Monday, October 31, 2016

This Day In Clarkland: Parks Are Important, But...


To the best of my knowledge the following, which was perched above a hit piece by Global TeeVee denigrating the fact that the City of Vancouver is trying to make sure parks are included where densification occurs, was not a joke:

Except that sometimes, when it comes to the BC Liberals, parks are actually less important than...

Wait for it...

Golf courses.

I kid you not.


Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Reader's Reading Of The Milburn Report On The Vancouver School Board.


When longtime reader 'Lew' decides to leave a detailed comment on a topic of import I pay attention.

The following, which is a comment on that 'report/audit' that our fine Minister of Education indicated helped him to fire the entire Vancouver School Board, is something I found to be of exeptional interest:

There doesn’t appear to be anything in Milburn’s report that should have surprised the Minister of Education or his staff had they been fulfilling their oversight role on a regular basis. The report appears to be an attempt to make it appear as though Bernier was shocked to discover what was going on and he had no option but to fire the Board.

The terms of reference on page one make no mention of Milburn being tasked with determining whether the minister should or should not decide to dismiss a school board, and his ruminations on page three are therefore gratuitous. He states, “However, the terms of reference for this review go beyond the question of non-compliance as a basis for the Lieutenant Governor in Council to consider intervention under section 172(1)(c) of the School Act.” Why would he make that statement? The terms of reference “go beyond the question” because they don’t contemplate it. And neither do any of his recommendations. But it’s clear that it was a key goal of his review because he actually states it has equal importance to providing an action plan for the Minister through which he may enable the VSB to rectify and strengthen their approach to governance and oversight of the district.

He was asked to do a forensic audit of the of the trustee’s expenses. Which means looking for criminal acts. He apparently found none. Anything else was known by the Minister beforehand, including the purported reason for terminating the Board, which he admits in his report was going to be imminently rectified by the Board without any action by the Minister in any case. This is a hatchet job. Pure and simple...

Thanks very much Lew.

I'll have more to say about this later.

And, as you might expect, I plan to keep on saying things about it, well past the 2.274 news cycles that the wizardry knows it takes for the local proMedia  to lose interest when a document is dumped on a Friday afternoon.


The Tempest In Mr. Comey's Teapot Stuffed Full Of Frankfurters.


The following is the 72 point headline to a story written by Del Quentin Wilber and Evan Halper in today's Los Angeles Times:

FBI says emails found in Anthony Weiner's sexting scandal may have links to Clinton probe.

And the following is an actual passage from Mr. Wilber and Mr. Halper's actual story:

"...The emails were not to or from Clinton, and contained information that appeared to be more of what agents had already uncovered, the official said, but in an abundance of caution, they felt they needed to further scrutinize them..."

Enough said?


Friday, October 28, 2016

This Friday In Clarklandian Document Dump Land...The Milburn Report.



That's right!

As predicted, the good Mr. Bernier has released the Milburn report/audit.

And, as you may have already guessed, it really was, at least in part, about real estate and school closures.

From the Liam Britten's early report published on the MoCo's newsthingy:

..."Stability has been put at risk by overstaffing compared to other school districts, labour agreements driving additional call-out, duplication and idle time and a failure to use surplus real estate like the Kingsgate Mall to set a new path for fiscal sustainability."

Milburn wrote even passing a balanced budget this year will not address underlying issues because of the VSB suspending school-closure consultations...


Does that mean that Minister Bernier should immediately fire the appointed overseer who has made it very clear that school closures are not currently on the table for her either?


I'll be back with more later after I shove sharp sticks in my eyes and force myself to read the entire thing.

A thing, you will recall, that the good Minister said had helped convince him that he just had to fire the Vancouver School Board the very day they planned to capitulate and approve a balanced budget.

(even though the orders were drawn up to fire the board BEFORE he received a draft copy of 'the thing')

And, speaking of the MoCo...Look what bullshite this way comes?...I mean, seriously, did the CBC just hire MikeyMike without our knowing it?


How To Help The Heiltsuk...


They've already hit their goal well in advance of the the deadline.

But I'm sure they could use more:

And, perusing the list after I chipped in, I'm pretty sure there are no cronies amongst the 500 donors so far who are expecting to receive a handout.....errrrrr....'return' on their investment.


Monday, October 24, 2016

More Rumours On #VSB39 Firings From proMedia


Mikey Mike does it again, in The Province:

"...So what’s this schoolyard fight really all about? It comes down to the unsubstantiated allegations of bullying against unnamed trustees.

Senior school-district managers — including the $188,000-a-year superintendent — went on medical leave amid accusations trustees had bullied district staff. It’s possible some of the bullying allegations are detailed in a government-ordered forensic audit of the district that could be released as early as this week.

Bernier has read the audit report. Maybe that explains why he fired the trustees, knowing the report would vindicate him later...


...The political stakes, meanwhile, are being raised. NDP Leader John Horgan vowed to rehire the fired trustees if he wins the provincial election and becomes premier in May. If evidence emerges that trustees did indeed bully and harass staff, Horgan may regret the promise..."


Where is that Milburn report/audit that Minister Bernier said helped him to rush the firing of the trustees after he read it, in draft form, the weekend before last?

Look Mr. Smyth, if you know something concrete about this matter tell us what it is....Otherwise, just stop the rumour mongering and innuendo...OK?


Saturday, October 22, 2016

This Saturday In Clarkland... Breaking Booms And Spreading Oil Is NOT A World Class Spill Response.

What's the image, shown above, all about?

All is explained in this press release from the Heiltsuk:


Somehow, I don't think carpool karaoke with proMedia enablers is going to halt this tragedy.


Put another way...Where, exactly, is our ledge avoiding, photo-op obsessed Premier anyway?


A New Addition To The Blog Crawl...


Stanley Q. Woodvine is an illustrator, graphic designer and writer who is 'living rough' in Lotusland and who currently supports himself monetarily by 'binning'.

He also has a really, really great blog called 'sqwabb, A view from the street' that I've added to the crawl over on the left-hand side of this page.

In the last week Stanley has written insightful posts about the big DDoS attacks that slowed the internet to a crawl yesterday, the Great BC Shakeout from a homeless person's perspective, the dividing and conquering of animators 'round here, Hillary Clinton's sense of cat video humour (seriously), and a very cogent critique of the conclusions of a paper on aging published in the top-flight science journal 'Nature'.

My favourite of all his recent posts is titled 'A corn syrup morning, strategic binning and a lost and found iPhone'.

It starts like this:

The sunrise Wednesday morning (September 21) was of the warm yellow variety—the kind that makes everything that it touches look dipped in gold, or at least drizzled with high fructose corn syrup.

Emerging into such gilded beauty, short-lived as it is, certainly starts the day off on the right foot but it has to be said that sunshine alone cannot wake me up the way that a nice hot cup of coffee can.

However, instead of getting up at 6:30 a.m. and going straight from bed to a hot coffee and breakfast, as I do most weekdays, I determined to make do with the sunshine as well as any cold coffee that I had left over from the night before.

I was heading straight into the back alleys...

Do yourself a favour and head over to read the entire post. It's really great stuff, including the bit about how hard it was for Stanley to return a lost smart phone to the City of Vancouver.

A tip o' the tocque to reader Glen C. for pointing us towards Stanley's blog...


Friday, October 21, 2016

Is The Veil Lifting?


Ten years is a heckuva long time in blog years.

Which is just another way of saying that I am one of the true dinosaurs in the local bloggodome.

And way back when there were very, very few of us that focused specifically on Lotuslandian politics.

Truth be told,  looking back on it, one of my proudest moments was helping to convince my then just online friend Mary, who I first noticed kicking up a fuss over on the Tyee comment threads, to start up her own blog that concentrated on all things Railgate.

Which is just a way of saying that, back then, it kind of seemed like you really were just screaming out into the void.

Or, as I often described it...Yelling at the radio and TeeVee by typing.


That has all changed now.

Because there is a fine cadre of folks following #bcpoli from all angles.

And, more often than not, they bang the proMedia like a gong.

A case in point was a post this week from Merv Adey in which he based his conclusions about what really went down with the VSB firings on facts rather than rumours and innuendo (which was the stock and trade of a number of proMedia commentators' accounts of the thing).

But it's more than that.

Because I also see the 'alternative' quasi-proMedia in ascendancy as well.

Examples abound, but, again - looking just at the VSB thing for the moment, it was Roundhouse radio that did more than stenography and actually got the goods on what the privacy commissioner told the Education Minister about the Milburn report. And then there was the Observer's publishing of former trustee Patti Bacchus' timeline yesterday.


The latter may, or may not, stand up to concerted challenge, but the point is that it is out there now as part of the public record, which I do not think would have happened 10 long years ago.


Perhaps the veil really is lifting 'round here....

Why was I waxing nostalgic for blog days gone by this week?....Well, birthdays can do that to an old guy....OK?
And, later, Mary became a good friend in the real world also.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

This Day In Clarkland...The Thing That Is NOT In Mr. Bernier's Letter To Vancouver Parents.


Below is today's letter from the Clarklandian Education minister to 'Vancouver Parents'.

Please note that, despite what Mr. Bernier had to say to the Lotuslandian proMedia yesterday, there is no mention, in writing, of school closures (or not) in said letter.


I wonder why?


Dear Vancouver Parent,

I wanted to let you know about what is happening in School District 39. I have appointed Dianne Turner as official trustee for the Vancouver school district to ensure the Vancouver school district remains focused on providing students with the best education.

Dianne Turner is one of the most respected educators in our province. She’s been a teacher, a vice-principal, and principal in the Vancouver school district. She’s been an education leader in her time as assistant-superintendent and superintendent at the Delta school district. Born and raised in Vancouver – she’s ready to chart a path forward for our schools and our school system.

I know Ms. Turner will be talking with students, parents and staff over the coming days and weeks, and she will work side-by-side with district staff to establish a sustainable, long-term plan to improve student achievement and services.

I’ve asked Ms. Turner to work with her district team and develop a plan that puts Vancouver back on a firm financial footing. I have also asked her to restore a stable and safe workplace, provide continuity by helping senior leaders to return, and develop a plan to further accelerate seismic upgrades and preserve education services for students.

We will work together to put the delays of the past in the past – and move forward to a better future for students in Vancouver.


Mike Bernier
Minister of Education


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

This Day In Clarkland...The Pre-Emptive VSB-Firing Strike.


As many, including ourselves, have noted, based on Vaughn Palmer's reportage in the VSun, the cabinet order to fire the VSB trustees was drafted on Friday.

Now, according to the Tyee's Andrew MacLeod, that order was pre-emptive just in case that super-secret draft of the Milburn report that the Education minister received Saturday was going to be really, really, really bad.

Or some such butt-covering/trench-digging thing:



VSB Trustee Firing...A Timeline, An Hypothesis And A Question.


Friday October 14th...The VSun's Tracy Sherlock reports that the VSB trustees in the majority announce that they are going to vote on a balanced budget proposal on Monday evening October 17th. At that time, the  Milburn audit/report of the VSB ordered by BCL minister Bernier is due the following Friday Oct 21st.

Friday October 14th (also)...The VSun's Vaughn Palmer says the orders to fire the VSB trustees are drawn up that day.

Saturday October 15th....Minister Bernier receives a super secret 'draft version' of the Milburn report.

Monday October 17th....Minister Bernier fires the VSB trustees saying that the Milburn report, which the public, of course, has not seen, contributed to his decision.

Monday evening October 17th....The VSB trustees do not pass a balanced budget.


Now, based on the above timeline, it seems to me that it is reasonable, based on the facts currently at hand, to hypothesize that the VSB trustees were fired, not because they hadn't passed a balanced budget, but rather because they were in the process of doing so.

Passing a balanced budget, I mean.

Which leads to the following question...

Why didn't the BCL brain trust just declare victory and move on?

Of course, Mikey Mike of the Province, taking 39 steps further into the rumour mongering mill than even Ron Obvious of the Globe, says it must be all about the WCB bullying thing, also ordered by the good minister Bernier...Why?...Because the minister must know something (super-secret) that we don't...Or some such thing.
Sub-header got the earworm wiggling?....This!


Monday, October 17, 2016

The Keef Report: Carrying Mr. Bernier's Water?


Earlier today we noted that Clarklandian Education minister Michael Bernier has been dangling what's in an 'unreleased' super-special commissioned-by-the-wizards' audit as a rationale for doing the thing he did earlier today.


Just because the public has not been allowed to see that super-special ultra-indepependent Bernier-commissioned audit doesn't mean that some minion has not whispered into certain media club members' ears in an effort to get the wurlitzer cranking.

To wit:


Wonder if anybody offered the good Mr. Baldrey an all expenses paid helicopter ride over the real estate holdings concerned?

And then, of course, there is Mr. Obvious of Globeland....Wow! These clucking media ducks sure were lined up in a row oh-so-quickly, were they not?


This Day In Clarkland...Mr. Bernier's Star Chamber Machinery.


And what, exactly, is Mr. Bernier's rationale for firing all the VSB trustees?

Well, according to the MoCo it is, at least in part, the following:

...(Minister Bernier) said the results of an audit — which Bernier ordered after the school board failed to submit a balanced budget by the June 30 deadline — raised additional concerns about the Vancouver School Board...


Why haven't we, the people, (or, presumably, the Trustees themselves) seen that audit?



...Bernier said the province cannot release the results of the audit until a privacy commissioner investigation is done...


Update Monday Afternoon: Was the board actually fired because they were going to pass a balanced budget tonight?...Folks in the comments make a good case that this might have been the case...Derrick O'Keefe has more in that vein, here.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Mr. Trump's Fascism...This Is How It Creeps.


From a piece by Matt Viser and Tracy Jan in yesterday's Boston Globe:

...Trump has recently started encouraging his mostly white supporters to sign up online to be “election observers” to stop “Crooked Hillary from rigging this election.” He’s urging them to act as posses of poll watchers in “other” communities to ensure that things are “on the up and up.”

“Watch your polling booths,” he warned.

His supporters are heeding the call.

“Trump said to watch your precincts. I’m going to go, for sure,” said Steve Webb, a 61-year-old carpenter from Fairfield, Ohio.

“I’ll look for . . . well, it’s called racial profiling. Mexicans. Syrians. People who can’t speak American,” he said. “I’m going to go right up behind them. I’ll do everything legally. I want to see if they are accountable. I’m not going to do anything illegal. I’m going to make them a little bit nervous.”...

I mean,  almost as if a certain segment of America's citizenry now finds itself sucked into/stuck within the plot of a truly disturbing episode of an old TV Show that was once narrated by Rod Serling.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

This Day In Clarkland...The Dean Hoists Himself On His Own Site C Petard.


The following is the lede of the good Mr. Palmer's latest in the VSun:

While Auditor-General Carol Bellringer and her staff are crafting a major audit of the Site C project, she cautions voters against expecting a report that could all by itself kill the dam before the next provincial election or afterwards.

“We’ve had a lot of people contacting us with concerns about Site C, with almost an expectation that we need to do an audit to stop Site C,” said Bellringer. “That’s a government decision as to whether or not they go forward with Site C, and we will not be going anywhere near that.”

The auditor-general admits to being “worried a little bit about the external expectation that our audit is somehow going to go into something that will do that. It’s not what we do,” she told me during an interview Thursday on Voice of B.C. on Shaw TV.

Bellringer drew my attention to a long-standing provision in the enabling legislation for her office, that the auditor-general’s reports “must not call into question the merits of program policies or objectives of the government.” Rather the independent financial watchdog is mandated to report on where policy objectives have not been met and-or where program funding has not been cost effective. The calling into question is left to the Opposition and other critics...


I wonder who those 'other critics' should be?


Down On Main Street.


The compressed work week just past was a crazy one for me, what with usual teaching, a whole bunch of new admin stuff, and frenzied work on a collaborative grant whose due date looms, all of which were wrapped around a mid-week trip in the cigar tube to New Cleveland where that play-by-play guy who is doing the right thing plies his trade.


I know that what I do is nothing compared to the real slog that most folks have to get through every week to make a living. And, to be absolutely clear, I really love what I'm lucky enough to do at least 75% of the time.

Still, I hope you can see that I was well and truly exhausted by the time Friday night rolled around.

Which meant that when I finally stepped off the bus down by the Railway Station and started making my way down that dimly lit stretch of Main Street towards Prior where the edge of Strathcona/Chinatown is still kind of near Eastside, I wasn't sure if I was still up to being the only old guy in the Cobalt.

I mean, why the heckfire was I heading into the belly of the dive to spend an evening in a place where non-hipsters fear to tread?

Well, I think anybody who stops by here with any regularity knows the answer to that question.


After I met up with C. and Bigger E, who came from opposite directions (C. from dinner at the little eatery back up towards the glass palaces on the edge of False Creek where littler e. serves folks yummy stuff for her after school living; and Bigger E. from wherever she had been playing earlier that day with her guitar on her back), we then collected E's old college friend visiting from Atlanta and headed inside where we found, to my surprise at least, that there was both an age and a musical interest stratification in the place that made for a most interesting and relaxing vibe.

And I was not surprised to find that I really dug Aaron Lee Tasjan, who is someone I've been paying attention to online for awhile now because he writes and plays the kind of songs that really and truly make you wish that you could do that too. Seriously.

And the Felice's, who had to leave their bass player behind at the border due to (alleged) passport issues, were worth the trip for no other reason than, as expected, 'Sell The House' absolutely slayed me. But most folks were there for a whole lot of 'Whiskey In My Whiskey' and the like, and there was, unfortunately, precious little of that in a very short set. Somehow, even if they were almost at the end of a cross country and up-the-coast tour that had them in Portland the night before and Seattle the night after, I don't think missing brother Simone would ever have let them (Ian?) get away with that.

But, truth be told, none of that matters compared to the big news E. told me just as the night's festivities got rolling in earnest.

Which is that she and her own musical partner now have a new regular gig that is inside, and pays, and, well, everything!

How did I take this news?

Well, you know that scene in 'It's A Wonderful Life' where Uncle Billy excitedly tells Mr. Potter how proud he and George is about his little brother's overseas exploits?


All the pride of all the Bailey Brothers in all the Capracorn ever made did not even come close to the pride that was bursting my buttons last night.


And Brian Wright, who played with Mr. Tasjan and even did one of his own too, is hella good.
Was really nice to see Mr. Willcocks and Ms. Paterson at the show....And, just so you know, it was Mr. Willcocks who first alerted me to the coming of the Felices. 
Finally, to be fair, there is probably a little of the Pete and, especially, the Woody in Mr. Tasjan, and the Felices too.


Friday, October 14, 2016

The Felices and AaronLee Tasjan Are Here!

And Mr. Tasjan had this to say about all that on his Instagram thingy:

aaronleetasjanWe're going to Canada. It's a fools errand we know, what with all the free health care and kick ass people and sauced up French fries. Tonight at the Cobalt with the @felicebrothers Yeehaw.

And, apparently, on the drive up from Portland today, big Jimmy gave AaronLee 'Two For Flinching', when they passed by Castle Rock Washington just for good measure and, because he kind a looks like a bit like an East Nashville Hobo version of Corey Feldman while he Stands By Me and Thee.

Or some such thing.

Show report to follow!


Thursday, October 13, 2016

This Day In Clarkland...The Long Game.



That BC Liberal patronage game sure is a long one.

If you get my drift...


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The 'Independent' Site C Report...Dancing With One That Brung...Errr...Paid You.


Yesterday we noted the glee with which the former GordCo, Inc. apparatchik now running BC Hydro released her 'independent' report on SiteC to the wider world after holding it tight for almost a month. 

We also noted what was NOT in the report (i.e. questions about actual need and true feasibility), which is something that the Dean of the Legislative Press Gallery, Mr. Palmer of the VSun, also had in his lede in today's paper. 

But, to give him his due, Mr. Palmer also noticed something else of interest, at least for those of us who do not take kindly to being bamboozled:

“...In preparing this report, EY (Ernst & Young) and (the) BTY (Consultancy) Group relied on information provided by the client. We have not audited, reviewed or otherwise attempted to verify the accuracy or completeness of such information...”


Where have we seen that 'getting our info from the inside without any verification whatsoever' codswallop before when it comes to 'blue-ribbon' reports commissioned for GordCo, Inc. and the associated wizardry that lives on in Clarkland?


Let's see...

Wasn't that what happened when an 'independent' (and interim) 'Fairness Advisor's Report' was used to wash away the fact that shut-out bidders were screaming bloody murder that the fix was in back in the days when the Railgate sale/not sale was going down?

Why yes I believe it did.

To wit:

"...At the time at which this report was submitted, the transaction process was not yet complete. Thus, our observations and findings are based only on the steps that have occurred to date. Also, we have not interviewed the three finalist proponents so their comments and views are not represented in this document..."

After all, why should a paid blue-ribbon consultant actually try to verify what the hand that is feeding him or her is actually telling them?

I mean, it's not like the public interest is at stake or anything.



Tuesday, October 11, 2016

This Day In Clarkland...Hey, Rubes!...Get Your Site C Blue Ribbon Propagammon Here!


The energy expert....errr...former GordoCo, Inc. apparatchik who currently sits atop the  BC Hydro Billion Dollar Pyramid had something important  to tell us on the Twittmachine earlier today about an 'independent' review that the pyramid has been sitting on for almost a month:

And, surprise!, that 'independent' review says everything about Site C is just Jim-Dandy-To-The-Rescued, thank-you very much.


But what, exactly, were those fine folks from Ernst and Young and the BTY Consultancy Group assessing?

Well, if you thought they might be asking if Site C and its $10 billion price tag is even needed by BC Hydro you would be wrong.

Instead, they looked at super-duper, secret-saucey, project-risky, milestone-ish stuff like the following, taken directly from Hydro's uber-fine extra-shiny press release:

"Given Site C's early stage in its lifecycle, our review did not find any evidence to suggest that major project milestones and financial targets will not be met. Overall, the Site C project is both clearly defined and well-planned."

"BC Hydro employs an industry leading approach to project management via the Project & Portfolio Management system, with practices scaled to both the complexity and size of Site C."
"While project execution risks do exist, those risks are well-understood and managed by the project team."

"A robust process was followed in order to establish the project budget, and extensive due diligence was conducted."

"Site C benefits from best-in-class software that BC Hydro has implemented and integrated over the past five years, including SAP, P6 (Primavera), HeavyBid, Unifier, and others."

"Finally, we were strongly encouraged by the level to which Site C has leveraged the depth of knowledge within the broader BC Hydro organization around key areas such as project, contract, and interface management."


I wonder what kinds of things, other than secret-saucey stuff the BC Utilities Commission, at least as it used to be constituted, might have looked into instead?

Guess we'll never know given that, as Laila Yuile has explained, the Clarklandian Wizardry has exempted their current version of Site C from any and all BCUC oversight.

Imagine that!

Was going to put a link to Black Oak Arkansas down here to take care of any and all ear worms but, in my opinion at least, they are even worse than I remember them...


Monday, October 10, 2016

The Burying Of The Biggest Trump-Clinton Debate Lede Of All.


First, let's start with the question, from debate moderator Martha Raddatz:

...If you were president, what would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo?...

Trump responded, after Ms. Clinton had spoken cogently about how her first step would be a no-fly zone followed by leveraged diplomatic talks with Russia, with much blather that had nothing whatsoever to do with saving the lives of innocents in Aleppo and ended with this:

...I don't like Assad at all, but Assad is killing ISIS. Russia is killing ISIS and Iran is killing ISIS and they have lined up because of weak foreign policy...

This was followed by moderator Raddatz attempting to bring Mr. Trump back to the original question:

...Mr. Trump, let me repeat the question. If you were president, what would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo, and I want to remind you what your running mate said. He said provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength and that if Russia continues to be involved in airstrikes along with the Syrian government forces of Assad, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike the military targets of the Assad regime...

Which led to the following undeniable statements by Mr. Trump:

...He (Pence) and I haven't spoken, and I disagree.


...Right now, Syria is fighting ISIS. We have people that want to fight both at the same time. But Syria is no longer Syria. Syria is Russia and it’s Iran who she made strong and Kerry and Obama made into a powerful nation and a rich nation, very quickly, very, very quickly. I believe we have to get ISIS. We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved. She had a chance to do something with Syria, they had a chance, and that was the line...



If you thought that the big story today, the day after the debate, might be something about what it would mean if, as Mr. Trump was advocating,  the United States were to include herself in an axis that would also include Mr. Putin's Russia and Mr. Assad's Syria you would be wrong.

Instead, the lede to this story in most of the big USian proMedia outlets like, say, CNN is something akin to the following:

Republican candidate Donald Trump flatly contradicted his running mate on Syria policy in the second presidential debate Sunday, signaling a lack of cohesion on foreign policy issues.

"He and I haven't spoken, and he and I disagree," Trump said in response to a question about whether he backs the possible use of military force against the Assad regime in Syria as staked out by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, with whom he shares the ticket, at the vice presidential debate Tuesday...

My opinion?

It is lede burying, under the mounds of political horse-racier-than-thou talk, that prevents a citizenry from openly discussing what Mr. Trump is saying he would actually do as President that is the real problem here.


And as to Mr. Trump's assertion that Mr. Assad is ISIS' worst enemy, well, actually...No.


Sunday, October 09, 2016

The Giving Of...

...The Thanks.

It started early.

To be more precise the giving of thanks began on Friday night when we got past the new mall monstrosity and arrived at the Tsawwassen terminal, reservation-free, and somehow still made it on, 2nd-to-last-sideways, in the stern of the venerable old Queen of New Westminster.

And then, upon destinational arrival, we kicked things off with a little late night yelling of answers in the form of right and wrong questions at the TeeVee Jeopardies that had been saved up by Pops since summer. This is something that is always one of Bigger E's favourite activities.

Saturday noonish we braved big box village out by the old smash 'em up derby/racetrack on the Western edge of the south island big-small town I grew up in and got Pops all fixed up with his new computer. Weirdly, maybe because of the massive downpour that Mr. Beer 'N Hockey (and Lenin's Ghost too!) were digging on the other side of the water, there was hardly anybody in the big box store we chose. As a result, the kids working there actually had the time and inclination to really help us. Have to say that they were really great making sure that Pops got what he actually wanted and, more importantly, actually needed. Later on the planned afternoon of sports watching was interrupted by a heating and plumbing problem that was all fixed up good as new almost within the hour or two, this job done by another young kid who knew what he was doing.

Late Saturday afternoon I made my way into town via the View Royal/Vic West backdoor (man, things are really the same but really different too along that side of the Gorge) to pick up littler e. who spent the front-end of the weekend at her friend A's place. An elementary school friendship that has survived right through a move apart on to what is now 12th grade for both of them thanks, in no small part, to all that new fangle-fished social media business that the kids are so into these days. Of course, all of that also means that littler e. is also an aficionado of extremely old-fashioned (to her anyway) still-film-carrying cameras that she and A. find in Thriftstores.

Later, after a big dinner at C's family side, I followed/tried to keep up with E, she on mandolin, me on her little Martin six string. Also had a bit of a talk with someone for whom an offshoot of the things I do in my day job do my best to help other people get the money to do too, is really helping them. Still a very, very tough thing for those going through it though. However, it made me feel pretty good to talk to a relative for whom rational vs. slash-n-burn is starting to matter.

And now it's only Sunday morning with half a long weekend still to go. Today it will be all my brothers and me and their kids too at Pops' house for dinner. Our Mom, shown as much younger version of herself at the top of the post, will not be there but all her boys will.

Our Mom would have been 76 this weekend.

Here's an old cover of a lullaby by E and me and (and a young whackadoodle too) about family stuff, almost all of which turns out to be something to be a whole lot of thankful for in the end...


Saturday, October 08, 2016

The Brothers Felice Are Getting Closer!


The Felice Brothers are in the desert now.

On their way to Phoenix Arizona.

Apparently, that rascal Aaron Lee Tasjan, may or may not have hot-footed brother Jimmy while the rest of the boys were playing a quick game of Quickdraw Magraw in a truckstop parking lot just south of Flagstaff this morning.

The Felices and Mr. Tasjan will be in Lotusland next Friday night Oct 14th.
For afficianados like, say, Mr. Willcocks, the subheader is...This. 


Why There Is No Fall Sitting Of The Legislature....Reason #3,465.


From Stephen Quinn's latest Saturday Globe piece, this time delivered completely snark free:

...The (latest) report (from BC's Child and Youth Representative Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond) looks at a three-year period ending in 2014. It found 145 incidents of sexualized violence against 121 children and youth in government care. Of those victims, 61 per cent were aboriginal girls. The report says the true number of incidents is likely far higher because some victims are so traumatized they never report at all. More than 70 per cent of children had a diagnosed or suspected mental-health issue. Half had substance-abuse issues. The average number of moves a child was eight, with some kids being moved around as many as 30 times.

Following the report, B.C.’s Minister of Children and Family Development, Stephanie Cadieux, held a media conference call, offering what has become a familiar refrain following any report from Ms. Turpel-Lafond.

“It is completely unacceptable for any child to be harmed in any way in the homes where we place them and certainly when they’re in our care,” she said. “We’ve already put a number of changes in place, we’ve already strengthened our reporting system. We will continue to look at it, and we’ll look at what more we can do.”

Beyond that, the minister was unavailable for interviews, instead sending out her ministry’s Deputy Director of Child Welfare, Alex Scheiber...


I remember the Hughes Report and why we absolutely had to have it after the Centralized/pseudo-Privatized/Profitized 'CareNet' model.

And I remember how the wrath of that report from the venerable Mr. Hughes forced GordCo Inc. to reinstitute the children's watchdog that led to the hiring Ms. Turpel-Lafond.

And I also remember how both the Campbell and Clark regimes, and/or their lickspittles (and their lickspittles' lickspittles) have demonized Ms. Turpel-Lafond over and over again for doing the job she was hired to do.

And now the Minister responsible won't even speak, in person, to the latest devastating report from Ms. Turpel-Lafond and her office?

Either to the media or, of course, the legislature?

This really is an affront to all British Columbians and, especially to all those of us who need, and most certainly deserve, our help the most.



Friday, October 07, 2016

This Day In Clarkland...When Will We Be Chad?


From Bloomberg:

Exxon Mobil Corp. was ordered to pay a record $74 billion fine in Chad for underpaying royalties in the central African nation where the company has been drilling for 15 years, according to a court document...


....The two other companies named in the case are Chevron Corp. and Malaysia’s state-owned Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas)....

No word yet whether our very own NatGas Minister Mr. Coleman has plans to get out in front of this one for Petronas this time around.

Because, after all, last Friday, there was a last time.


Tip O' The Toque to Grant G, in the comments to a previous thread.
Header/Sub-Header-induced presque-vuish earworm?....This!

Thursday, October 06, 2016

This Day In Clarkland...Is The Wizardry Worried?


I mean, normally, they leave the slagging of a certain 'for real' journalist to their horses.

But today, well, this...

Regardless, if you are a journalist not named Mackin covering British Columbia politics, whatever you do...

Do not pay attention to that man behind the curtain!

Or, perhaps more to the point...

Make sure the citizenry doesn't.

Pay attention, I mean.


Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Does It Matter That The BC Liberal Government Denied Petronas' Intention To Sell PNWLNG Before...

...Petronas Did?

It began, in the wake of the FedLib condition-laden approval of Petronas' $27 (or is it $36?) billion dollar Pacific Northwest Liquid Natural Gas project, with a report from Reuters that the Malaysian oil and gas company was considering selling the thing, off.

Here is the lede from that Reuters' piece:

Malaysian state oil firm Petroliam Nasional Bhd is considering selling its majority stake in a $27 billion Canadian liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, three people familiar with the matter said this week...

Soon thereafter the pushback began. Coming a bit late to that party, the first bit I saw was a short piece from the Canadian Press published on the MoCo site last Saturday morning, October 1st, that began thusly:

Malaysian state-owned oil firm Petronas says it's not considering selling its stake in a proposed multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas export terminal in B.C.

The company issued a statement yesterday saying it "categorically denies" allegations made in a news report that selling its stake in the Pacific NorthWest LNG project was up for consideration...

 Which is all fine and good, as far as it goes.

But then Grant G., who has been indefatigable in digging into to all things LNG here in British Columbia, mentioned that he couldn't find the press release from Petronas  pertaining to this matter.

So I started sniffing around further and saw a most interesting piece written by Martin MacMahon acknowledging an assist form the CP that had been published on the CKWX 1130 site the day BEFORE, Friday Sept 30th:

What was interesting about Mr. MacMahon's piece?

Well, firstly, there was this:

Petronas has told the province it has no plans to sell its stake in the Pacific Northwest LNG project.

This follows a report from Reuters indicating the Malaysian energy company is looking to get out of the $36-billion proposal.

Petronas has reassured the province the report isn’t true, according to the ministry of natural gas, responding to our questions after the release of this report citing three anonymous sources...

And, secondly, right at the end, there was this:

...The provincial government says it expected Petronas to issue a statement...

Gosh, that's interesting,  I thought.

It was almost as if our very fine NatGas Ministry was the tail wagging the Petronasian dog.

So I contacted Mr. MacMahon via the Twittmachine Saturday evening and he told me that it was he who had asked the provincial government's NatGas Ministry about the story (i.e. not the other way around).

Now, as Grant G noted, what Mr. MacMahon had to say was backed by the fact that the NatGas Minister himself, Mr. Rich Coleman was on CKNW's 1:00pm Friday newscast saying that Petronas had told him they were not planning to sell.


Given all that I also asked Mr. MacMahon, if he himself had actually seen a statement from Petronas to that effect?

Mr. MacMahon responded that it was his colleague Renee Bernard at WX who had written the follow-up story on Petronas' denial statement that was published late Friday night. Here are the pertinent bits from Ms. Bernard's story:

The Malaysian state-owned oil firm Petronas denies a report that the company was considering selling its stake in a multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas project in BC.

A statement from Petronas says it remains committed to working with its partners following a conditional approval from the federal government for the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG project...


...BC’s Ministry of Natural Gas Development previously said in an email that it spoke with Petronas and was reassured about the company’s involvement in the proposed LNG export terminal...

After reading that I attempted to call Ms. Bernard, also via the Twittmachine, to ask her if she had actually seen Petronas statement of denial. She didn't get back to me.

At the same time I went back and asked Mr. MacMahon if he, himself, had contacted Petronas. At this point Mr. MacMahon also stopped responding.


Where was this post NatGas Ministry statement of denial from Petronas that Ms. Bernard and numerous other writers of from numerous other proMedia, referred to in the avalanche of no sale stories that followed?

Was it on the Petronas website?

Nope (and it still isn't, although a statement of glee re: the  FedLib approval sure as heckfire is).

But, while casting around on Saturday I did notice the following, also on the Twittmachine:


Who posted this on Twitter?

Turns out it was a very fine local fellow named Spencer Sproule whose name Grant G. remembered from a two year old Vaughn Palmer article in the VSun:

..."Petronas and its partners in the Pacific Northwest LNG project continue to review the economic viability of the project which, in time of declining oil prices, presents challenges," said the release issued over the name of Spencer Sproule, the former B.C. Liberal staffer now employed as senior adviser for corporate affairs on the project...

And when David Schrek asked the good Mr. Sproule on Saturday why, if the denial statement was authentic, it was not on the Petronas website, Mr. Sproule responded that it was issued by Petronas Media Relations and that it was sent to 'any media that requested it'.

Imagine that!



Coming back to the question in the header to this post...

Does it actually matter that it was the BC Liberal government and Rich Coleman who got out in front of the denial story in a  fast and furious fashion that was then back-ended by at least one very fine local fellow with PNWLNG and BCL ties?


Consider this.

Who loses if Petronas sells?

Or, put another way, who really loses prior to May 2017 (and might have a really hard time 're-negotiating') if there is even a reasonable public perception that Petronas might sell?

I'll be back to explore those questions later but, in the meantime, feel free to fire away in the comments.


Saturday, October 01, 2016

The Felices Are (Still) Coming!

Tonight the Brothers Felice are in Nashville playing the High Watt.

And there is absolutely no truth to the non-existent rumour that, after they ambled over to 3rd Man to check on sales of their latest, that little big brother Ian (the guitar player) stabbed big little brother James (the accordian player and Whiskey vocalist) with a plastic salad fork at the Peg Leg Porker Barbeque hut for eating, well...



In other tour news, opener Aaron Lee Tasjan has the night off in his hometown which is fair enough, I guess, but he sure as heckfire better not wander off for a nighttime stroll up the Grouse Grind when the circus comes to Lotusland in a couple of weeks.



This Day In PetronasLand....Deny, Deny, Deny.



Please see Updates at bottom of post and a most interesting reader-driven discussion in the comment thread

Apparently, there will be no sale of the non-existent Sparkle Pony factory.

At least, it would appear, not before May of 2017:

Malaysian state-owned oil firm Petronas says it's not considering selling its stake in a proposed multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas export terminal in B.C.

The company issued a statement yesterday (Friday Sept 30, 2016) saying it "categorically denies" allegations made in a news report that selling its stake in the Pacific NorthWest LNG project was up for consideration...

What's this apparent turnabout all about this time Alfie?



Lede, above, from a CP report published on
Update, Saturday afternoon: Grant G of the SGoods and I are having a little trouble finding Petronas' own, actual 'categorical denial' of sale consideration (see comments)...Has anybody seen it/got it (i.e. separate from 'news' reports saying that it has made said statement)?
Updatier, Sunday morning: I heard from Martin MacMahon of CKWX on the Twittmachine who said that the NatGas Ministry of prov. gov't gave him the heads-up that Petronas was denying intentions to sell PNWLNG before a media release from Petronas. The latter was described in a follow-up story by WX's Renee Bernard...Last night I asked Mr. MacMahon a follow-up about whether he actually asked Petronas for a comment before he ran his story. I also  asked Ms. Bernard if she actually saw a statement from Petronas and if it was the same one being trumpeted on the Twitmachine by a PNWLG PRish person with close ties to the BCL Party. Neither Mr. MacMahon nor Ms. Bernard has gotten back to me as of 8:00am Sunday...You can read all about this in the comments...I'll have a follow-up post later. 
Updatiest, Sunday Dinnertime...Have day job work week prep to attend to...Will try to follow-up soon.