on her personal blog Saturday, the 25-year-old daughter of Maryland Del. Doyle L. Niemann (D-Prince George's) made clear that she knew he had done something important. Something controversial. And he had done it for her.

What Niemann did was speak out on the House floor in support of the Medical Decision Making Act, one of two gay rights bills passed in the final days of the Maryland General Assembly's 2005 session, which ended late Monday.

"I am casting this vote for my daughter, who I love dearly, who is 25 and is in a committed relationship with another woman," Niemann said. "Now, should we deny her the rights that we would expect, that I would expect for my wife and I? No. I'm casting my vote for her."

At the time I linked to Ms. Niemann's blog, almost in passing, over on the Hono(u)rable Roll on the lower left sidebar.

And, almost inexplicably she linked back.

Now, a year later, I sure hope this more fulsome explanation does her Dad's deed more justice.

And besides, could you imagine how much better off we would all be if more politicians, regardless whether they are fathers or not, did what their conscience told them?

Thanks Mr. Niemann.

Photo by C: The two E's and me last summer in British Columbia's high country.


Friday, April 07, 2006

Defending The Indefensible - Part XIX


When the tragic number reached 713 we asked why we should believe this was the real number of child deaths in British Columbia that had gone uninvestigated due to ideologically-driven changes to the Child Protection System in British Columbia:

The worst part of all this is the fact that despite how horrifying that number '713' is, I am not convinced that it means anything at all.


Because this is only what Gordon Campbell, John Les and all of the B.C. Liberals are admitting to as of yesterday. Furthermore, they are stating, publically, and on the record, that it is for uninvestigated child deaths that occurred before Jan 2003.

So, first, given their previous public and on the record statements, why should we believe them now (ie. last week the number was zero until Kathleen Stephany kicked up a fuss and earlier this week it was 80, but only because the chief Coroner blew the first whistle)?

Second, for the same reasons, why should we believe Mr. Les when he says that the 'system' has worked efficiently since?

Well, the Hughes Report is out and - guess what? - Mr. Hughes now says the tragic number has reached 955.

Once again, we can only ask the following:

How do these people sleep at night?

*More to come on this - much, much more.
And one more thing: All of the people of British Columbia owe Kathleen Stephany a huge debt of gratitude.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Is There A Pilot House On.....



The informant (RCMP Cpl Andrew Cowan) says that indictable offences have been committed, namely, THAT, on or between April 01, 2002 and December 31, 2003, at or near Victoria, British Columbia, Udhe Singh BASI, being an official, specifically a Ministerial Assistant for the Minister of Finance, Provincial Government of British Columbia, did accept from Brian KIERAN, for himself a benefit, to wit: receiving of monies in connection with a matter of business relating to the government, contrary to Section 121(l)(a) of the Criminal Code of Canada.
Search Warrant, Sworn Before A Justice of The Supreme Court of British Columbia, Oct. 2004
Released to Public, Apr 03, 2006 (pdf)

"....out of respect for the integrity of the legal process, I will make no comments about the case prior to my appearance as a witness for the Crown.''
Brian Kieran, former co-proprietor of the Pilothouse, then the K&E, lobbying firms
Vancouver Sun, Apr 3, 2006

Brian Kieran, who just last week handed the mantle of senior partner (of K&E) to Jamie Elmhirst, will be - for all intents and purposes - retiring to Pender Island.

Wow, things sure have a way of moving fast when a little light finally shines in.

Regardless, that must be some Gulag, that Gulf Island Archipeligo.

All information between brackets is ours, added for clarification.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Corrections*


Sure the signing bonuses likely helped. And the raises too, even though many of them are just getting folks back to where they were before.

So why were so many of British Columbia's public sector workers heaving a sigh of relief this week?

I don't know for sure, but I do know why my friend A. is relieved.

A. cleans the building at the very fine, still quasi-public, institution where I ply my trade. She is one of the most conscientious, hardest working people I know (much harder working then me). And I remember commiserating with her when her union was smashed by the administration of the very, very, very fine q-p institution where we work and the Campbell government a while back.

A. is not a rabble rouser, but back then she was dismayed and she was scared, especially about how she was going to pay her mortgage if the outsourcing began.

So when I saw her today she told me she was happy.

And I was glad.

And then she told me why.

"I'm just glad that I still have my job," she said.

And that made me sad, very sad indeed.

Because this is a woman who has worked, and worked hard, for the institution for more than 25 years and she was scared that she was going to be thrown out on her ear, five years from retirement just so the big bossmen and bosswomen could score a few ideological points (ie. for no good reason at all).

And in my book that is just not right (or left).

*with apologies to Jonathan Franzen.


Asymmetries 'R Us?


So yesterday, while I was home with a sick kid, I went back and re-read the LedgeRaid search warrant stuff again.

And suddenly two things became very clear.

Of course, from the beginning I kind of had an inkling of them, but now it is like looking through fine, if slightly cracked, crystal - especially based on the stuff quoted directly from one of the warrants here:

#1) Those who allegedly took the bribes were charged and shamed.

#2) Those who allegedly offered the bribes were not.

So, the big question, that I hope is answered at the trial this summer, is the following: Why the asymmetry?

Thanks to reader ArC for bringing this to the top of mind in the comments.
Brought this issue up over at SM Holman's where the vitriol amongst Liberals of all stripes is currently on full display (and may, of course, actually be at least part of the answer to the big question).
Went looking for radio analysis of the issue yesterday, being at home with the youngest and all. There was none. No Rafe Mair of course. Cluffie was his usual Puffmaster self and over on the (nolonger)Giant98, well, you know, there was a fill-in host for Bill 'W.C.' Good Jr., and she clearly wanted nothing to do with the issue.
Update: A reader pointed out that there was, indeed, a good discussion of the issue last evening on M. Smyth's show because he had Mr. Holman on for half an hour (I missed it picking the other kid up from musical theater. Sheesh, I can't imagine how single parents do it - although if you are a Little Stephen supporter you would probably say that that $100 a month oughta cover it just fine, to which I say .......Ya, right!).


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Albatross Takes Wing


The name of the (non)accountability albatross hanging from the PM's neck briefly took wing yesterday and soared above the House of Commons for all to see:

Disgruntled constituents from embattled MP David Emerson's riding of Vancouver-Kingsway took their recall message to Ottawa today.

They chartered a plane to pull a protest banner over parliament hill, directing Emerson to ‘Call Home’.

They want Emerson to return to his riding and address his constituents' concerns directly, a request that Emerson has, so far, refused.

And where did the money come from to hire that plane? From people like my neighbours and me, at five and ten bucks a pop:

The chartered plane and banner cost more than $1,600. (De-Elect David Emerson Spokesperson and Vancouver Kingsway constituent Manuel) Pereda said he gathered enough donations at a rally on Sunday to cover the cost.

Like I said earlier, my wife and my kids and I were at that rally Sunday. And we saw all kinds of other regular families there too giving their support and their dollars along with the rabble rousers.

And that's what, I'm sure, scares the beejeebuz out of the flack-hacks who are counselling Mr. Emerson to lay low and wait for this to blow over.


Because this thing is increasingly being driven by plain old regular minivan driving folks who are fast becoming committed to a retail political issue that is mushrooming all over the place.

Which is something that can rarely be 'fixed' by media buys and spin machines.

And as the hip young woman* on top of the monkey bars with a trumpet (who had just finished playing a stirring rendition of 'O Canada' accompanied by bongos) chanted Sunday - that is what 'democracy (the real thing) looks like'.

*And who captivated our oldest daughter (age 13) because she clearly wanted to emulate her as well as our youngest (age 7) because she just wanted climb up there and blow a horn too.
Thanks to Cathie From Canada who put the bug in my ear on the comment threads about how important it is to keep pushing something like this on the local, 'all politics is retail' level.

Update:Looks like the flack-hacks are feeling the heat because they've changed strategy. Mike Watkins is reporting that Mr. Emerson will be going on CBC Radio One this afternoon to answer 'listener' questions.


Monday, April 03, 2006

Every Which Way But Loose


(Please remember folks.......Information In the search warrant quoted below has NOT yet been proven, or disproven, in a court of law)

Ever wonder why Mr. David Basi became a person of interest for RCMP Corporal A.T. Cowan in the first place?

Well, according to one of the edited search warrants released today (pdf) it was because of 'The Project':

"....on or about October 07, 2003 I (Cpl. Cowan) became actively involved in RCMP Island District Druc Section investigation identified as Project 'Everywhichway' hereinafter referred to as the Project. My Project duties were the monitoring of telephone intercepts relating to named target Udhe Singh (David) Basi......


...... These Authorizations (for wiretaps) included BASI's residence, BC Government office, and BC Government cellular telephones, as well as BASI's home computer internet account....."


These Authorizations included several other identified targets and relate to investigations in the following alleged criminal offences: drugs, proceeds of crime, conspiracy and breach of trust."

In other words, originally the police were not looking for potential bribes in exchange for insider information on BC Rail but instead they were looking at any potential involvement in drug deals and other sundry crimes. To whit:

".....the criminal investigation of BASI initially concerned proceeds of crime and corruption."

But all that changed very quickly when Spiderman entered the picture:

".....during the investigation, Erik BORNMAN (B: 1976-05-20), hereinafter referred to as BORNMAN, an associate of BASI's became a person of interest. BORNMAN is a partner with a Victoria and Vancouver based lobby firm known as Pilothouse Public Affairs Group, hereinafter, and commonly referred to as Pilothouse. He had contact with BASI and received information and documents from BASI in exchange for payments which were made to Aneal Basi for forwarding to (David) BASI."

So, one of the big questions in the coming weeks and months will be - what turned Mr. Bornman? Again from the warrant:

".... Erik Bornman is a witness in the investigation. Mr. Bornman has provided the RCMP with information with respect to this investigation which I believe to be true and correct."

And whatever became of 'The Project' you may be asking? Well.....

".....due to the complexity of the investigation and the Project, facts are still being gathered."

That was Sept 2004. We sure are looking forward to finding out where it has all gone since.

All information in brackets above is ours, except for Mr. Bornman's DOB which is remarkably close to the proprietor of Public Eye. Which jogged our memories about both once being members of the UVIC Young Liberals at, we presume, approximately the same time. David Basi and Robert Virk were also members of the same Kewl Kids Club and it appears that perhaps Cpl. Cowan was wondering about those times too (from the warrant one last time: OTHER SEARCH WARRANT APPLICATIONS: 56. That on January 29, 2004, a search warrant was executed at the University of Victoria relating to the student records of BASI and Bob Virk).


Spiderman's Sidekick Pleads 'Integrity'


Pilothouse, Pilothouse, Pilothouse!

That was the Liberal-lovin' lobbyhouse home of Spiderman, Eric Bornman, and his sidekick Brian Kieran.

And now that the redacted warrants have been released Mr. Kieran, after apparently cutting a deal, appears to be taking the virtual fifth:

Bornman and Brian Kieran, a partner in the lobby firm, will be witnesses during the trial.

Kieran issued a statement Monday.

"The release of portions of warrant information in the case of the two charged former ministerial employees may lead to assumptions that would not be made if the media was able to report on all the facts in full context,'' he said.

"And, out of respect for the integrity of the legal process, I will make no comments about the case prior to my appearance as a witness for the Crown.''

Entirely understandable I suppose. Especially when it comes from such an upstanding, fine and virtually virtuous fellow.



Is His Spidey Sense Tingling?


Edited Ledge-Raid Warrant released, and......

Despite previous reports to the contrary, Spiderman is definitely in play:

....The newly-released documents show police believed former top government aide David Basi was selling influence to a Victoria lobbyist – Erik Bornman of Pilothouse Public Affairs. It lists $24,000 in payments made to Basi by Bornman – who has not been charged, and is expected to testify for the Crown against Basi.

Police allege Basi referred clients to Bornman, and also passed information and documents to the lobbyist. The money was allegedly passed to Basi through his cousin Aneal – also a government employee – who would received cheques from Bornman for "contract writing services."

More to come......


The Albatross


Our whole family went to the Emerson march yesterday here on the wrong side of the tracks in Lotusland.

And we had fun walking up the street that Mr. Emerson knows nothing about - Kingsway.

There were lots of people. The Province and the (notso)Giant'98 said there were hundreds. Me, I would have put the total in the low four figures.

Regardless, it was fun.

It was also goofy (DE in dunce-cap; DE stealing our votes; crazy get-ups, impassioned speeches - some rambling, some to the point; and a few corny songs).

And it was all decidely low tech and low budget.

But best of all, it showed that the 'Emerson Problem' is not going away, not because of media or money, but because people care.

And that's what really counts.


Sunday, April 02, 2006

Is Alan Freeman Blind?


Mr. Freeman is the Washington correspondent of the Toronto Globe and Mail.

Thus, most of his pieces are political milquetoast (ie. behind that bloggodome speedball curve that Russell Smith is apparently so worried about), and as such they rarely warrant comment.

But yesterday Mr. Freeman had a piece in the Focus section, on the same page that used to be reserved for Heather Mallick, in which he essentially said that many of the problems of young black males in America are of their own making.

And here are some of the evidentiary examples Mr. Freeman used to come to this conclusion:*

Actor Bill Cosby's statement: "It's cursing, and calling each other 'nigger' as they're walking up and down the street. They think they're hip. They can't read. They can't write. They're laughing and giggling and they're going nowhere."

Social work professor Ronald Mincy's statement: ....if "you come in to work with your pants down to your knees and your hat on backwards," you are not going to impress your employer.

Twenty year old African American 'Sam's' statement: "The way you talk to me can make and break a relationship and I will walk off a job....You can talk at me or you can talk to me. I guarantee, you talk at me, you're going to have a problem."

Nineteen-year old African American 'Terry's' statement: "Don't kiss nobody's ass. Be yourself. Because you kiss ass, they run over you."

Which, of course, is shocking, just shocking!

But, then again, I have to wonder - when he's not taking taxi and/or limo rides to and from Pearson and Reagan Airports, has Mr. Freeman ever sat on a bus or a subway behind a group of young kids?

Or, has he ever sat behind the same kids at a hockey game at the Air Canada Center in Toronto or a basketball game at the Verizon Center in Washington?

And it doesn't have to be a group of black kids.

And it doesn't have to be in Toronto or Washington. It could be in Edmonton or Pheonix or Saskatoon for that matter, Me, I work with whole swaths of young white, yellow and brown kids in Vancouver every single day and I see and hear all of the stuff that Mr. Freeman trotted out in his article, and more, from all of them.

And because those kids are attending a left coast Canuckistan university I believe it is not unreasonable to assume that most of them are neither poor nor deadenders.

So please stop trumpeting neandercon-friendly strawmen theories that seek to place the blame on "popular ghetto culture" for the soaring incarceration rates among young African American men and instead get back to the root cause.

Which, in case you've missed it right around the corner from many of Washington's finest hotels, is still called racism**.

*Hidden behind the subscription wailing wall where it belongs. And besides, if this stuff ever got out to the wider world of the open web folks like Steve Gilliard just might turn it to jello - and that's before the refrigeration.
**Or, if Mr. Freeman prefers, he could just stay in his Washington hotel and just check out who's doing all the menial labour for minimum wage in that fine establishment.


Saturday, April 01, 2006

Blame It On.....


.....The Other Guy

Or, to be more precise, his lawyer.

From Irwin Loy comes this explanation why we didn't get to see the British Columbia Legislature Raid search warrants (editted version) yesterday:

"We've hit a snag," according to lawyer Heather Maconachie, counsel for CBC and CityTV.

It seems the counsel for Aneal Basi hasn't had time to look at the document today before it was to be passed on to the media.

Now the handover might not happen until Monday morning.

Loy also points out the supreme irony of the unholy alliance between The MotherCorp and the Empire formerly owned by Moses Znaimer (which just may say something about both networks' feelings for the owners of Global - the not-so magnificent AsperSons).


De-Electing David Emerson


Again, like I've said before, I actually want Mr. E. to stay.

Not because I don't think he should go.

On the contrary.

However, I'm looking forward to his being an albatross of anti-accountability bling hanging from the neck of Little Stephen from now until election day.

But that doesn't mean I won't walk down Kingsway to protest his inability to be Mr. Harper's worst nightmare.

And it's happening this weekend, Sunday Apr 2nd @ 1pm beginning at Kingcrest Park (26th* and Kingsway).

*That would be 'East' 26th which, of course, is on the 'wrong' side of Mr. Emerson's domicilic dividing line.
More info on this and other interesting topics available at Mike Watkins' place.