Wednesday, March 31, 2010

If BC Place Didn't Need A New $450 Million Roof....

.....Would Gordon Campbell Have Been Forced To Rip A Gaping Hole In The Thing With His Bare Hands?

After all, how else to explain that the new Circus-Circus on the edge of Yaletown is going to cost, surprise(!), a cool-handed $450 million?

And while I saw the marshmallow roof-assisted land-jack coming, I must confess that I never envisioned that it would morph into Vegas-Style casino with a grass top.....

But, funnily enough, there was a wee bit of foreshadowing from 'The Boss'
that I wrote about, and perhaps should have paid more attention to, a while back....."....I was floored when he (Springsteen) changed things up and OPENED the (Vancouver) show with 'Atlantic City'.....Which, given that he is known to use his set-list to make statements, is pretty interesting don't you think?"

The 'Circus-Circus' is, as Hunter S. Thompson once infamously wrote, "what the whole hep world would be doing on Saturday night if the Nazis had won the war.".......


When The Going Gets Tough, The Yanks Get Going...

....To Canada.

First it was Ms. Sarah Palin, the quitter from Alaska:

(Speaking in Calgary recently) the vocal opponent of health-care reform in the U.S. steered largely clear of the topic except to reveal a tidbit about her life growing up not far from Whitehorse (in Alaska).

“We used to hustle over the border for health care we received in Canada,” she said. “And I think now, isn't that ironic?”

Now it's the entire state of Montana.

"During this time of economic recession, states have made very tough choices to balance their human services budgets. There is one area where costs could be controlled without adversely impacting people who need health care. I (Governor, and non-quitter Brian Schweitzer) am asking you to join me in my fight against unfair drug pricing by granting a Medicaid waiver allowing us to import prescription drugs from Canada for Montanans covered by Medicaid, Healthy Montana Kids (Montana’s CHIP program), our state employee health plan and our correctional systems. By allowing Montana to import medications from Canada we estimate we could save up to $40 million......"


How long will it be before some Crackpotian TeaNutterer in Missoula starts screaming for our socialist heads because we're saving his Medicaid program too much money?

Or some such thing.

Original Link Source:
The indefatigable David Dayen writing at the indispensible Firedoglake.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Shirley Bond Kills The Myth That BC Rail Was A Big White Whale


Last week our friend Mary and her colleagues over at 'The Legislature Raids' took Gordon Campbell's current Liberal Minister of Pavement, Ms. Shirley Bond, to task for the following wreckless statement about BC Rail:

".....All I can say to the (NDP) member opposite is that you managed to take the train and take it right off the tracks during the 1990s. In one year alone under that member's leadership, $582 million in debt, and in fact, the only outcome, the only measure of success that that side of the House had was how big the bailout was going to be every single year for B.C. Rail...."

Positively screechy don't you think?

And perfect marching orders for all the proMedia WaterCarriers 'round these here parts.



One of the best taskmaskers of all over at Mary's place was former Liberal MLA Paul Nettleton who, because he represented a good chunk of the electorate in the Prince George area at the time, was actually in the room when Mr. Campbell told Mr. Nettleton, Ms. Bond and the incomparably not comparable to much of anyone, Mr. Pat Bell, way back in 2001/2002, that he, the Premier of the Province, had every intention of breaking his explicit election promise not to sell-off the Public's Railway with malice aforethought.

Here, is just the first sentence of what Mr. Nettleton had to say over at Mary's last week in response to Ms. Bond's screeching for the WC's:

"Shirley Bond's closing comments with reference to "big bailouts" for BC Rail, "every single year" during the 1990's is absolutely false and misleading!...."

To which Will McMartin must have answered 'Damn straight!', or some such thing, as he beavered away on his piece that was finally published on the front page of The Tyee yesterday.

Here is Mr. McMartin's money shot:

"....Are any of those statements (from Ms. Bond) correct? Was BC Rail "bankrupt" and "in complete disarray" when the Campbell Liberals won election to government in 2001? Did the Crown corporation's debt soar by $582 million in a single year under the NDP? Did provincial taxpayers have to provide a "bailout... every single year" to BC Rail?

The answers are as simple as can be: No, no, no and no.

The fact is that BC Rail was a profitable company before the BC Liberals took power. The Crown corporation recorded 23 consecutive years of operating profits and 18 years with net income during the late 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Indeed, over that period the rail company sent $137.7 million in dividends to the provincial treasury.

Yet, the BC Liberals' lies about BC Rail persist to the present time and continue to be told in the legislative assembly...."


We all owe the Minister, and her fine sense of the absurd, a debt of gratitude.....Because no one in the last seven years since the deal went down has done more to destroy the carefully crafted myth that BC Rail was an albatross around the necks of the people of British Columbia that had to be cut loose and thrown to the vultures.

Thank-you Ms. Bond!

(hmmmmmmm.....given all this, is it possible that the good Ms. Bond is actually the people's mole?......ha!)


Monday, March 29, 2010

One More Example Of How The Terror Industry Has Won


Some time ago, I took my old boss to The Cannery, a restaurant on Vancouver's waterfront.

She'd come up from the Bay Area for a science geek thing and she wanted a view of the harbour - so we went there for dinner because C. and I had been once, a long time before that, back when we were still almost courting, and we'd loved it despite the fact that, back then at least, we couldn't really afford it.

Anyway, when we went with my boss, which was in 2005, I couldn't believe that you had to go around a fence and through a stupid security gate to get there.

And I said so:

Last night I got to watch the orange-purple, autumnal high-sky sundown from Vancouver's waterfront docks.

Not the Ferry docks, which are located far from downtown Vancouver, and which Colin Powell, back in the days when he was still carrying water for the Rovians, once told us were sure to be a terrorist target.


I'm talking about the real thing. The deepwater harbour docks right next to where my Dad used to go to work when he left for Alaska on the tugboats.

But this time I wasn't going to watch my Dad go to sea.

Instead, I was going to a fancy-schmancy restaurant.

And it was a truly beautiful sight from the deep end of the harbour looking west, back towards the city skyline with the northshore mountains shooting straight up into the stratosphere across the water.

But whatever you do, don't try head down there just for the heck of it, either to check out the view or to find yourself a sailor or two.

Because this is Mr. Bush's Fortress North America. And as such this very Canadian waterfront is now closed to all but those on official business, or those who can afford to hob nob with the fancy-schmancy pants set (a visit to the Cannery is a rare event and much more than just a simple twist of fate, indeed, for my wife and I).

But I digress, because what I really wanted to say was.....

Hey, Rovians!

Give us back our sovereignty!

Again, that was 2005 - and while the security industry's check-point was both a nuisance and stupid, it wasn't nearly as stoopid or ridiculous as things have now become.

What can possibly be stoopider, you might be wondering?

Well, it turns out that now, another five years, and absolutely zero evil plots to blow things up real good later, it turns out that you now have to go through a security check/shakedown days ahead of time to get a pass before you can even think about making a reservation at The Cannery.

Which is just flat-out untenable for any restaurant that actually wants to serve people dinner and have them, you know, pay for it.

As a result, as of yesterday, the place is closed.

For good.

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - A legend on the Vancouver waterfront is closing forever -- the Cannery Seafood Restaurant is serving its final meal in the Port of Vancouver. Manager Jeffrey Lenz says Bud Kanke of Mulvaney's, Joe Fortes and Fish House fame opened the restaurant in 1971.

He adds they'll be serving their final Salmon Wellington, roasted mussels and lobster dipping oil tonight. "After 9/11, there's been more and more security concerns involved with ports worldwide and it's gotten to the point where you require a port pass. If you don't have one, then you can't get in and obviously for a restaurant open to the public it's impossible for that to happen."

Lenz says they explored re-locating the restaurant but it didn't make economic sense. Unless there's a last minute saviour, Lenz says all the restaurant's marine antiques, dining room and kitchen supplies will be sold at an auction on April 6th.

The irony of all this stupidity is the fact that anybody who has been paying attention knows that the real issue of how bad things move through the Port of Vancouver has absolutely nothing to do with kids sneaking down to the docks to have a doob, or even of evil, scary people snipping the chain-link fence so that they sneak in and cause trouble.


Because, the movment of contraband all has to do with who controls Vancouver's Waterfront docks from the inside.

And we who have been paying attention also know that most, if not all, of the fine folks on the inside who are up to no good have absolutely no interest in being on the right side of the law.

Because they are already well outside of it.

The law I mean.



Saturday, March 27, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Coultergate In Cowtown....The Anti-Free Speech Rider


Remember, back in the days when Diamond David Lee Roth used more peroxide than a certain conservative comedian, how VanHalen had that rider to remove all the brown M&M's from the backstage goodie-bowls?

Well, while there was no mention of junk food that looks like deer-poo, there were a bunch of things that folks who wanted to go to Conservative Crackpot Crusader Coulter's Canadian Tour stop in Calgary were supposed to agree to before they arrived.

Here, thanks to the work of anti-CCC crusader, and current Calgarian, Tyler Kinch, is the missive that was sent to potential converts by the Coulter Cultists:

Thank you for registering to attend Ann Coulter’s lecture in Calgary, Alberta as part of “Coulter In Canada 2010″.

NOTE – CHANGE OF VENUE ADDRESS BELOW! Due to an increase in interest, we are moving the event to a larger venue. Please see (neither work nor reason safe) for a detailed map.

The lecture will now be held on Thursday March 25, 2010 at the University of Calgary’s Red & White Club, located on the 2nd Floor, Olympic Volunteer Centre, McMahon Stadium. If you plan on taking the C-Train to the event please get off at Banff Trail Station and walk through the McMahon stadium parking lot to get to the Red and White Club.

Doors will open at 7:00pm, however to ensure good seating, early arrival is recommended. Ann Coulter will be introduced by Ezra Levant after remarks from the International Free Press Society – Canada and student representatives.

Admission for this event is $10 paid in cash only. If you are a student of any educational institution (high school, college, or university) please present a valid piece of student identification for free admission. For security reasons, no backpacks, laptop bags, large purses, or audio-visual recording devices will be allowed into the venue.

While there will be a Q&A to ensure open, intellectual discussion between attendees of the event and Ann Coulter, the Question and Answer period will be moderated, and any sort of ranting, heckling, or otherwise disrupting of the event will result in removal by security and/or police. As well, individuals caught recording this event will be removed.

The University of Calgary bookstore will have copies of “Guilty” and “Shakedown” available for purchase before and after the lecture. Attendees may also bring a copy of one of Ann Coulter’s or Ezra Levant’s books for the book signing.

Only those who have registered in advance will be admitted to the event.

If you registered on someone else’s behalf, please ensure that this information is passed on to them.

International Free Press Society – Canada

No heckling?

At a comedy show?

Are they kidding?


And as for 'ranting' being subject to 'removal' by security and/or police.....

What, exactly does that have to do with free speech?

But the real kicker, if you ask me, is the extreme irony of a self-declared 'Free Press Society' banning any and all digicam-mediated documentation of the event.



Thursday, March 25, 2010

Coultergate: A Tempest In A Crackpot?


On Monday, Ann Coulter got p*wned in an open forum at the University of Western Ontario when a young undergraduate named Fatima Al-Dhaher stood-up and asked a pointed, relevant and intelligent question that led the conservative comedian to descend into self-ridicule.

Then, the following night at the University of Ottawa Ms. Coulter's next Canuckistanian World Tour appearance was cancelled at the last minute.

Apparently the cancellation was caused by alleged security concerns that arose due to an even more alleged unruly mob.

Well, it turns out that there really was no 'security' concern or an 'unruly' mob.

And that is according to the police AND the university's administration.

Here is the official statement on the matter that was released Wednesday by the the U. of Ottawa:

OTTAWA, March 24, 2010On Tuesday, March 23, an appearance by Ann Coulter was scheduled on our campus, organized by the International Free Press Society Canada and the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute.

The University of Ottawa has always promoted and defended freedom of expression. For that reason, we did not at any time oppose Ann Coulter’s appearance. Whether it is Ann Coulter or any other speaker, diverse views have always been and continue to be welcome on our campus.

Last night, the organizers themselves decided at 7:50 p.m. to cancel the event and so informed the University’s Protection Services staff on site. At that time, a crowd of about one thousand people had peacefully gathered at Marion Hall.

“Freedom of expression is a core value that the University of Ottawa has always promoted,” said Allan Rock, President of the University. “We have a long history of hosting contentious and controversial speakers on our campus. Last night was no exception, as people gathered here to listen to and debate Ann Coulter’s opinions.

I encourage our students, faculty and other members of our community to maintain our University as an open forum for diverse opinions. Ours is a safe and democratic environment for the expression of views, and we will keep it that way.”

Please note that this is the University of Ottawa’s official statement and no further comments will be issued.

So there you have it.

Free speech and open discourse......

It would appear that conservative comedians named Coulter just aren't that into either of them.


Original UofO Linksource courtesy of Nottawa.
Update: La Femme K.O'M. has more....Including the tidbit that a CBC reporter overheard the Comedian's helpful handlers making a fuss in the hall a couple of hours BEFORE the crowd even began assembling in earnest.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Real Reason That Ann Coulter Should Speak At Every Single University In Canada...



For those arriving from Bill Tieleman's excellent piece in The Tyee, please see follow-up posts on Ms. Coulter's subsequent Canadian Tour Stops in Ottawa and Calgary here and here.

The following exchange between conservative comedian Ann Coulter and a young university student named Fatima Al-Dhaher that took place in London Ontario the day before Ms. Coulter's speech at the U of Ottawa was cancelled for apparent 'security' reasons fully demonstrates precisely how free speech and open discourse actually work.

Not to mention self-ridicule.

....Fatima Al-Dhaher, a political science student from London (Ontario), rose and spoke about comments Coulter made after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The firebrand Republican had suggested Muslim countries be invaded, their leaders killed and all Muslims converted to Christianity. She later suggested Muslims denied air travel take “flying carpets” instead.

“As a 17-year-old student of this university, Muslim, should I be converted to Christianity? Second of all, since I don’t have a magic carpet, what other modes do you suggest,” Al-Dhaher said to loud and sustained applause.

“I thought it was just American public schools that produced ignorant people,” Coulter replied, prompting her own round of applause.

Coulter then noted many Japanese were converted to Christianity after the Second World War and “we haven’t heard a peep out of them.”

To shouts of “Answer the question,” Coulter finally replied “What mode of transportation? Take a camel.”....


Original link source: The Cynical One.


Translink's New Math: Addition By Subtraction


The Party's over, the Circus has left town, and Translink is hiking monthly transit passes.

A lot.

Case in point, One Zone passes are going from $73 up to $81 dollars a month on April Fools Day.

Which means that if you don't have a bridge to cross and you are trying to do the right thing every single day, you will be paying almost a hundred bucks extra to be a good citizen next year.

And if you are a family of four you'll be paying four times as much.

Which, especially if you are a family of modest income, is a pretty significant increase.

Except, according to Translink spokesthingy Drew Snider, and occasional blogger, it is not.

An increase I mean.

Because, according to the good Mr. Snider at least, it is actually a 'decrease' on the 'discount' that you receive every time you buy a monthly pass.



I'm telling you.....

There oughta be a special place in the sloughs of Sliverville for shillophants that screw people over with their own money.

After all, it is the good people of British Columbia, the people who are paying that 'decrease' on the 'discount', who also pay the good Mr. Snider's salary is it not?


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Long Division Project: Crap In Our Parks



Whadd'ya know.

The latest cut to the British Columbia Parks Budget is, apparently, something in the order of $5 million dollars.

Which comes on top of cuts from last year that, according to the good folks at the 'Outdoor Recreation Council' at least, led to crap being spread all over at least one Park.

Literally (careful, pdf; see pg 4):

"How can we be proud of the glories of Garabaldi Park......when half the toilets were closed last summer (due to cutbacks), as a result of which campers were defecating around their campsites instead."

So, given all that, what's the Minister-In-Charge-Of-Motel-Sixes, Mr. Barry Penner to do?

Why,Bold raise camping fees of course.

Rob Shaw, of the Victoria Times Colonist had that story on the weekend:

....The price to stay overnight in one of B.C.'s provincial park campgrounds will rise as much as $6 a night, depending on the location, leading to a nightly bill of as much as $30.

B.C.'s Environment Minister Barry Penner said that without the increase, he would have had to reduce or possibly close services at parks to pay for higher operating costs and compensate for slumping government revenues.

"I came to the conclusion we'd have to ask the people who benefit by using the parks to contribute more to the cost of operating them," said Penner.

But here's the thing.

If you take the latest estimated cost of the new roof on BC Place (approximately $450 million), which is designed to make a kinda/sorta professional football team and an almost, but not-quite, professional soccer team happy for 30 days a year, tops, and then divide that amount by the cost of the latest cutback that will affect literally hundreds of thousands of British Columbia citizens that have ALREADY paid for their parks.....


It means that you could get rid of the cutback, right now for ninety years.

Yes, ninety years.

Which is a very long time indeed.


Of course, if you first multiplied the Parks cutback by 10 and then divided the total by the cost of the stupid roof atop the marshmallow we could have massive improvements to the Parks every single year for nine straight years instead.

And can you just imagine what would happen when all that new infrastructure started to entice gazillions of out-of province tourists, not to mention thousands and thousand of new British Columbians, into our beautiful wilderness year after year after year.


A real plan like that, instead of that silly roof, would mean that by the time littler e., who is currently in grade 5 and doing a lot of long division these days, reaches voting age in 2019 we would have a parks system so fine that it would give her a reason to proudly vote for politicians whose policies put people first.

Wouldn't that be amazing?

Hey! I have an idea....Why don't we charge David Braley and friends a user fee of say, $5 million dollars everytime he uses the useless marsmallow....After all, isn't that a perfectly reasonably extension of the Minister's 'logic'?
Original Link Source: Former Lotuslandian and current Desert Eater, Ian Reid.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Healthcare Reform In The Excited States....The Crux Of The Matter


There was a point, just before the 2004 election down south, where I got into a couple of pretty big online fights about Michael Moore's soon-to-be-released Farenheit 9/11.

And one of those tussles was on an old Whiskey Bar thread, where, overall, the level of discourse on all things political was just about the best that I've ever come across, before or since.

Anyway, the fights started when I had the temerity to suggest that I didn't think that it was necessarity such a good thing that so many folks were pinning their hopes on Mr. Moore's mostly fact-based send-up of all things Rovian.


Well it was that modifier 'mostly', which means that no matter how you slice it, Mr. Moore's movie was propaganda.

And I truly believe that all prop, either 'bad' or 'good', is just that.

Which is not a good thing, because all prop muddies the waters.

And muddied waters make always make it harder for folks to call demonstrable falsehoods precisely what they are.


I've had that 'all-prop-is-bad-prop' feeling about the American Healthcare Reform fight for quite awhile now.

Please don't misunderstand me.

Because I fully understand that pushback against toxic astroturf and hidden, big money-backed corporate agendas is always required.

It's just that I think that we all lose when that pushback has even a sliver of prop in it.


Because then it can be easily discredited.

Which leads to a rise in false equivalencies that generates a jaded public that thinks everybody lies.


With that in mind, I thought I'd proffer the best nugget of no-prop reasoning that I've come across so far that gives insight into why last night's Congressional vote on the Healthcare Reform Bill was so important.

It's from Paul Krugman, writing in last Friday's NY Times, and it describes, as near as I can figure it, exactly what this bill has been designed to do, and why:

"Americans overwhelmingly favor guaranteeing coverage to those with pre-existing conditions — but you can’t do that without pursuing broad-based reform. To make insurance affordable, you have to keep currently healthy people in the risk pool, which means requiring that everyone or almost everyone buy coverage. You can’t do that without financial aid to lower-income Americans so that they can pay the premiums. So you end up with a tripartite policy: elimination of medical discrimination, mandated coverage, and premium subsidies...."

Of course, a lot of folks are going to be screaming bloody murder about the last two aspects of that policy in the coming days, weeks, and months during the run-up to the midterm elections.

And they will be screaming from both sides of the issue, using, unfortunately, prop to support their points of view (ie. prop to support a public option and prop to denounce creeping socialism).

Which is too bad, because that will just muddy the waters even further.



Saturday, March 20, 2010

If There Really Is A Goddess....


....What the heckfire was she thinking when she invented wisdom teeth?

(especially unerupted ones that sit sideways with roots longer than infinity for 30 years or so before they decide to get uppity)

FYI: Paul Willcocks has a great piece up on how, in the end, it is the policies, not the policy makers, that matter....And while I very much agree with most of what he has to say, I, unlike Paul, still believe that intent matters, especially when that intent is backed by hidden agendas and/or driven purely by political expediency...


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Evil Is No Longer Banal


Instead, it would appear to be Rovian.

Pure and simple.

Because, according to Mr. Karl Rove at least, endless war is really all about Winnin' and Losin' and nothing else as he tells NPR's Terry Gross in a wide-ranging and extremely illuminating* interview on Fresh Air @ 24':30''.

*in a very, very dark and distressing way, of course.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Real Circus Outside My Window


Regular readers may recall how I derided the empty, highly securitized parking lots outside my window that were reserved for a couple of white SUVs and a lonely tour-bus from Scranton PA for the duration of the Corp-Fuelled Hype-Fest just past.


Now that the real amateur athletic event has begun (ie. the one where the competitors are not paid big money for winning medals) the lot outside my window is filled to bursting.

With yellow buses.

And school kids running everywhere.

It's a fine sight to see, indeed.


Monday, March 08, 2010

Our Busking Year, Weeks 8/9...Doobie Doobie Doobie (not wah)


I have no idea how, or even why, it happened but these were the weeks when people suddenly started filming us, taking our pictures (and even drawing a picture of E.), and started giving us money.

Inspired by the fine work of our friend Paul's family and friends, we doubled down and sent all of the latter to Habitat for Humanity.

O.Y.O.B.D, Weeks Eight and Nine:
Venues: Sunset Beach in the sun and Trout Lake in the almost sun
Set List: A lot of stuff in the Key of A these days including The Weight, This Year (Darnielle/Mountain Goats) and a big fan favourite, Roger Miller's 'King of The Road'.

Number of Not-So Bad, Non-Evil Green Empire Coffees: Excellent Americano from Prego on lower Hornby and a couple of mediocre drips from the Blenz near the Commercial Skytrain (but the kids with the two dollar bill from their own busking adventures were cool.
Number of strings broken: Aaaaarrrgggghhh...I'm down to my last high e...Nobody told me the most expensive thing about this thing would be guitar strings....Gotta learn to use my thumb more.
Working on: A medley/combo where JuNu's 'Into The Sunshine' slides into The Frames' 'Star Star'
New Discoveries: When Greg Kot mentioned that one of the guy's who did the tribute to Kerouac's 'Big Sur' sings with a 'downward slope', I wasn't sure what the heckfire he was talking about at first....But then I listened to California Zephyr a few times and I get it now (and I'm even trying it, especially as a counterpoint to the soaring of Bigger E.).....Speaking of Mr. Kot, who is one of my favorite pop music critics (still goin')...why doesn't he and his cover kids like Julia Nunes mentioned above....After all, this is a kid whose originals, with absolutely no/zero high-priced A&R-type promotion behind them, are able to garner a couple of million hits all on their own.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Let's Go Busking!


It's Week #10.....(Sun Mar 7th, 2010) our 'Year of Busking (not-so) Dangerously'....

And if the weather holds it's going to be a doubleheader!

Front end.........As far North as you can go and still be in Lotusland proper - New Brighton Park not far from the PNE/Racetrack.....hopefully be there by around 1 o'clock.

Back end....Returning for homefield advantage (ie. where people give us money!) to Trout Lake in the East End....hopefully be there by around 3 o'clock.

(and it goes without saying that we will be in the dog friendly portions of those venues - ha!)

In case anybody was wondering: Latest video, from last week, is now up.
Faces we'd like to see in the crowd.....
Well, all the usual suspects on the sidebar (you know who you are!) and how about our good friend Great Aunty Bertha!


Saturday, March 06, 2010

Saturday Selections...Who's Blogging Who In Lotusland



If you're not reading Northern Insights, you're really missing a lot.

It's a blog written by North Vancouver's Norman Farrell.

I first became aware of Norman's writing because of his fine and thoughtful comments at other people's sites.

But it turns out that his own place is a castle of erudition filled to bursting with interesting and important topics, both local and far reaching.

A couple of recent examples of Lotusland-O-Centric posts include Norman's coverage of a post-Budget Blogger call with the NDP's finance critic Bruce Ralston and his summing up of a Sports Illustrated article that deals with the healing of a rift between Brian Burke and Kevin Lowe.

But my favorite of Norman's recent offerings is a post much more far afield about movie critic and blogger extraordinare Roger Ebert. It's a kinghell bit of writing.

Northern Insights - go have a look.

You won't be sorry.


Friday, March 05, 2010

Is This The First Day Of The Rest Of Canada's Newspapers' Lives?



Because it's deadline day for bids on the CanWest Publishing Empire:

TODAY is the deadline for offers to purchase the assets of Canwest Limited Partnership, the Canwest unit that owns digital media and newspapers across the country, in a separate court-supervised process.

The Big Five Canadian banks, which are Canwest's senior secured lenders, have put in an initial bid of about $925 million to get the auction going. But they hope to get a higher offer of more than $1 billion so they can get their loans repaid.

Several bidders have emerged, including three Canadian media veterans, headlined by former Canadian senator Jerry Grafstein, who launched a bid in January for three papers -- the National Post, the Montreal Gazette and the Ottawa Citizen.

Under that offer, Canwest would have to find someone else to buy the rest of its newspaper operations, which include the Edmonton Journal, Victoria Times-Colonist and two Vancouver dailies, the Sun and Province.

Victoria, B.C.-based Black Press, the small-market newspaper chain headed by businessman David Black, is also reported to be in the running.

Another B.C. publishing outfit, community newspaper publisher Glacier Media Inc., is reported to be in the hunt for Canwest's smaller papers, as is a group led by National Post chief executive Paul Godfrey.

Personally, I hope that moguls like Mr David (notLord)Black don't win.


Because I think that the best thing that could happen to this country would be a piecemeal sell-off of the papers.

I mean - can you imagine if the Province and the VSun actually started competing with each other for stories in this town?

And if the Victoria Times-Colonist could really become truly independent.

Heckfire - I say get rid of the hyphen altogether and have both a Times and a Colonist to go after all those advertisers that Mr. NotConrad has stuffed into the middle pages of his suburban wasteland rags.

Please note: The wire copy-assisted piece pasted in above ran in the decidedly not CanWestian Winnipeg Free Press.....We promise to pay them back for taking the entire thing this one time, by buying real dead tree editions whenever possible.


Thursday, March 04, 2010


...Where Did The Heck Did The Time Go?

Because, today, littler e. turns eleven.

Oh boy.


Who Really Decided To Withold the HST Bribe?


Yesterday, I suggested, based on comments made by British Columbia Finance Minister Colin Hansen at the time, that Prime Minister Stephen Harper was withholding $500 million dollars of the HST Bribe that he owes us.


In his follow-up, in-depth piece in The Tyee Will McMcMartin reminded us that just last September Mr. Hansen stated, in no uncertain terms, that the decisions on how the bribe would be paid were completely up to him and his.


Which is it Mr. Hansen?


Why is this important?

Well, because, as Mr. McMartin makes clear using Mr. Hansen's own numbers, the deferral will cost us at least $75 million in interest charges alone.

Thus, if Mr. Hansen, or anyone else in the government of Mr. Gordon Campbell, had a hand in this deferral for later politial gain (ie. so that the future arrival of the $500 million suddenly, magically decreases the deficit just before the next election) it means that they just screwed over the citizenry of British Columbia.

It also means that they did it on purpose, with malice-aforethought, for no good reason at all.

Therefore, an action such as this would not be a mere 'mistake' due to ineptitude.

Instead, in my opinion at least, it would be nothing short of treason committed against all the people of this province.*

No matter who they voted for.


*Or, put another way, the money lost for no good reason at all could have been used to fully fund 15 programs like the single, solitary small-scale early intervention program for autistic children that was axed by the government of Gordon Campbell last fall due to, apparenly, a lack of funds that kept it from being applied univerally and 'equitably'.
And thanks to our good friend KootCoot for bringing Mr. McMartin's Tyee piece to our attention; our initial post was based on an earlier Tyee piece by Andrew MacLeod.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Hey Mr. Harper....Pay Gordo His Bribe!



Please see the Update to this story here, wherein we discuss the not inconcievable possibility, based on past statements by the Finance Minister Gordon Hansen, that the witholding of the bribe may have been instigated by the government of British Columbia itself.

Remember back when Gordon Campbell sprang the HST on us out of nowhere after telling us repeatedly, over and over and over again, that his government was not considering any such thing?

And remember how, to much fanfare he then told us that Stephen Harper was going to help pay for it by shipping us 320,000,000 red mittens at five bucks-a-pop (either right or left).

Which means that the real pricetag of the bribe was $1,600,000,000.00.

Of our own money.



The 2009/10 installment of Stephen Harper's bribe that was to be paid to Gordon Campbell so that the latter could then screw British Columbians over royally with their own money was, allegedly, $750,000,000.00.

Except, it turns out that we have received is actually received so far is nowhere near that amount.

Andrew MacLeod had that story yesterday in The Tyee in his initial report on Mr. Campbell's latest budget that, based on past performance, is very likely not even worth the pixels it was printed on.

Here is Mr. MacLeod's take on how and why this year's installment of the bribe is going to fall way, way short:

".....Even since the September budget update (of Gordon Campbell), corporate income tax is off by a further $252 million, natural gas royalties by $190 million and HST rebates have added another $227 million expense. On the plus side the province is picking up $311 million more in transfers from the federal government and this fiscal year will include $395 million of the $1.6 billion in federal compensation for adopting the HST.

The documents also show that the province received $250 million of that compensation in 2009-2010, instead of the planned $750 million. The shift was because of the federal government's cash flow, said Hansen. “It's not something we have unilateral say over.”.....

How do you like them mittens.....errrrrr...apples?

And for those wondering.....There is absolutely no evidence, or even a shred of truth to the most scurrilous non-existent rumour, whatsoever, that the good premier has been taking rHRTGH*

(*aka recombinant Human Red Thumb Growth Hormone)


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

If You Want Real News On The BC Budget....


...Ignore the PAB-lumized codswallop and go straight to the source - PublicEye.

Sean Holman, who is in the lock-up as we type, says he'll start the cavalcade of coverage at about 3pm Lotusland time.