Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fairway To Heaven, Or....

Highway to H....E....Double Toothpicks?

The New Jersey Star Ledger has the story:

Donald Trump may be a proud New Yorker, but he’s thinking about spending eternity in New Jersey.

The colorful real estate mogul will soon seek the blessing of a state board to build a private cemetery beside the rolling hills and silken greens of his prized Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster.

The 1.5-acre site would become the exclusive final resting place for wealthy club members who pay as much as $300,000 in membership fees. And a section of the lush plot would be carved out for Trump and his next of kin, said Ed Russo, a Trump consultant....


Whose Province Is It Anyway?



I dig it when Justine Hunter, uhhhh....

B.C. government bureaucrats were urging their political masters last spring to take a position on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project. But a technical review due at the end of February still won’t provide an answer on whether Premier Christy Clark’s government supports or opposes the $5.5-billion proposal.

The wait-and-see approach has been entrenched since the province, under former premier Gordon Campbell, signed away B.C.’s right to conduct its own hearing. An agreement signed with Ottawa in July of 2010, making the National Energy Board the sole arbiter, provided Mr. Campbell and his ministers with cover to avoid direct questions about the proposal...

{snippety doo-dah}

....The province still has the opportunity to raise questions at the hearing, but there is no indication that it is planning to intercede.

Though there are myriad environmental issues raised by the pipeline that will have to managed by the province – ranging from tunnel development to waste handling, handling of hazardous materials, spill prevention and response – it now looks quite possible that B.C. will leave the National Energy Board entirely on the hook for the decision.


Once again.

We ask....What, if anything, did Ms. Clark agree to after she hired on her man from Enbridge and then got to suck back Timmy's with Mr. Harper at the hockey arena a couple of week ago?


Once A Political Bully?


The Province published a great letter to the editor from Delta teacher Grace Hoover on Sunday.

Here's the heart of the matter as Ms. Hoover sees it:

...January 28 (2012) marks a black day in B.C. history, a decade since (Christy) Clark as education minister stripped 70 teacher collective agreements of working conditions and classsize provisions without any consultation.

This action cut over $300 million a year from public education and, in exchange, gave the same amount of money as major tax concessions to multinational corporations.

Teachers believe Clark personifies the worst qualities of a bully, abusing power without remorse...

Enough said?


Monday, January 30, 2012

Five Minutes That Will Explain All That Is Right With The World...

...Even When Things Go Wrong.

Remember this passage from Catcher In The Rye?

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.”

Well, for thousands of kids right now it does happen.

With a guy who writes fiction for younger-than-thou adults named John Green.

Mr. Green explains why that is important to both he and his readers in the following short excerpt from a short five minute interview with NPR's Scott Simon:

On keeping in touch with his readers...

"I'm very fortunate. I know them. I like hearing from them. I feel fortunate to interact with them. I like reading their YouTube comments. I like reading their reviews on book review websites. I like the engagement that we have with each other, because the truth is, the world extends outside the world of books. And I feel fortunate to be able to have a relationship with the them."

And it's really, literally true that such a relationship does exist between Mr. Green and his readers.

For all kinds of reasons, some of which are based on the age-old need of the artist to, as I heard that bastard Hansard once explain it, 'expand their draw'.

But when it is sincere that is neither here nor there, as you can see in the clip below, which is just one of dozens like it on the Interwebz...

And below is something else that I, as an older-than-most-of thou adult, really dig from Mr. Green's cannon....

A YouTube series in which he explains to his young charges that if they were to meet Holden Caulfield on the street, or in Central Park by the duckpond, or Facebook if it had existed in New York City in the late 1940's, they would not like, or even notice, him.


Because, as Mr. Green explains it is Mr. Caulfield's ability to explain his inner life that engenders the true empathy that readers, young and old, really connect with.

And then, as you might expect given that Mr. Green is also a master wordsmith, there is a whole bunch of crazy-assed author stuff about the 'miracle of text'.

Or some such thing.

And, ya, I put all those digressive commas, above, in this post, on purpose, because, well, you know....


Whose Curve Is It Anyway?


While Dave already skewered Margaret Wente's Saturday column on class and caste over at The Beaver, it was impossible not to return to it, based on the following sentence:

...To prove his (latest) case, Mr. (Charles) Murray (of 'Bell Curve' fame) compares data from two fictitious neighbourhoods called Belmont and Fishtown....


Two things.

First, even in the most social of social sciences you can't 'prove' anything.

Instead, you can only find supporting evidence that keeps an hypothesis (i.e. the 'case') going, or, on the flipside, you find evidence that completely destroys it.

The hypothesis/case, I mean.

But here's the real thing.

Real evidence is cannot be 'fictitious' either way.

Unless, of course, you are peddling codswallop and/or wurlitzering the same.



Note To The Birdman...

....Prove It.

"He's been workin' real hard trying to make his hands clean...."

Buried deep beneath the lede of J. Fowlie's blockbuster in the VSun today...

...On the long-standing, drawn-out 19 month effort by his government to keep the shredded $800,000 IPad-assisted 'HST-Booster' pamphlet from public view, the current Campbell/Clark government Finance Minister, Mr. Kevin Falcon, had this to say:

“My direction to staff was really clear: just release the damn thing,” he (Falcon) said.

To which we say....

Prove it.

Right now.


Remember The Flap Over BC Liberal Insiders Working The HST Propaganda Catapault?


Well, well, well....

It looks like the propagandists, and those who hired them, past and present, have even more 'xplainin' to do.

Jonathan Fowlie, in the VSun, has the story (after a nasty, protracted FOI fight).

VICTORIA — The B.C. Liberal government planned to use Olympic nostalgia and free iPads to persuade a reluctant public to support the harmonized sales tax.

“The 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games gave British Columbia a foundation to build a stronger province and create new opportunities for workers and families,” said a 10-page pamphlet the government had planned to mail to each home in 2010, not long after the Games had finished...

{snippety doo-dah}

...The government never sent out the pamphlet, shredding all copies not long after having spent $780,000 to have them designed and printed...

{snippety doodle-dandy}

...One part of the pamphlet contained a contest giving people a chance to win one of three Apple iPads, valued, it said, at about $750 each...


Why didn't they just take us to the pub and buy us a bushel of beer or two as the anti-Tax Shift revolt started cranking up for real?

What's that you say?

Oh, right.

Codswallop like that is actually illegal.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Lenin's Ghost Weighs In...


lenin's ghost and I are old friends.

We first met in the comment threads at Billmon's now defunct Whiskey Bar, way back in the dinosaur days when the feverswamps were the only place to find a little truth, and a whole lotta conversation, in a dirty glass.

And while l.g. may take umbrage at the following description, I always think of him as a hard-headed leftist with a heckuva slap-shot.



l.g. stopped by recently and left a late comment at the bottom of the now kinda/sorta infamous Schlieffen Plan/Snooki/Birdman/Curmudgeon post in which I wondered if the BC-Dippers 39% would hold if, say, the LINO's and the hived-off Cons were to suddenly reunite, at the last minute, just before the spring 2013 election.

It is now, officially, a semi-infamous post (at least in my own mind), because my favourite Public Eye Radio rabble-rouser, Eleanor Gregory, quoted from it verbatim on this morning's show.

In addition, Ms. Gregory also offered to send me brownies when I thanked her for.....errrr...'accused' her of stealing my stuff.

But all this self-congratulatory babble is really nothing more than bubble-wrap around the heart of the matter, which l.g. got straight to with his comment:

"The real issue is whether or not the dippers have their sh*t together to run a government properly...."


I ask l.g., and anyone else out there that wishes to comment also.

Are they?

Ready to govern, I mean.

It was actually a fantastic week for comments on a whole lotta levels, including a clutch of new folks stopping by....In that regard, John G's comment wherein he wondered where the line for conflict with the Lotuslandian political punditry actually lies was a great one....And then there was the running conversation with Santa Rosa Jon and Mr. Beer 'N Hockey about their poetry that became a song....And thanks a million to music man Don F. for the digital recording advice.


Welcome To The Good Old Days



Sunday Morning Update: For those stopping by after Eleanor Gregory's shout-out on PublicEye Radio this morning, our speculative right-sided fusion post is here...And, for the record, the 39% Dipper 'stall' raised by Mr. Holman on the radio show was the impetus for that post

This is a song for Santa Rosa Jon.

Its about the ways things were not so long ago, the way they are now, and the way they were way back when.

Most importantly, it is also a song about the way things just might become again if we're not careful.

At least I think that's what it's about.

But, then again, I'm not entirely sure because the words aren't actually my own....

As mentioned the other day, this all started as a comment from Jon over at Beer's place....Beer then turned it into a poem....And, well....All of that just begged for songification, even if it does sound like it is wrapped in sodden moss and buried deep within a peat bog...


Saturday, January 28, 2012

It All Makes Sense To Me Now...


Because if, according to Charles 'Coloured's Is Dumb' Murray, somewhat popular American Basset Hound Blogger T-Bogg is actually Cornel West.


I guess you will not be surprised to learn that, according Mr. Murray's 'How Thick Is Your (NotReallyRacist,Honest) Bubble Test' , this here Whiter than Whitebread Left Canuckistanian Boy is...



More On The BC Ferries Commisioner's Report


Here's something else you haven't heard from the CorpMedia regarding that report that savages the now departed darling of the puffed-up punditry, Mr. David Hahn.

And it comes from the master mariner that blogs over at Tidal Station:

"...What grabbed me instantly, however, was the graph on page 18 of the report. From 2004 to 2011 the cost of maintenance has been virtually unchanged. That, in an environment where inflation has been driving costs up at a little over 2.3 percent per year.

If BC Ferries was carrying out the same level of fleet and terminal maintenance today that they were before they were flipped over to a profit model the cost of maintenance should have increased. Even if there were efficiencies, it would have been impossible to maintain ships to a high standard of reliability and safety without a scaled increase in maintenance costs.

The first thing to go when a shipping company cheaps out on maintenance is quality control. Inspection falls by the wayside. Small things go unnoticed. Pins are left out and nuts are not torqued down..."


When pins are left out and nuts are torqued down....

Is that when ferries start drifting over docks and/or crashing....errrr....landing, 'hard', when docking?


Remind me again.

When was it, exactly, in that reign of the 'Straight-Talker', that the trouble-making safety officer Captain Bowland 'left' BC Ferries?

Oh ya, I remember now.

It was back in the first-third (i.e. 2006), just after the sinking of the Queen of the North, as reported at the time by The Globe's Mark Hume:

VANCOUVER -- Amid a growing debate about safety issues, David Hahn, the president of B.C. Ferries, has flatly contradicted key allegations made by a safety expert who says his warnings were ignored prior to a disastrous sinking.

On Tuesday, (former saftey officer) Darin Bowland filed a statement of claim in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in a wrongful-dismissal suit, in which he said senior management at the company ignored his warnings that "there was a strong likelihood of catastrophic incidents" if safety practices were not immediately improved...

{snippety doo-dah}

...Although B.C. Ferries has not yet filed a statement of defence, Mr. Hahn responded to Mr. Bowland's charges yesterday while being interviewed by talk-show host Bill Good on Vancouver radio station CKNW.

"We reject all of his allegations," Mr. Hahn said. "I think what's interesting [is] he never set foot on the Queen of the North during his time here, never was on the Queen of Prince Rupert [a sister ship], was never in Prince Rupert or Port Hardy on any business from B.C. Ferries....

Talkin' 'straight'?


I am not so sure that word means what the puffed-up punditry (and the water carriers) think (or would have us think) it means.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Canada's New Human League Of Nations...


....The Handsome Furs

And if you want to see Dan Boeckner and Alexei Perry, who currently call Montreal home, improve world relations while they see/tour/play the world you can watch their entire 'Indie Asia' series, archived at their website, here.

Finally, yes, South Side Torey's boys had the Furry Duo, who first met at a call center training cattle call, on their show not long ago also...

There are a whole lotta more visually stunning videos out there of this 'band', but I like the sound and weird techno small-club crush of this one best, even if it is blurry...Most often Ms. Perry introduces this song by saying that it is for their "Friends in Romania"....And apparently, according to the duo, who have travelled deep into the region repeatedly, techno is the sound of the revolution in post-Soviet Eastern Europe.


The Smart Affair....The Shaming Of The Herd


And it took someone outside the herd, Jim Harrison, who is at Radio NL in Kamloops to do it:

"...(E)ven more disturbing and puzzling (than CBC Pacific's inability to recognize a clear journalistic conflict) is the behaviour of (Stephen) Smart's media colleagues who all knew the facts and yet chose to remain largely silent. Even last week in the face of the Ombudsman's ruling (that Mr. Smart is in a journalistic conflict of interest) they continued to blather on..."

Norm Farrell has the story (and the actual audio) here.


BC Ferries: The Little Private Monopoly That Couldn't


Robert Matas, consistently the best thing going in The Globe, BC Division, has a pretty good analysis of the Ferry's Commisioner's report up. Here's his lede:

BC Ferries commissioner Gord Macatee has called for a major overhaul in a review of ferry operations released earlier this week. He urged the B.C. government to abandon its commitment to a user pay system and drop its opposition to major routes subsidizing the less-travelled ones. He recommended that fares be capped at the rate of inflation over the next three years.

His proposals would require a significant shift in ideology for the B.C. Liberal government. Accepting the recommendations could lead to substantial government subsidies. The Liberals would be reversing what they have done over the past decade....

And blogger 'spartikus' has a very nice analysis up over at his place, which is all the more impressive given that he is self-declared as a non-economist:

....(I)t’s kind of fundamental – whom does BC Ferries compete with? Whose competition is forcing them into the ever greater efficiencies the “crucible of the market” is supposed to force? I’m not an expert on ferries or transportation systems, but even I – a liberal arts student! – have never understood this crazy system the BC Liberals have set up (in more than one area). Privatization without competition is monopoly and a private monopoly is worse, much worse, than a public one. At least in democratic states where the rule of law is well-established, which try as the Liberals may to undermine it, British Columbia has and retains...


Kinda funny, donch'a think, that David Hahn ain't 'round no more to take the heat on this one.

The again, even though BCF is once again subject to FOI requests, it is quite possible that if Mr. Hahn flew in today, they'd send a limousine anyway.



The Smart Affair....The Real Culprit


Harvey Oberfeld gets right to the heart of the matter:

....(I)ncredibly, the real culprit in this situation …CBC regional management … decided to let (Mr. Stephen) Smart continue to cover the legislature (despite the fact that his wife is the Premier's Deputy Press Secretary).

“We feel the ombudsman’s ruling found no issues wuth Stephen’s reporting,” said Johnny Michel, managing director for CBC’s Pacific Region. “Without a shred of evidence that Stephen is offside in his reporting, we feel this is now just a personal matter and a corporate matter.”


There’s a lot more to journalism than just what actually appears in stories: what about things any reporter may know but decides NOT to report for various reasons? What about possible public perceptions …. justified or not … of easier questioning of the premier or government ministers or tougher questioning of opponents? What about the reporter himself becoming more the center of attention than the story being presented, as viewers, knowing of the conflict ruling, now will always look for bias?

Problems like these do not relate solely to Stephen Smart: any reporter can face tougher scrutiny once even a POTENTIAL for bias surfaces. And in covering politics, the sensitivity becomes even greater …to the point of viewer distraction....


The real question is....


Why, exactly is CBC Pacific ignoring their own Ombudsman's ruling and doing this?

Is it possible that the good Mr. Kirk Lapointe, the current Ombudsman, has actually become the 'new' MotherCorp's ethical beard?


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Is There Danger Lurking In The Latest Poll Numbers?


At first glance the numbers look to be all good for the BC-NDP according the fine folks at Forum Research and Postmedia News:

...Of the 988 randomly selected British Columbians contacted for the Forum Research poll, 39% of decided voters said they would vote for the NDP, compared to the 26% who said Liberal and the 22% who said Conservative.

That's a 5% increase for the NDP compared to another Forum Research poll in December. In that poll, 23% of respondents said they would vote Liberal; 23% said they would vote for the Tories....

Which, of course, means that the Fight against the HST has done its real job and split the Right for reals.


I sure hope so.


And while he may have avoided her publicly, the man with the bright red lips did not trash Premier Snooki before the two (allegedly) commenced sucking back Timmy's in semi-secret, arm-in-arm for an hour or two.

Furthermore, while The Curmudgeon is still floating, if no longer going 'Up', there has been no direct, overt move by he or his to invoke the Cons' now-patented strate(r)gy of 'Total Destruction' politics.

So, with that preface cast your eyes upward and ask yourself the following....

Are the aggregate numbers really better for the Dippers now than they were in May of 2009?


So, given all that....

What if the Cons were to suddenly, depose The Snook, anoint The Birdman, and then engineer a fusion-based love-in with The Curmudgeon.

How would those numbers look then?

Because my memory is starting to fail me, I had to look up Schlieffen Plan to make sure I had the 'pincer' reference right...And the really scary thing that the Interwebs can do to you sometimes?....Well, look what popped up as the 'fourth' authority.....Sheesh.


Chain, Chain, Chain....


It started with a comment from our good friend Santa Rosa Jon over at Beer's place:

"In one year when I was at US Steel I think six or seven people got killed on the job. I mean in my one location. It used to be that you at least made decent money doing dangerous work. Nowadays they expect you to die for chump change. When my grandfather was an iron worker in New York unemployed iron workers would hang out at job sites and wait for someone to fall to his death. Welcome to the good old days."

Which was turned into a poem by Mr. Beer 'N Hockey:

In one year
When I was at US Steel
I think six or seven people
Got killed on the job.

I mean in my one location.

It used to be
That you at least
Made decent money
Doing dangerous work.

They expect you
To die
For chump change.

When my grandfather
Was an ironworker in
New York
Unemployed ironworkers
Would hang out at job sites
And wait for someone
To fall to his death.

Welcome to the good old days.

Which elicited another comment from Jon:

"Shit, between you and RossK I might have to start writing again.

I am really sorry to read about what happened at Burns Lake. My condolences."



You think I'm just gonna let that lay there, unanswered?

Of course not.

So, here's hoping I have the tune done and posted in time for the upcoming Sudbury 'N Santa Rosa Saturday night that Beer is already preparing for.

By way of warning....I did this once before, sort of.....But that time they were Beer's own words I mangled musically.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Smart Affair....Never Mind The Bollocks...

...Here Come The False Equivalencies.


Here, as near as I can figure it, is the set-up to Mr. McInnes thesis that CBC Ombudsman Kirk Lapointe's ruling in which he concluded CBC-BC's Legislative Bureau Chief Stephen Smart is in a potential conflict of interest because his wife, Rebecca Scott, is the Deputy Press Secretary to the Premier is hogwash:

....When I left that employer after 18 years to work for The Vancouver Sun, a competitor, my wife was still a free-lance contributor to my old paper. A couple of months later, some bright lights in the computer room decided her system access should be cut off because of the conflict they decided she was in because she was married to me and I worked for the competition. As it happened, the same wizards who decided my wife was a threat had failed to cancel my computer system access when I left, so if I had wanted to snoop or wreak havoc, I could have done so even after she was cut off.

Foolish though that was, the deeper idiocy was the notion that either of us would have risked our professional reputations out of an overactive sense of personal loyalty to each other....

Mr. McInnes then goes on to posit that the fact that he and his own wife were able to work as two journalistic rivals for years without any conflicts means that Mr. Smart and Ms. Scott can do so too.

But here's the thing....

A husband and wife team made up of two competing journos can scoop each other, but neither can control the flow of information from sources, be they people or documents. In comparison, Ms. Scott's actual job is to shape and control the flow of information to reporters. Reporters like her husband.

Thus, any reasonable person who has been paying attenion can only conclude that the rationale for Mr. McInnes' apologia is built on a massive pile ofcodswallop of the most falsely equivalent kind.

But that's not even the worst of it.

Because, despite the fact that Mr. Lapointe's ruling was based largely on the 'potential' for conflict of interest, given the jobs that Ms. Scott and Mr. Smart hold, Mr. McInnes still goes all strawman on said ruling when he suddenly pivots and states:

...No one involved in the Smart/Scott complaint has any examples of the perceived conflict between the two corrupting the coverage of any story by the CBC...

All of which makes me wonder.....

Did the Mr. McInnes not hear the specific example offered up by Mr. Keith Baldrey on Bill Good's radio show last Friday?

In case he didn't, here, constructed from Norm Farrell's audio excerpt, is our transcript:

Bill Good (speaking to Mr. Baldrey): And we should point out that you are a direct competitor of Mr. Smart.

Keith Baldrey: Ya. I mean he's my competitor. And I think it's outrageous to suggest that his job performance has been anything less than exemplary. I mean, we compete for stories.... Here's a great example. Christy Clark revealed that she wasn't callin' a fall election on my television station and a couple of other news outlets, and not the CBC (back in September)... It was, you know, he (Smart) doesn't gain necessarily from the relationship his wife has with the Premier. In fact, I think, if anything he's probably hurt by that.

In other words, a clear potential for conflict doesn't always lead to an advantage for one of the involved parties. Instead, it can sometimes result in disadvantages if, for example, someone is trying too hard to demonstrate that there is no conflict. And if this was the case, as Mr. Baldrey suggests, it would mean that the CBC's ability to gather and report news of significance was, indeed, compromised because of the close personal relationship between Mr. Smart and Ms. Scott.

Enough said?


Winning Hearts And Minds With The Best Gossip Columnist Money Can Buy...


Because once you've got Jane Taber of CTVBellGlobeEverythingElse Media on your side, how can you lose.


Need background?

You've got it.

Well, 10 days ago, when 'The Prime' came to Lotusland, we predicted that the semi-secret Timmyfest pictured above would, indeed, get wurlitzered while the real news would not.

And what was that you ask?

The real news that was buried beneath the bovine exrement, I mean.

Well, it was the fact that 'The Prime' deliberately, and with malice aforethought, excluded 'The Preem' from a real photo-op that actually mattered, for all kinds of reasons real politick and otherwise.

You can read all about that, here.

And, by the way, the fine photog, Mr. Jeff Vinnick, who snapped the picture above of The Preem and The Prime at their semi-secret Timmy'sfest two Thursday's ago was at that time identified by the VSun's Vaughn Palmer as a 'Liberal Staff Photographer' and the CBC's Janyce McGregor as being from the 'BC Premier's Office/CP'..... From that, and the fact that the photos were almost immediately posted on the Premier's Facebook page, we reckoned that the Premier's office had provided the photos taken by her staff photog, gratis.....However, in The Globe gossip column piece pictured above they identify the good Mr. Vinnick simply as working for the 'Canadian Press' (press on to enlarge 'button', here)....Interestingly, Mr. Vinnick had a completely unrelated image published in The Globe this very day, Jan 23rd, 2012, and...surprise!....In today's case the attribution tag says only 'Jeff Vinnick for The Globe and Mail' (press on to enlarge 'button', here)....Kinda/sort makes you go hmmmmm, does it not?...Then again, why would a media organ that publishes unabashed gossip columns/puff-pieces that they wish to pass off as serious political analyses want to indicate that a photo attached to such an 'analysis' was actually snapped by someone allegedly working for the person seeking out such a puff-piece, errr....'analysis'?


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Smart Affair....The Media Closes Ranks

(Google-Cache Screen Shot Of The State-Of-Play, Monday Jan 23rd @ 9pm)


On Saturday, CBC British Columbia British Columbia's news division let it be known that it plans to ignore its own Ombudsman's ruling regarding the potential for its Legislative Bureau Chief, Mr. Stephen Smart, to be placed in a conflict of interest due to the fact that his wife is the Deputy Press Secretary for the Premier, Ms. Christy Clark.

And what did we hear from the rest of the proMedia on Monday?

Why, as many may have predicted after Messr's Good, Palmer and Baldrey ran up the 'Close Ranks, Immediately!' flag on Friday, it was nothing but....


In fact, the only proMedia type who had anything to say after the VSun's Andrea Woo reported that CBC-BC was going to tell their Ombudsman, Kirk Lapointe, to take a hike was Charlie Smith, who wrote two insightful analysis pieces here and here in the Georgia Strait.

But, then again, we already knew that Charlie, who has called out the proMedia for their cozy and potentially conflicty speaker fees in the past (as blogger Norman Farrell discusses here), is not a member of 'The Club'.


And, for the record, Andrew MacLeod's piece in The Tyee, while worth reading, does not count as it was written in the wake of Mr. Lapointe's ruling on Mr. Smart's potential for conflictyness but before CBC-BC told Mr. Lapointe to put his hikin' boots on.
And who knew that.....In addition to once being the VSun's editor that Mr. Lapointe is currently a blogger of sorts....For reals.
A couple of weeks ago I ran up a podcast wherein my central thesis was that, at the height of the darkest of dark days down south during the middle of the presidency of George Bush Jr., Left Blogistan was the only place to find vibrant analysis that actually mattered....Here and now, in Lotusland, especially now that Sean Holman's site is shuttered, I'm starting to feel that the blogs, with all their warts, are now fulfilling that niche almost completely (and I'm not just talking the left-side here, I am seeing good stuff from all points along the continuum)....Now, please, do not misunderstand me - I am not talking about reportage here, where the proMedia still leads by miles...Instead, I am talking about reasoned, in-depth, non-pablumized analysis of the reams of important material that is already in the public domain....OK?


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Did Keith Baldrey Fire The Smoking Gun That Demonstrates...


...That CBC British Columbia And Its Legislative Bureau Chief Are In A Conflict Of Interest?

Why, yes, I believe he did.

And Norman Farrell has the audio up to prove it.


Now, first, before I unveil the weapon for all to see, I must say that the 5 minutes of 'Cutting Edge Of The Ledge' that Mr. Farrell has excerpted from Friday's show on CKNW is the best example so far that best illustrates what is truly wrong with political reportage in this province.

Essentially, it is an extended kabuki dance performance piece by Mr. Bill Good of CKNW, Mr. Vaughn Palmer of the Vancouver Sun, and Mr. Keith Baldrey of Global Television, in which they collectively belittle the ruling by the CBC's ombudsman, Mr. Kirk Lapointe, regarding the potential for conflict of interest that exists for the CBC's Legislative Bureau chief, Mr. Stephen Smart, because he is married to the BC Premier's Deputy Press Secretary, Ms. Rebecca Scott. And most importantly, this belittling is carried out in its entirety without ever once actually directly addressing the substance of the ombudsman's actual ruling (or so they thought - see below).

So, if you have taken your blood pressure medication today, please go and listen to all five minutes at Mr. Farrell's place.



As to the proverbial smoking gun, it first makes its appearance when a suddenly pivoting Mr. Good unwittingly puts the bullet in the chamber.

Bill Good (speaking to Baldrey): And we should point out that you are a direct competitor of Mr. Smart.

At which point Mr. Baldrey pulls the hammer back as he pirouettes....

Keith Baldrey: Ya. I mean he's my competitor. And I think it's outrageous to suggest that his job performance has been anything less than exemplary. I mean, we compete for stories.

Mr. Baldrey then, whether he knows it or not, takes aim while simultaneouly attempting to pull off a plie....

Keith Baldrey: Here's a great example. Christy Clark revealed that she wasn't callin' a fall election on my television station and a couple of other news outlets, and not the CBC.

And then, finally, presumably inadvertently, Mr. Baldrey pulls the trigger as he spins into his denouement and completes the description of his 'great example'....

Keith Baldrey: It was, you know, he (Smart) doesn't gain necessarily from the relationship his wife has with the Premier. In fact, I think, if anything he's probably hurt by that.


And so, there you have it.

Mr. Keith Baldrey stated, on the air on CKNW, on Friday morning Jan 20, 2012, that Mr. Smart's reporting has probably, at least once in the past already, been hampered because his wife works for the Premier, whom he covers.

Which is precisely why CBC's ombudsman was correct with his ruling and why CBC British Columbia's news division is wrong for ignoring it.


Put another way.....

There is now evidence, evidence given by one of BC's most prominent members of the media, that Mr. Smart's relationship with the Premier's Deputy Press Secretary may have already prevented CBC British Columbia's news division from competing for a story of import on a level playing field.

And that, in my opinion, goes way past the 'potential' for a conflict of interest.


Want more information on the 'great example' that Mr. Baldrey used to pull the trigger...Well, turns out that it is all available in the transcript of the tweet fight that subsequently ensued...


Vulture Capitalist Uber Alles.


The madness of the 'unwinding', from Bloomberg News, by way of the incomparable Yves Smith:

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (LEHMQ) has paid more than $500 million in fees to restructuring firm Alvarez & Marsal LLC in 39 1/2 months, according to a court filing.

The firm, whose co-founder Bryan Marsal runs the defunct investment bank, charged $504.2 million through December for “interim management,” including $8 million last month, according to the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission...

Job creators my arse.


CBC British Columbia Tells CBC National Ombudsman To...


...Take A Hike.


Update: At bottom of post
Double-Secret Probation, Smoking Gun Update, here.....

...Johnny Michel, managing director for CBC’s B.C. region, said CBC will not be taking any action in light of the review (by CBC Ombudsman Kirk Lapointe).

“We feel that the ombudsman’s ruling found no issues with Stephen’ (Smart)'s reporting,” he said. “Without a shred of evidence that Stephen is offside in his reporting, we feel this is now just a personal matter and a corporate matter.”

“We established a protocol [with Smart] and we’ve adhered to that protocol since day one. It’s there to make sure CBC’s journalist standards are protected, and Stephen is protected as well.”

Stephen Smart has been CBC’s legislative reporter since 2010, while Rebecca Scott was appointed Clark’s communications officer and deputy press secretary in March 2011....

Again, this has nothing to do with what Mr. Smart has or has not done.

It has to do with the potential for conflict of interest and the CBC's 'Journalistic Standards and Practices' which, according to Mr. Lapointe's review states:

“If a current affairs or news employee has a close relative, defined as spouse, parent, child or sibling who is a major actor in a story, that employee cannot be involved in the coverage.”

So, given that, it will be interesting to see if the rest of the Lotuslandian media gives CBC-BC a free pass on this one.

Sunday morning going down update....Sadly, nothing from Sean Holman and rabble-rousers on this issue this morning...Although, to be fair, Charlie Smith wrot about it, in the GStraight, yesterday....


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday Night's Alright For...

....For Uke (Cover) Fighting!

First, the original, from the 'The Sweet'....

And now, the cover, with secret weapon, a cello!....

The story of the 'The Sweet', and, especially, that of the lead singer Brian Connolly is a sad one...Essentially, it led to the original band's early demise which, I reckon, is why there is so little decent live footage of them on the Interwebz....That's why I decided to go with the weird, gender confused lip-synchier version above....But, looking back at that, I'm reminded of how truly weird it was to be a teenager in the mid-70's...
UkePegPhotoCredit: LosAngelino PhotoMaven EllenBloom


Message From South Carolina...


....May The Best Race-Baiter Win!

And so, in the end, it was done.

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Surprising his rivals and upending the Republican race for the presidency, Newt Gingrich won the pivotal South Carolina primary Saturday, 10 days after a fourth-place finish in New Hampshire left the impression his candidacy was all but dead.

Mr. Gingrich rode to victory by winning a plurality among a wide range of important Republican voting blocs, outperforming the rest of the four-person field among evangelical Christians and Tea Party supporters, men and even women, despite the publicity given to problems in his first two marriages....

But, for an embattled America that will now have to put up with even more of Mr. Gingrich's corrosive lies and baits, non-stop and writ large, isn't it interesting what Jim Rutenberg and/or the NYTimes left out of their lede shown above?

Once again, to get to the nut of the thing, which would put an end to this national nightmare if only the CorpMedia would just say it, you have to head for the Fever Swamps.

And Driftglass is there, lurking, with the truth jammed between his teeth and gums:

Once again, the ghost of Lee Atwater has risen over another Republican election like the Great Klansman, flying though the night to dance on the bones of Abraham Lincoln and promise to restore the rage-drunk, inbred remnants of the Confederate South to their former glory, but only if they are sufficiently sincere in their hatred of the usual suspects -- gays, Negroes, uppity women and, of course, the Liberal media which spreads their terrible lies....

Alternatively, you can watch Jimmy Carter et al. get to the heart of the matter here...


Fish Farm Fine Revisited


It is now three days after the ruling against the fish farm company 'Marine Harvest' for not returning wild fish to the 'wild'.

Yesterday, we mentioned that only one proMedia organ, the Campbell River Courier-Islander had reported on the matter.


There are now two reports.

The following is the lede from Judith Lavoie's piece in today's Victoria Times-Colonist:

The largest salmon-farming company in B.C. has been fined $5,000 after pleading guilty in Port Hardy provincial court to failing to return wild herring to the ocean.

The case was brought after Marine Harvest Canada was found in possession of wild herring in 2009 while transferring farmed Atlantic salmon at a Broughton Archipelago farm to a grading site.

Farms are supposed to return wild fish to their home waters.

Three other charges, relating to possession of wild pink salmon and herring, were stayed....

Nothing really ground-breaking in Ms. Lavoie's piece, except a couple of new 'he said/she said' quotes from the company's Spokesthingy and Alexandra Morton, but....

The real issue, in realMedia hardcore terms is that a local and a daily have now reported on this matter, sans wire service fodder.

So, will we finally see the Wurlitzer start to crank on this important story given that all kinds of codswallop has been flung at us on the basis of much flimsier reportage?

Don't bet on it.


Does Anyone Really Think Those ConglomerNet Bills Are Dead?


Because if they do they're crazy.

Here's the lede of Richard Verrier's story on the matter in the LA Times today:

After a week in which their anti-piracy legislation got derailed by the full force of the Internet lobby, the mood in Hollywood was one of anger, frustration and a growing resignation that the entertainment industry will be forced to accept a much weaker law than originally envisioned.

{snippety doo-dah}

Hollywood now must conduct PR damage control and convince tech-savvy Americans that it isn't the bad guy...

Ya, sure.

That's the ticket - PR.


Maybe not.

Here's more, in code, from Mr. Verrier's LAT piece:

...Although Hollywood's options appear to be limited, one tactic could be to apply more pressure on theWhite House to help broker a compromise with the tech industry. The Obama administration angered many studio executives last Saturday by releasing a statement that criticized aspects of SOPA and PIPAeven after sponsors of the bills agreed to remove the most controversial provision, which would have enabled Internet service providers to block access to foreign websites engaged in piracy.

Two senior entertainment executives and Obama donors, who declined to speak on the record, said they were so angry about his administration's handling of the matter that they would not support the president's reelection bid.

Technology companies and other opponents of the bills said they wanted a slower, more deliberative process that could delay a new law until at least next year. They prefer legislation pushed by Rep.
Darrell Issa (R-Vista) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), which would use trade laws to try to cut off the money from the U.S. to foreign piracy sites...

In other words, what's really going down here is a drawn-out squeeze play by pols like the good Mr. Obama and the reactionary Mr. Issa to force the moguls to tell their lobb-shops to really pony up with the cash.

Then, and only then, the pols will slowly climb down from their pretend integrity perches and 'compromise'.

And that way everybody involved, except maybe the people who use the Tubez, will come out smelling like roses and/or crisp clean benjamins in the end.