Monday, December 31, 2012

On The Eve Of All That Is New


Just finished rehearsing with Bigger E for our big show on Tuesday.

Weirdly enough the tune we're having the most trouble with is a very old one.

And the one that we are killing actually kind of has a bit of real guitar playing.

I have not yet played 'Song For Beer' for anyone round here - that will be a secret weapon surprise.



It's Seven Ways To Sunday around our house right round now (6:00 pm on New Year's Eve).

E. is a dervish getting ready to go all over town with friends, and even to one friend's Grandma's.

And C. and e. have been out getting all manner of stuff for the last blast of the holiday season, as well as one of e.'s friends.

Me, I had to give the Whackadoodle a bath because she got into a whole lot of dead crustaceanic matter, and worse, at the beach this morning.

But no matter, soon we will be able to relax.

Because we will be staying home this evening.

For a movie marathon of e.'s choosing.

Although I did manage to slip #3 in there (it's a 100 on the Ebert scale, which can sometimes spell trouble, but I've seen another from this guy before, and the Black Dog guys gave it 4 thumbs way, way up earlier this afternoon).

Why stay home on New Year's?

Well, because our youngest kid actually wants to.

And soon she will not want to.

Which is reason enough, reckon.

Way more, actually.

Reason enough I mean.


Have fun out there (or in there) tonight everyone!

Send me an Email if you want the details about the big show...It's this Thursday evening...pacificgazette at yahoo dot the two letter extension for Canada (eg. c + a).


Idle Your Facebook Likes No More


If you've spent any time poking around this little ol' F-Troop list blog you might think I have a real problem with advocacy journalism.

The fact of the matter is that I do not.

Especially when the writer's real point-of-view and true agenda are both spread out on the table, face-up, for all to see.

And that is what precisely what Pamela Palmater did with her OpEd  on the 'Idle No More' movement that was published in the Ottawa Citizen earlier this week.

As a result, regardless your own thoughts on the subject, it is a piece worth reading and thinking hard about, with or without the more than 8,000 Facebook recommendations.

The following is just a chunk, but the entire thing is highly recommended:

...In order to understand what this movement is about, it is necessary to understand how our history is connected to the present-day situation of First Nations. While a great many injustices were inflicted upon the indigenous peoples in the name of colonization, indigenous peoples were never “conquered.” The creation of Canada was only possible through the negotiation of treaties between the Crown and indigenous nations. While the wording of the treaties varies from the peace and friendship treaties in the east to the numbered treaties in the west, most are based on the core treaty promise that we would all live together peacefully and share the wealth of this land. The problem is that only one treaty partner has seen any prosperity.

The failure of Canada to share the lands and resources as promised in the treaties has placed First Nations at the bottom of all socio-economic indicators — health, lifespan, education levels and employment opportunities. While indigenous lands and resources are used to subsidize the wealth and prosperity of Canada as a state and the high-quality programs and services enjoyed by Canadians, First Nations have been subjected to purposeful, chronic underfunding of all their basic human services like water, sanitation, housing, and education. This has led to the many First Nations being subjected to multiple, overlapping crises like the housing crisis in Attawapiskat, the water crisis in Kashechewan and the suicide crisis in Pikangikum...



So, About Last January's New Year's Resolution...

...How'd We Do?

Image of littler e. and me, with our official 'Professional Left' stationary from Driftglass and Blue Gal, was taken down in the subterranean blues room (ie. the basement office) very late in 2011...It's all explained here.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

That (Busking) Thing They Do.


It's Phil and friends on the streets of Dublin on Christmas Eve...

As the good Mr. Harrison once said...That is all you need.

And then there's......this.


What Is British Columbia's True Public Debt Number?



It turns out that it is almost twice as big as the financially 'prudent' BC Liberal government has been telling us it is.

Notorious 'blogger' Norm Farrell does the (neither hard nor new) math that the proMedia refuses to do....


And for those who can't get enough of Ms. Always Campaigning's fiscal prudency schtick....There's always this look at the 'newer' math, rumoured to be particularly highly revered amongst the smart set whose favourite television programs run towards 'Manswers' and 'Game of Thrones'....


Need A Little Real Reading For The Pre-Year End Deadzone...


Batocchio, who is keeping the Jon Swift/Al Weisel tradition going, has it.

A best of list of posts for 2012 from all over the wingnut-free division American Bloggodome.

A few of my favorites, of many, are....

Mike the Mad Biologist "A Modest Proposal: Alabama Whites Are Genetically Inferior to Massachusetts Whites (FOR REALZ!)" Mike the Mad Biologist: "Every so often, like a bad case of hemorrhoids, the race/IQ/genetics kerfuffle flairs up. Well, the Mad Biologist can settle it once and for all."

TBogg "Internet Man Does Not Want To Be On The Google Anymore"TBogg: "George Tierney of Greenville South Carolina does not understand women or how the internet works. Hilarity ensues…"

Mutant Poodle "The Perils of Privilege" Mutant Poodle: "A reflection on the downside of never having had a shitty job, among other perils of a privileged upbringing."
 "Come Home, George McGovern" Darrel Plant: "How a change of 4.5% of the popular vote in the 1972 presidential race could have defeated the criminal re-election of Richard Nixon." "How Ronald Reagan Unwittingly Laid the Groundwork for the Death of Capitalism" Marc McDonald: "Over the years, Ronald Reagan has gotten a lot of credit for achievements that he had nothing to do with (like "winning" the Cold War). However, Reagan should get credit for something that he actually did achieve: laying the groundwork for the death of capitalism as we know it."


It really is good stuff.

Stuff that Arianna Huffington and/or the pixel-weaselish, nipple-slipping greedheads she sold the sharecropping franchise to can't (and likely never would want to) touch.

So go have a read.

You won't be sorry.



Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christy Clark And The Shock Jocks...The Prequel.


Was Ms. Christy Clark ambushed when she went on a North Island shock jock's morning zoo show last week?

And, more to the point (I suppose), was she made to look foolish because she just didn't expect to be treated with such disrespect?

I guess if you haven't been paying attention, or if you form your opinions based on the bloviation from some of the local proMedia punditry, you might come to that conclusion.

But what if you heard Ms. Clark, not with 'Drex' on a little known Courtenay radio station last week, but, instead, with a fine fellow named Jeff O'Neil and his big city morning zoo friends on Vancouver's C-FOX (Rocks!) from earlier this past fall?


It turns out you can do just that.

In fact you can go and  listen to the entire 'interview' by Mr. O'Neil and friends here.

But, just in case you don't want to be (thoroughly disgusted?), we have transcribed some of the more 'ambushy' - type stuff below.

See if you can pick out the stuff where Ms. Clark is 'shocked' and/or 'surprised'.

Because, I'm telling you, I sure as heckfire cannot.

In fact, it is my opinion that it is the mandateless Premier herself that makes the most 'shocking' and inappropriate (not to mention 'surprising') statements.

Here goes...

Jeff O'Neil: Is it nicer to be in this studio than (that of CKNW's) Bill Good's?

Christy Clark: (Pauses)....You're better looking.


JO: Is security outside, by the way?

CC: I'm not telling. You could have a gun aimed at your head...Even as we speak.


(After a whole lot of discussion about Ms. Clark's appearance and wardrobe choice for that day which she, in her own words, describes as 'kind of a Dianne Watts look'...)

'Scotty': What did you do last night for fun?

CC: (Preamble about having to get to bed early so she could get up to take her son to hockey practice in the morning)....I watched half of the first show of 'Game of Thrones'.

JO: You're just starting it now?

CC: Well, ya. I read all the books! Somebody gave me one of the books, like, three years ago. And I started reading it last year. And then I couldn't stop. I had to get to the...

JO: It's a good show.

CC: Ya!

Scotty: There's a lot of nudity in it.

CC: Holy....Smokes.

'Karen': That's why people love it so much.

CC: 'Mr. Skin' is gonna be busy, huh?

(Much shock jock laughter)

CC: Do you guys...(yelling over laughter)....Do you guys still have him (Mr. Skin) on on Thursdays? I can't listen on Thursdays 'cause (my son) could be in the car...

JO: Listen. Christy....

CC: And...

JO: We have a lifetime password (to Mr. Skin?). I'll give it to you.

CC: Laughter (other shock jocks join in)....

JO: When you're bored at the legislature next year, maybe you can check out 'Mr. Skin dot com'.


'Scotty': Christy, when was the last time you played strip, third person (unintelligible)....?

CC and other jocks: Laughter

Scotty: In the....'cause I know you still (unintelligible)...from the legislature...

CC: Yes. That's what we do. That's why the legislature isn't sitting this fall. (Yelling now)...I just got so tired of seing my colleagues in the nude.


Meanwhile, back in the real world where actual policies and actual actions actually matter....

Norm Farrell points out what has really been going on behind the curtains of the wizards and, dare I suggest it, the charlatans who have foisted Ms. Clark upon us, here.

Personally, I am still waiting for the outraged Op-Eds and pundit-wurlitzered tweets about the 55 billion dollars that we, the people of British Columbia, must pay to have our rivers and streams raped for generations to come (and/or forever, whichever comes first)...

The audio of Ms. Clark with the Shock Jocks from 'The Fox' was brought to our attention by Laila Yuile who has been all over this story from the beginning...And, yes, we were glad to see that, especially after she was on CKNW and was featured in a Province story by Cassidy Olivier, that Ms. Yuile was given at least half credit by another heavyweight of the local Lotuslandian bloggodome.


Friday, December 28, 2012

The Doubling-Back Of Standards.


Is Ms. Christy Clark unaware of the things that morning-zoo radio shock-jocks do?

As Laila Yuile points out, the answer is clearly....


In fact, as Laila also points out, Ms. Clark has even been a willing contributor to the prurience that pervades such aural palaces of poop-flinging in the past. 


All this sudden concern from the local proMedia about how the mandateless (but Manswers lovin') Premier was ambushed and treated poorly by a lowly shock-jock up in Courtenay last week, seems misplaced to me.

Especially in the wake of Postmedia's 'Vixenification' of Ms. Clark that garnered nary a peep from the guardians of the Premier's honour previously.


Laila also points out that, as she was told by the shock jock in question, it was Ms. Clark's most knowledgable handlers who facilitated the lates most 'shocking' of interviews...Kind of makes one go hmmmmmmmm....


Sunday, December 23, 2012

They Can Come Home Again...


Our oldest kid, Bigger E., is going to school far away.

And this year she has been off on her own, off-campus.

But last Thursday night she came home for Christmas, so we met her at the airport.

Musically, of course....

Had a big extravaganza planned...As a result,  I actually went to Airport in stealth mode via Canada Line, guitar in hand, and met E. upstairs before she got down to the baggage claim...It was all worked out long distance so that we could surprise littler e. and C. with 'A Christmas Waltz' coming down the escalator....Didn't quite work out that way....Instead, we walked away from the baggage carousel playing and singing...Unlike last year though, the sound was a little wonky (as was my playing) so we dubbed in the tune later using the fantastic little recorder that reader Don F. recommended (thanks Don!).


It's Never Too Early To Think About Last Christmas.



Maybe there are a few good things that come out of the Center Of The Universe after all...

It's Toronto's  'Choir! Choir! Choir!

Those hipsters...They do the darndest old fashioned things.

They were featured on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday today.

If you want to let their whole oeuvre run through your head just hit this one.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Saturday Night's Alright For Uke (Cover) Fighting!


First, the original studio version (because most of the live ones are crap in comparison) by the real originals....

Next, the cover, which is just better than boffo...There's something about the rag-tag four-stringed ensembles that just slays me...

As always, thanks to Los Angelino photo maven Ellen Bloom for the UkePeghead image at the top of the post.


This Day In Snookland....Too Offensive For....


What's it all about Alfie?

Why, it's the 'Milf' story, of course.

And who had this story first?....Why our friend Laila (thanks to her friend Wendy), of course....Why the fuss?....Well, it's kind of the way things are supposed to work in the Bloggodome...Credit given where credit is due and all that...
And, sorry, but...Based on the past performance of Ms. Clark's handlers we can't help but wonder....Did somebody lean on 'Jet 98.9' and/or 'Drex' their morning zoo guy?


Friday, December 21, 2012

My Analysis Of The MCFD's EMail To All Staff Regarding Christmas Gifts For Children In Their Care


First, a warning...

This will be a long post to try and fully explain the situation and, hopefully, bring this matter to a close.

So feel free, particularly if you've been following along all week,  to skip immediately to the last section of the post.


At the beginning of the week I published a post in which I asked two very specific questions of the Minister responsible for British Columbia's Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) regarding any and all changes to what we presumed had been a longstanding practice that made it possible for front-line social workers to buy separate gifts for children under the Ministry's care who are NOT in foster care, specifically as Christmas and/or Holiday presents at this particular time of the year.

I asked this question because of a detailed back-and-forth discussion that I had with a reader who convinced me that they are very knowledgable about how things work on the ground at the MCFD.

Regarding this specific issue, our reader was concerned that, due to budget contraints at the Ministry, social workers had been told not to buy separate Christmas/Holiday gifts up to maximum value of  ~$50 for these kids this year.


With that set-up, which I outlined in a detailed post on Monday, here are the two questions I orginally asked:

Question #1: Have social workers in the MCFD been told they are not allowed to purchase (separate) Christmas gifts for the children and youth in government (but not foster) care? 

Question #2: 
Is it true that social workers who have already bought (separate) gifts for children and youth in government (but not foster) care are being told to return those gifts?

(Please note: I added the 'separate' and 'but not foster' care qualifiers here, for clarity, because I noted that both were important aspects of the questions in the original post)

Soon thereafter, based in large part on the attention brought to this matter by many other bloggers and social media users including Norm Farrell, Ian Reid, North Van's Grumps, Merv Adey and Paul Willcocks, as well as additional information provided by Laila Yuile,  the Ministry sent out the following statement:

"Any claim that the ministry will not be supplying Christmas gifts for children in care is absolutely inaccurate and it is very concerning that this erroneous message was sent to a client. In fact, social workers are encouraged to ensure every child and youth in care receives gifts during the holiday season.

Funding to cover gifts for children and youth in care is built-in to monthly payments the ministry sends to foster parents. For children and youth living independently or on Youth Agreements, ministry staff are authorized and encouraged to ensure those young people are remembered over the holidays and gifts are provided."

As a result, on Wednesday morning I concluded that the statement did NOT answer my original questions, particularly as it pertained to social workers (i.e. not 'Ministry Staff') buying separate (i.e. not part of some other fee/funding program/schedule to be used for other events and/or gifts) Christmas/Holiday presents for children who are not in foster care.

Therefore,  I let the questions stand.


All was quiet until late Wednesday afternoon when an Anonymous commenter left an E-mail on the attached thread that was purportedly sent to all MCFD staff from Mr. Doug Hughes, the Provincial Director of Child Welfare, and Ms. Beverly Dicks, the Assistant Deputy Minister for Service Delivery in the MCFD. Initially, I commented on the E-mail briefly in a short post Thursday morning but I did not bring it to the front page because I couldn't immediately authenticate it.

Then, late Thursday morning, Laila, who has really done a lot of the legwork on this one,  received a confirmation, in writing, from an MCFD spokesperson that the Email was authentic and that it was, indeed, sent out to all MCFD staff.

Therefore, I am now publishing the pertinent portions of that Email below (in quotes, bolded and in italics) with my comments interspersed between each section:

"Dear Colleagues,

You may be aware that there are reports in social media that the Ministry will not be supplying Christmas gifts to children in care. This is not accurate and there has been no change to the current practice regarding gifts for children and youth in care. We would like to clarify the use of some discretionary funding for children in the care of the director under the Child, Family and Community Service Act..."

OK....So far so good... Mr. Hughes and Ms. Dicks appear to be telling their staff that 'current' practice has not changed and that there is, indeed, discretionary funding available for kids in the care of Mr Hughes... What's more, I think most reasonable readers would also conclude from this first paragraph that this discretionary funding could be used for separate Christmas presents...

"...The vast majority of our children in care are placed with foster care families and part of the maintenance payment they receive from the ministry is to cover presents for events and milestones in the child or youth’s life which would include holiday gifts..."

Hmmmm....Once again the issue of kids in foster care has been raised...So, to be very precise here, once again...In the original post we made it very clear that we were referring to kids who are NOT in foster care.

"...For those children and youth where this is not the case then the child/youth worker has the ability and is encouraged to purchase a small gift..."

Now, finally, it appears that we are going to get to the heart of the original matter....Mr. Hughes and Ms. Dicks are telling staff that frontline workers have the ability (from the 'discretionary' funds  mentioned in the first paragraph, above?) to purchase a 'small' gift (presumably a separate Christmas gift as was implied in the first paragraph, above?)...

So, given all that, the next passage is, to say the very least, somewhat surprising...

"...As has been the case in previous years, this purchase would be under the umbrella of recognizing milestones and other important events for a child or youth where the purchases of small gifts are allowed up to a maximum yearly amount of $100 per child or youth..."

What?...An umbrella?....Recognizing milestones?.. And other important events?...Up to a yearly amount of $100 per kid?...So...Mr. Hughes and Ms. Dicks are telling all their staff that there is no  discretionary funding available for separate Christmas and/or Holiday presents...Alrighty then....I guess that answers my original questions...To be more explicit,  I conclude from this that Mr. Hughes and Ms Dicks are telling social workers that there are no discretionary funds to purchase separate Christmas presents up to a maximum of, for example, $50...Furthermore, and I think that this may be a very important point for longtime MCFD staff, Mr. Hughes and Ms. Dicks are also stating that it has NOT been either past and/or  'current' practice to make it possible for frontline workers to buy such separate Christmas gifts for the kids they work with who are not in foster care.



You could argue that this is all just quibbling.


Let's step back and look at the bigger picture for a moment.

The Director of Child Welfare and the Assistant Deputy Minister responsible for Service Delivery in the MCFD have just explicitly told people working with kids who need our collective help most that the most they can spend on them for milestones and important events (birthdays...goal setting...task completion...end of school...getting good grades...and everything else, including separate Christmas/Holiday presents) is $100.


Because, I suppose, we have other critical spending priorities in this province.

As a result, we just don't have any money for, say, an extra $50 for separate Christmas presents for these kids.

And, what's more, according to the Email above we've never done that sort of thing in the past anyway.

And, apparently, we sure as heck aren't going to start now.


The entire Email (with preamble), as it came to us in the comments late Wednesday is printed in full, for the record, below:

The office of the Provincial Director of Child Welfare said...

We just want to ensure you are aware the following email was issued to MCFD staff today:

Dear Colleagues,

You may be aware that there are reports in social media that the Ministry will not be supplying Christmas gifts to children in care. This is not accurate and there has been no change to the current practice regarding gifts for children and youth in care. We would like to clarify the use of some discretionary funding for children in the care of the director under the Child, Family and Community Service Act.

The vast majority of our children in care are placed with foster care families and part of the maintenance payment they receive from the ministry is to cover presents for events and milestones in the child or youth’s life which would include holiday gifts.

For those children and youth where this is not the case then the child/youth worker has the ability and is encouraged to purchase a small gift. As has been the case in previous years, this purchase would be under the umbrella of recognizing milestones and other important events for a child or youth where the purchases of small gifts are allowed up to a maximum yearly amount of $100 per child or youth.

We would appreciate your assistance in reviewing this with your Community Service Managers, Team Leaders and Social Workers who are responsible for providing services to children and youth in care.

Doug Hughes
Provincial Director of Child Welfare

Bev Dicks
ADM Service Delivery


The RoboReal Call Con: Do You Need In-Depth Analysis And Historical Perspective?


Well, you'd be crazy not to check-in at Alison's 'Creekside' regularly.

The other day she explained how, if you are in the CIMS database, you have very own barcode.


And today she really gets to the bottom of the RMG+Nextel = iMarketing 'merger'.

And she brings up an old poll from one of the members of the group that you could, if you so desired, use to help push a big green bus (using the invaluable Sean Holman PublicEye Online archives to do so).

Bookmarks....Do your stuff!

(or you can just watch the BlogCrawl over on the left side of the page)

Want more on how 'CIMS' works?...Well, The Star has this handy-dandy little Powerpoint just-a-for-you...
Speaking of the Blog Crawl...Do you have a site that you just can't live without checking every morning that we don't have up there?....Let us know!
Working on the MCFD thing...Promise.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Latest On The MCFD Gift Practices (Updated).



Update 7:00pm Thursday Dec 20th...Laila Yuile has received word from an MCFD spokesperson that the Email concerned (see below) is authentic...Stay-tuned for my comments on this second statement from the Ministry that is now part of the public record...

Not a whole lot more I can tell you this morning (Thursday the 20th)...



Yesterday we received what appears to have been an Email sent out to all MCFD staff that purports to clarify the 'current practice' at the Ministry regarding the purchasing of gifts for children in care 'under the umbrella of milestones and other important events' throughout the year.

But here's the thing....

Despite the fact that the Email was apparently signed by two officials of the MCFD, it was left completely anonymously. In addition, there is neither an Email address nor a Web URL for these fine folks listed at the MCFD website.

Thus, I have not yet been able to confirm that the apparent Email is legitimate and that it was, indeed, 'issued to all MCFD staff' yesterday as we were told.


If you would like to have a look at the Email yourself, it can be found about half way down the comment

However, until I get confirmation regarding its authenticity I'm  going to hold off commenting and dissecting further.

Sorry for the delay....Hope to have more soon.

For the record.


And it goes without saying that I'd be happy to receive an Email at...  pacificgazette at yahoo dot...the two letter extension for Canada (that would be the third letter of the alphabet followed by the first) from anyone in the know, either from MCFD officials or front-line workers...


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Response To The Ministry Of Child And Family Development's Statement Regarding Gifts For Children



Update Wed, 5:30pm : Please see a statement to MCFD staff, apparently from Doug Hughes, Provincial Director of Child Welfare and Bev Dicks, ADM Service Delivery, in the comments...My initial impression is that, while the position of the Ministry has been refined, my original direct question about a previous longstanding practice has still not been specifically answered...

Latest Update, 8:00am Thurs Dec 20th

Yesterday, in response to detailed information I received from a reader about a potential change to a longstanding practice at the Ministry of Child and Family Development (MCFD), I asked the following question of the Minister responsible and/or her boss:

Question #1: Have social workers in the MCFD been told they are not allowed to purchase Christmas gifts for the children and youth in government care? 

After a whole lot of follow-up, including Yaila Yuile's direct enquiries, the Ministry released a statement that began like this:

"Any claim that the ministry will not be supplying Christmas gifts for children in care is absolutely inaccurate and it is very concerning that this erroneous message was sent to a client. In fact, social workers are encouraged to ensure every child and youth in care receives gifts during the holiday season..."


Notice that this did not answer my question.


Because, while 'encouragement' can be very helpful when there is another willing adult in the child's life, it is not the same as allowing the social workers to actually purchase a gift for the child if there is no such willing adult in the picture.


What about Part 2 of the Ministry's response:

"...Funding to cover gifts for children and youth in care is built-in to monthly payments the ministry sends to foster parents..."


This is strange because, based on the detailed information I received from our very knowledgable reader, I made it very clear that we were EXCLUDING kids in Foster care when we asked our question.

So, how about the third and final part of the Ministry's response:

"...For children and youth living independently or on Youth Agreements, ministry staff are authorized and encouraged to ensure those young people are remembered over the holidays and gifts are provided."


There's that term 'encouraged' again. But, to be fair, there is also the term 'authorized'.

But here's the thing.....

The term 'social worker' (ie. the front-line folks I asked about specifically in my question) is no longer there. Instead, the new term that has been inserted is 'Ministry Staff'.


Now, why does any of this matter?

Because in many cases it is the front-line social workers who the only folks who are able to build any kind of direct adult relationship with these kids. Which means that they very likely know best what the kids' needs, wants and interests are.

Thus, in my opinion, they (i.e. the social workers) should be the ones making the purchases and giving the gifts.

And, to my understanding this has been a longterm, not to mention sensible practice, at the MCFD that does not cost a lot of money given that the understood maximum amount per child was $50.

And please remember that, originally, this was all raised in the context of budget-cutting at the MCFD given the government's other spending 'priorities' at the moment


Interestingly, there has been a bit of a backlash, particularly on Twitter, about the fact I even asked this question (as well as a direct follow-up question as well that you can find in the original post, here) and that others in the bloggosphere, including Ian Reid, Norm Farrell, Paul Willcocks, NVG and Laila, then commented on it.


Well, as near as I can figure it, it is all being dismissed as 'irresponsible' blogger blather.

But here's the thing...

My reader is not the only person who has brought up this matter to the fore.

Specifically, a second source sent Laila an Email that, at least in part (and, albeit with much broader strokes), corroborates what my reader had to say.

The text of that Email, with identifying addresses, etc., removed, goes like this:


Sent: December-03-12 3:03 PM


Please be advised that due to cutbacks, MCFD will not be supplying Christmas gifts for children in care.

As parents and extended family, you are still expected to provide a gift for your child if you wish to do so.

Thank you.

XXXXXXX XXXXXXX Child Protection Social Worker

Ministry of Children and Family Development "

So, in the face of material, some of it written, from two independent sources, is it still irresponsible to continue to ask the original question?

Oh, and for the record, Laila and I have heard from a third source that yes, indeed, it has been a longstanding practice for social workers to purchase small gifts for the kids concerned...So...To return to the heart of the matter once more, has that longstanding practice been changed to 'save money'?


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Ministry Of Child And Family Development Responds...

Please note: There is a follow-up to this post, here.


Update: See Laila Yuile's HuffPo piece....Here.



Laila Yuile has received a response to the Ministry that obliquely answers, for the record, Question #1 from our previous post.

The statement goes like this:

"Any claim that the ministry will not be supplying Christmas gifts for children in care is absolutely inaccurate and it is very concerning that this erroneous message was sent to a client. In fact, social workers are encouraged to ensure every child and youth in care receives gifts during the holiday season.
Funding to cover gifts for children and youth in care is built-in to monthly payments the ministry sends to foster parents. For children and youth living independently or on Youth Agreements, ministry staff are authorized and encouraged to ensure those young people are remembered over the holidays and gifts are provided."

For context, here is our original question #1:

Question #1: Have social workers in the MCFD been told they are not allowed to purchase Christmas gifts for the children and youth in government care? 


Now, as I said, the Ministry's statement was an oblique answer.

In the extreme.

Regardless, taken at face value it would appear to be case closed, right?

Except for the following...

I had a source that I used for my original post.

And Laila has one as well.

A source I mean, with evidence in writing.

The information from both sources is at odds with the Ministry's statement of today.

I suggest you stay tuned to Laila for further developments (sorry have to go off to work for a few hours).


This Day In Snookland...Of Puff Pieces And Policies.

ActionsHave Consequences


The 1st follow-up to this post....Here.
The 2nd follow-up to this post is...Here.

First the puff-piece, courtesy Tyler Orton in 24 Hours:

Premier Christy Clark made a promise to her son about the family Christmas tree back in December 2010, right after announcing she would run for the BC Liberal party leadership.

“We were a little late getting it up and (my son) said to me, ‘Mom, I never want to get the tree on the day before Christmas ever again,’” the premier recalled while scoping out noble firs on a westside Vancouver lot with her 11-year-old on Sunday.

After the pair settled on a two-metre tall tree well in advance of Dec. 24, Clark let it slip she’s not a “real Christmas-music person” and instead opts to play Taylor Swift around the home this time of year.

She added there are more than enough holiday songs playing at all the stores this time of year.

(Her son), however, is determined to lose himself in music come Christmas Day.

He’s hoping a pair of Beats headphones will show up beneath the fragrant fir they just picked out...


Now, for the policy.

And I'm serious about this one because it appears to be really egregious.

Furthermore, if true, it would appear to fully illustrate the hypocrisy of this government's propaganda-fuelled and arsenic-laced 'Families First' codswallop.

Here's the deal...

We have a reader who knows a thing or five thousand about how things actually work in Christy Clark's 'Ministry of Children and Family Development'.

You know that Ministry, right?

It's the one that is supposed to help those amongst us that really need our help most.

Like, say, those really, really unfortunate kids who, through absolutely no fault of of their own, are taken into the government's care.

I'm talking about kids who are really, really in a tough place.

Specifically, those kids in the province's care who don't even have foster homes yet.


Imagine being one of those kids at this time of the year.

Or, imagine one of your own kids being one of those kids.


Once you've imagined all those kids (and there are a lot of them), wouldn't you want to do a little something for them if you were a front-line MCFD worker right about now?

Like, say, buy them a small present for Christmas - even if it was nothing more than a Taylor Swift album?

You bet you would.

And, as you might expect, buying such small gifts (total cost under $50) has been a longstanding practice at the MCFD.

Until, we have been told, this year.


In the wake of all the money that has been completely and disgustingly wasted on Snooklandian propaganda and ad-buys in the last year ($64 million and counting!) we have two simple questions for Premier Christy Clark and her Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux:

Question #1: Have social workers in the MCFD been told they are not allowed to purchase Christmas gifts for the children and youth in government care? 

Question #2:
Is it true that social workers who have already bought gifts for children and youth in government care are being told to return those gifts?

Of course, we have a third question for Ms. Clark and Ms. Cadieux if the answer to either of the questions above is 'yes'.

Which is...

How, exactly, do either of you sleep at night?

Please note....I removed the Premier's son's given name from the puff-piece quoted above...Why?....Well, unlike his mother (and/or her handlers) I did not wish to sully the poor kid's good name any further...How did I come to such a conclusion about Mom and/or handlers?....Well....I'm pretty sure the reporter, Mr. Orton, did not come up with the 'angle' for this particular pint-sized particle of puff-piecery on his own....Especially given that there just happened to be a photographer there and everything at the exact moment said tree was being picked out....If I'm wrong about that (Women4Christy!...Gender splits!)...I would be most happy to stand corrected...
Stay tuned for more questions, from another reader in the know, about the hypocrisy of Ms. Clark's 'anti-bullying' propaganda-driven promotional tour...


How Long Before Routine Hightides Breach Seawall And Bust Jetties?


First, the dramatic pictures from yesterday mornings high winter tides and storm swells that breeched the Stanley Park Seawall....

And, of course, the end result that will soon become commonplace:

...There has been significant damage to the Stanley Park seawall from Second Beach to Siwash Rock, including rock debris and logs on the pathway. The seawall remains closed until further notice between Second Beach and Lions Gate Bridge. Gates have been closed at points along the seawall to ensure public safety. Further assessment of damage will take place once sea water levels have receded.

In addition, there is flooding along the shore at Jericho Beach, and Jericho Pier has been damaged. Due to public safety hazards, Jericho Pier is closed until further notice...

The above report is from Vision councillor Andrea Reimer...I'm only half not expecting the Boyz from Spam-A-Lot to start screaming about how the big waves hitting the beaches were all the Mayor's fault because he wasn't out in English Bay warding them off with his sailboard, or some such thing because, you know.....Snowmageddon!...


Monday, December 17, 2012

Nevermind The Gun Control, Bring On The National Suicide Squads


You want to know how crazy things have become in the United States?

Well, just get a load out of the following, from the newest big hire at CorpMedia's biggest online organ, 'The Daily Beast'.

More specifically, former Atlantic staff writer Megan McArdle.

Which means that (Jack Webb/Dragnet style)...

The codswallop you are about to read is most decidedly NOT coming from the whackadoodle dandiest of far, far, far, far right fringe dwellers:

"...I'd also like us to encourage people to gang rush shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once..."

You got that?

If not, I'll translate the latest from she who is affectionately known by some as 'McMegan':

"...In the face of automatic weapon-wielding psychopaths schoolchildren and their teachers should rush the shooter because that way only 10 or 20 or 30 of them will die..."

Because, after all, it is a well-known fact that decreasing the number of guns in crazy peoples' pantries, basements, gym lockers and jewelry boxes just doesn't work.

Or some such demonstrably false, bullshit-type thing.


Shamelessly swiped and re-worked a little from somewhat popular blogger (TM), TBogg...


This Day In Snookland...Counting On The CP's Stenography.


And this time the stenographer's name is Mr. Dirk Meissner.

And the subject is LNG.

Which, according to our mandateless, unelected (not)Premier is about to turn us into an economicValhalla (a.k.a. NewAlberta):

Premier Christy Clark says her government’s plan to export liquefied natural gas to Asia is British Columbia’s economic equivalent to Alberta’s oilsands.

In an interview with the Canadian Press, Clark said B.C.’s LNG development ambitions will transform the economy, but the province must act quickly before the opportunity evaporates like gas into the atmosphere.

Clark, who has spent the last year describing her “bold” and “audacious” plan to turn B.C. into Canada’s job-creation engine, said British Columbians will still be cashing in on the benefits of LNG exports 50 years from now.

“Think about it in these terms: What oil has been to Alberta since the 1970s-’80s is what LNG is going to be for British Columbia, nothing less than that,” said Clark.

“Energy output from LNG will likely be as big as the total energy output today from the oilsands,” she said.

Now, first there is the codswallop, unchallenged, in the assertions by Ms. Clark that are laughable in the extreme.

But on the bigger point...


Is that what The Snook would have us aspire to now, at all costs....

Becoming an undiversified, yo-yo economy built on petro-dollars?



Sunday, December 16, 2012

They'll Be Home For Christmas...


This time last year our oldest kid, Bigger E, was far away from home for the first time.

Which meant that she came home late on a Friday night flight just before Christmas.


If you live in Vancouver you know the spot where she came out, down on the bottom floor, in behind the baggage claim of YVR.

Except when she came down the escalator I wasn't there.

Here's why....


How the heckfire are we going to top that this year?

Why did E. have her ukulele at the ready?.....Here's why.
And, just as a post-holiday head's up, before E. goes back to school this year we'll be having a Uke folk-funk fushion-fest (inside, promise!) on the evening of Thursday Jan 3rd...There was a fifth 'f' but I can't remember what it is now....Oh, ya....It's FREE....
But we will have a donation/Zsu-Zsu's petals jar out for those crazy kids of Angelitos Felices who now have a couple of guardian Clarence's who are doing a whole lot more than just watch over them, so much so that we have been told a bunch of them just made pre-Christmas shopping trip for new clothes, many for the first time ever!...


Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Golden Era Revisited...The Thing They Got 'Right'?


Awhile ago, Bigger E. and I reworked an old Phil Ochs song that he, himself, fiddled with to come up with the folk anthem 'Here's To The State Of Richard Nixon' 40 years ago.

While it' no great shakes, Alabama or otherwise, I like to think that our version is true to the sentiment of the original with, of course, a Lotulandian focus.

It's called 'Here's To The State Of The Golden Era', and it is filled with a whole lot of the things we reckon the purveyors of the decade-long experiment in economic extremism got completely 'wrong'.

You know....

Things like souls in the bag, raped rivers, privatized railways, raw logs shipped to nowhere, henchmen, spinners, forever shuffled seniors, forever suffering children, moneychangers, clowns, liars and, finally, a charlattan brought in at the very end in a brazen attempt to save and, especially, preserve everything the experiment hath wrought.


But here's the thing I hadn't really considered when I re-wrote the lyrics to the kind of tune that Bob Dylan once sneeringly called melodified 'journalism'.

Which is that everything the purveyors of the Golden Era got 'wrong' for the average British Columbian is also everything the purveyors got 'right' for their true benefactors (see, for example, the cronies and henchmen mentioned above).

This is something that Norm Farrell has been making clear in a devastating series of posts recently, which he sums up thusly:

Many commentators claim BC Liberals are incompetent and ineffective. While true in ministries such as Justice and Children and Family Development, Liberals have been successful in the centerpiece of their strategic plan. Startlingly successful.

In 2001, Gordon Campbell's platform document promised a "business environment that is second to none" and BC Liberals have consistently delivered on that objective, most particularly for the large multi-nationals and outsourcers....

And, of course, Norm is right.

And as we, and others, have pointed out, repeatedly, despite this unprecedented give away of wealth and treasure to the benefactors of the Era, nothing (and we really do mean NOTHING) is better economically in British Columbia. In fact, now that the debts are starting to come due it is becoming increasingly clear that things will very likely get much worse for we who will be forced to pay the massive bill (see BC Hydro and its commitments, in the tens of billions, to the cronies' and henchmans' gargantuan IPP guarantees, for example).


If you would like to hear our original version of our version of Phil Ochs tune (which we are still working on), just hit the little triangle below...

Want to hear the 'Golden Era' tune for real (ie. done by actual humans) and more?...Well...In the spirit of the original 'Three Buskateers' we're having a little show Thursday evening Jan 3rd (indoors!)...It will be free, with donations to go to the best little cause that both Norm Farrell and I know of....The Kids of Angelitos Felices....Show details to follow....Or send me an Email at: pacificgazette at yahoo dot (the two letter suffix for) canada...


Friday, December 14, 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different, Uplifting & Amazing...


....Built from old, worn-out recycled stuff and a will to live a real lived life...

It's all explained here.

Thanks to NVG for the musically inspiring heads-up!


What Do Robo/Real Calls And Railgate Have In Common?



It looks like, in both cases, the people who very likely benefitted most (and/or their benefactors), just may be doing their darndest to play out the clock.

In other words Saskboy smells a 'stay' in the latest proceedings in Ottawa.


Can Anybody Write Anything They Want...

...In The Vancouver Sun?


Update: At bottom of post....

And you thought I was going to say '...On The Internet'.


In case you haven't guessed already, I'm talking about this Andrew Weaver 'Tempest In A Transit Rd. Teacup'  business.

First off, in 24 hours there are already ten times the number of reports in the proMedia on this thing than there have been on something that actually matters to British Columbians -  the false Railgate affidavit that was filed in BC Supreme Court early last week.

Second, in a report last night, with actual video footage of the actual Mr. Weaver talking, from CHEK TV, Mr. Weaver himself makes it clear that federal Dipper Michael Byers, the alleged perpetrator of the Tempest, never offered him a Deputy Minister slot in a provincial NDP government if he, Mr. Weaver, were to back away from running for the Green party in Oak Bay (ie. to prevent a vote split there).

And yet, Craig McInnes wrote the following late yesterday in the VSun:

....On the Bill Good show Thursday morning, Weaver backed away from the most serious part of his original allegation — that he was offered an incentive to give up the nomination — but added the extraordinary claim that he was being bullied on Twitter as part of an orchestrated attack.

That bullying, he said, prompted him to blurt out, in 140 character spurts, his recollection of a conversation held three months earlier, which now seemed to him to be part of a darker side to the NDP’s election strategy that was lurking behind NDP leader Adrian Dix’s pledge to run a positive campaign.

(Provincial Dipper John) Horgan denies any such plot.

Horgan is as much of a professional in party politics as Weaver is an amateur. He was a senior aide in the NDP government in the 1990s and now serves as the NDP’s house leader after losing the leadership to Dix.

But I’m not so sure about his assessment on the potential impact of Weaver’s eruption in the Twitterverse.

It may be a soon-to-be-forgotten “tempest in an Oak Bay tea cup,”
but there are a few aspects that suggest some larger themes are at play...

Will Mr. McInnes actually offer us some real, you know actual 'facts' to support his theory that 'larger themes' are at play?

Personally, I'm not holding my breath.

Ba(i)ted or otherwise.


Because, later in the piece, Mr. McInness goes on to say that he has no reason to think that Mr. Byers was NOT acting alone.


If that's the case, just where the heckfire are these 'larger themes'?

I mean, is there (or is there not) any actual evidence that the provincial NDP is actively trying to get Mr. Weaver to drop out of the race?

Has Mr. Weaver got any such evidence (I think not, see CHEK video linked to above)?

Has Mr. McInnes?


You want conspiracies, with or without theories?....Well, I've gotta wonder....Last weekend, on the Twittmobile, on a very separate (and actually kinda/sort important) matter, Mr. Horgan noted the fact that David Akin made it clear  that the local ProMedia made for a pretty sheepish herd when it willingly wurlitzered CClark's bullshit about being #1 in job creation....Ink?...Barrels?....Anyone?
Oh, and just in case anybody missed the actual 'timing' of the Tempest....Mr. Byers apparently called Mr. Weaver three months ago...Which was way BEFORE the Federal Bye-Bye where the pro-poo Greeniac came from nowhere to take votes from the Dipper...'Larger themes' my gluteus medius....
Update: Mr. Akin himself has a whole lot more...Much more...Clearly he he has an eye on Lotusland...And, so far at least, he is showing now evidence of belonging to the 'club'....