Tuesday, April 30, 2024

A Graph For British Columbia's Young People.


Norman Farrell is a numbers guy.

And his numbers never lie.

Here is one of Norm's latest graphs that is based on such numbers:


Any young person in British Columbia who is just starting out and wondering if they should take a chance on either the BC Soccer Party or the HardRockConCandy Party might want to consider what their life would be like if they were living on one of those flat blue lines.

Norm's larger point
is that rising minimum wages don't wreck economies - and he has the numbers to back that up as well in this post...Of course, some return-to-work older folks, who are probably more likely to be in in the Soccer and/or HardCon target demo, might want to think a little about that rising orange line as well before they cast their votes in the upcoming election.
And, as for all that talk of a coming Soccer/HardCon PartyParty amalgamation that has been making its way through the Promedia herd recently...The Dean of the Legislative Press Gallery ruminates on the forced extremist, expedient-driven floor vote fusion that took place in the ledge this week.
Earworm in the Subheader?...This!....And, for the real older than olds....This!


Monday, April 29, 2024

Old Men In Flannel...


Old men in flannel just keep on keepin' on...

From the first stop of the Crazy Horse tour that brings them to Lotusland in the summertime. 


Sunday, April 28, 2024

How We Actually Find Out About Stuff.


I don't know about you but I've been somewhat at a loss to fully understand what the kids are up to on a number of US'ian campuses, and at least one Canadian school, these days.


Well, of course, part of it is my rapidly advancing age.

And then there is the matter of all the bombast-driven invective that makes it possible to find just about whatever you want in the sludge flooding all the media zones all the time.

Which is why I found a recent piece from Columbia University alumnus and current NY Times Opinion columnist Lydia Polgreen particularly illuminating.

It turns out that Ms. Polgreen decided to try and find out what has been happening on the lawns of Columbia University by, well, you know, reporting:

...I tried to figure this out the only way I know how: by reporting. I happened to have been on campus on April 18, the day Columbia’s president, Minouche Shafik, decided to call in the New York Police Department to clear the protesters from campus, and I returned a week later to spend the day reporting on the protests and the mood on campus.

What I saw were moving, creative and peaceful protests by people seeking to end the slaughter in Gaza, where more than 34,000 people have died, the majority of them women and children. I also saw things that left me quite troubled, and heard from Jewish students both inside and outside the camps navigating a campus fraught with emotions. But while reporting on the protests up close gave me insight into how unsettling some aspects of activism can be, it doesn’t mean the protesters’ actions are misguided. These young people seek a worthy cause: to end what may be the most brutal military operation for civilians in the 21st century...

Ms. Polgreen also went to the edge of Columbia's campus where the scene was decidedly different:

...Just outside the campus gates, the scene was more tense. The protests have become a destination for opportunists of all kinds. Nasty purveyors of chaos. Gavin McInnes, right- wing founder of the Proud Boys, turned up, student journalists reported. On Thursday, Christian Nationalists descended on Columbia to stage their own, ostensibly pro-Israel protest, screaming through the campus gates to the student protesters inside: “You want to camp? Go camp in Gaza!” according to a reporter on the scene...


A few of the student protestors have made statements that are problematic in the extreme, perhaps most notably the following:

...On Thursday (April 25th), video began circulating of one of the student protest leaders at Columbia, Khymani James, saying that “the same way we are very comfortable accepting that Nazis don’t deserve to live, fascists don’t deserve to live, racists don’t deserve to live, Zionists, they shouldn’t live in this world,” and “be grateful that I’m not just going out and murdering Zionists.” James later released a statement apologizing for the video...

But do isolated incidents such as the one noted above and questionable chants at rallies delegitimize the broader message of the students?

Ms. Polgreen, after considering historical precedent at Columbia, decides that they do not:

...It is easy when looking backward to remember the fight for a good cause as pure and untainted, even if it did not seem so at the time. In the same way, we now remember the Vietnam War as an American tragedy. The students at Columbia University who protested it seem, in retrospect, to have been right. But our memories elide some of their more outré tactics. A list of popular chants employed by antiwar protesters at a time when thousands of American soldiers were dying each year fighting in the war included things like “One side’s right, one side’s wrong, We’re on the side of the Viet Cong!” and “Save Hanoi, Lose Saigon, Victory to the Viet Cong!”

These slogans are sickening. But by 1968, when the protests reached their peak, the U. S. government had already realized, according to the Pentagon Papers, that the war was all but unwinnable. Yet its brutal killing machine ground on for another five years, and an additional 38,000 Americans, and countless more Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian people died pointless deaths in a senseless, futile war.

There are clear signs that Israel is prosecuting a war just as brutal, and unwinnable, as the United States did back then. Some people might not like the slogans, tactics or proposals of today’s pro-Palestine protesters. But the truth is that a majority of Americanshave qualms about Israel’s pitiless war to root out Hamas, whatever the consequences for civilians. As politicians send riot police onto campuses to try to smother a new protest movement, we’d do well to keep in mind why we’ve forgotten the ugliest aspects of the Vietnam protests: Those memories have been replaced, instead, by an enduring horror at what we did.

Actual reporting and informed context - clearly, both still matter when you want to try and get to the bottom of things.

Earworm in the sub-header...This...Which was actually about protests of a very different kind, indeed.


Thursday, April 25, 2024

New Media Narrative(s) Rising In B.C.?


You know it had to be coming...

The following is from pollster Mario Canseco writing in various and sundry Glacier Media organs:

...The proportion of British Columbians who would like to see BC United and the BC Conservatives merge before the election has risen from 32 per cent in January to 39 per cent in March, and encompasses small majorities of people who would cast a ballot for each of the individual parties (53 per cent and 54 per cent, respectively)...

What will follow?

Well, if this narrative does gather serious steam I would take pretty short odds that there will soon a spate of 'The Greens could once again hold the balance of power' - type columns from the Dean and his herd.

Imagine that!


Sunday, April 21, 2024

Norma Rae And All Her Brothers And Sisters Win In Tennessee.


As per a recent post about the Achille's heel of our multinational corporate overlords, the following, as reported by Jeanne Whalen and Lauren Gurley in the Washington post, is a most interesting, and hopeful, development:

Volkswagen workers in Chattanooga, Tenn., passed a historic vote to join the United Auto Workers on Friday, making the auto factory the first in the South to vote to unionize since the 1940s.

Nearly three-quarters of 3,613 workers voted yes in a three-day election that drew high turnout, giving the union an impressive first win in its campaign to organize the factories of a dozen automakers in the South...

Which is great for those folks in Chattanooga and potentially even greater more widely:

...Local “right to work” laws in Southern states, as well as political and cultural traditions, have made it difficult for unions to expand. That could change if the UAW’s momentum continues in the region, Rutgers University labor professor Rebecca Givan said.

“There will be an opportunity to raise standards across the South,” Givan said. “Other employers will not be able to compete for workers in a tight labor market if they don’t keep up. We’ll likely see organizing in manufacturing and areas where there already have been campaigns — everything from Starbucks to hospitals.”...

Somewhere, the spirit of Crytsal Lee Sutton, the real life Norma Rae, is smiling.

Image and subheader?
...This (for the historical) and...This (for the warbled acoustical, non-Mellencampian cover).


Friday, April 19, 2024

Stop Making (Non) Sense.


From media coverage of BC Police Chiefs speaking to a federal committee about issues with drug decriminalization.

First, the sensical:

...(Fiona Wilson, president of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police) said she supports B.C. and Ottawa trying to add exceptions to decriminalization in areas like skate parks and playgrounds, so that police could ask people to move along and arrest them if they refuse to comply...


...(Provincial NDP Government) Premier David Eby is attempting to create more exceptions, by banning open drug use in places like beaches, bus shelters and businesses. But that legislation is tied up in a court challenge...

Next, the nonsensical:

...“Prior to decriminalization, if someone was using drugs in a problematic circumstance, for example at a playground, or a bus shelter or a beach, community members were able to call 911, police were able to attend and address that circumstance,” she (Wilson) said...

...“In the wake of decriminalization, there are many of those locations where we have absolutely no authority to address that problematic drug use, because the person appears to be in possession of less than 2.5 grams and they are not in a place that is an exception to the exemption.”

It was a stark comment, and not one we hear B.C. police leaders often say out loud — perhaps out of fear of retribution from the provincial NDP government...

Why is the second contradictory passage, above, nonsensical in the extreme?

Because the second passage comes from exactly the same piece as the first one. Specifically, both were written by Rob Shaw and published by Glacier Media.

Imagine that!

Earworm In The Header and the Subheader?....This.


Thursday, April 18, 2024

Multiplexes In....Shaughnessy???!!!


Are multiplexes coming to Shaughnessy, central Lotusland's toniest of zombie neighbourhoods?

Well, it would appear that it just might happen.


Of course, as one commenter pointed out, each unit of a fourplex could easily have a 10,000 sq. ft. footprint on most of those lots. Thus, even if this kind of thing goes forward, while symbolically impactful, it won't put the smallest of nano-dents in the affordability crisis.

Interestingly, as late as last fall the CoV was doing its best to block this kind of thing given that, in this town, well-heeled zombies still count, apparently.

Because, 'heritage'.

Dan Fumano, writing in today's Vancouver Sun, has that story:

...Before the province announced plans to require cities to allow multi-unit developments in residential neighbourhoods, Vancouver changed its zoning last September to allow what the city calls “multiplexes” — developments with up to six units on a single lot — across almost all residential neighbourhoods. One notable exception to Vancouver’s medium-density zoning was the First Shaughnessy area, which is designated as a “heritage conservation area.”...

Imagine that!


Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Are Polls Outside Of The Writ Period Useful?


Are polls taken outside the writ period of any use whatsoever?

Evan Scrimshaw thinks they are, and he uses the current state of play in British Columbia to make his point:

...Imagine how much worse our understanding of BC politics would be if we were unable to independently see that the BC Conservatives were more than a rump party for PPCers. It’s quite clear that Kevin Falcon’s rebrand to BC FC has killed the centre-right and is allowing for voters to have a better, clearer sense of the state of play. If the election ends up being close, as Liaison suggested last week, it’s possible Greens voters or moderate, federal Liberals who prefer BC FC provincially, may swing to the NDP to stop the insurgent Cons. I’m not saying that will happen, but it’s better that those voters have that info...

Hard to argue with that, I reckon.

Still, I hate to think that anyone would decide, at this point, where to park their vote, donate their money, and/or do their volunteering on the basis of the current polls.


And, as a wee post-script...
If Mr. Falcon's soccer club party really does vaporize, we just might be in for a gigantic strat-o-matic football-type discussion around here come fall.
Sideways sliding earwormishness in the subheader?...This.


Monday, April 15, 2024

Grift For The Mill.


Yesterday, Drew Harwell published a piece in the Washington Post about all the small time investors of a certain ilk who just know that everything's going to be alright when it comes to their 'investment' in Mr. Trump's Media and Technology concern:

Jerry Dean McLain first bet on former president Donald Trump’s Truth Social two years ago, buying into the Trump company’s planned merger partner, Digital World Acquisition, at $90 a share. Over time, as the price changed, he kept buying, amassing hundreds of shares for $25,000 — pretty much his “whole nest egg,” he said.

That nest egg has lost about half its value in the past two weeks as Trump Media & Technology Group’s share price dropped from $66 after its public debut last month to $32 on Friday. But McLain, 71, who owns a tree-removal service outside Oklahoma City, said he’s not worried. If anything, he wants to buy more.

“I know good and well it’s in Trump’s hands, and he’s got plans,” he said. “I have no doubt it’s going to explode sometime.”...

And then came today:

Shares of former President Donald J. Trump’s social media company plunged on Monday after the company filed to register the potential sale of tens of millions of additional shares.

Trump Media & Technology’s stock fell 18 percent, erasing hundreds of millions of dollars from the company’s market value...

Which begs the question...

How long until we learn that, addition to playing a part in the dumping after the big pumping, at least a few of the former President's men and/or quislings were also in on the shorting?

If you get my millstone-driven grift, errrr, drift.

For those looking for something non-musical and eclectic to listen to...David Moscrop's latest 'Open To Debate' podcast with Cory Doctorow is....excellent!


Sunday, April 14, 2024

Sunday Set - Metaphoric Melancholy.


There might be some re-tracing of previous musical steps here, but what the heckfire.

After all, I'm an old guy who likes to revisit things.

Some might say obsessively.



This one starts off with a rock hard little chunk of melancholy written by the duct tape cowboy himself, Blaze Foley, although the tune was actually made famous by Merle Haggard.

Lucinda Williams, who knew Foley, and who's real name was David Michael Fuller, memorialized him in tune number two.

More melancholy in tune number three which was written, apparently on the spot just before its recording, by original Replacements front man, Paul Westerberg. In it Westerberg looks back and wonders if he and/or any of what he has done in his life is actually worth, well, you know - a damn.

Tune four was written by a then still young guy who, I would guess, never (least not until he recorded the album that this tune was on) ever second guessed himself. What is Astral Weeks actually about? Hell if I know. I do know that once you've fiddled with it a few times and gotten to know it a little, it can put you into a trance state pretty much every time you play it. As for the non-vannish intro stuck onto my warmly version - that was swiped, kinda/sorta from Martha Wainwright.


Image at the top of the post
...Late stage, post-Bob Replacements playing the Stooges, sans Iggy.
My favourite musical podcast guy, Andrew Hickey, talks all about the making of Astral Weeks, and much more....Here.


Saturday, April 13, 2024

Oversight? We Don't Need No Stinking Oversight!


First it was the Parks Board.

Now it appears that the ruling Vancouver city council has gone after the Police Board.

Dan Fumano of the Vancouver Sun has that much overlooked story:

...In December, Vancouver council slashed two-thirds of the proposed budget for the Vancouver police board, the independent governance body for the Vancouver Police Department.

The decision received no public attention at the time — even some city councillors said this week they did not realize it had happened.

The mayor’s office says the reduction was a necessary response to “very dramatic” recent increases in board spending...


What's next, gaming library oversight?

Oh, wait.

Image at the top of the post?
...A Vancouver Archives photo of the VPD in 1886 in front of a makeshift city hall after the fire...From a 2020 historical piece by John Mackie in the VSun.
Need something to listen to without a million bleating commercials? (and that includes, unfortunately, most podcasts these days - the salad days are over)...Here's occasional reader Glen talking to SFU's Community Engagement Office about his life and times for an hour or so ...There's a nugget in there that you may not have heard (I certainly hadn't), which is that it was Dave Barrett that first hooked Mr. Clark up with Jimmy Pattison.


Friday, April 12, 2024

Mr. Musk's Phishing Trip.


Mashable's Matt Binder, a proverbial fly in the Muskier of ointments, has noticed something:

...On Monday, it appears X attempted to encourage users to cease referring to it as Twitter and instead adopt the name X. Some users began noticing that posts viewed via X for iOS were changing any references of "Twitter.com" to "X.com" automatically...

So what, you might be asking yourself?

Well, let's set aside the issue of being free to type your own speech for a moment and consider the fact that while 'X' changes the text, the original link, as Robert Plant might say, remains the same.

Which means that, if an expert phisherman were to type, say, 'Netflitwitter.com' into their post, for a whole lot of people it would show up as 'Netflix.com' on their own devices.

And, given that, anyone who banged the lever on  the 'Netflix.com' link would think that they were actually going to the streaming site.

But actually, even if the destination looked like the Netflix site, they would instead be landing on 'Netflitwitter.com' which could lead to all kinds of shenanigans involving things like passwords, etc.

If you get Mr. Binder's drift.


Meanwhile, in other news of Muskovites in need of the most soothing of ointments....


Would have liked to include a phishian ear worm
to go with the image at the top of the post but, to the best of my knowledge, there are none....And, yes, that was a jambandian diss-track in linear-type form....To give them their due, however, the band is into....mondegreens!
As for the Zeppelin worm buried under the lede?....This!
Finally, sure hope this one is eclectic enough for the sawmill sh*tter...


Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The Achilles Heel Of Our Corporate Overlords?


As Cory Doctorow notes, massive multinational corporations are vulnerable because, eventually, we will all come to hate them and then, hopefully, we will all, using our various ways and means,  decide to do something about them.

Interestingly, that appears already be happening, at least in part, to a certain multinational car company.

First, in Germany:

...In 2023, Germany's Supply Chain Act went into effect, which bans large corporations with a German presence from using child labor, violating health and safety standards, and (critically) interfering with union organizers...

Second, in the United States:

...(I)n the USA, Mercedes has a preference for building its cars in the American South, the so-called "right to work" states where US labor law is routinely flouted and unions are thin on the ground...


...(However, w)orkers at Mercedes' factory in Vance, Alabama are trying to join the UAW (United Auto Workers), and Mercedes is playing dirty, using the tried-and-true union-busting tactics that have held workplace democracy at bay for decades...

Feel the bile rising?

Well, take a big gulp and relax, because here comes the kicker - which is that the workers' representatives in Alabama are attempting to make German law work for them as well:

...(T)he UAW has also filed a complaint with BAFA, the German regulator in charge of the Supply Chain Act, seeking penalties against Mercedes-Benz Group AG.

That's a huge deal, because the German Supply Chain Act goes hard. If Mercedes is convicted of union-busting in Alabama, its German parent-company faces a fine of 2% of its global total revenue, and will no longer be eligible to sell products to the German government...


Being accountable in one jurisdiction means that you just might have to be accountable in all jurisdictions?

Imagine that new world capitalist overlord-less order!

Mr. Doctorow's musings
show up over there on the left sidebar (for phone users switch to 'Web Version' - the link is at the bottom of the post)...I strongly suggest you have a look at his stuff regularly.
Image at the top of the post have you not quite remembering?...This!...and...This!
Sub-Header under the image at the top of the post?...Bigger E. knows what I'm talking about.