Saturday, February 28, 2015

What To Do On A Sudbury Saturday Night.


I feel really bad, honest I do, for all those folks in Canadaland (i.e. that place where all of you who read/listen to Jesse Brown way more than we Lotuslandians do) who are suffering through the late winter extremism that has become our climate.

Especially given that we out here on the far left coast have been given the flip-side, which has essentially been no winter and cherry blossoms that came even earlier than usual (i.e. mid-February).

Heckfire, it's gotten to the point where I'm no longer wearing gloves while riding.

In February.


If you are looking for a recently released movie or two to download or, god forbid, rent, this evening, Robert Hilburn the music writer guy has a solid, tiered list from 2013 and 2014 up at his website. 

I especially like the short explanations that follow the picks.

Like, say, this one from the 'Very Good' tier of 2014:

Snowpiercer--Clever, often surprising, always fast-paced account of social class in a sci-fi movie that is as concerned with commentary as spectacle.

Snowpiercer is a movie that I somehow missed entirely.

But given the point back from Mr. Hilburn to the usual suspects I will definitely put it on one of the 23 scribbled-in-pencil-on-scraps-of-paper-hidden-everywhere rental lists somewhere.


BTW, I won the annual Oscar pool thingy at our house this year, going away...Of course, the kids got mad at me (in a nice way) for doing so by reading so much about the movies concerned rather than actually watching them...


This Weekend In Clarkland...Has The Dean Already Weighed In On The Bullying Thing?


Coquitlam-Duckville Dipper MLA Selina Robinson cranked the media wurlitzer a little on pink shirt day when she suggested, first on the book of faces, and later on the no-longer-so Giant '98 that the Clarklandians speak and act like bullies. 

As supporting evidence Ms. Robinson mentioned the goings on in the legislature last week (see, for example, the cluck-cluck-clucking of the 70% challenged Mr. Andrew Wilkinson) as well as Ms. Clark's ongoing derision of progressives and Dippers as shiftless, lazy people who end up living in their parents basement in their 30's.

That this bullying thing could be problematic for Ms. Clark if it gains traction in the proMedia is illustrated by the vile responses of her flying surrender monkeys on the Twittmachine.

Of course, if such a thing were to gain traction over, say, the next week or two, you can bet The Club members will eventually wait for the dust to settle so that the so-called Dean of the legislative press gallery, Vaughn Palmer, can weigh in with his pearls of story-ending wisdom.

But, here's the thing....

Mr. Palmer already wrote about the Ms. Clark's 'derision thing' a couple of weeks ago.

And he even noted a couple of John Horgan's responses to the various blatherings and bleatings from the Premier and her minions.

...“I can’t probe the mind of the premier any better than you can,” the NDP leader told reporters when the comment (about Dippers living in their parents' basements) was relayed to him. “But I can say that it’s certainly disrespectful to 31-year-olds and it is also disconnected with the reality of our time. More and more children are having to go home because they can’t find the opportunities that their parents could find.”...

...”(T)hat was a half-hour (the throne speech) that none of us will ever get back.”...

Guess which response Mr. Palmer approved of?

(Hint: It wasn't the first one)

One of the more bizarre blatherings of the surrender monkeys is their claim that making a fuss about a thing like this is just playing politics with....Wait for it...Pink shirt day.


Hey, Young People!....This Is What Happens When You Don't Vote.


From the MoCo, Lotuslandian division:

The provincial government has proposed legislation to expand ICBC's ability to refuse driver's licences to those in debt.

The insurance company is already able to withhold licences from people who owe money, such as toll fees, but the new bill — if passed — would be a "last-resort measure" to collect on outstanding court fines or student loans in default...

Of course, what young people actually want, and/or who they might vote for, is also a reason why the chosen few will sometimes do their darndest to make sure they don't.

Vote that is.

As for the chosen few's spokesthingy's explanation about why this due process subverting, collection agency fascism rising business is no big deal?...As you might expect, Mr. Farrell has more on that.


Friday, February 27, 2015

This Day In Clarkland...The (Not) Seven Percent Solution.


Remember how the Clarklandians' "Ponzification of Everything" budget took away another $29 million from public school boards while they simultaneously gave private schools an extra $30 million (in addition to that $200 million they gave to the well-off)?

And remember how the public boards were supposed to achieve those savings by cutting back on administrative costs?

Costs that Ms. Clark herself said were seven percent of their total budgets.


Guess what....

CKNW's Shane Woodford has made like Norm Farrell (and Charlie Smith said the proMedia won't listen to bloggers!) and actually looked at the public board numbers, district-by-district, province-wide.

And, as you might expect, the number is not what Ms. Clark said it was.

Turns out the actual percentage is three percent. 


What, exactly is the administrative cost of doing quick winning business in Ms. Clark's own office we an only wonder.

There is an interesting post-script to that piece by Charlie Smith in the GStraight earlier in the week in which he demonstrated how, no matter how often Tom Fletcher is taken to task by Norm Farrell for his stenography in service of the Clarklandians  the good Mr. Fletcher just keeps on keepin' on....The interesting post-script part?....Well, go have another look at Mr. Smith's piece and note the first comment....Ha!
And, on a superside of the laptop bar digressively trapezoidal note (assisted by the site-counter)...I sure was glad to see that our regular morning reader from Pheonix Arizona was able to break away from all that llama excitement analysis and stop by, as per usual, earlier this a.m.....


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dealing With The Wizards...Should Journos Start Naming And Shaming The Men And Women Behind The Curtain?


Sean Holman thinks they should:

Dear government spin doctor...

{snippety doo-dah}

My job isn’t to help you put the best spin on what the government is or isn’t doing.

My job is to tell the truth.

And, because that’s my job, you should know a few other things about how I’m going to report this story.

First, if you don’t respond to my questions, I’m going to let my audience know that.

Second, if you respond to my questions with non-answers, I’m going to let my audience know that too.

Third, I’m not going to put those non-answers in my story for the sake of false balance.

That’s because me asking questions about what the government is doing wrong isn’t an opportunity for you to simply tell the public about what government is doing right.

You have a big advertising budget for that.

Instead, it’s an opportunity to explain to the public why the government is or isn’t doing that thing I asked you about.

And, finally, if you refuse, ignore or interfere with my requests to interview public officials, my audience will also find out about that.

This may sound like hardball at best and blackmail at worst. But it’s actually the last and only defense I have against you and your colleagues...

Could something like that happen on a large scale in the proMedia business?

I mean would the fine established and credible folks who run with the proMedia herd, especially those in the closed pens like the one in Victoria, be willing to actually call out the very same people who just might dump their next big 'scoop' in the trough tomorrow (and/or their really big feed when they go down the chute towards flack hackery valhalla).

Somehow I doubt it.

But I do think that the coming pack of sharp young kids with I-Phones, pencils and bullshit detectors (i.e. kids who act and think like a young Mr. Holman, for example) just might.

Thanks to Jim Lawrence for his comment that provoked this post...Mr. Lawrence disagrees with Mr. Holman, but what he wrote sure got me thinking about this...I agree with Jim that no journo should ever hedge his bets to make sure he will still have access to the evil that is the wizadry of half-truths and purposeful misleading of the public...The thing is, I do understand that there are shades of grey here, and that the cultivation of sources does matter...Thus, I think that what Mr. Holman is suggesting could really help to deal with those wizards that deal in bad faith.

Translink Referendum Shuffle Daemonizing...Who Said Irony Is Dead.




You know...

And if you are actually looking for Norm Farrell's most excellent post that Jason Kenney II was attempting to point his Twittmachine followers towards, you can find it....Here.
And as for JK II's previous efforts to turf up massive a massive public expenditures on privatized transportation infrastructure that is expressly designed to keep as many people off our buses as possible....Well, stay tuned for that...


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Alright Mr. Smith, I'll See Your Conventional Wisdom And Raise You A Pack Of Double Bubble.



Wednesday Lunchtime Update: I heard from Mr. Smith via the Twittmachine's super-secret pseudofeed...As a result, I've edited the post-script to this post slightly in response.

Yesterday, in a piece pointing out the apparently 'growing' chasm between the Lotuslandian bloggodome and the puffed-up promedia punditry, Charlie Smith of the GStraight wrote about the thorough fisking Norm Farrell recently gave to the works of that fine fellow from Blackland, Mr. Tom Fletcher.

And in passing, for some strange reason Mr. Smith also said something about how this here little F-Troop list outpost...

...routinely condemns conventional wisdom being dished out by scribes in the press gallery bubble...

Which is just about the nicest thing a (kinda/sorta) member of the proMedia has ever said about what goes on around here.


In the spirit of that bubble-bursting thing.

Why the heckfire were so many folks on the Twittmachine sending kudos that other Mr. Smyth's way for his piece in the Province last weekend about further Clarkland-mandated cuts to schoolboards?

Sure, on the surface of it, it all sounds like what was written Mikey from Crikey was a good thing.

But all I saw was he said/she said blah, blah, blah with no effort to actually inform readers if what is going on is a good thing or a bad thing and if it will impact the real work of public school boards.

But, of course, to do something like that takes real research, thought and synthesis in the service of readers.

Which just doesn't seem to be the other Mr. Smyth's bag.

A subthesis of Mr. Smith's piece is that what the folks in the bloggodome write does not now and will not ever change the codswallop that is pumped out by the local puffed-up propunditry....Thus, in this respect, it could be concluded that we're all just tilting at windmills...But, the thing is...It's not really the folks who write the  puff pieces that we're really talking to....Right?
And if any puffed-up proMedia club member really thinks that what Norm does doesn't have an effect, go ask the Keef,....He of the 'Reports' of course.


Translink Referendum Shuffle...Bonfire Of The Flack Hackeries Revisited.


As we have noted before, there is one group whose members will most certainly come out winners no matter what the outcome of the Translink plebiscite.

And that group is the local flack-hackery.


Imagine our surprise when Lotusland's hardest working proMedia member, Bob Mackin, identified a new winner:

...(Christy Clark's former chief of staff and campaign manager Mike) McDonald is involved with another campaign these days with Kirk and Co., the BC Liberal-connected communications company that scored a plum gig with TransLink to convince the public to vote yes to a sales tax hike that would help fund the expansion of TransLink. That’s right, the manager of the BC Liberal 2013 campaign that promised a vote on TransLink expansion is working as a consultant to TransLink to “get you to yes.”...

The flames in that bonfire are starting getting pretty high, eh?

And, ya, I did see Mr. Smith of the GStraight's bit....Post coming...



Sunday, February 22, 2015

Why Is It So Hard For The ProMedia To Tell The People Of British Columbia Who Actually Runs Translink?


Christy Clark on the home team, as quoted by watercarrier, junior-grade, Sean Leslie, late last week:

... "TransLink belongs to the mayors, and only the mayors. If there are problems that need to be addressed in Translink, [the mayors] can fix those problems because it’s not a provincially run organization.”...


Mr. Leslie, in his 'piece' for the online word-bite pixeltorium that is CKNW's newsy-type website, did say that Translink was created by 'provincial legislation'.


To the best of my knowledge the VSun's Pete McMartin is the only member of the Lotuslandian ProMedia who has been telling it like it actually is regarding how Translink is run and why:

...The provincial government created the present incarnation of TransLink in 2007. It did so to wrest power away from the municipalities because the municipalities of the day didn’t like the transit choices the province was forcing upon them. In that context, the plebiscite isn’t about transit, it’s about power...


Given that wresting of power, which I wrote about (and Mr. Kevin Falcon's non-justification justification for it) back in the day....

How come all those established proMedia folks without all that credibility can't follow Mr. McMartin's lead and tell British Columbians that Ms. Clark is either dumber than Sarah Palin when it comes to the Translink Doctrine or a bald-faced liar.

Because it's either one or the other.

And British Columbians ought to know which it is so that they can plan accordingly.

And never, ever forget that it was the same non-elected, BC Liberal-appointed post-early 2007 Translink Board that voted for that $200 million waste of money and content consultative side project known as 'fare gates'....


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Nothing Short Of Transcendent On A Saturday Night.


'Coyote', by Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray....


Theirs is quite a story.

Read about it here.

And while you read, listen to some more of their stuff here.

Then buy some of it.

Because all that is transcendent cannot be paid for by day jobs.



One Thousand Eight Hundred Countries Too Many...The World According To Mr. Kenney.


When he was on the MoCo this morning former CTF spokesmodel and current Canadian Defence Minister, Mr. Jason Kenney, told Evan Solomon that we were in Iraq with over 2000 other countries.


As the Disaffected Liberal soon noted, that's about 1800 real countries too many.


Maybe, collectively, we can help Mr. Kenney figure out where the rest of the countries in his world can be found.

I mean, maybe he's looking for that finely honed absolute monarchy known to so many, including Anthony Hope and Peter Sellers, as 'Ruritania'.

And there's always Genovia, the little jewel that was once ruled by a teenaged Anne Hathaway.

And just what country were the 'Cliffs of Insanity' located in again?



Now, I remember.



We can only hope that Mr. Kenney doesn't have to negotiate the fire swamps and/or run into any rodents of unusual size on his way to do whatever it is he and/or his real paymasters want him to do.

You can hear Mr. Kenney's faux pas, which would be truly laughable if the stakes weren't so high....Here (at the 37 minute mark)...And if you rewind the player you can hear Opposition leader Mr. Mulcair actually make some sense of this senseless situation.


Friday, February 20, 2015

BC's Real Budget...The Ponzification Of Everything.


Like me, economist Jim Stanford was flummoxed by both the headline and the puff-piece by Justine Hunter that did much of the upfront cheerleading for the Clarklandians' ponzi-scheme budget to come in last weekends Globe and (nolongerEmpire) Mail.

Here is just part of Mr. Stanford's take.

The banner headline across the top of the front page of the national Globe and Mail edition caught my eye (last) Saturday morning: “How B.C. became a ‘have’ province.” Wow, I thought to myself, that is quite something (and without a single LNG plant yet visible on the horizon!)...

{snippety doo-dah}

...For B.C. to suddenly rejoin the ranks of the “have” provinces was shocking. How was this triumphant result achieved?...

{snippety doodle-dandy}

...Imagine my confusion, then, when I perused page A18, and the full story by Justine Hunter, to find not a single word about B.C. being a “have” province. Not a single reference to its GDP per capita in relation to Canada’s. Not a single mention of the province’s equalization subsidy ending (which is what happens when you become a “have” province), to be replaced by a net outflow to the rest of Canada. The whole story was simply an incredibly uncritical review of how B.C. achieved three consecutive budgets without a deficit...

As for the real story of the total ponzification that paved the way for all the follow-up puff-pieces that have been written by all the fine folks like Ms. Hunter and that were printed in all the very, very fine media organs like the Globe while our real debt has now climbed somewhere north of $150 billion as it leaves a trail of austerity in its wake for those amongst us who are least able to pay for it?


Norm Farrell has that story for you, in easily digestible audio form, with Ian Jessop....



Thursday, February 19, 2015

This Day In Clarkland...The Further Entrenching Of The Entitled.


I've written about this before, but in the wake of Ms. Clark's announcement that she has appointed a new parliamentary secretary to the entitled, it is worth having another look at just how much we, the public, subsidize private schools every year in British Columbia.

Stephen Hui, of the GStraight, has extracted the numbers:

...Private schools in B.C. received almost $315 million in provincial funding for the 2013-14 academic year. That's up from $295 million in 2012-13 and $251 million in 2009-10...

And this faux argument that this subsidy helps take pressure of the public system doesn't wash with me.

Because until all those schools and all those facilities and all those resources, including the fancy-schmancy before and after school programs that we, the public, are helping to pay for are open to all of us (i.e. we, the public that are helping pay for them while our public system is being choked in the bathtub of the great Norquistian dream home)...



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Gord's World....And The Quislings Shall Inherit The Earth.


By now you may have heard that Margaret MacMillan, she of Paris 1919 and a warden at Oxford, has quit the board of a little outfit called 'Canadian Studies In The United Kingdom', a story first broken by Jim Bronskill of the Canadian Press.

Actually it is Ms. MacMillan and three other academics who have quit.

And you may have even heard that this all has something to do with Canada's High Commissioner to Britain, Mr. Gordon Campbell.

But what you may not know is that what Mr. Campbell really did was take over the board by installing his own band of quislings so that he and his could run the show as he sees fit:

“It is also increasingly clear to me that the high commission intends effectively to take the foundation over and use its funds for the promotion of Canada’s interests as defined by it.” (said Ms. McMillan).


Quislings and lackeys running boards under the iron fist of the Big Boss to disastrous results?

Where have we seen Mr. Campbell do that before?



Now I remember....


(not that we're still paying for that disaster or anything).

Thanks to A. Reader for the tip....As It Happens has a little more....Interestingly the foundation was recently stripped of it's charitable status by the feds and there was some desire by some for it to take a more business-like approach to its research....Gosh...Is it possible that the uber-quisling in this one is actually the good Mr. Campbell himself?...Not that he's ever been a made man before or anything.


Monday, February 09, 2015

Mr. Doctorow Says...We, The Public, Are The Angel Investors In Our Institutions.


Cory Doctorow writing about the rush to force public institutions to be 'profitable':

...We don’t invest in public service institutions because we want them to be profitable. We invest in them because we want them to be good. Galleries, museums, archives and libraries tell us who we are. Schools and hospitals tend our minds and bodies. They are not businesses. We are not shareholders...

So if we don't invest in these things to turn a profit, why are we being forced to make them do so?

Or, to put in more precisely...

Why must we be convinced that we must be forced to do so?


You know...

...In the story of market-driven public institutions, it’s we, the public, who are the angel investors. We paid to keep the archives growing, to put a roof over the museum, to amass and catalogue all of our nation’s cultural treasures (and the treasures of many other nations). The internet now makes it possible for those institutions to reach wider audiences than ever before, at lower costs than ever before – once their collections are digitised. When Siemens or another big company comes along to digitise our investments, they are the VCs putting in late-stage capital after we’ve borne all the risks, sometimes for centuries...

In other words, capitalists who love both ventures and vultures need a place to park their big piles of private cash, moral hazard- and risk-free, while our public investments are shrunken and dessicated to make said piles even bigger.



Sunday, February 08, 2015

Translink Referendum Shuffle...The Bonfire Of The Flack-Hackeries.


Yesterday I threw up a post about how the flack-hackeries will be the only real winners as the 'plebiscite' lumbers along to it's media-marinated (and manipulated) conclusion four months from now.

Well, the flack-hackeries and a provincial government that refuses to actually, you know, govern.

Anyway, at the end of said post I was waxing snarkoleptic when I wrote the following:

...With all the flacking and hacking set to go on from now until the end of May, intensifying as the focus groups and the endless super-secret polling products slice and dice the citizenry into ever smaller interest group shavings that can be swayed by silly string stuff like spending more money to purellize all those terrible germs on all those even more terrible transit station handrails and/or saving more money by cutting the wasteful, entitled bus driver practice of heading to the washroom between between trips...



Someone sent me...



Is it possible that curiosity really did kill that Kerouac cat?

And ya, you guessed it, the good Mr. Bateman and friends are paying for one of those flack-hackeries mentioned above.


Saturday, February 07, 2015

This Day In Clarkland...Heads They Win, Tails We Lose.


Subbing in for Ron Obvious, it's Ian Bailey in today's Globe:

B.C. Premier Christy Clark says Lower Mainland mayors will have to raise property taxes as a Plan B if voters reject a proposed sales tax to pay for new transit in this year’s plebiscite...

But even if it's as obvious as all get out, here is a publicly available tidbit about this farce that many may have missed:

...The vote is being held between March 16 and May 29...



A two month long 'plebiscite' that actually involves no choice at all?

Who can possibly really win with something like that?

Why the flack-hackery, of course.

On both sides.

As in Side A, as reported by Bob Mackin:

On Jan. 2, Counterpoint Communications got a new year’s gift. Its “Business and Stakeholder Outreach” consulting contract was extended indefinitely by TransLink without a bid, because of tight timelines and Counterpoint’s “unique expertise.”.

Said the notice of intent: “The Supplier has provided focused stakeholder engagement services to raise awareness of the Mayors’ Council vision, developed a strong understanding of the Mayors’ Plan and provided an important liaison between TransLink/Mayors’ Council and stakeholders.”...

{snippety doo-dah}

...The public relations and lobbying company’s five principals include Bob Ransford, who is thought of by NPA loyalists as a turncoat for joining Vision Vancouver before the 2011 election...

And Side B, as reported by Jen St. Denis in BIV:

A former Conservative Party insider with ties to the controversial blog will play a key role in the Metro Vancouver transit referendum.

Hamish Marshall will work with the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation (CTF) to run the campaign for the ‘no’ side, said Jordan Bateman, B.C. director for the CTF.“He’s an experienced campaign manager, he’s worked on various Conservative campaigns around the country,” Bateman said...


With all the flacking and hacking set to go on from now until the end of May, intensifying as the focus groups and the endless super-secret polling slice and dice the citizenry into ever smaller interest groups that can be swayed by silly string stuff like spending more money to purellize all those terrible germs on all those even more terrible transit station handrails and/or saving more money by cutting the wasteful, entitled bus driver practice of heading to the washroom between between trips....

Will anything of substance said by anyone who isn't a shill actually reach said citizenry?


Sunday, February 01, 2015

I, Curmudgeon.


Last week was another one spent climbing in and out of cigar tubes to get to and from the science geek bunker.

Anyway, with respect to the actual travelling...

For awhile I tried my best to use that airline with all the 737's.

But I'm telling you, all that cutesy, nicey nice stuff drove me crazy.

It would seem that I like to be ignored by the former monopoly mongers in the blue suits.

But I'm telling you (again), I will never, ever ever step onto one of their 777 'three cabin' planes again.

And neither should you.


Because they have stuffed more than a hundred extra seats into their economy class.

As a result there are 458 seats on the bloody things. By way of comparison, American Airlines'  has 304 seats on their lucky sevens.


How did the fine folks at Air Canada do that?

By adding an extra seat in every row (there are now 10 instead of 9) and by adding more than 10 new rows.

That's how.

One of the stewardi working the unbelievably narrow aisle next to me in the ridiculously overcrowded third cabin came within a hair of having a real live breakdown when somebody accidentally bumped into his cart and knocked one of the soft drink drawers to the floor.

It was five hours of pure madness, pre-saged by the bizarrity of a 'zoned' loading process that began a full hour before the scheduled departure.


One can only wonder how long it will be before they start offering up 'dream sleep specials' wherein you agree to be pre-flight roofied so that you can then be horizontally stacked on top of your nearest neighbours in your very own soft drink-type drawer for the duration.

That way I reckon the former monopoly mongers could probably fit 1258 passengers on their next generation wide bodies.

And in the end you would walk away from the post-flight recovery room with little more than a slight hangover and 1/32 the frequent flyer miles of the fine folks up front who never, ever pay for their own seats.

Or some such thing.