Thursday, February 29, 2024

These Are Not Diana Ross' Supremes.


That was then:

“We conclude that when the ground for asserting privilege as to subpoenaed materials sought for use in a criminal trial is based only on the generalized interest in confidentiality, it cannot prevail over the fundamental demands of due process of law in the fair administration of criminal justice. The generalized assertion of privilege must yield to the demonstrated, specific need for evidence in a pending criminal trial.”

That was the Supreme Court of Warren Burger issuing the order, based on an immediate 8-0 decision, that Richard Nixon must hand over the Watergate Tapes because he did not have blanket immunity from prosecution due to executive privilege as a sitting president on July 29, 1974.


This is now:

"Without expressing a view on the merits, this Court directs the Court of Appeals to continue withholding issuance of the mandate until the sending down of the judgment of this Court. The application for a stay is dismissed as moot.

The case will be set for oral argument during the week of April 22, 2024."

That was the current Supreme Court of John Roberts issuing the order that there will be no immediate order on February 28, 2024. Instead, there will be further delay in making any decision as to whether or not Donald Trump has blanket immunity from prosecution for committing acts of insurrection as an outgoing, but still technically sitting, president.

The latter two month delay until 'oral argument' commences means that it is very unlikely that the current Supreme Court will make a decision on Trump's ridiculous blanket immunity claim before the summer.

This very likely means that Mr. Trump will not go to trial before the US'ian presidential election in November.

It's important to realize that, if he were to win, it is even more likely that Mr. Trump would end the federal prosecution of his own acts of insurrection if his super slow walking Supremes were to rule against him in the summer.

That's some incentive to win at all costs, 'eh?

Why are there nine members of Burger's court in the image at the top of the post when the vote against Mr. Nixon was 8-0?....Because the guy in the glasses second from the right, William Rehnquist, actually recused himself because of his previous political association with the Trickster-In-Chief...Just one more thing that is very, very different now than it was then.


Wednesday, February 21, 2024

The Cookie Dough Mike Chronicles (ctd.)


"...De Jong was finance minister in the last B.C. Liberal government. He has taken some heat within his own party for leaving behind a sizable budget surplus for the New Democrats to spend.

He makes no apologies: “The biggest criticism I seem to get is that I was too stingy or too careful with public dollars. I’ll take that criticism because when COVID did hit, B.C. was in better shape with its finances than any other province in the country.”...

Yesterday, we commented on the above passage, which is from a recent Vaughn Palmer column. Specifically, we noted that Mr. de Jong largely built his surplus by imposing a hidden, regressive tax in the form of significant monthly MSP payments.

But that doesn't mean that the good Mr. de Jong wasn't also stingy when doling out those regressively obtained public dollars.

It's just that sometimes Cookie Dough Mike was downright mean and disingenuous when doing so, especially when the affected were those who need our help most.

Case in point, the following is what de Jong said after he took away bus passes for the disabled:

...“They’re exercising a new-found freedom and choice that heretofore didn’t exist,” de Jong said. “So that was the whole purpose of the exercise: to give people choice.”...

Heretofore 'choice', indeed.


Tuesday, February 20, 2024

The Falcon And The Cookie Man.


Vaughn Palmer's latest tells the tale of how one very, very fine former BC Liberal Party Finance Minister, Mike de Jong, is not going to run for Kevin Falcon's Soccer Party in the upcoming provincial election.

Mostly the column slowly circles the likely possibility that Mr de Jong, who once tried to soften his image by baking cookies on the Tubez long before Doug Ford's minions got the idea, will instead run federally for Mr. Poilievre.

In the process, the Dean of the legislative press gallery takes a wobbly walk down fiscal memory lane:

...De Jong was finance minister in the last B.C. Liberal government. He has taken some heat within his own party for leaving behind a sizable budget surplus for the New Democrats to spend.

He makes no apologies: “The biggest criticism I seem to get is that I was too stingy or too careful with public dollars. I’ll take that criticism because when COVID did hit, B.C. was in better shape with its finances than any other province in the country.”...


With the help of the late, great Dermod Travis, I remember things a wee bit differently when it comes to the strategy that the good Mr. de Jong used to generate his 'surplus'.

The following is from a post written in 2016:

Never mind that 4 percent MSP increase removal for 2017 thingy that the Clarklandians have bamboozled the Lotuslandian proMedia into focussing on over the past few news cycles (Ooooooh! Look! Shiny!!!)...

Because Dermod Travis of Integrity BC has instead noted the fee-for service gouging that has been going on during the entirety of the years of Clarklandia:

Moving out from individuals to the entirety of the British Columbian citizenry, the prediction by Cookie Dough Mike and his minions is that MSP will bring in a collectively regressive $2,549,000,000 this fiscal year (see pg 127).


First: No other government in Canada hauls in money in this completely non-progressive way.

Second: Take away that $2.5B gouge/regressive pretend-it's-not-a-tax and Cookie Dough's new prediction of a $1.9B surplus is completely gone.


I do have archives and I'm going to use 'em.

And, still herding after all these years, the Keef weighs in on the same story.


Monday, February 19, 2024

My Weekend Ride.


Had a work thing late Friday so C and the Whackadoodle II headed over to SouthVan Isle without me.

I followed Saturday.

On my bike.

I really enjoy the Lochside Route into Victoria from the ferry - especially the flats from Mitchell's to Mattick's Farm. Then it was out to Colwood along the Galloping Goose. A good 50 km with the ride to Bridgeport to get the Tsawwassen bus on the Lotusland side added in.

Sunday, I rode out a little farther through Langford and out to Happy Valley on the GG.

No sign of the former premier anywhere. 


Friday, February 16, 2024

What Would Alexei Have Done?


The anti-Putin Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, who already survived a poisoning, is dead.

Below is his wife Yulia speaking at the Munich Security Conference just hours after she learned the news:

Back end of the sub header?...."It means we are incredibly strong."


Wednesday, February 14, 2024

That Handedness Thing Again.


In the last post we got into a bit of a discussion about the contortions a left-handed person needs to perform when they are forced to complete an exam while sitting in one of those right-handed mini-desks that are often attached to chairs in big lecture halls and/or converted gymnasiums.

Which, of course, is crummy.

But nothing like the old days when folks like my maternal grandmother were forced to switch to using their right hands for everything they did in school because being left-handed was, by definition, 'sinister'.


Is there ever a situation where switching hands, or, more appropriately in this case, arms, is a good thing?

Turns out that, when it comes to multiple vaccination regimens, that just might be case.

The following if from the abstract of recent paper by a group from Portland published in the very respectable Journal of Clinical Investigation:

...In previously unexposed adults receiving an initial vaccine series with the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, contralateral boosting substantially increases antibody magnitude and breadth at times beyond 3 weeks after vaccination. This effect should be considered during arm selection in the context of multi-dose vaccine regimens...


If you got your first COVID jab in one arm and then switched to the other arm for the second jab you likely made more antibody against the virus for a significant amount of time.

Imagine that!

Why?...Not clear yet...One suggestion in the paper is that you generate more 'memory' B lymphocytes that can generate antibody over the long haul when you get jabbed in both arms, maybe because you get twice as many draining lymph nodes involved.
Tip'OTheToque to Mike The Mad Biologist for the heads-up on the paper...


Sunday, February 11, 2024

Deadline Day.


Back in the days before the thought of becoming an academic lifer was even remotely visible far, far over the horizon, I became very good at the cramming for exams.

And then one time, I think it was in the run up to Christmas break during my third year as an undergradual, I hit a wall a couple of days before it was time to trudge off to the cavernous McKinnon gym with hundreds of other young folks so that we could furiously empty our brains onto the page.

The issue was that, suddenly and somewhat inexplicably, I temporarily lost the one thing I ever had in common with Richard M. Nixon.

Which was my 'iron butt', the ability to sit in a chair and focus, really hard, for hours on end.

When I mentioned the problem to my Dad at the time, he took a moment before saying that I should remember all the work I'd already done and just relax a bit because everything would be fine, regardless.

I'm not sure if I heeded his wise words at the time.

But now, 40-plus years on, I am doing my best to channel them as I struggle to strap the iron into the chair once again so that I can finish yet another project on deadline over the next 48 hours.


Image at the top of the post is by JJ Philion is from the UVIC archives, resurrected by a young fellow named Malcom, a member of the school's official blogger army a few years ago.


Thursday, February 08, 2024

Some Days Are Longer Than Others.


What began as a spur of the moment stream of consciousness throwaway from he who would be Adenoid Hynkel for a day is now viewed as  'definitely or probably good' by a significant proportion of all kinds and categories of US'ians.

Is this due to the great influence of a certain Mr. Hannity, who was the receiver of the throwaway, and the propaganda strength of the cable news network that Mr. Hannity works for?


I guess you could make that case for the majority of the members of a certain political party.

But what about the rest of the population?

Is it possible that they are being influenced by milk toasty obsequious think pieces from very serious commentators working at even more serious mainstream media outlets?

To wit, check out the following lede by a piece from the Washington Post's national columnist Philip Bump:

The irony of Donald Trump’s assertion that he would seek to have dictatorial powers for the first day of his presidency is that he was supposed to be saying he had no authoritarian inclinations at all...


I wonder if the good Mr. Bump has ever considered the possibility that being a little bit dictator might be the same as being a little bit pregnant?

Subheader?... Apparently, Charlie Chaplin decided to make 'The Great Dictator', in which he played the fellow named Adenoid referenced above,  after he watched L. Riefenstahl's nazi propaganda film 'Triumph of the Will'.