Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Single Dose Thing.


There has been a lot of talk recently about the 'one dose of the Covid vaccine' approach to get it into as many people as quickly as possible.

The hot take media's ginning up of bad news after one dose has also begun and will no doubt only get worse.

But what do we actually know about single jab efficacy?

As Derek Lowe explains over at 'Science Translational Medicine Blogs', very little:

"...How protective is one dose?

We don’t know for (the AstraZeneca) vaccine, nor for the Pfizer/BioNTech one, nor for Moderna’s. No studies have been designed to find that out, so all we can do is guess based on what we’ve seen with the interval between doses in the two-dose studies. That’s been encouraging with the two mRNA vaccines, but remember: we don’t know how they are over a longer period, because no one was left without a second dose for that long. It’s certainly possible that without the second booster that the protection seen after one shot starts to wane. We do not know. And we know even less about the Oxford/AZ vaccine’s behavior under these conditions..."

So, what's driving this one dose approach and the rapid approval of the the adenoviral AstraZeneca vaccine in the UK? 

Well, if  the UK variant, which we discussed briefly here, is actually more infectious, potentially due to higher viral load, Mr. Lowe reckons that, purely from a public health point of view, there is likely great concern about the healthcare system being overwhelmed without a rapid vaccine-mediated tampdown:

...That situation in the UK appears to be one of the biggest factors driving the approval and rollout, and I see their point: this vaccine is indeed better than nothing, one shot for more people is likely to be better than two-shots-for-some, and it looks like they’re going to need all the help they can get. But “better than nothing” is a rough place to be....

And don't let that 'blog' tag fool you - As noted previously, Mr. Lowe has proven his bonafides around here.


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Krakencense And Murdoch's Slaughter.


By now you may have heard that Rupert Murdoch recently turned his ink-stained goons at the New York Post loose on (gasp!) Donald Trump:

...You had every right to investigate the election. But let’s be clear: Those efforts have found nothing. To take just two examples: Your campaign paid $3 million for a recount in two Wisconsin counties, and you lost by 87 more votes. Georgia did two recounts of the state, each time affirming Biden’s win. These ballots were counted by hand, which alone debunks the claims of a Venezuelan vote-manipulating Kraken conspiracy.

Sidney Powell is a crazy person. Michael Flynn suggesting martial law is tantamount to treason. It is shameful...


Now, ostensibly, this is all about saving the Georgia senate run-off seats for Republicans or some such thing:

...Stop thinking about Jan. 6. Start thinking about Jan. 5.

If Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler win, they will prevent Biden from rolling back what you have accomplished. A Republican Senate can pressure Biden against returning to the old, failed Iran deal, can stop him from throwing open our southern border, will prevent him from packing the Supreme Court...

Which is all fine and good for the political grift, I suppose.

But one can only wonder if there is another dollar-driven motive that is contributing to the apparent madness of going after the insane cash cow clown posse that is king Don and his court.

Specifically, have the Murdochs come to the conclusion that is now time to fish and cut the base* loose from the king's train before he takes them from Fox News to, say, O.A.N.? 

*Also known as the Murdochs' carefully trained and RAiles 'educated' audience share?


Your Evening Audio...Redemption Tweet.

Even though he was writing epic songs like this at the time, Mr. Isbell was a young kid who soon became a womanizing jerk and a drunk back when he was a member of the Drive-By Truckers and married to bassist Ms. Tucker.

This hearts-no-longer-hurting resolution, years later, makes me very happy,  indeed...


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Vaccines Don't Save People...Vaccines In Arms Do.


Nature Immunology Reviews recently published an excellent paper for non-experts like you and me titled, 'A guide to vaccinology: from basic principles to new developments' by Andrew Pollard and Else Bijker of Oxford.

This is the first paragraph of the Introduction:

Vaccines have transformed public health, particularly since national programmes for immunization first became properly established and coordinated in the 1960s. In countries with high vaccine programme coverage, many of the diseases that were previously responsible for the majority of childhood deaths have essentially disappeared (Fig. 1). The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 2–3 million lives are saved each year by current immunization programmes, contributing to the marked reduction in mortality of children less than 5 years of age globally from 93 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 39 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2018...

And while the entire thing is worth a read (it won't make your head hurt, promise), Figure 1 is, esssentially, the kicker:


Of course, once you've built and clinically tested a specific vaccine, the key is uptake.


In a world of disinformation, how are things going so far in the U.K.?

Nicola Davis has the latest on that in the the Guardian. Here is her lede:

Uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine has been high among those offered it, doctors say, despite fears that vaccine hesitancy could undermine efforts to control the pandemic.

Experts have feared mass uptake of the jab could be jeopardised by widespread misinformation, concerns among the public about the speed at which the vaccine has been developed and approved, and lack of trust in vaccines and the pharmaceutical companies and governments calling for it...

Will this trend hold in North America?

We shall see - especially given that, as reported by David Carrig today in the Vancouver Sun:

...Vaccines are expected to be widely available in B.C. in the second quarter of 2021...



Monday, December 28, 2020

What If The Numbers In Mr. Coleman's Vaccine Dissing Tweet Were Even Remotely Correct?


On Boxing Day, the former BC Liberal government Minister of Everything, Rich Coleman, posted the following, since deleted, tweet:


There are currently a little over five million people in British Columbia.


Even if the good Mr. Coleman was anywhere near correct with his numbers, well...

That would mean at least an extra ten thousand fewer British Columbians dead without the vaccines.

Which further means, according to the good Mr. Coleman at least, that the deleted tweet just 'wasn't that funny'.

Or some such thing.



Monday, December 21, 2020

Who's The Activist Now?


What's the big deal, you ask?

Well, first this:

Second, this:

And just in case it's not crystal clear what's really going on, the kinda/sorta masthead of former Clarklandian speechwriter Maclean Kay's way right-listing media organ


'Tip o the Toque to Union Will on the Twittmachine for the heads-up....Would have missed this as the good Mr. Shaw blocked me ages ago.


The Last Blockbuster On Earth.


Back in the olden times, when our kids were young, we used to go to our neighbourhood video store on Friday nights.

It was one of those places that was run entirely by cool kids (i.e. they both worked at and owned it).

The kids concerned were also snark free, which was a bonus, because it meant they always had great suggestions.

And that was important because it meant we didn't have to invoke the chain store rule, which was:

"Never go to the video store without a plan."

Anyway, the very last chain video store on earth, a Blockbuster, is alive and (apparently) well, smack dab in the middle of Oregon.

And over the weekend I read a capsule review by Glenn Kenney of a documentary that has been made about the place in my  dead-tree version of the New York Times.

I have no idea if the doc itself  is any good, but I sure liked the review's kicker:

"...Luckily (the store's) proprietor is the warm and ingratiating Sandi Harding, who reckons that by now she has given a job to almost every teenager in Bend, Oregon, where the store operates..."


How come I suddenly have a hankering to head over to Black Dog?

Although, I'm not entirely sure we have a device that can actually play a DVD in the house.

Our old-timey video store adventures, circa 2005, were described in a wee bit more
The sub-header is not meant to be derisive...My former editor came up with the transmogrification of the old HST saw back in the days when we used to drive up and down the I-5 looking for minor league baseball parks and/or places to hit fungos by the side of the road...And the thing about Oregon is that it is two very different states, divided in half both culturally and geographically by that north-south ribbon of Interstate.


Sunday, December 20, 2020

The 'UK Variant'.

Given that virology is not my thing, I know I've said before that I was going to limit my commentary on COVID-19.

However, the lack of coherent proMedia reportage on this 'UK variant', at least in terms of what it actually is and what it could do, is infuriating, particularly given all the attention that is being paid to things like whether or not Boris Johnson is an ogre, the hordes rushing to leave London, and the sudden international bans on UK travellers.

Luckily, the BBC's health guy, James Gallagher, has done an excellent job summing up what is currently known about this particular variant.

Here are his main points:

- The variant was first identified in September and by November it represented a quarter of London's cases. It now represents two-thirds of London's cases. Presumably, the concern in this regard is how fast it is becoming dominant which means that there could be positive selective pressures that are biology-based. However there could also be geographic and/or cultural explanations.

- Some of the mutations found in the viral variant affect the 'Spike' protein. This protein is the bit that sticks out from the surface of the virus and binds to goalposts on the surface of our cells. This binding is critical for infectivity. One of the mutations is on the bit of the spike that binds to the goalposts. Thus, this raises a possibility of increased infectivity.

- Another mutation in the 'Spike' may dampen immune responses to the virus and there are data from one group that this mutation can also increase infectivity in a laboratory setting.

- There is no laboratory, epidemiological or clinical evidence, at this point, that this variant makes people sicker and/or is more deadly.

- There is also no evidence, at this point, that this variant affects the response to the currently approved vaccines even though these vaccines work by tricking the immune system into making antibodies and mounting T-Cell responses to the 'Spike' protein. On the flip side it is mutation, generally, that generates 'vaccine escapers',  which is why you are likely to see some commentary about this in the coming days.

So, while the science is far from settled on this variant (and viral variants are common), you can see the cause for concern that has resulted in a strong public health response in the UK.

If you want to see
the science happening full-on, in almost real time, check this out...It's long and wonkish but you will quickly gain an appreciation for how many variants are zipping around out there and how lockdowns suppress their spread.


Saturday, December 19, 2020

Too Big To Flail.


From the Washington Post:

A Post analysis found 45 of the 50 biggest U.S. companies turned a profit since March. The majority of firms cut staff and gave the bulk of profits to shareholders...


Meanwhile, in the land of Mitch McConnell, a place where the common people have been bamboozled, over and over and over again, into voting against their own best interests, the unemployment insurance system is badly broken:

New Kentucky numbers on unemployment claims were as expected as the state saw more COVID-19 cases and stricter restrictions enforced by Gov. Andy Beshear.

According to the Labor Cabinet, total unresolved claims were 87,715 - a 14% jump from last week's total of 75,219 unresolved claims...

Why is this happening, you may be asking.

Well, you know...

After the 2008 recession revealed the weaknesses of the nation’s unemployment insurance systems, most states got to work upgrading their technology.

The need for such an overhaul was obvious, and the reason the federal government (of Barack Obama) set aside $7 billion in 2009 to modernize the nation’s unemployment systems.

Forty states took the free money. But Kentucky left it on the table.

The commonwealth missed out on a cool $90 million back then. But experts say the failure to bring Kentucky’s unemployment insurance system into the 21st century is costing Kentucky to this day...


...“The problem is we keep prioritizing keeping business taxes low at the expense of dislocated workers and our economy when we hit hard times,” said Jason Bailey, executive director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy...


Perhaps things would change if Mr. Shatner really were to go to bat for the....Common People.


Friday, December 18, 2020

Can A Hollowed-Out Dunbar Be Re-Filled?


Yesterday we commented on Douglas Todd's excellent two part opinion piece in the VSun that focussed on how Vancouver's Westside is being de-populated.  This led an interesting discussion in the comment thread when Mr. Beer 'N Hockey's favourite former pol weighed in.

Anyway, in the spirit of that post, I wanted to bring a really fantastic local blog to your attention.

It's called 'City Duo' and the proprietors, a young couple named Hannah and Darren, do a great service to Lotuslanders by reporting on all manner of city planning and development permit-type meetings.

This week they tell us all about a Town Hall involving the 'Urban Design Panel' in which a proposed rental building in Dunbar was discussed.

The following passage is a little dense in the detail but it does demonstrate why things often take so long to get done around here, even when NIMBYism is not (apparently) a major issue:

"...As city staff were cautious about what they were saying, it took some time for the panel to tease out the full explanation. Eventually, they revealed the policies to replace the Affordable Housing Choices IRP, and allow four floor rental buildings on select side streets had been delayed (pg 8) until after the Vancouver Plan is settled. Conversely, they claimed the planning department really wanted these initiatives to move forward, but couldn’t get ahead of a council that hasn’t acted..."

Check out City Duo if this kind of sustained and engaged reportage interests you. Which it should, if only because local proMedia organs rarely do this kind of hard work anymore.

And if you have become
one of those folks, like even me I guess, who is having a harder and harder time dealing with long form linear type, the Duo's also have a Twittmachine feed.


The Wood Splitter, Revisited.


Bob Mackin has the latest...

...RCMP announced Dec. 18 that Craig Harley James is facing four counts of breach of trust by a public officer and two counts of fraud over $5,000 after more than two years under investigation. The B.C. Prosecution Service announced the indictment was filed Dec. 17 and James made his first appearance in Victoria Provincial Court on Dec. 18. His next appearance is Jan. 27, 2021.

The charges relate to James’s $257,988.38 pension allowance, the purchase of a wood splitter and trailer, and submitting travel expense claims for personal travel...

Enough said?

And, just in case you missed it, The Splitter has its very own Twittmachine feed to call its own.


Thursday, December 17, 2020

The Hollowing Out Of Lotusland.


When we moved back to Lotusland in the mid-90's we were lucky enough to rent a bungalow in almost Dunbar for $1,200 a month.

Two years later the off-shore owners told us they were going to tear it down unless we wanted to buy it for $255,000.

We decided they were crazy to ask that much and instead moved into a row house out on the free held edge of campus where we tried to build an equity co-op.

The latter venture gained us a whole lot of friends but it didn't work out in the end thanks to the (very) predictable machinations of GordCo, Inc.

And so, in the end we bought a house in the near-Eastern Townships for a whole lot more money than those fine folks wanted for the tear down in Mackenzie Heights.

Which is where we've lived ever since.

Meanwhile, back over on the westside of town:

...A stream of offshore buyers seeking a safe haven for their capital has contributed to the incredible inflation of the west side’s housing values and to the thinning out of residents, says Andy Yan, head of Simon Fraser University’s City Program.

“You’ve lost households, and you’ve lost people, on the west side, neither of which is good. It’s becoming a weird place, where you have a certain amount of empty and under-occupied homes … The west side has roughly the same number of dwellings it once had. But there are fewer people. That’s what makes this not work out,” said Yan.

“There’s been a shift change. The normal cycle of a neighbourhood, in which older households move out and younger households move in, has seized up,” said Yan, citing his analysis of 2016 census data, which reveals thousands fewer people are now living in Kerrisdale, Arbutus, Dunbar and to some extent Point Grey...

The thing is, judging by the rapidly rising European SUV quotient in our neighbourhood, I am not convinced that that the hollowing out is not moving eastward across the city.


The pull quote, above, is from Douglas Todd's excellent two part opinion piece recently published in the Vancouver Sun.


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Anti-Progressive Tax Cuts: The Trickle Only Goes One Way (And It Is Not Down).


A group at the London School of Economics has studied 50 years of massive tax cuts that destroy progressivity and this is what they conclude:

This paper uses data from 18 OECD countries over the last five decades to estimate the causal effect of major tax cuts for the rich on income inequality, economic growth, and un- employment. First, we use a new encompassing measure of taxes on the rich to identify in- stances of major reductions in tax progressivity. Then, we look at the causal effect of these episodes on economic outcomes by applying a nonparametric generalization of the differ- ence-in-differences indicator that implements Mahalanobis matching in panel data analysis. We find that major reforms reducing taxes on the rich lead to higher income inequality as measured by the top 1% share of pre-tax national income. The effect remains stable in the medium term. In contrast, such reforms do not have any significant effect on economic growth and unemployment.


Not only do voodoo economics not trickle down, they also do not make things better economically.

And yet those that have been screwed the worst keep voting against their own best interests.

This is a topic we've been discussing around here recently (see, for example, the comments here) and it is something we will return to in the future.


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The Grifter Went Down To Georgia...


Now that the faux election fraud grift is starting to wind down, Mr. Trump needs a new way to keep on separating the rubes from their money.

And it would appear that he has found such a way - at least in the short term.

Melissa Quinn has the story for CBS News:

For Republicans fighting to maintain their hold on the Senate, the stakes for the party in Georgia could not be higher: "The Georgia Runoff Election is right around the corner and the fate of the Nation hangs in the balance," proclaimed an email from President Trump's joint fundraising venture with the Republican National Committee.


...But while the solicitations for the "Georgia Election Fund" purport to raise money to help GOP Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler win reelection, the fine print of the emails sent to Mr. Trump's supporters shows the majority of each donation will go to the president's own political action committee, Save America...

One can only wonder if, come February when all the elections are done,  he and his will suddenly pivot to raise money for a bigger, better, more beautiful knock-off vaccine that is being developed by the brightest minds at Trump University. Of course, the fine print will very likely say that the faux vaccine will be 100% effective against ice cream headaches and will be delivered by  novelty.....errrr.... refrigerated TrumpTrucks with twinkly music that are way better than anything those bozos at UPS drive.

Or some such thing.



Sunday, December 13, 2020

The Brownshirts Go To Washington.


And we're not just talking about an apparently unauthorized wink, wink, nudge, nudgeian trips to the White House:

The leader of far-right group, the Proud Boys, visited the White House on Saturday, the same day that thousands of the president’s supporters rallied in DC to protest the Supreme Court’s decision to toss out Republicans’ latest election challenge.

“Last minute invite to an undisclosed location,” Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio posted on Parler, the conservative alternative to Twitter. “Wow… I’m in awe. #Trump2020.”...


Because the brownshirts also did their (real) thing on the streets of Washington yesterday. 

The following is a transcript from Hannah Allam's report on NPR this morning:

"...Later the same day (after Tarrio's visit to the White House) I saw his supporters corner and beat two young black men..."

Which, of course, is a very different thing, indeed, from painting obscenities on their butts  and flashing them for the click-bait-driven cameras (no link - on purpose).

But all still part of the same game.



Saturday, December 12, 2020

Speaking Truth To Senator Ted.


It would appear that the Senator from Calgary....errrr...Texas missed something:

Vancouver-based Acuitas Therapeutics was born in the aftermath of a messy breakup a decade ago between a handful of top scientists and a company they helped found...


...Today, their lipid nanoparticle technology is being used to deliver COVID-19 vaccines into cells by CureVac and a partnership between BioNTech and Pfizer...

Essentially, these folks make little lipid, membrane-like envelopes that wrap around the mRNA so that it can be taken up by cells in the body.


Is it possible that the Canadian-born Mr. Cruz missed all that while he was busy trying to gobble up the Trump base all in one go last week?


The Dean Buries Mr. Cullen's Lede.


After futzing around for twenty-five straight paragraphs about how hard it is to estimate the scope, in dollar terms, of money laundering in British Columbia, the Vancouver Sun's Vaughn Palmer finally gets to the kicker of Commissioner Austin Cullen's interim report at the very bottom of his latest column:

...“The failure to respond to money laundering activity sends a message that unlawful and socially destructive activity will be tolerated.”

Mindful of the possibility that the activity has been too-often tolerated in B.C., he (Cullen) adds: “It leaves custodians of the political and economic system open to criticism that they are complicit in that enterprise of criminality and encourages those involved in criminal conduct to continue their unlawful behaviour.”

The latter sounds like one of those keeper quotes, to be played back if the final report, as expected, faults the previous B.C. Liberal government for negligence or worse in dealing with money laundering in B.C.


Ya think?

Subheader?  Again, ...This.
Mr. Cullen's full interim report is...Here.


Friday, December 11, 2020

Zombie Lawsuit Killed, Dead, By Activist Trump Judges.


We talked about this lawsuit yesterday...

And now, as David Smith of The Guardian reports, it is dead.

Here is the lede:

The US supreme court has unanimously rejected a baseless lawsuit filed by Texas seeking to overturn the presidential election result, dealing the biggest blow yet to Donald Trump’s assault on democracy.

In a brief, one page order, all nine justices on America’s highest court dismissed the longshot effort to throw out the vote counts in four states that the president lost: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin...

And here is the kicker:

...Trump had long expressed hope that a disputed election would go before the supreme court, to which he appointed three justices during his term, ensuring a 6-3 conservative majority. Earlier on Friday he tweeted: “If the Supreme Court shows great Wisdom and Courage, the American People will win perhaps the most important case in history, and our Electoral Process will be respected again!”

But hours later, his hopes of a political miracle were all but extinguished. The supreme court wrote: “The State of Texas’s motion for leave to file a bill of complaint is denied for lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution."....

Regardless, do not for (less than) one femtosecond (to the negative fourth power!) think that this will slow Mr. Trump's fundraising juggernaut.




Has The 'Pro Athletes Are Special' Charm Offensive Begun?


A most interesting lede from a fellow named Rick Westhead yesterday who just happens to write for a decidedly not disinterested Canuckistanian media organization called 'The Sports Network':

Imagine NHL icon Sidney Crosby, U.S. Open winner Bianca Andreescu or rising NBA star Jamal Murray rolling up their sleeves and smiling into cameras as healthcare workers inject them with a COVID-19 vaccine.

Would seeing and hearing from prominent sports stars who agree to be inoculated help convince Canadians who are hesitant about the prospect?...

Expect more of this kind of codswallop from a media organ grinder monkey site near you soon!

And then watch for the moment when 'serious' commentators start to wonder aloud if the 'good' that can be done just might, perhaps, justify queue jumping.

For the 'good' of the little people, of course.


To his credit
Mr. Westhead does include a description, buried way, way under the lede, about how things went off the rails PR-wise when the Calgary Flames 'constituents' got the swine flu vaccine ahead of vulnerable citizens in 2009.


Thursday, December 10, 2020

One Hundred And Six.


You may have heard about this crazy, fact-free lawsuit from the indicted attorney general of Texas that is seeking to overturn the presidential election result in four critical swing states - Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

But what you may not know is the following, as reported by Adam Liptak and Jeremy Peters of the NYTimes:

...The lawsuit, filed by the Republican attorney general of Texas and backed by his G.O.P. colleagues in 17 other states and 106 Republican members of Congress, represents the most coordinated, politicized attempt to overturn the will of the voters in recent American history...

106 members of Congress publicly support this thing?


It would appear that a whole lot of lickspittleian congress critters are plenty scared of the very base they have helped coddle, lo these many years.

And do not forget that the fine folks running the Lincoln Project helped build that base.
As Keith notes in the comments, the number is now 126.


Wait Your Freaking Turn!

There is are legitimate reasons why we, as a society, are prioritizing who gets the initial doses of the vaccine first.

And, to the best of my knowledge, NHL 'constituents' are neither a vulnerable population nor frontline, essential workers.

But if any member of those two latter groups do not receive the vaccine in the timeliest manner because still scarce doses disappear due to private sales...


The backtracking (thanks Lew!) is nonsensical...If they are not going to line jump why do they need to make their 'private' purchase?


Saturday, December 05, 2020

Grifting The Faux Election Fraud Lilly


"There are no jokes. The truth is the funniest joke of all."


What, exactly, is this fact-free election fraud business all about anyway, Alfie?

Well, it would appear that there is only one certainty.

And that is a relentless, run out the clock full court press to separate the rubes from their money:

Simon Lewis of Reuters has the latest total:

President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee have raised $207.5 million since Election Day, according to a statement on Thursday, gathering donations to pay for challenges to Democrat Joe Biden’s win in the Nov. 3 poll.

The post-election fundraising haul brought the combined fundraising of Trump committees between Oct. 15 and Nov. 23 to $495 million, the Trump campaign said...

And what will Mr Trump do with all that money?

Well, he and his told the rubes one thing, but, well, you know...

...Soon after the election, Trump’s campaign began sending solicitations to supporters by email and text making pleas for donations to an “Official Election Defense Fund” to “protect the results and keep fighting even after Election Day.”

The fine print made clear most of the money would go to other priorities, including retiring the debts of Trump’s campaign...

Imagine that - corroding what is left of the American body politic, on purpose, for money.

Would'a thunk it.

Sorry for the comment fluctuation...Still dealing with the Troll problem.


Thursday, December 03, 2020

In His Own Words...Mr. Coleman Explains Who Killed IGET.


From Sam Cooper's latest Cullen Commission report over at Global News:

The former commanding officer of a B.C. RCMP anti-illegal gaming unit says he was stunned when the provincial government disbanded his unit in 2009, even after he warned it that the decision would allow organized crime to operate “with impunity.”

Insp. Wayne Holland, who took control of the anti-illegal gaming unit in 2007, told a public inquiry into money laundering on Wednesday that he expected B.C.’s government to agree with the RCMP’s plan to double his unit’s size to 24 officers.

He told the Cullen Commission that the unit had been chronically understaffed, and in late 2008, he had presented a threat assessment that showed organized crime, money laundering and loan sharking were deeply embedded in B.C. Lottery Corporation casinos....


...Holland said he was never informed who made the decision to disband his unit, but said “in my mind, it would be Mr. Coleman.”...


Didn't we once listen to Mr Coleman tell Sean Holman that it was he who killed IGET?

Why, yes we did.

In 2010:

..."I had a team that wasn't working (i.e. in 2009) and it was costing the taxpayers money. I decided to do it differently and get better results."...

Better results, indeed.

As I've noted before, in my opinion Mr. Holman's ten year-old interview with Mr. Coleman should be exhibit 1A at the Cullen Inquiry.
Apologies for any delay in comments appearing...Dealing with a troll infestation.


Sunday, November 29, 2020

You Can Fool Some Of The Billionaires Some Of The Time...


From Richard Luscombe in The Guardian:

A Donald Trump supporter who donated $2.5m to help expose and prosecute claims of fraud in the presidential election wants his money back after what he says are “disappointing results”.

Fredric Eshelman, a businessman from North Carolina, said he gave the money to True the Vote, a pro-Trump “election ethics” group in Texas that promised to file lawsuits in seven swing states as part of its push to “investigate, litigate, and expose suspected illegal balloting and fraud in the 2020 general election”.

But according to a lawsuit Eshelman filed this week in Houston, first reported by Bloomberg, True the Vote dropped its legal actions and discontinued its Validate the Vote 2020 campaign, then refused to return his calls when he demanded an explanation...


As you might have guessed the grifters eventually doubled down at 40 cents on the dollar:

...True the Vote had offered him (Eshelman) $1 million if he would drop any plans for a lawsuit...

Imagine that!

The WaPo has a solid account about how the sycophants and quislings surrounding Mr. Trump have facilitated the coup de grift at every


Saturday, November 28, 2020

Killing Hundreds Of Thousands With Malice Aforethought.


From the Associated Press:

Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty Tuesday (Nov 24th) to three criminal charges, formally admitting its role in an opioid epidemic that has contributed to hundreds of thousands of deaths over the past two decades.

In a virtual hearing with a federal judge in Newark, N.J., the OxyContin maker admitted impeding the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's efforts to combat the addiction crisis.

Purdue also acknowledged that it had not maintained an effective program to prevent prescription drugs from being diverted to the black market, even though it had told the DEA it did have such a program, and that it provided misleading information to the agency as a way to boost company manufacturing quotas.

It also admitted paying doctors through a speakers program to induce them to write more prescriptions for its painkillers...


What would Nancy Reagan have said?


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Money Laundering In B.C..... The Thirty-Fifth Origin Story.


Super busy with all this online teaching stuff, but...

Just wanted to mention that Sean Holman wrote 34 stories about issues surrounding gaming enforcement back in the darkest days of GordCo, Inc. (i.e. 2009).

Now he has written a thirty-fifth.

If you haven't already, go read Sean's latest over at The Tyee.

I'll be back
with more in a few days once this frenzy subsides a little...
And, ya, just for Sean, the sub-header earworm is...This.


Sunday, November 15, 2020

The Keef Report...Always Be Pimping.


The first rule of Keef Club....

Always be pimping each other's stuff.

As circularly as possible.

Previous Keef Reports can be found...Here.


Saturday, November 14, 2020

Ms. Thornthwaite Explains...Sort Of.


Former BC Liberal Party MLA Jane Thornthwaite has written an Op-Ed that was published today in the Vancouver Sun.

According to the good Ms. Thornthwaite, pretty much everything that happened to her after the voters of British Columbia learned that she had shamed a fellow MLA in a sexist manner on a BC Liberal Party-sanctioned video call is everyone else's fault.

...As soon as I saw the recording of the roast video I should have immediately apologized. The fact that I didn’t was a mistake that I sincerely regret, which is why, shortly after, I did. Our leader, on the other hand, waited another two days before addressing the issue, which meant the platform announcement did not get the attention it deserved...'

...Listening to Andrew Wilkinson tell British Columbians that I made a fool of myself” despite saying the opposite to me privately was soul crushing and likely cemented the loss of my seat...

...I received no negative feedback from the roast prior to it becoming public: In fact a senior staffer messaged me after the roast. “Great Job Jane. You were good. This is fun to watch.”...

... (L)istening to Wilkinson throw me under the bus, I experienced what many women in our organization have experienced — a double standard between the treatment of men and women...

...Wilkinson never said Laurie Throness “made a fool” of himself when he refused to stop advertising in a magazine containing anti LBGTQ2+ content. Or when he likened free birth control to eugenics. I never heard Wilkinson call male MLAs “fools” after they took part in rallies against a woman’s right to choose or when they advertised for federal campaigns after being told not to do so...

For this, we thank Ms. Thornthwaite.

After all, it is good to know, if only after the fact, that her party's soon-to-be-former leader traffics in double standards and that at least one senior party staffer thinks that such shaming is 'fun to watch'.

But here's a question...

If Ms. Thornthwaite had retained her seat in the legislature would she be educating the voters of British Columbia as to the rotten core of her party right here, right now, three weeks after the provincial election?


As to what she, herself, actually said on that video call?

Well, just before she apologized to the MLA she shamed,  Ms. Thornthwaite also wrote the following:

...I made a terrible mistake. This is not who I am and is not reflective of the decades I’ve spent advocating for women in politics...

That is most definitely good to know.


Those things that you actually said on that Zoom call, Ms. Thornthwaite.

Those things that denigrated another woman.

They were your words.

And those words came from your thoughts.

And saying those words that came from your thoughts was actually your deed.



Friday, November 13, 2020

Cullen Inquiry...Three Way Showdown Coming Down.


Ian Mulgrew of the VSun is reporting that there is a big showdown coming at the Cullen Inquiry. Here is his lede (and a wee bit more):

Former Solicitor-General Kash Heed will get his showdown on Tuesday with the former Mountie who trashed him and former cabinet colleague Rich Coleman at the B.C. Commission Into Money Laundering.

The former RCMP officer-in-charge of the Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team from 2005 until December 2007, Fred Pinnock, told the commission he tried to warn Coleman about the infiltration of organized crime in casinos starting in 2009, but was spurned...


...When pressed for evidence, Pinnock produced secret recordings from 2018 in which he claimed Heed confirmed those 2009 allegations.

Scandalized, Heed demanded the right to appear at the commission to cross-examine the man who described himself as a former colleague and friend. Cullen said he deserved the opportunity...

Meanwhile, again, courtesy Sean Holman, circa 2010... Here is what we believe should now and forever be, Exhibit 1A:



For more context,
Sam Cooper has a very good Twittmachine thread...Here.


One Stop Audio Shop...

Our latest audio blogs all in one place...


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Quitting, LLC.


I came across the story quoted below, by CTV's Shannon Paterson, after the release of the first round of B.C.'s provincial election results.

And then I promptly forgot about it until recently when I stumbled upon it while culling my bookmarks post-election results release, part deux:

Christy Clark isn't surprised BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson announced he's stepping down just two days after disastrous election for his party.

"If I was in his shoes, I would say, 'Well, why would you want to stick around?' Really, what for?" said the former premier, who stepped down herself after the Liberals won the most seats in the 2017 election, but failed to form government...


...Clark believes whoever takes the helm of the party next needs to have a message beyond the Liberals' traditional economic one.

"Issues like racial justice, the wage gap for women, access to child care, climate change. Those are things the BC Liberals, we used to all about a lot more than we do now," said Clark. "I think it's about the sense that people look at a leader and say they authentically care about the issues that concern them." ...

Word salad aside, why wouldn't an actual leader maybe, perhaps, want to stick around and try to rebuild a political party by bringing issues that people 'authentically care about' to the fore? 


Is it possible that they might decide to 'not stick around', at least in part, because they might have a nice, cushy senior advisor-type gig to parachute into?

A gig, like, say, this:

And what, pray tell, might a leader who doesn't want to stick around do, post-parachute deployment?

Why, make podcasts, of course!


For the record, the above is an audio experience that I, for one, plan to miss on purpose.

Especially given the double-whammy of the involvement of the good Ms. Clark and the old needle thrower himself, Johnny Baird.

And, yes
, I do still have a memory and I plan to keep on using it...


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The Emperor's New Coup.


As I've mentioned before, I listen to way too much National Public Radio.

It all started a long time ago, back in the time of Clinton, when we lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, and between Giants and A's games I would play NPR incessantly on the old analog radio propped up on my lab bench.

Mostly, it was an audio buffet of nice, polite Americana running running in the background while I spent twelve or fourteen hours a day shuffling between the culture hood and the nearby microscope to do stuff like, say, this.


These days I usually punch up the Bay Area affiliate, KQED, on my phone early in the morning to listen to the California Report, Marketplace and All Things Considered, all of which are wrapped around Joe McConnell's traffic reports. That way, in addition to hearing about who governor Gavin Newsom might choose to fill Kamala Harris' soon-to-be empty Senate seat, I always know where the crashes are on the I-80 freeway between Berkeley and the Bay Bridge.

All-in-all, even now, it's pretty soothing.

But this week something has increasingly gotten under my skin, which is the way on a whole lotta levels, be they local, regional or national, everybody just keeps on reporting and commenting on, matter of factly, what the good Mr. Trump and his minions are up to as they their best, post-election, to subvert what remains of American democracy.

Meanwhile, there is stuff like this out there, from Ezra Klein of Vox:

...The Trump administration’s current strategy is to go to court to try and get votes for Biden ruled illegitimate, and that strategy explicitly rests on Trump’s appointees honoring a debt the administration, at least, believes they owe. One of his legal advisers said, “We’re waiting for the United States Supreme Court — of which the President has nominated three justices — to step in and do something. And hopefully Amy Coney Barrett will come through.”

If that fails, and it will, Mark Levin, one of the nation’s most popular conservative radio hosts, is explicitly calling on Republican legislatures to reject the election results and seat Donald Trump as president anyway...

Is this not the real story of the man who would be emperor, his clothes, and his coup?

Mr. Klein
himself can sometimes climb the smooth-o-meter a little too far when he talks about his own favourite pet subject which is how to 'reasonably' deal with the polarization of American politics which he views as a both sides/duopoly-driven game...More on that another time...Maybe.
Update: A. Reader has pointed out that Mr. Mason of BellGlobeCTVRDSTSNMuchCrunchMedia and I are in agreement on this one...Jeebuz!....First it was the Keef and now...This....What is this world coming to?


Saturday, November 07, 2020

Bury His (Political) Heart At Monashee?



Sunday Noon Update: Looks like mail-ins will most likely result in NDP flipping two from BCL (Vernon-Monashee and Abbotsford-Mission) and BCL flipping one from Greens (WestVan-S2S)...

Last week we learned that Mr. Andrew Wilkinson's heart had gone out to failed incumbent Ms. Jane Thornthwaite in the wake of the latter's disgraceful comments on that infamous BC Liberal party sanctioned Zoom call that the then party leader failed to call out at the time (or at any reasonable time thereafter).


It would appear that is what is left of the good Mr. Wilkinson's political heart just might be buried at Vernon-Monashee.

The old CP warhorse Dirk Meissner has the call:

...Liberal incumbent Eric Foster started Friday with a lead of almost 200 votes over New Democrat Harwinder Sadhu, but he now trails the newcomer by 50 votes in Vernon-Monashee...

As for the other ridings in play...

Well, here's hoping that Angus Reid and Co's pseudo-predictive pre-election poll from back in the day was/is still right:


On the flipside, pretty sure that Mr. Beer 'N Hockey is jumping for joy while he stomps on the Saturday terra out in Abbotsord...
And, yes, have been sitting on that header for a full week now...
And, double-yes, my Sammyfreude, writ wide, has not yet subsided...
Update: Saturday afternoon...Two-thirds of they way through the mail-ins it looks like the AReid poll was/is pretty much bang-on...As a result, Dipper lead in Chilliwack-Kent increased by a thousand votes...One bit of weirdness now has fellow Zoom call member, Jason Sturdy, who at least kinda/sorta tried to do the right thing right after, is now up slightly over the Greeniac in WestVan.
Updatier: Saturday night...It now looks like Kamloops-North Thompson just might be in play...BCLer Milobar's lead on Dipper Hunter down to 400+ votes with 1,300+ left to count.


For Our American Friends....You Will, Indeed, Make It Through This Year.


Apropos of pretty much everything...


Monday, November 02, 2020

Mr. Wilkinson's 'Most Trivial Thing'.


Bob Mackin got ahold of a post-election BC Liberal Caucus call, and Mr. Wilkinson's comments on that infamous Zoom session make it abundantly clear that he does not understand what 'trivial' means.

...“Jane (Thornthwaite) and I talked the day after, during the fuss, and I said to Jane, we’ve got to stick together, call me anytime. My heart goes out to Jane,” Wilkinson said.

“In this role you can be skewered for the most trivial thing. In today’s media world, it’s just fundamentally unfair, the fact that those remarks got out was a big problem.”...

The fact that it 'got out' was a 'big problem'? It was a publicly advertised fundraiser for gosh sakes!

As for Mr. Wilkinson's heart and who it goes out to?


We'll just leave that one alone entirely.

So where were Wilky's Wizards at the time?...
Well, they were on the Twittmachine essentially, you guessed it, trivializing the matter...This Sgt. Schultz strategy by the Wizardry was fleshed out by Justine Hunter and Ian Bailey in the Globe and Mail  last weekend (i.e. weeks after the fact unlike, say, idiot bloggers who were actually paying attention as the actual deal was going down at the actual time)...


Sunday, November 01, 2020

The Keef Report...You Have Not Heard This One Before.

Didn't think this would ever happen, but...

On this one I actually agree with the Keef.

Imagine that!

Keef Reports can be found...Here.


Friday, October 30, 2020

Wither BC's 'Liberal' Party?...The Ron Gets More Oblivious Than Ever With His Obviousness.


BellGlobeCTVTSNRDSMTViHeartBNNVrakMuchStarz' western columnist man-about-Lotusland-town, Gary Mason, has just published a piece about why the British Columbia Liberal Party needs a new, more 'inclusive' name.

As near as we can figure it, Mr. Mason's thesis is that such a change will make it possible for finest-of-the-fine, hard core conservative-types like the oft-quoted ol' turdstormer himself, Bill Bennett, to keep voting for whatever the BCL currently constituted party re-brands itself as.

Which is bad enough, on its face, for the very obvious reason that the good Mr. Mason ignores (see bottom of the post).

But, to make matters more laughable, the Globe's western man writes this:

...This isn’t the first time that a rebrand under a more inclusive-sounding moniker has been mooted. It was a topic of discussion in the 1990s when the party found itself on the outside looking in while the NDP ruled British Columbia...


Let's have a look at the actual fact of that 1990's matter, shall we.

Which is...

The post-Socred, bagman-reconstituted, made-man-led BC Liberal Party never, ever held power in this province before the Dipper wipeout of 2001.

In fact, if you look at the historical provincial summary, above, it is obvious (there is that word again) that, prior to the rise of the Socred tent pole in the '50's, the Liberal party last won an election in British Columbia in 1941 back, when it was actually liberal, for real, as evidenced by the fact that it beat the actual Conservative party at the time.


So, what is that other obvious, and important if you have been paying actual attention, thing that Mr. Mason does not once mention in his latest digital fish wrap offering that wanders off into climate change pontification territory?

Well, it is the fact that it was not the far right side of the ledger that was the BCL's really big voter loss problem in the election just past.

Instead, what they really need to worry about is that big chunk that the now economically Dr. No-free Mr. Horgan managed take out of the center of the electorate.

And no name change that makes uber-Cons like Bill Bennet happy is going to solve that problem for the party of the bagmen.


What's all the 'Ron Obvious' stuff about?...This.


Your Evening Audio...Mr. Prine's Double-Edged Lyrical Sword.


There are many things that make the work of John Prine great.

Just one of them was the way that he could write a lyric that could simultaneously evoke two opposing emotions in the listener.

Like, say, happiness and sadness or comedy and tragedy

Despite this, I always figured that Mr. Prine knew exactly how he, himself, felt about the subjects of his own writing.

Now I'm not so sure.

What changed?

Well, as so often happens, when I decide to butcher someone's song, I go searching for all the live versions I can find

This time it was Prine's 'All The Best'.

In early live versions of the tune, which was released almost three decades ago, Mr. Prine picks, hard at a festering wound when he serves up a pre-amble that mentions how he recently received 'a divorce for a Christmas'. In the immediate aftermath  Prine and a friend went out and bought an electric train that they promptly nailed to the dining room table 'just because we could'. 

It was an acid-laced commentary from a still relatively young writer that left no doubt about how he felt about the subject of the song at that time.

However, in recent years an aging Prine became much more kind-hearted and empathetic when he introduced and sang the song.

Personally, I like to think that the lyrics of the younger Mr. Prine, not to mention his funky way of dealing with an otherwise standard 1/4/5 chord progression, helped an aging Mr. Prine coax his better angel to the fore.

Then again, what the heck do I know...

Image at the top of the post....A young Prine with another denizen of the Chicago folk scene back in the early 1970's, Steve Goodman.


Thursday, October 29, 2020

Bloggodome Bat Signal.

Those of you who have spent any time hanging around here at all likely know of  'Mr. Beer and Hockey'.

For all the right reasons. 

And I'm not talking about, as he calls it, 'The Jerry Jeff Walker act'.


Beer is going through the toughest of tough things imaginable at the moment.

So head on over to his establishment and give him a shout.

It's the least we can do.

The non-blog
, real world story is here.


The Cullen Inquiry: IGET We Hardly Knew Thee.


Former GordCo, Inc. and Clarklandian 'Minister of Everything', Rich Coleman, dismantled the 'Illegal Gambling Enforcement Team' (IGET) in 2009.

This is what the Mr. Coleman told Sean Holman in 2010:

"I had a team that wasn't working (i.e. in 2009) and it was costing the taxpayers money. I decided to do it differently and get better results."

And as a result of those 'better results' the following, according to Ian Mulgrew in the VSun,  is what happened in 2012:

...The Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Launderingheard Wednesday that apparently, at its height, casinos were swamped with $63 million in the first nine months of 2012 alone — $44 million in $20 bills...


That's a lot of hockey bags.

Personally, I am of the opinion that the video of the interview that Mr. Holman conducted with Mr. Coleman back in 2010 should be, at the very least, Exhibit 1A at the Inquiry...


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Not With A Bang, But A...


Oh gosh, hang on a second. I think I've got this one wrong.



Michigan Court of Claims Judge Christopher Murray issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday that effectively halts Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson's directive banning the open carry of guns near polling locations on Election Day...


I'm sorry to say this about a place where I once lived and still do love, mostly because of the people we got to know so well while were there, but...

I honestly fear that if Mr. Trump wins AND the Democrats do not take back the Senate next week that this really will be the end of America as we know it.

Regardless whether there are bangs, bang-bangs, whimpers, or all three put together, involved.


The quote, above, is from the lede of a piece by Beth Leblanc in yesterday's Detroit News...And lest you think this post is nothing but hyperbole, do not forget that Michigan is the state where, at least in part due to the bleatings of President ALL CAPS, a group of deranged hollowed out 'men' tried to...Do this.