Saturday, February 28, 2009

Saturday Night's Alright For....

.....Uke Fighting!

And there is absolutely no 'cover' required this week.

Instead we have 100% Metal Uke originality, with the whiff of the farcical, from M. Lou.

Way, way, way Better Than Ezra ever was, I reckon.

As Always, Uke (Usually Cover) Peg Head courtesy of Los Angelino PhotoDiva and YarnMistress, Ellen Bloom.


Small Differences, My Ass.



I'm listening to CBC Radio One's, 'The House' this morning.

And Kathleen Petty had former Homeland Security Colour Man Tom Ridge and the Prince of the Anschluss himself, David Emerson, on.

And the two of them wittered on and on and on about 'fluid borders' and 'common security perimeters' and 'economic integration' and 'regulatory harmonization' and all that.

And then they mentioned how the Whistler Olympics could be used as a test case to help move things forward, big time, in the future.

Which, of course, made me throw up a little bit in my mouth...

But that was not the worst of it.


Because the worst came when the Prince went on to say that the really big hold-up is the being caused by all these silly people (ie. the donkey-brained citizenry of Canada) that get all hung up on 'the tyranny of small differences' between the two countries.

Then Emerson hung up and the host, Ms. Petty, moved on to the next item on the program.....

Which was a story about the political assassination of one of the Fathers of Canadian Confederation, Thomas D'Arcy McGee that happened 140 years ago.

And was the ONLY assassination of a federal politician we've EVER had in this country.

Now do you see where the title of this post came from?

Real Audio of program is here. The Prince's swill about 'small differences' starts @ ~17':30''.


Friday, February 27, 2009

RailGate Re-Runnneth Over


"The Court Has Made A Decision...."

That's all Gordon Campbell House Leader Mike de Jong had to say when he was asked if he was 'worried' that the NDP has managed to get a hold of 15 binders containing some 8000 pages of RailGate-related material previously obtained by the Defence through a court-forced FOI request.

How do we know this?

Because Public Eye TeeVee has recorded it for posterity:

Which, of course, is nothing short of a pseudo-smirking, non-denial denial of non-deniability.

Or some such thing.

Truth be told, I kinda wish SM Holman had asked Mr. De Jong what he thought of the 2 other binders that the NDP did NOT manage to get released.
Either that, or I wish Sean would hop on a ferry so that he could knock on the flight instructor's door, camera in hand, and ask him the same question he asked Mr. de Jong.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

You Say Tomato ...... I Say Conflict Of Interest

Canadian Associations Of Chiefs Of Police

This is ground that Alison has plowed before, but given events of the last few days it bears revisiting.

Last August, the Canadian Associations Of Chiefs Of Police held their big annual conference in Montreal.

And one of their 'platinum' sponsors was Taser International.

Which, according to the program notes for the meeting, means that the good folks that make and sell electrical conductance weapons that don't actually kill people (ie. cardiac arrthymias kill people, not 50,000 volt jolts) gave the Chiefs of Police $25,000.

Which, again, given events of the last few days, begs the following question......

If a group of not-so-fine folks that manufacture and sell opiates that don't really kill people (ie. brainstem suppression of respiratory centers kills people, not heroin) were to give the Chiefs a big whack-o-cash, would they suddenly call, en masse, for injectable narcotics for all the officers in their charge so that they could be used to pacify any and all trouble makers they come into contact with?

Sound crazy? Sure thing. But consider this.....A compound called Naloxone can reverse the brainstem-mediated respiratory suppression caused by opioids....But a cardiac arrest brought on by those non-jolt-assisted arrthymias? Well, that's a different story entirely.




.....Goes Deep

Pretty good stuff, eh?

(and sure hope there was no tazin' go down when the person at the end was 'removed' from the chamber)

Original Link Source: RedTory


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

RailGate Reading Time!

SpeedReading Ville

Well, well, well.....

The judge has released a bunch of Railgate stuff to Leonard Krog, the NDP and.....gasp!.... the public.

Eight thousand freaking pages to be exact.

Looks like I'm gonna have to put down that ol' Joe Heller thing I've been re-reading to help me drift off to sleep at night.....

This should be fun.

(Mary - maybe we should enlist the Anon-O-Mice and break it all down into do-able Fiskatory chunks)

Let's Taze Everything!


Now that Julian Fantino, the Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, has told everyone that will listen that there are one hundred and fifty studies that prove Tasers are safe, maybe the time has come to move high voltage shock machines from the relatively small, contained circle of law enforcement out into the wider world.

After all, that way everyone would be able to use them in all sorts of weird and wonderous everyday ways.

Like, say, the following.....

Having trouble getting your teenager out of the bathroom in the morning?
.....Taze her!

Boss won't give you a raise?
.....Taze him!

Baristas jabberin' away behind the machine while they're supposed to be makin' your latte and gettin' your oat bar?
....Taze 'em both!

Old lady at the express check out has 10 items instead of 9?
....Taze her twice! (her pacemaker will love it!)

Heckfire! If we did that Taser International could even start adding them to other gadgets as an accessory so that.....

If your husband is hogging the remote control for the TeeVee you can just pick up the controller for the DVD player and....
....Taze him!

If a street performing mime is driving you crazy while you wait for the bus you can take out your cell phone, pretend to snap a photo, but instead.....
....Taze her!

And you could even join in on the next craze to sweep the on-line nation....Web-based Tazering*!
.... It's only a click away!

The possibilities are endless, I tell you.

And if, say, a few thousand people were to drop dead in the process?

Well, we're pretty sure that the shillin' machine will by then have kicked into overdrive to pump out 19,873 studies that 'prove' repeated high voltage shockification had absolutely nothing to do with them.

The deaths, we mean.


*When pressed by reporters to actually, you know, cite specific studies that demonstrated the safety of the Taser, Mr. Fantino told them he wasn't going to do their homework for them and that they should (paraphrasing) 'go on the Web and find them'.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Watch Out Global/BCTV/CBC/CHECK/A-CHANNEL TeeVee...

And my favorite clip so far has to be Wally Oppal flipping his own flop.

With election season fast approaching in British Columbia, this is gonna be good.

Real good.


(Now I really am glad I sent Sean Holman money!)


Dziekanski Inquiry: What To Do When The Stapler Defense Fails...

.....Blame Your Use Of Deadly Force On Bad Posture.

Yesterday the first RCMP officer testified at the Dziekanski inquiry (I refuse to slap the 'Braidwood' moniker on the thing - it is Mr. Dziekanski that is dead):

(RCMP Constable) Rundel, who made repeated references to his training, said Dziekanski's actions justified the use of the Taser well before he picked up the stapler.

He said when Dziekanski turned away he was non-compliant and resistant, which, according to the RCMP's use-of-force guidelines at the time, allowed the use of a Taser.....

So, there you have it.

It's a kinda/sorta a backing off of the "staplers-justify-the-use-of-deadly-force" defense.

But what if there was physical evidence that there actually was no deadly weapon-of mass-office-implement-destruction?

Evidence like, say, this:

Rundel was shown a video of the incident, taken by a witness, and asked to point out when Dziekanski lifted the stapler in an aggressive manner, but he could not.

"Are Dziekanski's hands not down?" asked retired judge Thomas Braidwood, who is overseeing the inquiry.

What to do then?

Well, you move to the next stage of your rather bizarre fallback defense.

Which is, of course the justification of deadly force in the face of bad, scary, dangerous, no-good, hands-down, combative posture.


Posture, as in 'stance':

"From my view at that point, my best recollection is that they're still in a combative stance, so I don't think you really can make that determination from this back view," replied Rundel.

Meanwhile, two major Canadian police organizations are now calling for more tasers.

So that we can give one to every single police officer in the country.

To which we can only ask (again).

Why don't they just ask for staplers?

After all, they are, apparently, more effective/scary.



Amusing Themselves To Death With Sexist Crap


Their financial institutions are crumbling and their way of life is threatened due to the internal recklessness of their feckless former(?) leaders and their captains of industry.

So, what are august and influential media outlets like US News and World Report doing about it?

Why, they are busy stirring up foment about a new generation of woman leaders, both real and imagined, based on how the public perceives their ability to run a daycare.

Yes, you read that right.

A daycare.

As Jon Stewart once famously said to the fiddleheads on CNN's (now defunct) 'Crossfire:

"Just stop. Stop hurting America."


Original Linksource: Little Gator on 'The Fighting Liberals'


Monday, February 23, 2009

RailGate Relapsing: Blame It On The Post


Canada Post to be more precise.

The blame part I mean.

Because, apparently, it was their fault for not getting govenment documents to the RailGate defense team in time for today's court hearing.

Robin Mathews, over at Mary's place, has that story:

"Beginning early, eight or nine lawyers assembled close to nine-thirty a.m.. A little later three people were in the gallery, none of them press and media. Regulars.

Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett read a decision about disclosure of memoranda, releasing some requested material to Defence.

Then. Mr. Copley (counsel for cabinet) dropped off a box of documents and returned quickly to the court (elsewhere) where he was appearing. Apparently, he had also sent, by mail, documents that could not reach Defence counsel Kevin McCullough by the week-end.....

Now, of course, there's no harm no foul there, right?

After all, the defence team could just put on their Evelyn Wood speed-reading glasses and everything could move forward, right?


Again, here's Mr. Mathews, whose account of the proceedings will likely be the only one you will read given that, according to him at least*, there were NO members of the proMedia in the room:

There was more. But suffice it to say that the sudden need to exchange and supply documents in large quantities among Defence, Crown, BC Rail, and Gordon Campbell cabinet created a situation in which necessary review was impossible - even though a try was made at the suggestion of Defence lawyer Keven McCullough by a one hour court recess.

It wasn't enough time. Court had to break......

{Snippety doo-dah}

....Tuesday's hearing has been cancelled.

What's that old saying about justice delayed being justice denied?

And in this case I'm not just talking about justice for the defendants.



Enough with the niceties.

It's been more than five years.

Five freaking years.

And government lawyers are still getting away with this crap?!!!!


*And make no mistake, while he may wax quixotic at times, Mr. Mathews has never let us down on the barebone facts at the nut of the thing in his reportage.


Blood On The Streets: How Can We Really Stop The Insanity?


The shooting at 12th and St. Catherines last night was the third drug-fueled gangster 'incident' within 20 blocks our otherwise quiet, peaceful and happy neighbourhood in less than a week.


How to stop this?

Well, we have already argued that all the Maximum Lawman Peter Van Loan-type frothing-at-the-mouth-while-blaming-the-Opposition stuff will ultimately do very little because it does not get to root causes.

And the only way to really do that is to get tough with the prohibitionists.

As such, we were very glad to read that the old curmudgeon, Rafe Mair, agrees with us:

Logically, the legalization or, at least, decriminalization of drugs makes sense. The beneficiaries of our present system are criminals, the same criminals in large measure who are responsible for the ubiquitous shootings in Vancouver reminiscent of Chicago of the 1920s. The cost of enforcing drug laws, according to research, is mind boggling.....

Rafe has a lot more to say, including the fact that legalization alone is most definitely not the one true answer. But it is hard not agree with him that without it we will always have gangsters and gangland bosses running around blowing each other up, not to mention innocent bystanders.

Especially if and when enforcement actually works.


Because if it is successful, enforcement will just drive the price of the crap up.

Which, of course, means higher profits, and higher incentives for the gangsters to have even bigger shooting wars in an attempt rub each other out.



BC Ferries: The Wrath Of Hahn, Part XXXIX


Andrew MacLeod at The Tyee has the story of yet another attempt by Mr. Hahn's spinmeisters to hide behind a Friday document dump:

British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. lost $14.6 million in the three months that ended Dec. 31, almost twice as much money as the company lost in the same period a year earlier.

The company's net earnings fell from $67.7 million to $47.5 million. Revenue increased for the company by $12.9 million, but not as fast as expenses, which grew by $19.7 million.

Ferry vehicle traffic dropped by 5.1 percent in the nine month period, a late Friday afternoon company press release said. It blamed the drop on "deteriorating economic conditions and volatile fuel prices."


By December they knew their ridership numbers were plummeting.

And when, exactly, did His Gordness bail out Mr. Hahn when he paid for that 'temporary' fare reduction again?

Was it....


Of course, another factor in the negative numbers is very likely debt servicing....Which begs the question, just how much extra did it cost to have those fine folks in Germany build those vibrating gas guzzlers instead of no-good, terrible, awful union workers right here in British Columbia?


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Forget Springsteen....The Oscar For Best Song Should Go To...


...Our Neil.

For the song the producers of FrostNixon should have used.

After all, as Mr. Young said so long ago, "Even Richard Nixon has got soul"


Sunday Morning Coming Down....


Remember when you were a kid, and Sunday rolled around after you'd spent your entire Saturday playing road hockey on the red brick wall-enclosed schoolground of your dreams?


You had a big project due for school on Monday that involved things like wire mesh and paper mache and stuff that actually had to make sense.


Remember how you felt as the morning drifted afternoonward and you had still barely even started?

Well, this Sunday that's me.

Oh sure, we've got one grant in the can.

But there's another one due in a week.


We have a big paper in revision that the editor wanted back a week ago but we're still doing about fifty experiments at once to try and make the reviewers happy.


Worst of all.

My building is closed today because of some kind of weird behind the walls-in-the-pipes-and-tubes BrazillianGilliam-type maintenance thing is going down.


Which means I will have to go work in the library.

With all those....Gasp!.... Students.

Who are cramming and/or playing Halo when they should be doing the assignment I gave them two weeks ago that was due on Friday.

Oh boy.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

When The Going Gets Weird.....

The Pro Turn Dome

Or some such thing.


What the heckfire am I talking about?

Well, it would appear that, in additon to regularly posting his insightful Vancouver Times-Colonist columns, Paul Willcocks has recently started throwing up quick hit snippets with considerable regularity. His latest points us towards Sean Holman's most excellent longterm documenting of a goodly number of former(?) B.C. Liberal Party backroom boychuk Patrick Kinsella's many, many, many clients/associates/stable mates/dining partners.

Now, I have no idea if Mr. Willcocks is doing this because CWID* but, regardless, his more active role in the bloggodome is, in our opinion, a very good thing indeed.


*CanWest Is Doomed. (and that' not just our opinion)
TopO'ThePost Posthumous Image: HST's WoodyCreekWeirdRoom taken from Matt Hahn's way past midnight (not to mention post-excellent) 1997 Atlantic Monthly interview....Which reminds me - the old bastard, who simultaneously always/never let me down, followed Hemingway to that great shotgun blast in the sky exactly four years ago, yesterday.


Friday, February 20, 2009

One Good Pillar Does Not Prevent The Building Of Others


Earlier this week Frances Bula had an important, non-Olympic Village boondoggle, piece in the Globe and Mail essentially detailing how British Columbia's regional health officers are open to the idea of having safe injection sites coming to their towns in an effort to reduce harm:

Battling both the federal government and drug problems in their communities, B.C.'s medical health officers have quietly passed a resolution asking all health authorities to develop supervised injection sites where needed.

The resolution, passed at the officers' biannual council meeting in Prince Rupert and posted publicly last week, recommends that supervised injection sites should "now evolve from a current single research project into being integrated into community primary-care settings, addictions services, hospitals and other health care services" everywhere in the province.....


Medical health officers say they passed their resolution partly to make it clear where they stand in the federal appeal case, and partly because they are grappling with a skyrocketing rate of injection-drug use and infections in some B.C. communities, especially in the north.

"I don't understand why the federal government is appealing this decision, but we just wanted to say that many of us have looked at the science and it does have benefits," said Roland Guasparini, the chief medical officer for the Fraser Health Authority. "We don't want the public to be confused."......


David Bowering, the chief medical health officer for the Northern Health Authority that geographically covers 63 per cent of B.C., said there is no immediate recommendation for an injection site, but it is something Prince George and other northern communities might have to consider.

Dr. Bowering said there has been a steep increase in HIV and hepatitis C infections in Prince George in the past five years, especially among the native population. That city's needle exchange now gives out 100,000 needles a year.

"We're seeing a pattern in Prince George that's reminiscent of what happened in the Downtown Eastside in the '90s," Dr. Bowering said. The Downtown Eastside's infection rate was so high then that it exceeded that of some Third World countries and was labelled an epidemic. It has since dropped and levelled off......

Now, unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your point of view) Frances couldn't get a member of the 'Harm Reduction Haters' Club' on the record before her piece went to press.

However, she did receive a late response from Dr. Colin Mangham (Ph.D. variety). In the past Dr. Mangham has championed abstinence programs, published a heavily press-cited but rarely science-cited opinion piece denouncing the harm reduction approach, and even went to Ottawa to specifically slag Vancouver's InSite*.

Interestingly, however, one of Dr. Mangham's current talking points does not directly attack data published in peer-reviewed journals. Instead, he now chooses to argue that building up the harm reduction pillar is destroying the other pillars of drug prevention, treatment and enforcement. Here is that argument, as quoted on Ms. Bula's blog:

The Provincial Health Officer has long advocated for outright legalization - the necessary partner to harm reduction. He is on record as being so and the MHOC, a separate group of which he is part, also advocates for harm reduction/legalization. Many others more involved with INSITE including some of the researchers, the city drug czar, Centres for Excellence, VCH civil servants dealing with the DTES, are also strong believers in harm reduction ideology and have spoken out for it on many occasions. While having such views and bias is perfectly fine, remember these are also the people responsible for drug policy and public drug program dollars. Their bias has become reality at our expense. Along with this bias, we have seen treatment dwindle terribly, no primary prevention programs for schools or communities, and for want of a better word, mockery of police and enforcement....

Now, of course, Dr. Mangham has every right to voice his opinion, even if it is so rarely peer-reviewed.

The thing is, these opinions are also so rarely based on fact that it is hard to take them seriously.

Unfortunately, however, the pro-media often do take them seriously, especially when they go looking for the back end during he said/she said reportage (see this, by way of example).

Which, in my opinion, makes them downright dangerous.

Dr. Mangham's 'opinions' I mean.


*I have written about the activities of the good Dr. Mangham previously, here.


Are We Better Than Hansard?


I dunno for sure.

But this I do know - Our visits from the various assorted hangers-on, and even the occasional insider, sure as heckfire go up when the Ledge is in session......


Get back to work!



Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hey, Yankees!......Leave Our 'O' Alone!


Kady 'O', I mean.

After all, apparently, all it would take for, say, MSNBC to steal her away would be better date squares.

Here she is, reporting from the ObamaPalooza on Capitol....errrrr.....P.Diddy Hill earlier today (where she was, apparently, identified as 'Canada's sassiest blogger' by America's real news network, Comedy Central):

3:32:57 PM
Wow, that’s really it, I guess - the Hill portion of the programme, at least; we just got pool footage of the PM and the president heading out — yes, more waves for the crowd, a surprising number of which are *still* on the lawn - and the motorcade peels away. Goodbye, Mr. President! Goodbye, Beast! Goodbye, snipers! Can we go back to normal life now? Because as glamourous as this has been, I kind of miss being able to walk down the hallway outside my office without nine different passes and twice that many suspicious looks from the guards..

3:45:55 PM
Datesquares! They had *datesquares* in the filing room! Sorry, sorry. I’m over it.

Very scary, indeed.

Especially the part where we read that she's almost ready and willing to put up with 'Beasts' and 'Snipers' for a little of the old razzle dazzle.

Clearly, we are doomed.

Because I am almost certain that whoever is currently playing the Faye Dunaway/Alec Baldwin part at GE is already fitting the chair for Ms. O'Malley's semi-regular slot on 'Meet The Press' .

Image of the 'Squared Circle' in the P.Hill PressPool PoodleRoom during the Obama/Harper snoozophony taken by the O'BerryCam (see single datesquare remaining @ ~7 O'Clock)


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

RailGate Cult Leader Scoops Big Media Maw...


From a piece by Ian Mulgrew in a recent edition of rCWID's Vancouver Sun:

The key figure in Project Every Which Way, the organized crime investigation that triggered the raid on the legislature half a decade ago, has been convicted and sentenced to nine years' imprisonment.

Jasmohan Singh Bains, the 33-year-old would-be Mr. Big of the Vancouver Island drug world, was also fined $242,170 and forfeited $12,718.11 seized by police at the time of his arrest five years ago. If he fails to pay the fine, Bains must serve another three years in prison.

Although then only 28, Bains headed a Victoria-based group that shipped kilograms of cocaine to Metro Toronto and remitted cash back via Federal Express.

His trial last summer focused on one shipment of 12 kilos, worth about $400,000, and Bains's boast that he could supply 50 kilos a week.

"Mr. Bains was the sine qua non of this conspiracy," Provincial Court Judge Robert Higinbotham said at the sentencing on Sept. 11.

"He was the initiator, the driving force, and the chief executive officer of the trafficking enterprise, and he answered to no other person."

This significant event went apparently unreported until it appeared on citizen journalist Mary Mackie's blog and was brought to my attention Monday.

I was surprised no one in the federal prosecutor's office or the RCMP had issued a statement since this is the organized crime connection that led to the raid on legislature offices Dec. 28, 2003....

'Nuff said.

You want regular updates and informed analysis about one of BC's biggest and longest running news/crime/graft/corruption/political stories of all time?

Do not watch the TeeVee, listen to your radio, or open a newspaper.

Because you will not find it there.

Instead, you will find it in the Bloggodome.

At Mary's place.

And Mr. T, the Billman's.


The title of this post refers to a recent exchange between the Ledgie Boys and the Goodship Watercarrier in which Mess'rs Baldrey and Palmer joked about RailGate obsessives generally, and our good friend Mary specifically, being members of a 'cult'......Which reminds me....Is it 'News' when a Cult Leader and her Anon-O-Mice do a little bit of digging to scoop the Pro-Media Boyz in the Ledgiehood.....Huh?
Oh, and I would be remiss if I did not mention that Mary did not begin covering the Bains story yesterday....she's been onto it for months.....Yes, that's right, months!.....


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Will We Ever Be Tough Enough?


In case you missed it, the streets of Vancouver are running with blood.

And most of the time it would appear to be gang members shooting, and often killing each other, or their loved ones, with guns.

Occasionally, it's even worse than that when a totally innocent bystander is involved.

But, regardless, it's always tragic.

And scary.

So what to do?

Why, get tough of course.

In fact, the bleating from the worst elements of the uber-sensationalistic pro-media maw and their co-dependents, the law-and-order types, has already begun.

Which means more cops.... and more sting operations....and more tough laws.... and more really hard, punitive sentences .....and all that stuff.

Which is hard to argue against at the moment.


Will maximum lawman tough ever be tough enough to stop this senselessness?

Personally, I don't think so.

I mean, if that kind of thing did work, on its own, wouldn't our good friends to the south have stomped out gang violence, especially drug money-fueled gang violence (which is, apparently, the virulent strain of the evil thing that has erupted in Vancouver recently), be gone for good by now in the Excited States?



Maybe the time has come, once again, to seriously ask ourselves the following question:

What if there was no money in it?

The drug-fueled gang violence I mean.

(if you get my drift)


Product (Dis)Placement Gone Wild


Those Dutch.

They have a different WebAd for everything.

Hit the link and watch.

Do nothing else.

Just hit link and watch (with the sound on)..... it will only take a minute.



Monday, February 16, 2009

If Wishes Were Staplers....

....Would Horsemen Ride?

After all, apparently they are more deadly than Tasers.

Staplers, I mean.

Neal Hall, in the VSun, had the story last week:

....Robert Jorssen, the chief financial officer of the RCMP in B.C., said he was at the airport in the early hours of Oct. 14, 2007, waiting for his cousin to arrive from New York, when he saw Dziekanski being Tasered after four Mounties arrived to deal with the agitated, angry man.

He initially testified Tuesday at the Braidwood inquiry, which is probing Dziekanski's death, that police did not employ a Taser until Dziekanski grabbed a stapler from a counter and "brandished" it above his head.

But inquiry commissioner Thomas Braidwood said he was having trouble seeing Dziekanski raise the stapler before he was shocked with a Taser. Braidwood asked Jorssen to watch a civilian video of the incident again.

After watching the video, Jorssen said: "It appears he reacted after he was shot."

He added: "I didn't see the object [stapler] before he picked it up."....


This is pure codswallop, regardless.

Because even if Mr. Dziekanski was brandishing six semi-automatic staplers, three pneumatically-driven three-hole punches, two deluxe model, high volume paper shredders, and an ink cartridge in a pear tree, that would not justify the rapid and continued deployment of deadly force shown on that video.

And for the RCMP to even suggest as much is enough to make the most law-abiding citizen question the validity of anything (and everything) they say.

So they should just cut the crap.

Right now.

Before they lose all credibility with the public.


Alison, as usual, has already posted up eloquently on this one. And now she's cranking up to smack down the greedheads as they prepare, once again, to sell our country down the river.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Day After Valentine's Day...

....Is Alright For Uke (Cover) Fighting!

Especially if somebody like, say, the KKK took your baby away.

Here's the original....

And here's the cover in all it's 'lost-in-translation-while-strumming-in-the-sitting-room' glory....

And finally, here's the real story behind the song.

Go figure.

UkePegPhotoCredit: from Los Angelino PhotoDiva and YarnMistress Ellen Bloom. And even cooler is the fact that, as Ellen herself recently informed us, the peg was made by her brother Ken who is actually a dulcimer man.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Audiobooks Are For Fools, Fool!


There is this kid who is an ironical tricksterian musical genius, as near as I can figure it.

And despite of, or maybe because of, all the above qualities this kid's greatest career aspiration is, apparently, to become an English teacher.

And if and/or when she becomes such a teacher she has decided she will make her students read Mr. T's autobiography.

For all kinds of reasons, including the fact that he has a great 'writer's voice'. So great, in fact, that you don't need an audiobook to hear him call your name.

You can read all about the kid's views on Mr. T's writing here.

And then you can go hear her sing about how he has influenced her life and times here (look for the tune by M. Lewis, 3rd from bottom).

My own kids amaze me daily.

This kid is just plain amazing.



Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Independence? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Independence!


Here's a story that matters.

To all British Columbians.

Andrew MacLeod (again!) tells it in The Tyee.

Here's his lead:

An independent review of the Therapeutics Initiative at the University of British Columbia found the drug-review body's work should continue, with a few changes including a new name.

It also called the government's Pharmaceutical Task Force Report, which recommended disbanding the TI and led to the academic review, “Lacking in substantive evidence.” That report was written by a committee stacked with people with ties to the drug industry....


There are actually two stories here.

The first is that the Therapeutics Initiative itself, which makes evidence-based recommendations on drugs that the BC Government should subsidize in its various health care compensatation programs (and just as importantly which drugs it SHOULD NOT subsidize due to lack of evidence of effectiveness*), was clearly sabatoged by a 'Pharmaceutical Task Force' of Drug Cartel lackeys put in place by Mr. Gordon Campbell.

The second is how little big media coverage this story has gotten in the Pro-Media.

Sure, this stuff is complicated.

But so what.

After all, most important things are.

Complicated I mean.

*As opposed to the best advertising and influence peddling money can buy which, make no mistake about it, is directed both to the public AND the medical profession.
This business of complicated/important stories that get lost in the shuffle is something that Mr. Willcocks and I have discussed in the past, mostly offline, after he posted-up on the subject of the TI-Trashing in fine fashion....I promised him a treatise at the time.....I have yet to deliver (but still hope to do so).


Saturday, February 07, 2009

Come Saturday Morning....



I spent a good chunk of the week in the No-Longer-Center-Of-The-Universe.

Which, of course, is also known as Toronto-The-Formerly-Good.

Or, as I like to call it 'The New Cleveland'.


For most of the 72 hours I was in downtown T.O. amongst the rusting hulks of Canuckistan's financial and manufacturing sectors, I was locked in a below ground hotel bunker with a bunch of other science geeks fighting over a quickly shrinking grant-dollar pie.

Just to be clear, we weren't fighting for money for our own labs.

Instead, we were fighting for money for projects we had deemed scientifically worthy.

Or not.

And the number of really, really good grants we can realistically fight for is rapidly plummetting.

Because, apparently, there is no room to fit science into the stimulus.

Or the stimulus packages.*

Despite the fact that science supports good paying, truly green jobs for smart people with tons of innovative upside.



That's all behind me now for awhile (although I must confess to being scared crapless, especially given that one of my own grants that three people who work with me are paid from** will be heading back to the peer review bloodbath, head bowed, hand-extended, next time around).....

And it's time to take a day off.

So Bigger E. and I are getting ready to hit the road.

On our bikes.....we're going all the way across town....she has an optometrist appointment and then she wants to by a new pair of Converse Hi-Tops.

Me, I need a pair of walking shoes.....What can I say....I'm an old guy.

littler e. is off skiing with her old friend M. (may seem funny for a kid to have an 'old friend' when she's nine, but in this case it's true).....C. has gone to Victoria to help our friend K. buy a car from our other friends M. and T....

Which means that Rosie, the whack-a-doodle, will have to stay home for awhile....she's just not quite ready to ride in the pannier.


*This is a purely Harpoonista phenomenom. Down south Mr. Obama has made science part of the solution. Gotta love that LibConCoaltion.
**And that grant pays everybody's entire's amazing what we can do with $120K/yr which also pays for all the consumables we need to actually do experiments as well....and don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about the numbers because the kind of work I do, which is biomedical, means that I can apply for considerably larger grants than the real drivers of the innovator engine, the folks who do the real basic fundamental eureka!-type stuff.