Thursday, January 31, 2013

Controlling The Super Bowl Message...Joe Willie Who?

ThePRificationOfEverything
DuaneThomasLivesVille


There are a couple of things I remember about Superbowl weeks from my football-obsessed youth.

And both involved players running off at the mouth in interesting ways.

The first was Joe Namath spouting off after a few pops about how he was going to clean grandpa Earl Morrall's clock in Superbowl III. Back then I was still young enough to be awestruck, especially when Joe Willie, against all odds, actually delivered.

The second came from Dallas Cowboys troublemaker Duane Thomas who, when asked what he thought about playing in the 'ultimate' game that would be 1972's Superbowl VI responded, "If it's the ultimate game, how come they're playing it again next year?" As an almost, but not quite, teenager at the time I thought that was the ultimate in cool.

Anyway....

This year a cornerback named Chris Culliver, who plays for the San Francisco 49'ers, said some absolutely vile things about teammates and lifestyles in response to a dastardly and duplicitous line of questioning from a shock-jockular interviewer earlier in the week. As a result, the player and his team have since apologized profusely, as they should have.

But the league's response looks to be way over the top and demonstrates just how crazy the world has gotten when it comes to hiding away all the loose cannons, including the potentially interesting ones, at all costs:

...Several NFL teams recently have become concerned about the NFL's credentialing process for the Super Bowl media interview sessions mandatory for all players and coaches on the competing teams.

There is a sense the league should create a more responsible process that scrutinizes media applications and to avoid exposing players to media representatives who might never be approved for credentials to NFL games...



Then again, it would appear that football players and premiers, both, will now be fully protected from the super-scarier shockier-jockier types that want to trap them and trick them with their dastardly and duplicitous questions.

Don't know about you but I sure feel a whole lot better about the future of professional football, not to mention democracy as we know it.

Or some such thing.


______
Much later,
when I started really reading that crazy hillbilly from Louisville in a little log cabin in the Sooke Hills as an almost, but not quite, adult my faith in DT #33, who had remained silent for most of the 1971/72 season for all the right reasons, was restored when I read this... "All he did was take the ball and run every time they called his number - which came to be more and more often, and in the Super Bowl Thomas was the whole show."

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Stenography Rising...CP's Coverage Of The Healthcare Workers' Agreement

GetMeRe-Write
ReleaseVille


So.

A whole bunch of big, bad unionized public sector workers have been removed from the silver platter marked 'wedge issues'.

Which, politics of destruction aside, might actually be a good thing for everybody in British Columbia.

Except that...

If you just read the Canadian Press report in The Globe on today's tentative agreement with Healthcare workers you would likely conclude that it is the BC Liberal Government, and the government alone, that is the big winner.

Why?

Because the CP report in question looks to be a straight-up steno-ing of a government press release.

And Rod Mickelburgh, via the Tweetmobile, has called them on it:



Don't know about you, but...

I sure do wish more proMedia folks in Lotusland would go against the local club rules and let us know whenever they see this kind of thing happening.

OK?

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This Day In Snookland...We Don't Need No Stinkin' Auditor General!

AllTheIndependenceThatDoesn'tQuiteFit
HiredGunVille


There's a budget comin' down.

And there's an election coming too.

Which might have a few of the Wizards of Snooklandia just a wee bit worried, given that there have been concerns in the past about the veracity of the BC Liberal Government's budget projections pre- vs post-....

Election.

Luckily, though, we still have a demonstrably independent Auditor General around (at least for the time being) who can have a look at things and tell us what's what before we vote, right?

Wrong.....

Here's the press release straight from the Belly of the PAB-Bot-Beasts itself that strongly suggests they are going to do their best that this does not, in point of fact, happen:

VICTORIA - The B.C. government has appointed nationally respected economist Dr. Tim O'Neill to review and assess the economic and revenue projections contained in the upcoming provincial budget, Finance Minister Michael de Jong announced today.

A former chief economist and executive vice-president for the Bank of Montreal, O'Neill will review the work undertaken by finance ministry staff as Budget 2013 is finalized, with a specific focus on the underlying methodologies, processes and material assumptions the government has used in preparing its economic and revenue forecasts.

O'Neill will have the opportunity to review and evaluate all material supporting the Province's economic and revenue forecasts for the 2012-13 through 2015-16 fiscal years, and he will have complete access to Finance ministry staff as needed.

O'Neill will provide the Minister of Finance with a written assessment of the minister's economic and revenue forecasts. He will also be available on budget day to speak about this review...

{snippety doo-dah}

...Finance Minister Michael de Jong -

"Given the ongoing economic uncertainty both in Canada and around the world over the past few years, I believe an external review of our economic and revenue forecasts makes sense at this time. It will also provide British Columbians with added assurance that Budget 2013 is based on sound revenue and economic forecasts."...




Look, no offense to Mr. O'Neill who seems to do this kind of thing for a living, but a group being reviewed does NOT bring in the reviewer itself and call that independent, which is how they are trumpeting this in the public prints.

In addition, this codswallop about how the reviewer will be there to explain the budget projections on budget day itself, at a time when it is Mr. de Jong's duty to explain said projections himself as a representative of the government, is egregious in the extreme.

Therefore, given that, it is my opinion that this is little more than PR cover-publicity/deflector spin stunt.

Which, once again demonstrates that Ms. Clark, her Wizards, and her Ministerial Minions have absolutely no intention of actually governing.

Instead, it really and truly appears that their only intent is to obfuscate just long enough to win an election.

I mean, seriously, can you imagine this bunch unleashed, once again, for four more years?

How much would we owe to IPP's by then...$100 billion? $500 billion? A cool trillion?

Sheesh.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Deer Antler Spray...The Part The Sports Talk Jocks Ignore.

AllTheGrowthFactorsThatFit
NotAllAnabolicsAreSteroidsVille


There has been a whole lot of talk out there in the zeitgeist during the last 24 hours or so about this (alleged) miracle snake oil potion called 'Deer Antler Spray'.

Which has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Grinch's 'antler dog', Max.

Instead, it has come to a billion or so people's attention in the last 'news' cycle because Sports Illustrated is claiming that one of the football players involved in this weekend's Super Bowl used the stuff while recovering from an injury last fall.

Which is neither here nor there.

Because it is not the spray itself that matters, or where it comes from, but instead what the snake oil salesmen who are pushing the stuff are claiming is in it that is the real thing to focus on here.

Interestingly, however, just about every sports talk jock I've heard babble on about this matter has lumped the spray and the claimed magic 'ingredient' together and then laughed off both.

Now....

I'm extremely skeptical that this spray can deliver this magic 'ingredient' in any sort of bioavailable/useful form.

But I can see why athletes that want to enhance their healing, their performance and/or their longevity could be bamboozled into trying to get the stuff into their bodies.

Because this magic ingredient, referred to haltingly by the talk jocks as Eye....Gee...Eff...One, is actually something called 'Insulin-like Growth Factor - 1' (IGF-1).

Which matters because:

1) IGF-1 is a powerful non-steroidal mass-building 'anabolic' compound.

2) Normally, IGF-1 is something that your liver makes gobs of when your pituitary gland pumps out human growth hormone (hGH)....In other words, IGF-1 is one of the compounds that actually does the job of hGH (think of hGF as being like your foot and the IGF-1 as the gas peddle that revs your body's mass-building engine.

3) Claims have been made that IGF-1 also has anti-aging properties.


Got it now?

Clearly, the quick-to-derision, know-it-all talk-jocks don't.


______
The thing about IGF-1 that makes it highly unlikely that the claims about the Antler Spray are credible is the fact that the factor (ha!) is extremely labile and that it actually sticks to a bunch of binding proteins when it moves, primarily after it is produced in the liver, through the blood to get to places like muscle tissue where it does it's thing by binding to a bunch of goal post-like molecular thingies on the surface of the cells (i.e. the 'receptors')...Thus, a topical spray as an efficacious delivery vehicle looks to be iffy at best...But I would assert that any athlete that is spraying themselves with the stuff (over and over and over and over again, apparently, in the case of at least one professional golfer) is not doing it because they want to be friends with the Grinch and/or are on a quest to end up as one-off in a Matt Good song.
Regarding the laughing derision of something as weird as 'antler spray' from the talking jocks....I wonder if they know where most of the 'natural' anabolic steroid/testosterone used to come from (and where the name of the steroid itself came from as well)?
Finally, the fountain-of-youth claims are actually based on really, really cool science in...get this!...round worms!


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There Are Known Knowns By Folks In The Know That We Don't Know...

IsTheEntireWorldNowRumsfeldian
DigicamsRe-RisingVille


And the following is one such 'known' that I'm glad to hear about from the VT-C's Rob Shaw...





Heckfire.

Don't know about you, but...

I sure would like to know all about it whenever any pol repeatedly refuses interview/explanatory requests on matters of import to the public's interest.

Why?

Because, to my mind at least, that in and of itself is news.

OK?


What, Exactly, Is Geoff Plant Kinda/Sorta Accusing The Auditor General Of?

APlaceWhereUnderstandingsAreNotAgreements
OrInducementsVille


Don't get it?

Me either.

Especially the 'advice' part.

But, then again, there is....

This.



____
And while you're at it, you may want to head on over and give Ian Reid's latest a good, thorough reading...
Thanks to Koot for the heads-up on the good Mr. Plant's usage of the Twittmobile...


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Why Isn't Coleman Country (Gambling Division) Under Siege On...


...Two Fronts?


Vaughn Palmer wrote a column late last week in which he concluded that the fact that some folks are now willing to take specific members of the BC Liberal government to task is a sign that said government's time in the sun is, perhaps, coming to an end.

And as one example Mr. Palmer cited Surrey mayor Diane Watts' and Liberal MLA Gordon Hogg's piping up about how inappropriate it was that the BC Liberal Minister of Everything, Rich Coleman, had called up Surrey municipal councillors to make it very clear to them that it was his way or the highway on that casino deal.

But here's the thing....

While internal BC Liberalish squabbles are one thing, I would sure like to know why it is still only Alex Browne of the Peace Arch News who is really going after the story in Surrey.

In fact, Mr. Browne had another king hell follow-up in which he reported on the more recent salvos Mayor Watts fired back at Mr. Coleman after the MofE sprayed the landscape with misdirection gas about how the recent meetings about the Surrey casino weren't real public hearings and therefore his influence peddling wasn't actually the peddling of influence.

Or some such bizarre thing.

****

Interestingly, it is entirely possible that Surrey is not the only front in the big money gaming war that the VSun et al. are not covering.

What the heckfire am I babbling on about this time?

Well it turns out that there is another Lotuslandian group that has complained about Mr. Coleman's interference in the not so distant past.

More specifically, the 'Alliance for Arts and Culture' raised concerns that it was being targeted with similar 'my way or the highway' stuff when it raised questions about the massive Casino Industrial Complex that was to have been built by a Las Vegas concern called Paragon that had, as one of it's principals, a very fine fellow, and former BC Liberal government-appointed BC Lottery Corporation chairperson, named Mr. T. Richard Turner.

Here is just some of what the Alliance had to say at the time:

...In February, 2011, a message was conveyed to individuals close to the BCACG that unnamed persons in the provincial government were unhappy with the challenge by the BCACG and the Alliance to the Paragon Gaming casino application in Vancouver. It was stated that continuing this strategy could result in charities being hurt.

On Thursday, March 3, the BC Persons With AIDS Society received an unexpected cut of $50,000 from its gaming grant, which had remained stable for 6 years. BCPWAS has been a supporter of the challenge to Paragon Gaming's application to expand its license. The implication is clear.

As Minister Coleman's strong personal attack on Inspector Barry Baxter, head of the RCMP Proceeds of Crime Unit, demonstrates, there is a price to be paid for speaking up.

"For too long, charities and non-profits have been intimidated into silence," says Susan Marsden, Executive Director of the BCACG. "Our member organizations support families and communities, and the crisis in gaming grants has become a crisis for too many British Columbians across the province. It is deeply unhealthy that organizations not only feel the financial pressure, but are silenced by fear of the minister responsible."...


So.

Given the fact that Mr. Coleman has now demonstrated that he will pick up the phone to 'give his input' to folks involved in casino decisions, why are the high ranking members of the Lotuslandian landed proMedia gentry not going after this story with all they've got?

I mean, they, themselves, don't have to wait for waning influences and/or internal squabbles within political parties to emerge before they go after a story of huge import, do they?

After all, it's not like there's anybody around who would take them out behind a barn and start yelling, screaming and, perhaps, spitting if they did....

Is there?



_____
For anybody interested, I graded the performance of various pro and non-pro members of the local media on their performances in the first skirmish of the second front battle (which is sure to flare up again soon)....here.
And thanks to Merv Adey for suggesting I have another look at the Arts Alliance thing...

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Calling The Mustel Poll Correctly...Credit Where Credit Is Due.

TheVisionChallenged,TheAcorn
AndAllThatVille


And the honour goes to....

Believe it or not...

Mr. Keith Baldrey.





And even better, Mr. B actually called out Fazil Mihlar on the stenography-assisted conventional wisdom about how the Mustel poll shows that the Snooklandians are closing the 'gap' with the Dippers.

Imagine that!


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We Have Only One Teenager In Our Family Now...

...Because Bigger E. Just Turned 20!

____

For those looking for it, my initial comments on the judge's decision not to give the Auditor General details of the 6 million dollar Railgate payoff are in the post immediately below this one...
____


When our oldest kid E. was born we lived in the Bay Area.

Her first ballgame was at old Candlestick when she was three months old, lower left field corner...Bay Bridge series the weekend before opening day 1993...Rickey Henderson and, by some twist of fate, Barry Bonds both played a few innings in left that windy afternoon...I think it was Sunday.

A few weeks later I took her to Oakland Alameda County Coliseum on the BART train to see the A's play...On my own...She stayed in the backpack pretty much the whole time...mostly sleeping while I just walked around and around the concourses of that gigantic donut...The upper decks were mostly empty...I chatted for a while with an old guy usher named Bill high up on the third level in right field...even wrote a story about that...I think it's on a 3.5'' floppy somewhere...Should probably try and find it.

The image at the top of the post is of E. just before she started getting really big...Summer holidays 2004...We were staying with friends up the coast who live right on the Sonoma/Mendocino County line...We drove down to Oakland just to watch the game that day... A's and Angels...Vladimir Guerrero had just abandoned the Montreal Expos for his MVP season with Anaheim...Our seats were right behind home plate but we wandered out to the upper deck in right just before the 7th inning stretch and I took this picture...

****

Our oldest kid (who is no longer a kid) lives most of the year in Montreal now.

There was a big flood there yesterday on campus.

She was fine, but she had to skip busking after classes were done for the day.

Which means there will be one rainout in her otherwise MVP season I guess.

OK?


______
Oh, and just so E. knows....There have been a few other events of import occur on January 29th...Events like, say....this one.

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BC Rail Deal Decision...It Looks Like It Comes Down To Privilege

There'sNoDeal
LikeAnIndemnityDealVille


The judge has ruled that AG John Doyle will not get the unredacted details of the six million dollar deal that killed the Railgate trial deader than a doornail pretty much instantaneously in the fall of 2010.

I've had a look at the decision.

And, while I'm no lawyer, it looks to me like it comes down to a matter of 'privilege', at least according to judge Bauman.

Here are a few relevant passages:


[11]         While apparently wishing to co-operate in the Indemnities Performance Audit, the government has been properly cautious in ensuring that any privilege enjoyed by third parties is appropriately respected.
[12]         In respect of the Basi and Virk documents which the Auditor General has pursued, including, but not limited to, unredacted legal invoices from their defence lawyers, and access to the independent reviewers (the respondents Ms. Harper and Mr. Jones), who reviewed those accounts, this led to proceedings in this Court. The matter came before Greyell J. He concluded (2011 BCSC 1064) that Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk had waived privilege over the materials then in the hands of the government. In the result, he ordered the government and its counsel (Mr. Richard Butler) to produce to the Auditor General all information, records, etc. in the government’s custody or possession relating to the indemnification of Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk’s legal fees in their prosecution. This included the redacted accounts and disbursement receipts provided with the reviewers certificates.
[13]         I note parenthetically that Mr. Butler initially indicated that the certificates from the reviewers did not attach the actual legal accounts, redacted or otherwise. In this he was in error. He corrected the error in an affidavit filed later in these proceedings. Much was made of this about-face in the media but, as predicted by some, while regrettable, it makes little difference to my disposition of these applications.
[14]         In addition, four potential witnesses in the Basi/Virk prosecution who had also been indemnified by the government waived privilege in respect of information and documents in the possession of government concerning their respective Special Indemnities. Two of these potential witnesses also gave the Auditor General access to all materials in the possession of their reviewers (which would include unredacted accounts and receipts).
[15]         Messrs. Basi and Virk, however, have continued to assert their privilege in respect of documents in the possession of their reviewers. That, and the fact that the Indemnities Performance Audit includes desired access to the files of counsel for all recipients of Special Indemnities, has led to these proceedings....
{snippety doo-dah}
....[18]         On application of the government, I appointed an Amicus Curiae in these proceedings, Mr. Michael Frey. Efforts were then made to contact the other recipients of Special Indemnities who were not yet represented in these proceedings, but whose interests were obviously affected by the broad relief sought by the Auditor General. Thirty-three third party indemnified persons have now waived their solicitor-client privilege over information held by government in respect of their Special Indemnities.
[19]         Clearly, the Auditor General now has considerable material affecting sundry recipients of Special Indemnities; but he pursues the broad relief that I have described.
[20]         The government has made limited submissions before me, as has the reviewer Ms. Harper. In pre-trial proceedings, I granted intervenor status to John van Dongen, a member of the Legislative Assembly who has a strong interest in these matters. Through Mr. Roger McConchie, he has made thoughtful submissions essentially supporting the position advanced by the Auditor General.
[21]         The Amicus, in turn, has addressed the issue surrounding third party solicitor-client privileged information and records in relation to Special Indemnities given by government for the payment of legal expenses for those whose privilege has not been waived to permit access by the Auditor General. The Amicus did not address the issues of Cabinet or public interest privilege or confidence. In respect of these issues, the Auditor General pursues the requested relief notwithstanding the fact that government has provided all relevant documents potentially subject to this privilege in these matters.
[22]         I now turn to the central issues. I will proceed first to briefly summarize the positions of the parties; I will then discuss the legislative scheme; next I will deal at some length with the alleged need for the broad relief sought by the Auditor General. Here I will canvass the expert evidence offered on prevailing Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (“CICA”) auditing standards. Finally, I will analyze the relief sought in the context of the cases.
[23]         Before I do so, however, I state my conclusion: here, as in so many other cases of conflict between other values and the principle of solicitor-client privilege, the privilege must be protected; it must prevail against abrogation by inference. Solicitor-client privilege, as the case law repeatedly reminds us, is fundamental to the proper functioning of our legal system. It is virtually an absolute privilege and must remain so. Properly understood, the privilege does not act as a shield, obscuring from view matters that should be publically aired. But that is the reaction of many in this contest between those who assert the privilege and the Auditor General in his quest for “transparency” and “accountability”....



I will leave it to others with much more legal experience to way in on the merits of judge Bauman's decision.

Regardless, as Merv Adey just said on the tweetmobile....




OK?


_____
Of course, this decision means that there will be much rejoicing in Snooklandia tonight aided and abetted no doubt by that most 'interesting' Mustel poll that just came out accidentally (on purpose?) today and is currently being steno'ed, straight up, by the VSun....

.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Shutter Ledge For Four Years, Pay For...


...Bogus Bollywood Awards Thingy!





Democracy a money loser....

Who knew?

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This Day In Snookland (ctd)....The Minister In Charge Of Grandstanding Contradicts Self.

AllTheRealHarmThatFits
DumberAndDumbestVille


Earlier today we noted that Janet Steffenhagen of the VSun had done the right thing and called the Education Minister out on his obfuscation when he told Bill Good this morning that he didn't know that the teachers and the school boards were planning to announce their (real) 'framework agreement' for moving forward with labour negotiations just a few days after he suddenly announced his government's (bogus) 10 year plan for labour peace that was based on, essentially, nothing at all.

Which means the bogus plan was very likely little more than deflector spin.

So....

Now caught in the headlights of his (and/or the Snook's Wizards') own making, the Minister has changed his tune and contradicted himself completely with a big bowl full of word salad filled to bursting with blather of the most nonsensical kind:

“I was aware that the BCPSEA board and BCTF were looking at a short-term agreement on how the two sides could better manage this next round of bargaining.

“To clarify, what I was referring to when speaking to Bill Good this morning was that I was not aware until a week or two ago that this matter was to be the focus of discussions at the BCPSEA AGM this past weekend.

“There was an expectation that this short-term bargaining initiative was going to be dealt with at the BCPSEA board meeting in the second week of January, but the board members deferred the discussion until this past weekend.

“It’s important to point out that the measures agreed to by the two parties are very close, if not identical, to what is proposed in the government’s framework. The key difference is that the BCPSEA-BCTF agreement lasts for the next four months only, whereas government is looking to make a broader set of improvements for the long term.”


Short-term my rear end (and yes we see what you did with that little second vs. third week of January thingy which shows just how much you did really know, so...deflect...deflect...deflect...and when that doesn't work deflect some more).

Look.

The Minister should resign immediately for doing his best to derail a process of substance, short-term or otherwise, that has the potential to  actually make things better for kids in this province.

OK?

_____
And that last paragraph....Does that mean that the Wizards got wind of the agreement and then tried to hijack it for their own PR purposes (don't forget - there was NO consultation with either party before the grandstanding)...This is pathetic and entirely counterproductive...For example, based on the truth-challenged Minister's latest 'statement', what if the government had just waited until after the announcement of the framework agreement, praised it (given that the Minister is now saying that it is, indeed, praiseworthy), and then made the suggestion that it could be used as the basis for good faith negotiations to make a long-term approach feasible?....Would that not have been an attempt to actually govern rather than grandstand by spiking the real, honest good work of others with a premature announcement of a bogus, empty process?...
Now...Spin for spin's sake is one thing...But spin that is designed to try and destroy something good that is in the public interest is something else entirely, which is why I honestly believe that heads should roll here.
Rant over, sorry....But in my opinion this is just one more example of both the incompetence and the willful destructiveness of these people.

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This Day In Snookland (ctd)...Are Gov't Ministers Only 'For Show'?

BlindedByTheLight?
OrReallyReallyThickSelf-KnottedBlindfoldsVille


The VSun's Jennifer Steffenhagen is absolutely flummoxed that Christy Clark's (so-called) Education Minister Don 'Spikey' McRae claimed this morning that he knew nothing of the coming 'framework agreement' between teachers and school boards as he was laying out the stupid on the table last week:

...The suggestion that he was unaware of the BCTF-BCPSEA proposal (or the date for ratification, if that’s what he was referring to) until Jan. 19 is incredible. Although my story about this deal was the first media report, it had been in the works since November, and the BCPSEA board of directors includes four senior ministry officials, one of whom is assistant deputy minister Claire Avison....


Which prompted a killer tweet from Paul Willcocks that forms the basis of the header to this piece:




Incredible, really.

Remember, Ms. Clark herself was pumping the stupid as something that would protect the education of young children from Grade 2-12 when she herself would have to be the same if she did not know (in her heart of hearts) that it was nothing but deflector spin pure and simple as she was doing the pumping.

And this is governance?

Sheesh.


_____
Oh...And the fact that Ms. Steffenhagen works the Education beat as a longterm gig for the VSun says volumes here in that she really knows this stuff - and it shows (including the naming of the apparatchik)...
Hey...Look!...The Globe's Wendy Stuek has now tweeted up the fact that 'Dec 7th bulletin' from the school board ass'n that we referred to yesterday said that the coming 'framework' would be discussed with the Ministry....

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This Day In Snookland...Fourteen Years.

ThereAreNoRootsLike
TurfRootsVille


Jim Shepard's citizen's brigade has posted up three Lotuslandian press bits from 14 years ago on their big money-backed 'independent' CC4BC website today that are meant to highlight Mr. Dix' previous incarnation as Glen Clark's fixer.

Now.

When he was first elected leader of the BC NDP it was my opinion that Mr. Dix was going to have to deal, head on, with the 'memo' issue from days gone by.

Because it is something that non-partisans just may find themselves wondering about as election day approaches.

But.

Stepping back a bit...

One thing I find interesting about this dredging up of old press-pieces is that, upon reading them again, the double-standard of how the foibles of Mr. Clark and his wizards were treated by the Lotuslandian proMedia 'then' compared to how Ms. Clark and her wizards are being treated by said media 'now' becomes apparent all over again.

Case in point, the following, which was published in the Province on March 25, 1999 (they don't give the byline, but I can guess). To catch a glimpse of the double-standard, just keep the word 'speculation' (based on unproven allegations and conjecture at the specific time in question) in mind as you read:

...Ever since the RCMP raided Glen Clark’s house in the great casino caper, the premier has done nothing but duck, dodge and evade the tough questions.


And for good reason: Clark knows he has no reasonable explanation to offer for how one of his best friends — deck-building handyman Dimitrios Pilarinos — got a casino licence worth millions of dollars.

In fact, through all the turmoil of the past three weeks, Clark has offered up just one measly alibi: The notorious “memo to file” supposedly written last summer by his principal secretary, Adrian Dix.

Dix, who was fired from his job yesterday, and Pilarinos have something in common: They are intimate friends of the premier. Dix and Clark even own a Victoria condo together.

But does Dix’s friendship and loyalty run so deep that he’d write a phoney memo in a desperate coverup of the premier’s relationship with Pilarinos?

Sadly, that’s what the police suspect. Now Dix is the subject of their investigations and the authenticity of Clark’s alibi is formally being questioned.

The memo is dated July 17, 1998. In it, Dix says Clark asked to be insulated from the decision-making process on Pilarinos’s casino application.

“Whatever the decision, he [Clark] wanted no part in the outcome,” Dix wrote.

How convenient. And how suspicious. Here’s what we’re supposed to believe: 

Dix says the memo was written for his eyes only. It was a “memo to file” uncirculated anywhere else in government until March 3, the day after the cops searched Clark’s house.

“I just saw it the day it was produced to the public,” Clark confirmed yesterday.

The memo is stamped “Office of the Premier,” but Dix says he can’t remember who stamped it (or even if he stamped it himself).
Sound fishy to you? It sure does to the cops. That’s why the RCMP commercial-crime squad paid a little visit to the premier’s legislature office — where Dix works — on March 16.

Dix confirmed yesterday that the police examined his computer. He also said he expects to be interviewed by the police about the memo (undoubtedly with a taxpayer-financed lawyer at his side).
These latest revelations raise new questions about Clark’s fitness for office...

Of course, there is something else that is important to consider here.

Which is that if Mr. Shepard et al. have decided they want to make a big deal about something that Mr. Dix was involved with, as unelected official, in 1999, does this mean that it would not be unreasonable for others to ask specific, pointed questions about things Ms. Clark was involved in, as an elected official and cabinet member in, say, 2003?



_____
And if you do go a-googling looking for the byline on the 14 year old Province piece posted above, you won't find it on the first pass...But you will find that the same piece has already been posted, in full, on...You guessed it....the 'Risky Dix' smearsite...Gosh....Wasn't that site constructed by the BC Liberal Party and/or current BC Liberal Party MLA's caucus staff?

.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

This Day In Snookland...Did The Wizards Get Kneecapped...


...By Those Dastardly Teachers And The School Boards?


In response to a post from yesterday in which we raised the possibility that the (not)Premier's silly 10 year 'Peace In Your Kid's Grade 2 to Grade 12 Time!' plan was nothing more than an attempt to spike-spin the BCTF/BCSPEA (teachers & schoolboards) 'framework agreement' announcement, a reader raised the possibility that this may have actually gone the other way around.

This interesting suggestion is based on something that popped up on Janet Steffenhagen's VSun proBlog last week which goes like this:

...The tentative (framework) deal was reached Dec. 6 but was kept under wraps until my story. If it’s approved, negotiations would open Feb. 4 with proposals exchanged by March 1....


Which, if you think about it, means that the announcement of the 'agreement' this weekend could have all been a set-up perpetrated by those dastardly teachers and the duplicitous school boards designed to whack the (not)Premier and the Wizards for their '10 year plan' sillyness.

Except for three things...

First....It would appear that the plan, for awhile at least, was to announce the framework thingy this weekend at BCSPEA's big pow-wow.

Second...News of the framework thingy was 'leaked' to Ms. Steffenhagen.

Third...There was, apparently, at least a whiff of the agreement up on the school board association's website on Dec 20th (I say 'apparently' because the link provided by Ms. Steffenhagen looks to be broken).

So, given those three things, I don't think it is not unreasonable in the least to conclude that the Wizards of Snooklandia (and their sniffers/moles amongst the boards - there are four gov. reps on the board of the  BCSPEA) knew this was coming at least a month ago.

Thus....

It is still my opinion that the dopey 10 year plan thing was rushed to the proMedia table by the Wizards the week before the BCSPEA's big pow-wow in an attempt to spike the framework agreement story.

But I am happy to stand corrected by those with real inside information on the situation.


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Please note....As NVG points out in the comments....Grade two through Grade twelve is actually...Eleven years...What's that you ask....They don't teach simple math to the academic tourists that pass through the Sorbonne?


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You Can Read It In The Sunday Papers...The Greatest OpEd Ever?

SometimesTheMostNewsworthyThings
AreNotNewsAtAllVille


I know I give a whole lot of folks in the proMedia (print division) a hard time.

But that's only because I actually love newspapers so much.

And there's nothing I love more in a good newspaper than the OpEd page.

In fact, back when I was an undegradual I would (more than just) occasionally take a break from the science geek studying in the dungeon of the old Ring Road library and head up to my favorite microfiche viewer on the top floor so that I could slide through ten year old big city broadsheet OpEds in an effort to get a feel for how the Watergate thing was unfolding in the minds of those trying to keep up with, and make sense of, all that the Woodward and Bernstein (and sometimes Sy Hersh too) were chasing.

Now that I think of it, I guess things haven't really changed all that much. The only difference is that all the microfiches on all the servers in all of the world can now be delivered to the little box I'm currently banging away on pretty much instantaneously.

Anyway....

Perhaps my favourite OpEd of all time has nothing to do with news or politics or anything earth shattering at all.

Instead, it is filled with pretty much everything that makes a life worth living and remembering.

It was written near the end of 1988 by an old joke writer named George Burns and it was published in the New York Times.

I missed it the first time around because by then I was in Gradual school and by then I rarely did anything other than eat, sleep and try to deliver oncogenes into density-separated cell populations that were making differentiative decisions that I hypothesized would affect their ability to be transformed into tumor cells.

But I did read it twenty years later when it was published again on New Year's Eve 2008.

And I read it again late on Friday night when I free-associated George Burns with Robbie Burns, Tommy Douglas and the late, great Gracie Allen.

But all of that is just a whole lot of blather and preamble that is keeping you from one of the greatest OpEds of all time.

And an even greater love story.

So, despite the fact that it's almost an entire month late for 2013, here goes....


My Favorite New Year’s Eve — So Far
By GEORGE BURNS 
Originally published on December 31, 1988.

Growing up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, I always looked forward to New Year's, mainly because that was the only thing we could afford that was really new. And we always believed that things were going to get better during the new year; we believed it because we knew that they couldn't get any worse.

When I was starting out in show business the thing I want most for New Year's Eve was a booking. If you were booked on New Year's Eve, it meant you were doing O.K.

Most theaters had an extra show at midnight; it was usually a great show because by the time people got to the theater they were half loaded. At that time I was working with a seal, and I loved doing that midnight show on New Year's Eve because that's the only time I got more laughs than the seal.

Later in my life, after I'd met Gracie, we would always spend new Year's Eve with our friends. At midnight I always knew where I would find Gracie - on the telephone with our kids, Sandy and Ronnie, wishing them a happy new year and telling them to go to bed.

The parties I remember most took place at Jack and Mary Benny's home in Palm Springs. Many of the greatest performers in show business would be there and, during the night, almost all of them would get up and perform for the rest of our crowd. They had to - it was New Year's Eve and they wanted to be booked.

Eventually a voice was heard above all the rest suggesting, "Let "George Burns sing a few songs." And when they ignored that, I'd say it again, louder. Finally I would get up to sing and everyone would form a ring around the piano. I'd manage to fight my way past them and sing a few of my favorite songs. And when I finished, everyone was happy.

But of all the New Year's Eves I've spent, the one I remember most was 1926. The previous Christmas Eve, Gracie had finally agreed to marry me. I don't think I'd ever felt as wonderful; there was something very special about feeling that I was really going to be booked for the rest of my life.

That year Gracie and I had been invited to a big party at the Essex House in New York. Most of the big names in vaudeville were going to be there: Sophie Tucker, George Jessel, Eddie Cantor, the trio of Clayton, Jackson and Durante, our good friends Jesse Block and Eve Sully, the great Belle Baker, the Marx brothers, Al Jolson and Jack Benny.

But when I picked up Gracie I said: "Listen, I've got an idea. Let's not mingle with the crowd tonight. Let's spend it by ourselves."

Gracie thought I was so romantic. I have to be honest: My idea of romance was being alone in a room with just me and Gracie and an audience of 1,500 people. So this was unusual.

I had on my tuxedo and she as wearing a beautiful red dress, with matching red heels, and we went to the Roosevelt Hotel to dance to the music of Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians. That was my idea of a romantic evening alone with Gracie.

We danced and sipped Champagne, and danced and I sipped more Champagne. I think this was the first night I really believed Gracie and I were going to spend the rest of our lives as a couple, not just as a vaudeville team. I was sure of that because we didn't split the check.

At midnight, the lights started blinking on and off and hundreds of balloons fell from the ceiling. Lombardo started playing "Auld Lang Syne," and we stood in the middle of the dance floor and kissed. She had to kiss me back; we didn't have the kids so she had no one to call.

About half a hour later I said, "Gracie, isn't this great?" She said, "Yeah, but let's go over and see what the old gang is doing." I guess she'd had enough of my romantic technique.

The party was roaring when we got there. As usual, each person was taking the opportunity to perform. I walked to the piano and said: "I have an announcement to make. Gracie and I are going to get married next week."

The room was absolutely silent. Finally Jack Benny asked, "Natty, does that mean you're going to sing tonight?"

"Not tonight," I said, and immediately everyone started cheering. Finally, Al Jolson came over to congratulate me. "Kid," he told me, putting his arm around my shoulders, "I just have one bit of advice for you." "What's that?" I asked. "Sit down. I'm gonna sing."

Well, that's the New Year's Eve I remember most. Now I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your love, and wish you a year filled with good health, happiness and packed houses.




George Burns (real given name 'Nathaly') died in 1996. He was 100 years old. Somehow, he made it an extra thirty-two years after Gracie passed away in 1964, the year the Beatles came to America.

Hey.

I wonder if anybody every wrote a king-hell OpEd about that?

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Saturday Night's Alright For A Capella (Cover) Fighting!

There'sUke
LikeNoUkeCoverNotUkeVille



No Uke this week because, well...I just feel like it...

First the Original, by a true original, Daniel Johnston....



Next, the Cover, with a wee bit of another DJ tune dealt into the mix about and Satan and cards and laying off the temptation...




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And the two together?....You bet!
And, as always, the Uke peghead at the top of the post comes our way from Los Angeles photo maven extraordinaire, Ellen Bloom, who was doing her own Uke playing this morning...

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Another Disastrous Day In Snookland...Carefully Constructed 'Grandstand'...


....Destroyed By A Real Development.


This time it's the teachers and the schoolboards, making a mockery of the ridiculous thousand year REI Co-Op.....errrrr...10 Year Educational Anschluss, by getting together, consulting, finding a middle ground, and making an actual deal rather than just photo-opshopping for the cameras.

Here's the MoCo's lede:

The BC Teachers' Federation and its direct employer have approved a new bargaining framework for the next round of contract negotiations.

Union President Susan Lambert says the new deal with the B.C. Public School Employers' Association allows for earlier bargaining and a facilitator to help negotiations.

Lambert said she thinks teachers are glad for some upbeat news, “after so many years of frustration and disappointment.”

“This particular understanding has really, really heartened teachers that maybe there is some compromise that can be made,” Lambert told CBC News Saturday.

The BCTF voted in favour on Staurday morning while the BCSPEA board gave it the thumbs up later in the day...



Meanwhile, in the comment threads to a previous post, Grant G, an Anon-O-Mouse and I have been discussing what the sudden unveiling of the ridiculous Anschluss late last week by the Wizards of Snooklandia was really (sorry Ian) all about Alfie...



Blogger Grant G said...
And the hits keep coming for Christy Clark..

The BCTF and the employer just nullified Christy Clark`s election gambit, her attempt to create a US VERSUS THEM pre-election..

The Teachers union, BCTF and the employer hammered out a negotiating framework..

The reason why Clark and her Liberal GANG brought this 10 year deal BS out now, because the BCTF was already smoothing out a negotiating framework..

The new negotiating deal means....It means Christy Clark` dropped another dud bomb, her proposal is now..NULL and VOID..
11:56 AM, January 26, 2013
 Delete
Blogger RossK said...

Grant--

So....

Do you reckon the Wizards of Snookland saw the denoument coming and tried to spike it with this ridiculous running of the 10 year stupidity up the flagpole as a deflector beacon...I mean imagine where this story would be going today without said beacon?
1:22 PM, January 26, 2013
 Delete
Blogger Grant G said...
That`s exactly correct Ross..

BC Liberals wanted to wait until the legislature opened or even delayed their scheme until the writ was dropped.

Intel tells me that the Government got wind , got wind that the two sides were going to come to terms..They had to move fast, failed anyway..

Sheesh, that`s funny.."Government got wind"!

Now that`s an understatement!
1:53 PM, January 26, 2013
 Delete
AnonymousAnonymous said...

Did you see on the liberal TV {global} weekend news they were talking about the how the BCTF and the employer hammered out a negotiating framework.
While showing all sorts of pictures of crustys PR conference when she was spouting off about her 10 year agreement, if you didnt know, you would think that she had something to do with it the way it was presented on GLOBAL?
Bloody sickening and I'm saying that mildly!
2:31 PM, January 26, 2013
 Delete
Blogger RossK said...
Thanks Anon (for watching so the rest of us don't have to)--

So.

It is true...The stupid deflector beacon atop the flagpole has been plastered all over an event of actual significance, and the fine folks at Global were only too happy to be the perpetrators of the plastering?



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Also on that particular  thread....A good discussion with Merv Adey and Mr. Beer 'N Hockey about what might happen to the influence of local proMedia pundits when the subscription pay walls go back up for real...More on that topic later.


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