Wednesday, November 30, 2011

If There Is A Heaven....


....This is most definitely it.

(tribute for the late, greatest of great, Mic Christopher at the 'Hey Day' Festival a couple of nights ago in Ireland)

And, for anybody interested, Bigger E's sneaky/magnificent vocal tribute version of HeyDay is....Here.


One In A Million?....Really?


It's a funny thing, the blogging business.

Because, normally, what you write today is worth even less than fish wrap tomorrow (or sooner) given that, unlike all the stuff hidden away on the old, yellowed newspaper clippings filling my bookshelves to bursting, nobody, including bloggers themselves, ever bothers to actually print out their blather.

But a funny thing has been happening 'round here over the last couple of years or so.

And it is a thing that has ramped up with the recent release of the movie version of 'The Rum Diary'.

So much so that I actually went to the Google cache myself, using the specific search string that has been bringing so many folks here from all over the place recently, to see what the heckfire is going on.

And this is what I found....

Amazing that, don't you think?

Or maybe not.

Of course, given that it is the Google with its weird and twisted freak-powered Booleanism, the folks who do come by are probably a little surprised to discover what the post is really all about.

Which, of course, is not Hemingway's death, but rather Thompson's.

Below is the lede from early 2005. It is, as Bill Murray playing the good Docktor, might have said, 'One of the finest things I've ever written'.....Or....Maybe not...Who really knows, especially given the hard truth, which is that only a fool writes repeatedly for free....

Monday, February 21, 2005

It Never Got Weird Enough.....

Owl Farm
Woody Creek, Colorado

.....for him.

"DENVER (Reuters) - Hunter S. Thompson, who pioneered "gonzo" journalism and became a counterculture celebrity with works such as "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," fatally shot himself at his Colorado home on Sunday night, police said. He was 67."

Before he started to get stupid, and worse - famous, Thompson wrote this about the last days of Ernest Hemingway:

"Ketchum was Hemingway's 'Big Two Hearted River', and he wrote his own epitaph in the story of the same name, just as Scott Fitzgerald had written his epitaph in a book called 'The Great Gatsby'. Neither man understood the vibrations of a world that had shaken them off their thrones, but of the two, Fitzgerald showed more resilience. His half-finished 'Last Tycoon' was a sincere effort to catch up and come to grips with reality, no matter how distasteful it might have seemed to him.

Hemingway never made such an effort. The strength of his youth became rigidity as he grew older, and his last book was about Paris in the Twenties.....Like many another writer, Hemingway did his best work when he felt he was standing on something solid - like an Idaho mountainside, or a sense of conviction."

.....What Lured Hemingway to Ketchum, Hunter S. Thompson, The National Observer, 1964.

Now, Thompson was no Fitzgerald, and try as he might he could never quite write an even halfway decent Hemingwayesque novel, this despite the fact that he wrote thousands, if not millions, of phrases, paragraphs and entire journalistic set pieces in that strange Hemingway/Gonzo fusion that in the end became cliche for all to see, both in print and, especially, all over the Blogosphere. But back in the days when he was really stomping on the terra, a careful read always gave you the sense that it was more than just technique and that HST was standing hard on conviction, even when he was going a hundred miles an hour...

(The rest is here, for anybody interested...)

And, for the record......There used to be dozens of great comments attached to that post, including a bunch from the denizens of the old Whiskey Bar.....And that included jonku, lenin's ghost AND Kate Storm....But they were all disappeared when I refused to pay JS-Kit that egregious ransom for the keys to the old Haloscream....Jeebuz!.... I'm starting to feel like a bit player in an old William Gibson short story that almost, but never quite, saw the light of day....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Harvey O's Prescription For Revitalizing Occupy Vancouver...


...Is a pretty darn good one:

"...Revive the protest outside the Vancouver Art Gallery … which IS front and center …in the city, where the action will draw the most attention. BUT do it only one day a week …. say every Friday. That’s every Friday, all year round … with featured speakers at Noon, keeping up the message … every Friday, every week.

The single Day of Action will allow thousands of people … underpaid workers, unemployed workers, involuntary part-time workers, struggling single or coupled parents, union supporters, seniors, overpaying renters, aspiring homeowners, and thousands of others who understand and support the true objectives … to show up for an hour or two or for the day and take part, without giving up their entire lives and bedding down in the bushes.

Community leaders, union leaders, even on-side politicians, writers, actors and who knows, even bloggers, could take part in that kind of sustained protest and express their support for the movement...."

Sounds pretty good, eh?

But as for bloggers?

I dunno if anybody really wants to ruin a movement with wastrels and lever pushers like...




Ladner v. Spam-A-Lot....The Cage Match Continues


We can't read his screed in its entirety because it is hidden behind the family's subscription wailing-wall at Business Vancouver, but Bill Tieleman is reporting that Peter Ladner is wondering, as have we for some time now, if former Mayor Smilin' Sammy Sullivan's never fully accounted for 'war-chest' was used to fund the fun boys who run Spam-A-Lot.

Here is Mr. T. quoting the NPA's former mayoral candidate and Sammy slayer Mr. Ladner:

..."It’s time for the NPA to get out a huge vacuum and suck up all the people who think every political opponent is evil, and that job No. 1 is to eliminate them," Ladner writes.

"It’s a tiresome, downer strategy borne of three years of blog’s partisan putdowns – hilarious to family and friends, but tedious and irritating to anyone who cares more about the city than about hating Vision and COPE (RIP). (Was that blog really funded by former mayor Sam Sullivan’s 2008 election war chest?)"...

I guess my question for Mr. Ladner is....Who, exactly, would pay for such a vacuum?

Or put, another way, why would they pay for such a thing given that it would then be used to pretty much suck themselves up into the bag?

Given that, in addition to his pay-walled Bizness in Lotuslandia piece, Mr. Ladner also penned this, we figure he would very likely also dig.....This.


Has The (not)Premier's Tenure Hit The Tipping Point?


There sure is a lot of talk, blather and wild-eyed speculation about the importance of the Bye-Bye's that she who wishes, by all appearances, to be both the LINO's saviour and their Snooki has not even called yet.

But I do not really think that is the issue.

Instead, I figure the boys in the backroom, not to mention the Wizard behind the behind the curtain, will really start squirming when their first solid internal poll rolls in that have the ol' Curmudgeon floating high above the 20% bar.

And when and if that happens (if it hasn't already), I reckon that a whole lotta folks hanging out on the monied edges of the crumbling coalition that Gord stole (i.e. those who are waiting to place their bets) won't take kindly to any more smears....


What will be the Wizard's next play I wonder?


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Grey Cup Night Night-Kapp...The Face Mask Factor


In the end the game did have a little of the ol' CFL razzle-dazzle.

And all those wild-eyed backfields in motion kept on keepin' on until the last, final merciful whistle.


What if the field's slowest player by far, Lions kicker Paul McCallum, hadn't angled in on that Speedy Gonzalez Blue Bomber punt returner and yanked him down with a face mask late in the fourth quarter.

I mean, if Winnipeg hadn't needed the extra half minute or so to get that TD, would they have been forced to try the failed onside kick?

And if not, would things have been even more interesting, with even more wild-and-crazy-legged backfield goings on right down to the wire?

Who knows.

But one thing I do know for sure is that all the chest-thumping, taunting, and in-your-facedness that has made its way to the great white north for no good reason at all pales in comparison to the truly nasty brutishness of an almost 50 year old rivalry that erupted once again earlier this week...


Somehow, I don't think T. Tebow, who will very likely guide the Mike Grant-coached Moncton Marauders' to their inaugural Grey Cup win in 2017 after he is finally forced to head north in a reverse-Kapp sometime soon, will get into a cane-induced fist-fight during CupFest2064.

Of course, it is possible that Mr. Kapp is just plain crazy....When we lived in Berkeley quite a few years after the fact the kids were still talking about the 'Big Game' with Stanford when Cal 'Won One For The Zipper'.


Grey Cup Day Update...Whadd'ya Mean We Didn't Miss...


After the sudden early Sunday change in the Lotuslandian weather officially ended the 'Roof-Leak-Watch', the Whack-A-Doodle and I figured we would skip the first half and, most importantly, the halftime show by heading out to the beach for awhile.

We ran, chased sticks, rolled in gunk and played a bunch of songs of our own, including our 'Bloody Mother F*ckin' A*shole/Astral Weeks/Nebraska' b/w Ingrid Bergman medley-fest.

Only trouble was, it got dark too soon.

And now we're home, and Canada's worse export ever* is just about to take the stage.


*Number 2 is, of course, antithetical axis of evil boweevilness himself, David Frum.


Grey Cup Day Update...The Roof No Longer Matters!


Organizers of the 99th Grey Cup (no French, please) are breathing a sigh of relief with just four more hours to go before game time.


Because the wind has died and the rain has stopped.

Thus, the official Day-Game Propsmakers at SportsAction.con (sponsored by Paragon Casinos and Resorts?) are rumoured to be getting ready to announce that they have it 185, against, that the BC Place roof 'repair' will be a factor in today's game....



Grey Cup Day Update...The Sky Is No Longer Falling!


At least that is the latest according to the man on the ground from PavCo:

...Preparation for the Grey Cup hit a snag late Saturday when crews discovered water dripping from the roof of the newly renovated B.C. Place stadium.

Howard Crosley, B.C. Place's general manager, said the leak has been patched and will be double-checked before five-million viewers tune in to watch the big show....


And a good thing too.

After all, we sure wouldn't want a little wind and/or rain to befall these very finest of the fine fine folks.



When They're Sixty-Four...


Just heard from one of our favourite readers and commenters, D.

He has just given his partner E. one of the most fantastical musical storyboards ever.

For her 64th birthday.

Man, I dig the good people of the Interwebz.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Grey Cup Eve Update...The Sky Is Falling! (Part Deux)


The roof on the marshmallow is leaking again, the night before the big game.

And now one of the original media shills for the thing, a shill who works for BELLGLOBECTVTSNEverythingElseMedia, has been quoted by....

....Water dripping onto the field on Saturday came from the glass seal between the actual roof and the retractable glass roof, BC Place general manager Howard Crosley told CTV News.

The 99th Grey Cup is the new stadium's national coming out party. It's expected to have a television audience of five million people.

"It's something very important for them to make sure they get it right, because 563 million dollars has been spent on this renovation -- just over half on the roof itself," business commentator Tom Mayenknecht said. "It's got to be a big concern for them because they do not want this to be a story after the Grey Cup that fans had rain coming on them."...

The Original Sin...errr...Shill from Mr. Mayenknecht was detailed here.


Grey Cup Eve Update...The Sky Is Falling!


Well, actually, it's just the roof:

The general manager of BC Place Stadium said it's actually a good thing that the new retractable roof is leaking on the eve of the Grey Cup football game.

Howard Crosley, who manages the venue for PavCo, said a small leak appeared Saturday morning over the field at one of the 35-yard lines.

As of Saturday afternoon, 25 people were working on the roof, he said.

"The crews are up there and attending to it and fixing that, and [we're] hoping that if there are any others, they'll get a chance to fix those as well."

The leak appears to be coming from the silicone seal between a glass shelf and the fixed-panel roof, he said.

"It's not of any major concern. We are able to attend to them, and things are looking good for the game tomorrow."

"For the most part, we've been waiting for a good rain so that we could see if there were any places where seals hadn't taken properly or where welds might not be properly done that would cause water to be able to get inside the building," Crosley said...

Sure thing Mr. Crosley.

But here's the thing....

It's 7 o'clock Saturday night and the wind hasn't even started blowing yet.


This could get interesting.

Not to mention depressing given the $600 million unfunded cost (so far) of the thing.


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


After all, if you are the newly-minted (not)Premier of a government that has given the province of British Columbia the worst child poverty rates in Canada for eight straight years, why would you want to have a plan to put an end to a Campbellerian winning streak like that?

Paul Willcocks has the story:

...(W)hen it was reported that B.C. had the highest rate of child poverty in Canada for the eighth consecutive year, Premier Christy Clark rejected calls for a plan to address the problem, with targets, actions and a requirement for an annual report on “progress or lack of progress,” to use Falcon’s words.

Why no plan? Clark and the other ministers never offered a coherent reason.

Because there isn’t one.

The facts are clear. The annual national look at child poverty, released by First Call, an advocacy group, found that 12 per cent to 16.4 per cent of B.C. children were living in poverty in 2009. That’s the highest proportion of poor kids of any province, a dismal ranking B.C. has retained for eight years. (You can debate poverty measures, but the fact remains this province is the worst.)...

{Snippety Doo-Dah}

...Clark said the government doesn’t need a plan. It’s doing things like raising the minimum wage and providing housing supports and launching job strategies. Those will help reduce child poverty.

Maybe, though it’s an odd claim since the government has insisted for most of the last decade that raising the minimum wage wouldn’t reduce poverty.

But a bunch of random actions aren’t a plan. There’s no objective, even a modest one like moving B.C. from the worst in Canada to the seventh worst. There’s no estimate of the effect of any actions on reducing poverty..."


One of the reasons, amongst many, that I enjoy reading Mr. Willcocks' stuff is that he often offers up well thought-out potential solutions to real problems. Here is how he ended this particular piece:

"...A plan could make quick progress. About one-third of the children living in poverty have parents dependent on income assistance or disability benefits. (A single parent with two children who is deemed employable gets up to $660 a month for housing and another $623 a month for everything else.) Providing enough support to lift those children out of poverty, or allowing their parents to earn some money without losing benefits, would move B.C. into the top half of the rankings..."


Just do it Ms. Clark.

And if you do, I would be happy if you raised my provincial income tax rate to help pay for it.


And, perhaps even like Ms. Clark herself, I did it again last night.... No! ...I'm not talking about anything like that...Instead, I'm talking about how I forgot to change the channel after listening to Mr. Russell and Brook 'My Head Is Now Officially An Empty Suitcase' Ward kibbutz about last night's Canucklehead's game in front of the hometeam crowd in Glendale Arizona and thus woke up this morning to the former Premier's brother ranting and raving about how everything is all the public sector unions' fault....Ya, sure thing Mr. Campbell...After all, if only we had even more speculation, ponzi schemes and privatized profit piles built with public money and tranche-laden gossmer-winged walls of crony-laced bamboozleified bullshit that sucks all the real value out of entire economies everything would be just fine...Right?


Friday, November 25, 2011

The Lie My Butt Cheeks Tell Me.


You may recall that a couple of weeks ago I had to go to the heart of Burnaby's own Bladerunner set (a.k.a. 'Metrotown') to renew my new Driver's Licence.


My new hunk o' plastic came in the mail the other day.

And this is what the top of the thing now looks like....

Personally, I do not agree with the statement about this being 'The Best Place on Earth' that now sits in my back pocket, pressed against my flesh, every single day.


Well, here is reason Number 1:

British Columbia still leads the nation in child poverty and, according to areport released today, the problem is only getting worse.

Using data collected by Statistics Canada in 2009, the child advocacy groupFirst Call found that the proportion of B.C. children living under the federal poverty line rose since the previous year.

"The number of poor children in BC was 137,000 -- about the same as the total populations of Kamloops, Fort St. John, Port Alberni and Powell River combined," reads the report card on child poverty, which First Call published with the support of SPARC BC and AMSSA.

Looking at income after taxes and benefits, the report card found that between 2008 and 2009, child poverty within the province climbed from 10.4 per cent to 12 percent. That figure puts British Columbia at the top of the national child poverty charts for the eighth year running.

Eight years.

Do you understand what that means for the so-called 'Golden Era' when we, due to the commodity boom in the middle of the last decade, were raking in the dough hand-over-fist while we cut taxes for the well-off and slashed programs for those who are not?

Shame on all of us.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Lotusland's Former Mayors Come Up With The Best Anti-Gang Initiative Yet


Now that Mike Harcourt, Philip Owen, Larry Campbell and Sam Sullivan have all called for an end to the prohibition on marijuana, can the fanciful Vince Fosterish fantasies involving each and every one of them be far behind?

Below, for the record, is the text of the Four Horsemen's letter, in full, which can also be found here.


November 23, 2011

From: Sam Sullivan, Michael Harcourt, Larry Campbell, and Philip Owen

To: All B.C. MPs, MLAs, Mayors and Councillors

Re: Call to Action – Marijuana prohibition and its effects on violent crime, community safety, and the health and well-being of our citizens

As former Mayors of the City of Vancouver, we are asking all elected leaders in British Columbia to speak out about the ineffectiveness and harms of cannabis prohibition.

Marijuana prohibition is – without question – a failed policy. It is creating violent, gang-related crime in our communities and fear among our citizens, and adding financial costs for all levels of government at a time when we can least afford them. Politicians cannot ignore the status quo any longer; they must develop and deliver alternative marijuana policies that avoid the social and criminal harms that stem directly from cannabis prohibition.

Among the most pressing issues is the contribution that cannabis prohibition has made to organized crime and gang violence. The Fraser Institute has estimated that B.C.’s illegal cannabis trade may be worth up to $7 billion dollars annually. This massive illegal market drives violence in communities throughout the province. New thinking, new policies and collaboration across party lines are required to protect our communities and make them safer.

Unfortunately, research and practical experience from Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere clearly demonstrates that increasing anti-cannabis law enforcement strategies will not reduce the availability to young people. Cannabis prohibition has failed globally. While we fully recognize that marijuana is not without health- related harms, the failure of cannabis prohibition to reduce the availability of the drug to young people requires an urgent and novel response.

We agree with the Stop the Violence BC coalition and the criminologists, economists, lawyers, law enforcement and public health experts under its umbrella: we must move from a violent unregulated market to a strictly regulated cannabis market that is based on a public health framework. We believe a legally regulated market for adult cannabis use has the potential to reduce rates of cannabis use while at the same time directly addressing organized crime concerns by starving them of this cash cow. A regulated market would enable governments to improve community health and safety while at the same time raising millions in tax revenue.

The time for action is now. A recent Angus Reid poll demonstrated that 69% of British Columbians believe that chasing and arresting marijuana producers andsellers is ineffective and that British Columbians would be better off taxing and regulating the adult use of marijuana. We fully agree.

Clearly, elected officials are out of step with their public on marijuana prohibition. It is time that elected officials enter the debate and deliver specific proposals to address the easy availability of cannabis to youth and the organized crime concerns stemming directly from cannabis prohibition.

If you agree, please step forward, join this call for change and add your influential voice to the debate. In addition, we encourage you to notify Stop the Violence BC of your endorsement so that they may profile your support and adjust their education efforts accordingly.

If you disagree, there is nevertheless an ethical and moral obligation to join the debate, because the stakes for our communities, our youth and our fellow British Columbians are so high.

Politicians of all stripes – not just at the federal level – must respond before further damage is done to our B.C. communities. We must break the silence on this issue. The status quo must change.


Sam Sullivan, Mayor of Vancouver, 2005-2008

Larry Campbell, Mayor of Vancouver, 2002-2005

Philip Owen, Mayor of Vancouver, 1993-2002

Mike Harcourt, Mayor of Vancouver, 1980-1986

Please note: Only one former mayor of the last three decades did NOT sign the letter....He, like Mr. Harcourt is also a former Premier of British Columbia...Hmmmm....Now why wouldn't that fine fellow want to sign, I wonder?


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Whose Base Is This Anyway?


One question that was rarely asked during the recent Lotuslandian civic election campaign is...

How would Gregor Robertson's base have responded if he had used an iron fist
against the folks who pitched their tents on the Art Gallery lawn?

I, for one, know that it might have caused somebody like me (ie. a left of center big tenter who understands that a combination of both pragmatism and gradualism can actually work to get things of significance done) to really think hard about sending a slate-splitting message.

And if you squint hard at the numbers you can see that it wouldn't have taken the desertion of many left of center big tenters (ie. Gregor's base) to really make a difference.

Or, put another much scarier way, in the end even Mike Klassen was less than 800 votes out of the running for a council seat, and he was below both Ellen Woodsworth and Bill Yuen.


Given all that, I was very happy that Mr. Robertson didn't do anything rash.

But the funny thing is that, unless he's doing a little post-facto revisionism, the story that Vision pollster Bob Penner is now telling suggests that Gregor's decision to do the right thing was made easier because, despite the screams and bleats from the media to the contrary, the Occupation was not a major issue for the majority of Lotuslandians:

"...In our polling, Occupy Vancouver never even showed up on the list of top 15 unprompted issues for voters. Nor, by the way, did chickens. Separated bike lanes were there, but the number of people who were pro bike lanes was always significantly higher than those opposed. The actual top issues were affordability, homelessness, and transit. Environmental issues in various manifestations were prominent as well..."

Interesting that, if correct, no?

FABula had a link to Mr. Penner's blogpost (yes, blogpost - apparently, sometimes Twitter is just not enough) first and a discussion of it has already started at her place.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

When An NPA Candidate Lies Down With Swine...

...They Love The Smell Of The Poo.

As long as they think they might win.


And if they don't?

Win, I mean.


You get stuff like this from 'former' candidate Sean Bickerton:

...the voters have spoken, decisively rejecting a Mayoral campaign based on puerile, sophomoric, gotcha-style attacks and trivial wedge issues.

In the process, voters have also rejected my candidacy for a second time. Having no choice but to accept the wisdom of their decision, I will be withdrawing from public life and service...


I don't remember Mr. Bickerton saying anything like that last Monday when trivial wedge issues were being thrown around like confetti.


Given all that, what would he have done the first time something puerile and sophomoric was rammed down the public's throat at a Council meeting if he and Ms. Always Campaigning had actually won?


Monday, November 21, 2011

The Power And All The Glory Of The Kids At UC Davis


The restraint of the kids, I mean.

Well, they turned that restraint, and their non-violence, on the woman who ordered the macing yesterday.

The video below, which shows that restraint, is unbelievable in its power, a power that is only slightly dampened by the media idiots that won't shut the hell up as they repeatedly try for the trival sound-bite amongst the glory of all those silent kids.



Saturday, November 19, 2011

Big Changes In Van City...

Our Top Five...

1) West End Bob elects Adriane Carr in the 135th poll (of 135).
2) COPE may be dead.
2a) Ghost of Harry Rankin already planning David Cadman's resurrection on Monday at 9am.
3) NSV took a whole lotta council votes from somebody (waiting for splits).
4) Sandy G. beat K. Potvin for biggest independent number in recent memory.
5) Spam-A-Lot rumoured to have already hired brand new pundit.... Ms. (usedtobe)Always Campaigning.

Real story....Every single Vision candidate wins...Big tent is still way, way up.
Oh, and for the record...Vancouver still does not have a 905 belt.


Fear And Loathing In....Davis?


Yesterday, we linked to the inspirational hijinks by the kids at UC Berkeley who responded with levity, quite literally, after they got a dose of authority thrown in their faces a week or so ago.

But, all snark aside, if you were a kid on the Quad of the UC Davis yesterday, how could this possibly NOT radicalize you?

And even more snark-free, it is amazing to me that the kids in the video above remained, by all accounts, completely violence-free in their response.

Something's definitely happening here. And no amount of cynical trivialism piled on top of the thing by the likes of PJ O'Rourke et al. and their media enablers is going to crush it, I reckon.


Civic Election Update


I have very little to say, except that turnout really, really matters.

So go vote.

Otherwise, you just may be turning the fate of Lotuslandia over to FABula's 5000 which, of course, is the 5K that gets swung, at the last minute, by the codswallop on the TeeVee or the front page of the VSun, because they haven't been paying attention and/or they have forgotten who closed the libraries, made 'No-Fun' our tag-line, and did the evil False Creek condo deal with the devil and the deep-blue hedge fund in the first place.


Oh, ya....And like Mr. Reid says, three years ago most of us actually voted for the greening, the bike lanes, the parks, a real homelessness program and more housing stock...So, despite the fact that the guy running the show is not the best Mayor we never had, isn't that pretty much what we got?...How often does crazy stuff like that actually happen in three years?...And did I mention the Casino Industrial Complex?....Do you actually think the folks running Ms. Always Campaigning would have allowed her and hers to lift a finger to stop that?


Friday, November 18, 2011

Occupy Berkeley...No Tents, No Problem


The University administration told the kids at Berkeley that they couldn't pitch their tents on Sproul Plaza.

So they didn't.

Instead, they floated them above the plaza.

Gosh, I miss that town.


My Morning Ride.

That is all.


RailGate Relapsing...A Cancer On The Entire Government?


Now here's something interesting....

It turns out that David Basi and Robert Virk were not the only ones who had RailGate Trial indemnification deals in place.

Vaughn Palmer had the story in yesterday's VSun:

"...The government also committed to paying the legal costs of four potential witnesses in the BC Rail case, including one unnamed former cabinet minister and one unnamed senior public servant..."


Here's the real thing.

Were any of those agreements made without the input of the Attorney General?

Why do I ask?

Well, as we've already discussed, and as Mr. Palmer also made clear today, there were times when the whole process was short-circuited by....

You got it.

"...On other occasions, involving elected officials, Doyle discovered that the attorney-general's ministry was cut out of the process as well. Instead special indemnities were granted on the say-so of the minister of finance, meaning he or she agreed taxpayers should pick up the tab on behalf of a colleague..."

Or, perhaps, a 'former' colleague?


While it just may be coincidence, one such former colleague who had most excellent legal representation during the run-up to the trial was the former, former finance minister, Mr. Gary Collins. Here's an illustration of that fact as reported by Mark Hume in The Globe way, way back in 2007:

"... Speaking through his lawyer, Clark Roberts, Mr. Collins said if the police did tape his meeting with OmniTRAX Inc., a company that failed in a bid for BC Rail, it should be made public because it will only prove that he did nothing wrong while handling the $1-billion sale of the state-owned rail line.

"If there is any surveillance, Mr. Collins says it should be disclosed because it will completely reveal that he wasn't involved [in any wrongdoing]," Mr. Roberts said.

Funny how neither Mr. Collins nor the good Mr. Roberts has called for a release of those 'tapes' since the trial suddenly ended a little over a year ago, eh?


Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Tebow Conundrum....What Would Freddy Do?


If Fred Biletnikoff were forced to catch fluttering ducks from Timmeh, I reckon he would do it by slathering the goo on thick.

Over his entire body.


Of course, he would also be required to wear anti-Stabler medallions to simultaneously ward off any residual 'Evils of the Snake'.


The RailGate Drinking Game...Save The Liver!


And the password is.....

"Attorney-General Shirley Bond says the (Cambell-Clark) government is not trying to prevent the release of more documents related to the Basi-Virk deal to the Auditor-General.

The auditor has filed a new court application seeking material around the deal, but Bond says that's a necessary step.

Bond says in fact the government is not holding back documents that are covered by cabinet privelege.

She says this is about solicitor-client privelege related to billing information, and so a court does need to give permission for that information to be released....."


Back in the good ol' days, it was the term 'banker's privilege' that made us reach for the harder stuff.

Regardless, whatever you do, please play responsibly.

Because if you do not, and you go over the edge to to the dark side, you just might find yourself standing on the wrong end of a lost weekend waiting, like a tweaker with your hand out, for the remergence of the real kicker that fixed pretty much everything.

Which is the word....



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Auditing The RailGate Double-Down...


Well whaddy'a know....

It turns out that the Auditor General of British Columbia, John (not the TeeVee guy) Doyle, is having a hard time getting what the court ordered he should have gotten six months ago. Specifically, lawyers are refusing to give Mr. Doyle documents related to the six million dollar deal that abruptly ended the RailGate trial just as the Campbell-Clark government's former Finance Minister, Mr. Gary Collins, was scheduled to take the stand.

So, as a result, the Auditor General went back to court again this week.

The following is from Les Leyne's report in the suddenly slightly cultish Victoria Times-Colonist:

"...(T)he auditor general filed a petition with the B.C. Supreme Court that came to light Tuesday. If he gets what he's after, it could fill his desk to overflowing with specific details about the legal bills and how the taxpayers ended up paying them.

Doyle's office is working on an audit of all special indemnities granted by the government over the last several years, Basi and Virk's included. There have been about 100 such deals struck and the audit is to determine if taxpayers got value for the money.

Based on his work to date, Doyle appears quite skeptical of the arrangements. In requesting full access to all details of the two men's indemnities, Doyle states to the court there are a number of apparent problems with such deals.

They are granted outside of established policy, there is no set approval process and government staff may not fully understand what they're doing in processing such indemnities, he said. And in a few cases, where the minister of finance approves an indemnity, usually for an elected politician, "the approval is not supported by legal advice from the attorney general's ministry."....


Why should that last bit, highlighted in red, matter?


There are at least two reasons.

First, if these things really have been done outside of 'established policy' then the Toope Report, with respect to Basi/Virk/Basi at least, truly was a superfluous exercise from the beginning that, as we have already established, was cooked up at the behest of the current leader of the Campbell-Clark government back when the heat was really on after the Auditor General first got the high-sign from the court back in the late spring.

Second, and this, in my opinion, is the really important point.....We actually know that the Finance Ministry was involved in the RailGate double-down decision making process.

And do any cult members out there remember who, specifically, in the Finance Ministry worked this file and allegedly, according to Vaughn Palmer at least, made the dollar line decision without the requirement for Treasury Board or Cabinet input/approval?*

Well, that very fine public servant's name is Mr. Graham Whitmarsh.

Which is interesting, in and of itself, on a whole lot of levels.

But what really matters, with respect to who did NOT have to testify in a court of law, under oath, because of the double-down, is the fact that Mr. Whitmarsh once worked at the same company, Harmony Airlines, as former Finance Minister, Mr. Gary Collins, at the same time.

Which means that the man who helped approve the deal, Mr. Whitmarsh, was once a business associate of the man, Mr. Collins, who did not have to testify because of it.

The deal, I mean.



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Did The RailGate Cult Club Just Gain A New Member?



Update: Mr. Willcocks has written to let us know that he is actually renewing his lapsed membership...And, as evidence, he has shown us the hole-punches on his old Cult-Card...Inspired by his willingness to be labelled as kinda kooky, or worse, we decided to unearth additional evidence of a 'Joy'ful kind...Read all about it in the comments

After he gives a measured account of the Toope Report, Paul Willcocks concludes with the following:

"...The legal fee issue isn’t the only remaining question. It’s still unclear, for example, why lobbyists Brian Kieran and Erik Bornman, who both admitted paying bribes to Basi and Virk to get inside information on the deal, weren’t charged. It’s also unclear whether that was normal practice for them, or Basi and Virk. They also admitted leaking information to lobbyist Bruce Clark (Christy Clark’s brother), but it has never been explained why they did...."

Sounds pretty cultish to me.

Sure does.

And on the 'Crazy-Like-A-Galloping-Guru' front, Mr. Willcocks also works the names of BOTH DM's who were in on the 'legal fee issue', specifically as it pertains to the Basi-Virk buyout, into his piece....Now why does that matter, I wonder?....


Monday, November 14, 2011

The Shakey Effect.


Just to be absolutely clear here....

I will vote for any candidate of any party running for any office who promises to make PavCo stop forcing the son of Betty Fox to run for Budweiser in front of the devil-horned marshmallow.

Image provided by the fine folks that are fed up with PavCo's Bladerunnerish billboards blighting their night sky.
Header explained here.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sometimes A Sign Is Just A Sign....And Sometimes It Is A Whole Lot More


The image above, taken on Cambie just south of 29th Avenue today, Sunday Nov 13th, is most interesting on a whole lotta levels.

Please note that the fine developer-type fellow whose name is on the left side of the real estate sign was once a longtime NPA Parks Board member.

But then he had a spat with the Leader and/or the chief Lieutenants of Spam-A-Lot a few years ago.

Which ultimately led the Parks Board/Developer guy to try and take over the big tent that Senator Larry built when he ran for Vision's mayoral nomination that his Gregorness ultimately won in 2008.

Back then, the Developer's daughter, who is pictured on the other sign in the image above, also flirted with the Visionistas according to the archives that never stop giving from PublicEye.

But then, in the end, the Developer's daughter saw the light and stopped running with the socialist devils and instead returned to Red Peter's fold just in the nick of time.


So what, you might be asking?

Well, here's the real thing....

Those two signs in the image above are staked out on the lawn of a property in the Cambie corridor where the house appears to be uninhabited.

Which, sadly, is not that surprising, I suppose, given that it sits on one of seven continguous properties that the Developer guy and Associates are now attempting to flip for, get this.....

Which suggests, at least in this case, that these fine folks do not appear to be working for either the 99% OR the 1% that walk and/or drive their German SUV's amongst us.

Instead, it would appear that it is the elusive 0.001% that are top of mind, not to mention wallet, for them.



Saturday, November 12, 2011

All That Blogging Should Be...



Great writing is just that.

But when it is done daily, in digital form, it is great blogging pure and simple.

Which is what Mr. Beer 'N Hockey has been doing for sometime now.

And I know I have been trumpeting his stuff a whole lot lately, mostly because he has been making so much sense about a topical issue that really matters, both locally and globally.

But today's post slayed me on a whole lot of levels.

It starts out with one of Mr. Beer's slice-of-life observations on the comings and goings in a small part of his edge-of-the river town:

"...The old place has warm memories for both Sonja and I. There is something about having been in a place with steamy windows that sticks to you like resin. I associate the place with hot meals eaten before a night's work and hangovers only a plate of fried perogies and onions can settle; Sonja associates the place with devilled egg sandwiches eaten with her tea swilling girlfriends after a night of dancing at nearby Humper's Cabaret or rollerskating a few blocks away at the even noisier roller rink..."

Then comes the weirdness that is anything but, unless you are someone like Beer who actually pays close attention to the passing parade so that he can see what's really going on behind the pounding of the big bass drums, the glockenspiels and the twirling of the batons:

...We were just about to be served our breakfast when a whole team of slo-pitch players came in the door to join a couple of their team mates already holding a table for them beside us. Never seen a slo-pitch team away from the diamond anywhere besides a pub before. So right away I knew they must be Martians. Sent here to gather intelligence from where they expected to get the most fierce opposition when they finally make their spaceman move to take over our planet.

We gave up our table to the f*ckers and sat down a couple tables away from where I could observe them..."

All of which builds to a line like the following that, if you aspire to the writing life, punches you right in the solar plexus for all kinds of reasons that include the mechanics of, but are not limited to, the wordplay itself:

"...Never appease fascism, always appease Martians, that is the Anarchist way..."



When I got to the line above, and after I got my wind back, I thought the post was pretty much done.

Which meant that I was getting ready to leave a comment focussed purely on the power and the glory of the writing.

But then I kept on reading.

And when I finally finished I had both the shivers and mist roiling up inside me.

Because, in the end, Beer doubles-back to the beginning and finally lands on a whole other plane that all kinds of people, from Cyrano to Apatow, have tried their damndest to locate but, more often than not, never quite can.

In other words, the last third of Beer's post takes you on the greatest trip of all.

So stop reading my two-bit, tin-plated wordsmithing right now and head on over to Beer's place and read the entire thing, from top to bottom.

I guarantee that will not be disappointed with either the journey or the destination.