Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Spiking The Auditory Algorithm.


That spotted digital hi-fi thingy that my kids talked me into paying for landed on Led Zeppelin for the first time today.

And instead of letting it ramble on....errr...off in all directions I jammed it on the old warhorse' page for most of the day.


Forty-five years later my ears have heard a whole lot more actual blues than the teenaged auditory capturing devices of yore.

And I've gotta say...

I'm now more sure than ever that that J. Page fellow really did bamboozle a whole generation of white kids like into thinking that it was him that was the musical 'genius'.

Image at the top of the post....Chester Burnett (aka Howlin' Wolf) at the Newport Folk Festival in 1966....It was he who wrote 'Killing Floor', a tune that Page and Co. used to cover on stage before they recorded 'The Lemon Song'...After a legal fight Mr. Burnett finally got a co-author credit.


Sunday, June 28, 2020

Other Experts...


From the front page of today's New York Times:

"Vice President Mike Pence said that testing, rather than reopenings, was causing a rise in cases, a position disputed by other experts."


Forgive me for not knowing that Mr. Pence is an actual, honest-to-goddess epidemiological expert.


Sure, all those Q's not named Suzy and their enablers like Mr. Jones et al. are helping to destroy the ability of many to know what is what.

But when the New York Times, on its front page no less, won't call bullshite out for what it is?

Well, then we are ALL in trouble.


Friday, June 26, 2020

Is This The UCP...Is This The VCC....Or Just Some Other Country?


Strange rumblings from the Albertalands, as noted byAlex Boyd of the Toronto Star:

As the debate over policing continues across North America, Alberta has tabled the idea of a “voluntary civilian corps.”

Todd Loewen, a backbencher MLA from a district northwest of Edmonton, introduced a motion this week asking the minister of justice to “explore options” for creating some sort of voluntary corps “to assist law enforcement in Alberta.”

Although it was a private member’s motion — this means it wasn’t an official government bill — the majority of MLAs present voted in favour, after a quick debate... 


What could possibly go wrong?

In other Albertalands news, David Climenhaga reports that there is no evidence that Mr. Kenney's 3.5 million dollar inquiry into foreign funded anti-oil and gas industry campaigns has found any, you know, actual evidence....
Header Earworm?....This.


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Searching For His Own Private Willie Horton.


In his latest efforts to act to stoke fear amongst the base, the current president of the United States has taken to re-tweeting the missives of his screeching howler monkey lackeys that show incidents of race-associated violence with any and all context eliminated.

How can this type of behaviour not make things worse in his actual country where its actual citizens, members of his base included, actually live?

In fact...

It's hard not to conclude that Mr. Trump is willing to to act in a politically expedient manner that supports the efforts of far-right groups, one of which has already both attempted to act and has acted overtly, that are designed to ultimately foment civil war.

If you, like me, are trying to figure out what is really going on in the M. Flynn case, Emptywheel is the place to be (both for the posts and the insightful comments).


Saturday, June 20, 2020

Blaming The Usual Suspects, Again...


From Richard Luscombe writing in The Guardian:

As new coronavirus cases surge across several southern states, Republican governors are looking to apportion blame – and resting upon some familiar targets.

In Florida, migrant Hispanic farm and construction workers are driving the huge uptick in Covid-19 infections, according to Governor Ron DeSantis, who has repeatedly identified the immigrant workforce as the “No 1” source of outbreaks in the Sunshine state.

Day laborers contracting the disease are “overwhelmingly Hispanic”, DeSantis said, and migrant in nature, adding that he had given a “heads-up” to health authorities in Georgia and Alabama about “what might be coming down the pike”...



When In Doubt, Make Things (Much, Much) Worse.


It would appear that the arsonist has thrown gasoline on his own fire:

Tulsa was a city on edge Friday night, as Trump fans and protesters gathered in anticipation of the president's first campaign rally in months set for Saturday, raising fears of a violent confrontation and a worsening spread of the coronavirus as local cases spike.

Authorities set up a perimeter around the 19,000-seat BOK Center in downtown Tulsa, where those eager to see Trump started lining up at midweek. Businesses around the area boarded up their windows, and the mayor issued a state of emergency and set up a curfew out of concern that outside groups were headed to town to raise trouble.

But the city announced it was rescinding the safety measures after Trump tweeted:

"I just spoke to the highly respected Mayor of Tulsa, G.T. Bynum, who informed me there will be no curfew tonight or tomorrow for our many supporters attending the #MAGA Rally," Trump said. "Enjoy yourselves - thank you to Mayor Bynum!"


Here's hoping our neighbours to the south can save themselves and all of theirs.


Friday, June 19, 2020

Et Tu, CTV?


On that ICBC 'Monopoly' game thingy that we have been going about the last few days...

In addition to CKNW and Global, CTV also took the bait and began flinging the propagammon far and wide:

Someone with a sense of humour and knowledge of Insurance Corporation of British Columbia policy has created a mock version of the classic board game Monopoly.

In ICBC Monopoly, the traditional dog, thimble and race car figurines are replaced with ICBC employees, drivers and a dumpster fire.

Maclean Kay, editor in chief of The Orca, received a copy of the game via Canada Post Monday night. It was sent in plain packaging.

"A big box with no return address,” he said. “When I opened it, there was an ICBC Monopoly board game.”


...ICBC has been struggling financially, and this take-off of the classic game seems to be a playful jab at the corporation's predicament.

“You don't make a dumpster fire piece for a Monopoly set and not at least try to have fun with it,” chuckled Kay...

Funny, but...

Just like the other local proMedia outlets concerned, CTV makes no mention of Mr Kay's pre-'Orca' past, or that fact that his enterprise of the freeman (not in Paris) website has itself flung ICBC Mono prop in the past.

Imagine that!

All that past stuff  mentioned above is detailed....Here.
Propagammon?....It's an old Atwater/Ailes/Rove - inspired schtick of the Shrubbery. 


Thursday, June 18, 2020

Even Moustaches Need Lifeboats.


From Business Insider's Brennan Weiss back in ancient times (i.e. early 2018) a few weeks before John Bolton became the 3rd Trumpian National Security Advisor:

During the presidential transition (in late 2016), Donald Trump reportedly passed on selecting former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton as his top national security adviser because of Bolton's eccentric mustache.

When Roger Ailes, the ex-chairman of Fox News and longtime Trump ally, suggested Trump appoint Bolton to the coveted Cabinet position, then incoming White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon fired back, according to excerpts from Michael Wolff's upcoming book about the Trump presidency.

"Bolton's mustache is a problem. Trump doesn't think he looks the part," Bannon reportedly said. "You know Bolton is an acquired taste."

Ailes praised Bolton, who is a frequent contributor on Fox News.

"He's a bomb thrower. And a strange little f---er," Ailes reportedly said. "But you need him. Who else is good on Israel? [Michael] Flynn is a little nutty on Iran. [Rex] Tillerson just knows oil."...



Despite the short term headlines he is currently generating, American Democrats (and/or reasonable people) should best remember that Mr. John Bolton is not their friend or ally as actual reviews of his book are pointing out pointedly.

The Guardian's Alison Flood has the details:

...Early reviews of the book (by Bolton) have not been favourable. The New York Times said the memoir was “bloated with self-importance, even though what it mostly recounts is Bolton not being able to accomplish very much”. Filled with “minute and often extraneous details”, the review continued, it “toggles between two discordant registers: exceedingly tedious and slightly unhinged”.

The Washington Post said that “for a memoir that is startlingly candid about many things, Bolton’s utter lack of self-criticism is one of the book’s significant shortcomings”, while NPR found that Bolton “clearly does not expect to attract the casual reader, or anyone else unable to digest sentences such as this one on the third page: ‘Constant personnel turnover obviously didn’t help, nor did the White House’s Hobbesian bellum omnium contra omnes (war of all against all)’.”

Reviews were united in criticising Bolton’s refusal to testify at the Trump impeachment hearings last year. The New York Times called his chapter on Ukraine “weird, circuitous and generally confounding”. Bolton argues that “because of the House’s impeachment malpractice”, testifying would have made “no significant difference”.

“It’s a self-righteous and self-serving sort of fatalism that sounds remarkably similar to the explanation he gave years ago for pre-emptively signing up for the National Guard in 1970 and thereby avoiding service in Vietnam,” writes the NYT.

For NPR, “what might have been blockbuster testimony in January or February seems more historical than contemporary today”. The Washington Post also considers him too late: “Bolton took his time in telling us the truth, and he should have done more when it was his duty during the impeachment inquiry. But it’s all here. In boxing, you’d call it a knockout punch.”...

And, just to be clear, any reasonable USian who thinks that 'Never Trumpers' like, say, Rick Wilson (i.e. the very fine fellows who engineered the rise of the modern Republican party), who have most recently glommed on to Mr. Bolton's bombast,  have anything in common with Mr. Lincoln should think again, very hard.

Because this 'Lincoln Project' thing, like the Tea Party before it, is nothing more than a lifeboat building exercise designed to help get these people to safe harbour after the flood, which they are sure to lay claim to causing in the aftermath.

Because James Carville will say so, or some such thing.



Wednesday, June 17, 2020

How To Win Friends And Influence Your Favourite Media Uncles, Part Deux.


The good Mr. Zussman, of the 'News' called Global, who contributed to the original Twitter thread/media trawl that helped hook his Corus Entertainment, Inc. stablemate, Mr. Smyth of CKNW, had only this to say about who may have 'invented' the oh-so clever game:

...ICBC’s monopoly has no shortage of critics, including the BC Liberal Party, the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation, the Insurance Bureau of Canada and the Trial Lawyers’ Association.

No one has stepped forward to claim they created the game and there is no branding on the board or in the rule books...

Of course, no mention is made by Mr. Zussman of the easily accessible evidence regarding those who have flashed the 'Monopoly' game card in an attempt to hook the Lotuslandian ProMedia in the past, as we documented yesterday....Here.


Is it any wonder that the usual suspects.....errrr...trawlers play these media types for saps?


The Dean Takes To His Lazy-Boy.


After spending most of his most recent column rehashing the reportage of Lori Culbert and Dan Fumano on the BC Financial Services Authority preliminary report regarding the steep rise of condo/strata insurance costs, the VSun's Vaughn Palmer ends thing with the following:

...A final report is due in the fall, meaning any legislative recommendations would be put off until 2021 at the earliest.
But the New Democrats, having promised to improve housing affordability, can’t afford to wait until the new year and another round of punishing premium increases for strata owners and renters.
James announced Tuesday that when the House sits next week, the government will announce some short-term relief while awaiting the final report in the fall...

To which we can only ask...
Why can't the New Democrats afford to wait?

And, if the Dean of the Legislative Press Gallery really wants to go there, wouldn't answering that question actually be a real column?

Of course, as you might expect, there is now....This.


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

How To Win Friends And Influence Your Favourite Media Uncles.

Update on the oh so predictable follow-up wurlitzer cranking....Here.


Here's a fun little item from Clarklandia's former speechwriter that apparently came out of nowhere:

So fun and engaging, in point of fact-filled truthiness, that the good Mr. Smyth of MediaLotusland swallowed it, and the hook attached, whole:

But, really, where did this most excellent case of trade-mark infringement come from, exactly?

The current director of the local division of the rootsey, but never plastic grassian, Canadian Taxpayers' Federation says she has no idea:

No idea whatsoever, despite the fact CTF was behind a prior 'event' that took place in Mr. Smyth's own backyard (i.e. the Ledge Lawn) last spring according to Kelowna Now's Dylan McCullogh:

A gigantic 30-foot tall version of the Monopoly mascot Rich Uncle Pennybags was inflated in Victoria on Wednesday.

However, unlike the classic board game, the mascot’s presence on the lawn of B.C.’s legislative building was for neither fun or games.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation was behind the elaborate stunt, that they say symbolizes a protest against a “government-forced” car insurance monopoly...

And even less of an idea whatsoeverafter, despite the fact that that same leader of the local CTF division previously went on the former Clarklandian speechwriter's turf-toed cetaceanous prop-organ grinder video monkey to decry ICBC's monopoly with, wait for it...

The Puff-Master Flash:

Imagine that!

Of course, as you may have predicted, the little chat with Cluffmaster went dead viral on arrival with, as of this writing, 48 views....
Image at the top of the post is from, you guessed it, that CTF 'event' in May of 2019.


Monday, June 15, 2020

Their Disgust Is An Empty Hoodie.


Boss! Boss! The Logic Pretzel!

Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg and his wife said they are “deeply shaken and disgusted” by an incendiary post by President Donald Trump.

Zuckerberg and Dr. Priscilla Chan issued their statement in response to criticism from scientists funded by their Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

As protests erupted last month following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, Trump posted on Facebook and Twitter that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Twitter hid the post for glorifying violence, but Facebook let it stand. Trump denied he was inciting violence.

In a letter shared on Twitter, Zuckerberg and Chen said they were “deeply shaken and disgusted by Trump’s divisive and incendiary rhetoric” on Facebook, but stressed that the social media platform operates independently of the philanthropic investment firm they set up in 2015...


We do bad to make good!

And never the twain shall meet.

Or some such neo-Kiplingarian thing.


Friday, June 12, 2020

Our Friday Pick...Trouser Press Digitizes Every Single Issue Ever.


The fine folks at the New York-based fanzine that beat 'Punk' to the punch by two years, Trouser Press, have put their entire archive online - for free.

There is tons of great stuff there, as well as heaps of dross.

But, if you came of age at a certain time (i.e. early '70's to mid-80''s), you'll very likely get lost in there for all the right and/or wrong reasons if you choose to dive in.

The following is from Issue 87, first published in July of 1983:


One Story...Two Headlines.


Headline #1 on the NY Times digital front page yesterday:

Headline #2 on the NY Times digital jump page where the story actually resides:


Is it possible that the fine folks running the Grey Lady show are counting on the fact that a certain someone never looks past page 1?

Here's the lede of the actual story by Neil MacFarquhar, Alan Feuer an Adam Goldman:

Inciting a riot. Hurling a Molotov cocktail. Plotting to sow destruction. Those are some of the most serious charges brought by federal prosecutors against demonstrators at protests across the country in recent weeks.

But despite cries from President Trump and others in his administration, none of those charged with serious federal crimes amid the unrest have been linked so far to the loose collective of anti-fascist activists known as antifa.

A review of the arrests of dozens of people on federal charges reveals no known effort by antifa to perpetrate a coordinated campaign of violence. Some criminal complaints described vague, anti-government political leanings among suspects, but a majority of the violent acts that have taken place at protests have been attributed by federal prosecutors to individuals with no affiliation to any particular group...

And just in case you missed it in the radio silence, there is also this deeply buried bit actual, you know, evidence of organized efforts at plotting to foment violent unrest:

...The most serious case that has emerged in federal court involved three men in Nevada linked to a loose, national network of far-right extremists advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government. They were arrested on May 30 on charges of trying to foment violence during Black Lives Matter protests...


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Nevermind The NDA's....

...Here Comes The NCA!

The current President of the United States has long been famous for forcing those close to him to sign perpetually gaggifying non-disclosure agreements (NDA's):

President Donald Trump’s secrecy habit is extreme and extremely troubling. His main concern, it seems, is to prevent leaks that might embarrass him or his family.

A new complaint before the American Arbitration Association reveals that the 2016 Trump campaign’s nondisclosure agreement (NDA) defined as confidential any information that “Mr. Trump insists remain private or confidential.” The gag on embarrassing Trump lasted not only “during the term of your service” but also “at all times thereafter.” Trump has taken his draconian contractual clauses with him to Washington. The White House staff NDA appears to impose penalties for any unauthorized revelation of confidential information, defined as “all nonpublic information I learn of or gain access to in the course of my official duties.” Such language is unprecedented—to use a word that’s getting a workout these days...

But now?

Well, now there is a brand new agreement that those who want to get close to each other in a jam-packed arena with a far away safe and distantly sound Mr. Trump will be forced to sign.

It's the non-coronavirus agreement (NCA):

Trump supporters who attend his first rally since the coronavirus pandemic began must agree not to sue if they contract COVID-19. The president is set to hold his first rally since March next week at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, an arena that seats more than 19,000 people.

The president has emphasized he wants his rallies full of people and has made his distaste for masks clear.

"By clicking register below, you are acknowledging that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present," the campaign website says on the RSVP page for the rally. "By attending the Rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; BOK Center; ASM Global; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers liable for any illness or injury."...

But, but, but...

Aren't the fine folks who will choose to partake in such an activity being conditioned to think that it's all a hoax?


Coronavirus Vaccine Development....Phase III A-Go-Go.


From the US CDC's website on vaccine development:

...Clinical (vaccine) development is a three-phase process. During Phase I, small groups of people receive the trial vaccine. In Phase II, the clinical study is expanded and vaccine is given to people who have characteristics (such as age and physical health) similar to those for whom the new vaccine is intended. In Phase III, the vaccine is given to thousands of people and tested for efficacy and safety.

Many vaccines undergo Phase IV....studies after the vaccine is approved and licensed...

As Derek Lowe, our go to drug development guy, notes, large scale clinical trials for a number of potential coronavirus vaccines are on the near horizon:

...What we’re seeing now is the plan for entering large-scale human trials. The Wall Street Journal‘s Peter Loftus broke the news of the overall plan in the US: Moderna’s candidate was said to be going into Phase III in July, followed by the Oxford/AstraZeneca effort in September, with Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine to follow. But J&J now says that they’re moving up the timetable and negotiating with the NIAID for Phase III trials before then. Moderna has selected 100 micrograms as the Phase III dose, which is what was expected based on their earlier results. Meanwhile, AZ says that they will be scaling up the manufacturing of the Oxford vaccine during the trials themselves, on a risk basis, and it would not surprise me at all to see other companies doing something similar. They’ll basically have to – if one or more of these vaccines reads out well in Phase III, you’d want to get to dosing people as quickly as possible...


Does this mean that the end of the pandemic nigh?

Dr. Lowe suggests you would crazy to bet on it, at least at the moment:

...The next few months, then, are not going to be dull. Politics aside, the organization and execution of all these trials will be a huge and complex effort, as mentioned, and when the numbers start coming out of them we’re going to surely be taken by surprise. That’s what clinical trials do; this won’t be different. I’m expecting sudden reversals, and sudden bursts of hope, despair, and confusion. None of us have ever seen anything like what’s coming, and I hope we never have another opportunity to see anything like it again!...

As for that 'politics aside' business?

Well, if a certain politician can make a big deal about garbage treatments, is there any reason to think he won't pull the trigger early on a vaccine?

Especially if, say, an election is looming?

Lowe also has an update on antibody development work....Unlike viruses and vaccines, this is something I actually know something about...The data so far are interesting but it's still early days, although the clinical trial data will soon start to come out there as well.


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Our Wednesday Pick...Jonathan Goldstein's 'Heavyweight'.


Folks that stop by here might know Jonathan Goldstein from his long running show called 'Wire Tap' that ran on CBC Radio One from 2004 to 2015.

It was like Mordecai Richler, generation four, writ smaller.

littler e. liked that show so much that she used to listen to replays to help her get to sleep.

Heckfire. Even a snot-nosed kid named Jesse Brown knew what was what back before Canadaland was even a digital couplet in his media-jaundiced eye.


Mr. Goldstein also spent some time working for that nice Ira Glass fellow on his little radio show south of the border.

In fact, I reckon Jonny, as former sidekick Howard Chackowicz used to call him, especially when he was hooked on hyperquench, first met future podcast tycoon Alex Blumberg while working on This American Life.

And now it turns out that Goldstein has a show on Blumberg's Gimlet empire called 'Heavyweight'.

Mostly, Heavyweight is focused around helping people to construct better endings on some of the most important stories from their past lives.

Sarah Larson of the New Yorker described one episode this way:

...The most famous episode of “Heavyweight” is the second of the first season, “Gregor.” In it, Goldstein gets his friend Gregor (Ehrlich) to reconnect with Gregor’s long-lost friend Moby, to whom he had once lent his collection of Alan Lomax CDs, which Moby had then used to create his album “Play,” which made him a megastar. Gregor is bitter: he never heard from Moby again, he says, and he wants his CDs back. The resolution is as satisfying, provocative, and funny...

And now, in the most recent episode, Goldstein helps two young women connect with their first grade teachers. Each segment starts out elegiac in the extreme and then transforms into unrestrained joy, all of which is fantastic enough on its own.

And then...

Goldstein calls some guy in Winnipeg and convinces him to pick up his acoustic guitar and play the following into the phone:

And the MoCo let this guy go?


Need more?....Here's Jonnny with his longtime manager/nemesis, Gregor Ehrlich, in a clip that ends, ironically, with a tune from another band from Winnipeg.


Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Tenth Avenue Freeze Out?


Pretty soon, hopefully, I will once again be riding my bike from our home in the near eastern townships across the entirety of central Lotusland to get to my place of work way out on the western edge of the pointiest part of the grey plateau.

And when I do I will quite often use the 10th Avenue bike route, especially when I have to stop to pick-up or drop-off something in the bowels of the hospital industrial complex, as happens semi-regularly.

But, after reading Frances Bula's latest in the Globe I'm a little concerned:

...More than a third of people in the Vancouver region expect to drive more and use transit less postpandemic, while almost as many say they will cycle or walk more, a survey done for the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade has found...

Why concerned?

Because, before the long pause I had already started to notice that for bike routes that run close to and parallel to major arteries (as 10th Ave. does to Broadway and 12th) cars were already starting to choose the former over the latter during traffic-choked rush hour times.

And now, as we come out of the pause, if folks are going to eschew transit, as is likely sensible at rush hour, and a significant proportion of those folks are going to be jumping into their cars...

Oh boy.

Earworm in the post header need scratching?....This!


Monday, June 08, 2020

The Keef Report: Demonstrating Why Only Major News Outlets Should Be Allowed To Ask...

...The Really Important Questions.

Remember this, from last week:

That was the good Mr. Baldrey explaining why only he and his should be allowed to ask the questions at online provincial government presser's because it was they who would make sure all the important information got out to the public in the best way possible.


Apparently, in the theatre of his own mind at least, the Keef made sure to do just that at today's COVID-19 update:



Our Monday Pick...Bob Mackin's Tribute To Dermod Travis.


On his latest podcast, Bob Mackin pays tribute to Integrity BC's former executive director, Dermod Travis on his passing.

The tribute begins at the eight minute mark and includes short interviews with Wayne Crocker and Sean Holman.



Friday, June 05, 2020



From the Twittmachine's news banner feed....

First, the headline:

Next, the lede immediately below said header:

The Buffalo Police Department has suspended two officers without pay and opened an investigation after a video showed a 75-year-old man being knocked down by police at a protest in the city...


It would appear that one of the above is not like the other, a fact that will be abundantly clear if you, like millions and millions, have seen the actual video.


Our Friday Pick...John Fogerty Explains How The Songs Got Made.

And Mr. Fogerty explains it all to George Thorogood no less.

Which got me thinking of the first purveyor of the high lonesome sound...

Returning to more pressing matters for a moment....Derek Lowe has the latest on hydroxychloroquine...And no, he's not talking about the retracted Lancet paper.


Thursday, June 04, 2020

How Would Lincoln Deal With Today's Map Of America?


Back in his day, the Western territorial portion of Abraham's Lincoln's America was constantly changing while those in control of the Southern statist portion of the same map dug in their heel in a doomed effort to hang on to their ways and means:

Of course, in the end, Lincoln had to step in and deal with those dug-in heels for all kinds of reasons, some of them pragmatic, some of them idealistic, but all of them ultimately right.

One can only wonder how he, Lincoln I mean, would step in and deal with today's map of  America:

Presumably, Mr. Lincoln would be a lot more proactive and effective in dealing with the emerging Southern viral propagation wave than the current president of America, a man who seems more bent on proactively protecting granite steps in front of monuments, etc.

Why is this site called 'The Gazetteer'? Because I like maps, especially when they are in atlases with explanations and details and stuff....In the old dinosaur days (i.e. back when Stockwell Day was still, actually, relevant, and/or riding jet skis) almost every post was marked by the subject's  latitude and longitude...



The Keef Report...And The Keefs Shall Inherit All Of The Media Earth.


It would appear that, according the good Mr. Baldrey, only guys like him and his should get to ask questions at government pressers.

Because, 'big', or some such thing...

But why, you might be asking yourself, Mr. B's talk of  'biggism rules, exclusively' problematic?

I mean, it's not as if we haven't been forced to deal with the fall-out from back scratch-fevered, insider access-driven big press/gov't symbioses around here in the past.


Previous Keef Reports, wherein you may just find some tracks of the symbiotic tears mentioned above, can be found...Here.
And, just to take the good Mr. Baldrey's argument one step further off the ledge...Is he suggesting that he and his would not actually tell his really big audience about a matter of import that came to light as the result of a question and/or line of inquiry started by a small media outlet?


Wednesday, June 03, 2020

The Coldest Thing Ever Said?


Apparently, the two million doses of hydroxychloroquine that the Trump administration sent to Brazil have not yet saved the day:

...Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, continued to play down the crisis on Tuesday, telling supporters: “I regret every death but that’s everyone’s destiny.”...


Regardless, as long as the trains run, and Rio's beaches open, on time...


As for the fallback gambit that hydroxychloroquine will finally work, for real, if used early and prophylactically?....Perhaps not.


A Very Short-Fingered, But Apparently Not At All Vulgar, Amount Of Time.


According to Mr. Trump he only visited the White House 'bunker' for a tiny amount of time, and only for inspections.

Yes, that is correct, 'plural' inspections:

Donald Trump has claimed to have spent only a “tiny” amount of time in a reinforced security bunker under the White House as protesters clashed with Secret Service agents outside and has insisted his time there was for an “inspection”, not his own safety.

In an interview with Fox News host Brian Kilmeade on his radio show on Wednesday, Trump also claimed to have visited the bunker in the daytime, not after dark, when protesters and law enforcement officers clashed outside the executive mansion.

The New York Times first reported that Trump was taken to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center on Friday night, for about an hour. Other outlets, citing White House sources, confirmed it.

The protected space under the White House was used by Vice-President Dick Cheney on 11 September 2001, when authorities feared a plane might strike the building. It has since been reinforced.

Trump told Kilmeade: “I was there for a tiny, short little period of time” and said he had visited the bunker “two or three times, all for inspection”....

The above is the lede from Martin Pengelly's latest piece in The Guardian.


A Closed Border Cannot Hold Back All The Crazy.


Last week the National Post published a story by Calum Marsh about conspiracy theories regarding COVID-19 and the origin of the virus that causes it.

One upshot is that a significant proportion of the Canadian population is not immune.

To being infected by said theories, I mean:

...A recent poll conducted by Carleton University in Ottawa found that 11 per cent of Canadians believe COVID is a 5G cover-up, and more than a quarter believe the claim that COVID was concocted as a weapon by the Chinese. A separate poll by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies found that 15 per cent of Canadians believe Bill Gates is responsible, while another 15 per cent believe COVID doesn’t actually exist...

A. Reader recently sent us the Leger poll concerned (which the NaPo story did not link to).

The picture is actually more frightening for our collective body politic than you might have thought:

And here are the side-by-side numbers with our Southern neighbours:

It would appear that our smugness cup on such matters should stop running over, immediately.


Leger is doing rolling polling on Canadian opinions about Covid-19 from a whole lot of angles with the Association for Canadian Studies...Interestingly, at least at first pass, I couldn't find the conspiracy polling in their library, except for a link to the NaPo story...If the actual data are out there for public viewing I'm pretty sure NVG will find it...



Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Your Morning Audio...Railgate's Very Long Tail.

Reference/source material or today's episode...

'Essential Passenger Rail Service Still Shut Down', by Amanda Follett Hosgood in The Tyee, May 29, 2020.

'RailBiz Relativity', in The Gazeteer, May 29, 2010.

The legend of Stobe the Hobo.

'Looking Back on John Prine's Buddy Steve Goodman' by David Brown in Rolling Stone, July 19, 2019.

Tuesday morning bonus read...Norm Farrell has a really great post up titled, 'We tolerate our own racism too easily.'
A. Reader has pointed out the odd symmetry of Ms. Follet Hosgood's piece on the loss of passenger rail service on the former BC Rail Northern line and my piece on the fine fellows that did very well, indeed, by the sale/not sale of BC Rail being published/posted exactly 10 years apart....


Monday, June 01, 2020

All British Columbians Will Miss Dermod Travis.


Dermod Travis, the Executive Director of Integrity BC, and the man who did as much, if not more, to make campaign finance reform happen in our fair province has died just shy of his 60th birthday.

A lot of folks have already had a lot of nice things about the guy that, as far as I can tell, everyone, regardless their politics and/or ideological stripe, respected because he was always a straight shooter.

Personally, my favourite comments so far have come from another watchdog of a different, but clearly related, kind, Sean Holman:

...Travis was like a “full-time professional citizen,” said Sean Holman, an associate journalism professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary. He was a one-man Ralph Nader, exposing waste, fraud and negligence.

“This was a person who marched straight into minefields because he thought he could help,” Holman said. “It’s a terrible loss. There’s not enough of those people in society.”...

Those words were noted for posterity by Tom Hawthorn who has outdone himself this time with his fantastic, detailed and nuanced obituary in The Tyee.

Go read all of Mr. Hawthorn's piece - you won't be sorry.

And then there was....This.


Documented Superspreader Events?....Why Worry?


First, there was this, as reported by Lena Sun and Josh Dawsey in the Washington Post:

...Earlier this month, the (U.S.) CDC issued a report warning about “superspreader” events where the coronavirus might be “highly transmissible in certain settings, including group singing events.” That report described a choir practice in Washington state in March at which one person ended up infecting 52 other people, including two who died...

Then, there was this:

...The Trump administration with no advance notice removed warnings contained in guidance for the reopening of houses of worship that singing in choirs can spread the coronavirus...


...Two White House officials said the first version posted by the CDC was not approved by the White House. Once West Wing officials saw it, they asked the CDC to post a different cleared document without the choir references and other parts.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk about policy discussions, said there have long been concerns within the White House that there were too many restrictions on choirs. A CDC official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the guideline change also said the updated Saturday guidance was approved by the White House...

Thus, it is impossible not to conclude that the Trump Administration is knowingly inviting large scale infection to happen.

Please note: The published version of Ms. Sun and Mr. Dawsey led with the reversal...I brought the CDC's original version to the fore to unbury what I consider to be the true lede.