Thursday, May 31, 2007
Posted by David Berner at 8:47 AM
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Posted by David Berner at 9:01 AM
Posted by David Berner at 8:56 AM
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Editorial: National Post
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Last week, it was announced that the Conservative government will soon unveil a new national anti-drug strategy. The plan is said to feature a get-tough approach to illegal drugs, including a crackdown on grow-ops and drug gangs. And while it will also (wisely) include tens of millions for rehabilitation of addicts and for a national drug prevention campaign, it is said to retreat from safe-injection sites and other fashionable "harm-reduction" strategies introduced by the previous Liberal government.
To which we say: Good. This editorial column has long urged a softening of drug policy on marijuana and other non-addictive recreational substances. But heroin and similarly addictive drugs are a different story. Moreover, safe injection sites don't work. And they send the wrong message, too, promoting disrespect for the rule of law by having government facilitating the consumption of illegal substances.
Safe-injection sites (SIS)-- typically inner-city facilities where addicts may go to shoot up with clean needles under the watchful eye of medical specialists --are often said to work wonders. Benefits claimed on behalf of Insite, Canada's one and only SIS in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside since 2003, include reduced needle sharing, reduced spread of deadly diseases such as HIV and hepatitis, fewer needles discarded in surrounding neighbourhoods and fewer addicts overdosing in alleys. Lives have been saved, advocates claim, the "well-being of drug users improved," and all without increased street dealing around Insite.
Too bad most of the proof to back these positive claims come from SIS proponents or the academics who devise harm-reduction theories. Police here, and in Europe (where they have lots of experience with SISs) tell a very different tale.
When Insite applied to have its three-year licence renewed last fall, the RCMP told Health Canada it had "concerns regarding any initiative that lowers the perceived risks associated with drug use. There is considerable evidence to show that, when the perceived risks associated to drug use decreases, there is a corresponding increase in number of people using drugs."
That has certainly been the case in Europe. Currently there are more than three dozen major European cities on record against SISs. Most have had such facilities and closed them because they found that drug problems increased, not decreased.
After an injection site was opened in Rotterdam in the early 1990s, the municipal council reported a doubling of the number of 15- to 19-year-olds addicted to heroine or cocaine. Over the 1990s, the Dutch Criminal Intelligence Service reported a 25% increase in drug-related gun murders and robberies in neighbourhoods housing one of that country's 50 official methadone clinics or addict shelters. Zurich closed its infamous needle park in 1992, after the police and citizenry became fed up with public urination and defecation, prostitution, open sex, panhandling, drug peddling, loud fights and violent crimes.
Since word of the Tories' new strategy began to leak out of Ottawa, the well-meaning people who work at Insite have stepped up their campaign to save their facility, which Ottawa has said must close this fall. We sympathize with these supporters. No doubt, they have genuine concern for their charges, who are troubled souls caught in a downward spiral of abuse, crime, disease and pain.
But as much as we admire the good intentions behind SISs, drug consumption is the wrong business for government to be in. A government that funds safe havens for injecting illegal drugs on one hand will quickly find it is working against its efforts to reduce drug dealing on the other.
© National Post 2007
Posted by David Berner at 3:26 PM
Posted by David Berner at 8:30 AM
Monday, May 28, 2007
Chauncey lives here in Vancouver.
But whereas Chauncey was an innocent ingenue, Sullivan is a sinister, bitter man. His delusional theories and pathologically inflated ego will leave a legacy of pain on this city. His blatant attempts to turn the Mayor's office into a presidency ( State of the City Address my royal purple ass) goes unchallenged by most of the media.
As Truman once said of a political rival " He's a stupid man, but he's not a nice stupid man".
Posted by David Berner at 6:53 PM
Posted by David Berner at 9:22 AM
Posted by David Berner at 9:07 AM
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Posted by David Berner at 11:39 AM
Posted by David Berner at 11:29 AM
Posted by David Berner at 11:20 AM
Posted by David Berner at 11:07 AM
Friday, May 25, 2007
Posted by David Berner at 10:04 AM
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Posted by David Berner at 10:48 AM
Posted by David Berner at 10:38 AM
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
The National Post has a major, front page story today headlined "Tories to Shun Safe Drug Sites."
Almost everything in the details of this article is either flat wrong or wrong-headed.
First, the paper reports that the federal government will now allocate a new $64 Million over two years for treatment, enforcement and prevention. As Harm reduction is not mentioned, everyone and his dog who has been sucking at the harm reduction tit for the last umpteen years is freaking out. One such fool who works in HIV-AIDS cries, "There is is no money for harm reduction, which is quite ominous..."
Well, it's not ominous at all. First, there are already millions of dollars allocated for harm reduction and that waste will continue. Second, harm reduction is ALL that has been funded until now, so stop your whining. And third, harm reduction has accomplished nothing other than more harm.
Then it is reported that drug treatment could get $32 Million, including money for research aimed at treating crystal meth addicts.
There are two things wrong with this little gem. First, $32 Million for treatment - when there has been ZERO money for treatment for 30 years is a pea in the pissoir. It is just short of next to the shadow of a whisper of nothing. Second, we don't need to spend more money on research on any addictions. We have had all the answers staring us in the face for 50 years or more now. All we need is the courage and then political will to get to work. And third, money assigned for treatment should go, oddly enough - wouldn't you think? - to treatment not to research, which is not treatment it is research.
Finally, the article claims that we already spend in Canada $385 Million a year on treatment, prevention and harm reduction. THIS IS NOT SO. If we spend that money, where may I ask are the BEDS??? Where are all the treatment centres that families are quickly turning to in desperation? Where?
This subject is maddening for all the lies, stupidity, misinformation, opinionation based on intellectual masturbation and claims made by people who have accomplished nothing in terms of saving lives, but much in building handsome little empires funded by tax dollars.
Posted by David Berner at 9:10 PM
Posted by David Berner at 9:05 PM
Posted by David Berner at 9:21 AM
And speaking of little lost treasures...here is the voice of Seattle's Marni Nixon, who also sang for Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady," and Natalie Wood in "West Side Story,' so seamlessly in each case that one never suspected it wasn't Deborah Kerr or Audrey or Natalie singing. I saw Yul Brynner do this role on stage here in Vancouver, when he was suffering from cancer. You would never know it. He was beyond magnificent.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Posted by David Berner at 8:44 AM
You may remember the days I describe below. Listen with your heart. Here is my story for today.
Today, a squirrel visited me, peering into my kitchen window from my porch rail . He was, perhaps, a great-great-great grandchild from a cherished time. I looked at him, sipped my tea, and remembered.
Drift back with me, 40 some years. A time when life kissed your skin every morning. And you never kissed it back. Because, like me, you thought life's morning kiss was only a pillow away. Now we know. Not so.
When I was in university, vigorous and vacuous, ( weren't we all) I lived in a series of depressing hovels. One was a house full of students with a biker landlord who had heinous doberman we hated. The house had a closed back porch and the dobie would sleep, growl and drool on that porch, lunging at us (me) when we stumbled, drunkenly, up the back steps at 2 am. We would fall. We really hated that dog.
One day, I was studying in the kitchen, a communal slop house where all 19 students ate by stealing each other's food from a common fridge. The porch was visible outside the kitchen window. On that day I looked up from my books to see the demonic dobie corner a squirrel on the porch. He crowded the squirrel into the corner, closer and closer. There was a clothes pin basket in the deepest part of the corner. The dog came closer. I put down my sandwich and thought, "poor little squirrel". The squirrel jumped into the little basket of clothes pins, his last refuge before death by dobie. The squirrel trembled.
Then he jumped out.! He went for the dobie's lower lip and bit hard. His 4 claws raked the jaw. The dobie screamed ( dogs do that) and ran, bleeding and pissing while the squirrel held on and then dropped at a time of his choosing, watching the dobie slip in his own piss. I have, since that day, retained a respect for these pimped out rodents. They are sewer rats in fur coats. Something like politicians.
Posted by David Berner at 8:27 AM
Posted by David Berner at 8:26 AM
Friday, May 18, 2007
Posted by David Berner at 8:58 AM
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
We did learn in the ensuing media coverage ( responsible I might add) that owing to variances in municipal bylaws, people who want to keep a tiger,puma, rhino in their backyard or basement need only to take their menacing menagerie to the next town that lacks bylaws if things get ornery.
The solution, we are told, is for the province to ban the practice of keeping exotic ( can you say killer) animals. Ban. Outright. Sounds good.
Then we hear from the Minister of Agriculture and Fools. Pat Dumbell.
His solution is to "license keepers of killer ( sorry, exotic) animals and perhaps requiring them to have training".
Out of the pool, somebody peed!
See, here's the deal.
First, licensing is government code for revenue. It's code for inspectors as in bigger government. Hello? We will never collect revenue from a muscle-shirt cavemen who wants to keep a lion in the living room. Can you say ban!
Second, Mr. muscle-shirt will not attend training and if he does, who will train him. Who will pay for the trainers?
No matter the crisis, government's first impulse is to look for a revenue opportunity, offset by a bigger government response.
Note to government.
Nobody wants tigers in the basement.
Ban! Simple. The legislation would be less than a paragraph. No extra bureaucrats involved in inspecting, training and issuing fines. Your cleaning lady could write the law
Last word. Today, on the Big Flea ( Top Dog) I heard a lady from the American SPCA say " There are more Indian Tigers in American basements than living in the jungles of India".
The madness continues.
Posted by David Berner at 8:39 AM
I live with a Chinese woman. She saw this slogan one day and asked if we really believed that.
We love to diss the "Ugly American".
But could you imagine standing up in a cafe in Venice, Lyon, Brussels, Vienna or Stockholm and announce to the patrons.
" Hi, I'm a modest Canadian from British Columbia and I live in the GREATEST PLACE ON EARTH. Aren't you dorks sorry that you live in inferior places? Now let's drink beer and watch hockey."
Maybe before 2010,when the world visits BC, we might consider a slogan with a little modesty. Does Greece have a motto that says " We brought democracy to inferior, sweating classes". Would Iraq have a slogan that said " We had medical schools when Europeans were living with their pigs." Does China have a 2008 slogan that says " Your grandchildren's income depends on our economy and by the way, we were a magnificent culture when your race had bones in your noses."
Or maybe BC First Nations could adopt a slogan such as " You separated us from Nature, but we never signed a separation agreement."
David, if you have a media mailing list, please pass this on. In BC today, the oracle is Bill Goo. I call him BobbleBill. . Why? Because he bounces from radio, to TV, to BC business without anybody stopping to say, " Bobblebill has a shiny surface but he's either dense or empty". Pick both.
Posted by David Berner at 8:35 AM
Monday, May 14, 2007
Posted by David Berner at 9:22 AM
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Posted by David Berner at 1:17 PM
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Posted by David Berner at 3:46 PM
Posted by David Berner at 1:37 PM
Posted by David Berner at 10:41 AM
They Think They are Loving Parents. They are Wrong. They are Irresponsible, Selfish Fools, and They are the Modern Template.
Posted by David Berner at 10:20 AM
Posted by David Berner at 10:09 AM
Friday, May 11, 2007
See, here's the thing.
I don't want to buy my broccoli , from a store that buys its broccoli, from a farm or greenhouse that abuses or causes the death of its workers.
I think most decent people feel the same.
So we need to take a page from the great Cesar Chavez who fought so gallantly for farm workers in California.
I want to see a vigorous inspection system for farms. One that tells me they are treating their workers right, protecting my health, and protecting the environment. Maybe BC Fed could do this.
Then I want all stores , large and small, that sell farm products, to have their supplier list reviewed by the inspectors. Stores that buy farm goods from farmers who respect workers, public health and the environment get a window sticker. Losers don't.
If there's no sticker, I don't buy my broccoli there. Neither would you.
Cheaters would try, but a scum list could be published for those that attempted to forge a sticker.
Yes, I can hear the yeahbut crowd saying " What about food from Mexico, China, Thailand,California etc.". I can't change behaviors in those countries. But I sure as hell can do it here.
I hope you or I never ate a single tomato that came from that man's business. I can't be sure.
I never want this to happen again. It's not enough to make one person the official sin eater, no matter how guilty he was.
Let's fix this. Let's demand that it be fixed.
Hola Cesar Chavez. Your work continues. It is our job now.
Posted by David Berner at 9:21 AM
Posted by David Berner at 9:06 AM
Posted by David Berner at 8:54 AM
Do you all remember the lovely scene in "Mr. Holland's Opus," the movie for which Richard Dreyfuss was again nominated for an Oscar? It is a rare thing when an actor can make us forgedt for a brief moment John Lennon.
Here is Lennon singing his beautiful lullaby...
Posted by David Berner at 8:52 AM
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Posted by David Berner at 9:44 AM
Posted by David Berner at 9:41 AM
Posted by David Berner at 9:10 AM
Posted by David Berner at 9:03 AM
Here's one of my fall-time favorite moments from a very corny movie that has had an enormous influence on my life. I was 4 years old when "The Jolson Story" was released in 1946. I saw the movie and how could I not be drawn by a story of a Jewish boy who loves to sing.
Larry Parks was nominated for Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of the man, who for many years, was called "The World's Greatest Entertainer."
In this lovely moment from the movie, Jolson's Rabbi father encourages him to sing after the singer has taken a kind of false "retirment."
I post this for my sweetheart. We are celebreating tomorrow our One Year Anniversary.
Happy Anniversary, Baby...
Posted by David Berner at 12:30 AM
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Posted by David Berner at 11:52 AM
Posted by David Berner at 8:46 AM
Posted by David Berner at 8:38 AM
Posted by David Berner at 8:24 AM
Posted by David Berner at 8:04 AM
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Posted by David Berner at 9:12 PM