Saturday, July 25, 2015

Musical Isolationism...v.2...Safe European Home.


I really wanted that second Clash album.

And it turned out to be pretty good, I guess.

Especially if you dig the pre-Butch Vig bombast of Sandy Pearlman's production.

And the American critics sure as heckfire did.

Like it, I mean.

Which is just a meandering digressive way of telling you that 'Give 'Em Enough Rope' was not a game changer for me.

After all, I already had the green/real version of the first album and a whole lot more by that time.

But the thing I didn't know until pretty recently is that my copy of 'Rope' turned out to be a gateway to everything, both forwards and backwards, for my little brother who was four years my junior and in his middle teens at the time.

And it was he who became the real musician in the family with real bands and real tours and all that means.


Having said all that, I still get a kick out of the opening of the opener to the album, which is the shot-out-of-a-cannon drums/bass/guitar of 'Safe European home'. And then comes the classic, driving Strummer-dominant vocal that Pearlman apparently did his best to bury in the mix.

The thing is, when you listen to the isolated it's impossible to ignore, once again, just how important Jones was to the entire operation on every level...

And here's the entire thing, performed about 18 months after the fact, and a few months after the real masterpiece of the third double album was released, captured on To-Hell-With-Bloody-VHS-&-Beta Super 8 by some guy in the crowd...

Strummer talks about the how important he figured the ruthless driving of Johnny was...Here.
Volume 1 of 'Musical Isolationism' can be found...Here.


This Week In Clarkland...The Magical Walk With The Man In The Blue Suit.

I mean, gosh...

It was only a couple of weeks ago that our 'Say Anything' Premier was telling all and sundry who still listen to her (and/or believe LMiller and SMills tweets to be reality-based) that the early onset of the wildfire season was being caused by a temporary blip in the weather that could be beaten by playing chess.

And then, suddenly, she started singing an illogical song about how massive herds of Hindenburgs filled to bursting with GHG emissions would save us all from the climate change that is burning the province down

Or some such thing.



Given all that, how come, what with the recent wee bit of rain and all,  Ms. Clark has not yet tweeted that she and Mr. Blue Suit actually solved the entire climate change problem/non-problem during their walk in the burning bush woods the other day?


Is it possible that she's actually saving that one for her next tete-a-tete with funky ol' uncle Preston?


You know...

What's this 'Mr. Blue Suit' thing all about Alfie?....Sandy Garossino of the VObserver explains...Looks like the well-worn Rovian strate(r)gy of avoiding the big city media questions by playing the regionals for suckers is starting to backfire....I've got a theory, dubbed the 'Every Kid Everywhere Wants To Pull A Jesse Brown' that I'll get to soon.


MCFD Inquiry...VSun v. VSun.


First, the Dean of all things Lotuslandian legislative, Mr. Palmer:

This week the child welfare ministry stood accused of some of the most horrific misconduct in an oft-troubled history: defying and misleading the courts and delivering four children into the hands of their abusive father.

The established watchdog over the ministry, Turpel-Lafond, had already pronounced what sounded like a verdict. “This is in some ways a new low for the child welfare system in B.C.,” she said in one interview. “This is a child welfare ministry that for some time has felt that it doesn’t have to answer to independent oversight or to a court,” she declared in another.

Adding to the complications were outstanding legal and potential personnel issues. The government needed to avoid the rush to judgment that occurred in the health ministry three years ago, when an internal investigation-turned-witch hunt led to an unsustainable string of firings that ruined reputations and lives.

Seeking an independent assessment of the ministry from an experienced public servant, the B.C. Liberals sought out one who was present at the creation. Fired by Mike Harcourt, rehabilitated by Glen Clark, unforgiven by Gordon Campbell, Bob Plecas was back.

“Another Clark move,” one might say. Worthy of Premier Glen, but authored by Premier Christy...

Next, he who once eschewed a certain war room (allegedly), Mr. Mulgrew:

Children and Families Minister Stephanie Cadieux has declared war on B.C.’s children’s advocate by appointing Bob Plecas to review the latest scandal to beset the government.

In the face of a damning decision that lambasted her ministry, Cadieux is making the problem worse with her response to findings that child welfare workers gave an abusive dad the opportunity to commit sex abuse while labelling the caring mom crazy...


...Instead of inviting the woman with the legislative mandate to get involved (Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond), Cadieux gave the job Friday to the longtime, retired bureaucrat.

She said Turpel-Lafond has exhibited bias.

Bias? For speaking up for the kids and the family? That’s lame.

Plecas has no statutory authority and it’s unclear what kind of clout he has: Why would staff talk with him? Why would anyone involved who might face further legal proceedings speak without being lawyered up? And he’s going to get it all done and deliver a report by Oct. 13?...


...Plecas’s opening platitudes didn’t inspire confidence: “Look at what’s there, look at this case, use it as a way to focus and see if there are systemic things that I can make recommendations about that will make it better for other children. That’s why I am doing it.”

Has he read the decision? How about those children who were abused; how about doing something for them and their mom?

This is the same kind of slipshod review process the Liberals employed to try to sweep the health firings under the carpet. And look at what that is costing us.

The systemic issue here isn’t about centralization of the ministry, as the well-meaning pensioner opined: It’s how the ministry deals with allegations like this in the context of high-conflict divorces; this case isn’t unique...

..(As Turpel-Lafond said) in her broadside of a reply to Cadieux’s announcement:

“I want to make it clear that, as this case did involve the sexual abuse of a young child who was involved with the ministry, I will continue to monitor this file and will in due course make a determination concerning an independent investigation and report by my office.

“The province’s hiring of an external contractor cannot and does not affect, limit, or change the authorities and responsibilities of my office to represent the children and youth of B.C., including statutory powers of investigation. Nor does it affect the roles and responsibilities of the Vancouver Police Department with regard to any pending criminal investigation of the abuse of the child.”

Given the hole this government is in with its treatment of families in crisis, you would think Cadieux would stop digging.



It looks like maybe someone fell asleep at the Postmedia editor's desk kill switch.

Of course, some members of the Lotuslandian puffed-up punditry club will soon tell us that this is actually a great example of big media organ diversity of opinion.


There is also the small matter of the follow-up puffed-up-puffery in a time of deflector-spike-spin need in extremis.


There is a Club?...You bet there is.
And why, exactly, is the Mr. Palmer not floating the 'Ombudsperson Solution' on this one while simultaneously pooh-poopy-poohing the problems with 'inquiries'?...And, I've just got to ask...Does the uber-connected, insider-accessed Mr. Palmer, knowing how the Premier's office runs (and who really runs it), really think that this was actually Ms. Clark's doing when it comes to the specifics of the thing?


Sunday Song: Every Time The Sun Comes Up...

...I'm In Trouble.

Bigger E. brought this one to my attention, somewhat surreptitiously.

It's by Sharon Van Etten and I dig it for two reasons.

1) The single fretted capo-upping to C#.

2) It just slays me.

Pretty sure the two e's will recognize the light tapping of the Father's Day foot tambourine....


And, just in case you're down there later this afternoon/early evening, you can catch Bigger E. doing her thing at Granville Island:


Friday, July 24, 2015

This Day In Clarkland: MCFD Investigation...The Wizards' Devilry Is In The Details.


It's Friday.

It's the middle of summer.

So, of course, we get the announcement of an 'investigation' due to a court ruling in which the presiding judge, Paul Walker, noted the following in his reasons for judgement:

[1080] In the course of pursuing custody of the children in favour of B.G., the Director decided that she did not have to abide by orders and directions of this Court about B.G.’s supervised access to the children. No credence can be given to the Director’s current advice to this Court, communicated through counsel, that she will abide by orders of this Court. Her advice is inconsistent with the position she recently took before another judge of this Court.

[1081] The Director provided false and misleading information (in the Form “A”) to the Provincial Court to support the Apprehension and failed to correct or amend even though its social workers (depending on whom and at what point in time), knew or ought to have known it contained false and misleading information. She also relied on the Form “A” and other incorrect affidavit evidence when supporting B.G.’s custody application in this Court, when pursuing her application for an extension of the temporary custody order in the First Trial, and seeking the restraining order against J.P. in the Provincial Court. The Director improperly interfered with Mr. Colby’s investigation because she did not agree with an order made by this Court.

[1082] The Director delayed in delivering documents requested by another branch of government in order to process the plaintiffs’ claims for compensation. Her conduct was either deliberate or the result of gross neglect but in either case the conduct was callously indifferent to the children’s needs.



While it is good to see that Bob Plecas has been appointed to head an inquiry into this matter the following, taken directly from the BC Liberal government press release announcing the inquiry, is troubling:

...The review is not intended to retry the court case, but rather to examine policy, practice and provide recommendations as to where there are gaps...

Why troubling?

Because we all know what happened in the Health Care Worker Firing inquiry after the terms of reference were restricted.



All Roads From The Party Of Hate Lead Straight To Trumpville.



Somebody gets it (almost) right.

And gets it into the NYTimes.

From Timothy Egan's OpEd:

The adults patrolling the playpen of Republican politics are appalled that we’ve become a society where it’s O.K. to make fun of veterans, to call anyone who isn’t rich a loser, to cast an entire group of newly arrived strivers as rapists and shiftless criminals...


...They say he’s trashing the Republic brand. They say he’s “stirring up the crazies,” in the words of Senator John McCain. But Trump is the brand, to a sizable degree. And the crazies have long flourished in the Republican media wing, where any amount of gaseous buffoonery goes unchallenged.

And now that the party can’t control him, Trump threatens to destroy its chances if he doesn’t get his way, running as an independent with unlimited wealth — a political suicide bomb.

Trump is a byproduct of all the toxic elements Republicans have thrown into their brew over the last decade or so — from birtherism to race-based hatred of immigrants, from nihilists who shut down government to elected officials who shout “You lie!” at their commander in chief...


...Consider Trump’s swipe against McCain’s military service, and by extension all veterans who have been involved in the fog of combat. Republicans were apoplectic at Trump’s claim that McCain was no war hero...


...“All of our veterans, particularly P.O.W.s, deserve our respect and admiration,” said Jeb Bush. The Republican National Committee was quick to lay down a similar principle, saying, “There is no place in our country for comments that disparage those who have served honorably.”

No place except a presidential campaign, that being the 2004 attempt to destroy the honorable Vietnam service of candidate John Kerry. Where was Bush’s “respect and admiration” when his brother was benefiting from a multimillion-dollar smear of a Navy veteran with a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart?...


...Now, the only way to trump Trump is to act like a fool in public. So Senator Rand Paul, formerly seen raising good questions about national issues, fired up a chain saw and took it to the tax code a few days ago — a pathetic stunt. And there was Senator Lindsey Graham, flummoxed by Trump’s exposing him as sycophant to a plutocrat, destroying his cellphone in a blender. It only made us long for the real thing: Dan Aykroyd’s Bass-O-Matic...



Given all that, why the comment about Mr. Egan 'almost' getting it right?

Because, as Driftglass notes, this hasn't been going on for 10 years, but instead for more than 40.

Case in point, Mr. Egan goes back to the 2004 Swiftboating of John Kerry but he doesn't mention the black baby smearing (and more) of John McCain in 2000. And he certainly doesn't mention Willie Horton and all the black murderers and rapists that voted for Dukakis in 1988 or the start of the rodentia-based copulalatory Segretti-ization of everything in 1971.

The question is.

If the Party of Hate (Northern Branch Plant edition) gets another round in Canada, who will emerge as our good Mr. Trump?

Think that question is over the top?


Never forget that the Segretti-zation of the Great White North has been going on for awhile now.



Thursday, July 23, 2015

Starlee Kine Made Most Of The Pilot To Her New Podcast Three Years Ago...


....Which is way before podcasts blew up.

Because they've only been really big since, apparently,  the end of last summer.

Or some such thing:

Vanity Fair: Tell us about the genesis of Mystery Show.

Starlee Kine: Someone had come to me and asked if I wanted to do a radio show, and I had never wanted to do a radio show, because I couldn’t think of an idea that was different enough from This American Life. And I didn’t want to do aStory Corps thing, I was kind of tired of doing personal stories and stuff. Then suddenly it just . . . I knew I liked mysteries, so I went out and made a lot of the pilot three years ago. Not the whole thing, but a substantial amount. It was kind of before podcasts were big, because podcasts have only been big since last September.


My favourite episode of 'Mystery Show' so far?

The one where Ms. Kine vows to find out why a little known book written by a friend of hers happened be in Britney Spears possesion for what appeared to be no good reason at all.

And it is not my favourite episode because of anything Ms. Kine learns about the reading habits of Ms. Spears.

Instead, what slays me is a fantasmagorically digressive phone conversation between Ms. Kine and the guy from Ticketmaster.


You can listen to the entire thing for free, sans service charges....Here.

Previously, Ms. Kine did some really great stuff on Ira Glass' little radio show and, even, occasionally, Mr. Goldstein's Wiretap...You'd almost think all these audio nerds hang out together or something.


The EMail That BC Ferries Didn't Want You To See (Allegedly).


Because of some shenanigans that were going down earlier this year the Dippers submitted a freedom of information request for correspondence between BC Ferries CEO Mike Corrigan and Clarklandian Transportation Minister Todd Stone.

The request to BC Ferries came back empty.

And then Mr. Corrigan told CBC North that this was because he only has face-to-face type communications with with Mr. Stone.

But then, earlier this week a similar request made to the flipside (ie. the transportation ministry) turned up the following:

Which looks to be another incidence of a government (in this case government 'associated') Email disappearing.

Which is why the Dippers are making a fuss about it. 

The weird thing is that, in this case at least, Mr. Corrigan looks to be doing a good thing defending a program that is actually useful, both for the corporation and the folks that work for it.

And that leads me to the issue that I'd like to fuss about here.

Which is...

Why do folks like the good Mr. Stone and the other Clarklandians, not give a hoot-in-heckfire about whether or not BC Ferries does a good job with service and schedules and price-points and all that?

Could it be that the real reason is simple as...

They never have to actually take a freaking ferry like the rest of us!



Why would I even dare to suggest such a thing?

Well, the following is from a most interesting government 'luxury expense' expose by David Ball in yesterday's Tyee. Here's the lede and a little bit more (bolding mine):

British Columbia's children's watchdog wants to know why Ministry of Children and Family Development staff expensed what appear to be luxury services among their more than $5.8 million in credit card transactions over the past year.

A list of nearly 14,000 credit card charges made by the ministry in the 2014-2015 fiscal year included a number of purchases at golf and country clubs, spa resorts and five-star hotels, along with bills for helicopter rides, leather and fur stores and gourmet chocolates. The Tyee obtained the list from DataBC's online public registry.

The Tyee brought the spending to the attention of the Representative for Children and Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, who confirmed she wants the ministry and B.C.'s auditor general to look into "expenses that look like luxury items."

According to the registry, in the 2014-2015 fiscal year nearly $2 million was spent on air travel, including nearly $140,000 on Helijet trips...


...The Tyee did not compare its apparent "luxury" expenses with those of other ministries; nonetheless only one other department billed for Netflix, another for the same heliskiing lodge, and a number frequently travelled by Helijet...


To finish up...

I like to take my dog down to that park where the north arm of the Big Muddy meets the sea out past YVR.

Which means that we walk along the tide line right under the flight path of those souped-up 'copters.

Does this mean I have to start elevating my blood pressure while making like Howard Beale even when I'm at the beach?



This Day In Clarkland...Drawing The (Invisible?) Line On LNG Concessions.


Lotulandian media commentator/cut-and-paster nonpareil, Mr. Norman Spector has, apparently, read a sparkle pony-papered puff-piece by Claudia Cattaneo in the Financial Post and has the following to tell the Twitterverse:

But what is Mr. Spector's conclusion based on?

Well, by squinting, hard, at the actual piece stormin' Norm points us to,  I believe these are the relevant passages:

...In this age of energy-infrastructure bashing, aboriginal unrest, high environmental expectations, low oil and gas prices, the B.C. government's ratification of the first LNG project is historic.

"We believe we have arrived at a balanced approach that ensures we represent a competitive jurisdiction where proponents can invest and derive a fair rate of return, while at the same time ensuring that British Columbians who own the resource that lies at the heart of this industry receive a fair return for granting access to that resource, " B.C. Finance Minister Michael de Jong said in an interview...


...The BC LNG Alliance, a lobby group that represents major multinationals and state-controlled companies that are proposing as many as 20 LNG plants, has been lobbying for more breaks, including the province's sales tax.

Mr. De Jong (sic) said the government is not prepared to consider such relief...


We all know how much and how often Cookie Dough Mike's words are actually backed by his subsequent deeds and actions.

And as for lobby groups with bags of money and contracts to dole out to wizards and pols when they are not in government?

The Clarklandian braintrust would never, ever listen to/side with /join-up with the likes of them.


Why a sparkle pony-papered puff-piece that reads like it was ghostwritten by a passel of PAB-botians?....Well, if you go read the actual FiPo piece you will see that it contains no details/specifics of what was given away by the Clarklandians (and the Harperians, btw) and it is filled to bursting with all those made-up 'investment' numbers that are driving Grant G crazy...And for good reason...To wit...Why is it, exactly, that the much lower numbers  in Brent Jang's December 2014 piece in the Globe and Mail are never cited vs. those magical US$36B/Cdn$46B numbers that are constantly pumped by the pom-pom wavers?


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Musical Isolationism....v1...Who Knew You Could Make Loving Fun When You Are Out Of It.


Out of love I mean.

Fleetwood Mac's Rumours was made in Sausalito almost 40 years ago.

A guy named Ken Caillat engineered the thing and he's written a book about it.

Here's a wee bit about the making, specifically, of the tune 'You Make Loving Fun':

..So, in those next few hours, we had made a dramatic change in the track. At one point Stevie wanted to do something, too, and, of course, what she did best was sing. We played around with some ideas, and, eventually, Stevie and Lindsey were sitting on two high stools out in the studio, each of them in front of a microphone, working on background parts, singing, “You make lovin’ fun, you make lovin’ fun . . .” 

When I stopped the tape to rewind it, Stevie suddenly looked at Lindsey and cried out, “Fuck you, asshole! You can go to hell!”
Lindsey responded with a tirade of his own. “When we get back to L.A., I’m moving out.”

“I don’t want to live with you, either!” They went back and forth, screaming and yelling at each other.

I couldn’t rewind the tape fast enough. 

When I got to the beginning of the tape, I hit RECORD. Stevie and Lindsey looked at each other. Then they turned toward their microphones and, right on cue, right in the middle of a fight, they nailed their parts!... 

I was flabbergasted...

Which is interesting and all that, particular for real fans of the band.

But what what is really fantastically interesting in the extreme is the audio snippet of an isolated vocal from Buckingham and Nicks that Mr. Caillat also includes with his E-book.

Clearly the magic was really more than just the sum of the individual parts.

That album was never a favourite of mine, but I was in my last year of highschool and all that entails (and more, musically and otherwise) when it hit big...Thus, as only music can do, even when I hear one of the album's tunes on one of the local radio stations that just keep on ruining classic rock for everybody, a little part of me is taken right back to that time and place...I'm telling you, it really is a crazy mixed-up musical world we live in.