Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Today On The Dobranos.......

......Will A Content Consultant Be Fitted For Goat Horns?

Last time on 'The Dobranos' the documents waving frantically behind the 'Teh Google Wailing Wall' suggested strongly to us that the 'New Boss' of the Vancouver Convention Center Expansion Project wants everybody concerned to know that things are no longer being run the way they once were by the 'Old Boss'.

Which is fair enough, especially when viewed through the 'We are doing our best to get things under control' lens.

But now it appears that the 'Old Boss' is being fitted for bigger and better things in the scapegoat department.

Michael Smythe has the story in today's Province.

Ken Dobell, Campbell's $250-an-hour "special adviser," had been the premier's choice as chairman of the convention-centre project board.

But Dobell was dumped last April while the project's finances were sliding off the rails. Originally priced at $495 million just four years ago, the budget for the half-built convention centre now stands at $883 million and could soar even higher.

Tourism Minister Stan Hagen, the cabinet point-man on the convention centre, said yesterday he wasn't happy with the non-answers he was getting from Dobell on the megaproject's ballooning budget.

Hagen said he was preparing to go to the Treasury Board earlier this year to beg for more money for the project and he wanted to know exactly how much the facility was going to cost.

"I was looking for answers and I wasn't getting them," Hagen said.

"I said, 'I'm only going to Treasury Board once, so I want the final number.' And I didn't get it."

It was at that point, Hagen said, that he decided to replace Dobell with respected private-sector real-estate developer David Podmore.

All of which has us wondering if this means that creative consulting is now a contact sport?

And if so, will the Old Boss come back swinging?

Only time and/or newscycles will tell.


Monday, October 29, 2007

This Week On The Dobranos.....


...The Content Consultant (not?)Fades Away


There are all kinds of reasons why the Vancouver Convention Center expansion is currently either $248 million or $388 million dollars over budget (the actual number depends on when you decide to start your post-fast ferry reservation clock).

And, clearly, some of those reasons, like rising construction costs, appear to be legitimate.

Especially if you buy into the 'build the pyramid exactly as originally envisioned' vision-thing as you chant 'Olympics Comin' Fast!.....Olympics Comin' Fast!......Olympics Comin' Fast!...." over and over and over again while you simultaneously ignore the pleas of Schoolboards screaming for money so that they can waste it on crazy stuff like Special Needs Programs.

But I digress.....


One thing that has not been clear for sometime, however, is why we were told so little about the extent of the Convention Center Expansion overruns.

However, thanks to acting British Columbia auditor general Errol Price we now why:

Here it is, taken directly Mr. Price's report released last week (warning pdf):

An important mechanism, intended to keep a broader range of stakeholders updated, was the monthly progress reports provided to the (Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Project) VCCEP board and stakeholders by VCCEP’s management team.

We found, however, that these reports, although quite detailed, lack a few important components.

The reports we examined showed only actual commitments to date and forecast costs relative to the approved budget, rather than showing the total estimated costs to complete the project.

The status reports also did not provide the readers with a clear understanding of the significant risks, the range of possible outcomes, and the strategies to deal with them.

As the inflationary pressures increased and as contingencies were used up without being replenished, the reports painted a rosier picture than was actually the case.

So, who was the boss of the VCCEP who wrote those rosy reports?

Well, if they were written before April of this year, they would have been penned by British Columbia's most well known content consultant, Mr. Ken Dobell.

How do we know that?

Why, because in the VCCEP's recent public 'progress report' (warning: another pdf) the new boss, Mr. David Podmore, was pleased to acknowledge the efforts of the old boss:

I am pleased to recognize the contributions of former Directors
Bruce Okabe, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Sport and the Arts, and of
Andrew Wilkinson, and acknowledge the efforts of former VCCEP Chair, Ken Dobell, from the Project’s inception in 2003 through March 31, 2007.


David Podmore, Chair
Board of Directors

Admirably, in the official response to AG Price's report, the new boss, Mr. Podmore, is now agreeing to abide by its recommendation (appended to the first pdf linked to above):

The current Board of VCCEP accepts the Auditor General’s recommendation respecting reporting of forecast costs to completion to all stakeholders. VCCEP has taken the steps necessary to ensure that its monthly progress reports to its stakeholders, as well as to its shareholder, include details regarding variances from plan that may arise (and mitigative actions being implemented).

Then, interestingly, the new boss, Mr. Podmore, also notes that the Auditor General did not distinguish between the 'oversight actions' of the previous Chair (ie. the old boss) and himself:

The Auditor General’s report does not, however, make a clear distinction between the actions and oversight of the previous Chair and Board (which commissioned the OAG’s review) and the new Chair and Board appointed on April 19, 2007.


Is the new boss trying to tell us something about the actions of the old boss?

Thanks to Mr. Schreck (not Shrek) for pointing us towards Mr. Podmore's consultative comment in the response AG's report. Amazing what you can find when you get past 'Teh Google' and poke your nose a little deeper into the public record, eh?


Friday, October 26, 2007

Tonight On The Dobranos.....

.....Circling The Lawyer Wagons

Yesterday, a special prosecutor was named in the case of Mr. Ken Dobell, content consultant extraordinare.

The job of the special prosecutor, Vancouver litigation lawyer Terrence Robertson, is to determine if charges should be laid against Mr. Dobell.

For the record, which will become germane to the discussion below, special prosecutors in British Columbia are appointed from a list administered through the Ministry of the Attorney General. The current Attorney General of British Columbia is Mr. Wally Oppal.

Of course, Mr. Dobell, the former Deputy Minister and close advisor to B.C. Premier Mr. Gordon Campbell*, will temporarily step away from some of current content consultations and cooperate fully with the special prosecutor.

How do we know this?

Because Mr. Dobell's lawyer, Mr. George Macintosh, says it will be thus:

Last night, Mr. Dobell's lawyer released a written statement that said Mr. Dobell "was stepping down from his work for the province with respect to softwood lumber" during the investigation.

"That is the right thing to do," said the statement by George Macintosh.

Mr. Dobell plans to co-operate fully with the special prosecutor, the lawyer's statement said.

Now some of our more poltically attuned readers on things all things provincial, folks like G. West, Mary and Meaghan, have likely already raised an eyebrow or two at the name of Mr. Dobell's lawyer, Mr. Macintosh.


Because it turns out that Mr. Macintosh is also currently acting as a special prosecutor for Mr. Wally Oppal's Attorney General Ministry in a very different case.

A case which involves the Mr. Oppal's brother:

A special prosecutor has been appointed to look into a land deal in Abbotsford, B.C., involving Harry Oppal, the brother of British Columbia Attorney General Wally Oppal.

Vancouver lawyer George Macintosh is actually the second special prosecutor to take on the file after the first, appointed in February, had to bow out because of personal issues unrelated to the case.

Macintosh will review an investigation conducted by the Financial Institutions Commission of B.C. into allegations that several people were involved in a possibly illegal land deal in Abbotsford.

So, just to bring things full circle, it is important to remember that it was Mr. Oppal, the A.G version, who originally attempted to stonewall any suggestion by the opposition NDP that perhaps someone should have a look into Mr. Dobell's activities, as Vancouver Sun columnist Mr. Vaughn Palmer noted last spring:

(Oppal said Dobell's ).....lobbying was already being reviewed by the privacy commissioner. "Why don't we wait for the results of that investigation?" Oppal suggested.

"One day it is the court case, and the next it is the privacy commissioner," (Opposition leader Carole) James returned. "Soon they'll run out of excuses to hide behind."

Oppal tried again to deflect the shot. If the facts were as "damning and inculpatory" as the New Democrats alleged, why didn't they "go before the privacy commissioner and tell him that?"

The suggestion was so far off the mark as to be grossly misleading.

The commissioner, David Loukidelis, doing double duty as the registrar for lobbyists, is looking at only one aspect of Dobell's activities: Had he followed the law in registering within 10 days of commencing his lobbying activities? Nothing to do with the "apparent conflict of interest," alleged by the NDP.

(Stuff in brackets is my paraphrasing - Mr. Palmer's entire piece is worth the re-read)

And the seasons, they go round and round......

Now, if we could just find all those darned painted ponies who could point us towards the real story on this and so may many other sub-plots that are swirling around Mr. Campbell's government and the people who run and/or ran (from?) it.

*ie. during the time before
Mr. Dobell became a consultant who discussed content with Mr. Campbell's government at the behest of the City of Vancouver who had hired Mr. Dobell to content consult using monies that were made available to the City by the government of Mr. Campbell - monies that Mr. Dobell apparently suggested might coming the City's way back when he was still 'officially' working for Mr. Campbell's government which, we suspect, may be the crux of the matter. The City of Vancouver document in question which states what Mr. Dobell apparently suggested here (pdf - see the last sentence at the end of Point #1).
I know it doesn't fit here, but it's just too good not to pass along, Joni's 'Circle Game', circa 1966.....


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tonight On The Dobranos.....

......The Tubes Come Through



Earlier today we read the following:

BC’s criminal justice branch has appointed a special prosecutor to review a report by crown counsel into the lobbying activities of Ken Dobell.

Which led us to go hunting high and low through the tubes in search of the 'minutes' of a March 17th, 2005 meeting held by the Vancouver Civic Theaters Board (warning pdf).

1. QET (Queen Elizabeth Theatre) Redevelopment Update

Art Jones advised that within the last ten days two corporate financial gifts have been

Responses have been received from both Provincial and Federal representatives. Stephen
Owen, Federal Minister of Western Economic Diversification, replied that the Canada-British Columbia Infrastructure Program is now fully subscribed. Negotiations of the new Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (MRIF) are currently underway and are expected to conclude shortly. Depending on the terms and conditions of the MRIF in BC, there may be an opportunity to consider this request under the new program.

John Les, Provincial Minister of Small Business and Economic Development, responded the
Municipal Infrastructure Fund is capped at $2 million for cultural and other projects, except for sewer/road-type projects. The Federal Government will then only contribute what the Province has committed. The Fund Raising Committee is seeking another meeting with the Mayor to urge Government officials to provide the requested financial support towards this project.

In a meeting with Ken Dobell, Provincial Deputy Minister, he suggested funds may be available
from budget surplus between January and March.

OK, now go back and read that last sentence again and realize again that this meeting was held on Mar 17, 2005.

Next, check out the following timeline, courtesy of a column by Vaughn Palmer, that was written in April, 2007:

Act 1, March 2005: Dobell, in his capacity as deputy minister to the premier, visits Vancouver's civic theatres board. In response to concerns about cultural funding, he advises that money may be available in the coming year from the provincial budget surplus.

Act 2, March 2006: Dobell has moved from the deputy post to serve as special adviser to the premier. And the province does indeed deliver $5 million in funding for Vancouver's "cultural precincts."

Act 3, April 2006: Dobell is hired by Vancouver to lobby the province. The city will later disclose that his contract was funded out of the province's cultural precincts grant.

Did you catch that?

In March 2005, while working as a Deputy Minister in Gordon Campbell's provincial government, Mr. Dobell apparently told the Vancouver Civic Theatres Board that there would be money coming from the province to redevelop the Queen Elizabeth Theatre (which would subsequently be known as one of the proposed 'cultural precincts'*).

Then, a year later, in Mar 2006, Mr. Dobell goes to work for the City of Vancouver and his compensation comes from a 'Cultural Precincts' grant that his former employer Mr. Campbell, who has retained him as a 'special advisor' , gave to the City of Vancouver that just hired him as a 'content consultant'.

Thus, the real issue that the media should focus on is not whether Mr. Dobell 'registered' to consult/lobby but instead whether he should have been lobbying/consulting at all given the apparent conflict involved.

Got it now?

*Link is to HTML version of the original pdf, which can be obtained here (and along with the other pdf referenced above, is now on my computer, my back-up hard drive and a CD which is hidden in a box of fig newtons hidden under my desk if anybody should ever have a need to find it).


The Return Of The Dobranos


Well, well, well, whaddya know:

BC’s criminal justice branch has appointed a special prosecutor to review a report by crown counsel into the lobbying activities of Ken Dobell.

Looks like it might be time to go back and have another look those minutes of that City of Vancouver meeting where they first discussed the 'Cultural Precincts'.

I know they're out there in the tubes somewhere.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bloviation For An Entire Nation


This just in......that slogan we were fussing about on the Environment Canada (ie. government) Weather Site has just migrated, word for word, over to the Conservative Party (ie. partisan hackery) website.


Never mind the gooder grammar.

Because it seems that we are all propaganda tools now.



Tuesday, October 23, 2007

True Gnu Blue


Last week we noted that the Harper government had splashed a big, fat CCRAPtacular baby-blue-eyes-of-lyin'-brian-type propaganda banner across the top of Environment Canada's Weather forecasting website.

And guess what?

It's still there.

Now, you might think that this is just the misguided work of an overzealous junior operative located deep within the bowels of Sandy Bee's machinery and that the Conartistas would sheepishly pull it all down as soon as it was noticed by the wider world.

But if you did think that you would be wrong

Because it is now very clear that they know that we know and, regardless, they are still telling us to go to heckfire in a handbasket.

How do we know that they know that we know?

Well, as Alison pointed out over at the Galloping Beaver, it's all available in that crazy bit of of transparency called Hansard:

Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, the Conservative spin machine has its grubby fingerprints over every aspect of the public service. Government websites that are meant to provide public information are now being used to sell the divisive and wrong-headed throne speech of the government. When people go to the Environment Canada weather website to find out if it is going to rain today, they should not have to worry about being deluged with blarney from the PMO.

My question is simple. Why is the government using taxpayers' dollars to sell a partisan and wrong-headed agenda to Canadians?

Hon. Peter Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, it is something new when the government is doing something wrong when it is trying to communicate with Canadians about what it is doing.

I have to say that when people go to the Environment Canada website I suspect it is because they care about the environment. They want to know what the government is doing about the environment: what we are doing to clean up our air by introducing mandatory targets for emissions, what we are doing to clean up Canada's water, and what we are doing to protect Canada's endangered species. They are looking at that and they are saying, “Finally, a government that is taking action for the environment”.

Yup, that's what we're all saying when were checking the weather forecast to see if we need gumboots, or woolen mittens, or even a shot glass for that very last little chunk of polar ice, "Finally, a government that is saying one thing and doing the exact opposite."

Regardless, you've gotta love that monicker that has been slapped on Mr. Van Loan as he simultaneously supports both the suppression and subversion of democracy.


And does Sandy Bee's machinery really need a majority to make Hansard as subservient as the Parliamentary Press Gallery? Like, maybe, Mr. Van Loan could just further Democracy by having the whole thing replaced with a round-up of sweet nothings from, oh I dunno, maybe Jane Taber telling us who's been Hot and who is Not on the House floor once a week or some such thing.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Canada's Exceptionally American Genius


I am now officially seventeen years from retirement.

Which is a very weird place to be.



It was a full on, weekend long, celebration that began with a gigantic ice cream cake from the Lab and my Girls on Friday afternoon.

And it was highlighted by a visit from my Dad.

Saturday night after the root beer floats were done we watched one of my presents - the recent Johnathan Demme concert movie about our Neil.

And it was good.

And I couldn't help but notice both the backwards and the forwards to the summing up that was so much a part of it all.

Which was most apparent when Shakey talked about his 21 year old daughter and the songs he once wrote for girls of that age and the songs he writes now for empty nesting geezers.

But there was something else there that I couldn't quite put my finger on - something simultaneously elegaic and elusive.


The weekend came to an end on a rainswept Sunday night.

C. went back to Victoria with my Dad to give a workshop tomorrow.

I picked up little e. from a birthday party.

Bigger E. got much of the dinner ready while I went out to the garage to work on the garbage wall still left over from the Great Lotusland strike of 2007.

And then, later, we all wound down.

And at bedtime I played 'Old Man' in the dark and tried to hit every high note.

And when I was done, like Neil, I realized I was a pretty damned lucky guy.


Because, while I've never written a song for my own old man, I reckon that I once wrote him a pretty decent thank-you note.

And, besides, I'm only 48. So there's still lots of time to put something together for him with my lousy playing and Bigger E's fabulous voice, if I can ever figure out how to use that darned Garageband properly.


Later, when the house was quiet, I headed down to the Subterranean Blues Room (a.k.a. the basement) and popped on the headphones to listen to Jim and Greg on Sound Opinions while I tried to crank through a somewhat leaden thesis that I should have finished Friday before I headed for home.

If you've never heard it, Sound Opinions is a little like Rob and Barry from High Fidelity ten years after, if they had actually managed to grow up and start working for a living.

In other words it's fantastic stuff for middle-aged guys of a certain age and world view.

Guys, I guess, like me.

Anyway, this time it was Jim's job to pick a song for the 'Desert Island Jukebox' which is exactly what you would expect it to be.

And the tune he picked, in a bizarre but fitting tribute to Mr. Young's latest, Chrome Dreams II, was Powderfinger, both for the power and the passion of the guitar and for the enigmatic elegy of the lyrics.

Which, of course, was the thing I couldn't quite put my finger on last night while watching the movie while I sat beside my Dad on the couch.


Because, as the other Sound Opinions guy, Greg, suggested it appears that Neil has entered a period that, despite his myriad periods that have already passed, most of us never thought we would ever see.

Which is his 'gospel' period.

And somehow, even for an avowed non-believer like me, this makes a weird kind of sense.

Weird but true.

In fact, very very true.


*For the record, my Dad bought 'Harvest' for my brothers and me in, I believe, 1973; 'On The Beach' quickly followed, which was a strange brew indeed for that particular time and place. At least if you were a kid coming of age in Victoria B.C.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Garbage Strike Conspiracy - Denouement


The strike that stole all of our summer and half of our fall is now over.

Garbage pick-up has started. The ice is starting to be layed in the rinks. And you will soon be able to take out real, dead-tree edition books from the library once again.


So, what was it all about Alfie?

Well, for the real story, we once again we turn to Picket Boy, one of the finest citizen journalists this, The City of Vancouver, has ever seen

Here is his take:

"I am no fan of the CITY or CUPE.

What should have been a 3 week strike degenerated into a 13 week grudge match.

The City with its:
  • initial & repeated "firm, final offers" (a tactic illegal under US Labour Law);
  • a 39 month contract offer (who negotiates during or just after an Olympics?);
  • reduced benefits;
  • the Mayor's misguided musings;
  • unwillingness to consider other Metro Vancouver library contracts;
generated an unheard of 90 - 96% Strike Mandate.

CUPE hands are dirty too.
  • No Layoffs Due to Contracting Out;
  • Seniority before Merit for all Auxiliary Workers;
  • Treating the Olympics as just another work day;
  • Designating all Olympic sites as CUPE facilities."

Once again, we ask the following: where, if anywhere, in the proMedia did you ever see incisive and insightful commentary like that.

So, what does P.B. think the fallout will be?

The strike is over except for Mayor Sam Sullivan. He wants to bill the November 2008 civic election as CUPE vs SAM, The Final Knockout. It's sad really. After 3 years the Mayor has no policy achievements only a continual flow of wish list press releases.

CUPE did itself no favours at its second rally outside City Hall. Declaring that CUPE will work to defeat the Mayor, CUPE gift wrapped an election platform Mayor Sullivan is happily exploiting. 12 months, however, is an eternity in politics.

All the while Cambie Street businesses received no property tax relief and now 35% are closed. Businesses at Library Square received no rent relief. The City is the landlord.

And what of the future?

Well, we sure would like PicketBoy to stick around and tell us what he thinks but, unfortunately, he's pulling the plug because, well, he's got other things to do:

"Thank you for the comments, the support and most importantly for reading.

If there is a strike in 2012 I won't be with the City. 11 weeks provided the opportunity to develop a realistic business plan. It's been set in motion and one goal, unexpectedly, has already been reached.

It will be a great adventure."

Which is too bad because I, for one, will miss him.

But I sure do wish him well in his upcoming ventures/adventures.

And if you do too, head on over over to his place and let him know it.

Or at the very least thank him for a job very well done, indeed.



Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sometimes A Poll Is Just A Poll


And sometimes, as Alison suggests, it is not.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Hooray For The Lancet (again)


The Lancet has done it again.

Once again they have published studies which demonstrate that prohibitive lifestyle 'Wars' do not work.

And this time we're not talking about the 'War On Drugs'.

Instead, we're talking about the 'War On Abortion'.

From their Oct 13th editorial (you need to register but it's free, and it's worth more than a thousand subscriptions to things like People, Us, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Shrewing and/or a lifetime supply of Whitehouse.gov [anti-free]press releases*):

"Among the interventions that have a significant effect on maternal mortality is access to safe abortion. Gilda Sedgh and colleagues present new findings on global rates and trends of all abortions. They found that despite the worldwide abortion rate slowly declining between 1995 and 2003, the unsafe abortion rate was essentially unchanged. The authors make a clear and compelling case for better access to contraception as well as safe and legal abortion services as a core tenet of improving the health of women worldwide. Indeed, as Carine Ronsmans and colleagues show, access to safe abortions is among the factors that have led to a substantial decrease in maternal mortality in Bangladesh during the past 30 years."

In other words, access to contraception and legal abortions save lives.

Which, of course, should be, in and of itself, enough for every thinking, feeling and compassionate person in the world.

But wait, there's more.

Like this, which is taken directly from the published study:

The findings presented here indicate that unrestrictive abortion laws do not predict a high incidence of abortion, and by the same token, highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with low abortion incidence.

In other words, having legal abortions does not mean that a society will have more abortions, or vice versa. In fact, the lowest abortion rates are associated open access. Again, taken directly from the study:

The abortion rate per 1000 women was lowest in western Europe (12), and was also quite low in northern and southern Europe (17–18) and Oceania (17). In these geographic areas, most abortions were legal and abortion incidence had been low for decades.

Taken together, these findings make it almost impossible for any reasonable person not to conclude that legalized abortion saves lives without increasing abortion rates.

So, given that, how could any reasonable person be against a woman's right to choose?

Especially if, as Pink recently so eloquently asked recently, that person has a daughter.

*And/Or a Bushelfull of Fishwrap known as 'The Journal of Global Drug Policy' which, of course, is funded by the U.S. Dept of Justice and/or HarperCon re-directs from real government information websites (see post directly below).
Thanks to Chet for bringing this up and wondering when the wingnut whirlitzer will start to crack the push-back-prop-a-whip.
Here's a link to the institute that did the actual study.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Game Everything


Big winds blowing out here on the western edge of Lotusland.

And sheeting rain too.

So I headed over to EnviroCan's 'weather office' website to get the five day forecast.....

And what did I find at the top of the page but the following:

"Speech From The Throne - Strong Leadership. A Better Canada"

And it's even a stinking link!

Then again, I guess it could have been worse.

After all, the Prop-A-Link could have taken me to strobe lights, Wagner, and ultimate praise phrases for our most tremendous maximum of all Leaders.



Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Catapaulting The Bushkevite's Drug War Propaganda


(updated, with 'gag's, at bottom)

On balance Ian Bailey wrote a very long, detailed, and mostly informative piece on Vancouver's safe injection site (Insite) in the Globe and Mail this past Thanksgiving weekend.

Which was fantastic for raising public awareness and debunking irrational fears.

The thing is, what really matters now, with the Conservative's leaving the site hanging by a thread, is the 'research' question.


Because the need for 'more research' is a media-assisted crutch that the HarperCons use over and over again when they are asked why they haven't approved longterm funding of the project.

From Mr. Bailey's report:

In an interview, (Conservative Health Minister) Mr. Clement said he is awaiting more research on how supervised injection sites affect prevention, treatment and crime before a decision would be made on Insite's fate.

You got that?

Now, here come's the kicker in which Mr. Bailey undoes all the good he has done when he falls for their utterly craptacular propaganda.

Although there have been a number of studies endorsing Insite for steering addicts into detox and addiction programs and encouraging safe injection practices, other studies have not been so enthusiastic. One, by the Drug Prevention Network of Canada that was released in the Journal of Global Drug Policy last May, said positive findings about Insite had been overstated while negative findings were not given prominence.

What the heckfire am I talking about?

Well, it turns out that the 'Journal of Global Drug Policy' is nothing but a Shilligans' Island Organ that is financed by George Bush's U.S. Dept of Justice. And the 'study' in question consisted of no original 'research'. Instead, it criticized real research in real journals that have both real and rigorous peer review.

Journals like The Lancet, The British Medical Journal, The American Journal of Public Health and The New England Journal of Medicine, all of which concluded that Insite is saving lives, steering addicts to treatment, and doing it all without increasing crime rates.

In other words the real research has been done.

It's just that the HarperCons don't like the results.

Thus, they are using the BushCon's DrugWar-driven catapault to discredit it.

And, unfortunately, Ian Bailey and the Globe and Mail just helped them fling their crap in the Canadian public's eyes.


For our original piece on the US DoJ's subterfuge please go here.
And this just in: The Cons are also working hard to gag the real scientists.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Tampering With Their Own Stuff


Remember all the kerfuffle about how somebody was tampering with Stella Artois beer by filling the bottles with alcohol?

In a widely publicized move in July, Labatt Breweries of Canada summoned police after six Stella Artois bottles sold at restaurants and bars were found to contain concentrated alcohol rather than beer.

Clearly the work of a crazy, or a terrorist, or worse, right?

Well, turns out it was worse - way worse.

Labatts did it.

And they did it on purpose.

After a lengthy investigation with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the brewery, which like Stella Artois is a unit of the Belgian company InBev, said that the bottles were promotional items, intended for display.

Alexis Redmond, a Labatt spokeswoman, said the bottles were filled with alcohol to avoid the formation of unsightly sediment.



Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Garbage Strike Conspiracy - Hopes Dashed?



Johnathan Woodward, Vancouver Sun, Sun Oct07/07

Vancouver's civic workers' strike could extend into 2008, mediator Brian Foley warned Sunday after two of the three striking union locals recommended rejection of his proposals. Outside workers and library workers have been urged to turn down the proposal, while negotiators for inside workers have recommended acceptance.

"My conclusion would be that if they decide to stay out on strike, it will be a long, long strike," Foley said Sunday in response to the unions' positions. "I think if they don't go back to work you'll be talking about this in the new year."

Picketboy has the local-by-local, issue-by-issue breakdown here.

Double Crap.


World Class With(out?) Wal-Mart


Once Lotusland's Garbage Strike Conspiracy* finally ends one can only wonder how long it will be before Mayor Sam Sullivan checks his multiple 'reputations' in the funhouse mirror and realizes that it is time to start cranking up the Wal-Mart Whilrlitzer Wheel once more.

But before Mr. Sullivan does so, he and his reputational henchmen might like to consider how they are going to deal with the implications of stories like this:

After saturating rural and suburban America, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer began to target America's big cities to recharge growth. Instead, Wal-Mart has largely become the enemy at the gates.

Los Angeles, after allowing one store to open, threw away the welcome mat. Boston shut its doors. And New York, the nation's largest city, spurned the retailer's overtures so forcefully that Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott Jr. said publicly earlier this year that he didn't care if Wal-Mart ever opened there.

Kinda makes you go hmmmmmm.....

In a 'reflective' sort of way, of course.

*a.k.a. 'Sam's Strike'


Friday, October 05, 2007

Whither Canuckistan?


Apparently, they have started to sweep the streets of Resisterville.ca

Robin Long, a pony-tailed, dreadlocks guy, was sitting in a park with some friends this week in beautiful downtown Nelson when the local constabulary came calling.

In short order, Mr. Long found himself arrested and bundled onto a flight to Vancouver in handcuffs, perilously close to becoming the first of the growing number of deserters from the U.S. army seeking refuge in Canada to be deported back to the United States.

And when they come for me and you - who will speak up for us?


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Garbage Strike Conspiracy - Thanksgiving Vote Coming!


Members from all three CUPE union locals involved in the Vancouver civic workers strike will apparently be voting on mediator Brian Foley's recommendations Oct-7-10.

Once again, Picketboy has the goods.


A Real Welfare Queen To Call Our Own


Corporate Welfare Queen that is.

And this one really does drive a cadillac (and maybe a Lincoln Navigator or two, too).

Paul Willcocks has the story (which you won't find many other places despite how important this is for all British Columbians):

It didn’t take Western Forest Products long to cash in on the big gift the government handed the company earlier this year.

It wasn’t really from the government. Taxpayers and Vancouver Island communities actually paid for the present. Forests Minister Rich Coleman just wrapped it up and handed it over on your behalf.

Western Forest Products has announced it plans to put 4,450 acres of great real estate on the market. The land includes waterfront property along the coast west of Victoria – the kind of real estate that will have people lining up, waving their chequebooks.

The land involved runs along the southwest portion of Vancouver Island. Mr. Willcocks estimates that this windfall will be worth millions and millions to the company store.

And what did we, the serfs, get back from the Queen for bestowing this largesse upon her?


Absolutely nothing.

Not even a lousy clear-cut hunk of dirt* for a postage-stamp park with parking meters.


Mr. Willcocks entire piece, which first appeared in the Victoria Times-Colonist (and which I read on bought-and-paid-for dead tree, Mr. W.) is really worth a read so that you can get all of the nuance and understand just how much value-added there is for the company (and another company with big holdings near Port Alberni).
*Why no clear-cut hunks of dirt? Because it appears that the Queens can sell the land with the wood still on it which can then be logged, willy nilly, and the logs then sold as the new owner sees fit (ie. 'raw' to overseas buyers?). How do you like them apples mill workers?


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Absolutely, Positively......

......The Least Compassionate Conservative, Ever


"Screw the working poor and their kids, too. I got me some decidin' to do."
The Anti-Compassionator
Oct 03, 2007.

Now, 'The Compassionator' is a fictional character.

A sick and twisted character who steals from everybody except the rich and gives to the richer, but fictional nonetheless.

Which is not to suggest that he doesn't have at least a few things in common with this guy:

To the surprise of no one, President Bush on Wednesday morning vetoed congressional Democrats’ plans to add $35 billion to a program — known in Georgia as PeachCare — designed to provide health insurance to the children of the working poor.

Bush killed the measure without fanfare, inside a closed room with no media in attendance.

That is all.


Was Rick Hillier Framed?


The whirlitzer wheezed to life late last night.

And by this morning the spin was in*.

Rick Hillier was probably, sorta, maybe kinda going to be replaced/ not renewed when his term ends in a few months because he dissed Gordon O'Connor awhile back.

But then I heard the unmistakeable sounds of sawing and hammering by the carpenters behind the curtain.

And that's when I realized that they were hard at work dismantling the old 'We are warriors!' frame and building a brand spanking shiny new 'We are nation builders!' frame** that could be mighty useful in any upcoming election campaign (especially if you knew you needed Quebec and the 905 belts of this country to win a majority this time out).

And, unfortunately for Mr. Hillier, while he fit the old frame he doesn't appear to easily fit into the new one.

*I knew it was a full-blown whirling dirvish when it showed up on the local sports station's so-called news this a.m.
**Leopard tanks not included, of course - reality is not what matters when you're pulling a Luntzian reversal.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Is Gordon Campbell A Green Washer?


While most of Lotusland's pro-Media goes ga-ga with post-Gore visit puff pieces headed by stuff like.......

'Campbell Goes All Out On Climate'

Mark Hume, who has been paying attention for some time, tells us that maybe we should have a look at Mr. Campbell's track record as well as his current and near future policies which are all, in the main, actually (surprise!) demonstrably Anti-Green.

Which leads to today's Big Question:

As long as it says the opposite on the TeeVee do we, the people, really care?

Thanks to Alison for helping us tunnel under the G&M wailing wall.