Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Has Donald S. Cherry Finally Met His Match In The Form Of A Fine Fellow Named...

...Donald S. Cherry?

Just in case you missed it, either because you avoid his rantings at all cost, or because your ossicles reflexively fuse into a molten mass of middle ear sound sludge everytime he comes on the TeeVee, last weekend Don Cherry started spouting off about how women reporters have no place in NHL locker rooms.

Or some such Duncan Hinesian/Keith upside-down-tempest-in-a-tea-cake-dome-type thing.


It turns out that...


I'll just let former sportswriter Robin Herman explain, as she did recently in a 'letter' to Mr. Chery published by ESPN:

Dear Don,

Hi! Remember me? It's Robin, the young woman who used to cover the NHL for The New York Times back in the day.

I haven't seen you in person since the late 1970s, but I caught your remarks on "Hockey Night in Canada" from this past Saturday as they went viral. You were all out of sorts about women reporters in the locker room. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Don't you remember? I guess you don't.

I'd gotten a lot of publicity for breaking "the locker room barrier" at the 1975 All-Star Game in Montreal, but that was a one-off. You were the first coach in the NHL to allow me, a female, accredited sports reporter and member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, into your locker room as a matter of policy. You were coaching the "Big Bad Bruins," and it was ironic that a team with that reputation should be the most forward-thinking in the NHL. Your PR man par excellence, Nate Greenberg, had persuaded you this was the way to go. I was The New York Times' reporter on the NHL beat, after all, and Nate knew his job was to get great coverage of the Bruins. He -- and you -- were gentlemen. And GM Harry Sinden, as gruff and penny-pinching as he was, also had a heart of gold and a sense of what was right. The times they were a-changin' then, and the Bruins organization was smart enough to realize it. You should be proud of what you did...

{snippety doo-dah}

...After the Bruins, other teams started opening their locker room doors. I remember when then-Atlanta Flames GM Cliff Fletcher fell for my gambit when I asked if the players put it to a vote and were OK with it, would he give me access? I pretty much had a straw count ahead of time thanks to player rep Curt Bennett, a friend. Bennett made the case to his teammates in a closed locker room meeting and came out with a thumbs-up. He told me some of the players were not totally comfortable with the idea, but they thought it was the right thing to do...

{snippety doodle-dandy}

...By the time I left The New York Times' sports department in 1978, all but four teams in the NHL were allowing female reporters into locker rooms for postgame interviews. Shortly after that, open doors and equitable treatment of female reporters became league policy. The NHL was, in spite of itself, a leader in social change. And I was glad to see the NHL on Monday promptly reaffirm its open-access policy that has existed now for so many decades.

Remember, Don?

OK, I guess a lot of time has passed since then, and maybe you've forgotten the details. But I certainly wouldn't forget the first coach and team to give equal access to a female member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. Don, you were my hero.

Best regards,



It's old man misogynist/misanthropic Don against the younger/ hipper 'just-after-Bobby' man Don....

In a Battle Royal to the rhetorical death.

And/or a Rock 'em Sock 'em Robotic punch up without pillowcases or pudding.

Who will prevail?

Who will wear an uglier suit?

Who cares!

And, just in case you really missed it, Robert Gordon was not always Number 4....


Are The BC Liberals So Desperate That They Don't Even Care About...

...The Potential For A Boomerang Smear?


Update: There is more on this story from Charlie Smith in the GStraight....Note the comments to the story...Looks to me like there is some real attack mode wurlitzering going on here at all levels

Personally, I find it incredible that the BC Liberal Party and it's surrogates, including a young woman who has a blog-site devoted to demonstrating how difficult it is for members of her gender to make a go of it in politics as well as the former spouse of the current premier, have decided to go after Dipper candidate Jane Shin over her academic credentials.



Firstly, there is the matter that a lot of what the BC Liberal Party is using as a full on smear was written by someone other than Ms. Shin.

Secondly, it would appear that Ms. Shin spent some time at institutions that she did not receive a degree from, at least according to a piece by Wanda Chow in The Burnaby NewsLeader, a piece that was written in response to the smear:

...Shin has a medical degree and teaches at Vancouver Community College, the West Coast College of Massage Therapy in New Westminster and until last year, B.C. Institute of Technology.

Until recently, her biographical information found online did not list where she completed her medical degree but it now states she graduated in 2007 from the Spartan Health Sciences University in St. Lucia in the Caribbean.

A BC Liberal press release notes that the school's graduates are prohibited from being licensed to practice medicine in the U.S. states of California, Kansas, Texas, North Dakota and Indiana, and in the U.K. for those who began their studies before Dec. 31, 2008.

The Liberals also claim a Korean Times article stated she graduated from medical school at the University of British Columbia while a Korean language interview with blogger jonleeblog.blogspot.ca has Shin claiming to have attended the University of Florida. Her BCIT biography also previously stated she studied at Oxford University.

Shin was born in South Korea and immigrated to Canada when she was 11. Her current biography on her campaign website states, "She trained at University of Edinburgh in Scotland, Dalhousie University in Halifax, and John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital in United States, as part of her comprehensive medical education."

In an interview last October when Shin won the NDP nomination for Burnaby-Lougheed, she was clear that she is not a practising physician and that she decided to attend medical school after contracting a serious illness when she was 16.

But during her medical training she fell out of love of practising medicine when she found her interactions with patients limited to only about five minutes each. She turned her attention to academic medicine when she completed her training.

The NDP campaign said in an emailed statement: "Jane Shin completed her Doctor of Medicine at Spartan Health Sciences University, an institution recognized by the Medical Council of Canada. She completed her clinical rotations, almost entirely with honors, at a variety of hospitals in the United Kingdom and in Chicago. Following completion of her Doctor of Medicine degree, she moved to Vancouver, where she has served as a respected instructor at Vancouver Community College and BCIT."...

Here's the thing.

Lot's of folks attempt to put a shine on their CV by listing places they've stopped off in their academic travels, especially when those places are more notable than the place they graduated from.

Case in point...

For sometime now, from her run at the BC Liberal leadership right through to her attempt to kinda/sorta compare herself to the just departed Margaret Thatcher a few days ago, the current Premier, Ms. Christy Clark, has been very quick to tell anyone willing to listen that she studied at the Sorbonne and in Edinburgh as well as SFU.

But there is one thing missing from Ms. Clark's CV that was never, to the best of my knowledge ever willingly noted by Ms. Clark and/or her surrogates.

Which is the fact that Ms. Clark did not graduate from any of those post-secondary institutions.

Or any other post-secondary institution for that matter.

All of which makes one wonder if the people linked to above, as well as the Wizards currently running the BC Liberal Party, have stricken the word 'hypocrisy' from their dictionaries and/or their Google search-term bars.


And, if it did turn out that some some mythical candidate, somewhere did not graduate from any of the schools that he or she claimed to have 'attended'?....Well....Would that not mean that that said mythical candidate would have, essentially, done the same thing that the current Premier and leader of the BC Liberal Party has been doing for  more than two years now?...Again, I mention this only to demonstrate the hypocrisy at play here, because at this time I have seen no evidence whatsoever to indicate that Ms. Shin did not graduate with a degree from the institution mentioned in the Burnaby NewsLeader piece cited above...OK?


BC Election Riding Watch...Abbotsford South Edition



The (so-called) debates are done.

And the pundits are passing out scorecards like candy while they pretty much ignore the substance of the things.

But enough of all that for the moment....

Because it is now only two weeks until decision day which means that the time has come to start focusing on the local ground games.

After all, in some places at least, the dynamics of what's going down in the ridings themselves still matter.

And no riding demonstrates that Tip O'Neillism more clearly than Abbotsford South, I reckon.

Interestingly, the Cummins Cons have cleared the far right-sided decks for longtime MLA, but first time independent, John van Dongen.


What does Rich Coleman's man in Abbotsford South, the guy who was anointed by the BC Liberals as they were simultaneously suckering and dropping Moe Gill into the river through the secret trap-door in the floor of the local Cactus Club, Mr. Darryl Plecas have to say about all that?

Well, Christina Toth, in the Abbotsford Times, has that story:

...B.C. Liberal candidate Darryl Plecas derided the B.C. Conservatives' generosity, labeling them as an extreme right-wing group that has been plagued by problems since they were formed.

"They have positions that tend to be exclusive. I don't put any value on the B.C. Conservatives because I don't see them representing conservative values in Abbotsford South very well," he said Monday.

"They've demonstrated they don't get along with anybody. It's a collection of disgruntled people."

Plecas added he was disappointed the Conservatives would undermine the Liberals' chances this way, "knowing how important it is to keep a free enterprise party" in power and to keep the New Democrats from forming government...


As much as I disgree with just about everything Mr. Cummins and Co. stand for, I had no idea that it was there duty to elect Darryl Plecas.


The upshot is that, even if Plecas and van Dongen split a lot of soft centrist votes, I think it will be hard for Dipper Lukvinder Jhaj to come up the middle given that she is the new to the riding and, while she did OK in as a candidate 2009 in Boundary Similkameen, back then there was some real splitting going down between the Con and since dumped 'n smeared BCLib John Slater in that riding.

So, we'll have to see some real hard numbers to know for sure, but I think that van Dongen has a decent chance here of helping to make that independent caucus happen when next the legislature sits.

Just a note on the ground game in Upper West Cremeville....Couldn't help but notice on my ride in this morning that it appears realtor Faith Wilson is now leading Ms. Clark in the 'Game of Signs'...As noted previously, while Peter Ladner apparently doesn't know it,  Mr. Eby is still very much the front-runner out there.


About Those Post-Debate 'Flash Polls' From Ipsos-Reid...


I really do wonder about them.

After all, does how you reacted in the moment matter all that much after you subsequently think, dig and reflect?

I know that I put a lot of emphasis on the latter trinity, but I suppose that's not for everyone.

At least if you're not talking about, say, sports.

Anyway, even setting all that aside, and taking into account the reasonable argument made by Tom Hawthorn, which is that these flash polls are interesting because they provide a snap-shot of public opinion before the spin machines go to work, I think that this evening's data from Ipsos-Reid pretty clearly demonstrate just how important the wording of any poll question is.

Because the numbers, handed out early by I-Reid's Kyle Braid,  had Mr. Dix 'winning' and 'most believable' but had Ms. Clark 'best speaker' and 'most premier-like'.

Isn't that dichotomy just a little bizarre?


Monday, April 29, 2013

Debate Tweet Of The Night...


....Comes from the ultimate freelancer, Mr. Tom Hawthorn:

Which, of course, is quite literally true, particularly if it were legalized and regulated.

And it would start growing said economy much sooner than would the development of LNG's cloning of the trillion dollar Sparkle-Pony farms.

But, more seriously on this issue (particularly given that removing the prohibition would likely decrease gang activity driven by it substantially)....

Was not Ms. Clark's derision of  Mr. Dix for giving a straightforward, explicit answer, before dodging then completely avoiding the question herself, just another example of her own....

Pattern of behaviour?

Second place goes to....Sparky Dangerbox.


TeeVee Debate Preview....How To Watch For Ms. Clark's 'Real' Pattern(s) Of Behaviour.


During last Friday's radio debate Ms. Clark and her handlers clearly wanted to try and establish, in the minds of low information voters at least, that Adrian Dix engages in a pattern of behaviour wherein he hides things from the public.

As a result, she ultimately chose to focus on the since since thoroughly debunked matter of Mr. Dix having made his decision on the Kinder Morgan switcheroo back in January.

In addition, for the last month or so, there has been a constant flinging of the propaganda from Ms. Clark and friends that Mr. Dix and the Dippers are hiding things in their platform, especially financial things.

Which us brings us to Ms. Clark's own financial 'things'.

And no, I'm not even talking about her serial obfuscations regarding how everyone should just shut the heck up and look up how Moody's 'approved' her faux budget.

Instead, I'm talking about the asset sales that that are supposed to fix everything by raising hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars over the next two years.


Let's just ignore, for the moment, how unlikely it is that even a billion dollars in public asset liquidation will fix things for a regime documented debt growth in the last two years was actually eleven billion dollars.

Instead, let's just focus on the assets to be sold so that we can decide, for ourselves (i.e. before we cast our vote as fully informed citizens) if they are worth, say, anywhere near even $500 million.

Hang on a second while I head over to gov.bc.ca to find a complete list of those assets....


..............still searching....

.......................maybe if I look behind this digital curtain....

.................................Gosh!....Maybe Mike de Jong has them hidden under his couch cushions....



Can't seem to find 'em.

Maybe there's something in the public prints?

Shall we have a look at this article, from James Keller of the Canadian Press, published earlier today?

...James Brander, an economist with the University of British Columbia, said there is some merit to the NDP’s criticisms (of the asset sales). He said it’s generally considered bad policy to sell assets to fund government operations.

“Should asset sales be used to finance the operation of government?” said Brander, who teaches at the university’s Sauder School of Business.

“Most economists, including me, would say that’s not a good idea. An asset can be only be sold once, and if we’re selling assets to fund operating expenditures, expenses that we’re going to have every year, that’s a big mistake.”

The Liberals have argued the asset sale plan is a one-time measure to keep the budget balanced until the economy improves. Brander said that’s a valid argument, but only if the Liberals can really balance the budget in two years once the asset sales stop.

“It’s not a crazy argument — if it’s true,” he said. “The question is: Do you believe it? It’s really an issue of credibility.”

As for the value of the assets, it’s difficult to assess the accuracy of the Liberals’ numbers, because they have not released a full list of the assets they might unload...


Once again, Ms. Clark demonstrates that her real pattern of behaviour to just 'say anything' while doing exactly the opposite.

Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly clear that she has a penchant for projecting her own behaviour upon others whenever and wherever possible - which is what I'll be watching for this evening.

(well, that and how Ms. Clark will respond this time if her indefensible killing of the Therapeutics Initiative is raised again as it was by Bill Good on Friday - which I reckon just might be the case given Mr. Dix's presser this morning)


Speaking of patterns of behaviour and all that...I agree with Ian Reid that one of the really disturbing things about Ms. Clark's latenight/early morning driving choices was the way she couldn't keep herself from taking the bait and grandstanding when challenged, regardless where the challenge was coming from or what the potential consequences might be of taking said bait (and I'm not just talking about the potential 'traffic' consequences here)....Interestingly, that type of rising to the bait of a challenge and grandstanding also occurred, repeatedly, during Ms. Clark's 'pre-Drex' appearance with the shock jocks at CFOX last fall wherein she joked that:  1) Jeff O'Neill might have a gun pointed at his head; 2) she liked to drive around and listen to Mr. Skin and thus would be receptive to receiving to 'lifetime password' for ease of access to all of his adventures; and 3) she didn't call for a sitting of the legislature last fall because she got tired of seeing her fellow caucus members in the nude...So...Should we be asking ourselves if this pattern of impulsive adolescent one-upmanship, which based on recent events appears to be both a pattern and entirely self-focussed, also occurs at the caucus, cabinet or national first ministers' tables?


Hey PavCo!....What's The (New) Deal With Paragon?


On the weekend we noted that, according to both PavCo chair (and BC Liberal Party candidate) Mr. Peter Fassbender as well as BC Liberal Party Premier Ms. Christy Clark, there is, apparently, a 'pre-condition' in the new lease agreement with Paragon Gaming Inc. that will allow them to build a Casino next to BC Place Stadium.

We also noted that there was also a 'pre-condition' of a sort for the original agreement (you know, the one the people of Vancouver killed) between PavCo and the fine folks from Las Vegas with the BC Liberal Party connections. 


Given all that, we figured we should head on over to PavCo and have a read of the actual agreement to see what we are really on the hook for.

So we did....

And what did we find?


Like Bob Mackin before us....



And why is it important that we, the people of British Columbia, should see any and ALL agreements made between our fair province and the people of Paragon?....Well, turns out that they sometimes have a little trouble fulfilling their agreements with other provincial governments....Just sayin'...
Oh, and just in case you were wondering why you are not hearing, seeing or reading about this story....Well...Essentially....Ummmmm....The proMedia is still not covering it...


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Casinos Gone Wild....The Final Shakedown?



In case you missed it amongst all the meaningless 'pattern of behaviour' codswallop being promulgated in the public prints over last few days, BC Liberal Party candidate and current chair of PavCo, Mr. Peter Fassbender, made an announcement recently that could change the face of downtown Vancouver forever.

Or 99 years, whichever comes first.

Because, despite widespread civic opposition to their previous proposal, the BC Liberals have suddenly, in the last dying days of their current government, granted the very fine folks from Las Vegas (a.k.a. Paragon Gaming) a longterm lease to build a casino on the lands adjoining BC Place.

Of course, as you might expect given how the Dippers tried put the brakes on things last week, there is an assumed 'pre-condition' to the deal according to CBC News:

...Fassbender said the deal was made under the assumption that once the hotel and casino is built, the stadium would be there, too.

"Any agreement that they make would bind any future owner of the facility," said Fassbender, who is also running for the B.C. Liberals in Surrey.

On Thursday, B.C. Liberal Leader Christy Clark wondered aloud if the NDP’s proposal to sell BC Place would cause uncertainty and delays in the casino deal.

"Any proposed sale will spend years in court," Clark said...


What an interesting thing for the Premier to say.

Especially because we seem to remember that there was a 'pre-condition' on the deal the first time around, also.

One that BC Liberal Party insider and Paragon principal Mr. T. Richard Turner announced when he called up the then BC Liberal Liberal Party minister responsible and made it pretty darned clear that if we, the people of British Columbia, did not pony up the cash for the magic carpet atop BC Place that the deal was off.

Here's how I called it back at the time in the spring of 2010:

After having their gong banged by independent Sean Holman for 36 hours straight on the story of longterm Campbell government appointee T. Richard Turner's involvement in the Casino Industrial Complex that is now tied to the Retractable Roof on BC Place, the Vancouver Sun finally has a piece of their own up under Jonathan Fowlie's byline.

In my opinion Fowlie's piece is a weak effort and provides little that is new that Mr. Holman has not already brought to light.

However, there is one interesting bit that is based on a quote that Mr. Fowlie managed to get from the good Mr. Turner, who also happens to have a financial interest in the Las Vegas concern, Paragon Gaming Inc., that 'won' the bid to build the Casino:

...I didn't try to influence any decision," said Turner, adding he made the call after Paragon had been picked for the project.

"What I recall saying is . . . if the roof doesn't go ahead, that's fine, but we can't build what we said we'd build in the bid because we're counting on synergies between BC Place as renovated and the new development," he added, recalling the conversation with (Kevin) Krueger, the minister responsible for BC Place.

"If you cannot proceed with the roof, no problem, but we'll have to downsize what we said we would do in the bid package," Turner added, recalling what he told Krueger during the phone conversation...

Why interesting?

Well, because yesterday the Campbell government Minister responsible, Kevin Krueger said something very, very, very different indeed:

...In Krueger's recollection, Turner had characterized the issue as a "deal breaker."

"He wanted to make me aware that was the fundamental consideration to Paragon and that their bid wouldn't proceed at the same level if it wasn't a retractable roof," Krueger said Thursday...

In other words, according to Mr. Krueger, Mr. Turner essentially told him "no roof, no dice".


Essentially, we have a Premier whose grift-laden governmen is ramming one last deal through at the last second for a party crony without public input after the public has already rejected said crony's previous proposal.

And she is wondering aloud if the NDP's attempts to put the brakes on the thing, by calling for a review that could lead to divesture of a massive public money sink, will lead to 'uncertainty' for the crony.

And that is a bad thing?

All of which has me wondering if....

George Bailey walked in today....

Would Ms. Clark blame him for saving his brother's life, keeping Mr. Gower out of jail, and thwarting Mr. Potter's endless pre-conditional attempts to turn Bedford Falls into one big family friendly den of iniquity whose citizenry owns nothing and is forever locked into a life of indentured servitude?

And would the media in this town then go after Mr. Bailey relentlessly because he once unwittingly took a cigar from Mr. Potter just before he turned down his offer to make him a full-fledged crony too?


Now, leaving aside this update of the plot of what is, apparently,  Ms. Clark's favourite movie for the moment....

This latest shakedown of the people of British Columbia was announced last Thursday.

And since then there has been nary a peep out of the rest of the proMedia on the matter?

Quel surprise.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Offer Me Solutions, Offer Me Alternatives...


There's a new market emerging, fast, in the United States.

And it is centered on the production and selling of bulletproof vests and, yes, backpacks for school kids.

Dan Roberts had the story yesterday, in The Guardian. Here is his lede:

The pink bulletproof rucksack that 5-year-old Jaliyah wears to school every day reaches almost down to her knees and weighs 3lbs even when empty, but for her Colorado father, the size and solidity are part of the attraction.
"If you put it on her back, it almost covers her whole body," explains Demitric Boykin. "It was a very hard conversation to have but she knows that it's something that will keep her safe."
Lined with ballistic material that can stop a 9mm bullet travelling at 400 metres per second, the backpack is only one of a clutch of new products making their way into US schools in the wake of Newtown school massacre. As gun control legislation grinds to halt in Washington, a growing number of parents and teachers are taking matters into their own hands.
The Denver company that supplied Jaliyah's rucksack, Elite Sterling Security, has sold over 300 in the last two months and received inquiries from some 2,000 families across the US. It is also in discussion with more than a dozen schools in Colorado about equipping them with ballistic safety vests, a scaled-down version of military uniforms designed to hang in classroom cupboards for children to wear in an emergency....

And you know what's most scary about all of this?

Many of the parents and educators that Mr. Roberts quotes in his story feel that this kind of thing is a completely reasonable price to pay for a free-wheeling, unfettered 2nd amendment that is completely unshackled from the 'well-regulated militia' qualifier.

Don't know about you, but this is a solution/alternative that I most definitely decline.

Because it really does signal the end of the world as we know it.

And I, for one, do not feel fine.


And here's one where the kids, as they should, do (feel fine I mean)...
Going for a bike ride in the rain with my own kid this afternoon....Maybe we'll take some pictures of us getting closer to fine (and/or falling blossoms)...We will not be running any red lights, however...


Friday, April 26, 2013

There Oughta Be An Entry In The Hall Of Fame Registry For This Long Gun.


Have I ever mentioned the fact that John K. Samson is a genius?

Interestingly, of late Mr. Samson has been championing the greatest wearer of the white skates of all time...

The Riverton Rifle, Reggie Leach.

I wrote about the young Mr. Leach and his white skates....Here.
Mr. Samson's song for Reggie, which was 'written in the form of an online petition', is....Here.
And, below is me doing a very bad impersonation of my favourite John K Samson song, recorded at one of the Whackadoodle's favourite beaches (thus the background sounds), which is just about as far away from Winnipeg as you can get and still be in Canada...

And just in case anyone wants to have another listen...All the recent songifying 'n stuff can be found in one place....Here.


Why Isn't The Media's Story Regarding The 'Timing' Of Adrian Dix' Decision On Kinder Morgan About...

...How Both Christy Clark And Michael Smyth Got It Wrong?

As was made clear, on the Twittmachine by the proMedia member who wrote the original story, the Globe's Justine Hunter (after a first assist from Lindsay Kines of the VTC)...


Here are links one and two to the conversations pasted in above...
And kudos, I guess, to Mr. Smyth actually copping to being wrong after he was called out on his lack of reading comprehension skills a second time...As for Ms. Clark?...Well...You know...


A Question That Did Not Come Up In The Radio Debate...


Is one that Bob Mackin tried to ask Ms. Clark in the post-debate presser.

Unfortunately Mr. Mackin was (surprise!) ignored by press-sec Ben Chin.

Something could really be happening here, me thinks.

And, if it is, it looks to be hidden deep underground in an effort to make it possible to push it through at the last second just before the election.

So, with that in mind, I wonder if...

1) This is the real reason for the Dippers' announcement this week to review and consider the privatization of PAVCO assets.

2) This will soon turn the ground under the serial obfuscator's feet to quicksand?

Regarding the ignoring of Mr. Mackin's raised hand by the good Mr. Chin....Shades of Helen Thomas?


The Super-Secret Standing Eight-Count In The Radio Debate?...It Was Caused By A Roundhouse Right On The Killing Of The Therapeutics Initiative.


First, I must fully credit Bill Good on this one.

Because he wheeled and, out of nowhere,  threw a haymaker by asking Christy Clark why she killed the Therapeutics Initiative.

As Ms. Clark knees began to buckle she offered up a very weak right jab about how she was respecting the wishes of the 'private sector'.

This only made things worse because...

Mr. Good immediately came in close and let an uppercut fly....'But who benefits?' he asked (from Ms. Clark's killing of the initiative).

In response to this Jane Sterk jumped into the ring, took the tag and dropped a pile driver.... 'She just said it!' Ms. Sterk quipped....Sterk then turned to the crowd and let them know that it is Big Pharma who benefits...Finally, as she ducked back through the ropes on her way back out of the ring Ms. Sterk  explained why (i.e. removal of independent review to give Big Pharma shillophants a free rein) and how the killing of the initiative is a betrayal to all British Columbians.

Adrian Dix then administered the coup de grace when he said that the TI saves taxpayer money as well as lives...Dix then clearly stated (as Mr. Good had already inferred) that he and his government would resurrect the initiative and increase its funding.

Can't quite remember what the killing of the Therapeutics Initiative is all about and why it matters?....See this.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

My Evening Ride.


C. had the car last night (we're down to one!), so I decided to ride over to the Geezerian jam band space  with guitar and various assorted sundries in tow.

And even though I was a little behind schedule I just had to stop and snap this image.

It's Dumphries, just east of Knight looking north from 31st.

Amazing, no?

And speaking of amazing....I normally play my statocraptor copy with the geezers which I actually like because it's so trebly and the lead guy plays a heavy Les Paul....But last night my friend let me play an old real thing Telly mostly because, well....You know.
Anyway,  sure hope C. doesn't get too upset about the fact that, I think, we may soon have (yet) another guitar in the house...


The Lotuslandian Bloggodome: By George, I Think Norm's Got It.


In my opinion Norman Farrell is one of the best, if not the best, of all the local Lotuslandian bloggers.

For all kinds of reasons, including the fact that he is both fair and fearless.

Norm also knows how to muck about in public databases to find the true nuggets that are strewn about there.

And, perhaps most importantly, like Hunter Thompson before him as well as his contemporary Ms. Yuile,  Mr. Farrell has a gimmick.

Which is that he knows how to write.


Anyway, I wrote this post so I could tell you that Norm's got an idea.

And it's a good one, I think...

...A number of bloggers plan a blog aggregation website featuring regular commentary about many issues important to British Columbia. Writers will maintain independent sites but there will be a single internet entry for readers to review abstracts, then make a choice to be linked, or not, to originating blogs for the complete articles.

In addition, original and cooperative publishing will occur as the effort evolves. We will promote vigorous exchanges but feature wise, witty and mannerly discussions. At least, most of the time.

We also intend to provide research assistance and training resources to encourage and improve independent journalism. Another goal is to help beginners start in the world of blogging.

To achieve this goal and ensure the website remains free of advertising or commercial sponsors, we must address start-up costs that include programming and internet hosting and communication services. That’s how readers can help. A number have already contributed but without further assistance, we cannot develop a product as fine as it can be.

Additionally, if you can volunteer technical or professional services to assist in the start up, send me an email and explain what those could be. We'll be looking for a graphic artists, web designers and a lawyer with media experience...

Don't know about you but I'm in.

So, head over to Norm's and check out what he's planning.


By the way...I actually consider Mr. Thompson to be the first true blogger...And I'm not kidding.
Speaking of folks who have demonstrated that it really and truly is possible to 'Be The Media'....Sean Holman's new documentary on the problems with the party system in provincial politics is being screened tonight on the UBC campus (Buchanan A-103 @ 7pm)....Trailer is here.... Details of other local showings in Victoria and Vancouver over the next few days are....Here.


The BC Liberal Party's Killing Of The Therapeutics Initiative...

...Is There A Deflector Spike Spin Strategy Afoot?

Yesterday's post detailed how the BC Liberal Government of Gordon Campbell AND Christy Clark conspired to first mortally wound and then kill the Therapeutics Initiative.

And we also noted that Adrian Dix announced on Tuesday that, if elected, his government will resurrect the TI and double it's budget...


In case you missed it the 'TI' is a homegrown initiative that saves both lives and millions of tax dollars by analyzing published, peer-reviewed publications critically and then deciding which prescription medicines actually work best (i.e. they rely on actual data rather than drug company advertising).

In other words, if you truly have the interests of the citizens of British Columbia at heart, keeping the Therapeutics Initiative alive is a no brainer.

And if you have someone else's interests at heart?




With all that in mind, isn't it most interesting that the Fraser Institute today announced the release another 'report', this one focussed on (surprise!), how long it takes to approve prescription drugs in Canada:

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - April 25, 2013) - It takes Health Canada nearly a year to grant marketing approval to prescription drugs while new medicines are often approved faster in Europe and the United States, according to a new report from the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

Federal Delays in Approving New Medicines calculates that Health Canada took a median of 355 days to issue a Notice of Compliance certifying new patented medicines as safe and effective in 2011.

"These new drugs have already passed extensive clinical trials in accordance with international safety standards, and are reviewed by European and American agencies for safety and efficacy. But Health Canada holds them in bureaucratic limbo, often for more than a year," said Nadeem Esmail, Fraser Institute director of health policy studies and co-author of the report.

"This raises important questions about whether the drug evaluation system in this country is beneficial or detrimental to Canadians."...


It's not what is actually in this report that bugs me.

Because we who have been paying attention expect this kind of 'get rid of all the regulations/precautionary principles' stuff from the Fraser Institute.

Instead, what really bugs me here is the timing.

Because how many average folks out there are going to think critically when they hear/read/see the two opposing soundbite versions of this story (Dippers want to hold up drug adoption vs. Free Enterprisers want to speed drug approval).

You see where I'm coming from with the header to this post now?

And do not be fooled, Big Pharma  advertising is not aimed just at patients/consumers on the TeeVee, it is also aimed at physicians writing scripts in their offices...
And, like the citizens of British Columbia, Big Pharma has interests that can be taken to heart too....It's just that those interests are not necessarily the same, right?
Norm Farrell has more, including information from Ben Goldacre who writes regularly on this issue more generally in The Guardian.


Sunday Song For Santa Rosa Jon.


Last week I posted up an old Woody Guthrie song in response to the news of modern day copper-boss-thugs in velvet gloves running wild in Canada's financial and, it turns out, media systems.


Here's the thing...

As the week progressed it (once again) became apparent that the bosses behind the thugs can be forced to back down and when people get organized.

Because a people organized scares the bejeebuz out of the bosses who pay the thugs and shills and sycophants.

Which is why said bosses will do just about anything to stop them from doing so.

From organizing, I mean.



The past few days of folks getting organized to boycott RBC in the wake of its egregious attemps to put unorganized people out of work got me to thinking of another song.

A song is much newer than Woody's.

But the story it is based on is an old one.

And the hard nut of that story, in the form of the following quote, came our way via a comment from our friend Santa Rosa Jon.

"In one year when I was at US Steel I think six or seven people got killed on the job. I mean in my one location. It used to be that you at least made decent money doing dangerous work. Nowadays they expect you to die for chump change. When my grandfather was an iron worker in New York unemployed iron workers would hang out at job sites and wait for someone to fall to his death. Welcome to the good old days."

It was then wordsmithed to heckfire and back by Mr. Beer 'N Hockey.

I just stuck a wee bit of melody over top it not long ago.

This is a new version...

(There are a couple of bonus tracks in there also, actually recorded on Saturday,  for E. and anyone else who wants to keep listening...)

Footnotes on the RBC In 'N Outsourcing....
Original CBC story by Kathy Tomlinson.
Norm Farrell's call for a boycott.
Sooey's scathing take done while shaking, literally.
Alison's posts on the boycott (so far)...Part 1...Part 2...Part 3...Part 4.
OwenGray's post-organizing post on how this may be the start of the big change.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Nevermind The Stunt-O-Meters...The Therapeutics Initiative Is An Issue That Matters.


One of my favourite editorials ever was written about something homegrown called the 'Therapeutics Initiative'.

It was in the VTColonist in 2010 and it detailed why Gordon Campbell's decision to start cutting off the TI's oxygen was sheer lunacy

Here is the lede from that edit (which I've linked backed to at my place because it is no longer freely available on the VTC site):

The last act in a nasty vendetta has finally played out. Premier Gordon Campbell's government has decided to kill B.C.'s only independent drug review agency. And not just kill it, but bury it in an unmarked grave.

The agency involved is called the Therapeutics Initiative. Based at the University of British Columbia, it evaluates new drugs that come on the market.

The Therapeutics Initiative saves taxpayers $50 million annually by finding cheaper alternatives. Largely thanks to its efforts, B.C. has the lowest drug costs in the country, despite offering some of the best coverage.

Moreover, the Therapeutics Initiative runs on a shoestring budget. The agency gets $1 million a year. That means it generates a 50 to one return on investment.

Finally, its researchers have been credited with saving 500 lives by issuing timely warnings about suspect medications. When the new anti-inflammatory product Vioxx came out, the agency discovered a link with increased heart attack rates. As a result, although Vioxx was approved across most of North America, it was kept off the shelves in B.C......


Why am I bringing this up now in the 2013 election campaign?

Well, it turns out that one of the last acts of the government of Christy Clark was to try and kill the Therapeutics Inititiave, dead, for good.

Travis Lupick had that story in the GStraight yesterday:

...(L)ate yesterday (April 22), the Straight learned that the B.C. Liberal government has ceased funding for the program, effectively shutting it down.

“They finally confirmed that they have completely cut off our funding,” said Dr. Tom Perry, chair of the TI’s education group. He emphasized that the Liberal government is preventing the TI from functioning.

“They’ve eliminated all funding, and closed our unique laboratory,” Perry emphasized in a telephone interview. “They stopped transferring the money to UBC quietly. They led us to believe that it would eventually be coming, and then sometime after April 1, they informed UBC that it wouldn’t be.”...

And for those of you, like me, who were kinda/sorta thinking that, perhaps,  Ms. Clark's Health Minister  Margaret MacDiarmid, was actually not a bad public servant, at least in comparison to her caucus and ministerial colleagues, well.....

...The B.C Ministry of Health refused to grant an interview on the topic. Ryan Jabs, manager of communications for the ministry, referred questions to the B.C. Liberal Party. A request for an interview with Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid did not receive a response...

I mean, is that not bizarre....A government minister allowing a ministry spokesmodel to refer a reporter to a political party on a matter of health policy and government expenditure?



On the flipside, it turns out that Adrian Dix and the Dippers have actually promised to fully resurrect the TI and double its current oxygen-deprived budget. Yolande Cole, also in the GStraight, had that story a little later yesterday:

THE B.C. NEW Democrats have announced their plans for health care if elected next month, including measures to expand homecare for seniors, increase access to mental-health services, boost acute care in rural areas, and double funding to the Therapeutics Initiative....


This is a publicly-funded initiative that costs us very little in terms of tax dollars and, in return, it saves lives and actually makes us a bundle of money by ensuring that our provincial prescription drug plan does not shovel money off the back of a truck for stuff that doesn't work (or, as is often the case with 'new' patent compounds, doesnt' work any better than less expensive stuff that is already available).

Are you starting to understand what I'm really talking about now?

I've written a lot about this in the past....You can find  some of it here, here, here and here....
And, just to be clear...While I work in the biomedical field, my work is very basic/fundamental; I am not a clinician...Thus, I do not have direct scientific interaction with the fine folks from the TI...
Oh, and please note, to the best of my knowledge very few, if any other proMedia outlets 'round here have even uttered a whisper on this matter...As for 'Spend-O-Meters' and Sun runs....Well...You know, those actually matter and deserve a gazillion column inches so as to really (mis)inform the citizenry, right?
Update, 6:00pm Wednesday: I've heard from a reader that the TI folks got to tell their story on Bill Good's show this morning...For this I will break my self-imposed audio boycott and have a listen...Very willing to give credit where it is due....


Did The Dippers' PAVCO Announcement Send Shivers Down The Spines Of The Wild Casino Boys?


Here, straight from their website, is what the Dippers had to say about PAVCO and it's biggest white elephant, BC Place, this morning:

BC NDP leader Adrian Dix said today that an NDP government would establish an external team of private sector and community leaders to plan for the long-term viability of debt-plagued BC Pavilion Corporation, including the sale of BC Place stadium. The panel will also be asked to ensure other public assets managed by the Crown Corporation are operated efficiently.
“BC Place and the Trade and Convention Centre are symbols of the mismanagement and misplaced priorities of the BC Liberals,” said Dix. “Massive cost overruns on construction and renovations, along with a bungled naming rights deal, have saddled taxpayers with a mountain of debt...
{snippety doo-dah}
...PAVCO, which has accumulated $1.2 billion in debt including the cost of the $514 million retractable roof, projects operating losses of nearly $60 million over the next three years.
Dix said the blue-ribbon external team would have the following mandate, and be asked to report back within 90 days:

  • make recommendations to government on the ownership of PAVCO assets, including the sale of BC Place Stadium;
  • assess and make recommendations on the operations of PAVCO with the near-term objective of increasing revenue from operations and reducing losses; and
  • continue to support the long-term viability of the BC Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps sports franchises.

  • Dix committed that any revenue from the possible sale of BC Place would be applied to pay down taxpayer-supported debt on the renovation project.

    Spend-O-Meter, indeed.



    What's this about Casino Boys 'n stuff in the header to the post?

    Well, it is my opinion, based on the evidence at hand so far, that the massive cost of the BC Place roof and renovations was actually intentional.


    Because such costs could then be used to justify a massive Casino-Industrial-Complex land/life-jacking in downtown Lotusland.


    Interestingly, one of the folks who did the most to stop the land/life jack, Sandy Garrossino noted, just the other day on the Twittmachine, that there were whispers of a PAVCO-assisted C-I-Complex resurrection in the winds...


    My Morning Ride


    Last night, on the ride home, I stopped here to watch the (not quite yet) kids of summer doing their thing on the ball field for a few minutes.

    As I turned to leave I noticed a lady hunched over the water fountain in the image.

    And her little dog was standing in the fountain's basin drinking from the spout.

    I almost asked her if she would do the same thing at home in her kitchen sink.

    But I stopped my self short when I realized that she probably would have answered 'yes'.



    Riding back to work this morning I decided to count lawn signs between Balaclava and Blanca on 13th and 12th avenues.

    It was 22 to 5 in favour of Eby (over Clark) which kind of puts to rest Peter Ladner's comment in Jeff Lee's VSun piece this morning in which the good Mr. Ladner said that he doubted Mr. Eby would win because, if he's known in Point Grey at all, it's for working with poor people in the Downtown Eastside.


    Don't know about you, but Mr. Ladner's comments sure read like a coded 'How dare one of the great unwashed try to take over Creme-de-la-Creme Ville'-type statement to me.

    Furthermore, it's almost as if Mr. Ladner doesn't actually know that, if not for a little lunchtime 'get out the vote' chicanery and a few very late-breaking polls, Mr. Eby likely would have won the recent by-election in the riding.

    Of course, lawn signs don't really mean much in terms of actual voter support...But given where my sampling was done this morning (i.e. this was NOT deep Kits) it, at the very least, suggests that Mr. Eby has a strong ground game going in Pt. Grey.


    Tuesday, April 23, 2013

    A Pay To Play Media In Lotusland?...."Charlie, It Just Doesn't Work That Way"...


    I remember it like it was just yesterday...

    Despite a media-minder's attempts to cut off his line of questioning, the Georgia Straight's Charlie Smith kept on going at then BC Liberal Party Premier Gordon Campbell just before the 2009 election campaign got underway:

    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 ads....place 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....

    And best of all, the GStraight got it all on tape so that you can watch it all over again just in case you need to remember what, exactly, it is you really should be voting AGAINST on May 14th regardless what Ms. Clark's wizards would have you believe...


    Do you want to know what the really ironic thing about all this is?


    It turns out that Mr. Campbell's one-time Attorney General, Mr. Geoff Plant, got all jokey about people who write things in the GStraight on the Twittmachine today....


    How the worm has turned for these fine folks, eh?

    Here is the link to former G. Campbell Chief-of-Staff Martyn Brown's most recent GStraight piece that we presume the good Mr. Plant was referring to...
    Personally, I'm very much looking forward to Mr. Plant's ironic tweets if and when a public inquiry into BC Rail takes a hard, document-backed look at....This.