Thursday, August 16, 2018

There Is A Town...


...In North California-Oh.

There is this tiny little town on the northern California coast called Point Arena.

Located between the monied hordes of Sea Ranch to the south and the artists of Mendocino to the north it is a place out of time.

And we love it.

This year we were there for both Canada Day and 4th of July so that we could celebrate both with our good friends F. and L.

The latter involved a morning parade of hippy veterans (see above) and an afternoon BBQ of burgers and blues bands.

A few days later Bigger E. and I headed to the local bar for open mic night.

But, as so often happens in Pt. Arena posted start times are not real times.

So, with an hour or so to kill, we headed down mainstreet to the General Store for a coffee or some such thing.

Lars, the proprietor, was there at the door waiting for us and he insisted that we come in and play a few songs for his wife Kelly.

As so often happens E., who that particular evening was playing her dumpster find mandolin, soon stole the hearts of just about everyone in the place, including a little girl whose tourist mom initially wanted absolutely nothing to do with us as well as three middle-aged bike travellers from Tampa Florida.

As the sun set and fog began to roll in we strolled back up the street to the bar for the regularly scheduled musical festivities. Soon after Lars, Kelly and one of the biker guys came through the front door to join us.

There were a few regulars in the place that we recognized from the last time we were there two years ago, including a young guitar wizard named Jason. There was also a big whack of really excellent local musicians we hadn't run into before, one of whom was a retired travelling pastor who led a wicked trio that blew everybody's socks off.

For our set E. insisted that we start with one of my so-called 'originals', so I told the entire bar about this a bit of wordplay written by a mill worker anarchist poet that we know from back home that I spackled over with a wee bit of Neil-ish melody to produce the tune 'Dope City Blues' a while back.

A little later, when everybody had loosened up and the really fantastic open-mic show runner named Steve had already run home to get his own superfine mando for E. to play, things evolved into a rousing, rollicking jam session that included an extended bit with E. and Jason riffing off of something that started out as a Lucinda Williams tune that soon moved into the stratosphere to a place where I couldn't keep up, what with my cowboy chords repertoire and all.

So I just sat back and enjoyed the whole scene and the entire soundscape.



Not soon thereafter Janey the bartender said it was time to go so we headed out into the dark and the quiet of late night Highway 1 and started off on the winding cliff-side drive down to the even smaller town of Gualala where we were staying.

And by the time we got there it was like the whole thing had been a dream.

Except for the fact Jason's exclamatory words, shouted just before closing time, that we should 'Make this a tradition! Exactly two years from now!' were still ringing in our ears.

I think we just might take him up on it.



Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Minimum Wage (Non-) Problem.


From the top of Rachell Younglai's recent piece in the Globe and Mail:

Ontario’s jobless rate hit an 18-year low in July, as the country’s largest economy continued to churn out jobs despite this year’s hefty hike in the minimum wage.

When the province raised the mandatory hourly rate 21 per cent to $14 in January, businesses and their trade groups warned of employment losses. But, six months later, Statistics Canada data show that has not happened.

In fact, Ontario’s labour market is on fire.

The province added 61,000 new jobs in July and the jobless rate fell from 5.9 per cent to 5.4 per cent − the lowest level since 2000, according to the Statscan monthly Labour Force Survey released on Friday. Over all, the country added 54,000 net new jobs in July. The national jobless rate fell from 6 per cent to 5.8 per cent, reverting back to where it has been for most of the year...


How can this be possible given all the screaming and screeching from the usual suspects that got big time proMedia wurlitzer coverage in the run-up to Ontario's minimum wage hike?

Of course, all that screaming, screeching and wurlitzering helped make it possible for one employer to play the indentured servant card.
And one can only wonder if some of the reverse-screeching that has been going on 'round here recently might be eased by another immediate bump in the Lotuslandian MinWage?
Tip O' the Toque to Alberta poli-blogger extraordinaire David Climenhaga who has much, much more.


Friday, August 10, 2018

If There Is, Indeed, A Tape...

...Will Mr. Trump's Approval Numbers Go Up?

The following is the micturation-free lede from the Guardian's recent bit on a former Trump aide's soon-to-be published kinda/sorta tell all book thingy:

Donald Trump is a “racist” who has used the “N-word” repeatedly, Omarosa Manigault Newman, once the most prominent African American in the White House, claims in a searing memoir.

The future US president was caught on mic uttering the taboo racial slur “multiple times” during the making of his reality TV show The Apprentice and there is a tape to prove it, according to Manigault Newman, citing three unnamed sources...

Of course, Mag Hags of the Times is all over this one with ready-made deflector-spike-tire-belt-punturers like the following:

...Frank Luntz, the veteran Republican pollster whom Ms. Manigault Newsman says was believed to have told people he heard Mr. Trump utter the epithet, posted on Twitter to deny that had happened and to point out that he had not been contacted by the author...


Does anyone seriously think that, if it turns out to be 'true',  that Mr. Trump's poll numbers will actually suffer?


There Is A Club...


As we've discussed previously, when it comes to the proMedia there is, indeed, a club.

And the local Lotuslandian division is just one of many.

Interestingly, Charlie Pierce of Esquire just broken the first rule said club, USian political division.

As Driftglass so often points out.....The first rule of the proMedia Fite or Flight Club is to never, ever call another member out no matter what they have (or have not) done.
The very fine fellow that C. Pierce called out in this case is S. Kornacki  NBC News' 'National Political Correspondent'.
Of course, it is more than tweets...Mr. Pierce has been doing a whole lotta shaking in long form as well...Regardless, the calling out of incompetence amongst the proMedia denizens is critical work that it is required to put a stop to the endless recycling of club members who consistently get things wrong and/or ignore the obvious and yet still end up back in the executive suites so that they can muddy all waters on all issues big and small on the TeeVee and in the public prints.


Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Generation Gap Or...

...Reality Smack?

The upshot...

None of the young kids I know - and I know plenty, both in family and science geek/teach life -  are even remotely thinking about owning a home in central Lotusland unless, of course, they have big time boomer/parental help.



Tuesday, August 07, 2018



Norm Farrell is up to something new and exciting.

Head on over to his place to see what it is.


Sunday, August 05, 2018

Is This Definitive Proof Of The End...

...Of The American Experiment?

Who are these fine fellows, above, who attended a Trump rally in Lewis Center Ohio on Saturday night?

Are they rabid alt. right extremists or just a couple of rubes among the millions who have been suckered by 40 years of Ailes/Atwater/Rove/ManafortianStoneism that has been aided, abetted and amplified by the likes of RLimbaugh and a propaganda cable TeeVee network that now have their collective envelope pushed farther and farther rightward every single day by liars and fabulists that populate the websites of Alex Jones and

You decide:

...The two friends (James Alicie and Richard Birchfield) from the city of Delaware said they came out to the rally because they've never seen a president in person before. Asked about their shirts, Alicie (left) said he didn't understand why Trump is getting so much criticism about Russia when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama weren't similarly scrutinized. Asked what he would tell Democrats, Alicie said, "To jump on board this train and give him a chance."...

Of course, the two possibilities raised above are not necessarily mutually exclusive.


Photo credit: Jeremy Pelzer of
Think the header to this post is overly hyperbolic? Well....This.


Friday, August 03, 2018

The Best Way To Repair US - Canada Relations?


What is the best way to improve bilateral relations across the 49th parallel?

Why, more Neil more, if not all, of the time of course....

There are a whole bunch of videos out there of Mr. Young doing his thing with all comers on this tune but this is by far my favourite for all kinds of reasons, including the fact that the multilayered camera coverage was pieced together from DIY footage taken from all over the YouTubez...Truth be told, sometimes I just slap this one on when I'm feeling a little blue and need a bit of a humbucker fueled pick-me up.
Now...While Neil just might be able help to grease those stalled NAFTA negotiations, based on past performance it is not likely that he will allow Mr. Trump use his song to trumpet victory because...This.


Are The Banshee Wails Of The Screamers A (North) American - Wide Problem?


The Mound of Sound has an interesting post up in which he wonders if democracy has become too darned democratic for white America. In said post he quotes from a Salon interview with USian social scientists Steven Miller and Nicholas Davis:

...To be clear: Not all Trump voters are racist or xenophobic. However, Trump's racism and xenophobia were not enough to dissuade them from voting for him, and even bringing that up is going to alienate potential subscribers, readers and viewers...


That indifference thing that justifies political expediency...

In the end isn't that indifference just as bad as the thing itself, especially when the ball really gets rolling?

All of which brings me to a recent Angus Reid poll of so-called kinder, gentler Canadians:

Weeks of questions and criticism from opposition politicians and provincial leaders about asylum-seekers crossing the border – an issue already the source of heightened anxiety and concern for Canadians – have taken a further toll on the Trudeau government’s perceived ability to manage the situation.

In the wake of emergency meetings of the Parliamentary Immigration Committee, and as Ontario Premier Doug Ford demands compensation from Ottawa for the cost of caring for those who cross the border irregularly, Canadians are growing increasingly concerned about the country’s ability to handle the flow.

Despite the recent addition of Bill Blair to cabinet as Minister of Border Security, the latest survey from the Angus Reid Institute finds two-thirds of Canadians (67%) call the current situation a “crisis”.

Further, about the same number (65%) are of the view that Canada has received “too many” irregular crossers for the country’s authorities and service providers to handle...

And, just in case you think this is not a big deal because the reasonable Canuckistanians are alright:

...These views are held not only by conservative-minded individuals, but also by more than half of those who voted for the Liberal and New Democratic parties in 2015, suggesting that asylum-seekers and border security are areas of vulnerability for the Liberal Party – and a potential effective wedge for the Conservative Party in next year’s anticipated election.

Indeed, a plurality of Canadians, including sizeable segments of past left-leaning voters, say they trust CPC leader Andrew Scheer more than the other main party leaders to deal with this file...

None of this is a good thing.

What does it all really mean, Alfie?....Well, that is a big question, but I honestly believe at least one part of the answer is that it means that the screamer sites, and that includes the Levanthian one, are more influential north of the 49th than most of us realize....Why else do you think the good Mr. Ford of Ontario has already set up his own house organ monkey grinder screamer site?
If you're interested you can find SoScientists Miller's and Davis'  recent academic paper titled 'White Outgroup Intolerance and Declining Support for American Democracy'....Here. They make a cogent case that the screamers are winning by pushing the 'otherness' issue to extremes.


Thursday, August 02, 2018

Thirty Years Of Meat Puppetry...


Thirty years of meat puppetry backed with venomous and vile (not to mention racist) propaganda does not an informed citizenry make.

Especially in media markets where no reasonable, reality-based alternative is available.

What's it all about this time Alfie?


It turns out that a certain far, far right-sided American radio screamer by the name of Limbaugh heard from a long time listener, but first time caller yesterday (warning: link is not sanity proof):

RUSH: So I have this note on the call screener computer: “On the hotline…” We don’t have a hotline. “On the hotline, you’re receiving a phone call in recognition of your anniversary broadcast. You’ll want to take this immediately.” Okay. So we’re going to the phones and we have a special guest. Who is it?

THE PRESIDENT: So, Rush, I just wanted to congratulate you on 30 years.

RUSH: (laughing)

THE PRESIDENT: This is your favorite president, and I think you are fantastic.

RUSH: (laughing)

THE PRESIDENT: I heard about it, and today’s the big day, 30 years. I wanted to call personally and congratulate you.

RUSH: I am floored. I… (laughing) I thought there was nothing anybody could do to surprise me today. I’ve been preparing for anything. Mr. President —

THE PRESIDENT: You’re a very special man, Rush, and you have people that love you. I’m one of them. But you’re a very, very special guy. What you do for this country, people have no idea how important your voice is. So I just wanted to personally make this one and I said, “I’ll even dial the number myself if I have to.”



Just to be clear...

This is most definitely not a time for Canadian smugness when it comes to media manipulative matters such as these:


Tip O' the Toque to one of Left Bloggostan's finest chroniclers of the depths to which the right side has sunk in America, Driftglass.
Need a reasonable fact-backed alternative to Doug Ford TeeVee?....Canadaland's offering, with Allison Smith and Johnathan Goldsbie, is a pretty good one.