Friday, March 31, 2023

Quisling Kisses The Ring On Bended Knee (Again).


From Gary Fineout, writing in Politico:

(Florida) Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday blasted the indictment of Donald Trump and vowed that the state “will not assist in the extradition”...


...“The weaponization of the legal system to advance a political agenda turns the rule of law on its head. It is un-American,” DeSantis said...


“I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair.” (Mr. DeSantis also said)...

Meanwhile, remember the following name:

Karen McDougal.

It may have nothing whatsoever to do with weather, but I'm betting it will show up down the road, post indictment, particularly when it comes to the actions of one of the previously immunized National Enquirer Bros.



Thursday, March 30, 2023

Write About COVID, Get Harassed (Part 2).

Yesterday I wrote about how, in addition to the much, much greater hardships faced by folks like Ms. Jody Vance and Dr. Florence Debarre in the face of relentless online harassment, I, too, have received a modicum of attention from the lunatic unhinged for having the temerity to write about the risk/reward ratios of COVID vaccines.

All of which is terrible.

But I can't even begin to imagine having to deal with the following, as recounted by North Carolina journalist Billy Ball, writing in The Atlantic:

My 6-year-old boy died in January. We lost him after a household accident, one likely brought on by a rare cerebral-swelling condition. Paramedics got his heart beating, but it was too late to save his brain. I could hold his hand, look at the small birthmark on it, comb his hair, and call out for him, but if he could hear me or feel me, he gave no sign. He had been a child in perpetual motion, but now we couldn’t get him to wiggle a finger.

My grief is profound, ragged, desperate. I cannot imagine how anything could feel worse.

But vaccine opponents on the internet, who somehow assumed that a COVID shot was responsible for my son’s death, thought my family’s pain was funny. “Lol. Yay for the jab. Right? Right?” wrote one person on Twitter. “Your decision to vaccinate your son resulted in his death,” wrote another. “This is all on YOU.” “Murder in the first.”

I’m a North Carolina–based journalist who specializes in countering misinformation on social media. I know that Twitter, Facebook, and other networks amplify bad information; that their algorithms feed on anger and division; that anonymity and distance bring out the worst in some people online. And yet I had never anticipated that anyone would mock and terrorize a grieving parent. I’ve now received thousands of harassing posts. Some people emailed me at work.

For the record, my son saw some of the finest pediatric-ICU doctors in the world. He was in fact vaccinated against COVID-19. None of his doctors deemed that relevant to his medical condition. They likened his death to a lightning strike.

Strangers online saw in our story a conspiracy—a cover-up of childhood fatalities caused by COVID vaccines, a ploy to protect Big Pharma.

To them, what happened to my son was not a tragedy. It was karma for suckered parents like me...

There is a sickness in our society, that while it may be viral, has nothing to do with spike proteins, lipid membranes or nucleotide codes. Regardless, it is a sickness that we have to start to treat meaningly, immediately, or we may soon all be consumed by it.


Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Write about COVID, Get Harassed.

I must confess that I'm a little bit discombobulated these days.

It's no big deal, it's just that my bike is in the shop because I've once again worn the teeth down to the nub, on the cassette which is that little cluster of gears stuck right up against the back wheel.

My bike guy, S, says I've got to stop stomping down on the pedals in the higher gears, especially when I've got the chain on the big sprocket up front.

I told him I would try, but it was going to be difficult to stop myself from trying to keep up with the elderly hordes that go zooming past me on their eBikes every day.

Anyway, not having my bike means that I'm not getting the daily exercise that helps to tamp down my autonomic nervous system, especially on the sympathetic side of the ledger.

It also means that I've been taking the bus to and from the lab this week.

And, I've got to say, riding crowded buses always reminds me of how, in the great majority of instances, complete strangers manage to get along and are really very civil towards each other.

Of course, in the digital world, this isn't always the case, especially when it comes to all things COVID.

Take, for example, the case of local Lotuslandian broadcaster Jody Vance:

Vancouver broadcaster Jody Vance says she wants to see "something good" come from the years she spent fearing for her family's safety because of one man's relentless online harassment campaign.

Earlier this month, 53-year-old Richard Oliver pleaded guilty to criminal harassment for the violent and sexualized messages he sent to Vance, her colleagues and guests on her show...


...The harassment charge concerned messages sent between March 2020 and September 2021, which were largely focused on Oliver's displeasure with Vance's reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The communications went beyond simply views and became aggressive and threatening in nature. They refer to things such as a 'day of reckoning,'" (Provincial Court Judge Peter) La Prairie wrote...

And then there is the case of Florence Debarre, the French evolutionary biologist who discovered that there were racoon dog sequences in the original Wuhan wet market DNA swabs, a finding which may turn out to support the zoonotic spillover hypothesis of how the SARS-CoV-2 originally infected people.

Now, to be very clear, Dr. Debarre was not offering the kind of opinions that a commercial broadcaster might that could upset some folks. In addition, Dr. Debarre was not out out there draping a zoonotic flag over a laboratory origin tombstone on social media. However, she was clear about the implication of her findings:

...Débarre stresses that other animal DNA was also found in the swabs, and that there is still no conclusive proof that raccoon dogs in the market were carrying the virus, or were the vehicle for its first spillover into humankind. “But now it cannot be denied that they were there,” she says...

And, for that she has been subject to a viscious onslaught online:

...Since the publication of her findings (on a pre-print server), Débarre has been set upon by online mobs and received threats to her safety. “Last night, I was crying over the horrible things I’m reading about myself on social media,” she says...



I obviously cannot possibly know how truly bad things got for Ms. Vance and Dr. Debarre.

And the examples you will see below are undoubtedly orders of magnitude milder than the the kind of crap Ms. Vance and Dr. Debarre had to deal with, if only because they are women.

However, I did have the temerity to write about the various COVID vaccines as they were being developed, starting back in the early 2021 when I wrote about that rare blood clotting disorder that was associated with the AZ virus-based vaccine. Not long after I started to write, carefully, about the risk/reward ratios of the RNA-based vaccines and soon thereafter the codswallop began to land on the doorstop of this blog in the form of nasty comments with some regularity.

At first I just deleted these missives from the comment threads and threw them in the trash. But it wasn't long before the volume was so overwhelming, and the narratives so unhinged, that I was forced to turn on the comment moderation feature for the first time since I started up this little F-troop listed blog way back in internet ancient times (i.e. 2004).

And with the moderation on, I also decided to archive things just in case something untoward happened down the road in the non-digital world. So far nothing like that has occurred, but now seems to be an opportune time to show you all some of this stuff so that you can see specific examples of what even a very small fish in a very, very small pond has to deal with:

I run a holistic medical private practice, and have a background in Molecular & Cell Biology, you NEVER EVER diagnose people of pathologies using a PCR test. EVER. It’s almost Biology 101, but science was thrown under the bus from the very beginning. I presume “it had to be this way” for us to see how corrupt the ENTIRE establishment really is. The swamp runs deep and wide indeed.
So-called authorities have disgraced themselves behind a new theology of degenerate “science” that veers back into superstition and necromancy. Proof that they don’t believe their own story shows in their desperate efforts to hide the data, confabulate numbers, ignore true facts, and lash out viciously at anyone who discloses their zealous deceits...

Be a real shame if something highly predictable were to happen to you because you are too compromised to do the right thing.
Keep yourself firmly in the box, champ, or you might just suffer the loss of your cozy little sinecure doing nothing.
Large numbers of injectees will see their health decline in coming weeks, and no amount of "variant" disinformation is going to change the obvious pattern.

Anybody hawking syringes under these circumstances should reasonably fear for their own safety.
A viral out-break with a minuscule death rate is not a pandemic, no matter how many times the w.h.o.Re$ change the definition.

Injuring and killing people who were at no risk is, however, a crime and justice will be meted out.
Just keep boostin'...You'll eventually get what you deserve.

The above is just a small, but representative, sample of the more than 2,000 messages I archived through 2021 and 2022 (leaving aside some of the more personal stuff about my day job work and my cognitive abilities, not to mention the voluminous levels of lunatic fringe 'proof' demonstrating the existence of the 'plandemic').

The point is, do you see how unhinged and relentless these folks can be?

And do you see why, particularly because her harasser included a member of her family in his threat messages to her, Ms. Vance is, in my opinion at least, completely justified in initiating her civil suit now that that the criminal case is over?


Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Why Voting, And The Legislation That Follows, Matters.


The above is a graphic from the Financial Times, based on data accumulated by Mother Jones.

The red line, which was added by Brian Tyler Cohen, marks the date when Republicans ended the assault weapons ban in the United States.

Of course other things that could have been added to the header of this post are money, lobbying, complicit media outlets, and a certain 'association'.

And do not, for one minute, think that those three things are not at work, in some variation of the forms, above the 49th parallel also.



Monday, March 27, 2023

A Point Worth Considering.


Doug Saunders is an international affairs columnist with the Globe and Mail.

Thomas Juneau is a faculty member in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa.

While they are talking about how it is important to deal with this at the governmental/legislative level, I think it is also a point that we all should consider when going about our business with our fellow Canadians:



Back On My Desktop...Like A Bad Penny You Can't Get Rid Of.



Perhaps more to the point, like a cockroach that can neither be caught nor killed off (metaphorically, of course).

William Raushbaum et al. have that story in today's failing New York Times:

The former publisher of The National Enquirer testified on Monday before the Manhattan grand jury hearing evidence about Donald J. Trump’s role in a hush-money payment to a porn star, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The publisher, David Pecker, also testified in January, soon after the grand jury was impaneled by the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg. The grand jury has heard from at least nine witnesses — including Mr. Pecker, who has gone in twice — and is expected to vote on an indictment soon...

I spoke about Mr. Pecker and his potential role(s) in the Trump/Daniels/Legal Fee case in yesterday's audioblog.

Essentially, Pecker is the architect of many a 'catch and kill' operation wherein people's stories are bought up to bury them so that various and sundry 'celebrities' are not embarrassed. There has also been the whiff of back-end strong arming to boot.

But here's the thing...

In this specific case it appears that the good Mr. Pecker and his right hand man, a fine fellow named Dylan Howard went to Mr. Trump's then lawyer, the estimable Michael Cohen, and told him that he should be the bagman for the Daniels operation.

Hmmm...Wonder why?

Anyway, the discussion of other potential Pecker, Inc. catch and kill operations designed to shield good name of the double plus ungood Mr. Trump comes up at the 38 min mark of said audioblog, here...


Sunday, March 26, 2023

What's On My Desktop?...Audioblog for March 26, 2023.


Once again, things started piling up on my desktop and, instead of writing all about it, I just sat down and babbled on awhile...

Here's the source material for most of said babbling:

Dan Fumano's Vancouver Sun piece from last October on the transition team behind the new regime at Vancouver city hall.

David Moscrop, writing in Jacobin, explaining why Canada needs more public housing not more renting.

Christopher Patterson and Lance Barrie in The Tyee/The Conversation making the case for the 15 minute city...Oxford, in the UK, explains its 'traffic filters' here.

More on the former guy's 'catch and kill'  grand master/mobsterish flash strategy to deal with potentially damaging stories, based on a 2018 piece in Vox by Andrew Prokop and Dylan Matthews.

You get a peerage!...And you get a peerage!...And you get a peerage!...Explained by Rowena Mason in The Guardian.

Uncle Neil tries to do what Pearl Jam couldn't when it comes to the ripping off of patrons when it comes to concert tickets...Ben Beaumont-Thomas, also in the Guardian, has that story....And, yes, that's Neil in Victoria a few weeks ago, singing for old growth forests, above.

Joyce Johnson, in Vanity Fair from 2007, on the night Jack Kerouac first read the New York Times review of the just published (and highly edited) version of 'On the Road' that changed his life for good (and bad?). 

Scott Simon speaking to the soon to retire Sylvia Poggioli on NPR's 'Weekend Edition Saturday'.

And a couple of new (to me at least) musical picks...Katy Kirby and The Beths.

Front and back, old guys reminiscing song snippets are from a cover of M. Ward's 'O'Brien's Nocturne'.


Saturday, March 25, 2023

What If Al Capone Had Convinced America That Tax Evasion Is Not A Crime?


From Daniel Porazzo's chronology of the Capone trial:


What's it all about this time Alfie?

Well, Amanda Marcotte notes the ways in which it appears that the prosecutor in the Stormy Daniels capture and kill hush money (and then claim the cost as a legal expense, allegedly) case looks to be vacillating in the face of the usual suspect's social media bombast that has been backed (and massively amplified) by wall-to-wall CorpMedia coverage:

...What’s frustrating is there’s reason to worry (District Attorney Alvin) Bragg is balking (at indicting Donald Trump). Despite all his chest-thumping about how he won’t be intimidated, Bragg is suddenly finding all sorts of reasons not to move forward to indictment. First he canceled the Wednesday grand jury meeting. Then, when they reconvened, he pivoted to another, unrelated case, pausing the hush money inquiry, quite possibly indefinitely...

Only time, and the rampaging herd of rabid cable news network 'legal experts', will tell I suppose.

Who the heckfire is Mabel Walker Willebrandt, you may be asking?....Well, in the roaring twenties, back when mobsters ruled the US'ian prohibition roost with machine guns and bomb-backed impunity, Ms. Walker was the Assistant Attorney General known as 'Prohibition Portia' who came up with the quite successful 'follow the (taxable) money' strategy...Her life story is really something.


Friday, March 24, 2023

The Internet Archive Is Under Attack.


Most of us, especially reader NVG, who use the Internet Archive use the Wayback Machine which allows you to fight link rot and figure out exactly what was originally uploaded to the tubes.

But the Archive is much more than that:

We began in 1996 by archiving the Internet itself, a medium that was just beginning to grow in use. Like newspapers, the content published on the web was ephemeral - but unlike newspapers, no one was saving it. Today we have 26+ years of web history accessible through the Wayback Machine and we work with 1,000+ library and other partners through our Archive-It program to identify important web pages.

As our web archive grew, so did our commitment to providing digital versions of other published works. Today our archive contains: 

Anyone with a free account can upload media to the Internet Archive. We work with thousands of partners globally to save copies of their work into special collections...

And now, as you might expect, the Archive is under attack from the Mr. Potters and Greedheads of the publishing world who just can't fathom why someone should be allowed to do something of value that they can't get their hands on for their own aggrandizement:

The Internet Archive, a nonprofit library in San Francisco, has grown into one of the most important cultural institutions of the modern age. What began in 1996 as an audacious attempt to archive and preserve the World Wide Web has grown into a vast library of books, musical recordings and television shows, all digitized and available online, with a mission to provide “universal access to all knowledge.”

Right now, we are at a pivotal stage in a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Internet Archive, still pending, brought by four of the biggest for-profit publishers in the world, who have been trying to shut down core programs of the archive since the start of the pandemic...

In other words, anything that is good, especially if it enhances the public good, and is free of the profit motive must be destroyed to ensure that we, the public, don't start to demand such good things, unfettered and greed-free.


Thursday, March 23, 2023

About Time...


The following is the lede from front page piece in today's The Washington Post by Casey Parks, Emily Guskin and Scott Clement:

Transgender Americans experience stigma and systemic inequality in many aspects of their lives, including education, work and health-care access, a wide-ranging Washington Post-KFF poll finds.

Many have been harassed or verbally abused. They’ve been kicked out of their homes, denied health care and accosted in bathrooms. A quarter have been physically attacked, and about 1 in 5 have been fired or lost out on a promotion because of their gender identity. They are more than twice as likely as the population at large to have experienced serious mental health struggles such as depression.

Yet most trans adults say transitioning has made them more satisfied with their lives.

“Living doesn’t hurt anymore,” said TC Caldwell, a 37-year-old Black nonbinary person from Montgomery, Ala. “It feels good to just breathe and be myself.”...


As PZ Myers noted:

"About time a national paper was brave enough to say it."


Especially that part in red, above.

Non-musical ear worm in the subheader?...This.


Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Fantasy Baseball At The End Of The World (John Samson-Fellows Cover)


Mr. Samson Fellows (previously known as John K. Samson to many) wrote this tune in the late 'teens back when the previous US'ian president was still raging, full throttle.

Luckily for all of us, for awhile there the former guy seemed to recede into the background.

But now he's back, hoping like heckfire that the threat of indictments to come will whip his base into a frenzy that will turn Americans against each other in the streets and re-open the fundraising spigots, full blast, once again.

Thus, I figured Mr. Sampson Fellows' brilliant song song of despair, hope and resolve could do with a wee bit of a tweak.

Here's my cover(ish) version...


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Jean Chrétien Isn't The Only Canadian Who Did The Right Thing In 2003.


There was also that Lotuslandian, then currently living and plying his trade in Dallas, Texas.

The following is from a piece by Dave Zirin, writing in the Nation in the fall of 2014, on the eve of Steve Nash's imminent retirement:

...(I)t is difficult to remember just how deafening the political quietude was back in 2003. While several million people converged on New York City to say no to what we then called “Bush’s war,” the sports world institutionally, from team owners to media puff pieces, was a center of unquestioned patriotism. For people who only read the sports page, and stay off the front page, being confronted with dissenting views was a non-option.

Into this stifling atmosphere came Steve Nash, then with the Dallas Mavericks, showing up at the 2003 All-Star game wearing a T-shirt that read, “No war. Shoot for peace.” When challenged by a shocked press corps, Nash said, “I think that war is wrong in 99.9 percent of all cases. I think [Operation Iraqi Freedom] has much more to do with oil or some sort of distraction, because I don’t feel as though we should be worrying about Iraq.”

He leveled a tragically prescient statement to the powers that be, saying, “I think that Saddam Hussein is a crazy dictator, but I don’t think he’s threatening us at this point in time. We haven’t found any nuclear weapons—no matter what anyone says—and that process is still under way. Until that’s finished and decided I don’t think that war is acceptable.”

Nash did not say that Bush, Cheney and Condoleezza Rice were just mistaken, but actually had very nefarious, and ulterior motives, stating, “Unfortunately, this is more about oil than it is about nuclear weapons.” Nash also took issue with the pro-war media. Two years before The New York Times and The Washington Post apologized publicly for their craven, utterly embedded pro-war coverage, Nash said, “I think a lot of what we hear in the news is misleading and flat-out false, so I think it’s important for us to think deeper and find out what is really going on.”

Nash also did not buckle when Mavs owner Mark Cuban—who fancies himself as a renegade free-thinker—came down on Nash for his views. The Canadian citizen also did not budge when then Spurs center David Robinson said, “If it’s an embarrassment to [Nash] maybe [he] should be in a different country.”...

Tip 'O The Toque to Cathie from Canada for the reminder of Mr. Nash past.


Monday, March 20, 2023

Cruise Ship Crisis Averted, Allegedly.


Remember back in the heart of the pandemic when the usual suspects 'round here were lighting their hair on fire because the premier of the day wouldn't/couldn't force the feds to get rid of rules that prevented massive floating petrie dishes from landing in Lotusland while legislators in Alaska were passing laws that allowed said dishes to sail straight from Seattle to Anchorage without a stop in British Columbia?

If you can't quite remember all those burning sticks of epidermally produced keratin, here's a sampling straight from the bonfire, written by the Dean of the Legislative Press Gallery in a Vancouver Sun column published on September 15, 2021:

...Horgan’s last line of defence is that cruise ship operators will include B.C. ports in their itineraries even if they are not obliged to do so in U.S. law.

Maybe. But the premier has been wrong at every turn...


That was then and this is now, as per the lede of Derrick Penner's stenography piece published this past weekend in the VSun:

The arrival of Princess Cruises’ Sapphire Princess at the Canada Place cruise terminal on April 12 will be symbolic of a hoped-for continuation of tourism’s rebound in Vancouver.

It will be the first of what the Port of Vancouver expects to be a record 331 cruise ship visits to the city in the 2023 season...

Imagine that!


Sunday, March 19, 2023

California Zephyr... (Hibbard/Farrar Cover)


The most recent Christmas shopping season not long past the two E's and I went shopping in downtown Victoria rather than along our usual route on the other side of the Salish Sea that stretches, pretty much on a line from Kitsalino to what was once 3-Vets down by Vancouver Police Headquarters.

So what you ask?

Well, because littler e. wanted to walk down Fort St. in downtown Victoria it meant that we stopped in at Russell Books.

Which, because Russell's has such a great selection of all kinds, meant that I was easily able to get the remaining books for gifts that I hadn't already found elsewhere.

And then I ran across Joyce Johnson, nee Glassman's, insightful tale of how Jack Kerouac's distinctly antagonistic dual personality traits could only truly be self-assuaged by his development of the spontaneous prose method that was spurred on with a little help from his friends and a truly insane work ethic. In the end this resulted in the continuous 1951 typewriter scroll manuscript that, a full six years later, after much editing and re-writing, would finally be published.

Glassman was with Kerouac in September of 1957 on the night he read Gilbert Millstein's New York Times review that helped to make him very famous, very fast after so many years trying. The image at the top of the post was taken of the two of them not long after.

Three years later, after sneaking into San Francisco, not in the passenger seat of a broken down Hudson driven by Neal Cassady, but instead in his own private roomette on the cross country California Zephyr passenger train, Kerouac, who was by then in his late thirties and a raging alcoholic, decided that he had to make one fast move or he would soon be gone.

So he headed down the coast to Big Sur.

Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard wrote and recorded an entire album about the novel that ensued.

Track one is 'California Zephyr'.

Here's my version...


Saturday, March 18, 2023

(Anti) March Madness!...The Roofball World Championship.


I enjoy March Madness as much as the next guy, but...

It's so frenetic and there are so many games, especially this weekend.


If you need a break and are looking for something a little more DIY that still has great production values, national anthems, post-game interviews and hot dogs, check out the 2023 Roofball World Championship coming to the entire globe from the pastoral streets of Beaverton Oregon.

If you need a primmer, check out the 2008 World Championships, above.

This year's event is being live streamed at 1pm Pacific/4pm Eastern today (but they will leave the stream up if you want to tune in, say, after all the college basketball is done).

Check it out - you won't be sorry (audio problems resolved at the 36 min. mark...but have no fear that still gives you a full 3 and 1/2 hours of the thrill of all victories and the not so agonizing defeats!).

I'm pretty sure both my brothers will really dig this.


Friday, March 17, 2023

The Craptacularists Behind The Woke Bank Codswallop.


It was cooked up in the fetid boiler rooms deep in the bowels of the Trumpiest of (anti) think tanks, the Claremont Institute.

It was then released by wingnut welfare-backed weasels like Charlie Kirk and the Supreme Court-stuffing Federalist Society before it moved on to Fox News and more 'serious' cable news outlets before it was finally smeared across the digital public prints in places like Newsweek.

And, to be absolutely clear, the 'it' under discussion is pure unadulterated codswallop, purposefully packaged and deliberately flung into the public consciousness where, even after it is fully discredited, it will stick just enough such that it can be re-used and recycled again and again and again to distract, deflect and disinform everyone concerned when the next crisis of confidence arises.

Josh Marshall, working and writing at Talking Points Memo, has the story and the receipts. Here's his lede:

According to stories bursting across the right-wing mediasphere today, a key reason for the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) was its focus on spreading “woke culture” rather than efficiently managing risk and profits. Ground zero for this is the allegation that SVB had donated over $73 million to the “BLM Movement & Related Causes.” That struck me as quite a lot of money for a single company, even a large and profitable one, to give to anycause or even all causes. So I tried to find out where this factoid came from and rapidly found my way to a Trumpist think tank. Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s a complete lie...

Marshall then goes on to demonstrate that it all traces back to a bogus Claremont Institute database wherein contributions to, or monetary contracts entered into with, anyone or any institution that has any connection whatsoever to African Americans is a direct money funnel to 'Black Lives Matter' and urban rioting.

Which is why, in addition to Silicon Valley Bank, Bank of America is also in the craptacularists' database.


Because Bank of America does business with and gives things like mortgages to black people.

These really are some of the worst people in the world who are doing their darnedest to destroy liberal democracy as we know it.

And for what?

Image at the top of the post...Director of the Claremont Institute's 'Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence' John Eastman (yes, 'that' John Eastman) with Rudy Giuliani at Mr. Trump's pre-insurrection party on January 6, 2021.


Thursday, March 16, 2023

There's A (Fairly) New Menace On The Streets These Days...


This morning I had to ride down into the bowels of central Lotusland's hospital industrial complex to pick up a reagent from a colleague - an antibody, actually, that he thinks might help us further characterize a weird immune-type cell we are seeing in one of our experimental tumour progression assays.


Despite the fact it is bike route-lined, I normally avoid that chunk of West 10th Avenue at all costs given how congested it is, especially on weekdays.

And this morning I  almost smacked into a kid on one of those new-fangled electronic scooters after he swooped through the intersection and came around the corner at Heather St.

Man, those things are fast, silent and, potentially, deadly.

Be careful out there everybody!

Truth be told,
I had an even closer call a few weeks ago when I passed through my office door one evening and came face-to-face with one of those things as it came zipping, silently, down the hallway...As you might imagine whole lot of 'Get off my lawn/Get outta my building' - type old guy muttering under the breath, and even a wee bit of yelling, ensued...
Subheader earworm got hold of your auricles?...Of course...This!


Wednesday, March 15, 2023

What's Good For The Grift Is Also Good For.....America?


From Marcy Wheeler writing at Emptywheel:

Steve Bannon’s sometime partner Guo Wengui was arrested this morning on a sweeping indictment charging a $1 billion conspiracy, four sets of wire and security fraud charges each tied to a particularly business, as well as other money laundering charges.

It will take (me at least) some time to understand the full scope of the alleged behavior.

But for now, know that SDNY started seizing some of the proceeds of this fraud last year, and will now move to seize the yacht on which Bannon was arrested for his own fraud indictment...


Mr. Bannon's own indictment?

Gosh, what was that all about Alfie?

Former Trump campaign manager Steve Bannon pleaded not guilty on Thursday (August 20, 2020) hours after being arrested on a luxury yacht for allegedly skimming donations from an online fundraising campaign for the president’s controversial border wall with Mexico.

Using a non-profit organization that he controlled, Bannon “received over $1m from the ‘We Build the Wall’ online campaign, at least some of which he used to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in [his] personal expenses”, federal prosecutors in New York allege...

And then there was, and is, the following, from Dave Weigel writing at Semaphor about the latest version of the US'ian conservative bash known as 'CPAC':

...(T)he New Federal State of China, “declared” three years ago by Steve Bannon and exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui, made its first CPAC appearance (in 2023) with a $75,000 sponsorship, and two high-tech booths where volunteers handed out leaflets and explained why the battle to destroy the CCP had to be won in America.

That isn’t hyperbole. “The elimination of the Chinese Communist Party is essential in breaking the shackles of slavery imposed on the Chinese people,” Bannon said at the 2020 ceremony launching the NFSC, “and also, in bringing about peace to the international community and all mankind.” Guo, citing “Chinese culture,” pricked his finger and signed the declaration with his blood.

The Bannon-Wengui partnership burst into the headlines before the 2020 election, when Bannon was arrested on Guo’s yacht on charges that were later superseded by a pardon from President Trump...


Perhaps Samuel Johnson was, indeed, right when he wrote, to obliquely reference Don Mclean, 'a long long time ago', that patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.

Or some such thing.

Image at the top of the post?...The good Mr. Bannon on the yacht in question, courtesy the London Economic.


Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Round Up All The Woke Bloggers Immediately!


DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis, DeSantis.  Ron.



A Republican state senator in Florida has introduced a bill that, if passed, would require bloggers who write about Gov. Ron DeSantis, his Cabinet or state legislators to register with the state...


I guess some speech isn't quite as free as advertised in the Sunshine State.


Saturday, March 11, 2023



Cory Doctorow, writing at his website 'Pluralistic' (you can find it on the left side Blogcrawl), makes the case that a lot of corporations, not averages Joes and Jolinas that received pandemic relief, have been driving a significant portion of the long part of thepost-Covid inflationary tail by using the entire thing as an 'excuse' to raise their prices:

...(N)ot all the price rises were temporary, nor could they all be attributed to supply shocks. Reporters who tuned into earnings calls from large, monopolistic packaged goods companies like Colgate-Palmolive, Unilever and Procter and Gamble were amazed to hear CEOs and CFOs boasting about how they were able to use the excuse of inflation to raise prices...

Imagine that!


Friday, March 10, 2023

Cougars Of The Salish Sea.


The Panthera Corporation is a non-profit group that is devoted to maintaining wild cat ecosystems worldwide.

Recently, they have been tracking cougars on the Olympic Peninsula, which, if you live in Victoria, you can probably see from your house and/or any highpoint with a south facing view.

Melissa Breyer, writing for Treehugger, has that story:

...As part of Panthera’s Olympic Cougar Project, a research initiative on the Peninsula, a mother cougar and her 1½-year-old son, known as M161, were outfitted with GPS collars to track their movement. The press release explains what happened next:

“To scientists’ astonishment, M161 spent several months on land after his collaring before swimming 1.1 km [.68 miles] from the eastern edge of the Peninsula to Puget Sound’s Squaxin Island. Based on this journey, scientists estimate that at least 3,808 of the Salish Sea’s 6,153 islands could be accessible to ‘island hopping’ cougars.”...

Imagine that!


Wednesday, March 08, 2023

The Good Old Days.


There are certain folks, especially those of a certain political persuasion, that want everything to be like it was in the good old days.

Like, say, the golden age of the 1950's.

Of course, many things, especially for folks that don't fit into neat 1950's-ish societal boxes, are actually much better in the here and now.

However, when it comes to all things taxes, especially corporate taxes, I'm all for going back to the future.

Amy Hanauer made it clear why this could be the answer to our collective public deficit fears recently in an OpEd piece in the Hill Times:

...Corporate profits hit a new record of $2.8 trillion in 2021. Yet, corporate income taxes now cover just 10 percent of federal revenue, down from more than 30 percent in the 1950s...

That, of course, is the US'ian situation.

However, it does not appear that significant historical trend downward is any different up here in Canuckistanmikitaville.


If some group were to mount a serious push toward having corporations pay their fair share to maintain the common good you can bet that a million (more) lobbyists (than usual) would immediately swarm the halls of government, media megalopoli, and the most influential academic towers in a concerted effort to convince all and sundry that such a change would result in the collapse of civilization as we know it along with a simultaneous rise in the price of beer and gasoline.

Or some such thing.

Subheader? Accompanies the image at the top of the post from 1958, because...This.


Tuesday, March 07, 2023

How Much Did The 'Smoothening' Of The Living Wage Policy Save Us?


Zac Vescera, writing in The Tyee, notes that Vancouver mayor Ken Sim said:

...(M)ost city employees were already paid more than the 2023 living wage...


Given that, what did Mr. Sim's council's super-secret decision to 'take rate implementation into consideration' when it took inflation out of the equation of the CoV's Living Wage Policy save, we the taxpayers of Vancouver.


Who the heck knows:

...The Tyee reached out to Sim’s office for additional comment, including what sticking with the living wage program might have cost, but did not hear back by publication time...


Is it really possible that the mayor not know the dollar amount saved by our fair city?


Is it possible he doesn't want us to know?

Now why might that be?

Well, if the number is actually small, which it is not unreasonable to assume given the mayor's claim that the majority of majority of city employees are already making the living wage, is it possible this really was done, not for the benefit of taxpayers, but for, say, the private companies that hire their own employees to fulfill contracts for public services?

If you get my drift.

Another nugget in Mr. Vescera's Tyee piece is the confirmation that, in addition to Christine Boyle, councillor Pete Fry also voted against the smoothening that could cost low end workers as much as $5,000 this inflation-laden year.
Subheader?...It's a mangling of one of Rare Mair's favourite sayings, originally uttered by Oscar Wilde, about certain political types knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing...The good Mr. Sim has already demonstrated that this is an adage he is familiar with when it comes to library funding.


Monday, March 06, 2023

Anti-Living Wage Initiative, ctd.



It might seem like nothing.

After all, how much could a rolling five year 'smoothening'  (a.k.a. get out of dealing with inflation free card) of the City of Vancouver's living wage initiative really hurt.

Well, for workers at the low end of the scale it means plenty.

Dan Fumano had the numbers in his Vancouver Sun opinion piece over the weekend:

...If the city had continued its commitment this year, a full-time worker earning a living wage at 35 hours a week would make about $43,825, she said, but that worker earning the five-year rolling average would earn about $38,038...

As Anastasia French, manager of Living Wage for Families B.C., pointed out, that's like a loss of two months rent in this city.

Meanwhile, the new mayor, Ken Sim, whose super-majority council made the smoothening decision, in secret, over a month ago, wants to have his cake....errrr...cut and eat it too:

...“We remain hopeful,” Sim said, that Living Wage for Families B.C. will continue to engage with the city and “take variations in rate implementation into consideration in its annual calculations to allow organizations that use this more practicable approach to continue to be certified.”...

'Variations in rent implementation'?

That sure is some high-falutin' obfuscatory phrase in-extremis.

Unfortunately, given their $5,000 loss, it's not something that CoV workers can use to pay their rent or buy their groceries.



Sunday, March 05, 2023

Should He Stay Or Should He Go?


From the failing NY Times:

...Mr. Trump was definitive when asked Saturday whether he would stay in the race if one of the prosecutors brought an indictment. “Oh absolutely. I wouldn’t even think about leaving,” he said, adding that he believed an indictment would increase his poll numbers...


Never mind that Fifth Avenue thing.


Papa's got a brand new (grievance) bag.


Saturday, March 04, 2023

Kiss The Ring...No One Will Know.


From Robert Benzie, writing in the Toronto Star:

Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives have quietly held the largest political fundraiser in Canadian history, bringing in a staggering $6 million.

Quietly, because even though more than 4,000 people paid $1,500 apiece to attend Thursday’s sold-out event at the Toronto Congress Centre in Etobicoke, it was closed to the media...


...Attendees on Thursday night, speaking confidentially in order to freely discuss what they saw, said it was a coterie of elected officials, lobbyists, developers, union leaders, political staffers, lawyers and assorted other hangers-on.

“Wow, what a room, what a crowd. The energy in here is absolutely amazing. I’m told that we have over 4,000 people here tonight. It’s truly remarkable — and make no mistake, this is a dinner to celebrate all of Ontario,” the premier told the assembled throng...

And if there were members of the coterie from 'all' of Ontario that were a little concerned that their constituencies, members, and/or customer bases might not like to see them cosying up to Doug Ford on bended knee?

No problem, the once and future label maker, has taken care of that also:

...Under previous Progressive Conservative, Liberal and NDP premiers, such partisan fundraising events were open to the media, but Ford’s office controversially ended that tradition in 2019.

That was after the Star had revealed four years ago that lobbyists had been enlisted to sell tickets...


Didn't the good premier's men also strong arm select members of that very same coterie into attending a party to help pay for a certain family member's wedding not long ago?

Why, yes, they did.

But have no fear of wrongdoing because:

...(Ontario's Integrity) The commissioner determined that since the premier said he had “no knowledge of gifts” and that there was “no discussion of government business,” Ford was in the clear...


I guess ring kissing isn't part of the integrity commissioner's purview.


Friday, March 03, 2023

What The Mayor Said About His Party's Decision To 'Smooth' The Living Wage Policy Before The Secret Was Out.



Vancouver City Council voted over a month ago, in secret, to smooth (i.e. remove any consideration of inflation) from the city's longterm commitment to the Living Wage policy for its employees and privately contracted service providers


What was the mayor, Mr. Ken Sim, saying about all this before Christine Boyle forced the city to acknowledge the result of the secret vote.

Allie Turner of VIA has that story:

...Asked at a news conference earlier this week about the status of the living wage policy, Sim said: "We're committed to making sure that the City of Vancouver is competitive in terms of wages, benefits and work environment. And so what we need to do is look at these things holistically, and it's our goal to be a best employer…and we will do everything we can to be a best employer."...



The Swarming Of The Stochastic Parrots.


Suddenly, AI-based chat bots are everywhere.

In my business that's a real concern, for obvious reasons.

And then there's the issue of the bots becoming unhinged:

Things took a weird turn when Associated Press technology reporter Matt O'Brien was testing out Microsoft's new Bing, the first-ever search engine powered by artificial intelligence, last month.

Bing's chatbot, which carries on text conversations that sound chillingly human-like, began complaining about past news coverage focusing on its tendency to spew false information.

It then became hostile, saying O'Brien was ugly, short, overweight, unathletic, among a long litany of other insults.

And, finally, it took the invective to absurd heights by comparing O'Brien to dictators like Hitler, Pol Pot and Stalin...

The thing is, a few of the nerds that helped design these things saw the unhinging coming.

Case in point, a paper by a number of computer scientists called 'On The Dangers Of Stochastic Parrots'

Megan O'Gieblyn, in her piece titled Sentience and Sensibility'  published in the Baffler, explained the thesis of the nerds succinctly:

...It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, or even a computer scientist, to predict that algorithms fed the entirety of Reddit and 4chan will, when prompted with words like “women” or “Black” or “queer,” spit out stereotypes and hate speech...

All of which has me wondering how long it will be before the only truly valuable knowledge (i.e. that which is coveted by the wealthy and the powerful for its power) will be that which has never seen the light of the digital day.

Or some such thing.