Saturday, February 29, 2020

Ask Not For Whom The Algorithm Tolls...


It was my kids who recently convinced me to take the plunge into the perpetual renting of audio content that is Spotify.

And I must confess that there is a lot I like about it, particularly from the point of view of instant aural gratification.

Because, I mean, really, if I wasn't using the app would I have ever bothered to hunt down the remastered version of 'Exile on Main Street' for no good reason at all?

Anyway, how does what I listen to possibly explain the following, which popped up out of nowhere when I logged on yesterday...


Only the E's, and maybe C., will get that subheader....For good reason!


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Who Does Teck Really Blame?


Update: See comments for a grown-up discusion about what really went, and is going, down...

From Teck CEO David Lindsay's letter to federal environment minister Jonathan Wilkinson explaining why he and his have decided not to go ahead with their massive Frontier tar sands extraction project in Mr. Kenney's Alberta:

...(G)lobal capital markets are changing rapidly and investors and customers are increasingly looking for jurisdictions to have a framework in place that reconciles resource development and climate change, in order to produce the cleanest possible products. This does not yet exist here today and, unfortunately, the growing debate around this issue has placed Frontier and our company squarely at the nexus of much broader issues that need to be resolved. In that context, it is now evident that there is no constructive path forward for the project...


One can only wonder who, exactly, Mr. Lindsay was pointing at there?

If you get my drift.

Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, the letter in its entirety spreads the blame around to everyone except, perhaps, Don Getty's chin strap...
Tip O' The Toque to Jen Gerson and Sandy Garossino for bringing this matter up during the latest edition of Canadaland's 'Oppo'....However, just to be clear, I did have a problem with some of the other stuff in their podcast which I'll comment on later. 


AudioBlog...Songs In The Key Of 'E'.


Bigger E. came over yesterday afternoon so that we could play together for awhile before she headed downtown to do her thing for the post-hockey game crowds.

We had been fiddling around with an old Conor Oberst tune but I confessed that that particular song seemed a little too weird to be a father and daughter thing.

Then she showed me how to conquer a great Craig Finn song about being in the East Village, on a roof top, during 9/11. It's a lyrical tour-de-force that could only be a solo rather than a 'Hold Steady' record. Regardless, what we really got into was the actual guitar playing of 'Newmyer's Roof', the intricacies of which were easy for her but not so much for me given that a lot of it was foreign/up-the-neck territory for my fingers.

Anyway, in the end, the song we decided to turn into binary numbers is a Lucinda Williams classic from her 1998 album, 'Car Wheels On A Gravel Road'. 

This one is pretty much all E...


The following is a description of the tune above taken from a fantastic portrait of Ms. Williams by Bill Buford that was first published in the New Yorker twenty years ago:

'...It’s a bit of mythmaking, by a poet of loss, about a place that’s receding from experience, and that might never have been there in the first place. And Williams knows this. She has never been to Rosedale, Mississippi. She’s never seen the Magic City juke joint, except in a picture book...'

And, just in case you were wondering
, littler e. is home from school this week for reading break...In addition to her social butterflying and dancing the week away, she has also agreed to put aside a little time to conjure up the poster for our upcoming musical extravaganza (details to follow)...


Sunday, February 23, 2020

Why The DNC And The PodSave Boys Are (Really) Freaking Out Now...


Sure, Bernie Sanders won Nevada.

But the real kicker is how he won:

...The demographics of Sanders’ victory, however, suggested that he may have earned a foothold in diverse states which mirror the Democratic base more closely than Iowa and New Hampshire.

In Nevada, according to CNN entrance polls, Sanders took 51% of the Latino vote, way ahead of any rival, and did well with African Americans...

Why does that matter?

Because there is only one reason Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination in 2016:


The status-quoists can no longer comfort themselves with thoughts and rationalizations of how Iowa and New Hampshire didn't matter because their populations don't look like the rest of America.

And now, it looks like things are changing in South Carolina too:


Is it possible that we just might get an answer to the question that just a few months ago seemed unanswerable.

Which is..

...Would Mr. Sanders have beaten Mr. Trump in 2016?

And so the pushback of the status-quoists begins.


Saturday, February 22, 2020

What, Exactly, Is Mr. Wilkinson Asking For?


From the leader of the BC Liberal Party's twittmachine feed, Saturday:


What does the good Mr. Wilkinson actually want done?

More regulation that he, his friends and his political uncles can then call 'red tape' that must be reduced, preferably on, say, a super-special media stunt-fueled 'day'?

Subsidies of multinational insurance corporations that he, his friends and political uncles would then decry before later burying the costs under some sort of super-secretive 'Advantage' project?

Nationalization of the property insurance industry while he, his friends and his political uncles simultaneously call for the dismantling of ICBC?

The (stealthy socialist) expediency, it burns...


Friday, February 21, 2020

Let's Compare....


Let's compare this...

...The (2020) budget includes a new top tax rate of 20.5 per cent on taxable income above $220,000, an increase from the current top rate of 16.8 per cent that applies to income above about $155,000.

(NDP Finance Minister Carole) James said that it makes sense to tax the top one per cent of earners more to help fund the services people need. “We believe they’ve benefited from a strong economy, and we believe they can contribute a little bit more.” The new rate matches levels in Ontario and Quebec...

To this...

B.C. Liberal party Leader Christy Clark has defended a little-known provincial tax rebate program that was expanded in 2014 to attract international banks and investment firms to Vancouver and is possibly linked to greater amounts of overseas cash coming into the local real estate market.

“We want to re-establish British Columbia as a location for head offices around the world, and I think reaching out to Asia and getting those head offices here is a good way to do that,” said Clark on Wednesday, downplaying a New York Times report which questions the 29-year-old program’s job creation results, transparency, and benefits to B.C. residents. The report states the program has cost $140 million in tax refunds and created up to 300 jobs.

According to the New York Times report there are 82 companies in the program called AdvantageBC which may be entitled to a tax refund of up to 100 per cent of their corporate income taxes. Their names and their claim amounts are not disclosed by the province’s Ministry of Finance, which oversees the program. B.C. government documents show that under the program workers who earn over $100,000 a year and are hired from outside B.C. are given income tax breaks...


...Former Liberal finance minister Colin Hansen is CEO of AdvantageBC...

If you get my drift.

As for all that other stuff that Norm Farrell is chronicling that has not changed from a comparative point of view?....Well, I agree that that is a big problem.


Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Keef Report...Evidence? We Don't Need No Stinking Evidence!


Taking his cue from one of Lotusland's top layers of the astroturf from days gone by, a fine fellow who once successfully helped push for a big dollar policy change with a protesty-ish gang of six (count 'em, six!) that led to the building of the ice bomb bridge, the Keef sounds off:

When called on it by Sandy Garossino, the Keef came up with a most interesting, if not laughable, retort:

I mean, even if it was tongue-in-cheek, what the heckfire?

As always with this stuff, take note of the timestamps....
Previous Keef Reports can be found...Here.


Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Keef Report...Define 'Massive'.


As we noted in the last edition of the KReport, our man about Victoria town recently said the following in a most provocative post-yardarm tweet:

At that time we wondered what information, exactly, the good Mr. Baldrey was using to the come to the conclusion that public opinion was massively against the protests against protests at the ports and the legislature (i.e. in British Columbia).

Since then Angus Reid has actually released poll results on just that matter:

A 'massive' majority?

Gosh, I see a plurality nationally with significant undecideds.

As for British Columbia?

In aggregate it's 49% opposed and 46% in favour which, when taking into account the margin of error, is essentially a dead heat.


To give the Keef
his 'corrective' due, more recently he just uses the term 'majority'....But when fine media folks throw conclusions into the mix based on nothing that, themselves, influence public opinion....Well?

Looking at those AReid numbers, above....Based on StatsCan numbers, Is not Sask/Man oversampled given that their combined pops is barely half that of BC?
Subtitle got your earworm turning?....This!


Friday, February 14, 2020

The IGET Dismantling...Why The Timeline Matters.

Last spring Black Press' legislature man, Tom Fletcher, informed us that former BC Liberal government Solicitor General Rich Coleman was looking 'forward to testifying at a public inquiry into money laundering'.

Mr. Fletcher also informed us of the following:

"...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..."

Minister 'in charge' 'when' the deal went down?


It would appear it is time, once again, to return to the actual historical record.

According to Mr. Coleman himself, in an interview with Sean Holman in 2010, (see video above) the good minister in charge was the person who actually, himself, made the decision to dismantle the 'illegal gambling enforcement team' (IGET) in 2009.

In that interview Mr. Coleman initially tells Mr. Holman that the dismantling occurred because IGET wasn't working. When Mr. Holman informs Mr. Coleman that he possesses government paper that indicates his (i.e. Coleman's)  ministry was concerned about the IGET budget, Mr. Coleman pivots slightly and states:

"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."


But here's the thing, Postmedia's Sam Cooper recently learned that law enforcement's alarm bells were ringing loudly about rapidly expanding illegal gambling activities in British Columbia in...wait for it... 2009:

A businessman “connected to Asian organized crime” was allowed by a British Columbia government employee to buy part of a B.C. Lottery Corp. casino, according to a confidential RCMP report obtained by Global News.

And the government employee was later hired in a B.C. casino.

The explosive accusation is just one example of organized crime’s alleged infiltration and corruption of B.C. government casinos, according to a January 2009 RCMP anti-illegal gaming unit report...


....The minister responsible for reviewing the January 2009 RCMP report and the decision to disband IIGET, former B.C. solicitor general Rich Coleman, has stated the unit was ineffective...

All of which begs the question...

What, exactly, did the good Mr. Coleman and his government do 'differently' and 'better' between 2009 and 2016  as gambling-assisted money laundering came into full bloom in Lotusland?

I, for one, am looking forward to hearing the public inquiry answer that (and many other) questions.



Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Keef Report...Place Your Bets!

Here' hoping the Keef got good odds.

The real question, of course, is...

What information, exactly,  led the good Mr. Baldrey to come to such a hard, fast and 'massive' conclusion?

Previous Keef Reports can be found here.
As always, check the time stamp on Mr. B's digital bleat release.


Monday, February 10, 2020

Ten Years After...


The ten year anniversary stories of that time the five ringed circus came to Lotusland are starting to roll in.

Personally, I remember those days fondly for all kinds of reasons, but mostly because I'd convinced my kids that it would be fun to put on a show once a week, just because.

Here's the episode containing bobsled-free footage that was shot the week Olympics began...

(And, just to be absolutely clear, I am most definitely no Alvin Lee, by the sea or otherwise. As for Bigger E., well...)


Friday, February 07, 2020

I'm Not So Sure This Is A Good Thing.


I remember the real concern from anyone paying attention when Darth Vader and friends raised BCLC's online gambling account limit from $250 to $9,999 way back in the darkest of dark days.

Why we worry?

Because of all that would, and obviously did, come to pass due to the gamble-happy recklessness of the BC Liberal government's money laundering, force multiplying, purple people-eating plutocratic (so-called) policy machine.

And as for now?


Tthe Dippers have gone way, way over the top in this regard, as reported by Bob Mackin:

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

That is the message from the B.C. Lottery Corporation, after it increased the limit that gamblers can keep in their account from $9,999 to $250,000 — an increase of 2,400%. They can also transfer up to $100,000 per week, also a substantial 900% increase from the previous $9,999 limit...


I get that they are trying to keep big rollers from taking their soon-to-be detergent tinged moola elsewhere online.

And I get that by going way high, in terms dollar amounts, that this stuff will now actually be tracked.

But honestly,  is this really the kind of money we want a piece of?


Thursday, February 06, 2020

The Best Blog Post Title I've Read In Some Time...


The best blog title I've seen in some time?

That would be from David Climenhaga over on the other side of the Rockies:


Here's a bit from DC's lede:

...When citizens push back against government plans and policies, they can expect to be swarmed and bullied, often quite personally, by government political staff, who quickly and unprofessionally turn into a mob of tax-supported social media trolls...

It's a good piece that gets right to the heart of the matter of what the good Mr. Kenney is up to.

And one of the things that I really respect about Mr. Climenhaga's stuff is the fact that he always shows his work.

Which, to my mind at least is the bedrock required to produce solid, worthwhile poli-blogging.


Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Is There Something Worse Than Fake News?


Back in the days when we lived in the Excited States I listened to way too much NPR.

In case you haven't had the pleasure, it's kinda/sorta like the CBC nationally, although the local stuff varies widely based on the station which is something that you don't find much on the Canuckistanian MoCo.

These days, I still tune in to NPR with some regularity, especially to listen to a guy named Brian Lehrer on WNYC to get a dose of his no-nonsense poli-talk, much of it hyper-local.

So, Tuesday afternoon, just before I headed out of the lab into the slush for the trek home, I plugged into WNYC briefly to see what was up in Iowa.

Instead of anything caucusorial I instead caught a national segment on 'All Things Considered' which is kind of like 'As It Happens' only with more features.

The bit I caught today focused on how Americans feel about their government's response to coronavirus outbreak.

Heckfire, there was even a breathy, and most serious straight-faced description of a poll!

'Two-thirds of Americans say the novel coronavirus poses a "real threat" and has not been "blown out of proportion."

And, though the majority of Americans are concerned about the potential spread of the virus within the U.S., 61% also say U.S. government officials are doing enough to prevent it.

The findings come from a NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Tuesday...


...The poll finds that Americans aged 45 or older are much more likely to be concerned about the spread of the virus to their communities compared to younger Americans...'


I wonder what fraction of that 61% was an epidemiologist, or a virologist, or an infectious disease specialist, millenial or otherwise?


Fake news is one thing, but stupid news masquerading as smart, edgy, agey stuff that matters...

How dumb is that?


Monday, February 03, 2020

Kids These Days...


Last week I roped Bigger E. into joining her backing band, geezer rock division, for snacks, etcetera, at one of Lotusland's deeper eastside breweries. We were actually there to check out the back room performance space for an upcoming show (details to follow). Then, yesterday afternoon, she stopped by to work on a few songs before heading off to headline a house show.

littler e., on the other hand, is across the water going to school in the capitol. Before she went back after the holidays she took a trip to New York with a group of friends, tap shoes in tow. Given all the workouts and workshops, not to mention shows and sightseeing, there was little time for mundane things like sending postcards. Instead, we received a make-up, in the form of a homemade card, last week in the mail (see image, above). On the back she caught us up with all her various and assorted sundry exploits that include a newfound appreciation for shuffleboard picked up at a jazz-tinged bar called 'Fat Cat' in Greenwich Village.

I'm telling you, kids these days...

Good for them!