Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Withdrawing From The Wurlitzer....First Steps....



After getting advice from all manner of folks, I'm seriously thinking of pulling the plug on all my various and sundry interfaces with Lotusland's CorpMedia.

A big one for me is the airwaves, given that I spend so much of my dayjob time in front of the keyboard and/or at the lab bench fiddling wherein the constant chatter soothes me (except, of course, when I'm screaming at it, see: Watercarrier, Goodship).

Suggestions for radio replacements anybody?


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

FABula Gives Her (not) Two Cents Worth On The New New Journalism


In case you missed it, the big media monopolists who bet the farm on 'convergence' a while back are, apparently, hemorraging money. Not surprisingly, they are, at least in part, blaming the latter problem on the fact that they've been forced to take down their subscription wailing walls and give away their high end stuff for free.

Lotusland's best blogger, media-connected or otherwise, Frances Bula wonders what's up with that:

....(O)ne issue I haven’t seen thrashed out is the argument I frequently read in (gasp - paper editions of ) journalism magazines or online is the one that says mainstream journalism did itself in by giving away its content for free on the Internet.

That’s an argument I don’t get, because newspapers and some magazines have been giving away their content for free, in paper form, for a very long time. Community newspapers, of course, and some magazines get delivered free to doorsteps all over this region. And the subscription fees that people pay for papers like the Vancouver Sun, the Globe or even the New York Times — even though they may seem hefty — do little more than cover the cost of paper and distribution.

The actual journalism has, for at least a century, been paid for by advertising. So what I find to be the mysterious question is whether that will continue....

It's all good stuff, and really worth reading in full as the issue really seems to come down to advertising and where it is all going (maybe to folks who post up Britney Spears pictures instead of looking for the next Watergate?...And I'm not really jocking as this is something I notice just about everytime I go to check my Yahoo mail).....

Regardless, one of the things that's interesting to me is that Ms. Bula herself seems to be an example of a new, new journalist. For example, not so long ago she ruled the roost writing full time for the established Lotuslandian media on all matters municipal, but suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, she chucked all that for a multi-level stratification strategy in which she teaches, freelances, and blogs. Me, I really dig the latter, and now, more than ever, that blog itself has become an advertisement for the stuff she gets published in the mainstream...Specifically, when she tells "all the facts that fit" version..... Then I run right back to her blog to get the POV version, both in the original post and the comments....It's really fun, interesting, and interactive.....And the fact that Frances actively solicits views from readers just enhances the experience all the more.

The new, new journalism....

That's what I want.

Heckfire, I'll even pay for it.


And I Said To Myself....Why?


Why won't the Conservative Reform Alliance Party of Canada allow comments to run under it's latest round of hate videos that they have posted up on YouTube?

Just askin'.....


BC Election - Indicting The Media Monopolies And (Gasp!) The CBC...


Rafe Mair, who was clearly fighting back despair and a reflexive need to upchuck while responding to the egregious comments of Val Roddick during CBC Radio One's post-election coverage last Tuesday night, has come out swinging in his piece this morning in The Tyee.

Specifically, he's naming names and throwing haymakers at those who would not allow him to speak about the biggest issue that was rarely discussed during the election campaign, those independent power projects that are being instituted on a scale that will strangle a number of our waterways and will cost us at least $30 billion dollars in the short term.

Anti-green and bad economic management combined.....Funny how Mr. Campbell and his Twitter Ninnies didn't want to talk about that eh?

Here's just a taste of what Rafe had to say:

.....I do a regular political panel on Monday mornings on CBC radio and I begged for a year to have this issue and the fish farms debacle on the agenda. They never were unless I crammed it into an answer to an entirely different question. I was told that last week they did an entire program on it but in spite of the fact that I'm a CBC "regular," as official spokesperson for Save Our Rivers Society, I was not invited. (I expect after saying this I will be let go as part of their budget cuts.)

Again and again I asked political columnists Vaughn Palmer of the Sun and Mike Smyth of the Province to deal with this issue but not a peep. If what I said was wrong, surely the media would have said so and why......


....During the 14 months I was traveling the province, speaking to full houses, nary one "journalist" from the two main Vancouver dailies and Global-BCTV, ever asked me a single question. Save Our Rivers Society, who hired me in part because I'm a broadcaster with a Michener Award, the Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Award winner and member of the Broadcaster's Hall of Fame, might just as well hired a fencepost with hair for all the attention the media paid this issue.....

In total, Mr. Mair pointed very pointed fingers at Shaw, CKNW, Corus, Mr. Palmer, Mr. Smyth, Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Province, Black Press, Global, CanWest and, most egregious of all, the CBC.


How to deal with this blatant media bias?

And don't kid yourself, deal with it we must.

Because, now that they've won you can be sure that the Corptocracy that is really running this province will be sure to utilize such bias, much of it monopolistic, to the hilt next time around....

Well, firstly, the CBC is an issue I'll deal with at a later time (because it is quite a different problem).

But as for the rest?

I have three suggestions:

1) Give independent media endeavours money.....Two such endeavours that I recommend most highly right now, because they generate stories that the media monopolists cannot ignore, are The Tyee and Public Eye.

2) Don't buy and/or consume monopolist media. Seriously.... Just stop....Right now.

3) Identify and support, with money and help, any organization, political party and/or political candidate who promises to work towards legislation that will bust the media monopolists.


Number 1 is easy where we can make a difference right now.

Number 2 is tougher, but not impossible.... I did it for a month with CKNW during the election campaign..... and now I'm ready to give going whole hog a try.....

Number 3 is the hardest..... However, it is also someting the progressive Bloggodome could work towards in an effort to affect real change.......because I am convinced that it is the media trusts, like so many trusts before them, that must be busted in the name of the public good.


In fairness, Rafe did single out Mark Hume of the Globe for praise for covering the issue in some depth. He also points out that the Globe's BC bureau, overall, did a better job covering the election than did both of Lotusland's CanWest dailies.....I agree, and would argue that that's the kind of thing true media competition gets you.....


Monday, May 18, 2009

Rosie, Bigger E and Me.....The Calendar Is On Our Side


Seems like it was just yesterday that we embarked on our late-in-the-depths-of-winter Northern World Tour.

And now.... Bingo, Bango,'s Victoria Day!

And summer is on it's way.

Can't wait.

Image at the top of the post.....Rosie, the Whack-A-Doodle, and Bigger E at the dog park portion of Spanish Banks yesterday, right where it bangs up against that part of Pacific Spirit park that will separated from the rest when its heart is cut out as a result of the secret machinations, ably assisted by the obfuscatory deflector spin of one of his bagmen, of the current MLA for Vancouver Point Grey.


Calling Out The Media Monopolists.


Rafe does it.

(will have more to say about this, and what we can do about it, tomorrow)


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Did Obama Just Speak To Americans Like They Are Adults...

....On The Topic Of Abortion?

Why yes.

I believe he did.

The question is, will clips like the one linked to above rise to the top over the next newscycle or will the screams of a single heckler at the Notre Dame commencement address dominate...Let's see if the wurlitzer can separate the wheat from the chaff.


The Real Reason That The Online 'Presence' In The BC Election Sucked...


On PublicEye Radio this morning Sean Holman and his Rabble Rousers had a kinda/sorta interesting conversation during the Jack Germond v. Pat Buchanan part of the show wherein they discussed the 'online battle' between the BC Liberal Party and the BCNDP that wasn't.

And while there was a solid, if brief reference to the Liberals silly 'open platform' website, mostly the discussion missed the mark.


Because, it failed to mention how completely lame both parties efforts were for all age groups, not just twenty somethings. This is important because online political activism is most definitely NOT just for pablum seekers.

To be more specific, there was nothing worthwhile online, from either party, for anybody who was looking to really get engaged who wasn't already. Or, put another way, inane twitter feeds and/or softball interviews with Miss 604 just don't cut it with folks who are looking for something that really matters.


This lack of substance was not entirely the fault of the two parties.

Because part of the problem is that there are no online fever swamps on the BC political scene, which is a point that Frances Bula made awhile back (ie. there is no Little Green Footballs v. dKos or even, say Dr. Dawg v. Kate McMillan)...As a result, there are no rock-'em sock'em discussion threads where folks are spurred to action (sorry Tyee, but until you actually get the authors of your Hook pieces to participate in the comment threads under their posts and be willing to voice their own unvarnished POV nothing will really happen there because good blogging and good journalism are not the same thing).

And why do the 'fever swamps' matter?

Because without wide open discusssion spurring folks on to action there is very little that the political parties can hang their on-line hats on.

Witness, for example, what happened in the States during the last couple of election cycles where the grassroots websites themselves pushed the parties from the bottom up (here I'm thinking of advocacy sites like Firedoglake and others that raised money and forced the Dems to push/spend treasure on progressive candidates). To a limited extent, this has happened federally in Canada but in a slightly more sinister, top-down way where the FedCons managed to co-opt/harness their operative S.Taylor's Blogging Tories to considerable faux grassroots effect. Interestingly though, when a Fed-Lib operative named J.Cherniak tried to do something similar with the Prog Ploggers that self-destructed when many of the folks involved, myself included, would not buy into orchestrated codswallop like so many of the BT folks seem to be willing to do


What am I really saying?

That for the BC election just pasy at least, it was all make believe because there was no online presence that mattered for either party.

In fact, the only real advantage, in the end, occurred when the make-believe was successfully turned into fodder for the mainstream media Wurlitzer by the BC Liberals.

The latter occurred when the LINO WarRoom got both the dominant CanWest and BellGlobeCTVRDSTSNAndJustAboutEverythingElse media organs to run with stories about Mr. Campbell's son working it real hard on his Dad's Twitter/Facebook campaigns (which, oddly enough, ran essentially exactly the same posts concurrently).

All of which means that the real honest-to-goddess online fever swamp territory is still wide open, ready to be seized by any provincial party that is willing to get down in the sloppy muck where opinions are flung around like good manure and the roots of the real (ie. not fake) grass first start to take hold.


The Astroturf reference at the end is not a trivial one because the LINOs have used that type of online chicanery to considerable effect as part of their pre-sell marketing strategy when they are getting ready to legitimize their various 'policy' initiatives....But that is not the same thing as whipping the actual electorate into an activist/money-donating frenzy (and heckfire, I'm not sure the LINOs actually want that to happen anyway given where they get their 'real' money from).


RailGate Going Down....Who Knew What When?


On Friday morning, three of British Columbia's pre-eminent opinion makers - Keith Baldrey, Bill Good and, especially, Vaughn Palmer - discredited RailGate as something that only a cult of 'the same eight people' care about because the public, (ie. that body that swallows the opinions they make pretty much whole), has no opinion.

Which is ironic in the extreme if you really think about it, even for a nanosecond.

Especially given the document dump that came later the very same day wherein the FedCons directly intervened in RailGate when they announced that they have essentially taken the judge away by kicking her upstairs.

Which, of course, is a switcheroo that could very well put the final nail in the coffin of the entire trial (that has still not started after more than five years of special prosecutor-assisted dithering).


With that in mind, we thought we'd offer the opinion makers a series of questions they might want to ask to determine if there is indeed anything to care about amongst folks chatting around the watercooler about 'Jon and Kate Makes Eight' next week.

Our first question was:

Who, specifically, in Rob Nicholson's Federal Justice Department made the decision to kick the RailGate Judge Ms. Bennett upstairs at this time?

And now, our second question is:

Who, specifically, in Wally Oppal's British Columbia Attorney General's office was informed of that decision prior to it's being announced?

Our third question will be announced tomorrow (think timing) but, in a tribute to opinion makers past, we close today's Cult session with the following bit of 'remember when' prose from regular reader Curly.....

Young Lad: Grandad, were there REALLY such things as investigative reporters when you were a boy?

Grandad: Yes, Tommy, it's true. In my day, hard-hitting ethical journalism was considered to be an important cornerstone of free democratic societies. It kept citizens engaged and informed, and it tended to help keep public servants accountable...

Young Lad: Gee whillickers, Grandad! You must be real old! I've never seen a real hardhitting news story in the mainstream media. What happened to all the mainstream journalists, Grandad? Are there any still alive? Did they go the way of the dinosaurs?

Grandad: Nobody knows, Tommy, nobody knows...some say they were slowly drained of their integrity and turned into zombies who spouted whatever line their masters bid them. Others claim there's an island in the south Pacific where they go when they die, but nobody really knows.

Now, please don't understand either Curly or myself. We both know that there are some very good investigative journalists round here. It's just that they don't have the platform and/or the profile of the three amigos mentioned at the top of this post.

Which is another irony.

Or is it something else?


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday Night's All Right For (Uke Cover) Fighting!


First, The Original, before it even was*....

Next, The Cover, by one of the Interwebs' finest and....her Mom!

*The Top 'o The Mops version was from those infamous Twickenham sessions/rehearsals in early 1969....At the time McCartney was still calling the tune 'On Our Way Home', which is doubly ironic given that The Artist Formerly Known As SweetAfton23 was clearly both doing this with her Mom as a Mom's day duet with the two of them and giving her Mom a keepsake for a few months she would be away from home....Bonus frames at 0'38'' in the top video of Ms. Ono who looks an awful lot like.... well..... we sure hope that doesn't freak ML and/or her Mom out.....Although it may be, in a very digressive way, have generated an opportunity for The AFKASA to win another contest.
As always, thanks to Los Angelino photo maven and prom girl Ellen Bloom for permission to use the image of the hand-crafted (by her brother!) Uke peg head at the top of the post.


The GOP Goes Ga Ga....Says Gay Marriage Is Bad For Business...


Is this what we have to look forward to if Little Stephen hangs on long enough?

SAVANNAH, Ga. May 16, 2009, 04:19 pm ET · Republicans can reach a broader base by recasting gay marriage as an issue that could dent pocketbooks as small businesses spend more on health care and other benefits, GOP Chairman Michael Steele said Saturday.....

{snippety doodle-dandelions}

"Now all of a sudden I've got someone who wasn't a spouse before, that I had no responsibility for, who is now getting claimed as a spouse that I now have financial responsibility for," Steele told Republicans at the state convention in traditionally conservative Georgia. "So how do I pay for that? Who pays for that? You just cost me money.".....

Ya, sure Mr. Steele.

Families are bad because if, say, a gay couple decides to adopt a child currently in foster care to give them a better life you'll have to help pay for that kid to go to school.

And what's worse, if a gay couple likes dijon mustard they will almost certainly help kill off the hot dog industry.

Or some such codswallop.



Olympic Security Costs: Soft Selling The RCMP Idiocracy.


Well, well, well....

Turns out that the Feds, the BC LINOs and the Horsmen all knew a long, long time ago that Olympic security costs were going through the roof.

Which is bad enough, in and of itself.

But what is really sickening is how the Horsemen were preparing to 'deal' with the possibility of the story leaking to the press.

Bob Mackin in 24Hrs and The Hook has that story:

An urgent July 16, 2007 e-mail from RCMP financial management executive director Marty Muldoon to officer in charge of protective operations Peter Henschel said: "The worry is that if a media inquiry comes, we want to be prepared to soft-cell (sic) the numbers."


Make the Idiocracy stop.

Right now.

Before the flies really start buzzing around our eyes.


And good on the Work Less Party for filing the FOI request that forced the democracy haters to cough this little furball laced with codswallop up for the rest of us.
And why Dylan's 'Idiot Wind'?.....Because Soft Cell's 'Tainted Love' does not quite cut it, unless, maybe, it's this version.


Personal Note To Agent 186.....


(Mac user version).

Go home!

You won.

And it's Saturday afternoon....

And your lawn needs cutting....

And your friends and/or family miss you....



RailGate Goin' Down...Massacre Revisited


Late yesterday we followed the lead of our good friend Mary and Mr. T, Bill Tieleman, with a short, incredulous post about Stephen Harper's post-election present to Gordon Campbell which was an announcement that the current RailGate trial judge, Elizabeth Bennett has been taken off the case because she has been kicked upstairs.

Which, in our opinion, means that there will be even more delays which greatly increases the chances that the entire thing will be thrown out of court which, now that the NDP will never get to hold that public inquiry, essentially means that, well.....

You get the idea.....



Now that it is the Saturday after the Friday Night Massacre, let's have a look at how the 'serious' know the one that, according to Keith Baldrey and Bill Good anyway, decides what is important by sitting 'round the watercooler asking their compatriots what people on the phonelines and at the watercoolers thinks is important (stuff like, apparently, the real story behind the late night hook-ups of the 'parents' in Jon and Kate Plus Eight or some damned thing)....are treating the story....

Vancouver Sun.....Neal Hall's buried follow-on that discusses implications briefly.
Vancouver Province....Nothing

Victoria Times-Colonist...Nothing

Globe and single, solitary, teeny-weeny mention 'In Brief'.
Global TV.....You actually expected something?

Other than that, all that is up in the GooglePlex is the oriignal CP Story that we quoted yesterday (and from which the Globe's brief essentially bowlderized).
(click on image to enlarge)

Question now is......Given the way the media wurlitzer works, will the story be dead as a doornail by Tuesday morning after the long weekend is done?

Not if we can bloody well help it.

So, here's hoping that the questions we will raise over the next few days will help tear opinion makers like Mess'rs Baldrey and Good, or even the Railgate cult-hating Mr. Vaughn Palmer himself, away from the watercoolers on Tuesday when they get back from the Lake and/or Whistler so that they can start covering things that matter, in depth, with tenacity, such that those things (ie. the things that matter) actually become the talk around watercoolers instead of Jon and Kate Plus Eight, or the fact that the Premier's kid knows how to set up a Twitter account (funny how that opinion making stuff works, eh?)

First Friday Afternoon Massacre question.....

Who, specifically, in Rob Nicholson's Federal Justice Department made the decision to kick Ms. Bennett upstairs at this time?

Editor's/producers at the Ceeb....You can play along too, although you probably won't be thinking about this 'till Wednesday....if at all...what with all that work you must be doing getting ready for this summer's upcoming promo-girl segments...


Friday, May 15, 2009

RailGate Goin' Down....It's A Friday Afternoon Massacre!


Would'a thunk it...

Election's all done and, all of a sudden it's Wham-Bam-Thank-You-Ma'am........The Judge is done:

VANCOUVER, B.C. — A new judge will take over the BC Rail corruption trial, but the special prosecutor assigned to the case has been assured the change won't add further delays to a legal saga that has already dragged on for more than five years.

Justice Elizabeth Bennett was overseeing the case in B.C. Supreme Court, but she has been appointed to the provincial Court of Appeal, and a new judge will take over the BC Rail trial...

Oh sure, the 'special' prosecutor in the case is assuring us that there will be no further delays in the five year-old case.

And if you believe that you also probably also believe that those egregious IPP straight-jacket contracts aren't going to cost us money.


Who actually did the deed you may be asking?

Why, none other than Little Stephen and his Fed-Cons:

OTTAWA, May 15, 2009 - The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the following appointment:

The Honourable Elizabeth A. Bennett, a Judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, is appointed a Judge of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia. Madam Justice Bennett replaces Mr. Justice R.T.A. Low in Vancouver.

Go figure.

Post title refers to the Saturday Evening Massacre in which Nixon did his damndest to derail the Watergate trial when the going got tough. Of course, here they had to deal with the judge not the prosecutor given that Bill Beradino sure as heckfire is no Archibald Cox. And double-heckfire, given that he has yet to be 'officially' re-elected, Attorney General Wally Awful couldn't pull an Elliot Richardson and resign even if we wanted to.
Both Mr. T, Bill Tieleman and our good friend Mary, after an assist from Laila, have more.


Is Reality TeeVee The Opiate Of The Stoopid?


One of our new favorites, the blogger currently known only as "Hell Is Upside Down", sure thinks so:

I was at a dinner party recently and all everyone could talk about was some debauchery related to a reality show I've never seen called Jon and Kate Plus 8. If, like me, you've never heard of this show, don't worry, you're better off not knowing. In my opinion, reality TV is the opiate of the stupid and I've boycotted the stuff since enduring Joe Millionaire, a shame I still hesitate to admit. Reality TV is brain rot. So I found it tragic that a group of 30, 40 and 50-somethings, with a world of more important topics to discuss, would choose to gossip over a lame reality TV show......

Then, after a rant on Can-Pol as Reality TeeVee, "Flipped Over H-E-Double-Toothpicks" points out a couple of truly unsettling possibilities:

....Perhaps it's hard-wired human nature to be attracted to shiny keys and I'm just as guilty as anyone else. I'll admit, I'm a sucker for a cheap, snazzy blog headline.

What really scares me is there may be no way back from this abyss.

Which scares the beejeebuz out of me let me tell you, especially given that I already know that I too am a sucker for a cheap, snazzy blog headline (see above in big bold orange for example).

Oh boy....


Brian Mulroney Should Stop Worrying About...

...Whether Or Not A Couple Of Reporters Were Smirking At Him From The Cheap Seats Of The Oliphant Inquiry....

Because a few snot-nosed members of the media are the least of his worries these days.


Because pretty much the entire country is, when they are not shaking their heads in derision, laughing at him now:

11:56:24 AM
(Oliphant Inquiry counsel Richard) Wolson moves on to the drive home from the Mirabel meeting (with Schreiber), Mulroney holding the envelope full of thousand dollar bills, still with his Mountie escorts. Once he gets back to the cottage, he opens the envelope, counts the money and puts it in the safe. Just another day in the life of a former prime minister turned nascent international brief-watcher.


Above is from La FemmeITQ herself, Ms. O'Malley


Tasers Don't Kill People....


....Asswhollerian lawyers that browbeat clinicians and scientists into submission to keep the truth from coming out do....

Neal Hall in the VSun has the succinct story about how Taser International Lawyer David Neave tried to discredit Dr. Keith Chambers expert testimony that five jolts from a Taser was very likely the major contributing factor in the death of Robert Dziekanski at the Braidwood Inquiry yesterday.

But, in a demonstration of how succinctness can sometimes bury the true importance of a story, CBC Radio's World Report played a clip of parts of the actual browbeating of Dr. Chambers by Taser lawyer Neave on it's 8:00am broadcast this morning that was truly sickening in its sickeningness.

You can listen to the sickingness, in it's entirety, here, if you dare (last story starting at about 9'30'').

And don't forget, this kind of garbage occurs because 'the weapon is safe' mantra is critical to Taser International's Madison Ave-inspired marketing strategy that bamboozles groups like this into trumpeting their product as manna from Kojak.

And if you want the full opinion of an expert medical witness who is not a paid shill of the electronic conductance weapon industry, you can read Dr. Chambers' entire written opinion here (warning pdf).
And now that I think of it, why is a lawyer from Taser even allowed to interrogate a witness at the Braidwood Inquiry anyway?....I mean, if there was, say, an inquiry into a shooting death at the hands of police would lawyers from Smith and Wesson be allowed to browbeat witnesses?


Note To Ledgie Boys.....


....A campaign that runs entirely on 'Eight Years Is Enough' rather than substantive issues is, in fact, silly.


And, when, that RailGate trial actually happens we'll see who the real cultists are.

Ostrich cultists that is.


And it was great to hear what Mess'rs Baldrey and Good use as criteria for what is an 'important story' (ie. watercooler polls and goin' round the table talk).....Is it any wonder that substance doesn't matter and that Bills can get rammed through with impunity and withouout srutiny via closure 'round here?


Evil Bills Will Triumph When Good Journos Say Nothing



I have nothing but respect for the body of work of the Globe and Mail's Rod Mickleburgh.

And his Saturday morning notebook dump is often filled to bursting with tiny golden nuggets that keep their value forever.

But yesterday, when he wrote about the low voter turnout in this week's B.C. election I think Mr. Mickleburgh flat out blew it.


Because there was absolutely no mention of Gordon Campbell's egregious "Voter Suppression Project", otherwise known as Bill 42.

Here's hoping Mr. Mickleburgh writes a follow-up....

(and/or dumps something from his notebook, even if it is from May 2008 when the LINO's rammed their 'project' through the Ledge via closure).

Meanwhile, the Ledgie Boys and The Watercarrier just joke around about the subject and suggest we have a lottery....(and Mr. Good, 67% in South Delta is NOT high in historical terms).



The Capo Comes Through.....


Uber number cruncher Sascha Peter has the story:

".....(I)t turns out the best proxy stock for the British Columbia election was none other than Plutonic Power Corporation - most known as being the company behind the Bute Inlet run-of-the-river project. The shares of Plutonic jumped up about 20% on May 13th with no other news than the BC Liberals winning the election....."

Paging Ms. Berman.....

Original link source: Colleen Kimmett's hook-piece over at the Boat of The Big Fish.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mulroney v. Schreiber.....The Thumbs Have It.


If you are not reading Kady O'Malley you are not getting the real deal:

11:27:12 AM
Interesting: Not even an hour in, and (Team Mulroney counsel Guy) Pratte has already raised a – not an objection, but the gentle suggestion that (Oliphant Commission counsel Richard) Wolson give his client more context when reading from the transcript; which is fine by him, really, as it turns out — the two go a few more rounds before landing on a question that asked Mulroney about his relationship with Schreiber *after* leaving office – again, a fairly open-ended question – and those meetings where, according to Mulroney "Then" (ie. during the 1996 investigation), he had a cup of coffee with the man, but according to "What Actually Happened" (ie. the 2009 Oliphant Commission), he also received $75,000 in cash....

(stuff in brackets and "Then/What Actually Happened" airquotes mine)


Here's hoping La ITQ never comes down with a repetitive BBerryBanging injury.

And if she ever gets hooked on that bloody, stoopid twittermoronic '140' that means absolutely nothing at all (and which apparently has David Akin in its evil clutches*), we are doomed.

Although, to be fair, Mr. Akin has reportedly decided to cut back on his Facebook Friends because he has, get this!, too many.


Moving Back To Meat Space....



I'd missed this in all the excitement....

Uncle Dave has left the Bloggodome:

"....A month after heart surgery, I'm playing tennis, swimming, riding my bike and walking. I have a lovely home, great friends and two wonderful grown children.

Baruch Hashem.

You folks who have been reading the blog and writing in have been wonderful. Your comments have been exactly what they should - funny, incisive, argumentative, spirited.

Time for some of you to entertain and inform us with your own blogs.

May we keep our eyes on the prize - good health, companionship, love, community, the spirit...."

We'll said Mr. Berner, and here's hoping we run into you in the real world sometime/somewhere.

On the plus side, scout has resurrected one of our favorite bloggodomic quiz shows of all time......FamousStupid People!



How Did We Fall To Fifty?


Last time out we talked a little bit about Bill 42, the egregious 'Election Act' that was rammed through the B.C. legislature by Gordon Campbell last spring.

Specifically, we discussed the stupid new ID part of the law that has absolutely nothing whatsovever to do with stopping voter fraud but instead does make it much more difficult for the bottom rung of our society (ie. ~5% of the electorate, or 170,000 real humans) to NOT vote for the man that, apparently, hates and/or fears them (and yes screamers, this is 'evidence' of that hatred and/or fear).

But there is something else that, in my opinion at least, should be considered here....

Which is that the ID law was very likely a disincentive for at least a proportion of the 'rest of us' (ie. the ones that 'count') not to vote also.

What the heckfire am I talking about?

Well, if you were anywhere near a radio or television on Election Day you very likely heard or saw those breathless 'at the poll' reports that told you to make sure and bring your yellow registration card and your ID with proof of address....Then at the end of the report you would have heard someone authoritative like E-BC's Ken Farris, or even the big boss himself, Mr. Harry Neufeld, tell you that even if you didn't have the card you could 'still' vote if you had sufficient extra ID and a pint of O negative blood.

OK, I'm only joking about the last part.

Any type of blood would do


So, what am I really fussing about here?



And in a world where any excuse at all will be used for a significant proportion of the populace not to bother, well.....

Fifty percent is what you get.

And who does that most benefit when the split is only 4%?

Go figure.

Heckfire, even if you had absolutely everything you were 'supposed' to have it was still harder to vote once you got to the polling station if there was any line-up at all given all the new-fangled rules and procedures.......Why, we have to ask (for about the 5,259th time in the last 29 days) is the proMedia not talking about this?
Oh, ya....And folks with passports had to work hardest, apparently, as our good friend GAB told us last night.....Sheesh.
Tagline at top of the post rattlin' around in your head looking for a place to stop?....Well, here it is....And the bonus is, that it demonstrates perhaps the only known cool use of those stupid Segway hand-mower-like-rider thingies.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Day After The Night Before...How Does That Disenfranchisement Look Now?


Do you, by chance, happen to remember a little thing called "Bill 42" that Gordon Campbell's government rammed through the legislature last spring by invoking closure to cut off any and all meaningful debate?

If you do, you probably remember that it was called 'The Gag Law'.

But what you may not remember is that it also contained those egregious ID laws whose potential effects Jody Paterson described thusly:

Certainly some of the proposed changes to the (British Columbia) Election Act ought to give us pause, as they'll disenfranchise an estimated five per cent of potential voters -- some 170,000 people. The revised act prevents people from voting unless they have a home address and government-issued photo ID to prove it.

Obviously, those changes will be felt disproportionately by poor people: Those living on the streets; people who can't afford ID; people who change residences frequently......"

All of which, when you have a herd media that doesn't care about things that actually matter, is, apparently, neither here nor there.

But, one remaining question is why?

Why did we and/or Gordon Campbell need such a law?


The reactionaries and the screamers amongst love to shout stock retorts like:

"To Stop Voter Fraud, You Nincompoops!"

Which, of course, is codswallop.

And Ms Paterson called it out as such last spring:

You could argue that requiring voters to have ID listing their current address is necessary to prevent fraud. But as the (2006-07) Elections B.C. annual report also points out, there's no fraud going on.

The agency combed through the 1.7 million votes cast in the 2005 election and deemed 44 worthy of more investigation.

But all they found when they took a deeper look were confused elderly people, mistakes by Elections B.C. staff and a few folks who were too sick to know they'd made a mistake.

"Elections B.C.'s conclusion is that there was no intention to vote fraudulently," concluded the report......



If fraud was demonstrably not the driver, why did Mr. Campbell do it?


Think about the following for a moment....

What if half of those folks, say 80,000 poor, sick or elderly had voted yesterday?

And if they had, which way do you think they would have swung....

....Dipper or LINO?




Next time out we'll give you another reason 'why'....A reason that it, in my opinion at least, contributed to the overall popular turnout falling to 50%.


Campaign Day T-Minus 1432....They'll Still Have This Dog To Kick Around A Whole Lot More!


Alright you people.

Think of it this way....

What if there was no Tyee?

What if there were no Blogs?

Do you really think the difference would have been only 3.5% percent?

Of course not.


And next time we will be even stronger.

And we will be more organized.

And we will raise money.

And we will win!


Now go read Mr. Willcocks, who came to us.....Yes us!....To announce the posting of his post election column last night during our Live Blog....It's good.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Have Your Say....No Puffed-Up Punditry Allowed!



I've decided to try one of these LiveBlog interactive doo-hickey thingies for tonight's post election coverage....

Feel free to throw in anything you like but just so you know, I'll be mostly watching numbers, so comments on the coverage and/or anything you're seeing/hearing at post-vote shindigs would be most appreciated.

It's really simple, you just give yourself a user name in the text box below and punch stuff in, the great thing is that there is no refreshing and/or re-loading, the software does it for us (Sean Holman used this for the TV debate and it worked well...I'm not entirely sure I'll be as nimble-fingered as he was however).

It's all set up to start at about 7:30pm....Do have to pick up the two E's from dance class and choir, so hopefully I'll be here by then....

(oh, and if somebody from the puffery we like does manage to stop by during a commercial and/or after a pee break we just might let 'em on, but only if they have something useful and non-spinsterish to say.....ha!)

Update 5:00pm: And while he won't be stopping by due to puffed punditry duties of his own on CeebTV, Sean Holman is wishing us luck...Double-secret probation ha! ha!
UppityerUpdate 6:00pm: Just back from the voting booth...Is it my imagination, or are we actually making it harder to cast our ballots?...Off to pick up kids....Correspondents start your engines...Back soon!
Late Night Updateiest.....Thanks All....Best thing I've seen so far, looking forward, is from Paul Willcocks

If you can't see the 'Cover It Live' box on this page, click the link below to get a pop-up.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Day 28 (Late Night).... Final Thoughts Edition....



When you're listening/watching the puffed-up-punditry tomorrow night beginning at 8:01pm Pacific Time precisely (9:01 for you folks in the far east), how will you know what's really going down?

Well, we figure there are three 'groups' of ridings to watch to see which way the wind is blowing....

Group 1: The Hurtland
Most of it is, unfortunately, pretty entrenched....Would love it if one of the PG/Railgate Central ridings went Dipper, but I'd be very surprised if that happened...There are two possible flips though.... One is Kamloops, the old stomping grounds of nouveau James Gang supporter, Rafe Mair, where re-districting on the Northside gives the Dipper, Doug Brown, a chance.... The other, of course, is Kootenay East, where the disaster that has been Bill Bennett's campaign, coupled with the hiving of the yahoo vote by Wilf Hanni, means that Dipper Troy Sebastian has a legitimate shot....

Group 2: The Three Bees And The Farmbelt
This could be the whole ball of wax. There are five ridings which are, according to the well-respected Election Prediction Project, too close to call.... Burnaby Deer Lake/Lougheed/North and the two Deltas.....Really really tough to know which way any of them will go at this point, but even if GordCo were to ultimately prevail it would be sweet, sweet sub-Judas Priest Justice, indeed, if South Delta was snatched away from the affably awful Wally Oppal by Vicki Huntington.

Group 3: CremeVille
Can Dipper McGinn hold Vancouver Fairview from the well-landed, non-resident gentry?....Not sure, but certainly hope so....But the real one to watch is the Grey Poupon Belt out on Lotusland's far western edge where the cutting-out-of-the-heart-of-the-park, foment in the lowlands of Kitsilano, and, perhaps most importantly, the movement of vote-grabbing greeniac Kettlewell out of the riding means that the ol' activist Dipper Mel Lehan just might deliver the ultimate coup de grace to 'The Great (mis)Manager'...

Fingers crossed.....Talk to you all tomorrow night.....

One more final, final, final thought....For the first time ever (I think), Sean Holman/Public Eye has made an electoral endorsement - and on this one (ie. pro-STV) I agree with him and Mr. Willcocks.
Photo at top of post
is the ol' curmudgeon himself (and we mean that in a good way), Rafe Mair, with Ms. James as captured by anti-STV activist Mr. T., Bill Tieleman.


Day 28 (cont'd)...Where Won't Gordon Campbell's Final Grey Poupon Campaign Appearance Be?

Deep Within The Park Whose Heart He Cut Out....

Using Skullduggery....

In Secret....

With Bagman.....


Campaign Day 28 (cont'd)......PreGame Surprise!



Which capo in the employ of the New York money men really did do the dirty work at the end of Game 6 in 1994?

Of course, Jim Robson fingered Mark Messier.

But, especially given the never before noted unreliability of Mr. Robson's calls and the since-developed ability to cut/paste/shape shift with a chunk of code generated by the geniuses mucking about in that bloody Adobe hut out amongst the silicon, we are no longer so sure......


Enjoy the game!
(if you can)


Day 28 (cont'd)....Where Else Won't Gordon Campbell Be Campaigning Today?

....The North Vancouver BC Railyard......

No word yet if the leader of the British Columbia Liberal Party has thrown any more loonies at paramedics as he scurries around Lotusland today trying to keep the rusted-out hull of his government from sinking completely.


Day 28 (cont'd)....Is Mr. Campbell In Trouble Out In The Grey Poupon Belt?


Harvey O' thinks he just might be.


Campaign Day 28 (cont'd)....Deflector Silver Platter Spin Coming?


A little bird has just informed me that Robo-Calls from a noted climatologist and LINO-backer are going out to the voters of Victoria Beacon-Hill today.


Even if you loved the Carbon Tax to death (and/or more), does this make any sense?

I mean do the folks responsible think that this will do anything to dent Ms. James' support in her home riding of Victoria B-Hill?

Of course not.


If the news of these calls were to leak out at about, say, 5:00pm this afternoon after the herd media has already hunkered down to watch the hockey game, what would the Wurlitzer do?

My guess?

It would (will?) run with stories headered by variations on the theme of 'Enviros Still Hate Carole James!' that will ride, en masse, on the back of the easy pickins snippet that both leaders are ending their campaigns in their home ridings this evening?

Am I off my rocker?


But I figure we should know for sure by about the time the first period's over....


Campaign Day 28 (cont'd)....One Place Gordon Campbell Will Not Be Today...

....At The Track With His Former Campaign Manager And Friend.....

Have a tip about where you think Mr. Campbell WON'T be as he frantically cris-crosses Lotusland today trying to avoid paramedics? Let us know, and we'll send out our cracker-jack team of anti-codswallopariansitas to check it out, pronto!


Campaign Day 28 (cont'd)....Can Influence Be Peddled Both Ways?


Laila has the story.

Actually, she's got two stories very much worth reading about....The second is equally disconcerting, especially if it turns out, once again, to have union busting implications.


Day 28 (cont'd)....Where Won't Gordon Campbell Be Campaigning Today?


Rumour has it that Gordon Campbell is spending his last campaign day (literally?) scurrying back and forth across the Lower Mainland trying to hide from paramedics.

And we're sure the Twitterati will keep us informed of his progress with breathtaking inanity worthy of another dozen or so fawning reports from the disgraced CanWest Confetti Factory.

But, you may be asking yourself.......

Where, precisely, WON'T Mr. Campbell be campaigning today?

Well, we've sent our crackerjack team of investigative anti-codswalloparians to roam Lotusland far and wide in an effort to try and find out.

Stay tuned.....


Campaign Day 28.....Boycott Global TeeVee, Bitches






Was away working on weekend not really paying attention.....Our readers, on the previous comment thread, saw this, and more, coming....


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Campaign Day 27 (cont'd)....Gordon Campbell Hides Again...


Last weeked we reported that, despite Codswallopianariastic Corp-Driven Deflector Spin-Stories to the contrary, Mr. Campbell was not actually on his 'All-In-The-Family' campaign bus when it arrived at a campaign rally in Tsawwassen.


Because he came by separate car and snuck in the back door to avoid constituents that had been adversely affected by his policies and who were waiting to say their piece out front.


This weekend he did it again, only in reverse:

Courtenay BC, May 09/09: Liberal Leader Gordon Campbell ducked out the back door of a rally today to avoid a raucous protest by striking paramedics.

Dressed in their high-visibility work jackets, members of the paramedics' union have attended most of Mr. Campbell's rallies throughout the campaign and until recently the Liberal leader diffused the protests by speaking to them directly.

But tensions have escalated since Mr. Campbell tossed one of the protestors a loonie last week in a joke that has gone flat.....


Shades of Michael Jackson and Ralph Klein all rolled into one.

If that's not 'reckless', I don't know what is.

Hey! Wonder if Gordon Campbell v1.3 has any plans to ram through a bill involving legislated/way, way far away 'free-speech zones' if we lose (ie. he wins) on Tuesday?


Campaign Day 27....Fifty-Five Billion And Counting....


Awhile back I was doing some heavy lifting with a couple of regulars down in the forge (ie. the comment threads, where the newly acquired raw material is hammered into shape) and we got to talking about how much Gordon Campbell has cost us so far.

I went out on a limb and suggested that $50 billion might not be unreasonable, thinking that I should go back and add it all up so that I could write a reasonably informed post on the matter.

Of course, as so often happens with these things, I promptly forgot all about it and never got down to brass tacks to do the reserarch.


Late last night, I was combing the blogroll looking for new raw material to hammer into shape when I ran across the following:

".......the NDP could still win the election......

..... The B.C. Rail debt time bomb, the Liberals' $55 billion worth of contracts, the continuing drive to bring in the controversial recognition act, the behind the scenes preparations to cut spending...."

Which is just plain crazy talk, no?

I mean, it was probably written by some crazed socialist hiding out in the bowels of the BC Fed while sucking on red lollipops wrapped in old 'Barrett-Or-Bust' leaflets, right?


Those words were posted up by none other than the Dean himself.

Vaughn Palmer.

The real question, of course, is....If we get four more years of Mr. Campbell, what will the number be in 2013 - $75 Billion?......$90 Billion?.....How about a cool $100 Billion....To put that in perspective, that would be $25,000 for every man, woman and child in British Columbia....Or, put another way....If you are a family of four you could end up paying $100,000 for contracts, many of them to out of province corporations, hedge funds and/or shareholders for no good reason at all.....How's that for 'good management'?


Saturday, May 09, 2009

Campaign Day 26 (late night)....Sometimes It's Hard Not To Wonder If...


...Some Of The Most Rabid Followers Of Mary Polak et al.

"All grew up thinking Frank Burns was the hero of "M*A*S*H."

(including, but not exclusively, the Robert Duvall version)

Tagline from Roy Edroso of Alicublog by way of Chet S. and Cathie From Saskatchewan all talkin' smack about mustard.....


Campaign Day 26 (cont'd)....Pregame Answers To Old Questions...


I have only one thing to say about the way the Canuckleheads played on Thursday in Game 3....

Which is that....That overzealous, fundamentalist, non-pragmatic, old school uber-leftist wing lock sure looked a lot like the kind of crap-hockey we saw at the end of last year (ie. the disaster that was 2007/8) when AV tried to back his way into the play-offs.


If he wants to win tonight, AV better let 'em go so guys like Kesler and Burrows get a chance to do their thing at BOTH ends of the ice, which is how they bashed their way to the top of the Smythe (and/or Northwest, or whatever the heckfire they call it now) division a few weeks ago.



Guess that was two things.


Anyway, before just before Thursday'g game we raised three questions that we failed to answer post-game because of the devastation of the loss.

Thus, we thought we'd re-visit them (the questions I mean)...And answer 2 out of three (which ain't so bad) as Game 4 approaches this evening....

Number 1: Which Original Blue Era Canucklehead was known to wrap his skates with more rolls of tape than your average Egyptian mummy?

Answer: Andy Spruce

Number 2: What, exactly, did Mike Keenan say to Trevor Linden in that dressing room in St. Louis in front of the entire team and the Evil Skelator?

Answer: No idea really, but I've always admired Linden for not fussing about it too much (at least not in public), especially given that it led to his being banished to that parking lot hotel on Long Island.

Number 3: Which former Halloween suit era Canucklehead was separated at birth from former Clash frontman Joe Strummer?

Answer: My second favorite Victoria Cougar of all time.....Curt Fraser

Enjoy the game!
(and here's hoping AV doesn't ruin it for all of us)


Campaign Day 26......Fifty Thousand In Big Corp Media Money Buys No Influence With Gordon Campbell Because....

..."It Just Doesn't Work That Way Charlie"...

The following is directly transcribed from Charlie Smith's recent interview with BC Liberal Party Leader Gordon Campbell:

C. Smith:
CanWest contributed fifty thousand dollars to the BC Liberal Party in 2005...

Off-Camera Media Minder (Female Voice) cuts in: I'm sorry, but I'm going to interrupt for a sec, because I asked you guys to send some topics....

C. Smith: This is about 'small business'...

Media Minder: Now I know.....I know....But you did say that you were going to concentrate on a number of different areas which...

C. Smith (to Minder): I am.....I am going to get to the Cambie Merchants....

Media Minder: I know....but I do feel.....

C. Smith (to Minder): And I'm going to get to...

Media Monitor: Charlie!....I just wanna say that I feel a little sandbagged here because that's not what we came here to talk to you guys about ....The Premier's happy to answer any questions, but.....

(here Mr. Campbell sits, mostly stonefaced, twiddling thumbs,
apparently unready and/or unable to speak for himself until the minder has reigned the interviewer in).

C. Smith (to Minder): I'm asking about big business and small business....If he doesn't want to answer it's his prerogative....

Media Monitor: He will answer any question....I'm....I'm talking to you about what WE agreed to...

C. Smith: OK....My question...Is....CanWest contributed $50,000 to the BC Liberal Party in 2005....What would you say to someone who wonders if the government has directed government advertising to CanWest in return for political contributions?

G. Campbell: Charlie, it just doesn't work that way..... I think that the fact of the matter is that we have two major daily newspapers....we have advertising firms that come and lay out programs for the Public Affairs Bureau, and they actually send those those ads in the paper...So for people to think that I'm actually placing ads in the newspapers (incredulous tone)...I mean, I've got some actually pretty important stuff to do (derisive tone, shakes head, smirks).... I'm not saying that public affairs isn't important, but that's something that's been under Colin Hansen for a number of years...or....the Minister of Finance for a number of years now....uhh...I'm not aware of any change in policy....


That sure is some codswallop Mr. Campbell and his media minding minion are flinging.

And three cheers for Charlie Smith of the Georgia Straight for calling them on it.

We very much recommend you watch the entire video of the interview....The image at top of post is a still shot from it of Mr. Campbell twiddling his thumbs during the MediaMinder's interruption of Mr. Smith....


Friday, May 08, 2009

The Needle And The Damage Done.....And To Heck With All That

"People are going to have to stop taking this health bull and go back to being chubby and having fun."
Canadian BigTub O' Goo
And Phillies Outfielder, Matt Stairs
Talking About The Only Real Way To End Baseball's Steroid Era


Campaign Day 25 (cont'd)....Did Gordon Campbell Say That He/We Will Now...

....Pay Private CN Rail To Do What The Previously Public BC Rail Used To?

Why yes, I believe he did.

Ian Bailey on the G&M E-Blog has the story:

QUESNEL - Liberal Leader Gordon Campbell stepped up the campaign rhetoric today, spotlighting the NDP's forestry critic for reported comments that Americans are entitled to $500-million in damages because BC companies are manipulating stumpage.

Mr. Campbell's comments, in a rally for Cariboo North Liberal Bruce Ernst, were also notable for a rare twist - a new campaign promise.

Mr. Campbell said a re-elected Liberal government would build on a three-year $9-million program to build fencing for ranchers focused on protecting livestock along B.C. highways and railway corridors.......


Does that mean Mr. Campbell just gave CN Rail even more our treasure (ie. maybe half of that $9 million) to do something BC Rail used to do as a matter of course?

Gosh, I thought when we gave away our railway it became the private corporation's responsbility to be, well, you know, responsible.

All of which is weird because it is almost as if Mr. Campbell is trying to buy both his constituents' and his corporations' votes.

Which is even weirded because I didn't know that private corporations could actually vote.


It turns out that this fencing issue is something that has been bugging folks that live and work along the privatized BC Rail line for some time.

And NDP MLA Charlie Wyse, sensibly I think, wants to make CN Rail pay.

Can't help but wonder if the Vancouver Sun feels that Mr. Wyse's position on corporate responsibility is economically 'irresponsible'?

After all, based on the VSun's editorial endorsement of Mr. Campbell earlier today, it wouldn't be unreasonable to suggest that the Editors' would likely conclude that it is irresponsible to do something that is in the public/not-corporate interest that might, even for a nanosecond, keep the trains from running on time.

Or some such thing.


No word yet if any non-lobbying 'consultants'
were used to broker Mr. Campbell's sweetheart deal with the RailCo's.
Image at top of post from the magnificent 'Traingeek' site.