Saturday, May 31, 2014

This Weekend In Snookland...Who's Winning The #bced Battle In The Media?


Paul Ramsey has a good post up about who's winning the education battle in the media.

And while Mr. Ramsey gives a good dissection of the he said/she said slogging taking place deep within the proMedia trench, I found his take on what's happening in the social media battle royale particularly interesting:

...Traditionally teachers have always gone into these disputes with a bit of an advantage -- people know and have personal connections to their children's teachers. With social media, that traditional person-to-person advantage is magnified ten-fold and more. Now even citizens without children in the system can get direct, personal messages from the teachers that they know, directly or indirectly. Even if you don't know a teacher, you surely know several people who do.

The government picked a fight with teachers assuming they could win a wedge issue by smacking down a public sector union long typecast as "troublesome" and "militant". I think they could end up getting a worse black eye than they ever imagined, via the social media feeds of the thousands of teachers they've made enemies of...

And there's that other thing too.

Which is that, because teachers are tenacious, well-read, knowledgable and a tad bit persnickety, most of them refuse to back down from the flying surrender monkeys and/or that guy on the TeeVee.

The times they really may be a changing when it comes to winning friends and influencing your uncles.

Not mention public opinion.


The Reader Dad.


A lot of times, if not pretty much all the time, my kids give me a hard time about reading too much about stuff.

Especially when that reading gets in the way of actually experiencing said subject matter.


I'd read about this little Swedish movie when it passed through the Toronto festival awhile back.

And then, yesterday, in the dead tree version of the NYT (always buy it on Friday for weekend reading, start with Ent. I when I get home and end with Krugman, usually late morning Sunday), AO Scott's lede from his review of it's wider release hit like a ton of bricks:

There is hardly a shortage of movies about rock ’n’ roll, but there are few as perfect — which is to say as ragged, as silly, as touching or as true — as “We Are the Best!,” Lukas Moodysson’s sweet and rambunctious new film. The setting is Stockholm in 1982, hardly a legendary place or moment in the annals of modern music, but that’s kind of the point. Rock ’n’ roll glory is wherever you find it, and whatever you make of it...

So, like Wes Anderson movies, I'll tell my kids to go see this one.

But not with me.

Because some things are best experienced without your parents, regardless their reading habits.


Friday, May 30, 2014

This Day In Snookland...The Cronification Of Everything.


From Stephen Hui's lede in the GStraight:

A FORMER DEPUTY minister to Gordon Campbell is set to take the helm of B.C. Hydro.

Jessica McDonald will replace the retiring Charles Reid as president and CEO on July 14, the board of directors of the Crown corporation announced today (May 29).

"I thank Charles for his dedication and leadership and I congratulate Jessica on her new role," Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett said in a news release. "She has the right mix of skills and public and private sector leadership experience to ensure we keep rates down while BC Hydro invests in our electricity system. I look forward to working with her as BC Hydro continues to implement the 10-year-plan."

From 2005 to 2009, McDonald served as deputy minister to the premier, cabinet secretary, and head of the public service. Most recently, McDonald led the provincial government's review of the Industry Training Authority, which wrapped up in April. She's also a director of ICBC...


It sure does make you wonder...

When, exactly, will they bring Spiderman home and make him the Chief Justice of All That Is Supreme?

Subheader runnin' round your head?.....This.


Late Winter Jukebox Goin' Down...All Ten Tunes.


See below....

(New springtime tunes!)

#9_1913 Massacre. (6:11)

Date: March 5, 2014
By: RossK

#8_Mr. Bojangles (5:33)

Date: March 2, 2014
By: RossK

Bonus Track....Most recent Sunday one comin'...with duets!...promise..


Thursday, May 29, 2014

At The End Of The Day...

...Why Are The Teachers Called 'Militant'?

And, on the flipside, why isn't the BC Liberal Government called 'extremist'?

After all, it isn't teachers who have worked so hard to provoke strikes.

And it sure as heck isn't teachers who have torn up contracts.

And no judge has ever called the actions of the teachers unconstitutional.



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

This Day In Snookland...Maybe Mr. Mackin Should Take Out A Membership.


Despite the fact that it is his day job, I still think of Bob Mackin as a citizen journalist in the best sense of the term.

Because, essentially, he pays attention and then goes after stuff we, the citizenry, need to/should know.

Like, for example, what the actual plan is and estimated costs are for Ms. Clark's other boondoggle, the Massey Bridge.

And even after their own Privacy Commissioner told them to hand over the pertinent documents the Snooklandians still found a way to stonewall Uncle Bob on the matter:

...High-ranking minions in Mike de Jong’s Finance Ministry decided last October that the 60 pages of documents about the tunnel-cum-bridge that they held in their grubby hands were going to cost me $126 to see. I’m a frequent FOI requester and governments don’t ask for exorbitant fees to see dozens of pages. But this one was so arrogant that it thought it could get away with it.

Fast-forward six months and, after my complaint to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, the government has relented. No fee. But it is not a victory.

Instead of 60 pages, I got 15 on May 22 with such earth-shaking revelations as: “Plan is for the project to ready for construction in 2017″ and “Plan is for the new bridge to be fully operational by the end of 2022.”

The documents mention that there are concept plans, but whether a business case exists is protected by section 12, aka “cabinet confidences.” See “more” below.

Bottom line: The BC Liberal government doesn’t want you to know about how it wants to spend your hard-earned money on mega-projects...


If being a citizen doesn't work, maybe Mr. Mackin should take out a party membership.

After all, according to the boss, when it comes to questions folks may have about what she and hers are actually up to membership matters:

And don't kid yourself....The Snooklandian stonewalling of Mr. Mackin's FOI requests is real and it is concerted when it involves something they don't want us to know.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

This Day In Snookland...Revision This History.


I spent a lot of time watching Christy Clark play run-and-hide from David Eby while her wizards did their best to suppress student voting in Point Grey last spring.

And not once do I remember the pipeline thing being a major, or even a significant minor, issue in that specific campaign.

But, according to Ms. Clark herself, as 'revealed' to reporters in scrum this weekend in Kelowna, she sacrificed her own seat to take a principled stand on the matter of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.


Here's a snippet from JHunter in The Globe:

...Ms. Clark said she was asked to get off the fence (by her own strategists) and take a stand against the pipeline, because the NDP was jeopardizing her party’s support in coastal ridings – including her own Vancouver-Point Grey seat.

“I was confronted with the decision ... I was asked about it, and my immediate response was, ‘forget it, we are not changing our position on this’,” she said...

{snippety doo-dah}

...On Election Day, the NDP succeeded in defeating Ms. Clark in her own riding, but lost the election.

“In the end, standing firm on my values was more important than winning,” Ms. Clark said...


If that was, indeed, the case maybe Ms. Clark really could see the Iron Lady from her dorm room.

And lest you think the revisionist aspect of the the header to this post is hyperbole there is this closer from Ms. Clark:

...“We were on the right side of history.”

That is all.


Friday, May 23, 2014

This Day In Snookland...Will There Be Disciplining?



It looks like those very few actual liberals (and/or folks whose hearts are not made out of stone) who are still inside the wretched, stinking, muck-strewn tent that is the BC Liberal Party may be kicking up a bit of a fuss in front of their 'convention'.

Justine Hunter had a not about this yesterday in the Globe. Here is her lede:

B.C. New Democrats have been unsuccessful in getting the provincial government to end the clawback of child-support payments for single parents on income assistance. But this weekend at the party convention, members of the governing B.C. Liberal party will join the battle.

Delegates from Liberal MLA Doug Bing’s riding have drafted a resolution calling on the government to provide an exemption that would allow single parents on welfare to keep the additional support, saying it fits with the party’s core values of a “compassionate free enterprise system.”

There is no guarantee the resolution will make it to the floor for debate – for the most part this convention is expected to be a love-in for Premier Christy Clark, who led her party to an unexpected and hard-fought victory in 2013. And there are only two hours allowed for policy debate, so the majority of proposals will not be discussed.

But the resolution highlights an undercurrent of tension in Ms. Clark’s coalition party.

Mr. Bing said the resolution reflects concerns from Liberals in his constituency about poverty, but he added that it is not unique to his community. “There is a government policy and the caucus has a position, but I don’t think it is unanimous by any means,” he said. “This motion comes from the grassroots and people want this discussed.”...


I guess the real question is...

Will anybody take these uppity ones out behind the barn and start spitting at them?


This Day In Snookland....Will There Be Sparkle Ponies?

And when the local proMedia reports the coming of the unicorns straight-up will anybody other than know-nothing nutbar cultist bloggers call the Snooklandians on it?


Believe it or not, it actually did happen...


The origin story of the elevator ridin', and always promotin', Pammy and the Sparkle Ponies is here.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

This Afternoon In Snookland...Mr. Fassbender's Cold Comfort Farm.


I sure feel better now about the Fassbendererian Hijacking of the BCPSEA now.

Don't you?


This Day In Snookland...All Your Public School Employers' Associations 'R Us.


You may have heard about the 'letter' the association that used to be made up largely of school trustees (i.e. the BCPSEA) just sent to the public school teachers union (i.e. the BCTF).

Because the herd's soundbites so rarely do, we thought we would give you the actual money shot in its entirety:

"...Effective May 26, 2014, and continuing until further notice, your members will be locked out as described in this letter. As a consequence of this action, salaries will be reduced by 5.0% for all employees in the BCTF bargaining unit who are scheduled to work, beginning May 26. If the union moves to its stage 2 activities, the reduction will be 10% instead of 5%, effective the first day that the walkout affects any school..."


A couple of months back we wondered why the Snooklandians would do the following:

1) Replace elected school trustees on the BC Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA) board with its own administrator?

2) Appoint its own negotiator in the middle of the current round of bargaining?

3) Replace the senior staff at BCPSEA?

Guess we know 'why' now.


What is clear, going all the way back to at least 2005, is that the BC Liberal government and the Wizards running them, want this crap...Why?...In my opinion it's because they have weighed the odds and have come to the conclusion that it is a winning issue for them...More specifically, they think that turning public sector unions into evil gollums will stand them in good stead, both now with the screamers (i.e. read the 'comments' at the end of any 'serious' newsstory on the subject) and later when they drop said gollum on the Dippers' doorstep in 2017...And if the Snooklandian Wizards have to screw over a bunch of kids and parents who can't afford to send their kids to publicly-subsidized private schools in the process?....Well...So be it.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

This Afternoon in Snookland: The Fourth 'R'.....R-E-S-P-E-C-T

It's an oldie but (very) goodie from Bob Krieger.

Need a little background (and/or memory refresher)?....It's here, courtesy Colin Welch.
And Mr. Krieger was good enough to let us post this up here for almost free...All he asked for was a donation...To the Foodbank...We've obliged, feel free to do so too.


Teacher's Strike...Who Benefits?


Wedge issues on silver platters.....

Guess they're not just for Knotty Gordians and Snooklandians...



This Day In Snookland...In Which The 'Dean' Struggles To Not Be A Gov't Apologist.

The real question is....

What is the good Mr. Palmer struggling so hard with that it keeps him from stating the obvious?

(And stating it unequivocally)


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

New Logo In Snookland...All Hammer, No Sickle.

On the brightside...

There is a wrench and a hard hat, I think.

And, just in case you think I'm making this up.

Thanks to Mr. Mickleburgh, I think, for the heads-up, on the Twittmachine.


This New Day In Snookland...The Latest With LNG.


From Norm Farrell:

...Get ready taxpayers and citizens, assume the position. No trillions of dollars for the next generation. No bonfires of bonds on a barge. I know that, you know that, Vaughn Palmer knows that. He just won't write about it...



Monday, May 19, 2014

This Day In Snookland....Every Five Means (Less Than) Zero.


I just love it when the powers that be (at the tail end of a long weekend?) let Justine Hunter of the Globe go.

Below is Ms. Hunter's latest lede, but this one is well worth wasting one of your free 'ten' so that you can go read all the details of all the non-progress on each and everyone of our fine Premier's 'Big Five' on Northern Gateway:

Two years ago, the B.C. government put a price on environmental risk, saying that the $6.7-billion it can expect to earn from the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline is too little.

A “fair share” of the economic benefits was among the five conditions Premier Christy Clark said would need to be met before her province approves new heavy oil pipelines.

With the federal government expected to approve the Enbridge project in the next few weeks, Ms. Clark is upbeat about the progress that has been made toward meeting her terms.

And there has been headway – in the sense that Alberta, Ottawa and industry are not snickering at Ms. Clark’s demands any more.

Yet not a single one of the five conditions has been met...

The thing is...

All of those useless blogger cultists were on to this from the very beginning for what it really was.

Which was a useless PR stunt that meant less than zero from the very beginning.

But, then again, what the heckfire do we know.



Friday, May 16, 2014

This Day In Snookland...The Real Faces Of The Clawed Back.


A really good follow-up piece, by Andrew McLeod in The Tyee, on the disabled Mom whose $187 per month in child support is being clawed back so that our Premier can save up to fund her next Bogus Bollywood Bonanza in the spring of 2017:

Jessica Sothcott could work and earn as much as $9,600 a year without it affecting the amount she receives in disability payments, but every dollar she receives in child support from her daughter's father is deducted in full from what the government will provide.

"I was shocked," said the mother of two who was at the British Columbia legislature with her 14-year-old daughter Rosalie on Wednesday to draw attention to the issue.

Sothcott said she raised the matter with the office that administers the province's Person With Disability benefits. "When I finally got on PWD, I went there and I said, 'Why are you taking my child support off my cheque still, because I'm allowed to earn $800 a month?' And they said, 'Oh, you don't earn that money.'

"I walked away," she said. "I didn't know what to say. I'm like, well, I'm pretty sure I do."...

And what does the Minister responsible, the man who loses his train of thought every time the wind blows, have to say about it all:

...B.C.'s Social Development Minister Don McRae told The Tyee that while he's sympathetic, the government can't afford the roughly $17 million it would cost to allow parents receiving government benefits to keep child support payments.

"You know what, I would like to continue to reform income assistance opportunities or programs in the province," he said. “One of the things I'd like to do is grow the economy so we can make these choices. There's lots of good ideas out there, by all means."

Asked why child support payments are clawed back while money from earned income is not, McRae said, "That was a policy decision based before my time."

He added, "Income assistance is income of last resort. The first responsibility is for the parents to pay for the children's needs. That's what we want to happen in British Columbia."...

Gosh Mr. McRae.

That was some dog whistle.

Why not just come right out and call these Moms, some of whom receive a mere $945 a month, 'Welfare Queens'?

Or will that be the 'Ol Turdstormer's job come Monday in the house?


What's it all about Alfie?.....This.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

This Night In Snookland...The Resurrection Of Steno Mike!


That is all.

Either for now, or six years, whichever comes first (or last, or second, or whatever).

Except that a journo who isn't even working anymore actually had something insightful to say about Mr. Fassbender's psychobabble on the Twittmachine.



This Day In Snookland...$187.


Interesting exchange between the Premier and the leader of the Opposition yesterday...

But before we get to it, a little background, from Lindsay Kines, a month ago in the VTC, on Christy Clark's war on poor people:

...A single mother with one child receives $945 a month in income assistance or $1,242 in disability assistance. If she receives any child-support money from an ex-partner, the government reduces her assistance cheque by an equal amount.

Victoria single mothers Jennifer Brice and Michelle Tallio said the policy leaves them struggling to find enough money for food and other necessities for their children.

Premier Christy Clark defended the policy this week, arguing that taxpayers want to be sure that people on social assistance receive only the bare minimum....

Got that?

If you're a single mom with a kid on social assistance there is no reasonable ceiling at which the clawback begins.

Instead, you get nothing more than $945 per month, period.

To be honest I can't even imagine a single Mom (or Dad) with a young child being able to do that while living in Vancouver or Victoria or even Kelowna.


Paying for the childcare alone so that you could go out and 'find a job!' would very likely cost you more than that if the kid was still a wee one.

So, essentially, to fulfill some kind of ideological clap-trap dream/nightmare of Rob Fordian-type future marketing campaign research-assisted proportions, Ms. Clark is actually saying that she must force kids to grow up in abject poverty so that she and hers can win next time 'round.

Think I'm being hyperbolic?

Well, go back and read that last sentence from the LKines VTC piece quoted above.


Now with that in mind.

It's off to the big show in the legislature yesterday...

J. Horgan: This past weekend single mothers and their children rallied across B.C. to draw attention to the child clawback that's been conducted by this government over the past ten years. Hon. Speaker, $17 million is taken out of the hands of children every year by this government — $17 million that could go to basic things like school supplies, nutritional food, clothes and other things.

The Minister of Social Development says that we can't afford, at this time, to give back mandated child support payments. The courts have said that these child support payments must go to children, and the government immediately claws it back.

It's not Liberal money. It's children's money. My question is to the Premier. She's had time to reflect on this. She's answered the question once before. Will she do the right thing today and end an egregious program that takes money out of children's pockets?

Hon. C. Clark: May I start just by saying that because of my travels, this is the first opportunity that I've had to face the new Leader of the Opposition, so I'd certainly like to welcome him to his new role in this Legislature.

In answer to the question, I'll say this: being a single parent is difficult. Any of us who experience that on a day-to-day basis know how hard it is, but for some parents it is a lot more difficult than it is for others. People who are struggling to find work that can support them to the extent that they need to be able to care for their children struggle more than most of us can ever imagine. We do need to support those parents, but what we need to do is also make sure that we are fair to all of the people in the province that are paying taxes and that are dependent on the system.

The reason that the government asked for that money back is because it's income. It's declared as income. Some people garner quite a bit of income in child support, while others don't garner quite so much. We want to make sure that we are fair across the system and recognize that income assistance is a service that's provided to try and help people get from social assistance back into the workforce. We intend to try and do that as broadly as we possibly can, making sure that parents have the opportunity to get to work, which is what we know all of them want to do...

Let's stop there for a moment...

Once again, just like she did when she told us she had to screw over our public educators to save 'our' children, Ms. Clark is playing her faux conflation game, hinting that as a single Mom herself she feels these poor women's (and their even poorer children's) pain.

But here's the thing.

She is not a single parent, she is a co-parent.

And she is not poor.

And none of those Mom's that she is screwing over so she can do the Fordian election thing down the road have been away 'on their travels'  because, even if they could afford a bus ticket to Chilliwack to look for work at the local Denny's they wouldn't have enough left over to pay for the sitter.


Here's an idea....

Maybe all those real single Mom's who are out looking for work could drop off their kids down at Burrard Communications for the day instead?

But I digress.

Back to the show....

Madame Speaker: Recognizing the Leader of the Official Opposition on a supplemental.

J. Horgan: I appreciate the sentiment from the Premier that she wants to respect taxpayers. Well, I would argue that the $17 million that this government spent on partisan advertising last year would have been better spent for children living in poverty. So $342 million in cost overruns on the northwest transmission line; $341 million in cost overruns on the Vancouver Convention Centre; $464 million in cost overruns on the South Fraser Perimeter Road. That would pay for the clawback for 60 years. How is that respecting taxpayers? How is a billion dollars of cost overruns while people are going without in this province…? How is that respecting taxpayers?

Families-first doesn't mean families are the first to pick up after Liberals make mistakes. It should be putting people in need at the top of the line, not the bottom of the line.

Madame Premier, you could make a difference today in thousands and thousands of people's lives by ending the clawback, ending it right now.

Hon. C. Clark: Having answered the question a number of times already, I'd like to reflect on this, and that is the fact that we believe on this side of the House that the best and the only way to lift people out of poverty, to lift families out of poverty, is to grow our economy. It's to make sure there are opportunities for people to access meaningful and useful job training that will put them into the workforce. It's to support people moving from social assistance to work, and it's to make sure that there are jobs for them when they get there.

That's why we are embarked on a generational opportunity to transform our economy to ensure that we create more jobs in our province so that more people have an opportunity, a real opportunity, to participate in our workforce in a meaningful way and to bring home a family-supporting wage.

We believe in getting to yes on economic development. That's how you resolve poverty. One day I think the opposition will catch on...

With all due respect, perhaps the good Premier of British Columbia could explain how forcing Moms to become prisoners in their own apartments because they won't be able to afford childcare, or even busfare, on $945 per month is going to help them reach out to grasp their 'generational opportunity' to participate in our workforce?

And, by way of reinforcement, the following is the kicker from Mr. Horgan and a real single Mom....

Madame Speaker: Recognizing the Leader of the Official Opposition on a further supplemental.

J. Horgan: I thought it was impossible, but somehow the Premier just said that liquefied natural gas is going to help people on disability income assistance feed their children today. I don't know how that's going to happen, but in the world the Premier lives in, apparently that's the case.

Jessica Sothcot is here today with her 14-year-old daughter (whom Mr. Horgan introduced to the House at the beginning of the session). Jessica was injured at work. She's on a disability assistance pension right now. She receives minimal amounts of money from the province to pay for her basic needs.

The court has mandated that Rosie's father pay $187 a month for basic necessities, school clothing, so she can participate in active, ordinary things that kids like to do — $187, and this government is clawing that back every single month. Jessica can't go find work. She's on disability pension. She's unable to work today. So what's the Premier's solution in her one-size-fits-all, LNG-will-save-the-day world for Rosie and Jessica? What is she going to do today for families like that?

Hon. C. Clark: Today all across our government we are working to make sure that people who are living with disabilities have more opportunities to work. That means across ministries finding ways to change the way we deliver services, to change the way we deliver training, so that we can help lift people up who are living with a disability, most of whom would love to be able to fully participate in the workforce, but there are many government barriers in the way of that happening....

Say what?

With all due respect, once again, Madame Premier...



The Snooklandians could step back from this thing right here and right now.

Specifically, they could set a reasonable level of income assistance + child support (say, for example $2000) above which the income assistance portion will then be clawed back.

And in doing so that extra court mandated child support money, which is NOT coming from taxpayers, would help raise a whole bunch of kids out of abject poverty and it would help a whole bunch of single Mom's get out to participate in Ms. Clark's so-called 'generational opportunity'.

Of course if Ms. Clark did make such a change, right here and right now, she would probably only 'save' something like, maybe $7 million per year instead of $17 million. 

On the bright side, the cumulative savings could subsequently be blown on a spring 2017 pre-election, next-generational, vote-buying bogus Bollywood-type thingy that is of no lasting use to anyone.

Or some such thing.



Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Springtime Jukebox...Tune #1: Return Of The Grievous Angel.


Back somewhere in the middle of the late winter jukebox I took a run at the Cosmic Cowboy's biggest hit.

And when I told somebody about that they suggested the time had come for me to go to heart of all that would later become

Which led me to Gram Parsons, the partnership with Emmylou Harris division.

And a road tune written with poet Thomas Brown that contains everything that Jack Kerouac, and Ted Williams too, could have possibly imagined, and more:

Interestingly, when the album came out after Parsons premature death in early 1974 his wifemade sure that Harris was just about nowhere to be found...I really dig their live take of the song...And, apparently, so do those two kids from Sweden who blew right on past the heart of it all recently and made the thing their own...More on that later.
So...I've been doing a bit of counting....Last year's Sunday Setlists ~250,000 listens....December's Advent Jukebox ~220,000 listens....The just completed Late Winter Setlist ~230,000 listens (download 'em now, downt hread if you want 'em because I'm going to let them slide off the page soon)....That total...Just unbelievable/unfathomable to me...Thanks, again, everyone!


This Day In Snookland...Let Them Eat Software, v2.0.


First, the problem at hand, as reported by Tiffany Crawford and Rob Shaw in the VSun last week:

...“This is an immediate safety risk, it’s completely unacceptable,” said Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, the province’s independent Representative for Children and Youth. “Frontline staff is calling me in flat-out panic. It affects child safety, and worker safety.”

Turpel-Lafond cited several consequences of the computer failure, such as a father of three young children unable to get an income assistance cheque from government to feed his family, and police officers responding to a domestic violence call but unable to tell if any children at the address had been abused in the past or if there were firearms in the residence.

The paper backup system doesn’t allow provincial staff in one part of the province to properly share information, such as with hospitals. And it has left the system with by a mountain of paperwork to enter into the computer, she said.

“This is a disaster,” said Turpel-Lafond. “ There needs to be a proper independent review of this.”

At issue is the government’s custom-built $182-million integrated case management computer system, which went into operation in April 2012 and was intended to allow sharing of information between ministries about social assistance, disabilities, domestic violence, and child welfare....

Second, the response of one of the Snooklandian ministers allegedly 'in charge':

...“It’s a new computer system, and to say there won’t ever be hiccups is something we can’t do,” (Social Development Minister Don McRae) said. “Look at Windows 8, it didn’t go very well.”...

But here's the thing...

It is not a new system and this most definitely is not the first time that problems have arisen.

Case in point, the following is taken from a consultant's report, released in early 2013, on what had to be done to even start making the 'product', purchased from Siebel/Oracle (thanks NVG!), even remotely servicable:

The following next steps need to be completed prior to this review being able to conclude on the question of whether the Siebel product can meet the needs of child protection. In particular, we recommend that steps, 9, 10, and 12 be completed prior to finalization of this review and provision of the final report.

9. With the re-commitment to a shared vision for ICM, work should proceed on redeveloping system requirements and should include the following major steps:

-Review best practices from other jurisdictions;

-Work with a core group of subject matter experts to identify and drive a full set of requirements from the restated child protection practice model. This work should be aimed at enabling actual user workflows, which should form the basis of requirements;

-Confirm and consolidate requirements with stakeholder groups, both to ensure that stakeholders see that that have been “heard”, and that requirements are accurate and will meaningfully improve users’ work processes.

10.Complete a gap fit assessment of requirements to the current solution. This process should include the development of prioritized needs, business cases and options for proceeding to address revised requirements.

12. Complete detailed budget, timelines and contractual impact analyses to ensure that the appropriate resources are in place and that revised timelines are feasible and will not result in unacceptable contractual obligations or ramifications.

Sound like a little hiccup with Windows 8 to you?



I've read the entire report cited above.

And I realize that this effort was originally mounted in good faith with a goal to actually try and make good on the Hughes report.

But the long running ineptitude of the powers-that-be behind this thing really does make one wonder if this is just another more crony-run effort gone bad (remember Maximus?).

Regardless, when I think of the time, effort and huge resources wasted to make the incredibly hard job of front-line workers, workers who actually deal with our fellow citizens and children most in need, even harder?


It's impossible for me to keep my outrage meter out of the red when I recall how hard the same powers-that-be worked to 'demonstrate' that they hadn't changed a 'policy' (rather than a long standing 'practice') to allow those same front-line workers to buy kids stuck in the system without a family an extra present at Christmas time.


And just so you know...I really have been working hard to keep that outrage meter safely down in the green for a while now...Honest I have.
On that Maximus thing...At last count we were into it for at least a half a billion...And it is neither fast nor a ferry (or even, it would appear, scrap metal)...


Goodbye To My Friend Ian.


I have a select number of very old friends who I know so well that, when we get together after long partings, we can get into very intense things, immediately, without preamble, almost as if 20 years ago was yesterday.

I did not know Ian Reid for nearly that long.

And I did not really know him all that well.

But, because of the connection we made, I felt like I did.

Because whenever we met, or talked on the phone, or E-mailed, we almost always got down to brass tacks pretty much immediately.

And we almost always talked about politics.

Or, at the very least, political goings on.


The last time Ian and I talked in person it was together with our mutual friend Norm Farrell.

And the politics talk was intense.

And then, somehow, near the end of our conversation the issue of what we'd all do if we had the time came up.


In my own head I've often thought that if I was retired I would have the time to do the real research so that I could try to write with the insight of Norm and the passion of Ian.

But I didn't say that.

Because before I could, Ian fixed me with that gaze of his and said.

'I'm pretty sure that when that happens Cal will be making music full-time'.

Which flummoxed me.

Not because Ian was wrong.

But rather because he was probably right.


I got an Email from another old friend late last night who I haven't really known since we were both kids, back before either of us knew Ian.

He wanted to pass along a message from Ian's daughter.

I'm sure she wouldn't mind if I excerpted just a few lines from it:

My father, Ian, died peacefully this afternoon in Vancouver, after a long illness... 

 ...It's impossible to talk about his death and his life without talking about politics. (Don't let me get started on talking about music.)...

Talking about music, indeed.

I recorded this for Ian late last fall:

A while back Ian and I got to kibbitzing back and forth (usually on comment threads) about who our real musical heroes were...In the end we settled on two war horses from our youth (who were, of course, also young colts themselves as well back then)...His was Bowie... Mine was Springsteen...Which, of course, led to....This.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

How Much Are We Paying To Be A Mouthpiece For Big Oil?



According to the Globe's Eric Reguly the going rate is about $207,000...

A page:

...What is clever about the ad (boosting the Keystone XL pipeline) is not the photo; it is the headline and the succinct lines of copy beneath it. They are slick pieces of propaganda – misleading without being outright lies. Of course, advertising is all about propaganda. But this ad is unconscionable because you, the Canadian taxpayer, paid for it. The rate for a full-page ad in that location, according to Condé Nast, publisher of The New Yorker, is $207,000 (U.S.).

The ad appeared in the April 14 issue and was sponsored by, the federal government site that is trying to convince the skeptical that the Alberta oil sands – known as the tar sands to non-Canadians – and the export pipelines that would allow the megaproject to thrive for decades are a “secure, responsible source of energy for the global market” (“Keystone” does not appear in the ad)...


Does this mean we are all our own big brothers now?


Saturday, May 10, 2014

This Weekend In Snookland...Where Are All The Sparkle Ponies?


There right here, right now, right under our noses.

But we get nothing.

Norm Farrell explains, with charts and everything.


Meanwhile, Lotusdandian proMedia types with thousands of fake Twittmachine followers just keep on keepin' on doing the important stuff like, you know.... Trashing teachers.


Tuesday, May 06, 2014

This Day In Snookland...In Which All Connections With SNC-Lavalin Disappear.


From the hardest working man in the Lotuslandian proMedia, Bob Mackin, this time in The Tyee:

The B.C. government's Industry Training Authority has a new board of directors, and the May 5 news release heralds the appointment of Gwyn Morgan as the Crown corporation's $1-a-year chair.

While it emphasizes how Morgan was the founding CEO of oil and natural gas producer EnCana Corp., it doesn't mention his tenure as chair of SNC-Lavalin, the troubled Montreal engineering giant...



The Vaccination War....When Fanatical Superstionists Collide.


Not long ago we learned that fanatical superstionists in our midst helped trigger a measles outbreak that started to spread.

Of course, some folks, especially those sympathetic to the superstionists and their fanaticism, responded by saying it was 'only' measles and therefore worth taking a stand against, especially given that sometimes vaccines are generated in human cell lines derived from fetal tissue.

Or some such incredibly nonsensical thing.




How does polio sound then?

The World Health Organization has declared polio a “public health emergency of international concern,” marking only the second time the UN agency has given such a designation after the H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009.

On Monday, the WHO imposed travel restrictions for people living in Syria, Cameroon and Pakistan after an emergency committee unanimously agreed that the spread of polio constituted an “extraordinary event” in need of a co-ordinated international response....


What do the fanatical superstitionists have to do with this one?


In Pakistan at least, there is this, as reported by Foreign Policy:

...Although the polio vaccine is safe, vaccination remains a sensitive topic in the region and aid workers face a mounting wave of cultural challenges. Some militants believe the common misconception that vaccinations are against Islamic law or are administered as part of a broader American plot to sterilize children or infect them with HIV. Taliban in Pakistan have been attacking polio workers and their security teams since it was revealed in 2011 the CIA used a fake Hepatitis B vaccine campaign in Abbottabad as part of an attempt to obtain blood samples from Osama bin Laden's children in order to confirm the al Qaeda chief's location.

Despite the Pakistani government's efforts to provide police protection, at least 31 poliovaccination workers have been killed in Pakistansince July 2012. (Police and security personnel working with them have also been shot at, wounded, and killed.) These attacks, unfortunately, have had their desired effect. Along with systemic problems in supply chains and personnel management, the intimidation and violence have increasingly led mothers to opt out of all kinds of vaccines, and have stymied health efforts; outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, have increased. And as a result, polio remains unchecked in several provinces, particularly in the tribal regions bordering Afghanistan...


Sounds like someone could uses some fanatical superstionistic lawyers to help get them out of this one.

If you get my 'coming together of the fanatical poles' kind of drift.

As for that 'plot' thingy....Well, just go ask the superist of super FanSups down south...After all, anything goes in Bush doctrine world, right?



Saturday, May 03, 2014

Northern Gateway Going Down...In Which Ron Gets Even More Obvious.


Here's the kicker from Gary Mason's latest, in the Globe:

...If Northern Gateway doesn’t get built, I suspect it won’t be because the federal government stood in its way...



The next thing you know Mr. Mason will be telling us that the Ethical Oilers and those British Columbians For Prosperity folks actually do have a wee bit of  common cause with the Brothers K.


Anyway, Mr. Mason did have something interesting from a super-secret, evils-of-access-type anon. source who is apparently a 'senior member' of the Harper government, whatever that means:

...Still, there is a raw political calculus that needs to be taken into account. Polls measuring support for the project in B.C. vary, but generally have shown that anywhere from 55 to 60 per cent of the province opposes Gateway and 40 to 45 per cent support it. Isn’t that enough to scare off a government that needs critical votes in B.C. to win another majority?

“Let’s say 60 per cent are against it,” he (the senior member) said. “And that vote splits between the Liberals and the NDP come the next election. Who are the 40 per cent going to vote for?”...

Why interesting?

Well, because, essentially, the super-secret, super-obvious, chichester cathedral-eating senior member told Mr. Mason that Mr. Harper and company actually do cater to the minority, not just during election season, but also while they are actually, you know...


What's this 'Ron Obvious' stuff all about?...'Tis explained here, kinda/sorta.


Friday, May 02, 2014

The Swan Of All Songs Remained The Same...Ted Williams' Last At Bat.


Oriole's pitcher Jack Fisher remembers, courtesy Elon Green and the New Yorker:

...I think the first pitch was a ball. The next pitch—he swung and missed—was another fastball. The next pitch I just went to another fastball and he hit it out. Made the score four to three.

I mean, all I was trying to do was win the ballgame. The fact that he hit the home run wasn’t that big to me because I’d actually had pretty good success against him.

After he hit the home run, he went in [the dugout] and of course, as you know, he kind of ignored the fans and everything. And they were all standing and waiting and wanting him to come out of the dugout and wave to him or something like that. And finally, he’s sitting on the bench and he waved to me and said, “Go ahead and pitch. I’m not gettin’ up.” I actually stood behind the mound and waited for him to come out, but he didn’t...

Weirdly, I remember Jim Brown being the same when I was a kid.

Every touchdown.

Same thing - no fanfare.



I reckon he'd been there before.


This Day In Snookland...Who's Killing All Our Sparkle Ponies?



It would appear it might be common sense that's doing the mercy offing.

From the top and bottom of Don Cayo's CCPA-assisted latest:

A new study on what B.C.‘s LNG revenues could add up to reinforces what many thinking citizens have already surmised — that the provincial government’s optimistic projections are far from a sure thing, and maybe just pie in the sky.

The predicted royalties and LNG tax revenues — enough over 30 years to wipe out the province’s debt and fund a $100-billion prosperity fund — aren’t impossible, says Marc Lee, a senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ B.C. office. But they will materialize only under optimum conditions, and such a cheery scenario isn’t at all likely...

{snippety doo-dah}

...Companies — including Shell Canada and its Asian partners who announced on Tuesday another cautious step toward their goal of developing LNG export facilities in Kitimat — are still “looking long and hard at whether their investments will deliver appropriate returns,” Lee wrote. “The B.C. government needs to do the same.”

In other words, stop counting 100 billion chickens before they hatch.


Only a hundred billion?

In chicken feathers?


I seem to remember that, back when they were first conjured up by the then publicly-funded directer of over....errrrr...outreach, the magic of the sparkle ponies was going to be worth at least a trillion.


That's right.

A trillion.

And did anybody in the pre-election Lotuslandian proMedia call out the Snooklandians on their codswallop?

Of course not.

Of course, the real kick in the head here is the fact that there are real sparkle ponies available, right here and right now, that could be used to pay for crazy stuff like, say, youth centers that help keep wayward kids from becoming hardened criminals...The only problem is that the Snooklandians are giving all that real magical revenue away for free....And what do you hear from the local proMedia on that one?....


Thursday, May 01, 2014

This Afternoon In Snookland...Looks Who's Speaking For Big Oil.


On the matter of what that very fine Astroturf group that calls itself 'British Columbians for (nolongerinternational) Prosperity' has been up to with their recent robocall-driven 'polling' blitz, Mychaylo Prystupa has a good piece up at the VObserver site. Here's a most interesting tidbit:

...(BC4Prosperity's) executive director – retired oil executive Bruce Lounds – vehemently denied the voter polling when asked about it early Tuesday morning.

“That’s absolutely not true. I can tell you that flat out,” saidLounds. “We’re polling about Northern Gateway and general resource development. It’s for our own internal use, to develop campaigns, or to provide information to people.”

But by Tuesday afternoon, when asked to explain the difference in stories, the group’s communications representative – Alise Mills – sent an e-mail stating:

“We also asked about people’s voting intention – if an election were held today which party they would vote for.”

“We think there is a myth that development is a left-wing versus right-wing issue – and we wanted to dig into this,” wrote Mills.

“Canadians and British Columbians like natural resource development. They just are not 100 per cent [supportive] on Northern Gateway."...


I'm sure these efforts by the good Ms. Mills will be mentioned next time she shows up on either CBC television or radio to tell us about the body politic and in British Columbia.

And while we're on the subject, sort of, maybe someone could dig into who is fronting BC4Prosperity the cash to pay for its robodialers, spokespeiople, spoon-benders and all that...

Because a great and prosperous man himself once said...


You know.



This Day In Snookland...The Conflict Commissioner's Latest Problem With Dates.


Bob Mackin has a post up at The Tyee that notes, as we did yesterday, that, based on the actual wording of the Conflict of Interest Act, the Conflict Commissioner, Mr. Paul Fraser, appears to have erred when he noted that he could not investigate Ms. Christy Clark's potential conflict of interest regarding her apparently being part of an RCI subsidiary, at the very least on paper, when she was sworn in as Premier in March of 2011.

And Mr. Mackin also noted something else interesting about Mr. Fraser's letter to Ms. Clark's chief-of-staff Dan Doyle on this matter, which is its date:

...The Fraser letter to Doyle was dated April 14, two days after Fraser's office told The Tyee in an email "if or when this issue is formally referred to this office, it will be dealt with. In the meantime, the Commissioner will have no further comment."...


Why the apparent obfuscation from Mr. Fraser to The Tyee?

And was it deliberate?

And why is Mr. Mackin still the only proMedia member in Lotusland covering this story without stenographer's pen in hand?

Subheader?....Shamelessly swiped from Integrity B.C.'s Dermod Travis.