Thursday, December 31, 2015

Our New Canadians...Sometimes, Numbers Are Not The Whole Story.


It's the last day of the year and the proMedia seems to be obsessed by numbers.

Specifically, they are obsessed by the number of Syrian refugees that have not arrived in Canada yet.

You can see evidence of that here, and here, and here and here, not to mention pretty much any 'lectronic medium you might choose to tune in to tonight while you wait for the ball to fall.

But, here's the thing.

Compared to this time last year we are doing our best to try and do the right thing as far as the people behind the numbers are concerned.

How do I know this for sure?


About six weeks ago a young gradual student that I've been working with for a year or so came by to tell me that was going to have to slow down his research project for awhile.

I quickly asked him if there was something wrong health wise, or if there was a family emergency, or if he was having second thoughts about the science-geek life - all of which are things that come up frequently in this situation as you might imagine.

He said no to all my queries and then gave me a reason that I've never heard before, and likely will never hear again.

Which was that he was packing up his stuff and heading to Lebanon, immediately, because he is in the Forces Reserve and, as such he was off to help process folks from Syria who were trying to get to Canada.

After we talked for a couple of more minutes about how exciting, and a little scary, all this was he told me he had to get going.

When he left I was really proud of him.

And my country also.

Proud, I mean.


Please note: Originally, the title to this post started with 'Canada's Refugees'....As the folks at PASSOP pointed out using their ingenious 'Twit-Bot', this kind of language can lead to stereotyping...Thus, I've changed the title.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

This Day In Clarkland...Absolute Control Matters Absolutely.


First, the bigger story of what neoliberalism has wrought south of the border, courtesy Chris Hedges:

"...The seizure of political and economic power by corporations is unassailable. Who funds and manages our elections? Who writes our legislation and laws? Who determines our defense policies and vast military expenditures? Who is in charge of the Department of the Interior? The Department of Homeland Security? Our intelligence agencies? The Department of Agriculture? The Food and Drug Administration? The Department of Labor? The Federal Reserve? The mass media? Our systems of entertainment? Our prisons and schools? Who determines our trade and environmental policies? Who imposes austerity on the public while enabling the looting of the U.S. Treasury and the tax boycott by Wall Street? Who criminalizes dissent?..."

Now, the smaller time story here in British Columbia, courtesy the Forest Practices Board as summarized by Larry Pynn of the Vancouver Sun:

The B.C. government has given away so much power to timber companies that district forest managers no longer have the authority to stop suspect harvesting practices in the public good, a Forest Practices Board report reveals.

The independent provincial watchdog says that in recent years, it has seen “situations arise where forestry development was putting local environmental and community values at risk, yet district managers could do little to affect the development and protect the public interest.”

The board adds that “conflicts between resource users could have been avoided if district managers had the authority to intervene to ensure operations would meet local management objectives and respect tenured interests.”...

In other words, our fine Clarklandian government, following through with what the cronies demanded of the Knotty Gordians (and that includes you, too, Mr. Brown), are stripping away all ability of the people's people to actually act in the people's best interest.


The real point of pointing all this stuff out, over and over and over again?

We, the people are being hoodwinked into acting against our own best interests by giving up control of everything in the name of faux security, be it economic or otherwise.


Tip O' The Toque to the always interesting and erudite Owen Gray over at Northern Reflections for the heads-up on the Hedges piece...


Monday, December 28, 2015

Monday Musical Mash-Ups Made Of Magic...The Flaming Lips and Weezer


Found this one completely serendipitously while flicking around looking for footage of 'She Don't Like Jelly' to watch the chord progressions.

And, truth be told, at first the pairing seemed so ridiculous that I almost passed it by.

Sure am glad I didn't.


This Day In Clarkland...Her Heart Of LNG Hearts.


Seth Klein has a very good piece up in The Tyee today about why we in B.C. should not be the last ones to leave Frackville.

He even wonders if Ms. Clark herself actually knows this already:

...Maybe in her heart Premier Clark herself knows her LNG dream is done. I suspect that's why her government is now fast-tracking the Site C dam; its raison d'être has shifted from providing low-GHG electricity to the LNG and fracked gas sector to serving as Plan B for a northern jobs plan.

Only there are much better ways to spend $9 billion than Site C. Instead, such an investment could help catapult us into the post-Paris economy; it could represent a welcome and significant investment in building retrofits and energy conservation (thereby saving BC Hydro ratepayers money); district energy, geothermal, solar and wind projects; public transit and high speed rail -- all while providing more jobs in more regions of the province...


This may actually be true.


To make the real shift that Mr. Klein suggests there are cronies to be dealt with.

And I, for one, am not sure that Ms. Clark has the guts to deal with those fine folks, straight-up.

GrantG also has a good blog post up over at his place regarding the so-called $20 billion dollar 'investment' in LNG 'round here.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Fuller Comment...The Real Reason Mr. Black And His Friends Don't Get To Win Every Time.


The other day I juxtaposed Mr. Conrad Black's own words in which he took folks to task for comparing his good friend Mr. Donald Trump to a certain central European dictator and also brought up that same dictator while denigrating the investigatory work of a lowly corporal in the RCMP.

In the spirit of all the (really, really good) comments that fit, here is how a reader (of ours, not the good Mr. Black's), 'e.a.f.', responded:

"Well, I would conclude Black thinks only those of in his social class should "judge" those in his social class. Might just work, if we were truly "judged" by our peers. Might reduce the number of First Nations people in jails. People with mental illness night not be in jail. And just so the "not so good Lord Tubby" knows, Canada is a democracy, and with that comes police forces, who get to investigate criminal activities or alleged criminal activities or get to investigate situations which might be criminal without any attention being paid to the financial status of the person being investigated.

Now we know why the Magna Carta is such an important document and why we need Charters of Rights and Freedoms, so guys like Lord Tubby and his friends don't get away with crimes. Yes, dear old Nigel ought to be held to the same standard as anyone else in Canada and the person doing the investigating can be just a lowly corporal in the RCMP. So lord tubby and his ilk can forget about being investigated by Poulson, over dinner at the "Club"..."

Good points, eh?


Saturday, December 26, 2015

My Favourite Story Of The Year So Far...


There is lots of great stuff going on locally to help kids.

One of my favourite stories in that regard has been the work of folks that Laila has been both helping and chronicling stock and deliver backpacks for kids arriving in Lotusland from Syria.

But my favourite of all is another story of helping kids in need quite a ways away.

That one comes to us courtesy Jody Paterson and Paul Willcocks:

It will soon be four years since we first met the kids living in squalor, smell and deprivation at what was then the Angelitos Felices home for abandoned children in Copan Ruinas, Honduras.

We were on our first Cuso International placement and needed a side project for our weekend hours. Once we made our first visit to Angelitos, we knew we'd found it. Friends and family back home did so much to help us make life better for the children during our two-plus years in Honduras.

Together we raised $30,000 for a range of projects that included new tile floors, a vastly improved water system and renovated bathrooms, clothes, school uniforms and supplies, and weekly excursions to someplace fun for the 14 children for pretty much the whole two years we were there. (The regular visits to a local pool were the highlights, and all the kids learned to swim during our time with them.)

But everything comes to an end, and in April, 2014, we had to return to Canada. One of the great joys of my life was that within weeks of our sad goodbyes to the children, the Honduran government finally stepped in and removed the kids from Angelitos. They were put into the loving arms of the fledgling Casita Copan project and Emily Monroe, a young American who had been living in Honduras for a number of years at that point and putting in enormous effort to try to get the children moved into a better situation. She had already started a day care for impoverished single moms and their children in Copan, and within weeks of the news of Angelitos' impending closure, quickly opened three "casitas" in Copan that now house these children in family-sized groups with a permanent house mom...


Angie Nicole (seen in the 'before' photo with Angelitos caregiver Juana [above], who is now a Casita Copan house mom) was such a sick little baby when we first saw her, the youngest of three siblings all living at Angelitos. Now she's a sparkling four-year-old and lives in a beautiful, clean home with her two older sisters.

So here's the thing...

You can still help make this success story even more successful.

Jody has the details:

Emily's involvement has not only changed the lives and dreams of these children, but has meant my partner Paul and I can continue supporting them and watch them growing up. 

{snippety doo-dah}

I urge you to add Casita Copan to your Christmas giving plan!

Hit the link, above, and kick in a few dollars if you can.

You won't be sorry because thanks to Jody and Paul and everybody they work with some kids who needed the world's help most are getting it.


Awhile back the Lotuslandian bloggodome dug in and helped us contribute to Jody and Paul's early efforts to help these kids...Heckfire, we even sang songs to raise a little money from our readers...It was a fantastic evening.


Apparently, Some References To A Certain Central European Dictator Are More 'Hysterical' Than Others.


Mr. Conrad Black, in the linear type public print organ grinder monkey he once owned, on December 19, 2015:

The principal news about Donald Trump’s candidacy for the U.S. Republican presidential nomination is not the sometimes controversial things that he says, but the increasingly hysterical responses to him from the traditionally respectable political quarters that he discomforts. In this shrill political atmosphere, he is not the chief offender to civil standards of political discourse. Roger Cohen wrote in The New York Times last week, and he was reprinted in the National Post on Wednesday, that Trump was reminiscent of Hitler...

And, just three weeks earlier, here is the same Mr. Black, in the same fish wrap, writing about something else entirely (allegedly):

...(T)here is something very peculiar about a system that, as in the Duffy case, allows an RCMP corporal to publish such an inflammatory series of allegations against a distinguished figure of the private and public sector such as Nigel Wright. Corporals don't normally have such influence. (Contrary to malicious rumour, Napoleon was never a corporal; he was a cadet and then an officer. Hitler was a corporal, serving four years in combat in World War I and earning two Iron Crosses...

So, given all that...

Just in case you've forgotten.

Yes, Virginia, there once really was a 'Fitzmas'!


The Far End Of The Jukebox...A Christmas Card From Minneapolis.


A long time ago I met this guy at the track....errr...ballpark.

And he got me into this writing-for-free business.

He also forced me, very much against my will, into road trips to places like Las Vegas to hunt down Chocolate Roy and Peoria Arizona to watch Mario Mendoza chomp cigars while he did his thing as a minor league hitting instructor for the California Angels.

Who knew that, twenty-five years later, we would both be living respectable lives and have two almost fully grown-up kids.

Charlie, it's crazy.

Especially when you realize that only one of us has even been to Minneapolis...

You want a wee bit of the real thing (from Mr. Waits I mean, not Mr. Mendoza)?....You can find it...Here.


Friday, December 25, 2015

The Advent Jukebox, Day 25...Thank-you Mr. Cohen.

It's the really big one.

For the grand finale.

Thanks so much for stopping by everybody.

And have a great and fantastic holiday season, no matter how you celebrate it.

Tree ornament image at the top of the post?....It's actually a little hollow ball of cells about a 100 microns across that is suspended in some super-special goopey stuff... The tiny blue ovals are the nuclei of individual cells...The green line between neighbouring cells is the molecular velcro that holds everything together...The red line is a super-slippery bit of molecular teflon that helps inflate the inner hollow part of the ball...Image taken by a former gradual student who is now a much better teacher than I will ever be.


The Advent Jukebox, Day 24.5...'Twas The Night Before...


Well, actually the early morning before...

And, while there may be no mice stirring, the crazy flying tree squirrel kitty cat and me sure as heckfire are.

Stirring, I mean.

As for the two E.'s and their sleeping past six a.m. on Christmas morning ways?

Well, you know....

...Kids these days!

And ya, I know I committed a grievous, non-angelic grammatical faux pas, above, that my grade two teacher Ms. Griffiths will never for me for....But what the heckfire, I did it anyway...Merry Christmas everybody!


Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Advent Jukebox, Day 23...The Eve Of All Eves.


There was a whole avalanche of work stuff to do this week.

For example:

...A last minute seminar that I had to prep and deliver for cameras instead of fellow science geeks because somebody wanted to record it to show to undergraduates about how (or maybe not?) to do 'real' research...Letters of reference that always pile up at term's end but have a hard deadline that cannot be ignored...That damnable behemoth of a paper that I've been babbling on (and on) about that needed a wee bit of final fiddling before going back to the big editorial shop in the interwebz sky over London, England one last time...And, oh ya, there was also that wee matter of exams to mark and grades to submit (a.k.a. my actual job)...


All that meant that I just couldn't get everything done by five o'clock yesterday/Wednesday the 23rd.

Which also meant that C. and E. and e. (and the Whackadoodle and KK[not]Fat cat, too) would have to head for the ferry and Victoria without me.


Because you can't give up one of those Davey Boy Hahn automobile reservation fake fee increase deep skin gouges at this time of the year if you want to make it home for Christmas.

But don't cry for me Argentina.

Because once the decision was made to stay behind for a bit the pressure was off.

So, after leisurely listening to various and sundry versions of Tom Waits' 'Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis' for the 78th time while consuming the last of the pre-Christmas shortbread and mince tarts, I finally got the marks uploaded around 8 o'clock. And because there was no good reason at all to rush home, I turned off my office light and wandered into the lab to see what the kids were up to.

In this case the kids concerned include a former graduate student of mine who decided, after he finished doing a Master's thesis stretching pre-malignant cells to see what happens to their adherens junctions (i.e. the molecular velcro that holds the cells together before they start trying to escape and go to places they shouldn't), to become a computer scientist as well (which is killer croc' combination if you ask me) and another kid who is a really, really sharp undergraduate that found his way to me through a friend I have in the Math department.

So...Given that it is a slow time of year, I'm letting these two have the run of the lab's tissue culture facilities and a funky little fluorescent time lapse microscope we have so that they can make like kids in a candy store while they mix pre-malignant cells (which the old graduate student had already tagged with a green fluor) and malignant cells (tagged with a red fluor) in a tissue culture dish so that they can then watch how they interact. Specifically, they want to see if they can come up with a mathematical model to explain how changes in the molecular velcro of the red and green cells facilitates the movement (i.e. the tumour cell 'invasion') of the bad cells on their journey of abject evilness (i.e. metastasis).

I watched the two kids set up the cells for awhile (it's a fiddly business because the culture dish has to fit into a tiny little temperature/humidity/gas controlled incubator that sits atop the microscope stage so that you can make the movies over a 48 hour period to capture the red/green cell interactions and movements) and offered up a little advice, but they didn't need it. Then, once everything was set up they showed me a couple of movies they'd already made and tried to explain the math, and the software manipulations, behind the modeling of the movements. Now, that was fun I'll tell ya.

When I finally left them to their crazy machinations and headed out into the night, the campus was unbelievably quiet given that exams were all done and most of the students had already left were home. For a moment or two I couldn't figure out the weird feeling was that came seeping in with the misting rain.

Then I realized it was the happiness comes with the best parts of the (not-so-real) job I'm so lucky to do.


This morning I got up and got moving so that I could make the trek out to the ferry by transit.

It's really a pretty seamless trip these days, when things work out as planned.

The #33, which swoops out of the grey on it's trek from 29th St. Station way out to campus, takes me right to the Canada line at King Ted which then gets me to Bridgeport and the big ol' (not-so) fast bus to the Tsawwassen terminal.

All was going well, and I was ahead of schedule when I got to the train station.

And then the curse of the Hatman hit.

The damnable fare gates were up, which held everybody up at the choke point.

And it held me up even more than most because there was no way for me to upgrade my bus ticket outside those bloody gates out there in 'CompassLand'.

Which, in the end, after I'd gotten the attention of attendant to let me in, was fine because I'd given myself lots of extra time.

But then, when I got to Bridgeport, the stupid upgraded transfer I'd paid for inside Compassland wouldn't work.

Luckily, the driver was sympathetic as he smiled ruefully and explained that this just the result of yet another 'upgrade' as he waved me onto the packed (not-so) fast bus to the ferry.

I bit my lip and said nothing about $200 million dollar upgrades that line the pockets of the cronies of Hatmen and Knotty Gordians.

But, despite all that, here's the thing.

The trip on that not-so fast bus was magnificent.

All manner of folks were taking it.

Mom's and Dad's with their kids in strollers.

Older kids too, on their own.

And all kinds of folks with massive bags full of parcels.

And lots of older folks that needed help getting on and getting seats.

It meant that all kinds of folks had to move around to make room for all kinds of folks that really need that room.

And the driver was a magnificent orchestrator of it all.

Really magnificent - clearly he was someone who really likes people and driving. No fuss, no muss - just somebody who is really good at, and really likes, his job.

And then, finally, there was a extra super extra bonus when we got to the terminal.

As a result, after I bought my ticket and hustled up the ramp to get on the ferry I really started smiling.


Because I was boarding an 'even hour' sailing.

And, despite all that, there was not a German Celebration, Lotuslandian (union) shipbuilding industry-killing boat in sight.

Instead, I got on the 'Queen of New Westminster'.

Damn it all anyway.

I love these old boats.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Image at top of post...The view peeking through my office window on a quiet Eve of All Eves-type night...
I'll have today's jukebox tune up later...The Queen of NW's wiffee is just not up to the mp3 uploading... It's up now!
Had an other interesting experience with a former graduate student earlier this week...This one went off to stints in Toronto and the Bay Area after she left me...Now, she's finishing up her post-doc (the final apprenticeship in science geek-land that you do after you get your Ph.D.) and is looking for a real job (i.e. a job like mine)...As often happens to not-so young anymore kids at that stage (usually they are in their early 30's by this time - I was actually 35 because I'd done a bunch of other stuff before I finally decided to go to gradual school), she's starting have a few doubts about her chosen path, mostly because the pyramid you have to climb to land a tenure-track job at a decent place that will help support/facilitate your research program is both steep and very pointy at the top...All of which led her to ask me, somewhat plaintively, if I 'still like my job'...I did my best to convince her that I do but I didn't have the crazy computer/math kids story to pull out of my back pocket at the time...I think I better send her an Email after I've finished typing this...
Is Victoria really my home?...Of course not...C and I left more than 30 years ago, way before we had the two E's and started collecting pets...But at this time of year, especially when we are staying at my Dad's, it sure as heckfire feels like it...
And, ya....Those two evil geniuses in the lab were setting up a 48 hour experiment late on the 23rd all of their own volition... Which meant that they would be coming in, late on the...Well, you guessed it...But they didn't care...They were having the time of their lives...Isn't that why anybody does anything?...Careerism schmeerism, indeed.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Berning Of The Beltway Herd.


Down south and just about everywhere else, including the House of Conrad The (Stateless) Marauder, the proMedia are obsessed with Donald Trump's fascist run at the racist ring.


The very well respected Quinnipac pollsters have just released something pretty darned interesting as reported by Brent Budowsky of the Hill Times:

According to a new poll by Quinnipiac University on Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) destroys Republican candidate Donald Trump in a general election by 13 percentage points. In this new poll, Sanders has 51 percent to Trump's 38 percent. If this margin held in a general election, Democrats would almost certainly regain control of the United States Senate and very possibly the House of Representatives....


Correct me if I'm wrong...


Mr. Sanders has achieved these numbers WITHOUT any semblance of a progressive flipside to hate radio and/or FOX News.

(and, no, as Driftglass has been explaining, MSNBC does not count)



The (Anti) Keef Report...Fight The Stenography!

Given the past performance of the Clarklandians, imagine if all of the Lotuslandian proPunditry started making like Laila by fact checking all of their press releases disguised as policy and/or actual governance.

Previous (not-Anti) Keef Reports can be seen....Here.


Monday, December 21, 2015

The Advent Jukebox, Day 21....The Christmas Song.


It's the  'Chestnuts Roasting' tune penned by Mel Torme and Bob Wells lounging by the pool on sweltering mid-summer's day.

And then, of course, there was that first interpretation, never to be bested, by Nat King Cole.

I reckon the following version comes in #3,452,847th...

You can listen to the entire Advent Jukebox....Here.


Was The Plan To Get Mr. Duffy Off From The Get-Go?


Sandy Garrosino, writing in the VanNatObserver, is having a hard time with that question:

...Part of me will always wonder if the Crown always harboured (consciously or unconsciously) a death-wish for this trial. On Thursday, they just quit. There might yet be convictions on the minor criminal charges, but this baby's done...

Her piece is one heck of a primer on all that went down and why it is, exactly, that Mr. Duffy will likely walk.

And it's hard not to agree with her thesis.

But, regardless all that, the following bit stuck in my craw:

...(F)or his part, Duffy says he didn’t even know Nigel Wright wrote the cheque, and thought the Conservative Party was managing the financial side of the business. No evidence entered at trial conflicts with any of this.

Nigel Wright on the other hand, was determined to put a stop to the “Chinese water torture” of the unraveling PR disaster.

Senior respected lawyers for the PMO and Duffy then negotiated Duffy's “agreement" to repay (secured under protest and duress). Ben Perrin testified that while Wright kept key details of the arrangement from him, but that he would have spoken up had there been any “whiff of criminality” involved.

"The potential for there to be a criminal issue here was never in our minds,” testified Perrin. "We thought we were dealing with a potential violation of a Senate rule."...


...And Ben Perrin wasn’t just some gussied-up notary public. He was lawyer to the PMO, senior policy advisor to the Department of Justice, a former law clerk to the Supreme Court of Canada, a former intern at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, and now a professor of law at UBC...

Why is so hard for me to let that passage sail on by?

Because I can't fathom how something that has all the appearances of a massive, orchestrated criminal conspiracy can be viewed as nothing more than a little institutional rule fiddling by a passel of high-priced, highly-respected and highly-senior lawyers who should know better.


And as for the good Mr. Wright's involvement?...Well, we all know that Lord Black will be shocked, shocked I tell you, if anything further comes of that...After all, as the good Mr. Black himself told us awhile back, this (and everything else that is wrong with the non-gilded part of the world), is the fault of corporals everyhere.


Sunday, December 20, 2015

This Day In Clarkland: Hey Rubes! Look Over Here While We...

...Do This.

...The regressive MSP tax has gone from $108 a month to $130 a month — a 39-per-cent increase in just six years — and the rate is the same for families making just over $30,000 a year or those making $10 million...

And how much was that Clarklandian tax cut for those making $10 million (or even $100,000) again?

And, as an indicator of the secret shift onto the backs of those that can afford it least, that $130 a month for a family making $30K equals $1,560 per year which works out to a more than five percent of their total income...As for that $100K family...Well, I reckon you can figure that out without any help from my $5.99 big button Staples calculator...So, I guess the Clarklandian motto is really 'Well-Off Families First!'
The bit above comes from Michael Smyth's latest in The Province which is a rather bizarre phone-it-in piece that leans almost entirely on the very fine finest-of-the-fine work of the CTF's Jordan Bateman who, as you might expect if you've been paying attention, plays both sides against the 'balanced budget uber alles forever' middle. 
Interestingly, CTV is reporting an MSP number of $144 per month which works out to $1,800 and fully six percent for all those not-so well off Families who are last in Ms. Clark's books...Regardless CTF vs. CTV difference, the real issue here is that the rates are increasingly considerably faster than costs...In other words, it's actually a double-dipp gouge out of the back of those that can afford it least.


Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Advent Jukebox, Day 19...Run, Run Rudolf.


Just for the heck of it...

You can listen to all of this year's tunes, all in one place...Here.


You See, Mr Beer 'N Hockey....You've Really Had A Wonderful Life.


I have been reading Mr. Beer 'N Hockey's musings for a long time now.

For many a good reason.


Here is a couplet from one of his latest:

I go on vacation
Then I go back to the f*cking mill...

In the missive under consideration, which appears to have been written at the end of Beer's latest pre-Christmas trip to Mexico, this little ditty is repeated over and over and over and over again.

Then, finally, he finishes with the following:

...Then I am going to die, motherf*ckers.

Which, I'm pretty sure, says something about how important it is to keep on keeping on while putting one front in front of the other.

The only thing is, Beer left out a whole heckuva lot.

Including his crazy Hockey family.

And all his crazier friends.

And all his trips to the track, here there and over the mountains everywhere - the more out-of-the-way the better.

And his first aid sprints to the rescue of all those who need it.

And The Clash at the Garden in 1980.

And all his dogs, named Hammer or otherwise.

And all the walks along the River and all those kids, 'n punks, and junkies 'n homeless bumped into almost always with a satisfactory result.

And Sonja.

And all his flying Captains Courageous Brothers.

And Roller Derby.

And the Guiding (Bertuzzi) Principle.

And never appeasing Fascists while always appeasing Martians (just because).

And music on the stereo.

And/or by the campfire...

*Newly re-mixed cacophonous version...


Friday, December 18, 2015

Advent Jukebox, Day 18...Baby Please Come Home.

They're Singing

This one is all Bigger E.

(who has a Christmas party gig over in Sooke on the Island tonight)

You can listen to all of this year's tunes, all in one place...Here.


Robocalls Revisited, Part Deux...This Is What A Real Opposition Looks Like.


From Glen Sushiboy McGregor's OCit pro-blog:

The federal New Democrats are calling on Commissioner of Canada Elections Yves Côté to reopen the investigation into misleading phone calls to voters made during the 2011 federal election campaign.

The NDP says testimony given by Sen. Mike Duffy at his trial suggested Conservatives used robocalls dirty tricks in the 2008 election in the Vancouver Island riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands, where Green Party leader Elizabeth May was attempting to unseat Tory cabinet minister Gary Lunn...

It's almost as if the screaming know-nothing meanies from the 2009 Bloggodome have finally been taken out of the cult-closet and brought into the light - dim as it may be.

Need an update/refresher/catch-up on all that the good Mr. Duffy had say, under-oath, about Robocalls, etc?....Alison's is the place to find it.


This Day In Clarkland...Dealing With Mr. Loukidelis' Big Scary Numbers.



Mr. Loukidelis' report (see Ch.1) spends a whole lotta time and apparent effort, not to mention a passel of Staples $6.99 big button calculator time telling us that if you printed out all the provincial government Emails generated each year that they would stretch out to infinity and/or fill 3,767 Jerry Jones football-type emporiums. 

Which means, what, exactly?

Well, as Paul Ramsey explains over at the Clever Elephant, that's peanuts in digital storage:

Let's recast this problem in more computer-centric terms:
  • The government produces/receives 43TB of email per year.
  • A 4TB hard-drive can be purchased for between $200 and $400.
  • So depending on the amount of redundency you want, and the quality of hard-drive you purchase, it's possible store the entire years worth of government email data on between $8,600 and $50,000 worth of hardware. Or, to put it in terms Mr. Loukidelis might understand, for about the cost of one overly wordy report.

And lest you think that hard drives in a closet with a server is the only way to go, Mr. Ramsey has even checked with a local cloud-based storage company regarding their ability to store and make searchable 370 million Emails a year.

Their response was very straight forward...

Yes, we are capable of that.


Maybe the cloud guys could even get in on that $100 million that the Clarklandians pulled out of a hat recently when they were trying to deflector spin their way out of that particular week's scandal. 

Whenever anything techy/IT'ish comes up that involves the Clarklandians, I always head over to Mr. Ramsey's place because he serves up the devils in the details (the latter of which are most often served up by Lindsay Kines in the VTC).


Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Advent Jukebox, Day 17.... Jingle Bell Rock.


It's E and me this time...Guitar and Uke.

You can listen to all of this year's tunes, all in one place...Here.


This Day In Clarkland...Guess Spiderman Was Busy.


From the esteemed boss of the Lotuslandian Legislative Press Gallery, Mr. Tom Fletcher, in the Black Press:

B.C. Liberal Party executive director Laura Miller has resigned and returned to Ontario to face criminal charges stemming from deletion of government email records belonging to the Ontario government...


...Miller posted a statement on her Twitter account Thursday, saying she has retained lawyer Clayton Ruby to defend her...

'Nuff said?

Well....You know....And, double well...Ontario!
One can only wonder how much it pained the good Mr. Fletcher to write the piece linked to, above.
Tip 'O The Toque to reader Keith E. for the heads-up!


Revisiting Robocall Ground-Zero.


First, from something I wrote awhile back:

...(I)t is my considered opinion that this abject fraud (of robocalling targetted NDP voters with the intent of steering them away from a candidate that could beat the Conservative Gary Lunn in Saanich in 2008), together with a whole lot of extra/over-the-limit 3rd party advertising that pushed, hard, for Mr. Lunn, very likely did affect the outcome.

But more on all of that later, because it is not really the point here.

And the real point is....?

That fraud, perpetrated with malice aforethought, is fraud, regardless.

And if malicious fraudsters conclude that they can commit their fraudulent acts with impunity based on their experiences the first time out of the gate (i.e. 2008)...


What did that mean for the next time the deal went down (i.e. 2011)?...


Now, from Alison's lede today over at Creekside:

Duffy, Sona, Finley, and Lunn

Three live accounts from CBC, CTV, and the Ottawa Citizen covering Mike Duffy's allegations under oath at his trial that:

1) Con campaign chair Doug Finley's "black ops" team perpetrated the Saanich-Gulf Islands robocalls in the 2008 federal election (Dec. 10 testimony) and 

2) Doug Finley said Sona could not have perped the Guelph robocalls in the 2011 election because he hadn't taken their black ops course. (Dec. 16 testimony)

Go read Alison's entire piece.

When you're done I think you will be hard pressed not to conclude that these people really were out to co-opt Canadian democracy, all in the name of (according to Mr. Duffy at least) 'cleverness'.



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Advent Jukebox, Day 16....Silver Bells.

Oddly enough, it almost seems like actual winter these days in Lotusland.

Imagine that!


This Day In Clarkland...Pammy's Progress.


One can only wonder...

Is that a list of all the confirmed LNG plants in that huge double-thinky billboard-thingy that towers above the podium behind the good Ms. Martin?

Because, trillions!


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

When Mr. Farrell Speaks...

...We Listen.

The kicker to Norm's latest:

...Premier Clark stands before the people, during the Christmas season, and says we cannot afford appropriate care for the province's most vulnerable children. It is hypocrisy that exceeds the most egregious action of a most sanctimonious woman...

Now go read the whole thing, because there, once again, you will find real numbers vs. (as many of Norm's readers point out) the fungible anti-fact fantasia that the Clarklandians are once again pumping out on a regular basis.

And, now that I think of it, I wonder of all the faux numbers that Ms. Clark et al. have been throwing around recently are actually an effort to deflector spike spin Norm's number crunching given the traction it has been getting on both the Twittmachine and Ian Jessop's radio show.


The Keef Report: Watercarrier, Or...

...Something Else Entirely?

I mean, I guess it is possible that the good Mr. Baldrey is actually trying to say that Mr. Plecas is being ridiculously hypocritical in going after Ms. Turpel-Lafond for no good reason at all.

But I can't find out if that is the case of if Mr. Baldrey is instead being a straight-up anti-Mulgrewlian carrier of water for the Clarklandians.


Because the good Mr. Baldrey won't let me.


Was it something I said?


Monday, December 14, 2015

The Advent Jukebox, Day 14...Silent Night.


A capella, for reasons explained.


This Day In Clarkland...A Most Interesting Hiring Timeline.


First, the following, from CKNW 'Staff' (i.e. no bylines that could be frozen out of future 'exclusives'):

Retired civil servant Bob Plecas has penned a report blaming B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth, the media and the Opposition for problems with the Ministry of Children and Family Development...


...Plecas’ appointment to conduct the so-called “independent review” was not without controversy.

While he spent decades working for the B.C government under both Social Credit and NDP, he’s hardly an outsider as a retired career civil servant.

In fact, he’s credited with creating the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Plecas also has a family connection to the current Clark government.

His daughter, Bobbi Plecas, is the associate deputy minister for the Office of the Premier....


About that original 'controversy' of Mr. B. Plecas' appointment as noted by Ian Mulgrew in his first VSun piece on this matter published back on July 25th, 2015:

Children and Families Minister Stephanie Cadieux has declared war on B.C.’s children’s advocate by appointing Bob Plecas to review the latest scandal to beset the government.

In the face of a damning decision that lambasted her ministry, Cadieux is making the problem worse with her response to findings that child welfare workers gave an abusive dad the opportunity to commit sex abuse while labelling the caring mom crazy...


...Instead of inviting the woman with the legislative mandate to get involved (Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond), Cadieux gave the job Friday (July 24th, 2015) to the longtime, retired bureaucrat.

She said Turpel-Lafond has exhibited bias.

All of which brings us to the timing of Ms. Clark's hiring of Ms. B. Plecas to work in her (Ms. Clark's) office, based on the spade work of North Van's Grumps over at Merv Adey's place:

...As of the July 30 (2015) Cabinet shake-up, is now working out of the Office of the Premier: Bobbi Plecas, Associate Deputy Minister... (scroll down to the bottom, here)

All of which is just purely coincidental timing, of course.

And nothing that any Lotuslandian proMedia member should spend any time, effort and/or insider access capital on by asking our fine premier specific, pointed questions about it.



This Day In Clarkland...She Knew.


I'll have more to say about Ian Mulgrew's VSunpiece on the MCFD whitewash later.

But here's the thing.

When our fine Premier said the following last Thursday...

The Ministry of Children and Family Development will get more money if that is what an independent review calls for — but the money will only be available if the economy has grown, says B.C. Premier Christy Clark...

She already had the whitewash in the bag.

How do we know that?

Because the Dean threw the following up on the Twittmachine on Friday:

Which, of course, gave Ms. Clark time to fire up the the Trump rhetoric deflector spin on Sunday.

Gosh our Premier is good at the machinations of everything except actually governing.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Advent Jukebox, Day 13...Christmas Waltz.


Have always liked this song.

Have to admit, however, that it was that She and Him thing (which is a very good holiday album, by the way) that got me going on actually covering it...


The Advent Jukebox, Day 12....Merry Christmas Baby.



Saturday, December 12, 2015

This Weekend In Clarkland: IT Boondoggles, 2.5 Billion...Kids In Need, Zero.


Following up on our fine Premier's statement earlier this week that she can't do anything to help British Columbia's kids that need our help right now due to a lack of government funds....

This just in (following up on the original spade work by Lindsay Kines of the VTC) from from Rob Shaw and Lori Culbert of the VSun:

...(T)he Integrated Case Management system, designed to link the children’s ministry and the social development ministry into one database, has been fully online since November 2014. Despite overshooting its original $108 million budget by $74 million, it is performing only a third of the tasks the government had initially hoped it would do.

It is one of eight high-profile IT projects recently launched by the province — with a total price tag of $2.5 billion — that The Sun has investigated for this series of stories. Several have taken much longer than originally planned; many have defects or are underperforming; and five of them have shot over budget, so far by a combined $350 million, including $72 million spent on an electronic health records system that had to be reset after the contractor was fired...


And this does not even count, as far as I can tell from the specific VSun story at hand at least, the disaster that is 'My Education BC' which is a Multinat-driven pile of junk that replaced a system that worked (and also swept aside a homegrown system that teachers and frontline folks are apparently not allowed to mention, ever).


Friday, December 11, 2015

The Advent Jukebox, Day 11....Oh Christmas Tree.


....'Tis the season!


This Day In Clarkland...Nevermind The Plecas.


This just in from Richard Zussman of the MoCo:

The Ministry of Children and Family Development will get more money if that is what an independent review calls for — but the money will only be available if the economy has grown, says B.C. Premier Christy Clark.

"We don't have the resources to fix those problems unless we grow the economy," Clark said in a year-end interview with CBC legislative reporter Richard Zussman....


Nevermind  that already-in-the-bag 'review' from the good Mr. Plecas.

Because what is really disturbing here is the rationale for not bringing resources to bear to fix the MCFD immediately.

As in right now.

Especially when the resources are there for a business case-free 10 billion dollar dam....A 5 billion dollar bridge...A 10 million dollar Bogus Bollywood Bonanza....Oodles of money for private jets and helicopter trips, not to mention uannounced trips to tiny villages on Haida Gwaii to shovel money out of the back of the podium....And, while were at it....How much will that subsidy be for the Casino-Industrial Complex be again?...And, heckfire, didn't we dole out a big whack of cash to for no good reason at all this time last year to pay for a private corporations football finale under a magic carpet that cost another $600 million?


We don't need a review from the good Mr. Plecas to tell us that kids who were stuck in hotels have died.

And we sure as hell don't need that review to tell us that many more kids who need our help most are being ill-served by problematic private companies who have been hired (presumably) to cut costs so that we can spend the savings on the billion dollar boondoggles that just keep coming.

And, in spite of all that, our Premier has the gall to say that the MCFD will be the LAST ministry to get money.

This really is heartless.

Not to mention, in my opinion, gutless.

Because, clearly Mr. Clark is telling us that she doesn't have the guts to stand up to the cronies behind her party's facade when the chips are down and it is time to do the right thing.



Thursday, December 10, 2015

Advent Jukebox, Day 10....Rocking Around The Christmas Tree.


Don't know about you all, but this is the weekend we'll likely go get our tree.

The E's and me will head up to the Lions Club lot at John Oliver school.

We will pick out our tree, nothing fancy or sculpted, probably a little Charlie Brownish in the 5-7 ft straight-up DFir division...They will then offer us candy canes while they cut off the bottom bit of the trunk...Finally, they will offer to carry the tree to the car and the E's will say no because it has been their job to do the carrying since they were both tiny.

This one is by E. and me, together - which is all for the (much) better...


This Day In Clarkland...The 'Other' Phone Call.


Earlier today we were talking about the phone call that Bruce Clark helped Massett Village Chief Councillor Ken Rea make to someone unknown in the Education Ministry of the government of Christy Clark.

All of which got me to thinking about a phone call that Mr. Clark himself made to a former member of the Gordon Campbell government that Ms. Clark herself ran away from as fast as she could some years before.

Neither of which had anything to do with anything untoward whatsoever.

Here is a transcript of that phone call from days of yore, for the record, based on a recording made by the RCMP for no reasons of untowardness whatsoverest, even if the discussion in the call was focussed on a draft  'requests for proposal' (RFP) for a certain railway spur lineine whose proposed  'sale' (which was to be based, presumably, on responses to the 'RFP') would later be cancelled based on completely, totally and absolutely unrelated reports of any and all potential untowardness from that very same RCMP:

David Basi: "So basically, um, what we have is the draft RFP." 

Bruce Clark: "Okay."

Basi: "Um, that uh, we have t' make changes and y'know, uh, um, we can draft it anyway we want now, right: so..."

Clark: "Whose, wh', whose hands is it in?"

Basi: "It's, it's in our hands right now."

Clark: "Okay."

Basi: "Uh, and then it'll go back to transportation. And then they'll look at it and then they'll uh, um, issue the official RFP."

Clark: "Okay. What are the time lines like?"

Basi: "Uh, two weeks."

Basi: "So, I can sit on this thing for two weeks. So if you come back next week then you can take it and look at it, show it to them. They can, they can, y'know, change some of the words around, that's obviously, some buzz words they wanna see in there, right?"

Clark: "Yeah."

Basi: "And these, these companies know how to, how to, y'know, get the fluff out of this shit and how to tailor it to themselves, right?"

Clark: "Of course." 

...{snippety doo-dah}... 

Clark: "Wonder, wonder if it would be better if you got it couriered from here or not?"

Basi: "I don't care. Whatever you want. I don't care."

Clark: "Okay, well maybe I'll get you to courier it to Europe for me, or something."

Basi: "You want me to courier it to Europe?"

Clark: "Sure, you could do that."

...{snippety doodle-dandy}...

Clark: "Or uh, or, or can it be faxed or something or?"

Basi: "Oh it can be faxed, yeah. Do you wanna give me a fax, secure fax number?"

Clark: "Yeah, I'll get you a secure fax number and we can do it that way."

Basi: "Yeah, you get me a fax number and I'll fax it to you.

Clark: "Sounds great my friend."

Sub-header worming its way into your ears?...This should help.


This Day In Clarkland...Who You Gonna Call?


Earlier we commented on Mark Hume's piece in the Globe which noted that Christy Clark recently made an unannounced trip to the small community Old Masset on Haida Gwaii to dole out a whack of our money for a project supported by a band leader named Ken Rea who just happened to be in the midst of a campaign for his re-election at the time.

Interestingly,  Mr. Rea's opponent in that election campaign, Kimball Davidson, was opposed to a business deal between the local council and a company named Broadwing Renewables, Inc. that is proposing to erect a wind farm there.

Perhaps just as interestingly, if not more so, Mr. Rea supports the deal.

And, perhaps most interestingly, it turns out that the president of Broadwing is a very, very fine fellow named Mr. Bruce Clark who also just happens to be Ms. Clark's brother.

Now, of course, Mr. Clark's office is denying any political inference and/or skullduggery whatsoever.


How did Mr. Rea get in touch with members of Ms. Clark's government in the first place?

Well, for that, let's return to Mr. Hume's piece, shall we....

...Mr. Clark said he had nothing to do with the grant and denied doing anything to get Ms. Clark to visit Old Massett.

“I have trouble getting her to come for family dinners,” he said.

Mr. Clark said he did help Mr. Rea make connections with government education officials.

“I simply told [Mr. Rea], ‘If you have issues, here’s who you talk to,’” he said.

Mr. Clark said due to his sister’s job as premier he is very sensitive to potential conflicts of interest, and he won’t get involved in business deals unless it’s through a public bidding process.

“At the end of the day, when you go through a public process and you’ve been prescreened and qualified and you have the best price and you win, I don’t see how anybody can complain about that,” he said.

Mr. Rea agreed Mr. Clark’s only role was that he helped make connections with the government.

“I don’t know anybody at the province, so Bruce gave me a number to call,” he said.

Mr. Rea said he dealt with officials in the Ministry of Education, not the Premier’s office, and Ms. Clark’s visit had nothing to do with the election...


Here's a very specific question.

Whose phone number in the Education Ministry of the government of Christy Clark, exactly, did Mr. Bruce Clark give to Mr. Rea?

And, as a follow-up, is Mr. Bruce Clark registered as a lobbyist for Mr. Rea and his band with the provincial government of Ms. Christy Clark?

And, like me, those of you with long memories may be wondering...Are there still phone booths on Haida Gwaii...Because....Well....Spiderman!


This Day In Clarkland...It's A Wonderful Pay-To-Play Life.


From the lede to Mark Hume's latest in the Globe:

Premier Christy Clark has been accused of interfering in a local band election to help a candidate who supports a $10-million wind farm proposal involving her brother, Bruce Clark.

Ms. Clark was not available for comment, but her office denied that the Premier’s recent visit to Haida Gwaii was in any way meant to influence the campaign of Chief Ken Rea, who was narrowly re-elected Monday, or to assist Mr. Clark’s business deal with the band...

Of course, those very fine denials from the office of the Premier included statements to the effect that Ms. Clark's sudden unannounced visit to Haida Gwaii to give money to a band school that is under federal (i.e. not provincial) jurisdiction, had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the business interests of the good Mr. Clark and/or that eight thousand in tax....errrrr...building and loan dollars that Uncle Billy lost in a folded-up newspaper that sure as heckfire wasn't a December 1946 edition of the Vancouver Sun.

Or some such thing.

And, yes, apparently 'It's A Wonderful Life' really is our fine Premier's favourite movie...Who'd a thunk it.


Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Advent Jukebox, Day 9...The Mating Of The Doves.


Back in the days of the first Advent Juke I got into a bit of an argument with myself about whether this Ian Felice tune is appropriate for such an endeavour.

And then I did a little reading about advent and came to the realization that it is probably more appropriate than just about anything in the modern Christmas carol canon.

Image at the top of post.... The Two E's running through, as the tune calls them, 'The Rolling hills of Oregon'.


Tuesday, December 08, 2015

The Advent Jukebox, Day 8...I'll Be Home For Christmas.


It may not be anything remotely similar to the Bing Crosby version.

Or, truth be told, anything much at all.

But longtime reader Don F. asked for it, so here goes...