Friday, July 19, 2019

If Woody Guthrie Flew In Today...

...What would his guitar say?


Here's our cover of a Guthrie classic...

Header at the top of the post giving you a wee earwormoapalooza?...This.
And...If you're going to the Lotuslandian Folk Festival this weekend, make sure you check out Sarah Shook and the Disarmers...


Saving Canadian Journalism?



How much of the federal government's, 'Save The (Legacy) Press!' subsidy will go to, say, Postmedia this year?

Canadaland's Johnathan Goldsbie reports that it will be close to $10 million:

In its quarterly earnings report released today, Canada’s largest newspaper company said that it expects to receive $8 to 10 million per year from the federal government’s new tax credit for journalist salaries.

“Based on our current staffing levels,” wrote the management of Postmedia, “we expect the per-annum journalism tax credit to be between $8 million and $10 million,” dating from January 1 of this year [pdf]...

Which, of course, is supposed to help pay for all kinds of reporters:

The refundable labour tax credit introduced by the government in its most recent budget will subsidize 25% of the salaries of “eligible newsroom employees,” to a maximum of $13,750 per person per year. A subsidy of $9 million would represent about 650 employees with annual salaries of at least $55,000 each...


This is all fine and good, except...

Based on past performance, an argument could be made that our money will actually make it possible for the hedge fund debt-strapped, money losing company to keep-on-keepin'-on with its habit of compensating the very private entitity's top five executives at the super-fine levels they so richly deserve.

The Halifax Examiner's Tim Bousquet published an analysis of those super-fine justly deserved numbers recently:

Yesterday, Postmedia released its Management Information Circular in preparation of January (2019)’s shareholder meeting; the circular shows that CEO Paul Godfrey was awarded a $1.2 million bonus on top of his $1.2 million dollar salary in 2018, and with stock options brought in over $5 million in 2018. The top five execs at Postmedia collectively received over $10 million in compensation...

Imagine that!

Please note: No legacy press investigatory resources were used in the construction of this post...


Cover Thee...

Putting these here because a few mobile readers who can't see the sidebar asked...


Thursday, July 18, 2019

Hang Up The Phone. The Trolls Are In The...

...White House!


From Will Sommer of the Daily Beast:

Donald Trump has invited personalities from across the right-wing internet to the White House on Thursday for a “Social Media Summit,” but the event is causing his administration headaches even before it begins.

So far, the summit has stirred up resentments among pro-Trump personalities who were never invited to the party, and one invitee has been disinvited over an anti-Semitic cartoon—raising questions for the White House about why he was invited in the first place.

The White House hasn’t released a public list of attendees for the Thursday afternoon event, but a number of pro-Trump personalities have posted invitations on Twitter. They include Ali Alexander, a right-wing operative pushing a smear that Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris (CA) isn’t really “an American Black,” a pro-Trump “memesmith” who goes by the screenname “@CarpeDonktum,” and blogger Jim Hoft, whose Gateway Pundit blog frequently promotes hoaxes...


...Notably, the group so far doesn’t appear to include anyone who has actually been banned from major social platforms, even though those bans have played a significant role in driving accusations on the right that the social giants are biased. Pro-Trump figures like anti-Muslim activist Laura Loomer, InfoWars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and Proud Boys men’s group founder Gavin McInnes, for example, don’t appear to have been invited.

That fact hasn’t been lost on fringe Trump supporters. In a livestream from Washington, D.C., InfoWars reporter and Jones lieutenant Owen Shroyer raged that no one from InfoWars was invited to the event, while people who hadn’t been banned were...

In other words, the worst of the worst is not, apparently, the absolute worst.

Or some such thing.

But really, who needs rabid plumbers in the basement when you've already filled the pipes to bursting with political propagannonists?

You can hear Mr. Sommer talk about this, and more, with WNYC's  Brooke Gladstone on a recent edition of 'On The Media'...


Mr. Hansen's Own Private Andrea True Connection.

Ear worm in the title to the post burrowing into your brain?

More! More! More!

How scared are the Status Quo Vadists of that PoCo mayor?...Crapless.


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Folks I'm In Awe Of...


I'd read his column in the Georgia Straight, but it was reader Glen C. that brought Stanley Q. Woodvine's blog to my attention.

Mr. Woodvine is an amazing guy who is always up to something interesting while he simultaneously goes out of his way to give his friends and compatriots a leg-up.

And, oh yeah, Stanley is also homeless.

Just one of the many things I've come to realize by reading Stanley's stuff is just how hard he and his have to work to make a go of it every single day (and night).
Most recently, SQV has been on a quest to map all of Lotusland's remaining pay phones which spurred on Chris Cheung to go out and photograph them for the Tyee...


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Bonfire Of The Flack Hackeries.


Former ClarkWorld paper-free guy and more recent member of the flack hackery to all stars Ken Boessenkool has weighed in on the hiring of  Warren Kinsella by Ms. May and the federal Green team.

You know, all snark aside, I can't help but wonder if this extreme fetishization of the brass political expediency ring is a true indication of the increasing Americanization of our culture.



Monday, July 15, 2019

What Was The Real Motivation Behind The Little Mountain Land Sale?

Photo mantage - see note at bottom of post


One thing we, the idiot bloggers who said so at the time, now know for sure, it was not about using the money from the sale to generate more affordable housing elsewhere.

How do we know this?

Because Lori Culbert and Dan Fumano just told us so in their most excellent recent VSun piece:

...The (B.C.) Liberals have maintained that selling Little Mountain gave them the money to build social housing in other locations, but Postmedia discovered that — because (developer) Holborn hasn’t yet paid for the bulk of the land — the Liberals instead borrowed the money from the Treasury Board and promised to pay it back once Holborn settled its debt...


What was the sale of a massive 15 acre chunk of public land in the heart of Vancouver and the resulting demoviction of hundreds of families that followed really all about then?

Was it a really big favour for a favoured  $300K, plus, big donor?


However, I think I'll stick with my original hypothesis, which was formulated after the discovery of a small item buried in Cookie Dough Mike de Jong's budget update in the fall of 2012:

Now those suddenly negative numbers, which if you think about it kinda/sorta presaged the Culbert/Fumano rumination by almost seven years, got me thinking of the long con of the original budget bump that occurred with the sale of the land back in 2008.

And the conclusion I came to is that all those families and, as we now know for certain, all British Columbians, were screwed so that the BC Liberals could claim, yet again, that they were running a surplus in the run-up to the last of the GordCo, Inc. election victories the following spring.
Which was ten years ago.

My, but that 'Golden Era' sure does have a long tail, eh?

The image at the top of the post is not real...Mr. Campbell most definitely did not campaign, or put up campaign signs, at the soon to be destroyed Little Mountain housing complex in the spring of 2009...We just wish he had.


Sunday, July 14, 2019

The Real Axis Of Evil.

But of course according to those in the know Mr. Frum is the reasonable Republican.


Put another way...

Never, ever, ever trust a never Trumper.

About anything.

Even the Canadian stuff.



Friday, July 12, 2019

The Political Expediency Triangulation...


That is all.


The Return of HST Fridays...


Since the Border Patrol opened its station in Clint, Tex., in 2013, it was a fixture in this West Texas farm town. Separated from the surrounding cotton fields and cattle pastures by a razor-wire fence, the station stood on the town’s main road, near a feed store, the Good News Apostolic Church and La Indita Tortillería. Most people around Clint had little idea of what went on inside. Agents came and went in pickup trucks; buses pulled into the gates with the occasional load of children apprehended at the border, four miles south.

But inside the secretive site that is now on the front lines of the southwest border crisis, the men and women who work there were grappling with the stuff of nightmares.

Outbreaks of scabies, shingles and chickenpox were spreading among the hundreds of children and adults who were being held in cramped cells, agents said. The stench of the children’s dirty clothing was so strong it spread to the agents’ own clothing — people in town would scrunch their noses when they left work. The children cried constantly. One girl seemed likely enough to try to kill herself that the agents made her sleep on a cot in front of them, so they could watch her as they were processing new arrivals...


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

And, just in case we here in Canuckistan
think we don't have to speak out also...This.


Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Styrofoam Meat Tray Solution...


Recently, I've taken to electrifying my acoustical guitar.

Which is straightforward when I'm fiddling around in the relative quiet of the Subterranean Homesick Bluesroom.

But when I try to do it in the high decibel environment of a 'Doctors of Distortion' session the feedback bouncing back through the sound hole onto the strings is often unmanageable.

Turns out there are musical geek accessories that you can buy to fix that problem.

None of which I have purchased so far.


Well, it turns out that I've been listening to/watching a whole lot of Conor Oberst videos lately for all kinds of reasons, including the fact that he occasionally likes to get up on stage with these guys.

And sometimes, when Oberst needs to cover his sound hole he resorts to a couple of strips of duct tape and a hunk of styrofoam.

So I decided to give it a try.

Voila, problem solved!

Best part of the entire thing was the reaction of the bandmates ensconced behind their peddle walls, etc.

And you think I'm kidding about that last bit...



Thought Mapping...Plausible Fakeability.


Former BC Liberal cabinet Minister John Rustad wants everybody to know, despite his recent words and deeds, that he is not a fake news generator.

The MoCo's Betsy Trumpener has the story.

Here's her extremely well-constructed lede:

B.C.'s opposition critic for caribou recovery has clarified a false social media post, days after he stated scientists euthanized 24 endangered mountain caribou in Northern B.C.

"If there's errors and stuff made, I certainly don't want to be part of what would be considered fake news," Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad told CBC News in an interview. "At the same time, when information like that comes forward, it's a piece of information that's worth sharing."...

So, you might be wondering, what exactly did the good Mr. Rustad do prior to ensure that he did not spread a demonstrable falsehood.

Why, absolutely nothing:

...The euthanasia story "was very shocking to hear," Rustad told CBC News in an interview. "That's why I posted it."...

Rustad said he didn't try to verify the information...

Later, Mr. Rustad decided to divorce himself from his previous deeds and actions by raising the spectre of an apparently beggable question on the Book of Faces:

Imagine that!


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Thought Mapping, Daily.


From the 'That's Some Lede!' department...

The latest from Global News' Sam Cooper:

B.C. Lottery Corp. vice-president of corporate compliance Robert Kroeker has stepped down, months after B.C.’s gambling regulator pledged to investigate allegations that Kroeker instructed his staff to “ease up” on anti-money-laundering measures and “allow dirty money to flow into casinos,” Global News has learned...

Interestingly, it would appear that the good Mr. Kroeker was involved in that alrevolving door between the gov't regulator and the Casino Industrial Complex back in the days of the BC Liberal government reign:

...Kroeker, who is the former director of B.C.’s anti-money-laundering civil forfeiture program and the author of a 2011 B.C. government study on casino money laundering, left the civil forfeiture office to serve as corporate compliance chief for Great Canadian Gaming, the operator of Richmond’s River Rock Casino, from 2012 to September 2015...



Why is it, exactly, that I am suddenly thinking of hockey bags full of cash?

Oh, ya...

Now I remember.


Monday, July 08, 2019

Car Wheels On A Gravel Phone.


Just to be clear, I usually hate bloody Voicemails.


Because if someone is skipping the Email and/or avoiding the Textmobile they're very likely flogging pure junk or, worse, it's something so important that it will have to be dealt with immediately.


A couple of weeks ago, on a random Monday night in late June, I got a Voicemail that was coming from (and I kid you not) inside the Commodore Ballroom.


That's right.

My oldest kid, Bigger E., was at the Lucinda Williams show and she wanted me to hear Ms. W. tell the story of how the life and times of Blaze Foley led her to write 'Drunken Angel'.

It was mostly garbled, but great stuff regardless.

All of which is just a round about way of telling you that E. took a little time out of her busy musical schedule recently so that she and I could sit down in the living room and record a few songs.

As you might have guessed, things always go best when she takes the vocal lead.

Here's her version another LW favourite...

Image at the top of the post is from LW's 'Car Wheels On A Gravel Road' album, which is 20 years old and the focus of her current tour.


Thought Mapping, Daily.


The hypocrisy, it burns...

Good thing we're giving the fine folks behind Postmedia a big whack of our money to screw us over even more.


In case you missed it, the latest Sunday Set is...Here.


Sunday, July 07, 2019

Nevermind The Soft Landing....Here Comes The Shillophant.


First, Dipper Finance Minister Carole James trumpets the soft landing on her Twittmachine feed...

And then, first up on the comment thread, former GordCo, Inc. and ClarkWorld denizen, Marc Dalton, who is now a full-fledged member of Team Scheer, weighs in...

Now, I could be mistaken, but it appears that the good Mr. Dalton is saying that buying a home and real estate speculation should go hand-in-hand.


When that kind of thinking, fueled by longterm government action and inaction (see, for example, the 'accomplishments' above the mentioned GordCo Inc. and ClarkWorld), becomes a full-throated reality, what could possibly go wrong?

Hey!....In case you missed it, former Lotuslandian truth-to-power-journo-type guy Sean Holman (whose Public Eye Online archives just keep on giving, BTW), was on the MoCo's Sunday Edition this morning talking about how important it is for big Media to start treating global warning as an actual, you know...Crisis.


Saturday, July 06, 2019

Thought Mapping, Daily


From former Obama West Wing member Dan Pfeiffer on Pod Save America:

"The true lesson of the 2018 midterms is that activism wins."


Based on how he fleshed things out re: identifying and getting out the Democratic vote, I'm pretty sure Mr. Pfeiffer actually meant 'organizing' rather than 'activism'.

Which of course leads one to think of how unions used to win before the co-optation of everything that disillusioned everyone began in earnest.

Crawford Kilian reviewed Rod Mickelburgh's book on the history of unionism in Lotusland in the Tyee not long ago...Here.

In case you missed it, here is the latest Sunday Set:


Friday, July 05, 2019

Seventeen Years...

...Is A Long Time.

The lede from Pamela Fayerman's latest in the VSun:

Health Minister Adrian Dix says seniors going into nursing homes will no longer be forced to grab and move into the first available bed because as of July 15, they will be allowed to choose from their three preferred care homes.

The first-available-bed-policy was established 17 years ago and compelled families to make almost instantaneous decisions or risk losing the bed and sinking down the waiting list. Dix said families will now have up to three days to decide whether to take the available bed in one of the three preferred care facilities.

“This is one of the most challenging decisions in someone’s life, so it’s important they choose a care home that works for them,” Dix said during the announcement outside the B.C. legislature on Wednesday.

While waiting for a bed in a facility of their choice, people can either stay at home, with additional care, or go to an interim facility without losing their spot on the waiting list for a preferred facility, Dix said. Through a system of improved transparency, individuals will get more information about waiting times to any one of their preferred facilities. Historically, nursing-home clients have usually not been placed in a preferred bed in some regions such as Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health...

Mr. Dix.

The best premier we never had?


Wednesday, July 03, 2019

State Sponsored Gerrymandering.


A whole lot of folks in Hong Kong are upset about proposed extradition legislation that could send them to a place that disregards due process and the rule of law.

In fact, so many hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets recently that chief executive Carrie Lam announced a suspension but not a killing of the bill.

Which sent hundreds of thousands of people to the streets again and a few hundred kids into the locked legislature last weekend.


How does this happen?

How does a legislature have the power to enact laws against the will of the people?

Well, there is no need to call in the Supremes, the Russians, or the Republican smear merchants in this case given the 'semi' autonomous nature of the HK Legislature.

Democratic legislator Claudio Mo explained how things work yesterday in response to a question from Democracy Now's Juan Gonzalez:

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Claudia Mo, I’d like to ask you, in terms of the existing so-called democratic structure in Hong Kong, obviously under China’s “one country, two systems” policy, how is the Legislature chosen in Hong Kong, and what is the impact of the People’s Republic of China government over Hong Kong?

CLAUDIA MO: Yes, exactly. That’s a great question to be answered. The young had a particular anger at the Legislature. It mainly stems from the fact that it’s this very Legislature that was going to pass that controversial China extradition bill. Why? Because they’ve got enough Beijing votes in there. And it’s all because of our very twisted and convoluted kind of election system. They make sure that the pro-Beijing votes will occupy at least half of our seats. That’s a total number of 70. They make sure they will have enough votes to pass just anything, any policy, any bill, any funding application from the government. And democrats are always outnumbered. We are outnumbered, not because we are unpopular, but because we just don’t get the seats. We have more votes, but fewer seats. That sums up the Hong Kong legislative election. And the young knew it.


It almost sounds a little like, say, North Carolina...

...North Carolina Republicans won a 10-3 advantage in the U.S. House of Representatives even though the statewide vote was only narrowly in favor of Republican candidates. The justices also upheld maps from Maryland, where Democrats hold a 7-1 majority in the House, which is similarly lopsided compared to their overall support.

In a news conference Thursday morning, Republican Rep. David Lewis of Harnett County — a key architect of the maps and other voting legislation in North Carolina — said “this (Supreme court smackdown) is a complete vindication of our state.”...

Imagine that!

Image at the top of the page is from SCMP reporter Phila Siu's Twittmachine feed...


Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Welcome To Mr. Buckingham's Musical Palace.


Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' came out when I was in my last year of high school.

And by then my friends and I had already tossed 'Frampton Comes Alive' aside long before* so that we could move to the harder stuff.

Which meant that we just didn't give Rumours much of a chance at all, at least compared to all the other stuff we were listening to and trying to play.

Which was too bad because, in addition to the hooks and the hedonism, there is some king hell good stuff in there.

Take 'Go Your Own Way', for example.

Who knew that the bare bones of the thing was literally what was going on in Lindsay Buckingham's life.

And who knew that he really, truly and honestly didn't want Stevie Nicks to go.

How do I know all of this, for sure,  right here and now in present tense time?

Because Mr. Buckingham explains it all, both the lyrical bones and the layers of musicianship that fleshes them all out, including convincing John McVie to play dreaded eighth notes on the bass' throughline, on a recent, fantastic edition of the podcast 'Song Exploder'.

Have a listen.

It's 22 minutes of your life you won't want, or even need, to get back.

*Which was approximately 8 months if I  remember things correctly. This, of course, is eons in high school garage band time...


Monday, July 01, 2019

Sunday Set, July 1st, 2019 - Celebration Days.


Tunes fit for Canada and Independence Day...

Covers of...

Sarah Shook's 'Dwight Yoakam'

The Mountain Goats 'Palmcorder Yajna'

Tragically Hip's 'Ahead By A Century'

Paul Simon's 'Graceland'

Image at top of the post...The Two E's on an even year, circa 2008, on a trip down south where we played up both celebration days with our good friends F. and L.


The Intent Of All Gerrymanderers.


Following up on our previous post on the American Supreme's Court recent decision to let a thousand gerrymanders bloom...

The following  is from a letter to the editor penned by Jonathan P. Margolis published Friday in the NY Times:

...Gerrymandering is always intentional, and the intent is to make some citizens’ votes worth less than those of others. As others have said, gerrymandering means that instead of voters choosing their leaders, the leaders choose their voters. To assert that the framers of the Constitution would be comfortable with such a result is to utter a grave historical libel...

Clear enough for everyone?

And, in case you missed it during your July 1st celebrations, something's happening here...The 'here' in this case being Hong Kong...The SCMP has done a bang up job with live-blogged coverage.


Sunday, June 30, 2019

Let A Thousand, Million Fingers Bloom.


The biggest news from the Excited States* this week may be the thing you heard about leastt.

Because it wasn't the revelation that MBS and Jared Kushner really are (gun) running American mid-east policy, on their own, without a valid security clearance.

And it had nothing to do with Kamala Harris' newly patented 'One Hour De-Bidenizing' strategy.

And it sure as heckfire wasn't the Supreme Court's Citizenship Kaning decision of the Republican's Rosebudian census strategy.

Instead, the really, really, really big news was the week's 'other' decision from the Supremes, brought to US'ians everywhere by the evil machinations of Mitch McConnell.

Essentially, that decision says the federal courts have no business stepping in to stop unconstitutional gerrymandering.

This is a situation so grave that even the Grey Lady, front page, above the fold, had this to say in a piece by Michael Wines:

...Gerrymandered maps were once part of an unspoken agreement between rivals that pressing for political advantage was, within limits, part of the electoral game. But in recent years Republicans, aided by sophisticated mapmaking software, have given themselves near-unbreakable power across the country.

Now, with a green light from the justices, the party has an opportunity to lock in political dominance for the next decade in many of the 22 states where it controls both the legislature and the governor’s office...

The real take home here...

As admirable as it is in theoretical, if not historically normative, terms, Adam Gopnik's nicey-nice, center squishy, both-sides-have-good-points-so-let's-all-give-a-little-to-make-everyone-feel-gooder liberalism cannot deal with yet another hammerheaded suplex like this.


*Tip-O-The-Toque to Granddad Ed...When we moved there for awhile he loved to give us the gears...
Regarding the title and sub-header...Laila explains.


Monday, June 24, 2019

This Is The Modern World.


I mean, is there no longer on single solitary entity that purports to be in the public interest that cannot be willingly co-opted?

And yes, if you are of a certain vintage you should bloody well have an ear worm from that coupling at the top of the post that needs scratching....


Friday, June 21, 2019

Aquilini Overdrive.


Well, well, well, whadd'ya know...

Turns out that those wild Aquilini boys owe some taxes on a previous $140 million West Edmonton property sale that helped finance their subsequent acquisition of the Canuckleheads.

We know this because the judge overseeing the tax court case has ruled that each of the three brothers owes us all money on a capital gain of $11 million, plus, each.

Which, of course, means that the usual sports market shillophants in short pants will likely soon start screeching about how this will almost certainly lead to massive beer price increases down at the arena that Little Arthur lost, not to mention the immediate sale of young Mr. Pettersson to the godless Leafs if something isn't done to ease the brothers' collective pain.

But here's the thing that is most unbelievable about this entire thing, as relayed deep within a buried lede by Jason Proctor of the MoCo:

...According to the judgment, the brothers each initially declared taxable income of $50,572...


I guess it's true that the rich really aren't, but sometimes try to be, just like you and me.

Or some such butchered Fitzgeraldian thing.

Tip O' the Toque to Norm Farrell on his Twittmachine feed.


Friday, June 14, 2019

An Insider Explains The Havoc That The BC Liberals' New Era Wreaked.


The following is from a post I wrote in the deepest, darkest days of GordCo Inc's destruction of British Columbia's social contract back in late 2005:

The central tenet of the neandercons' con is that the private sector can run absolutely everything more efficiently than government.

Thus, the mainstream media-driven mantra that 'privatization is good for everyone.'

Unfortunately, even in specific situations where skeptics like me might, in a weak moment, be willing to meet them halfway, things rarely work out as planned.

Witness CN's recent repeated derailments, or Maximus' repeated problems answering phone calls, or BC Ferries' repeated difficulties keeping propellers turning.

But all of these problems pale in comparison to those that have engulfed the Ministry of Children and Family Development since Mr. Campbell and his minions began to wreak their havoc in 2001.

Sound a little over the top?



Remember Doug Walls?

Remember the ditching of community- based small non-profits for the centralized business model?

Remember how inefficient that turned out to be and how much it cost us?

Remember the eight, maybe nine, figure cutbacks?

Remember the bloviating of former BC Liberal cabinet ministers, one of whom later quit and tried to become Mayor of Vancouver?

Remember the death of the little girl at the hands of a clearly unsuitable relative acting as a foster parent?

Heard about the almost total breakdown of the effectiveness of social workers whose caseloads have skyrocketted?

Sure, we all know all about that.

And now we also know about the tragic case of another little girl's death that was never even investigated because of the total emasculation of child protection oversight initiated by the BC Liberals.

This tragedy is not something that can be waved away with rhetoric. It is political dynamite and a former special investigator who worked with the coroner's office named Kathleen Stephany is not pulling any punches as she comes out swinging with her side of the story.

Of course, as a prelude to the stonewall to come, the savaging of Ms. Stephany has already begun because, rumour has it, she is nothing more than a 'disgruntled former employee'.

Trains jumping the tracks repeatedly because a former crown, now private, corporation is cutting costs in narrow, twisting canyons is one thing, but business model-mediated mistreatment of defenseless children is an act malfeasance that must end.


Unfortunately, nothing really started to change for another eleven years that wasn't driven by the courts. Even the independent child and youth representative, which was first disappeared early in GordCo Inc's 'New Era' but later reinstated in the wake of a scathing report by Ted Hughes that dealt with, among many other undefensible things, the uninvestigated deaths of  hundreds of children in  the New Era's so called 'care'.

But here's the thing....

Those of us that were paying attention back in the day could see that all of those things listed above (and more) were bad, intentional and ideological. In addition, we could also see that they were driven by willful tax cuts, often for the most wealthy among us, that created huge deficits that required massive budget cuts that helped justified privatization.

How do we now know for sure that we were right all along?

Well, it turns out that one of GordCo Inc's longest serving capos, former BC Liberal minister George Abbott has written a political science dissertation telling everyone concerned that this was, indeed the case;

Andrew Macleod has the story in the Tyee.

Here is a bit about how GordCo's New Era approach resulted in the savaging of the Child and Family Services ministry that ultimately made the Hughes investigation necessary:

...“Although the tax cut was undoubtedly popular among many British Columbians, few fully understood the fiscal repercussions that would follow,” Abbott wrote. “Cautionary advice was dismissed and tax cuts quickly translated into a $4.4-billion deficit and deep expenditure reductions for ministries other than Health, Education, and Advanced Education.”

Since the three protected ministries made up 70 per cent of the province’s budget, deep cuts had to be made in the resource and social ministries that make up the rest of provincial spending.

Abbott goes into detail with chapters on what those cuts meant in three ministries: community, Aboriginal and women’s services; human resources; and children and family development.

In the case of the children and families ministry, where the impact was perhaps most dramatic, the focus became on reducing the caseload. That eventually led to news stories about the deaths of children and the failure to review many of those deaths, and a report by Ted Hughes that traced the issue back to the 2001 budget cuts.

In Abbott’s account, the Liberals’ 2001 campaign promises to maintain and improve services were trumped by tax cuts and fiscal commitments.

“When the generous vision for children and families embraced by the New Era document proved incompatible with the twin imperatives of tax cuts in 2001 and a balanced budget by 2004, the vision succumbed to those political imperatives,” he wrote.

“Unfunded cost pressures proved a recurrent challenge across the New Era and demonstrated one point conclusively: demand for services may rise or fall for any number of economic, demographic or social reasons, but concern for a finance minister’s balanced budget will not be among them.”...


There is much that is laudable in Mr. Abbott's attempt to set the record straight, after the fact.


Why did he not do something about the problem at the time or, at the very least, why did he not quit and tell British Columbians what was really going on when it was still possible do something about it?

Here is Mr. Abbott's explanation, again from Mr. McLeod's Tyee piece:

...“I think some people will be surprised that I’m as blunt as I am,” Abbott said in an interview, adding that his account is a cautionary tale for politicians everywhere. “I think governments should be extraordinarily cautious before launching any tax cut that in an adverse economic shift will produce drastic cuts to public programs.”

The tax cut, despite its large impact, was never debated in cabinet, Abbott said. “There wasn’t a lot of opportunity to say anything at the time. It was a done deal on day one.”

He acknowledged some people would ask why there wasn’t more public dissent from him or others inside the government. Abbott said despite his misgivings and belief that a more modest tax cut would have been wiser, he chose to remain optimistic, work hard and hope for the best...

Personally, I'm not entirely convinced that Mr. Abbott's approach in that regard was so laudable.

Especially that 'hope for the best' part given that the demonstrable evidence at the time indicated that, in many cases, the worst was in fact occurring.

Update: Apologies for getting monicker wrong initially.


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Why I Quit Hockey Playoff Pools


I consider myself lucky, especially given my obsessive tendencies, that I have not yet been hooked by online sports pools of any kind.

And for that I can personally thank Esa Tikkanen.


Because I quit such pools, cold turkey, after the 1990 Stanley Cup playoffs when I realized that I had no interest in cheering for players I hated just because I had drafted them.

Case in point - the above mentioned, and pictured, Mr. Tikkanen who helped power, and 'agitate', the Gretzkyless Edmonton Oilers to a surprising Cup win that spring.


With that as background, I, for one, was ecstatic when the slewfooted hypoglossal king, Brad Marchand, was goated, and I mean that in the literal rather than acronymized sense of the word, at the end of a long goal sucking shift on the Blues' game seven winning goal last night...

Subheader refers to an on-air exchange between a then still young John McKeachie and Jack Webster when the former had the audacity to show up with a scraggly beard that made him look like the butler's younger beatnik brother on the Munsters....Or some such thing.
And, yes, I'm actually old enough to actually remember the spring night in 1970 when Mr. Orr flew through the air to win the series for the Big Bad Bruins...After the goal my brothers and I went outside and started knocking the stuffing out of each other in the twilight...


Sunday, June 09, 2019

CAPPtung Baby?


So, I couldn't help but wonder if...

...there is any connection between the accelerated drop in Lotuslandian gas prices and the end of the legislative sitting 10 days ago?

If you get my drift.

What's this CAPP/Postmedia connectitudinal thing all about?....Norm Farrell explained it awhile back by channeling the ghost of Rafe Mair.


Tuesday, June 04, 2019

The Sweet Yearn Of Youth.


First of all, Song Exploder.




All right?


One of the things that bugs me about getting old is that it inevitably gets more and more difficult to serendipitously stumble across something that smacks you up the side of the head so hard that it lights a fire that can, if you're lucky, turn into an all consuming obsessive bout with insight, however fleeting.

Like, for example, with songs.

I still remember finding 'Jail Guitar Doors' on that fake 'first' Clash Album (i.e. the 'blue' version in Canada) and slapping it on a cassette so I could play/rewind/play/rewind/play/rewind over and over again while driving the backstreets of southern Vancouver Island in the Kenny Van.

And that was before I even knew that the 'Wayne' of the first line was Mr. Kramer of the MC-5.

In hindsight, I think what really struck me was the evolution of Mr. Jones' vocal layered over top of Strummer's overdrive that would soon become so prominent on that third double album to come.

Which makes sense, maybe, given that the primordial version of the tune concerned was first scaffolded together by Strummer back in his old 101'er days.


I've been enjoying the musical work of a young woman named Sharon van Etten for awhile now.

But I wouldn't say I've been obsessed.

But today, on the way home I put on the Song Exploder episode wherein she explains how she built one of her new tunes, Seventeen, from melodic, sonic and lyrical perspectives.

All this explanation built to such a crescendo that when they finally played the tune in its entirety at the end of the podcast I couldn't wait to listen.

And then, when that was done, I got off the bus immediately so that I could walk the long way home.

And listen again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

Until I finally made it back to the subterranean blues room where I madly stitched together a bit of digitally enhanced back story into my fading memory before writing this.


Interestingly, Ms. van Etten's tune is only disguised as a yearning thing...Instead, as she explains, it's really about how the reckoning can lead to closure and more....And it's also about building a wedge to rock out on...And, get this, Michael Cera's Jupiter 4...Go figure.
Don't give a hoot-in-heckfire what the kids (or, at least, the near kids) are up to these days?....Well, check out this edition of SExploder to learn how Lindsay Buckingham conceived of and built one of Fleetwood Mac's biggest hits...You'll be surprised by the level of literalness coupled with introspection and very little cynicism...Seriously.


Friday, May 31, 2019

Is Big Rich's Wurlitzer Crank Broken?


First there was the stenography report by the Postmedia's number two man in sick society town that was apparently based on the highly prized and completely unbiased notes of one Ms. Mary Polak...

Speaker Darryl Plecas called an investigation conducted by the former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada “pathetic” and said she was “stupid” for having listened to the accused men, according to the Opposition Liberal house leader who was in the room at the time and took notes of the conversation.

Liberal house leader Mary Polak released 16 pages of detailed notes she took during a Wednesday meeting with Plecas, Green house leader Sonia Furstenau and NDP MLA Gary Begg.

In them, Plecas railed against the report by former chief justice Beverley McLachlin and promised to use B.C.’s police act to conduct his own probe into alleged wrongdoing involving officials in the building...

Then came Big Rich's attempt to turn the wurlitzer's crank...

Based on the comments, Mr. Coleman's gambit did not work.

How sad for the former Minister of Everything.

Getting ready to climb back into the cigar tube for the final cross country sardining of the season...That plan to save 'Bohemian Rhapsody' for last on the monopoly mongers' AV feed is looking pretty good right about now...
Update: Here is a decidedly non-stenographic account from Jon Woodward of CTV in which he actually uses independent facts to fisk the notes of the good Ms. Polak....And, yes, the #@*$in' plane is late!


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Public Inquiry Preview...The Friendly Disappears The Lede.


Black Press' very fine legislative columnist Mr. Fletcher of Tom's Harbour recently told us all that GordCo Inc's former Minister of Everything is happy that the public inquiry on all that he and his did to facilitate the exponential growth of 'Hockey Bags Full Of Dusted Cash, Llc.'

But why, we couldn't help wonder, would the former Minister of Everything be happy?

Because, according to the good Mr. Fletcher, this:

...(Rich) Coleman was minister in charge of the B.C. Lottery Corporation in 2009 when a dedicated illegal gambling enforcement team was disbanded. A new dedicated team was set up in 2016 as large casinos were operating in Metro Vancouver...


Didn't the former Minister of Everything tell Sean Holman in 2010 that he dismantled  the IGET team back in 2009 because he had something else better to go right then and there (i.e. seven years BEFORE he and Cookie Dough Mike pretended to actually do something)?

Why, yes, he did!


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Lotuslandian Real Estate Correction: Nevermind The Soft Landing...

...Bring On The Developer Party-Friendly Disaster Scenarios!

Courtesy, of course, those fine folks at Postmedia;

After all, how else are you going to bamboozle the citizenry into voting against their own self interest down the road if you don't start the boozlement right this instant.

Or some such thing.


Friday, May 17, 2019

When In Doubt, Always Thank Your Own Personal Flack Hackery First....

Do you see what I see?



You would think that the shame, it would burn.

But, when you and yours are working the refs, hard, in an effort to have them recognize a phantom political reincarnation worthy of a pre-public inquiry Senate seat, perhaps not.

And as for that 'Strategies Of The Inlet' hashtag thingy?....Well...You know


Thursday, May 16, 2019

Awaiting The Celebratory VSun Headline In 144pt Type...



Perhaps not.

After all, the fine folks over at Postmedia's pacific division can always start fussing about...



Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Wither The Inquiry, Public Or Otherwise.


I'm just about to climb into the goddamned cigar tube and then will be forced to endure 48 hours in the windowless science geek dungeon with little to no natural light and bad coffee for the duration.

Which means I'll probably not hear about whether or not we'll get a public inquiry into the Whaling Industry and all that entails until well after the fact.

But, before I go, I feel compelled to say something about the Dean's missive wherein he concludes the following, in his kicker, sans, you know, actual...


...(W)hen cabinet meets next Wednesday, I expect the New Democrats will brush past any last-minute reservations and get on with a public inquiry whose main purpose is political...

Sure, Mr. Palmer does quote David Eby saying this:

...Eby would like everything wrapped up in two years. He sees an inquiry as an exercise in “political accountability … who made the decisions, who benefited, why did they make those decisions?”...

Which isn't the same thing.

As the Dean's kicker, I mean.

But here's the thing...

I don't give a hoot-in-heckfire if there are no convictions, or even additional blockbuster-type evidence.

Because, at the very least, I want the perpetrators (starting with Vader, Darth) to be publicly shamed by their words, actions and deeds that facilitated the flow of corrupted billions into the province that is killing our kids' dreams, not to mention our body politic.



Sunday, May 12, 2019

Would You Find Me?


This is a special apology for that tiny percentage of you who stop by here occasionalaly looking for a new Sunday Set.

Just so you know, I've got the tune list for the next edition all ready to go. Furthermore, the Whackadoodle and I have been diligently working on the playing and the singing during our evening walks down the alley and around the corner, not to mention during our weekly strolls along the sandy strip where the north arm of the big muddy meets the sea.

But I'm just too slammed with science geek stuff at the moment to get things recorded this weekend.


When I have to go to work on a Sunday, in this case to finish reading and ranking the latest batch of my colleagues' grant applications, I often like to let the musical algorithms run.

And this afternoon this, from the bastard who set me and my kids to 'forcing-our-music-on-strangers' thing off in the first place, popped up.

Watch for the foot stomp-induced pedal break at the 4:20 mark.

And what comes after, of course...

And if you want to hear Mr. Hansard wax on, in that most Irish way of his, about all things musical, including why Van Morrison songs work for busking, give this a listen.


Friday, May 10, 2019

How The BCL's Wild West Donor Deluge Worked...




*Courtesy Norm Farrell via his Twittmachine feed.


Saturday, May 04, 2019

Was There A Method Behind Rich Coleman's (Most Recent) Madness?


At the very least you've seen the headline...

Which is that Rich Coleman, to quote Andrew Wilkinson, drew 'parallels' between the holocaust and Dipperian legislation designed to protect the ALR that Mess'rs Coleman and Wilkinson, together with their best friends and influential donors, errrrr, uncles, did their best to dismantle.

However, given the way the proMedia works it's more likely you've heard/read/seen much more about the (mostly righteous) furor that followed.

And then, of course, there is the blanket coverage of the full apology that only came after Mr. Coleman first tried floating a non-apology apology that was savaged by pretty much everyone.

But, here's the thing...

How many proMedia stories have you seen since Thursday, when this all began on the floor of the Ledge, that are focussed on the recent re-kindling of the Casino-Industrial-Complex scandal in the wake of recent revelations regarding the coddling of the high rolling offshore whales?

If you get my drift.

Of course, as you might expect, the good Mr. Wilkinson didn't bother to mention that it was Mr. Coleman that generated this ridiculously non-parallel parallelogrammatic upside down cake..


Friday, May 03, 2019

What's NOT The Matter With Kansas?



Is it possible that Thomas Frank's thesis is no longer entirely correct?

From Reis Tebault of the WaPo...

Julie Burkhart was in her early 20s when she responded to the person yelling at her as she walked into work. How could she ever take a job at a place like that? the woman wanted to know. Burkhart didn’t realize it then, but she’d have that same argument for decades.

It was 1991, and Burkhart had returned from college to discover that her hometown of Wichita had become the front line of the religious right’s battle against abortion. She went straight into the trenches.

At a local clinic, she took calls from women who wanted abortions and scheduled their appointments. That’s where she met the protesters, and there were a lot of them that year.

Those sweltering months would come to be known as the Summer of Mercy, when members of the bellicose antiabortion group Operation Rescue traveled to the Midwestern city in droves and swarmed abortion clinics. The next month and a half radically changed the politics of abortion in Kansas...


...Nearly three decades later, Burkhart sat down at her desk in a women’s clinic not far from the place where she first encountered the antiabortion activists. On Friday, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the state’s constitution fundamentally protects abortion rights.

The news flashed across her screen, and her staff rushed in to read it with her.

Kansans have “the ability to control one’s own body, to assert bodily integrity, and to exercise self-determination. This right allows a woman to make her own decisions regarding her body, health, family formation, and family life — decisions that can include whether to continue a pregnancy.”... 


...“I’m not sure it’s really sunk in yet,” she said Friday evening. “It means, for me … this has been worth the fight."

And there were times, over the past 20-some years, when she wondered whether it would be worth it — like in 2009, when an antiabortion extremist murdered her mentor, physician George Tiller, who also ran a clinic in Wichita...

All of which just goes to show that, maybe, just maybe, it is still possible for folks to understand what is actually best for them and theirs, especially if the fox-flung sand can be washed from their eyes and the hate radio prop-goop can be drained from their ears.



Thursday, May 02, 2019

Coddling All Whales.


The Dipper-mandated investigation of staff harassment at that casino with its own Canada Line station down at the edge of the Big Muddy is out and Bob Mackin has the fully story over at the Breaker.

Here are a few pull quotes from Uncle Bob's very thorough report:

...The Project Guardian report by Paladin Security senior investigator Jared Brin, commissioned by B.C. Lottery Corporation in November 2017, was published May 1 with the names of complainants redacted. The report said those who gambled with more money at the Great Canadian Gaming-owned casino were cut slack, even when those high-rollers misbehaved and harmed staff...


...“Two individuals told us that a manager or supervisor explicitly told them that they are to acknowledge and actively facilitate a different standard of behaviour for VIP patrons as compared to non-VIP patrons. According to several dealers and supervisors, verbal abuse bordering on uttering threats occurs daily, if not hourly,” said the 37-page report...


...Paladin was originally hired to examine complaints of sexual harassment by high rollers against staff, but it found problems much worse: at least 18 instances of documented physical assaults and at least seven instances of assault with weapons, at least four reported patron-on-staff instances of sexual harassment, and at least four unreported staff-on-staff instances of sexual harassment.

Paladin found one case of a table games dealer who had been threatened with death by a player, but the suspect was given only a 24-hour ban. Respondents said managers discouraged table games dealers from reporting assaults with unspecified weapons to the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch and RCMP...


It really is beginning to look like Big Rich and his very Fine Friends in High Rolling Places built the local Lotuslandian Whaling Tank Laundry Industry by completely dismantling oversight at the front end, the back end and all points in between.

And, of course, damn the consequences.

Imagine that!

In case anyone interested missed it...