Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Real Reason Kids Today Don't Remember Stuff On The Web...


...Isn't just because they know it's stuffed up The Tubez for easy and instant access.

In addition, I think its got a lot to do with the fact that just about everything is searchable.

Which means you never have to actually read through something in its entirety to find both the specific thing you're looking for and to make sure you don't miss something that might shed a little more light on that specific thing further on down the piece.

I thought of this as I finished all one and three-quarter pieces worth reading in yesterday's dead-tree version of the weekend Globe* before I began ruminating, during that twilight time between Randy Bachman's radio show and a deep cloud-darkened pseudo-summer sunset viewed from here, guitar propped on log nearby, on something that really matters.

Which was a list of all of major league baseball's retired numbers that that was tagged onto yet another 'Roberto Alomar Is (really, he is) Mr. Blue Jay' bit of deck chair/resurrection re-shuffling from the Globe's Sports Dept.**

And, not surprisingly given the way the jersey thing used to work in the old days, the numbers below 10 had, by far the most retirees, in aggregate.

I was surprised, however, that the #20 was tied with #5 (Brooks!) for the most retirees by a single number.

Although #20 is a bit of cheater because it includes Big Frank (not Brooks!) twice. First when he played with the pre-Big Red Machine Reds and later, with Brooks!, in Baltimore.

Which of, course, got me looking through the list for the other single numbers with players whose numbers had been retired twice with different teams....

Like #29, Rod Carew (Twins/Angels)...Double-double #34, Nolan Ryan (Astros/Rangers, but not the Miracle Mets pre-Advil Wild Man) and Rollie Fingers (Brewers/A's)....And, of course, #44, Hammerin' Hank (Braves/BackToMilwaukeeBrewers).

But here's the thing.

Because I read through the entire thing, I noticed something else.

Which is that one player has had two different numbers retired by two different teams.

And no, (the real) Pudge,*** who palindromed '2' and '7' with the Red&White Sox doesn't count, although in true crustian Pudge fashion it is pretty damned cool.


Think about it for a second.

And stay away from the goldarned Google for just a second longer....

How about a few brain searchable hints to get the old memory mojo workin'...

Like.... Straw (but not berry)?....Car dealerships (b/w mysterious flames)?....Joe Rudi?....Hit-on-the-big-fat-beefy-hip by kid fireballer...Whiffs, homers and tirades for and with both of his most famous mercurial managers, both now deceased....


You got it now.


Old fashioned #9, with the very new fangled early '70's A's.

And new fangled, riding the tail-end of Hank's #44 with the faux traditional late '70's Yankees.

*All of D.Saunders, half of T.Southey and 1/4 of S.Quinn
**Make no mistake, I think that Robbie was an excellent 2nd baseman...But I remember him as a free agent vagabond who was no Omar Vizquel when it came to making a real difference for a team beyond range and consistent numbers...And don't forget, despite all the adulation from the Center of the Universe's scribes, he was only their for five wild, Skydome Hotel outfield window years...
***Thanks to my editor, I almost, but not quite got to interview the real/no tweet Pudge in the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum bullpen, but that's a different (Dear Diarist) story (for later)...
I remember seeing Roberto's older brother Sandy Jr. play for the Padres' Triple A affiliate a whole bunch of times in the late 80's and being blown away by his total cat-like command of all aspects of the game, both behind and at the plate...Have to wonder what his very good MLB career could have become if he hadn't been hobbled by injuries by a large chunk of its first decade....Please note: I, could be a little fuzzy on that one because I resisted the urge and did NOT look it up....And if I did, I'd go downstairs and dig out the door stop, the BBE, for all kinds of reasons like, say, I might want to directly compare Sandy Sr.'s numbers with his kids' on the directly facing super thin, non-crinkly pages....Hey!....I think I'll go do that right now...
Later, in the lab (well, actually earlier this morning), I mentioned this non-searchable exercise to one of the sharp young deep sequence blaster kids, for whom everything is searchable....He just rolled his eyes at me and said...."Names".... "What?", I replied.... "All you had to do was re-align with names instead of numbers and you would have seen that in about two seconds".... Sheesh.
Update: Thought about it a bit more...Could ask blaster kid to come up with a strategy to find the single number that actually has a triple city retiree, but figured that might come out in the MIL/ATL Braves search wash somehow, so....Tomorrow I'll ask him to explain how he'd search the fact that there is nothing comparable to #7 for its starkest of stark contrasts...Will then wait to see if the smartass can figure that one out in the most salacious Boolean scriptease fashion...Ha!
Double Secret Probation Update: Photo at top of the post has three of the players mentioned in this post....And only two of them are in uniform...And yes, I found the image using the bloody search engine....Ironically enough though you can't get to the full story, with context, via a direct link....It's from a retrospective of the great NY Daily News photog Charles Ruppmann's fantastic body of work over half a century....To find the answer to the not quite trivial question you've got to go here and then go to....#26 (three retirees, of course, one of them, ironically, a horse riding rope rider who never played an MLB game in his life).


Saturday, July 30, 2011

How Can We Stop The Codswalloparians In Their Tracks?



Just call them to account for their codswallop.

And then, if they insist on spouting serial codswallop over and over, just cut them off.

Because a debate built on lies is not a debate at all.


In the case of the screaming and strutting male/rooster TeaParty book-end to Michele Bachman, Joe (not that guy) Walsh, it started with....

It didn’t just wander out of the woods one day, or land here from another planet. The Wingnut Base -- whatever teabagger, Colonial Williamsburg camouflage they’re sporting this week, and however hard the media tries to pretend they aren't who we know they are -- was manufactured by the Conservative Movement to win elections. Made right here in the U S of A out of spare parts left over from the Segregationist South, Right-wing fundamentalism, Bircher paranoia and general Archie Bunker pig-ignorance.....

{snippety doodle-dandy} is time for a new Pledge; a beneficent mirror-image of Grover Norquist's odious "Americas for Tax Reform" Party of God loyalty oath. A pledge where the signer promises they will not book guests on their radio or teevee show who are liars. Not link to websites that feature liars except to excoriate them. Will not buy from, advertise on or patronize media that hires and promotes liars. That they will not reference lying Centerists at all except to mete out to them the scorn they deserve.

As much as I like Lawrence O'Donnell, a couple of nights ago when he trundled Marcia Blackburn and Joe Walsh and David Frum out in front of the cameras, I turned his program off. I did it because I am not interested in what liars have to say.

I am not interested in watching a "debate" that isn't a debate at all....

Moved to CableTV guy Laurence O'Donnell...

And has now reached its zenith with wordsmith extraordinare, (notsojersey) James Wolcott....

Perhaps inspired by a post by Driftglass or just plain fed-up or both, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell boots a congenitally lying Tea Party Republican phony (a multiple redundancy, I know) from his program's guest list. A policy more hosts and bookers should follow.

This week O'Donnell also had a clinical analysis that every Beltway-media John McCain maverick mouseketeer should have been forced to watch involving a segment on Sean Hannity's Fox show in which the POW hero cravenly bowed to Hannity's badgering. On the Senate floor, McCain still trots out his lion in winter roar now and then, the way Sinatra wowed audiences at the end by managing to hit the right note now and then without his toupee falling off, but put him in a Fox News studio, as O'Donnell pointed out, and he starts dribbling oatmeal. When did Sean Hannity get elected to anything and become the cryptkeeper of the Reagan legacy?

As Driftglass says, "This nation can no longer survive half-Fox and half-free."...

Seriously, that's all that needs to be done.



Friday, July 29, 2011

Memo To Jeff Davies: You Don't Dance With The One...


...That Brung 'Ya If They Try To Get You Drunk And Take Advantage Of You (Or Worse) Out In The Parking Lot.

Of course, I am referring to Mr. Davies appalling comments to the Cluffmaster Flash earlier today on the local CBC Radio morning show about how all the HST contracts doled out to BC Liberal party hacks is just more of the same old, same old 'everybody does it, so it doesn't really matter' business.


These contracts were not designed to pimp shameless sycophantic promotions for Tourism BC or even penny stock-addled 'Mining Adds Life' type campaigns.

Thus, they were not meaningless pork generators for the media messaging friendlies.

Instead, they were designed to facilitate the roll out of things like the government's information campaign to inform the public on the both the Pros and the Cons of the HST. In other words, these things were supposed to be, as we were explicitly told by Finance Minister Kevin Falcon, completely non-partisan (ie. hack-free).

Which means these things do matter to the public, given how nothing I have seen since I was born in St. Joseph's Hospital way back in the '50's has galvanized the public of this province against its government like Colin Hansen's HST skullduggery did.

Which is all bad enough, and worthy of real media follow-up in the wake of Sean Holman's investigative journalism that broke the story, if only to find out what these fine BC Liberal party-connected folks actually did as they sank their teeth into the top-secret pork.


Please remember that part about this all being totally and completely top-secret.

Because it was until Mr. Holman unearthed it by FOI.

And the secrecy aspect of this thing is another point that Mr. Davies, and his partner in Cluffmaster Flashery, Stephen Smart (who may or may not have snuck a peak at his life partner's briefing notes over breakfast this morning), failed to mention when they dismissed all of this, out of hand.

But that's not even the worst of it.

Because, in addition, at least one of these contracts went to a BC Liberal Party Insider to work on, as the Insider himself said when he was caught red-handed by Mr. Holman, the 'logistics' (but never the 'policy') for Jim Dinning's HST panel that we have been told over and over and over again was completely independent of any government of BC Liberal party intereference.

Do you have it now?

Do you now understand how patronizing Mr. Davies use of Brian Mulroney's (yes, Brian Mulroney's!) ridiculous 'Ya Dance With The One That Brung 'Ya' statement that justified the use of patronage as necessary and good really was?

Especially when you realize that Davies was using this particular Mulroneyism to justify his own waving away of the matter as being essentially meaningless and not worthy of further consideration by the public and/or the awesome and precious investigative powers of people like him.

But here's the real thing that exposes Mr. Davies' comment as being truly and utterly preposterous, and not worthy of serious consideration by serious members of the public.....

Which is that one proMedia reporter, Robert Matas of The Globe, decided he wasn't too precious to do his job and actually did something that Mr. Davies, apparently, did not, which was to do some follow-up investigative digging. As a result, Mr. Matas quite easily discovered that the BC Liberal Party Insider's statement to Sean Holman was deflector spin at best and, in my opinion, more likely to have been total obfuscatory bullshit designed to bury the story forever.


Because Matas discovered, by speaking to one of Jim Dinning's panel members directly, that the secretly-contracted BC Liberal Party Insider did in fact participate in the panel's discussions where policy was likely one of the subjects under consideration.

Oh, and did I mention that this particular secretly-contracted BC Liberal Party insider who was only supposed to be doing 'logistics' for Mr. Dinning's panel (ie. scheduling meetings and arranging for the sandwiches to arrive on time) also worked for that old Finance Minister we mentioned above, Mr. Colin Hansen, in a politically-appointed capacity at the very time when the HST was first foisted on we, the unsuspecting members of the public, serious and otherwise, out of nowhere?



I'm almost done, and I apologize to regular readers who are getting tired of and/or fed up with this, but I really do believe that this story, and more importantly, the way it is not being followed-up seriously by proMedia mavens like Davies and Smart, truly does matter on a whole lot of levels, some of which are the following:

1) Why, if as Mr. Davies and Mr. Smart also mentioned, this is really the slow season for proMedia stories that matter, don't they get off their asses and do a little real work for our money?

2) Come to think of it, when was the last time exactly, that either Mr. Davies or Mr. Smart actually broke, or even followed up significantly on, a story that truly matters?

3) The CBC really is going down the tubes.

4) The immediate story of why this was all kept secret is a compelling one given that the non-partisan HST 'information' campaign and the 'independent' HST panel were both used early and often by both the government and the business interests to soften up the public (ie. they really don't matter now in the last minute multi-million dollar blitzkrieg bop, but they sure as hell mattered then, from a 'secret' strategic point of view).

5) If the public had not been softened up early and often to bring at least some of them around to the concept that Kevin Falcon et al. are now dealing squarely with, rather than lying to, them.....Would they have been willing to believe, even for a fraction of a second, that the proposed future HST rate cut is not just more of the same old codswallop that enraged them in the first place?

6) Are reporters like Davies and Smart, and commentators like Cluff, as part of, as Ian Reid calls it, their 'Club' memberships, contributing to this softening up of the public by constantly dismissing stories by feigning world weariness, by not caring, and/or by not digging so that they can instead just swallow press releases and/or secretly proferred inside information whole?

7) Are Mess'rs Holman and Matas not in the Club?

8) Why did Mr. Holman have to wait so long to receive his FOI statement, and then, once he finally got it, was he unable to follow-up more himself before letting it go because of the recently introduced 72hr 'Kill The Blockbuster' release rule?

9) Why is no one in the proMedia demanding that Mr. Kevin Falcon himself, rather than his chief Spokesthingy, explain, specifically, what is so important and 'privileged' about the HST strategy that led to these contracts being doled out in super secret fashion?



Thursday, July 28, 2011

Good Question Of The Day...



Update: Kevin Falcon's latest highly partisan, not to mention highly political, HST-assisted highwire act designed to bamboozle his snowblinded snowmen (that's us!) is detailed at the bottom of the post...

This one's all my own....

When questioned by Sean Holman about how, exactly, the BC Liberal government decided to give the biggest, fattest, super-secret barrel of HST contractual pork to the BC Liberal party-connected Campaign Research Ltd., Finance Ministry communications director Matt Gordon said:

...Campaign Research wasn’t given that work because of its Liberal connection, but rather because it provided the best value out of three quotes privately solicited by the government...

Interesting that, no?

Especially given the fact that Mr. Gordon also said that the government deliberately circumvented the public bidding process (ie. they kept things secret) for all kinds of proffered reasons, none of which are, in my opinion, legitimate.


Given that Mr. Gordon has also said that there is no reason for a public inquiry into the matter because there was no political interference, here is my question to Mr. Gordon, or maybe even to his boss, Mr. Kevin Falcon:

"Can you please show us those three quotes?"

Immediately, before your three day saviour....errrr....weekend arrives.


Of course the good Mr. Falcon himself has also been going out of his way to pooh-pooh any and all concerns from wild-eyed members of the public who are concerned about the possibility of political skullduggery, or worse, as the referendum deadline approaches....Norm Farrell, who is clearly fully back in the saddle, has that story, here.

Former Liberal Government Appointees Were NOT Out Of The HST Panel Room


Well, well, well.....

In the first blush of Sean Holman's blockbuster that revealed the secret HST InfoDom contracts that went to BC Liberal Party insiders, one of those insiders, Mr. Mark Andrew, told Mr. Holman that was kicked ouf the room during any and all discussions involving policy and that he was only involved in the logistics of setting up meetings for the (allegedly) 'non-partisan' and apparently independent HST panel chaired by Jim Dinning.

Well, it turns out that at least one person who was a legitimate (and never a super-secret) member of that panel who was present at all the meetings and discussions does not remember it quite that way.

What's more, that panel member, Mr. John Richards, names names.

Here is the lede from Robert Matas' follow-up piece in The Globe:

Let me assure you that I was kicked out of the room whenever discussions on contentious issues were being had,” says Marc Andrew, a former political aide who was appointed to help the independent HST panel.

Memories are often not reliable. John Richards, a member of the B.C. government’s HST panel, has a different recollection of Marc Andrew’s involvement.

Mr. Richards recalls Mr. Andrew and two other consultants who had previously worked for the (BC Liberal) government – Peter Adams and Dan Perrin – were in the room on many occasions when panel members were having their discussions....



This could be all innocent, right?

After all, fine politically motivated/connected folks like Mr. Andrew, who worked for the Finance Ministry of Colin Hansen that foisted the HST upon us in the first place, might have just been in the room and may not have had anything to say or given any advice to the panel that was supposed to be completely impartial, non-partisan and politics-free, right?


At least according to Mr. Richards:

...Mr. Richards did not remember anyone ever asking the consultants to leave. From time to time, Mr. Andrew would enter into conversations and make observations, Mr. Richards said.

But Mr. Andrew did not control the pen, Mr. Richards said. “It’s quite legitimate. He could make observations about matters and we could decide whether or not to accept them,” Mr. Richards said. “I don’t personally think there was anything untoward here. He exercised no undue influence on how we wrote the report at all,” Mr. Richards said....

Fair enough.

But the fact of the matter is that Mr. Andrew previously denied that he was involved in giving advice on policy.

Therefore, if Mr. Richards is correct, one can only conclude that Mr. Andrew's previous statement to Mr. Holman was a demonstrable falsehood.

Perhaps the Finance Minister's current chief communications officer, Mr. Matt Gordon, could use his pretzel logic to get to the bottom (or dig the hole even deeper) on this one.

Or, put another way....

What was the basis of Mr. Gordon stating that there was no need to call a public inquiry into this mess?

Oh, yes.....

Here it is:

...(G)overnment spokesperson Matt Gordon said an inquiry would be "completely unfounded and would be a waste of taxpayer money." Mr. Gordon earlier said that politics played no role in the awarding of the contracts that paid Backbone Technology Inc. to develop an HST website and Campaign Research Inc. to conduct telephone town-hall meetings on the tax....

No politics?

Sure thing Mr. Gordon.

Sure thing.

Oh, and if you want to see really and truly demonstrable crazy legs in action, check this out...


Finance Ministry Flackhackery Ties Self Into Gordian Knots


When Sean Holman of PublicEye Online published a story a couple of days ago about all the secret contracts for Info-Dom Ops AND 'logistic' assistance to the HST panel and information office, the Finance Ministry's chief communications officer, Mr. Matt Gordon, told Holman that everything was done in secret, without going out for competitive bids because there were matters of privilege as well as information and strategies that had to be hidden from the 'other side':

...Finance ministry communications director Matt Gordon said that justification (for circumventing competitive bid guidelines) was used because the "information, strategies and discussions" disclosed during such a competition would have been of a "privileged" nature. The government was also worried anti-HST forces could gum up a bidding process and delay the start of those contracts..."


That 'other side' has now called for an inquiry into this super secret affair given that it appears that a number of the very fine folks involved were connected to both the Finance Ministry and/or the offices of much beloved former Premier Gordon Campbell that foisted the HST on the people of British Columbia in the immediate aftermath of the last provincial election.

In other words, some of the finest of the fine folks that received these secret contracts were political staff who worked to implement the HST BEFORE the much beloved former Premier was forced to resign and BEFORE the HST panel or information office were even figments of FORMER Finance Minster Colin Hansen's finely-tuned imagination.

And what is response for the Finance Minister's chief spokesthingy now?

Well, apparently none of the secrets he talked about on Tuesday secretive privilege, information or strategies matter anymore because, according to him, everything is on the up and up:

"...government spokesperson Matt Gordon said an inquiry would be "completely unfounded and would be a waste of taxpayer money." Mr. Gordon earlier said that politics played no role in the awarding of the contracts that paid Backbone Technology Inc. to develop an HST website and Campaign Research Inc. to conduct telephone town-hall meetings on the tax..."

But here's the thing....

Because Mr. Gordon made it abundantly clear that everything was IN FACT done in privileged and strategic secret we, the public, have no idea (or dare I suggest it, confidence) that anything whatsoever is on the up and up.

Furthermore, if I were to dare to get really suggestive, which I am based on the minimal facts at hand (which are so minimal because of all the secrets - ha!), I would posit that the politics of ramming the HST down our throats has been an overriding factor a great many of the things that are driving us crazy about, for example the mechanics of the HST referendum itself, including the fact that you need a goldarned advanced degree in origami to get everything into the right bloody envelopes before you mail it off.


And if you go and read both of Mr. Holman's posts, in full (the first is here, and the second is here), as well as Kady O'Malley's expose on some of the Pub ReCo's involved, you will have a hard time, if you have really been paying attention, not wondering if this mess is ALL political.
And, finally, couldn't figure out why I'd had only one PAB-Bot gnat stop by today when normally there is a small swarm...Then I realized they probably had all hands on deck working the Refs to make sure they chased this 'big' story this morning as maximum deflector spin against the Zalm's call for an inquiry....Meanwhile, does Mr. Tieleman have ice wine running in his veins, or what?


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Good Question Of The Day....


If George Bush's two unfunded wars have cost Americans $5 trillion dollars why, as Amy Goodman asks in the Guardian, is this not part of the ridiculous, not to mention never ending, kabuki theatre that is the debt ceiling 'discussion'?


HST Shillophant Contract Watch...


Following up on Sean Holman's freelance blockbuster that made its way into yesterday's Globe, The Ceeb's Kady O'Malley dives into the belly of the PR beast and comes out, alive, with a fistful of entrails that, when spread out for all to see, spell out just one word....

According to documents reportedly obtained through provincial access to information, Ontario-based political marketing firm Campaign Research Ltd. was the single largest beneficiary of the HST contracts, pulling in over $167,000 for "conducting telephone town hall meetings" related to the implementation of the controversial tax change. An official with the BC finance department -- which managed the contracting process -- told the Globe that the firm provided the "best value" out of the three bids that were privately solicited by the government.

As noted by the Globe, the company in question was deeply involved in George Abbott's unsuccessful campaign to win the BC Liberal leadership.

What it does not point out, however, is that it was co-founded by former Conservative Party national councillor and past party vice-president Richard Ciano, who - along with his then-partner Nick Kouvalis, was also a key member of the team that propelled Rob Ford to victory in last year's Toronto mayoral race.

Like most political communications firms, Campaign Research Ltd. tends to prefer to operate beneath the radar, they seem to have been willing to make an exception for Ford; not only does the CRL website feature a
congratulatory post-victory statement that highlights the firm's role in his victory, but Ciano and Kouvalis allowed themselves to be quoted extensively in a lengthy Globe profile on the race.....

LINO = 'liberal in name only'....Remember, the entire HST thing was cooked up by Steve-O and The Gord behind closed doors in the weeks bracketing the 2009 provincial election at a time when The Gord's minions were running around telling anyone who would listen, including many of their own most ardent supporters, that the tax was not even on their 'radar'.


Oh How The Mighty Miro Has Fallen


Sean Holman, who first broke the story of the competitive bid-free, HST info-tracts that went to BC Liberal party insiders in the Globe, now has the value-added, pdf-embedded, version up at his own place, PublicEye Online.

And whaddy'a know......

It turns out that former VSun scribe Miro Cernetig was one of the big winners in the rush to the (well-hidden from public perusal) trough:

....Records also show the HST information office directly awarded additional contracts worth up to $163,810 on behalf of the independent panel (chaired by Jim Dinning).

Michael Goehring, vice-president of National Public Relations Inc., received a contract worth up to $4,000 to confidentially ensure the report was plainly written and contained no omissions, while former Vancouver Sun Victoria correspondent Miro Cernetig got one worth up to $37,500 to research, review and produce that document.

Kirk and Co. Consulting Ltd. - the communications firm headed by Judy Kirk, who served as the Liberal caucus's executive director between 1994 and 1996 - was also given a contract worth up to $25,000 to provide the panel with media and public relations advice.

(Finance ministry communications director) Mr. (Matt) Gordon said it was Ms. Kirk's reputation not her political background that resulted in the award.


Looks like, perhaps, Ian Reid might have to write a follow-up to this.


In my opinion, the most bizarre (and perhaps most telling) thing about all this was Major Matt Gordon's defense of the super-secret process that was used to hand out all the pork:

"....Finance ministry communications director Matt Gordon said that justification (to circumvent competitive bid guidelines) was used because the "information, strategies and discussions" disclosed during such a competition would have been of a "privileged" nature...."


What the heckfire does privilege have to do with public tax policy and/or the 'strategies' used, allegegly, to promulgate it?

I mean, if you take Mr. Gordon's explanation at face value, and then think hard about it for a moment or two, you can only come to one logical conclusion.

Which is that the Christy Clark's Finance Ministry's chief spokesthingy is telling us that they had to circumvent the public bid process to hide their super-secret, double-probation 'strategies' from....

Wait for it....




Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Holman Hits FOI Jackpot on Christy's Cozy Contracts...CorpMedia Listens.


Here's Sean's lede, not in PublicEye, but instead in the Globe:

The B.C. government office running the province’s pro-HST campaign secretly doled out contracts to two Liberal-connected companies and a former aide to the minister who introduced the tax, records show.

The contracts, according to documents obtained by The Globe and Mail via a freedom-of-information request, had paid out more than $250,000 as of June 1. That included compensating the ex-aide, Marc Andrew, to do what he called “purely logistical” work for the government panel that provided an independent analysis of the harmonized sales tax......

And what's most egregious about this?

The Clark government circumvented the rules (that only count when they don't matter) and awarded the contracts without competitive bids.

Paul Willcocks asks you to take a simple litmus test on that one, here.


Why Does Christy Clark Want To Neuter The FOI Process?


And why, as Sean Holman, the proprietor of PublicEye Online, who has selectively wielded FOI requests like a scalpel in the past, are British Columbia's media and public not outraged?

Last week, the Clark administration announced a major change in how it handles freedom of information requests....

{snippety doo-dah}

....(T)he government has made it more difficult for journalists at monthly magazines and weekly newspapers to reap that reward because it's now going to be publicly posting those records 72 hours after they give them to the applicant. In many cases, that will give daily and broadcast news outlets a chance to steal those stories before the weeklies and monthlies have a chance to publish them.

The media should be outraged by this policy. The media should be protesting this policy. And British Columbians should be concerned too because it impedes the market force that encourages the media to hold public institutions and officials to account. But, instead of protests, that policy has been greeted - for the most part - with silence. And perhaps that is an outrage in and of itself.

I agree.

It really is an outrage.


As Ian Reid makes abundantly clear in his most recent post, most of the Lotuslandian proMedia that 'matters' relies heavily on runcible spoon-fed insider access for their front page/evening news stories.


If there is no incentive to dig to get to the real heart of a story after considering all the unearthed evidence rather than just going with the pablum the Pol's and Flackhackery feed them, why should the august members of the proMedia that matters in this province care if little guy's like Holman get shut out?

Heckfire, you might even wonder if, like the Pols and Flacks, the august Matterers might actually have a vested interest in seeing folks like Mr. Holman or, say, this guy, disappear for good.

Which just might explain why none of those Matterers have kicked up a fuss about this FOI thing that could get the public riled up.



Monday, July 25, 2011

Did Seaspan Just Cash In Its Hats?


As we predicted some time ago that it would, the other four billion penny-filled boot just dropped to help subsidize....errrr....facilitate Seaspan's bid to get a shank of Steve-O's shipbuilding pork:

"The B.C. government is promising a $40 million investment in training and tax credits if Vancouver-based Seaspan wins one of two federal shipbuilding contracts, Pat Bell, the minister of jobs, tourism and innovation, announced on Monday.

"As promised, our government is helping Seaspan submit the strongest possible bid and this investment focuses on job creation," said Bell.....

Meanwhile, Laila asks where it is, exactly, that those pennies are coming from (i.e. hospitals? schools?).

One thing is certain....

None of it is coming from that sixty billion penny filled set of devil's horns where the old white marshmallow used to be.



Sunday, July 24, 2011

Damn Those Damnably Irresponsible Bloggers...



Sunday Afternoon (extremely feverish) Update at the bottom of post

I mean, how can those no good terrible, conspiratorial, cultist, jump-to-conclusion nutbars who stew in their own juices in the outer fringes of the fever swamps even begin, in the absence of any, you know, actual evidence, write things like this:

"....there is a specific jihadist connection here: “Just nine days ago, Norwegian authorities filed charges against Mullah Krekar, an infamous al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist who, with help from Osama bin Laden, founded Ansar al Islam – a branch of al Qaeda in northern Iraq – in late 2001.”

This is a sobering reminder for those who think it’s too expensive to wage a war against jihadists. I spoke to Gary Schmitt of the American Enterprise Institute, who has been critical of proposed cuts in defense and of President Obama’s Afghanistan withdrawal plan. “There has been a lot of talk over the past few months on how we’ve got al-Qaeda on the run and, compared with what it once was, it’s become a rump organization. But as the attack in Oslo reminds us, there are plenty of al-Qaeda allies still operating. No doubt cutting the head off a snake is important; the problem is, we’re dealing with global nest of snakes.”...


Hang on a second....

On a not unrelated note re: "The Media Really is Killing Us"....Friday's NYT editorial page is an unbelievable exercise in "Everything Goes, Therefore Everything Is Going Just Fine"....Why?...Well, first you've got Paul Krugman rationally explaining what is actually going on with the world economy and offering up his opinion about why the stimulus actually mattered then, matters now, and will very likely really matter really, really, soon...That, as you might expect given the new, uber-modern 'Everything Goes" circles that the Grey Lady now travels in is backed with Grover Norquist nattering on about how the only real shining path is a totally scorched earth fiscal policy licked clean by the genetically re-engineered-to-vaguely-resemble-Dutch's collagen-re-inflated lip-words of George HW 'Sushi-Barfing' Bush (ie. read 'em Cowboys/MarlboroMenchildren: "No New Taxes" ever, especially, and most importantly, for the Richiest Richests job creators of the universe who almost, but not quite, walk amongst us who are, essentially paying none now - taxes I mean)...What's the problem with all this good 'ol fashioned "he said/he said" finger pointing and counterpointing you may be asking?....In a word, "Bobo"....Or, as Driftglass likes to call him, David "F*cking" Brooks, who washes all this down by saying that both perspectives are uber extreme (ie. Democrats actually trying, as in trying to protect Medicaid and Social Security by reducing other spending programs and by rolling back G.W. "CodpieceBoy" Bush's egregious tax holidays for the RichieRiches/Masters of the Universe as being exactly and equivalently as bad as Scorched Earth 'Burn it All Down' Republican/TeaParty Extremism)....Therefore, according to Bobo, who is the one who gets front page billing on the Grey Lady's outer aproon, let's all just go along to get along and let everything settle in the faux mushy middle, which isn't because it's really a thick, goopy melange of Randist-Reganite (again, faux at its center) mucky, mucinous, mucilage cut with AEI-laced crystal methods designed for building barren, but (again, totally faux) guilded cages that will sit upon the huge mountains of corporate cash that can, apparently, now reach the soon-to-be-fully privatized moon....And how do we know, for certain, that we (ie. the rest of us) will be forced to live in those barren cages (together with a few trinkets all, of course, faux)?....Because the fourth story on the NYT Ed page Friday was a totally serious examination of crazy (like, of course, a real faux fox) Michelle Bachman's migraines....Seriously.
Update Sun July 24th, 3:oopm: The WaPo's irresponsible Ms. Rubin is now trying to justify her irresponsibility with, as far as I can tell, more of the "suspicious" same.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Worst Thing The Campbell-Clark Government Could Ever Do...


...Would be to not reappoint Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond as the province's child representative.

And make no mistake, it is this government, a government currently being run by the very person who knows best about all that this government did wrong regarding child protection in the past, that has the hammer in this matter as they hold the majority of the seats on the 'selection' committee.

Lindsay Kines*, in the V T-C lays it all out, and also goes to the person who has done the most to give us a chance to fix all that this government, and to be fair, previous governments have gotten wrong, Mr. Ted Hughes

....Former judge Ted Hughes, whose 2006 report led to the creation of Turpel-Lafond's office, recommended the review of the office's role after five years.

But he stated recently that, after years of conflict between the representative's office and government, the two sides are only now collaborating as he envisioned. Hughes told the Times Colonist that the representative's office should continue its job of monitoring the Ministry of Children and Family Development for some time.

"It is not the time to discontinue that part of the representative's work," he said. "But if things go as I think they're going to go, two years from now I would think we may well be at the point where that aspect of the representative's work will have been completed."....


When you see, hear and read future press reports on this matter please ignore the blah, blah, blah, blah coming out of the mouths of people like Colin Hansen and remember the words of Mr. Hughes.

Because, as past performance has demonstrated over and over and over again, the former mean absolutely nothing and the latter actually matter.


If anyone needs more background about why this matter actually matters, a good place to start is here.
*And as Paul Willcocks rightly points out in the comments, it was the investigative reporting of Lindsay Kines, and others, including Sean Holman, Jeff Rud, Judith Lavoie and Jody Paterson, who really got the ball rolling on all this government did to drive the MCFD even further off the rails back in the days (just) before Christy Clark became the minister responsible.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Is Irony Dead, Or.....


...Did the Conradian pot really call the Rupertian kettle out for being blacker than he himself could ever possibly be?

RUPERT Murdoch is probably the most successful media proprietor and operator in history. There is no possible argument about his boldness, vision and skill of execution in conquering the British tabloid market, leading vertical media integration by uniting film studios and television stations, cracking the US television triopoly, being one of the great pioneers of satellite television and founding a conservative-populist American news network. It must also be admitted that the Wall Street Journal is the only quality product Murdoch has ever bought and actually improved.

It is unlikely that Murdoch, his son James, or Les Hinton committed crimes. Discerning people should not be impressed by the process of hostile media solemnly citing law professors and retired prosecutors and sources who spoke on condition of anonymity to comment on the Murdochs’ legal problems. No one should begrudge the Guardian, the BBC, CNN, the New York Times and others their fun at his expense, nor take it too seriously. He is, as Clarendon said of Cromwell and the British historian David Chandler updated to Napoleon, "a great bad man". It is as wrong to dispute his greatness as his badness......


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

But, Will He Buy Her A Piano For Real This Time ....

Ghost of ElectricityVille

Life's like that.

Sure is.


Monday, July 18, 2011

A Song For Ken



Update: Will be song for Mom too....Promise!

One of my favourite musical DIY stories of all time is Sarah Harmer's album 'Songs For Clem'.

Which was a bunch of stuff she originally recorded just for her Dad.

I've been working on something similar for my Dad this summer.

Which as been fun.

Both making the music and, perhaps even more so, mining some of the material from our collective past.

A past that includes a Woody Guthrie song called '1913 Massacre'......

The thing is, though, I didn't learn Woody's version when I was a kid.

Instead, because my Dad bought the Hobo record, I learned Arlo's.

And it wasn't until way later that I learned of Dylan's straight-up rip-off/tribute to Arlo's Dad.

So now I'm working on a fusion for my Dad that works Kerouac into the mix as well.

Because I figure that Dylan, who's about the same age as my Dad, never would have gotten from Woody to Rimbaud without Ti Jean's long and winding spontaneous prose road.


Update: OK, Mom....Sorry!... Will add an Elvis cover too...'Suspicious Minds' OK?...Just to be clear, however, won't do 'In The Ghetto' for love nor money, matriarchal or otherwise.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wake Up With Harvey O......


....Sunday morning @ 8:30am on Public Eye radio, which is broadcast/streamed on CFAX 1070 from Victoria and a bunch of other places around the province.

Mr. Oberfeld, who was a real reporter's reporter, electronic division, in his day and now writes a vigorous blog that takes no prisoners, especially when it comes to modern media matters, assures us that he and PublicEye proprietor Sean Holman will be discussing the infamous Kai Nagata post*.

I, for one, am very much looking forward to it.

If that ungodlessly hour on a Sunday morning is just too early for you, the discussion should show up about brunch time on the PEye pod, here.
*Kai Nagata was the young Quebec bureau chief for CTV News until very recently when he quit, apparantly completely of his own accord..... On his way out the door Nagata wrote a blogpost in which he deplored the state of modern TeeVee journalism at least 700,000 ways to Sunday....You can read it, in full, here.
Oh, and lest you think folks don't think that there is a problem with the TeeVee news in Canuckistan, check out both the number (1,330) and the sentiment of the comments tagged on the end of Mr. Nagata's post.


Never Mind The Five Million....What Are The PAB-Bots Actually Doing?



Update: And now it appears that the HST misinformers within the Campbell-Clark Governent's Finance Ministry are, like Voldemort, those who can never, apparently, be named. Mr. Holman (sans interns - see below) has that story too.

Sean Holman, through an FOI request, came up with some interesting traffic stats on the (mis?) information website.

In case you missed it, all the trumpeting of said (mis?) information is being financed by $5 million of our money that has been commandeered by the Campbell-Clark government so that it can presumably be mainlined, speedball fashion, directly into the coffers of their ConsultCo. media friendlies.


Given the fact that that the website concerned generated ~140,000 visits from January to June of this year compared to the ~250,000 visits to Mr. Holman's own shoe-string budget-driven site, Sean decided to ask what it is, exactly, that we are getting for our money.

Apparently, it is 'effectiveness'.

....In an email, finance ministry communications director Matt Gordon defended the effectiveness of the government's advertising campaign.

"To compare a news site to an informational site is like comparing apples to oranges. News sites change daily with new information for browsers to review. A site like is a static site," Mr. Gordon wrote. "In the context of government sites in general, this site has proven to be very popular."...

Really Mr. Gordon?

Is saying that it is 'not a news site' and it is therefore allowed to suck the best you can do?


Given all that, perhaps you would like to know that this wee little F-troop blog, which runs on a budget of considerably less than zero (and is most definitely not a news site), actually received about a third of the visits that your mega-bucks website did in the same period of time.

So, I have a proposal for Mr. Gordon et al. to consider.

Specifically, I propose to drive my traffic up tenfold and go "All-HST-All-The-Time" for information purposes. What's more, all points of view will be included and it will be a completely codswallop -, not to mention demonstrable falsehood -, free zone.

I also propose to do all of this if the Campbell-Clark government throws me just 1% of their mis-information budget (ie. $50,000). I will then hire two interns to do all the grunt work to get things buzzing through all the various non-stop tumbles and tweets required to, as they say in the trade, 'grow the eyeballs'.

This will use up $20K of the money.

What will I do with the remaining $30K?


How about this - I will give it directly to the proprietor of the best online provincial politics (definitely not mis) information site in British Columbia so that he can afford to go whole hog and increase his FOI request rate by 1000%.

Heckfire, I might just do it all myself, and chuck the interns Mr. Holman's way too.

How does that sound?

And stay tuned for a hit-list comparison of another of the Campbell-Clark government's uber online initiative....Internally, we have dubbed it Christy's 'Anti-Viral' Project.