Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ringing In The New Year With...The Greatest OpEd Of All Time.


I know I give a whole lot of folks in the print division of the local Lotuslandian proMedia a hard time.

But that's only because I actually love newspapers so much.

And there's nothing I love more in a good newspaper than the OpEd page.

In fact, back when I was an undegradual I would (more than just) occasionally take a break from the science geek studying in the dungeon of the old Ring Road library and head up to my favorite microfiche viewer on the top floor so that I could slide through ten year old big city broadsheet OpEds in an effort to get a feel for how the Watergate thing was unfolding in the minds of those trying to keep up with, and make sense of, all that the Woodward and Bernstein (and sometimes Sy Hersh too) were chasing.

Now that I think of it, I guess things haven't really changed all that much. The only difference is that all the digital microfiches on all the servers in all of the world can now be delivered to the little box I'm currently banging away on pretty much instantaneously.


Perhaps my favourite OpEd of all time has nothing to do with news or politics or anything earth shattering at all.

Instead, it is filled with pretty much everything that makes a life worth living and remembering.

It was written near the end of 1988 by an old joke writer named George Burns and it was published in the New York Times.

I missed it the first time around because by then I was in Gradual school and that was the time of my life when I rarely did anything other than eat Revellos, sleep and try to deliver oncogenes into density-separated, mesodermally-derived stem-cell populations that were making differentiative decisions that I hypothesized would affect their ability to be transformed into tumor cells.

But I did read it twenty years later when it was published again on New Year's Eve 2008.

And I read it again late last week when I free-associated George Burns with Robbie Burns, Tommy Douglas and the late, great Gracie Allen.

But all of that is just a whole lot of blather and preamble that is keeping you from one of the greatest OpEds of all time.

And an even greater love story.

Here goes....

My Favorite New Year’s Eve — So Far
Originally published on December 31, 1988.

Growing up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, I always looked forward to New Year's, mainly because that was the only thing we could afford that was really new. And we always believed that things were going to get better during the new year; we believed it because we knew that they couldn't get any worse.

When I was starting out in show business the thing I want most for New Year's Eve was a booking. If you were booked on New Year's Eve, it meant you were doing O.K.

Most theaters had an extra show at midnight; it was usually a great show because by the time people got to the theater they were half loaded. At that time I was working with a seal, and I loved doing that midnight show on New Year's Eve because that's the only time I got more laughs than the seal.

Later in my life, after I'd met Gracie, we would always spend new Year's Eve with our friends. At midnight I always knew where I would find Gracie - on the telephone with our kids, Sandy and Ronnie, wishing them a happy new year and telling them to go to bed.

The parties I remember most took place at Jack and Mary Benny's home in Palm Springs. Many of the greatest performers in show business would be there and, during the night, almost all of them would get up and perform for the rest of our crowd. They had to - it was New Year's Eve and they wanted to be booked.

Eventually a voice was heard above all the rest suggesting, "Let "George Burns sing a few songs." And when they ignored that, I'd say it again, louder. Finally I would get up to sing and everyone would form a ring around the piano. I'd manage to fight my way past them and sing a few of my favorite songs. And when I finished, everyone was happy.

But of all the New Year's Eves I've spent, the one I remember most was 1926. The previous Christmas Eve, Gracie had finally agreed to marry me. I don't think I'd ever felt as wonderful; there was something very special about feeling that I was really going to be booked for the rest of my life.

That year Gracie and I had been invited to a big party at the Essex House in New York. Most of the big names in vaudeville were going to be there: Sophie Tucker, George Jessel, Eddie Cantor, the trio of Clayton, Jackson and Durante, our good friends Jesse Block and Eve Sully, the great Belle Baker, the Marx brothers, Al Jolson and Jack Benny.

But when I picked up Gracie I said: "Listen, I've got an idea. Let's not mingle with the crowd tonight. Let's spend it by ourselves."

Gracie thought I was so romantic. I have to be honest: My idea of romance was being alone in a room with just me and Gracie and an audience of 1,500 people. So this was unusual.

I had on my tuxedo and she as wearing a beautiful red dress, with matching red heels, and we went to the Roosevelt Hotel to dance to the music of Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians. That was my idea of a romantic evening alone with Gracie.

We danced and sipped Champagne, and danced and I sipped more Champagne. I think this was the first night I really believed Gracie and I were going to spend the rest of our lives as a couple, not just as a vaudeville team. I was sure of that because we didn't split the check.

At midnight, the lights started blinking on and off and hundreds of balloons fell from the ceiling. Lombardo started playing "Auld Lang Syne," and we stood in the middle of the dance floor and kissed. She had to kiss me back; we didn't have the kids so she had no one to call.

About half a hour later I said, "Gracie, isn't this great?" She said, "Yeah, but let's go over and see what the old gang is doing." I guess she'd had enough of my romantic technique.

The party was roaring when we got there. As usual, each person was taking the opportunity to perform. I walked to the piano and said: "I have an announcement to make. Gracie and I are going to get married next week."

The room was absolutely silent. Finally Jack Benny asked, "Natty, does that mean you're going to sing tonight?"

"Not tonight," I said, and immediately everyone started cheering. Finally, Al Jolson came over to congratulate me. "Kid," he told me, putting his arm around my shoulders, "I just have one bit of advice for you." "What's that?" I asked. "Sit down. I'm gonna sing."

Well, that's the New Year's Eve I remember most. Now I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your love, and wish you a year filled with good health, happiness and packed houses.

George Burns (real given name 'Nathaly') died in 1996. He was 100 years old. Somehow, he made it an extra thirty-two years after Gracie passed away in 1964, the year the Beatles came to America.


I wonder if anybody every wrote a king-hell OpEd about that?

Siteowner's self-indungical notice....If you got a touch of the deja voodoo as you read this it was because this was originally posted awhile back, in January of 2013...


Ringing In The New Year In Clarkland...The Albatross Effect.


Reuters has the latest evidence that Ms. Clark and Ms. Martin's herd of LNG Sparkle Ponies is really nothing more than a flock of albatross dressed-up in media-spun clothing:

MILAN (Reuters) - Excelerate Energy's Texan liquefied natural gas terminal plan has become the first victim of an oil price slump threatening the economics of U.S. LNG export projects.

A halving in the oil price since June has upended assumptions by developers that cheap U.S. LNG would muscle into high-value Asian energy markets, which relied on oil prices staying high to make the U.S. supply affordable.

The floating 8 million tonne per annum (mtpa) export plant moored at Lavaca Bay, Texas advanced by Houston-based Excelerate has been put on hold, according to regulatory filings obtained by Reuters.

The project was initially due to begin exports in 2018...


How much are these wretched birds hanging from our necks going to further drag us down into the pointless longterm debt quagmire that the Knotty Gordians and the Clarklandians have built for us using our own money and treasure?

Norm Farrell, in his latest, lays it all out because the Lotuslandian proMedia won't. Here's just a small chunk (but go read it all):

...Lately, the least competent managers in BC history have been aiming to make the province a major exporter of natural gas. This is a costly and risky proposition. Actual and forecast cash and tax expenditures for natural gas currently amount to more than a billion dollars a year and the $8.8 billion Site C dam, not needed for domestic consumption, is intended to provide power to LNG facilities. Beyond subsidized power, taxpayers are likely on the hook for material amounts for infrastructure to support gas transport and processing...

Happy New Year everyone!


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What 2015 Will Bring....The Long March.


The long march of the longest federal election campaign ever thanks to the fixed election date of Oct 18, 2015.

Bernard von Schulman is paying attention:

For the first time we will have a Federal election on a fixed election date, October 18th 2015. What this means is that we will see the longest election campaign in Canadian history. With just under ten months to go there are already 531 candidates nominated for the 338 seats. I expect we will see about 1650 candidates in total for the election, so we are at about one third already nominated...

Speaking of which....It really is true that, if you give a whack of money to a political party before Dec 31st, you will get most of it back at tax return time.
And, at the risk of raising the ire of various and assorted sundry (and very knowledgable) readers...Is it time to re-start the strategic voting discussion all over again?


This Day In Clarkland...Hey Rubes! (Sales Tax Edition)



Ms. Clark isn't even going to pretend to support that sales tax increase to pay for transportation infrastructure improvements that she has backed us into a corner on.

What a surprise.

It's almost as if Ms. Clark is running flat-out with an upfront, bald-faced 'Total Abdication Of Responsibility' strategy for governing the province of British Columbia these days.
If you want, I guess, you can read Mikey Mike's Dean-assisted super-duper in-depth analysis on Clarkland's latest non-move in The Province....Here.
Meanwhile...That McNeil Report thingy that was doc-dumped by the Clarklandians the Friday before Christmas?....Gone...All Gone.


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Of Dogs And Their Humanist Men...The Vonnegut Effect.


"...I am a humanist, which means, in part, that I have tried to behave decently without any expectation of rewards or punishment after I’m dead..."
Kurt Vonnegut.

Now, having read that....

Go hear why Mr. Vonnegut decided his dog wasn't.

A humanist, I mean.

Courtesy the always fabulous 'Open Culture':

I read Schlachthof-Funf at the age of 11 via the pup-tent's orange-glow flashlight all-night light...It changed my life.


This Day In Clarkland...Doing Their Best To Hurt The Kids That Need Our Help Most.


I really, really don't understand it.

Because I honestly believe that, deep down at least, the 'empathetic' Christy Clark really does want to help those kids amongst us that need our help most.


If there really and truly is some empathy for the downtrodden, why is Ms. Clark, as reported today by the VTimesColonist's Sarah Petrescu, allowing the following to continue:

At 14, Rosalie Sothcott would rather be playing rugby or listening to music than going to the B.C. legislature or her MLA’s office to speak out against childhood poverty.

“It was strange at first, but I saw it was important,” Rosalie said. “The past few years have been pretty tough.”

In 2012, a workplace injury left Rosalie’s mother, Jessi Sothcott, with just a $1,000 per month Person With Disability benefit to live on. The 40-year-old single mother thought she could earn an extra $800 without being penalized.

She was shocked to find out child support payments were included in her benefit, so the $197 she received would be clawed back by the provincial government from her monthly income...

Shades of that 'practice' of not really, no-siree taking away Christmas gifts for kids in our care who have been separated from their parents who have not yet been placed with foster families.

It really is shocking, this business of allowing Ministries to gouge the heart out of their core business to hit budget targets that will make upper management look good and, dare I suggest it, hit year-end goals that will hit personal paydirt.

Also good on the VTC for publishing an editorial on what is NOT in the McNeil report on the Health Ministry firings...Unfortunately, it was  a week late given the timing of the Clarkland document dump....So.... Will anybody even care by the Monday after next when everything finally gets back to normal in proMedia land?


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

If He's Gonna Have To Serve Somebody, It Might As Well Be Clement Moore.


'Twas The Night Before Christmas, as enunciated by the bottomless voice of Mr. Dylan...

Merry Christmas Everyone!


Christmas In Clarkland...One Last Lump Of Coal Under The Tree.


Remember how the Clark government, in an official pronouncement that would make the Empress passing through Potemkin proud, told us to ask/expect/hope/shop for lumps of coal for Christmas?


That was the literal.

The following, as reported recently by the VSun's Rob Shaw, I think (although I'm not entirely sure, given the gobsmackery), is the metaphorical:

The company behind a new casino-hotel at BC Place is getting a sweeter share of the pot from the province’s lottery corporation in order to help pay for underground parking.

The resort project, spearheaded by Paragon Gaming, has special permission from the B.C. Lottery Corporation to temporarily take an extra commission off gambling revenues at its existing Edgewater casino to help pay for the new underground parkade...

I mean, it's not like we haven't already built the fine folks from Paragon, and their two emissaries who just happen to be former heads of the BC Lottery Corporation, a $600 million dollar magic carpet to stave-off their 'deal breaker' or given them a sweet subsidy deal that will cost us millions more every single year already.



The coal.

It's so shiny and bright.

And it will be so darned functional when we are finally forced to try and burn it in the fireplace to generate all that wonderful warmth and light and heat that the fine folks in Clarkland are promising us at the front door while the Grinch and his herd of vicious antler-dogs and flying surrender monkeys sneak in through the back.

Merry Christmas everybody!

Us?....We'll be sugar-coating our lumps of coal with the cost of the ferry fare to the Island later today...There will be much music....That you can be sure of...Not sure if littler e. is bringing the tap dancing board, however.


How Good Can A Dreary Sunday Morning In December Be?


This is such a strange time of year.

So full of promise, and yet...

There is the darkness and the greyness and the wetness and all that work that has to be done before the break begins that also lends the season that slight air of dread.

All of which the Whackadoodle and I did our best to ignore as we rushed out of the house early last Sunday and took off for Sea Island, swinging right in front of the Airport's north runway and driving fast past the new postal prison-like processing complex (that would likely even make Bukowski blanch) that lines the southern edge of the near the distal tip of the big muddy's upper arm.

And after we got out of the car, because of the season's high tides and the winter-formed mini-lagoons, it took us awhile before we could get down to the ocean's edge.

But when we did, well...

The sand was curved and clean, the sky glinted as the fog lifted a little, and two bald eagles sat atop the latticework of Seaspan's 'Cape Flattery' log barge.

Or, to put it another way...

Suddenly, and for just a moment or two, everything seemed so open to possibility that even the thought of all those raw logs and thousands of jobs sailing away couldn't get me down as the Whackadoodle ran as fast as she could towards the tideline and started sliding, rolling onto her back with legs in the air kicking in ecstasy.

Which is when I started to play our old beat-up beach guitar.

Or, to put it more correctly, our old weathered guitar that was once C's first and only.

Strumming Kris Kristofferson's finest, and saddest, somehow never felt so good.

It's not like I didn't know this tune before, but....Bigger E. brought it to me awhile back...Despite our best intentions we have yet to do it on the busking road....But I know, for certain, that one of these days we will.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

May The Lou Be With You.

Mr. Reed and friends....

Especially dig the eyes he makes at Ms. Anderson near the end of the first verse...Of course, in true Lou fashion we can't actually see them...But we can see her reaction.


This Day In Clarkland....Hey Rubes!


First, the word salad appetizer from our fine Premier:

...“I think if we don’t do it (the 10 billion dollar Site C dam) now, it’ll never happen. We have an opportunity to get into the market right now. For those who would argue we should delay, I would say, well hang on with North American energy prices as low as they are for natural gas. The only way to preserve the jobs we have now and grow them in the gas business — export it at higher prices to Asia.”...

Next, the rancid dressing for the rubes that will pay for it all forever:

...In B.C., premiums are payable for MSP coverage and are based on family size and income.

Effective January 1, 2015, monthly rates are $72.00 for one person, $130.50 for a family of two and $144.00 for a family of three or more. From January 1, 2014, to December 31, 2014 monthly rates are $69.25 for one person, $125.50 for a family of two and $138.50 for a family of three or more...

And, the real problem with all this regressiveness (which, of course, is a longterm strategy)?

Well, as David Schreck (not Shrek!) pointed out:

And don't forget...Ms. Clark's favourite Christmas movie is, allegedly, 'It's A Wonderful Life'...As near is I can figure it, the motto of the old Bailey Brothers Building And Loan was not 'Heads We Win, Tails You Lose'... Gosh, is it possible that Ms. Clark's  'Lumps of Coal for Christmas' initiative was for real?


Monday, December 22, 2014

This Day In Clarkland...Garbage Dump Follies, Part Deux.


The Clark government's biggest trash disposal of the year took place late last week.

And just because it's the Monday of the week after the dump as well as the Monday before Christmas doesn't mean that the stench is gone.

The following is what was in the second dumpster.

Rob Shaw of the VSun did the diving:

VICTORIA — A plan by the B.C. Lottery Corporation to save millions in staffing costs backfired and cost the corporation $25 million, a government audit has found.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong said the audit, released Wednesday, flagged several troubling human resource issues, including a plan to save $20 million by eliminating 68 staff this year that led to a rush of 142 early retirements and severance packages that cost the Crown lottery corporation $25 million...


Why so costly?

Well, how about 18 month severance packages regardless how long anyone worked for the 'corporation' previously run with great aplomb and total impartiality by the incomparable Mess'rs Turner and Graydon.

But here's the thing in the dumpster that Mr. Shaw found that is really scary:

...The audit also said 86,000 large cash transactions and 1,000 “unusual or suspicious financial transactions” reported by BCLC to a federal watchdog in 2013/14 was a “significant increase” over previous years and raised concern about money laundering inside B.C. gambling facilities...

Unfortunately, Mr. Shaw (and/or his editors) didn't bother to indicate what the real concern with such 'suspicious financial transactions' is.

You know that part about turning real garbage into gold.

At our expense using our magical, impeccable and impartially managed laundry services.


What was in Dumpster #1?....Why, the Health Ministry Investigation non-review review which, of course, was covered impeccably and with great thoroughness by the local proMedia.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Credibility Gap Between Idiot Bloggers And A Certain Established ProMedia News Outlet.


This morning, after reading a report from the incomparable Bob Mackin, I too pulled a quote from the 'Reviewer's Message' portion of the just-released report titled, 'Investigatory Process Review...2012 Investigation into Employee Conduct Into The Ministry of Health'.

I posted the pulled quote because I concluded, as did Mr. Mackin I can only presume, that it most fully demonstrated what the report did NOT do:

Here is that pulled quote, in full:

...This report is not intended to, and does not, answer questions regarding the specific allegations against the employees. Nor does it answer any lingering questions regarding whether any decision made about the employees was legally or factually sound. This report focuses exclusively on the process leading to the decision making...


Global News, in their own report on the release, also pulled a quote from very same portion of reviewer Marcia McNeil's 'message'.

Here is the quote, in full, that they pulled and published on their website. It ran under the TeeVee version of the report from Global's very, very fine legislative reporter, Mr. Keith Baldrey:

...McNeil said her report “is not intended to, and does not, answer questions regarding specific allegations against the employees.”...

Do you see what Global did there?


To be more precise, what they did NOT do?

Established credibility my left foot.


The McNeil Report Into Health Ministry Firings...How Thick And White Is The Wash?

BecauseThese PeopleActedInOurNameVille

This thick and white....

From the 'Reviewer's Message' (i.e. the kinda/sorta executive summary) section of the 'review':

...This report is not intended to, and does not, answer questions regarding the specific allegations against the employees. Nor does it answer any lingering questions regarding whether any decision made about the employees was legally or factually sound. This report focuses exclusively on the process leading to the decision making...


Bob Mackin fully dissects the whitening and the washing, and in so doing demonstrates the complete and utter lack of accountability being leveled....Here.

Andrew McLeod, in the Tyee has the background on this that all British Columbians should be forced to read before they can vote next time...Here.

And when you read this stuff, please remember...

People's lives were ruined.


Health Ministry Firings...The Attribution Solution.


The GStraight's Travis Lupick received the following at 4:58pm the Friday before the start of the Christmas disappearing:

Even entire flocks of chickens don't spread this much shite on a Friday night.



Friday, December 19, 2014

Two Competing Views Of Christmas....In Letters!


First, from one of JRR Tolkien's many letters as 'Father Christmas' to his kids (shown above):

Cliff House
Top of the World
Near the North Pole

Xmas 1925

My dear boys,

I am dreadfully busy this year — it makes my hand more shaky than ever when I think of it — and not very rich. In fact, awful things have been happening, and some of the presents have got spoilt and I haven't got the North Polar Bear to help me and I have had to move house just before Christmas, so you can imagine what a state everything is in, and you will see why I have a new address, and why I can only write one letter between you both. It all happened like this: one very windy day last November my hood blew off and went and stuck on the top of the North Pole. I told him not to, but the N.P.Bear climbed up to the thin top to get it down — and he did. The pole broke in the middle and fell on the roof of my house, and the N.P.Bear fell through the hole it made into the dining room with my hood over his nose, and all the snow fell off the roof into the house and melted and put out all the fires and ran down into the cellars where I was collecting this year's presents, and the N.P.Bear's leg got broken. He is well again now, but I was so cross with him that he says he won't try to help me again...

Second, from one of John Steinbeck's many letters to his friend Adlai Stevenson:

New York
Guy Fawkes Day

Dear Adlai,

Back from Camelot, and, reading the papers, not at all sure it was wise. Two first impressions. First, a creeping, all pervading nerve-gas of immorality which starts in the nursery and does not stop before it reaches the highest offices both corporate and governmental. Two, a nervous restlessness, a hunger, a thirst, a yearning for something unknown—perhaps morality. Then there's the violence, cruelty and hypocrisy symptomatic of a people which has too much, and last, the surly ill-temper which only shows up in human when they are frightened.

Adlai, do you remember two kinds of Christmases? There is one kind in a house where there is little and a present represents not only love but sacrifice. The one single package is opened with a kind of slow wonder, almost reverence. Once I gave my youngest boy, who loves all living things, a dwarf, peach-faced parrot for Christmas. He removed the paper and then retreated a little shyly and looked at the little bird for a long time. And finally he said in a whisper, "Now who would have ever thought that I would have a peach-faced parrot?"

Then there is the other kind of Christmas with present piled high, the gifts of guilty parents as bribes because they have nothing else to give. The wrappings are ripped off and the presents thrown down and at the end the child says—"Is that all?" Well, it seems to me that America now is like that second kind of Christmas. Having too many THINGS they spend their hours and money on the couch searching for a soul. A strange species we are. We can stand anything God and nature can throw at us save only plenty. If I wanted to destroy a nation, I would give it too much and would have it on its knees, miserable, greedy and sick. And then I think of our "Daily" in Somerset, who served your lunch. She made a teddy bear with her own hands for our grandchild. Made it out of an old bath towel dyed brown and it is beautiful. She said, "Sometimes when I have a bit of rabbit fur, they come out lovelier." Now there is a present. And that obviously male teddy bear is going to be called for all time MIZ Hicks...

{snippety doo-dah}

...Someone has to reinspect our system and that soon. We can't expect to raise our children to be good and honorable men when the city, the state, the government, the corporations all offer higher rewards for chicanery and deceit than probity and truth. On all levels it is rigged, Adlai. Maybe nothing can be done about it, but I am stupid enough and naively hopeful enough to want to try. How about you?



Both of the above were brought to our attention by the always fantabulous 'Letters Of Note'.


Does Harvey O Know The Real Reason We Are Being Saddled With Site C?


Why yes, I think Mr. Oberfeld might:

...This week, the Liberals launched their campaign for 2017 … although no one seemed to realize that (especially the media, who are supposed to be “professional” observers and analysts!).

The announcement that the government will proceed with the Site C Hydro project, was largely proclaimed … not by the Minister responsible for BC Hydro Bill Bennett … but by Premier Christy Clark herself.

She LOVES to take credit for all BIG projects that the Liberals believe MOST BC voters will approve: that should have been the hint of what’s really happening.

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

Thousands of jobs … not only up north (heartland!) but that the Libs believe WILL be under way, despite all the legal challenges, environmental protestors’ threats and any other obstacles that the $8.8 Billion project will face in the next year or two...


You can argue that this is actually a crazy-legged take on the thing given the total fantasy that the LNG Seven Multination Sparkle Pony Army has turned out to be.

But, before you do please remember the following...

1) Those paying attention (and that includes you Grant) knew it was a fantasy from the beginning (i.e. before Pamela Martin even started to run for that elevator).

2) The Lotuslandian proMedia, even though they knew it too, pretty much played the fantasy game straight up throughout the election period (i.e. it is only recently that they have begun to rein in expectations - surprise!)

3) In terms of raw politics, the fantasy strate(r)gy worked.


What's the way out of this proMedia-assisted paradox of debt doom wherein the electorate can be periodically bamboozled into voting against both reality and their own best interests?

I have my ideas...

Feel free to tell us yours.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Is It Possible That BCUC Hearings Could Have Told Us What Site C Is Actually For?


All right.

I'll admit it...

I've been hanging back, waiting to see, hear or read a cogent argument on why we actually need Ms. Clark's really big boondoggle. 

And now, after reading Damien Gillis' recent piece over at the Common Sense Canadian, I'm not sure there is one to be found.


...(Credit rating concerns will) be compounded by the lack of need for the project, as we learned throughout the JRP’s hearings. This notion has been reinforced by both the premier and BC Hydro’s confused messaging around the project.

At first, Site C was to power BC’s homes, but when we became a solid net exporter of power in recent years – according to BC Stats – the rationale morphed into powering energy-intensive LNG projects. But BC Hydro undermined that statement during the JRP hearings, saying it was instead to export excess power to California – likely a money-losing proposition for BC.

Then, just last week, Christy Clark went back on her LNG argument, admitting that Site C was notin fact required for that industry. Even Hydro acknowledges we won’t need the power from Site C until 2022 at the earliest, but the crown corporation has a long history of exaggerating demand, and, thanks to improved conservation, BC’s power consumption has barely risen since the early 2000s and shows no signs of increasing – an important fact Hydro ignores...

Oh boy.


The Transit Tax...Making Poor People Pay To Help...Poor People?


Interesting perspective in FABula's Globe piece and her blogpost from Los Angeles where an increase in the sales tax is already being used to pay for transit improvements:

...(While in Los Angeles I) had a chance to interview one of the architects of the coalition that helped get 67-per-cent approval for a half-per-cent sales tax in LA in 2008 to pay for $36 billion in transit improvements.

Denny Zane is one of those great old-fashioned American leftists, still fighting for the people. In his downtown office building, complete with a giant photo of a young Cesar Chavez, he talked for an hour about how to win the transit fight and why it’s important. Interestingly, there was a lot more focus, when he talked, about how important transit is to working-class people than I hear in debates around Vancouver (where the left and the NIMBY right seem to view it currently as some evil developer plot)...

All of that sounds good and is hard to argue with on a number of levels.

But one has to realize that in California, and especially SoCal, all pretence of a progressive tax system is long gone.

Have we really been pushed that far down the Prop 13 rabbit hole by the longtail of the Golden Era?

And, as someone who crosses Cambie, twice, everyday in the high '20's, even if it is not an evil developer plot, why shouldn't they pay too?

The developers I mean.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What To Be Looking For In The Tubes With You...


From the NYT's Listings section:

*Rufus and Martha Wainwright's Noel Nights (Wed/Thurs Dec 17/18)
The prodigious siblings revive their giddy, glittery collaborative holiday show in New York after a three year absence. The yuletide offerings will include performances by them and several members of their talented folk-pop family: At 8pm, Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street.

I figure there will be lots of stuff up by midnight.

In the meantime...


Us?....Tonight we go to the train....The Stanley Park Train!


How Much Lower Can The No-Longer-So Giant '98 Go?



In response to this.....

There was the following:

And just who is this good Mr. Drex fellow?

Well, he is the formerly obscure radio guy toiling away on the mid-island who, it would appear, at least in part, was able to parlay the notoriety from a little bout of jock-schlocky milfyness into, wait for it...

An evening gig on CKNW.



How Far Has The No-Longer-So Giant '98 Fallen?


This far:

What was posed as a joke on CKNW’s morning show today ended up greatly offending many people listening.

“What are the three names on the “F***, kill or marry? Rona Ambrose, yes, Laurine Harper – so disrespectful – they can’t do that – and MichaĆ«lle Jean.”

That’s what listeners heard this morning on a simulcast with CFOX host Jeff O’Neill...

{snippety doo-dah}

CKNW Brand Director Ian Koenigsfest has apologized for the comments heard on the simulcast.

“I personally don’t find that funny….I think it’s offensive to women, and at the first opportunity I have now I want to apologize to women, and men, who listen to CKNW who heard that this morning.”

Please note, that the cross-over zoo-jock concerned is the same fine fellow that was previously involved in....


And you want to know what is doubly egregious?....Well, if you go and read the entire piece linked to and quoted from above, which is from CKNW itself, you will see that the writer of the piece has actually attempted to dress this up as a news story with comments from members of public interest groups for 'context' and everything...Heckfire, as late as last night they were even labelling it as 'Breaking News', bolded and encased in red....Shameful in my opinion.... Really shameful.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

This Day In Clarkland...What Else Will Be Dumped On 'C' Day?



Apparently Ms. Clark's minister responsible is going to make an announcement on the site C dam today.

And who knows what he's going to say given the bizarre increasing of the price tag last week and the even more bizarre 'Coal for Christmas' follies over the weekend.

After all, it's not like the fine folks of Clarkland have given us a coherent policy framework to follow or anything.

But here's what I'm really wondering....

What trash will be dumped by the government behind the huge media spin cycle that will be cranked up by this announcement so that no one will really notice.

A huge cut to a social program?

An announcement that all school trustees will immediately be replaced by factbending missionaries?

News that BC Ferries will now be subsidizing helicopter routes to make British Columbia's bureaucrats even more efficient?


Maybe something that really matters like, say, oh I dunno....

The dumping of documents about those Health Ministry firings?


Monday, December 15, 2014

Podcasts At Ten...Which Ones Are Best?


Slate has their Top 25 list out. 

They figure the top single episode of all time is Maron's 2010 interview with Louie C.K.

It really is successful on a whole lotta levels, from the personal to the biggest of themes, show business or otherwise.

And you can hear both guys go through how they grew up and started making stuff/art they could really call their own.

As you might expect Maron responded by re-releasing the entire thing, which is two hours long, today.

And in so doing he actually pre-empted today's interview.

Which will be out tomorrow - Annie  Clark (a.k.a. St Vincent).


History Belongs To Those That Write It.


If history really does belong to those that write it I, for one, sure am glad that an excellent blogpost from  Jim Quail, prompted Charlie Smith of the GStraight to take a good, hard look at the record of the BC Liberal's 'Mr. Competence', Rich Coleman:

Here are a couple of snippets, but the entire thing is worth reading (note the echoes, also, of the digging of Norm Farrell):

...(W)here the deputy premier really risks embarrassment is with LNG.

As I reported earlier this year, the B.C. Liberal government woefully missed the mark on its forecasts for natural-gas revenues. That's because politicians like Coleman and senior bureaucrats misread the impact of America's fracking boom.

Here's a figure that highlights the level of incompetence: in the 2010–11 budget forecast, provincial natural-gas revenues were expected to reach $1.25 billion by 2012–13.

The real figure turned out to be $144 million. That's a $1.1-billion forecasting error by the B.C. Liberal government!

{snippety doo-dah}

...Lawyer Jim Quail wondered in his blog post how the media would cover an NDP government promising that a "wonderful new industry" would "eliminate the provincial debt", only to see companies "dropping out of the game one at a time", with the biggest "shelving their plans, probably for up to 10 to 15 years".

He then urged his readers to imagine if this NDP government were still claiming that this new industry "was a done deal and would be operating in full gear by 2020", and "if the press still covered this fiasco as though the NDP government knew what it was doing and might be telling voters the truth".

"But that's what's happening in British Columbia in the Liberal government's LNG fantasy," Quail noted. "If they were the NDP, they would be laughed out of office."

And this is why Coleman can expect much rougher treatment from historians than he'll ever receive from the B.C. media...

As for Mr. Smith's dig at the 'B.C. media'?


You know.


Why, Exactly, Do We Want Those Amongst Us Who Can Least Afford It To Pay The Most For Transit?


Awhile back I agreed with Vancouver city councillor Andrea Reimer when she said, essentially, that it seems like we don't really want poor people to take transit.

And this morning, when I read her 24 Hrs column, I found myself agreeing with Laila Yuile when she made it clear that it is not fair for us to force the poor, and especially the working poor, to pay disproportionally more to fund the new transit initiatives if the 'referendum' passes:

Let’s face it, for most people tax is a four-letter word. Say it and people scowl as if you’ve said something offensive and inappropriate. However painful it is to hear, the truth is that taxes are a necessary evil. For every level of government, from municipal through to federal, taxes are vital revenue streams that help pay for the services and infrastructure we rely on.

Having said that, I don’t think an increase in the provincial sales tax within Metro Vancouver to fund transit improvements alone is the solution...

{snippety doo-dah}

...I can’t help but feel it’s terribly short-sighted to approach the funding solution for transit on its own when the province is clearly in need of a solid revenue stream for all of these challenges.

While the premier often boasts about our low tax rates, the cost has been steep. What isn’t mentioned is that the series of cuts to both personal and corporate taxes since 2000 created a devastating hole in provincial revenues that has never been adequately replaced. We’ve been left with a regressive tax system that hurts the people who can least afford it - just like this sales tax increase...

I mean, seriously....

Now that we've turned ourselves into Victorian England, why don't we just open a few 'workhouses' where those of lesser means can, essentially, do all of our work for almost free.



I forgot....


The Golden Era's Long Tail...Legacies Now(!) At The Richmond Oval.


Well, well well...

Looks like things at the community center that once was the Olympic speed skating oval are being privatized.

And to heck with the folks that have public memberships, especially those who can't afford to pay for fancy-schmancy value-added extras.

The Richmond News' Graeme Woods has the story:

The Richmond Olympic Oval is embarking on its first public-private partnership and it has some members steaming mad.

The Oval has decided to terminate all of its membership yoga classes in order to accommodate YYoga, a private yoga company, at the large, converted fitness facility initially built for speed skating for the 2010 Winter Games...

And the rationale?

Well, as you might expect the 'enterprise' has a spokesthingy/marketer to explain:

...Oval marketer and spokesperson Aran Kay said YYoga can offer better yoga classes throughout the entire day. He said YYoga will have hot rooms, hot yoga classes and tea service, among other things.

In turn, the Oval will eliminate its existing yoga services, which constitute about seven classes a week that serve roughly 200 members, according to Kay...

And as for future programs at the Oval?

Well, the spokesthingy/marketer has the perfect answer/non-denial denial for that one also:

...Kay said he wasn't aware of any future initiatives in which the Oval would shift more services over to a private company...


Ms. Rogers and her former mentor, the Hatman, must be so proud.

After all, everybody needs a 'Lift' (feel free to compare the 'Boards') now and then.

'Future Initiatives', indeed.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

This Weekend In Clarkland...Pranksters Fuel Government Prop-Machine With Coal.

It's a joke.



Maybe not.

Here is a quote from the Ol' Turdstormer himself, taken straight from the prop-machine post imaged above:

Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett:

“Most people don’t think of coal when they go shopping for gifts, but the fact is without the coal that is mined right here in British Columbia, we wouldn’t have access to things like smartphones, cars or even shopping malls."


I guess when LNG Sparkle Ponies propaganda projects go off the rails these fine folks have to find something to do.

Or some such thing.


Who Knew Those Microsoft Jobs Were Not Going To Go To Canadians?


Alison of Creekside, that's who.

Specifically, she figured out that the software development center 'somewhere in the Vancouver area' was going to be a scam to get around American H1B Visa rules back in June:

South of the border however the same story was about how Microsoft was moving here to access Canada's more open policy to bringing in temporary foreign workers, after the US limit was reached for the year :
Canada welcomes any highly skilled worker who has a job offer, and salaries for tech workers are about 10 percent to 15 percent lower than in the U.S.
Karen Jones, Microsoft’s deputy general counsel, says her company applied for about twice the roughly 750 H-1B visas it received for 2015. “The U.S. laws clearly did not meet our needs,” she says. “We have to look to other places.” Microsoft will hire and train 400 software developers from around the world to work on mobile and cloud projects. Jones says Microsoft didn’t choose to expand in Vancouver “purely for immigration purposes, but immigration is a factor.”
OK, so a boost to the economy but not 400 Canadians jobs.
Yeah, I think we heard about this plan in 2007 :  Microsoft sings 'O Canada' amid immigration challenges
"Amid challenges getting enough foreign programmers admitted into the U.S., Microsoft plans this fall to open a development center in Canada.The new software development center will open somewhere in the Vancouver, British Columbia, area and will be "home to software developers from around the world," Microsoft said in a statement on Thursday.
"The Vancouver area is ... close to Microsoft's corporate offices in Redmond, Washington."


In other words, if the Americans are being too choosey giving out visas because because they want some of those Microsoft jobs to go to Americans we are are more than happy to oblige them and give all our jobs away instead.

You can read Alison's excellent, well-sourced, and highly credible update on this story here.

Of course, this entire deal, just like the tax haven deals between burger giants and donut hole co's, is being greased by former governmental spinmeisters turned lobbyists...Alison has that story, which you will never see, hear or read in various and sundry uber-credible proMedia outlets, also.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Blown Budgets In British Columbia...

...A Place Where The Past Is Not Prologue.

Yesterday we noted, at least according to the denizens of Clark (not Glen) Land, that the Site C damn is suddenly going to cost an extra 600 million, or maybe even 1,100, million dollars.

And what happened in response to this 'announcement'  by our fine Premier to the big money boys in New York City?


Except for a piece by Vaughn Palmer about how he waited by the phone with bated-breath for the ol' turdstormer to call him up and tell him less than zero, the Lotuslandian proMedia has essentially ignored the story.

And, as you might expect, British Columbia's best blogger (i.e. the one with a boatload of established credibility that has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment), Norm Farrell, has something to say about all that:

...Remember the years of proMedia outrage after a different Premier named Clark offered assurances that the cost of fast ferries would be $210 million, "right down to the toilet paper." He was wrong... to the tune of about $240 million. Today, top news at The Province Online includes "how to book the cheapest airline flight," a Calgary man's claim that bigfoot DNA had been "plucked from a BC tree" and a report about an Afghani Bruce Lee lookalike...

Go figure.


Friday, December 12, 2014

This Day In Clarkland....Hey Rubes!


Ms. Clark goes and speaks to the big boys from New York New York (i.e. Bloomberg News) and tells them that the roulette wheel for the trillion dollar sparkle pony game has been repainted, once again:

...“Our goal is to be the second-largest exporter of LNG in the world,” Clark said. Australia is set to overtake Qatar as the biggest LNG exporter. “We are where we want to be.”

Petronas, as the Malaysian state-owned producer is known, earlier this month followed BG Group Plc in pushing back a decision on LNG plans in British Columbia as oil trades at five-year lows. Delays in Canada contrast with projects in the U.S. and Australia that are already under construction.

Clark said she’s confident three terminals will be built by 2020 among at least five over the long term as she seeks to eliminate the province’s debt with revenues from the nascent industry...

At the same time Ms. Clark blithely tells the fine folks from Bloomberg that the Site C dam is now going to cost $8.5 billion, up $600 million from what she and hers have been telling the rubes back home.

Meanwhile, back in Rubesville, the VSun's Vaughn Palmer sits by the super-secret, all-access Dean-phone for the old turdstormer to call him up and tell him what the actual cost might, or might not, be:

...Not long after the (confirmatory) statement from Hydro, (Bill) Bennett called me to provide a bit more detail as well...

{snippety doo dah}

...The $8.5 billion is not the final number?

“We don’t have a top estimate.”

Could be closer to $9 billion?

“I’m not going to speculate.”...


That sure is solid information based on hard-charging investigative journalism that we, the citizen rubes, can really use.

From the 'Dean' of our local Legislative Press Gallery.

Now do you understand why Ms. Clark and her band of Merry Pranksters, Quick Winners and Sparkle Pony Screamers are held to account for all the things they do and say every day?



Thursday, December 11, 2014

Goodbye Wimpy Roy.


Unlike Mr. Beer 'N Hockey, I remember the first time I saw The Subhumans very clearly.

It was at the Smiling Buddha.

Circa late 1979 or early 1980.

And their front man (who Joe Keithley says invented crowd surfing), Brian 'Wimpy Roy' Goble, politely told a nice sharp young newishly wavey couple sitting right up front to go to heckfire in a handbasket when they requested a very popular tune of the time from that nice sharply turned-out Joe Jackson fellow.

Regardless, it was a night that made my friends and I realize that, 'Hey! we can do that too.'

And we did.

Not very successfully, mind you.

But we sure had a helluva lot of fun in the doing.

Which is what counts, I think.


Mr. Goble passed away last weekend of a heart attack.

You can read a nice passel of Mr. Shithead's fine memories of his lifelong friend...



Quotable Quotes...The Flack-Hackery Follies.


From a recent piece by Mychalo Prystupa in the VObserver:

...(T)he company won an injunction on Nov.25 to forbid ....(protesters)... and others from interfering further...

{snippety doo-dah}

In October, the company's VP said in an earlier court victory:

"I think the fact that we got the injunction alone is pretty much a win for us," Steve Robertson told the CBC....


Kinder Morgan in all their Burnaby Mountainish injunctatorial glory?

Good guess, but no.

Instead, the good Mr. Robertson quoted above works for those super fine folks from Imperial Metals who are working their own injunctatorial jujitsu to keep protestors like the Klabona Keepers away from their next big tailing pond project located very close to the headwaters of the Skeena, Nas and Stikine rivers.



It's almost like the Mount Polley disaster never happened.

But why should anybody worry about a little hiccup like that.

After all, it's not like anybody from the company, or the folks working for the company, or the provincial government knew there was a problem there ahead of time or anything.



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Globalized Torture...One Of The Fifty-Four.



Update: Alison has more, much more, about what we, specifically, have done...

From the Open Society Foundation's report on the CIA's global torture program (from the 2nd page of the executive summary, pg 6 of the document):
...The report also shows that as many as 54 foreign governments reportedly participated in these operations in various ways, including by hosting CIA prisons on their territories; detaining, interrogating, torturing, and abusing individuals; assisting in the capture and transport of detainees; permitting the use of domestic airspace and airports for secret flights transporting detainees; providing intelligence leading to the secret detention and extraordinary rendition of individuals; and interrogating individuals who were secretly being held in the custody of other governments. Foreign governments also failed to protect detainees from secret detention and extraordinary rendition on their territories and to conduct effective investigations into agencies and officials who participated in these operations. The 54 governments identified in this report span the continents of Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America, and include: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen, and Zimbabwe...

Are we still the country we think we are?

And do not forget...The US Senate's own report, just released has made it clear that this initiative did little, if not nothing, to generate any useful new actionable intelligence.


The Keef Report...Downshifting The Power Principle Overdrive.


Overdrive....Monday...All Power, And Damn The Principle Torpedos.

Downshifted....Tuesday...All Power, And Principles Too!


Cake having.


Eating it.


It would appear that it is now a wonderful new super-Green world that we live in.

And when the new central Lotuslandian school board goes all in for oily propwash dollars in classrooms (because that's what every child needs and deserves according to the NPA and the super-fine Vancouver Sun)?

Well, I for one, look forward to hearing how it's all good (and all green, of course) because the propwash's plastic banners are 100% biodegradable.

Or some such thing.

Previous editions of 'The Keef Report' can be found....Here.


The P3 Principle...What They Really Cost.


Well, well, well...

It looks like the Auditor General of Ontario agrees with idiot bloggers with no established credibility when it comes to the real cost of public private profiteering (a.k.a. 'Alternative Financing and Procurement') (bottom of pg 197):

"...When the province constructs public-sector facilities such as hospitals, courthouses and schools, it can either manage and fund the construction itself or have the private sector finance and deliver the facilities. For 74 infrastructure projects (either com- pleted or under way) where Infrastructure Ontario concluded that private-sector project delivery (under the Alternative Financing and Procurement [AFP] approach) would be more cost effective, we noted that the tangible costs (such as construction, financing, legal services, engineering services and project management services) were estimated to be nearly $8 billion higher than they were estimated to be if the projects were contracted out and managed by the public sector..."


What did that $8 billion cost Ontarians?

Well, Michael Butler of the Council of Canadians has done a wee bit of calculating:

· 20,000 more hospital beds operating year-round


· 27 Community Hospitals


· 19930 acute care beds


· Around a 15.4% increase of annual health care budget


· 26,060 new doctors for a year


· 82,000 new nurses for a year


When they (and I'm not just talking about Pols and their flying surrender monkeys here) say there is no money to do the right things...

They're full of shite.

Pure and simple.

Of course, those super fine folks from the fantabulous 'Canadian Taxpayers Federation' will be all over this, right?....Especially the leader of the local Lotulandian division given that we have had our fair share of costly 'alternative financing and procurement' type deals 'round here....Well...Maybe....Not....But if we spend taxdollars on the wages of the folks that actually do stuff for us?...To the ramparts!


Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The Keef Report...Power Principle Overdrive.


You read that right.

The good Mr. Baldrey most certainly does appear to be saying that, when faced with a decision between power (for, apparently, power's sake as evidenced by the example being cited) and principle that political parties should.....


You know.

And if the puffed-up pro-punditry of Lotulsand and outer environs were to call out such acts of political expediency for what they truly are...Would we be better or worse off as a citizenry?
Previous Keef Reports can be found....Here.


Monday, December 08, 2014

On Conflictiness...The Vancouver Sun's Editor Doubles Down.


In case you missed it, the Vancouver Sun's editorial page has a wee bit of a problem as detailed recently by the Vancouver Courier's Allen Garr:

...On Nov. 12, three days before the municipal election, the Vancouver Sun ran an editorial attacking the Vision-dominated school board and chair Patti Bacchus for their refusal to accept money from the “Chevron Fuel Your School program.”

The funding had been turned down and was reported on months earlier. But it was resurrected as an issue by NPA mayoral candidate Kirk

LaPointe and picked up again by the Sun’s editors. The editorial sub heading read: “Ideologically-driven decision deprived students of learning resources.”...

{snippety doo-dah}

...This is a small town when it comes to politics and media. Even though editorials are anonymous and considered the “paper’s view,” when this broadside was delivered on the eve of a tightly fought election, one of the first questions raised was: Who penned that particular editorial?

Munro confirmed it was Sun editorial pages editor Harvey Enchin. And, as most people in the media business know, Enchin’s partner is Ann Gibbon. Gibbon was working during the election as communications director for Kirk LaPointe and the NPA...

All of which, just on its face, re: the connection, is pretty bad.

And, in my opinion, there is all kinds of stuff in the editorial itself that is even worse.

But the following just might be worst, especially given the fact that the actual decision not to take Chevron's prop-washed dollars was NOT, apparently, actually made by the, you know, Patti Bacchus-chaired school board at the time:


Who is the good Mr. Munro, exactly?

Why he is none other than the actual....

Wait for it...

Editor-in-chief, and former Alaska cruise participant, of the Vancouver Sun.

You want all seven things that it can be strongly argued were really, really, really wrong with the VSun edit under consideration?...The Exile has them...In spades.