Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Are Polls Outside Of The Writ Period Useful?


Are polls taken outside the writ period of any use whatsoever?

Evan Scrimshaw thinks they are, and he uses the current state of play in British Columbia to make his point:

...Imagine how much worse our understanding of BC politics would be if we were unable to independently see that the BC Conservatives were more than a rump party for PPCers. It’s quite clear that Kevin Falcon’s rebrand to BC FC has killed the centre-right and is allowing for voters to have a better, clearer sense of the state of play. If the election ends up being close, as Liaison suggested last week, it’s possible Greens voters or moderate, federal Liberals who prefer BC FC provincially, may swing to the NDP to stop the insurgent Cons. I’m not saying that will happen, but it’s better that those voters have that info...

Hard to argue with that, I reckon.

Still, I hate to think that anyone would decide, at this point, where to park their vote, donate their money, and/or do their volunteering on the basis of the current polls.


And, as a wee post-script...
If Mr. Falcon's soccer club party really does vaporize, we just might be in for a gigantic strat-o-matic football-type discussion around here come fall.
Sideways sliding earwormishness in the subheader?...This.


Monday, April 15, 2024

Grift For The Mill.


Yesterday, Drew Harwell published a piece in the Washington Post about all the small time investors of a certain ilk who just know that everything's going to be alright when it comes to their 'investment' in Mr. Trump's Media and Technology concern:

Jerry Dean McLain first bet on former president Donald Trump’s Truth Social two years ago, buying into the Trump company’s planned merger partner, Digital World Acquisition, at $90 a share. Over time, as the price changed, he kept buying, amassing hundreds of shares for $25,000 — pretty much his “whole nest egg,” he said.

That nest egg has lost about half its value in the past two weeks as Trump Media & Technology Group’s share price dropped from $66 after its public debut last month to $32 on Friday. But McLain, 71, who owns a tree-removal service outside Oklahoma City, said he’s not worried. If anything, he wants to buy more.

“I know good and well it’s in Trump’s hands, and he’s got plans,” he said. “I have no doubt it’s going to explode sometime.”...

And then came today:

Shares of former President Donald J. Trump’s social media company plunged on Monday after the company filed to register the potential sale of tens of millions of additional shares.

Trump Media & Technology’s stock fell 18 percent, erasing hundreds of millions of dollars from the company’s market value...

Which begs the question...

How long until we learn that, addition to playing a part in the dumping after the big pumping, at least a few of the former President's men and/or quislings were also in on the shorting?

If you get my millstone-driven grift, errrr, drift.

For those looking for something non-musical and eclectic to listen to...David Moscrop's latest 'Open To Debate' podcast with Cory Doctorow is....excellent!


Sunday, April 14, 2024

Sunday Set - Metaphoric Melancholy.


There might be some re-tracing of previous musical steps here, but what the heckfire.

After all, I'm an old guy who likes to revisit things.

Some might say obsessively.



This one starts off with a rock hard little chunk of melancholy written by the duct tape cowboy himself, Blaze Foley, although the tune was actually made famous by Merle Haggard.

Lucinda Williams, who knew Foley, and who's real name was David Michael Fuller, memorialized him in tune number two.

More melancholy in tune number three which was written, apparently on the spot just before its recording, by original Replacements front man, Paul Westerberg. In it Westerberg looks back and wonders if he and/or any of what he has done in his life is actually worth, well, you know - a damn.

Tune four was written by a then still young guy who, I would guess, never (least not until he recorded the album that this tune was on) ever second guessed himself. What is Astral Weeks actually about? Hell if I know. I do know that once you've fiddled with it a few times and gotten to know it a little, it can put you into a trance state pretty much every time you play it. As for the non-vannish intro stuck onto my warmly version - that was swiped, kinda/sorta from Martha Wainwright.


Image at the top of the post
...Late stage, post-Bob Replacements playing the Stooges, sans Iggy.
My favourite musical podcast guy, Andrew Hickey, talks all about the making of Astral Weeks, and much more....Here.


Saturday, April 13, 2024

Oversight? We Don't Need No Stinking Oversight!


First it was the Parks Board.

Now it appears that the ruling Vancouver city council has gone after the Police Board.

Dan Fumano of the Vancouver Sun has that much overlooked story:

...In December, Vancouver council slashed two-thirds of the proposed budget for the Vancouver police board, the independent governance body for the Vancouver Police Department.

The decision received no public attention at the time — even some city councillors said this week they did not realize it had happened.

The mayor’s office says the reduction was a necessary response to “very dramatic” recent increases in board spending...


What's next, gaming library oversight?

Oh, wait.

Image at the top of the post?
...A Vancouver Archives photo of the VPD in 1886 in front of a makeshift city hall after the fire...From a 2020 historical piece by John Mackie in the VSun.
Need something to listen to without a million bleating commercials? (and that includes, unfortunately, most podcasts these days - the salad days are over)...Here's occasional reader Glen talking to SFU's Community Engagement Office about his life and times for an hour or so ...There's a nugget in there that you may not have heard (I certainly hadn't), which is that it was Dave Barrett that first hooked Mr. Clark up with Jimmy Pattison.


Friday, April 12, 2024

Mr. Musk's Phishing Trip.


Mashable's Matt Binder, a proverbial fly in the Muskier of ointments, has noticed something:

...On Monday, it appears X attempted to encourage users to cease referring to it as Twitter and instead adopt the name X. Some users began noticing that posts viewed via X for iOS were changing any references of "" to "" automatically...

So what, you might be asking yourself?

Well, let's set aside the issue of being free to type your own speech for a moment and consider the fact that while 'X' changes the text, the original link, as Robert Plant might say, remains the same.

Which means that, if an expert phisherman were to type, say, '' into their post, for a whole lot of people it would show up as '' on their own devices.

And, given that, anyone who banged the lever on  the '' link would think that they were actually going to the streaming site.

But actually, even if the destination looked like the Netflix site, they would instead be landing on '' which could lead to all kinds of shenanigans involving things like passwords, etc.

If you get Mr. Binder's drift.


Meanwhile, in other news of Muskovites in need of the most soothing of ointments....


Would have liked to include a phishian ear worm
to go with the image at the top of the post but, to the best of my knowledge, there are none....And, yes, that was a jambandian diss-track in linear-type form....To give them their due, however, the band is into....mondegreens!
As for the Zeppelin worm buried under the lede?....This!
Finally, sure hope this one is eclectic enough for the sawmill sh*tter...


Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The Achilles Heel Of Our Corporate Overlords?


As Cory Doctorow notes, massive multinational corporations are vulnerable because, eventually, we will all come to hate them and then, hopefully, we will all, using our various ways and means,  decide to do something about them.

Interestingly, that appears already be happening, at least in part, to a certain multinational car company.

First, in Germany:

...In 2023, Germany's Supply Chain Act went into effect, which bans large corporations with a German presence from using child labor, violating health and safety standards, and (critically) interfering with union organizers...

Second, in the United States:

...(I)n the USA, Mercedes has a preference for building its cars in the American South, the so-called "right to work" states where US labor law is routinely flouted and unions are thin on the ground...


...(However, w)orkers at Mercedes' factory in Vance, Alabama are trying to join the UAW (United Auto Workers), and Mercedes is playing dirty, using the tried-and-true union-busting tactics that have held workplace democracy at bay for decades...

Feel the bile rising?

Well, take a big gulp and relax, because here comes the kicker - which is that the workers' representatives in Alabama are attempting to make German law work for them as well:

...(T)he UAW has also filed a complaint with BAFA, the German regulator in charge of the Supply Chain Act, seeking penalties against Mercedes-Benz Group AG.

That's a huge deal, because the German Supply Chain Act goes hard. If Mercedes is convicted of union-busting in Alabama, its German parent-company faces a fine of 2% of its global total revenue, and will no longer be eligible to sell products to the German government...


Being accountable in one jurisdiction means that you just might have to be accountable in all jurisdictions?

Imagine that new world capitalist overlord-less order!

Mr. Doctorow's musings
show up over there on the left sidebar (for phone users switch to 'Web Version' - the link is at the bottom of the post)...I strongly suggest you have a look at his stuff regularly.
Image at the top of the post have you not quite remembering?...This!...and...This!
Sub-Header under the image at the top of the post?...Bigger E. knows what I'm talking about.


Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Are Climate Prediction Models Too 'Conservative'?


The following is from a commentary by Gavin Schmidt the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies published last week in Nature:

"...For the past nine months, mean land and sea surface temperatures have overshot previous records each month by up to 0.2 °C — a huge margin at the planetary scale. A general warming trend is expected because of rising greenhouse-gas emissions, but this sudden heat spike greatly exceeds predictions made by statistical climate models that rely on past observations. Many reasons for this discrepancy have been proposed but, as yet, no combination of them has been able to reconcile our theories with what has happened..."

Of course, in answer to my question at the top of the post, the problem with the climate prediction models is not an ideological one.

Instead, it's an issue of missing data.

Missing data that we've got to find, and fast, as Dr. Schmidt explains:

"...Much of the world’s climate is driven by intricate, long-distance links — known as teleconnections — fuelled by sea and atmospheric currents. If their behaviour is in flux or markedly diverging from previous observations, we need to know about such changes in real time. We need answers for why 2023 turned out to be the warmest year in possibly the past 100,000 years. And we need them quickly."

Imagine that!

Of course, funding institutions, scientists and projects to collect such data is most definitely a political act and, unfortunately, increasingly viewed by some, quite wrongly in my opinion, as ideological.
Image at the top of the post - originally from the NASA page tracking polar ice sheet loss.


Monday, March 25, 2024

'Inclusionary Housing Policy'... It's The Opposite Of Hockey.


There's an old adage in hockey.

"It's not how, it's how many."

That refers to goals, often of the 'garbage' variety, scored from right in front of the net.

But when it comes to housing,  the 'how' can be just as, if not more,  important than the'how many'.

To wit, check out the following, just in from Dan Fumano in the Vancouver Sun:

An “inclusionary housing policy” essentially lets developers to build larger residential developments than they would be otherwise be allowed. In exchange, they must provide a certain percentage of below-market rental homes.

Details vary between jurisdictions, but typically require between five and 20 per cent of a project’s units be secured at below-market rates, with the rest made up of market rental or strata homes.

About 9,200 below-market homes in Metro Vancouver have been approved or completed through these policies in recent years, the report says.

No one suggests that is sufficient to meet the region’s demand for affordable housing. But it seems likely the rental housing crunch would be worse today without those homes.

For context, there are about 34,000 independent social housing units currently in existence across all of Metro Vancouver — so 9,200 units, most approved just within the past few years, represents a significant number.

These homes, geared toward moderate-income renters, are no replacement for the more deeply affordable social housing that government agencies like B.C. Housing build and operate...

And, dare I suggest it, there are also the issues of long term stability and community involvement to consider as well.


And, just to be absolutely clear here, the super-fine developers in our midst are not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts...essentially it is the cost of doing business so that they, as Mr. Fumano points out, can go big.
The recent Metro Vancouver report on the matter that forms the core of Mr. Fumano's piece can be (starts on pg 118). 


Monday, March 11, 2024

Numbers You Have Not Seen Before.


A European academic group has done a massive worldwide survey of public opinion on the subject of what to do about the climate crisis.

The work was published last month in 'Nature Climate Change'.

The following is from the abstract:

...(W)e conducted a representative survey across 125 countries, interviewing nearly 130,000 individuals. Our findings reveal widespread support for climate action. Notably, 69% of the global population expresses a willingness to contribute 1% of their personal income, 86% endorse pro-climate social norms and 89% demand intensified political action...

And yet, despite numbers that would move the needle significantly on just about anything politically, we continue to do next to nothing, collectively, when it comes to mounting measures that actually matter.

The PR industrial complex, see COP 28, for example, is winning.


Monday, March 04, 2024

Base-Based Public Health Bashing.


The presumptive Republican nominee for US'ian president went to Richmond Virginia this past Saturday and bashed public health over the head with a bushel of, as reader GarFish has noted, faith-based anti-vaccination codswallop.

The following is from a piece by Elizabeth Beyer in the Gannett-owned Staunton News Leader:

""Macho Man" played between show-tunes from Phantom of the Opera as Trump rally attendees made their way through security just inside the doors of the Greater Richmond Convention Center on Saturday...


...(Mr. Trump) sprinkled in rhetoric steeped in election denialism between jabs at President Joe Biden’s border and economic policy. He promised, if elected, to implement "MAGAnomics" complete with tax cuts. He sowed doubt in this country's democratic process. He vowed to "not give one penny to any school that has a vaccine mandate or mask mandate."

"2024 is our final battle," he said. "We will liberate our country from these tyrants and villains once and for all."...

It's important to understand that Mr. Trump is not just talking about COVID here.

He's also talking about long-standing school mandates for vaccination against childhood diseases like mumps, measles and whooping cough. Such mandates are critical to keep jab rates high to ensure population-wide immunity.

And then, as reader EE reminds us, there is polio.



How long before a certain candidate for high office north of the 49th parallel starts to spout such dangerous rhetoric?

Oh, wait...

The following is from Bob Hepburn, writing in the Star last fall:

...You may have missed it, but Poilievre was at it again last week, stirring up the hardcore anti-vaxxers who play a major role in the Conservative leaders’ strategy to win the next election.

In a 10-minute speech in the House of Commons, Poilievre championed a private member’s bill that would have prevented the federal government from imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates on federal employees or restricting unvaccinated travellers from boarding planes and trains.

Poilievre said he supports “bodily autonomy,” adding that everyone should have the right to decide what they put in their own bodies and have the right to refuse vaccines.

I guess Poilievre’s “bodily autonomy” belief also means he opposes Ontario’s law requiring children attending school to be vaccinated against polio, measles, mumps, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and other diseases...

Given how incredibly effective vaccination mandates have been in essentially eliminating many childhood diseases, none of this is a good thing.



Sunday, March 03, 2024

Peace In Our Electoral Time!


From a somewhat suspect newsey clickbaitish site called 'The Economic Times':

"On Friday (February 23rd), the world’s 20 largest tech companies and social-media platforms signed an accord, “The Tech Accord to Combat Deceptive Use of AI in 2024 Elections”, at the Munich Security Conference. This is a commitment to prevent deceptive artificial-intelligence (AI) content from interfering in elections."

If he hasn't already, I'm pretty sure that Cory Doctorow will soon weigh in on how this thing is nothing more than a very shoddy shallow fake designed to convince us that the digital overlords are actually doing something serious to prevent the ongoing onslaught of obstreperous attacks on liberal democracies, worldwide (including in Canuckistanmikitaville), that make them piles and piles and piles of monopoly money.


Saturday, March 02, 2024

Before You Make Those Last Minute Spring Break Travel Plans...


Before you make your last minute spring break travel plans, you may want to check the latest news from the Sunshine State.

The following is from a piece by Eduardo Cuevas, originally published in USA Today:

Six children at Manatee Bay Elementary School, in Weston near Fort Lauderdale, caught the disease (measles) over a week ago. New state health data show two more cases in Broward County, of a child younger than 5 and another between ages 5 and 9.

The newly reported infections bring the total to eight, just days after Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo contradicted federal and medical professional guidance to contain the spread of the highly contagious and preventable disease...


...In a letter Tuesday, Feb. 19 (state Surgeon General) Ladapo said Manatee Bay parents and guardians could decide whether to send their children back to school, a statement that conflicted with federal and medical professional recommendations that children from the school should remain at home to prevent the spread of measles...

Just in time for spring break trips to the waterpark and/or Disneyworld.


Haven't we discussed the spurious edicts of the good Dr. Ladapo before?

Why yes, we most certainly have...

...Joseph A. Ladapo, a professor of medicine at the University of Florida and the state’s surgeon general (appointed by governor Ron De Santis), relied upon a flawed analysis and may have violated university research integrity rules when he issued guidance last fall discouraging young men from receiving common coronavirus vaccines, according to a report from a medical school faculty task force...


...In its new report, a task force of the University of Florida College of Medicine’s Faculty Council cites numerous deficiencies in the analysis Ladapo used to justify his vaccine recommendation. A summary said the work was “seriously flawed.” The report’s authors say Ladapo engaged in “careless, irregular, or contentious research practices.”...

Ladapo, who is not an infectious disease expert, also pushed hydroxycholoquine and ivermectin.

It would appear that ideology-driven public health has a long, mangy and dangerous tail, indeed.


Thursday, February 29, 2024

These Are Not Diana Ross' Supremes.


That was then:

“We conclude that when the ground for asserting privilege as to subpoenaed materials sought for use in a criminal trial is based only on the generalized interest in confidentiality, it cannot prevail over the fundamental demands of due process of law in the fair administration of criminal justice. The generalized assertion of privilege must yield to the demonstrated, specific need for evidence in a pending criminal trial.”

That was the Supreme Court of Warren Burger issuing the order, based on an immediate 8-0 decision, that Richard Nixon must hand over the Watergate Tapes because he did not have blanket immunity from prosecution due to executive privilege as a sitting president on July 29, 1974.


This is now:

"Without expressing a view on the merits, this Court directs the Court of Appeals to continue withholding issuance of the mandate until the sending down of the judgment of this Court. The application for a stay is dismissed as moot.

The case will be set for oral argument during the week of April 22, 2024."

That was the current Supreme Court of John Roberts issuing the order that there will be no immediate order on February 28, 2024. Instead, there will be further delay in making any decision as to whether or not Donald Trump has blanket immunity from prosecution for committing acts of insurrection as an outgoing, but still technically sitting, president.

The latter two month delay until 'oral argument' commences means that it is very unlikely that the current Supreme Court will make a decision on Trump's ridiculous blanket immunity claim before the summer.

This very likely means that Mr. Trump will not go to trial before the US'ian presidential election in November.

It's important to realize that, if he were to win, it is even more likely that Mr. Trump would end the federal prosecution of his own acts of insurrection if his super slow walking Supremes were to rule against him in the summer.

That's some incentive to win at all costs, 'eh?

Why are there nine members of Burger's court in the image at the top of the post when the vote against Mr. Nixon was 8-0?....Because the guy in the glasses second from the right, William Rehnquist, actually recused himself because of his previous political association with the Trickster-In-Chief...Just one more thing that is very, very different now than it was then.


Wednesday, February 21, 2024

The Cookie Dough Mike Chronicles (ctd.)


"...De Jong was finance minister in the last B.C. Liberal government. He has taken some heat within his own party for leaving behind a sizable budget surplus for the New Democrats to spend.

He makes no apologies: “The biggest criticism I seem to get is that I was too stingy or too careful with public dollars. I’ll take that criticism because when COVID did hit, B.C. was in better shape with its finances than any other province in the country.”...

Yesterday, we commented on the above passage, which is from a recent Vaughn Palmer column. Specifically, we noted that Mr. de Jong largely built his surplus by imposing a hidden, regressive tax in the form of significant monthly MSP payments.

But that doesn't mean that the good Mr. de Jong wasn't also stingy when doling out those regressively obtained public dollars.

It's just that sometimes Cookie Dough Mike was downright mean and disingenuous when doing so, especially when the affected were those who need our help most.

Case in point, the following is what de Jong said after he took away bus passes for the disabled:

...“They’re exercising a new-found freedom and choice that heretofore didn’t exist,” de Jong said. “So that was the whole purpose of the exercise: to give people choice.”...

Heretofore 'choice', indeed.


Tuesday, February 20, 2024

The Falcon And The Cookie Man.


Vaughn Palmer's latest tells the tale of how one very, very fine former BC Liberal Party Finance Minister, Mike de Jong, is not going to run for Kevin Falcon's Soccer Party in the upcoming provincial election.

Mostly the column slowly circles the likely possibility that Mr de Jong, who once tried to soften his image by baking cookies on the Tubez long before Doug Ford's minions got the idea, will instead run federally for Mr. Poilievre.

In the process, the Dean of the legislative press gallery takes a wobbly walk down fiscal memory lane:

...De Jong was finance minister in the last B.C. Liberal government. He has taken some heat within his own party for leaving behind a sizable budget surplus for the New Democrats to spend.

He makes no apologies: “The biggest criticism I seem to get is that I was too stingy or too careful with public dollars. I’ll take that criticism because when COVID did hit, B.C. was in better shape with its finances than any other province in the country.”...


With the help of the late, great Dermod Travis, I remember things a wee bit differently when it comes to the strategy that the good Mr. de Jong used to generate his 'surplus'.

The following is from a post written in 2016:

Never mind that 4 percent MSP increase removal for 2017 thingy that the Clarklandians have bamboozled the Lotuslandian proMedia into focussing on over the past few news cycles (Ooooooh! Look! Shiny!!!)...

Because Dermod Travis of Integrity BC has instead noted the fee-for service gouging that has been going on during the entirety of the years of Clarklandia:

Moving out from individuals to the entirety of the British Columbian citizenry, the prediction by Cookie Dough Mike and his minions is that MSP will bring in a collectively regressive $2,549,000,000 this fiscal year (see pg 127).


First: No other government in Canada hauls in money in this completely non-progressive way.

Second: Take away that $2.5B gouge/regressive pretend-it's-not-a-tax and Cookie Dough's new prediction of a $1.9B surplus is completely gone.


I do have archives and I'm going to use 'em.

And, still herding after all these years, the Keef weighs in on the same story.