Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sometimes A Myth Is Just A Myth


The word, as they say, is out.

In case you haven't noticed, most of the 'HST Friday' stuff and a few chunks of associated detrius have been archived at the top of the sidebar on the left.

And the Gonzocrats have taken notice.

As a result, my inbox is suddenly full to bursting with Thompson Trivia of all manner and description.

Which is not necessarily a bad, or even an unwanted, thing.

Here's one of them, a fine, if somewhat tangential, memorial from David McCumber who worked with Thompson at the SF Examiner back in the salad days of the middle-80's.

"Back in '85, everybody at the Examiner figured Hunter's column would last maybe three weeks before it blew up in a bloody froth of disputes over deadlines, editing and expenses. (One of Hunter's truisms about journalism: "Given money for expenses, anything is possible.")

Indeed, he and editor Dave Burgin clashed quickly -- and publisher Will Hearst decided somebody more expendable than the editor of the newspaper should handle Hunter's column, or that's the impression I got when he ominously invited me into his office to discuss being Hunter's new "control."

When I said, "sure," Hunter burst out of Will's bathroom, fell to the floor, did 10 pushups, then grabbed two tumblers, filled them with scotch, jammed one into my hand, shook the other hand, and the hog, as he would say, was in the tunnel. He would write the column for five years, three of them with a little help from me, and the best of them would make a book, "Generation of Swine," that sold a quarter-million copies in hardback."

Good stuff, huh. One myth destroyed and one confirmed.

Me, I'm just the steno.


The Return Of Ms. Mallick


Our favorite defender of the realm, Heather Mallick, is back.

This morning she was on The Current (RAudio, at the top of Part 2 is here).

And she's also writing an on-line column for.....wait for it...... the CBC.


Monday, February 27, 2006

Is There A Codswallop In The House?


A couple of days ago we took BC's current Child and Family Minister, Stan Hagen, to task for smearing Nicholas Simons about his role in the Sherry Charlie review when the rookie NDP MLA is under a gag order from Hagen's own Ministry:

How twisted is that, on a whole lot of levels?

Well, twisted enough that Mr. Hagen has come under enough fire that he hid in the legislature today and wouldn't come out to answer questions from Sean Holman about the affair.

But, apparently, Ministerial feelings have been hurt because here's what happened when Holman finally caught up with Mr. Hagen:

During that brief encounter, he told us his staff would be seeking a legal opinion as to whether Mr. Simons could be released from his agreement. We also asked Minister Hagen whether he thought it was fair for him to attack Mr. Simons when the New Democrat MLA was legally prevented from defending himself. After a short, hollow laugh, he replied "I think it's funny that you would ask that question given what people have been saying about me" before re-entering the house.

Once again, we call - Codswallop!


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Should He Stay Or Should He Go?


A lot of people have been asking me what I think about the David Emerson situation.

Well, of course, I think the right and honourable thing for him to do would be to step down and run in a by-election.

And I just love those 'De-Elect Emerson' signs that line the lawns all over the neighborhood (we live in the Vancouver-Kingsway riding in question).

And my thirteen year old kid thinks those signs are great too, especially that long continuous string of them that lines the northside of King Edward between Cambie and Main.

But she really got me thinking yesterday when she asked, 'Hey, Dad. If Emerson quit wouldn't everybody start thinking he's a good guy?'


She's right, of course.

Which means we don't want him to take himself to the cleaners and remove all that self-produced slime with a wash and rinse of cheap-jack 'One Hour Martyrizing'

Instead, we want him to be in Ottawa every single day, stinkin' the joint out, from now until the next election.

So, given the huge, purely pragmatic-pol potential upside on this issue, my answer now is most definitely is an emphatic - STAY.

And besides, I can't wait to hear Mr. Harper state after, oh say, the 19th VANOC overrun 18 months from now:

'You're doin' a heckuva job Emmie!'



For Those Canadians Who Hate Gun Control


There's always this to look forward to:

Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association are offering free tickets to people who turn in a gun. The team's ownership says the offer will be a success if only one gun is turned in.


What weaponry, exactly, does it take to actually kill irony anyway?


Saturday, February 25, 2006

Ms. Mallick Where Are You?



Where is Heather Mallick when we need her, anyway:

Bill O'Reilly claimed that "if Al Qaeda wanted to get in here [the United States], it's easy," because "[t]hey've got all kinds of Muslim crazies up in Canada running around."

Funny how these ChickenStalkers always seem to 'Blame Canada' when the going gets tough.

For the record, here is a bit in which our Heather, clearly and simply, once wiped the Fox Network's studio floor with Mr. O'Reilly's loofah when he called for yet another boycott after two deserters from Operation Iraqi (not)Liberation made their way to Canuckistan:

O'REILLY: then Americans are going to take action. Are you willing to accept that boycott which will hurt your economy, drastically.

MALLICK: I don't think for a moment such a boycott would take place because we are your biggest trading partners.

O'REILLY: No, it will take place, madam. In France ...

MALLICK: I don't think that your French boycott has done too well ...

O'REILLY: ...they've lost billions of dollars in France according to "The Paris Business Review.*"

MALLICK: I think that's nonsense.

We've said it before, and we'll say it again - Ms. Mallick is an Anti-Coulter to call our own.

(And we sure miss her cup of truth serum every Saturday morning)

*btw: According to Media Matters, the 'billions and billions' is completely bogus and there is no such thing as the "Paris Business Review".
And if you haven't been over to Mike Stark's place to listen to him play these ChickenStalkers for the chumps they are, get thee to his funnery - now.

Friday, February 24, 2006

We Didn't Do Anything Wrong....


Well, British Columbia's (anything but) independent child, family and youth (supposed) advocate Jane Morley has reached her verdict.

Dirk Meisner from CP has this report:

Victoria — British Columbia's Child and Youth Officer says a case review of a toddler's death was not a conspiracy and cover-up, but a story of organizational failure.

In a 77-page report on the case review, Jane Morley addresses why the Ministry of Children and Family Development changed the terms of reference of its review into the death of Sherry Charlie and why it took almost three years to complete......


....Ms. Morley said it took so long because of “periods of minimal productive work,” the frequent turnover of managers, uncertainty over who was in charge of the case review and the fixed election date.

She said she found no indication of efforts to delay the case review because of last May's election, but its release was suspended during the election period from April 19 to June 16.

“The disturbing observation remains that the provincial election need not have been a factor, were it not for all the avoidable delay that happened long before April 19, 2005,” the report said.

Ms. Morley said the report went through as many as 25 draft versions before it became public.

Which has us wondering.....why only 77 pages?

After all, we figure that a whitewash this thick could use at least a nice round jumbo jet number like, say, 777 pages.

As an added bonus, Ms. Morley's current boss has chosen to start shooting messengers:

Children's Minister Stan Hagen said he agreed with Ms. Morley's finding that the report took too long.

Mr. Hagen was critical of Nicholas Simons, who was hired by the ministry on a contract basis to do the director's case review.

Mr. Simons, elected last May as a first-time New Democrat MLA, was working as the director of another aboriginal child welfare agency when he was asked to do the review in 2002.

“Could we have chosen a better reviewer?” said Mr. Hagen. “Probably.”

Now, we understand that it's important for Mr. Hagen to take every possible opportunity to smack down uppity rookies over on the opposition benches. Which would be fine, as far as it goes, if that was all there is to it. But is this not the same Mr. Simons that was not allowed to speak at last week's Coroner's Inquest because his name was struck from the witness list at the last minute, as reported by Sean Holman at Public Eye?

And if, indeed, this is the same Mr. Simons we call 'codswallop!' because you, Mr. Hagen, are innoculating against the day he speaks out.

And you, and now we, both know it.


Contempt Is Mine Sayeth The Twig


On this 'Look Marge -The Arabs Are Running Our Ports!' deal, I was all set to do a whole lotta gloating, especially given the fact that it looks to be what some might call a cheap-jack money laundering operation:

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The oil-rich United Arab Emirates is a major investor in The Carlyle Group, the private equity investment firm where President Bush's father once served as senior adviser and is a who's who of former high-level government officials. Just last year, Dubai International Capital, a government-backed buyout firm, invested in an $8 billion Carlyle fund.

Another family connection, the president's brother, Neil Bush, has reportedly received funding for his educational software company from the UAE investors. A call to his company was not returned......

But as I went-a-googling on this issue, I come across the following, which was a bit of a surprise, to put it mildly:

"Dubai Ports World has taken over the running of a cargo terminal in Vancouver, and the sale seems to have raised no alarms in Ottawa......"

Geez, Louise!

A scant couple of months ago I headed down to a swanky restaurant perched on the Vancouver waterfront with my wife and friends from out of town that we were trying to impress.

Imagine our surprise when we discovered that our own harbour is being held hostage behind barbwire-topped security fences, guards, surveillance cameras and goddess knows what else.

At the time I asked - Why?

Why are we willingly partaking in all of this 'Fortress North America' balderdash for no good reason at all?

Now, I guess we know the reason, and it's not a particularly good one.

Apparently it's so that we, too, can lay out the Large that is being sent to Dubai so that it then can be sent directly to the Carlyle Group.


That sure is some kinda Neandercon BigTent NAFTA-assisted DeeLuxe-type Dealmaking.

Clearly, we are living once again in the gilded-age, and we're lovin' every minute of it.

Update: Longtime reader and Quebec correspondent, eteba, uses the comments to inform us that Halifax and Montreal are two more of our ports that are sending money to the Bush Family Robinson by way of Dubai. And, apparently, one impetus for all of this is something called 'CSI' which is not a TV show, but rather a multinational 'Container Security Initiative' foisted on the world, by, guess who? - US Customs and Border Protection czar Robert Bonner. So now we know that it is only a matter of time before the Twig announces to the world......'You're doin' a heckuva job Bonnie!'.
Why am I making such a fuss about this? Well, again, according to people who actually know something about stuff like this, and one of the reasons that the noted leftwing commie pinko rag known as the 'The Economist' magazine, recently ranked Vancouver as the world's #1 city to live in is precisely because we are a large metropolitan area that is NOT, I repeat, NOT, perceived to be a major terrorist target.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Creme Also Rises


So the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the right of the City of Vancouver to make bylaws and thus prevent the CPR from selling off their $100 million windfall to the highest bidder.

Which, on the face of it, is a good thing because, Goddess knows, we don't need more Condos in this town.

But what I still can't understand is why that decrepit old 11 km railway that meanders out of Kitsilano and then pretty much makes a North/South beeline for the River is not actually being used as the transportation corridor that the City says it wants it to be.

I mean, I heard the NPA's Suzanne Anton positively crowing about this this morning with Paul Grant on CBC Radio One* and it was the big story all day long on every single media outlet in town.

So, why is it then, exactly, that I can't get across Cambie Street to get to and from work every day because the City is digging up a major North/South transportation (not to mention commercial) artery instead of an old Railroad track to build the RAV line?

I mean what is it about those blackberry brambles that line those tracks - are they Creme de la Creme-spattered along their entire length, or what?

Perhaps our newly appointed Cabinet Minister, who represents my cut-and-cover neighbourhood but actually lives in the creme-filled neighbourhood can explain it to me.

Or, perhaps not.

*As an aside, it's been fantastic to have Mr. Grant sitting in The Puffmaster's chair all week. While he is not exactly Mr. Personality, Grant is reliable and, gasp!, he actually knows a thing or two about Vancouver. Case in point: in this morning's excellent piece about Chinatown's alleys Mr. Grant was filling in the blanks all over the place with stories about the old green and orange door restaurants/gambling dens. As for Cluffie, well, we're pretty sure he knows where the White Spot on Georgia is.......
Update: Boy, the Condo Kings sure are mad about this Supreme Court ruling; apparently they think it's a threat to private property laws or some such thing. That's a good one, especially if one hikes out to the far Western reaches of Point Grey these days to take a gander at how developer-driven million dollar private property rights are running roughshod over what used to be public property. But, then again, way out there where the City holds no sway the Condo Kings have their own guy on the inside who's been helping to keep things running smoothly since the Strangest of days and ways. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, the Province's new Pary School in Kelowna also has a King to call its own on the board as well.


Good Lawyers Are Expensive....


Freakonomics is one thing, but how about Freaks-O-Fundraising.

Because this is unBeFreakin'Lievable:

"The Libby Legal Defense Trust was formed to help defray the legal defense costs for Lewis "Scooter" Libby and his family against the recent legal charges brought against him.

Scooter has pled “not guilty” to each and every count in the recent indictment. In pleading not guilty, Scooter has declared his innocence and his intention to fight the charges in the indictment. But good lawyers are very expensive. And Scooter and his family already have made many sacrifices during Scooter’s ten years of dedicated public service. Now they need our help to win this fight.

We are confident that at the end of this process, Scooter Libby will be fully exonerated. Our Constitution guarantees Scooter a presumption of innocence. We invite you to join Scooter’s many friends and colleagues in supporting the defense of this good man in clearing his good name.

All money collected will be deposited with the Trustee of the Legal Defense Trust and will be disbursed, over time, to the legal team representing Scooter for professional services as the services are performed. "

They're raising money?

For high-powered lawyers????

It sure will be interesting to see who has the higher hit rate, Mr. Libby's friends in high places or Robert Mugabe's third cousin's wife's brother's gardener's uncle's grandaughter from Harare....

Original Link Source: SpinD from the AllSpinZone.
Update: So far I. Lewis appears to be winning the battle of the Fund-O-Freaks....The WaPo has him at a cool $2 million and rising.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

It's The Slush Fund, Stupid


Vaughn Palmer made an important point in today's VSun NonFunRun post-budget analysis (hidden behind the subscription wailing wall*):

"The budget continues to bankroll the relentless centralization of power and policy-making in the office of Permier Gordon Campbell.

Campbell's office has been on the receiving end of a $3.6 million, 40% budget increase over just two years.

Most of the extra money has gone into a high-powered secreteriat under deputy minister Jessica McDonald.

The premier's office is everywhere in government these day, most often in the form of special advisers working directly for Campbell bypassing the line ministries."

Now, let's leave aside, for the moment, the dictatorial nature of such a strategy given that the existence of such a huge slush fund allows Mr. Campbell and his minions to skirt legislative scrutiny, both from the opposition and from his own caucus (note that Mr. Palmer said the last 'two' years and remember that two years ago that 77 of 79 MLA's were members of Campbell's own party).

Instead, let's call a spade a spade in terms of policy.

Specifically, how can you develop coherent, consultation-based policis when you're so paranoid that you do everything in-house, behind closed doors, hidden away from everyone, even your friends?

Then again, I suppose it is possibe that Mr. Campbell is actually a secret fan of HST.

After all, it was Thompson who once said:

'Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.'

Clearly, something is not quite right in the State of LINO**.

*You've got to wonder if established, old guard columnists that rely on even older media, folks like Mr. Palmer, are starting to get a little ancy about having all their stuff hidden away behind the firewall, especially when they see themselves constantly being lapped by a DIY-type like Mr. Holman or even that old curmudgeon Rafe Mair.
**Liberal In Name Only


Creatively Spinning The Wingnuts' Evil Axis


Mike Stark's site is called 'Calling All Wingnuts'.

And it is a fantastic testament to how fragile the veiled, pus-encrusted membrane that envelops wingnut talk radio really is.

It is also kinghell funny.

Essentially, Mr. Stark calls the Screamers and does his best to have them hoist themselves on their own petards. Throughout, he records the conversations and then posts them with an explanatory note that puts the best colour men in the business, John Madden included, to shame .

My favorite close encounter with a shill is this one, where Stark forces Rush Limbaugh to cut him off and then spend a full minute bloviating on the integrity and impartiality of the Moonie-owned Washington Times.

This is fantastic, fantastic stuff.

Came across Mr. Stark's site by way of another great post at Fever Swamp Central, FireDogLake.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Careful, ProgRockers!!!



I too have been screaming to high heaven about the miserable state of BC's Ministry of Child and Families for a long , long time.

And, as much as anyone, I'm extremely skeptical/cynical about how the 'new' money announced in today's budget will be used/disbursed.

But now is not the time for progressive spinmeisters and/or legitimately concerned folks to snark at the new money for kids, even if it is not really new.

What I'm really trying to say is.....don't get suckered in by the government whirlitzer workers' attempts to re-frame this issue in their favor.

Because now is the time for us to bite our collective lip and hold off on banging the negatives on this issue for a moment or two.

Instead, we need to be magnanimous to show the public and the waterheads in the superficial electronic media that we can be positive when the government does the right thing (even if they are only pretending). And besides, the focus of the frame that this is the 'Kids' Budget' by the government is actually an admission that we were right and they were wrong.

So take the highroad and let this newscycle go.

And then start hammering them on specifics tomorrow.



And The Key Fiscal Sensitivity Is......


Nothing to do with megaprojects, tax cuts, bond ratings, or propaganda machines.


Instead, it's all about passing gas.

The price that is.

Because every dollar swing in the price equals a $300 million dollar in government revenues.

Talk about an idiot wind(fall).


Homeless Stiffed?


$8 million for the homeless?

Over three years?

Is Ms. Taylor kidding us?

Or is this just the logical extension of all that 'groundbreaking' codswallop from Big Rich and his BrokeTheBackOfThePoorMountain WelfareKings during the last couple of weeks.

Oh, and one more thing, as Rafe Mair is pointing out on CBC Radio, both SUV sellers and buyers are the real winners with this budget.


Kids Win?


First budget returns are in.....

Looks like kids win big.

At least in terms of total $.

But we will have to wait to see the details which, of course, is where the devil usually lurks.


The Lock-Up


Tuesday afternoon......waiting, waiting, waiting...... for B.C. Budget News from 'She Whose Off-White Pumps Must Be Obeyed' and can't help but wonder....... what, exactly, do all those very fine members of the media do when they are stuck in that Lock-Up all day?

And while I'm sure that nobody stumbles out of the Press Gang Prison half in the bag these days, but there must be some great stories from days of yore. And I'm sure some of them were flying today.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Has Michael Smyth Gone Pink?


We dunno for sure, but tonight on the Vancouver Province Political Columnist's little radio show it was pretty much all commie-pinko all the time.

Well, at least the NDP version of the beast, starting with house leader Mike Farnsworth who talked about the upcoming budget and was OK.

Farnsworth was followed by the former Children's Commissioner, Cynthia Morton, who was very solid and mostly took the high road, even when it came to the tragic number 713. You may recall that the Campbell Government got rid of the Commissioner in 2002. Morton pointed out that it takes courage for a government to have an independent body looking over its shoulder, reporting directly to the legislature instead of cow-towing to a Minister (eg. see: Morley, Jane; ed.). Because she was on the highroad Ms. Morton didn't say it, but we will:

"If the Campbell Government does not reinstate an independent Children's Commissioner immediately it is gutless because it will be choosing to put more children at risk uneccessarily in the name of political expediency."

Last up on Mr. Smyth's pinko-fest was former B.C. Premier David Barrett. Dave is aging now, and you can here it in his voice. But heckfire, he can still rise to the occasion. Tonight he was talking about the Campbell Government's shameless developer-assisted destruction of the agricultural land reserve and I listened to this segment with my oldest kid who was glueing pictures of carnivourous plants on her school Science Fair poster.....

'Who's that?' she asked

'The Premier,' I answered.

I went back to loading the dishwasher and she went back to her glueing. A couple of minutes later she looked up and said, 'That's not Gordon Campbell; he's actually saying something.'

I smiled a little and then I told her a few Barrett stories from days gone by, including how one of the first things he did, in 1972, when I was the same age as she is now, thirteen, was to pass the Land Reserve Legislation.

What I've always liked about Barrett is that he is a guy who says what he means and means what he says, regardless who he's speaking to.

And that is one of the things I despise most about all this Straussian-like bloviating from the Mr Campbell and his chain gang who say one thing for the masses in front of the cameras and say quite another thing in the backrooms and the boardrooms. A recent, and most egregious, example of this is Forest and Range Minister's Rich Coleman's refusal to come clean on the 'Welfare For Landlords' scheme in the public prints after he has been off telling all the pertinent lobby groups who will benefit most exactly what they want to hear.

We have to admit, after initially being very skeptical we are finding that, on a lot of issues Smyth is starting to do a pretty good job. In fact, he even appears to listen to what his guests have to say and then asks solid follow-up questions (compare this to the one-off and drop-it questioning from the water carrying morning man, Mr. Good). But the callers, well, that's another thing entirely. One gets the feeling that Smyth views them as an icky, necessary evil of the format.


Barbarians At Our Gate


We have well and truly put ourselves in the cross-hairs now, because even the NY Times has taken notice of GordCo's code word-laden double-speak on non-private privatized healthcare in last week's throne speech:

Published: February 20, 2006

TORONTO, Feb. 19 — The cracks are still small in Canada's vaunted public health insurance system, but several of its largest provinces are beginning to open the way for private health care eventually to take root around the country.

Last week Quebec proposed to lift a ban on private health insurance for several elective surgical procedures, and announced that it would pay for such surgeries at private clinics when waiting times at public facilities were unreasonable.

The proposal, by Premier Jean Charest, who called for "a new era for health care in Quebec," came in response to a Supreme Court decision last June that struck down a provincial law that banned private medical insurance and ordered the province to initiate a reform program within a year.

The Supreme Court decision ruled that long waits for various medical procedures in the province had violated patients' "life and personal security, inviolability and freedom," and that prohibition of private health insurance was unconstitutional when the public health system did not deliver "reasonable services."

The decision applied directly only to Quebec, but it has generated movement for private clinics and private insurance in several provinces where governments hope to forestall similar court decisions.

Coincidentally, last week Premier Gordon Campbell of British Columbia asked in his Throne speech, the equivalent of a state of the province address, "Does it really matter to patients where or how they obtain their surgical treatment if it is paid for with public funds?"


I think not.

Clearly, we are fast becoming our own worst enemy.


Big Rich And His Welfare Kings


Remember when Ronald Reagan went berserk and started accusing 'Welfare Queens's' (ie. black, inner city single Moms) of milking the system and driving around downtown Dee-troit City and Chicago in Cadillac's?

Well, it may have helped Mr. Reagan win over the base and an election, but that doesn't mean it was true.

In fact, it was pure, pre-Rovian (read: Atwater/Deaver) codswallop:

Conservative politicians have a talent for telling memorable anecdotes that capture the essence of their beliefs on any particular issue. One of the most enduring of these came from Ronald Reagan on the subject of welfare. He cited a Chicago "Welfare Queen" who had ripped off $150,000 from the government, using 80 aliases, 30 addresses, a dozen social security cards, and four fictional dead husbands. The country was outraged; Reagan dutifully promised to roll back welfare; and ever since, the "Welfare Queen" driving her "Welfare Cadillac" has become permanently lodged in American political folklore.

Unfortunately, like most great conservative anecdotes, it wasn't really true. The media searched for this welfare cheat in the hopes of interviewing her, and discovered that she didn't even exist.

So, what does this historical bit of neo(lithic)con flim-flammery have to do with our own present day 'Lord of the Range', Mr. Rich Coleman?

Well, it looks like, now that he has already won over the base and the election, that he is ready to start makin' himself his own passel of 'Welfare Kings'.

Which has nothing to do with down-and-outers, or cheatin' heart cowboy songs.

Instead, it looks like Big Rich is ready to go large and start forking out the cash to those amongst his constituency that need it most.

Which, according to Sean Holman and Frances Bula would be, in a word - Landlords:

Frances Bula, Vancouver Sun

Published: Friday, February 17, 2006

Housing Minister Rich Coleman appears poised to introduce a dramatic change in how the B.C. government helps people with housing, a move that is making housing groups, poverty advocates and some city politicians nervous.

On the other side, associations representing private apartment owners and landlords are optimistic and excited that their years of lobbying for a rent-subsidy system may finally be bearing fruit.

Coleman refuses to give details about the plan, which he told The Vancouver Sun will be released in 30 to 60 days, except to say that it will be "very innovative," "very exciting" and something that will kick off a much-needed debate about better ways to provide housing.

I'm telling y'all. The hot air and fetid wind generated by the spin from this one is going hit us with hurricane force come March.

Because, if this is true, what these people really mean to do is to put an end to social housing in the province of British Columbia forever.

Of course, Vancouver Mayor, Smilin' Sammy-James Sullivan, is sure to love it. In fact it appears that councillor Heather Deal has heard hear the trumpets start to blare at 12th and Cambie already.

"My concern is that Mayor (Sam) Sullivan seems to be open to this idea (of shifting focus to rent supplements). And it's just not on, as far as we're concerned. It doesn't work in Vancouver. There are certain specific instances where it has worked. But there's no replacement for subsidized housing."



Sunday, February 19, 2006

Beneath the Valley of the Fever Swamps....


Billmon's latest satirical missive is pure 'make the bastard deny it' type-stuff' which was a political tactic perfected long ago by a then little-known Texas strongman with big plans to hit the big time someday:

"He was sunk in despair. He was desperate... he called his equally depressed campaign manager and instructed him to.....accuse his high-riding opponent (the pig farmer) of having routine carnal knowledge of his barnyard sows, despite the pleas of his wife and children... His campaign manager was shocked. 'We can't say that, Lyndon,' he said. 'It's not true.' 'Of course it's not,' Johnson barked at him, 'but let's make the bastard deny it.'..."
Hunter Thompson, on Lyndon Johnson's 1948 Congressional Campaign.

With that in mind, and without any possibility of being whacked by the kerning, here is Billmon's metaphorical barnyard sow story........

What Friends Are For
Whittington apologizes for being shot

The lawyer shot by Vice President Dick Cheney left a Texas hospital Friday, saying "accidents do and will happen" and adding that he was "deeply sorry" for allowing his face to get in the way of Cheney's gun.

"I clearly obstructed a very good shot by the vice president, one which might easily have bagged several pen-raised quail if my upper torso and head hadn't absorbed most of the blast," Whittington explained. "I only hope he can find it in his heart to forgive me for not getting out of the way faster when he whirled and fired without warning."

Whittington added that that he has offered to reimburse the vice president for the full cost of the hunting trip, including the wasted birdshot.

A spokesman for Mr. Cheney declined to comment, saying the vice president first wants to see what kind of money Whittington is willing to put on the table.

All of which is fine, as far as it goes, but our long lost non-resident out-house script writer, Ricketta von Schmidtten thought she would take a stab at imagining the present day Big Time's response to the charge:

In a hermetically sealed bunker restroom, 10,000 feet below a cliff-face located 374.76 km north of Butte Montana in the newly annexed Albertalands, Big Time is standing in front of a gleaming urinal, fly wide open, waiting.....always waiting.

Enter the off-the-books, ultra-secret, internets-savvy, super-sweeper from the local NSA office, who stands beside his supreme Commander and - opens up.

The Sweeper:
Commander, we've picked up a piece, purportedly from the Oakland Tribune, belittling the incident.

Big Time: So, f*@king what? A million bloody papers have written about that. Jesus 'Herbert in a Walker' Christ!

The Sweeper: Yes, but this time, they brought up the money, sir.

Big Time: Bastards! Who owns that piece of crap?

The Sweeper: Those people in Denver, the ones that made the deal with Gannett.

Big Time: Gannett? Aren't they the ones that raised all that 'inconsistency' garbage in their national ass-wipe organ last week?

The Sweeper has finished doing his own business and has zipped up. He does not move, however, because Big Time is still waiting.....

The Sweeper: Yes, sir.

Big Time: We will screw them; we will screw them and all the screwheads that ever worked for them! No more mergers for them and they will never get another story from the WHIG again. Never, ever!

The Sweeper: Well, we are trying to get a fix on one particularly shadowy figure that may have started all of this sir, but it has been extremely difficult to pin-down the individual involved. They seem to be operating outside of all the usual commercial and political boundaries.

Big Time tries flushing the urinal, thinking that maybe, just maybe, the sound of the splashing might start the flow. It does not.....

Big Time: Are you talking about one of those scumbagged two-bit, tin-plated wordsmiths that are hiding out in the deepest reaches of the fire swamps? The ones we haven't been able to reach out and crush yet?

The Sweeper: Well actually, I believe they are fever swamps sir.

Big Time: Damn that stupid Meathead, anyway. I always hated that movie of his; thought Vizzini should have won the bloody treasure and the stupid girl. It was really inconceivable that he didn't get either.

The Sweeper (scratching his ear and looking confused): Absolutely sir, but there is one other problem though; it's an old one that we haven't been able to kill.

Big Time: An old one?

The Sweeper: Yes sir. And it has echos all the way back to the days when a former Tribune editor had the gall to bring in that Hillbilly from Louisville on......(and here The Sweeper's voice lowers to a whisper).....on......Iran/Contra.

BigTime groans. He can feel a deep tightening down there and he now knows that it will be hours before he can let go of his lunchtime sack of beers....

BigTime: You're talking about that a-hole Burgin, aren't you?

The Sweeper: It's worse than that, sir.

BigTime: How can it possibly be worse than that? We took care of all that. That scum-sucking cretin Thompson is dead, right?

The Sweeper has kept his eyes down the entire time but now his gaze nervously drifts from his own shoes towards the too-tight oxfords of the commander standing next to him. He can't help but notice the flecks of glistening spittle spattered all over the toes....

The Sweeper: Well, yes of course, sir. At least the flesh and blood is gone.

Big Time: What the hell are you talking about, you stupid, worthless techno-dope?

The Sweeper: Well, sir, we're starting to pick up.....uh......Doppler Echos.

Big Time: Doppler Echos? Christ almighty!

The Sweeper: Exactly, sir. The info waves have already started to compress and crest; our latest algorithms predict a trillion terabyte convergence that will hit the MSM in approximately 13.4 newscycles.

Big Time: Call our Network you fool! Get Roger to clear the godddamn decks. We'll go 36 hours, non-stop, with that pansy-boy Britt Ecklund immediately. We can even resurrect Morton The Downer Jr. and first abduct, then cgi in, that traitor Cronkite if we have to. We must cut this s&#t-hammer off at the knees.

The Sweeper (making strangled, gurgling noises in his throat before he finally blurts out): But it's not possible, sir.

Big Time: Not possible? I'll decide what is possible and what is not possibly possible to be impossible. Me and only me, because this is my mission - all of it! Do you understand what I'm saying you gorepulent littleweasel for brains?

Big Time begins to rhythmically pound both fists down on the top of the urinal. In an instant, the SS minders jump The Sweeper and smash his head against the wall. As he is led, bleeding, from the gleaming room, The Sweeper has one last thing to say....

The Sweeper: It can't be stopped sir. There is no focal point; it's coming from everywhere and the fever swamps are now expanding exponentially.

BigTime begins to hyperventilate. He is still pounding his fists on the urinal and his face is going purple as he starts to scream....

BigTime: Shut them down! Shut them all down!!!!!

........Fade To Black and Birdshot Blue......

Cross-posted over at the Moon.
There, that didn't take long now, did it? (whoever it was, sure hope they have a sense of humo(u)r)

Domain Name
nsa.gov ? (United States Government)
IP Address
144.51.127.# (National Computer Security Center)
Time of Visit
Feb 19 2006 7:34:21 pm


The Greedheads Win The Pennant....


....The Greedheads Win The Pennant!

Out on the far western edge of Vancouver, they're clearing the Endowment Lands and getting ready to build the next set of building million dollar townhouses.

Of course, that land used to be ours - all of ours.

And, then there's this.

VANCOUVER/CKNW(980) - The GVRD has decided UBC's proposed high rise towers do not violate the district's official community plan...which means the remainder of the towers will be built.

The controversial towers have been the subject of years of debate because of their proximity to Wreck Beach.

James Loewen of the Wreck Beach Preservation Society argued the towers would threaten the landscape and the "environmental sanctity" of the beach.

They wanted to see the towers limited to 14-storeys.

But the GVRD has approved one 18-storey and one 17-storey tower to complement the one that was already built.

"The GVRD did not really stand up for it's right to protect it's parkland from the visual encroachment of UBC's buildings."

The GVRD has the final authority over planning on the campus and around Wreck Beach.

Where will it end?

When they finish building the luxury jet-boat jettys at the foot of Spanish Banks?

Would it have been different with the old GVRD Board? Maybe, maybe not. As someone who has tried to stop these people from selling off our land to the highest bidder, I'm not so sure, although from what I saw Raymond Louie was one who was willing to hold their feet to the fire.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Substitute Me For Him


You know those dreams you have when you are a kid.

Not the one about flunking a test that will send you to IE doom forever because you haven't studied for one second or the one where you find yourself sitting in homeroom without any pants on.


I'm talking about the other ones, like the one where you are picked out of a crowd to do something you can barely imagine doing even in, well, your wildest dreams.

Well, at a Bill Graham-backed show by 'The Who' at San Francisco's Cow Palace in 1973 teenage drummer Scot Halpin was picked out of that crowd to replace Keith Moon who had just passed out for the second time and fallen off the back of the stage.

Halpin played the rest of the freakin' show.

You can hear all about it here, and read all about it here.


Anybody out there ever momentarily realized a dream like that?


A Retraction...


In the post on the throne speech earlier in the week I went too far, in the absence of supporting evidence, when I indicated that British Columbia's Lt. Governor, Iona Campagnolo, tacitly agreed with the government's words that she must, as part of her job, read.

As such I've editted the post to remove this indication.



Friday, February 17, 2006

All Your Vacations Are Mine


This just in......The Premier of British Columbia wants his peasants to spend more of their hard-earned dollars in BC's deteriorating, user-fee dominated, campsites this summer:

Premier Gordon Campbell encouraged British Columbians to travel more within their own province to help double tourism revenues by 2015.

“We do live in the best place on earth and we might as well as take advantage of that,” said Campbell Thursday during his speech to delegates attending the B.C. Tourism Industry Conference at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.


Does this mean that Mr. Campbell will pass up that trip to Maui next Christmas in favour of, what, Smithers?


I See Trees Of Green....


We're having one of those rare nice spells of winter weather here in Vancouver when the Pineapple Express gets pushed up into the Gulf of Alaska leaving things a little frosty at night with bright-light, sun-spackled 10°C (50°F) afternoons.

And yesterday afternoon I was sitting on the bus, one of those hopped-up Express jobs, the #44 B-Line, whose run begins at the very fine still-sorta public institution I work at on the far western edge of town. There will be no link for those real estate moguls; I don't want them putting their stinkin' sniffers on me, because the PR people, who have a direct pipeline to the President's office, are obsessed with monitoring all manner of media coverage - including even F-Trooplist blogs like this one (I know this for a fact because I've had Emails from them in the past when I've written anything even remotely critical of their ongoing efforts to sell off all of the Endowment Lands to developers - but I digress, as usual).

Anyway, the 44-B hightails it from the Point Grey campus all the way into the downtown core, about 12 km in all, in something like six stops. The machine itself is one of those articulated behemoths with a round dish floorplate in the middle between two hunks of busbody that is straddled by a couple of bench seats that was filled to bursting with a bunch of school kids out on a field trip.

As soon as we hit the road the kids were up and surfing the dish. The only other place I've seen this kind of thing is on the Metro in Montreal, and it's fantastic to watch because some of these kids are really good at rolling with each and every exaggerated twist, turn and jump that, taken together, are hugely amplified whipsaw replicas of even tiny movements of the driver's hands on the steering wheel sixty feet in front of them.

But there was more than just that going on with these kids, because they were clearly from two different classes from two very different schools. One class was the host group, all hip and city and urban and cool. The other class was visiting from way out of town in the sticks, maybe Prince George or something. And they were all babbling back and forth to beat the band while they joked around and took turns up on the dish playing it kind of like they were riding bulls at the rodeo.

And one class was teaching the other class how to count in a language they had never heard before. It was mandarin. And the kids doing the teaching were the hosts. The kids from Prince George were all white, and they were lapping up the "eee!..... arrre!!....san!!!.....soooo!!!!" counts and turning them into whooping cheers like they were 'Team Tolerance' at the Calgary Stampede.

Then, suddenly, thirty-two minutes after we got on the bus we were all thrown out onto the shimmering street in front of Waterfront Station. The kids filed off and wandered toward the Five Sails at Canada Place. Me, I slipped my laptop into my pack, strapped it on my back, grabbed my bike from the rack at the front of the 44-B, and headed for the seabus and the ride across the harbour trailing this view.

And all the while I said to myself.....

.......What a Wonderful World.......


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Divide and Destroy, Wingnut Style


Remember Paul Weyrich, the wingnut welfare king who told all the far right fundies down south to keep quiet if they were contacted by Canadian media about the Harpoon and his real intentions prior to the election?

Well, here's an Email that Mr. Weyrich sent out to all the brethren just a few days before the big event.

From: Paul Weyrich
Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2006 9:38 AM
To: Bob Thompson [a staffer at Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation
Subject: message from Canada
Importance: High

Please get this message to the Stanton, Family Forum and Wednesday lunch groups:

I received a call last night from Gerald Chipeur, an important figure in Canada’s Conservative Party. He told me that Conservatives are with-in striking distance of electing an outright majority in Parliamentary elections Monday.

He said the Canadian media, which is trying to save the current Liberal government, has a strategy of calling conservatives in the USA in the hopes that someone will inadvertently say something that can be hung around the Conservatives.

Canadian voters have been led to believe that American conservatives are scary and if the Conservative party can be linked with us, they perhaps can diminish a Conservative victory. Chipeur asks that if Canadian media calls, please do not be interviewed until Monday evening at which point hopefully there will be reason to celebrate

Many thanks.

Anyway, that was then and this is now.

Because Mr. Weyrich can't keep his mouth shut these days.

And what he has to say about Mr. Harper's true intentions is pretty darned interesting:

After Harper's victory in an election that Weyrich found "exciting to watch," he penned a story for his organization's website that described both pessimistic and optimistic scenarios that could result from the election's outcome.

According to Weyrich, conservative pessimists told him that since they lack a parliamentary majority, the best Harper can do is to "adopt a more reasonable view of the United States and to correct some premises of Cultural Marxism, which Canadians have espoused, such as same-sex marriage and abortion-on-demand."

Harper, however, can do much more than that, Weyrich asserts: "Harper is pleased that the media and many in his own party are nay-saying," Weyrich argues, "think[ing] that such pessimism would lower expectations and give him additional latitude to accomplish his agenda. Harper's game plan apparently is to pit the federalist Liberals against the Bloc Quebecois and the decentralizing Bloc against big-government Liberals."


If this is really true (and why should we doubt Mr. Weyrich's ability to read a fellow traveller) no wonder Mr. Harper is in hiding.

Thanks to: South of 49th friend, and wildflower photographer extraordinare, Prairie Weather for the tip.
And if Mr. Weyrich can call me and mine 'Cultural Marxists' for being tolerant and believing that helping out our fellow citizens is actually a worthy goal, well, I think that gives me carte blanche to call him and his 'Fearful Fascists'. After all, it's all just a 'framing' game, right?

Striking A Blow For Freedom


Hooray for Canadian Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights who today called for the concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay to be shut down.

Of course, the little scottie poodle did not agree:

The US has rejected the closure call, with White House spokesman Scott McClellan saying that the facility houses "dangerous terrorists".

To which we say - prove it. In other words, either give these people a fair trial in an international court of law or release them.


And now is also the time for friends of the American people and, dare we say it, of the American Dream of freedom, equality and justice for all, to help make this happen.

And that includes ambassadors of foreign nations in Washington.

Because now is the time for soft power to stand up and be counted while the whole world is watching.

In that spirit we page Mr. Wilson.

And that would be Michael, of course.

Not Woodrow.

Although resurrecting the latter Wilson right about now wouldn't be such a bad thing either.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Losing More Friends And......


........Only Influencing His Crazy Uncles

When last we paid him any attention whatsoever, British Columbia's Minister of Something-Or-Other Mike De Jong was doing his best to bust the Teachers Union.

Tonight he was back, acting as the designated GordCo Flogger on the healthcare privatization issue that was raised in the throne speech earlier today.

Of course, despite the fact that Mike Smythe called a spade a spade while he was on his show, de Jong refused to come right out and say it. Instead, he said we must have a discussion about the mechanisms of healthcare delivery because if we don't it is just going to cost us too darn much.

So, here is a request for Mr. de Jong and all the other GordCo dissemblers out there.....Give us some examples of how private delivery has saved any publically-funded system significant dollars over the long haul without large scale rationing and/or massive centralization of services and/or reliance on huge capital infusions/subsidies for bricks and mortar, equipment and training of personnel.

And give us specifics, not pablum - please.

Schreck (not Shrek) has some specifics but it is likely they won't make the Donald Copeman jump for joy the way the Throne Speech likely did.


B.C. Throne Speech Frames Healthcare


Update: Sat Feb 18/06 - This post has been editted from it's original form in which I suggested that the sitting Lt. Governor tacitly agreed with the concepts, if not the words, she must, as part of her job, read from the throne speech. That was inappropriate, especially without supporting evidence, and for that I apologize and have made the appropriate changes. I'll write about the importance of the mea culpa in blogging in more depth, in an upcoming piece.

The following is from yesterday's provincial throne speech:

"Does it really matter to patients where or how they obtain their surgical treatment if it is paid for with public funds?" asks the speech, which was read by Lt.-Gov. Iona Campagnolo on behalf of Premier Gordon Campbell's Liberal government.

"Why are we so afraid to look at mixed health care delivery models," when they work in Europe?

"Why are we so quick to condemn any consideration of other systems as a slippery slope to an American-style system that none of us wants?"

And now the herd press is falling all over themselves to tell us how GordCo is working hard to protect our healthcare system.

We, however, figure we're actually being set up for a coming bill that will begin the death of universal healthcare by the thousand cuts due to a mandated explosion of private everything (and that banging you hear is Donald Copeman's head repeatedly hitting the ceiling as he floats euphorically above the crowd a la Uncle Albert in Mary Poppins - just a spoonful of sugar and a fistful of dollars and all that, what?).

It's like deja-vu all over again, Edwardian England/Gilded Age style*.

*Or, despite the throne speech's words to the contrary, maybe we should call it "Love, American Style!" After all, it is Valentine's Day, and we are looking rearward towards the bad old days.


Fencing Out The Rabble


The BC LINO's* will get their ya-ya's out with their third Throne Speech in a year later today.

And despite Ms. Campagnolo's apparent fetish for the finery, Mr. Campbell has seen the light and is now using BushCo vernacular to fire-up the Whirlitzer.

"We're gonna talk about our long term objectives for British Columbia."

Like how were all gonna learn to speak faux-Texan to prepare us for the coming of the KinderMorgan-led "Invasion of The Haida Gwaii Rapers", perhaps?

Anyway, an interesting sidenote is the fact that the Ledge itself is behind a fence today.

More of the BushCo-type paranoid coralling of the huddled masses?

Will we soon get 'Free Speech Zones' tucked away behind the Beacon Hill Park Zoo where only the chickens and goats need be pestered with the bleating voices of an angry citizenry?

Never say never with this bunch.

*Liberal In Name Only
: This, from Public Eye poster Heaney, is likely the more innocent reason (or is that excuse?) for the fence: "
the fence has been there for every throne speech since the Clayoquot decision (in about 1994?) when protesters' successful attempts to storm the main door (only ever unlocked and used when the L-G enters the building) put a 60+ year old sgt-at-arms in the hospital."
btw: The linked post from Mr. Holman at PE is great news about the resignation of LINO partisan Louise Burgart from the provincial Electoral Boundary (ie. not to be confused with 'The Gerrymanderer') Commission.
VideoLink To ThroneSpeechifyin' here.



Sunday, February 12, 2006

Why Does David Hahn Hate WAC Bennett So Much?


Despite the fact that he was a noted free-enterpriser, union-hater and socialist-thwarter, WAC Bennett knew the value of solid public enterprises regardless.

For it was he who took the unreliable, and patchwork, BC Ferry system out of private hands and made it a toll authority in 1960.

And I know it really happened that way because it says so on David Hahn's own website:

I was born in 1959 so I don't remember the vagaries of the CP or the Blackball-operated runs between Vancouver Island and the Mainland, but my Dad has told me plenty. And even he, a union hand from way back, gives Mr. Bennett his due on this one.

And so do I.

Because while I may have cursed the indigestion of the sunshine breakfast or the outright gastric discomfort of the chili, until recently BC Ferries rarely let me down.

But all that has changed with privatization as the catastrophes have mounted in lock-step with the prices.

One of the recent catastrophes was a fire aboard the Queen of Surrey in which there is plenty of blame to go around for everyone, both at Mr. Hahn's Ferry Corp and at Transport Canada, as was reported by Shannon Kari in last Friday's Globe and Mail.

But the man who got all of our boats for a song will have none of it. Ignoring history completely, Mr. Hahn had this to say:

"The problem was government. We should never be part of government again," he said. B.C. Ferries was made an independent commercial company in the spring of 2003.


Has this man not heard that old adage about the linkage between a willfull ignorance of history and doom?


Friday, February 10, 2006

What Else Could You Possibly Ask For?


I've talked a lot about my obsessions for the writings of Hunter Thompson before.

And I've told lots of people that the lark that made Thompson famous, writing about his fear and loathing, is not my favorite bit.

On the other hand, I have also told the remaining few that will listen about the king-hell time I had reading 'The Lark' for the first time, all at once, purely for the adrenaline rush of the language, while holed up a tiny woodstove-heated cabin located high in the Sooke Hills in the early 1980's.

But I don't think I've ever told anybody about my reaction to the dedication at the front end the thing in which Thompson thanked Bob Dylan.

For Mr. Tambourine Man.

Back then I was a much, much younger man but Dylan was already old, as were his best songs.

And both were already washed up in my estimation.

That, of course, was the hubris of youth at work, but I quit that job some time ago.



Tonight was a night like a thousand others at our house (which is one of those half-million dollar working-class bungalows in David Emerson's Vancouver-Kingsway riding).

And it ended with me playing my very bad guitar for my youngest kid, who is now six, at bedtime.

She likes what she calls 'story songs' in which I make up a dumber-than-dumb, almost rhyming couplet-type lyric about the day gone by that is laid over a bit of two chord chicanery that sounds vaguely reminscent of the pseudo-talking blues line that runs under the verses of Lou Reed's 'Take A Walk On The Wild Side'.

Anyway tonight she was still awake when I finished my drone, and as I got up to go she whispered, 'You're not leaving, are you? Dad?'

How could I possibly go?

So I stayed.

And I played Mr. Tambourine Man.

She fell asleep half-way through the second verse; I could tell by her breathing.

But I kept going anyway.

Often as I move through it, and especially if I know nobody's listening, I'll try to switch from Zimmerman's nasal to McGuinn's falsetto in the last half.

I honestly don't remember what voice I was affecting tonight.

But I do remember the last few lines of the very last verse.

"Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves,
Let me forget about today until tomorrow."

And so I ask you.

What else could a Dad possibly ask for his kid?


Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Write Stuff


By day Irwin Loy covers the City and writes for 24 hours, presumably for a living.

The rest of the time he writes on his blog.

Here's an example, wherein he lays waste to the puffed-up puffery of the newly re-minted NPA councillor, cum quisling, Peter Ladner.

And in the 'Ironic Exaggeration' category, Ladner says in his e-mail:

"If I could get $10 for every mis-statement, exaggeration and uninformed accusation about the new council’s changes to the Southeast False Creek plan, I’d have enough to buy every low income person in Vancouver a waterfront suite."

If, like me, you're curious as to how many misstatements, exaggerations and/or uninformed accusations a city can hurl upon its esteemed councillors, here are a few quick calculations.

  • Assuming a low-income rate in Vancouver of 19.1 per cent, as it was in 2000 according to Statscan (incidentally, a 3.3 percentage point increase since 1990)...
  • ... and assuming a population of 560,000, according to the City of Vancouver website...
  • ... there are 106,960 people in the city who qualify as low-income.
  • Multiply that by $299,999, the price of the cheapest online MLS listing for a waterfront condo...
  • ... and you get some $32 billion (rounded down $88 million or so).

And it only gets better from there.

I, for one, am looking forward to reading much more from the intrepid Mr. Loy.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Potterville, British Columbia?


"Just remember this, Mr. Potter: that this rabble you're talking about, they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this town. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath?"
George Bailey, Bedford Falls NY, 1947

And is it too much to ask in the Land-O-Plenty that British Columbia has become in the here and now?

Well, with average costs for a bungalow in Mr. Emerson's 'working class' riding of Vancouver Kingsway running around $500K it probably is.

But if Sean Holman is correct it looks like former Real Estate management consultant and current Minister of Forest and Range* also responsible for Housing Rich Coleman just might be doing his best to make sure it never happens.

Now, how could he do a thing like that you might be asking?

Well, he could make sure that no more low income housing is built in B.C. while he simultaneously starts handing out Landlord Welfare in perpetuity (warning:pdf).

*What the heck is a "Range" minister anyway, somebody who watches old Bonanza re-runs so that they can master the stern and fatherly voice of Lorne Greene?
Of course, Smilin' Sammy Sullivan, destroyer of our last, best chance of achieving a true mixed income ownership community in the City of Vancouver just loves the 'Potterville in Perpetuity' concept.


No Fun Samcouver


Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan is backpedalling again on his and his minions decision to pull $50K from the upcoming World Peace Forum.

Jeff, brother of not-so crappy Joe, Keighley says it's all about partisan, crush-the-COPE-stuff politics.

Smilin' Sammy says it ain't so. Instead, he says the real problem is that it is not enough money (how's that for pretzel logic?). Thus, he says, Vancouver could be embarrassed by not having enough limos and such for the dignitaries.

To his credit, CBC's Stephen Quinn even pulled out the old Suzanne Anton quote about 'what are we going to do, have them eat at McDonalds?'

Which got us wondering.......does that mean that if and when Sullivan and Anton announce their unqualified support for the upcoming 'World Developers and Landlords Lollapalooza' that we won't be able say:

"Let them eat Big Macs!"




Monday, February 06, 2006

Whose Spine Has Been Tapped Anyway?


Seems that a whole bunch of folks on the way right side of the aisle are pretty upset about this crazed pinko-commie David Emerson crossing the floor to join their pure of heart and mind brigade.

In fact, it's turning into a bit of a self-flagellation frenzy.

A good round-up of all these self-inflicted lumbar punctures can be found here.

The thing is, anybody who has been paying attention knows that Mr. Emerson is no liberal.

In fact, if you need convincing all you have to do is read the bio on his (soon to be extinct) Martini-assisted website.

"While completing his doctorate in 1972, David got his first taste of public service working as a researcher for the Economic Council of Canada in Ottawa. In 1975, David's passion for public service brought him to British Columbia, where he quickly rose through the ranks to become the province's Deputy Minister of Finance in 1984.

In 1986, he left government to become President and CEO of the Western and Pacific Bank of Canada in Vancouver. He transformed the bank into the Canadian Western Bank-the only regional bank to survive and prosper."

In other words, scratch the surface of a BC Liberal and what do you smell?


Which, of course, fits the CPC like a glove*

*All parallels to Spinal Tap are entirely intended because, to quote noted brainiac Nigel Tufnel, "It's a thin line betweeen clever and stupid", which we figure isn't far off the mark on this latest move by the Harpoon.


Friday, February 03, 2006

Whose Backing This Bid?

VANOC IsTheirNameVille

Surprise, surpise.

The cost of hosting the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver has shot up by a whopping 23 per cent.

John Furlong, Chief Executive Officer of the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC), revealed a revised venue budget for the 2010 Games on Friday, one that has ballooned to $580 million from the original $470 million estimate.

Rising construction costs and a shortage of skilled workers in Vancouver's competitive building industry led to the new budget figure.

"We will stop at nothing to responsibly manage the risk of cost increases through rigorous venue planning and design, negotiations and cost controls," said Furlong.

Very bold rhetoric from Mr. Furlong, indeed.

But let's parse that last statement (ie. try and figure out what it really means).

"We will stop at nothing to responsibly MANAGE the RISK of cost increases....."

He didn't say he would 'halt' the cost increases....he didn't say he would 'control' cost increases....he did say he would 'manage' the 'risk' of them.

In other words, he said absolutely nothing.

But GordCo's Minister of Service Cuts and Surpluses did:

B.C. Finance Minister Carole Taylor says she's not at all surprised about the 23-percent Olympic cost increase.

“Anyone who's been out there in construction in anyway whether it's your own home renovations or if you're in the business knows what's happened to prices, they've gone up hugely,” Taylor said.

Taylor says this is exactly why the government built a 139-million dollar contingency into its Olympic funding commitment.

“We recognize that when you price something in 2002 it's very likely to be a different price when you get to the end game so we feel comfortable that we've got enough in there to cover our part of what this increase will mean,” added Taylor.

So, let's check our addition here.....2002 + 4 years = 2006 = $110 million extra.

Which means how much more in the next 4 years to 2010?

Another $100 million?

Another $500 million?

Another $1 billion?

Oh well, who really cares anyway, as long as it's 'responsibly managed'.

In the meantime the mean-spirited cuts continue. Here's a recent one brought to our attention by reader lenny....." I thought you might be interested in what BC ferries is up to with the Quadra Island ferry. They've removed a disabled/elderly shelter from the deck of the boat, amongst other things." .......Sounds fair, huh?.... no shelter for the disabled on ferries that we built for everyone with our money, but buckets of cash for a two week party which is making the chosen few stinking rich(er).


No Fun All Over Again?


Smilin' Sammy and the npaVandellas seem to be doing their best to make sure there is no "Dancin' in the Streets" of Vancouver.

Or real mixed income housing.

Or peace conferences*

Or neighbourhood block parties.

Or citizen forums.

It's like deja vu all over again.

How long before they start closing libraries this time around?

*Best quote from a Vandella this week: Suzanne Anton saying they had to pull the rug out from under the Peace Conference/Summit because it was underfunded, embarassing, and they didn't want to have visiting dignitaries eating at "McDonalds, or something."
Update: The I-Ching King (aka Ian), who is no longer writing for free (we assume) lays out the entire scenario regarding Smilin' Sammy's whinin' here.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Ghost of Rosemary Woods?


Ms. Woods was the secretary for Richard Nixon who 'inadvertantly' stretched way, way under her desk to hit a foot pedal to 'accidentally' erase 18 minutes of a critical Watergate tape.

So, now we can only wonder if anybody from BigTime's office has to stretch when they erase Emails?

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald is raising the possibility that records sought in the CIA leak investigation could be missing because of an e-mail archiving problem at the White House.

The prosecutor in the criminal case against Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff said in a Jan. 23 letter that not all e-mail was archived in 2003, the year the Bush administration exposed the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame.

Lawyers for defendant I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby this week accused prosecutors of withholding evidence the Libby camp says it needs to mount a defense.

"We are aware of no evidence pertinent to the charges against defendant Libby which has been destroyed," Fitzgerald wrote in a letter to the defense team.

But the prosecutor added: "In an abundance of caution, we advise you that we have learned that not all e-mail of the Office of Vice President and the Executive Office of the President for certain time periods in 2003 was preserved through the normal archiving process on the White House computer system." His letter was an exhibit attached to Libby's demand for more information from the prosecution.

Maybe Echalon has them.....

And if it does, would Fitzgerald need a FISA warrant to get 'em?

Or, maybe he should just make like the Twig and ignore all that due process stuff to get what he wants.