Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I leave this afternoon for England and will not be posting my customary blather until I return in early June.

In stead, a new uncustomary kind of blather.

Starting on Friday, when I arrive in Edinburgh, or maybe Saturday, after I've had a full day of wandering about, I will add notes and photos to my new travel blog:


On Friday, May 30th, I will fly to Dublin - mostly just to claim that I once flew Air Lingus.

Eight nights on the River Liffey should be fun.

Bookmark the travel blog address and check it from time to time.


Let's Hold the System to its own, useless Standards

When parents have to go to court and sue the government du jour for medical help, you know something is fundamentally wrong.

I chose the word, "fundamentally" for a reason.

The current benchmark for determining the eligibility of a child with certain mental or psychological disabilities for government support is the child's IQ.

Think about that.

Whether or not your child can be cared for has been encased in some bureaucratic rule book to be decided by NUMBERS.

But this is not about numbers, including the obvious numbers of cost.

As long as governments continue to disrespect their employees and hold no trust in the ability of case workers to make reasonable judgments, we will all be bound by "The Manual."

The particular code book in this case is called, ironically enough, Community Living British Columbia. Nice moniker. Too bad it doesn't know how to run its own affairs.

The dreadful minister in charge, Tim Christensen, opines that "more work needs to be done."

What the fool means by this, of course, is that they need to find a better encoding or better rule book methodology, when, in fact, what is needed is exactly the opposite. The system starts from exactly the wrong place.

Hire knowledgeable, skilled workers and let then make responsible decisions.

Under the current system, you could simply answer a web test.

"My child has an IQ over/under 70."

What's the IQ cut-off for Ministers?

The Money of Color

What's the distance between Johannesburg, South Africa and Prestonburg, Kentuky?

Not as much as you might think.

In the shanty towns that mark the dichotamies of South African society, "foreigners" are being burned alive, tortured and murdered in ubspeakably horrible ways in what is now a week long paroxism of hatred and xenophobia.

The NY Times story is hard to read, but read it anyway.

Last week I asked why five women who are card-carrying Democrats would vote for McCain if Hillary lost.

I'm not very bright.

Now, reading about the struggle for votes in Kentucky and Oregon, the light has finally come on.

Life long Democrats, rooting for Clinton, have sworn that they wull vote McCain rather than give their vote to Obama.

O.K. I get it.





Make no mistake.

I am not calling you a racist because you may want to vote to other candidates. Not at all. You may have good reasoned, political arguments for choosing another candidate, and those ideas may be absolutely free of racism in any way, shape or form.

But when I see people who have been Democrats their entire voting lives, say they will choose the Republican rahter than Barak Obama, I can understand only one, sad thing.

Looks like we have some way to go.

Monday, May 19, 2008

China Earthquake Survivors

If you want or need to get a feel for the unfolding tragedy in the story of the earthquake in China, you could do no better than this astonishing account of a couple by NY Times writer, Edward Wong.

Gordon Macrae "Soliloquy" from "Carousel"

Frank, Judy, Dean

Sunday, May 18, 2008

VAG - Round Two

Yesterday I wrote about the Premier's announcement that the Vancouver Art Gallaeyr would fins a new and exciting home on the Waterfront in the Plaza of nations sight. I wrote that I approved of that initiative.

Not that the Premier or anyone else needs or seeks my validation.

Let's face it for validation all we need do is order the Dog Poo Souffle from our local eatery and our server will automatically beam back at us, "Good Choice!"

But I thought this - the Art gallery at the Plaza - was a good fit.

However...there's always a "however" in modern disscourse, isn't there?...this afternoon a neighbour, pulling the weeds from his lawn, preperatory to taking his 35-foor sailboat out for a run, offered that he thought this location for the new VAG was a lousy choice.

"Keep the water for housing and cafes. The Art gallery is for looking in, not out. The original plan of the old Bus Depot site near the QE Theatre and the Playhouse and whatever else might grow there was a much better move!"

And, you know, he's got a good argument there.

But, as we moved on, heading for our extremely late Sunday breakfast, we talked about this discussion and, while I thought it was a pretty good point, ultimately I found myself still likng the Plaza location.

The Getty in Los Angeles (pictured above right) is such a spectacular set of buildings in such a fabulous setting that one can easily take several days of hanging about outside before you even open a door to look at paintings on the wall.

Time will tell...


Just a reminder, Dear Bloggomaniacs,

Please BOOKMARK this site:


I am leaving for the UK on Tuesday, May 20th and I will not be reading many newspapers or posting my daily blog until my return June 8th.

BUT...from Friday, the 23d, when I arrive in Edinburgh, and then on a week later to Dublin, I will be posting photos and babble on my travel blog, Laughing In the Isles.

As for today, I found much of what was being sold as news, really warmed over stew...the media commenting on itself, the growing "support" for the drug shoot-up place ("If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.- Bertrand Russell), something's happening in hockey, and so on.

Here's my feeling.

We are not picking our family members out of the fallen rubble this morning. We are not fighting for medicines or food for our cyclone-devastated friends and neighbours. We are not dodging missiles hurled into our marketplaces. At least not at this moment.

Summer seems to have arrived with a welcome vengeance.

It's a long, lazy weekend.

Chill, baby...

Obama on Obama

“Barack is worth millions now,” Mr. Osnos said. “It’s almost all based on these two books, two books not based on a job of prodigious research or risking one’s life as a reporter in Iraq. He has written about himself. Being able to take your own life story and turn it into this incredibly lucrative franchise, it’s a stunning fact.”

That is the last paragraph of a fascinating 3-pager from today's NY Times on Barak Obama, the book writer.
It is much to the credit of the article's author, Janny Scott, that this piece is neither overly critical not over-praising, but a well-balanced account of a man and how he got to be standing where he is today.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Robert writes a Little Movie

Yet another nail in the collective coffin for all of us. Just imagine the conversation between two drug addicts / criminals down at Main & Hastings:

"Hey man, did you hear about that chick in Victoria who got $60 G's after being in jail?"

"No dude, what happened?"

"The chick, man, she fought the pigs like a wild banshee and they had to cuff her. So then she got a choice lawyer and pleaded her Charter Rights, man, and she won, she won big bucks!"

"So dude, what does that mean for us?"

"Obvious, man, the next time the pigs arrest you, fight like crazy. Force dem to cuff you up and bruise you. Then cry to da judge and you'll be in da money too. Big bucks, baby, big bucks!"

New Art Gallery a Welcome Addition & a Pawn in Several High Stakes Games

I don't know about a new "Culture Zone," but certainly I applaud the announcement from the Premier that the Vancouver Art Gallery will find a new home in the Plaza of Nations site.

Let's see what an international competition among architects can bring and let's get this thing built.

The politics are interesting, as always.

It is the Premier who makes these announcements. The city hall staff up to the highest level stir from their slumbers to register shock and surprise. Why do they even have jobs - let alone such high paying jobs - when their decision making is fanciful at the best?

The Nutty Mayor, clutching the coattails of any declaration that might help his all-encompassing goal - ME, ME, ME - tries to lay claim to this land and money deal that has been engineered entirely in the Preem's office. Result? He doesn't even get a mention.

Just as he declared yesterday that he was leading a delegation to China and Korea, when the truth, of course, is that it is the Premier's trip with Shammy hitching a ride. No mention again. And deservedly so.

One wonders why the Shammys and peters and Raymonds and Gregors and Alans slaver so rabidly for this job, when it is clearly A Premier's World.

And keep in mind that the new Art Gallery is the pea in the pea and shell game that defines Vancouver - Real Estate. Along with the new and larger and more glorious space will be more towers.

OK. Whatever it takes.

Minding the Hen House

Few things spell out the disasterous American foreign policies better than this headline from the morning's NY Times: "U.S. Planning Big New Prison in Afghanistan"

You can read the story, but do you really have to?

I have come to believe that this is only about a good construction and maintenance contract for some friend of Dick Cheney.

Steve Earle - Jerusalem

This is completely bizarre.

Last night, just before going to bed, I found myself thinking first about Bobby Kennedy, then JFK, and finally about Ted Kennedy, May Jo Kopechne and Chappaquiddick.

The next thought I had was, "Hm...I guess I'll read soon that Ted Kennedy is sick and in the hospital.

So...Look at the NY Times headline of a few hours ago:

Senator Kennedy Rushed to Hospital

and read the story here.

Too strange...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Good Girl

I would like to believe that justice was served yesterday when a jurt in Victoria awarded Willow Kinloch $60,000 in compensation for her encounter with the police three years ago.

But I have trouble accepting this story.

Drunk and violent and fighting with the police.

I wasn't there. I didn't see how cruel or violent the police may in fact have been.

But I still am not sold.

Perhaps I am an old fogie who has seen too much of a shift in our culture. Today, no young person is ever wrong about anything. No person can be limited, stopped, questioned, failed in school or a grade or a test, or criticised for bad behaviour of any kind.

Every child of four is armed with the Charter, and while they can't read or write much else, they've got this act down cold. They have rights.

Sorry, Willow. I just don't buy it.

Other Quote of the Day

"I have to have a lengthy conversation with my wife before I confirm anything."

This comes from Tom Christensen, who has done such an exemplary job as the Minister of Negletting Children and their Families and Endangering Practically Everyone.

He's referring to whether or not he should run again in the next election.

Let me provide relief for you, Tom. I know this decision is stressful.


Turncoat Despot - No Free Speech Please. I Need Re-Election


When Gordon Campbell was in opposition he vehemently opposed third party spending limits as gag laws.

Now, that he's facing an election, he is trying to ram through the legislature, without much debate, the exact gag laws he used to decry.

Everybody - not just the unions - see this move for what it is: anti-democratic despotism.

I don't care if General Morons or Raleigh Caffeine and Cancer Company and my Uncle Sal spend millions on pre-election ads. Let's get it all out there. Let every dog have his day.

Anyone with the faintest notion of what constitutes a modern democracy is offended by Bill 42.

Everyone, that is, but the province's Attorney-Genial, Wally Opaque, who wins one of the Quote of the Day prizes with this gem:

"I don't understand why all of a sudden there's such a concern about this."

'nuff said?

Feed the Hungry

The Abbotsford pastor is feeding the homeless in a downtown park and the Business Association _ always one's best moral guides - would like him to stop.

Like any good story, this one is not simple.

Conflicting rights and needs are at play.

Drug addicts and others hang about. People use the park as a toilet. That's what addicts and mental patients do sometimes.

One could argue that feeding "these people" only reinforces their willingness to hang out. Feed the geese, they have no need to fly south. Yah, we get it.

But when all the arguments are finally done, one simpole principle remains.

Feed the hungry.

Yes, there are better solutions. Yes, the city of Abbotsford should provide. Yes, yes, yes...

But until some wizard comes along with something better,

Feed the hungry.

The pastor is right, and bless him, and the Business Association should stuff a cardboard turkey deep upside its ass.


A retractable roof for BC Place?

Minimum $200 Million?

Try more like $300 Million by the time it happens.

And all put together by David Podmore, the genius who ran the new Trade & Convention Centre costs up to close to a Billion Dollars?


Thursday, May 15, 2008

McCain Sees Troops Coming Home by 2013

"When all the world is a hopeless jumble
And the raindrops tumble all around,
Heaven opens a magic lane.

When all the clouds darken up the skyway,
There's a rainbow highway to be found,
Leading from your window pane
To a place beyond the sun,
Just a step beyond the rain...


Somewhere over the rainbow,
way up high,
There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby."

The NY Times report is here.

All Official Stories are Lies

Full page ad from the unions called JustshutupBC.

I love it!

Campbell's new election rules described as unconsittuional and undemocratic.

Check out their website at www.JustShutUpBC.com

Taser me This

Good for Solicitor-General John van Dongen for ordering the Transclunk goons to appear before the Braidwood inquiry on tasers.

Who are these people that they initially refused to show?

This illustrates the problem of an organization like Translink that would like to be answerable to no one, least of all the public.

Van Dongen in his short and sudden tenure as SG has shown moxy and toughness.

More! More!

(Are you listening Wally Opaque?)

Quitting on Top. Good for Her

Why did anyone call Justine henin's retirement "shocking?"

Annika Sorenstam has announced that she is shortly to retire from competetive golf, a world she has similarly conquered.

Tennis is wonderful, I love it, I play it, I watch it, but is it all of life?

So Henin wants to move on and do other things and be a complete person. This is shocking?

There is only one place to go when you're number one.

I applaud her.

Read the NY Times coverage here.

Now that's Citizenship

An 18 year old in Surrey is running for election to city council.

And why not?

Could he do any worse than most councilors in most municipalities? Hardly.

Read the story and email him your encouragement.



Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Good Judge on Bail, Insite & Tasers

May 14, 2008
OH to be in British Columbia in cherry-blossom May, a time of longer, warmer days and the joy of nature’s palette of colourful magnolias, rhododendrons and azaleas.
To the Dutch it was Blaumand, (blossoming month), and to the French: Floreal, (time of flowers). The Anglo-Saxons named it “thrimilce,” for it was a month when they could milk their cows three times a day. May was aptly named after Maia, the Roman goddess of growth and increase.
Yet May-time in 2008 is not about dancing around the Maypole with fresh flowers. It is about too many colourless lawyers and ersatz experts flannel-mouthing away in three separate matters of public importance.
· A never-ending horror of bail release followed by murder;
· Insite’s fate;
· a provincial inquiry into the tasering of Robert Dzieskanski.
Bail release and murder
On Sept. 4, 2007, in Oak Bay, a suburb of Victoria, Peter Lee murdered his wife and children and committed suicide.
In the months leading up to the murder, Lee had been released on a no-contact bail which he flagrantly breached when he took his wife for a drive and injured her by crashing into a power pole. That violence brought Lee’s bail into question. In a hearing to determine Lee’s status, crown counsel did not oppose this dangerous man being let loose again despite a police request he be detained to protect his wife.
Lee murdered his family on the day he was required to make his first appearance specified in the renewed bail.
There is an intense need to inform the public why this man was not detained, and what information and policy was relied upon by Crown counsel in deciding not to show cause for detention.
In a formal public inquest now taking place, coroner Jeff Dolan has been stymied by the attorney general’s minions. Although two supervisory Crown lawyers have been put before the coroner to explain policy concerning bail, the ministry has refused to produce the lawyers who actually made the decision not to seek detention.
Coroner Dolan ordered the pertinent counsel to appear and that triggered an adjournment of the inquest to have the issue decided by the Supreme Court of British Columbia on May 26; a date when a similar case of refusal by Crown lawyers to testify is scheduled to be heard.
The attorney general’s justice branch says that Crown lawyers are entitled to immunity from examination of their behind-closed-door machinations. It makes a grandiose claim of privilege analogous to that afforded the judiciary.
The status of a judge is made secure by judicial independence. That means finite tenure, a reasonable remuneration, and absolute privilege in terms of how their decisions are arrived at. It is mischief of the highest order to claim that civil servant prosecutors have a constitutional status approaching that of judges.
The coroner is right. He must compel decision-making Crown lawyers to testify, thereby assuring that nothing will be concealed from the public.
Where is the attorney general in all of this? You guessed it: he’s making speeches of concern. Maybe a thought from the distant past will get Wally Oppal into the world of action. “Woord is but wynd; leff word and tak the dede,” said John Lydgate (1370 – 1451) in his Secrees of old Philisoffres.
Oppal knows, and so do all lawyers in the criminal justice branch, that bail conditions imposed on wife beaters do not eliminate the likelihood of further violence. It is in the public record: release of maniacal men on bail brings with it the metronomic certainty of murder and mayhem.
Insite: propagandized success
We are being buffeted by a storm of propaganda concerning Insite and the impending decision of the federal government on whether Insite will be allowed to continue operating beyond June.
It is mainly driven by so-called health professionals, local politicians and epidemiologists who desperately want to continue their campaign to decriminalize illicit drugs and make addiction into a treatable illness. The cornerstone in this nonsense is the Insite shooting gallery: a scheme of enabling drug use that is falsely touted as the road to abstinence. It is a pernicious scheme that not even the Wizard of Oz would tolerate.
Insite is not a place for desperate addicts to begin withdrawal, it is a shooting gallery first and last. No matter how they record their experiment it remains a falsehood. There is no truth in the notion they spread that enabling the use of drugs in these sterile circumstances is somehow a first step in abstinence.
Provincial inquiry: – death of Dzieskanski – use of Tasers
After Robert Dzieskanski’s death following tasering, the provincial government was quick to appoint former judge Tom Braidwood to conduct an inquiry into police use of Tasers.
Yet the whole process is hamstrung by lack of jurisdiction over four members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who confronted a confused Dzieskanski, and chose to bring him under control by electrically stunning him with a Taser.
Come on Mr. Oppal, think back over the years to your work as a commissioner enquiring into policing in British Columbia, and your report in1994, Closing the Gap. Try and remember your absolute and crisp words stating that our leased force of Mounties, ostensibly our provincial police force, could not be made to comply with any of the provisions in our Police Act.
Be reminded of one of commissioner Braidwood’s first public comments: that his inquiry has no jurisdiction over the Mounties.
At the end of this still-born inquiry, the learned commissioner may see fit to advise you and the premier to re-constitute the British Columbia Provincial Police in order to fulfil British Columbia’s constitutional duty.
Mr. Oppal, it is your constitutional duty to bring order to policing in our province by having all police bound by the provisions of the Police Act.
Act now, or Dzieskanski-like deaths will happen again and again.

Contact Judicial Gadfly at wallace-gilby-craig@shaw.ca or by posting your comment on the Writer’s Corner of www.realjustice.ca

Bad Will Headline Hunting

The Nutty Mayor has sunk to a new low - even for him.

As thousands have died and many thousands are dying or dead trapped under fallen buildings in Sichuan province, China, this creep has tried to grab yet another headline by "announcing" that he is looking at building a new city hall because of earthquake concerns.

What a ghoul.

What dreadful bad taste.

Nutty has become infamous for blowing hot air about nothing and pretending that he is making some official "announcement," when he has, in fact, spoken to no one about anything substantive.

But get this and get it clear.

There are no plans afoot anywhere in city hall to build a new city hall. This is simply the mayor trying to grab attention. And it is sick.

To play on the misery and suffering of the people of China and their many friends and relatives here in Metro Vancouver, is detestable.

Why did the Sun even report this obscenity?

Can't anyone just tell this fool to be quiet?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Job App

I will be available in January 2009; I am willing to relocate.


1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20520


Law Enforcement:
I was arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine, in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol. I pled guilty, paid a fine, and had my driver's license suspended for 30 days. My
Texas driving record has been 'lost' and is not available.

I joined the
Texas Air National Guard and went AWOL. I refused to take a drug test or answer any questions about my drug use. By joining the Texas Air National Guard, I was able to avoid combat duty in Vietnam.

I graduated from
Yale University with a low C average. I was a cheerleader.


I ran for
U.S. Congress and lost.

I began my career in the oil business in
Midland Texas , in 1975. I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas. The company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.

I bought the
Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money.

With the help of my father and our friends in the oil industry (including Enron CEO Ken Lay), I was elected governor of


I changed Texas pollution laws to favor power and oil companies, making Texas the most polluted state in the Union. During my tenure, Houston replaced Los Angeles as the most smog-ridden city in America.

I cut taxes and bankrupted the
Texas treasury to the tune of billions in borrowed money.

I set the record for the most executions by any governor in American history.

With the help of my brother, the governor of
Florida , and my father's appointments to the Supreme Court, I became President of the United States, after losing by over 500,000 votes.


I am the first President in
U.S. history to enter office with a criminal record.

I invaded and occupied two countries at a continuing cost of over one billion dollars per week.

I spent the
U.S. surplus and effectively bankrupted the U.S. Treasury.

I shattered the record for the largest annual deficit in
U.S. history.

I set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12-month period.

I set the all time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period.

I set the all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the
U.S. stock market. In my first year in office, over 2 million Americans lost their jobs and that trend continues.

I'm proud that the members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in
U.S. history. My 'poorest millionaire,' Condoleezza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.

I set the record for most campaign fund-raising trips by a U.S. President.

I am the all-time
U.S. and world record -holder for receiving the most corporate campaign donations.

My largest lifetime campaign contributor, and one of my best friends, Kenneth Lay, presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in
U.S. history, Enron.

My political party used Enron private jets and corporate attorneys to assure my success with the
U.S. Supreme Court during my election decision.

I have protected my friends at Enron and Halliburton against investigation or prosecution. More time and money was spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair than has been spent investigating one of the biggest corporate rip-offs in history. I presided over the biggest energy crisis in
U.S. history and refused to intervene when corruption involving the oil industry was revealed.

I presided over the highest gasoline prices in history.

I changed
U.S. policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.

I appointed more convicted criminals to my administration than any President in U.S. history.

I created the Ministry of Homeland Security, the largest bureaucracy in the history of the
United States Government.

I've broken more international treaties than any President in
U.S. history.

I am the first President in U.S. history to have the United Nations remove the
U.S. from the Human Rights Commission.

I withdrew the
U.S. from the World Court of Law.

I refused to allow inspector's access to
U.S. 'prisoners of war' detainees and thereby have refused to abide by the Geneva Convention.

I am the first President in history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 US election)

I set the record for fewest numbers of press conferences of any President since the advent of television.

I set the all-time record for most days on vacation in any one-year period. After taking off the entire month of August, I presided over the worst security failure in
U.S. history

I garnered the most sympathy ever for the
U.S. after the World Trade Center attacks and less than a year later made the U.S. the most hated country in the world, the largest failure of diplomacy in world history.

I have set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously protest me in public venues (15 million people), shattering the record for protests against any person in the history of mankind

I am the first President in U.S. history to order an unprovoked, preemptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation. I did so against the will of the United Nations, the majority of
U.S. Citizens and the world community.

I have cut health care benefits for war veterans and support a cut in duty benefits for active duty troops and their families in wartime.

In my State of the Union Address, I lied about our reasons for attacking
Iraq and then blamed the lies on our British friends.

I am the first President in history to have a majority of Europeans (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and security.

I am supporting development of a nuclear 'Tactical Bunker Buster,' a WMD.

I have so far failed to fulfill my pledge to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice.


All records of my tenure as governor of Texas are now in my father's library, sealed and unavailable for public view.

All records of SEC investigations into my insider trading and my bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

All records or minutes from meetings that I, or my Vice-President, attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review. I specified that my sealed documents will not be available for 50 years.

'Splain Me, Will Ya?

Could you explain something to me, please.

Yesterday - or was it the day before? - I saw six women on CNN.

They were a little make-shift panel of middle-aged, middle-class white and black women who are all voting for Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee.

So far, so good. No problemo. Got it. Good. Fine.

Now, they are asked, "So what if Hillary is finished? What if Obama takes the nomination?"

One of these otherwise seeming reasonable sane persons says, "I'll vote for the Democratic nominee."

Which is what I would expect from six Democrats.

But, no.

Hark. Five of these lunatics say, "I'll vote for McCain."


Gleek! Tilt!


I'm completely lost, horn-swoggled, tied up in knots.

You see, sputter, mumble, gag...

I'm of the persuasion that can't understand for one nano-second that a person disguised as a sentient human being voted for Nixon or Bush.

So, when five nice ladies who are sworn Democratic card-carrying members, say that if there is no Hillary, they will be voting for this pathetic old Republican geek, I, uh, well, hm....


Robert Werner's 76 year old Mother Gets it - Why Can't the Government?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Mom's Letter to Tony Clement, Federal Minister of Health

The Honourable Tony Clement
Minister of Health
Minister's Office - Health Canada
Brooke Claxton Building, Tunney's Pasture
Postal Locator: 0906C
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1A 0K9

Dear Sir,

I am a retired nurse and a senior citizen. I’m also a volunteer visitor counselor at Tourism Vancouver, giving out information to tourists visiting our city. You may be surprised to learn that a growing number of these visitors are well informed about Vancouver being the Drug Capital of Canada. When they want to visit Chinatown we have to advise them about the safest routes to walk there. We also warn them not to give money to panhandlers and to be aware of their surroundings at all times. If traveling by car, we urge them to leave nothing visible inside their vehicles. This is the sad reality of life in Vancouver in 2008.

I live in the South Granville neighbourhood. It’s supposedly one of the better ones in the city and yet I have countless panhandlers asking me for spare change daily. I now carry a pocket alarm which I will set off if I’m ever threatened. This is the sad reality of life in Vancouver in 2008.

The law-abiding citizens in our cities have to now be concerned with which restaurants they can eat at safely, which nightclubs they can go to safely, and which streets they can walk down when the sun goes dim. This is the sad reality of life in Vancouver in 2008.

The common thread running through most of these problems is severe drug abuse. I therefore plead with you to close the free needle terror that is Insite. It is not helping drug users get better but is only prolonging their misery. I fully realize that there are a lot of political forces that claim that Insite is helping to “reduce harm” but it is a huge fallacy. Those proponents like Larry Campbell and Philip Owen should be ashamed of themselves.

Please convert this facility into a Recovery Detox Centre for the endless number of drug addicts in Vancouver. And then set up more in all of our municipalities. I do know there are treatment centres in Prince George and Bowen Island. We need many more!

One Note Gord

I very much like Jim Sinclair's op-ed piece in the Sun today.

Sinclair is the President of the BC Federation of Labour and a good friend.

He chronicled the sins and omissions of Gordon Campbell.

Cost of living, wages, child care, homeless, forestry, Bill 42...it's all there.

And I agree with Sinclair's take whole-heartedly.

One day in our lifetimes, we may actually see a government in BC that is not so ideologically polarized. One day there might be an administration that favours business and social good at the same time.

Imagine that.

As the song goes, "Well, I can dream, can't I?"

Hand Outs

Like most of you, I don't usually give money to those who ask for it on the street.

Yesterday, was one of those rare days when I changed my little "policy."

There is a guy in our neighbourhood who is ugly and scary looking. He exudes "darkness." He wears black and he has a heavy dark barely shaved beard and a crooked toothed smile.

He is clearly suffering from some mental disorder.

But, if you've been around this neck of the woods long enough, you will know that this man is harmless. In fact, he is hard working when given the opportunity.

Many merchants on 10th Avenue routinely pay him to clean the street and sidewalks in front of their shops.

I have no idea where or how he lives.

Yesterday he asked me for some change. I didn't have my little change purse with me, so I declined. He said he was hungry and he needed some food. I walked away - about five or ten paces. I stopped and turned around and he turned around at the same time.

I went back and put a five dollar bill in his hand.

I can't really afford to give people five dollar bills, at least not regularly.

But this guy is a part of our neighbourhood. It just felt like a reasonable thing to do.

I'm not telling you what a swell fellow I am. Far from it.

I am saying that sometimes the little rules and policies we adopt for ourselves need some elbow room.

Making a Killing from the Food Crisis

Please watch this Real News video report.

It's an important antidote to the usual flimsy coverage and it's criminal in the deepest meaning of the word.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Mexico, Myanmar, China, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Lebanon...

Our piddling troubles here in The Wet Edge seem ... piddling in comparison.

Let's take a day off and thank our stars for what we have at this moment.

Irving Berlin

What follows below is a CBS tribute to Irving Berlin aired in 1988 on the occasion of Berlin's 100th birthday. Today would be his 120th.

Michael Feinstein sings 3 songs and tells the stories of Berlin's genius and contributions.

Only 120 today...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

rare for us Rap thanks to John Beatty

The Nub of McCain - Mr. Honorable

This may be all you need to know about John McCain.

The man he hired to run the Republican Convention has resigned.


Well, it turns out that Mr. Goodyear (you can't make up stuff this ironic) is a PR flak who was hired and payed by the military junta in Myanmar to burnish their image abroad.

This is not a pleasant mother's day group. This is one of the most repressive and violent administrations on earth today. Witness their gracious response to world aid for the cyclone victims.

Read the whole lovely story here.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Two for The Sun

Daphne Bramham and Miro Cernetig have written excellent pieces in this morning's paper.

Bramham spells out the new and growing tactic amongst the politicos and mandarins of launching expensive lawsuits against their critics.

Nanaimo, Kent, Harrison, and Langford are four of the municipalities mentioned.

In each case, a citizen asks legitimate questions of the powers-that-be. In case, the powers sue.

They are emboldened to do so by a 2004 provincial law that allows for something called a SLAPP - a Strategic Lawsuit against Public Participation.

But wait.

Isn't public participation a virtue in a healthy democracy?

Oh, I forgot, in BC and Canerda, "healthy democracy" is becoming as oxymoronic as Catholic University, happy marriage, military intelligence and liquor control board.

Cernetig rightly points out that the millions of dollars and years of abject failure in the DTES call for a new approach, perhaps one overseer or czar for all things DTES.

Exceellent piece and good idea.

But who?

Michael Clague is mentioned. Bad idea. Clague was the director of the Carnegie Centre for years, which means he made a healthy living in the midst of the madness.

No, we need someone completely outside the sphere.

Michael Geller whom is running for city council would do a great job.

Or someone from another side of the continent, who owes no favours.

Whoever it is, sooner is better than later.

Genius - From another Era

Victor Catches a Whiff of Americana

The CEO of Pepsi is a woman named Indra Nooyi. She was raised in India, has powered Pepsi past Coke in stock markets, is praised and envied by CEOs for her corporate brilliance and touted for a Cabinet seat in Washington. Oh, she's also an active, devoted mother.

I don't know what Mr. Nooyi does but I know this. If he came to Pepsi shareholders meeting and announced that he planned to be Pepsi's next president because he had slept with Mrs. Nooyi, fathered her kids and therefore was qualified to do her job, he'd be laughed out of the room.

Melinda Gates is Bill's wife. They've been married since 1994 and have three kids. Melinda runs the Gates Foundation which is on target to amass $100 billion. It was her idea. But if Microsoft were to announce she was going to be the next CEO because she was married to Bill and they had kids and they talked a lot and you know blah,blah.blah.....Well the stocks would tumble and the business writers would slap their thighs in laughing hysteria.

So why does Hillary have a large following among women? Her only unchallenged credential is being married to Bill. She flunked law school bar tests, never practiced law until her husband gave her a job when he was governor of Arkansas, meddled in health care with disastrous results(not her job) when she was First Lady. Her resume is so thin she has to tell whoppers like being under sniper fire in Bosnia and brokering peace talks in Northern Ireland. She then explains these preposterous lies as "mis-remembering"

So. A liar with memory problems is the best candidate female America can offer? Please.

She should be viewed with hostility by all women who have built their own careers. The message of her candidacy is that if women want to make it, the first step is to marry right. How empowering.

Yet, polls show a huge following among females. I don't get it.

Yes, I understand the sentiment among women that says its a woman's turn to be President. I don't agree with it, but I understand it. I don't think "getting one's turn"is a qualification, other than for children, waiting for a swing in a playground. America has never had an Italian president. Should Italians get a turn. Poles? Amputees?

As for the notion that being married to somebody means you can do their job, the concept is too ludicrous for comment. I've known a number of talented women with great careers. I've had relationships with some of them and we talked about our work. That doesn't mean for a second, that they could do my job. Nor could I have done theirs.

There is some good news in all of this. The black candidate is being castigated for being an elitist. Wow. A black elitist. Finally! I'm old enough to remember that blacks couldn't stay in certain Canadian hotels and now they're elitists.

Thanks for that Hillary.

Good Night and Good Luck

Gas Prices Send Surge of Riders to Mass Transit
Cities with long-established public transit systems and areas with a strong driving culture are both reporting increases in ridership of buses and trains.

So reads a NY Times headline today.

Of course, that couldn't happen in Meekrow Vancouver because we have Transclunk, one of the last efficient systems in the known universe.

Friday, May 9, 2008

America at the Crossroads

Barak Obama is poised to win the Democratic nomination.

All things are possible in primaries and elections, so this is not a given, but it is looking pretty solid.

I like and admire Hillary Clinton.

But I am saddened by the stench of flop sweat in her recent racial comments on voting patterns.

Let's say Obama wins.

America, rocked by the Iraq War, Afghanistan, recession, bad schools, lack of universal health coverage for its citizens and the worst reputation it has ever held in the rest of the world, is at yet another historic moment.

Obama is not the second coming of the messiah, but he is different and refreshing and youthful and full of hope and vigor.

How dreadful would it be for American voters to turn their faces away from the future and vote for McCain?

McCain is the poster boy for The Past. He is old and tired and closed in a pen of stale and failing ideas.

Obama may have much to learn as a leader, but he is the best hope for healthy new beginnings.

I hope he wins.

Tales of Nitties & Titties

First the Nitties:

Vancouver City Councillor, B.C. Lee, will not run again. Boo effing Hoo.

Lee was a total disgrace from the word Go. He did nothing, zilch, zero on his three years on council.

The Nutty Mayor praised Lee's contributions. 'Nuff said.

Arthur Griffiths, a man who never met a deal he couldn't screw up, will run for the BC Liberals. Oh, the excitement.

Griffiths, like Paris Hilton only without the attributes, is famous for being famous. He is the son of a wealthy successful man, who has not mirrored his father's considerable accomplishments.

But Gord likes to be near wealth and power, so Griffiths should suit his limited tastes just fine.

Now, the Titties:

Canwest assigned no less than FIVE journalists and devoted one entire page to politicians and their personal love lives and sex romps. Page A4 no less.

People fall in and out of love. People have sex. Get over it.

Will I soon find The Sun at my Safeway checkout next to The Enquirer, The Star, Oprah, People and all those other illuminating journals?

Children & Families Ministry Hits New Low

I have been writing a great deal of late on the dissater area known as the BC Ministry of Children & Family's. I have also been calling for the resignation of the dead-at-the-wheel Minister, Tom Christensen.

But today's story by Ethan Baron in The Province really tops it all.

The Headline reads thus: "Five girls in care have been selling sex on Craigslist, police say."

The story can be read here.

The last line reads thus:

"The children's ministry and Craigslist did not provide interviews requested by The Province."

Email your Premier.

The Evil Twin

What's more frightening - Mother Nature or the Government of Man?

Myanmar has the answer for you.

After an estimated 100,000 dead and as many as 1.5 million facing starvation and disease, the military junta that rules old Burma is doing everything in its considerable power to NOT allow foreign aid to enter the stricken country.

Of course, this is hardly the first time in history this has happened. It is, in fact, an oft-repeated story. How many progressive steps forward in science and technology, for example, have been kept from impoverished people thanks only to political will?

For the Myanmar tragedy, read this morning's NY Times piece here.

Eddie Arnold - R.I.P.


Dear Bloggists,

If I post an item that is headlined Victor or Liz or Susan or Ben or someone else that means that I am posting a commentary from a friend.

As I am posting this item on my blog, I am the host and therefore responsible for the posting.

But please understand that that these items are opinions of others.

Have I made this clear as mud? Great.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Victor Shops Candjun, eh?

I wandered into the Bay yesterday and finally saw the Olympic unees. Everybody has a subjective take on the design. I think they look like camouflage suits for an army on acid but Georgio Armani hasn't called me lately for fashion advice so what do I know?

My real gripe is with the rationale for the design that I've heard from the official spokespeople. Two themes come forward. First, these designs are based on an interpretation of the traditional Chinese folklore elements , i.e. fire, water etc.

The second rationale is that we are sending a message that Canada is multicultural.

Regarding the first theme, why are we putting Chinese iconography on our unees? When the Chinese come here in 2010, I don't think their uniforms will contain subtle renderings of Canadian folklore (donuts, beavers, sleeping senators). That's because China, unlike Canada, doesn't suck up.

The second rationale is both arrogant and ignorant. Arrogant because we assume China, or any other country for that matter, gives a fig about Canada's ethnic makeup. Ignorant because the Chinese are no great fans of multiculturalism. In China, the Han Chinese make up 92 per cent of the population with the other 8 per cent containing over 40 minorities. China tolerates minorities but keeps them on a tight leash (sometimes very tight as in Tibet but this is the exception). China believes that unfettered multiculturalism can be a destabilizing influence on national unity. They may have a point there. In any case, China will be supremely indifferent and perhaps annoyed at our less than subtle attempts to preach?brag?