Saturday, September 27, 2014

Damn The Collective Good, And Labour Unions, And New Dealism Anyway!


Because, clearly, if you listen to the water heads, big muddy division, and the new dumb, the huge surge in unionism (and welfare queens buying caddies, and bike lanes, and universal healthcare, and public schools) are the main cause for the following:


Upshot: When you hear a screamer, club member and/or a Snooklandian bleating on about how giving people a fair shake and a fair wage is just too old fashioned to work, feel free to ask..."And just what the heckfire-in-a-hand-up-basket is so bad about 'old-fashioned' anyway?"
Graphical Source: Pavlina Tcherneva of Bard College via  Kevin Drum at MoJo....Tip O' The Toque to Mr. Electrico.


Last Week In Snookland...The Shrieking.


I didn't do it on purpose.

In fact, mostly, I was just so busy last week that I stayed away from the non-work, non-database portal-driven interwebz by accident.

As a result, day-by-day, an interesting thing started to happen.

Essentially, I really and truly noticed that I could feel my pre-internet brain coming back to life.


By Thursday I had even finished the Paul Auster book I bought back on our summer holidays when littler e. and I spent a luxurious hour or so rattling around in our favourite second-hand Berkeley bookstore while Bigger E. did her busking thing across the street in front of our old grocery store.


None of that meant that I could escape the caterwauling of the head Snooklandian entirely.

First it was a snippet on the radio of her almost gleefully (and politically expedient) announcing a desire to lock all the dungeon doors and throw away all of the keys on all of those terrible, evil bad people out there. This, of course, was executed in the wake of a terrible tragedy and it was clearly designed to attract the media herds (including national ones) in droves.

And then, yesterday, I heard her poo-pooing of the death of another herd of Sparkle Ponies when Petronas started making noises about the pulling out of the great LNG fantasy.



It is Saturday now.

And I've spent the early morning roaming the tubes.

So I'm back, I guess.

But I'm thinking of doing it in cycles.

Just like I do it with ice cream.


'Pre-Internet Brain'? you may be asking....Well, it's a Coupland thing...Smart-assed, sharp-eyed bastard...
By the way, for the record, I first read Microserfs, pretty much all in one all night go, back in the days when I really and truly did only use the interwebz for work...At that time I was lucky enough to be working in an American FedGov lab that was hooked directly into the backbone...
Regarding the dying off of the Sparkle Ponies...How come so few of the local water heads pontificating on the matter over the last newscyle or to have made it clear that Petronas is not the first to balk?


Friday, September 26, 2014

Democracy Breaks Out Amongst...

...The Lawyers.


From the MoCo:

The governing members of the Law Society of British Columbia have decided to hold a binding referendum to determine the future of a faith-based law school at Trinity Western University.

The board members, who are known as benchers, voted on Friday morning to hold the referendum at the earliest possible date, with the results to be released by the end of October....

In other words, if I understand this correctly, the members will decide.

Imagine that!

And, in my opinion, this is about discrimination, not freedom of religion.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Summer Jukebox Tune #16....Calling Cards


Please note....Busy week...Thus, poli-blogging will be light for awhile...

Almost five years ago now, my two kids and I embarked on a 52 week long project we called 'Our Busking Year'.

It mostly consisted of us popping up at parks and various and sundry out of the way places to play our instruments and sing.

Like, say...This.

And then our oldest kid went away to school far away and became a real pro at the thing in subway stations and on downtown street corners in Montreal.

And at the same time our youngest kid became a dancer.

So, over the last couple of years I started playing on my own again, down in the basement.

But instead of just playing for myself and my four walls, I got some help from from some of you all and started making little lo-fi, slightly off-key recordings that have now been listened to over 900,000 times.

In fact, the listens outpace the page views around here by about two-to-one.

And no, I'm not making that up.


Our oldest kid is going to school back at home now.

And so she does her pro-thing mostly on downtown Lotusland's streets these days.

Sometimes I even play with her. And while I'm pretty sure my presence cuts into her earnings, I have passed the halfway point toward my new/old telecaster that I have my eye on.

But, more often these days, what with this endless summer that just may end on Monday and all, our oldest kid now goes out with the youngest kid so they can do their two things together.

It's a real honest-to-goddess 'Sister Act', with Bigger E doing the singing and strumming while littler e. puts down her hunk of TConnorsian plywood and makes like the Ms. Bojangles that she has become.

And I'm telling you, it's truly amazing with kids.

I mean, even when they are so close they can't help but to move away as they grow up and start doing their own thing.

Which, of course, is pretty much as it should be.

But still, I'm pretty sure that if you really try you can always be with them, in spirit at least, even when you are not right there in the thick of things.



Anybody who says Neko Case (including Neko Case herself ) is not a musical genius is flat out crazy.

For all kinds of reasons, that include way more than just the singing.

'Calling Cards' is a short little story song from her last album that could be about just about anything.

It turns out, however, that Ms. Case wrote the song about something very specific.

Specifically, it's a song about how she always keeps all her various and assorted sundry bandmates and musical collaborators in her heart no matter where she is and what she is doing.

Sound like something I was talking about up above?

Here's my version, sharped the way she does it and everything (which was a big stretch for me), but what the heckfire...

And I'm telling you....If I hear one more braindead report, question or comment about how there is a big rift among teachers after an 86-14 ratification vote...Well...I'm going to start screaming Proclaimers songs at the top of my lungs...Or some such thing.
And, yes, that is a reference to the Scottish 55-45 thing...


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Thirty One Reasons Why The Trials And Tribulations of Mike Duffy May Help Force An Early Federal Election.



If the Duff-Master Flash gets his way and has an early trial, will it force Mr. Harper to resign as Scott Reid, writing for Postmedia, suggested the other day?


I think not.

Me, I'm more inclined to go along with Harvey O who thinks that the Duffy trial, along with the buoyant poll numbers for Trudeau II and a coming budget surplus built from a zillion tiny strips of flesh ripped from the backs of the middle class (which is my opinion not Mr. Oberfeld's, although he does acknowledge the strip mining of the UI gold deposits).


How will we know if the early call is coming.

Well, if the smear campaign directed at Mr. Trudeau cranks up in earnest before Halloween rather than early in the New Year I reckon that will be a sign to start taking early odds and placing your bets.

And, as for driving down the confirmed anti-CPS vote that is sure to come also?....Do not, for one second, ever forget that the Robo/Real-Call shenanigans did NOT begin in 2011....Thought of that on Friday as we dropped folks off at the Victoria Airport, and had to go through that post-Saanich Robocall Ground Zero deflector spin highway/multiple traffic circle exchange on the way back from a Memorial for C's Mom who passed away after a long and feisty (to say the least) life earlier this summer...She will be much missed by many...
And, ya, I do refuse to call it EI...Why?...Because it's insurance for the unemployed that we all pay into, that's why.


This Weekend In Snookland...Some Funds Are More Equal Than Others.


The HuffPo had the story up first...

A group of teachers who bought tickets to B.C. Liberal fundraiser say they were rejected from attending after concerns about “security,” and that they were unwanted because the social event was not about politics...


...Some teachers decided to fundraise enough to buy a table so they could meet face-to-face with Bing, the Liberal MLA for and his caucus colleagues, Scott Susin told The Huffington Post B.C. in an email.

“We had no intention of being militant or crazy, or anything like that. That was part of our strategy also, to debunk that myth about teachers, and at the end of the day, engage in meaningful dialogue,” said Susin, a teacher from Mission.

Melanie Harris, another teacher who had planned to attend Bing's event, said, “Perhaps if we left the politics behind we could see each other as people and find some common ground.”


Looks like the Snooklandians can both run away and  hide.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

New Music Very Well Expressed - Benjamin Booker


It's young Mr. Benjamin Booker and friends.

Very cool weird blues punk fusion.

If you wanna learn lots more about Mr. Booker and how he does his thing, Kott and Derogatis did a solid long form interview with him....Here.


This Day In Snookland...Random Rule.



According to Justine Hunter, writing today in the Globe, it would appear that the labour strife that paralyzed this Province for months and caused the parents and guardians of half a million kids to scramble around like chickens with their heads cut-off for the last three weeks was ended in one weekend because our fine Premier stumbled into a chance encounter thousands of miles away that led to drinks at the bar followed by a secret meeting at an Airport hotel.

This after everyone concerned, including the union leadership, had been pleading for the Premier to do something for weeks to help deal with the paralysis that was caused, in large part by her own government's actions (and inactions, not to mention propaganda and smear campaigns).


Clearly this is no longer just a 'Say Anything' premiership.

Now, based on the evidence at hand it also clear that it is also a 'Do Anything Whenever I Feel Like It' premiership.


Absolutely unbelievable.

And in the meantime the cacophony of the 'Band Of The Cronies' plays on.

And, yet...

Those that need our help most are still getting screwed over, royally, by Ms. Clark and her government.


Is it possible, do you think, that single disabled parents can't afford to drink in hotel bars?


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Teachers I Have Known...Mr. H.


Mr. H. was my Grade 12 biology teacher.

I honestly remember very little about what he taught us, which is weird given that I am now a card carrying cell biologist who does a little teaching on the side.

But I do remember how inspiring he was and how he could hold everybody's rapt attention, so much so that his classes were ones you DIDN'T want to end, even during the last period of sunny afternoons. 

I also remember his abiding sense of fairnness, which is a big deal when you are in highschool.

Anyway, Mr. H. was one of the few teachers I kept in touch with after I moved on to other things (I really wish I'd done more of that - I love it when I hear from the kids I've taught).

One of my proudest moments was when I sent him a paper I wrote, twenty years ago now, that helped, in a small way, start a field in the cell biological world called 'mechanotransduction'.

Good luck with your voting today teachers, no matter which way it goes!


Teachers I Have Known...Mr. O.


Mr. O. was my homeroom teacher in Grade 8.

The start of junior high school and all that.

He also was the first person to start me on the path to learning French badly as occurred back then in British Columbia secondary curricula (at least as I remember it - little conversation, all grammar).

But somehow Mr. O. made an impression on me because, when I was struggling with a problem that seemed monumental at the time (i.e. quitting rugby so I could play basketball - you'd have to know my family), he sat me down in his empty classroom and explained that if I wanted to play a dumb game with hoops (he, like my Dad, was a rugby player) that was fine by everybody, most importantly, me.

And he was right - when I told my Dad it was fine by him to.

I'm telling you....The stuff that goes on in a teenager's head.

One other thing....After we were done with the sports talk, Mr. O asked me what I really wanted to do with my life.

I remember not having a clue.

At least not then.

But I do remember thinking about it a little.

Good luck with your voting today teachers, no matter which way it goes!


Teachers I Have Known...Miss W.


Something weird happened to me between the ages of 9 and 10.

Which is that I started to read like a madman.

So much so, that after an initial flurry of sports biographies and Hardy Boys and all that, I'd read a whole lot of Vonnegut by the time the summer I started staying up all night to read, by flashlight, in a pup tent, at the age of 11.

Part of that was my Dad's fault.

But looking back I can see clearly that it all started in grade 4 with Ms. W. who got us to read chunks of stuff and then tell the class about it.

I really loved that...Reading stuff and then telling people about it.

So I guess you all can blame Mr. W. for what I do around here.


Good luck with your voting today teachers, no matter which way it goes!


Teachers I Have Known...Mrs. G.


I was at a brand new school in Grade 2.

Ms. G. was my teacher and even though it was 47 years ago this month I still distinctly remember the absolute joy (and relief) of being completely comfortable the very first day.

And then she taught me to play the recorder.

And later, because she ran the school choir she taught me to kinda/sorta/almost sing.

So you can blame her for all this.


Good luck with your voting today teachers, no matter which way it goes!


Quick Wins Resurrection Shuffle...Another Thing That Was Not Mentioned In The Dyble Report.


After 'Quick Wins' broke BEFORE the last general election, Ms. Clark had her man John Dyble investigate the other men and women in her own office (i.e. the Office Of The Premier Of British Columbia) regarding the so-called 'hatching' of plans to do BC Liberal Party work inside both that office and the whole of the government of British Columbia.

Here is the 'spreadsheet' evidence of who was involved in the 'hatching'.

And here is when Mr. Dyble reported that the 'hatching' occurred:

"...Following the December 1, 2011 meeting (where the scheme was hatched by 11 people made up of 6 government employees, 4 BC Liberal Caucus employees and 1 BC Liberal Party employee), Mike Lee took the notes away and prepered on his work computer a first draft of the spreadsheet capturing the ideas and activites that were discussed in the meeting. The IT security investigation shows that the document was shared with Dave Ritchie, Executive Assistant to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism, and then Primrose Carson, the Executive Director of the BC LIberal Caucus. A draft of this spreadsheet is part of the materials released by the Official Opposition during the week of Februrary 25, 2013..."

Please note that was late 2011.

Please note that the by-election that led to the recent charges in the wake of Quick Wins took place in 2012. 

Please note that, as Bill Tieleman recently reported in The Tyee, that 2012 by-election was never mentioned in the Dyble Report that was released BEFORE the election in early 2013.

And what was that other thing that was not mentioned in the Dyble Report and only surfaced in a document dump AFTER the general election in the summer of 2013?

Why that would be that Email from one of the fine folks charged (and who was, it would appear, also named twice in that 'hatching' spreadsheet noted above) suggesting that an offer of an 'inducement' should be made to the whistleblower whose cooperation, it would also appear, likely contributed to the subsequent investigations by the authorities and the special prosecutor.


At least the trickiest of all tricky ones had the good sense to keep the plumbers in the basement.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

#BCED Postscript...After Them The Deluge?


The following was posted up on the White Spot book of faces page not before the tentative deal was struck:

A message from White Spot

For more than 85 years, White Spot has valued and served this province’s thousands of teachers and generations of students. We have also, for more than 85 years, willingly dedicated ourselves to support numerous worthy charities – fund-raising and pitching in to improve the lives of children and their parents, in the communities where we ourselves live, and work.

For this reason, we sincerely hope the difficult issues that are impacting so many of our valued guests across British Columbia are resolved quickly and fairly. Many of you have indicated to us that you have a strong commitment to the well-being of this province’s children – a commitment which White Spot shares.

To correct any misunderstanding, we want our valued guests to know that White Spot has not had – and will not have – any involvement in the Coalition of BC Business’s application for intervener status in the upcoming appeal involving the BC Teachers Federation and the provincial government. White Spot is not a member of the Coalition of BC Business – although we, like the majority of chain and independent restaurants in B.C. – are a member of Restaurants Canada (formerly the Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association), which is a Coalition member....


I reckon that there at least a few things to consider from this, including...

Firstly....While this is a good first step, neither White Spot nor the Oak Bay Beach Hotel (who have made a similar statement according to BIV's Janet Steffenhagen) seems to have separated themselves from the Association that is sticking it's nose into the court case.

Secondly.....Don't forget, the case has not yet been heard, so the pressure can still be applied to all various and sundry establishments if the citizenry feels that is the right approach to take.

Thirdly....Could you imagine the caterwaul that would have been emitted by the proMedia 'round here if there had been even the slightest evidence in, say, the teachers' federation before the tentative deal was struck...So on this 'Intervenor' association/federation thing, how come so little has shown up in the proMedia regarding its demonstrable cracks?


This Day In Snookland...The Thanking.


From the beginning of a note from a teacher to our fine Premier, written yesterday:

Dear Christy,

Just wanted to send a quick thank you! Thank you so much for creating the conditions that injected new life into our democracy when your unethical actions galvanized citizens out of apathy. Many citizens have reacted as I imagine a spouse would when they discover that their partner has been cheating. They are enraged now that the scales of media obfuscation have been removed from their eyes and they have discovered what lies behind your smile...



This is one time when Ms. Clark really should just stop saying 'anything', particularly about historical agreements and great days and all of that, for a few days at least.

Because if she is not careful she really could inflame a whole lot of teachers who are having a hard time with the tentative deal which many feel is not what they fought for on either front.

I mean, I'm pretty sure all concerned, including the ideological wizards behind the curtain and, presumably, Ms. Clark (although who really knows) don't want a 'No' vote tomorrow.


And, in my opinion the teacher at the top is right...And, taking things one step further, it is also my opinion that the union has done all that it can to hold the line...And, so...If we want to move that line in the right direction it is we the citizenry who have to do our jobs now...At the ballot box.


#BCED (ctd)....A Little More On The 'BC Parents Federation'


The 'BC Parents Federation' was, according to CBC News at least (but not Global), behind the 'counter-protest' kerfuffle at a public education rally in downtown Vancouver on Sunday.

At the time we decided to try and find out who these fine folks were, and what they were all about, by sniffing around online.

Which led to all kinds of bizarrity on the Twittmachine that was followed by a rapid disappearing of websites, etcetera.

All that can be found here if you work backward through the links.

But now, Ian Young, one of the few journalists left in Lotusland that actually digs for a living (and whose stuff is published thousands of kilometres away) has a little bit more:

....Members of the British Columbia Parents’ Federation (BCPF), some wearing surgical masks, unfurled a large vinyl banner carrying their group’s name in English and Chinese as they attempted to march on a larger rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery in support of the industrial action on Sunday...


...Among the BCPF protesters were some of the same people who vocally opposed the Vancouver School Board’s adoption of a new policy on transgender students in May. They included Charter Lau, a prominent Hong Kong immigrant and social conservative who has previously sought election to the Burnaby School Board...


Is anybody catching a wee bit of the whiff of the Glimmer Twins (scroll down a little) in all of this?



You know.

And then, of course, there is the utterly and inexplicably true bizarrity of....This.
Update: Ian Young, via the Twittmachine says he has no knowledge of an involvement of the actual Glimmering Twins in this particular kerfuffle...


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

This Day In Snookland....A Bedazzling Endorsement From The Mesmerized.


..."When I first met Christy Clark, it was working on branding her Vancouver mayoral campaign. Although she didn't win, I knew one day that she would achieve something greater," Pickett said. "The sparkle in her eye and the way she presented herself when she entered a room was truly mesmerizing."...

Such a wonderful reason to do all you can to make a person the Premier of a province, eh?


In case you are wondering who said that....

It came from the very fine, finest of the fine person who has been running that Snooklandian bought-and-paid-for social media (and more!) anti-teacher campaign lo these many weeks.

Bob Mackin had the story yesterday in The Tyee.

(and yes, as you may have guessed the six figure, plus, contract went to that particular member of the finest of the finely mesmerized untendered).

Previous editions of previous Snooklandian Daze can be found....Here....This particularly obvious one is probably worth replaying today...For the record.


The Keef Report....Post (Tentative) Teachers' Deal Edition.


(Short story so far...Tentative deal reached at 4am....No details yet...Ratification vote Thursday....If all goes well, school on Monday...)

The following came from the Keef late last night, just before Vince Ready (allegedly) put both sides in a headlock for the duration:


Was the good Mr. Baldrey trafficking in those 'rumours' that Ron Obvious hates so much...

Or is this really how it went down given that it would appear that there was no 'crunching'?



The Glimmer Twins did it!


Guess only time.

And the actual details will tell.

Meanwhile, Mike Watkins tells us, via the non-rumour division of the Twittmachine, that the Richmond Centre For Diversity played no active part in the website shenanigans of that 'counter protest' group that we tracked over the weekend... Mike did the digging (he contacted the RCD and heard back from their Executive Director directly) that the proMedia wouldn't, including the CBC, after they all bit and ran with 'shiny' story of the 'clash' between the group and teachers on Sunday...
Previous Keef Reports are.....Here.


Monday, September 15, 2014

#BCED....Is No (Real) News Good News?


The fact that so little real news leaked out of Teacher/Gov't talks over the weekend (i.e. the fact that Denike and Woo showed up, out of the blue, for no good reason at all was not real news) suggests that something is happening.

And the fact that Vince Ready says they are going to get together again today is further evidence of that, I reckon.


As things drag on and the financial squeeze starts to tighten on individual teachers, one can only wonder if it's starting to look the ol' Bailey Brothers Building and Loan around the Emergency Fund offices of the BCTF these days.

And, more specifically, I'm talking about that part where there is a run on the bank.

It's the scene that ends when George manages to calm everyone down with his Honeymoon money and then, finally, asks Miss Davis how much she needs. After initially hesitating, she manages to say...'Could I have $17.50?"

And, just in case you didn't know it, according to a bizarre profile in The Province awhile back, 'It's A Wonderful Wife' is one of Christy Clark's favourite movies.


In more reports of the not 'real' news...

We had an interesting (crowd source-backed) time around here yesterday figuring out where the website of a very amateurish group that attempted to disrupt the public education rally in downtown Lotusland yesterday came from.

This spilled over to the Twittmachine, where things went kinda/sorta like....This.

But, just to be clear, the real action was right here where we had the room and space to stretch things out and make things clear (you can start with this post and work backward through the links if you're interested).

And just to be even clearer, after I did a little initial digging in the Tubez, I got all the help I needed from readers...It was just like the old days of early RailGate.


Does this mean that if you care about public education in this province that you are now part of a 'Cult'?


Sunday, September 14, 2014

#BCED...A Screen Capture Of The Disappeared Counter Protesters' Website



Update, 10pm Sunday Sept 14/14....Some dot connecting re: The Website and how it may have come to be in the comments....Here.
Thanks to our old friends G.A.B. and N.V.G. as well as Mike Watkins from the Twittmachine (as well as a bunch of other folks too for the crowdsourcing assistance extraordinare)...

Yes that's right...We've managed to bring it back from the dead.

Because the so-called 'BC Federation of Parents' website against the BCTF, has been found in the Google-Cache:

Need background on the 'Federation' and all of it's 32 members? (the number was 30 when I first saw this screen pop up Sunday afternoon from what had been, essentially, a dead letter site before that)

Well, it starts here...

Then it gets weird, here...

Then the bizarrity begins, here....

And then it gets downright goofy,  here...

But none of that matters to any and all digital influencers as long as it gets proMedia play without any direct trackback to the Federation as happened on Global TeeVee this evening, right (that bit can be reached through the last link, above)?

Thanks to our old friend, and former Railgate digging machine, GAB, for the GoogleCache tip.
One last thing, and then I'm going to stop because this is starting to smell like the work an old nemesis that I once dealt with back in the old Railgate days...Turns out that there is a Twittmachine feed from the 'BC Parents Fed' with yet another monicker "Back To School"....Very little there...But sure was happy to retweet a certain 'Digital Influencer' when the media first bit on all of this earlier today...


#BCED Counter Protester Website Disappears.


I've been writing about this thing all afternoon.

Suddenly it's gone.

Bizarre YouTube slideshow is still there though.

Meanwhile.....Global TeeVee sees the shiny newscycle candy and bites down, hard, as it runs a piece on the 'dozens of families' that were protesting 'against' the BCTF at the Vancouver public education today...No mention, however, of the 'BC Parents Federation' that is now disappearing into the ether....


Twittmachine Feed With Different Name Now Asking Folks To 'Come Join Us' (i.e. the #BCED Counter Protesters)



 Update: 7:45pm Sunday Sept 14/14...The group's website has been disappeared.

Earlier today, a group calling itself the 'BC Parents Federation' mounted a counter demonstration that was covered by the CBC, mostly from the point of view of the kerfuffle that apparently ensued (i.e. proMedia...'Shiny!'). 

As a result, I did a little digging into their meagre online presence of the group which appears to be somewhat circulatory and, in my opinion, obfuscatory.

Now there is a Twittmachine feed exhorting folks to come 'follow us' with a link back to the BC Parents Federation website:

The feed has a different name,  'Rally4Edu' (it's actually the third I've found associated with the 'group' today, the other is 'BC Parents Alliance).

The other recent Tweets on the feed are inflammatory in the extreme and appear to be reveling in a media deflector spin job well done:

It's all really quite bizarre to say the least.


#BCED....Apparent 'Statement' Of 'BC Parents Federation'.



Double-Secret Probation Update: 7:45pm Sunday Sept 14/14...The group's website has been disappeared.

Updated 4:50pm Sunday Sept 14/14...What purports to be the 'BC Parents' Federation website now has a slide show (apparently of the "BC Parents' Alliance", note different name, apparently at a different rally on Sept 07/14)...They also say that they have '30' members...Link is....Here.

The 'BC Parents Federation' was, according to CBC News, the counter demonstration group at today's public education rally in downtown Vancouver. 

The following is an apparent 'statement' from the group, posted on, that links to the same empty website that we noted in our earlier post on this matter:

BC Parents’ Federation
Sept. 14 2014
Statement of BC Parents' Federation

Under the BC School Act, students' entitlement to education is a right. Today, this right has been blatantly violated. Because of the teachers’ strike, more than 500,000 students have been locked out of school causing great disruption to public schools. Not only has the strike impacted students and parents in BC significantly, it has also incurred great financial loss to over 13, 000 international students.

We, parents of British Columbia, urge BC Teachers' Federation to put students first and end the strike immediately. We request that BCTF allow students and teachers return to school while engaging in negotiation or mediation with the government. Don’t let the teachers who want to teach have no one to teach! Don’t let the students who are eager to learn have no school to go to!

We respect the teachers’ reasonable requests to the government. However, we ask that BCTF stop using students as pawns or its bargaining chips. We believe that any negotiated contract with the government should be settled without preventing the students from receiving education NOW or in the future.

Web Site:

Question now is....If you mow this grass is there any aroma to be found?

Update Postcript...YouTube link to the 'slide show' of the differently named 'BC Parents' Alliance', which currently has zero subscribers is....Here.


#BCED....No Sign (Yet) That Counter Demonstrators At Rally Have Turf Stains On Their Shoes.



Double-Secret Probation Update: 7:45pm Sunday Sept 14/14...The group's website has been disappeared.

Updated 4:50pm Sunday Sept 14/14...What purports to be the 'BC Parents' Federation website now has a slide show (apparently of the "BC Parents' Alliance", note different name, apparently at a different rally on Sept 07/14)...They also say that they have '30' members...Link is....Here.

There was a little bit of a disturbance at the public education rally earlier today in downtown Lotusland.

Here's the MoCo's lede:

A brief melee broke out at a parent, teacher and student pro-union rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery Sunday when it was crashed by a group of parents from Richmond wielding anti-union signs.

The rally, one of three planned today, was organized on Facebook and described as a grassroots, parent-driven rally although it easily attracted as many teachers and labour leaders as it did parents.

Part way through it, a group of parents from Richmond calling themselves the BC Parents Federation crashed the party to deliver an opposing point of view...


Who and/or what, exactly is this 'BC Parents Federation' (get it?).

Well, all we know so far is, this:

...BC Parents Federation spokesman Tom Tang said his group has just registered as a "legal organization."

Just registered?


Interestingly,  a website with the groups monicker is essentially empty.

As for their Twittachine embed on the site...It appears to go nowhere too.

Same for the Book of Faces.


Seems like maybe, just maybe this thing was done pretty quickly.

Maybe with an eye towards winning the game of short attention span theatre that the proMedia loves so much?

Update Postcript...YouTube link to the 'slide show' of the differently named 'BC Parents' Alliance', which currently has zero subscribers is....Here.


Where Did Vision Vancouver Get All It's New Twittmachine Followers?....(UPDATED).



Update: Sunday Afternoon Sept 14/14....Vision is claiming all the phony followers came their way due to a Spam Attack...

Working journalist and amateur blogger (you can be both without being labelled an idiot?) Justin McElroy has done the long and laborious digging on a Sasamat Saturday night.

And what he found is not pretty for the vainglorious folks doing the wizard work over at VV:

....4194 ('new') followers in....Yep. Permanently at (the same) 36 (common followers for most accounts). What’s perplexing is how blatant the fakeness of these followers is. There are so many duplicate pictures that some have been used 10 or 15 times by this point. And there is not a real person to be found. If you’re going to add 13,000 fake followers (not that I’m suggesting such a thing), you think you would do so in intervals, so there would be some variation between real people and fakes...

Can't imagine that, say, Andrea Reimer approves.

It's actually quite fascinating how Mr. McIlroy did the spadework...And it's a good read, with all kinds of digressions, snark, and deep background too boot...The kid's good...Too bad he's jumped from linear type to the TeeVee in real life.


Battling The Egregiousity Of 'Pay-To-Pay' Billing...And Winning.


Negative billing by the greedheads is one thing.

But 'Pay-To-Pay' billing wherein the same fine folks force their customers to pay extra for receiving a bill to pay their bills is, in the view of many, in the words of everybody's worst of all worst villians...


Especially because the vile act most often hits seniors, who often wait for their bills by mail, the hardest.

And yet, until one politician and his group of young charges decided to use the same strategy that make Indie-Rock work, the powers that be didn't care a wit.

That politician, Davenport Ontario Dipper MP Andrew Cash, explained how he and his cadre of kids changed all that recently in the TStar:

...(Y)ou may be surprised to hear that there are similarities between politics and rock and roll. For both, when you mount a project, the first thing you need is a good name. We asked one of our volunteers, Wyatt Shorter, who at the time was a high school student, if he had any ideas that would best describe this ripoff. “How about pay to pay,” he suggested, “because you have to pay a fee to pay your bill.” That was it!

With the help of another remarkable young Portuguese-speaking volunteer, Sara Marques, we met with immigrant seniors' groups in the area who wanted action. Aided by years of solid reporting on the issue, primarily by the Star, consumer and seniors advocates gave their support, and within days of its posting thousands had signed our petition online.

Still the government sat on its hands, claiming that a volunteer code of conduct was enough to protect Canadians from unfair billing practices. But as the pressure mounted, with the petition soon surpassing 10,000 signatures from people across the country, a shift began to take hold. The CRTC, Canada’s telecom and broadcast regulator, was initially dismissive but later sent a letter asking Bell to stop charging the fee to seniors. Other companies began considering exemptions.

However these were ineffectual measures and the government signalled in its Speech from the Throne last October that a ban was on the way. I laughed out loud in the lobby of the House of Commons when I heard the Governor General say the words “pay to pay,” doubtless the Queen's representative in Canada had no idea he was using a phrase coined by a high school student in Davenport...

Beauty way to go, eh?

Tip O' The Toque to Accidental Deliberations' always excellent links round-up for pointing us towards Mr. Cash's piece.


Nevermind The Bollocks, Here Come The Data!


Don't look now, but the Fraser Institute, at least according one of its big bosses, no longer has any ideological bias which, we can only assume, explains why it may (or may not) have been targeted in the latest round of punitive CRA audits.

Or some such thing

Tonda MacCharles had the story last week in the TStar:

...Niels Veldhuis, president of the Fraser Institute, told the Star its policy is not to comment on any dealings it has with CRA, although he said in its 40-year history it has previously been audited three times by the CRA and the U.S. government’s IRS. He said any charity should expect such audits periodically.

However, Veldhuis adamantly disagreed with ( CCPA executive director Bruce) Campbell’s suggestion that think-tanks all come from a perspective or core set of values, or even that the Fraser Institute should be described as a conservative organization. He said the institute’s work is “not value-based, it’s driven by data.”

“The role of a think-tank is to ask a question, examine the data and let the data tell you the answer. That’s what the role of a research organization is. That’s what we do. That’s not one-sided. I’ve no concerns about us being one-sided because that’s not research.”...

As you might have expected, the fine folks at the Broadbent Institute do the demolition work.

And, as for this little F-List Troop blog?....Why, it seems like just yesterday that we were noticing how those most excellent data analysts over at the Big Muddy building on Burrard Street were putting together Dora The Explorer maps to make the point that right-to-work states down south are are actually little libertarian  islands of valhalla for all their workers who are working more and more and more for less and less and less because, well....Freedom!


#BCED.....Sandy Garossino Goes Where The ProMedia Fears To Tread.



That's right.

Ms. Garossino has actually summarized the evidence used by Justice Griffin when she ruled AGAINST the BC Liberal government the second time, with a front-to-back timeline and everything.

Her most excellent storification of the deal is....Here.

In my opinion, there are many damning aspects, against the government, in the timeline.

One of the most egregious, again in my opinion, is this one:


Meanwhile, Vince Ready had the two parties nose-to-nose until after midnight last night and, apparently, they are getting ready to get back together as I type this.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Seventeen Minutes Of Rhythm Section Bliss.


And it was all done in one take.



Hey....Look Who Is Not A Member Of 'The Club'.


The Lotuslandian proMedia Club, I mean...What with all its established credibility and all that.

Why it's former paid-up-in-full member Harvey Oberfeld.

Mr. O. thinks he has been kicked out of the club for two reasons.

Number one is entirely expected given our corporate times:

"...I supported the unionization of BCTV’s newsroom after their “new” management laid off/fired more than 40 workers; I also became union vice-president; and, was union spokesman during CEP’s 33-day strike..."

But, as for reason number two?

Well that's the real kicker:

"...(I)n retirement, on this blog, I have also DARED to criticize the media; the decline in quality; the sagging ratings; and the do-more-with-less results of decisions/actions by the corporate bean counters now running the business..."


What is this 'Club' you may be asking yourself?...Well, our dear, departed friend Ian Reid explained it all not long ago...


This Day In Snookland...They're On To Us!


Charlie Smith has written a very important column in the GStraight in which he explains how the BC Liberals operate to obfuscate everything digitally by flinging the propaganda fast and furious.

This is then backed by spokesmodels like, say, Mr. Fassbender, who are instructed to say anything to the proMedia they have instant access to because the wizards that run the war rooms know that the codswallop will gum up the works and the spokesmodels will never be called on it because the proMedia will always play nice, for all kinds of reasons ,including the fact that they don't want to be shut out of future spokesmodel appearances and interviews.


Of course, anybody who stops by a place like this already knows that this is the way things really work 'round here.

So, given that, why is what Mr. Smith wrote important?


Because it shows the proMedia how it could actually make the obfuscation and codswallop worthless if they would just call the perpetrators on it.




There is one small thing I don't agree with in Mr. Smith's column...Specifically, he suggests that the teachers would do better if they took up similar spin strategies...I disagree entirely...While the teachers efforts may lack polish and media savvy and all that crap (which, of course, can raise the ire of the usual suspects) it, in large part, truly reflects what teachers really think and believe...And even if it is sometimes slightly misguided and messy, I'll take that over deliberate propaganda and obfuscatory bullshit every time...OK?
And, just for the record, I think the kinds of rapid response efforts that Mr. Smith talks about happening to GStraight polls, likely happened over at Laila's place last weekend...


Quick Wins Resurrection Shuffle (ctd)...The Dean Buries The Lede With A Backhoe.


Vaughn Palmer's latest column in the VSun revels in the minutiae of the Bonney-Robertson Quick Wins-related Election Act charges.

With stuff like this:

...Dubbed “quick wins” because of the suggestion that the Liberals could reap a political gain from a government apology to the Chinese community for historic wrongs, the scandal dominated the news in the weeks before the election call. It did not prove to be a decisive issue in the campaign itself....


...The specific allegation, set out in the charges, is that the two accused and their company paid an employee, Sepideh Sarrafpour, to work on the byelection without disclosing the amount ($2,240) as a political contribution.

Not a decisive amount for a campaign where the Liberals spent almost $100,000 trying to win the byelection and still lost. But as required under the Election Act, the charges were approved by Chief Electoral Officer Keith Archer, the independent watchdog on the integrity of the electoral process...


We thank Mr. Palmer for 'informing' of the details of what Tom Hawthorne has dubbed the 'Hanky Panky'.


Nowhere in is entire column does Mr. Palmer specifically mention a certain Email that was written by the good Mr. Bonney BEFORE the last general election.

That particular Email was only revealed by a massive BCLiberal government document dump that occurred AFTER the last general election.

Of course, that dump, and that election, were both preceeded by an internal 'investigation' by the BC Liberal government that very finest of the fine members of the Lotuslandian proPundits Club accepted, pretty much unquestioned, without demanding the actual documents it was based on at the time (i.e. BEFORE the last general election).

The Email concerned contained the following passage:

..."Have [MLA] Harry Bloy meet with her and explain how doing anything would damage the Premier and the party. Have him say how he will try to find her work and get her back involved... If need be, offer x dollars per month to do non public work up to election [developing her database of potential supporters]."...

And who was the former staffer, now Whistleblower, that was supposed to receive this 'work' and those 'x dollars' per month, if the Email written by the good Mr. Bonney was acted upon, in the wake of explaining to her how 'doing anything would damage the Premier and the party'?

Why, that would be the Ms. Serrafpour mentioned in Mr. Palmer's minutiae, above.


Let's revisit the sentence bolded, also above, from Mr. Palmer's latest that goes like this:

"...It (Quick Wins) did not prove to be a decisive issue in the campaign itself..."

Established and credible my derriere.

It would appear that the good Mr. Palmer buried the lede even further in his latest column when he mentioned that, because of Quick Wins, the Premier of this province, for whom Mr. Bonney worked, IN HER ACTUAL OFFICE, at the time the scandal broke, was required to apologize twice...However, Mr. Palmer gave his readers no specifics regarding the details of said apologies...We can only assume that one of the apologies that Mr. Palmer was referring to went like....This.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Tell Me Now Baby Is He Good To You?


I've listened to a heckuva lot of covers of Springsteen's 'I'm On Fire' and I've rarely been disappointed by any of them.

The same goes by this new one from Low....

Want more?

Well there is an entire Born In The USA Album in the can.

You can read more about it, and snag tracks from it.....Here.

My most recent Sprucian cover is...


The Dean Dabbles In Stenography?....Who Knew?


It would appear that the ever vigilant Norm Farrell has noticed that a recent column by Vaughn Palmer in the VSun on 'healthcare' savings makes a point that is closer to the provincial government line than it it is to reality.

Mr. Farrell's story, in all the glory of it's established credibility (i.e. actual reality-based facts) is....Here.

Not that there is a club or anything.


This Just In....Big Banks Say Thomas Mulcair Was Right!



It's true.

And it's about that old saw...Dutch (notElm) Disease.

Daniel Tencer has the story in the HuffPo. Here is his lede:

Is Canada’s oil sector harming the rest of the economy? According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the evidence points to yes.

In a new report, the bank has come out squarely in favour of the "Dutch Disease" theory — the notion that Canada's oil and gas boom has driven up the loonie to the point it's hurting other export-dependent parts of the economy.

Ten per cent of our economy is due to energy. That’s a relatively small share, but when you look at our currency we’ve seen an increasing correlation between the Canadian dollar and the price of energy,” BofA Merrill Lynch economist Emanuella Enenajor, a former CIBC economist and one of the authors of the new report, told BNN....


How long before we start seeing attack ads aimed at the Bank of America on our TeeVees?


Kinder Morgan To Burnaby...'All Your Parks 'R Us'.


Thanks to a recent ruling by Mr. Harper's National Energy Board, Kinder Morgan can, apparently, do whatever they want, wherever they want in Burnaby.

Luckily for the rest of us the folks in Burnaby are fighting back.

Jennifer Moreau has the story in the Burnaby Now. Here is her lede:

The City of Burnaby has filed a civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court to keep Kinder Morgan out of the Burnaby Mountain conservation area.

The move, made Monday, is the latest in the legal battle over the city-owned land, where Kinder Morgan has been cutting trees for survey work for a new pipeline route. The city is also asking the court for a temporary injunction to stop the company from cutting trees before the court decides on the matter.

"We have no other options. We tried to raise these issues at the NEB, we tried to deal with the company itself, and now we are in B.C. Supreme Court," said the city's lawyer, Gregory McDade. "It's fairly straight forward. Municipal bylaws are enforceable by court injunction."

The bylaw McDade was referring to forbids anyone from cutting trees in a city park, something Kinder Morgan did last week during survey work. ...

Thing is.

If they don't go through parks 'n stuff, the 'ol Bush Ranger-led outfit that the Knotty Gordians welcomed to town back in the heady early days of the 'Golden Era' just might be 'forced' to go through Burnaby backyards.

And that, based on the experience of other folks in other jurisdictions, may not be a good thing for those who are not particularly enamoured with Kinder Geyser Surprises.


#BCED...Has Someone Spoken That Christy Clark Will Finally Listen To?


She won't listen to teachers.

She won't listen to students.

She won't listen to academics.

And she sure as heck won't listen to parents.

But will she listen to these fine folks?

The government of China has stepped into the B.C. teachers' strike and that is raising concern about a major source of lucrative international students for B.C. school boards.

Officials from the Chinese Consulate in Vancouver met recently with Education Ministry officials to express concerns about the teachers' strike, which has delayed the start of the school year by nearly two weeks, with no end in sight...

What's this one all about Alfie?

Well, kids from away pay big money to come to BC to go to our very fine public schools.

And, in addition to not getting to go to school during the strike, many of them are also forfeiting that big money that they laid out in advance.

Personally, I don't understand that last part (we have a sabbatical family visiting us who are in this bind)...I mean, are they trying to destroy the reputation of a program that is, unlike the private school subsidy debacle, actually really helping to support public education in this province?

The story quoted above is Tracy Sherlock, Chuck Chiang and Rob Shaw's in the VSun....It's good reportage.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Life And Living...Sometimes The Best Advice Is No Advice At All.


From Jeff Buckley, as recorded by Italian broadcaster Luisa Cotardo in 1995, and brought to us via the absolutely fantastic Brain Pickings:

"...I have no advice for anybody except to, you know, be awake enough to see where you are at any given time and how that is beautiful and has poetry inside, even in places you hate..."

Not much more to say to that.

Except to mention that I know a place where I can find the poetry inside just about everytime within Mr. Buckley's version of a traditional tune that Mumford and Son, and a movie by the Cohen Brothers, have lately made famous.

Buckley's version is somehow simultaneously unrecognizable and instantly captivating...

E. and I did this tune awhile back...In the much more traditional vein...