Friday, February 28, 2014

This Day In Snookland...What Should We Do With $120 Million?



Given all the belt-tightening and stealth HST-type tax shifting going on around here (see Hydro/ICBC/MSP cash grabs, for example), what would the Snooklandians do if they had an extra $120 mill or so floating around free?

Would they use it to take fare of that BC Ferries operating shortfall?

Would they use it to put more special needs teachers in classrooms?

Would they use it help cash-strapped school boards to actually, you know, heat schools?

Would they use it to help pay for wheelchairs for the elderly?

Would they use it to rebuild a real jobs apprenticeship, rather than a facebook click-driver, program?

Would they use it make sure that the adult disabled are not thrown out on the street?

Would they use it allow social workers to by an 'extra' holiday gift for kids who need our help most?

Of course not.


Well, because there are, it would appear, cronies to be taken care of.

How do we know this?

Because one of the cheerleaders for said cronies, a very fine publication called 'Energy Global' tells us it is thus:

To stimulate job creation and industry growth in the oil and gas sector, British Columbia will make available $120 million in royalties for new road and pipeline projects under the Infrastructure Royalty Credit Program (IRCP).

New investments in infrastructure projects will increase industry’s access to abundant resource areas, and support work in exploration and production, providing well-paying jobs and business opportunities in northeast British Columbia...

But, some of you might be saying to yourselves... It is the cronies in the resource sector that are generating all that preSparklePony revenue around here that is keeping us afloat right now, isn't it?....Well....Actually, as Norm Farrell has demonstrated by actually looking at real government revenue numbers....No.
Tip-O-The-Touque to Premier 'B' on the Twittmachine for the heads-up on the clarion call of cheerleader...


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Advent Jukebox....Bonus Track


This one just feels like the right way to end things...

Feb 7th Late Winter Update....Here's the thing...I keep trying to let this thing slide off the bottom of the page...But you all keep hitting the play button at the rate of more than two thousand times a day!....Which means that total listens so far are now, get this,  186,313....Imagine that!



This Day In Snookland...Where Sparkle Ponies Come From.


Well, well, well...

Whaddy'a know.

It would appear those pre-election sparkle ponies, all one trillion of them, according to the Cheerleader-In-Chief, Ms. Pamela Martin at least, likely came from a land called 'Dubious'.

Focus Online's David Broadland has the story.

Below is his lede and a little bit more, but I highly recommend you go read the entire thing (me, I'm combing through the attached FOI material myself at the moment):

Emails between top-level BC civil servants show Premier Clark’s 100,000 LNG jobs were based on dubious assumptions thrown together at the last minute for her 2013 throne speech. Were those civil servants working for the public interest or Clark’s election campaign?...

{snippety doo-dah}

...Were the Prosperity Fund and the job claims (i.e. the sparkle ponies) part of an elaborate election ploy? It wouldn’t be the first time a government made an election promise it didn’t intend to keep. A more troubling possibility, though, is that Provincial public service employees and public funds were used to create that election ploy, contrary to the BC Standards of Conduct that govern what civil servants can do while on the job. Documents recently obtained by Focus through an FOI, and our independent analysis of a consultant’s report done for the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas days before Premier Clark announced the Prosperity Fund in February 2013, suggest that might be the case...

(sparkly stuff in brackets, above, mine)

Which, once again, has me wondering...

Is there anything that these people do and say that is actually on the up-and-up and not just an exercise in political expediency?


Anything at all?


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

This Day In Snookland...The Fassbender Provocation.


The Tyee's Katie Hyslop has the latest:

The lead negotiator for government in the B.C. teachers' collective bargaining process was surprised by the union's strike vote announcement this morning, especially because the union has yet to reveal its own salary counter-offer.

"[The union] does have an obligation to put their position forward for public discussion," Peter Cameron, the government-appointed director and lead negotiator for the BC Public School Employers Association, told reporters. He added the union has dropped some hints about where it's going as far as wage increases, and says it's "extreme."

"It’s going to be a position that's going to be hard to justify in the public. So it's one thing to criticize our opening position, and it's another thing to hide behind what I actually consider to be rhetoric and not present your own initial position into the debate."...


Sure thing Mr. Cameron.

After all, why should you and yours have to openly and publicly justify your position to ignore crazy-assed rhetoric like, say, a court decision?

Rather than his mouthpiece you can hear Mr. Fassbender blather on, in Snooklandian-approved pseudo-presser fashion (just like Canucks TeeVee!)... Here.
Subheader?....Well, you know....This.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

This Day In Snookland...All Your Rurals 'R Us.


Vaughn Palmer, as only he can do, kinda/sorta (but not quite/not really) recently called out the Snooklandians on their plans to make sure that rural British Columbia will get an even bigger proportion of the electoral representation pie as populations increase everywhere else in the province.


What did the Dean offer up as the possible whys and wherefores that have led to this latest bit of democratic bait-and-switcheroo by the Crony party?


There is, apparently the possibility that 'sentiment' is behind it all:

...“We don’t need any more politicians!” is the cry from many a member of the public, every time government appoints a commission to reconcile electoral boundaries with a growing population.

Mindful of that sentiment, the Liberals, in setting out the mandate for the commission that will redraw the boundaries in time for the next provincial election, have dictated that it cannot expand the number of house seats beyond its current bursting-at-the-seams 85...

This 'sentiment' from a government that is willing to spend, literally, tens of millions on Bogus Bollywood productions and ad campaigns designed to drive Facebook hits?

Well then...

How about the 'preservation' shuffle:

...“The aim of this bill is to preserve representation in the legislative assembly for northern and rural regions of the province that are most at risk of losing seats in the next electoral boundary revision process,” as Justice Minister Suzanne Anton put it when she introduced the legislative amendments to the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act...

Sure thing - this despite the fact that, for example the North currently has half the population of Surrey and the same number of seats.

Well then...

How about a zen-like 'balance' that only a legal genius like Suzanne Anton can possibly achieve:

...“It is challenging to balance urban and rural representation in a province as large and diverse as British Columbia,” as the government said in justifying its latest legislative move...
Except isn't the 'balance', right now, pretty much ass-over-tea-kettle 'rural' (see above)?

Well then...

Perhaps after all that we should let Mr. Palmer get right down to it:

...(The Liberals say they are doing this) because the house is already big enough, but suspicions focus on the 17 protected (rural) seats. Eleven are currently held by the government, only six by the NDP...

That sure looked like a knockout punch, right?

Well, not really.

Because the pullback comes on Mr. Palmer's very next passage:

...Still, one should note that the NDP took eight of those seats in the 2009 election, so the balance would not necessarily favour the government in the long run...


The Dean has concluded, by looking at just the last two election cycles, that 'the balance would not necessarily favour the government in the long run'.

Which led me to do something that took about half-an-hour.

Yes, that's right!

I went up the Toobz and had a look the results in those 17 ridings (and/or the almost same-named ridings, pre-2009) over all four election cycles since the BC Liberal government came to power almost 14 years ago.

And here are those numbers:

2013: 11 Liberal to 6 NDP 
2009: 9 Liberal to 8 NDP
2005: 9 Liberal to 8 NDP
2001: 17 Liberal to 0 NDP



I realize that 2001 was a wee bit of an anomaly, Dean-assisted or otherwise.

But no matter how you slice it the BC Liberal Party has won the rural vote in those 17 ridings every single time during their 'long run'.


Why didn't Mr. Palmer come right out and call a spade a spade?

Or at the very least, a fine fellow named Gerry?

Gerry Mander that is.


And, if that wee bit of the Little Mountain riding was known as Gracie's 'finger' back in the day, what the heckfire, as Dermod Travis wondered recently,  should we call this thing?


Friday, February 21, 2014

Whatever Happened To The Separation Of Church And...


Only from the mind and the fingertips (allegedly at least) of Canada's #1 end of the bench cheerleader, Bobby Lou, just moments after the big game ended Friday morning:

I'm telling you....

Even if Mr. Luongo does have a member of the Twittwittgensia helping him with these things they are still bloody hilarious.


This Day In Snookland...Win Silent Win Quick.


Bob Mackin, in The Tyee, has the story of the Snooklandian's latest chair of their 'Multcultural Advisory Council'.

Here's his lede:

The new chair of the B.C. government's Multicultural Advisory Council, Tenzin Dargyal Khangsar, courted ethnic voters for the Conservatives while working as an aide to federal Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney, whose portfolio is now Employment, Social Development and Multiculturalism.

A high level political player, Khangsar was instrumental in creating the Vancouver-based Canada Korea Foundation (CKF) -- a troubled project that sheds light on Conservative strategies to foster new ethnic organizations friendly to the Harper government...


Please note that this is government rather than a caucus-type and/or partyish council.


If, say, the Premier's office was to go to 'council' with a 'strategy'...


No matter what...

No need for a rescue from  Mr. Dyble.



Late Winter Jukebox, Song 6....The Tower Of Song.


Got a bit of a shocker when I opened an envelope at work the other day.


Because tucked out of the way, up the the top right corner it noted the earliest date that I can voluntarily retire (and we're talking real early, at least in financial terms) is...

November 1, 2014.

Which is scary enough to contemplate all on it's own.

And then I thought of the first two lines of this...

Why real early?...Well, because when you're in the line of science-geekery that I'm in the apprenticeship process (a.k.a. post-docking) doesn't usually end until your mid-thirties...And while our pension plan is good (and please do not misunderstand me - I am in no way even in the slightest complaining about my level of compensation) it is a defined contribution-type deal...Which means that the total time in really matters...Anyway...My hair really is grey...And I do ache a little (sometimes a lot, actually) in the places where I used to play...Ironically, of course, it would appear that the estimable Mr. Cohen, who has probably drawn just about even with Mr. Williams by now, may never retire...


Thursday, February 20, 2014

How Bad Are The Numbers For The Harper News Network?


And, no, I'm not talking about the good folks from Sun TeeVee.

Instead, I'm talking about Mr. Harper's concerted effort to take his message 'directly' to the people each week.

Marc Weisbott of Postmedia has both the story and the numbers.

Here's his lede:

Stephen Harper’s weekly wrap-up debuted at the start of January as something a leader wary of the news media could live with: Rather than depend on reporters to explain what he has been up to, the Prime Minister’s Office would issue their official video version, with the title 24 Seven.

Well, now that the project has gone into its second month without being cancelled, it is sort of possible to measure just how much public interest there is in watching this old-fashioned narrated newsreel format — which is dominated by meta-footage of the PM posing with others at photo ops.

The debut gained enough attention to draw over 10,000 viewers of the English-language version, which dipped to under 8,000 in the second week, under 3,500 in week three...


3,500 partakers a week.


I wonder how many weekly listens we're getting with no staff, no promotion, and no budget for our late winter jukebox tunes.

Hang on a second while I go check...

There you have it... 3,711 plays in the last week.

And that's for just one tune.

In aggregate, last week the little clutch of songs and the latest Sunday Setlist garnered almost 14,000 listens....And the Advent Jukebox still had more than 10.

Ten thousand that is.


No matter how you slice it, there is no denying that the 'direct-to-you' offerings of this little F-Troop-list blog were seven times more popular than Mr. Harper's attempts to go direct to his base last week.

Did I mention our budget already?


What's The Real Reason For The FedCon Unfair Elections Act?


In my opinion, Sooey's is more real than most I've come across:

...Meanwhile, we have to suffer through Pierre Poilievre, who addresses Canadians in the same offensive manner as he goads opposition MPs in the House, pretending that the Fair Elections Act (even the name is goading, isn’t it?) – which the Conservatives rammed through Parliament (no doubt as a result of Andrew Prescott being granted immunity for his robocalls testimony) – is for us.

Did you know that Pierre Poilievre used to run a robocall business?...

That is all.

For now.


Harper Uber-Alles: Sometimes A Base Is Just A Base...

...And Sometimes It's Not.

Mary Ellen Macintyre of the Halifax Chronicle Herald has the story. Here's her lede:

SYDNEY — The war chest has been hauled up from the basement, ready to be used to help defeat the federal Conservative government, say local war veterans.

“The plan is to build a war chest so we can have money to do the things we need to do to make sure this government falls,” said Ron Clarke, a veteran who spearheaded the now-failed campaign to keep Sydney’s Veterans Affairs office open.

Clarke, a 36-year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, told members of the province’s standing committee on veterans affairs in Sydney on Monday that vets across the country believe now is the time for action.

“What we’re going to try to do is create a veterans war chest in each of the provinces … and when this is over, any money left over will go into veterans organizations, like the legions or something else,” he said following his submission to the committee...


How do you punch a hippy that isn't?

Maybe start a wurlitzering faux rumours of SNN-backed outrage about veterans that smoke pot while reading scientific publications about climate change.

Or some such thing.


This Day In Snookland...Who Even Needs An HST?


The other day we noted that even an apparent dyed-in-the-new-wool conservative by the name of Rick Peterson can see the Snooklandian's never ending MSP premium increase for what it really is - the worst kind of regressive tax grab.

But that's nothing compared to this, as noted by Rob Shaw in the VSun:

Tuesday’s 2014-15 provincial budget predicted $8.9 billion in net income by 2016-17 from Crown corporations to help the Liberal government balance its books.

That includes $1.23 billion in dividends from BC Hydro over the next three fiscal years, and $480 million of “excess optional capital” from ICBC during the same period...

And where is all that revenue coming from?

Why from tax.....errrrr....rate increases, of course!

ICBC raised basic insurance rates by 4.9 per cent in November, and Hydro rates are set to go up 28 per cent over the next five years, adding hundreds of dollars to the annual bills of most British Columbians...

I'm telling you.

Sometimes it really does seem like Martyn and Gordon are still crouched behind their shiv-laden curtain hidden beneath the gossamer-winged shroud of the puffed-up punditry while the cronies out back continue to feverishly carve up the carcass of the middle class with impunity.

Or some such thing.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hey Mr. Putin...Is That A Ferret On Your Shoulder Or...

...Are You Just Sad To See We?

Why sad?

Well, as Andy Borowitz notes in the New Yorker...

Sometimes hockey is like freedom.


Free and unferretted elections.



This Day In Snookland...Who's More 'Progressive' When It Comes To Taxes?



Who's more progressive on the tax front?

Is it the 'Liberal' Ms. Christy Clark.


Is it the 'Conservative' Mr. Rick Peterson.


Let's head on over to Mr. Peterson's flock-of-flack-hackeries (aka 'press release') page for his response to Ms. Clark's raising of MSP premiums (again):

BC Conservative Leadership candidate Rick Peterson today said that the BC Liberal budget underscores the need for serious and substantial tax fairness reform in British Columbia, a key plank in his BC Conservative Leadership campaign.

“Taxes impact people differently” said Peterson, a Vancouver businessman, “and it’s important to keep that in mind when looking at a budget like this one.

“Income taxes factor in your ability to pay, whereas consumption taxes typically provide you with a choice. MSP fees largely ignore both of these principles of tax fairness, which is why they are so very lethal.”

Peterson pointed out that the Liberal budget’s projected $184 million surplus for next year comes largely from a $115 million increase in Medical Service Premiums.

“When you consider that a low income family earning $ 31,000 a year is being asked by the Clark government to pay the same $138.50 per month as Jimmy Pattison, it’s no wonder BC leads Canada in child poverty..."


Has Mr. Peterson told his wine country pal about this?

Tip 'O The Touque to the Tyee's Andrew MacLeod on the Twittmachine for the heads up on Mr. Peterson's creeping socialistic/progressive tendencies hidden behind that 'tax fairness' monicker...


Monday, February 17, 2014

This Day (Just Outside) Snookland...Spin This!


Lemonade stands, who can't run them, and all that...

The Eagle River Casino, majority owned by the Alexis First Nation, northwest of Edmonton, is in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings aimed at allowing the casino to continue operating while it restructures its debt.

Bankruptcy trustee documents obtained by CBC News show the casino, located about 10 kilometres west of Whitecourt on Highway 43, owes about $100 million and has assets of about $57 million...

{snippety doo-dah}

...The Eagle River Casino is 60 per cent owned by Alexis and 40 per cent by the Las Vegas-based private casino company, Paragon Gaming....


Then again.

I suppose it's safe to assume that this all happened BEFORE the good Mr. Graydon came on board to help run Paragon's stand in Lotusland.



Late Winter Jukebox, Song 5...Time For Van The Man.


Haven't really told you all about it, but...

The Buskateering is starting to crank-up once again.

And, now that we are getting a feel for what grabs folks attention as they are standing on the corner waiting to cross the street, I figure just might the time to get going on a little Van Morrison.

There's lots to choose from - and while I'm not ready to wail on Astral Weeks in public quite yet, I reckon this the tune below might be one that will likely work.

And, on top of that, it is I suppose it does kinda/sorta fit the saint day in question:

Wondering about the sub-header?...Well....This.
In addition to full-on Lotuslandian busking (with licenses!) we're thinking about a little bit of summer travel (which may include house concerts)...Stay tuned.


Tar Sands Reclamation: Was Neil Young So Wrong He Was Really (Really) Right?


In case you missed it, the fine folks from Ethical Oil have a website up called 'Neil Young Lies'.

And one of the 'lies' they are making a big fuss about (and getting some proMedia wurlitzerization of) is the following:

“The problem is the reclamation part (of the oilsands) there is no reclamation.” - Neil Young 


The finest of the very finest fine folks (who won't say, exactly, where they get their big money from, but who will take your cash through PayPal) then go on to tell us that 'only' 767 square kilometers have been 'disturbed' by tar sands development and then follow that up with a bullet point that 77m (sic) square km is under 'active' reclamation.

Which, according to these most ethical of folks' very own numbers means that 690 square kilometers are NOT under active reclamation.

Which would make Mr. Young at 90% right, even if you accepted the self-declared ethicalists version of things.

Which is a pretty solid grade in most schools, even that Calgary one that plays the big Straussian game in a vainglorious effort to generate the ideological gravitas, if you want to call it that, for much of this stuff.


On their very own website, the high priests and priestesses of ethics are also good enough to point us to the Province of Alberta's site on this matter where we learn that it is actually 844 square km, or 84,395 hectares that  have been been ripped up by tar sands development so far.

And how much of that land has the Province of Alberta actually 'certified' as being actually reclaimed?

Why, that would be a grand total of...

Wait for it...

...104 hectares.

Which means that Mr Young was actually 99.9% correct with his statement, as quoted by the high priests and priestesses above.

Which, of course, also means that, despite what the good Mr. Ezra Levant has to say on the TeeVee, Mr. Young was actually more pure than Ivory Snow on this matter.

As for this land under 'active' reclamation dodge that is used as deflector spin on this matter?


When I heard him talk about this at some length with Jian Ghomeshi this was Mr. Young's real point when he noted that most of the so-called 'active' reclamation that he saw when he, unlike Mr. Ghomeshi, actually visited the Tar Sands was, in his opinion, little more than a cosmetic crock of codswallop.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

This Night In Snookland....No (Real) News Is Good News.



This bit of he said/he said/he said triple-decker stenography from the CP's Mr. Meissner does not count.

(as real news I mean)


There was something interesting in Mr. Meissner's bit (as posted-up by the VSun at least)...Which is the fact that the second deck of the stenography sandwich came not from the opposition (they were third) but instead from the Lotuslandian proMedia's most omnipresent rolodexian go-to-guy (and former astroturf afficionado), Mr. Jordan Bateman.


What Ms. Page Actually Said.


Don't know about you but I, for one, was overwhelmed with all the analysis, commentary and, yes, gossip that surfaced in the proMedia this weekend in the wake of what that 'tiny Canadian' living in LA, Ellen Page, said to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation recently.


One thing I rarely heard or read in those 'reports' was are report of what Ms. Page actually said.

So here, for the record, is her address, in its entirety. You will find that is 8 minutes and 37 seconds very well spent.


This Day In Snookland....Oooooooh, What's That Smell?


Harvey Oberfeld has woken up to smell the North False Creek coffee.

And he does not like the odour:

Here's Harvey O's lede:

It stinks! The move of Michael Graydon …. weeks after quitting as the President and CEO of the BC Lottery Corporation … to become President of the company in charge of building a $535 Million casino complex, in which Las Vegas-based Paragon Gaming is a major partner, near BC Place in Vancouver … stinks!

This is not to suggest, at this point anyway, that there’s any evidence Graydon did anything wrong legally: but it stinks because it shows how loose, how lax, how full of holes are the rules, regulations and laws that govern such moves by powerful, prominent officials … allowing them to cash in on their “insider” knowledge so soon after quitting.

It stinks!...

I suggest you click on through because it's a good rant.

And I, for one, am glad that the stench has gotten up Mr. Oberfeld's nose.


Unfortnately, not once does Harvey O. mention the most interesting actions of another BC Liberal appointee who actually had a financial interest in the Las Vegas concern that is now slotted-in to help build and operate the Casino-Industrial Complex next to the BC Place Stadium WHILE HE WAS STILL THE HEAD of the BC Lottery Corporation.


Subheader?....Well...You know...Sometimes it would appear that even Southern men can get things pretty much right, at least metaphorically, when it comes to the latest ongoing goings on in downtown Snooklandia.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

This Day In Snookland....Park Today, Gone Tomorrow?


The VSun's Larry Pynn has the story. Here's his lede:

Companies planning to build projects such as pipelines and transmission lines stand to receive permits to conduct exploratory research in B.C. parks, according to proposed new legislation introduced Thursday.

Bill 4, the Park Amendment Act, 2014, would allow investigative-use permits to be issued for studies, including for vegetation sampling, fish surveys and low-impact geotechnical studies. Based on the results of the studies, companies would then have to apply for a boundary adjustment if they wanted to proceed with a project through a park...


Lest you think the flack-hackery has not lined it's (one) duck(s) in a row to muddy all media sound-bite waters, Park-Slayer-In-Chief  Mary Polak was ready with this:

...(BC Liberal Government Environment Minister) Mary Polak noted that not all permit applications will be from companies seeking industrial projects.

The Kitselas First Nation near Terrace is seeking an amendment to 269-hectare Kleanza Creek Provincial Park to allow for access to drinking water. Access roads are another potential rationale for a park boundary amendment.

She noted that allowing a small land removal from a park might result in less environmental damage than if a company had to seek an alternative route...

Except, as the Sun's Mr. Pynn was quick to note:

...The Vancouver Sun reported last December that the Ministry of Environment is anticipating applications for boundary adjustments to at least 35 parks and other protected areas to accommodate industrial pipelines, transmission lines and resource roads.

The proposed boundary adjustments — which would amount to new or enlarged industrial corridors slicing through protected areas — were contained within a four-page ministry document dated May 17, 2013 and released through a freedom-of-information request.

According to the document, Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion from Alberta to Burnaby could potentially require boundary adjustments to 10 provincial parks, ranging in size from 8.5-hectare F.H. Barber and 32-hectare Bridal Veil Falls, both between Chilliwack and Hope, to large protected areas such as 615-hectare Jackman Flats near Valemount and 15,000-hectare Lac du Bois Grasslands near Kamloops...


Do you see the reverse peristaltic manoeuver that Mr. Pynn just executed...Perhaps a few of the puffed-up pro-punditry round 'here who have been lulled into swallowing flack hackery/think tank codswallop whole should take note of how it can (and should) be done.
And, just for the record (and because I have a memory and I refuse to not use it)...It's not like the BC Liberals have not cut up a park to help fill the pockets of the cronies with treasure more valuable than bitcoin before...Right?


Friday, February 14, 2014

Is The Flack-Hackery Killing Us?


I've long thought that one of the biggest reasons so many important political stories that should be written never are is because of the 'Evils of Access'.

In other words, many in the puffed-up pro-punditry are loathe to go after the people today who are most likely to feed them their stories tomorrow.

And then, a few days ago, Sean Holman wrote about a different aspect of proMedia self-censorship.

Which is the possibility that many in the proMedia these days may avoid certain stories because they are looking to locate a safe-landing amongst the flack-hackery as more and more members of the former lose their jobs as the ranks of the latter swell.


Just how fluid is the flack-hackery these days anyway?


To hear the New York Times' Eric Lipton tell Terry Gross, at least half of the corporate flack-hackery lobbying the American government these days are actually former government flacks 'n staffers.

And I doubt it is any different up here in the country formerly known as Canuckistan.

With, presumably, much of the other half of the flack-hackery coming from the proMedia ranks.

Mr. Lipton also said something else which drives home the point as to why the 'Evils of Access' matters so much to all concerned, which is the following:

"A story in the newspaper is much more valuable (to the flack-hackery) than a press release"

Who knew?


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What 'Problems' Are The Fed-Cons Really Trying To Solve With Their So-Called 'Fair' Election Legislation?


Andrew Coyne, in the NaPo was good.

But Alison, at Creekside, does him one better.

Here is her number one of five (a two-parter):

(Fed-Con)Problem : Investigation into election fraud in 2011 Election 33 months ago being rushed along at dangerous breakneck speeds.

Fair Elections Act Solutions:
1) Deny Elections Commissioner authority to compel documents and witness testimony (with individual authorizations from the courts) - a power nonetheless already enjoyed by elections chiefs in most provinces : Yukon, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick...

(snippety doo-dah) 

2) The Del Mastro clause. Require Elections Canada to inform subjects they are being investigated while preventing EC from telling the public about it...

Go read all five.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Canadian To Foreign To Canadian Worker Dodge In The Tar Sands...The Treacherous Double Down.


Well, well, well...

Whadd'ya know.

It looks the 'rehiring' of Canadian workers in the Tarsands was nothing but a PR stunt after all.

And that the workers originally fired have been stomped on, for no good reason at all, a second time:

Unionized Canadian workers at the Kearl oilsands mine who lost their jobs to temporary foreign workers from Croatia say the contractor has reneged on a promise to rehire them.

Last week, Pacer Promec announced it would rehire about 60 workers who are members of the Ironworkers Union.

On Monday, the company said that it has rehired Canadian workers -- but not the ones who were laid off.

Vic Nilson, one of the unionized workers who was laid off, says the company betrayed them.

“They said that we were all going to be reinstated and given our jobs back up there, with that company. And I've heard nothing,” he said....

And the silence from Jason Kenny is deafening:

...A spokesman for federal employment minister Jason Kenney says the matter is still under investigation...



Why Big Media Journalism Can Still Matter.



Update: Looks like the company has doubled-down....And not in a good way.

There are some stories that can neither be waved away or buried by the ever growing flack-hackery.

This, from the middle of last week, was one of them:

The federal government says it is investigating claims that dozens of Canadian oilsands workers in Alberta were laid off and replaced with temporary foreign workers.

More than 60 ironworkers say they were let go from their jobs at the Kearl Mine, north of Fort McMurray, last week.

Vic Nilson, who worked at the plant since June, said he and his colleague were told to leave last week with no word as to why.

“Our jobs have been given away,” Nilson said. “We trade our lives to be up here, 14 on [and] seven days off. It was a kick in the backside.”...

Which led to a mega-crank of the big media wurlitzer that powered a spotlight so intense that, by the end of the week, the story had changed considerably:

Dozens of Canadian ironworkers who were replaced by temporary foreign workers at an oilsands project north of Fort McMurray, Alta., have been rehired, the company said Thursday...

Imagine that.


Saturday, February 08, 2014

This Weekend In Snookland...The Cronification of Everything.



A few (and yes, at this point at least, it is still only a few) media wags are noticing that the man who was appointed by the Snooklandians to run the BC Lottery Corporation has suddenly quit and, even more suddenly (surprise!), has gone to work for those finest of the fine finefolks who are building the Snooklandian-subsidized Casino-Industrial Complex next to right next door to the stadium with the $600 million dollar carpet on top.

Here's the ever vigilant Bob Mackin's lede on this Friday before-the-Snooklandian-long-weekend garbage dump story in The Tyee:

Just over a week after he suddenly quit as B.C. Lottery Corporation CEO, Michael Graydon resurfaced as the president of a company planning to build a casino next to BC Place Stadium.

Graydon will join PV Hospitality ULC, a partnership between Paragon Gaming and its financial backer 360 VOX Corporation, on Feb. 11, according to a news release.

Las Vegas-based Paragon Gaming received City of Vancouver approval in 2011 to move its existing Edgewater Casino licence from the Plaza of Nations to land leased from B.C. Pavilion Corporation...

But here's the thing.

What you are not hearing in the sporadic Lotuslandian 'lectronic news division reports on this story (although Mr. Mackin does mention it) is the fact (i.e. it is not made up) that the fine folks from Paragon had a fix in from even before the beginning.

Specifically, a super-fine fellow, and a previous BC Liberal-appointed head of the BC Lottery Corporation (i.e. the group that is supposed to be working for you and me, not for private casino corporations) named Mr. T. Richard Turner actually had a financial interest in Paragon while he was actually sitting as head of the BCLC before the Casino-Industrial Complex was even a twinkle, allegedly, in anyone's eye.

And, worse, in my opinion, what no one seems to care to remember today is the fact (i.e. it is not made up) that the good Mr. Turner, after he suddenly 'quit' the BCLC and became a principal in Paragon, called up the then Campellerian Minister responsible for BC Place and told him that if we (i.e. the public, not the private casino corporation) did not build a $600 million dollar roof next to their proposed casino that the deal, as already consumated, would likely be off.

More specifically, it is a fact (i.e. it is not made up either) that, at least according to the then Minister involved, that Mr. Turner called him up on his cellphone and said that not building a new retractable roof atop the old marsmallow, a roof that was subsequently paid for by you and me (i.e. not a private casino corporation), could very well be a 'deal breaker'.

And yet, after all that, and the thee million dollar a year public subsidy recently granted to the private casino maker by the Snooklandians,  we are slowly but surely strangling our ferry system (i.e. the system that we, the public, not private casino operators or even Snooklandian Helijet flyers, use) to save a lousy $54 million?

Honestly (and I say this with all snark phasers turned off and their batteries removed and thrown in the ocean)....

Words alone can no longer express my total dismay at this latest development in the BC Liberal's 13-year-long forced march to cronify literally everything that is, or is not already, nailed down/cut down/mined-out/damned-up and/or fracked-to-kingdom-come in this province.

Up next...How wrong, exactly, was Neil Young when he was right about the state of Tar Sands land reclamation?...


Late Winter Jukebox Song #3....Pay Them Their Money Down!


The last time I saw Pete Seeger, in 1986, it didn't cost me a dime.

So I figure I owe him.


I figure I owe a lot of people.

And I'll be damned if, just because I'm doing alright these days, that I'm going to let the Snooklandians and their ilk pull up the ladder on all those people just so the ilk and the assorted sundry cronies can get even richer than Richie Rich ever was.


'Pay Me' is, apparently, an old slave ship song...Pete and the other Weavers did it in 1955...Bruce and the Gang did it in 2006...E. and I do it now too.
Did I miss anybody...How about Paramedics?....Librarians?....Canada Line Tunnel Digger Workers?

Other singles in the 'Late Winter Jukebox' so far are....

Latest Sunday Setlist, in which I pine for the Spring (training) time, is....

And, finally....If you're still looking for those Holiday Advent Tunes (and judging by hitcounter, which has now crested 150,000,  a select group of you are), you can find them if you scroll on down the page... They are also archived, top to bottom.....Here


Friday, February 07, 2014

The End Of Reason, Version #37,495...Blaming Democrats For Man-Made Drought In California.


From a recent piece titled "Republicans Seek To Tap California Drought For A Political Edge" by Evan Halper in the Los Angeles Times:

WASHINGTON — Beleaguered and outnumbered, California Republicans think they may have found a crucial ally — drought.

Up and down the state's increasingly dry Central Valley, Republicans have pounded away at the argument that Democratic policies — particularly environmental rules — are to blame for the parched fields and dwindling reservoirs that threaten to bankrupt farms and wipe out jobs....

Which means, as William Rivers Pitt notes:

...(H)umans can’t cause climate change, but Democrats can cause droughts, or something...

And the real problem here?


In my opinion it is the fact that a media organ with the reach and the gravitas of the LA Times plays this codswallop straight-up without calling attention to the absurdity of the thing.


"Both Sides Do It!" once again reigns surpreme throughout the land (both above and below the 49th parallel) regardless the actual facts of the situation.


This Day In Snookland...When In Doubt Obfuscate!


And why wouldn't the fine folks running Snooklandia want to get all this screwing over of  the public school teachers stuff back before the courts?

After all, that way they could, when asked, say they couldn't talk about it.


Because, as good old Stonewally was so fond of saying back in Railgate's darkest days...

'It's before the courts!'

Or some such sub-judicey-type thingamajig.



A New Sunday Setlist On......


You bet.

And this one is a little different.

Because, in addition to coming your way on a weird day, there is a wee bit more story mixed in with the songs.

The first part details what Spring Training means to me (and yes, the 'Motel Slant-Six' was a real thing; just ask my 'editor').

The second part involves my thoughts on our Neil.

And a little bit more.

As for the tunes...Paul Simon (but not what you're expecting)...The Boss...Banjoized Neil....The Mangan.
And, if you're interested...The most straightforward account of what Neil's latest tour of the Great White North is all about, from Mr. Young's perspective at least, can be heard in Jian Ghomeshi's (reasonably) long-form interview on 'Q'...You can listen to it here.
Image at the top of the post...Redbird teammates S. Musial and C. Flood before the latter challenged the reserve clause for all kinds of reason that made others, but not him, rich....Photo from the always fantastic '90 Feet of Perfection'.
Finally....Here's a link to Dan Epstein's stuff...Epstein is the guy who is obsessed with baseball in the double-knit/turf-toe era...
Update....Awww Geez...Audio is way harder to fix than linear type...I called Ken Burns 'Ken Read' on the tape when I was talking about his fantastic 'Baseball' documentary...Apologies.


Thursday, February 06, 2014

Lotusland's Best Map So Far This Year.



What is it exactly?

Why, it's a map of all of the 'Neighbourhood Book Exchanges' in the City of Vancouver.

Which are sometimes called 'pocket' or 'little free libraries' where folks in the neighbourhood leave books for each other to read.

For free.

No strings attached.


The list was compiled by the GStraight's Miranda Nelson.

Here's the lede to her story:

As an avid reader, I adore the many neighborhood book exchanges that have popped up around our city in the last few years.

The concept behind the exchanges is simple: enterprising citizens build a dry storage space, usually visible from the street. Patrons are encouraged to take or leave a book (or two) as they like, which ensures a diversity of titles that rotate fairly quickly over time...
I just love the whole idea and execution of these little gems.

(and, of course, it is also most interesting as to which parts of town they aren't located in)