Friday, January 31, 2014

Pitchers And Catchers Are Loosening Up In Some Frigid Bullpen Somewhere.


In the meantime there are fantastic things being generated by those pining for the diamond everwhere.

Things like this.....

Tip O' The (soon to be put away for good) Toque to 'The Real King Zeke' on the Twittmachine.


Ya But...Where, Exactly, Is Mr. Bezos Hiding His Rosebud?



How many out-of-work journos are polishing their resumes right about now:

The Washington Post has significantly increased its budget and plans to make dozens of newsroom hires under its new owner, the Amazon founder Jeffrey P. Bezos, the paper’s executive editor, Marty Baron, said in an interview on Wednesday.

Mr. Bezos has closely consulted with The Post’s leadership in plotting its growth strategy and the moves represent Mr. Bezos’s “first mark on the paper,” Mr. Baron said....


Wonder how long it will be before the WaPo's newsroom is rechristened the 'info-fulfilment center'?

If you get my drift.

And is there an actual business strategy behind this Hearstian endeavour...Well...Other than 'Digital Uber-Alles Forever!' it's hard to see one...Maybe if they started flogging Earnest and Julio Gallo and hired a 'Card-Tricks' Editor...


Why Are The Fish Farmers Being Feted On Wall Street?


In the opinion of Alexandra Morton it's because the government of Stephen Harper has shredded the Cohen report as a prelude to greenlighting the feedlots of the feted fecal farmers forever:

On the heels of a greenlight from Prime Minister Harper, that salmon farming is free to expand in BC. The wisdom of Justice Bruce Cohen was tossed aside. As soon as the applications appeared in local papers, the industry was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. BC is a third world region, traded to Norway as a place for them to raised "their" fish...



Is Ms. Morton right or is she wrong.


Based on her track record I'm betting it's the former.

One thing that is not open to debate, because it is a fact, is the matter that the Harper government has removed the Cohen Report from publicly available government servers...Luckily Watershed Watch has it all archived (and is monitoring the Harpoonista's non-compliance)...


Dean Alert!....An Aura Of Inevitability...


...In which the VSun's Vaughn Palmer does his best to bring John Horgan back into the Dipper leadership ring:

VICTORIA — With the race for the New Democratic Party leadership yet to attract the first official candidate, a move is afoot to persuade MLA John Horgan to change his mind about sitting this one out...



Remember all that water carrying Mike Smyth did for the Snooklandians last weekend in an effort to douse any and all the small flames that just might be throwing a little heat on a potential bid from young, way post '90's guy David Eby?


Looks like the various and assorted sundry factors keeping folks like Mr. Eby from getting anywhere near the weigh-in just might be a factor in Mr. Horgan's re-think:

...“I was hearing an inevitability about it,” Horgan told reporters. “I felt it was best to get out of the way for our younger members. It will open up the party to new ideas. It was imperative I made this announcement to clear the field.”

But in the three months since Horgan took himself out of the running, others have been doing the same, including federal MPs Nathan Cullen and Peter Julian, provincial MLA Judy Darcy and Mayors Gregor Robertson and Derek Corrigan.

Meanwhile, the pressure is on Horgan to reconsider, the hoped-for next generation of leadership having failed to materialize in the form of an actual declared candidate. “That is not really happening,” Horgan observed Thursday. “So I am listening to what people have to say.”...

Strange days indeed.

Most peculiar Mama.

Of course, there is also the 'Farnworth Factor' which, as a reader noted on the thread attached to the 'MSmyth, I Watercarrier' post, just might be being pushed by Lotusland's own pale imitation of the Matalin/Carville mediamanipulationmonsterbox...


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Grapes Of Pete.


There are a lot of great Pete Seeger tributes out there.

But one of my favourites is a personal one from our friend Ellen Bloom that, in the end, brings us around to Mr. Fonda putting voice to to words of Mr. Steinbeck:

"A fella ain't got a soul of his own, but only a piece of a big soul, the one big soul out there that belongs to everybody. And then it don't matter. Then I'll be all around in the dark. I'll be everywhere…Wherever there's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beating up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad, and I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready…And when our people eat the stuff they raise, and the houses they build, I'll be there too."

Regardless who said it and/or who wrote it, it sure does sound like Mr. Seeger to me.

Pete tunes coming....In the meantime, here's somebody singing out with four, rather than five, stringed back-up.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Who Do The Snooklandians Fear Most?


Who do they really and truly fear the most?

Well, perhaps Mike Smyth has the answer.

After all when Mr. Smyth wrote this morning of David Eby's work helping push back for poor people as a young man did he (Smyth) write about what policies Mr. Eby might persue in this regard if he (Eby) were to become leader of the NDP?


Did Mr. Smyth write about whether Mr. Eby, the guy who was able to mount, pretty much single-handedly, a ground game good enough to defeat Christy Clark in far-west CremeVille, has the right stuff, in the here and now, to be an effective NDP leader?

Of course not.

Instead, the good Mr. Smyth wondered if Mr. Eby is an anti-cop 'showboater'*.

And who did Mr. Smyth go to for confirmation of said showboatery?

Why none other than the Snooklandian ad-firm principal and deflector-spin generator Mr. Brad Zubyk.

And you think I'm joking right?


*Hmmmm....Was 'swift' boater already taken?
And Mr Smyth has videos of young Mr. Eby pushing back for poor people?....Imagine that!...Gosh...Wonder who supplied them to him?
Interestingly, back in the last days of Railgate, when the last bombshell went off, Mr. Smyth, while sitting in Ms. Clark's still warm, but vacated chair in the (nolongerso)Giant 98 studio also went to Mr. Zubyk for 'expert' comment.
Look, this is just one more example of how the politics of destruction double-secret probation smear codes are embedded, in bold 72 point font, on just about every single page of the master playbook that is used by this gang of miscreant expedients bent on kicking the crap out of our body politic....And, just to be clear here, I typed that last bit with not one single, solitary nanoparticle of snark clinging to the tips of my fingers.
So, given that Mr. Smyth refused to ask the question, we will....Does Mr. Eby, indeed, have the right stuff?...Personally, I'm not enough of an insider to really know...But I do know this...It was Eby, and only Eby, who had the stuff, in the wake of last May's massacre at the hand of the expedients and their shillophants to write.....This.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Strahl That (Still) Stirs Enbridge's Drink.


Well, well, well...

It looks like, sometimes at least, doing the expedient thing and the right thing can both sit on the head of  (slightly slippery) pin.

To wit:

"Please accept this letter as formal notice of my decision to step down as Chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee."

With that, Chuck Strahl stepped down as Canada's top spy watchdog.

The embattled head of (the CSIS watchdog) SIRC came under heavy scrutiny after the Vancouver Observer broke the story on Jan. 4 that Strahl had as a lobbyist for Enbridge Northern Gateway.

On the bright side, it's good to know that the skid greasing Oil Co. handouts are more important and/or lucrative to Mr. Strahl than Dear Leader and Country.

Or some such thing.

Let the lobbying of Snookland in general, and Darth Vader in particular, begin in earnest!
I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge VanObserver's Matthew Millar's continued good spade work on this one.


Travelling Alone.


That feeling...

With the work all done and the time heading towards two in the morning, eastern...

That feeling of being inspired by great things conjured up by others washed over me as I watched 'The English Patient', disembodied, in the cigar tube the other night while winging west.


When it was done why would I, with more than hour to go to get back home, just put some time-filler on the shiny little square in the seat-back in front of me?

So I turned the thing off, put Hansard and his friends in my head, and opened the early Ondaatje that Bigger E. gave me for Christmas instead.


Maybe the time has come for me to try and really learn something about jazz.

Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of the greatest of conjuring... The above song is from Jason Isbell's latest...Listen first....Then....Buy it!
As for the jazz side of the thing... Maybe littler e. will be able to teach it to me...After all, she has decided to learn to play....The trumpet!


Saturday, January 18, 2014

This Day In Snookland...One For The Cronies?


How come no quotes from the Progress Board?

Oh, ya.

Facts and all that.

Can't have that, right?

And, of course, even the cronified successor to the PBoard had to go when it, too, dipped its toe in the pool labelled 'reality' recently.


Pushin' Shakey?


Is the Calgary Sun attempting to freep its own poll on Neil Young's tour for the Athabaska Chipewyan First Nation Legal Defense Fund?

Why yes, I believe they are:

...Rocker Neil Young is the latest celebrity to bash the economic engine of the province.

He has claimed the oil is going to China. He has suggested the place looks like Hiroshima.

Young has faced sharp criticism for his comments, but others have backed him.

Two recent reader polls for other media outlets claim a majority of Albertans back him.

What do you say, Sun readers?

Do you agree with Young's attack on the oilsands?

Do you feel his attacks are on base, or are an over-exaggeration of the environmental picture in the Fort McMurray area?...


But here's the thing.

As of 8:00am this morning (i.e. the day of the big show in Calgary) it would appear that the fine folks from the CSun are still not quite getting the answer they are looking for:

Of course, the call to the flying surrender monkeys is probably just going out right about now.

Wonder how many times the ol' curmudgeon has banged the lever already?

Tip 'O the toque to Sandy Garrossino on the twittmachine.


Friday, January 17, 2014

This Day In Snookland...Is The Premier Playing Politics With The Burns Lake Mill Tragedy?


First.... Last week, Crown counsel announced that there will be no criminal charges.

Second... Earlier today, the WorkSafe BC investigation is released that concludes that the tragedy was preventable given the fact that the mill had a history of not cleaning up the combustibles in the mill or maintaining/upgrading the equipment that ignited said combustibles (pg 76):

...The accumulations of wood waste before the explosion and the poor condition of some of the electrical equipment that was inspected after the incident indicate that supervisors were not effectively or adequately monitoring the work that was being done...

Third...Later today, Christy Clark calls for an investigation, because:

...Clark says the people of Burns Lake deserve an explanation...

And guess who will, allegedly, implement the Premier's hand-crafted 'investigation' to provide the deserved 'explanation':

..."I've asked the head of the BC Civil Service, Deputy Minister John Dyable (sic), to review the case — to review the fact pattern, come back and give us the facts so that we know and understand what happened with the investigation and the decisions around it."...


Does mean that this investigation, too, will be a most convenient 'Quick Win'?


Meanwhile, if an already snookified advisory board still produces a report that doesn't agree with all the Propagammon fit for Potemkin that fits?....Well...You know.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf...

...With A Cricket Bat In Her Hand?

Virginia (at bat, age 12) with her sister Vanessa on the pitch, circa 1894.

Dan Colman has the details over at Open Culture. 


This Week In Snookland....The Spiking Of The Dean.


In the credit-where-credit-is-due department, Mr. Palmer had a spot-on column late last week on the ridiculous waste of money that is the Snooklandians' (not) jobs plan.

Here's a smidge:

...(O)ne is tempted to conclude that the most substantive product of their jobs plan to date was the $15-million-plus worth of tax dollars that were spent promoting it in the year and a half prior to the last election.

Nor does one need to look too far into the details of the jobs plan to see why it remains mostly a work in progress. Much of the discussion was around encouraging private-sector development, mostly in the resource sector, in the medium to long term.

The much-touted liquefied natural gas industry supplies the most obvious example. Some employment has already been created in planning and site preparation.

But even if one accepts the government’s optimistic scenario (and I have my doubts about it), there’ll be no final decisions to proceed with even one of the projects before the fall of this year and no major LNG production before the next election year.

The public will run out of patience with the promises long before that, one has to think...


Thing is, by the time the Dean's bit hit the stands, as it were, nobody really cared.

For all kinds of reasons, that include the fact that, with nothing happening in the shuttered ledge, nobody else in the pro-pundit class is really paying attention because they know that anything the Dean says while school's out won't be on the exam anyway.

And then there was the matter of the Snooklandians sounding the dog whistle to alert their flying surrender monkeys that now and forever is the time to both muddy the waters and rile up the base on the Twittmachine.

And if all that wasn't enough, somebody on the inside of the fine outfit that Mr. Palmer works for made sure that the kicker of his column was dead on arrival under the following headline:

NDP navel-gazing means Liberals get a pass on fizzling B.C. Jobs Plan...


You know if the Snooklandians were actually playing real Straussian games, where winning actually meant something, I could live with that....But it seems to me that everything (and I mean everything) they do is, at its core, driven by short term political expediency...Heckfire!....I wouldn't be surprised if, in say 15 or 18 months, and especially if the market really does tank, they started blaming John Horgan for conjuring up all those stillborn LNG Sparkle Ponies rather than the elevator runner who actually magically brought them all to virtual life...
Subheader got you trying to scratch your limbic system with a claw hammer?...Well...This.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

This Day In Snookland...When Christie Met Christy.


You may (or may not) have been following the story about how a staffer and an appointee of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie carried out a bizarre bit of political thuggery that simultaneously misused public resources and screwed over a public trying to be resourceful (i.e. get to work in the morning).

Essentially, they made stuff up about a traffic study, which they may or may not have funded, to use government funds and employees to close down a bunch of lanes on a busy cross-state bridge to wreak traffic havoc as a means of political payback.

Interestingly, many of the interactions between the staffer, Bridget Anne Kelly, and the appointee, David Wildstein, both of whom worked closely with Christie, were by E-mail.

Here's the final kicker (amongst many), that has been made publicly available by the Wall Street Journal:



The morally bankrupt banality of the actions of the two boweevils is one thing.

But there is something else interesting there, no?

I mean...

Have a look at the Email addresses used by the boweevils who worked for the government and the governor whose name is Chris, not Christy.

Notice anything?

Quick wins!


Thursday, January 09, 2014

RailGate Re-Rerising...The Cult Has A New Leader.


And that leader, one Mr. H. Oberfeld, is not amused by the Snooklandians' big RailGate trash dump that happened just before Christmas (all CAPS Harvey O's own):

"...The question in my mind, and I susopect a million British Columbians as well, is not whether the bureaucrats acted legally … it’s:




It stinks.

And no report, released just before Christmas, saying it was LEGAL, will …or should … end the questions..."



As I noted over at Mr. Oberfeld's place...

Perhaps this would a good time for some enterprising media maverick to ask former Attorney General Geoff Plant why, exactly a prior 'understanding' is not a prior 'inducement'.


What's this 'cult' thing all about Alfie?...Well....You know.


Wednesday, January 08, 2014

How Many Canucks Can A Con-Chuck Con When A Con-Chuck Up-Chucks...


From Brian Hutchinson's NaPo follow-up to Matthew Millar's original Vancouver Observer report, backed by documentary evidence, that former Conservative Party of Canada Minister and current Conservative Party of Canada appointee as 'SIRC' overseer of CSIS is lobbying the British Columbia Government for Enbridge:

...After taking the SIRC appointment in 2012, Mr. Strahl told the National Post he would continue with his consulting work, but he would not lobby governments...

{snippety doo-dah}

...Chuck Strahl Consulting Inc. formally declared itself a Northern Gateway lobbyist in December, according to the B.C. Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists filing. Mr. Strahl’s objective, according to his filing: “To arrange a meeting between [B.C.'s Deputy Premier] Rich Coleman and representatives from Northern Gateway Pipelines Inc.”...


That's some turn around in a little over a year, eh?

So, what does Mr. Strahl have to say for himself for playing fast and loose with the rules (i.e. he is 'technically' OK because he is not directly lobbying the government he used to be a Minister in and he is not conflicty for lobbying for a company, and its Northern Gateway project, where there may be National Security issues at play)?

Well, go have a read of Mr. Hutchinson's entire report - it's quite astounding how Mr. Strahl is willing to play us for suckers on both points mentioned above, and more.

Oh, and, of course, according to the good Mr. Strahl....

This is all the Vancouver Observer's fault.

Or some such anti-documentary evidence-type thing.


Monday, January 06, 2014

This Day In Snookland...While The Cronies Play, Schools Must Pay.


While the fine folks at the Commensense Canadian and the Wilderness Committee may be off by a billion or five, I think most in the know would agree that our future commitments to IPP producers and subsidies to resource extractors via Site C are going to cost us, through BC Hydro, something on the order of $60 billion.

Which is a reason that we rather than them (i.e. said producers and extractors), must start paying through the nose, immediately, for all those sweetheart deals.

And by 'we', we mean us, which includes our schools.

Here's just one example, as noted recently, by Sian Thomson of the Campbell River Courier-Islander recently:

Cuts to BC Ferries services and hikes to BC Hydro rates will negatively impact the district, students and the communities within School District 72 the school board says. The BC Hydro rate increase will cost the district approximately $103,000 over the next two years...

Then again.

What's a hundred thou in extra unforseen costs to a little up island school district already strapped to the teeth by Snooklandian 'austerity' measures anyway?

Why am I fussing about this?....Well....Remember how the Snooklandian Minister responsible recently decided that there was no way in heckfire that he was going to cut school districts and hospitals some slack because if he did people (as opposed to cronies?) might start to expect such deals...


Sunday, January 05, 2014

This Day In Snookland...The Strahl That Stirs The Premier's Drink.


That was then:

...“[May 14] is going to be about individuals making their voice heard in the ballot booth. But you know, Stockwell Day, as an example, and Chuck Strahl, two retired politicians, federal politicians, are both very actively helping us in this campaign and I’m really proud of the contribution that they’ve been making.”...

This is now:

Chuck Strahl, Chairman of the federal body which oversees Canada’s spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), has registered to lobby on behalf of Enbridge’s ‘Northern Gateway Pipelines Limited Partnership’.

Two weeks before the December 19, 2013 decision of the National Energy Board’s Joint Review Panel on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project, Strahl and his firm – Chuck Strahl Consulting Inc.– registered as a B.C. provincial lobbyist and listed the Enbridge subsidiary as his client starting December 6...

Of course,  in classic say anything fashion, Ms. Clark the day after the 'then' said exactly the opposite...Seemed there was a slight optical problem in conflictyness given that fact that the good Mr. Strahl oversees that wee little thing called CSIS.


Saturday, January 04, 2014

This Day In Lotusland...For The Turnstiles.


Our youngest kid, littler e., realized something yesterday.

Which is that there is a real world tempation for some kids to hop on a Skytrain without paying every once in awhile.


Because when she got off the bus and headed to the train station yesterday she realized that it was going to cost her another dollar, on top of the transfer she originally bought when she stepped on the bus, to get out to Richmond with her friend.

Which is fair enough, I guess.

As long as you are a kid with an extra dollar in your pocket.

Both ways.

Of course, if you are a kid who has to cross both arms of the Fraser that extra bit jumps another dollar each way.

Which is when the lightbulb went off for littler e...

Just like it did for Lotuslandian city councillor Andrea Reimer not long ago.


Later, when we were talking about how this is going to work once those $200 million dollar turnstiles are fully operational, e. was irate when she found out that her bus transfer would be worthless at the train station and that she would have to pay for a full fare all over again if she paid cash instead of using the card that is going to cost her an extra six bucks to 'rent'.

'Why?' she asked.

'Well, let me explain,' I said...

At the end of my explanation, which was a stripped down version of all the stuff you can find here, she only had one thing to say.

'I hate the cronies!' she exclaimed.

I thought about my response for a moment as we drove home in the dark after dropping Bigger E. off at the airport for her trip back to New France.

Why did I hesitate?

Because, and I am being totally snark-free here for the moment, I try my best not to use words like 'hate' with my kids.

In the end though, I decided that that I only had one thing to say as we floated down off the Arthur Lang and headed east along Southwest Marine.

'Me too,' I replied.


Speaking of the cronies...

The above is that reworked version of a Phil Ochs song that Bigger E. and I recorded awhile back...And, in case you missed it, a most interesting conversation broke out discussing, amongst other things, Mr. Ochs' strained relationship with Mr. Dylan over at Rod Mickleburgh's place the other day.


Friday, January 03, 2014

This Day In Lotusland...Politics.

...Civic Apathy Division.

Victoria Labour Council guy Michael Eso, on the Twittmachine, got me to thinking about our civic elections that are out there on the horizon, riding that slow train heading toward November.

Well, truth be told, that and the alleged craziness going on in various and assorted sundry hidey-holes of the COPE bunker, got me thinking about the upcoming civics.


Mr. Eso was kinda/sorta wondering about the Green Party prospects in Victoria.

So I followed the link to the 2011 election results that got him going. And I saw his point.

But what really brought me up short, although it probably shouldn't have given the way things are going these days, was the voter turnout in that election.

Which was...

Twenty-six freaking percent.

I mean, isn't that almost reaching the 'Is Democracy Dead?' tipping point?


How to fix this thing?

Well, maybe we need more artistes formerly known as Shithead (or some such thing), to run.

I'm guessing Burnaby Council in 2014!

I'll let you know if I'm way, way wrong (or right)  if Mr. Keithley answers my query re: his true intentions. 


Thursday, January 02, 2014

Our Year End Round-Up...Do Numbers Matter?


You may have noticed that I've been paying a little attention to numbers lately.

Specifically, I've been watching the total number of listens to the Advent Jukebox climb, day-by-day, over the past month.

Which, as they now are now approaching 75,000, completely flummoxes me.

But, really, what does such a number actually mean?


In the grand scheme of things I know that it means pretty much nothing at all.

Because what I do is so one note and so unpolished, not to mention often a little flat, except, of course, when E. sings along too, that it will never become a viral (or even a genetically-crippled, wholly non-productive bacterial) sensation of any kind whatsoever.

But I do know this....

You folks that do stop by do so for no other reason other than you like to visit occasionally to have a bit of a read and maybe get a little kick out of one of my aural snippets of wanton mimicry (or, as some of you have told me, the rambling introductions to the songs).

Which means that every read and/or listen and/or comment and/or discussion that takes place here is an honest one that is driven purely by the DIY aspect of the thing.

And I am extremely thankful to all of you for the joyous wonder of that.

Honestly and truly.

A few other numbers you might (or might not) be interested in, purely from a wrapping up point of view....The six longer form 'Sunday Setlists' from last year now have more than 215,000 total listens...As for  this little F-Troop list blog itself....According to the Googleplex that (technically) owns it, there were 431,675 page views last year (monthly low - 24,661; monthly high - 55,171; monthly average - 35,973)...
And here is something really crazy...And the credit for this one goes to all of you 'Blog Crawl' watchers...We were the 2nd place referral service to Stephen Reese's truly excellent Lotuslandian Transportation blog....We were right behind the entire Twittmachine and just ahead of (get this!) Mark Zuckerberg's death star....Seriously (scroll down to the pink/orange bit).
As for a little navel/number gazing that actually does mean something...I first started listening to Marc Maron's podcasts around #75 before they really blew up...He is now at #457...Anyway, I got the 'honest listens' idea from him....Maron came up with the concept because, as an old show business hand who had been mostly unsuccessfully chasing the big 'break' for 25 years, he came to understand that he could, instead, actually attract an audience all by himself without the backing of a corporate machine...Of course, Maron has managed to use those honest listens as leverage to fling himself back into the big media maw because he's really good at what he does (i.e. he actually listens to the people he interviews and uses the Gzowski principle when things lag a little)...There's also the small matter that he passed the 100 million download mark some time ago (which means that he can now get people like Will Ferrell to visit his studio....errrrr...'garage' for an hour, or more, at a time).
The Gzowski principle?...(just in case you were wondering)...It's all pretty much explained...Here.


Wednesday, January 01, 2014

The Rulin's...1943 Edition.


From a then 30 year old Woody Guthrie.

I'm going to try my best.


No. 26 is going to be mighty tough.

(you can click the list to embiggen if needed - 'tis worth it just for the doodles)

Woody's list has fast become a meme-type deal from all kinds of quarters (including Macleans dot C, eh?) today....I reckon, though, that it first got some serious interwebzian play via the always fabulous 'Brain Pickings' a couple of years ago.
And if 1943 doesn't do it for you (and/or even if it does)...There is always 1926...Which was George Burns' favourite year...For good reason.


New Year's Morning Comin' Down...How To Write A Song.


With Jason Isbell...

I figure the snippet he lays down at the end goes G/D/Em/Cmaj7/G.

Of course, the accuracy of the transposition doesn't really matter given that the above little round is what's already in my head...With or without the Capo on II.

BTW...The finished product is....Here.