Thursday, June 30, 2022

Towers, In West Point Grey?


We're talking about the old Safeway site on W. 10th between Sasamat and Tolmie.

And it's not just a proposal for towers, but a decent amount of below market rental as well.

Could it actually happen?

Well, as noted by the intrepid City Duo duo, based on the first public hearing where folks did not go completely NIMBY bonkers it just might....maybe...potentially, perhaps, possibly....happen:
...(B)y the time I arrived at this church the line to get in stretched for about a hundred feet. Luckily the time went by pretty quickly, and often I would hear those leaving remark they had already taken part in the virtual presentation the night prior, and just came to ask a question. Still, I was certainly surprised by what I saw when I got into this room...


...Do not get me wrong, many were quite unhappy to see these two 14 floor towers, and even the 5 floor podium had some saying this was way too tall. Yet almost everyone I observed was willing to hold their noises and support this form as it meant their neighbourhood would once again have a grocery store. Like one person stated, the only reason they missed living in Fairview was because it was such an active area.

Others feared this would eventually lead to these blocks being transformed into something that resembled Cambie Street. This group concluded they could accept this project as it replaced the old Safeway, but firmly believed plans for a six floor rental building proposed at 10th and Highbury was completely out of place. That said, city council’s decision to route the UBC SkyTrain through the Jericho Lands was warmly received, as it meant there wouldn’t be one located at Sasamat...

This could be interesting and, potentially, a good thing.


The Brownshirting Of Canada.


You may have thought that my last post, in which I suggested that at least some of the fine convoy-supporting folks marching with/surrounding/enveloping a certain candidate for the CPC party leadership may have things in common with figures from history who wore shirts of brown, was a little over the top.

Except, this, from Brigitte Bureau of the CBC:

One of the judges who presided over the court hearings of Freedom Convoy organizers is speaking out after receiving threats considered serious enough to require police intervention, according to information obtained by Radio-Canada and CBC.

The judge in question confirmed that supporters of the convoy from Canada and the United States sent several offensive messages, but the message that prompted police to react threatened their physical safety, the judge said.

CBC has agreed to withhold the judge's identity to protect their safety.

"I thought, should I tell my children not to come home for a while?" the judge said.

"I changed my alarm system. I was advised not to take the same route every day," the judge added. "You feel vulnerable in your house, in your own home."...


On The Plus Side...

On the plus side, only a few of the shirts appear to be brown...


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The Grey Lady Takes To The Fainting Couch.

The following is the NY Times front page, above the fold summary of Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony to the US'ian January 6th Congressional Committee earlier today:

I couldn't help but note the following in the headlines, above:

"He (Trump) Knew Crowd Was Armed, but Tried to Loosen Security, Panel is Told"

Why note that?

Because it so sugarcoats what Ms. Hutchinson actually said to the Committee regarding what she heard Mr. Trump say backstage before his rally on January 6th:

"I don't care that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me, take the F'ing Mags away."

In this context, 'mags' were the magnonometers or weapon detectors that were being used to screen people coming to Mr. Trump's rally that was held just prior to the insurrection at the Capitol. 

Furthermore, Ms. Hutchinson told the Committee that Mr. Trump made the statement above after he had been told that security personnel needed to keep the magnometers in place because they had identified armed people in the crowd.

And why did Mr. Trump want the 'mags' removed when he knew it would allow armed people to join the crowd at the rally?

Because he had just been shown photos demonstrating that the crowd that had come to hear him speak had not filled the rally area known as the 'Ellipse'.

, as the deflector-spike spin cranks up A.G. of 'Mueller She Wrote' makes an important point re: eyeballs on the thing...


Monday, June 27, 2022

Your Evening Audio...Something A Little Different.


I am no Beatles freak but that didn't stop me from being fascinated by Andrew Hickey's latest podcast on all of the events that led to the making of the Beatles 'All You Need Is Love' for the bizarre  'live by satellite' 'Our World' TV special.

The podcast covers the period from April 1966 to August 1967 when so much was happening personally, culturally and musically for the four members of the (by then disintegrating) band as they tried to keep up with all kinds of other folks, including Brian Wilson.

I found it particularly interesting to learn (again, I'm no aficionado) how important Brian Epstein was to the entire operation, both from a production and a musical point of view, and how on top his game Mr. Epstein was at the time of his tragic demise.

Somebody Worth Reading On Canadian Politics.


I first started paying attention to Evan Scrimshaw's writings during the run-up to the recent Ontario provincial election. 

I realize that I'm a little late to the party, but just in case you haven't yet stumbled on his work Scrimshaw also writes insightfully about national politics.

From his latest:
..The way Michelle Rempel Garner wrote about the CPC last week was stunning – it was all things you could infer from the outside, but to see a senior Canadian Conservative say the party was basically ungovernable was still fascinating, especially given she allegedly wants to stay in the party. But what it did was expose a truth that was self-evident. Between now and 2025, the Conservatives will have to vote on a handgun ban, some form of abortion access expansion bill, Pierre’s vaccine mandates for everything Private Member’s Bill, and probably more hot button cultural issues-based legislation. They will have to come out on either side of the child care deals, which Skippy is on every side of. They will have to take stances in the next three years.

If they vote for the abortion access bill and the handgun ban, they might have a chance in the suburbs but the PPC will get 12% of the vote. Vote against, and the suburbs continue to move left and you lose Niagara Falls and Carleton instead of putting Conestoga or Cambridge in play. Split yourself and try and play every side, you get hollowed out at both ends. This is what actually matters about the state of the 2025 campaign, not whether Skippy’s camping video went “viral”...


Scrimshaw is saying that it's the Suburbs v. Bernier in a cage match for the FedCon soul.

It's an interesting notion surely, but can we make book on it?

Time, and there's quite a bit of that between now and 2025, will tell.

Personally, I did not find Ms. Rempel Garner's missive compelling in the 'All Cons are Doomed Because they are in Disarray!' sense of the thing that so many pundits are pushing...Are there serious internal squabbles in both the FedCon and AlbertaCon parties?...Of course there are...So Ms. Rempel Garner has apparently decided to bow out of the AlbertaCon leadership race because of these squabbles despite the fact that, according to her, all the externals say she could win the next general election...Gosh, isn't putting down squabbles and silencing the voices of the mates that call you Captain Queeg behind your back while you set a single electoral course forward with all hands on deck the first real job of any new leader of a political party?
BTW...E. Scrimshaw's writings pop up quite regularly over there on the left sidebar.


Sunday, June 26, 2022

The Downward Spiral.

It's hard not to think, based on (many) recent events, that more Americans are more Christian than ever.

Tim Alberta, writing this month in The Atlantic, concludes that the numbers do not support that conclusion:
"...In 1975, more than two-thirds of Americans expressed “a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the church,” according to Gallup, and as of 1985, “organized religion was the most revered institution” in American life. Today, Gallup reports, just 37 percent of Americans have confidence in the Church. This downward spiral owes principally to two phenomena: the constant stench of scandal, with megachurches and prominent leaders imploding on what seems like a weekly basis; and the growing perception that Christians are embracing extremist views. One rarely needs to read to the bottom of a poll to learn that the religious group most opposed to vaccines, most convinced that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, most inclined to subscribe to QAnonconspiracy theories is white evangelicals..."

It's real food for thought that the views of a waning minority are controlling so many important aspects of American life at the moment.

It also leads to an important question...

Who benefits most?

I highly recommend Mr. Alberta's piece which is titled: "How Politics Poisoned The Church" in print...Interestingly, someone at the magazine decided to change that title a little bit online to "How Politics Poisoned The Evangelical Church" which is a pretty darned important distinction (and better reflects the conclusions of the piece).


Saturday, June 25, 2022

Somebody Do This With Hockey.


This is absolutely fantastic - and it is the kind of thing the interweb was built for, in a good way.

Essentially, a knowledgeable hoops fan lets go of his preconceived notions, watches an entire game from each decade since 1950 and does a little research while he describes how the game has changed and evolved over 70 years.


Somebody should take advantage of all that tape on the Tubes and do the same thing for hockey...Heckfire! Just watching the size of goalies and their pads change would be interesting in and of itself.

Tip O' The Toqu
e to our old friend Cathie from Canada for the heads-up.


Friday, June 24, 2022

HST Fridays...Before Roe v. Wade.


The following is from an HST Friday post I wrote a long time ago, back when George Bush the Younger was nominating the 'reasonable' conservative to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Of course, it is even more more apropos today....

..."And so much for all that. I have to go upstairs and call the hospital. Sandy is in there again with another miscarriage - a real nightmare version, this time, since it puts me head on with the abortion laws. She's only two months pregnant, but the pain is so bad she can't stand up....and the pigs say they can't do a therapeutic abortion. All they do is keep her drugged up on codeine and wait for God to work His Will. The D&C operation is as simple as pulling a tooth, but they won't do it.....and this is Colorado, which recently passed a "liberalized" abortion law. Man, I'm coming to really hate that word 'liberal'"...
Hunter S. Thompson,Letter to Oscar Z. Acosta (his 'Samoan' Attorney), March 1970
Reprinted in: The Gonzo Letters Vol II, Simon and Schuster, 2000, pp 286-7.

At two months! This is way before quick, with a woman who had a history of life-threatening difficulties and still she and her husband could not make informed decisions of their own just three years before the first of many final decisions on Roe v. Wade.

Which makes it all the more important to forget about sifting through the tea leaves of 50,000 pages of side issues about what he said or did 20 years ago. Instead, during his confirmation hearings Democratic Senators must somehow find the gumption to ask the following direct question of Bush Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts:

"If there was a constitutional challenge to Roe v. Wade how would you respond?"

And if Mr. Roberts does not answer this direct question directly it is the Press' job to keep pressing him until he does answer directly.

It is the only way that the people of the United States will know what they are really getting.

And if Mr. Roberts does say that he would vote to overturn and he is still confirmed without a nuclear option-invoking fight from the Democratic party liberals and progressives in the States who believe in a woman's right to choose will finally come to understand that, in its present day guise at least, the Party has forsaken them.

Normally, I try my best not to say I told you/them so.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

The Real World Consequences Of Flooding Media Zones With Sh*t.

“The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with shit.”


As I've mentioned before, while I was born in the 50's I was lucky enough to be born just this side of the polio vaccine roll out.

In contrast, a good friend of mine, who is a few years older, was not so lucky. While the case of polio he contracted was relatively mild he has had to deal with difficulty walking his entire life.


All that sh*t that people like Mr. Bannon, quoted above, have been using to flood zone for the politically expedient purposes helped fuel irrational Covid 19 vaccine 'hesitancy' that led to up to 300,000 needless deaths in the United States alone.

And as you can see from Justin Ling's tweet, above, there are many pushing the same politically expedient fecal matter into Canadian parliament right here and right now.

Here's hoping that same sh*t does not prevent a single young person anywhere who still needs it from getting fully vaccinated for polio, pronto:
Low polio vaccination coverage among teenagers risks the re-emergence of virulent polio infection in the UK, experts have warned.

Fewer than half of 13 to 14-year-olds received their teenage booster against polio in some parts of England last year, data shows, after public health officials declared a national incident over evidence the virus is spreading in the community.

The form of virus that was detected through routine surveillance of wastewater in north and east London – vaccine-derived poliovirus – poses a low risk to health but there is a concern that a significant drop in vaccination uptake during the pandemic could offer the virus a foothold, allowing it to keep circulating...


...Prof Paul Hunter, of the University of East Anglia, said: “Teenagers are not necessarily that well-protected against infection, particularly if they’ve not had the booster. We’re not expecting it to give rise to paralytic cases over the coming days, but the longer it circulates the more opportunity there is for it to turn into a fully virulent polio virus again, which would be a disaster. Those places with low uptake need to urgently address it.”


...The agency typically picks up a handful of unrelated positive results for poliovirus each year, linked to people given the oral polio vaccine in other countries. The oral vaccine contains live virus – unlike the inactivated vaccine given in the UK – and people can shed this in their faeces for several weeks and also infect others.

The London samples raised the alarm because they were related to one another and contained mutations that suggested the virus was evolving as it spreads from person to person. If it continues to spread, vaccine-associated virus can mutate to become fully virulent, to the point where it can cause paralysis in unvaccinated people...


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Mussolini Overdrive.


"In the wake of World War I, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini began his slow and inexorable rise to power. He created Italy's Fascist Party, became prime minister and eventually took full control of the country's day-to-day decision making. Those decisions, of course, had consequences, and Mussolini liked to take credit for everything that went right in Italy, even when it didn't go that well at all. He was particularly fond of saying he was responsible for successful, large-scale public works projects, such as the railroad system.

In fact, there's an old saying about Mussolini that goes something like this: "Mussolini made the trains run on time." In other words, even dictators have their good points. Sure, fascism is an often brutal model of efficient government, full of poverty and corruption, but hey, at least the trains were newly punctual"...


When Richard Nixon finally resigned it was only after Republicans made it clear to him, in the face of overwhelming evidence, that he had to go:
...On Aug. 7, 1974, U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., U.S. House Minority Leader John Rhodes, R-Ariz., and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott, R-Pa., made it clear to the embattled Nixon that he faced all-but-certain impeachment, conviction and removal from office in connection with the Watergate scandal.

Nixon announced his resignation the next evening, effective at noon on Aug 9, 1974...

Given all that, the January 6th Committee's strategy of having Republicans give testimony demonstrating Donald Trump's culpability in a long-planned coup designed to subvert the will of the American people and prevent the peaceful transfer of power looked to be a stroke of genius that culminated with the testimony of Russell Bowers yesterday:
...No doubt anticipating the damage (the testimony) would do to his case, Trump attacked Arizona House Speaker Russell “Rusty” Bowers (R) before Tuesday’s hearing, claiming that Bowers had previously told him that the election was “rigged.” Bowers, perhaps the most compelling and effective witness the committee has questioned to date, stated clearly that Trump’s claim was false. He had not made such a statement, Bowers said, and Trump’s claim that Bowers said Trump won the state was “also false.”

Bowers, who supported Trump in the 2020 election, testified in unequivocal terms about the former president’s pressure campaign. He recalled asking Trump and Giuliani at least twice during a call after the election for proof of noncitizens or dead people voting. Bowers said he “never” received such information...

Game, set, match and good-bye to the aspiring dictator forever, from Democrats and Republicans alike, including Mr. Bowers, right?

Well, perhaps not.

The following is from an AP story by Bob Christie published the day before yesterday:
...Bowers spoke to The Associated Press after he arrived in Washington on Monday afternoon. He will be questioned about a phone call he got from Trump and attorney Rudy Giuliani in the weeks after the November 2020 election where Giuliani floated a proposal to replace Arizona’s Biden electors by having the state’s Legislature instead choose those committed to voting for Trump.

Bowers refused, saying the scheme was illegal and unconstitutional. In an interview last year, he said he told the president he would not break the law to help him gain the presidency...


...Bowers said efforts by Trump’s backers have harmed the nation, undercut trust in elections and the right of people to vote their conscience.

“I just think it is horrendous. It’s terrible,” Bowers said. “The result of throwing the pebble in the pond, the reverberations across the pond, have, I think, been very destructive.”...


...But while Bowers said the efforts by Giuliani and other Trump backers have been hurtful, he does not levy any criticism on Trump directly and would support him if he were on the ballot.

“If he is the nominee, if he was up against Biden, I’d vote for him again,” Bowers said. “Simply because what he did the first time, before COVID, was so good for the country. In my view it was great.”...


One can only wonder if the good Mr. Bowers knows that Mr. Mussolini's trains never actually ran on time.

Subheader got your ear worm rising?...Once again....This!


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

A Kinder, Gentler Gilead?


'The Stream' is a website that describes itself thusly:

The Stream is a rich and reliable source for breaking news, analysis, and inspiration. A champion for life, freedom, and unity in the Body of Christ, The Stream was launched to equip Christians to think clearly about the moral, political, and economic issues of the day...


The Executive Editor of 'The Stream' is a fine fellow named Jay W. Richards:

Jay W. Richards, Ph.D., is the Executive Editor of The Stream. He is also the William E. Simon senior research fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society...


Many of the other very fine folks who write for 'The Stream' also have close ties to the Heritage Foundation.

The point being that the 'The Stream' is well ensconced within the mainstream of what has become contemporary American conservative thought.


With that said, the following is from a recent piece in 'The Stream' written by two finest of the fine fellows with exemplary contemporary American conservative bonafides named Jason Jones and John Zmirak titled "Once The Law Protects Unborn Kids, Should We Seek Legal Penalties For Women Who Abort Them?":

...We don’t want to criminally prosecute women who illegally abort. Nor do we want to shrug and wink, as if women were all hapless victims, or abortion weren’t really a monstrous crime, as it is....


...Women won’t go to prison. But they will face the real deterrent of a short but mandatory psychiatric custody, and mandated counseling. God willing that will prove helpful to women after the devastating destruction that is abortion...


Mandatory psychiatric custody...

What is that, exactly, if not prison?


Monday, June 20, 2022

Rabbit Holes As Far As The Eye Can See...


The following is from NDP MP Charlie Angus writing in Policy Magazine:
...I remember the moment I got dragged down the rabbit hole of the WEF conspiracy theory. During the blockades, I was suddenly inundated with messages from retired teachers, young mothers and angry dads about how Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum (WEF) controlled the Trudeau government. The speed with which this theory moved from the margins of Reddit chat forums to becoming an apparent obsession will all manner of ordinary Canadians was staggering. And then it was being validated in Parliament.

On February 19, MP Colin Carrie used his time during a debate to make claims about Klaus Schwab and his “subversive” organization “infiltrating” the Liberal government. I called out Carrie for using Parliament as a place to promote disinformation. That intervention touched off a barrage of backlash. Within the hour, my office was overwhelmed with calls, threats and abuse, accusing me of being an agent of the WEF trying to shut down the truth. We still get calls every day...

Mr. Angus is clearly not shy when it comes to the hurly-burly of normal political discourse. 

However, in reading his piece you can clearly see that political normality is rapidly disappearing down algorithmically-drilled and political expediency back-filled rabbit holes everywhere.


Sunday, June 19, 2022

For My Dad...


Those of you who have been stopping by here for awhile now may be asking....

Why this post again?

Because, as Bigger E. reminded me by text from Montreal this morning, it's a tradition - that's why!

As for the photo...It's Grandpops out riding on the Goose Trail with littler e. yesterday afternoon...

My old man was a Union man.

And the folks in the Union fought like bastards...and they fought constantly, usually for the tiniest of things in each successive contract...things like an extra quarter percent on a COLA clause, or one little add-on like an extra free filling per year on the dental plan.

And when I was a kid, especially during that time when I was a barely no-longer-a-teenager-aged kid, I thought the folks from the Union were just a little bit off their nut....all that energy going into what, exactly?

After all, it was the 80's, and Dave Barrett and the Socialist Hordes were long gone, and the Wild Kelowna boys were rolling along, and Unions were bad, and Expo was coming, and Trudeau was going, and John Turner was hiccupping, and Mulroney was lurking, somewhere off in the distance....

....And if you were a half-bright, apolitical science-geek kind of kid like me, breezing your way through college and thinking about graduate school, you laughed when you saw the boy wonder from Burnaby, Michael J. Fox, shirk his Family Ties and ape the young Republicans while making fun of his willfully neutered Leftie of a Dad on the TV screen...

....And if you were that kid, you thought that you were living in a golden age that was tied, not to the social democratic reforms of the past, but to the coming of Free Trade and the promises of the Reaganites from the South...

...And from that perspective you sure as heck didn't always get the irony of Bruce Springsteen singing about the plight of the working class in 'Born in the USA'.

But now that I have spent a good chunk of time in USA where I started a family of my own before coming home, I do get it.

I understand that my Dad spent his entire adult life hauling logs up and down the West Coast, working his guts out to help keep the robber baron families rich because he had to make a living to support his own family....

....And I get the fact that, because of the Unions, my family's standard of living gradually improved, bit by bit, over the years so that by the time I had grown up to be that callow young man described above my parents had saved enough to help me go to University....

....And I get the fact that I was the first one in my family who got to go to University....Ever.....And it wasn't because I was so damned smart....

....And I get the fact that, while my parents' limited financial help and support was important, it would never have been enough to get me into the same good schools if I had arrived on the scene a single generation earlier or, perhaps, later....

....And I get the fact that those Wild Kelowna Boys, and all the other neo-cons that have come since, have been doing their damndest to destroy the dream of a University education for all, and instead have instituted an elitist education for some and one-trick-pony Technical training for everybody else.....

....And I get the fact that, if it wasn't for folks like my Dad and the other lefties of his time, my current world, one in which I make a living with my eyes and my mind wide open, would not be what it is today.....

....And most of all, I now get the fact that my Dad was, and is, my hero.


Friday, June 17, 2022

HST Fridays...Will The Real Grendel Please Stand Up?


"Richard Nixon is gone now, and I am poorer for it. He was the real thing -- a political monster straight out of Grendel and a very dangerous enemy. He could shake your hand and stab you in the back at the same time. He lied to his friends and betrayed the trust of his family...


...He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning...

Thompson wrote the words above almost 28 years ago to the day, in the wake of the death of Richard Nixon. It was a time when Rush Limbaugh's and Newt Gingrich's comets were just starting to rise high over US Republican Land, their tails of depravity and destruction paving the way for the coronation of an authoritarian despot bent on destroying American democracy two decades hence.

How much did things change between the death of Nixon and the coronation of Trump?


Not even Mr. Nixon and his  bagmen at their CREEPiest could have envisaged how the great un-uniting of the American citizenry would ultimately make it possible for Donald Trump to raise $250 million dollars on the back of the biggest lie ever told for a 'fund' that does not even exist:
The House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack appeared to make the case at its second hearing that Donald Trump and his campaign engaged in potential fundraising fraud, raising $250m for a Trump “election defense fund” that did not actually exist....


....(T)he “Official Election Defense Fund”, as it was billed on fundraising emails that were repeatedly sent up until 30 minutes before the (January 6th, 2021 U.S.) Capitol attack, did not formally exist, according to Trump campaign aides Hannah Allred and Gary Coby, who testified to the (January 6th Congressional) panel...

Imagine that!


The Singer.

So, we've got this kid, Bigger E., who can really sing.

Here she is a couple days ago, with her partner A., in old Montreal..

Our thanks to a fellow named Cedric Mainella who shot the video and posted it to his book of faces page.


Wednesday, June 15, 2022

The Cullen Report's Kicker...


The Cullen Commission's final report has been released to the public, all 1,831 pages of it.

Here are the final graphs of Kim Bolan's Vancouver Sun report:

...Despite inaction by several ministers, Cullen concluded that “there is no basis to conclude that any engaged in any form of corruption related to the gaming industry or the Commission’s mandate more generally.”

“While some could have done more, there is no evidence that any of the failures was motivated by corruption,” he said...

Personally, I'm not entirely sure if the conclusion above is a kicker or a kick in the head.

Happy reading!

Don't know about you all, but I know what my most frequent search term used will be on the first go through...And it is neither lanterns nor stoves...Because...This.


Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Be Careful Charging Your E-Bike (And Other Lithium Ion Batteries - Especially Black Market Ones).



Update: Danneau and a certain former fireman point out, in the comments, that the bigger issue is the proliferation of lithium-ion batteries in everything...Only buy and use reputable stuff, including the chargers, and follow manufacturer's instructions.

First there was this, yesterday, from the Vancouver Fire Dept:

The stories in the popular (pixel) prints, as they should, started appearing soon thereafter.

The following is from Lisa Stacey's piece for CTV News:
...Capt. Matthew Trudeau said the number of fires caused by these batteries has jumped 500 per cent since 2016. Lithium ion batteries are used to power electronic scooters and bikes but also laptops and cellphones...

Now, that is terrible and extremely tragic for all concerned.

But given the absolute numbers (i.e. going from one to five) you might think that it is just some sort of weird quirk/transient jump this year that is not statistically meaningful and will soon return to normal, lower levels.

Except there is this, also from Ms. Stacey's story:
...(Chief Karen) Fry also estimated that crews are called to a blaze caused by one of these batteries "every couple of days."...

That really is a lot of calls to fires caused by batteries in a year.


What to do?

The VFD Chief recommends the following, according to Simon Little's piece for Global News:
...Fry recommended that people buy electronic devices from a reputable dealer in Canada or that is CSA certified. She said cheaper equipment purchased online is of particular concern.

She said the city’s fire service was meeting with BC Housing to look at ways to reduce risks in SROs. It is also looking for help from the province on safety measures, such as a possible ban on keeping e-bikes inside residential units...

Which means that, like everyone else, my brother the former fireman and his wife included, better be charging their E-bikes (which they are on constantly, everywhere) outside whenever possible.

so far I've resisted the siren's call of the  E-boost (see photo at top of post) because I know it will be all downhill for me once I make the choice...Having said that, I'm pretty sure the local fire suppression folks and/or my brother would probably be happy if I got rid of some of the paper in my office...


Monday, June 13, 2022

A Run On The (Crypto) Bank...


From the lede of a post at CNBC:
Bitcoin tumbled below $23,000 on Monday (June 13th), hitting its lowest level since December 2020, as investors dump crypto amid a broader sell-off in risk assets.

Meanwhile, a crypto lending company called Celsius has paused withdrawals for its customers, sparking fears of contagion into the broader market...

Which is bad enough, in and of itself.

But then, later in the piece, after you get through the 'analysis' about how this all just reflects macro-economic trends, comes the following:
...Celsius, which claims to have 1.7 million customers, advertises to its users that they can get a yield of 18% through the platform. Users deposit their crypto with Celsius. That crypto is then loaned out to institutions and other investors. Users then get yield as a result of the revenue Celsius earns...

In other words, the crypto bank with the temperature name (because it's 'hot'?) is actually a ponzi on a  ponzi.

What could possibly go wrong?


Sunday, June 12, 2022

Aren't They Playing A Dangerous Game?


Update at bottom of post

Like many others, one of the games I find myself playing these days is "Can you believe people actually believe this stuff?"

Case in point, one of the main takeaways from Abacus Data's latest polling effort:
37% (or 11 million) think “there is a group of people in this country who are trying to replace native born Canadians with immigrants who agree with their political views. This is an articulation of what is commonly referred to as replacement theory.

Scary stuff, and it tracks closer to US'ian preferences than many Canadians (maybe) previously thought.

But still, the notion of that our immigration policy has been designed to replace old stock Canadians to win elections for the Laurentians is so ludicrous that we can rest easy that the other 63% of us will keep things on the rails for the duration, right?

Sure thing.

However, when it comes to the other main takeaways the fine folks at Abacus are trumpeting things get a little murkier:
44% (the equivalent of 13 million adults) believe “big events like wars, recessions and the outcomes of elections are controlled by small groups of people working in secret against us”. Almost as many agree “much of our lives are being controlled by plots hatched in secret places.

Whoah!  I thought at first.

That one is super scary, both the number and the 'belief'.

But then I thought about it a little more...

Of course big deals are ultimately decided by a few people who often meet behind closed doors to discuss things frankly and, presumably, openly.

After all, that's why we elect leaders and stuff.

But that wee bit of pushing in the Abacus polling about the hatching of secret plots makes it sound like everything, regardless whether or not it is above board, is designed to screw us over.

And when you get people to that place it's not too difficult to conclude that those folks willing to step out onto the ledge of the cliff marked autocracy may not all be ultra-reactionaries.

And then there's this one, also from Abacus:
20% believe it is definitely or probably true that “the World Economic Forum is a group of global elites with a secretive strategy to impose their ideas on the world.” Another 37% think it is possibly true or aren’t sure either way.

Now,  just hang on a second there...

I, myself, think, despite the fact that the they now apparently support trade unionism, that the WEF's penchant for pushing a 'stakeholder capitalism' agenda often results in an over reliance on public-private-partnerships that ultimately corrode the common good.

Thus, I am not fully down with Davos man.

And, despite the fact that I consider myself a pretty reasonable fellow, what if I was to start believing that all of this secret plotting and will imposing by the elites has left me and mine powerless to affect change?

In other words, what if all of this flooding of the zone with sh*t, and that includes push polling designed to win social media friends and influence legacy media uncles, gets me to thinking that I don't actually live in a liberal democracy anymore?


Do you see the potential for real danger in their game?

Update: Monday afternoon...And the legacy media uncles have taken the bait...


Saturday, June 11, 2022

Blame Canada (Again).


It would appear that the Ohio state legislature is filled to bursting with sh*t posting trolls:
The Ohio House passed a resolution (House Resolution 194) late Wednesday night that urges the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom to add Canada to a religious freedom watch list.

Republican Rep. Tim Ginter (R-Salem) backed the resolution for the way Canada handled lockdowns of churches and actions it took against religious leaders during the pandemic.

“This resolution is not the result of a singular incident or even a handful of incidents. It's a persistent pattern of religious rights violations that has driven us to this point,” Ginter said...


You read that right.

The Republican-led house 'passed' the resolution because, apparently, 'China':
...Rep Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Paris Township) said religious leaders who violated COVID protocols in Canada were jailed. And he says that's not a behavior Ohio should condone. He said this resolution would send a strong message to Canada.

"While Ohio has stood up for religious freedom and protected the right to attend religious services, it is clear Canada has not done the same," Stoltzfus said.

Stoltzfus said this behavior is "very similar to what we see in Communist-controlled China."...

As for kangaroo courts, state-sanctioned enemies lists, and palace guard quislings vying to catch the eye of dear leader and his media dung flingers (careful: link is Krakatoa crazy crackers east of Columbus)?



Friday, June 10, 2022

HST Fridays...Mr. Nixon's Minions.


Apropos of nothing at all, except, perhaps, the absence of 'big lie' Republican lawmakers on the US'ian January 6th Committee:
...As usual, the pace picks up at the end. These buggers should be forced to keep at it for 15 or 16 straight hours — heavy doses of speed, pots of coffee, Wild Turkey, etc., force them down to the raving hysterical quick. Wild accusations, etc …


Jesus, this waterhead (Republican Senator Ed) Gurney again! You’d think the poor bugger would have the sense to not talk anymore … but no, Gurney is still blundering along, still hammering blindly at the receding edges of (John) Dean’s “credibility” in his now-obvious role as what Frank Reynolds and Sam Donaldson on ABC-TV both described as “the waterboy for the White House.”

Gurney appears to be deaf; he has a brain like a cow’s udder. He asks his questions — off the typed list apparently furnished him by Minority (GOP) counsel, Fred J. Thompson — then his mind seems to wander, his eyes roam lazily around the room while Thompson whispers industriously in his ear, his hands shuffle papers distractedly on the table in front of his microphone … and meanwhile, Dean meticulously chews up his questions and hands them back to him in shreds; so publicly mangled that their fate might badly embarrass a man with good sense …

From Time magazine's archives on the good Senator Gurney:
A strong Nixon supporter, Gurney served on the Senate committee that investigated the Watergate scandal but was later indicted in 1974 for lying to a grand jury and for bribery in a case involving influence-peddling. He chose not to run for re-election in '74, though he was eventually acquitted of all charges.



Establishing A Spine.

PZ Myers, this F-Troop list blogs favourite arachnologist, figures that establishment Democrats in his home country received a spine transplant from an unlikely source last night:

...I’ve seen a bit of the hearings on video, and caught up with summaries in the newspapers. At least I’ve confirmed that Liz Cheney has a spine, I guess my party had to import a Republican to get one...


Marcy Wheeler has an interesting take on last night's first episode of the January 6th hearings show:
...Perhaps the most striking part of the hearing was the degree to which, aside from the two live witnesses, Capitol Police Officer Carolyn Edwards and Nick Quested, the hearing relied exclusively on Republicans to make their case...


...In short, this was directed at Republicans and relied on Republicans to make the case for democracy...

A most interesting, and potentially effective, strategy indeed. 

The question is, will it even be seen or heard by said Republicans?

After all, while the hearing was being broadcast last night the good Mr. Carlson, man of the trust fund people, was running his show on the Fox Network sans commercials in an apparent effort to make sure that no one being bamoozled reflexively hit the remote button out of gold bond boredom:

...Fox News opted not to air the hearing, which was broadcast live on ABC, NBC, CBS, and most cable news stations. Instead, they ran their two premiere evening programs, Tucker Carlson Tonight and Hannity. But (Stephen) Colbert found it particularly odd that neither show cut away to commercials.

“Do you understand what that means?” he asked the audience. “Fox News is willing to lose money to keep their viewers from flipping over and accidentally learning information… I'm really not surprised — that's the first rule of any cult: never leave the compound.”...

And, as a side note,
do not ever forget, as Driftglass likes to remind those paying attention, repeatedly, that the overwhelming majority of the fine folks behind never Trumper initiatives like the 'Lincoln Project' were the ones that actually recruited the members and built the compound...


Thursday, June 09, 2022

Your Evening Audio... Ballad Of Lou The Welterweight (Felice Brothers Cover)


I have no idea why, but this magnificent Felice Brothers tune seems to be a favourite of the Irish.

Go figure...


Poor, Poor Pitiful He...


It would appear that, now that he and his can no longer pin the 'Dr. No' moniker on John Horgan, that playing the party name change game for all it's worth is pretty much the only thing left for Kevin Falcon.

Katie de Rosa has the story, such as it is, in the Vancouver Sun:
Hundreds of B.C. Liberal members will have their say Saturday on whether the party should change its name, a key plank of Leader Kevin Falcon’s promise to renew a party criticized as out-of-touch with everyday voters in the 2020 election...


...If a majority of delegates (at this weekend's BC Liberal Party convention in Penticton) endorse changing the name, Falcon will embark on a provincewide tour this summer to talk to party members in-person and online about a new name. All 45,000 B.C. Liberal party members will have a final vote later this year on whether to go with the new name or stick with the current one...


Can't they just settle on SoCredKingdomComeSuperFunConPeople'sPatriarchalBigTentPoleParty, or some reasonable facsimile thereof, and just get on with it?

Of course,  if they were to decide on the name sooner rather than later it would deprive Mr. Falcon and all his Snowmen of any chance at a sustained PR bounce over the summer regardless how  Linda Ronstadtian that ultimately proves to be in the end...


This Is A Public Service Announcement....From Mr. Woodward.


"I think the evidence is overwhelming that Trump and the people around him were involved in a criminal conspiracy. And as we know, it is a crime to obstruct or attempt to subvert the lawful business of government. I mean, there's no ambiguity in the law. If you bear with me, I wrote down some of the things that actually the Supreme Court has held about somebody who tries to interfere with the necessary, lawful functions of government."...


..."What the Supreme Court has held, going back 100 years, that it is a crime if there's deceit, craft, treachery, dishonesty, misrepresentation, overreaching and overt acts," said Woodward. "This is exactly what Trump and these people have done. The task the Jan. 6 Committee has, I think, they're going to have to present new evidence to convince people, because lots of people are not convinced of this, that this was a crime. I think many more are. So, they have a monumental task. It's going to be riveting."...


Have fun watching the public hearings....And, if you need more background details and/or reference materials to refer to, I suggest you have a look at the Brookings Institution's report together with Marcy Wheeler's latest primer.

Earworm rising from the header/sub-header fog?...This!


Wednesday, June 08, 2022

Did The Deep (Trump) State Have A Back-Up Mike Pence Removal Plan?

Yesterday, in the comments to a post on the Trump campaign's concerted, conspiratorial and secretive efforts to generate alternative state elector slates designed to usurp the will of the American people, longtime reader Lew noted that it was Mike Pence who ultimately did the right thing and stopped the attempted Trump State steal on January 6th, 2021.

Specifically, Mr. Pence made it very clear that he would not block the Electoral College certification using the elector slates that were based on actual vote counts within each state, many of which had been confirmed either by recount or court decision.

Mr. Trump was not amused, tweeting the following while the insurrection raged on:
...Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!...

At the same time, Mr. Pence's security detail was attempting to whisk him away from the beseiged Capitol building.

However, it appears that at least one person was concerned that the desire to remove Mr. Pence from the scene before the Electoral College certification took place was not motivated by safety concerns alone.

And who was that person?

Apparently, it was none other than Mr. Pence himself:
Former Vice President Mike Pence reportedly pushed back on orders from his security detail to leave the Capitol on Jan. 6 as supporters of former President Trump stormed the building in protest of Congress’s certification of President Biden’s election win....


...With some of those marching through the Capitol chanting, “Hang Mike Pence,” Tim Giebels, the lead special agent in charge of the vice president’s protective detail, asked Pence twice to evacuate the building, according to the (Washington) Post reporters 
Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker).

Pence reportedly declined, telling Giebels, “I’m not leaving the Capitol.”

According to the book (by Leonnig and Rucker), Giebels then said, “They’re in the building. … The room you’re in is not secure. There are glass windows. I need to move you. We’re going.”

Once Pence was brought down to an area where his armored limousine was waiting, Giebels reportedly told Pence, “We can hold here.”

However, Pence responded, “I’m not getting in the car, Tim,” according to the book.

“I trust you, Tim, but you’re not driving the car,” he added...


One can only wonder if, perhaps, we are going to hear about Trump State back-up plan(s) during the January 6th public hearing run.


Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Things To Do With Your Dad...



Which, if my kids are paying attention, has been thematically twisted and stretched to fantasmagorical effect in one of the Felices' latest...

One somewhat snarky commenter on the Twittmachine noted that, if you squint and look quick, Ms. Roach's Dad looks a little like the good Mr. Jennings...
If you want to hear how smart Ms. Roach really is, check this bit of back and forth with a pre-Glavin-baiting podcast called Canadaland.
And this just in...The Brothers doing Frankie's Gun recently in which, no word of a lie, young Ian actually cracks a smile or two!


The Deep (Trump) State Machinery In Action.


From Amy Gardener et al., writing in the Washington Post yesterday:
A staffer for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign instructed Republicans planning to cast electoral college votes for Trump in Georgia despite Joe Biden’s victory to operate in “complete secrecy,” an email obtained by The Washington Post shows.

“I must ask for your complete discretion in this process,” wrote Robert Sinners, the campaign’s election operations director for Georgia, the day before the 16 Republicans gathered at the Georgia Capitol to sign certificates declaring themselves duly elected. “Your duties are imperative to ensure the end result — a win in Georgia for President Trump — but will be hampered unless we have complete secrecy and discretion.”

The Dec. 13, 2020, email went on to instruct the electors to tell security guards at the building that they had an appointment with one of two state senators. “Please, at no point should you mention anything to do with Presidential Electors or speak to the media,” Sinners continued in bold.

The admonishments suggest that those who carried out the fake elector planwere concerned that, had the gathering become public before Republicans could follow through on casting their votes, the effort could have been disrupted... 

Remember, this all happened after Mr. Trump attempted to bully the Georgia Secretary of State to find him the 11,000, plus votes to beat Joe Biden in that wee bit of Electoral College real estate.

It also occurred after Mr. Biden's win in Georgia had been formally certified by the state, re-certified  after a recount, and re-re-certified by the courts.

So, what was the plan of Trump State Machinery, writ large?

To have Mike Pence nullify the legitimate elector slates from swing states won by Biden and install the fake slates ready to flip/steal the Electoral College for Trump on January 6th, 2021.

Imagine that.

The former Trump State quisling quoted in the piece above has since gone to work for the Republican Secretary of State in Georgia...
If you want to listen to a great podcast on how and why regular folks were bamboozled and/or bludgeoned by the Trump State Machinery on January 6th, 2021 itself,  the eight part podcast 'It Will Be Wild' by Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz (formerly of WNYC) is really good...


Monday, June 06, 2022

But What About The Pointed Sticks?


We were on the receiving end of the peer review process today and, from a scientific point of view, it was truly satisfying.

Essentially, a band of fellow geeks with true expertise in what we do came to town to grill us about a pending group grant that my lab is playing a small part in. 

The project is exciting and our goal is to go from the bedside to the lab bench and back again in an effort to better the standard of care in a specific disease type that is currently under served.

Given the multidisciplinary nature of the project most of the geeks in the group are clinician-scientists.

These particular folks are really sharp and we are really happy to be helping out with the functional lab bench testing of genes, including one we know well, that they they think are worth considering.

But here's the thing...

Clinician's like to start working really early.

And while I can make a 6:45 am start time once in a while (as was the case this morning), I would rather poke myself with pointed sticks than do that every single day of the working week.

Don't get me wrong...We bench jockeys are happy to work long and/or weird hours, especially when time on shared equipment gets tight or the mania of chasing a good idea takes hold.... It's just that, on balance, we prefer to work late rather than starting ridiculously early...
Serious work on this particular group grant began about six months ago...Despite the fact that the day of in-person grilling went well and the early reviews were solid, we'll be in limbo about whether the work will be funded for a few weeks longer given that there are a number of really strong groups that are still in the running on this call.


A Non-Story Story In The Baltic.


Yesterday the AP ran a story by Jari Tanner about NATO-led naval exercises in the Baltic Sea under the following headline:

"NATO holds Baltic Sea naval exercises with Finland, Sweden."

Now, that seems like a super big (not to mention potentially provocative, poke the bear in the eye-type) deal, especially given the earlier announcements by F & S that they intend to join NATO.

There were even veiled rattles of the sabre coming from the likes of Mark Milley, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in the piece:
“...It is important for us, the United States, and the other NATO countries to show solidarity with both Finland and Sweden in this exercise...”

Except it turns out that, in this case at least, it was little more than kabuki theatre-based wand waving given the following from deep with the piece's buried lede:
...As NATO’s close partners, Finland and Sweden have participated in the naval drill since the mid-1990s...

All of which begs the real (snark-laden) question based on the image at the top of the post...

What the heck was Kim Wexler doing in Stockholm with General Milley, shown in uniform on the right, over the weekend just past?