Saturday, December 31, 2005

Who Knew......


.....Tony Perkins was working for the CPC.

Ottawa -- A Conservative campaign manager in Edmonton tendered his resignation yesterday after coming under fire for making controversial postings on the Internet under the pseudonym "Psycho."

Gordon Stamp, who headed the re-election campaign of Conservative MP Peter Goldring, is a frequent writer on the website In his postings, he castigated "eastern voting idiots" for electing Liberal governments and suggested that he supported Alberta independence.

But followers of Little Stephen's 'Obfuscation For The Nation' strategy needn't worry.

Because, as you've discovered if you hit the link directly above, the CPC Clean-Up Crew is already on the case doing its best to hide the true face of the Canadian Reform/Alliance/(not-so progressive)Conservatism.

In other words, the plug appears to have been pulled on all roads into and out of the home of the Freepers of the Dominion.

However, if you have any interest in catching a glimpse of the bile and vitriol yourself, there's always Google.


The Father, Son and The Holy Ghost


Driftglass takes a classic that Classic Rock wrecked and sends it out to the coast once again.


Cutting Taxes Or Cutting Transit?


VANCOUVER -- Stephen Harper, who acknowledges he rarely uses public transit, boarded a bus yesterday to repeat his promise to give transit riders a tax break.

In his third announcement in three days in British Columbia, the Conservative Leader said he would bring in a 16-per-cent federal tax credit for transit users who buy monthly or annual passes.

The average savings per person would be $153 annually, he said. In Toronto, TTC Metropass holders would save $190, Greater Vancouver transit users would save $132 to $250 yearly and in Montreal, commuters could save up to $386, Conservatives said.


Wonder how much we who actually use public transit will really save when fares skyrocket to pay for Mr. Harper's tax cuts?

Or will he just take the Norquistian Route #1 and starve the beast by letting it turn to crap before strangling it in the bathtub and/or privatizing it?


When In Doubt.....


......Make Stuff Up

Richard Causey was the chief accounting officer for Enron, the company that bilked millions out of billions.

In January 2004 Mr. Causey hung tough with his former bosses Jeffrey Skilling and Kenny Boy Lay when he pleaded innocent to a six-count indictment that included conspiracy and fraud charges.

Skillings was indicted on 35 counts in February 2004 and Lay was indicted on 11 counts six months later.

All pleaded innocent at the time and it was supposed to be a united front in which these 'Big Three' would crush the ratfink testimony of former chief financial officer Andrew Fastow who copped a plea just eight days before Causey was charged.

But this week the not-so-united front crumbled when Causey himself decided he couldn't hack the very real possibility that he might spend most of the rest of his life in jail. And so he too took a plea deal in which he agreed to flip Skilling and Lay in return for a sentence of 'just' seven years and a $1.25 million dollar fine.

Which, according to the unlinkable WSJ, led Mr. Skilling's lawyer Daniel 'Don't Call Me Rico' Petrocelli*, to utter the following words:

"Rick Causey pleaded to a crime he didn't commit to protect his family."

Again, that was Skilling's, not Causey's, lawyer.

Which leaves one these people have no shame?

Wait a second, what was I thinking.

*Legendary BoSoxian Rico Petrocelli, of course. We would not wish to suggest any association, real or imagined, to this.


Friday, December 30, 2005

Two Plus Two Is......


.........A Negative Number

At least according to the braintrust of the Canadian Conservative Party.

Specifically, it looks like John Reynolds, former Conservative Alliance Reform Party (a.k.a. 'CRAP') interim leader and current co-chair of the CPC's national campaign learned some of the fanciest misdirection plays in the Rovian Playbook when he attended the US Republican National Convention in the Summer of 2004.

As reported by Public Eye here is a chunk of a 'leaked' Email from Mr. Reynolds and his partner in discipline, Michael Fortier to the faithful:

"Ladies and gentlemen, for three weeks Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party have run a positive, ideas-based campaign. We intend to continue doing so for as long as we can and in spite of the escalating negative and personal attacks on our leader and our party. We encourage all of you to ignore these attacks. Keep your eye focused clearly on the ultimate goal: defeating a corrupt Liberal government and restoring accountability in Ottawa."

Which is interesting in the extreme because it would suggest that the CPC has decided to bamboozle not just the public, but also its base.

But then again, maybe that is not surprising at all given that in CPC Land the new negative is actually positive as is clearly demonstrated here.

Can't wait for the Ad that tells us that War is Peace.....

Or that Private HealthCare is Universal.....

Or that Poverty is Wealth......

Or that Ralph Reed is Great......

Or that Dinosaurs are Young......

Forever young that is, which, even for another former CRAP leader, Mr. Stockwell Day, is a really long time*.

*Like 5000 years, give or take.


Saturday, December 24, 2005

The Last Minute Rush


I learned the art of last minute Christmas shopping from my Dad.

Once, when my brothers and I were kids, he packed us into the StratoChief and dropped us off at the old Odeon on Yates St. in Victoria on Christmas Eve afternoon.

We watched 'The Seven Percent Solution', twice, while he did one hundred percent of his shopping all at once.

The second time through the movie there was only one other person in the theater, an old guy who fell asleep about halfway through. We knew he was asleep because we were crawling around all over the place pretending to be spies from 'The Man From Uncle'.

My two brothers both had to be Illya Kuryakin.

I got to be Napoleon Solo because I was older.


When I was in my late teens I saw my Dad at work once, in (still)Simpson Sears. It was kind of amazing to watch actually, as he careened down the aisles seemingly picking up things at random and stuffing them in the cart.

Which is not to say that we didn't have great fun at Christmas, because we did.

And we always got mostly the things we wanted. It's just that we often also got a bunch of stuff we'd never thought of, some of it that worked out (ie. 'Battling Tops') and some of it that didn't (ie. the Blaupunckt).

My own kids have been counting down the days to Christmas 2005 since late November.

All of which somehow got me into the spirit of things a little earlier than usual this year.

As a result, I actually started on Dec 22nd and when I woke up this morning, Christmas Eve, I only had one real gift left to get.

Of course, it was my Dad's.

I bought it at Zulu Records which is still a pretty hep-hop-happening-shop on 4th Avenue in Vancouver that I used to frequent looking for all important coolness back in the days of yore when it was still known as Quintessence.

This morning I managed to get there pretty early, before the bad craziness, caused by hundreds of people like my former self, began in earnest.

What I got for my Dad after considerable help from the staff because it is on the Festival Records label whose stuff is hidden away from all the hipper/hepper stuff for reasons very fathomable to the younger me, doesn't matter (and besides, I don't want to give it away).

What does matter, for this story at least, is what the guy beside me got.

"The James Brown Christmas Collection"

When the guy went to pay for it, the young kid at the register picked it up laconically and skeptically asked if it was any good.

The guy buying it, who was just as middle-aged as me said that it was.

I agreed.

And then the third guy in line, who was even more middle-aged looking than the rest of us, chimed in with the best bit - a description of the power and glory of track number three....

The young kid at the register's eyes widened and all the feigned coolness fell away.

And I left the store wondering how in the heck my life had melded with a bit part in a never-quite published Nick Hornby narrative.

Which isn't such a bad thing, I guess.

Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 23, 2005

The Revenge Of The Purple Finger


What exactly did all those purple fingers vote for in Iranqistan last week anyway?

Preliminary returns showed Iraqi voters divided along ethnic and religious lines with a commanding lead held by the religious Shiite coalition that dominates the current government.

Hmmmm.....religious Shiite coalition? Sounds a little bit like 'Khomeini II, Return of the Fundies'.

Throughout 1978, demonstrations against the Shah's regime took place in Iran. Ailing from cancer, the Shah departed Iran on Jan 16, 1979. Two weeks later, Khomeini's supporters recalled him from exile in Paris, and on February 1, 1979, he returned to construct his revolutionary "reign of virtue" according to his principle of the velayet e-faqih ("vice regency of the theologian").

Iran became a
pure theocracy in just a little over two years.

While such a development might be just fine with Mr. Bush and his desire to expand his base to include 'all the zealots all the time'*, it is apparently not sitting well with secular strongman and original Roving Cheneyburtonian Choice #2:

A representative for former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi described the Dec. 15 vote as “fraudulent” and the elected lawmakers “illegitimate.”

Of course, given the fact that he has reportedly received only 14% of the vote, not to mention the rising stature of theocratic strongmen like Mr. Sadr, it's not hard to imagine that what really has Mr. Allawi cheesed off is the sure knowledge that a few well aimed pistol shots in hidden courtyards will do him no good now.

But what of the original R.C. Choice #1?

Well, it appears that he has fared even worse than Mr. Allawi.

Way worse:

Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi appears to have suffered a humiliating defeat at the recent Iraq polls, according to the uncertified preliminary results.......


Preliminary results in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad indicate that Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress scored a minuscule 0.36 percent of the votes.

Out of almost 2.5 million voters in Baghdad, only 8,645 voted for Chalabi.

In the Shiite city of Basra, the results indicate he had an equally dismal showing of 0.34 percent of the vote.

In the violent Sunni province of Anbar, 113 people voted for him.

During the election, Chalabi’s campaign posters proclaimed, "We Liberated Iraq."

Guess folks in Iraq didn't believe that tag line on the posters. Which is interesting, for a whole lot of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it demonstrates that the average Iraqi citizen appears to be way smarter than the entire editorial board of the NY Times.

*And even Mr. Cheney can probably take comfort in the fact that such an eventuality will give him a second chance to pull an October Surprise out of his hat should the need arise down the road.
Thanks to Cathie from Saskatchewan for her original post on the Chabblabbi numbers.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

How Far Is Further, Exactly?

Tomateo, Tomaaahto

In the aftermath of the developers' big win at Vancouver City Council Tuesday Night night, right-sided NPA Councillor Susan Anton said:

"[Our position] has been framed that we are opposed to social housing," she said yesterday in an interview. "I don't think anything could be further from the truth."

So, our question is the following: Is it possible that Ms. Anton is confusing low end Eastside 'Socialism' with high end Westside 'Socializing'?

Or is she just trying to simultaneously kill and embrace a program that many in this town from all over the political spectrum bought into because it was the right thing to do?

Either way, if it ultimately turns out that Ms. Anton goes along with her fearless leader Mayor Sam Sullivan and helps to dramatically slash the social housing component of the Southeast False Creek development we certainly hope that the mainstream media has the guts to shove those caviar-laced words straight back down her throat.

But if we are way off base, and Ms. Anton is not just cynically spinning as far away from the truth as is humanly possible, we will be the first to eat crow and give credit where credit is due.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Maybe They Should Just Call Faye....


Sean Holman is now reporting that even the Zalm is aghast at the BC Liberal Government's attempted non-partisan partisan appointment of Louise Burgart to the Electoral Boundaries Commission.


Then again, if Ms. Burgart doesn't work out Mr. Campbell might want to consider giving the always reliable Ms. Leung at shot at it.

And, apparently, unlike the former Premier it looks that the current one is on pretty good terms with the esteemed hatlady these days.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Smilin' Sammy's True Colours


Surprise. Surpise.

All of sudden it's looking like Sam Sullivan is not the centrist he pretended to be during his James Green/Georgia Straight-assisted election campaign*.

The lifting of the veil began in earnest last week during the people's revolt that smacked down Mr. Sullivan's stealth plan to scrap all of Vancouver's Citizen Advisory Committees. In the end, all but one of Sammy's NPA colleagues jumped ship, which is almost unheard of. Only the lifestyle reactionary B.C. Lee stuck with Sullivan to the bitter end of a humiliating 16 hour council session that ended in a 9-2 defeat.

Then, today Sullivan announced that he would like to scrap the progressive, and sustainable, 1:1:1 Market/MiddleIncome/Social Housing plan for the South East False Creek development.

And guess whose share is going down?

Let's just say it won't be the Market component.

All of which has us wondering when Mr. Sullivan is going to release the names of all those big money donors to his successful effort to scuttle the Ward initiative last year as he promised back when he was having all those legal and cash flow problems.

Not that we think there might be some folks on that list that might benefit financiall from a re-jigging of the False Creek formula or anything crazytrain like that.....


Who Does He Love?


The titular co-head of the Roving Cheneyburtonians has been on the road lately, and we can't help wonder if he's been humming one the best of the old Destroyer Tunes:

I walked forty-seven miles of barbed wire, I got a cobra snake for a necktie
A brand new house on the road side, and it's a-made out of rattlesnake hide
Got a brand new chimney put on top, and it's a-made out of human skull
Come on take a little walk with me baby, and tell me who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?

Which begs the question - who does BigTime really love?

Apparently, it's not those extremely well-trained, battle ready Iraqi Troops.

His next visit was to Taji Air Base, where he saw tanks that Iraqis had rebuilt and watched while they practiced a vehicle sweep at a security checkpoint.

U.S. forces guarded Cheney with weapons at the ready while Iraqi soldiers, who had no weapons, held their arms out as if they were carrying imaginary guns.

Then again, like Tina Turner always said:

"What's Love Got to Do With It?

Because, like clothes, the Emporer can always order up glittering new weaponry for his minions*

*But only after his cuttin' and runnin' is done (ie. when he is safely out of range).


Monday, December 19, 2005

A Hammer To Call Our Own?


Before the fall, not-quite-former US House Leader Tom DeLay was known far and wide as 'The Hammer' for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which was his ability to move electoral boundaries to make sure that his team always won especially, but not exclusively, in his home state of Texas. None of which happened, of course, without a little help from his friends:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, a Texas Republican who owes his position to the No. 1 Texas Republican, President Bush, sees nothing wrong with a congressional redistricting scheme concocted by the No. 2 Texas Republican, Rep. Tom DeLay.

A Justice Department team of career professionals did see something wrong with DeLay's plan in 2003. They agreed unanimously that DeLay's redrawn congressional map of Texas violated the Voting Rights Act by diluting minority (and Democratic) voting strength. Of course, that was exactly DeLay's goal.

The redistricting controversy in Texas has had many sequels. It led to DeLay's indictment for money laundering. A prosecutor in Texas alleges DeLay tried to hide the sources of cash he used to help the GOP win the state legislature and thus control redistricting.

The dispute also led to DeLay's being admonished by the House Ethics Committee for abusing his authority by seeking to exploit a government agency for partisan purposes.

Now, no one in their right mind would accuse British Columbia's Speaker of the House, Bill Barisoff, of being Neandercon North's equivalent of Mr. DeLay.

At least not yet.

But there is this small matter of Mr. Barisoff's latest appointment to the BC Electoral Boundaries Commission.

This Commision is the small group that will decide how and where electoral district boundaries will be redrawn both now and in the future (ie. after any implementation of STV, or facsimile thereof, if it were to occur)

All of which is pretty important stuff, right?

One of the commissioners is Supreme Court Justice Bruce Cohen and another is the Chief Electoral Officer Harry Neufeld.

There is only one more commissioner, an appointed lay member - the swing vote as it were.

Thus, it is critical (and mandated) that this third member be someone with a non-partisan background.

So, for this position Mr. Barisoff has chosen Louise Burgart a former school teacher, administrator and superintendent who is now a co-owner of the South Okanagan's Apex Mountain Ski Resort and a sometime resident of Fort St. James.

All of which is fine and good, as far as it goes, except that there is a little bit more to Ms. Burgart's background which has recently been brought to light by the ever diligent Sean Holman:

(R)esearch by Public Eye has revealed Ms. Burgart campaigned on behalf of Liberal MLA John Rustad and her company donated $2,900 to the party (apparently, without her knowledge). Apex Mountain Resort (1997) Ltd. also contributed $1,000 to Mr. Barisoff's 2001 election campaign. And Ms. Burgart penned a fawning letter praising the Campbell administration which was published in the Prince George Citizen on the eve of the last election.

Which, if not a bonafide ballpeen hammer, certainly sounds suspiciously partisan to us.

So we went a-googling ourselves and discovered that Ms. Burgart is also an appointed member of the BC Teacher's College until 2008.

Which is also fine and good now that the Campbellian Coup at the College, first engineered by then Education Minister Christy Clark back in 2003, has been put down.

But get this......when the coup was first staged and Ms. Clark fired all of the teachers so that she could replace the entire College Council with appointees of her own to do, as she said at the time, "a ton of heavy lifting to get the board in shape and do what it needs to do", guess who one of the chosen ones was?

If you guessed Ms. Burgart, you are right on the money. And what's more, she wasn't just a member at large. In fact she had a very strict and specific bit of heavy lifting of her own to do:

"Another retired superintendent was chosen chair of the Discipline Committee. Louise Burgart was a superintendent in Fort St. James and now is an owner of Apex Mountain Resort."

All of which just goes to show - there's more than one way to drive nails in the Heartland.


Deflector Spin-O-Rama


Glad to see British Columbia's Solicitor General is right on top of things:

On Friday, Solicitor General John Les announced the creation of a new-seven member unit that will focus on impaired and aggressive driving, intersection violations and seat-belt compliance.
“They will be very strategic in what they do using targeted tactics to catch the drivers who pose a threat to others and shouldn’t be on the road,” said Les in making the announcement
in Kamloops.

Now, if only he could link aggressive drivers to terrorism John Les might be able to get folks to forget about his office's other shortcomings.

After all, we're sure that it was just a coincidence that this bit of fluffery came out the day after the 713 file flared up again.

In an unusually blunt acknowledgement, B.C. Solicitor-General John Les admitted yesterday that budget cuts and government incompetence were responsible for the failure to properly review the deaths of 713 children.

No word yet if Mr. Campbell's 'Minister in Charge of Bobsled Development' Colin Hansen has plans to announce new money for advanced technology sledbelts anytime soon......


Saturday, December 17, 2005

Scrubbing The Harpoon Clean?


Big flap over that eight-year-old bit of fire and neancerconnish brimstone that Mr. Harper delivered to the way right South of 49th group of flackhacks known as 'The Council For National Policy' when they came north for a convention of fun and frolic in Montreal in 1997.

The CBC dutifully lays out the entire text of the speech here.

My favorite quip, amongst many that are simply boffo, is that last part about exams and prayers - always a good idea to ditch the studying and instead plead with your favorite deity for a better mark just before you write the test.

Anyway, the funny thing is, as Stage Left recently noted you will no longer actually find the speech on 'The Council's website.

Seems that, perhaps.........however unintentionally.......ya, sure..... it has been scrubbed.

Not to worry.

We found the original cached version here*.


*The bonus with the cached version is that you also get the Q and A session after the speech, which is just bizarre enough (especially the UN bashing) that it makes one wonder, hypothetically of course, if this is the real reason that the entire thing was accidentally 'lost'.


VANOC vs The Children......


.....Who Will Get the Cash?

So, Colin Hansen says that VANOC may have to dip into it's $139 million dollar contingency fund as costs for frivolous megaprojects mount.

In the meantime John Les, who is still clinging to his 'transitional' fiction, has managed to come up with $1.4 million for the Coroner's Office so that they can start dealing with the number 713.

I guess that sounds about right. After all, dead kids are worth at least 1% of new bobsled runs.

Again, we have to ask:

"How do these people sleep at night?"


Friday, December 16, 2005

Why Does Bill O'Reilly Hate.....


....Freedom So Much?

"And if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it.
We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco.
You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead."

When we lived in the Berkeley California during the enlightenment (ie. pre-Bushtopia) we had a very wise, but very impatient, friend who decided to rename BART as 'BAST' for Bay Area 'Slow' Transit.

Often this had more to do with the bloody ticket machines that could only read brand new bills that been carefully extracted from hermetically-sealed flat-packs couriered directly from the US Treasury.

As a result, you would often be stuck at the BART station desperately trying to buy your fare while train after train rumbled below you on their way from the East Bay (read Oakland) to 'The City' (read Tony Bennett's favorite cardiac town).

Those problems are long gone now thanks to a new set of highly efficient machines that can instantly tell the difference between scans of Andy Warhol-painted soup can labels and the real thing, not to mention the ability to instantaneoulsly identify the wart on the end of Ben Franklin's nose while simultaneously mapping the topography of your retina.

Regardless all the big brother stuff, one thing I still love about BART is the fact that even though they are technically 'redundant' the trains are still driven, and the doors are still opened and closed, by real humans who actually look up and down the platform at each stop (Skytrain take note, would ya - sheesh).


Anyway, I woke up in Berkeley again this Wednesday on the exact same street where we used to live, in the house of our friend and former neighbo(u)r 'M'.

As 'M' had to head into the City himself that morning I caught a break, I guess, and he gave me a ride. But we went to the BART station first anyway.


Because on the Bay Bridge the HOV sign really means something, so cars actually line up at the train station to pick people up so that they can head for the fastlane and skip the toll. You can also make your way to this commuter tesseract by buying yourself a hybrid but 'M' just sent a kid to college so after re-mortgaging his (now) million dollar, 2.5 bedroom bungalow that he will never actually own outright. Thus, he's stuck with his 10 year old Honda Accord.

So, what you really have here is a flourishing, civilized, and highly ritualized symbiotic hitchiker's guide to the progressive galaxy with a whole set of rules, regulations and niceties that I will not go into here save to say that it works. And to my knowledge there have been no incidents worthy of the parachuting in of Anderson Cooper to turn the world upside down looking for blonde-haired paralegals who have disappeared into the wilds of West Oakland because of a bridge ride gone bad.

But enough of all that.

What I really wanted to tell you about was the BART trip I actually took later in the day on my way out of The City that Bill O'Reilly hates so much.

I got on the train downtown, underneath the Cable Cars at the Powell St. Station, and instead of heading back to Berkeley through the Transbay Tube I headed south to SFO and a plane ride home.

(By way of one last digression, while I hate that bloody Cambie St. route and the bloodier still 'cut and cover' method', I've got to admit that a 'Downtown to YVR' Skytrain trip that costs, say, five bucks, is sure going to be something down the line.)

Anyway, when the BART train finally came rollicking out of the underground tunnel's mouth somewhere near the windswept, bungalow-packed hillsides that ring Daly City down the penninsula (about halfway to Silicon Valley to be precise) I was drifting into reverie of days gone by when I glanced out the window and saw two older, but not quite elderly, ladies walking towards me on the platform.

One was maybe Scandanavian and one was definitely Asian.

And they were completely unremarkable except for the fact that they were clearly happy.

Not in a guffawing, laughing, or even a smiling way.

Just somehow comfortable, langorous, and wise, all at the same time.

Of course, this being the place that it is, they were also holding hands

And it was a truly warm-handed embrace, wrists intertwined, knuckles down, arms parallel, shoulders almost touching.

Perhaps it was nothing. Perhaps it was care giver and cared for, or perhaps it was friendship, or perhaps it was something more..........intimate.

Who knows.

The point is that no one so much as batted an eye at them.

And that's what San Francisco is to me.

Freedom - the Real Thing.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

DigiCams - Who Knew!


It's a five hour flight from Honolulu to San Francisco and, just like Vancouver to Montreal, there is no food.

But, unlike my last trip to Quebec, on last week's flight into Bagdhad by the Bay from the Aloha State I did not get to sit next to an iconoclastic Quebecois who drove me starkers (in a good way).

Instead, I sat beside a US Marine who, based on first impressions, was a fine, upstanding young fellow.

Our converstation began amiably enough.

But then he noticed my Canadian passport.

And after that he spent the next three hours watching WarPorn - his own, on his laptop.

It was a Mac Powerbook equipped with the very latest from I-Photo.

Like Donnie Rumsfeld before me, I blame the Digicams.

And maybe, just maybe, SBWJ*

There are only three freeways on Oahu. They were not built to connect towns or even resort complexes for the super rich. Instead, they connect military bases. Book 'em Dano.


Sunday, December 04, 2005

Harpoon Shoots The Moon(ies)


Via the divine Ms Z. comes word that Mr. Stephen Harper has the full backing of all that is way, way, way right south of the 49th.

Why does President Bush hope Christmas comes a little late this year? Because on Jan. 23, Canada may elect the most pro-American leader in the Western world. Free-market economist Stephen Harper, leader of the opposition Conservative Party, is pro-free trade, pro-Iraq war, anti-Kyoto, and socially conservative. Move over Tony Blair: If elected, Mr. Harper will quickly become Mr. Bush's new best friend internationally and the poster boy for his ideal foreign leader.
"Gift From Canada?" by Patrick Basham
Washington Times, Dec 02,2005


Put that together with the new eye make-up and one can only wonder......can the 'I Wanna Stay At the YMCA!' suits be far behind?


Gormless Is...


....As Gormless Does.

Last Saturday in her 'As If' column in the Globe and Mail, Heather Mallick wrote a scorching piece on the Guardian's shabby treatment of Noam Chomsky.

Here's a bit of it.

"So, why have I cancelled my subscription to The Guardian? It sent Gormless to interview Noam Chomsky, the famed professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, author of such classics as Manufacturing Consent and recently named the world's top intellectual in a poll conducted by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines.Either Gormless wanted to do a hatchet job on him or was put up to it by the editors (although why a left-leaning publication would want to do such a thing is a mystery). This is fine for subjects who hand you the hatchet, but Prof. Chomsky did not. (I must tell you with Canadian pride that last year Gormless tried the same thing on Margaret Atwood, who coolly and politely cut that notion to pieces.)"

Well, it turns out that what Ms. Mallick actually wrote was actually much more scorching. Here's a bit of the real copy which she sent to Rabble who published it the following day:

So why have I cancelled my subscription to the Guardian? They sent a Gormless to interview Noam Chomsky, the man recently named the world's top intellectual. Chomsky laughed, but such is his achievement in linguistics that no one even wrote one of those Lists are Stupid columns. He's Chomsky.

Gormless is a feature writer named Emma Brockes. It's not clear whether she is nasty or so malleable (likely both) that she will do any hatchet job an editor puts her up to. This is fine for subjects who hand you the hatchet, but Prof. Chomsky did not. (I must tell you with Canadian pride that in 2004, Ms. Brockes tried one on Margaret Atwood, who coolly and politely cut her to pieces using mere words.)

So, why is there a difference between the two versions?

Well, it looks like Fast Eddie G's foot soldiers put the screws to Ms. Mallick.

As a result Mallick has quit the column. Here is an explanation, purportedly in her own words, from Antonia Zerbisias who added the links:

"My reason was that I had asked that a column be pulled last Friday and the Globe refused.

I had written a column on the Guardian's deplorable and grotesque libel of Noam Chomsky. The handling editor then said I had to repeat the libel. I said that it was libellous to repeat a libel, as any editor should know. I waited to see the final version (I had my editor's word that I always get to see a final version) and on Friday morning was horrified to find that the column had gone to the printer without my having seen it. I said pull it. The Globe refused.

My column runs Sundays on, a great website. I sent them my original version.

That's the dispute.

I am a great admirer of Prof. Chomsky. I think he is the modern Orwell and the moral point mattered a great deal to me, more than anything. Obviously."

There are a lot of things that matter a great deal to Ms. Mallick.

Things like this.

And we greatly admire her for that quality.

And now we admire her even more for standing up so straight and so tall on principle.


At the end of her (real) story on quitting the Guardian (as a reader), Mallick had this to say:

Subscribing to a rival Murdoch paper hardly improves journalism. So I shall do my best for Canada and send the New Democratic Party a cheque (for the amountof the Guardian subscription refund). Plus I will no longer have a kg. of newsprint coming from Manchester so I've done my bit for climate change. Bye, Grauniad. I’ll miss the paper I thought you were.

Now, we've got to decide who to send our Globe and (no longer)Empire Mail refund to.

A weekly contribution to Andrea Reimer's next campaign perhaps?

Regardless, we know this much for sure.

Edward Greenspon won't have us to kick around any longer.


Friday, December 02, 2005

How The Globe Let Us Down


I've been bashing the Globe and Mail up the side of the head because of it's pathetic 'BC Sporting Life' section for sometime now.

But now Richard Warnica from the UBC JSchool site (who we also ridiculed, albeit briefly, for taking the weekend off at the precise time of the municipal election in November) has really got the goods on how, and apparently why, the Globe keeps letting us down (long ago and far away example: remember that infamous push-the-dippers-off-the-cliff-poll right before the Provincial Election last May?).

Anyway, this time around Mr. Warnica has done an excellent job of nailing Globe bureau chief Rod Micklburgh down on the James Green issue:

Over at the Globe and Mail, BC bureau chief Rod Mickleburgh thought James Green would be a factor as soon as he saw the municipal ballot. “When you looked at that list, you could tell people were going to vote for James, not Jim Green,” he said.

The Globe didn't get to the James Green story until the day before the election, but Mickleburgh made no apologies. He pointed out that with only three or four reporters and, at most, two or three pages a day to work with, the Globe just doesn't have the resources to cover every story.

So, let me get this straight....... Mickleburgh himself is saying that he knew that this bit of chicanery was going to be a big, possibly even a deciding, factor in a watershed election that has huge implications for how this city is going to be run at a crucial time in it's history and he still could do nothing about it?

From my perspective, that is pathetic even if it were to come with a boatload full of mea culpas.

Don't get me wrong, I think Mickleburgh himself is one of the sharpest scribes in these here parts. By way of example it was he, and only he, amongst the mainstream journos, that gave us the real story on Mr. Campbell's phony 'Teachers-As-Wedge-Issue' way back when.

But clearly something, or somebody, is hamstringing the bureau chief.

Because, hell, even two pages and two real reporters (which Mickleburgh has) could be a thousand times more effective than the craptacular output of the entire Pacific Press Pablum Factory combined if only his Rodness could convince fast Eddie G. to dump the lowest common denominator/Gary Mason Puffmasterflash Pieces and really put his team to work on hard news all the time.

But, then again, if that were to happen how could we, the new dumb, possibly keep up with the comings and goings of those real Left Coast movers and shakers like Daniel Igali or, perhaps even more importantly, the latest in fashion from Carole Taylor?

After all, if people were really told what was going on 'round here they might start doing crazy stuff like, I dunno, their damndest to get vote out in the face of an onslaught of corporate-assisted hackflackery disguised as populism.

And that would be insane.

As in, like, totally.

Exhibit #2: No Mallick this morning, at least not the Mallick that counts. Is Fast Eddie G. waiting to see which way the wind blows on Jan 23?

Mr. O'Reilly's Three W's


There are five W's in the journalism game.

And, according to Keith Olbermann and MediaMatters, the malevolent modern version of Ted Baxter, Bill O'Reilly, uses only three of them.

But like a cheap holiday bauble O'Reilly and his organ grinder, FOX News, can't even use the real thing when they fall 40% short of a full load.

Because instead of Who, What, Why, Where and When (and sometimes even hoW) Mr. O'Reilly's W's are actually Worse, Worser and Worstest.

(T)ime for Countdown's list of today's three nominees for the coveted title of "Worst Person in the World."......

The bronze goes to Bill O'Reilly. He has solidified in his status as this generation's Joe McCarthy. Just like the "Red Baiter," he now has his own list........

The runner-up: Bill O'Reilly. On the Today show, no less. Now how the hell did that happen? Says, quote, "These pinheads running around going, 'Get out of Iraq now,' don't know what they're talking about. These are the same people before Hitler invaded in World War II that were saying, 'Ah, he's not such a bad guy.' ".......

But tonight's winner: Bill O'Reilly! You know this whole attack on Christmas nonsense that he made up? Some sort of fantasy in which the liberals are coming to your town to force you and your family to not call it Christmas anymore? The fantasy that we can't say "Merry Christmas," but you can only say "Happy Holidays"? The thing designed to stir up religious hatred and paranoia in this country? Guess what they're selling over at the Fox News online store? The Fox News "Holiday" ornament!

The Horror!

If you hit only one link in this post hit the last one. It's worth it.
Thanks to MackJohnny, the poet laureate of Maritime Seamheads for putting the temporal back in our 5(+) W's.


Thursday, December 01, 2005



As many have suspected previously, the government's own statistics now make it clear that the at-risk kids of British Columbia who are still alive are also increasingly in danger of slipping through the cracks that have become huge crevasses thanks to Gordon Campbell's ideologically-driven dismantling of child protection in this province:

VICTORIA (Canadian Press) — Vulnerable children in British Columbia are facing even greater risks due to government delays in filing child protection reports, the Opposition New Democrats said Thursday......


The statistics from the Ministry of Children and Families database show an increases in the numbers of child protection reports left open for more than 90 days, (NDP critic Adrian) Dix said.

In October 2003, there were 1,940 reports left open. In October 2004, there were 2,409 open reports and by October 2005, there were 2,962 open cases.

But don't worry because, according to the Minister (not?)responsible, Stan Hagen, all is well.

After all, facts mean nothing when you've got failed guidelines and standards to simultaneously ignore and fall back on:

Children's Minister Stan Hagen was not available for comment, but in a statement his ministry said no children have been left at risk, and accused the NDP of "fear mongering" for political purposes.

"The 30-day standard is there to guide ministry work - but protection of children is our top priority -- not paperwork," it said.

Again, we can only ask:

"How do these people sleep at night?"


The Real Iraq


Matt St. Armand has the story:

"The only people who support this atrocity in Iraq are those who make their livings wearing neckties and talking about war, not fighting it."

And there's more...... way more.

Stuff like this:

A “trophy” video appearing to show security guards in Baghdad randomly shooting Iraqi civilians has sparked two investigations after it was posted on the internet, the Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

Remember those Mercs on the bridge to Fallujah?

What would you do if they came for your family?


Brother Can You Spare A Dime?


Or, to be more precise, two hundred million dimes.

Because that's what Conrad the Marauder needed to fork over to keep himself out of jail in Chicago earlier today.

And the trial hasn't even started yet.

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Conrad Black, the former Hollinger International Inc. chairman accused of helping steal $51.8 million from the newspaper company, pleaded not guilty to wire and mail fraud charges today at Chicago's federal courthouse.

Black was freed on $20 million bail. The U.S. government seized $8.5 million in October from Black's sale of his apartment in New York City. The rest will be secured by a lien on his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, now on sale with an asking price of $37 million.

But our favorite part of all, in addition to the fact that it will soon be a Fitzgiving-assisted Battle Royale between Little Lord Fauntleroy of Crossedharpoons and David 'I Ain't No Ratfink' Radler, had nothing to do with greenbacks whatsoever.

Because, in exchange for temporary freedom, Mr. Black also had to waive all right of extradition as a condition of his bail.

And that is is as good gold itself for we Canuckistanis as it ensures that any attempt by Mr. Black to reclaim Canadian citizenship will be worth less than a boatload full of National Post copy.

Which would be what, exactly, in real money?

Something considerably less than a plug nickel we figure.

And while we're on the subject of trials, whatever happened to the one involving David Basi and Bob Virk anyway? It was scheduled to begin on Nov. 28th, but we have seen nothing about it in the public prints. Is it possible that the folks running the latter media organs are just too busy being bamboozled by Carole Taylor's tiger print blouses, or is it actually a fact that the trial has not yet begun. Knowledgable readers please enlighten us, thank-you.