Monday, December 22, 2014

This Day In Clarkland...Garbage Dump Follies, Part Deux.


The Clark government's biggest trash disposal of the year took place late last week.

And just because it's the Monday of the week after the dump as well as the Monday before Christmas doesn't mean that the stench is gone.

The following is what was in the second dumpster.

Rob Shaw of the VSun did the diving:

VICTORIA — A plan by the B.C. Lottery Corporation to save millions in staffing costs backfired and cost the corporation $25 million, a government audit has found.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong said the audit, released Wednesday, flagged several troubling human resource issues, including a plan to save $20 million by eliminating 68 staff this year that led to a rush of 142 early retirements and severance packages that cost the Crown lottery corporation $25 million...


Why so costly?

Well, how about 18 month severance packages regardless how long anyone worked for the 'corporation' previously run with great aplomb and total impartiality by the incomparable Mess'rs Turner and Graydon.

But here's the thing in the dumpster that Mr. Shaw found that is really scary:

...The audit also said 86,000 large cash transactions and 1,000 “unusual or suspicious financial transactions” reported by BCLC to a federal watchdog in 2013/14 was a “significant increase” over previous years and raised concern about money laundering inside B.C. gambling facilities...

Unfortunately, Mr. Shaw (and/or his editors) didn't bother to indicate what the real concern with such 'suspicious financial transactions' is.

You know that part about turning real garbage into gold.

At our expense using our magical, impeccable and impartially managed laundry services.


What was in Dumpster #1?....Why, the Health Ministry Investigation non-review review which, of course, was covered impeccably and with great thoroughness by the local proMedia.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

How Good Can A Dreary Sunday Morning In December Be?


This is such a strange time of year.

So full of promise, and yet...

There is the darkness and the greyness and the wetness and all that work that has to be done before the break begins that also lends the season that slight air of dread.

All of which the Whackadoodle and I did our best to ignore as we rushed out of the house early this morning and took off for Sea Island, swinging right in front of the Airport's north runway and driving fast past the new postal prison-like processing complex (that would likely even make Bukowski blanch) that lines the southern edge of the near the distal tip of the big muddy's upper arm.

And after we got out of the car, because of the season's high tides and the winter-formed mini-lagoons, it took us awhile before we could get down to the ocean's edge.

But when we did, well...

The sand was curved and clean, the sky glinted as the fog lifted a little, and two bald eagles sat atop the latticework of Seaspan's 'Cape Flattery' log barge.

Or, to put it another way...

Suddenly, and for just a moment or two, everything seemed so open to possibility that even the thought of all those raw logs and thousands of jobs sailing away couldn't get me down as the Whackadoodle ran as fast as she could towards the tideline and started sliding, rolling onto her back with legs in the air kicking in ecstasy.

Which is when I started to play our old beat-up beach guitar.

Or, to put it more correctly, our old weathered guitar that was once C's first and only.

Strumming Kris Kristofferson's finest, and saddest, somehow never felt so good.

It's not like I didn't know this tune before, but....Bigger E. brought it to me awhile back...Despite our best intentions we have yet to do it on the busking road....But I know, for certain, that one of these days we will.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Credibility Gap Between Idiot Bloggers And A Certain Established ProMedia News Outlet.


This morning, after reading a report from the incomparable Bob Mackin, I too pulled a quote from the 'Reviewer's Message' portion of the just-released report titled, 'Investigatory Process Review...2012 Investigation into Employee Conduct Into The Ministry of Health'.

I posted the pulled quote because I concluded, as did Mr. Mackin I can only presume, that it most fully demonstrated what the report did NOT do:

Here is that pulled quote, in full:

...This report is not intended to, and does not, answer questions regarding the specific allegations against the employees. Nor does it answer any lingering questions regarding whether any decision made about the employees was legally or factually sound. This report focuses exclusively on the process leading to the decision making...


Global News, in their own report on the release, also pulled a quote from very same portion of reviewer Marcia McNeil's 'message'.

Here is the quote, in full, that they pulled and published on their website. It ran under the TeeVee version of the report from Global's very, very fine legislative reporter, Mr. Keith Baldrey:

...McNeil said her report “is not intended to, and does not, answer questions regarding specific allegations against the employees.”...

Do you see what Global did there?


To be more precise, what they did NOT do?

Established credibility my left foot.


The McNeil Report Into Health Ministry Firings...How Thick And White Is The Wash?

BecauseThese PeopleActedInOurNameVille

This thick and white....

From the 'Reviewer's Message' (i.e. the kinda/sorta executive summary) section of the 'review':

...This report is not intended to, and does not, answer questions regarding the specific allegations against the employees. Nor does it answer any lingering questions regarding whether any decision made about the employees was legally or factually sound. This report focuses exclusively on the process leading to the decision making...


Bob Mackin fully dissects the whitening and the washing, and in so doing demonstrates the complete and utter lack of accountability being leveled....Here.

Andrew McLeod, in the Tyee has the background on this that all British Columbians should be forced to read before they can vote next time...Here.

And when you read this stuff, please remember...

People's lives were ruined.


Health Ministry Firings...The Attribution Solution.


The GStraight's Travis Lupick received the following at 4:58pm the Friday before the start of the Christmas disappearing:

Even entire flocks of chickens don't spread this much shite on a Friday night.



Friday, December 19, 2014

Two Competing Views Of Christmas....In Letters!


First, from one of JRR Tolkien's many letters as 'Father Christmas' to his kids (shown above):

Cliff House
Top of the World
Near the North Pole

Xmas 1925

My dear boys,

I am dreadfully busy this year — it makes my hand more shaky than ever when I think of it — and not very rich. In fact, awful things have been happening, and some of the presents have got spoilt and I haven't got the North Polar Bear to help me and I have had to move house just before Christmas, so you can imagine what a state everything is in, and you will see why I have a new address, and why I can only write one letter between you both. It all happened like this: one very windy day last November my hood blew off and went and stuck on the top of the North Pole. I told him not to, but the N.P.Bear climbed up to the thin top to get it down — and he did. The pole broke in the middle and fell on the roof of my house, and the N.P.Bear fell through the hole it made into the dining room with my hood over his nose, and all the snow fell off the roof into the house and melted and put out all the fires and ran down into the cellars where I was collecting this year's presents, and the N.P.Bear's leg got broken. He is well again now, but I was so cross with him that he says he won't try to help me again...

Second, from one of John Steinbeck's many letters to his friend Adlai Stevenson:

New York
Guy Fawkes Day

Dear Adlai,

Back from Camelot, and, reading the papers, not at all sure it was wise. Two first impressions. First, a creeping, all pervading nerve-gas of immorality which starts in the nursery and does not stop before it reaches the highest offices both corporate and governmental. Two, a nervous restlessness, a hunger, a thirst, a yearning for something unknown—perhaps morality. Then there's the violence, cruelty and hypocrisy symptomatic of a people which has too much, and last, the surly ill-temper which only shows up in human when they are frightened.

Adlai, do you remember two kinds of Christmases? There is one kind in a house where there is little and a present represents not only love but sacrifice. The one single package is opened with a kind of slow wonder, almost reverence. Once I gave my youngest boy, who loves all living things, a dwarf, peach-faced parrot for Christmas. He removed the paper and then retreated a little shyly and looked at the little bird for a long time. And finally he said in a whisper, "Now who would have ever thought that I would have a peach-faced parrot?"

Then there is the other kind of Christmas with present piled high, the gifts of guilty parents as bribes because they have nothing else to give. The wrappings are ripped off and the presents thrown down and at the end the child says—"Is that all?" Well, it seems to me that America now is like that second kind of Christmas. Having too many THINGS they spend their hours and money on the couch searching for a soul. A strange species we are. We can stand anything God and nature can throw at us save only plenty. If I wanted to destroy a nation, I would give it too much and would have it on its knees, miserable, greedy and sick. And then I think of our "Daily" in Somerset, who served your lunch. She made a teddy bear with her own hands for our grandchild. Made it out of an old bath towel dyed brown and it is beautiful. She said, "Sometimes when I have a bit of rabbit fur, they come out lovelier." Now there is a present. And that obviously male teddy bear is going to be called for all time MIZ Hicks...

{snippety doo-dah}

...Someone has to reinspect our system and that soon. We can't expect to raise our children to be good and honorable men when the city, the state, the government, the corporations all offer higher rewards for chicanery and deceit than probity and truth. On all levels it is rigged, Adlai. Maybe nothing can be done about it, but I am stupid enough and naively hopeful enough to want to try. How about you?



Both of the above were brought to our attention by the always fantabulous 'Letters Of Note'.


Does Harvey O Know The Real Reason We Are Being Saddled With Site C?


Why yes, I think Mr. Oberfeld might:

...This week, the Liberals launched their campaign for 2017 … although no one seemed to realize that (especially the media, who are supposed to be “professional” observers and analysts!).

The announcement that the government will proceed with the Site C Hydro project, was largely proclaimed … not by the Minister responsible for BC Hydro Bill Bennett … but by Premier Christy Clark herself.

She LOVES to take credit for all BIG projects that the Liberals believe MOST BC voters will approve: that should have been the hint of what’s really happening.

Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

Thousands of jobs … not only up north (heartland!) but that the Libs believe WILL be under way, despite all the legal challenges, environmental protestors’ threats and any other obstacles that the $8.8 Billion project will face in the next year or two...


You can argue that this is actually a crazy-legged take on the thing given the total fantasy that the LNG Seven Multination Sparkle Pony Army has turned out to be.

But, before you do please remember the following...

1) Those paying attention (and that includes you Grant) knew it was a fantasy from the beginning (i.e. before Pamela Martin even started to run for that elevator).

2) The Lotuslandian proMedia, even though they knew it too, pretty much played the fantasy game straight up throughout the election period (i.e. it is only recently that they have begun to rein in expectations - surprise!)

3) In terms of raw politics, the fantasy strate(r)gy worked.


What's the way out of this proMedia-assisted paradox of debt doom wherein the electorate can be periodically bamboozled into voting against both reality and their own best interests?

I have my ideas...

Feel free to tell us yours.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Is It Possible That BCUC Hearings Could Have Told Us What Site C Is Actually For?


All right.

I'll admit it...

I've been hanging back, waiting to see, hear or read a cogent argument on why we actually need Ms. Clark's really big boondoggle. 

And now, after reading Damien Gillis' recent piece over at the Common Sense Canadian, I'm not sure there is one to be found.


...(Credit rating concerns will) be compounded by the lack of need for the project, as we learned throughout the JRP’s hearings. This notion has been reinforced by both the premier and BC Hydro’s confused messaging around the project.

At first, Site C was to power BC’s homes, but when we became a solid net exporter of power in recent years – according to BC Stats – the rationale morphed into powering energy-intensive LNG projects. But BC Hydro undermined that statement during the JRP hearings, saying it was instead to export excess power to California – likely a money-losing proposition for BC.

Then, just last week, Christy Clark went back on her LNG argument, admitting that Site C was notin fact required for that industry. Even Hydro acknowledges we won’t need the power from Site C until 2022 at the earliest, but the crown corporation has a long history of exaggerating demand, and, thanks to improved conservation, BC’s power consumption has barely risen since the early 2000s and shows no signs of increasing – an important fact Hydro ignores...

Oh boy.


The Transit Tax...Making Poor People Pay To Help...Poor People?


Interesting perspective in FABula's Globe piece and her blogpost from Los Angeles where an increase in the sales tax is already being used to pay for transit improvements:

...(While in Los Angeles I) had a chance to interview one of the architects of the coalition that helped get 67-per-cent approval for a half-per-cent sales tax in LA in 2008 to pay for $36 billion in transit improvements.

Denny Zane is one of those great old-fashioned American leftists, still fighting for the people. In his downtown office building, complete with a giant photo of a young Cesar Chavez, he talked for an hour about how to win the transit fight and why it’s important. Interestingly, there was a lot more focus, when he talked, about how important transit is to working-class people than I hear in debates around Vancouver (where the left and the NIMBY right seem to view it currently as some evil developer plot)...

All of that sounds good and is hard to argue with on a number of levels.

But one has to realize that in California, and especially SoCal, all pretence of a progressive tax system is long gone.

Have we really been pushed that far down the Prop 13 rabbit hole by the longtail of the Golden Era?

And, as someone who crosses Cambie, twice, everyday in the high '20's, even if it is not an evil developer plot, why shouldn't they pay too?

The developers I mean.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What To Be Looking For In The Tubes With You...


From the NYT's Listings section:

*Rufus and Martha Wainwright's Noel Nights (Wed/Thurs Dec 17/18)
The prodigious siblings revive their giddy, glittery collaborative holiday show in New York after a three year absence. The yuletide offerings will include performances by them and several members of their talented folk-pop family: At 8pm, Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street.

I figure there will be lots of stuff up by midnight.

In the meantime...


Us?....Tonight we go to the train....The Stanley Park Train!