Sunday, April 29, 2012
Had to go east for science geek business tomorrow.
So I took the Red-Eye 12 hours early, landed at Dorval at 7:30 in the morning...took the '747' bus into downtown Montreal and climbed the hill up past the Royal Vic and the MNI to see Bigger E. on her last weekend in residence.
It was a madhouse.
And melancholy in the extreme - at least for me. The kids themselves seemed to be pretty alright with it.
E. took me for a walk over to 'The Plateau' which is a hipster zone just Northeast of campus where she will be living with a bunch of kids next year in a chunk of kinda/sorta brownstone not far from the bright lights and happening scenes of St. Laurent.
Best of all though, we walked over to a little park with a bandstand with a chicken on top...Something to do with the history of the area apparently, and we played.
Not too long, and not too loud, but king-heckfire nice nonetheless.
Then we walked back to the residences, in through the backdoor past the Tam-Tams.
I helped her start packing (barely), and then left her to say real good-byes to all her new friends.
It really is a crazy, mixed-up world we live in.
Typing this out on the train to OttaWash....I highly recommend it...The train I mean....Ottawa, not so much (although that's only because it always means the worst kind of grant review nightmare work for me)...And for the record, I'm actually saving the folks I'm working for money...Flight cheaper to Dorval; Train on my dime, upfront...So don't be goin' fittin' me for no BOdaHorns, OK?
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Jay Rosen, the PressThink guy, is calling Thomas E. Mann and Norman Ornstein's recent piece in the WaPo 'The most important (American) OpEd since Joseph Wilson explained what he didn't find in Africa'.
Because it essentially comes clean on an essential myth of mass media life that is killing America's body politic.
And that is the myth that 'both sides do it'.
Essentially, Mann and Ornstein come right out and say it.
It is Republicans that do it and do it and do it and do it.
And do it.
And what they are doing and keep doing, with the help of their enablers, is screw the American people over (and over and over and over again).
Here's a slice or five:
...The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.....
...“Both sides do it” or “There is plenty of blame to go around” are the traditional refuges for an American news media intent on proving its lack of bias, while political scientists prefer generality and neutrality when discussing partisan polarization. Many self-styled bipartisan groups, in their search for common ground, propose solutions that move both sides to the center, a strategy that is simply untenable when one side is so far out of reach....
...Today, thanks to the GOP, compromise has gone out the window in Washington. In the first two years of the Obama administration, nearly every presidential initiative met with vehement, rancorous and unanimous Republican opposition in the House and the Senate, followed by efforts to delegitimize the results and repeal the policies...
...In the third and now fourth years of the Obama presidency, divided government has produced something closer to complete gridlock than we have ever seen in our time in Washington, with partisan divides even leading last year to America’s first credit downgrade.
On financial stabilization and economic recovery, on deficits and debt, on climate change and health-care reform, Republicans have been the force behind the widening ideological gaps and the strategic use of partisanship. In the presidential campaign and in Congress, GOP leaders have embraced fanciful policies on taxes and spending, kowtowing to their party’s most strident voices...
...The results can border on the absurd: In early 2009, several of the eight Republican co-sponsors of a bipartisan health-care reform plan dropped their support; by early 2010, the others had turned on their own proposal so that there would be zero GOP backing for any bill that came within a mile of Obama’s reform initiative....
It's important stuff.
How to fix the problem?
Or, put another way, call demonstrable falsehoods precisely what they are.
Wrote this while listening to ESolomon talk about the evisceration of Kevin Page by his (own?) government on the longwave for calling demonstrable falsehoods precisely what they are...Do not for one second think that we are not heading down our own GOP scorched-earth-Northern branch-plant road right now...After all, we live in a country where Grover Norquist and George Bush The Younger are actually one and the same personna ruling over us...Lawrence Martin takes a little stroll down this road, here...
And just in case you have forgotten how powerful (and important) it was.... Joe Wilson's 2003 'Dick Cheney in yellow-cake face' piece is here.
Oh, and cue Driftglass, soon, I reckon....
Friday, April 27, 2012
Great bit of investigative digging by Alexis Stoymenoff in the Vancouver Observer wherein she used American tax returns to determine that the Koch Brothers gave $500,000 to the Fraser Institute over the last few years.
I don't give a crap about all these false frames that have been put around things like 'lobbying', 'political activism', 'research', 'education' by the projectionists recently.
Because the important thing here is that a group of Americans is backing the Fraser Institute, which acts to move public opinion in Canada on a whole lotta levels, with big money.
And that information is all that really matters.
As is often the case, mostly because she digs and sifts and analyzes the public record with real depth and effort, it is hard to disagree with Alison at Creekside.
This time it's her bottom line opinion on the EKOS poll commissioned for the Council of Canadians that I'd like to comment on, which is:
Here's the thing.
If it really was 50,000 in those seven ridings and say, 50,000 more in a bunch of other ridings, it's hard for me to imagine that it wasn't a concerted, coordinated effort.
But here's something else to consider.
If tens of thousands of Canadian citizens received fraudulent calls bent on targeted voter suppression, which, to be absolutely clear here, are very, very different than calls telling telling people not to vote for a certain candidate because their uncle's cousin's son-in-law eats babies, or worse....
...Could the members of the mythical group behind such a concerted effort have actually been thinking that this stuff would not come out in the wash post-election suppression?
And, further, if members of the mythical group knew it likely would come out, does that mean that those who allegedly committed voter fraud on a massive scale, with malice aforethought, did so knowing that any slap on the wrist-type consequence would just be the cost of doing business?
I remember my last days of Grade 7 like they were yesterday.
Which is neither here nor there.
More interestingly, when I think of how I thought then I'm amazed by how much I was pretty much fully formed by the age of 12.
Not in terms of the physical.
But in terms of inner voice stuff and all that.
Littler e. is in the last of her Grade 7 days right now.
We rode across town under the last of the most spectacular of the pink blossoms this morning.
It's hard for me to think of her as fully formed in any way.
After all, there is still so much to come.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
From the Comox Valley Record, under Scott Stanfield's byline:
BC Wildlife Federation delegates in Courtney hear premier support hunting.....
What's that you say?... The Canadian branch plant the NRA's lobbying arm, the 'Institute for Legislative Action', has been very active North of the 49th parallel?....Say it ain't so....
Of course the (not)Premier can turn it all around.
Especially if people would just stop complaining about trivial stuff like cronyism and incompetence and the shredding of the social safety net for no economically advantageous reason at all.
And the HST.
Which is why we are so happy to see big Rich Coleman out on the shilling floor. Dan Burritt and John Ackerman have a pretty good longform story up on the matter at the WX1130 website:
...Housing Minister and Langley-Aldergrove MLA Rich Colemansays even though some leaders within the BC Conservatives have said "no" to advances from Liberal power-brokers to come into what has been called the "coalition tent," there are some who are open to joining the Liberals to try to cement the centre-right vote ahead of the May 2013 election.
"[The ones that I've spoken to] recognize now [that] the conversation was cordial and really basic," says Coleman. "What it came down to [is that] we recognize if we all look at the results [of the recent by-elections], particularly in Chilliwack, that we need to have a conversation on how we can bring this thing together."
"I never got any re-buffing from anybody I spoke to," Coleman adds. "I've spoken to a number of folks who are all interested in sitting down and chatting and looking at how we can make sure we build this thing for the future with the centre-right coalition."...
Vive Le Coalition!
Meanwhile, in real government news of stuff that actually matters, Big Rich says the Boss Power payout of millions that could have been used to build stuff or fund stuff was due to 'internal advice' that was all the NDP's fault in 1995....Or some such thing.
Because I was sitting in the barbershop yesterday afternoon, I turned on the Twit thing and used if for more than chasing news for awhile.
And darned if @RobCottingham didn't suck me right in.
With something about Watson and Crick being as awestruck by their discovery of the Double-Helix as was that Yosemite Bear guy by his discovery of a Double-Rainbow in the sky.
And being the approximately 32.35875% pedant that I am, I couldn't stop myself from pointing out to Mr. Cottingham that Franny and Jimmy were over-the-moon precisely because they fully understood the significance of the perfect, stackable basepairs coiled into a DNA molecule's double-stranded phosphate-backboned rope ladder. In constrast, Hungry Bear was over-the-rainbow precisely because he kept wondering what his double-strand 'Really, really means?' man.
Which, of course, was very different than young Johnny Lydon et al. really meanin' it man when they dissed the Queen about halfway back back down the time tunnel towards 1953.
This is the part where we eschew things multimedia and go right to the small, fire-hardened golden nugget of the thing.
And to do that all you really have to do is have a look at Watson and Crick's original paper in Nature.
Which, itself, is a thing of beauty and elegance that changed the study of life forever in just one single printed page.
And as for that bit about them being awestruck?
Well, it comes in just one sentence of pure, unadulterated understatement right near the end that goes like this:
Incredible that, really, because in that single sentence they are saying that they realize that the double-stranded structure of the rope ladder means that when you unwind it and rip it open down the center you can make two identical new rope ladders based on the precise nature of the basepairing/rungs in the ladder. And therein lies the secret of heredity, from Mendel to Kary Mullis' midnight polymerase chain reaction run through the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Interestingly, Linus Pauling who tried to solve the structure before Watson and Crick, had it all wrong....He figured there were three strands of rope, which made no sense at all....Then again, Pauling didn't get to go to King's College London to see Rosalind Franklin's X-Ray Specs photo 51 (yes, 51!) that was the actual experimental backing for the symmetry of the double helix....But here's the real thing, it wasn't Franklin who showed Watson her unpublished photo.....And thus, in the end, she was scooped by her own data....Which was a real shame...Especially when Crick and Watson didn't make that very, very (as in explicitly) clear subsequently.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
When my two kids and I started our busking project awhile back we didn't know what the heckfire we were doing.
And for some reason one of John Darnielle's songs became one of our early favourites. And it it still lives, especially, apparently, on the island fortress of Formosa.
Darnielle is getting ready to go out on a solo tour, sans the Mountain Goats.
First he'll take Australia.
And then the Rio.
I think I'll get a drink.
...She gets what she needs!
Monday, April 23, 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Saturday, April 21, 2012
..."Come To Me, My Pretties!"
...Conservative party deputy campaign manager Jeff Bridge said Boessenkool asked him during a phone call Friday if changing the B.C. Liberal Party name would help the two parties work together. Boessenkool also said changing the Liberal party leadership isn't up for negotiation, said Bridge.
"That's what they want is to join together and not split the vote," said Bridge. "But the fact is, and I said this, we're on the way up and you're on the way down.
"He said, 'Well, what if we change the name of the party?' I said, 'That doesn't change the name of the players.' "...
Friday, April 20, 2012
...The Michener Awards Foundation honours, celebrates and promotes excellence in Canadian public service journalism.....Entries are judged particularly for their professionalism, their impact on the public, and the degree of arms-length public benefit that is generated....