Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Thing I Learned Today...


What did I learn today?

Well, as much as I like listening to Neil Young songs, I don't actually like singing that many of them.

This is one that I do like.

To play I mean...


The Lunney Affair...The Hypermutable Paranoia Hypothesis.


Never mind the evolution denial business that began on the Twittmachine and ended with Mr. Lunney's resignation from the (not)Tory federal caucus today.

Because what I find much more disturbing is the following, which is from the opening of Mr. Lunney's written statement on the matter:

"Leaders of the faith community were in Ottawa on March 25th to express their alarm at increasing and unprecedented attempts to stifle freedom of religion, conscience and expression in Canada.

They identify deliberate attempts to suppress a Christian world-view from professional and economic opportunity in law, medicine, and academia. I share these concerns. I believe the same is true in the realm of politics at senior levels..."

Sure thing Mr. Tunney.

And just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're actually out to get you.

Not that such a realization would stop you and yours, regardless.

And, no, what happened to Trinity Western was not a stifling of religion....Instead it was a denial of institutional discrimination and enforced bigotry.


This Day In Clarkland...And As For The Actual Children Who Need Our Help Most?


We've written on the extremely serious deficiencies of the Minister of Child and Family Development's 'new' Integrated Case Management computer system before.

And about it's ridiculous $182 million dollar price tag.

Well, now a brand new report from the provincial auditor general (i.e. the recently hired real one, not the recently fired faux one) essentially backs all this up and says the system only works about a third of the time.

Which means that about two-thirds of the time frontline folks waste huge amounts of time switching between the new and old systems looking for personal data 'n such (which may not be protected by the way) when they instead could/should be working with, you know...actual people in actual need.

And, in the 'Chump Change For Clarkland' department (i.e. the 'Bogus Bollywood Ballpark' dollar figure) there is this, as noted by the VSun's Rob Shaw:

...Auditors were also unable to confirm the project’s final costs, which included an extra $13 million in capital, according to the audit...

Oh, and then there is the following, also from Mr. Shaw buried way, way under the lede:

...Despite all the problems, the ICM computer system was nominated by its managers in the civil service for a Premier’s Award of Excellence for innovation...

Own bathwater, drinking much?

And lest you think all this snark is not warranted....Well...Just so you know...I will never forget that this is the same ministry whose minders won't allow frontline workers spend an extra $50 bucks on kids in our care who really need it at Christmastime.
Oh, and just in case you were wondering....Yes....The Clarklandians are getting ready to it all over again with the 'Integrated Decision Making System' this time for...Get this....Sparkle Ponies!


The Keef Report...Dad!!!



The Keef's skin sure is thin.

Because after months and months of deriding them he figures teachers should be all thankful and worshipful because of a one-off he has written in the BurnabyNow.

Thing is, it looks like most of the comments that the Keef is complaining about on the Twittmachine are actually pointing out something legitimately problematic (i.e. something that is neither credible nor established) with his BNow piece.

To wit:

...Last week's innocuously entitled Education Statutes Amendment Act (Bill 11) took an easy swipe at one vulnerability of B.C.'s teachers: their mysterious professional development days, which seem to have grown like untended weeds over the years...

Uh, actually...


Because while in the Keef's conventional wisdom mind's eye Pro-D days may have 'seem(ed) to have grown like untended weeds over the years', they have not.

There are actually six such days per year and that number is mandated under the provincial school act.

How do we know this?

Because fine folks such as those that run school district 45 explicitly state it on their on their website:

...Under the School Act, British Columbia’s annual school calendar allows for six (6) non-instructional days for teachers to pursue continuous, career-long professional development.

One is a Provincial Professional Development Day, shared by all schools in the province. The other five dates are District Professional Development Days, which are established by each school district, in consultation with teachers, support staff and parents...

Perhaps if the Keef were to start actually, you know, start showing his work it might help.

Previous Keef Reports can be found...Here.
And if this one-off, which does contain some serious fact-based opinions, were to becom a real honest-to-goddess follow-up two- and/or three-off?...Well, maybe then the established tone of our highly credible, but truly idiotic, reports might just change....


Sunday Setlist, March 29th...Save The Zevon!


'Twas a bit of a lazy, rainy Sunday.

And given that there was not a cinnamon bun in sight I figured it was time to sit down and do another talking pod-tuned thing.

Luckily I managed to finally find another Bruce tune that I could cover that wouldn't be butchered too badly by my warble.

And the guy from 'Girls' (the band, not the TeeVee show that my kids are obsessed with) whose name I couldn't remember is Chris Owens . The covered tune is Life in San Francisco.

The featured tune with the effecty guitarnoirish business (see image above) is the fantastic 'Coyote' from the even more fantastic 'Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray'. The tour diaries I most recently Youtube binged on can be found here.

As for the Zevon...Check out how seamlessly the riff fits into two other very well known classics that classic rock radio has wrecked.

And, ya, my reverb pedal is really from 'Dr. Scientist Sounds'...Go figure!...It was given to me by a Canadian indie stalwart - Mikey Manville whose wife used to work with me in the lab before they both moved back to the Center of the Universe.
Gosh, almost forgot...The little snippet at the beginning is Lisa Hannigan's 'I Don't Know'.

Here's the previous set (details here)...


Monday, March 30, 2015

Another Reason Why You Can't Keep Up With The Tweedy.


A few weeks back I was lamenting how I just can't keep up with the world's greatest Dad, Jeff Tweedy.

And now he and his have shown that they they just might be the world's greatest alt.countryish (but never fishy) band that nobody can possibly keep up with.

Or some such thing.



What's a geezer with a day job supposed do in times like these?

And to think, not long ago Mr. Tweedy was playing Pawnee on the TeeVee.
Need background?....It's here.


This Later Morning In Snookland...B.C. Is Open For Business.


The drone business that is.

Ed Pilkington of the Guardian has the story:

Amazon is testing its drone delivery service at a secret site in Canada, followingrepeated warnings by the e-commerce giant that it would go outside the US to bypass what it sees as the US federal government’s lethargic approach to the new technology.

The largest internet retailer in the world is keeping the location of its new test site closely guarded. What can be revealed is that the company’s formidable team of roboticists, software engineers, aeronautics experts and pioneers in remote sensing – including a former Nasa astronaut and the designer of the wingtip of the Boeing 787 – are now operating in British Columbia...

The only thing surprising about this is that Ms. Clark didn't hold a presser to trade double-entendres with Amazon's uber-boss Jeff Bezos the way she did previously with Richie Rich Branson.

Although, I suppose that, to be surprised one would have to assume that Ms. Clark actually know about the situation.

And you know what happens when you 'assume'.

See Unger, Felix.


This Day In Clarkland...Did Conflictyness Play A Role In The Abbott Affair?


Remember, after she apologized only for making a mess of the 'communications' aspect of the thing, how Ms. Clark explained away the not hiring/pre-emptive firing of Mr. Abbott for the Treaty Commissioner job:

...Premier Christy Clark said her cabinet vetoed the appointment of former Liberal minister George Abbott as chief of the B.C. Treaty Commission because her government wants to reform the entire treaty process.

Clark said cabinet decided to stop investing in a system that has cost $600 million and produced just four treaties in 22 years. “We have to be able to move faster and we have to find a way to include more First Nations in the process,” she said. “Fifty out of 200 First Nations involved in the process? That’s not enough. So it was a policy decision … not to appoint a treaty commissioner...


What if certain folks in certain circles (i.e. Clarkland-connected wizards and patrons, for example) started getting a wee bit nervous about the possibility that Mr. Abbott, who seemed to be getting along with everybody in the run-up to taking the job, might actually get the process moving?

Non card-carrying Club member Charlie Smith, of the GStraight, had a thought or two about that on the weekend:

...(Abbott) was excited about the prospect of bringing about reconciliation between First Nations people and the rest of society.

Less than two weeks before Abbott was about to start, the B.C. Liberal cabinet revoked his appointment. What's worse is that the premier didn't notify First Nations leaders in advance.

I can only wonder which businessperson or senior mandarin whispered in her ear that it was necessary to undermine the tripartite treaty process with this phone call to Abbott to tell him he wasn't being hired.

Was it anyone connected to plans to build oil refineries or liquefied-natural-gas facilities on the north coast? Did it have anything to do with private companies wanting to do deals with financially strapped First Nations before they had nailed down their full legal rights in the form of a treaty?

I don't have the answers to these questions, nor does anyone else until the government comes clean on this...


That's not really possible, even given the connectedness of certain members of the wizardry, previous life partners or not, and/or the pedigree of a certain patron.

Is it?

Meanwhile, back in Clubland....The Dean thinks Mr. Horgan and friends got an upper hand in the 'game' last week....Which is sports reporting and hot stove analysis of the most vital kind...Because, you know, the 'game' is what this is really all about, right?
Club?...What club, you may be asking?...Well...Norm Farrell has an update on something else they are not taking seriously in the members-only lounge...


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Are The Endtimes Approaching For Housing Co-Ops In Vancouver?


With federal government subsidies, in the form of mortgage help set to end over the next decade it just might be.

Frank O'Brien Of BIV has the story:

...There are 264 housing co-operatives in B.C., mostly in Metro Vancouver. About 6,000 Vancouver residents live in co-ops, some of which are located on prime West Side real estate.

The Government of Canada started building co-operative housing in the 1970s and '80s to provide housing during a crisis in the rental sector, explained Thom Armstrong, executive director of the Co-operative Housing Federation of BC (CHF-BC).

Under the agreement, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. provided co-ops with a subsidy for the entire life of the mortgage, which allowed co-ops to keep rents below market value. For a percentage of members, the subsidy kept rents at 30% of their income. Those people, an estimated 1,600 in Vancouver, include single mothers, new immigrants, people with disabilities and the elderly...

And is there a potential saviour out there for those folks that need a little help most?

Of course there is:

...Housing co-ops are able to borrow funds to cover such repairs and maintenance, Armstrong said, and realize they will have to raise rents. But, without government assistance, they cannot afford to also continue subsidies for the lowest-income residents, most of whom would be forced out.

But there is a third choice open for Vancouver co-ops that are in the right locations.

“We get approached every day by real estate developers,” Armstrong said.

Some Vancouver co-ops are located on large parcels of land near Canada Line stations or have much lower density than current zoning allows, he said. This has made the properties extremely valuable...

Like I said.



Saturday, March 28, 2015

Will Newt Skywalker Come Up With A Pet Name For His New Buddy Johnny Needles?


From Rachelle Younglai in the Globe:

Barrick Gold Corp. has tapped former foreign affairs minister John Baird and former top U.S. lawmaker Newt Gingrich to serve on its advisory board, the company said in regulatory filings...

Johnny Needles?....You bet!


Bill 11...How Long Before We Become Atlanta North?


There is a lot of praise on the Twittmachine for the VSun's Daphne Bramham's analysis of the Clarklandian (anti)public education bill introduced in the BC legislature last week.

And that praise is, in my opinion at least, very well deserved.

Here is Ms. Bramham's lede:

A blunt reading of the B.C. government’s plan for public education is this: Impoverish it, neuter critics (including teachers and elected school trustees) and centralize control.

Once control is centralized, the blueprint seems to be to move to the American model where public school funding and teachers’ pay are linked more closely to students’ test scores...

Which has me wondering....

If this thing does, indeed, become law, how long will it be before we are forced to deal with stuff like this:

The jury deciding the Atlanta (Georgia) Public Schools cheating case will return for a sixth day of deliberations on Monday...


...Prosecutors say the 12 defendants — former administrators and teachers — conspired to cheat on the 2009 Criterion-Referenced Competency Test so the higher scores would help the district meet federal benchmarks and those set by former Superintendent Beverly Hall. In some instances, teachers prompted students as they took the standardized test, according to the charges. Other times, educators allegedly sat down, pencil in hand, and corrected wrong answers.

Consequently, there were inexplicable jumps in test scores for students who could barely read, write or do basic math...


It almost makes you think that someone with close ties to the finest of the finest fine folks from the Fraser Institute really might be working to keep all those promises that must be kept deep inside Clarklandia.

Tip O' The Toque to Rod Mickleburgh for bringing the situation in Atlanta (which is NOT an isolated incident, of course) to our attention on his highly established and extremely credible, gasp!....Blog.


Limited Climb Down On C-51...It's All About The Base.


Well, well, well whaddy'a know...

The (not)Tory government has done an about face by signaling that it will, in the end, be proposing amendments to C-51:

The government will propose a handful of amendments to the proposed anti-terror bill when it goes to clause-by-clause review on Tuesday, CBC News has learned, including a proposal that would protect protests from being captured by the new measures...

The MoCo report quoted above then goes on to suggest that this is all about gaining the upper hand in the house:

...Both the New Democrats and the Liberals have already served notice that they plan on putting forward amendments as well, the bulk of which would go further than what the government will propose...

Which just might be partially right, I suppose.

But I think Montreal Simon, with an assist by iPolitics' Tasha Kheiriddan, might be on to the real thing.

Which is that Mr. Harper is actually concerned with a potential fracturing of his base:

...It seems that what made them back down is pressure from their own supporters.

Bill C-51 was supposed to unite conservatives in the latest round of the War on Terror™. Instead, it’s dividing them — both on and off Parliament Hill.

Because when you have right-wingers like Connie Fournier, from the wingnut site Free Dominion, saying this:

“I feel like we’re in some kind of alternate universe,” she recently told the Tyee. “You spend your life working for the Conservative party, and the Conservative party finally gets in, and (now) you’re saying, ‘I hope the NDP really steps up and protects us from our Conservative government.'”

You know they're in trouble.

Conservatives, beware: The closer your supporters look at C-51, the less they seem to like it. If the Tories are planning on campaigning on this bill at election time, they’d better make some changes — or risk the wrath of their own people...

Guess it's not too surprising.

After all, a man that maintains power by dividing all his enemies on purpose is likely, sooner or later, to do the same thing to his friends by accident.

Or some such bizarrely base baseless thing.

Subheader?....Well....You know.


The Keef Report...Edu-Shiny!

And this wee bit of going for the dangled bauble without knowing what was at the core of the thing appears to have taken place before the legislation was released in full. Thus the lack of 'details'.

Which is all fine and good for an insider-accessed, shim-sham-shimmy schlepper I suppose.

But couldn't help but notice that this was followed up by the usual spate of teacher bashing as the day and night wore on.

Previous Keef Reports can be found...Here.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Can Jesse Brown's Listeners Make His Media Coverage Podcast Pay?

I would say the answer, at least on a small but sustainable scale, is most definitely....


And, based on the numbers (and the average), I'd be willing to wager that most of his 2000 subscribers fronting up to the tune of 4-5 dollars per month.

Which sounds trivial, but it's actually 50-60 bucks a year.

Which is pretty darned amazing if you ask me.

You can listen to Mr. Brown's work...Here.
And you can keep up with the stories he and his are working on, and often breaking...Here.
And if you like what he's up to you can, as Brown likes to say, help pay for it...Here.
Why is this amazing to me?...Because despite how good (and important and vital) it was, Sean Holman couldn't make a financial go of PublicEyeOnline....But maybe Sean came along just a wee bit too early...And maybe he shouldn't have been giving away the audio for (almost?) free to the fine folks at CFAX...


This Day In Clarkland...Earthquakes, Why Worry?


As Grant G. pointed out in the comments yesterday, it would appear that the 'Fracking is Fabulous!' (TM) report from the Clarklandians yesterday was actually double deflector spin.

Because, in addition to driving the Treaty fiasco off the front pages it also provided cover for the same day release of the 'Earthquake Preparedness Consultation Report'.

You can read that report in its entirety, here, if you wish. 

The following is taken from the executive summary:

...While progress has been made on earthquake preparedness, and significant work is underway currently for which involved parties should be applauded, the majority of the preparedness gaps and recommendations outlined in previous reports appear to remain valid today...

Which is softball-ese for, "We are not prepared!" And, what's more, the Clarklandians are not doing their job in getting the majority of the preparedness balls rolling.

Interestingly, in their under the radar press release on the matter, the PAB-Botians in the Clarklandians employ still couldn't help themselves when it comes to schools.

To wit:

Since 2001, government has spent or committed $2.2 billion to seismically upgrade or replace 213 high-risk schools:

  • As of January 2015, 145 schools have been upgraded or replaced, 11 schools are currently under construction, and nine schools are moving toward construction to current seismic standards.
  • It is anticipated government will invest an additional $600 million to address the remaining 126 high-risk schools in the province.
  • Once completed, approximately 150,000 B.C. students at about 339 high-risk schools throughout the province will be safer.


Didn't the Clarklandians themselves recently announce that those additional 126 high risk schools wouldn't be dealt with until 2030 instead of 2020?

And doesn't that mean that, using this crazy new math known as division and multiplication, that approximately 55,000 kids will be at risk for at least an additional 10 years?

Funny how the PAB-Bots didn't mention that last one, eh?

The crazy little thing called math?...Well, it goes like this...(126/339) X 150,000....Importantly such an operation doesn't even require the distributive principle, which is grade 9 stuff if I remember correctly...Thus, I would think that even the most junior PAB-Botian could figure that one out.
Also in the comments to yesterday's post....Guy In Victoria asked if we could just save the money we need to actually do stuff by halting the work of the PAB-Bots and their reports 'n stuff?...Well...As we've kinda/sorta wondered before, what the heckfire would the PAB-Bots do then...Become Park Rangers?


Nevermind The Pro-D Day Bollocks...Read Section 32.


Because all of this professional development of teachers blather is nothing but bamboozle-bait for the Keefs and their ilk.

The real crux of the thing is the following, from section 32 of Bill 11:

  (1) The minister may, by order, issue an administrative directive to a board if the minister believes
(a) the board is failing or has failed to meet its obligations under the Act, or
(b) it is in the public interest to do so.
(2) A board that is subject to an administrative directive under subsection (1) may exercise its powers under this or any other Act only in accordance with the terms and conditions of the administrative directive.
(3) During the period of time that a board is subject to an administrative directive, the board may be exempted from the application of any or all of the following:
(a) a regulation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council under this Act, by order of the Lieutenant Governor in Council;
(b) a regulation of the minister, by order of the minister;
(c) a ministerial order, by the administrative directive.
(4) Failure of a board to comply with an administrative directive under subsection (1) is grounds for the appointment of an official trustee.

In other words, if elected school boards don't do what they are told they will be taken over.

It's that simple.

And that autocratic.

And that anti-democratic.

Because, like trains and trillion dollar sparkle ponies, the schools must run on time.

Or some such codswallop.

What is this Keef business, you ask?...Well...This (scroll on down and down).


Sunday Setlist.


I started these awhile back when our oldest kid was away at school. They contained a little news for her and new cover tunes I was working on.

Well, she's back now.

So the Setlists have been on the shelf for awhile.

This is a new one and it's a little more generic, at least in the news department.

Here are the tunes...

#1 Don't Forget The Flowers - Wilco...If you're interested, a nice bit of Mr. Tweedy being the world's greatest Dad (and more) can be found...Here.

#2 Utilities - The Weakerthans....Again, have I mentioned lately that John K. Sampson is a genius?

#3 Christmastime in the Mountains - Palace Songs...I first heard this buried in a Hansard/Irglova/Frames live version of Star-Star awhile back, sung by Joe Doyle...Then, a few of weeks ago I came across it as a home recording from Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray...If you want to know why the latter folks are my new musical favourites check out...This.

#4 Devil Town - Daniel Johnston...You want my opinion?...This is THE gateway to LoFi...And it can be just about just about anything you want anytime you sing it...Me, at the moment I'm thinking Casino-Industrial Complexes and those who back, and profit, from them.

Here's the list....

Image at the top of the post...The Geezers behind Bigger E. at Cuppa Joy, on Fourth, far west Lotusland, on Friday February 13th.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

This Evening In Clarkland...Fracking Is Fabulous!



The comprehensive report on the health effects of fracking, which the Clarklandians received in November, was suddenly released today (gosh, I wonder why?).

And guess what...

According to the Clarklandians at least, everything is just peachy.

The GStraight's Travis Lupick has the story. Here's his lede:

A highly anticipated government report states residents of B.C.’s northeast have little to fear from hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and other oil and gas operations that have intensified in recent years....

Mr. Lupick also notes the following:

The B.C. Ministry of Health’s findings stand in contrast to those of a similar study that examined fracking in New York State.

In December 2014, the New York Times described that report as “concluding that the method posed inestimable public-health risks”.

That document's release prompted New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to announce his administration would implement an outright ban on fracking “because of concerns over health”...


The Clarklandian's press release on the fabulousness can be found...Here.
The actual reports 'n stuff can be found...Here.
And we actually have a pretty good idea as to why the 'good news' was released today...In fact, things are unfolding pretty much exactly as we predicted they would (and even more so, the way Lew called it in the comments)...


The Treaty Commissioner Calls Out The Premier


First, the 'call', from Premier Christy Clark, as noted by the VTC's Lindsay Kines earlier this morning:

...“In terms of next steps — whether or not the treaty commission will be changed, whether or not it will continue to exist, how all that future will unfold with respect to treaties — is going to be something that we do together with First Nations.” ...

Second, the 'call out', from current Chief Commissioner Sophie Pierre in a press release from later today titled, "Unilateral Action By BC Government Undermines Treaty Negotiations":

..."Let's not trivialize the issue. The facts are simple - we need the Premier and Prime Minister's commitment to treaty negotiations. I have been asking for a commitment right from the get go, but we seem to be going backwards to a dark time when BC questioned the need to engage in treaty negotiations at all," said Sophie Pierre.

{snippety doo-dah}

..."You don't make positive change by unilaterally blocking the Chief Commissioner appointment"...

In other words, our essentially incoherent 'Say Anything!' Premier is not actually doing anything with anybody that needs to be 'engaged', whatsoever.

Because, the facts so far strongly suggest that this entirely an inside job of her (and her wizards and patrons) own making.

But I'm sure we'll hear all about just what an outstanding job (of grandstanding) Ms. Clark did in the Ledge today and how important Mr. Fassbender's initiative and the fracking report for the next 48 hours or so, until the newscycle is, essentially, done.

On the newscycle management thingy...The fact that Ms. Pierre released her statement today and did not wait until, say, Monday, indicate that her words and deeds (and office) are likely not being directed entirely by wizards and PAB-Bot clones. Good on her.


This Afternoon In Clarkland...The Withholding.


There is sure to be a lot of blather and babble about the effects of fracking report that will be released by the Clarklandians later today.


When you tire of trying to elbow your way through all B&B in an effort to get to the heart of the matter do not forget the following from a piece by Justine Hunter in the Globe:

B.C.’s Ministry of Health is withholding the results of scientific research on how oil and gas operations in the province’s northeast communities are affecting human health.

Health Minister Terry Lake said Thursday that a report, which has been on his desk since last fall, is still being studied by several departments in government and he hopes to release the results “soon.”...

When did Ms. Hunter's piece come out?

February 19th.

Think about that.

And think about whether the Clarklandian wizards figure they need a deflector spike spin story this week.

Or not.

Tip 'O The Toque to Travis Lupick via the Twittmachine.


This Day In Clarkland...What The Premier Did Not Apologize For.


NW's Shane Woodward has the 'apology':


That from the Premier after former Liberal MLA and a man she ran against for the leadership of the party was vetoed from a promised post at the eleventh hour.

“The communication with George was terrible. It was an example of really really poor communication.”

As for who is ultimately responsible for the decision, Christy Clark said “I take responsibility for the mess with the communications around it particularily with respect to George.”...


Ms. Clark will apologize for not quite getting the spin right.

But she will not apologize for throwing a massive spanner into the treaty process in British Columbia.

How come?

Well, the VTC's Lindsay Kines has that non-apology apology:

...Premier Christy Clark said her cabinet vetoed the appointment of former Liberal minister George Abbott as chief of the B.C. Treaty Commission because her government wants to reform the entire treaty process.

Clark said cabinet decided to stop investing in a system that has cost $600 million and produced just four treaties in 22 years. “We have to be able to move faster and we have to find a way to include more First Nations in the process,” she said. “Fifty out of 200 First Nations involved in the process? That’s not enough. So it was a policy decision … not to appoint a treaty commissioner...

Thus, it would appear that the way to fix things is to do your best to destroy them.

Then, later, just like with say auditing, public education, ferries, pharmacare policy, regional transit strategies, apprenticeship programs, gaming, resource management and on and on and on, even the smallest of tiny 'fixes' down the road can be trumpeted as generational changes or some such codswallop.


Here's a thought.

Maybe a Premier who's only real skillset involves the art of the spin b/w blunderbuss really was sorry about messing up both.

Because, when consultative governance does not matter to you or yours (and we're not talking about cabinet here, but rather Ms. Clark's wizards and patrons), it really is kinda crummy and sadfacey when your blown spin shines a wee bit of light on the fact that your real goal is to just blow things up that are inconvenient for said wizards and patrons.


Now, you might think I'm being too harsh on Ms. Clark et al.

But if the politics of total destruction is not the wizards' and the patrons' game you would think that Ms. Clark would have a plan now that she and hers have wrecked everything.



Again, from Mr. Kines VTC piece:

...“In terms of next steps — whether or not the treaty commission will be changed, whether or not it will continue to exist, how all that future will unfold with respect to treaties — is going to be something that we do together with First Nations.” ...


And the weird thing about the firing of the good Mr. Abbott, who really did seem to be working at being truly consultative and inclusive?....Well...He was once, it would appear, at least some of the wizards' and patrons' Horse 1A.....But that was back in the dark days, I suppose, when everything was a 20-to-1 shot, at best and back-up plans were needed everywhere.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Bleatings Of Bill Bennett...Not Just For Domestic Consumption Anymore.


On February 24th, Clarklandian Mining Minister Bill Bennett gave it to the Juneau Alaska Empire for what he saw as a misrepresentation of the facts:

It’s unfortunate your editorial has seized upon the Mount Polley mine tailings storage facility failure to undermine the long tradition of respectful relations and co-operation between British Columbia and Alaska on mining development and environmental protection.

A breach of this magnitude is unprecedented in British Columbia in over 160 years of mining. Major breaches of tailings storage facilities have happened all over the world, including in many U.S. states. Your suggestion, based on the Mount Polley failure, that in B.C. we are somehow less responsible in developing our mining industry than you are in Alaska, or that we’re charging forward without due care for environmental protection is based on a misrepresentation of the facts...


The fine folks who run the little newspaper in the city sometimes mistaken for Ellen Page these days were not amused.

The following is from their response published March 22nd, 2015:

It’s not often the Juneau Empire offers a rebuttal to an submitted column. Waging a back-and-forth war of words isn’t fair for the other party. We buy ink by the barrel and have dedicated staff to get the word out online as well.

However, we must respond to the Feb. 24 'My Turn' penned by Bill Bennett, the Minister of Mines for British Columbia.

Let us start off by addressing the first portion of Mr. Bennet’s piece when he states it was “unfortunate your editorial has seized upon the Mount Polley mine tailings storage facility failure to undermine the long tradition of respectful relations and co-operation between British Columbia and Alaska on mining development and environmental protection.”

Perhaps Mr. Bennett has forgotten about the Tulsequah Chief Mine. Southeast Alaska has not forgotten.

The Tulsequah Chief Mine, located south of Juneau on the Taku River just across the Canadian border, has leached acid runoff into the Taku River since its closure in the 1950s. The Taku boasts notable salmon runs, the same runs which in turn give jobs to many commercial fishermen. There were efforts to revitalize the mine, but those failed for financial reasons and to this day acid continues to taint the Taku...

{snippety doo-dah}

...In the next section of your piece you state the Empire suggested “in B.C. we are somehow less responsible in developing our mining industry than you are in Alaska, or that we’re charging forward without due care for environmental protection.”

Mr. Bennett, there are a number of mines in B.C. that have not done good things for the surrounding environment. The concern from Alaskans stems simply from the desire to not have history repeat itself.

Take the Mount Washington Mine. This 32-acre mine was operational in the 1960s, but beginning in 1966, after the mine’s closure, the population of coho salmon that swam in the adjacent Tsolum River began to suffer. What was once a run of 15,000 fish dwindled to a low of 14 in 1987. According to the British Columbia government watershed assessment in 1995, “the fisheries resource is believed to have declined (by 90 percent) predominantly because of acid mine drainage from Mount Washington.” At one point, the fishery in the Tsolum generated as much as $2 million per year for local communities. Today, the fishery isn’t worth the cost of bait...

{snippety doodle-dandy}

...We read the Mount Polley Report, Mr. Bennett, and we hope you did, too. It clearly states the best way to ensure no tailings dams fail is to discontinue their use. At our neighboring Hecla Greens Creek Mine, a dry stack tailings facility is used. This technology, as noted in the report, is not only recommended but proven to work. Today, Greens Creek is a profitable facility and one Alaskans can be proud to support because our environmental concerns were addressed.

That said, Alaskans are reasonable. We understand that every mine is different. We understand each facility demands a unique solution for tailings storage. But we are concerned that solutions to prevent or completely eliminate a dam breach seem to be going unexplored. Red Chris, for instance, is already filling its tailings facility. Meanwhile, we have heard nothing on whether additional environmental protections have been put in place since the Mount Polley disaster.

Furthermore, you state Red Chris “has not received a permit to go into production.” Yet, a press release from the parent company Imperial Metals on March 2 stated “the plant’s full 12-hour operating shift, without stoppage, took place on February 22,” two days before we published your piece. “The plant milled approximately 15,500 tonnes during that 12-hour period,” the release stated. In February, Red Chris processed just over 193,000 metric tons producing about 2,400 metric tons of copper concentrate.

That sure sounds like “production” to us...


Bring it on, indeed.

And we await, with bated breath, the call out of the Alaskans by the Keef for their lack of standards and/or credibility...Because everybody knows that small time newspaper editors are only a cut above idiot bloggers, right?


Things That I Learned Today...


I learned that the Whackadoodle loves rolling in goose poo.

Well, actually, I already knew that, but today she made sure I'll never forget it.

I also learned that I am a sucker for modern, video-assisted adventure stories.

And one of those is the story of how Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray quit their day jobs and travelled around North America for a year on a shoestring playing shows wherever and whenever anybody would let them.

It made for interesting between gig-times as well, including nights spent sleeping inside their lofted-out Honda Element in Walmart parking lots.

And more...

You can read a little bit about Ms. S and YW's adventures, and more, here and here...You can also listen to their stuff for free (Track 3 highly recommended; and then buy it if you like it)...Here.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Should It Matter If The Auditor Of The Auditor Is Not Really An Auditor?



More specifically.

Does it matter if they really are a political appointee?


According to the ever hedging Dean of the Legislative Press Gallery at least, it almost kinda/sorta matters.

But not really:

...(George) Abbott didn’t sound all that bitter when I spoke to him, other than over how they (i.e. the BC Liberal Government) “kept me on the hook for six months” before unceremoniously dumping him.

His immediate intention is to get back to work on the doctorate in political science he is pursuing at the University of Victoria...

{snippety doo-dah}

...He’s also reactivating the consulting business that he shares with former deputy minister of finance Chris Trumpy.

Coincidentally, Trumpy was also in the news Thursday, having been appointed by the overseer audit council to review the troubled auditor general for local government.

Blasting the appointment and refusing to cooperate was the auditor herself, Basia Ruta. Among her grounds was the fanciful notion that Trumpy (who served as deputy finance minister to three NDP premiers and one Liberal) was somehow too close to the Liberals because of his association with Abbott.

“She just lost her main argument,” laughed Abbott when I filled him in. “I’m not that close to them anymore, clearly.”



The good Mr. Trumpy worked for the Dippers AND the Liberals?

Guess that means he's not really connected to the latter, so why worry.


After all, it's not like the uber-good Mr. Trumpy was not involved in helping to take care of the mother of all BCL Campbell/Clark/Clark/Collins whoppers from days gone by.

Although, how could we possibly know stuff like that given that we have neither standards nor credibility?


Turns out we have both a memory and the still invaluable archives of Sean Holman's PublicEye.

The following comes from a 2004 media scrum that occurred the day the Railgate search warrants were first unsealed:

(BCL Gov't Finance) Minister (Gary) Collins: Government is not doing an investigation. That's not our role. The investigators are doing their investigation. So we're not out there looking into any allegations that might be contained in there. There are people who do that. That's their job. They're doing that now. And when they're finished doing their job we'll all now about it.

Media: Don't you think government has responsibility to take a look into these things to make sure processes that are currently in place...?

Minister Collins: But we did many things. The B.C. Rail file - we assigned one of our most senior and respected civil servants to lead that: Chris Trumpy. You all know who he is and his reputation is held in the highest regard by everyone. He was the one working on that...

Nuff said?

The real question, not being asked by the Dean and his ilk, of course, is...Why are the Clarklandians running around appointing all these auditors of auditors and counter auditors of auditors when they themselves are in trouble over their own appointment of faux auditors?...Well...In my opinion, to even begin to answer such a question you have to think not like someone who is trying to govern but rather like someone who is always spinning...When you do that, and when you realize that, especially when it comes to 'deflector spike spin', the goal is to befuddle and bamboozle just enough such that 6 months down the road you will be able to call yourself the champion of all auditors who fixed a problem (rather than being called out by a toothless local proMedia as the ones who caused the problem in the first place) I think it just might make at least a little nonsensical senselessness sense. 
To be absolutely fair, Bob Mackin mentioned Mr. Trumpy's  Finance Ministry/BCRail connection in a tweet or three....Which has us wondering...Just where are Uncle Bob's standards (and/or Club membership) these days anyway?
And was not the good Mr. Trumpy, together with the fine Mr. Collins, a member of that illustrious of that Railgate Top 40 that never took the stand when the trial suddenly ended because of that little bitty six million dollar deal thingy.


Saturday Night's Alright For Lester Bangs Cover Fighting.


First, Mr. Bangs' inside-out symbiotic trapezoidal tom-tom lede on the original:

Van Morrison's Astral Weeks was released ten years, almost to the day, before this was written. It was particularly important to me because the fall of 1968 was such a terrible time: I was a physical and mental wreck, nerves shredded and ghosts and spiders looming and squatting across the mind. My social contacts had dwindled to almost none; the presence of other people made me nervous and paranoid. I spent endless days and nights sunk in an armchair in my bedroom, reading magazines, watching TV, listening to records, staring into space. I had no idea how to improve the situation and probably wouldn't have done anything about it if I had.

Astral Weeks would be the subject of this piece - i.e., the rock record with the most significance in my life so far - no matter how I'd been feeling when it came out. But in the condition I was in, it assumed at the time the quality of a beacon, a light on the far shores of the murk; what's more, it was proof that there was something left to express artistically besides nihilism and destruction. (My other big record of the day was White Light/White Heat.) It sounded like the man who made Astral Weeks was in terrible pain, pain most of Van Morrison's previous works had only suggested; but like the later albums by the Velvet Underground, there was a redemptive element in the blackness, ultimate compassion for the suffering of others, and a swath of pure beauty and mystical awe that cut right through the heart of the work...

Next, the cover:

Astral Weeks is NOT the tune I was mentioning last night...Like Mr. Hansard, I play it straight up in A.
If you'd like little more on the late, great Mr. Bangs I could never, ever recommend Maria Bustillos' piece in the New Yorker from awhile back enough. You can find it....Here.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Things I Learned Today...


John Doe, he of the seminal LA punk band 'X', doesn't live in Los Angeles...Instead, he hangs his guitar strap in the little town that took on Chevron and won...Richmond California.

Government bureaucracies aren't the only ones that take out the garbage and/or blindside you on a Friday afternoon. Specifically, academic ones do it too.

KK Fat, our little cat, hates springtime rainstorms.

When in doubt while trying to learn (and sing) a new Van Morrison tune, capo up!


The Keef Report...Can The Ridiculous Be Sublime?


...Because this time I think he might just be messing with us.

Unless, of course, something happens in the gallery on Thursday nights that we don't know about when the rest of the ledge is away for, say, spring break.

Previous Keef Reports can be found....Here.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Has Paul Auster Lost His Marbles (And/Or His Fastball)?


Don't get be wrong.

I consider Mr. Auster to be a literary genius.

And 'Auggie Wren's Christmas Story', despite it's lack of a tree and/or a Santa, is one of my, and my kids', favourites.

But this thing about how he wants to turn America's National pastime into a bastardized version of 50 overs cricket is just plain crazy:

As the 2015 season approaches, the Atlantic League is set to try a more extreme way of speeding up the game.

According to Fox Sports, a batter will be called out if he hits a foul ball with two strikes and will be given a walk for three balls instead of four. These changes will be tested when theLong Island Ducks host the Bridgeport Bluefish for an exhibition game on April 18.

The league said the changes for the exhibition game were proposed by a 68-year-old author and baseball fan named Paul Auster. The league also said the changes were not under consideration for regular season games and are to serve as an experiment for ways to improve the pace of games....

I mean, what's next, a complete and total ban on human rain delays?

That Christmas Story also plays a significant part of the Auster/Wayne Wang cinematic collaboration brought to life by non other than the good Mr. Keitel.


These Days In Clarkland...What's Another Hundred Million?


Remember when the Clarklandians wasted....errrr...spent almost two hundred million dollars on the 'Integrated Case Management (IT) System' for the Ministry of Child And Family Development that has never worked properly while they simultaneously refused to make it possible for frontline MCFD workers to spend an extra $50 bucks a year for kids in our care who really and truly need our help most?


It would appear that the Clarklandians are at it again, this time pushing a hundred million dollar plus 'Integrated Decision Making' system.

Paul Ramsey, blogger and IT expert (i.e. not someone with the kind of established credibility necessary to make a fuss about all things IT, allegedly) has the story.

At least he has as much of the story as he could get via an heavily redacted FOI release:

... (The braintrust) carefully prepared a business case for Treasury Board, asking for well north of $100M to rewrite every land management system in government. Forests, lands, oil and gas, heritage, the whole kit and caboodle. The business case says:

"IDM will improve the ability of the six ministries and many agencies in the NRS to work together to provide seamless, high‐quality service to proponents and the public, to provide effective resource stewardship across the province, to effectively consult with First Nations in natural resource decisions, and to contribute to cross‐government priorities."

Sounds ambitious! I wonder how they're going to accomplish this feat of re-engineering? Well, I'm going to keep on wondering, because they redacted everything in the business case except the glowing hyperbole...

And, just in case you were wondering, the same fine folks that brought us that 180 million thingy that doesn't work are apparently hard at work raking in a few more of our dollars on this new enterprise:

...However, even though we don't know how, or really why, they (i.e. the 'braintrust) are embarking on this grand adventure, we can rest assured that they are now spending money at a rate of about $10M / year making it happen, much of it on our good friends Deloitte...
(stuff in brackets, above, mine, added for clarification)



What's it really all about Alfie?

Well, I went and poked around a bit in the tiny bits that Mr. Ramsey received from his most excellent FOI adventure, and, who'd a thunk it...

"...IDM (Integrated Decision Making) is a major component of the multi‐year transformation of the Natural Resource Sector (NRS) to align legislation, processes, people and technology to allow for the integrated management of BC’s shared natural resources. IDM is a component of the NRS (Natural Resource Sector) Transformation Plan...

{snippety doodle-dandiest}

...The NRS is a key driver of economic activity and employment in the province. In order to meet the objectives of the BC Jobs Plan and other government priorities, such as supporting the development of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export market...

That's right....

Sparkle Ponies!

You can read more about Mr. Ramsey's most excellent FOI adventure....Here....It's really very imformative regarding how problematic the process is for the non-established and the non-credible (i.e. your average citizen with a little knowledge and expertise in a subject who wants to find out what the heckfire is really going on).


This Day In Clarkland...When The Going Gets Tough, Send In Mr. Stone.


Won't fund transit...

But as for roads 'n stuff?

Well, the good Mr. Stone has it according to Ian Bailey of the Globe:

...(Transportation minister Todd) Stone – unveiling a $2.5-billion transportation plan called B.C. on the Move during a speech to the Vancouver Board of Trade on Tuesday – said he and Ms. Clark are hoping for a Yes vote (in the Translink plebiscite). In remarks to reporters later, he added that he has delivered speeches making the case for Yes, but he said he is leaving the heavy lifting to the mayors and their allies in the Yes coalition.

“The Premier and I have said, very consistently, that this campaign is for the mayors council and the Yes coalition to lead,” he said. “It’s fundamentally up to the mayors and their coalition to get out there and sell their plan."...

{upside down snippety doodle}

...Minister (Stone) has ruled out any reforms to the controversial Vancouver region transit authority to help mayors and their allies win a plebiscite on a new tax to finance transit expansion, dismissing concerns about the issue as a “red herring.”...

{snippety dandier}

...“The Premier and I have said, very consistently, that this campaign is for the mayors council and the Yes coalition to lead,” he (Stone) said. “It’s fundamentally up to the mayors and their coalition to get out there and sell their plan.”...

(stuff in brackets, above, mine)

It would really appear that not only will the Clarklandians say anything, they'll also do anything as well.

Of course, one thing that the good Mr. Stone did not say was that it is the BC Liberal government that has run Translink since it took it hijacked it back in 2007.

Which, of course, had nothing whatsoever to do with the $200 million dollar fare gates that still aren't working (and will never work for people who purchase bus transfers) or anything, right?

And, for those commuting drivers who rant away on proMedia comment threads about how unfair either road pricing or tolls would be because of all of the taxes they already pay...Have they considered the poor sod who pays ten bucks for transit if they cross three zones every day to get too and from work (or a mere $170 bucks a month for a pass)?


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Maron On Maron...And Iggy Pop.


One of my most anticipated Marc Maron 'WTF' podcasts of all times was the one where Iggy Pop went to the garage.

Not so much because I was all set to get all cranked up by Mr. Pop the man, the myth and the legend.

Instead, I got cranked up by how cranked-up I knew Maron was going to get without any of the chemical kind in sight.

And, in the end he (i.e. Maron) did.

And now cartoon Maron tells us why (and how). It's pretty darned hilarious...

Tip O' The Toque to the always fantastic Open Culture for a heads up on this one.


Mr. Beer 'N Hockey Has A Message For The Purveyors Of The Bill That Shall Not Be Named.


Which is that the generation of fauxed-up surveillance states often lead to something very different than what those doing the fauxing have in mind (careful, Mr. Beer's language is not for those in need of a fainting couch):

...(The very fine folks) who run this country have decided it is our turn to be a police state. Got a bill on a desk in Ottawa proposing to turn us into what we (and our ancestors) all ran away from. A police state with our very own RCMSS.

I have news for you and our government that might just be of interest. Just about every one of those police states our forebears or we ourselves ran from has itself been overthrown because the people could not stand it and burned it down. Some of those places have become and stayed better places once the rebellion or revolution was done. Some of them became a ...(heckfire)... of a lot worse.

I do not need to tell you who's who.

Point is, by making Canada into a police state our present government is guaranteeing this country will one day be turned into something much more free than they could possibly imagine or something much worse than they could possibly imagine...

(stuff in brackets, above, mine)


It's hard to argue with Mr. Beer.

After all, concerted extremism (and that includes state-sponsored extremism) pretty much always breeds more extemism of one kind or another.


Transparency? We Don't Need (To Cover) No Stinking Transparency!


Did you know that the provincial Dippers introduced a bill last week that would increase government transparency significantly, to a level that would make it possible for super sleuths like Bob Mackin and citizen sleuths like Norm Farrell to do their job/follow the money without wasting time and treasure being forced to forever FOI themselves?

Neither did I.



How come neither you nor I knew about this?

Because the Lotuslandian proMedia refused to cover it.

Over the mountains, but not too far away guy (and former Lotuslandian super sleuth himself), Sean Holman has the story:

...(T)here’s value in journalists covering the opposition’s proposed reforms because such stories help inform the public about the flaws in British Columbia’s freedom of information system.

But a search of the Canadian Newsstand database and Google News turns up no stories about those reforms.

By comparison, when federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau announced a much weaker freedom of information initiative, he nabbed at least five stories about that proposal – including an editorial from the Globe and Mail endorsing it...

Imagine that.

Don't know about you, but Mr. Holman's regular Monday morning blog posts have fast become a must read for me....On a whole lotta levels from Federal to Municipal...
Subheader got you wondering?....Well...This.


The Translink Referendum Shuffle...Do We Have A New Winner?


For quite some time I have been saying that the only real winners in this plebiscite thing will be the flack-hackery.

On both sides.

Recently, however, Charlie Smith, following up on an interesting blog piece from 'August Views', suggested there might be another group of winners:

I've been poking around on the Internet trying to figure out how the B.C. Liberals decided to include a transit referendum in their 2013 election platform. But I still haven't been able to determine who came up with this clunker of an idea.

Was it Mike de Jong? Rich Coleman? Or the premier herself?

At times, I've wondered if a confederate of Stephen Harper might have slipped it into the B.C. Liberal platform in the hope that it would provide data-mining opportunities in advance of the next federal election...


If the hard rock poli-candy data miners do win, does that mean I've been wrong lo these many weeks that have already passed (and lo these many weeks still to come before May 29th)?

Perhaps, unless...

The miners and the flack-hackery are one and the same.

Perish the thought.

There's another potentially important 'winning' thing to consider here, which is that this three month long campaign gives the flack hackin' pick 'n shovel boys and girls all kinds of time and media space to try out all kinds of 'messages' to see what works and what doesn't before the coming federal election...