Monday, August 19, 2019

Partisans Against Biker Molls.


The lede of 'that' story from Fred Lum of the Canadian Press:

A pre-election chill has descended over some environment charities after Elections Canada warned them that discussing the dangers of climate change during the coming federal campaign could be deemed partisan activity.

An Elections Canada official warned groups in a training session earlier this summer that because Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada, has expressed doubts about the legitimacy of climate change, any group that promotes it as real or an emergency could be considered partisan, said Tim Gray, executive director of the advocacy group Environmental Defence...


Does that mean the Pacific Gazette will be in trouble with Elections Canada if it points out that leaving state secrets in biker moll apartments is not necessarily good policy?

The curtain came down yesterday (May 27, 2008) on the brief and embattled cabinet career of Canada's Foreign Minister after a scandal involving his relationship with a woman who was once linked to criminal biker gangs.

The gaffe-prone Maxime Bernier – who promised to send Burma aid on a plane that does not exist and was sworn in with the so-called bikers' moll on his arm –will likely be remembered for longer than he served as his exit cast fresh doubts on the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The resignation came only hours before a television interview with the Julie Couillard, 38, was due to be broadcast. Her life and loves have become a staple for the Canadian press as they have raked over her supposed live-in mobster lover who was murdered, her subsequent marriage to a biker and her latest relationship to the man who became Canada's Foreign Minister...


...Mr Bernier was forced to walk the plank just before Ms Couillard revealed on television she had discovered secret Nato documents in her apartment after one of the minister's visits. Within 24 hours of the classified documents being returned, Mr Bernier was out of a job...


Saturday, August 17, 2019

Edward Lewis, Hollywood Blacklist Breaker, 1919-2019.


Like a lot of kids growing up in the seventies, I got hooked on Dalton Trumbo's 'Johnny Got His Gun', the book not the movie, in my early teens.

And because of that I knew that Trumbo had been blacklisted as one of the Hollywood Ten, which caused great harm to his real moneymaker, screenwriting, for more than a decade.

In fact, because Trumbo refused to turn rat and name names to a congressional witch hunt called the 'House Un-American Activities Committee, he was convicted of contempt of Congress and spent almost a year in a federal penitentiary in 1950 before fleeing to Mexico where he wrote the scripts for a series of B-Movies under an assumed name.

I also knew that the blacklist broke in 1960 when Trumbo was given credit for writing the movie adaptation of the blockbuster 'Spartacus', starring Kirk Douglas.

What I didn't know was that it was a much lesser known fellow, a producer named Edward Lewis, who engaged Trumbo to write the screenplay, on the sly, in his bathtub.

Then, once Universal Pictures had sunken huge costs into the the film and there was no going back, Mr. Lewis forced the studio to credit Mr. Trumbo as the writer.

Mr. Lewis died this week at the age of 99.

Sam Roberts has an excellent obituary up at the NY Times.

It ends thusly:

...In 1959, Trumbo presented Mr. Lewis with an autographed copy of his book, “Johnny Got His Gun.” It was inscribed: “To Eddie Lewis — who risked his name to help a man who’d lost his name.”

That's some kicker, eh?

Here's something I didn't know...The entire blacklist thing was originally invented by a tabloid publisher named William Wilkerson who ran the Hollywood Reporter....Which just goes to show that, while these are interesting times were are currently living in, they are also tinged with a shade of the deja vu.


Cover Thee...

Putting these here because a few mobile readers who can't see the sidebar asked...


Friday, August 16, 2019

The Keef Report...Mackin Slammed.


First, the late night, in-depth dog park report from the Keef:

Next, the later night slammin':

No word yet regarding Mr. Mackin's willingness to wear the honorary 'Idiot Blogger' crown for a day...


Thursday, August 15, 2019

Salmon Farming...The Fauxification Of The Precautionary Principle.


Alexandra Morton has been doing a lot of heavy lifting to determine whether or not ocean-based salmon farming is a danger to wild fish stocks.

Here are excerpts from her piece from earlier this week in the Georgia Straight:

...In 2011, Creative Salmon knocked on Dr. Kristi Miller’s door at the DFO Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo. They needed help figuring out why the Chinook salmon in their farms were turning yellow and dying. Miller is head of the DFO Molecular Genetics Laboratory in Nanaimo.

Miller detected piscine orthoreovirus, or PRV, a new virus discovered only a few months earlier, as the cause of heart and skeletal muscle inflammation—HSMI—a disease spreading unchecked through the salmon farming industry in Norway...


...In 2017, we reported that 94 percent of farm salmon in markets are infected and that the virus has spread coastwide. But it is significantly more prevalent in wild salmon caught near salmon farms...


As Ms. Morton's piece points out, there is a raging debate about whether this specific virus poses a significant threat to wild fish. Ms. Morton feels that she and the folks she is working with have the evidence to indicate that this is, indeed, the case. As I am not an expert, I won't weigh in on the matter except to say that the calls for the DFO to engage in more research do not appear unreasonable.

However, the fact that the virus has been passed from farmed fish to wild fish in the waters of British Columbia indicates that other things can be passed between the two groups as well.

Which means, in my opinion, and in the opinion of at least one fish farming company, that there is cause for concern.

And how do we know that at least one farming company is concerned?

Well, they've gone out of their way to make better pens.

David Gordon Koch had that story in the Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News a few months ago:

Cermaq, a major aquaculture company, is hailing an experimental “closed containment” facility in Norwegian waters as a safer mode of fish farming, saying that it reduces interactions with the marine habitat.

A similar system could be introduced to Canadian waters by next year, according to David Kiemele, managing director for Cermaq Canada...


...He said that a barrier surrounding the net “limits potential interactions between our fish and the environment outside,” although he acknowledged that the experimental facility isn’t completely closed.

Seawater is pumped through the system from a depth of about 13 metres, he said.

“When you’re talking about parasites like sea lice and whatnot, very rarely do you find them down that deep in the water column,” Kiemele said...


'Sea lice and whatnot' are very rare down there according to Mr. Kiemele.

Don't know about you, but that does not give me the greatest of confidence that cross-contamination of, say whatnotish-type viruses will be eliminated.

Regardless, given their obvious concern about trying to stop cross-contamination why has the company  not just gone all the way and moved it's pens to tanks on land?

...Asked why the experimental pens are ocean-based – industry critics have called for fish farms to be removed from the sea entirely – Kiemele said that fish farming would require “a large amount of land” that could be used for other activities, including agriculture.

He also said that a land-based facility would consume large amounts of water and energy for pumping.

“From a practical and economical sense, at the moment it just doesn’t stack up,” he said, adding that the company could also continue to use its ocean-based leases this way...


The stacking of the math is the problem.

Now we get it.


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Impeachability Probabilities...But What About McGahn?


A couple of weeks ago, I somewhat naively suggested that former White House Counsel Don McGahn might turn out to be Mister Trump's little Johnny Dean.

And last week the USian House Judiciary Committee pretty much made the same claim in its court filing that is seeking to have its subpeona enforced to have Mr. McGahn testify before it:

...McGahn is the Judiciary Committee’s most important fact witness in its consideration of whether to recommend articles of impeachment and its related investigation of misconduct by the President, including acts of obstruction of justice described in the Special Counsel’s Report...

All of which had me thinking I'd hit the conventional wisdom jackpot until I read yet another fine post from Marcy Wheeler that brought me up short:

...(The Judiciary Committee's) claim suggests that the House Judiciary Committee has a very limited understanding of its own inquiry and perhaps an overestimation of how good a witness McGahn will be.

I say the latter for two reasons. First, in the early days of the Russian investigation, McGahn overstepped the role of a White House Counsel. For example, even after his office recognized they could not talk to Jeff Sessions about the Russian investigation or risk obstruction, McGahn followed Trump’s orders to pressure Dana Boente on the investigation.

Plus, as the Mueller Report acknowledges, the NYT story that triggered one of the key events in the report — where Trump asked McGahn to publicly rebut a claim that he had asked McGahn to fire Mueller, which led him to threaten to resign — was inaccurate in its claim that McGahn had functionally threatened to resign (which was clear in real time)...

Look, I get it.

McGahn was, and likely still is a wee bit of a rat, despite Mr. Trump's bizarre protestations to the contrary.

However, don't forget that Mr. Dean was too before he decided to come clean and clear himself of Mistah Nixon's, not to mention history's, taint.


Might have to a have a re-think about all this, which will require a degree of paying attention that I just might not have the bandwith for at the moment, what with the new term looming just over the horizon.

Luckily, Ms. Wheeler throws out a couple of names that should shorten the search/read times:

...Jay Sekulow. Sekulow has done a number of things that don’t qualify for attorney client privilege, such as his conversations directly with Michael Cohen to write a false statement hiding the President’s ties to Russia. That goes directly to Trump’s sworn lies...


...John Kelly. He was at DHS for the beginning of Trump’s abusive immigration policies. He knows details of Trump’s security clearance abuses (and might actually give a damn about them). He should know details of the P(residential) R(ecords) A(ct) violations (and if not, should be accountable for why not). And he knows details of Kushner’s privatized foreign policy (and probably tried to control it). Kelly was a minor witness for Robert Mueller, but should be a key witness to any impeachment inquiry...



Monday, August 12, 2019

Folks I'm In Awe Of...


When we take road trips these days our soundtrack is made up of, more often than not, the shared podcasts squirrelled away on our phones.

Which, last week on our way to Gabriola Island, got us to talking about Ear Hustle, a pod that gets intimate about the human lives inside San Quentin prison.

Ear Hustle is one of my favourites but E. noted that you can't binge the thing because the depth, detail and impact of each episode becomes too much to bear when they are piled up on top of each other.

I couldn't disagree with that, but I did have a retort, which was:

"Fair enough, but I could listen to a podcast about Earlonne Woods anytime."


Earlonne Woods is one of the creative forces behind Ear Hustle who was, until very recently, serving 31-years-to-life for attempted armed robbery on a three-strikes-you're-out abomination.

Late last year, in one of his last acts as the Governor of California, Gerry Brown commuted Mr. Wood's sentence after 21 years.

A few months ago, with roles reversed, Earlonne told his story to Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Here's a small chunk, but the entire thing is well worth the listen:

GROSS: So something I found really interesting is that the group that is multicultural and not segregated by race or ethnicity is the group that's into, like - the nerds, the group that are into, like, sci-fi fantasy and stuff like that. And, like...


E WOODS: Hey - so I always go over to the L - I call them L7s. But I always go over to the fantasy game guys, and I'll just sit there for a minute and try to see if I even come close to understanding what's going on on that table.

POOR: It is a different world over there.

E WOODS: It is - they see something that I can't see. I don't think I have the vision to see it.

GROSS: So their...

E WOODS: I love it.

GROSS: Their brothers are the people who live in a similar world of fantasy as opposed to defining their brothers as being, you know, a skin color or ethnicity.

E WOODS: Right, right. And it's just about - you know, they accept anybody, you know? It's like - I think they're not under the constraints or the pressures to not accept people.

GROSS: Earlonne, how did you learn how to keep your calm and live in the kind of confined situation you were in during the more than two decades that you were incarcerated? You have to be able...

E WOODS: Well...

GROSS: ...To stay sane in a situation like that. And you also spent time in solitary, where it's very hard to stay sane.

E WOODS: Right. I'll say I've - on the second term - so the first term is where I did all the solitary stuff. But on the second term after - once you receive a life sentence, there's no guarantee that you'll ever be released from prison. So I think what kept me sane is that I had the philosophy where, I am going to live to the best of my ability every day that I have left on this Earth no matter where I'm at.

So it be at prison, I'm going to enjoy my day every day because at the end of the day, this is all I got, you know? I don't know what tomorrow brings, but I know what's happening today and right now. So I'm going to enjoy. And I think that's a shared philosophy with everybody that's in prison - is that you have to just deal with what's going on today, you know, and just not let the pressures of prison just get to your core and crush you.

Don't know about you, but I'm not sure I could have gotten to the same place under similar circumstances.

Image at top of the post is by Mark Murrmann for Mother Jones.


Sunday, August 11, 2019

Things I Think About...


The founder of the separatist group 'Wexit Alberta' Peter Downing is on the stump and Global News is only too happy to help him amplify a message that, apparently, 3 of 10 folks in that fine province think is worth considering:

...Downing says he’s willing to give (Alberta Premier Jason) Kenney a chance with getting pipelines built and succeeding with constitutional challenges.

“If Jason Kenney does not deliver what Albertans want, they are going to give us a shot,” Downing said...


Can't help but wonder...

Now that Mr. Dunning has put Mr. Kenney on notice does this mean that the latter's super-fine war room will soon crank up its flying surrender monkey squadrons to blitzkrieg bop all things W(r)exit?


Reaching Peak Crazy...


Got back from the beach with the Whackadoodle yesterday morning (bird count: 3 eagles and a herd of herons) and fired up the tubes.

First thing I saw, of course, was reference to the death of the previously convicted hedge fund fellow.

And then I read the following from Charlie Pierce at his (still good) corp blog:

...How in the hell do they let this happen? The guy was incarcerated in the Manhattan Correctional Center. He already had made one try. He had to be on suicide watch. And the suicide happens the day after a massive document dump in which a woman who said she was one of Epstein's victims implicates an entire brigade of celebrity "clients," up to an including some European royalty? There almost can't be a dog more reluctant to hunt than this one...


...This country is losing what's left of its mind..

And only then did I head to the Twittmachine.

Here is what I saw on the sidebar...

And then, of coarsest, the stuff like this began to fly:

It would appear that everyone concerned has run out of sharks to jump (while carrying atomic-powered deflector spin skill saws set to eleventy billion).


Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Curse Of Clarklandia's Ever Shrinking Coattails (ctd.)...


As first noted by Bob Mackin more than a week ago, Ben Stewart has left the BC Liberal caucus over a matter that apparently involves a donation from his constituency assistant.

Well, as the VSun's Rob Shaw noted Thursday, this process was, according to Mr. Stewart, all started by his voluntary actions:

...“It’s kind of a very small issue, but because the individual is pursuing it and sending around accusations along with that, it makes it very difficult,” Stewart said. “So I thought the best thing to do was approach Elections B.C. and get clarity.”

Stewart said he made the move out of an abundance of caution. “I haven’t seen or heard complaints directly. This is all voluntary.”..

And as for this 'individual (that) is pursuing it', what, exactly, is that all about?

Mr. Shaw has more:

...Stewart stepped away from caucus last week after a constituency assistant complained to Elections B.C., alleging being forced to donate approximately $1,225 on Stewart’s behalf to the B.C. Liberal Party. That amount is near the personal maximum under B.C.’s new donation law, also described as the top-tier “Founders’ Club” level for B.C. Liberal Party members...


So, a staffer to Stewart complains to Elections BC about being forced to make a donation to the BC Liberals on Stewart's behalf and then, suddenly, Mr. Stewart acts 'voluntarily'.

Sure thing.

But here's the real question...

Who 'forced' the staffer to make the donation in the first place given the following:

...The B.C. Liberal Party confirmed Thursday it had refunded the donation in March after the constituency assistant contacted the party and asked for the money back...


Kinda seems like maybe there was very little at all that was truly voluntary in this entire process.

And note the date that the BCL braintrust paid the staffer back...March...As in five months ago compared to ten days ago when the emergency conference call that announced Mr. Stewart's step aside to caucus took place.


Friday, August 09, 2019

More! More! More! ... Public Money For Private Schools.


Jim Stanford, writing in the Star, lets us know that he is worried that Andrew Scheer's proposed, (and Hamish approved!) $4,0000 per annum per kid federal tax deduction will, in addition to costing us up to $2,000,000,000 a year, lead us down a path of no return.

Thing is, as Sandy Garossino pointed out a while back, and updated yesterday, we are already running down said path at breakneck speed.



HST Friday...Removing The Soul From That Cycle.


Stephen Ross is a billionare who sells a fitness lifestyle to progressive-ish folks through his companies Equinox and SoulCycle.

These folks are now mad at him because he's holding a big money fundraiser for Donald Trump.

Mr. Ross has responded with a statement that 'explains' his position:

...“I have known Donald Trump for 40 years, and while we agree on some issues, we strongly disagree on many others and I have never been bashful about expressing my opinions,” Ross said. “I have been, and will continue to be, an outspoken champion of racial equality, inclusion, diversity, public education and environmental sustainability, and I have and will continue to support leaders on both sides of the aisle to address these challenges.”...

Which brings us to the good Docktor's thoughts on the matter...

...I believe the Republicans have never thought that democracy was anything but a tribal myth. The GOP is the party of capital...


Babies in Cages.

Image at the top of the post from a Vox piece by Matthew Yglesias and Dave Bennett for Getty Images.


Thursday, August 08, 2019

How Much Money Does A Newspaper Have To Make To Stave Off The 'Ghosting'?



How much money does a local newspaper have to make to stay robust enough that it can actually produce more than fluff and wire copy that folks actually want and are willing to pay for, either in digitial or dead tree form?

Well, if the paper is part of conglomerate it turns out that nobody knows.

Marc Tracy of the money making Grey Lady has the story:

Phil Luciano, a columnist at The Peoria Journal Star, got a story tip recently about Caterpillar, the heavy equipment company that was based in Peoria, Ill., for 90 years before a recent relocation to Cook County.

The tip seemed promising enough. But as one of only seven full-time reporters at the paper, he felt stretched too thin to do much about it.

“Who’s our Caterpillar reporter?” Mr. Luciano asked. “We don’t have one right now.”

In recent years, The Journal Star has been hit with the kind of cutbacks that have become common for newspapers nationwide as they steer a bumpy course toward a digitally focused future. The newsroom had more than 80 guild employees in the 1990s, and now has about a dozen.

The Journal Star is still the largest paper in downstate Illinois. But after covering more than 23 counties in its heyday, it now limits itself to three: Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford...


...“I know The Journal Star’s in the black,” Mr. Luciano said. “How much in the black do you have to be? That’s what drives us up a wall.”...


Hedge funds vultures.

That's why:

...The job of top editor has lost some of its old luster in this era of job cuts and hedge fund ownership. A vocation that once had a dash of grit and glamour has become more administrative, with a lot of bean-counting and heartbreak.

Neil Chase, the former executive editor of the Bay Area News Group, said that the news organization he oversaw regularly received profit targets from its owner, Digital First News — now known as MediaNews Group, a company controlled by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital. To hit those targets, he had to slash costs.

During Mr. Chase’s tenure, from 2016 to the start of this year, layoffs and attrition cut the newsroom to around 165 from an already diminished staff of 240, he said.

Mr. Chase and his team tried to preserve the company’s core publications, The Mercury News in San Jose and The East Bay Times. And so the group’s weeklies — titles like The Walnut Creek Journal and The Los Gatos Weekly-Times — took a big hit.

“We gutted those papers by taking the journalism out of them,” said Mr. Chase, now chief executive of CALmatters, a nonprofit covering California state politics.

Those weeklies are now among the nation’s ghost papers. A typical issue contains items from stringers tucked in among articles from Bay Area News Group dailies...

And yet, here in Canada, rather than helping the scrappers and fighters who are trying to do more than generate empty 'ghost papers', we are all in for giving a leg up to the vultures.

Go figure.


Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Finding His Religion


Local Lotuslandian Media Listicle guy Justin McElroy has found his religion.

It is bicycling and the routes that help make it possible.

Thus, this...

I can't wait.

For those that aren't Adanac 'n craft breweries that is.


Monday, August 05, 2019

The Keef Report...But, What About Global News?


Hard to argue with that.


Perhaps the Keef could inform his employer.

Subheader earworm...This.
Hey...Jody Paterson has an important post up about 'The Great Hack' and the deep digital corrosion of democracy everywhere...And Mr. Beer 'N Hockey's latest, and the wee bit of back and forth it engendered, led me to look up Jackie Fuchs' (nee Fox of The Runaways) real story...I think we with the Y chromosomes have to realize that everything was not right with the '70's world for everyone.


Sunday, August 04, 2019

Normalizing Andy?


I haven't quite figured it out yet...

Will the craziest of the crazies split the crazy?

Or will he normalize it.


Saturday, August 03, 2019

My Charlie Gillett Experience.


I started this little F-Troop listed blog back in the dinosaur days just before the collective wave of Left Blogistan, as Jane Hamsher saw it, crested.

Back then I used to whip up my posts in the early mornings, often before work, down in the unfinished basement of the rickety old row house we lived in (and loved) at the time.

It was dark and a little dank, and the furnace was a bizarre natural gas conversion that consisted of a giant boiler-like thing that looked like a metal octopus with its mass of vent arms running off in all directions.

But I liked it down there. And we had just gotten decent broad band which meant that I could listen to the BBC World Service every morning as the sun came up while I typed, furiously, on my then still spiffy G3 Mac.

And the guy I liked to hear most on the Beeb was an old guy with a scratchy voice and a weird British accent that I couldn't quite place.

This was Charlie Gillett, who by then was pretty much obsessed with World Music.

And his obsessions, not to mention his enthusiasms were infectious.

As the Interwebz continued to open up, particularly from an audio perspective, I sought out Mr. Gillett more sporadically through the years until he died, sadly, of a horrible autoimmune disease that attacks the blood vessels in 2010.

After that I missed him and sometimes sought out archived versions of his old shows in the same way I do with the work of those wacky MIT-trained brothers from Boston who used to fix cars and make people laugh or a living.



Fast forward to last week when I got on a wee bit of a Mark Knopfler binge thanks to the interests of the Doctors of Distortion's real guitar player.

And, as is my nature given my own obsessions, this eventually led me to the original Dire Straits demos recorded in the summer of 1977, before the group even had a record contract.

Those demos were born fully realized and they are truly amazing...

And it turns out that the person who is perhaps most responsible for the entire planet, including a then teenaged me half a pre-digital world away, becoming gobsmacked by the Sultans and all that followed was a then still youngish fellow named...

...Charlie Gillett:

...The demo tapes were given to BBC Radio London DJ Charlie Gillett. Charlie played the tapes calling upon record company executives to sign this new band: enter John Stainze and Ed Bicknell. It is said that Phonogram A&R man Stainze was in the shower listening to the radio when he first heard Dire Straits. A few weeks later he signed the band to Phonogram's Vertigo label and Mark secured a publishing deal with Rondor Music. Towards the end of 1977 Ed Bicknell was working at the NEMS agency when he got a call from Stainze asking him to fix up some gigs for Dire Straits. Ed was invited round to Phonogram's offices in December where he heard the Charlie Gillett demo tapes. He was then taken to Dingwalls Club in North London to meet Dire Straits. The date was the 13th of December, 1977, and as he walked into the club they were playing Down To The Waterline. Ed recalls, "The first thing I noticed was that it wasn't necessary to stand at the back of the room; they were very quiet.

I'd just done The Ramones, who were deafening......The second thing I noticed was that Mark was playing a red Stratocaster, which immediately made me think of Hank Marvin, who I had idolised in the sixties." After hearing two or three numbers Ed decided that he wanted to manage the band. He was organising a tour for Talking Heads and was able to put his new band on the bill as the support act. Dire Straits were paid £50 per night for the Talking Heads tour; a ten-fold increase from their fee at Dingwalls. The rest - as is often said - is history...

Imagine that!

And just a quick note for anyone who actually bothered to click through to some of the ancestral posts linked to at the top of the page...This place really was a filled to bursting with sloppy drum comments in the old days, pre-Twittmachine...Alas, sadly, all that disappeared in the great Haloscream chainsaw comment massacre of late 2009....


Friday, August 02, 2019

The Keef Report...Every Possibility Under The Summer Sun.


Has the Keef's uber-doober, super-duper insider access card suddenly suddenly been cancelled, or what?

Need context?....This.


HST Fridays....Who Will Be Mr. Trump's Little Johnny Dean?


When the Watergate investigations first started Richard Nixon was riding high in the polls.

But as the focused reportage (rather than single in-'n-out news cycle hits) got rolling in earnest and the daily hearings on the TeeVee began in the spring of 1973 those positive numbers began to fall precipitously for months on end.

The biggest drop occurred during the summer of 1973 when millions of housewives and Hunter S. Thompson got hooked on the daily soap opera that was driven by the testimony of a scared straight former food soldier in Mr. Nixon's obstruction offensive named John Dean who suddenly decided to do the right thing and tell the truth.

Here's what Thompson had to say about that summer, and that TeeVee show that dominated it, not in Jann Wenner's pulp of quasi-fiction, but instead on the OpEd page of the New York Times on the first day of 1974:

There is some kind of heavy connection between that memory (of my childhood time as a milkman's foot soldier) and the way I feel right now about this stinking year that just ended. 

Everybody I talk to seems very excited about it. “God damn, man! it was a fantastic year,” they say. “Maybe the most incredible year in our history.”

Which is probably true. I remember thinking that way, myself, back on those hot summer mornings when John Dean's face lit my tube day after day incredible. Here was this crafty little fellow going down the pipe right in front of our eyes and taking Richard Nixon with him.

It was almost too good to be true. Richard Milhous Nixon, the main villain of my political consciousness for as long as I can remember, was finally biting that bullet he's been talking about all those years. The man that not even Goldwater or Eisenhower could tolerate had finally gone too far —and now he was walking the plank, on national TV, six hours a day—with the whole world watching, as it were...



If the current crop of Democrats does finally manage to get up the gumption to start a daily soap opera focussed on Mr. Trump's own obstruction offensive, who might turn out to be the Donald's little Johnny Dean?


Some might predict Michael Cohen.

But my money is on Don McGahn.

And, apparently, the good Mr. Trump is a little worried about that prospect as well, judging by his response to stories of his former counsel's reported cooperation with the Mueller team last summer:

President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that White House lawyer Don McGahn isn’t “a John Dean type ‘RAT,”‘ making reference to the Watergate-era White House attorney who turned on Richard Nixon.

Trump, in a series of angry tweets, blasted a New York Times story reporting that McGahn has been co-operating extensively with the special counsel team investigating Russian election meddling and potential collusion with Trump’s Republican campaign...

Curiously, the AP reporter of that time, Jill Colvin, left out the 'O' word that was front and center in the Mueller Report, Volume 2, and in Mr. Mueller's testimony before Congress last week:

Robert Mueller confirmed former White House counsel Don McGahn was pressured to lie by the White House about whether he was ever asked by Donald Trump to fire the former special counsel while testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

"The president told the White House staff secretary, Rob Porter, to try to pressure [Don] McGahn to make a false denial. Is that correct?" Democrat Karen Bass asked Mr Mueller.

"That's correct,” he replied...

Imagine that!


Thursday, August 01, 2019

The Curse Of Clarklandia's Ever Shrinking Coattails...


The seat that Christy Clark once muscled in on and then quit when it suited her is no longer in BC Liberal hands:

Bob Mackin has the story at his Breaker News:

Kelowna West’s Ben Stewart is out of the BC Liberal caucus. understands there was an emergency conference call for caucus members in which they were informed that the MLA in the BC Liberal stronghold has departed because of a matter related to an Elections BC investigation that involves a donation from his constituency assistant...


One can only wonder if the good Mr. Stewart will go full metal blue now that the coat of faux red paint has been removed.


It turns out that you can, apparently, bury the lede in a tweet:


The Great Lotuslandian Land Swindle.


Is it the M.P.L.A.? 

Or Is it the U.D.A.? 

Or Is it the I.R.A.? 

I thought it was the U.K. 


Is it the 'U.D.I.'?

Yes that's right.

According the boss of the local division of the developers' non-profit think tankish thingy that self proclaims itself it to be a "partner in community building & premier voice of BC's real estate development industry" (with or without granite counter-tops, presumably), things that cost less are really not actually more affordable.

But for who, though, really?

Post Title?....Play on....This.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

A Tiny Window Into The BC Liberal Double-Down Dumbness Machine.


The Dippers are reinstalling speed cameras in certain intersections for at least one good reason, safety:

...According to the Minstry of Public Safety, around 60 per cent of crashes on B.C. roads are at intersections, and the new cameras will be strategically placed at high-risk intersections best suited to ticketing speeding drivers and changing their behaviours...

Now, like many other government initiatives, there are legitimate reasons to oppose this move.

And a vigorous, fact-based debate about the balance of the merits and demerits could be had.

Of course, that is not the path that the braintrust behind the good ship BC Liberal has decided to take.

Instead they have gone full on base, for the base:

Why do they do this?

Because they know their chances of winning go up in lockstep with the dumbness of the public discourse.

Simple as that.

Please note, Mr. Stone's tweet was not a one off...Other 'prominent' BC Liberals were also on message on this matter.


What Would Make Your B.C. Day Long Weekend?


Not sure about you but I know the thing that would get my long weekend off to a great start would be if the Feds would do their job and charge Imperial Metals for destroying salmon habitat.

The VSun's Gordon Hoekstra had that story recently. Here's his lede:

Environmentalists and Mount Polley mine-area residents are anxiously waiting as one deadline approaches for federal agencies to lay charges over the 2014 collapse of the B.C. Interior mine’s tailings dam.

After a 4-1/2-year investigation, a team comprised of officials with Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, along with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, delivered a charge package to federal prosecutors this spring.

It is now up to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to determine if charges will be laid.

Under federal law, there is a five-year window that ends (Friday) Aug. 4 to lay charges in a summary conviction under the Fisheries Act, where a large corporation faces fines up to $8 million...


It's only $8 million.

But, at the very least, it's the principle of the thing.



Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Dean Finally Wakes Up And Smells The Bogus BC Liberal Land Deals' Coffee...


The Dean of the Lotuslandian legislative press corp, Mr. Vaughn Palmer, has finally awoken (in the wake of great reportage by Lori Culbert et al.) to smell the bogus BC Liberals' surplus land deal coffee.

And what's (almost) the first thing the Dean does?

Why, cast aspersions on the Dippers, of course:

...Given the Liberal fingerprints all over these deals, one might have expected the NDP government to expedite Culbert’s request for information about the other transactions in the Liberals’ ambitious sale of surplus lands...



Explaining the East Van European SUV Index.


How do I know our East Vancouver neighbourhood is changing?

Because the number of European SUV's parked on the street is skyrocketing.

Why is this happening?

A new follow on the Twittmachine, Hamish B., explains:

Imagine that!

Why are all those fancy big boxy cars out on the street every night?....Because there is no longer any room in backyards for garages...Heckfire, one laneway house two doors up our street is actually bigger than our entire bungalow...
The real point...How can any average young family even think about buying here?


Monday, July 29, 2019

Our Own Personal Lotuslandian Real Estate Story


Longtime reader, and fellow musician, Danneau recently mentioned that he watched the moon landing on the TeeVee in his family home at 2nd and MacDonald in Kitsilano.

Which is the kind of thing that, no matter how hard they try, gets Lotuslanders wondering...

'Gosh. I wonder what that property is worth today?'

Our own similar, although more recent Lotusland land story goes like this:

1) We move back to Vancouver in 1995 with a toddler in tow.

2) C. does all the leg work and finds us a slightly dilapidated, but still nice for us, house with a great big yard in MacKenzie Heights (i.e. inner Dunbar) on a nice, quiet street just off West 33rd Ave.

3) We live there for a couple of years before the offshore landlord tells us they are planning to sell.

4) They offer to sell it to us for $255,000.

5) I shout, 'Are they crazy!' and we move away and spend the next eight years trying to get a co-op built.

6) Today, of course, the dirt itself is probably worth about three million dollars.

Banana stands, indeed.

Things all turned out fine, in the end, for us....But we were extremely lucky...Others really need the help that, I hope, the Dipper-engineered soft landing has started...


There's Always Money In The Banana Stand.


Another wild west cronification public land deal gone wrong, this one just south of Langara on Cambie in Lotusland Central, has been unearthed by Lori Culbert and Joanne Lee-Young of the VSun:

...The Pearson-Dogwood development, known as Cambie Gardens, is zoned for 2,160 market condos, 540 social housing units, commercial spaces, a daycare, parks, a community health centre, a long-term care home, and 114 supported apartments to replace the two aging health facilities on the site.

The (BC Liberal) government sold the Dogwood Lodge Complex Care Home in 2015 and the long-term residential care George Pearson Centre and the surrounding land in 2016. However, Postmedia has learned that (developer) Onni has paid just over half the money it agreed to pay: It still owes $137 million because the provincial Liberals gave the developer a low-cost loan and until 2023 to pay off the remainder of the sales price...


It's almost as if the BC Liberals were TeeVee's Bluth Family who told their friends and influential uncles not to worry because there was always money hidden away in the banana stand when needed.

Except, of course, in this case, we were the banana stand.


Interestingly, when the VSun tried to get the guy who ran the provincial program to sell off a billion dollars of public land for a song to talk about it, current BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson refused.

Instead, his braintrust trotted out the former mayor of Lotusland, and past ruler of Spam-A-Lot, Smilin' Sammy Sullivan to do the explaining.

As you might of already guessed Mr. Sullivan both admitted he knew nothing about the progam while he simultaneously defended the program because...

Real Estate experts!

...Postmedia requested an interview with Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson, who was in charge of the program when it launched in 2013, but Liberal housing critic Sam Sullivan responded instead. He did not know details of the deals Postmedia examined, but defended the program and said the Liberals relied on the advice of real estate experts when making decisions...

Well, one thing this tells us for sure is that Sammy's war chest must really be all spent now given that neither of the former City Caucus boys have yet to pen any puff pieces backing up their former fearless leader/ruler.

Silver lining, maybe?


Sunday, July 28, 2019

This Is The Story Of Johnny Rotten.


Neil Young's 'Rust Never Sleeps' turned 40 this summer.

Now, in some quarters, mine included, that is a cause for celebration.

And while Mr. Young is still burning bright that is clearly, except, perhaps, for those precious few Keith Levene-fuelled post-Pistols years, not the case for a chronologically younger man named Mr. Lydon.

Imagine that!

One really has to wonder if things would have to turned out differently for the then young Johnny if he had joined Devo...Yes...Devo!

Here's my take on a Rustean tune...


Saturday, July 27, 2019

The Whackadoodle And Me.


The Whackadoodle and I got to the beach early this morning.

The wind was up, out of the West as the high started to build after last night's sprinkle of warm summer rain.

And the tide was out.

Way, way out.

In fact, while I haven't checked the tables (I'll leave that to my Dad), I'd be willing to bet that it might have been one of the lowest tides of the year.

While she likes rolling in the wet sand of the bar, I'm pretty sure the Whackadoodle likes higher tides better because that she can swim whenever the desire strikes.

Me, it doesn't matter either way because I'm just there to throw sticks and work on new tunes on the beach guitar as we wander about.

This morning we pretty much got yet another Felice Brothers tune down pat...

Regardless how early we get to the beach on a Saturday morning we never beat an old couple who walk all the way out to the breakwater at the end of the North Arm of the Fraser every day...If we're lucky we run into them both coming and going...


Friday, July 26, 2019

HST Friday....Waterheads At The Gate.


One of the more interesting bits of this week's congressional Mueller hearings was the following exchange between Republican Watercarrier....errr... Congressman Kenneth Buck and the former Special Prosecutor:

Buck: "Could you charge the president with a crime after he left office?" 

Mueller: "Yes." 

Buck: "You believe that you could charge the president of the United States with obstruction of justice after he left office?" 

Mueller: "Yes."


Do you see what Mr. Mueller did there?



Don't get me wrong.

I want congressional impeachment hearings for Donald Trump for all the right, good and noble reasons involving truth, justice and the American way.

Or some such thing.

But I also want daily hearings purely for the entertainment value.

Because I want to get to know all the players, their moves, their motives and their foibles.

And then I want to see, read and hear the work and words of the pithiest of commentators that watch and listen to every single minute of the daily soap opera.

Just like happened back in the Watergate days.

For example, the following is what Hunter Thompson had to say about Richard Nixon's top watercarrier, Republican Senator Edward Gurney, as he watched the WGate hearings on the TeeVee that sat amongst the peacocks and dobermans on the front porch of his cabin at Owl Creek during the summer of 1973:

Friday morning, June 29 … 8:33 AM 
Jesus, this waterhead Gurney again! You’d think the poor bugger would have the sense to not talk anymore … but no, Gurney is still blundering along, still hammering blindly at the receding edges of Dean’s “credibility” in his now-obvious role as what Frank Reynolds and Sam Donaldson on ABC-TV both described as “the waterboy for the White House.”

Gurney appears to be deaf; he has a brain like a cow’s udder. He asks his questions — off the typed list apparently furnished him by Minority (GOP) counsel, Fred J. Thompson — then his mind seems to wander, his eyes roam lazily around the room while Thompson whispers industriously in his ear, his hands shuffle papers distractedly on the table in front of his microphone … and meanwhile, Dean meticulously chews up his questions and hands them back to him in shreds; so publicly mangled that their fate might badly embarrass a man with good sense …

But Gurney seems not to notice: His only job on this committee is to Defend the Presidency, according to his instructions from the White House — or at least whatever third-string hangerson might still be working there — and what we tend to forget, here, is that it’s totally impossible to understand Gurney’s real motives without remembering that he’s the Republican Senator from Florida, a state where George Wallace swept the Democratic primary in 1972 with 78% of the vote, and which went 72% for Nixon in November.

In a state where even Hubert Humphrey is considered a dangerous radical, Ed Gurney’s decision to make an ignorant yahoo of himself on national TV makes excellent sense — at least to his own constituency. They are watching TV down in Florida today, along with the rest of the country, and we want to remember that if Gurney appears in Detroit and Sacramento as a hideous caricature of the imbecilic Senator Cornpone — that’s not necessarily the way he appears to the voters around Tallahassee and St. Petersburg...


More of that.

That's what I really want...

In what may be the last desperate death rattle of the American Dream, it turns out that the good Docktor's widow is now apparently renting out the WCreek cabin at $550 a night via Airbnb....Imagine that!
Earworm in the subheader?...This.


Thursday, July 25, 2019

Thought Mapping, Daily....Blowing Up Big For All The Right Reasons


I am an old guy.

So old that I remember the days that I could find out about cool new bands that none of my friends knew about yet just by hanging around, say, Quintessence Records.

Then, if and when said bands blew up big I could brag about how I knew about them then.

And now, weirdly, I'm getting the same feeling by watching some of the very sharp (and most often young) folks I've noticed on the interwebz blow up big for all the right reasons.

Jen Gunter is one such sharp (and not so young) interwebz personage that the mainstream media is now paying big attention to:

There are a lot of things Dr. Jen Gunter would like you to know. For starters, most supplements are a waste of money. CBD is a scam. Underwire bras do not cause cancer. You actually can get an IUD if you’ve never been pregnant. Your vagina, under no circumstances, should smell like a pina colada. And, for the love of yoni, please don’t shove a jade egg up there.

The 53-year-old Winnipeg-born ob-gyn will tell you this with the conviction that comes from 24 years of clinical experience and the sass of your saltiest girlfriend. (There will be f-bombs.) And she’ll tell you this anywhere and everywhere—on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram, on her blog, in her monthly columns in the New York Times, in her upcoming book, The Vagina Bible, or her upcoming web series, Jensplaining, or, if you’re lucky, in person. Her vagenda (her portmanteau, not mine): to call BS on every single falsehood we’ve ever been sold about our bodies and to empower women with the straight facts about reproductive health, from the complexities of vulvar pain to basic female anatomy. (To that end, she recently built a 3-D model of the clitoris out of her kids’ modelling clay, complete with a toilet-paper-tube vagina and a urethra fashioned from a McDonald’s straw.)...

And the great thing about this?

Unlike bands who go from up-close-and-personal clubs to far away arenas, the best of the internet denizens stay as accessible as they ever were.


The modern world is not all bad.


How To Deal With Family Members Who Have Have Crossed Over To History's Dark Side.


Stephen Miller is one of the main architects of Donald Trump's punitive immigration policy.

Mr. Miller is also an out-front public defender of Mr. Trump's xenophobic racism. He's even proud to fulfill this role on, get this, Fox News:

...In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace pressed Miller on Trump's history regarding race. "There’s a long record here," said Wallace, after playing a clip of some of Trump’s most infamous racist moments. "When he questioned whether or not Barack Obama was an American citizen, when he said in his announcement that the people Mexico was sending to this country were not their best, they’re 'rapists,' they’re 'drug dealers,' and some are 'good people,' when he called for a 'total and complete shutdown'—the Muslim ban, something I know you were very involved in. That’s not protecting the American people. That is playing the race card."

Miller, of course, said that he "couldn’t disagree more," and defended Trump's history of birtherism.

"If you want to have a colorblind society, it means you can criticize immigration policy, you can criticize people’s views, you can ask questions about where they were born, and not have it be seen as racial," he said.

"And can you also say, ‘Go back where you came from?’" asked Wallace.

"With the 'send her back' chant, the president was clear he disagreed with it," said Miller, referring to the racist and xenophobic chant directed at Omar by the crowd at Trump's North Carolina rally Wednesday.

But Wallace shut him down. "He was clear after the fact. He let it go on for 13 seconds, and it was only when the chant diminished that he started talking again," the host accurately pointed out. "And he said nothing there or in his tweet after the rally that indicated any concern about the chant."...


So, how to deal with the good Mr. Miller and his ilk?

Well, his uncle, Dr. David Glosser, has done a pretty good job of it:

Let me tell you a story about Stephen Miller and chain migration.

It begins at the turn of the 20th century, in a dirt-floor shack in the village of Antopol, a shtetl of subsistence farmers in what is now Belarus. Beset by violent anti-Jewish pogroms and forced childhood conscription in the Czar’s army, the patriarch of the shack, Wolf-Leib Glosser, fled a village where his forebears had lived for centuries and took his chances in America.

He set foot on Ellis Island on January 7, 1903, with $8 to his name. Though fluent in Polish, Russian and Yiddish, he understood no English. An elder son, Nathan, soon followed. By street corner peddling and sweatshop toil, Wolf-Leib and Nathan sent enough money home to pay off debts and buy the immediate family’s passage to America in 1906. That group included young Sam Glosser, who with his family settled in the western Pennsylvania city of Johnstown, a booming coal and steel town that was a magnet for other hardworking immigrants. The Glosser family quickly progressed from selling goods from a horse and wagon to owning a haberdashery in Johnstown run by Nathan and Wolf-Leib to a chain of supermarkets and discount department stores run by my grandfather, Sam, and the next generation of Glossers, including my dad, Izzy. It was big enough to be listed on the AMEX stock exchange and employed thousands of people over time. In the span of some 80 years and five decades, this family emerged from poverty in a hostile country to become a prosperous, educated clan of merchants, scholars, professionals, and, most important, American citizens.

What does this classically American tale have to do with Stephen Miller? Well, Izzy Glosser is his maternal grandfather, and Stephen’s mother, Miriam, is my sister.

I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, an educated man who is well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country...


One can only wonder how many fine folks of a certain bent back then thought that the eldest Mr. Glosser was fleeing a 'sh*thole country'?

Tip 'O The Toque to longtime reader Lew who noted yesterday that Dr. Glosser was likely one doctor who who not be signing up for that loyalty oath(ish)-requiring private prison/immigration detention center job.
And why, exactly, would the good Mr. Miller go on FOX News to continue fanning racism's flames?...I have a theory about that...Stay tuned.


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

There Is No Funk Like...

...Super Geek Funk.

The bass though.


Apparently, No Hippos Were Harmed In Their Oath.


Somebody is looking for a doctor.

Ranit Mishori has the story in a perspective piece in the Washington Post:

Eight chilling words appeared in a medical job posting listed last week in the online career center of JAMA, one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world. A large firm is seeking a doctor to be “lead physician” of a particular “facility.” But getting hired seems to require passing some sort of loyalty test: According to the original posting, applicants must be “philosophically committed to the objectives of the facility.” (The language of the ad was later revised to delete that line, but it still wants doctors to work “based on the company goals, objectives and philosophy.”)

The facility is the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Basile, La., owned by the Geo Group, a for-profit private contractor....


...The commitment to unstated “objectives” and “philosophy” is the most troubling part of the ad, though. Which objectives will the physician taking this job be committing to? The highest degree of medical quality and the protection of human rights? Or the implementation of the Trump administration’s inhumane and loathsome policies on immigration and asylum?...


Perhaps the desired commitment is to the so-called philosophy of phrenology:

Nobody really believes that the shape of our heads are a window into our personalities anymore. This idea, known as “phrenology”, was developed by the German physician Franz Joseph Gall in 1796 and was hugely popular in the 19th century. Today it is often remembered for its dark history – being misused in its later days to back racist and sexist stereoptypes, and its links with Nazi “eugenics”....

If you get my drift.

Tip 'O The Toque to Norm Farrell on the Twittmachine.
Subheader reference to the adding machine company heir?....This.