Monday, March 31, 2014

This Afternoon In Snookland...National Press Gallery Finally Asks The Question Lotuslandian ProMedia Ignored Over Weekend.


Well, well, well....

Looks like somebody in the proMedia finally asked the Premier of BC about her former campaign fixer and the current executive director of her political party, Ms. Laura Miller.

...“She (Miller) is a person of absolutely sterling character, and she works incredibly hard for our party and our province,” Clark told reporters in Ottawa. “She is a person of the utmost integrity and we’re really, really lucky to have her in B.C. . . . of course, you know, she is not the target of this investigation.”...

Please note the location of the reporters that Ms. Clark spoke to on this matter.

And please also note that that location was neither Victoria nor Vancouver.

Once again, as they did with Ms. Clark's bald-faced lies on 'job creation' in the run-up to the last election, the local proMedia herd/steno-club has failed us.

And, just to counter Ms. Clark's spin-jamming (it's known as a 'follow-up' herd members - you might want to try it sometime)...While Ms. Miller may not, technically, be the 'target' of said investigation, she was approached by the police and refused to talk to them....As we and Paul Willcocks noted yesterday, that is the real crux of the matter when it comes to the 'integrity', not of Ms. Miller, but of Ms. Clark, her government and her political party.


This Day In Snookland...Highways? We Don't Need No Stinking Highways!


Would'a thunk it....

A Snooklandian Minister, with TeeVee-ready hair no less, taken down by the linear print media.

And, surprise of all surprises, it was Mike Smythe who actually used the Google (and/or took a phone call from somebody from the other side) to do it:

...“Minister, many ferry users insist the ferries are an extension of the highway system,” CKNW’s Bill Good said to (Transportation Minister Todd) Stone in an interview.

“Do you reject that argument?”

Stone’s response: “Yes, I reject that argument and so has every B.C. government for a good number of decades now, including ours, the previous NDP government and Social Credit governments before that.”...

{snippety doo-dah}

...Contrary to what Stone says, every B.C. government going back to W.A.C. Bennett — the founder of the ferry system — considered the ferries to be an extension of the highways and said so many times.

That includes former Liberal premier Gordon Campbell.

“B.C. Ferries routes are an extension of the highway system and ferry travellers have the right to access those routes as they need to,” Campbell said...



Maybe it's time for Minister Stone to call up the TeeVee man and offer him a plane ride to Bella Coola.

Or some such thing.

And just who is wearing the blurry-logoed bit of BCF schwag at the top of the post?.....Stay tuned (and/or start guessing in the comments)....


Sunday, March 30, 2014

This Day In Snookland...And Justice For (Not Quite) All.


Apropos of something we (but not Lotsuland's proMedia) wrote about yesterday, Paul Willcocks weighs in on the matter of the current executive director of the BC Liberal Party.

First, here's Mr. Willcocks' lede, to set the stage:

No one has to co-operate with the police when they’re investigating a possible crime. You’re free to tell the officers that you have no interest in helping them and won't say a word.

But not if you’re a politician or political operative who hopes to be credible and trusted.

Laura Miller, the executive director of the BC Liberal Party, has refused to meet with police officers from Ontario’s anti-racket squad to answer questions. Police believe she could help with their investigation of breach of trust in an alleged high-level illegal coverup in the office of former premier Dalton McGuinty, where she was deputy chief of staff....

Next, following up on a great piece in the O'Citizen by Gary Dimmrock, Mr. Willcocks gets to the heart of the matter:

...That’s a citizen’s right. But politicians and political parties make a big deal about believing in the justice system, supporting ... police and helping them keep communities safer by co-operating in crime investigations.

When (a) most senior party staffer refuses to sit down answer questions, that all is revealed to be hypocritical rubbish. We want you ordinary people to co-operate wth police, Clark and company are saying. We’ll act in our own self-interest.

And it raises serious questions. Why, exactly, is Miller refusing to answer questions about what she knows? What does Christy Clark think about the party executive director’s refusal to co-operate with an extremely serious police investigation?...



There you have it.

Justice for us...

As for the Snooklandians?


You know...

Red lights and other executive directors of the BC Liberal Party and all that.

Oh...And just in case you were wondering...As Mr. Willcocks also notes...It's not just cult members who are asking why the Lotuslandian herd is not covering this one...


Saturday, March 29, 2014

This Day In Snookland...All Your McGuinty's 'R Us.


Seems a former top staffer/political fixer in the old Ontario Liberal regime of Dalton McGuinty is in the news lately.

TorStar's Richard Brennan has the latest on the story:

Laura Miller was arguably the most powerful woman in the final days of Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government.

As the deputy chief of staff — and the brains of the McGuinty’s political operation — she had his ear and strong sense of what the boss wanted.

{snippety do-dah}

.. (Ms.) Miller has been named in an Ontario Provincial Police investigation that alleges government computers were accessed and tampered with.

Critics insist deleted emails pertained to the Grits’ controversial decision to scrap two gas-powered electricity plants — one in Oakville and the other in Mississauga — at a cost of up to $1.1 billion.

It is alleged by the OPP in a search warrant application that McGuinty’s chief of staff, David Livingston, got Miller’s boyfriend, information-technology expert Peter Faist, access to 24 employees’ desktop computers in the premier’s office...

So, given all that...

Wherever do you think Ms. Miller might be doing her fixin' now?


You know...

...A long-time Grit, who grew up in the party’s youth wing, Miller is considered a bright and deft communicator and brilliant political organizer.

Enlisted by Don Guy, McGuinty’s former campaign czar, she parachuted into B.C. to save Premier Christy Clark from defeat in last year’s come-from-behind election victory.

Clark was so impressed she urged Miller to stay behind and run the B.C.’s governing party, so she now commutes between Vancouver and the Toronto home she shares with Faist.


And Don Guy?....Gosh...Which triple-headed flack hackery shoppe does the good Mr. Guy co-own again?...Oh, ya...Now I remember...Sheesh.


Thank God For Mississip...errrr...Snookland.


The latest bit of legislation from the deep south state that does its darndest to stay at the bottom of the wage inequality heap:

...(Mississipi State) Senate Bill 2473 would make it illegal to coerce a business into staying neutral in a union drive or to allow workers to choose union representation by signing cards instead of by secret ballot. It’s not clear what would constitute coercion, but businesses could sue anyone they believed engaged in it. [...]

Senate Bill 2653 tries to restrict mass picketing of a residence or place of business. It says pickets would be legal as long as they weren’t violent and didn’t block entrances. But it also makes getting a court stop order against picketing easier.

Senate Bill 2797 says the Legislature would have to pass a law to allow any state or local government to make an agreement to use unionized workers on a project. Such a project labor agreement was used to build the Toyota Motor Corp. plant in Blue Springs...

Which, of course, is awful because, as Kossack Laura Clawson, notes it is essentially a hydra-headed passel of bills that are telling unions to get GTFOutta Mississippi.

Which is the kind of things that lots of USAmericans who live outside the state, but often right next door, use to console themselves:

"Thank God for Mississippi" is a common adage in the United States, particularly in the South, that is generally used when discussing rankings of U.S. states. Since the state of Mississippi generally ranks near or (stereotypically) at the bottom of such rankings, residents of other states ranking near the bottom frequently proclaim, "Thank God for Mississippi", since the presence of that state in 50th place spares them of the shame of finishing in last place....



Can somebody tell me...

When, exactly, did Lotusland move in next door to Biloxi?

It’s what health care workers and staff at New Horizons (care home in Campbell River) expected from the new contractor: A chance to reapply for their current jobs only at lower wages and fewer benefits.

“No surprise here,” said Mike Old of the Health Employees Union. “The whole point of this exercise was to cut costs by cutting wages and benefits.”

This week, the 120 employees – who will all be laid off from the care home effective April 30 – received the compensation package from the new care provider, Kamloops-based Carecorp Senior Services...

{snippety doo-dah}

...Current employees are being offered their old jobs back, but they had to reapply for those positions and not all are coming back. One worker said that just 32 out of 60 registered care aids had signed up for job interviews which took place yesterday and today.

Old expects there will be a lot of job turnover and that will affect the residents who are mostly seniors, “This disrupts their continuity of care.”

New Horizons is owned by Park Place Seniors Living of Vancouver. According to the agreement it has with the province, the owners can contract out care, cleaning and cooking services once current contracts expire...


Come to think of it.

Maybe we are Biloxi and Biloxi is us.

After all, they already have Casino-Industrial-Complexes on pretty much every street corner.

If you get my drift.


Friday, March 28, 2014

It's A Southern Rock Maron-A-Thon!


And it all swirls around the Muscle Shoals session scene, the Athens Ga music explosion that followed, and the best album of the last year.

I highly recommend that you go out of order and listen to Maron get into it with Drive-By-Truckers founder Patterson Hood first.

Then go listen to former trucker Jason Isbell get down to it.

And, along the way, learn about the Dad who wasn't to one of them but who was to the other (and to hell with geneaology).

And, as an aside, you will learn precisely when Southern Rock was invented.

Which, according to Mr. Hood the younger, happened when Duane Allman convinced Wilson Pickett to go out to the crossroads with him and cover 'Hey Jude'.

Seriously (and, especially, when they get to the last chorus)...

And as for that album mentioned above?

Here is the very best song on it...

Sorry Beer...No Shonna...At least not this time.


This Day In Snookland...Spin Wins (Again).



At least according to the fine fellow on the TeeVee, who is so proud of all his Twittmachine feed followers, it does:

Of course, this is not the first time that Mr. Baldrey has let us all know that spinning really counts with him.

To wit:

"...As this potentially giant crisis was still developing, Mr. ..... was front and centre with the public. Rather than hiding and adopting a bunker mentality when faced with a disaster for the company, he was out in front of the story, trying to provide information as quickly as possible.

In other words, he was behaving exactly the opposite of how most politicians act when faced with a crisis. The usual experience, from this reporter's perspective, is having to wait for hours outside a cabinet minister's office (or a premier's office) as nervous aides huddle, trying to figure out a damage control plan before saying anything publicly.

Not so with Mr. ........

It's a refreshing approach from the head of a large company, and one that I suspect resonates well with the general public. I ran into Mr. ....... at a Victoria gas station this past weekend, and attendants there were congratulating him for "being upfront" about everything. The radio phone-in shows have also reflected positive reviews - not scientific research, I admit, but my instincts tell me the approach is working...."

And just who's spin was the good Mr. Baldrey in awe of that time?

Why, none other than that very fine fellow whose golden parachute hit all of us, but not him, on the way out, Mr. David Hahn.

And we all know how that turned out, in the end, based on actual substance rather than spin.

Speaking of which, the Snooklandians are moving ahead, on pace and mouths agape, with the previously previewed dismantling the ALR as we know it.

And, as we noted previously, they've set up our parks for a big fall as well.

And, as for the ongoing business of allowing the privateers in our care delivery system to railroad the people who actually do the work to the bottom of the wage and benefit pile? Well, the Wizards of Spin have provided plenty more cover for those finest of the fine folks too.

And, based on the spin and the photo-ops and the non-stop bellowing of the Lotuslandian proMedia herd, you probably thought that the Golden Era of the Knotty Gordian was over, right?


Thanks to Grant G. for the heads-up regarding Mr. Baldrey's latest adventures in Twittland.


Monday, March 24, 2014

The Baldrey Hypotheticals...Who's Crazy Now?

Which, in addition to 2013, got us to thinking...

What if the Dippers had won the election in 2009?

Would Mr. Baldrey have been kibbitzing with the Dean about how British Columbians who were disgusted by the six million dollar deal one year later were, essentially, 'cultists'?


What if the Dippers had won the election in 2005?

Would Mr. Baldrey have been jumping on chartered planes with David Hahn and would he have still been waving the pom-poms to the bitter end of Mr. Hahn's reign of error five years and a few 'hard landings' later?

Which brings us back to the title of this post...



Saturday, March 22, 2014

Blowback Against Gang Of 13?...Won't You Listen To What The Dean Says.


In a post I wrote last night before Mr. Palmer's latest came out in the VSun this morning, I noted that Rich Coleman waited 246 days before he released the Portland Hotel Society Audit late this week that has since led Dipper MLA Jenny Kwan to write cheque to the society for more than $30,000.

Which got me to wondering if maybe the timing of the audit's release was the Snooklandian wizards at work, doing their best that to jam the newsycle that had John Horgan and NDP riding high in the proMedia all week long.

Then an anonymous commenter wrote this:

"Problem with this theory is the Kwan stuff was leaked by the NDP."

Which led me to go searching through the detrious left behind by the Twitmachine shills to see if there was one nugget out there that I had missed.

And this is what I found so far....

From today's column by Mr. Palmer:

...So when the government was preparing this week to release two explosive audits of the society, word spread that there might be something in the contents to embarrass Kwan.

Some of those rumours came from the Liberals, keen to see the holier-than-thou Kwan neutralized on issues of poverty and hardship. But tongues were also wagging inside the NDP, where Kwan is a polarizing figure because of her role in fronting for the revolt that led to the resignation of Carole James as party leader in late 2010...



Here's the thing...

When you are a shill you will use pretzel logic to twist anything in an attempt to bamboozle folks into thinking that that thing is something that it is not.

So, with that in mind, please note that Mr. Palmer did not explicitly say that a 'leak' of the audit came from the Dipperians.

Instead, what he indicated was that tongues were wagging once people knew that Coleman, who sat on his hands for nine months, suddenly signaled, apparently in the wake of Mr. Horgan's announcement last Monday evening, that the audit would soon be released.

Which doesn't mean that there aren't Dippers with memories who do not like what was done to Ms. James.

But, particularly in the absence of something harder, it also does not mean that it was a pre-organized Dipper lynch-mob that went out last week (i.e. prior to the 'preparing' by Mr. Coleman et al.) and bought the pen that Ms. Kwan used to write yesterday's cheque.


Regardless, again....In the wake of all this frenzied hysteria against entitlement (a lot of which is justified) that is being whipped up the proMedia 'round here, why aren't fine folks like Mr. Leyne of the VTC also writing, at least by way of comparison to $800 limo rides, about stuff like, say....This?
Thanks to Merv Adey, also in the comments, for helping point us back towards Mr. Palmer's latest.


This Weekend In Snookland...The Wizards, They Be Jammin'.



Update: Saturday noon...There is an alternative possibility, maybe...(see comments)...If somebody has something hard about a Gang of 13 blowback-type thingy, please send me an Email:  pacificgazette at yahoo dot ca...Thanks
Double Secret Probation Update: Saturday pm...What Vaughn Palmer did and did not say about a blowback thingy...

Did you know...

That, as Bob Mackin has pointed out, Snooklandian Minister of Everthing, Rich Coleman, waited 246 days before he released the Portland Hotel Society (PHS) audit late this week:

...The spotlight really needs to be shining brightly on Housing Minister Rich Coleman. Coleman was also Housing Minister when DERA was sued in 2010. Only three months before last year’s provincial election, B.C. Housing ordered KPMG to undertake the forensic audit. The audit gathered dust on a shelf for 246 days before it was finally released on March 20. Why didn’t Coleman act swiftly last summer when it was delivered?...



Why would the good Mr. Coleman wait that long?


To be more specific, why did he release it late this week?


Let's think about that for a minute...


What exactly, was the biggest story in #bcpoli at the beginning of the week before the PHS bombshell was dropped on the Lotuslandian proMedia herd near week's end?

You know, the story that was running solid for the Dippers for almost three days straight.

Oh, ya.

I remember it now.


Does the average citizen, now that the entire fleet of newscycles has been jammed the work of the Wizards of Snooklandia?

Remember that other story I mean.

And again, given the full tilt proMedia boogey on crazy-assed, indulgent publicly-funded expenditures by Alison Redford and Jenny Kwan (and/or her former husband), why, exactly, has no rabid herd member brought up...this?


The Secrets Behind The Unfair Elections Act Are...

...Top Secret

Alex Boutillier has the story in the Hamilton Spectator. Here's his lede:

The Conservative government is keeping secret documents prepared for Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre as he drafted the controversial electoral reform bill.

In an unusual move, the Privy Council Office has refused to release all but three pages of a 199-page transition binder prepared for Poilievre when he assumed his cabinet post in July 2013.

Citing cabinet confidence, the department also heavily censored the three pages they released, including a table of contents with most of the contents blacked out...


Reminds me of the good old days.

You know, the days when Railgate apologists and Campellarian aparatchiks hid everything because of, essentially 'bankers' privilege'.



Friday, March 21, 2014

Spreading Like Wildfire...Book Exchanges In Lotusland.


The GStraight's Miranda Richardson has been compiling a list/the locations of all the little pop-up libraries/book exchanges in town.

If you know of one that isn't already on her map, give her a shout.

What are these wee things?....Background, here...


Ethical Oil v. Environmentalists...Where The Real Big (Foreign) Money Is.


Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin have the old-fashioned investigatory journo-story in the WaPo. Here is their lede:

You might expect the biggest lease owner in Canada's oil sands, or tar sands, to be one of the international oil giants, like Exxon Mobil or Royal Dutch Shell. But that isn't the case. The biggest lease holder in the northern Alberta oil sands is a subsidiary of Koch Industries, the privately-owned cornerstone of the fortune of conservative Koch brothers Charles and David.

The Koch Industries subsidiary holds leases on 1.1 million acres -- an area nearly the size of Delaware -- in the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, according to an activist group that studied Alberta provincial records. The Post confirmed the group’s findings with Alberta Energy, the provincial government’s ministry of energy. Separately, industry sources familiar with oil sands leases said Koch’s lease holdings could be closer to two million acres....


Wonder what the fabulists and the screamers will have to say about this?


Thursday, March 20, 2014

This Day In Snookland...The Quadruple Redford.



Ms. Clark's prop in the pipeline charade game is gone:

Alison Redford has announced that she is stepping down as Alberta premier on Sunday night...

{snippety doo-dah}

...Redford's problems escalated last week when she announced she was paying back the entire $45,000 she spent on first-class tickets and a government plane to travel to South Africa for Nelson Mandela's memorial in December after weeks of refusing to do so.

The next day, Calgary-Foothills MLA Len Webber stepped down from the PC caucus, alleging that Redford treated people poorly and wasted taxpayers' dollars.

On Saturday, Redford met with PC party executives at a closed-door meeting in Calgary. Although she was given a standing ovation, Redford was also grilled and given a "work plan" to follow in order to continue on as party leader.

However, that did little to quell the discontent within the caucus. At least 10 Tory MLAs held a meeting in downtown Edmonton Sunday night to discuss the possibility of quitting the party and sitting as independents...


Of course, here in Snookland, $45K spent on questionable flights is, quite literally, chump change.

Bob Mackin had the story back in the fall of 2012 (and brace yourself for the irony of one of the destinations):

...Premier Christy Clark has spent $185,027.86 on 25 trips from March 18, 2011 through Aug. 1, 2012 on a charter airline owned by a prominent BC Liberal bagman...

{snippety doo-dah}

...Cabinet members are allowed to take charter flights if they're on government business, their destination is not adequately served by scheduled service and/or if their schedule dictates they cannot wait for a scheduled flight...

{snippety doodle-dandy}

...Clark made four trips in three weeks for $38,600 on Blackcomb Aviation during July 2012, including a one-day, $15,470.07 trip on July 19 to Regina and Edmonton. She met Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall during the first stop and Alison Redford, the Alberta premier, on the second. The meeting with Redford was called the "Secret Summit," because Clark was whisked in and out of the Alberta Legislature with no notice or fanfare. Along for the ride were deputy minister Neil Sweeney, aide Gabe Garfinkel and the bodyguard.

Such is life aboard charter jets, which use a private terminal on the south side of Vancouver International Airport...

As for caucus revolts of righteousness (and/or even concerted proMedia flashlight shining) 'round here?


You know...

Mr. Mackin found out that Ms. Clark and her Wizards were spending ridiculous amounts of money renting the planes of Railgate's big pre-game spender, and even bigger post-game winner, to fly to really hard to get to places like Edmonton by FOI...Is it any wonder that Darth Vader has done his best to shut that teeny-tiny bit of flashlight-shining ability for good?


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Horgan Trek...(Not Quite) The Next Generation.

The following was my summary of what John Horgan actually said in an interview with the MoCo (VanIsle division) when he tried to clear the decks for the next generation of potential Dipper commanders last fall:

1) He wants the party to give the new/younger (i.e. non-old guard) MLA's like Mungall, Eby, Hebert and Fleming time to blossom.

2) He is in favour of waiting until 2015 for the Leadership decision to facilitate the above.

3) If Mr. Dix were to step down prior to a 2015 leadership race he would be willing to consider a short stint as interim leader.

4) He seems to be really concerned that, especially if the new/younger folks don't get a chance to really step to the fore, that the BCNDP may truly become a perpetual opposition party.

But the fact that that the next generation/non-old guardians did not even get to the starting gate is, at least in part, why Horgan is back.

And I, for one, am glad he's proud to have the backing of Carole James, the best Premier we never had.

And, as Norm Farrell says, I'm glad he's back for all kinds of important reasons.

Including the really big ones.

And the nitty gritty too.


And one other thing...On a whole other level, I'm glad that Horgan has the media savvy to do stuff like pre-arrange embargoed interviews with the Dean...Why?...Because when the kneecapping starts (and it will), he's going to need to be able to get his message up and out above the noise machine...
Photo credit....A. Reader.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Has Superstition Played A Role In The Fraser Valley Measles Outbreak?


First, the warning from public health authorities:

Fraser Health is advising that measles cases now appear to be occurring in the general communities of Chilliwack and Agassiz; outside of the the previous school and religious group areas...


It started in a school and religious group area?

What's up with that?

Well, turns out that the Cluffmaster Flash (or, more likely, his producers) gave us some insight on that late last week:

...The health authority is facing some opposition to vaccinations in the Fraser Valley's so-called "Bible Belt."

This (eg. Thursday) morning on CBC's Early Edition, Rev. Adriaan Geuze, a pastor at the Reformed Congregation of North America, questioned the effectiveness of vaccinations...

Now, here's the thing...

When folks don't get vaccinated, it's not just them and theirs that are affected:

...A vaccination rate of 95 per cent is necessary in order for community immunity to work, said Fraser Health spokeswoman Tasleem Juma... in the East Fraser region, vaccination rates are about 60 to 70 per cent...


What are the rates in the particular 'religious group area' under discussion?

...(I)n the East Fraser region, vaccination rates are about 60 to 70 per cent...

Which brings us back to the good reverand, this time quoted by the VSun's Tara Carman on the weekend:

The pastor for the community at the centre of the Fraser Valley measles outbreak says he sees vaccines as an interference with God’s providential care.

Rev. Adriaan Geuze says his 1,200-strong Reformed Congregation of North America in Chilliwack mostly shares that view, which is why vaccination rates in the community are “very low.”

“We leave it in (God’s) hands. If it is in his will that somehow we get a contagious disease, like in this case the measles, there are other ways, of course, to avoid this. If (we get sick), he can also heal us from it,” he said in an interview Friday...

In the meantime, Fraser Health is doing it's best to step up vaccinations in the area.

The question is, when superstition rules over demonstrable medical efficacy, do such efforts even have a chance of succeeding?

Bizarrely one of the side issues amongst the superstitious is, apparently (see comments), the fact that vaccines are sometimes generated in a human cell line known as WI-38....Why is this an issue given that the cell line has been propagated in laboratory incubators for fifty years?...Well, you see, it's that 'F' word again.


We've Been Livin' In A Dipper Town...The Return Of Mr. Horgan?


If it's not going to be Eby I, for one, was glad to read this late Sunday night, from Ian Bailey in the Globe:

John Horgan, the B.C. NDP opposition house leader and energy critic, appears poised to enter a race to lead the opposition party that has so far been short of candidates.

The Juan de Fuca MLA has scheduled an announcement regarding the leadership on Monday night in Langford, a community in his riding...

If he really is jumping into the ring, can Horgan be all things to all people?

Of course not.


Can he make the bastards pay?


I, for one, am ready to make book on it.

One of our readers has let us know that they are going to be at the announcement this evening...Film at eleven.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

So...How Did I End Up Reading Gay Talese's 1966 Piece On...

...Frank Sinatra Yesterday Morning Anyway?

Well, let's see....

First, I was roused early by the Whackadoodle.

Then I made the coffee.

Then I made the usual Saturday morning proPundit rounds, looking for stuff I might have missed in the last week which, a little later, led to this.

Then, around 8:00 am, with C. and littler e. on their way to catch the ferry with said Whackadoodle in tow, I sat down with the flying squirrel (no longer really a) kitten in the quiet house and watched the latest episode of that TeeVee joke delivering mechanism with the pretend scientists in it.

And in this particular episode one of the jokes ran on for quite a while.

And it involved Harlan Ellison.

Who, if you don't know, is a SciFi writer (and more) that Mr. Glass goes on about all the time.

He is also the guy who wrote, arguably, the best ever (original Shatner version) Star Trek episode.

And, it turns out, he once almost got into a fight with Frank Sinatra because, ostensibly, he was wearing weird boots in a fancy-schmancy Beverly Hills pool hall.

A pool hall where the guy doing the hustling was Leo Durocher.

How do I know this thing?

This thing that should be part of a Don DeLillo novel, but isn't?


Before the twenty-one sitcom minutes were even done I was already sniffing around the edges of the Google-cache, which led me to the aforementioned piece by Mr. Talese:

...Frank Sinatra, leaning against the stool, sniffling a bit from his cold, could not take his eyes off the Game Warden boots. Once, after gazing at them for a few moments, he turned away; but now he was focused on them again. The owner of the boots, who was just standing in them watching the pool game, was named Harlan Ellison, a writer who had just completed work on a screenplay, The Oscar.

Finally Sinatra could not contain himself.

"Hey," he yelled in his slightly harsh voice that still had a soft, sharp edge. "Those Italian boots?"

"No," Ellison said.



"Are they English boots?"

"Look, I donno, man," Ellison shot back, frowning at Sinatra, then turning away again.

Now the poolroom was suddenly silent. Leo Durocher who had been poised behind his cue stick and was bent low just froze in that position for a second. Nobody moved. Then Sinatra moved away from the stool and walked with that slow, arrogant swagger of his toward Ellison, the hard tap of Sinatra's shoes the only sound in the room. Then, looking down at Ellison with a slightly raised eyebrow and a tricky little smile, Sinatra asked: "You expecting a storm?"

Harlan Ellison moved a step to the side. "Look, is there any reason why you're talking to me?"

"I don't like the way you're dressed," Sinatra said.

"Hate to shake you up," Ellison said, "but I dress to suit myself."

Now there was some rumbling in the room, and somebody said, "Com'on, Harlan, let's get out of here," and Leo Durocher made his pool shot and said, "Yeah, com'on."

But Ellison stood his ground.

Sinatra said, "What do you do?"

"I'm a plumber," Ellison said...


Here's the (slightly ironic) thing.

Mr. Talese's magazine piece, which Esquire likes to call the best ever, is often held up as an example of a mid-sixties bit that helped launch the 'New Journalism', at least in part, because it was written without his ever having interviewed Mr. Sinatra.

Talese didn't see it that way. Specifically, he said that what separated him from the true purveyors of the emerging form was that he never strayed from facts.


As for ibogaine, boo-hoos, sunshine specials, motorcycle gang stompings, bats in the desert, Samoan attorneys on ether, dead Hemingways, roof-top golf and all that?


You know.

That became the realm of that new journalist of the purplish sage that I, personally, consider to be the world's first blogger.



Saturday, March 15, 2014

How Much, Exactly, Are We Giving To Private Schools?


You ready for it?

Two hundred and fifty million dollars.




Crawford Kilian has the story in The Tyee. Here is his lede:

For more than 35 years, B.C. taxpayers have been subsidizing B.C.'s private schools (or "independent schools," as they prefer to call themselves). This has been a recurring sore point, especially when the public system seems chronically underfunded.

The subsidy has ironic roots. When he presided over the baby-boom growth of the schools in the 1950s and '60s, Socred premier W.A.C. Bennett refused to give a nickel to private schools. If the public system wasn't good enough for some parents, they could pay the whole cost of educating their kids. But when his son Bill became premier, he consolidated the Socred grip on power by providing provincial money to private schools in 1977.

It was outright vote-buying, but private-school parents stayed bought right through the 1980s. If a private school follows provincial curriculum and standards, it receives a subsidy based on the per-student funding going to the local public school district...

And don't give me that codswallop about how this takes 'pressure' off the public system.

Because if, instead of you and me, Christy Clark was actually paying the full cost of sending her kid to St. Georges we could use that money to help pay for the special ed teacher that our friend K. needs because she's working alone in a public school classroom that contains six kids with serious developmental and mental issues.

And, of course, K. and her principal don't get to decide who doesn't 'get in' to her classroom.


Meanwhile, not-for-profit women's health clinics get nothing as the folks who send their kids to private school (and run private, for profit, medical clinics?) suddenly do their best to try and squeeze them out.


This Weekend In Snookland...Catching Up On My Dean Reading.



Nobody around here is harder on Vaughn Palmer, especially when he pulls his punches, than me.

But, because it was pretty busy science geek week (we're recruiting two new faculty to our department, both of whom have big equipment as well as spousal issues, and I had a kid visiting from afar who I'm trying to convince to come and work in my own lab; oh ya, I'm also writing a grant and got a big paper off in front of it...All stuff that, apparently, the good Ms. Wente thinks is useless - How's that for a kinghell digression?), I didn't get to something that the Dean wrote early last week until this morning.

Which was his extremely well-researched, thorough, and no-holds-barred piece on how the Snooklandians low-balled the teachers into taking a strike vote:

...Applying the one-size-fits-all approach to public sector bargaining, the teachers should be in line for a settlement under the “cooperative gains” mandate and would thus be in line for an increase of up to four per cent over two years.

Instead, the government’s opening offer in current negotiations was a slap-in-the-face offer of one half of one per cent upon ratification of the next contract and a further one half of one per cent if offset by reductions in the sick leave provisions.

So settlements of up to four per cent for most other public-sector workers and one per cent for teachers, partly predicated on concessions? No wonder the union denounced the offer publicly and called a strike vote...

That is really just one small part of the column, which is really excellent. I highly recommend you go read it all, if you haven't already.



Here's the thing.

In the cacophony that the Snooklandian flack-hackery managed to wurlitzer up over fake average salaries, meaningless memos, and moronic cries of 'Why can't the teachers just tell us what they really want!' from, dare I suggest it, Lotuslandian proMedia pundits much lazier than Mr. Palmer, this critical point re: the low-balling has been lost amongst the noise.

Which, of course, is precisely what the flack-hackery counts on.

Which, of course(r), is exactly why Mr. Palmer, and others who are capable of it, have to write this hard every time out (and, in addition, have to make sure they don't forget the really good, hard stuff they've written three years from now).

Because that is the stuff that changes public opinion for all the right reasons.


Something else I also just got caught up on this morning is a slightly oldish piece from Gay Telese (written in 1966!)...More on that later, maybe (and maybe not for the reason you might be thinking of if you've been stopping by for awhile now)....Gosh I love lazing around on Saturday mornings and letting the mind run...


Friday, March 14, 2014

Bike Route Class War.


This morning it started as I crossed over the Shaughnessy hump in the 20's when a black Mercedes SUV came within a foot or so of clipping my elbow as it swerved towards the curb and sped westward through the school zone.

Then, just east of Arbutus it was a Mercedes sedan that changed lanes without signaling.

Next, down in the Valley, a late model of Audi cut the corner right in front of me as it floored it while turning left.

Finally, and worst of all, I was double-teamed while climbing the hill to upper west CremeVille.

It began when a Lexus SUV ran a stop sign and swung left just as I chugged into the intersection with the right-of-way. As a result, I swerved right and was almost hooded by a Volvo cross-over that decided to run the stop sign, straight-up, from the other side of the intersection.

Which, once I stopped hyperventilating, had me wondering....

Why is it never somebody driving a Toyota Corolla that is trying to kill me.

To be fair...When it comes right down to it, there really aren't that many Toyotas west of Granville these days, I suppose...Heckfire!...They are even starting to disappear in our near Eastern Townships neighbourhood...


This Day In Snookland...The Anton Emergency.


A lot of folks, a number of our readers included, have noted that the leader of Snookland threw her Justice Minister Suzanne Anton under the bus the other day when she dragged John Les away from the pork barrel.

But have no fear, Ms. Always Campaigning has an explanation for why she initially handed Mr. Les that six figure chunk of back bacon without putting it out to tender.

Rob Shaw, in the VSun has the money quote:

...“That is not a bypassing of government procurement rules,” Anton said. “Government procurement rules allow government to choose people in certain circumstances.”...


Did she really mean to say 'procurement' or 'prosciuttio'?


What, exactly, are those 'circumstances' that the Snooklandian currently in charge of laws 'n stuff used to justify the attempt to secretly dole out all that thinly sliced ham?

Well, Mr. Shaw got to the bottom of that one too.

Sort of:

...Anton’s ministry pointed to the Emergency Program Act, which lets the minister enter into agreements to develop or implement emergency plans. That act mainly covers B.C.’s reaction after it declares a state of emergency...

Don't know about you, but I sure don't remember any big earthquakes recently.

There was, however, that wee bit of wind late last week that could have mussed up the hair of a few key Snooklandians and thus addled a few of their minds even further.

Does that count?

Now, after giving the almost always diligent Mr. Shaw credit for his piece, there was one thing in there that really bugged me...Which was the fogging of Mr. Les' history...Specifically, down in the part of the piece where few readers go (i.e. the bottom) he tells us a bit of Mr. Les' backstory with the Knotty Gordians and the fact that he was once the mayor of Chilliwack...Nowhere, however, does Mr. Shaw's let readers know that Mr. Les was  forced to resign from the BC Liberal government due to goings on in and around Chilliwack that occurred while he was the mayor....Now, of course, Mr. Shaw may have had that detail in his original copy and someone up the chain may have made a decision to remove it....Still...


Thursday, March 13, 2014

This Day In Snookland: Do As We Don't Say...

...Not As We Don't Do.

Looks like John Les is going to have even more time on his hands to do fun stuff.

You know, fun stuff like lobbying his fellow Snooklandians while driving the back roads of outer Sliverville looking for far-flung plots of farmland to jack out of the ALR for fun and profit.

The MoCo got out of the gate pretty early on this one:

The B.C. government has withdrawn the $140,000 a year consulting job it offered to former member of the legislative assembly John Les, following accusations of political patronage.

On Tuesday, the province announced it was appointing Les to head a new earthquake preparedness consultation.

Les is already a paid member of the government-appointed Farm Industry Review Board as well as a registered paid lobbyist...


How superfluous was Mr. Les' shank of pork?


It turns out his 'former' co-chair, a fine fellow named Henry Renteria, who comes from California, and actually knows something about Earthquake preparedness, will now run the 'consultation' himself.

...The Liberals also appointed Henry Renteria, former director of California's Office of Emergency Services, to co-chair the consultation, which is expected to report back by the end of the year with recommendations to improve B.C.'s ability to deal with a catastrophic earthquake...

{snippety doodle-dandy}

..Renteria will now head the new position alone.



Where the boss doesn't just 'say' anything anymore.

Now she 'does' anything too.

(and does the opposite five minutes later depending on which way the political expediency winds are blowing).

Most of you all probably remember Mr. Les' 'issues' with past land deals and maybe even who he turned to first when the going got bad and he got going...But...Do you remember his most egregious actions as a member of the BC Liberal government?...I sure do.
Again...I've got a memory and I'm going to use it.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

This Day In Snookland...The Horsemen Cometh.


It appears that, as part of what might be their 'Quick Wins' investigation, the RCMP are sniffing around Snooklandian party sign-ups in the run-up to the leadership vote that put the boss in power.

Burnaby Now's Jennifer Moreau has the story. Here is her lede:

Two RCMP officers recently questioned Coquitlam resident Sanjay Sharma about his Liberal party membership renewal and whether he received a PIN number and instructions to vote in the party's 2011 leadership race. Sharma was told he was a witness in what "may or may not be something."

"The first question out of their mouths was, 'Are you affiliated with any party?'" Sharma told the NOW. "And I said, 'I believe I signed up for a Liberal (party) membership when Christy Clark was running.'"

The officers were questioning Sharma about an event he attended, in which he renewed his Liberal party membership with (Harry) Bloy, who was then the MLA for Burnaby-Lougheed (and the only BCL house member who supported Clark). Sharma paid cash to renew, then later received instructions in the mail on how to vote online for one of four candidates vying for leadership of the B.C. Liberals - Kevin Falcon, Christy Clark, George Abbott and Mike de Jong.

The RCMP officers asked Sharma if he remembered how much he donated and whether he remembered voting online, which he did. It's not clear what exactly the investigation is focused on, because RCMP can't comment. ...

(stuff in brackets, above, mine)



Whatsoever could the Horseman be sniffing around for we wonder?

The remnants of of an old Boyz' network, perhaps?

And what, exactly, is Herb Dhaliwal up to these days, anyway?


Whatever Mr. D. is doing (and we hope he is enjoying his retirement) we're pretty sure that is safe to assume that he is still not talking to the leader of that boy band from days gone by.

Just a note...We've been watching Mr. Moreau's work for awhile now...She did some good work on the disappearing of the Kinder Morgan public discussion sessions in Burnaby back in the fall and she along with the VSun's Jeff Lee, also helped dig into the smear that should have boomeranged on the Snooklandians (but didn't because, in my opinion much of the Lotuslandian proMedia just let it lie there in the grass) back in the last provincial election campaign...


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Where Does CKNW Hurt Most?


You may (or may not) have heard about CKNW's continued slide in the ratings.

Harvey O has a good take on it, here.

This is the nugget in Mr. Oberfeld's post that surprised me least:

...(A)ccording to a Bell Media analysis, it’s even worse for NW now in Breakfast Broadcasts (6 a.m. to 10 a.m.) when Philip Till and Bill Good are on the air. In top spot at that time is The Beat 94.5 FM with a 12.6% share; followed by QM 103.5 FM at 12.4% …with NW trailing way back in TENTH place, with only a 4.3% ratings share.

Of course, the guy who seems to be making out like a bandit (albeit a question reading, answer ignoring bandit) is Rick Cluff, down the dial at CBC-AM.



I've got an idea....

Maybe the geniuses at Corus could impersonate Ted Rogers' boys for a T.O. minute and steal away Mr. Cluff so they can attempt to remake him as the local Strombo-Hero.

And I'm not talking about the goalie on the Twittmachine here.

That way P. Tilly would finally be gone, the Puffmaster Flash would soon fade into obscurity, and Stephen Quinn would take over all of Lotusland before breakfast every day.

And all would be right for the world 'cause I could finally stop missing Hal Wake and Lisa Christiansen would get her own show too.

Or some such thing.

And could somebody in the know please explain to us why Mr. Strombolopoulos wants to become the reincarnation of Ward Cornell? 


Monday, March 10, 2014

Voter Turnout....Are The 'Young' Really The Problem?



I'm reading the Dean's latest VSun column about how it was old people who have been giving pollsters the night terrors ever since they handed control of this province to the Snooklandians last May.

So, as you might expect, the header above the piece says 'To The Aged Go The Spoils'.

And, of course, the flipside to all of this is that is the fault of the young, which is pretty much the gist of Mr. Palmer's column (when he isn't doing his best to gently let pollsters off the hook).

Except then I read the following:

...Turnout was up overall from the previous election and the most impressive jump was with youngest group of registered voters, those aged 18 to 24. In 2009, less than 40 per cent of them cast ballots — this time, almost half of them did...

Which got me to thinking....

Is it really people's age when they are 25-49 that keeps their voting numbers down.


Is it the fact that they are the folks in our society who most likely to be working for a living?


Can somebody remind me again why we hold provincial elections during the week again?

(and, why, exactly can't the polls be open for two or even three days?)

And Dippers....Have you asked yourselves, who amongst you could make that 18-24 vote jump even higher? (and maybe even make it stretch out to 29?)


Sunday, March 09, 2014

If You Only Read One Blog Post Today...

...Go read the latest from Sooey.

Because in it she explains why the resignation of the CEO of Sun News is actually a good thing for the Straussians running Steve.


Well, it involves the importance of a resurgent PQ in Quebec to the Straussians.

To get the entire story you'll need to go read the entire post (which is actually quite short).

But the kicker alone is enough for me...

"...A weaker Canada is a stronger tarsands development industry. Wake up, people..."

Wake up, indeed.



Nevermind Joe Dimaggio...

...Where Have These Guys Gone?

From the Twittmachine feed of the guy just to the right of middle, #17, Ellis Valentine.


Saturday, March 08, 2014

Mr. Mason's 'Recanting'...Something Happened Between The Tweet And The Column.



As a number of readers have pointed out in the comments, Gary Mason's recanting of his original use of bogus teachers' salary numbers in the Globe and (nolongerEmpire) Mail made it from 'Tweet to Print' a couple of days ago.

Here is the lede to Mr. Mason's recantage in print:

As bargaining resumes this week between the provincial government and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, the subject of wages is certain to come up.

So is the view the union holds that the government has been disseminating information that is either false or misleading in a bid to bolster its cause. The BCTF is particularly upset with media reports that circulated last week quoting a 2010-11 Statistics Canada report purporting to claim the mean B.C. teacher salary was $80,582, making it the second highest among Canadian provinces.

Except, the Statscan survey actually referenced an average “per educator” figure – one that included wages paid to administrators such as principals and vice-principals who make more than teachers and can skew averages. It was a distinction that went unnoticed by most, including myself (an oversight I regret). In fact, the standard teacher salary in B.C. for 2012-13, with allowances, was more like $71,485 – a not-insignificant difference...


This, of course, is a good thing.


There is something that did not quite make it from the Twittmachine to the page in the recantage process.

See if you can spot it:


Why does the fact that Mr. Mason told us, via the Twittmachine, but not via his much more widely read Globe and Mail column, that the government of Christy Clark and Peter Fassbender fooled him into using Statscan numbers out of context in an effort to generate a 'misleading' meme actually matter?

(especially when you consider the fact that, as Mr. Mason noted in another tweet, the same misdirecting also took place at other major proMedia outlets in Lotusland)


Later in his print recantage Mr. Mason went on to tell us, in detail, about how the BCTF has also used Statscan numbers to make arguments about overall spending on education.

And, after doing so, he essentially led his readers to the conclusion that:

'See, both sides do it!'

Except that....

Nowhere in either his Tweets or his two columns on the subject does Mr. Mason ever once indicate that the teachers used irrelevant Statscan numbers in a deliberate attempt to get him to write a misleading column.


Do both sides really do it?

And (this is what really matters here)...

Does the average thinking member of the public who goes out of their way to keep themselves reasonably informed by reading things like Mr. Mason's columns, Michael Smyth's rantings and Vancouver Sun editorials know that both sides actually DON'T do it?

Of course not.

And, on a related note, who's talking about that court decision now?

All which brings us back to the crux of the matter, which Paul Willcocks got to in the comment threads awhile back when he noted: "It's good that Gary Mason has recanted, but it would be better if he reported who suggested he use the shoddy numbers."


Friday, March 07, 2014

The Toews Ascension....Irony Really Is Dead.


From McSushiboy (Glen McGregor's) OCit proBlog:

Much of the response to former public safety minister Vic Toews‘ ascension today to the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench will concern his suitability for the job, the apparent cronyism in appointing a long-time Conservative flag bearer, or a combination of both.

But one angle likely to be glossed over: how the new job will allow Toews to continue to meet onerous court-ordered support payments to his ex-wife.

When Toews left cabinet last summer, he walked away from a salary that accounted for most of the $262,861 in gross income that, according to court records, he reported in 2010.

For most politicians approaching retirement age, the sudden loss of a six-figure salary isn’t usually much of a concern, padded as their exits typically are by the lush MP’s pension plan.

Indeed, Toews also stood to benefit from a Manitoba government pension from his days as a provincial politician and, before that, a Crown prosecutor.

Toews, however, had signed an agreement before his resignation that required him to pay a hefty amount each month to his former wife, Lorraine Fehr...

I'm telling you...

A billion Fonzies in a million Gary Marshall fever dreams couldn't possibly jump that shark.


If You Only Read One Blog Post Today...


You will be amazed to read who is, and who has been, driving energy policy in this country.

And it, would appear to still include the lobbyists' lobbyist, the good Mr. Bruce Carson.

Here's the chunk of Alison's post with a BC-twist (but go read it all):

When Carson appeared before the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment, and Natural Resources in April 2010, in addition to plumping for building a pipeline to move oil from Alberta to BC - Enbridge and TransCanada Pipelines are both member orgs of EPIC - Carson also made a pitch for smart meters.

Nine months later on Jan. 25 2011, BC Hydro gave the first contract for its smart meter program to Corix Utilities, which is (was) half-owned by CAI Capital Management Ltd.

As it happens, yet another EPIC founding chair, David Emerson, was previously made a senior advisor to CAI Capital Management and then the following day he was named CEO and board chair of B.C. Transmission Corp., which "plans, operates and maintains the province's publicly-owned electrical transmission system" for BC Hydro. 

(BC Transmission was privatized by the BC Libs in 2003 and then reabsorbed back into BC Hydro at massive public cost in 2010)



This Day In Snookland....Despicable Thee.


This, from a story by Justine Hunter (apologies, had surname very, very wrong originally) in today's Globe, is despicable:

...Safety inspectors from WorkSafeBC conducted 249 inspections this winter targeting combustible dust – a campaign that was prompted by dust-fuelled explosions that destroyed sawmills in Burns Lake and Prince George, killing four workers and injuring dozens more, early in 2012.

Despite new regulations and millions of dollars worth of safety upgrades in the past two years, inspectors found equipment “buried” in wood dust, mill sections that hadn’t seen a cleanup crew in months, and damaged ventilation systems...

But this, from the Snooklandian Minister responsible for (not?) putting a stop to it is truly unbelievable:

...Jobs Minister Shirley Bond said Tuesday she will meet with company CEOs to talk about the lack of compliance, and with WorkSafeBC to discuss what repercussions those employers may face.

“There are clear expectations, clear directives around mitigating for dust,” Ms. Bond said in an interview. “Before we start adding more regulation, we have to be sure the entire industry understands the importance of being in compliance.”....



Just like bacteria blooming just beneath the blades of the meat cutters of deregulated packing plants, this is not rocket science.

Because all we have to do is make these companies clean-up.

Which is nothing fancy but it takes a little dedicated manpower and it takes a little money.

And if they don't clean-up we need to make them really pay.

Because, clearly, money, and not people's lives, is all they really care about.

Which is why, Ms. Bond, sometimes in a civil society a regulation, regulation that is actually enforced, not just 'discussed' goes a long way.


I'm telling you...Sometimes I wonder....Are the copper boss thug men milling outside the only things missing from this story?...

Previous Late Winter Jukebox Tunes...


Thursday, March 06, 2014

Sometimes An Empty Room Is Just An Empty Room...

...And Sometimes It Is So Much More.


What is it, exactly, in the image above.

Why, it is, apparently, the 'minority outreach' panel at the US Americans' biggest conservative self-flagellation and tea-party enabler emporium/conference....


Go figure

(and/or get going on that redoubling of the effort to suppress the not-so-outreachable vote even further)