Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Time Keeps On Slippin'...


Spent the evening putting the bike rack and the Thule box on the car.

Because this weekend we're packing up and taking littler e. across the water to her dorm room at that school on the ring road.

While we may listen to a little Steve Miller in the car, that is one guy I do not cover.


Except for that one time.

Kinda/Sorta (but only after messing with Zimmerguthrieman, Ti Jean and WZevon first  - in a tunnel, in just two minutes, thirteen).


Sunday, August 26, 2018

That Private School Thing.


Melissa Benn recently wrote a long, and very interesting treatise in the Guardian in which she argued the case for 'abolishing private schools in Britain:

...Now, more than ever, there is a strong moral and political argument in support of integration. At a time of growing divides and damaging inequality, we urgently need public institutions that bring the nation together, not further separate and divide us. For many in the UK, the idea of a unified education system to which all subscribe is too great a leap of the imagination, too daring a proposition – and yet the benefits of a common schooling could be immense...


Here in British Columbia I would be very happy if we could just bring ourselves to stop subsidizing so-called 'elite' private schools with public money.


Tip O' The Toque to Paul Willcocks for doing the heavy lifting awhile back on this one in the pixels of The Tyee.


Saturday, August 25, 2018

Now That The World Is On Fire...

...How Much Can NASA Say?

NASA satellites can identify 'thermal bands' that detect actively burning fires the world over as shown above, in red, from Wednesday, August 22nd.

Which led to a post from the fine folks at the American aeronautics and space administration titled 'A World On Fire' that was published Thursday.

The text of the post, overall, is both explanatory and careful.

For example, that mass of solid red in Africa is predominantly due to agricultural burning. In Brazil it is a combination of agricultural and wildfires.

As we know, in much of North America (and Chile) all those red dots are wildfires that are being driven by, surprise!, low humidity, high winds and extreme temperatures.

But what about Australia?

Well, here things got a little interesting, not so much with the explanation, which is that they are bushfires, but in the explanation which likely has certain members of the Trumpublican administration seeing red:

"...As the climate continues to change and areas become hotter and drier, more and more extreme bushfires will break out across the entire Australian continent..."

Gosh 'climate' and 'change' in the same sentence explaining how the so-called 'new normal' of today is very likely not the status quo of tomorrow.

Imagine that.

Tip 'O the Toque to the Mound of Sound at 'The Disaffected Liberal'.
Post-script....The whackadoodle and me (sic) got up early and headed to the edge of the big muddy at the break of almost dawn in an effort to beat the coming rain...We were not successful, which turned out to be fantastic indeed...The only member of the gang that was not impressed was the beach guitar, but she'll be just fine once we clean up the keys and change the strings...Maybe by late November in the run-up to this year's Advent Jukebox.


Friday, August 24, 2018

The Anti-Whaling Conspiracy....


Who'd a thunk it.

The Casino-Industrial-Complex in downtown Lotusland, which was made possible, at least in part, by the 'man-of-many-hats' as well as he who called 'deal breaker', lo those many GordCo, Inc. years ago, is allegedly losing money hand-over-fist.

Intrepid document deep-diver Bob Mackin has the story. Here is his lede:

The new casino and hotel complex beside B.C. Place Stadium is struggling as its first anniversary approaches.

A report to shareholders by Dundee Corporation, which holds 35% of the company that operates Parq, said the so-called urban resort lost a whopping $80.8 million during the first six months of 2018.

“The initial ramp up of operations has been slower than anticipated due to a number of factors, including the regulatory cost and business impact of new anti-money laundering regulations applicable to casinos in British Columbia, which were implemented in December 2017,” said Dundee’s June 30 report....

Did you see what I saw (and bolded), above?

Looks like some of the money men are actually blaming new 'regulations' that mean that they must now instruct their staff not to accept anonymous hockey bags full of twenties, etc. for their misfortune.

Do these people have no shame?

And/or sense of decency?



Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Fixer 1, Double Plus Ungood.


Well, well, well...

It looks like the good Mr. Michael Cohen did some side-fixing with the good folks at the so-called 'Corporation 1'.

From the AP's latest under Jeff Horwitz' byline:

...In 2010, at Cohen’s urging, the National Enquirer began promoting a potential Trump presidential candidacy, referring readers to a pro-Trump website Cohen helped create. With Cohen’s involvement, the publication began questioning President Barack Obama’s birthplace and American citizenship in print, an effort that Trump promoted for several years, former staffers said...

Very lawyerly of him I reckon.

Interestingly, the quote, abvove, was pulled by the AP story posted by 'Talking Points Memo'...In more CorpMediaish type organs like, say, this one, they tend not to be running this part of piece...Gosh...I wonder why?


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Individual 1.


From today's guilty plea by Mr. Donald Trump's former fixer Mr. Michael Cohen:

...From in or about 2007 through in or about January 2017, MICHAEL COHEN, the defendant, was an attorney and employee of a Manhattan-based real estate company (the “Company”). COHEN held the title of “Executive Vice President” and “Special Counsel” to the owner of the Company (“Individual-1”)...


That sure is some individual that individual '1'.


Tip 'O The Toque to the best darned ConFraudUS analyzer anywhere...emptywheel.


Thursday, August 16, 2018

There Is A Town...


...In North California-Oh.

There is this tiny little town on the northern California coast called Point Arena.

Located between the monied hordes of Sea Ranch to the south and the artists of Mendocino to the north it is a place out of time.

And we love it.

This year we were there for both Canada Day and 4th of July so that we could celebrate both with our good friends F. and L.

The latter involved a morning parade of hippy veterans (see above) and an afternoon BBQ of burgers and blues bands.

A few days later Bigger E. and I headed to the local bar for open mic night.

But, as so often happens in Pt. Arena posted start times are not real times.

So, with an hour or so to kill, we headed down mainstreet to the General Store for a coffee or some such thing.

Lars, the proprietor, was there at the door waiting for us and he insisted that we come in and play a few songs for his wife Kelly.

As so often happens E., who that particular evening was playing her dumpster find mandolin, soon stole the hearts of just about everyone in the place, including a little girl whose tourist mom initially wanted absolutely nothing to do with us as well as three middle-aged bike travellers from Tampa Florida.

As the sun set and fog began to roll in we strolled back up the street to the bar for the regularly scheduled musical festivities. Soon after Lars, Kelly and one of the biker guys came through the front door to join us.

There were a few regulars in the place that we recognized from the last time we were there two years ago, including a young guitar wizard named Jason. There was also a big whack of really excellent local musicians we hadn't run into before, one of whom was a retired travelling pastor who led a wicked trio that blew everybody's socks off.

For our set E. insisted that we start with one of my so-called 'originals', so I told the entire bar about this a bit of wordplay written by a mill worker anarchist poet that we know from back home that I spackled over with a wee bit of Neil-ish melody to produce the tune 'Dope City Blues' a while back.

A little later, when everybody had loosened up and the really fantastic open-mic show runner named Steve had already run home to get his own superfine mando for E. to play, things evolved into a rousing, rollicking jam session that included an extended bit with E. and Jason riffing off of something that started out as a Lucinda Williams tune that soon moved into the stratosphere to a place where I couldn't keep up, what with my cowboy chords repertoire and all.

So I just sat back and enjoyed the whole scene and the entire soundscape.



Not soon thereafter Janey the bartender said it was time to go so we headed out into the dark and the quiet of late night Highway 1 and started off on the winding cliff-side drive down to the even smaller town of Gualala where we were staying.

And by the time we got there it was like the whole thing had been a dream.

Except for the fact Jason's exclamatory words, shouted just before closing time, that we should 'Make this a tradition! Exactly two years from now!' were still ringing in our ears.

I think we just might take him up on it.



Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Minimum Wage (Non-) Problem.


From the top of Rachell Younglai's recent piece in the Globe and Mail:

Ontario’s jobless rate hit an 18-year low in July, as the country’s largest economy continued to churn out jobs despite this year’s hefty hike in the minimum wage.

When the province raised the mandatory hourly rate 21 per cent to $14 in January, businesses and their trade groups warned of employment losses. But, six months later, Statistics Canada data show that has not happened.

In fact, Ontario’s labour market is on fire.

The province added 61,000 new jobs in July and the jobless rate fell from 5.9 per cent to 5.4 per cent − the lowest level since 2000, according to the Statscan monthly Labour Force Survey released on Friday. Over all, the country added 54,000 net new jobs in July. The national jobless rate fell from 6 per cent to 5.8 per cent, reverting back to where it has been for most of the year...


How can this be possible given all the screaming and screeching from the usual suspects that got big time proMedia wurlitzer coverage in the run-up to Ontario's minimum wage hike?

Of course, all that screaming, screeching and wurlitzering helped make it possible for one employer to play the indentured servant card.
And one can only wonder if some of the reverse-screeching that has been going on 'round here recently might be eased by another immediate bump in the Lotuslandian MinWage?
Tip O' the Toque to Alberta poli-blogger extraordinaire David Climenhaga who has much, much more.


Friday, August 10, 2018

If There Is, Indeed, A Tape...

...Will Mr. Trump's Approval Numbers Go Up?

The following is the micturation-free lede from the Guardian's recent bit on a former Trump aide's soon-to-be published kinda/sorta tell all book thingy:

Donald Trump is a “racist” who has used the “N-word” repeatedly, Omarosa Manigault Newman, once the most prominent African American in the White House, claims in a searing memoir.

The future US president was caught on mic uttering the taboo racial slur “multiple times” during the making of his reality TV show The Apprentice and there is a tape to prove it, according to Manigault Newman, citing three unnamed sources...

Of course, Mag Hags of the Times is all over this one with ready-made deflector-spike-tire-belt-punturers like the following:

...Frank Luntz, the veteran Republican pollster whom Ms. Manigault Newsman says was believed to have told people he heard Mr. Trump utter the epithet, posted on Twitter to deny that had happened and to point out that he had not been contacted by the author...


Does anyone seriously think that, if it turns out to be 'true',  that Mr. Trump's poll numbers will actually suffer?


There Is A Club...


As we've discussed previously, when it comes to the proMedia there is, indeed, a club.

And the local Lotuslandian division is just one of many.

Interestingly, Charlie Pierce of Esquire just broken the first rule said club, USian political division.

As Driftglass so often points out.....The first rule of the proMedia Fite or Flight Club is to never, ever call another member out no matter what they have (or have not) done.
The very fine fellow that C. Pierce called out in this case is S. Kornacki  NBC News' 'National Political Correspondent'.
Of course, it is more than tweets...Mr. Pierce has been doing a whole lotta shaking in long form as well...Regardless, the calling out of incompetence amongst the proMedia denizens is critical work that it is required to put a stop to the endless recycling of club members who consistently get things wrong and/or ignore the obvious and yet still end up back in the executive suites so that they can muddy all waters on all issues big and small on the TeeVee and in the public prints.


Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Generation Gap Or...

...Reality Smack?

The upshot...

None of the young kids I know - and I know plenty, both in family and science geek/teach life -  are even remotely thinking about owning a home in central Lotusland unless, of course, they have big time boomer/parental help.



Tuesday, August 07, 2018



Norm Farrell is up to something new and exciting.

Head on over to his place to see what it is.


Sunday, August 05, 2018

Is This Definitive Proof Of The End...

...Of The American Experiment?

Who are these fine fellows, above, who attended a Trump rally in Lewis Center Ohio on Saturday night?

Are they rabid alt. right extremists or just a couple of rubes among the millions who have been suckered by 40 years of Ailes/Atwater/Rove/ManafortianStoneism that has been aided, abetted and amplified by the likes of RLimbaugh and a propaganda cable TeeVee network that now have their collective envelope pushed farther and farther rightward every single day by liars and fabulists that populate the websites of Alex Jones and

You decide:

...The two friends (James Alicie and Richard Birchfield) from the city of Delaware said they came out to the rally because they've never seen a president in person before. Asked about their shirts, Alicie (left) said he didn't understand why Trump is getting so much criticism about Russia when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama weren't similarly scrutinized. Asked what he would tell Democrats, Alicie said, "To jump on board this train and give him a chance."...

Of course, the two possibilities raised above are not necessarily mutually exclusive.


Photo credit: Jeremy Pelzer of
Think the header to this post is overly hyperbolic? Well....This.


Friday, August 03, 2018

The Best Way To Repair US - Canada Relations?


What is the best way to improve bilateral relations across the 49th parallel?

Why, more Neil more, if not all, of the time of course....

There are a whole bunch of videos out there of Mr. Young doing his thing with all comers on this tune but this is by far my favourite for all kinds of reasons, including the fact that the multilayered camera coverage was pieced together from DIY footage taken from all over the YouTubez...Truth be told, sometimes I just slap this one on when I'm feeling a little blue and need a bit of a humbucker fueled pick-me up.
Now...While Neil just might be able help to grease those stalled NAFTA negotiations, based on past performance it is not likely that he will allow Mr. Trump use his song to trumpet victory because...This.


Are The Banshee Wails Of The Screamers A (North) American - Wide Problem?


The Mound of Sound has an interesting post up in which he wonders if democracy has become too darned democratic for white America. In said post he quotes from a Salon interview with USian social scientists Steven Miller and Nicholas Davis:

...To be clear: Not all Trump voters are racist or xenophobic. However, Trump's racism and xenophobia were not enough to dissuade them from voting for him, and even bringing that up is going to alienate potential subscribers, readers and viewers...


That indifference thing that justifies political expediency...

In the end isn't that indifference just as bad as the thing itself, especially when the ball really gets rolling?

All of which brings me to a recent Angus Reid poll of so-called kinder, gentler Canadians:

Weeks of questions and criticism from opposition politicians and provincial leaders about asylum-seekers crossing the border – an issue already the source of heightened anxiety and concern for Canadians – have taken a further toll on the Trudeau government’s perceived ability to manage the situation.

In the wake of emergency meetings of the Parliamentary Immigration Committee, and as Ontario Premier Doug Ford demands compensation from Ottawa for the cost of caring for those who cross the border irregularly, Canadians are growing increasingly concerned about the country’s ability to handle the flow.

Despite the recent addition of Bill Blair to cabinet as Minister of Border Security, the latest survey from the Angus Reid Institute finds two-thirds of Canadians (67%) call the current situation a “crisis”.

Further, about the same number (65%) are of the view that Canada has received “too many” irregular crossers for the country’s authorities and service providers to handle...

And, just in case you think this is not a big deal because the reasonable Canuckistanians are alright:

...These views are held not only by conservative-minded individuals, but also by more than half of those who voted for the Liberal and New Democratic parties in 2015, suggesting that asylum-seekers and border security are areas of vulnerability for the Liberal Party – and a potential effective wedge for the Conservative Party in next year’s anticipated election.

Indeed, a plurality of Canadians, including sizeable segments of past left-leaning voters, say they trust CPC leader Andrew Scheer more than the other main party leaders to deal with this file...

None of this is a good thing.

What does it all really mean, Alfie?....Well, that is a big question, but I honestly believe at least one part of the answer is that it means that the screamer sites, and that includes the Levanthian one, are more influential north of the 49th than most of us realize....Why else do you think the good Mr. Ford of Ontario has already set up his own house organ monkey grinder screamer site?
If you're interested you can find SoScientists Miller's and Davis'  recent academic paper titled 'White Outgroup Intolerance and Declining Support for American Democracy'....Here. They make a cogent case that the screamers are winning by pushing the 'otherness' issue to extremes.


Thursday, August 02, 2018

Thirty Years Of Meat Puppetry...


Thirty years of meat puppetry backed with venomous and vile (not to mention racist) propaganda does not an informed citizenry make.

Especially in media markets where no reasonable, reality-based alternative is available.

What's it all about this time Alfie?


It turns out that a certain far, far right-sided American radio screamer by the name of Limbaugh heard from a long time listener, but first time caller yesterday (warning: link is not sanity proof):

RUSH: So I have this note on the call screener computer: “On the hotline…” We don’t have a hotline. “On the hotline, you’re receiving a phone call in recognition of your anniversary broadcast. You’ll want to take this immediately.” Okay. So we’re going to the phones and we have a special guest. Who is it?

THE PRESIDENT: So, Rush, I just wanted to congratulate you on 30 years.

RUSH: (laughing)

THE PRESIDENT: This is your favorite president, and I think you are fantastic.

RUSH: (laughing)

THE PRESIDENT: I heard about it, and today’s the big day, 30 years. I wanted to call personally and congratulate you.

RUSH: I am floored. I… (laughing) I thought there was nothing anybody could do to surprise me today. I’ve been preparing for anything. Mr. President —

THE PRESIDENT: You’re a very special man, Rush, and you have people that love you. I’m one of them. But you’re a very, very special guy. What you do for this country, people have no idea how important your voice is. So I just wanted to personally make this one and I said, “I’ll even dial the number myself if I have to.”



Just to be clear...

This is most definitely not a time for Canadian smugness when it comes to media manipulative matters such as these:


Tip O' the Toque to one of Left Bloggostan's finest chroniclers of the depths to which the right side has sunk in America, Driftglass.
Need a reasonable fact-backed alternative to Doug Ford TeeVee?....Canadaland's offering, with Allison Smith and Johnathan Goldsbie, is a pretty good one.


Wednesday, August 01, 2018

It Would Appear That, Even As The End Neared For Him, Hunter Thompson Had A Point.

Prologue: First off, just so you know, over many years of poli-blogging I have learned to write ahead and then wait a bit before posting in an effort to ensure that my blather is not entirely of the knee-jerk variety...

With that preamble in mind, please understand that I originally wrote the post below in late June when the 'forcibly separating-children-from-their-parents-at-the American-border' story first broke in earnest...The very next day, C., me, Bigger E. and littler e. headed south ourselves to visit our very good friends and surrogate away-from-home parents* on the Northern California coast...Everywhere we went (and this included knitting shops, bookstores, parades, beaches, bars, and even a Motel-6 lobby) folks apologized for their government's actions...And then, within a scant few days, a growing public uproar led the current American president to (at least publicly) reverse his position on the matter. In addition, the courts subsequently imposed strict reunification targets...As a result, I held off pushing the publish button on the post under consideration.

What has changed since then you may be asking?...We'll there is this lingering matter of difficulties in putting ALL the families back together again which has come to a head over the last few days...And clearly the stories of the plight of individual kids and parents are truly heartbreaking...However, the last straw for me was a perfunctory passage buried deep within a Reuters report published last weekend:

"...The (U.S.) government said 711 children remained separated because the parent waived reunification, was no longer in the country, or in some cases could not be found, which the government said excluded them from reunification..."

'Excluded them from reunification'? 


That sure is obfuscatory nicey-nice talk for a very, very bad thing, indeed.


With that I decided the time has come for my self-censorship on this matter to end.

Here goes...



ProPublica has obtained audio of  small children being held inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility after they have been separated from their parents.

Here is the lede of Ginger Thompson's story:

The desperate sobbing of 10 Central American children, separated from their parents one day last week by immigration authorities at the border, makes for excruciating listening. Many of them sound like they’re crying so hard, they can barely breathe. They scream “Mami” and “Papá” over and over again, as if those are the only words they know.

The baritone voice of a Border Patrol agent booms above the crying. “Well, we have an orchestra here,” he jokes. “What’s missing is a conductor.”

Then a distraught but determined 6-year-old Salvadoran girl pleads repeatedly for someone to call her aunt. Just one call, she begs anyone who will listen. She says she’s memorized the phone number, and at one point, rattles it off to a consular representative. “My mommy says that I’ll go with my aunt,” she whimpers, “and that she’ll come to pick me up there as quickly as possible.”...

You can listen to the audio tape....Here.

It does not make for comfortable listening.

Which is why it must be listened to.

When he was nearing the end of his own days Hunter Thompson had the following to say about the actions of his countrymen and women in the run-up to American invasion of Iraq:

We're the Nazis in this game, and I don't like it. I'm embarrassed and I'm pissed off. Yeah. I mean to say something and I think a lot of people in this country agree with me.'

Hunter S. Thompson, January 2003
Interview with Mary Suma, KDNK Radio, Roaring Fork Colorado
Reprinted In Text Form In: Ancient Gonzo Wisdom by Anita Thompson

Now, while you and I can both agree that Mr. Thompson was engaging in some overwrought hyperbole at the front end of his statement, I would hope that you can also agree that the time has come for a whole lot of American people, regardless their political persuasion, to start saying something about what is going on in their fine country at this very moment.

Not convinced?

Well, here is a little bit more from Ginger (presumably no relation to HST) Thompson's ProPublica story:

...In recent days, authorities on the border have begun allowing tightly controlled tours of the facilities that are meant to put a humane face on the (separation and detention) policy. But cameras are heavily restricted. And the children being held are not allowed to speak to journalists...


I originally wrote about HST's comment
in the context of the Bush Administration's self-declared 'new reality'....Here.

*We got to know our NorCal friends when C and I were lucky enough to find ourselves living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area back in the days of yore... As a result, these friends helped us out, a ton, when Bigger E. was born a thousand miles from home...They now live on the Mendocino coast and we go down to visit them regularly once every couple of years...It is so much fun, and such a ritual, that our kids, both of whom are pretty much fully grown now, insist on making the trip with us...C and I put up very, very little resistance...And make no mistake, I fully realize that this little chunk of the West Coast is not representative of the United States in its entirety... Regardless, it is America to me and it is a place, and a state of mind, that I truly enjoy and admire...