Thursday, April 28, 2016

At The End Of The Day...


...Sometimes there just isn't enough time for poli-blogging.


Well, to be honest, I'm not really sure.

Maybe it's because we have been working pretty hard at getting another paper out the last few weeks. This one has been a bit of a slog because the gradual student who originally did the work has moved on and is now doing his post-doc stint on the other side of the continent. All of which led to a whole lot of Skyping and long distance experiment doing by folks in my lab who became his remote hands after we got the reviews back from the editor. And while I hated those reviews when we first got them, now that there is a light at the end of the tunnel it's hard pretend that they haven't made the work much better.

But that's not really it.

Maybe, instead, it's because the geezers have a couple of rock and roll shows coming up. One will be in a cabin in the woods and one will be in a fancy hotel ballroom....Gosh....I wonder which one will be more fun. Anyway...There are new tunes to be learned which means a bit of frenzy of actual practicing away from the band so that I don't drive the lead guitar genius guy crazy...All joking aside,  really fun part of it all is that Bigger E will be singing with us for both shows.

But that's not really it either.

To be really, really honest I think a wee bit of the ennui has snuck its way into my poli-blogging hideaway.

But not to worry, because I'm pretty sure it will soon pass (as it has done so before).

In the meantime, carry-on and be sure to visit all those sites on the blog-roll over there on the left side of the page that are doing all the good stuff for all the right reasons.



Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sometimes At The End Of The Day...

...Everybody looks forward to seeing Ms. Irglova on stage with Mr. Hansard again doing their thing.

This time they were in Poland.

And, just in case you missed it, when the music starts to crowd out the poli-blogging, feel free to blame Mr. Hansard for absolutely everything.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

My Purple Friend Ian Reid: He Was The Prince Of The Paupers...

...Crowned Downtown At The Beggar's Bash.

Back in dinosaur days, when Lotuslandian poli-blogging was still a (relatively) new and (kinda/sorta) lonely game, Ian Reid and I became pretty well acquainted on-line.

But it wasn't until we got to talking about music and our kids that we really became friends.

Here's what I wrote about all that a few years ago, back when Ian was still managing to fight off the disease that would eventually kill him:

When Ian popped-up here, in the comments, after I started writing about the Casino Industrial Complex that arrived still-borne, but fully-wurlitzered, in the deep, spikey shadows of the devil-horned roof from nowhere, I was a little surprised.

In the ensuing months we corresponded quite a bit, both here in the bloggodome and offline, about what was really going down.

To be absolutely clear about this, even though a lot of the stuff Ian told me was pure gold I was initially wary because he is an old Pol.

And while I am mostly sympathetic to the party that he has worked for over the years, I have come to learn that you can never be too sure when an old Pol might be working you rather than just talking to you.

But all that fell away when Ian began to respond to the stuff I wrote about making music with my kids.

Because both of those things are personal.

And as we kept talking, purely in pixels mind you, it turned out that, while it would appear on the surface that we have very little in common other than politics, we actually do.

Have lots of things in common I mean.

But it was the differences that I became really interested in.

Like how he would tell me proudly about all the crazy, wild and exhilarating adventures that his own, now fully grown, kids are involved in.

This was a real comfort to me given that my own kids are still young enough that it is hard, as much as I would like to, to let them rush headlong straight into their own private Adventurelands.

As for the musical differences.....

Well, those don't really matter.

Except to mention that I have never really been a Bowie fan.

But then I read a recent post from Ian that lets us know about all the Life (and yes, maybe even death) Changes he's been going through for quite some time now.


I decided to go looking for the intersection of Mr. Bowie and all that I hold dear, musically at least.

And I think I found it.

Here you go Ian (and, thanks).....



As I should have known, Ian really dug Prince and just about everything else interesting under the musical sun.

Luckily Ian's son Shamus, writing on Ian's old blog, has made sure we all know that now, and why:

...This weekend I spent time with Prince, trying to figure out what he meant to me. I’m writing on this blog, so you might have guessed it comes back to my dad. With Prince, I just lost another piece of him. When I grieve Prince’s loss, I grieve the absence of a conversation with my dad about his life and identity.

My dad was a gateway to the best music. Not just for me, my sisters or the rest of the family, but for his friends, his acquaintances, his readers, anybody he liked even a little bit.

After he died, a friend of mine who worked with him told me he had turned her onto Massive Attack in the nineties. Over a decade her senior and he gave her the inside scoop on one of the greatest bands of her generation. My fake-Uncle Adrian—one of several of my dad’s remarkable close friends from childhood—told me about a visit from my dad while he was studying law in Toronto. Pestered, he finally agreed to close the books and go see some new band dad was excited about. They were called U2.

A year before his death he introduced me to Spiritualized at the Rickshaw in Vancouver, prompting another friend to ask “what’s it like having a dad who’s cooler than you?” It was pretty awesome. Didn’t give me an inferiority complex at all.

Anyone who knew him could probably give you a list of bands he introduced them to that became deeply meaningful to them. Mine includes such diversity as Drive-by Truckers, Beck, Patti Smith, KRS-One (I know, right?), Nirvana, Fela Kuti, Tracy Chapman (joint effort with my mom), Bill Callahan (joint effort with my step-dad), Antony & The Johnsons, Lucinda Williams, Joy Division, Parliament-Funkadelic, and so many more. And, Prince, of course.

My dad turned people on to music like an evangelist turns people on to Jesus. I think he did it for the same reason too. Music saved him. He wrote once on this blog about seeing Van Morrison for the first time on PBS when he was 16. Seeing a pudgy, awkward Irishman, made him realize he—a pudgy, awkward Scot—might have the miseries of his life saved by rock and roll...



If I've said it once I've said it a million times...

It's not the Web or the Tubez or the Apps, or even the ever thickening layer of Pixel Dust that really matters around here.

Instead, it's the people.



Thursday, April 21, 2016

Trump Takes New York...Start Spreadin' The News.


Looks like it's not just artists, hipsters, Broadway showgoers and the ultra-rich who are into New York these days (i.e. since primary vote counting came to a conclusion Tuesday night).

Andy Borowitz has the (snark-filled) story in that always homerish and booster-filled rag, 'The New Yorker':

America’s racists, who have long viewed New York with a mixture of hostility, contempt, and fear, are suddenly feeling much more positive about the Empire State, a cross-section of racists confirmed on Tuesday night...

{snipppety doo-dah}

...Improving attitudes about New York were not limited to racists, however, as interviews on Tuesday night revealed a sudden warming toward the state among misogynists, xenophobes, and people who enjoy sucker-punching others in the face.

Imagine that!

And, on the flipside....This. 


More Bullshite In BC Liberal Budgeting Exposed...The Smoothening.


From Andrew MacLeod's excellent Tyee piece on all the accounting tricks going down at BC Hydro published yesterday:

...(In 2017) BC Hydro will draw down $250 million from a rate-smoothing account, money that it doesn't plan to finish repaying until 2024.

For context, the provincial government has budgeted an overall surplus of $287 million in 2017-2018, which in part depends on receiving $706 million from BC Hydro.

The rate-smoothing money is therefore more than one-third of the amount the government plans to take from the utility in the election year....

And what will we see, hear and read about this, which clearly demonstrates that the Clarklandian  faux balancing of the budget is bogus, from the Lotuslandian proMedia during the election campaign next spring?

My prediction...


(and/or Dean-fried codswallop about the importance of grocery bills and clawback timing)


This Carbon-Based Day In Clarkland...The Real Filth And The Real Belching.


Yesterday, I took umbrage with the following statement from our fine Premier that was uttered at a pro-Frack gas rally in Northeastern British Columbia as reported by Jonny Wakefield in the Alaska Highway News:

“This early start to the fire season is alarming for everyone in the province,” (Premier Christy) Clark told reporters after a speech to LNG supporters from the back of an oilfield crane truck. “I know it’s been an immediate, urgent issue for people in the northeast, but if it’s starting this early here, it’s going to start early everywhere in the province.”

“If there’s any argument for exporting LNG and helping fight climate change, surely it is all around us when we see these fires burning out of control.”

“This is the reality we’re facing today as the planet gets warmer,” she continued, saying climate change leads to dry conditions that exacerbate wildfires. “If there’s any argument for exporting LNG and helping fight climate change, surely it is all around us when we see these fires burning out of control.” ...


The only way China is not going to build those filthy, belching coal plants is if they have a different fuel to power the country. That has to be LNG,” Clark said in a followup interview. “If everyone who is using coal and oil switched to natural gas today, we would be a third less polluting. In one leap.”...

My taking of the umbrage was based on the science of the thing.

Rigourously peer-reviewed science like the following, as published in the top-of the ladder publication 'Nature':

...Assessment of the full impact of abundant gas (obtained by fracturing) on climate change requires an integrated approach to the global energy–economy–climate systems, but the literature has been limited in either its geographic scope or its coverage of greenhouse gases. Here we show that market-driven increases in global supplies of unconventional natural gas do not discernibly reduce the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions or climate forcing. 


...Our results show that although market penetration of globally abundant gas may substantially change the future energy system, it is not necessarily an effective substitute for climate change mitigation policy...



If the science of the thing is not bad enough...

There is also the blatant hypochristy, as Laila noted late last night:

...Some days, I would rather muck out the dirty stalls of a horse ranch and not wade through this kind of muck instead.

Let’s talk about that dirty nasty coal BC LNG is going to save the world from. And why Premier Clark, so clearly motivated to save the world from those “filthy belching coal plants”, isn’t stepping into immediately intervene and help those trying to stop more thermal coal exports overseas out of Surrey Fraser Docks? 

Yes, you read that right. Surrey Fraser Docks and Port of Vancouver are trying to get the courts to drop the challenge against this facility that would see coal ships loaded with thermal coal brought up by train from the US, to ships in the Fraser River. Frankly after reading Clark’s comments above, I’m shocked she isn’t down there protesting herself to stop it! Oh but wait…she’s too busy making sure the Massey Bridge gets built,a project specifically designed to allow large ships to travel up and down the Fraser to ship that dirty coal overseas….

But wait, I haven’t even begun to talk about the mile long trains of thermal coal moved through White Rock,Surrey and Delta daily that US ports won’t ship and has been shipping out of Deltaport for years!...


What's next...

A massive  'Bonfire Of The Carbon Capture Vanities'-type  PR blitzkrieg ghost-written by the life partner of the failed sheep herder?

Please note: North Van's Grumps was also on to the hypocrisy of the thing right out of the gate in the comment threads last night.


Of Headlines And Obviousness.



Mr. Mason of the Globe has a column up today under the following header:

Alberta, B.C. discuss deal to swap pipeline for electricity.

Except, when you actually read the piece it is neither Notley nor Clark who say anything about this 'swap' deal specifically.

In fact Ms. Notley goes out of her way not to say anything explicit about any deal making.

So who does Mr. Mason rely on for his 'confirmation' of a deal being in the works?


As you might have guessed...

One of the Clarklandia's most notorious spinmeisters:

...A spokesman for B.C. Premier Christy Clark confirmed that energy talks between the two provinces are under way and agreed that there is renewed optimism around the Kinder Morgan pipeline project, in particular.

Ben Chin, executive director of communications and issues management for Ms. Clark, said that while the five conditions the province has imposed on any pipeline project to B.C. would still have to be met, there is more optimism now that this can occur.

This, too, serves as a change for B.C., which last year came out against Kinder Morgan at the NEB hearings in Vancouver. Mr. Chin said that was not an unequivocal no, but rather a “not yet.” He said the B.C. government understands Alberta’s position regarding an electricity deal; that it would have to come with a pipeline. He said that clean electricity would help its neighbour “brand their product better.”

“If you’re electrifying the northern industrial heartland and are able to say we’re avoiding three to six megatons of greenhouse gas emissions in the manufacturing of this barrel of oil, making it the cleanest or second cleanest or one of the best barrels of oil you can get … does electricity help you make that argument?” Mr. Chin said. “We believe it can.”...


And if Mr. Mason we're to call up Marky Mark and ask him if Enbridge is still the bees knees, just like it was way back in 2005,  would he, Mr. Mason, then write a column about how the governments of Alberta and British Columbia are planning to institute an 'Enbridge Honey Day' festival in Kicking Horse Pass every summer from here to eternity?

And isn't it interesting that a very similar header sits atop a similarly flimsy piece in today's Edmonton Sun...Someone is sure working hard to push the 'aura of inevitability' sound-bite button here...


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Keef Report....The Tipping Of The Dippers.


It's not often that we have two Keef Reports in one day, but the following was impossible to ignore:

Now, based on the time stamp, one can only assume that the Keef banged this out after he learned of the Conservative victory in Manitoba last night.

Interestingly, I don't remember him tweeting anything similar about the Cons after they got stomped in the Albertalands and Fed-Gen elections recently.

Previous editions of the Keef Report can be found....Here.


Latenight In Clarkland...This Way Insanity Reigns Supreme.


As a follow-up to our last post on carbon and wildfires and all that, our fine Premier has flown up to Sparkle Ponyland and she has spoken.

Jonny Wakefield of Alaska Highway News has the story.

Here is his lede, and a wee bit more, so that you can get a real feel for the insanity she is once again pushing:

Liquefied natural gas can help cut China’s coal consumption and turn the tide against climate change, which is contributing to an early wildfire season in Northeast B.C., Premier Christy Clark said Wednesday in Fort St. John.

The premier was in the Peace Region for a pro-LNG rally, planned weeks before a rash of wildfires forced people from their homes across northern B.C.

Asked about the early start to the fire season, Clark made a pivot to her government’s plan to export LNG to Asia.

“This early start to the fire season is alarming for everyone in the province,” Clark told reporters after a speech to LNG supporters from the back of an oilfield crane truck. “I know it’s been an immediate, urgent issue for people in the northeast, but if it’s starting this early here, it’s going to start early everywhere in the province.”

“This is the reality we’re facing today as the planet gets warmer,” she continued, saying climate change leads to dry conditions that exacerbate wildfires. “If there’s any argument for exporting LNG and helping fight climate change, surely it is all around us when we see these fires burning out of control.”

Clark tailored her comments to the current wildfires, but the argument is far from new. The BC Liberal government has long argued that LNG is less carbon-intensive than oil and coal, making it a net-positive for emissions reduction...

As for upstream emissions and scientists who say that what Ms. Clark is selling is pure, unadulterated codswallop?


You know...

And we await, with bated-breath, the puffed-up punditry's coming commentary about how the Premier has once again bested the leader of the Opposition by once again (again!) spouting bullshite that once again (again! again!) has gone unchallenged by said punditry...Sheesh.


Can You Offset The Carbon From Wildfires?


The wizards and digitial influencers of Clarklandia  have apparently joined forces with the Ezra-phants in further riling up the folks of Northeastern BC who, as might be expected given the resurrection of the promises of Sparkle Ponies forever, are calling for folks to support the expansion of frack-based fossil fuel extraction in their region.

And I sympathize with them, I really do.

The folks of Northeastern BC, I mean (not the wizards and the full on shillophantic ones, Ezra-linked or otherwise).

But there is a thing downstream of all this desired extraction that we are going to have to come to grips with sooner or later.

Which is that it is only mid-April and Northeastern BC is burning.

And, as climate blogger Robert Scribbler notes, that is a real problem that cannot be waved away by media grandstanding:

...The new Canadian fire season, the one that climate change is bringing on, now starts in April. And it will likely continue on through September of this year. Nearly a half year of wildfires burning in what should have been one of the coldest climate zones in the world. A place now wracked by dangerous and difficult changes. A place where billions of sparks will fly this year over one of the world’s greatest piles of sequestered carbon....