Saturday, July 23, 2016

This Week In Clarkland...Is Cookie Dough Mike Afraid Of Some Lotuslandian proMedia Members?


The Clarklandian Finance Minister, Cookie Dough Mike De Jong held a press conference this week to talk about the release of his government's public account numbers.

Then he took questions from the press.

But only some of them.

Bob Mackin, writing in Business in Vancouver, has the story:

...Finance Minister Mike de Jong took questions from Victoria Press Gallery reporters, but did not take any from the two reporters, representing CKNW and Business in Vancouver, who attended a boardroom at the cabinet’s Canada Place office to listen to the news conference. The Vancouver-based reporters were told that de Jong would be available by phone after the news conference. When it was over, however, they were told that de Jong had to attend meetings...


There are some local proMedia members (or is it one?) that Mr. De Jong is loathe to take questions from.


On the flip side, it would appear that there as some friendly stenographers....errrr...Victoria (legislative?) press gallery members he appears to be very comfortable with.

Imagine that!

Cookie Dough Mike?....You bet!


Friday, July 22, 2016

At The End Of The Day...A Very Cool Thing I Never Knew About Apollo 11.


During my tenth summer I spent a whole lot of time at my grandmother's house that was perched over Swan Lake on the outskirts of Victoria.

And while there I was often glued to the TeeVee watching Wally Schirra and Mr. Cronkite show us pictures and tell us stories about the moonshot.

When I was instead at home that summer I mostly hid out in my bedroom closet, which had been converted into the inside of lunar excursion module, with levers and buttons and Apollo 11 mission checklists and everything.

All of which were homemade except for the spiral bound book of checklists filled of 'flip-that-switch' and 'hit-that-button' commands that seemed to go on and on forever.

Who knew that those checklists and, especially, the computer programs that drove them, were the work of a team of MIT software engineers led by a young woman named Margaret Hamilton, pictured above with the a big pile of the original script.

It turns out that Ms. Hamilton was actually a pioneer in a field filled with women that the rest of engineering field at first refused to recognize:

..."I began to use the term 'software engineering' to distinguish it from hardware and other kinds of engineering," Hamilton told Verne's Jaime Rubio Hancock in an interview. "When I first started using this phrase, it was considered to be quite amusing. It was an ongoing joke for a long time. They liked to kid me about my radical ideas. Software eventually and necessarily gained the same respect as any other discipline."...

Imagine that!

I also remember one conversation involving ol' Spam-In-A-Can Wally in which he described all the crazy things that would be different by the time the millenium flipped over in the year 2000...The details are hazy but I distinctly recall being flummoxed not by Jetsons-like flying cars but instead by the realization that I would be an ancient 41 years old by that time....I mean, to think of being that ancient at the age of ten was truly inconceivable...Now?...Well, early forties seems like a young man's game to me now...Selah.


This Day In Clarkland...Is An Another Independent Officer Of The BC Government About To Get Knee-Capped?


After all, if Seniors' Advocate Isobel Mackenzie runs around news releasing stuff like the following, even if it is wrapped up in the form of a poopy-centered sandwich...

BC’s Seniors Advocate, Isobel Mackenzie, is expressing concerns about the declining income of seniors, which is particularly acute in BC relative to other parts of the country, according to Statistics Canada’s latest income survey released last week.

“The most recent income data from Statistics Canada has some really good news for BC two-parent families. Their median income has increased 9.7% and far outpaces the national average.

However, for seniors in BC, the story is the complete opposite,” stated Mackenzie. Since 2013, BC senior families saw their annual median income fall 5.7% and for a BC single senior, the decline is even steeper, with a 6.3% drop since 2013.This compares to the national averages, which show a 1.9% increase for senior families and a 2.3% increase for single seniors...


...Nationally, the percentage of Canadians aged 65 and over living on low incomes rose to 12.5%. In particular, 30% of single, elderly women are considered low income—triple the level of two decades ago...

Luckily for the Wizards of Clarklandia disaffected old folks don't vote.


Meanwhile, look for an 'Unlock The Equity Of Old Folks!'-type missive from the Condo King coming soon...
Finally, if it's Friday afternoon it must be time for...A Booze Announement!


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

This Thing About BC Parks...


When I was a kid, and even when my own kids were smaller, we spent a whole lot of time in BC Parks.

And nowhere did we spend more of that time than at Bamberton which was once a throw-away chunk of clear-cut sandwiched between the old cement plant and the cabins across the creek on Saanich inlet at the northern edge of the Malahat.

We went there for all kinds of reasons, some of which you can read about below.


I've been particularly riled up lately about how difficult it is becoming for average British Columbian families lately to camp in parks like Bamberton (see here, here and here).

Hopefully the old post below (my very first actually, written back in the salad days of the summer of 2004) will help explain where all this riling up originated...


Sunday, June 06, 2004

The Gospel According to HR MacMillan 

49 degrees 17' 59" North...124 degrees 37' 0" West

When I was a kid my Dad used to pile us all in the Studebaker and we'd head off camping for 20 or 30 days every summer.

Those were great days indeed, and we spent almost all of them in British Columbia's Provincial Parks,which cost us a paltry $2.00 per day.

Truth be told, that was really all we could afford.

Now wait just a minute you might be saying to yourself, particularly if you are of a certain politcal stripe.....he said 'Studebaker', right? So this doesn't make sense, because all of this car-camping must have occurred way back in the past, before the Socialist Hordes took over and gave everything away, cheap, to all comers.

There is only one problem with that kind of waterheaded thinking.

It was not the Hordes that built British Columbia's Provincial Parks, or our Public Ferry system, or even our BC Hydro for that matter.

Instead, it was none other than that notorious free-enterpriser himself W.A.C. Bennett, who once said,"the finest sound in the land is the ringing of cash registers".

Now, I will leave it to others who have considerably more politico-historical mojo than I to explain how the original Socred Manifesto was bent out of shape by the Wacky One after he brought it over the Rockies and started hammering the crap out of it in his Hardware store in Kelowna in the early '50s.

Because, at least for this screed, the whys and the wherefores are not important.

What is important is that Mr. Bennett did these things. And they were good.


Last week my wife went online and booked a campsite for the August long weekend at a Provincial Campground on the Sunshine Coast. The cost was $20 dollars per day for the site, $6 for the reservation fee and $10 for an extra car (I have to work Friday and thus will come up with another family on the Saturday).

That makes $36.00 per night or $118.00 for the weekend which is more than twice what it cost my Dad and his wife and his three kids (me and my two brothers) for an entire four week holiday in 1971.

Ya, I know inflation, cost of living, relative earning multiples....blah, blah, blah.

But, then again, think of it this way: my Dad worked on a towboat all his adult life and we were always a working class family, which is why we were travelling in a 1963 Studebaker in 1971. But the cost of going camping was never an issue. In fact, at two bucks a night we could have camped from the day school got out in June until it started again in September and the cost of a campsite still wouldn't have been an issue.

But let's take a working class family now. Let's say they want to take a big trip around the province camping for 4 weeks this summer. The price of the campsites alone would run them somewhere in the vicinity of 700 bucks. You think that might not give them pause, perhaps even enough to consider Disneyland instead?

And don't even get me started on the lack of services, the deterioration of the infrastructure, and the dearth of nature programs now compared to that which greeted you when you entered a Provincial Park a generation ago.


So what the hell has happened?

Well, for one thing, of all the province's 'assets' the Parks may be the ones that have gone the furthest down the Dual tracks to Destruction known as P3 (private/public/partnerships) and Cost Recovery.

Clearly, the people who, as Frank Capra once put it, do most of the 'living and working and dying' in this province have lost control. And this is a theme I will return to from a 'big picture' point of view in the coming months.....but for now I want to talk about a small story in a small place almost smack dab in the middle of Vancouver Island.

It's called Cathedral Grove, which is a postage stamp of less than 200 hectares located along Cameron Lake about halfway between Parksville and Port Alberni on Highway 4, which is the main road to Tofino.

The park has one of the last easily accessible stands of old growth Douglas Fir anywhere and it was bequeathed to the Province by non-other than that old forest raper himself, HR Macmillan, who, I'm guessing, was probably great friends with Wacky Bennett.


One of the places we liked to camp when I was a kid was Englishmen's River Falls, a provincial campsite located at the foot of Mt. Arrowsmith at the end of Cameron Lake a few miles east of Cathedral Grove.

It goes without saying that the Grove is a magical place. And when I was 12 years old it could entice my brothers and me into doing crazy Tommy Thompson-like stuff that included bushwacking down from the Mount Arrowsmith trail or fording the Cameron River looking for Roosevelt Elk on our way to the Big Trees.

Oh sure, you could then, and still can, take the easy way into 'Canopy of Giants' by parking your car along the side of the road along a windy portion of highway 4 that runs through the heart of the park.

And this, of course, causes some congestion along the stretch of two lane highway that winds its way towards Port Alberni, Tofino and Pacific Rim National Park on the West Coast of the Island.

Which is why, if you were to take the current Provincial Government's argument at face value, the proposed construction of a new parking lot in the name of safety is a good thing.

And if you are convinced that building such a parking lot is the right thing it becomes very easy to dismiss the 'eco-freaks' that have barricaded themselves in the trees to defy the bulldozers as crackpots.

Except that some folks, including one of the few mainstream journos in this Province with any spine, Stephen Hume, have been bold enough to take take a peek behind the Government's Curtain of Spurious Spin and have started asking questions like.....

1) Why is the paved parking lot so darned big (ie. protestors have claimed that it will hold 150 cars and 20 buses)?...... Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection's response: It's not big at all because..... 'it is only designed for 140 cars and 15 buses.'

2) Why is the lot being built in a stand of mature second growth forest right next to the Grove, the destruction of which will facilitate blowdowns from the wind that whistles through the adjacent clear-cut?...... The Ministry of Protection's response.....'studies by Dr. Steven Mitchell of UBC and Madrone Consulting have concluded that there will be not be increased blowdown'.....This all sounds very plausible except for one small thing..... here is what Dr. Mitchell actually said in the conclusion of his original report:

"...In a small park such as MacMillan Park (Cathedral Grove), situated on a major travel corridor near expanding populations, with high visitor use, influence of human activities is inevitable. These effects can be mitigated to some degree through application of our growing knowledge of ecosystem function, and through long term cooperative planning....."

Clearly, the work of a careful academic, but it is hardly the ringing endorsement that our Spinners from the Ministry of Protection make it out to be.

3) Why has there been no public review or input into the process?.....Ministry of Protection response: "consultation and study have been going on for 12 years......" This is a classic propaganda ploy - spew out an answer that seems logical but is actually completely illogical (ie. internal consultation = public review). This double-speak is actually reinforced by an internally commissioned consultant's report from Blood and Associates that cites two, and only two, previous studies, both of which were carried out guessed it....Blood and Associates.

While there are many other examples of double-speak pertaining to this issue, those three points alone are enough to make you wonder if we are actually building a massive parking lot that will hasten the Grove's demise and if so, why?

Well, given the fact that the football field full of pavement will also be stuffed to the gills with Parking Meters, could it be that revenue generation/cost recovery is one of the driving forces behind this initiative? The former chief Gauliter of the Ministry of Protection, Joyce Murray, had a double-speak answer for this as well (all of this stuff can be found as pdf files at the site linked to above)

"..... parking at Cathedral Grove will indeed be metered. Last year, 27 Provincial Parks on Vancouver Island and in the Lower Mainland introduced day-use parking fees...."

Personally, I feel that 2+2=5 responses like this are actually more of an indictment than a justification.

And here's Dad and his Dad before him eeked out working class existences in the forest industry doing the shit jobs that made people like HR MacMillan and his kind rich. And now the conning-neos currently in control are doing their damndest to try and convince us that we should be glad that we are being forced to pay for the privilege of visiting the bone that was thrown our way as payment for being royally screwed throughout both of their lifetimes?

To put it another way, does anybody really think that the SuperRich would put up with paying a parking fee to tie their float planes up at the dock when they fly into a secluded SuperNatural British Columbia spot like, oh say, Great Central Lake, which is located in the still pristine wilderness just a few kilometers away, and a world removed, from the public highway that runs through Cathedral Grove?

Of course not.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Where, Exactly, Does It Say...

...That The Bullies Shall Inherit The Earth?


And, lest you think the bullying is only American and/or Trumpian...Think again...Because...Klout Klub!


Anatomy Of An Attempted Hacking Going Down?


Noticed an unexpected bump in page views at lunchtime today, which I thought odd given that I haven't been poli-blogging that much recently due to heavier than usual science-geek obligations the last week or so.

And then I found this bizarre saw tooth pattern of mini-bumps that peaked in the middle of the Lotusland night...

Which got me to looking at where the extra hits were coming from...


Given that I normally never get hits from Putinland, I immediately untethered the blog from any other devices/platforms and instituted the Googleplexes' unwieldy two-step verification thingy as well as a brand new password.

Here's hoping I still be able to get into this old place tomorrow.


The Last Of The Single Shingle Left Blogistanners Speaks!


I have been reading Driftglass since he started out as lowly a commenter at the best blog ever (a.k.a. Steve Gilliard's 'Newsblog'*).

And I've continued to read Mr. Glass regularly for the last dozen or so years for all kinds of reasons, not the least of which is that he usually turns out to be right about the big issues going down in America.


It would appear that some of Drifty's readers are getting tired of his pointing out that the worst offenders of Wingnuttia, proMedia Division,  are now trying to slither away into the grass by pretending that they, too, knew what was really going down while they actually wrote and said the opposite for years and years and years...Because...You know...Both sides do it!

So, here is the dinosaur's response, in his own words:
...So when future electoral battles are joined, what do you suppose the margin of victory (will) be for the Right once they get their war-wagon running on high test again? My guess is that the margin will be the usual cohort of herd-following, know-nothing voters in the middle who figure that they might as well give the GOP a shot because everybody knows there's not a dime's worth of difference between the two parties.

And how in the hell did those herd-following, know-nothings ever get that stupid idea stuck in their heads? They got it from -- surprise! -- exactly same poisoned well where Crazy Uncle Liberty gets that "Well, Libtards are just as bad!" alibi he whips out every time another one of his bigoted, idiotic lies blows up in his face.

They get it from hearing this same Big Lie of Both Siderism, repeated by serious, respectable and highly-paid media professionals in an infinite, closed, propaganda loop, from every direction, by virtually every media corporation, year after year after year.

You want to stop the Conservative tank corps that is rolling in our direction?

So do I.

And as a disreputable single-shingle blogger writing in a nearly-defunct genre from the middle of a cornfield, I can either spend my limited time and energy plinking away with my pea-shooter at the 12-inch-thick, sloped, explosive reactive armor with which the Right's battle-wagons are plated from muzzle to tail-pipe...

...or I can do my damnedest to use what little I've got to disable their Beltway media distributor caps...


Insert 'Dipper' for 'Libtard', above, and you will get an idea of why I, another longtime single shingle blogger from F-Troop list land, insist on paying attention to what our own proMedia does and says (and said in the past).


*A close second was Billmon's Whiskey Bar.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

At The End Of The Day...

...Nobody Wants To Be Stuck In Deep Right Field For Eleven Years.

From Dan Epstein's Rolling Stone piece on the making of the 'Doc and Daryl' documentary:

...(Judd Apatow) says that the human aspects of Gooden and Strawberry's stories were ultimately what inspired him to make the film. "I am a terrible athlete," he says, "so my sympathy is always with the team that lost or the player that is in a slump. When the Mets won in 1986, I only thought about Bill Buckner. 'How is he feeling? I hope he knows how awesome he is.' That always prevents me from getting too excited when my team wins because I am always Bill Buckner. That's the essence of what Freaks and Geeks is about — how do we survive the painful moments? I am interested in people's humanity much more than their feats of greatness."...

Sometimes I really and truly can't figure out what was so wrong with the world in the year 2000 that led to the Rovians' stealing of a presidency AND NBC's cancelling of Freaks and Geeks after only 12 episodes (fans and cable TeeVee got the last six on the air, apparently).

As you might have been able to predict...Mr. Epstein is one of my favourite non-poli follows on the Twitmachine.


Friday, July 15, 2016

How Many Public Campsites, Exactly, Has The BC Liberal Government Eliminated Since 2001?


Lots of kerfuffle about how difficult it is for the average British Columbia family to go camping in BC's Parks these days.

The Clarklandian Minister responsible, who has been with us since the GordCo days, told us that the way to deal with this is to increase the supply.

But then she (b/w her stenographer) told us that this could prove to be difficult to do as environmentalists would be sure to protest.

Or some such evidence-free based thing.



As a result of my writing about this (and a lively discussion in the comment threads attached to the above linked-to posts) an Anon-O-Mouse whispered in my ear that the other half of the capacity problem in BC's Parks just may be the LOSS of campsites under the BC Liberal reign of error.

I asked for evidence to back this claim and they sent me links to the following.

Exhibit A... The situation in 2001 (via the old gov't website, thanks to the Wayback machine):

Exhibit B...The situation today (via the current gov't website):


Do you see what I see?

Yes, that's right.

According to these numbers, there are actually 3,120 (or 23%) fewer vehicle accessible campsites today than there were back in 2001.

Now, if these are the real numbers, somehow I don't think even the Wizards of Clarklandia and/or Marky Mark's Klout Club can blame that on the 1990's.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

This Day In Clarkland...What Is A Lie Under Oath Worth?


Given that the good Mr. Gretes was charged with lying under oath to the privacy commissioner's investigators six times about his (now perfectly legal) Triple Deleting activities in the Clarklandian Ministry of Transportation, that works out to....

Hang on a second while I do the new fangled math known as long division...



Would'a thunk it.

And, as Laila noted on the Twittmachine, there are likely quite a few Wizards of Clarklandia high-fivin' like there's no tomorrow tonight.