Friday, May 31, 2024

The Future Of Journalism (That Matters)


From Amaris Castillo writing at the Poynter Institute:

Several small newsrooms on Monday took home a Pulitzer Prize — the country’s highest honor in journalism.

Though familiar names among Pulitzer winners — The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Associated Press — again earned awards this year, smaller and more modestly resourced outlets like Lookout Santa Cruz, the Invisible Institute and City Bureau joined them...


...The Invisible Institute also won the 2024 Pulitzer Prize in Audio Reporting for “a powerful series that revisits a Chicago hate crime from the 1990s, a fluid amalgam of memoir, community history and journalism.” The podcast, “You Didn’t See Nothin,” is from the Invisible Institute and USG Audio, a division of Universal Studio Group that creates fiction and nonfiction podcasts...

'You Didn't See Nothin' has everything that you could possibly want in a limited run podcast series - something new, dug into in detail, and told well in a way that is neither sensationalist nor exploitive.

It also gives people like me (and likely most of you, too) a realistic, unvarnished and unflinching look at what it is like to be black in America without institutional power.

Go have a listen because it's so good it's like Ear Hustle times ten.

You won't be sorry.


The Herscheling.


An accounting of the accountability, so far, from the inimitable Digby:

...The Trump Organization was found guilty of 17 felonies, landing his CFO in jail. He lost two defamation cases brought by E. Jean Carroll. He lost the mammoth New York civil fraud case. And now he’s lost his first criminal trial with a sweeping guilty verdict on all 34 felony counts...

As for the good Mr. Herschel Walker who once played football while wearing the number '34' for Mr. Trump when he owned the ill-fated 'New Jersey Generals' of the USFL...

It turns out that, even there, the story has been warped by all the bulls*t flooding every zone according to US'ian pro football historian Jeff Pearlman:

...People always say that Trump signed Herschel Walker. Donald Trump did not sign Herschel Walker. Herschel Walker was in the USFL about a year before Donald Trump bought a USFL team. J. Walter Duncan was the owner of the New Jersey Generals when Walker signed. Donald Trump inherited Herschel Walker. That’s it.

You hear all this stuff, like how close they were, but it’s kind of bullshit. Donald Trump didn’t know anything about football. He was a good owner for the team because he paid money. But he was only paying money to make this team successful because he anticipated a merger with the NFL and he wanted to carry this team over to the NFL. So it wasn’t about love of this team or even love of Herschel Walker. Herschel Walker was his meal ticket...

Imagine that!

Tip O' The Toque to that Olberman guy for the idea of the Herschel jersey number link to the felony count number.


Thursday, May 30, 2024

The Hardest Part.


“With the exception of safe drinking water, vaccines have been the most successful medical interventions of the 20th century,” he (Paul Parkman) wrote in Food and Drug Administration Consumer, an agency journal, in 2002.

“As I look back on my career, I have come to think that perhaps I was involved in the easy part,” he added. “It will be for others to take on the difficult task of maintaining the protections that we struggled to achieve. We must prevent the spread of this vaccine nihilism, for if it were to prevail, our successes could be lost.”

In the late 1960's he, Harry Myers, Hope Hopps and Ruth Kirschstein developed the first vaccine against rubella which soon helped eradicate the virus, which causes miscarriages, still births and birth defects, from 81 countries, including all of North America.

And, even way back in 2002, Dr. Parkman thought that developing, testing and demonstrating the population-based efficacy of the vaccine was the easy part.

As for the hard part - stopping the spread of vaccine nihilism - it seems to have gotten even harder, if not hardest, during the ensuing two decades.

Especially given that such nihilism is now being spread in the name of political expediency.

To wit, the following, from last fall:

...Vaccine mandates became a key wedge issue in the 2021 federal election, seeing the Liberals contrast their plan to impose federal inoculation rules against (Pierre) Poilievre's predecessor Erin O'Toole's opposition to them. The policy was rolled out in October 2021 and then rolled back in June 2022, seeing unvaccinated workers who were put on leave able to resume their duties.

"The (current) Prime Minister (Justin Trudeau) has withdrawn and apologized for some of the extremely incendiary and divisive comments(opens in a new tab) he made about Canadians who made different medical decisions than he would have made," (Opposition Leader and current polling-based PM in waiting Pierre) Poilievre said.

"Adopting this bill (against vaccine mandates) would be a recognition that this ugly chapter in our history of turning Canadian against Canadian and using a public health matter to pull apart our country and grab more power is permanently behind us."..

Enough said?

Earworm in the header?...Cue Mr. Petty and Company!


Wednesday, May 22, 2024

A Spaced Out Odyssey.


I watched Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon with the two Wally's, Schirra and Cronkite, on the TV at my Grandmother's house in the summer of 1969.

At the time, I was nine years old.

And, besides being awestruck, I distinctly remember being struck dumb by the realization that I would get to live until the year 2001 when all of that space-aged future that Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick had imagined would arrive on the scene.

And then I realized that, when the century changed, I would be ridiculously old at the age of 40.

I went to spring convocation this morning.

When the graduate who spent the past few years toiling away in my lab walked across the stage I broke protocol and ducked in behind the dignitaries so that I could shake her hand immediately after the president was done congratulating her.

I must confess that I was a little verklempt for her and all that her future holds.

But I was also struck dumb by two new realizations...

First, it finally really and truly hit me that, while I will get to work with students, on and off, for a little while longer, today's newly minted graduate is the last PhD student that I will fully train and send out into the wider life science-type world. 

As for that second realization?

It is very clear that 1969's nine year old me couldn't have possibly imagined being as old as I am now.


Sure it's cheese, but today's first sentence-of-the-post ear worm was once local Vallance-churned cheese.


Tuesday, May 21, 2024

This Is...A Public Service Announcement.


Forum – Should we keep the Vancouver Park Board?
Sunday June 2, 2024
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Hybrid Event – in person and online (see link for online)
Location: Vancouver Unitarians. 949 West 49th Avenue (at Oak Street)

The Vancouver Unitarians will host a one hour forum, with questions welcomed, on the future of the Vancouver Park Board with Parks chair Brennan Bastyovanszky, at the Vancouver Unitarians Sanctuary. The event will be also be live-streamed on YouTube.

Last December, Mayor Sim announced his plan to dissolve the elected Vancouver Parks Board, and a council majority endorsed it – with no public vote on the issue. Premier David Eby (whose B.C. government must approve the change) said he agreed in principle, but would wait for the results of the Oct. 19 provincial election before deciding.

The forum will discuss if we need the elected Park Board. What are the pros and cons of this move? Should it go to a public vote first? You can send your questions for Brennan to forum organizer Stanley Tromp at stromp[at]telus[dot]net.

You can attend in person, or online at

Please return to that page on June 2 at 12:30 to watch the live stream by clicking on the blue button that will appear.

Around here
, we have a lot of time for the work of Stanley Tromp because of stuff like...This.
Tip O' The Toque to CityHallWatch for the heads up.
Earworm in the header?...This!
DoubleDownWorm in the subheader...This!


Monday, May 20, 2024

Access Uber Alles


Maggie Haberman, the Whitehouse correspondent for the New York Times published a story, more than six years ago, on February 13, 2018 under the headline 'Trump's Longtime Lawyer Says He Paid Stormy Daniels Out of His Own Pocket'. Here is the lede of that piece:

Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, said on Tuesday that he paid $130,000 out of his own pocket to a pornographic-film actress who had once claimed to have had an affair with Mr. Trump.

In the most detailed explanation of the 2016 payment made to the actress, Stephanie Clifford, Mr. Cohen, who worked as a counsel to the Trump Organization for more than a decade, said he was not reimbursed for the payment.

“Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly,” Mr. Cohen said in a statement to The New York Times. “The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”...

Now, that was pretty much straight up stenography that pushed a patently false narrative, unchallenged, that could, I suppose, have been justified by Ms. Haberman and her editors by the need to 'get things on the record'.


More than six years later, we now know that Ms. Haberman of the Times had been under Mr. Cohen's thumb for almost a week before the story was published.

How do we know this?

Because it came up during the criminal trial of Donald Trump in a New York courtroom last week:

Texts from Michael Cohen to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman show how former President Trump’s ex-fixer worked to protect Trump from scrutiny over the hush money payment central to his ongoing criminal trial.

“Please start writing and I will call you soon,” Cohen wrote Haberman on Feb. 6, 2018, texts entered as evidence in Trump’s criminal case show.

Cohen subsequently texted Haberman a statement claiming he had used his own personal funds to make the hush payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who planned to come forward with allegations of a past affair with Trump just weeks before the 2016 presidential election...


Why make a fuss about this now?

Because nothing about this was ever straight-up. Clearly, Ms. Haberman was doing Mr. Cohen's accessional bidding and gave him the story that he and, presumably, his boss and her bosses wanted in 2018. And that is a story, like so many others with no basis in fact, that has survived in the brains of many since then.

Which begs the question...

Which kind of journalism is more corrosive to the collective body politic - the 'catch-and-kill' kind practiced by the likes of American Media Inc (now A360media) or the 'accept-any-and-all-evils-for-access' kind practiced by the likes of Ms. Haberman of the New York Times?

Personally, I think the answer is obvious.


Saturday, May 11, 2024

Anti-Climate Change Government Uses Climate Change-Driven Events To Justify Term Extension.


You think I'm joking?

From the invaluable blogging/reporting man on the other side of the Rockies, David Climenhaga:

The United Conservative Party announced yesterday it would use the potential for spring forest fires three years from now as an excuse to extend its term in office by four and a half months...


“With natural disasters like wildfires, drought, and floods more likely to occur in the spring and summer months, moving Alberta’s election date from May to October just makes sense,” said Justice Minister Mickey Amery, who was also trotted out at the news conference along with the Environment Minister Rebecca Schulz, Forestry Minister Todd Loewen, and Emergency Services Minister Mike Ellis...

Imagine that!

Earworm in the sub-header?...Of course....This!


Friday, May 10, 2024

Winslow Arizona On The Fraser?


This time we're not talking about gambling.

Instead, the topic of the day is drought:

Parts of British Columbia will likely enter "unfamiliar territory" with drought if they see another hot, dry summer, says the head of the province's River Forecast Centre...


...Pockets of the Interior are especially dry. (The B.C. River Forecast Centre's Dave) Campbell said he's most worried about the effects of drought on smaller rivers and creeks in the central Interior.

"Prince George, Quesnel, Williams Lake, Vanderhoof, that's kind of the hot spot, and then the other (area) that would be a concern would be up in the northeast," he said...

Meanwhile, the very fine fellow who was kicked out of the provincial soccer party for, at least in part, wurlitzering anti-climate science propaganda and stating that "real harm" is being done by global climate policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions is now apparently in a dead heat (pun very much intended) with Mr. Eby:

...Among decided voters, the company’s (Yorkville Strategies) survey found 37 per cent support for the Conservatives under leader John Rustad and 35 per cent for Premier David Eby’s incumbent NDP...


First quoted story, unbylined, in the Canadian Press...Second quoted story from Andrew MacLeod in The Tyee....But...Beware the reappearance of the Pantazopoulos and take his alleged 3.9% MOE with a very large grain of salt.
Image at the top of the post...Low water levels in the Quesnel where it meets the Fraser last winter...From a piece by Frank Peebels in the Quesnel Cariboo Observer.
Obliquious, non brain-eating ear worms in the header and the subheader?...This! and This!


Thursday, May 09, 2024

The Casino-Industrial-Complex Deal Is Done.


It would appear that the potential deal we talked about earlier this week is done, at least as it pertains to Lotusland Central:

Vancouver city council voted this week to allow for applications to increase the number of slot machines and tables at the city’s two casinos, on the condition they be accompanied by an assessment of their social and economic impacts.

The request to amend the city’s 2011 gambling moratorium was made by the B.C. Lottery Corp., which told council the city’s population has increased 22 per cent in the past decade and that the amendment is a first step to allow BCLC to look at ways of expanding its two existing facilities — the Parq casino in Yaletown and Hastings Racecourse in East Vancouver — rather than building more casinos...

The only question that remains is whether there will once again be organized, sustained pushback from the citizenry as there was last time.

Quoted piece
is by Joanne-Lee Young writing in the Vancouver Sun.
The thing that really makes me wonder about motives here is the fact that the changes for the Parq-no-longer-Paragon and Hastings Park are only supposed to be worth a measly few million to the CoV....So, does that mean that this change is a proof-of-principle prelude for the backers of some really  big deal lurking out there somewhere?


Dr. Beer 'N Hockey On That Recent Bridge Bashing In Baltimore.


Beer 'N Hockey is back.

And he is now a doctor.

More importantly, however, he is also writing again.

To wit, on that recent bridge bashing in Baltimore:

I noted there were no tugboats escorting the container ship out of Baltimore harbour. That, my friends, is what deregulation gets you: death and destruction. The firms which lobbied to save money for their shareholders by decreasing harbour safety ought to be ashamed of themselves. Yeah right. All they give a f*ck about is having the best lawyers in town.

Go give his 'new' place a visit, where 'power is not happiness', when you get a chance.


Wednesday, May 08, 2024

Macau On The Fraser?


Further to yesterday's post (and today's muted headlines)....

A very good backgrounder on the request from the BC Lottery Corp that the City of Vancouver 'modify' the moratorium against super/mega/uber casinos in Lotusland was written by Sandy Garossino, Ian Pitfield and Andy Yan and published in The Tyee.

Essentially the trio ask what the hurry is and why the need for such quietude:

Thirteen years after the BC Lottery Corp. failed in a major casino expansion effort in Vancouver, it’s back to try again.

And already things seem sketchy. The public is not getting the whole story. And the BCLC doesn’t want to give it to us.

BCLC is backing a motion before city council (in committee) on Wednesday morning to lift the moratorium on gambling expansion in Vancouver. There’s a hushed urgency to this whole process. What’s the rush here? And why so quiet?...

Clearly, there is something we are not being told here.

And I have a feeling that thing involves yet another push to make us Pottersville on the Salish Sea or, worse, Macau on the Fraser.

If you get my drift.

Tip O' The Toque to reader Graham for the heads-up.


Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Vancouver Not Vegas (Maybe)...


Here we go again...

Vancouver council is being asked to "modify" the 2011 moratorium on gambling expansion to allow Hastings Racecourse and Parq Casino to expand the number of slot machines and table games at its locations.

Parq currently operates 600 slots and 61 gaming tables, while Hastings has 446 slots and no tables. A staff report that goes before council May 8 doesn’t say how many slots or tables could be added to the two gambling venues.

The report, however, says the BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC) has projected the City of Vancouver’s share of potential increased revenues to be in the range of $2.6 million to $5 million.

For any expansion to be considered, council would have to lift or modify the gambling expansion moratorium established in 2011 by the Gregor Robertson-led Vision Vancouver council...


I guess that means that the laundry 'problem' has been taken care of, right?

VANCOUVER — Self-professed students were buying multimillion-dollar homes in the Vancouver area, with dubious sources of income, or none at all.

A family of modest means transferred at least 114 million Canadian dollars to British Columbia.

Loan sharks cleaned their dirty money by giving garbage bags and hockey bags full of illicit Canadian 20 dollar bills to gamblers who took it onto casino floors.

Those were just some of the findings from a long-awaited report into money laundering in Canada’s western province of British Columbia...

Monday, May 06, 2024

It's Not Christmas Time, But...


We are on our way to summer.

Which means that we are also just about as far away from Christmas as you can get on the calendar.

But with the death of writer Paul Auster last week, regardless the season, now is the time for one great Christmas story.

Augie Wren's Christmas story:

The story was first published on the New York Times OpEd page on December 25, 1990...My copy, which like the story itself and Augie Wren's camera, is not my own. It actually belongs to our oldest kid and was published by Henry Holt and Company in 2004...I gave it to her that very Christmas...How do I know this?...Because the inscription says it's so.
If you prefer, you can listen to and watch Harvey Keitel, playing Mr. Wren in the movie tell the story to William


Friday, May 03, 2024

Mr. Mayor, You Keep On Using That Word.


From a report by Les Leyne in Glacier Media on  the huge increase in the cost of hosting World Cup soccer games in Lotusland:

“We are literally hosting 30 to 40 Super Bowl equivalents,” he (Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim) said.


Inconceivably, Mr. Sim keeps on using that word, literally.

As Inigo Montoya might say.... I do not think it means what he thinks it means.


Thursday, May 02, 2024

The Fine Young Man Who Once Tried To Make Canada Alabama.


Recently, we've been discussing how workers in the Southern US'ian states have started to push back against 'right-to-work' edicts that have been designed to shut out unions and depress wages and benefits as much as possible.

And it looks like a Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama might be next:

...Thursday the National Labor Relations Board announced voting will take place May 13 and 17 on whether workers at Mercedes-Benz U.S. International will join the United Auto Workers union. Vote totals are expected May 17.

That’s after the most successful, and one of the fastest campaigns, the union has ever had, signing a supermajority of the plant’s more than 6,000 employees in less than five months...

Which is both interesting and inspiring from a 'tides turning' point of view.

But here's something of historical interest that you may not know (and/or may have forgotten).

Something that Linda McQuaig noted in her most recent Toronto Star column.

Which is that, about a decade ago, a fine young politician in our then most Harperian midst did his best to turn the country of Canada into a worry-free, fully-liberated right-to-work state.

It's summarized in the Star's archives, circa 2012, in a story by Tim Harper:

Meet the young man who would be the father of right-to-work legislation in Canada.

If you think Pierre Poilievre is a young dad, at age 33, he has the prime minister's confidence and his ear, has been rightly tagged one of the most powerful persons in the national capital, and is already in his fourth term as the MP for Nepean-Carleton...


...Poilievre doesn't buy this concept that collective bargaining and trade unions are somehow in the Canadian DNA and he believes workers' freedom mirrors individual freedom as a deeply ingrained Canadian trait.

Opponents, he says, are hung up on the U.S. experience and the domino of right-to-work states, which U.S. President Barack Obama has argued is a race to the bottom...

Man of the people, indeed.


in the sub-header and the kicker too?...Of course, this!