Thursday, February 28, 2013

Are You Experienced By...

...The Most Amazing Jimi Graffiti Ever?

All that coolness....

And green too!

From some British sprinter reality-teevee guys Twittmachine feed (and I have no idea how I stumbled upon it)...


This Day In Snookland (ctd)...How Many More Times?



Here's the real thing that Fazhil Milhar missed earlier today.

The multicult-memo exhorting government staffers to do the party's hackwork is not the first example of this happening in 2013.

Or the second.

Instead, it is the third.

Andrew MacLeod lays that all out in The Tyee:

...This is the third time in recent months the Liberals have been caught using government resources for partisan purposes. Previous examples included work by legislative staff on a BC Liberal website attacking NDP leader Adrian Dix and a plan to maximize political gain by rebuilding the Burnaby Hospital...

Of course, this is the time on Sprockets....errrrrr....Snooklandia when we dance!.....And/or hum along to Zeppelin....


The Great Coast Guard Base Swindle...The Dismantling.


Earlier today, based on a suggestion from a reader, we made a modest proposal for how we could have both safety and Fed dollar savings throughout Vancouver's inland waterways.


None of that matters now.

CKWX has the story:

...Construction crews were at work over the noon hour dismantling part of the now former Kitsilano Coast Guard station.

It might be a blow to those fighting to reopen the base.

A flatbed truck towed a piece of the station away before a chainlink fence gate surrounding the station was slammed shut.

News1130 reporter Dave White watched all of it under heavy security.

A ramp connecting the station building with the docks below has been removed, they’re now inaccessible to anyone. Signage has been taken down and the station looks ghostly.

A man who appeared to be a former worker carried office supplies out of the building, but wouldn’t speak as he left...


Can someone please explain how it's not all about the land now?

Thanks to spartikus for the heads-up.


Breaking...This Day In Snookland....We Don't Need No Stinking Independent Review!


Ms. Christy Clark did not have the guts to show up and read her own statement in the British Columbia legislature this afternoon.

So....Using the magic of eyeball-to brain-to-finger-tapping technology...

Here, taken straight from the Twittmachine image feed of the V T-C's Rob Shaw, is the climb down on the Multicult-Memo from the (not)Premier that was delivered by Snooklandia's Minister of Everything, Mr. Rich Coleman:

"I have now had the opportunity to read the draft outreach domument and want to sincerely apologize to  British Columbians.

The document did not recognize there (sic) are lines that cannot be crossed in conducting this outreach and it is unacceptable. The language in this draft document and some of the recommendations are absolutely inappropriate.

As such, I am asking my deputy minister to conduct a review to ensure that no government resources were inappropriately used. When that report is complete, it will determine whether further actions may be taken.

Every community in British Columbia contributes to the rich diversity of our province and the very fabric of who we are. We need to embrace and respect that fact.

As a government, we have a responsibiity to reach out to every community to ensure they are engaged and understand the services that are available to them."

Now, leaving aside the fact that any investigating should be done by an independent party for the moment, I've just got to ask...

Is this this the part of the disaster movie where Fazil Milhar and the shillophants that walk among the Snooklandians make their big retraction?

If not, Ian Reid makes it very clear why the actual government (as opposed to BC Liberal Party) rules indicate that they should.

Regarding that independence thing...We do still have an actual Auditor General, right?
Finally, the (not)Premier admits to the wrongdoing and then promptly buys time with this limited hangout, open-ended internal review-type thingy???...Why??...Especially given that this line of wrongdoing has already been crossed recently by her staffers, isn't she disciplining those who perpetrated the latest wrongdoing right now, at this very minute?...Oh, ya, I forgot...some of them might know stuff.


A Reader's Modest Proposal For The Kits Coast Guard Base.



Let's assume (pretend?) for a moment that the closing of the Kits Coast Guard station has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with lands, or claims, or trades, or bundles, or condos, or casino-industrial-complexes, or even Chip's new jetboat launchpad.


With that in mind, if it really is all about the safety (with no added cost)...

Why hasn't the closure and the reversion of the property to the province already triggered the following, as suggested by a reader recently?


Anonymous said...
There are a few non-profit marine rescue organizations in BC (ieNorth Shore Lifeboat Society).

The intact Kits station should be turned over by the province to the Ministry of Justice's Emergency Management BC branch to house a new lifeboat society base. Delete


You know...

Proof and pudding and all that.

And, of course, actual safety.


Breaking....CBC Dumps Mr. Flanagan.


Lunchtime Thursday...Not so usual suspects and fellow traveller's update at bottom of post

From the newswire thingy...

TORONTOFeb. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - "In light of recent remarks made by Tom Flanagan at the University of Lethbridge, CBC News has taken the decision to end our association with him as a commentator on Power and Politics.
While we support and encourage free speech across the country and a diverse range of voices, we believe Mr. Flanagan's comments to have crossed the line and impacted his credibility as a commentator for us".
Jennifer McGuire
General Manager and Editor In Chief, CBC News and Centres.
SOURCE: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
For further information:
Chuck Thompson
Head, Media Relations
CBC English Services


Et tu Globe and Mail?

Need background?

(...Of course, this liver-lillied, knee-jerk decision by the CBC could well mean that David Frum is now one step closer to becoming the Big Boss of the MoCo...Or some such thing...)

Update....Now even those finest of the fine folks at Alberta's Wild 'N Crazy Roses Party have made it clear that they have parted ways with Mr. Flanagan


Did Vaughn Palmer Just Call Pamela Martin A 'Hack'?


Why yes, I believe he did, in his latest column which focussed, as you might expect, on the Snooklandian Multicult-Memorandum:

VICTORIA — The date was Jan. 10, 2012 and Premier Christy Clark’s inner circle was hard at work on a strategy to capture the ethnic vote.

“Anecdotal reports suggest that some ethnic communities, particularly Chinese, feel that they are ignored by government between elections,” wrote the premier’s hand-picked deputy chief of staff Kim Haakstad in a confidential memo to key staffers in the government...

{snippety doo-dah}

The contents of the year-old document offered devastating insights into the way they do business inside the B.C. Liberal government. And it was leaked holus-bolus to the New Democrats, who tabled it in the legislature Wednesday to further salt the government’s wounds.

Reading through the passages highlighted by gleeful NDP researchers, one discovered that a goal of the strategy was to “build goodwill and political capital with target communities through simple and thoughtful actions to show ongoing care and concern.”

As for the means by which this might be accomplished, the premier’s office urged the pursuit of “quick wins,” for instance: “Identify and correct ‘historical wrongs,’ such as the Komagata Maru apology in the house.”

For some, the aforementioned apology, like the one the Liberals are planning to deliver for the Chinese head tax, represent long-overdue redress for genuinely wrong actions in the provincial past.

But for Haakstad and her little band of hacks — the distribution list included Clark staffers Pamela Martin, Barinder Bhullar and Lorne Mayencourt — the apologies were merely a vehicle for scoring a quick win with ethnic voters...

{snippety doodle-dandy}

.... (A) thorough reading underscored a more insidious element. The premier’s office proposed to combine the resources of the public service and the resources provided to MLAs to represent their constituents — both taxpayer funded — and bend them to the partisan purposes of the Liberal party...

If you haven't already, head on over to the VSun, the whole thing is well worth the read.


Meanwhile, over at Ron Obvious headquarters, Gary Mason had this to say on the Twittmachine:

A couple of things about that last one...

First, not so sure that will happen. After all, Ms. Clark's current Deputy Chief-Of-Staff, Ms. Kim Haakstad, who was also referred to by Mr. Palmer above, knows things...And Ms. Haakstad has met with people...Including people involved in Railgate...Heckfire, there is even a written record of some of those meetings.

Second, it is interesting that Mr. Mason is giving Ms. Clark an out on something this egregious when, just last weekend he called the NDP incompetent because their livestream of Mr. Dix' speech crashed, presumably because of all the traffic, the swell of which was likely increased by journos like Mr. Mason who were too lazy to go to the event in person.

Mr. Palmer's column is really the good stuff, well-rounded, but with no hedging or punches pulled...There is something else important at play here...I know it shouldn't be this way, but this is an excellent example of how much impact a well-dropped bomb in question period can have on the local punditry...Why?....Well, I think it sets the wurlitzer spinning so quickly that the herd turns because they cannot ignore it/don't want to get mangled in its spokes...Or some such mixed-metaphor...


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Smear-Free Political Ad I Can Get Behind.


That's right kids. 

The late, great Hunter Thompson once ran for Sheriff in Aspen, Colorado.

The year was 1969, and he ran on the 'Freak Power Ticket'.

Here was his manifesto:

  • Sod the streets at once. Rip up all the streets with jack hammers and use the junk asphalt (after melting) to create a huge parking lot and auto-storage lot on the outskirts of town.
  • Change the name "Aspen" by public referendum to "Fat City." This would prevent greedheads, land-rapers and other human jackals from capitalizing on the name "Aspen."
  • Drug sales must be controlled. My first act as Sheriff will be to install, on the courthouse lawn, a bastinado platform and a set of stocks—in order to punish dishonest dope dealers in a proper public fashion.
  • Hunting and fishing should be forbidden to all non-residents, with the exception of those who can obtain the signed endorsement of a resident—who will then be legally responsible for any violation or abuse committed by the non-resident he has "signed for."
  • The Sheriff and his Deputies should never be armed in public. Every urban riot, shoot-out and blood-bath (involving guns) in recent memory has been set off by some trigger-happy cop in a fear frenzy.
  • It will be the policy of the Sheriff's office savagely to harass all those engaged in any form of land-rape. This will be done by acting, with utmost dispatch, on any and all righteous complaints.

  • Thompson lost the Sheriff's election by a grand total of about 400 votes.

    Of course, as you might have suspected, what he really wanted to do was write about the experience (and get paid for it). 

    And write about it he did:

    ...We had run the whole campaign from a long oaken table in the Jerome Tavern on Main Street, working flat out in public so any one could see or even join if they felt ready ... but now, in these final hours, we wanted a bit of privacy; some clean, well-lighted place, as it were, to hunker down and wait

    We also needed vast quantities of ice and rum – and a satchel of brain-rattling drugs for those who wanted to finish the campaign on the highest possible note, regardless of the outcome. But the main thing we needed, with dusk coming down and the polls due to close at 7 PM, was an office with several phone lines, for a blizzard of last-minute calls to those who hadn't yet voted. We'd collected the voting lists just before 5:00–from our poll-watcher teams who'd been checking them off since dawn–and it was obvious, from a very quick count, that the critical Freak Power vote had turned out in force...

    The piece above was published a scant few months after the first piece of true longform Gonzo journalism had already appeared.

    But the Kentucky Derby Is Decadent And Depraved came out in Scanlan's Monthly and it made neither Thompson, nor his partner-in-crime, illustrator Ralph Steadman any money whatsoever. 

    The Freak Power/Battle of Aspen thing, however, was written for Jann Wenner.

    It was the beginning of beautiful relationship that would, in my opinion at least, ultimately lead to Thompson's demise as a serious writer who had made it his life's work, as the 1960's drew to a close, to chase down the death of the American dream.

    Given all that, it is really darned amazing how 'positive' the vibe is from the ad above...Sure, he's a freak, but he's also somehow Peter (and Hank) Fonda, Bob Dylan, and the reincarnation of JFK all rolled up into one.

    Or some such thing.

    Popped into my head in the wake of another great post over at OpenCulture...It's on the Blog Crawl and it's really a fantastic site...Every single post is filled with golden nuggets of real gold.


    Christy Clark's Latest Strategy...

    ...Say Anything.

    Don't know if you caught it amidst all the other goings on in and around Lotusland proper, but Christy Clark sat down for an exclusive interview with the Globe and Mail recently.

    You can read get the entire thing, verbatim, in Justine Hunter's piece, here.


    You can get the short version, with my comments, below....


    Question #1: Why didn't you call an early election after you became BC Liberal Party leader as you previously said you would?

    CClark: Because the people of BC told me not to.

    Comment: So, given that even the effervescent Ms. Clark can't talk to all British Columbians all the time, one can only assume that this is an admission that she reads polls.


    Question #2: Has it been easy to unite the BC Liberal Party 'coalition'?

    CClark: Caucus put the wounds of the leadership race aside.

    Comment: Oh, really?....And just what, exactly is the Birdman up to these days anyway?


    Question #3: What, in concrete terms, has changed since you became Premier?

    CClark: We're #1 in everything...Just gaze across the Rockies and you'll see!

    Comment: Uhhhh.... Actually, no.


    Question #4:  Despite the millions you've spent on taxpayer-funded ads, the public still seems to want change. How come?

    CClark: Security!...Critics!...The future!...May 14th!

    Comment: Sorry....It's impossible, even snarkoleptically, to comment on delusional word-salad.


    Question #5: How do you cope with public opinion polls?

    CClark: Don't spend anytime thinking about them.

    Comment: Hmmmm...Have you already forgotten how you answered question #1 two minutes ago?


    Question #6: What happens after May 14th?

    CClark: If I win it's unicorns and sparkle ponies for everyone! If I don't win everyone is doomed.

    Comment: Sure thing Ms. Clark....But can you please explain, once again, why you shut down the sparkle pony-free 'Progress Board' again?....Oh, ya....We remember now.


    Interestingly, a funny thing happened on the way to the press conference that Ms. Clark was supposed to give today....First, there was a question period wherein the people asking the questions were not about to take word-salad for an answer, especially given that they were in possession of this....Second, Ms. Clark, apparently, did not show up for said presser following said Question Period.

    In the meantime, as Laila has discovered...It's Fake Blogger Mommies time!...Honestly, I can't figure out which is more offensive, this BC Liberal government, taxpayer-funded propaganda website with its warnings about what they might do with your 'data' if you post on the site, or Seth McFarlane on last weekend's Oscars...


    Ask Not For Whom The Bell Tolls....



    Update, lunchtime Wednesday, at bottom of post...

    Yesterday, we noted that CKNW's Sean Leslie had elicited a comment from Jobs Minister Pat Bell that he couldn't remember meeting the fine fellows who are now claiming that he, Mr. Bell, promised them that he would get them on the shortlist for a bit of BC Liberal government largesse in Prince George where Bell is one of the local MLAs.

    Of course, given that at least one of those fine fellows had donated a good chunk of money to Mr. Bell and his BC Liberal Party, we immediately wondered how long it would be before that comment of not remembering would come back to haunt the good Mr. Bell.


    It only took a few hours, because last night the VSun's Jonathan Fowlie had a very good follow-up piece up with all kinds of interesting investigatory stuff in it including the following tidbits:

    ...(Premier Christy) Clark’s defence (of Mr. Bell) came after a businessman who has donated more than $120,000 to the (BC Liberal) party (since 2006) accused Bell of bad faith. Brian Fehr also said that Bell subsequently adjusted the terms of a bid document to favour Fehr’s proposal.

    Fehr, whose company was among the unsuccessful bidders for the $25-million Wood Innovation and Design Centre, said Bell promised to ensure that his company would make the shortlist of three companies if Fehr could build a project that was more substantial than what was called for in the bidding...

    {snippety doo-dah}

    ...Fehr said that in a meeting with Bell, he offered to help out by involving private-sector money, and to build a more impressive building than what was contemplated in the bid.

    “He committed to me that if I would do that — purchase the land off (Prince George businessman) Dan McLaren — that he would make sure we got shortlisted and then you could have what they call an alternative method in the bid,” he said.

    “He absolutely promised me that he would get me shortlisted.”...

    {snippety doodle-dandy}

    ...Documents show that Fehr’s company, The Bid Group, paid McLaren’s company a $150,0000 deposit for the land during the bid process, but was not shortlisted.

    On Tuesday, Fehr said Bell was apologetic after the final three companies were announced at the end of last year, and offered to rework the final process of the bid in a way that would allow disqualified companies to vie for a part of the project.

    “He tried to amend Partnerships B.C. proposal structure, for sure,” said Fehr. “He had his fingers way too close into it.”

    The project’s request for proposals — issued after Fehr’s company was excluded — added a requirement that the winning bidder work with the private sector to develop and build another project on adjacent land.

    The government suspended the bidding process at the end of last year after receiving complaints about the added requirement. The controversial element was removed before the bid was allowed to continue...

    {snippety doodle-dandier}

    ...In a written statement, deputy minister Dave Byng said the private sector criteria “was added in an effort to realize an increased overall potential benefit of this project for downtown Prince George. A project that incorporates additional land or buildings would have increased the iconic status of the development.

    “On Dec. 14, 2012, the private sector component of the RFP was removed as a result of concern from the three (short-listed) proponents that expansion to the scope of the project would make it unlikely to continue to meet set project timelines,” he added.

    Bell has denied the allegations of misconduct, saying he never made any promises to anyone about the bidding process...


    Don't know about you, but I sure am looking forward to hearing the latest from the Kruegernator on this one, especially more about that sudden insertion of the additional 'private sector criteria' after the short list had been announced.

    Please help us out Mr Krueger, because, of course, we are all unmitigated morons now.

    And if you could do it before pink shirt day ends, that would be most appreciated.

    After all, it would be downright mean, not to mention churlish, if you were to keep us waiting.


    There's an interesting extra tidbit here that might give those with a penchant for crazy conspiracy theories a teeny-tiny adrenal squeeze....Mr. Fowlie also tells us that one of those fine BC Liberal faithful folks who are upset with the Minister, Mr McLaren, actually ran against Mr. Bell for the party nomination in the watershed year of 2001....Mr. McLaren also publicly supported the Birdman in the latest party leadership campaign...
    As noted in the original CBC report from yesterday morning, Mr. Fowlie also elicits quotes from the so-called fairness advisor indicating that, in the end, she found the bidding process to be on the up-and-up...However, she also made it clear that Mr. Fehr and friends complaints were outside her mandate...Thus, when you hear the Wizards crank up the wurlitzer on this aspect of the story be sure to recognize it for the red herring that it is...
    Update: Gordon Hogg decides to step of the Kruegernator's Crazy Train...


    What, Exactly, Is An 'Unmitigated Moron' Anyway?


    The latest from the Kruegernator, via the MoCo:

    B.C. Liberal MLA Kevin Krueger isn’t backing down on critical comments he made in an email to the B.C. Conservative Party.

    The email relates to a B.C. Conservative Party news release in which the party called Jobs Minister Pat Bell “an unmitigated disaster.” The party also called for Bell to be suspended over allegations he made inappropriate promises to a land developer.

    Krueger, the Kamloops-South Thompson MLA, called those involved in the release "unmitigated morons.”

    The email goes on to say, “Pat Bell is beloved in Prince George, for good reason. There is not one of you scum worthy to tie his shoes — nor tall enough.” The letter closes by saying, “What idiots you are.”...


    Is it umitigatedly moronic for a Minister responsible for a roof to take a call from a party insider who demands he (i.e. the Minister) spend $500 million of the public's money to make his (i.e. the Insider's) friends, colleagues and business partners from Vegas happy?

    Of course, what is really moronic here, at least from the point of view of the Wizards of Snooklandia, is the fact that this kind of stunt just might start a backlash that kicks the Curmudgeon and his Cons back up into the low teens...If that happens I reckon the Wizards will be able to deliver seats in the high single digits, max...


    This Day In Snookland...What Will The Wizards Do If The HST Still Exists On April 2nd?


    What am I going on about this time?

    Well, in a recent column the VSun's Vaughn Palmer made it abundantly clear that, after a whole lot of foot-dragging by the Snooklandians, the vast majority of the businesses in the province aren't ready for the switch back to the PST scheduled for (yes, seriously) April Fool's Day:

    For B.C. Liberals hoping for an end to their government’s self-inflicted miseries with the harmonized sales tax, the latest news out of the Ministry of Finance is not encouraging.

    The ministry reckons that some 130,000 retailers need to register to begin collecting the provincial sales tax by April 1, the day that the province is scheduled to phase out the HST and return to the old tax regime.

    But only about 30,000 have signed up since registrations began in January. The remaining 100,000 or so have just five weeks left in which to do so before the seven-per-cent provincial levy takes effect...


    Who, exactly, was responsible for all that foot-dragging...

    And just where is the Birdman these days anyway?

    But seriously....What will the Wizards do if they're still on the hook for the HST well into the election campaign?...Maybe start up a smear machine operation against the ghost of the Dave Barrett regime blaming it for all that evil, wretched excess of a written record of what actually went on the legislature that is Hansard?...Either that or, perhaps, really crank up the wurlitzer to blame a then eight-year old Adrian Dix for sneaking on a plane to Moscow (sans ticket, of course!) and impersonating one of the young Russian figure skaters so that he could sneak onto the ice to drop the rose stem that caused Phil Esposito to take that tumble during the pre-game introductions late in the summer of 1972?


    Tuesday, February 26, 2013

    My (So-Called) Science Geek Life...


    Mostly, I do the gardening in the lab these days. 

    Which means I grow cells. 

    It's a fiddly and mindless business at the same time.

    At the moment we're getting pretty deep into a collaboration where we need a whole bunch of different cell lines to be on the go simultaneously.

    The thing is, when we're not using them we freeze the cells in these big tanks of liquid nitrogen. 

    And this afternoon I dug up a stock vial that was frozen back in 1999 by one of the first undergrads I trained in my lab.

    The cells came up quite nicely from the freeze and were they were already down on the plate and starting to stick to each via their molecular velcro (the modulation of which is something we work on) when I left for home.

    As for that kid who froze that vial of cells way back when?

    Well... She's long gone,

    But she is a lifer in the science geek business now.

    Guess that's at least partially my fault.


    You Want Pineapples...

    ...You Got 'Em.

    Courtesy of the MoCo's Johanna Wagstaffe on the Twittmachine as a way of explaining all the rain that's boarding a direct, jetstream-powered flight to Lotusland this very minute.

    (it's also the excuse I'm using for leaving my bike in the garage on Thursday and Friday)

    And while on the subject of the MoCo and useful stuff...Here's a good example why making voluminous publicly available data searchable/filterable is super-duper useful.


    This Day In Snookland (ctd)...Does The 'Mandate' Explain It?


    The denials, quite a few of them non-denial denials actually, are flying fast and furious from both the mandateless (not)Premier and her soon to be (not)Jobs Minister regarding this Prince George Wood Centre thing.

    Here is just one such denial, reported by CKNW's Sean Leslie:

    ...Media reports indicate two local businessmen filed a complaint alleging (Jobs Minister Pat) Bell tried to improperly influence the bidding process (for the Wood Centre) after promising they would be on the short list for the final contract.

    Bell denies the claim.
    "There was never any promises made by me or anyone else in our government in fact there was a process followed, it's an arms-length process that's being managed by a project board. There was a complaint made to an individual who's been assigned with monitoring this process. She's reported out and suggested that the process should be completed and the tender awarded."...

    But here's the thing.

    According to the original CBC News report this morning it is not the 'process' itself that is at issue but rather what was done (or not) prior to that process being initiated. One can only wonder if that distinction explains the following, also form the original CBC report:

    ...(The lawyer monitoring the fairness of the bidding process, Jane) Shackell’s report, however, found the bidding process had been conducted fairly. But she also acknowledged that there were concerns raised by (the complainants) McLaren and Fehr that didn't fall within her mandate to investigate...

    You see where I'm coming from now?

    Another little tidbit in Mr. Leslie's report....Mr. Bell said that he 'can't remember' meeting the complainants...Sure thing...After all, why would Mr. Bell meet with a couple of fine fellows who have donated, again according to the original CBC report, approximately $125,000 to his political party since 2006...
    And,  I'm telling you....Whenever I hear there is another fairness advisor/monitor watching over a Campbell/Clark government bidding process, my cultish ears sure do perk up...Why?....Well....You know....


    The Rumours Of COPE's Demise Have Been (Only Somewhat) Greatly Exaggerated.


    Stumbled upon a COPEish-type blog the other day.

    It's called Vanopolis, and there is some good stuff there.

    What follows is from a good post from David Chudnovsky about the fallow Little Mountain lands in the center of Vancouver where 234 families used to live in affordable housing before their homes were knocked down more than three years ago:

    ...If the developer were simply making application for a market development of 1500 units they would have to make 300 of them “affordable”. So that’s what they should be required to do at Little Mountain. If the Holborn development plan is approved then about 300 of the market units need to be “affordable”.

    And that means that at the new Little Mountain, 234 replacement social housing units plus 300 new “affordable” units – that’s 534 - need to be provided. And added to that, the Adjacent Area should have a minimum of 20% affordable units as well. Anything less doesn’t comply with the city (of Vancouver)’s policy on affordability...

    Personally, I think this is one of those 'get out of the budge-box paradox' type issues for the Dippers.

    Specifically, I think they should go to the wall on this one and make it clear that they are willing to go pretty damned close to revenue neutral to help build another False Creek South on that site where the development is truly mixed such that everyone on the socioeconomic ladder can live and thrive there.
    After all, if we can spend more than half-a-billion dollars on that stupid magic carpet atop BC Place for no good reason at all, we can afford to do the right thing for British Columbians of all stripes at Little Mountain.

    And make the developers (reasonably) happy too.

    And the construction workers also.

    Not to mention real living and breathing familes.


    And I know, I know, I know!... That the CoV is a major player here as well...And that it is complicated...And all of that...But, don't forget that the land has not yet been sold by the Province given that is, according to the Wizards of Snooklandia,  part of the selling of crown assets still to come...


    This Day In Snookland...Another One?..Seriously?!


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

    At the time the resignation was announced we really did wonder.

    Honest we did.

    But, still, despite the fact his health problem was diagnosed last fall, we were willing to give one of the fine folks who was at the original 'BC Rail's Going Private' MLAs' meeting with Gordon Campbell in early 2002, Mr. Pat Bell, a break.

    Of course, now there's this, from the MoCo:

    A CBC News investigation has uncovered serious allegations against the B.C. government and provincial Jobs Minister Pat Bell related to the proposed Wood Innovation and Design Centre project in Prince George.

    Bell and the government are accused of promising to influence what was supposed to be an independent bid process in favour of two developers with ties to the B.C. Liberal party.

    The allegations are contained in a written complaint filed last November by two Prince George businessmen and submitted to Jane Shackell, the lawyer charged with overseeing the fairness of the bid process...

    {snippety doo-dah}

    ...But the minister insists that everything was handled properly.

    "I'm very comfortable with it," Bell told CBC News.

    He also said that, in any case, he was not in a position to make any deals ahead of time, as the complaint alleges.

    "To be clear, I do not sit on the project board nor have any authority over it. I would not and could not offer that type of offer to anyone."...

    Sure thing Mr. Bell.

    But how come you didn't offer up any jokes about greasy burgers and fries on this one?


    All Quiet On The Great Coast Guard Base Swindle Front...


    I'm pretty sure all concerned are thinking they've passed through the spokes of the spinning newscycle wheel pretty much unscathed*...

    Because today there is, essentially, nothing in the public prints.

    Official lines bought?

    Evasions ignored?

    Public bamboozlement complete?


    In the meantime, Paul Sullivan had a take not dissimilar to ours in the Metro newsish-thingy yesterday, right down to the three dot trail usage:

    So …

    What’s going on here? Is there a secret land deal? Does Stephen Harper like Newfoundland better than Vancouver? Why is the H(arper) G(overnment) so adamant about saving $700,000 a year, when it thinks nothing of spending anywhere from $75-$150 million for a single fighter jet?

    You could buy the entire fleet of coast guard Zodiacs for $150 million and still have enough left over to spend the $1 million needed to transport the prime minister’s bulletproof limo to India, a nation which apparently can’t be trusted to have sufficiently advanced bulletproof technology.

    When there are too many explanations, there aren’t any. It is said you can tell a politician is lying when his or her lips move.

    On this one, no one’s even stopping to take a breath.

    *Except, perhaps,  for poor Wai Young.


    Monday, February 25, 2013

    The Great Coast Guard Base Swindle (ctd)...Feds Finger Clark Gov't


    The Feds came right out and said it today....

    Katie Webb had the story in The Metro:

    ...DFO spokeswoman Erin Filliter clarified Monday that the DFO property referenced in the (leaked) memo (that caused all the kerfuffle late last week) is a vacant lot in West Vancouver, not the Coast Guard station.

    She explained that while DFO owns the building, the (Kits Coast Guard base) land is owned by the province.

    It has been leased to Transport Canada since 1964 under a land reserve agreement, which means the Coast Guard has been able to run its operations there for free.

    Filliter said the ball is completely in the province’s court about what to do next with the site, and that the federal government will not gain any revenue from its closure...


    But, as Ian Reid wondered on the Twittmachine....

    How come we haven't seen that list of provincial 'crown' assets that are supposed to be sold off in the next year?

    What's that you say?

    The Wizards of Snooklandia are now on the record saying they want the base re-opened.

    Sure thing.

    But ask yourself this...

    Why, exactly, did the Feds decide to close the base months early (with a provincial election looming)?


    This Day In Snookland (ctd)...Is It Time To Start Dissing AReid Again?



    Update: I goofed initially, and missed the fact that the Dippers are now winning even among the well-off...That is a major turn around compared to the last time Angus Reid was in the field a month ago...I mean, if they've lost the Creme-Belt...What's left for the BCL?

    The latest poll from Angus Reid is out and, despite doing their best to fly the misdirection high-wire with their fantasy throne speech and bogus budget, the Wizards have not moved things one inch.

    In my opinion the story is told in two figures from the AReid report.

    First, the tracker...Notice that, as we have pointed out before, now that the Cons have been destroyed there really is nowhere for the Snooklandians to get more votes from. As such, they have now flatlined and they have NOT taken away any support from the Dippers:

    Second, the major demos....Again, the Snooklandians are getting their gong rung in every single category...And that even includes that last one (the well-off) which is a major turn of events since the last AR Poll (Ppdate: please note that I originally bamboozled myself on that 100K+ category, because in the last poll the numbers were 51 to 34 in favour of the BCL....Seriously)

    Now...I'm pretty sure that, in the war room, the Snooklandians and their smear merchants are taking satisfaction from the fact that they have, indeed, managed to drive down Mr. Dix' approval rating a little...But, in my opinion, that should actually worry them because if all that negative crap hasn't actually moved the numbers that matter....Well... they really and truly just might be doomed...
    And, unlike some other of the Lotuslandian pro-media members, who yesterday complained about the Dipper livestream problems, kudos to Mark Hume of  the Globe for actually doing his job and going to hear Mr. Dix speak (and take questions from reporters afterwards) as well as going to hear Ms. Clark speak on Saturday (and run away from reporters afterwards)...


    The Great Coast Guard Base Swindle (ctd)...Land Ownership.



    Just who does own that chunk of land that the suddenly closed (because, after all, February is spring in Vancouver) Kits Coast Guard base sits on.


    I guess it depends on which jurisdiction is actually wearing the tiara on this one, but according to the Feds' own publicly-available website there is no indication that they don't...

    And remember...

    It's the 'bundling' that likely counts here.

    And, maybe, (just maybe?) the trading away of claims to land a little further farther west?


    Sunday, February 24, 2013

    Dipper Livestream Goes Down...Ron Obvious Has Hissyfit.



    That's right...Adrian Dix gave a speech today, and the room was filled to bursting with real live people.

    Rumour has it that the intertubes' pipes were filled to bursting as well, with people that wanted to get online and see what was happening.

    Regardless, the stream crashed.

    Which led to said hissyfit:

    Meanwhile, the fact that Mr. Dix stood afterwards and took reporters questions while Ms. Clark, just yesterday, ran away from same after her speech is pretty much ignored.


    You know, this kind of codswallop (K. Baldrey got in on the act too)  sure does remind me of what happened back in 2009 when Mr. Campbell successfully got away with pretending to be the 'environment' candidate against Ms. James, which was greatly aided, at least in the Press-Gang's mind, by.....This.


    This Day In Snookland...Vizzini Was A Watercarrier Too?


    First.... Mr. Norman Spector, drawing on real experts using real projections (really!) to carry a little water for the Wizards...

    Second.... A citizen who has been paying attention calls him Mr. Spector on it...

    Third... Mr. Spector goes full metal Vizzini on said citizen...

    That is all.

    Except, just in case you have forgotten it...



    The Great Coast Guard Base Swindle...What The 'Memo' Says.



    It is still not entirely clear that  the 'memo' first mentioned by Jas Johal and Peter Meiszner of Global on Friday and, apparently, leaked by Jim Sinclair, actually refers to the Kits Coast Guard Base land.

    But the timing is mighty suspicious (and does not quite jibe with the previously announced timing of how the other Jericho stuff farther west was supposed to go down).

    And with that in mind...

    Sam Cooper, of the The Province, gives us a little more of the text of the 'memo':

    ...The federal memo...{snippety doo-dah}... obtained by the Sunday Province, says agencies have "presented the First Nation equity proposal for the Jericho Beach, Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and RCMP site," in a land negotiation that the government wants to wrap up by May or June 2013.

    "This proposal unlocks the value of these properties for the economic benefit of all parties . . . [and the negotiation must establish] a joint-venture agreement between First Nations and Canada Lands Company which will capture the nature of the partnership," says the memo, which does not identify the First Nations involved. Canada Lands Co. is an agency that acquires sites deemed as "surplus properties" no longer needed by government, in order to transfer sale proceeds to the federal treasury...


    We here in Lotusland have seen this 'unlocking of the value' gambit before.

    Specifically, it was a grift run by the current High Commisioner of Great Britain, Mr. Gordon Campbell, when he and a bagman ran a little misdirection that led to a billion dollar play that involved the giving away of a chunk of Pacific Spirit Park's heart. 

    The thing is, back then, in the case of the Park, the misdirection involved a golf course that had to be 'saved'.

    In this case, if the deal really is going down on the end of Kits Point, it was a Coast Guard base that had to be 'killed'.

    But, then again, when the potential bonanza for developers is billions....

    Well, what does a little faux 'saving' and one true 'killing' really matter when it comes to the public trust?


    Meanwhile, the federal Minister responsible for (allegedly) turning Public Works private, Ms. Rona Ambrose, was in Lotusland this weekend telling anybody who would listen that it was actually the Coast Guard's decision, or based on their advice, or all such a longtime ago, or some such pretzellian logistical nightmarish thing:

    ..."Well, my understanding is that was a decision that was made some time ago and everyone in the region was aware of it, and of course this was on the advice of the Coast Guard," she (Ambrose) said...



    Super sheesh.


    Saturday, February 23, 2013

    Latenight With Busking...Frozen Fingers Edition


    C. and littler e. went off with our friend K. to watch one of the Oscar movies tonight.

    So it was just Rosie the Whackadoodle and me.

    Which meant that we decided to take a big walk around Q & E park just as the sun was going down.

    After that we hung around up top by the fountain and made a little music under the coloured lights.



    Unlike Bigger E., I still sometimes have a tough time playing on my own.

    And tonight was no exception.

    Until two kids started dancing to my rendition of 'Send me on my way'.

    Now that was something.

    So, after that my dog and I just walked off into the night as I started to strum...


    (and if you watched it right to the end...Ya, that was a young Lisa Hannigan making like Olivia Newton John during the denoument)

    Bonus track For E...Another Donal Scannell find.