Monday, June 24, 2019

This Is The Modern World.


I mean, is there no longer nothing that purports to be in the public interest that cannot be willingly co-opted?

And yes, if you are of a certain vintage you should bloody well have an ear worm from that coupling at the top of the post that needs scratching....


Friday, June 21, 2019

Aquilini Overdrive.


Well, well, well, whadd'ya know...

Turns out that those wild Aquilini boys owe some taxes on a previous $140 million West Edmonton property sale that helped finance their subsequent acquisition of the Canuckleheads.

We know this because the judge overseeing the tax court case has ruled that each of the three brothers owes us all money on a capital gain of $11 million, plus, each.

Which, of course, means that the usual sports market shillophants in short pants will likely soon start screeching about how this will almost certainly lead to massive beer price increases down at the arena that Little Arthur lost, not to mention the immediate sale of young Mr. Pettersson to the godless Leafs if something isn't done to ease the brothers' collective pain.

But here's the thing that is most unbelievable about this entire thing, as relayed deep within a buried lede by Jason Proctor of the MoCo:

...According to the judgment, the brothers each initially declared taxable income of $50,572...


I guess it's true that the rich really aren't, but sometimes try to be, just like you and me.

Or some such butchered Fitzgeraldian thing.

Tip O' the Toque to Norm Farrell on his Twittmachine feed.


Friday, June 14, 2019

An Insider Explains The Havoc That The BC Liberals' New Era Wreaked.


The following is from a post I wrote in the deepest, darkest days of GordCo Inc's destruction of British Columbia's social contract back in late 2005:

The central tenet of the neandercons' con is that the private sector can run absolutely everything more efficiently than government.

Thus, the mainstream media-driven mantra that 'privatization is good for everyone.'

Unfortunately, even in specific situations where skeptics like me might, in a weak moment, be willing to meet them halfway, things rarely work out as planned.

Witness CN's recent repeated derailments, or Maximus' repeated problems answering phone calls, or BC Ferries' repeated difficulties keeping propellers turning.

But all of these problems pale in comparison to those that have engulfed the Ministry of Children and Family Development since Mr. Campbell and his minions began to wreak their havoc in 2001.

Sound a little over the top?



Remember Doug Walls?

Remember the ditching of community- based small non-profits for the centralized business model?

Remember how inefficient that turned out to be and how much it cost us?

Remember the eight, maybe nine, figure cutbacks?

Remember the bloviating of former BC Liberal cabinet ministers, one of whom later quit and tried to become Mayor of Vancouver?

Remember the death of the little girl at the hands of a clearly unsuitable relative acting as a foster parent?

Heard about the almost total breakdown of the effectiveness of social workers whose caseloads have skyrocketted?

Sure, we all know all about that.

And now we also know about the tragic case of another little girl's death that was never even investigated because of the total emasculation of child protection oversight initiated by the BC Liberals.

This tragedy is not something that can be waved away with rhetoric. It is political dynamite and a former special investigator who worked with the coroner's office named Kathleen Stephany is not pulling any punches as she comes out swinging with her side of the story.

Of course, as a prelude to the stonewall to come, the savaging of Ms. Stephany has already begun because, rumour has it, she is nothing more than a 'disgruntled former employee'.

Trains jumping the tracks repeatedly because a former crown, now private, corporation is cutting costs in narrow, twisting canyons is one thing, but business model-mediated mistreatment of defenseless children is an act malfeasance that must end.


Unfortunately, nothing really started to change for another eleven years that wasn't driven by the courts. Even the independent child and youth representative, which was first disappeared early in GordCo Inc's 'New Era' but later reinstated in the wake of a scathing report by Ted Hughes that dealt with, among many other undefensible things, the uninvestigated deaths of  hundreds of children in  the New Era's so called 'care'.

But here's the thing....

Those of us that were paying attention back in the day could see that all of those things listed above (and more) were bad, intentional and ideological. In addition, we could also see that they were driven by willful tax cuts, often for the most wealthy among us, that created huge deficits that required massive budget cuts that helped justified privatization.

How do we now know for sure that we were right all along?

Well, it turns out that one of GordCo Inc's longest serving capos, former BC Liberal minister George Abbott has written a political science dissertation telling everyone concerned that this was, indeed the case;

Andrew Macleod has the story in the Tyee.

Here is a bit about how GordCo's New Era approach resulted in the savaging of the Child and Family Services ministry that ultimately made the Hughes investigation necessary:

...“Although the tax cut was undoubtedly popular among many British Columbians, few fully understood the fiscal repercussions that would follow,” Abbott wrote. “Cautionary advice was dismissed and tax cuts quickly translated into a $4.4-billion deficit and deep expenditure reductions for ministries other than Health, Education, and Advanced Education.”

Since the three protected ministries made up 70 per cent of the province’s budget, deep cuts had to be made in the resource and social ministries that make up the rest of provincial spending.

Abbott goes into detail with chapters on what those cuts meant in three ministries: community, Aboriginal and women’s services; human resources; and children and family development.

In the case of the children and families ministry, where the impact was perhaps most dramatic, the focus became on reducing the caseload. That eventually led to news stories about the deaths of children and the failure to review many of those deaths, and a report by Ted Hughes that traced the issue back to the 2001 budget cuts.

In Abbott’s account, the Liberals’ 2001 campaign promises to maintain and improve services were trumped by tax cuts and fiscal commitments.

“When the generous vision for children and families embraced by the New Era document proved incompatible with the twin imperatives of tax cuts in 2001 and a balanced budget by 2004, the vision succumbed to those political imperatives,” he wrote.

“Unfunded cost pressures proved a recurrent challenge across the New Era and demonstrated one point conclusively: demand for services may rise or fall for any number of economic, demographic or social reasons, but concern for a finance minister’s balanced budget will not be among them.”...


There is much that is laudable in Mr. Abbott's attempt to set the record straight, after the fact.


Why did he not do something about the problem at the time or, at the very least, why did he not quit and tell British Columbians what was really going on when it was still possible do something about it?

Here is Mr. Abbott's explanation, again from Mr. McLeod's Tyee piece:

...“I think some people will be surprised that I’m as blunt as I am,” Abbott said in an interview, adding that his account is a cautionary tale for politicians everywhere. “I think governments should be extraordinarily cautious before launching any tax cut that in an adverse economic shift will produce drastic cuts to public programs.”

The tax cut, despite its large impact, was never debated in cabinet, Abbott said. “There wasn’t a lot of opportunity to say anything at the time. It was a done deal on day one.”

He acknowledged some people would ask why there wasn’t more public dissent from him or others inside the government. Abbott said despite his misgivings and belief that a more modest tax cut would have been wiser, he chose to remain optimistic, work hard and hope for the best...

Personally, I'm not entirely convinced that Mr. Abbott's approach in that regard was so laudable.

Especially that 'hope for the best' part given that the demonstrable the evidence at the timen indicated that, in many cases, the worst was in fact occurring.

Update: Apologies for getting monicker wrong initially.


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Why I Quit Hockey Playoff Pools


I consider myself lucky, especially given my obsessive tendencies, that I have not yet been hooked by online sports pools of any kind.

And for that I can personally thank Esa Tikkanen.


Because I quit such pools, cold turkey, after the 1990 Stanley Cup playoffs when I realized that I had no interest in cheering for players I hated just because I had drafted them.

Case in point - the above mentioned, and pictured, Mr. Tikkanen who helped power, and 'agitate', the Gretzkyless Edmonton Oilers to a surprising Cup win that spring.


With that as background, I, for one, was ecstatic when the slewfooted hypoglossal king, Brad Marchand, was goated, and I mean that in the literal rather than acronymized sense of the word, at the end of a long goal sucking shift on the Blues' game seven winning goal last night...

Subheader refers to an on-air exchange between a then still young John McKeachie and Jack Webster when the former had the audacity to show up with a scraggly beard that made him look like the butler's younger beatnik brother on the Munsters....Or some such thing.
And, yes, I'm actually old enough to actually remember the spring night in 1970 when Mr. Orr flew through the air to win the series for the Big Bad Bruins...After the goal my brothers and I went outside and started knocking the stuffing out of each other in the twilight...


Sunday, June 09, 2019

CAPPtung Baby?


So, I couldn't help but wonder if...

...there is any connection between the accelerated drop in Lotuslandian gas prices and the end of the legislative sitting 10 days ago?

If you get my drift.

What's this CAPP/Postmedia connectitudinal thing all about?....Norm Farrell explained it awhile back by channeling the ghost of Rafe Mair.


Tuesday, June 04, 2019

The Sweet Yearn Of Youth.


First of all, Song Exploder.




All right?


One of the things that bugs me about getting old is that it inevitably gets more and more difficult to serendipitously stumble across something that smacks you up the side of the head so hard that it lights a fire that can, if you're lucky, turn into an all consuming obsessive bout with insight, however fleeting.

Like, for example, with songs.

I still remember finding 'Jail Guitar Doors' on that fake 'first' Clash Album (i.e. the 'blue' version in Canada) and slapping it on a cassette so I could play/rewind/play/rewind/play/rewind over and over again while driving the backstreets of southern Vancouver Island in the Kenny Van.

And that was before I even knew that the 'Wayne' of the first line was Mr. Kramer of the MC-5.

In hindsight, I think what really struck me was the evolution of Mr. Jones' vocal layered over top of Strummer's overdrive that would soon become so prominent on that third double album to come.

Which makes sense, maybe, given that the primordial version of the tune concerned was first scaffolded together by Strummer back in his old 101'er days.


I've been enjoying the musical work of a young woman named Sharon van Etten for awhile now.

But I wouldn't say I've been obsessed.

But today, on the way home I put on the Song Exploder episode wherein she explains how she built one of her new tunes, Seventeen, from melodic, sonic and lyrical perspectives.

All this explanation built to such a crescendo that when they finally played the tune in its entirety at the end of the podcast I couldn't wait to listen.

And then, when that was done, I got off the bus immediately so that I could walk the long way home.

And listen again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

Until I finally made it back to the subterranean blues room where I madly stitched together a bit of digitally enhanced back story into my fading memory before writing this.


Interestingly, Ms. van Etten's tune is only disguised as a yearning thing...Instead, as she explains, it's really about how the reckoning can lead to closure and more....And it's also about building a wedge to rock out on...And, get this, Michael Cera's Jupiter 4...Go figure.
Don't give a hoot-in-heckfire what the kids (or, at least, the near kids) are up to these days?....Well, check out this edition of SExploder to learn how Lindsay Buckingham conceived of and built one of Fleetwood Mac's biggest hits...You'll be surprised by the level of literalness coupled with introspection and very little cynicism...Seriously.


Friday, May 31, 2019

Is Big Rich's Wurlitzer Crank Broken?


First there was the stenography report by the Postmedia's number two man in sick society town that was apparently based on the highly prized and completely unbiased notes of one Ms. Mary Polak...

Speaker Darryl Plecas called an investigation conducted by the former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada “pathetic” and said she was “stupid” for having listened to the accused men, according to the Opposition Liberal house leader who was in the room at the time and took notes of the conversation.

Liberal house leader Mary Polak released 16 pages of detailed notes she took during a Wednesday meeting with Plecas, Green house leader Sonia Furstenau and NDP MLA Gary Begg.

In them, Plecas railed against the report by former chief justice Beverley McLachlin and promised to use B.C.’s police act to conduct his own probe into alleged wrongdoing involving officials in the building...

Then came Big Rich's attempt to turn the wurlitzer's crank...

Based on the comments, Mr. Coleman's gambit did not work.

How sad for the former Minister of Everything.

Getting ready to climb back into the cigar tube for the final cross country sardining of the season...That plan to save 'Bohemian Rhapsody' for last on the monopoly mongers' AV feed is looking pretty good right about now...
Update: Here is a decidedly non-stenographic account from Jon Woodward of CTV in which he actually uses independent facts to fisk the notes of the good Ms. Polak....And, yes, the #@*$in' plane is late!


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Public Inquiry Preview...The Friendly Disappears The Lede.


Black Press' very fine legislative columnist Mr. Fletcher of Tom's Harbour recently told us all that GordCo Inc's former Minister of Everything is happy that the public inquiry on all that he and his did to facilitate the exponential growth of 'Hockey Bags Full Of Dusted Cash, Llc.'

But why, we couldn't help wonder, would the former Minister of Everything be happy?

Because, according to the good Mr. Fletcher, this:

...(Rich) Coleman was minister in charge of the B.C. Lottery Corporation in 2009 when a dedicated illegal gambling enforcement team was disbanded. A new dedicated team was set up in 2016 as large casinos were operating in Metro Vancouver...


Didn't the former Minister of Everything tell Sean Holman in 2010 that he dismantled  the IGET team back in 2009 because he had something else better to go right then and there (i.e. seven years BEFORE he and Cookie Dough Mike pretended to actually do something)?

Why, yes, he did!


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Lotuslandian Real Estate Correction: Nevermind The Soft Landing...

...Bring On The Developer Party-Friendly Disaster Scenarios!

Courtesy, of course, those fine folks at Postmedia;

After all, how else are you going to bamboozle the citizenry into voting against their own self interest down the road if you don't start the boozlement right this instant.

Or some such thing.


Friday, May 17, 2019

When In Doubt, Always Thank Your Own Personal Flack Hackery First....

Do you see what I see?



You would think that the shame, it would burn.

But, when you and yours are working the refs, hard, in an effort to have them recognize a phantom political reincarnation worthy of a pre-public inquiry Senate seat, perhaps not.

And as for that 'Strategies Of The Inlet' hashtag thingy?....Well...You know


Thursday, May 16, 2019

Awaiting The Celebratory VSun Headline In 144pt Type...



Perhaps not.

After all, the fine folks over at Postmedia's pacific division can always start fussing about...



Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Wither The Inquiry, Public Or Otherwise.


I'm just about to climb into the goddamned cigar tube and then will be forced to endure 48 hours in the windowless science geek dungeon with little to no natural light and bad coffee for the duration.

Which means I'll probably not hear about whether or not we'll get a public inquiry into the Whaling Industry and all that entails until well after the fact.

But, before I go, I feel compelled to say something about the Dean's missive wherein he concludes the following, in his kicker, sans, you know, actual...


...(W)hen cabinet meets next Wednesday, I expect the New Democrats will brush past any last-minute reservations and get on with a public inquiry whose main purpose is political...

Sure, Mr. Palmer does quote David Eby saying this:

...Eby would like everything wrapped up in two years. He sees an inquiry as an exercise in “political accountability … who made the decisions, who benefited, why did they make those decisions?”...

Which isn't the same thing.

As the Dean's kicker, I mean.

But here's the thing...

I don't give a hoot-in-heckfire if there are no convictions, or even additional blockbuster-type evidence.

Because, at the very least, I want the perpetrators (starting with Vader, Darth) to be publicly shamed by their words, actions and deeds that facilitated the flow of corrupted billions into the province that is killing our kids' dreams, not to mention our body politic.



Sunday, May 12, 2019

Would You Find Me?


This is a special apology for that tiny percentage of you who stop by here occasionalaly looking for a new Sunday Set.

Just so you know, I've got the tune list for the next edition all ready to go. Furthermore, the Whackadoodle and I have been diligently working on the playing and the singing during our evening walks down the alley and around the corner, not to mention during our weekly strolls along the sandy strip where the north arm of the big muddy meets the sea.

But I'm just too slammed with science geek stuff at the moment to get things recorded this weekend.


When I have to go to work on a Sunday, in this case to finish reading and ranking the latest batch of my colleagues' grant applications, I often like to let the musical algorithms run.

And this afternoon this, from the bastard who set me and my kids to 'forcing-our-music-on-strangers' thing off in the first place, popped up.

Watch for the foot stomp-induced pedal break at the 4:20 mark.

And what comes after, of course...

And if you want to hear Mr. Hansard wax on, in that most Irish way of his, about all things musical, including why Van Morrison songs work for busking, give this a listen.


Friday, May 10, 2019

How The BCL's Wild West Donor Deluge Worked...




*Courtesy Norm Farrell via his Twittmachine feed.


Saturday, May 04, 2019

Was There A Method Behind Rich Coleman's (Most Recent) Madness?


At the very least you've seen the headline...

Which is that Rich Coleman, to quote Andrew Wilkinson, drew 'parallels' between the holocaust and Dipperian legislation designed to protect the ALR that Mess'rs Coleman and Wilkinson, together with their best friends and influential donors, errrrr, uncles, did their best to dismantle.

However, given the way the proMedia works it's more likely you've heard/read/seen much more about the (mostly righteous) furor that followed.

And then, of course, there is the blanket coverage of the full apology that only came after Mr. Coleman first tried floating a non-apology apology that was savaged by pretty much everyone.

But, here's the thing...

How many proMedia stories have you seen since Thursday, when this all began on the floor of the Ledge, that are focussed on the recent re-kindling of the Casino-Industrial-Complex scandal in the wake of recent revelations regarding the coddling of the high rolling offshore whales?

If you get my drift.

Of course, as you might expect, the good Mr. Wilkinson didn't bother to mention that it was Mr. Coleman that generated this ridiculously non-parallel parallelogrammatic upside down cake..


Friday, May 03, 2019

What's NOT The Matter With Kansas?



Is it possible that Thomas Frank's thesis is no longer entirely correct?

From Reis Tebault of the WaPo...

Julie Burkhart was in her early 20s when she responded to the person yelling at her as she walked into work. How could she ever take a job at a place like that? the woman wanted to know. Burkhart didn’t realize it then, but she’d have that same argument for decades.

It was 1991, and Burkhart had returned from college to discover that her hometown of Wichita had become the front line of the religious right’s battle against abortion. She went straight into the trenches.

At a local clinic, she took calls from women who wanted abortions and scheduled their appointments. That’s where she met the protesters, and there were a lot of them that year.

Those sweltering months would come to be known as the Summer of Mercy, when members of the bellicose antiabortion group Operation Rescue traveled to the Midwestern city in droves and swarmed abortion clinics. The next month and a half radically changed the politics of abortion in Kansas...


...Nearly three decades later, Burkhart sat down at her desk in a women’s clinic not far from the place where she first encountered the antiabortion activists. On Friday, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the state’s constitution fundamentally protects abortion rights.

The news flashed across her screen, and her staff rushed in to read it with her.

Kansans have “the ability to control one’s own body, to assert bodily integrity, and to exercise self-determination. This right allows a woman to make her own decisions regarding her body, health, family formation, and family life — decisions that can include whether to continue a pregnancy.”... 


...“I’m not sure it’s really sunk in yet,” she said Friday evening. “It means, for me … this has been worth the fight."

And there were times, over the past 20-some years, when she wondered whether it would be worth it — like in 2009, when an antiabortion extremist murdered her mentor, physician George Tiller, who also ran a clinic in Wichita...

All of which just goes to show that, maybe, just maybe, it is still possible for folks to understand what is actually best for them and theirs, especially if the fox-flung sand can be washed from their eyes and the hate radio prop-goop can be drained from their ears.



Thursday, May 02, 2019

Coddling All Whales.


The Dipper-mandated investigation of staff harassment at that casino with its own Canada Line station down at the edge of the Big Muddy is out and Bob Mackin has the fully story over at the Breaker.

Here are a few pull quotes from Uncle Bob's very thorough report:

...The Project Guardian report by Paladin Security senior investigator Jared Brin, commissioned by B.C. Lottery Corporation in November 2017, was published May 1 with the names of complainants redacted. The report said those who gambled with more money at the Great Canadian Gaming-owned casino were cut slack, even when those high-rollers misbehaved and harmed staff...


...“Two individuals told us that a manager or supervisor explicitly told them that they are to acknowledge and actively facilitate a different standard of behaviour for VIP patrons as compared to non-VIP patrons. According to several dealers and supervisors, verbal abuse bordering on uttering threats occurs daily, if not hourly,” said the 37-page report...


...Paladin was originally hired to examine complaints of sexual harassment by high rollers against staff, but it found problems much worse: at least 18 instances of documented physical assaults and at least seven instances of assault with weapons, at least four reported patron-on-staff instances of sexual harassment, and at least four unreported staff-on-staff instances of sexual harassment.

Paladin found one case of a table games dealer who had been threatened with death by a player, but the suspect was given only a 24-hour ban. Respondents said managers discouraged table games dealers from reporting assaults with unspecified weapons to the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch and RCMP...


It really is beginning to look like Big Rich and his very Fine Friends in High Rolling Places built the local Lotuslandian Whaling Tank Laundry Industry by completely dismantling oversight at the front end, the back end and all points in between.

And, of course, damn the consequences.

Imagine that!

In case anyone interested missed it...


Sunday, April 28, 2019

How The Wurlitzer Works...Post Alberta Election Pipeline-A-Palooza Edition.


After Jason Kenney brushed off an unexpected* stomping from Charles Adler prior to returning the Albertalands to their rightful owners, John Ivison quickly set the anti-Lotuslandian Wurlitzer throttle to eleven in the pages of the NaPo:

...While many voters want the premier-designate to attempt diplomacy before turning off the taps that supply British Columbia, the study suggests voters are prepared to “take meaningful action to bring the B.C. government to heel.”...

Which is all fine and good considering the friendly concerned.

But what, exactly, is this 'study' that the good Mr. Ivison refers to?


Let's go back and check:

...A new study of public opinion in Alberta by communications firm Navigator, based on eight post-election focus groups, suggests Albertans want premier-designate Jason Kenney to get very aggressive very quickly when it comes to taking on the federal government, environmentalists, intransigent provinces and anyone else who gets in the way of their quest to build an oil pipeline to new markets...



Did you see what I saw?

The fine folks from an even finer spin doctor factory...errrr... 'communications firm' ran some focus groups.

In other words, there was no poll.

And there was no sample size or indication of the subset of the population sampled.

And there was no estimation of potential validity.

And there no margin of error.

And thus there was, essentially, nothing.

And yet Mr. Ivison was only too happy to fling the prop that was pushed his way with great vigour.




Monday, April 22, 2019

Sunday Set, April 21, 2019....Treehouse Songs

Tunes by our Neil, Mr. Springsteen, Blaze Foley and Lucinda Williams.

Image above is Blaze Foley and Sybil Rosen at their Treehouse in the Georgia woods.


Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Not Quite Ready For Sunshine Breakfast After Treat Postage Stamp Party Favour.

I mean, seriously, not even BC Ferries, who gets it very wrong, gets it this wrong.


Mr. Eagland, also of the VSun, sure as heckfire hopes that Canada Post didn't look to Kraft and its N.B. Cheescake for inspiration.


Sunday, April 07, 2019

Policy Notables...WTF Does This Even Mean?


It looks like a new approach developing affordable rental housing near transit locations may be coming to Lotusland.

Carlito Pablo has the story in the GStraight:

...It involves the creation of a regional fund as a low-cost financing tool to support the development of what is known as “transit-oriented affordable housing”, or TOAH. Raymond Kan, a senior planner with Metro Vancouver, wrote in a report that this fund could “incrementally improve the delivery of affordable rental housing”...


How does this 'Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing' (TOAH) initiative actually work?

Well, according to a blurb attached to Mr. Tan's planning report,  this:

...“These funds are not intended to bend regional market forces, but rather to target a modest amount of financial resources towards the creation or preservation of affordable rental housing in specific geographies consistent with regional plans”...

I mean, honestly, what the heckfire does that even mean?

Interestingly, in the San Francisco Bay Area, the most excellent Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative has apparently pledged $500 million to a local TOAH... Gosh, just imagine what we could do if the very finest of the fine folks of that ilk  just paid old school Eisenhower/Diefenbaker era-style taxes instead?


Saturday, April 06, 2019

Come Monday...


Normally, when I go to the lab on Saturdays the surrounding environs are pretty much empty except for the skateboard punks having their way with the big hunk of cement across the street.

But today was different.

Because classes ended on Thursday...

Which means that fun time is over and a whole lotta kids are pushing all the stuff they can into their brains so that they can spew it out all over the exam sheets come Monday.

Imagine that!

Quite honestly, now that I'm an ageing part of the overlord academic class, I have a hard time imagining how I was able to commit to the 14 hour cram days for weeks on end back in the days when I was an undergradual...Seriously.


Pineapple Upside-Down Poll.


This was then...

President (George W) Bush will leave office as one of the most unpopular departing presidents in history, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll showing Mr. Bush's final approval rating at 22 percent.

Seventy-three percent say they disapprove of the way Mr. Bush has handled his job as president over the last eight years.

Mr. Bush's final approval rating is the lowest final rating for an outgoing president since Gallup began asking about presidential approval more than 70 years ago...

This is now*...

George W. Bush has turned his unpopularity upside down.

Six in 10 Americans, 61%, say they now have a favorable view of the 43rd President of the United States in the latest CNN poll conducted by SSRS, nearly double the 33% who gave him a favorable mark when he left the White House in January 2009...

Which begs the question...

If the very fine folks being polled no longer understand that two plus two does not equal five, can they even tell that up is not down and black is not white?

*That 'now' is actually about a year ago...One can only wonder how much higher the good Mr. Bush's moranic favo(u)rables have risen since then.
And, just to be clear...I, for one, do not believe that this collective upside-downery stops at the southern edge of the 49th parallel.


Saturday, March 30, 2019

All Shook Up.


Sarah Shook up that is.

This one's for Mr. Beer 'N Hockey...

Weirdly (or perhaps not), despite the fact that I first heard it only a couple of weeks ago, the chords 'n stuff in Ms. Shook's tune are pretty much the same as the collab by Beer and me from awhile back...


Monday, March 25, 2019

Class Size Uber Alles!


Well, well, well...

Who'd a thunk it:

Premier Doug Ford is warning teachers’ unions against taking any action to protest his government’s move to increase class sizes to save money.

“If the head of the unions want to hurt the children of this province by doing walkouts and everything else, I’d think twice if I were them,” Ford said Friday in Ottawa where he was touting the province’s $1.2 billion investment in a local light rail transit project...


Question now is....How long before Mr. Solomon and the fine folks running CTV have the good Ms. Clark on to wax Supreme about something she is actually more than just conflicty about.

Because, well....

You know:


Friday, March 22, 2019

When Business Models Kill...

...We Should All Be Concerned.

What it's all about this time Alfie?

Well, according to Hiroko Tabuchi and David Gelles, not to mention the front page of the NY Times...


As the pilots of the doomed Boeing jets in Ethiopia and Indonesia fought to control their planes, they lacked two notable safety features in their cockpits.

One reason: Boeing charged extra for them..


...Boeing’s optional safety features, in part, could have helped the pilots detect any erroneous readings. One of the optional upgrades, the angle of attack indicator, displays the readings of the two sensors. The other, called a disagree light, is activated if those sensors are at odds with one another...

The thing is, preventing such occurrences, unlike, say, crazy people doing unthinkable things in school houses and places of worship with weapons, is easy.

If you get my drift.


Friday, March 15, 2019

The Keef Report...Young Barbarian At The Clubhouse Gate!


Doesn't that young whippersnapper know that he is never, ever, allowed,to challenge the conventional wisdom of a senior proMedia Club member, in public, with a contrary analysis based on actual fact?

I mean, if this type of behaviour continues, what's next....

Does somebody start challenging the Dean's pronouncements from the inside?

And a few more wee not so conventional bits I would like to release from my brain so that it can writhe in throes of last minute science writing free of all thoughts of poli-blogging (ha!) during the final countdown to grant submission day....
Is this (so far) soft landing for the Lotuslandian real estate market not exactly what we need and why, isn't that ever the angle in the tidal wave of stories from the Club?....
When, precisely, will a certain senior Club member be trumpeting the story of a local citizen journalist (a.k.a. 'idiot blogger') who helped change provinical policy on IPP's for the better?....
And finally, why, exactly, do major proMedia outlets, and that includes the MoCo, not state, up-front and explicitly, Ms. Christy Clark's ties to SNC-Lavelin when they bring her on to read the 'Iron Snowbird in Red Riot Act'....
As always, previous Keef Reports can be found...Here.


Sunday, March 10, 2019

A Blessing And A Curse.


I'm pretty sure I've owned this thing since I was a child.

But I didn't become acutely aware of it until I was in college.


Because it drove my best friend crazy.

In first year calculus.

Here's the thing. We could sit at the back and mess around, nothing bad really, usually just whispering about homework or an assignment that was due in another class.

Inevitably, when it became abundantly clear that we weren't paying attention, the prof would call on us.

And most of the time I flummoxed my friend S. by answering the question because I kinda/sorta had been.

Paying attention I mean.

I've been doing the same thing to my own family since forever and, while I'm not sure it drives them completely crazy (although it probably does),  my kids always laugh when I refer to it as my slightly Rainmanian 'two track' parlour trick.

Weirdly, unlike just about everything else, this two track thing has not started to diminish as I slip and slide toward the end of my sixth decade.

In fact, I now use it fullest advantage in my day job.

Specifically, these days the place where I get a good chunk of my real work done is in those never ending meetings that are all pervasive in the world of academia.

Just yesterday (yes, Saturday!) I was sitting in an all day retreat to discuss curricular renewal. It was was actually pretty important and, to be honest, it's something I'm pretty passionate about.


I also had a colleague who was waiting for a revised sub-aim for a research grant we're writing together.

So, I beavered away on the grant in the back row of the conference room with one ear to program credit  and butts-in-seats ground, until things in the room started to get deep into the course duplication weeds and I couldn't help myself.

So I jumped in, said my piece, and then got back writing up to our grant's transgenic gene knock-in strategy.

I thought I was in the clear until the woman sitting next to me, who works in a completely different field, tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, 'What's a knock-in, anyway?'

I started to explain and pretty soon we were having a full-fledged whisperfest.

The chair of the meeting, who is a prof who knows nothing about math, was not amused.


Wednesday, March 06, 2019

The Wild, The Innocent, And The JT Shuffle.


The good Mr. Butts has now had his say.

And I couldn't help but notice that he conflated the regulatory TMX decision with the criminal SNC Lavalin decision.

And, oh yes, he also brought up the fact that all those innocent Canadians and their jobs were a policy decision that needed to be discussed.


Where were all those wild-eyed innocents when the trial avoiding deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) thingy was inserted into our Criminal Code?

Why, nowhere to be found.

Paul Wells had that story in the pixel pages of Macleans before Ms. Philpott resigned and Mr. Butts whined:

....When the government inserted the DPAs into the Criminal Code, how did it announce the move? With a single paragraph on page 202 of the 2018 federal budget document, under the catchy heading “Addressing corporate integrity.” You really had to go to page 202 to learn anything at all about the scheme. Finance Minister Bill Morneau made no mention of it in his nationally televised budget speech.

And how was the DPA described on page 202, for insatiably curious or insomniac readers who might stumble across it? As a way to get tough on corporate wrongdoers. DPAs would be “an additional tool to hold corporate offenders to account,” the document said. They would “sanction criminal conduct appropriately and deter wrongdoing.”...

'Holding corporate offenders to account'?

With a trial avoidance tool inserted at the behest of lobbyists from a corporation that, based on past performance, was known to offend?

Protecting the innocent, indeed.


Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Why The Heart Of Jane Philpott's Letter Matters.


There has already been a whole lot of discussion of the ethics, the politics and the 'fact' that in the end SNC Lavelin did not get the DPA it wanted anyway.

However, I have heard little of any discussion of the following passage from Ms. Philpott's letter of resignation:

"...The solemn principles at stake are the independence and integrity of our justice system. It is a fundamental doctrine of the rule of law that our Attorney General should not be subjected to political pressure or interference regarding the exercise of her prosecutorial discretion in criminal cases..."

Why does this passage matter so much?

Because, if the former AG was was subjected to such pressure and/or interference and if such pressure and/or interference really is regarded as normal  'discussion and debate' around the cabinet table and elsewhere that happens as a matter of course in such matters*, well...

It begs the question.

Are we still a nation of laws or have we become something else?

*Which is precisely the point that the Minister of Fisheries Jonathan Wilkinson made while he was interviewed by Stephen Quinn on the MoCo's Early Edition this morning....
Paul Wells has more on how 'we' got the DPA  process we may not have wanted in the first place in the pixel pages of Macleans.


Monday, March 04, 2019


That is all.


Saturday, March 02, 2019

Beach Day.


The Whackadoodle and I got down to the edge of the North Arm of the Fraser's last gasp early this morning.

When we arrived it was still winter.

Twenty minutes later spring broke out.

Soon it was so warm I could play without the fingerless mitten thingies

We are most definitely on our way to summer.

Pretty much got the next Sunday Set worked out this morning during the walk....But recording it will have to wait for a bit - have to get back to grant writing...Sheesh.


Thursday, February 28, 2019

Is It Possible That 'Socialism' Isn't The Real Reason The Usual Suspects Are...

...Screaming About The Green New Deal?

And, given all the screaming, I am personally surprised that said suspects haven't yet accused AOC of being a Marxian replicant who was manufactured in a vat in East Caracas by Hugo Chavez in 2001.

After all, she once was a budding young microbiologist who messed around with roundworms which should be enough evidence for anyone.


But what about this:

Ohio’s political conservatives strongly favor renewable energy over coal and especially over nuclear power, a new poll commissioned by the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum has found.

“Conservatives in Ohio are strong supporters of renewable energy, with a clear majority, 70 percent, wanting 50 percent or more of their energy to come from renewable sources,” concluded Jim Hobart, a partner at Public Opinion Strategies, a national polling firm which does research for Republican candidates.

The poll was the third such survey Public Opinion Strategies had done for the the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum. It found growing support for clean energy. And a willingness to pay extra for it.

Conservative Ohio voters “also view renewable energy as a job creator in the state, with low-income conservatives and conservative men being especially likely to say that the increased use of renewables would create jobs in Ohio,” Hobart’s summary of findings points out...

Boss! Boss! The Base!

Piece quoted above was written by John Funk in the people's notoriously funkadelic Cleveland Plain Dealer....A link to the 'Ohio Conservative Energy Forum's presser on this thing is here...All joking aside, this thing has the whiff of a push about it...Is it possible that the lobbyists's stars are starting to align with those who bankroll the wingnuttian welfare workhouses?


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Steelhead LNG....Certainty, Schmertainty.



Why, according to Steelhead themselves, have they stopped 'work' on their LNG facility that was supposed to float in Alberni Inlet on the westside of Vancouver Island?

Susie Quinn, writing for the Alberni Valley News has the pull quote, direct from the mouth of the horse's spokesthingy:

...Steelhead LNG manager of communications Matt Skinner said the decision to cease work on the Kwispaa project comes down to economics. “Given the current environment in B.C., investors really need a greater degree of certainty before investing in a project such as ours,” he said Monday. “We’ve paused (work) on Kwispaa for now and are evaluating.”...

And where, exactly, did all that 'certainty' for Mr. Skinner et al's., 'investors' go?

Grant G, who knows a whole lot about all things LNG, has this take:

...Steelhead LNG can remove these expensive pipeline issues (that involve crossing Strait of Georgia and Van Isle) by locating to Prince Rupert...Kitimat..Dish Cove, Ridley Island...But they're not...This was always a pump and dump scam...either that or they thought by conning First Nations, promising economic prosperity, announcing a series of milestones crossed they could convince a naive BC Government to expend $billions of dollars to deliver natural gas to a fly-by-night group of private investors without a pot to piss in...
(stuff in brackets and the bolding are mine)


With all that as a preamble, get ready for the following, because I don't think you have heard me say this before...

In this case I think Grant has actually understates his case.


Because I do not think that the fine folks from Steelhead, at the time that they conceived of all their most sparkly of plans, were hoping to work over a 'naive' government.

Why do I think this?


'Nuff said?


Monday, February 18, 2019

Sunday Set For A Holiday Monday....February 18, 2019


'Boots of Spanish Leather' cover done in the style of Mandolin Orange...

A very, very soft version of an old THip song...

'Even When The Sun Comes Up' cover from Sharon van Etten...

Daniel Johnston's 'Devil Town', which has been done by just about everyone, including the Irish, just because it feels like that kind of town 'round here at the moment...


Sunday, February 17, 2019

How The Heckfire Did I Miss...


After a pretty hard-earned misspent musical youth I prided myself on keeping up all the way through gradual school.

But then, in the early '90's I started an entirely new 10,000 hour post-doc project in a big science, rock candy playground with such ferocious obsessivity that nothing in my peripheral vision, including things like the emerging high resolution version of 3-D version Wolfenstein*, could fully penetrate.


Keeping up with anything musical that wasn't right in front of me on the modern rock radio station that blared  24/7 from the tissue culture room ghetto blaster just wasn't going to happen.

Especially after Bigger E. came along in the dying days of Joe Montana's Candlestick reign.

None of which is a legitimate excuse for completely missing Pavement.

And sure, it's all about Malkamus and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Kannberg, as I came to fully appreciate when I fell down the live show YouTubian rabbit hole this past weekend (which is very, very easy to do when you're grant writing).

But holy moly - Has there ever been a better hype man who contributes nothing musically and everything sonically like that degenerate horse breeder Bob Nastanovich?

*Which, b/w a whole lot of back deck ping pong, hooked a good number of my stable mates.


The IPP Long Con...Was Rafe Mair Shouting In His Underwear?


As we noted yesterday, those who call out the Keef and his fellow proMedia Club members for playing insider access game are, apparently, underwear wearers who are doing nothing more than shouting from their parents' basements.

Or some such thing.


In the wake of the recent IPP 'report'', David Beers of the Tyee reminds us that Rafe Mair was all over this story of craptacular crony capitalism that was going to screw us all to the wall back when it was actually happening:

...“We British Columbians are the ongoing and apparently disinterested victims of a world-class deception and it has gone on since 2002 when Gordon Campbell announced British Columbia’s new Energy Plan.

“Let’s start there because that’s where the decade of incredibly stupid policy regarding BC Hydro began. From that moment on BC Hydro wasn’t permitted to bring on new sources of energy, ‘Site C’ excepted. All new power was to be made by private companies."...

Which, for anyone who has been paying attention and/or reading Norm Farrell, was pretty much self evident.

But what about all those folks who don't pay attention, real hard?

You know, that big slice of the citizenry who, according to the Keef, are unable to 'differentiate'.


Perhaps they just haven't, as Rafe also noted, been educated by those with the biggest barrels of ink and/or megaphones:

...“I pause here to point out that so far as I can find, the Province, the Vancouver Sun and its main political columnists, Mike Smyth and Vaughn Palmer, have said nary a peep critical about all this.”...

'Nuff said?

Sean Holman who, to the best of our knowledge, does not live in anybody's basement since he moved to Calgary, wrote about the insider access thing, specifically with reference to the legislative press gallery, recently as well.
And, for the record, Mr. Mair himself once chided us for using italic Courier for pull quotes saying that, while he understood the old-timeyness of the approach, it was just too hard on the eyes...We agreed to disagree.


Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Keef Report...What, No Idiots Or Activists?

Idiots?....You bet.

Activists?....Of course.

As for the comments on size and undergarments...One can only wonder who (and/or what) the Keef's inside sources were on this one?

A compendium of previous Keef Reports can be found...Here.
A tip o' the Comox Valley toque brigade to our favourite activist blogger for the heads-up on this one.
Finally...Are there some bloggers that the Keef does like to trumpet (and/or re-tweet)?...Stay tuned.


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Oh What Can A Poor Boy Do...

....With A Cancelled Helijet Reservation?

All of which begs the question....

Why not just take the ferry in the first place instead of staying overnight in Lotusland Central while waiting for the HJet?

Interestingly, the wee bit of wurlitzering around this, and Mr. Bernier's origin story tweet, is self-congratulatory....Sheesh.
Need to scratch that header-induced earworm?....This.


All Your Laundromats 'R Us.


Sam Cooper's latest investigative report on the Lotulandian Whaling Industry is out and it would appear that he, and his Global editors, are implying that the fine folks running the BCLC back in the days of GordCo/Clarklandia may have done more than turn a blind eye to underground money laundering.

Here is Mr. Cooper's lede:

Senior police officers were concerned B.C. government officials might have leaked information that “compromised” October, 2015 RCMP raids targeting sophisticated alleged underground casinos in Richmond, B.C., according to records from a B.C. Lottery Corp. whistle-blower.

The records obtained by Global News and source interviews suggest that as RCMP’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC) unit ramped up casino money laundering and underground banking investigations in 2015, senior police and B.C. Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch (GPEB) investigators increasingly viewed B.C. Lottery Corp. (BCLC) — and possibly others in B.C.’s government — with distrust...


Who'd a thunk that something like this could happen after GordCo/Clarklandia's Minister of Everything dismantled the illegal gaming enforcement team back in 2009?

Big props, as always, go to S.M. Holman and his archives at PublicEye online, part of which is the above video...They are an invaluable history of GordCo, Inc. 


Monday, February 11, 2019

Sean Holman Explains Why He Thinks The Legislative Press Gallery Gets Things Wrong


Speaking from the right (as in direction) side of the Rockies, former PublicEye guy Sean M. Holman tells us why he thinks the local legislative press gallery has often been off-base when it comes to all things Wood Splitter.

Here is Mr. Holman, speak-writing in The Tyee:

...(W)hy did the political news media seem to go out of their way to give the benefit of the doubt to (Craig) James, the clerk of the house, and cast the shadow of it over Speaker Darryl Plecas, whose allegations led to James and (Gary) Lenz being put under criminal investigation and suspended?

And why didn’t the news media themselves uncover the issues that led to those allegations?

As an investigative journalist who covered B.C. politics for 10 years, I believe that the power and secrecy of the legislature’s officials is one part of the answer to those questions. So is Plecas’s own handling of the case. But the other part is the predominant reporting biases of the press gallery, which is neither left nor right wing, but something else entirely...


I'm all in with Mr. Holman on the 'biases' bit, but I'm not entirely sure I'm on board with the notion of giving a complete pass to ideological leanings, even if you just consider who both owns and runs the overwhelming majority the proMedia outlets around here.

But what about that 'something else entirely' business he mentions?

...There may be some right-wingers in the press gallery. There may even be some left-wingers.

But more than anything else, many of its longest-serving members are establishmentarians who worship at what journalism professor Jay Rosen has called the “church of the savvy.” That means, in the main, they favour members of the province’s political establishment (regardless of their ideology) over those who would challenge its institutions, practices and traditions...


I think that's getting closer to the heart of the matter, especially because I agree with a lot of what Mr. Rosen has to say, particularly about the state of the American proMedia, but I think Mr. Holman's real kicker is still coming.

....This tendency (of savvyness) is reinforced by their sources, most of whom come from that establishment. After all, when you are looking for official comment on the story of the day at the legislature, that’s who you are going to be talking with most often....

And that's really it for me.

This 'Evils of Insider Access' business, I mean.

After all, how can you go too hard today on the fine fellow you may need to go to tomorrow for your next spoon feeding....errrr....story.

There's lots of other good detailed stuff in Mr. Holman's piece which demonstrates that he, himself, was not beholden to the go-along-to-get-along rulebook....First, it turns out that it was he who had the idea for the first FOI on 'Club Ledge' and, when he left town for good, instead of giving it to one of the fine folks from the press gallery he instead went to Dermod Travis to help make sure the story got out....And then there was the time he was intimidated by the then press gallery prez into backing down from a story after he had the temerity to ask a former Speaker of Club Ledge a hard-nosed question outside the agreed to field-of-play...The entire piece is a good read.
Off topic, but....Heard the marvelous Mr. Wilkinson on the MoCo with S. Quinn this morning blathering on about how, now that he and his have gutted it and left it for dead in a ditch, ICBC has to go....Sheesh.


Saturday, February 09, 2019

Big Rich Takes The Fifth....Errrr...The 'Priv'.


The first of the TimberWest civil trials is underway and the plaintiffs have asked former BC Liberal 'Minister of Everything' Mr. Rich Coleman to testify.


Well, as he so often does, Andrew MacLeod of the The Tyee picks up the story:

...The plaintiffs want Coleman to testify because documents suggest he helped TimberWest, which was then publicly traded and having financial trouble, find a buyer. At the time Coleman was the province’s forest minister.

“Have a green light,” Coleman wrote to then TimberWest CEO McElligott in a May 8, 2008, email. “Need to meet on implementation. Made the sale, not sure they understand what they bought but they did. The roll out will be critical. Also have a reluctant partner in the east. They will play when pushed.”...

Thing is, the good Mr. Coleman and his legal folks have successfully made the case that he does not have to testify due to a thing called 'Parlimentary Privilege':

...(I)n a Jan. 24 letter on government letterhead, lawyer Darcie Suntjens argued that a sitting MLA can’t be compelled to appear in court while the legislature is in session.

Suntjens cited parliamentary privilege, a form of legal protection intended to allow elected officials to fulfill their duties.

The legislature stopped sitting at the end of November and isn’t scheduled to resume sitting until Feb. 12. Coleman, a Liberal MLA, sits in opposition.

Suntjens said in her letter that while the legislature is adjourned, it is still technically in session and therefore Coleman can’t be compelled to testify even if he is available...

And here we thought that Mr. Coleman decided not to run for Mayor of Surrey because he just might not win despite the 'overwhelming support' of the fine folks south of the Fraser. 


The irony of all this?

Well, if Mr. Coleman and friends were still running things it is very likely that the Ledge wouldn't again be in session until, like, November of 2021.

Either that or until their private jet-assisted helicopters are/were grounded for good.

If you get my drift.

Of course,  it would not be surprising to learn that at least a few reasonable, and reasonably-well informed (regardless the Postmedia/Global/Chorus/BlackPress cartel's best efforts), British Columbians could very well be asking themselves....'Why, exactly, does Mr. Coleman not want to tell his side of the story?'