Monday, March 31, 2008

We're Off To See The Wizard....


I've been going on and on and on (and on again) about how C. the two E's and me are going to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band tonight in Vancouver.

Now, of course, there are all kinds of reasons to like the Boss.

Here, especially if you are a Lotuslander who believes in the right of the public to own its own assets, is just one more.

Now, we're off!

Details on the show (and my two Es' reaction to it) tomorrow.....


Chilliwack, Land, Development, and The ALR - 1990's Style


Charlie Smith has it.


Taxation Without Representation Comes To Lotusland


Didn't have time to note this late last week after 'L'Affaire de Lesser' broke......

BURNABY (NEWS1130) - Translink has now decided just how much more it plans to add to your property tax bill. The transportation authority's Board feels its decision is fair for homeowners.


Translink Chair, Dale Parker, says the tax hike is temporary and Translink will look at whether it is still necessary next year........

Sure thing Mr. Parker.

And just who elected you and your appointed board anyway?


And on top of all that, there's also the secrecy, the obstructionism, and the censorship....... Double sheesh! - just might have to stop drinking coffee so that I can save the tea bags to dump in the Inner Harbour the next time C., the two E's and me fork over the $250 bucks to Mr. Hahn that it now takes to get to Victoria to visit the grandparents. Pity.


Mr. Willcocks Asks A Very Good Question


About "L'Affaire de Lesser" of course:

"If it was appropriate that he (John Les) resign once the investigation was made public, why was it not appropriate that he resign when it began?"


I'd sure like to hear ol' StoneWally Oppal answer that one this coming week in the Ledge.

And I offer my apologies to Mr. Willcocks. On Sunday I indicated that the first string was taking the weekend off. Clearly I was wrong about him.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Is There More To The John Les Affair......

....Than Just The Land Deals Themselves?


"It's not the crime that kills you, it's the cover-up."
............................................... ............................... ....... . ....Richard Milhouse Nixon

As the first string takes the rest of the weekend off, the scrubs that work for British Columbia's big-time media outlets have continued to nibble at the edges of the 'Solicitor-General John Les Forced To Resign' story.

And they have managed to do little more than confirm the original outlines of the thing that, at the request of the RCMP, a special prosecutor is looking into alleged shady land deals in Chilliwack that took place in the 1990's at a time when Mr. Les was the mayor.

In fact, as the story has been further wurlitzered, the second of two nuggets buried within a short but well-constructed piece written by Paul Henderson in the Chilliwack Times back in February seem to have been lost.

Here's the well known first nugget:

The investigation has been going on since at least March, 2007 when the Chilliwack detachment of the RCMP informed the city they were looking into possible criminal activity of a former employee of the city dating back 10 years......

Which is fair enough, and taken at face value it would suggest that, in the end, everyone else concerned, including Mr. Les, just might be in the clear.

But then there's the second less well known nugget in Mr. Henderson's piece:

....City (of Chilliwack) records indicate that 10 years ago the matter under investigation was looked into by a third-party hired by the city. As a result of that investigation the matter was deemed an "internal staff issue and the employee was subsequently separated from their employment with the city."


Who is this third party that was 'hired' by 'the city'?

And who, specifically, 'hired' him or her at a time when Mr. Les was still mayor.

And who made the decision, at a time when Mr. Les was still the mayor, that this was an 'internal staff issue' rather than calling the RCMP?

Depending on the answers to those three questions everyone, including Mr. Les, may still be in the clear.

Then again, if the answers to those questions indicate that there was, instead, a cover-up....


That would change things considerably.

Wouldn't it?

Original Link/Question Source: 'Need To Know' a commenting over at Bill Tieleman's place.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

How Much Is Pacific Spirit Park's Bleeding Heart....



Yesterday, when I was writing about the possible worth of the Pacific Spirit Condo-Lands, I used Miro Cernetig's old numbers of ~$200 million. Then I doubled that again as far as estimate of what the profits for the Developer's Bund might turn out to be.

Well, what with late breaking of 'L'Affaire de Lesser' and all, I didn't actually read Mr. Cernetig's column from yesterday until today.

And it turns out he's revised his numbers.


.....In another massive public land deal, the public discovered the provincial government was handing over a big chunk of Pacific Spirit Park and the University of B.C. Golf Course to the Musqueam First Nation. There was no real public consultation, no details of who might be developing the lands or how much those lands would be worth once they are rezoned. A good bet is the land will soar in value by more than $1 billion and the real-estate development will be worth many times more.

Please read that last, bolded sentence above one more time.....



Now, ask yourself if it is even conceivable that the lush, green 'turf outfit that turned the previously unthinkable selling off of the park's heart into a compromise 'lock' was ever for real.


Actually read Mr. Cernetig's column on his VSun Blog, which is almost, but not quite, as good as Absolutely FABula's.
PacSpiritParkPhotoCredit: Bucky Hermit (by way of Stephen Rees)....Do we really want to lose that beauty and tranquility forever?


Did I Just Set A......

.....Public Affairs Bureau Honeytrap?




What do you think are the chances that 'someone' would punch the following three words into the 'GoogleBox' by accident?

And what do you think the 'someone' who punched in those three words might have been looking for?


It turns out that here is only one answer:

And just who might this 'someone' be who would be looking for such a thing?

Whadd'ya know......
Look what the Sitemeter just dragged in.......


In an effort to keep the clock from ticking while the PAB Brigade spends even more of our hard-earned money Trolling the Toobz, as a public service, here is a straight shot to this morning's not-so infamous 'Baldrey-Les-Newsbuster-Stay-Pufft-Marshmallow-Man' post.



Bruce On The Coast


And who say's he can't see past the first row any more; from last night's 'Backstreet's' Tour Report....

.....Bruce was in good humor throughout. He joked that the pot smoke wafting up from the pit might cause a shorter show (it ended up clocking in at a respectable 2:20). Later, spotting a group of women in the pit wearing tee shirts that read "Lesbians [heart] Bruce," he changed a line in "American Land" from "the Germans and the Jews" to "lesbians and Jews.".....

And now, with Portland in the mirror behind it, the Big Circus Show has turned North......Seattle tonight......Vancouver for C., the two E's, and me too, Monday......

Come on up for The Rising.

And while I absolutely dig the fact that he changes the set list every time out, sometimes on the fly, all this provin' it all night is drivin' me crazy....After all, I can't keep making new playlists for the VW (notso)Microbus' sound system to ensure that the two E's will be fully prepared. Can I?


Shorter Gordon Campbell.....


.....The fact that nobody knew that John Les was being investigated by a special prosecutor just goes to show how independent and unfettered from political interference the Criminal Justice Branch in British Columbia really is.......

At least that's the paraphrased story according to British Columbia Premier Mr. Gordon Campbell at his Saturday morning press conference (as reported by CKNW on their 11am newscast).

Thanks very much for saying it Mr. Campbell.

You are now on the record.

Meanwhile, on another front......Mr. Robin Mathews looks to be taking that 'unfettered from political interference' thing apart at a buck a photocopied page.


When The News Looks Bad...In The Ledgiehood....Who Ya Gonna Call?

....Keith Baldrey!



At least that's the story according to Vaughn Palmer in 'L'Affaire de Lesser':

A slow week at the legislature, but at 5:30 on Friday afternoon the electronic mailbox kicked to life with a reminder of why one should never leave early on the political beat.


But this one was different. For there it was in the first paragraph, a reference to one of the targets of a police investigation being "Mr. John Les, the solicitor-general for the province of British Columbia."

Not over anything he'd done in his current post as a provincial cabinet minister.

Rather regarding "commercial transactions involving land developers when he held the position of mayor of Chilliwack," before he entered provincial politics.


"The timing was interesting: "Robin McFee, a senior Vancouver lawyer was appointed (as special prosecutor in the investigation of Mr Les and others) on June 28, 2007 . . . ."

Nine months ago. The top cop has been under investigation for almost a year? Why didn't he step down?

That question was still hanging in mid-air an hour after the release came out, when John Les himself surfaced to provide an answer, via a call to my colleague Keith Baldrey of Global TV.

Les was resigning, he told Baldrey. He denied wrongdoing and expects to be exonerated.

Did you catch that?

Essentially, you have an entire Provincial Punditocracy running around like crazy way, way, way late on a Friday looking for answers but unable to get them (see this piece by the Globe's Rob Mickleburgh, for example) and Mr. Les calls Mr. Baldrey out of the blue to give him the 'straight' goods as well as the 'scoop'.

Now why would Mr. Les do a thing like that?

Well, maybe it has something to do with how well Mr. Baldrey handled an unsolicited call that came even more unexpectedly, in the middle of the night, almost two years ago now.

All of which just goes to show that those personal calls to reporters you can trust can be oh, so valuable when you've got information to deliver straight down the stovepipe, unfettered by critical questioning.

Which isn't spin, exactly.

Instead, we have another name for it.....



And you've gotta love a line from Mr. Baldrey about positive reviews on the 'radio call-in shows' in the post linked to above now that we know what we now about media manipulation 'contracts'. Sheesh.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Remember When All We Had To Worry About In This Province....


...... Were Used Car Salesman?


Updates at bottom of post....


Ahhhhh, this little bit of late, late, late breaking* news is most interesting......

VANCOUVER — B.C. Solicitor General John Les has resigned over allegations he improperly benefited from a land deal while he was mayor of Chilliwack, a source confirms.

His resignation comes after the criminal justice branch of the Attorney General's ministry announced a special prosecutor had been looking into the allegations since June 2007. Les could not be reached for comment, nor could anyone with the premier's office.

Neil MacKenzie, spokesman for the branch, said the information was released in response to an inquiry from the media.**

MacKenzie said the appointment of a special prosecutor is not necessarily in the public realm.

"(It) may be announced or may not be announced, it just depends on the point of the investigation or the nature of the investigation," he said.

So there you have it, as we've been discussing for the last few days, it really is all about the land, baby.

The land.

Think back through the history of British Columbia's current 'Liberal-In-Name-Only' LINO-type government of Mr. Gordon Campbell and it's pretty much all you can smell.

From Timberlands... to Farmlands.... to Little Mountain Lands..... to Parklands - the stink is high, indeed.

Oh, for those good ol' Socred days.

When men were men and sugar was sugar.

And at least we got to keep our Province while our pockets were being fleeced by the the likes of the Wild Kelowna Boys and their juniors.


*In fact the announcement was made in a classical uber-Rovian late, late, late Friday document dump AFTER business hours. All those OIC drones really do count the newsycles don't they
**Sure will be interesting to find out where that 'media enquiry' came from, don'cha think?
Update: Mistah T!, Bill Tieleman has a good post up where, aided by a report from the Chilliwack Times, he gives us a little info about the matter under investigation....looks like this specific odour is older than which emanates from even the most stinkiest of very well-aged cheeses.
Double Secret Probation Update: 11:00pm Friday....CKNW reported that the 'media inquiry' came from a CBC reporter. Hmmmmm....there's really only one that covers the Ledge with any regularity, right? Anyway, perhaps Mr. Gordon Campbell will use this to go on the attack against a biased, state-sponsored media during his scheduled press conference tomorrow morning at 10am.....Regardless, I sure would like to know when that inquiry was actually made, because if it wasn't today, well, I smell deflector spin......


Is Metro Vancouver Helpless.....

.....To Save Pacific Spirit Park?

Lotusland's civic politicians met today to discuss the Provincial government's legislation that will soon result in the heart being cut out of Pacific Spirit Regional Park without any compensation given whatsoever.

Here's the story, hot off the presses, from Glenn Bohn in the Vancouver Sun:

A provincial law that gives Victoria the power to expropriate chunks of Pacific Spirit regional park without any financial compensation to Metro Vancouver is unprecedented in B.C., a lawyer for the regional government says. And regional politicians say it's a question of the province "abusing" its legal authority.

Clearly, the haranguing of said civic Pols by their constituents, including constituents like us, did some good because they appeared to be hopping mad when they came out of their "in camera/in secret" session:

"We're asked to just lie down and play down," declared Gary Gibson, a director for the electoral area land includes the UBC area. "Is that what I'm going to tell my constituents?"

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said he is appalled by an expropriation law that doesn't offer compensation and doesn't allow a property owner to sue.

"That's a product of a guilty mind -- knowing that, if they were sued, they would lose," said Corrigan, who is a lawyer. he said. "It means any government, from now on, will feel justified in expropriating without compensation. It's a government abusing -- not exercising -- it's authority."

Vancouver Councillor Suzanne Anton agreed: "Any land that's owned by cities is vulnerable. We're capable of losing anything, anytime."



They're mad as heckfire and theyre' not gonna take it anymore.



....clauses in the (Provincial) legislation declare that "no compensation is payable to the Greater Vancouver Regional District," which now calls itself Metro Vancouver, and that "no legal proceedings for damages or compensation" can be filed against the B.C. government.

According to a Metro Vancouver report, the 22 hectares of land the regional government is losing are worth as much as $219 million*.

(Metro Vancouver's lawyer Sandra) Carter said the B.C. government probably has the constitutional power to enact the law.

So that's it?

We're losing parkland because our civic politicians, don't have the spine to stand up to the Provincial government's bullying?

Looks to me like only two things can possibly make a difference here:

#1 - The civic Pols have to hear from their constituents long and hard that they will pay, and pay dearly, at the ballot box if they just roll over and play dead on this one.**

#2 - The well-heeled folks of Vancouver Point Grey have to make it clear that if this goes through their current sitting MLA, who also just happens to the current Premier of the Province, Gordon Campbell, will pay dearly, not just at the ballot box, but also at the fundraising trough.


*Those numbers for the value of the chainsaw ravaged land itself are pretty much what Miro Cernetig of the VSun came up with a few months ago. Me, I did my own calculations to come up with a number that is at least that much again that I'm guessing approximates how much 'The Developers' Bund' stands to make on top of all this.
**Remember, this not a fight against First Nations land claims because there are alternatives that were fully in play before former Vancouver Point Grey MLA fundraiser Marty Zlotnick and his band of Merry Pranksters started a deflector spin campaign last summer that made the previously unthinkable (ie. the loss of urban parkland to even more condos) a fait accompli. And what is the best alternative? Well in my opinion, they would include limited development along the edges of the golf course (ie. reshaping it without destroying it) right here, right now. The result?........ The Musqueam would get their money, UBC would get it's money, and the Public would get to keep it's Park. As for the Developers? Well, they'd likely make oodles of money too - just not quite as much. And why, given that they have absolutely no stake in this whatsoever, should the Developers be the big winners here? Huh?


The Heart Of Pacific Spirit Park Is On Life Support



Triple O' Sauce Update
......Friday am......Board meets at 9:00am......Keep firing off Emails (link below).....I've been in those meetings and watched these fine folks constantly checking their Blackberries throughout....


Double Secret Probation Update
....Welcome to the friends of my bigger kid, E. (pictured above, with littler e.).


Update: ....To all those arriving from Mary's, Stephen Rees' , West End Bob's, JJ's , Alison's and The Galloping Beaver...Welcome!
And Thanks! This will only take a moment of your time....

I have ranted and ranted (and ranted some more) on the subject of the coming sell off of a chunk of Lotusland's jewel of a regional park called 'Pacific Spirit' to the Condo Kings.

Well, with everything accepted in principle at the Provincial level, it would appear that the only people now standing between the Condo Kings' chainsaws and the Trees are our local, civic politicians.

Specifically, the 'Metro Vancouver Board of Directors' who meet on Friday to discuss the issue 'in camera' (a.k.a. 'hidden from public view').

I've been to public events where a number of these folks have been very receptive to the idea of blocking the Park's soon to be scheduled cardiac arrest.


If you have a moment and you live in the Lower Mainland and you think that parks should not be for sale, please find your local politician at the link immediately below and write them a very short Email saying something as simple as......


Dear xxxxxx,

Please save all of Pacific Spirit Park for all the residents of Metro Vancouver.

Thank you very much,
Your name and address.


Why is this NOT a waste of time?

Well, 1000 people protesting the 'Run of River' raping of Pinecone Burke Park in Pitt Meadows seems to have helped tremendously.



All you have to do is go to the MetroVancouver Director's site where all the contact info is located, including clickable links for their Email addresses.

Again, it's right here.

Please, please, do it.

It's really really easy - 34.5 seconds, tops, I promise.


Oh, and if you live in Vancouver proper and you write to NPA mayoralty candidate Peter Ladner (who is running as a break away NPA candidate against Sir Spam-A-Lot) you might want to mention that taking such a stand could help him differentiate himself from the current proCondo King regime at 12th and Cambie.
Image at the top of the post is of my two daughters, littler e. and Bigger E., at a recent rally to try and save the Park.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What Happens When The Shill-O-Phant Goes Straight?


I have a bit of a confession to make.

Which is that I've long been fascinated by shills who go straight.

Sometimes it starts out purely as a matter of self-preservation that, especially if the former shill is able to come face-to-face with himself out in the rain, can become something more.

A pretty famous example of that is former Watergate shill John Dean.

Then there is the shill who just can't live with him or herself any longer and then, like a reformed smoker, becomes an anti-shill crusader.

A very good example of the latter is David Brock, a former shock-troop of the Republican smear machine who now fronts a truth-serum group that Bill O'Reilly hates with every fibre in his being , Media Matters.Org.

Sometimes, though, a shill just snaps for no good reason at all.

Which is what apparently happened to Vancouver Canucks colourman and well known pom-pom waiver Tommy Larscheid last night when he suddenly started believing his own eyes and began heaping mountains of scorn on a feeble Vancouver team that was getting hammered by Jerome Iginla and the Calgary Flames.


So, what's the reason I find these folks and their actions interesting?

Well, mostly it's the fact that they are the ones who can really shed light on how the Shill does their O' Phanting.

But I also find the responses of the O'Phanatics strangely fascinating as well.

Responses like this.....

“John Dean help (sic) plan Watergate and then blamed everyone else. John is a piece of crap”.... "John Dean is a whore and a coward!"
Phanatical comment on the ultra-right 'FreeRepbulic' Website during a
'discussion' of Mr. Dean's latest book


"David Brock: I am not gay.....What’s Brock holding in his left hand,out of view of the camera. Barney does have that Shite eating grin on his face....I think he’s holding Barney’s looks like the Witch (Hillary Clinton) flipped Brock by pimping her press secretary to him....."
More From Freeper Phanatics ignoring the irony of Prop-A-Gammon
while going ad hominem on Mr. Brock for starting Media Matters


"I think Tommy drinks on the job......Canucks fans listen to canucks radio to hear pro canucks, even when the team is losing...... Larchied (sic) takes it to a nauseating level....Tommy Larcheid is a parasite on the Canucks broadcasting roster....."
Phanatic comments on the message board after loss in Calgary

I know that stuff is vile.

And I realize that sometimes it is even downright scary .

But it also demonstrates how the true O'Phanatics are so far removed from reality due to the constant reinforcement of their irrational rabidity that when the truth is finally revealed to them they are no longer equiqqed handle it.

All of which just goes to prove that:

"Heckfire Hath No Fury Like A Phanatic Scorned".

Which, in all seriousness, is something we have to remember up here in Canuckistan when as we work to take our country back from a whole generation of homegrown Phanatatics that are now being weaned on crap like this.


For the record: I thought Mr. Larscheid's turn for the better might be short-lived, but he seems to be following through with comments like the following during tonight's drubbing in Denver: "....maybe this team just isn't good enough."


Calling All Cons!



Let's play a game called 'Big Con Hunting', where the object of the game is to 'Game' everything in a really, really big way.


First, strip down to your skivvies.....

Next, pull on your elasticized, relax-bellied Shill-O-P(h)ants....

Then, get out the Cheetos and start by smearing orange warpaint all over the keyboard.....

Finally, let's go Huntin'!


First stop is the 'Site Of The BigDog Con' where you need to surf through to 'My Campaign', and then look for the 'Call Talk Radio' link.

Beside that link you will find the following extremely important question and follow-up exclamatory exhortation of sweet retribution.....

Tired of hearing the vested interests of the Liberals and the special interests of the NDP get their messages out via the media? Call in to a show yourself and fight back with the facts!

Once you have replied 'Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! 54 times and/or the precise length of time it takes you to watch your favorite 'Stephane Dion Loves To Bite The Head of Environmental Chickens' attack ad you have open in another window on your desktop, then hit that Talk Radio Link.

Upon reaching your destination, next select something like the StealthCon from VanQuadra's favorite 'topic' and type in her postal code, which will look something like this......

Then hit 'Next', which will bring you to a page where you will be told exactly what to do and what to say because, when you are 'Big Con Hunting' the really fun part is that you get to check every single one of your critical faculties at the door.

In fact, you lose points if dare to think for yourself or take responsibility for your statements and/or actions.

First action is to pick a local talk show to call, preferably with a duplicitous host (ie. avoid Dale Goldhawk of CPAC at all costs). If you live in the VanQuadra listening area we would suggest the always lovable and, of course, connable, Cluff Master Flash of the beastly CBC ,whose contact info will look like this.....

Once your call is picked up by a producer/call screener, follow the following instructions to the letter.....

Then, start spouting our 'Big Con Hunting' main game messages which we are proud to call 'Talking Points'....

Finally, make sure you get some shots in at the Liberals, the NDP, and the Bloc with great stuff like this....

But never, ever, ever trash The Greens because we love them and the votes they take away from the NDP and, especially low, hanging, Liberal fruit like this.

So, after all that, how will you know if you have won the 'BigConHunting' blue-and-white...'Shotgun Shell Of The Day'?

Well, it happens whenever the host gives you a free pass and you are able to post up 5 or more talking points per minute.

In the case of the CluffMaster Flash, you will win with considerable regularity because, just like you, he will very likely be reading directly from a cheat sheet also!

But most of all, never forget our favorite motto while gaming everything, which is:

'Just Play Dumb And You Will Have Fun!'

Because, chances are, if you love this game, you won't even have to 'Play'.

'Dumb', that is.


Original Link Source: Accidental Deliberations for Alexander Panetta's most excellent CPress piece in the Globe.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ya, But Can She Make Her Way Across The Border.....


Wonder of wonders,

After a peek-a-boo apperance a couple of weeks ago in Rochester New York, Rosey followed the band to the Rust Belt and came out for real last night in, of all places, Columbus Ohio.

And 'Glory Days' made an (unironic) appearance too.

Some folks lurking out there beyond the radio relay towers in the toobz have suggested that this was a salvatory attempt at making up for a rushed WKRP in Cincinnati show on Saturday night that may or may not have have had something to do with a need to catch a midnight train to Georgia (and/or a plane home for Easter Sunday with the family - what the heckfire, does this mean the guys really do have a life off the stage?)

Oh, and littler e. is pumped about this*

'Cause she's a dancer, don't you know.**

*When we all (C, me, and the two E's) go to see the E Street band shuffle into Lotusland next Monday night .
**And Bigger E is the singer, which means that I'm a 'Song and Dance Dad'.
And for the hardcore Boss-AKnow-Viacs out there.....Yes, I know it was Mary, she of Royalty from Arkansas, who made her way across the border, not Rosalita.....Sheesh.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Is This The Place Where Vancouverites....

......Line-Up To Get Their Medication?


Lately, despite what so many folks 'in the know' have been babbling on about incessantly, I've come to notice this nagging carbuncle growing deep within my hindbrain that has started a war in my subconscious.

So much so, that, more than just twice or thrice, I have awoken with a start from an otherwise deep sleep with the soaking sweats mumbling something about a fear that I cannot quite name.

And in talking to my neighbours I have learned that it is not just me.

In fact, it appears that we have all been taken over by some sort of awful infuriatingly ill-defined 'group fear' that may or not have something to do with muffled millrate explosions that have apparently been reported to be taking place deep in the undertow just off Siwash Rock.

Of course, I have been coming teh 'Googletoobz Inc., Quacktacular Version', searching in vain for some sort of an explanation, and the best I have been able to come up with is that it is could be some sort of ill-defined, never-ending 'Little Mountain-to-False Creek Flats-Luge-Run' version of 'Presque-Vu-Vancouver'.

In otherwords the people of Lotusland is in the grips of an affliction where we know something very bad is about to happen but we do not quite know what it is.

Which is a very scary civic situation, indeed

Luckily for us, however, all-around medical man about town (and doubles player extraordinare), Dr. David Berner, has undertaken a full-fledged examination of the city's aching psyche and has come up with following, potentially highly-accurate, diagnosis:

"I have a truly horrible thought.

I am now almost certain that Mayor Sam Sullivan will be re-elected.

As inappropriate or against the common good as that inevitability may be, it now seems unavoidable.

The mayor has the biggest possible advantage: His every utterance is front page material.

He can play out one insincere notion after another, every second or third day until November, and each of these pronouncements will get attention.

And each time his face is shown in the press with the title attached - Mayor - the thoughtless, sentimental average stupid voter will be passively impressed......"

Cheese Willikers!

Can you prescribe massive doses of thorazine, prophylactically for the population of an entire city for, say, I dunno, an extended three year period?

Dr. Berner is not completely unbiased in his diagnosis; so much so that he has let it be known to civic specialist Dr. Ab Fab that he himself might consider taking a shot at helping to run the asylum if the head resident, whom some have suggested has started to vaguely resemble the long lost little brother of Nurse Ratchet, were to be removed forthwith (or at least before June 9th).


Jon Stewart Missed One......


A couple of weeks ago I was swarmed because I had the temerity to state that 'real' news people, folks like Melanie Morgan and Bill O'Reilly, are nothing more than shameless shillophants bent on turning lies into truth, and vice versa, all in the name of a twisted neoStraussian version of the 'iscim' that begins with the sixth letter of the alphabet.

And then last week Jon Stewart, a fake news person who has himself called out the shillophants in the past, played clips from Barack Obama's speech that included words like:

"......This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy - particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction - a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people - that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

Words that then prompted Mr. Stewart to state, deadpan:

"And so, at 11 o'clock AM on a Tuesday, a prominent politician spoke to Americans about race as though they were adults."

Of course, this begs the following, follow-up question:

If Mr. Obama does, ultimately, manage to win the Democratic nomination, who will help him shout down the shillophants so that he can keep speaking to Americans as though they are adults on a whole range of important issues?

Me, I'm hoping Mr. Bruce Springsteen will.

After all, in addition to speaking to them about all their hopes, dreams and heartbreaks, Bruce has also been speaking to Americans as adults for years, including about race:

In '65 tension was running high at my high school
There was a lot of fights between the black and white
There was nothing you could do
Two cars at a light on a Saturday night in the back seat there was a gun
Words were passed in a shotgun blast
Troubled times had come to my hometown

Which goes to show how important the candidacy of Mr. Obama is if only because, as his words above demonstrate, in the real America it is no longer 1965 and there is truly, now, 'something you could do'......


The idea for this post came from a conversation about Bruce with L-girl, whose views on so many things, and I hope this doesn't embarrass her, seem to embody much of all that is good about both America and Canada.
Highschool Yearbook Photomontage from 'Jazz From Hell', where you can go and find out who's who if you so desire.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Is There Something Missing From Your Easter Weekend?


Kinder eggs didn't quite fill the void this time around?

Wrong stuffing with the turkey?

Ham wasn't kosher?

March Madness on the big day just not quite uplifting enough?

Are you looking for something more?


Have no fear.....


Chocolate J is here!

Thanks A.
And, just in case, you need a little gospel music to go with your Chocolate J Theology...... (thanks Rev!)


Who Will Stop The Tier Mongering Of Canadian Healthcare?


Will it be the doctors?

Don't hold your breath.

After all the current president of the Canadian Medical Association is, himself, essentially a tier monger in a wait-list suit.


Well, how about lawmakers, you know the people who read the poll numbers that tell them pretty much everyday that Universal Healthcare is the top priority for the Canadians who elected them?

Are you joking?

In fact, here in British Columbia our elected officials are actively working to keep anyone from enforcing drive-by-tierings of the Medicare Act.


So, who will do it?

Who will take on the tier mongers who have all the prestige, the pols, and some would say a big heap of American Health Insurance moola, behind them?

And how will they possibly do it?

Well, it looks like it's going to be nurses.

And they're going to try and do it through, gasp!, the courts.

Paul Willcocks has the full, in depth 'worth-reading-in-it's-entirety' story:

It's been one of the great frauds in B.C. Governments have proclaimed the importance of equal access to health care, while ignoring the expansion of clinics that offer special treatment for those who can pay.

The clinics and surgical centres are routinely breaking the law, both the Canada Health Act and the province's Medicare Protection Act. It's illegal to charge a premium for services covered by the Medical Services Plan.

You can buy optional treatment, like cosmetic surgery.

But you can't pay extra so your son is treated ahead of some other, sicker child.


The nurses' union filed a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court against the attorney general and Medical Services Commission for not enforcing the Medicare Protection Act and allowing two-tier care.

The government argued the case should be tossed out. It was none of the union's business whether the government enforced the law, the lawyers said.


(B.C. Supreme Court Justice) Justice Stephen Kelleher disagreed. "What the union is doing in pursuing this position is well within what a democratic trade union normally does in our society," he ruled. "The courts have recognized that unions have a legitimate role to play in engaging in broader political and social processes of society."

This is important stuff.

On a whole lotta levels.

Thank the Goddess for the nurses.

Of course, a story of this import received scant more attention than wire service coverage in most pro-media. An exception was Charlie Smith's piece in the soon to be renamed Salish Sea Strait.
Hey, off topic but.....littler e. asked a stumper today....why, given what allegedly happened is it called 'Good' Friday anyway?


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Springsteen's On His Way....


The Biggest Little Bar Band Of All Time is rolling across the continent towards Lotusland.

Here's the setlist From this past week's show in Milwaukee.....

No Surrender
Radio Nowhere
Lonesome Day
Streets of Fire
Gypsy Biker
Reason to Believe
It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City
Prove It All Night
She's the One
Livin' in the Future
The Promised Land
Cadillac Ranch
My Hometown
Devil's Arcade
The Rising
Last to Die
Long Walk Home
* * *
Loose Ends
Meeting Across the River (with Richard Davis)
Born to Run
American Land

Me, I was most interested in the resurfacing of 'Meeting Across The River' in red above because it's the orphaned 'opera song' on Run that, to my ears at least, reaches back to an earlier, maybe more 'real-Jersey' songwriting period.

Don't think it will be played in Vancouver though. Turns out that Mr. Davis, who lives in nearby Madison, manned the stand-up base when the tune was first recorded, so Bruce brought him up to play as a special occasion.

Anyway, here it is.....



Friday, March 21, 2008

My Friend Jon


I think I first got to know Jon over at Beer's place.

Then I read some really great stuff he left at Frankie's.

And then he came here and left a couple of really sharp comments on CUTOG #2.

Anyway, he also pointed me towards Ukelele Wunderkind 'JuNu', whose stuff has inspired me to start thinking about making some whirly-giggin' soundimaginings with the two E's getting musical.

Best of all though, Jon also left this little tidbit at the end of one of his comments (and Bev you're going to like it a lot)......

I predict that Ukuleles will play some part in saving the world, or at least keeping it limping along.

Then again, I believe that billions of people are saving the world, a minute or two at a time, through simple acts of kindness, like playing the ukulele at the right moment.

All of which leads me to conclude that thebloggodome is both a strange and wondrous place indeed.....Everytime somebody drifts away, somebody like my old friends eteba or lenin's ghost, somebody cool like Jon or West End Bob drifts on in.

And, in my case at least, what I find most interesting about all this is that it's based pretty much entirely on nothing more than words strung together on a page....errrrrr....screen.

And I like that because, in the end, it means it really has nothing to do with being high-tech.

Instead, it has everything to do with just, well.....




Did Tommy Douglas Spend All His Time....

.....Worrying About Losing?


Mistah T, Bill Tieleman, has a great post up about what the NDP Party Party has to do to keep itself from drifting of into permanent irrelevancy.



The Longest Long Weekend Of The Canuckistanian Year...

.......Time To Do Some Reading!

Or, at the very least, think a little about reading while bike riding or baking or barre chording or whatever.

Here are a few books I think about sometimes.

Some more often than not........

A Book That Changed My Life:

Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut.
I read it when I was 12. It was the first time I really understood that pathos and hope could be all mixed up, together, in one big bottle of syrup. And Vonnegut was the first author who made me, like young Mr. Caulfield, want to call him up on the phone.

A Book I've Read More Than Once:
Chip Hilton, Touchdown Pass by Claire Bee.
My brother and I read it over and over and over again when we were kids. I think he still wants to be Speed Morris. It's kind of like a 'Boys' Sporting Life' version of Frank Capra's best known film.

A Book I Would Take With Me If I Were Stuck On A Desert Island:
Animals Without Backbones, by Ralph Buchsbaum.
This is actually a textbook that changed my life in my second year of college when it helped push me down the bizarre 15 year long twisty slide that ended at a place called biology career. Actually, come to think of it, I may still be on that slide. Anyway, on that desert island and in the water around it there are sure to be thousands of species of invertebrates and I figure I'd have enough time to try and find and identify all of 'em.

A Book That Made Me Laugh:
Tales Of The City by Armistead Maupin.
C. and I both read it when we first moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. Amongst the serialized great fun narrative I just couldn't believe all of the crazy, whacked-out uproariously funny stuff, like cruising the Marina Safeway or, living undetected as a hobo in a cabin in Golden Gate park, or having a flamboyant landlordess that was actually your long, lost father. That book helped C. and me fall in love with the place. Not that we wouldn't have anyway.

A Book That Made Me Cry:
Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo
It just did. And it still does.

A Book That I Wish Had Been Written
The Second Third by Neal Cassady
After I became obsessed with all things Kerouac and the 'origins of spontaneous prose' I always wanted to read Cassady (ie. the real Dean Moriarity) unleashed like he was in 'The Great Sex Letter' which was, apparently, one of Sad Paradise's main inspirations. Alternatively, I would have have gone for Kesey's version of the history of the Merry Pranksters, and Cassady's role in it, rather than the one we got from Tom Wolfe.

A Book I Wish Had Never Been Written:
Better Than Sex by Hunter S. Thompson
Like that neighbour and women-friend in the 'World According To Garp' he just should have sstthhoppped.

I'm Currently Reading
Me Talk Pretty Some Day by David Sedaris
A Confession; I want to read aloud like Mr. David Sedaris (or even that cut-rate copy Johnathan Goldstein). The E's and me got hooked on Sedaris because I make VW (microbus) podcasts of stuff like this for the daily drives from the Eastern Townships to the far Western edge of Lotusland. Anyway, they (the E's) gave me the book and then I had to wait until Bigger E finished it so that I could get a chance to laugh all over again (and again) (and againergain).

A Book I've Been Meaning To Read:
On Beauty by Zadie Smith
Her first, 'White Teeth', was one of the most astonishing things I've ever read. And what was even more astonishing was the fact that she was only 26 when she finished it. I liked her second, 'The Autograph Man', well enough, but thought it was tinged with the sophomore slump. Thus, I'm really looking forward to seeing what she's gotten up to with her third.

What Turned Me Onto Fiction:
A pup tent I had between the ages of 11 to 14. I would go in there late at night, with the campfire still flickering, and read until dawn. I can still remember everything about it, right down to the tiniest detail, even the smell.


OK, OK, OK! for anybody that's been paying attention, this is kind of a re-runneth empty cup dumped all over you. But, it's been updated - honest - the first time around I was reading .....A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry Magnificent. And behind the humanity of it all are the constant reminders of how important, and how fragile, being a nation of laws, not men, truly is. Originally did it because the chief tail (tale?) slapper at TGB whacked me up the side of the head.
Cartoon from the great archives from the very fine Graeme Mackay.
And If you really like good books, good writing and smart talk, here's a finer than fine link.
On deck.......Who REALLY won last Monday's Bye-Bye-Baby Elections?.....
In the hole.....Using the Fraser Institute's Ranking Scheme to guessed it.....The Fraser Institute!


Big Al's 'Vision' Problem


The man who left the NPA's party, Allan De Genova, has a bit of a problem.

Which is that it looks like maybe some of his friends like him but hate his new party of Vision.

Why is that a problem?

Because in Vancouver civic politics, no matter who your real friends are, if you don't have a party machine behind you, you are doomed*.

S.M. Holman has the story.

*Ms. Taylor excepted, of course. But she is, unfortunately, not in the running.
Hey. Just imagine if the real Big Al , pictured above, were to come back and run for mayor. Wouldn't that be something? Then again, I'd be happy enough if the real deal came back and started working the morning slot for the Cheerleader station just so that he could blow that Neil MacRae right off the air for good, the right way this time (ie. via ratings not 'alleged' threats of reprisals).


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Floggin' Demonstrable Falsehoods Since 1974


From the NYTimes-trumpeted DeSmogBlog:

Having failed last year to discredit the International Panel on Climate Change, the Fraser Institute is hoping to have better luck brainwashing today’s youth. The ExxonMobil-funded organization has developed a global-warming booklet for distribution to high school students and teachers across Canada.

Allegedly aimed at “helping them understand the issue and make their own decisions about what actions are needed,” the manuscript was compiled by rookie scientists and retirees with strong ties to oil and gas pressure groups.

From the Fraser Institutes own press release:

A new booklet summarizing the current state of climate change science in an easy-to-read format is being distributed to more than 15,000 Canadian teachers and students by independent research organization The Fraser Institute.


Why would any teacher, school administrator or school board member in their right mind allow themselves to become a conduit for the promulgation of propaganda from serial purveyors of petroleum putritude?

Oh, ya.

I forgot.

Some of them are scared or, worse, duped.

By stuff like this.


Coolin' Up The Old Guy..... Vol4


We interrupt our regularly scheduled blathering to give you an early edition of the next 'CUTOG'.

This one comes our way from Bigger E, via Lou Reed (who I'm pretty sure just might think that this is maybe one of the coolest things that has ever been done to one of his tunes).

Which just goes to show, no matter how old you are, you can still.....

'Hitchhike your way across the U.S.A.'

Regardless whether it's real, imagined, or metaphorical.

The hitchhiking I mean.


The 'Young @ Heart Chorus' is the subject of documentary which will soon be released. Earlty returns suggest that it just might be the real deal.
Oh, and sometimes, somebody's just gotta mess with.........Bowie!


Whose Land Is It Anyway?


First it was the heart of a park.

Now, apparently, it is reservoirs.

A couple of Kelowna politicians are frustrated by the lack of public concern about the provincial government’s insistence on selling currently-leased recreational lots located on domestic water reservoirs.

Kelowna Coun. Brian Given and Lake Country Mayor James Baker are organizing a rally April 5 to draw attention to the issue and to gather signatures on a petition opposing the plan.

They say they are puzzled by the determination of the province to press ahead with sales of the lots, despite unanimous opposition by all the civic government bodies in the valley, as well as the Okanagan Basin Water Board.

What's next - the lawns that surround the Ledge?

Heckfire, ya!

After all, you could put some pretty nice condos on acreage like that.

Even better if you could wash 'em all green.


It's like Rafe Mair once said - the current government of British Columbia appears to know the price of everything and the value of nothing.


Original reservoir link source: The Tyee's daily 'Reported Elsewhere' news round-up.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What Will We Do When The Good Days Are Gone?


I have a confession to make.

I am an academic.

Thus, in general, the folks I spend time with everyday, myself included, really lead pretty cushy lives.

And I've alreay told many of you who I owe for that.

But the great majority of my colleagues have no idea, or they pretend that they don't know, or they pretend they've forgotten.

And when I get worked up about things like the selling off of public assets for no good reason at all, or the destruction of public programs that really help people, those same colleagues look at me like I'm completely off my nut.


But here's the thing that really worries me.......

What happens when things go bad in a Province built for good times?

I mean, what will happen if we're on the hook for billions for things that really mean very little when the going gets tough and people start hurting.

And what would it take for that to happen when your Province's resource-based economy, and almost all of your provincial government's surplusses, depend on things like the following NOT happening:

........The fall in oil, metals and gold suggested the commodities bubble that has propelled Canada's resources economy ever higher in recent years could soon burst as investors and traders worry about a recession in the United States and its impact on the world economy.

On currency markets, the loonie had its biggest single-day plunge in nearly 46 years, dropping 2.19 cents against the American dollar. Traders worried that falling commodities will kick a leg out from under the Western Canadian resources economy, whose strong growth has cushioned the blow of a battered manufacturing sector in Ontario and Quebec.

Of course, this was just today.

And, of course, this does not take into account the lower-than-expected interest rate cut in the States.

However, if this is not just a single day plunge, but is instead the start of a long steep decline, I sure hope we can start spending money on things that actually count.


Before it is all gone.

The money I mean.

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I don't think we should try to build curling rinks, chair lifts and speed skating ovals when we get the chance, it's just that I think that we also need to keep working on repairing the ropes in the safety net at the same time.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hey, Rush!

.....You Working This Hard?


From Mr. Barack Obama's speech in Philadelphia today.....

"......This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy - particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction - a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people - that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances - for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives - by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American - and yes, conservative - notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright's sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change......"


Read it.

Watch it.

Hear it.

And when you are done, resolve to ignore every pig-headed thing that is said and/or written by the shillophants about Mr. Obama's relationship with the Reverend Wright for no other reason than politically-expedient race baiting.

Because expediency is never exceptional.



The header to this post is explained here (don't miss the comments also).