Friday, October 30, 2009
The headline is misleading:
Three teens sentenced as adults for killing 14-year-old boy in Surrey
While that may be literally true, the sentences hardly reflected the callous brutality of the crime.
For beating and stabbing to death a 14-year old boy in Surrey in 2008, two teens were given 5 year sentences.
Another, 4 1/2 years.
All three dangerous scum were given two years "credit" for time already served while in custody.
Please understand that there are crooks and there are crooks.
Fully 90% of the people in Canadian prisons are silly goofs who are more of a danger to themselves than to anyone else.
They are good candidates for rehab and half-way houses in communities.
Then there are Clifford Olson and Robert Picton.
These are the handful of truly dangerous lunatic psychopaths who must never be released to anyone anywhere.
Just below them are the slightly larger number of violent, out-of-control murderous s.o.b.'s who kill 'cause it's Wednesday.
Like these three fine upstanding citizens who will now do about two years for murdering a young boy.
Why not 25 years? Why not little chance of parole?
Is the community never to be considered again in a Canadian court room?
Posted by David Berner at 8:39 AM
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Alice asked, "Is I mean what I say the same as I say what I mean?"
Lewis Carrol might have been dreaming into the future and imagining British Columbia where on any given street corner you can always buy a bite of mushroom where 'one side will make you tall, one side will make you small.'
We have, after all, a Premier who speaks out of both sides of his square head.
Well, judos to the Se't A'newey Performance Choir who have said, "Fuggetit, man."
Believing they were invited by Head Honcho Numero Uno to sing in the Opening Ceremonies, then de-invited, then offered a consolation prize, these kids unanimously opted for goin' fishin'.
Good on them.
To add insult to grievous injury, the little so-and-sos want an apology.
Why am I seeing a striped cat with a grin wider than his face?
Posted by David Berner at 9:12 AM
Here was Tuesday's little explosion in the N.Y. Times:
"KABUL, Afghanistan — Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country’s booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency, and has for much of the past eight years, according to current and former American officials."
The brother of the Afghan president is both a major drug dealer and a paid CIA informant.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton regularly refers to the embattled country as a "narco-state."
The Taliban is happily blowing up everything and everybody it can in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
I don't know what we or anyone else is doing there.
I also don't know how we can sit back and watch the region collapse.
I'm stymied. This is a full-blown disaster and no one has shown me that they are less confused than I am.
Posted by David Berner at 9:03 AM
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto has published in this morning's papers an appointment announcement.
Dr. Catherine Zahn is the new CAMH President and CEO.
I don't know Dr. Zahn and I am sure she is a smart and accomplished and lovely person.
The CAMH is another cookie altogether.
It is a monolith formed some years back by the amalgamation of the Clarke Institute and the Addiction Research Foundation.
Here is how they describe themselves:
"Canada's leading mental health and addiction teaching hospita and research centre...committed to transforming lives..."
I cannot speak about their track record with people suffering from mental problems.
But I can tell you loud and clear that I know of NOT ONE addict who has walked away from CAMH as a clean and sober citizen.
Now, if one tenth of this vulnerable institution's multi-multi-multi-million dollar budget was passed on to the handful of real treatment programs scattered across the Canadian wilderness, we might be doing something useful.
But this is the way of the world, isn't it?
Governments, politicians, bureaucrats, doctors build big bold buildings and put stuff in them. They huff and puff and congratulate themselves silly.
Meanwhile on the other side of town, real people with real understanding of the issues work under strained conditions begging always for money.
Posted by David Berner at 8:51 AM
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The City of Vancouver, apparently with mot much else to do on a Tuesday, has come up with a new by-law.
If you run a restaurant here, your daily take must now include more than 50 per cent in food sold, rather than wine and other intoxicating beverages.
This is to discourage places from selling chips and BLT's while pouring out the booze in barrels.
This is to discourage so-called restaurants from acting like bars.
But lurking behind this idiocy is the simple fact that bar and pub licenses are made almost impossible to get.
This is a problem created by the very fools who are now rendering an even dumber answer to the problem they created in the first place.
Vancouver Councillor Raymond Louie has publicly defended this new nonsense.
Ray, you gotta know when to keep the head low and keep very still.
I'll have the Pasta Bullshetta and a small house red, please.
Posted by David Berner at 8:59 AM
A choir full of kids and parents and choir masters and the Premier of Newfoundland all seem to have heard someone invite the choir to sing in the opening ceremonies in a certain little hoe-down planned for next February.
The someone who it is alleged by all of these people who are apparently suffering some mass delusional experience was Gordon Campbell, the Premier of British Columbia.
Mr. Campbell remembers it differently. “I said to the choir: ‘You know, wouldn't it be great if you could sing at the Olympics?' Not the opening ceremonies; I never had any control over the opening ceremonies.”
Now, the offer is coming in not from Campbell, but from George Abbott t sing at a smaller less visible venue.
Problem is half the kids have stopped going to practice after two years of dreaming is down the drain.
Wouldn't it be fun to be a cabinet member in a local government.
"Hey, Wooden Head. Go clean up my mess, will ya?"
Posted by David Berner at 8:45 AM
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Here's watcha get:
Four tix to all events
Opening & Closing ceremonies
Gold Medal Men's hockey final (even if it's between Uruguay and Bosnia)
Spot in the torch relay
Supplied car and driver for all 17 days of event.
When calling, ask for the Club 2010 packages.
Cautionary note: Bleeeeep! ( a B-flat, I believe)
Careful to avoid giving out your home or office street address.
Big men in little white coats may soon arrive.
This is, remember, The People's Event.
It is bringing people together.
People with deeeeeeeeep pockets, that is.
Posted by David Berner at 10:16 AM
B.C. inmates to receive flu vaccine before prison staff
I spoke to the warden of a major institution about half an hour ago. We were talking about something else entirely, but when this idiocy turned up we both laughed.
The truth is that the inmates will get their shots about 22 seconds before the staff.
Posted by David Berner at 10:09 AM
Monday, October 26, 2009
There is only one thing of interest in the front section of today's Globe and Mail.
It is this.
Not one, not two, but three whole pages of ads from the CBC.
How much did that cost?
Of taxpayers money.
To let us know that Peter Mansbridge had a poo. That Peter Mansbridge popped a pelican. That Peter Mansbridge played the piano in pindergarten.
Has anyone noticed?
The CBC is a corrupt organization.
It is valuable and necessary, but it is a mess and it spends our money in the worst ways unimaginable.
Posted by David Berner at 10:08 AM
Catalyst Paper Corp has withheld about $17-million in taxes from four B.C. town's where its mills are located: Powell River, Campbell River, Port Alberni and North Cowichan.
Another company, Celgar, refused to pay its $3.6 million in property taxes this year and instead filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court asking for a judicial review of the town's tax rates, where it operates in Castlegar.
Pretty cheeky for a company that has just been given...wait for it...$57.7 million in bail-out money from the federal government.
A) I don't get federal bail-out money. Do you?
B) If I refused to pay my taxes, RevCan would first seize my home and car and first born and then throw me in jail.
Double standard to go with your double-double this morning?
Posted by David Berner at 10:01 AM
So you won a gold medal for your country way back when.
Get lost, Sister!
Last week we saw John Furlong crying croc tears on the front pages about how the Olympics was helping humanity.
Well, he's not helping athletes who competed and triumphed for Canada.
No invites, no tix.
Read it and kack.
Then send Mr. F. a friendly little note at email@example.com
Posted by David Berner at 9:52 AM
There was a time for a few seasons there when the phrase "on any given Sunday," really meant something in the NFL.
Now, what've we got?
35-7, 42-6, 37-7, 38-0...
Getting the picture?
And that was just yesterday. A week or so back, there was 58-0 for the Patriots over somebody.
Vat da heck?
Now, we're watching a handful of elite teams who seem to have their way with the patsies as they will. That would be your New Englands, your Colts, Saints, Broncos and Vikings - unless they're playing a real team, like the Steelers.
And the bottom of the heap?
Well, they have never been so bottomed.
Looking up at a far away sky from a very deep well indeed are the Raiders, the Browns (Have the Browns ever had a winning season after color TV?), the not-so-Titans (Who were 13-3 last year!), St. Louis, Kansas City and Tampa Bay.
We're talking big zeros in the in column after seven weekends.
Other than Oakland, where the 90-year old (at least!) and completely nutty Al Davis has been systematically destroying a once storied franchise for about a decade now, who can explain the new layout?
In a perverse way, it is kind of fun to see the occasional blow-out.
Posted by David Berner at 9:39 AM
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
David, I agree with you that this nonsense must stop. It's funny in jest but too sad in reality. When I was walking the DTES beat in the 80's, I used to joke about all this stuff, but low and behold, these kinds of idiotic 'programs' became reality, so I stopped joking about it.
The SIS was pre-fitted to create a crack inhalation room (shouldn't the science have come first?). Did you know that the new pieces of Brillo the addicts stuff into their glass pipes release toxic vapours according to the HR 'safer crack smoking' guide? I guess crack is 'toxins with benefits' then (like crack lung).
The drug policies are so gangrenous now that when I hear of harm reduction, I think of 'arm reduction' as evidenced by the plethora of recent amputations seen in this very sick addict population. Too bad there wasn't a drug to treat stupidity to go with your proposed HR quarantine room David. These guys are so far behind in their thinking that they actually think they are ahead. Can they OD on stupidity?
Posted by David Berner at 6:12 PM
David, I spent the evening at Eagleridge Emergency. I was there because our family doctors office isn't open enough hours to treat all of his patients.It was a zoo. Ive seen a lot of busy emergency wards but this was beyond my ability to describe. Woo, Peckinpah, and other violent genre movie makers might be able to do it justice.
So the thought of spending tax dollars to give crack heads a comfy place to get high makes me sick. That group of left wing do gooders should be placed in the emergency ward of a different hospital every night until even the dumbest of the dumb realize that our health system is on the verge of melt down. Until we can look after the people that our paying the taxes to support the crumbling health system we should place duct tape on the mouth of any wing nut that wants to spend money to make addicts comfy. If an addict wants to get clean we should have to provide the means. If an addict wants to be comfy, to hell with him/her.
Posted by David Berner at 6:06 PM
Ottawa deaf to pleas for B.C. crack-inhalation siteHahahaha...couldn't happen to a nicer town.
Mark Townsend is the executive director of the Portland Hotel Service Society which runs Insite. He and a few other geniuses want to open a "safe" crack smoking room.
Service are being cut back in every area of public health, but we should give crackheads a place to smoke.
Here's how poor Mark describes the utopia he envisions: "a designated place to smoke crack cocaine in the company of health professionals..."
The part that I love is "in the company of health professionals."
How could you call yourself "a health professional" and want to spend your time standing around losers who are smoking cocaine? How? Why?
I am not supposed to call these contributors "losers."
They are substance users.
One of Mark's friends in this lunacy is the appropriately named Evan Wood. He's a researcher. He says that having such a facility would be "ground-breaking."
Having treatment programs that graduate clean and sober men and women - that would be ground-breaking.
"You're using, basically, supervised injection sites and inhalation rooms as a strategy to recruit people into addiction treatment," adds Mr. Science.
We remind Mr. Wooden Head once again that when he decides to come out of his bubble and check out the modern world, what he'll find is what every parent of every addict has known for a very long time here in B.C.
THERE IS ALMOST NO ADDICTION TREATMENT.
Beds are few and inappropriately expensive.
Here's what I propose.
A room that will hold for safe keeping Mark Townsend, Evan Wood, Larry Campbell, Sam Sullivan and all such fellow travellers.
This room will keep them from hurting themselves, but, more importantly, it will keep them from further HARMING the community.
Now, dat's harm reduction!
Posted by David Berner at 11:53 AM
Christie Blatchford, as she often does, has absolutely nailed the story to which I referred briefly in yesterday's posts.
David Chen, the Toronto shopkeeper who captured a chronic thief and crack addict and for his reward has been charged with several offenses, has a family of four and employs 10 people.
"Prosecuting David Chen brings the administration of justice into disrepute and renders the law an ass. Giving a break to the very crack-addicted thief Mr. Chen was chasing is an outrage."
Read the whole piece and marvel at how retarded and twisted is our justice system.
Posted by David Berner at 11:43 AM
Wee Gordie's done it again.
The Preem gets all hot and bothered listening to a kids chorus in Newfoundland last year. He invites them all to sing at the Games.
They rehearse 92 hours a day, 22 days a week for the last 12 months. The parents raise travel money and so on. Expectations are high.
Of course, The Number One Bonehead had no authority to invite these children to cross the street. The deal is off. There never was a deal. The kids are going nowhere.
Who the hell does he think he is anyway? The IOC? VANOC?
You're just the Premier, Gord, Get over it.
Now, he doesn't have egg on his face.
He's plastered with a great coast-to-coast fritatta.
Posted by David Berner at 11:30 AM
When I was in my early 20's, I used to make a point of being home in the late afternoon so I would never miss The Soupy Sales TV Show.
I think It was a children's show, but if it was, it was the hippest kids show ever.
And falling down funny.
Watch this clip of Soupy with Fang.
In 1983, when I began "A Little Berner in the Night" on CJOR radio, the first celebrity I interviewed was Soupy Sales. He was on the phone from New York.
He absolutely loved it when I told him that I held him right up there with the Three B's - Benny, Burns and Berle. He laughed his head off, which allowed me to demand, "So how come your name don't begin with a B?"
We did the whole interview on tape in the afternoon to play later that night.
He was impossibly funny.
I thanked him and hung up the phone.
I rewound the tape and settled in to listen to this pure gold.
Of course, I had forgotten to press the little red "RECORD" button. I have always been so technology challenged. To this day, I am only a blink away from needing someone to come over and turn on the lights.
Now, here's chutzpah...
I phoned Soupy right back.
I explained my terrible gaffe and he said, "So, David...you want me to do the whole thing over again?"
This was about a half hour piece.
He said, "Start the tape, press the red button, you shmock, and let's go."
Milton Supman has passed away at the age of 83.
Posted by David Berner at 11:13 AM
Friday, October 23, 2009
We've spoken several times in recent days in this space about cuts to programs for mentally ill and addicted people on Vancouver Island.
Of course, those cuts of monies for important services are not restricted to the Island Health Authority.
The lovely and compassionate Kevin Falcon is being even-handed and fair in his demands across the board for everyone to suffer equally.
Justine Hunter has given us first-rate coverage of this mess in today's Globe.
Her opening lines sets the tone:
"The only residential addictions treatment program for youth in B.C.'s northwest is closing.
Struggling parents in the Downtown Eastside can count on less support to get them to counselling.
Over in Victoria, seniors' support is slashed and caseworkers for the mentally ill are laid off."
Read the piece and think hard about how you will vote in the next election.
This administration has become a poster child for "penny wise and pound foolish," as it squanders billions of ego-projects and attacks the weak and vulnerable with tiny cutbacks that mean the world to people who already have so little.
Posted by David Berner at 9:51 AM
A man killed two women and injured a number of others.
He crashed his truck into a sushi restaurant in Maple Ridge. Boy, do those dynamite rolls pack a punch!
Keeping in line with our great track record in jurisprudence here in Canerda, Brian Irving was found not criminally responsible for his actions. He killed two women.
Apparently, Irving was in a "disordered" mental state at the time. His particular affliction? Alcohol withdrawal.
You can't make this stuff up.
By the way, did I mention he killed two women.
In Toronto, the top of the news wheel for to days now has been the story about the shop owner on Dundas in Chinatown who spotted a crook who is constantly stealing from him. He chased the creep down, caught him, stuffed him in the trunk of his car and called the police.
The shop owner is being charged with assault and confinement and belonging to the wrong congregation.
The law on citizen's arrest says, apparently, that you and I can catch a thief in the commission of a crime, BUT just because we have video tape on the guy stealing from us 29 times in the past week doesn't allow us to grab him when he's just strolling by.
First, change the law.
Second, give this shop owner the keys to the city, our thanks, a citation and an all-expenses paid trip to Bermuda.
Posted by David Berner at 9:37 AM
I have seen the Future, and it is Now.
For the next three and a half months leading up to The Blessed Event, Allah be praised, at least one third of all newspaper space will be given over in some form or another to the Olympics. Articles, stories, warnings, ads. It'll be in every section - health, education, sports, show biz, politics and the culinary arts.
Today, in addition to all the other bumf, there was a 3/4 page ad in the Globe.
Here's what it said above the crummy badly staged photo of four actors pretending to be a cross-section representing Canadian citizenry:
Event: The Downtown Freestyle Commute (Get it? Eh? Hahaha. Isn't that cute, Evelyn?)
Plan: We're working from home one day a week and taking transit during the Games.
(Translation: You, yes, you, you stupid rube, should utterly change your life around because that's the cooperative thing to do. Or else.)
Then, in big bold letters...
What's your TravelSmart plan?
Glad you asked.
On February 9th, I'm boarding a flight for Heathrow. The next morning I'll take the shuttle bus over to Gatwick, pick up my next flight and arrive in Venice just before midnight. All on points, of course.
I'll stay at my friend Susan's house and sometime during the three weeks, I'll visit Lugano and /or somewhere in Southern Italy, like, say, Bari or Sicily. Haven't decided.
On March 2nd or 3d (can't remember), I'll fly back home.
Perhaps by then, Granville Street parking may have returned, the sign police may be on a Tim Horton's break and I can drive downtown to do my volunteer work without being arrested.
I know that I am doing my civic duty.
VANOC and the Mayor and the Preem can all thank me of getting out of the way and being one less annoying kvetching whining local who would like to live his or her life regardless of all the terribly important new and short term arrivals.
What are your TravelSmart plans?
Posted by David Berner at 9:17 AM
Thursday, October 22, 2009
All us addicts like a good rationalization for our nutty behaviour.
And if the Latest Excuse comes from a third party and better yet an authority like a scientist or someone wise and wonderful, well, hallelujah!
Thus, imagine my glee at discovering today that espresso is good for my liver!
You think I'm grouchy sitting here in my p.j.'s in the morning?
You should see me at 3 pm if somehow the day has interfered with my small cappuccino with skim milk, please. Scareeeee...
I'm quite sure that if a day went by without my fix, my head would explode. For sure. Explode.
And while we're on the subject of Coffee Culture.
Almost any one's coffee is better than Starbucks. But, in a pinch...their cappuccino is not bad.
In Vancouver, the Waves chain is inviting for several reasons. The cappuccino's are excellent. There are about 90 three-pronged electrical outlets per shop making it just about the most computer-friendly environment in town. People are by and large friendly and helpful to one another.
Artigiano may keep winning "barrista" awards and their coffee is first-rate, but their staff has that miserable stupid superior attitude of coldness and superiority and there is roughly one electrical plug per store, a deliberate strategy I am told to keep students and old men who like to write in coffee shops from lingering too long. Wrong approach.
The cafe with WiFi has become the New Universal Living Room.
It is amazing how we all now take this for granted like it'd been here since buffalo.
I've seen it in Washington, DC, Venice, Toronto and Salt Spring Island and I think it's a wonderful spontaneous social development. The kind that be neither predicted nor planned.
You leave your basement apartment or high-rise flat or room in someones house or your grand mansion. You throw your light-weight netpad, notebook, whatever in your bag and head to the coffee shop. It's warm, it's well-lit, the cafe is delicious, the date and carrot slice is tasty, the music is so loud and so intrusive that it quickly just becomes a wash behind your consciousness.
Two days ago, I met a delightful and funny couple from Shanghai. They are both scientists. They were suitably impressed that I can utter a few catch phrases in Mandarin. They gave me a Beijing Olympics book mark and key chain. We exchanged e-mail addresses and promptly put ourselves in MSN Messenger contact.
I still managed to write five new pages on the fourth draft of my book.
Afternoons well spent.
Posted by David Berner at 9:48 AM
Margart Wente has written a marvelous column today about Harm Seduction and the most dangerous man in B.C., our Provincial health Officer, Dr. Perry Kendall.
No smoking allowed (unless it's crack)
Free crack pipes and a safe place to inhale are seen as enlightened social policies.
It's a good one. Give it a read.
Posted by David Berner at 9:42 AM
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
There's still a chance to get a couple of good seats for tonight's concert, Michael Feinstein, The Sinatra Project, at the Orpheum with the VSO.
Not only is Feinstein a terrific singer and piano player, but he is a musicologist who has made an extensive and personal study of The American Songbook (Gershwin, Kern, Rogers & Hart et al.)
Posted by David Berner at 3:58 PM
Has anyone seen Gregor Robertson lately?
Is he at home? In a home? Heading home?
In story after story on Snippity Hall, Councillor Geoff Meggs is the lead man.
Which is fine. Geoff's a grown-up and a reasonable guy.
But where is his His Happiness?
He is in the press today. He's pledging that in 10 years (oh puleeeeze...) Vancouver will be the "Greenest City." No cars. No imported cheese products.
Do the Puppet Masters just let G.R. out for these ceremonial occasions?
I don't recall a less visible mayor.
Which may be a fine thing.
I'm not complaining, just asking.
If you know what Gregor is doing these days or where they have him for safe keeping, let us know, will you?
Posted by David Berner at 8:45 AM
The following comes from Jean, a dear friend.
It was sent in as a comment on yesterdays's posting, but it deserves wider exposure.
Jean has done more good and does more good every day in this field than all the local "experts" combined and then some. All she does is turn out clean and sober citizens.
"I have worked in addictions and mental health treatment for over 28 years and a move toward providing places to smoke crack is most disheartening. This would be "safe" and/or "supervised"? Smoking crack is never safe. What is to supervise? The general public should know that crack addicts smoke crack frequently throughout the day and night, not just once a day! To believe that they will hang out at the government funded facility to continue this habitual behaviour all day and night is naive. They go elsewhere and continue the behaviour. This has a negative effect not just on the addict, but on their families and the community in which they live. It is preposterous to believe that smoking up in a "supervised" setting will lead to treatment or even a reduction in use. I'm bothered that any government offical would try to sell that notion to the public. Sounds more like the government is mandating the slow suicide of persons who are willing to use that type of facility just so they can stay high. Does much else really matter to an addict until they receive a wake up call to straighten out for a while? Not really, because folks, their lives centre around the drug taking behaviour. Period. If we, if the government, really wants to do something about the drug problem in Vancouver or elsewhere, we would put money into treatment and provide motivation for addicts to want to go there."
Posted by David Berner at 8:37 AM
The more observant among you may have noticed that there has been no mention in this blog of Jon & Kate or of Balloon Boy.
Over the past several months, I would be channel surfing and I would run across this repulsive little twerp sitting on a couch and yammering some drivel or other.
I'd give him the required 2.5 seconds and move on.
Turns out this is the now famous Jon of Jon & Kate, etc.
But I have the same question now that I had several months ago.
What is Twerp doing on TV in the first place?
Why is that fat ugly rock star and his fat ugly family on TV all the time?
Who is watching this stuff?
Who is watching that hideous Bounty Hunter guy and his hideous Bounty Hunter chick?
As for Balloon Boy...I don't know and I don't care.
Why is this first rate reporter, Anderson Cooper, diluting his franchise with this non-story?
Watching or paying attention to the likes of the above (Anderson excepted, of course) is deleterious to your health.
Be careful out there.
Posted by David Berner at 8:30 AM
How can you tell the difference between a Canadian, Australian, and an American Police Officer?
Pose the following question:
"You're walking down a deserted street with your wife and two small children. Suddenly, a dangerous looking man with a huge knife comes around the corner, locks eyes with you, screams obscenities, raises the knife, and charges. You are carrying a Glock 40, and you are an expert shot. You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your family."
What do you do?
CANADIAN POLICE OFFICERS
Answer: (Immediate thought processes)
Is the knife a ceremonial kirpan?
Does he prefer to communicate in English or French?
Will this negatively impact my chances of promotion?
Is this just his way of telling me that he pays my wages, and wants my job?
Would this be an appropriate time to hug him and sing Koombaya?
Will the media do a profile of him and how he was loved by everyone including his dog?
Is the alleged 'client' a member of the NDP or an Environmental Group?
Is he just a squeegee kid / pan handler trying to make a living on the mean streets?
Is he a member of a gang that is just 'misunderstood' by society?
Is he an undercover Toronto Star reporter looking for a news breaker?
Is he a recent illegal immigrant to this country, and just doesn't know how to approach the police?
Is he recently released on parole and hasn't been properly integrated back into the community?
Is he a victim of fetal alcohol syndrome, and just doesn't understand what he is doing?
Warn and Charter him as he approaches.
Answer: BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! Click.... (Sounds of reloading) BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! Click
Posted by David Berner at 8:27 AM
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
On Saturday, I wrote in this space about cuts to programs for the mentally ill and the addicted on Vancouver Island.
That story continues with more coverage yesterday and today.
In that context of no money for real needs, how can we explain the deranged rantings of Dr. Perry Kendall, who receives a regular government pay check as the Provincial Health Officer?
Kendall wants you and me to pay for supervised inhalation rooms for crack addicts, saying such facilities would help connect users with treatment programs and help fight the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Aside from the fact that there are almost NO treatment programs and that the addicts who use Insite to shoot heroin almost NEVER end up in treatment programs, what in god's name is Dr. P smoking these days?
Mr. Kendall's support is based on a research paper published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Of course, the so-called study couldn't exactly identify the link between smoking crack and other health problems. The study found that people who smoke crack cocaine are at increased risk of becoming infected with HIV, but did not pinpoint the exact mechanisms behind that link.
The study concluded there is an “urgent need” for public health programs aimed at crack cocaine users, including safer crack kits and supervised inhalation rooms.
Now, in real science, conclusions are not an Olympic activity like JUMPING. In real science, conclusions are arrived at after careful and serious deliberations.
Oh well, never fear.
Egghead to the rescue.
A UBC professor has added this: “The biggest bang for our buck will be taking people who are unengaged in care and getting them engaged in care,” Dr. Conway said, adding that the wait for addiction programs is from seven to 10 days.
The good doctor has no idea what he's talking about.
The wait for addiction programs is 6 months and then some.
The City of Victoria has ONE BED for teenage crack users. One.
Here's what you should do to prevent this evil idiocy.
Send an email today to firstname.lastname@example.org
Include this message:
Re: Safe places to smoke crack. If you support this idea, you will automatically lose my vote for another term.
Then look up your local MLA and send him or her the same message.
This is public money. Your money.
It is being squandered in the ugliest and most ineffective way.
Posted by David Berner at 8:50 AM
Bill urges criminal checks for welfare seekers
Housing & Social Development Minister (and we know how much housing and social development he's given us) Rich Coleman tabled a proposal for new legislation yesterday that will require people seeking welfare and DISABILITY benefits to agree to a criminal background check.
Ah, yes, in a tough economy attack the halt and the lame.
I have a better program and I want to see a better headline:
BILL URGES CRIMINAL CHECKS FOR BANKERS, STOCK BROKERS AND POLITICIANS
Excuse me, but...
Of the many billions of dollars that have been lost in the past two or three years due to fraud and theft, how many came from bankers, stock brokers and politicians? All, that's all.
And from welfare recipients and the disabled?
Mr. Coleman and his boss, His Royal Meanness, need their collective heads examined.
Posted by David Berner at 8:39 AM
The Globe has a special section today called "Report on Small Business."
The lead story is titled "Ready for a Rebound."
All of which is well and good.
Unless, of course, you run a small business on Granville Street South between 16th Avenue and 72nd, where there will be NO PARKING in front of your rapidly starving business during a certain 3 week period next February.
How many times has the Premier said in public that small business is the backbone of the local economy?
How many times - besides Cambie Street and Granville Street - has he utterly ignored small business for other triumphs?
Posted by David Berner at 8:33 AM
Monday, October 19, 2009
Homeowners ignore Olympic rental licence requirement
Only 47 landlords planning to provide accommodation for 2010 Games appliedWhen I read a headline like this one in this morning's Vancouver Sun, I do not conclude that Vancouverites are a bunch of scofflaws.
Rather, it seems clear to me that common sense has prevailed.
Since when should I have to apply to the City of Gangcouver to rent out my house if I so choose?
The licence fee in Vancouver is $106, in Whistler it is $300 and in West Vancouver the cost is $150.
For which money, I would get what?
A pat on the back? A good citizenship award? Olympic gold?
More like Chump of the Year Medal.
The reason that so few have applied is that this is a johnny-come-lately irrelevant by-law designed to accomplish...[insert your own mystery here.]
Now, having said that...
Am I renting out my house during the Olympics?
You know why?
'cause it's my house and I don't want some coke-addled NBC thrush gumming up my home.
By the way, as you can tell by the photo, my house is in Delta with quick access to the freeway and Tsawwassen and Ladner and the boats to the islands.
Drop by when you're in the 'hood, will ya?
p.s. Please bring milk. The fridge is on the fritz.
Posted by David Berner at 9:17 AM
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Well, it's good to know that at least somone in Canerda has his act together.
Too bad it's the Mafia.
Too bad all those old gags about "cementing" good relationship with government and legit biz are all based on hard-edged reality.
At least, that appears to be the case in La Belle Province.
And Alberta and B.C. too.
(I was appraoching Marine Drive on Cambie Street on Friday and I found myself, stopped at the traffic light, gazing idly at those so attractive cement pillars holding up the new Canada Line and thinking once again about the unavoidable fact - $13 Million/kilometre for LRT vs. $133 Million for SkyJoke. Which raised the age old question: Whose cousin got the cement contract?)
Some intrepid souls are even asking for an inquiry into ties between government, business and organized crime.
Antonio Nicaso, the author if several books on crooks, says, "I don't think in Canada there is political will or commitment to fight organized crime."
All three feral parties...oh, scusa me, federal parties...have refused comment.
Apparently, much of the crime involves bids on construction jobs, which curiously, mysteriously, always always end up being filled by Mafia-controlled companies.
But don't worry.
"We're moving to Las Vegas, Kay, and in five years all of our business interests will be completley ligitimate. Even my father knows that his way of doing business is finished."
Posted by David Berner at 8:32 AM
Saturday, October 17, 2009
A religious nut case circumcises himself.
Which of course he botches.
Fair enough. Go mutilate yourself. I should care?
But now, the fool has attempted to circumcise his little boy. Which, of course, he botched terribly.
The B.C. Supreme Court has found this so-called father guilty of negligence.
Moral of the story - Home Circumcision is out.
But there is something much more interesting to me about this story.
And it is this:
The man's lawyer is Doug Christie.
Christie has made himself famous defending neo-Nazis across the nation, claiming in case after case that these scum are defenders of "free speech."
As in the right to tell school children in math classes, for example, that Jews are rats, etc.
Christie has positioned himself as a great defender of free speech.
Of course, he argues in the present case that Mr. Home Handy Nut Job was practicing his religious freedoms.
Maybe someday we will learn what it is exactly that drives Mr. Christie to his peculiar choices.
Posted by David Berner at 9:41 AM
Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation has been saving the Canadian economy.
So claims a fascinating article in this morning's ROB in the Globe.
The only problem is they've gone slightly mad in the process, raising their own exposure from a $350 Billion limit in 2007 to a $600 Billion limit today.
Can you say, "Risky," boys and girls?
What isn't mentioned at all in the article is an issue that I think is equally important.
If CMHC is doing so darn well, where oh where is all the money they USED TO spend on social housing?
If you want to look at the DTES, mental health and addiction problems, so much of the problem can be put right back at the front door of CMHC which 30 years ago was funding the kind of housing we now so urgently need.
When that practice disappeared, many of our social nightmares began in earnest.
You needn't look at Gregor Nice Boy or even his Royal Meanness over in Victoria for solutions to homelessness.
The cookie jar is in Ottawa. Always has been. And it's called CMHC.
Posted by David Berner at 9:31 AM
So reads an ad published by Google right here on my blog.
I should be grateful. In the three + years that I have been running my blog, Google has paid me $139.00 for the ads they run.
That will buy me almost exactly one day's rehab at this no doubt fabulous program.
In the meantime, I'll take another double, Glass Wipe...
Posted by David Berner at 9:24 AM
Friday, October 16, 2009
Ottawa will expand prisons to suit tough crime lawsThe headline hides the story.
It is easy to choose sides when complex matters are reduced to such simple battles.
More prisons. Tougher laws. Fewer prisons. More compassion.
Since coming to power in 2006, the Harper government has introduced several justice proposals that would increase the use of mandatory minimum sentences, end house arrests and eliminate a judge's ability to credit a prisoner with two days served for every one spent in pretrial custody in calculating sentences.
All of which would add to the seemingly reasonable argument that we need more prisons.
Many people, myself included, want seriously dangerous criminals off the streets and behind bars for long, long periods.
On the other hand, most jurisdictions in America that have increased prison populations have had to admit defeat. They simply do not have the money to pay for more and more inmates in more and more lock-ups.
I would suggest that in Canada we probably have most of the prisons that we need. What we do not have, what we have rarely had (and I spent 10 years working in the corrections system) was reasonable programs that would separate the merely goofy from the truly scary.
Most inmates in our prisons are more of a danger to themselves than to any one else. They make lousy, stupid choices. They could actually be helped. They could be turned around and turned back out onto the street if we bothered to work with them and provide transition programs on the outside that worked.
Than there are the (what? possibly 10%) inmates who are flat crazy, scary, nuts. These guys are a running constant serious danger to everything and everyone. They are not hard to spot. These guys should be in prison for life. Our first consideration in their cases must be the protection and safety of the community.
Unfortunately, in spite of all the classification and parole officers and all the shrinks and docs, we simply do a lousy job of responding appropriately to these two very different kinds of prisoners.
When we get around to that real responsibility, the arguments about how big our fortresses need be will disappear.
p.s. The foto shows the B.C. Penitentiary being built in...wait for it...1877. The site in new Westminster is now condos.
Posted by David Berner at 10:15 AM
A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have.
Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.
Neither Bardwell nor the couple immediately returned phone calls from The Associated Press. But Bardwell told the Daily Star of Hammond that he was not a racist.
"I do ceremonies for black couples right here in my house," Bardwell said. "My main concern is for the children."
Bardwell said he has discussed the topic with blacks and whites, along with witnessing some interracial marriages. He came to the conclusion that most of black society does not readily accept offspring of such relationships, and neither does white society, he said.
"I don't do interracial marriages because I don't want to put children in a situation they didn't bring on themselves," Bardwell said. "In my heart, I feel the children will later suffer."
If he does an interracial marriage for one couple, he must do the same for all, he said.
"I try to treat everyone equally," he said.
Posted by David Berner at 10:05 AM
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Remember Cambie Street?
It's not often that I am shocked, especially by the predictably idiocy of bureaucrats and politicians.
But yesterday, I caught just enough of the local supper hour news to almost fall off the sofa.
In the morning I had enjoyed a coffee with an old friend at the corner of 65th and Granville. Of course, I parked the car right in front.
That will no longer be possible, sir.
You see we're staging the 2010 Olympics and every one's life must be disrupted and every one's small mom-and-pop business must suffer irrevocably.
Because you are not important and the small businesses that we like to say are the backbone of our economy are not really important either. We just like to say that because it sounds good at rubber chicken lunches and on news bites.
The news is that during that now hateful affair next February, that Event That Surpasses All Other Events, there will be no parking allowed 29 hours a day, 12 days a week on Granville Street from 16th Avenue south to the Arthur Laing Bridge. None. Zero.
I watched a couple talk about the $200,000+ they lost before they abandoned their shop on Cambie Street during the hideous Cut and Cover Caper. So they smartly moved to Granville around 65th. Now they face exactly the same nightmarish scenario.
Now, here is the voice of authority to the rescue.
"First of all, leaving your vehicle behind is absolutely fundamental," Penny Ballem, City of Vancouver manager and a board member with the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games, said in issuing a plea for public support.
Tell me, Penny.
As a VANOC board member, won't you be given a pass or a limo or some other exemption that permits you to dart about the city with impunity?
"Transportation is key to the success of the Games," Dr. Ballem said at a news conference. She reminded people that "you can walk across the core of Vancouver" in about 25 minutes, and planners are hoping a lot of people will do just that during the Olympics.
Isn't that nice.
Thanks a whole bunch, Penny. Walking across the city in a driving rainstorm in February is exactly what we all want to do to help out this act of totalitarianism.
There are those among you who are patiently waiting for "the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Please be advised that something way bigger will be here and on schedule in February. Further note that if Jesus does make it, he may not get downtown because of the the roadblocks and traffic restrictions. Remember, ye devout, that we have out priorities here.
And speaking of age-old values, we are told by Dr. Ballem and others of the Privileged Set, that "co-operation" is the key.
Have any of these bozos actually tried to negotiate local traffic lately.
Here's two quick snapshots of The Co-operators.
One: I'm driving east along Columbia in New West Tuesday afternoon heading to the Royal Columbian Hospital to see a friend who is recovering very nicely thank you from open heart surgery. Just before you get to the hospital, Columbia splits off into Columbia on the left and Burentte on the right, heading to the freeway. Some poor sap in front of me is in the wrong lane and wants to turn over to the Burnette lane. He has his turn signal on. He's at the front of the line. But, OH NOT YOU DON'T. The driver of the 18-wheeler monster rig keeps nudging and nudging so as to not let him in. Very sick. Very disturbing. Very co-operative.
Two: Yesterday afternoon about 3:30, I am walking across Broadway at Spruce, near Oak Street. Five lanes of traffic stop for me to cross, as they are required to by law. As is common courtesy. But the nice man in the Hummer who sees me from more than a third of a block away and has only to slow down while I step past him would SIMPLY NOT HAVE THAT, SUCKER! Lunatic boy screams past me imitating a great matador who can have the bull pass so close to him that a horn picks a button off the man's costume.
Yes, we are a nation and a town of Great Co-operators, Penny.
Like that's really going to happen to make the Olympic Visitation a real sweet pleasure.
Yes, I am really leaving town.
No, I am not renting out my house.
My home - Vancouver - has already been rented out by Gordon Campbell to the IOC.
You know what I want to know about the Olympics?
I will be Elsewhere, and I won't be watching TV.
I will be eating great food and walking and drinking real espresso and talking with friends and reading and writing and all the lovely people with slats of wood tied to their feet can careen down snowy slopes all they want.
If you can't escape, I suggest you go to a case lot sale at your local supermarket and stock up.
Hibernation will be the ticket.
Posted by David Berner at 9:03 AM
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
The B.C. government has found a wonderful old-fashioned way to justify cutting funds from social and medical programs.
"You can't have that, 'cause everyone will want it, so there!"
The fancy name they give this meanness is "service equalization."
On Vancouver Island, the Health Authority needs to cut $45 Million from their budget. (The new Canada Line cost $133 Million per kilometre vs. $13 Million they could have spent on Light Rail. The Olympics? Don't even ask.)
So, here is a partial list of what's going:
Fewer operations, reduced diagnostic services, higher parking fees. There's a hiring freeze and an overtime ban. Properties will be sold and two residential care homes will close.
If a support service for parents is available in Victoria but not in Powell River, the Victoria program is being cut. Meals on Wheels will no longer be delivered for free to some shut-ins because others pay a fee.
The same principle means less money for therapy for adults with mental illness and peer counselling programs for those struggling with addictions.
Peer counselling for addicts is just about the cheapest, not to mention the most effective approach to addictions that we have. Cutting funds is cutting your own throat.
And Meals on Wheels?
Gordon Campbell is clearly going out of his way to be the new poster boy for The Grinch.
Posted by David Berner at 8:46 AM
Immigration Canada has much to answer for.
While they do an admirable job processing thousands of new people arriving from all over the world and swearing in new and valuable citizens with regularity, they make some colossal errors.
Usually we are made aware of the criminals and nut jobs they welcome.
But today, the Globe has focused on a troubling case in which a policeman from Mexico has fled to Canada with his family under death threats.
We don't believe him. We, being Canada.
Do you still travel to Mexico?
Murder is practically the national sport.
Drug and sex murders are daily past times.
And that includes in luxury "protected" resorts.
In the age of the iPhone and Google, how long exactly would it take to verify this man's claim that returning to Mexico would constitute a death sentence?
Posted by David Berner at 8:36 AM
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Toronto high schools are being hustled by a group of con artists who want to put TV screens in their hallways.
Of course, ads will appear.
Of course, ad people would love to get their claws on all that young consumer flesh.
Of course, schools are strapped for cash. This is Canada, remember. So, of course, schools are tempted.
Bad idea. Very bad idea.
I watch TV.
I don't watch the nature channel or CBC or pubic television.
I watch sports (NFL football, tennis and golf), comedy (Seinfeld re-runs, which I have seen now at least 20 times per episode), and the occasional dramamine or movie.
I do not expect TV to educate or enlighten me.
I get from TV exactly what I want - escape from my troubles.
I relax. My feeble mind wanders. I daydream. I sing. I eat food. I talk on the phone. I snooze.
Schools need books and teachers and yes, even computers. They also need art supplies and sports equipment.
Governments should pay for these.
If your government is not, then hassle the living daylights out of them.
I will not watch a video screen "installation" in an art gallery.
The medium is the message.
TV is not art.
It is shopping and silliness and that's just fine...
As long as it's not foisted on children who should be using their actual minds during school hours.
Posted by David Berner at 9:19 AM