Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This Afternoon In Snookland...Blame The Regulators.


Remember when our Premier threw Work Safe BC under the bus in the wake of a decision not to proceed with a criminal investigation into sawmills that keep blowing up for no good reason at all (i.e. because the owners of such mills can't be bothered to clean up the explosive wood dust on the floor).

Well, just in case you don't, here's a primmer from a piece by Gordon Hoekstra in the VSun published back in February:

...The premier said Thursday there will be no inquiry.

Clark took exception with WorkSafeBC’s handling of its investigation into the Babine Forest Products explosion on Jan. 20, 2012. The wood dust-fueled explosion killed Robert Luggi Jr., 45, and Carl Charlie, 42, and injured another 20 workers.

“I am deeply disappointed with how WorkSafe conducted this investigation,” Clark told reporters at a news conference on Thursday. “WorkSafeBC should have known what was required by the criminal justice branch in order to proceed with a case to court.”...


Now, just two months later we have this from Justine Hunter in The Globe:

The owners of the Lakeland sawmill in Prince George invested millions of dollars in recent years to boost production, but didn’t put the same effort into safety measures, an investigation into the explosion that killed two workers has concluded.

Greg Stewart, president of the company that owns Lakeland Mills, said Tuesday his company will embrace a culture of safety when a new replacement mill opens this fall, but maintained management “did everything reasonable to ensure our mill was safe.”...


No need for an inquiry here, no siree.

And certainly no need for more regulation, which Snooklandian jobs minister Shirley Bond also pooh-poohed back in March.


Just move along folks, 'cause we've gotta make sure we have the safest sawmills on earth.

Safest on earth for the cronies that is.

If you are interested in such things, you may want to go read the old Hoekstra piece, in full, as it contains some notable names in terms of blue ribbons and independent investigators and such...


This Day In Snookland...All Your Environments 'R Us.


Heard the latest?

Actually, you might not have because it was done without public consultation or debate.

Turns out that the Snooklandians have decided that those big projects most need to perform environmental reviews to make sure they don't harm the environment don't actually need to do so.

Perform environmental reviews I mean.

The VSun's Larry Pynn, who does good work, has the story. Here's his kicker:

...The province has exempted new and expanded ski and all-season resorts as well as sweet natural gas processing plants from scrutiny of the Environmental Assessment Office...


What's next....

How 'bout no board exams for surgeons in, say, private clinics because it's just too much of a hassle and it costs too much?


Of course, if you stand back a little you can see the big play here.

Which is to completely unshackle the cronies when it comes any impediment to any and all land rape whatsoever given what has already gone on with the advent of fungible park boundaries and the beginning of the end for the ALR.

Which, along with the total disregard for people who need a leg up, is what is really behind the smiley face of the conflictier-than-thou, crony-philantropist Premier. 


And one last thing....

...(Environment Minister Mary) Polak can still designate a project as reviewable where the “project may have a significant adverse environmental, economic, social, heritage or health effect and that the designation is in the public interest.”...

Feel better now?


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

At The End Of The Day...


...I just don't know how I feel about sharply rising gasoline prices in downtown Lotusland.


A couple of years ago now I let go of the VW (notso) Microbus.

And while I'm not sure our kids have yet forgiven me (or if they ever will), it did allow us to become a one car family

Which has forced me to either ride my bike or take the bus to and from work everyday.

So, the only time I ever drive, which is becoming rarer and rarer, is on weekends.

And last weekend I only drove once, to take the Whackadoodle out to the big spit that runs along the southern edge of the last bit of the northern arm of the big muddy.

Which meant that on the way home I noticed that gas had hit $1.49 a litre.

And while I know that hurts working folks that have to drive, and drive a lot, to and from work everyday I also know that it helps get some folks to do exactly what I did.

And I also know that it helps to force bigger changes to get folks to buy cars that don't use fossil fuels.

And that would be a good thing.


Usually, as you might have gathered, I can make up my mind about things.

On this one I just can't.

And ya, as you might expect, I do keep track and add them up...I'm now over the 10,000 km mark on the bicycle I bought two years ago last March...But that has nothing to do with the price of gasoline and more to do with the price of my sanity given that I find that that half hour or so each way is really helpful for science geek decompression every day.


If You Read Only One Story Today...


Go and read the real story of the life and times of Mr. Ian Reid.



Why We Are NOT Sour About The Sweet Deal For Ex-Lottery Boss Michael Graydon.


Last weekend the Globe published a column by the obvious one, Mr. Gary Mason, about how we should be up in arms about how well we did by Mr. Michael Graydon after he stepped down as the boss of the public's lottery watchdog and almost immediately turned up working for the fine folks from Vegas who are all set to begin building their Casino-Industrial Complex next to BC Place in downtown Lotusland.


How come the public is neither sour nor up in arms about all this?

I'll tell you why.

It's because of codswallop like the following, taken directly from Mr. Mason's column (careful you will use up one of your free monthly visits):

...Where does the average Joe get the kind of deal Mr. Graydon did: an $86,000 payout despite quitting BC Lottery Corp. He now heads off to work at PV Hospitality ULC, which has direct ties to Paragon Gaming Inc., the outfit behind a hugely controversial casino venture in downtown Vancouver...

Why is this problematic?

Because the descriptor 'hugely controversial' as practiced by selective proMedia amnesiacs like Mr. Mason smooths things over and makes it look like the egregious Expo 86 millenium severance deal for Mr. Graydon is nothing more than an isolated matter when it comes to this 'venture'.

Which, of course, it is not.

Which further begs the following question...

If Mr. Mason wants us to be upset about all the conflicty goings on between the provincial government, the BC Lottery Corporation, PAVCo, and Paragon why doesn't he tell us that another former BC Liberal appointed chair of the BCLC was actually an investor in Paragon while he was STILL the actual chair of the BCLC?

And why doesn't Mr. Mason tell us that that particular former chair of the BCLC suddenly turned up as a Paragon partner soon after he quit working for us, in another capacity, as well?

And why doesn't Mr. Mason tell us that that particular former chair of the BCLC actually called up the then Liberal minister responsible for BC Place and told him that if we, the public, didn't spend half a billion dollars for the new roof that it might, apparently, be a 'deal breaker' for Paragon?

And while were on about all this, why doesn't Mr. Mason tell us about the super-secret, super-fast way the deal was handed, pre-packaged and pre-cooked, to Paragon in the first place?

And don't even get me started on how Mr. Mason was all upset about a one time pay-out of $86,000 but didn't even bother to mention the latest super-duper sweet-heart deal with Paragon that will cost us millions of dollars every single year in subsidies.


'Hugely controversial' indeed.


Just to be even more clear about why my outrage is directed to this particular column, it was titled 'Why we should be sour about the sweet deal for ex-lottery boss Michael Graydon'...


Late Winter Jukebox Goin' Down...All Ten Tunes.


Springtime tunes comin....Promise.

#9_1913 Massacre. (6:11)

Date: March 5, 2014
By: RossK

#8_Mr. Bojangles (5:33)

Date: March 2, 2014
By: RossK

#7_Fare Thee Well. (4:26)

Date: February 22, 2014
By: RossK

#6_Tower of Song (4:44)

Date: February 21, 2014
By: RossK

#5_Tupelo Honey (2:50)

Date: February 14, 2014
By: RossK

#4_Pocahontas (4:15)

Date: February 9, 2014
By: RossK

#3_Pay Me My Money Down (2:06)

Date: February 2, 2014
By: RossK

#2_Travelling Alone (J.Isbell Cover) (3:51)

Date: January 25, 2014
By: RossK

Bonus Track....Most recent Sunday one comin'...with duets!...promise..

SundaySetlist_Jan 14, 2014 (24:40)

Date: January 15, 2014

By: RossK


Goodbye To My Friend Ian.


I have a select number of very old friends who I know so well that, when we get together after long partings, we can get into very intense things, immediately, without preamble, almost as if 20 years ago was yesterday.

I did not know Ian Reid for nearly that long.

And I did not really know him all that well.

But, because of the connection we made, I felt like I did.

Because whenever we met, or talked on the phone, or E-mailed, we almost always got down to brass tacks pretty much immediately.

And we almost always talked about politics.

Or, at the very least, political goings on.


The last time Ian and I talked in person it was together with our mutual friend Norm Farrell.

And the politics talk was intense.

And then, somehow, near the end of our conversation the issue of what we'd all do if we had the time came up.


In my own head I've often thought that if I was retired I would have the time to do the real research so that I could try to write with the insight of Norm and the passion of Ian.

But I didn't say that.

Because before I could, Ian fixed me with that gaze of his and said.

'I'm pretty sure that when that happens Cal will be making music full-time'.

Which flummoxed me.

Not because Ian was wrong.

But rather because he was probably right.


I got an Email from another old friend late last night who I haven't really known since we were both kids, back before either of us knew Ian.

He wanted to pass along a message from Ian's daughter.

I'm sure she wouldn't mind if I excerpted just a few lines from it:

My father, Ian, died peacefully this afternoon in Vancouver, after a long illness... 

 ...It's impossible to talk about his death and his life without talking about politics. (Don't let me get started on talking about music.)...

Talking about music, indeed.

I recorded this for Ian late last fall:

A while back Ian and I got to kibbitzing back and forth (usually on comment threads) about who our real musical heroes were...In the end we settled on two war horses from our youth (who were, of course, also young colts themselves as well back then)...His was Bowie... Mine was Springsteen...Which, of course, led to....This.


Monday, April 14, 2014

What's The Buzz?.... Tell Me What's A Happenin'.


From Jann ('You Move Like A Cat Marty') Wenner's cash cow:

Rock opera and musical theater staple Jesus Christ Superstar will see its Second Coming this summer, as Johnny 'Rotten' Lydon, Incubus' Brandon Boyd, *NSYNC’s JC Chasez and former Destiny’s Child’s singer Michelle Williams have all signed on for a 51-city arena tour launching June 9th in New Orleans...

{snippety doodle-dandy}

...Rotten/Lydon seemed intent to begin the theatrics several months ahead of schedule. After introducing himself by throwing two bananas at members of the press, the former Sex Pistol attempted to prematurely start a Q+A during the cast introductions. He was subsequently rebuked by one of the show’s producers. Later in the press conference, Lydon demanded a microphone to begin the Q+A again, but was played off the stage.

When producer Michael Cohl was asked if casting Lydon was a "bold move," the producer replied, "I think based on today's press conference, yes would be the answer. But he is a proven performer of decades of success and people love him, so it's different. But I think he was just filling another slot. If you look at pop culture singers, we've got four or five different slots and he fit well."...

And which character will Mr. Lydon/Rotten play?

Why, King Herod, of course.

Somebody really should make Malcom McLaren's ghost pay.

And just in case you want to get in on the Great Rock Opera Swindle...It will be in town on July 12th...


This Day In Snookland...If Only Our Schools Were Bollywood.


The chronic underfunding is finally really coming home to roost.

Stefania Seccia had the (follow-up) story in local edition of the MetroNews:

When Vancouver school board chair Patti Bacchus recently opened her computer, she was flooded with tweets, emails and messages about the potential classroom cuts schools are facing this year.

Bacchus said concerned locals and parents have been messaging her about the projected $26.6-million shortfall for the 2015-2016 school year and what it means for Vancouver classrooms. The public has until April 30 to comment and provide alternative options for what their community’s school board can do.

“I agree pretty well with everyone who writes me emails or tweets me,” she said. “The hard part is cutting (programs) because it’s what I’ve been fighting against all these years.”...


What does noted 1970's educational historian and current Snooklandian Education Minister Mr. Peter Fassbender have to say?

...Fassbender said he’s told school boards that they need to work together with the province and share the responsibility and challenges.

“I would tell parents, while I recognize the pressures, I think there is great education going on throughout our schools throughout the province and to be assured of the fact that dedicated teachers and administrators are working hard to ensure no child suffers,” he added...

And as for the current Premier herself?

What does she have to say, given that she started the neverending underfunding of public schools while she was the Knotty Gordian's E-Minister more than a decade ago?

Well, the run-on psycho-babble doesn't seem to be up on the CBC's website but I distinctly heard Ms. Clark saying something on the long wave yesterday afternoon about how, whatever happens, it can't hurt 'our kids'.

'Our' kids?

First, as we've pointed out before, this has nothing to do with 'her' kid, so she should stop saying 'our' when she continues to screw them, and us, over.

Second, if the VSB could figure out a way to have a massive, useless PR extragavanza that bought Ms. Clark a few votes and cost something in the neighbourhood of, say $30 million?


Then they might be on to something.


And, just how much public money do we give away, for free, to wealthy people so that 'their' kids don't have to hang around with the hoi-polloi (and so that they can make damned sure 'their' kids get to have both band classes and athletic teams)....Well, in case you've forgotten....It's $250 million...Every...single...year....Kinda/sorta makes mincemeat of Minister Fassbender's fatuous words, above, eh?


Sunday, April 13, 2014

If The Greedheads Hated The HST-Free Campaign, Just Imagine...

...What A Province-Wide Anti-Pipeline Referendum Would Do To Them?

Non herd member Jeremy Nuttall has the story in 24 Hrs. Here's his lede:

An environmental group is amassing a network of canvassers and threatening to force a referendum if Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project is approved by the federal government.

The Dogwood Initiative said it’s exploring creating an initiative petition under B.C.’s Recall and Initiative Act and launched Saturday — the same day that Kitimat residents voted against the project in a non-binding plebiscite.

The Dogwood Initiative said it’s unclear how such a referendum would affect Northern Gateway as this is uncharted territory. But its energy and democracy director Kai Nagata said if a majority of B.C. residents voted “no” it would put intense political pressure on the federal government to change its mind, and on the BC Liberals to oppose it in some way, such as a court challenge....

And, while the bought-and-paid-for flying ethical oilermaker dilbitnutter surrender monkeys will almost certainly soon be screeching and flinging their foreign contribution pooh all our body politic, here's something I still want to know...

How much, exactly, did Enbridge spend trying bamboozle the good folks of Kitimat?