Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

Contact me at revmod AT gmail.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Thanks, it's been fun.

My guest host duties end today as Don will be returning shortly. It's been interesting to interact with people I normally wouldn't have any kind of contact with, and to be able to be heard about what's on my mind on a particular day.

I will be keeping busy as I'm sure many of you will with places to go, people to see, elections to win....

The only words of wisdom I can think to leave with are these: The Panthers will cover the spread.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Leafs Suck! Canucks Rock!

Torontonians now acknowledge that the centre of Canada's NHL universe is planted on the West Coast.

p.s. - How 'bout them Flames?
Now more than ever: UBC = U Buy Coke

Like a lot of other schools in North America, the University of British Columbia has an exclusive cold beverage agreement with Coca-Cola. However, at a lot of other schools, if you don't want Coke you can always use the water fountain. This doesn't seem to be the case any more at UBC.

Fortunately for me, I work in the University Hospital, where we still have free drinking water. and Pepsi.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Potluck O' Links...

Just in time for Bridal Fair season, my friend and former co-worker Brenda Jones opens up about Unplanning Your Wedding.

Items sent my way by a couple of other friends:

When he isn't stepping it up for CUPE, The Hand is bouncing it off the wall with stuff like The Meatrix.

Ceramic Rat has been filling my cupboards from her studio for the past three years, and keeps an eye on the future.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Don't forget Ted, it's the thought that counts...

Gordon Campbell's wedding present to Ted Nebbeling.
Is There a 'Queer Eye' to Straighten Out These Guys?

By announcing his same sex marriage, BC Liberal Cabinet Minister Ted Nebbeling strikes a blow for equality.

Actually, in their treatment of the opposition and the public, the openly gay members of the Liberal caucus, Nebbeling and Vancouver-Burrard MLA Lorne Mayencourt have already proven to be equal, if not superior, to their heterosexual counterparts.

Nebbeling has spewed hours of invective at the NDP members of the house, at one point neatly evading the rules of the House (and subsequent expulsion) by swearing at Vancouver-Mount Pleasant MLA Jenny Kwan and referring to her as "Dar dey wah" (a liar) in Cantonese.

Nebbeling's Community Charter and Municipal Projects Streamlining Act paved the way for the RAV line to eventually bankrupt Greater Vancouver's municipal transit system. His reward appears to have been the chance to pad the value on his real estate holdings in Whistler as the government's pointman on the 2010 Olympics.

During the first six months of his term, Mayencourt kept the doors of his constituency office locked at all hours, and was just as belligerent as Nebbeling to the two NDP MLA's, at one point engaging them in a shoving match in a legislature stairwell.

As chair of the committee charged to overturn the 1999 WCB regulation prohibiting smoking in BC's bars and restaurants, Mayencourt had no problem meeting extensively with the members of downtown Vancouver's hospitality industry who had bankrolled his campaign, but absolutely refused to meet with "special interest groups" like the British Columbia Lung Association.

Isn't it great that in British Columbia, gays and lesbians can not only marry, but they can also run for office, get elected, lie, bully their opponents, and bilk the public just like their straight counterparts?
Hey! Don!

Did you ever pick the right time to skip town!
Campbell lives in interesting times...

At yesterday's Lunar New Year Parade, Gordo was brave enough to put in a appearance, wearing a gold two-piece suit that made him look like, for lack of a better description, Ed Begley Jr. as Dr. Evil. By contrast, Kam Bo Yee (Mayor Larry Campbell) was resplendent in traditional dress, a cross between an imperial warlord and the God of Fortune.

My vantage point at the parade was just off Abbot and Pender, in front of the Sun Yat-Sen Gardens. I was about 20 feet away when Campbell came by, and he looked bewildered, if not frightened by the booing and jeering coming from the crowd. Picking up on the hostility in the crowd, the Premier's bodyguards hurried him along to the point where this reporter could no long surpress the cry of "Faster, Gordo, Faster!!"

While the BC Liberals have been favourites of the stridently pro-business Chinese community in Vancouver, the legislature raids and The Premier's drunk driving conviction and the scandal stemming from recent RCMP raids on the Legislature have deeply offended many whose culture revolves around propriety and the value of saving face.

Electing progressive, Left-leaning candidates such as Raymond Louis or Jenny Kwan is the overwhelming exception to the political rule in B.C.'s Chinese community. However, as the 'monkey business' continues, the BC Liberals leave themselves vulnerable to hidden dragons on the right.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

The view from the south

(This entry posted by Don)

I obviously don't have my finger on the pulse of the newly rejuvinated Conservative leadership race, from my holiday destination, but alongside Bear's entries on the topic, be sure to check out the Canadians in my link list - All Things Canadian has a good index of the information and opinion out there.

I've been asking locally what people think on the subject. Can Stronach overcome her lack of experience? Does Clement have a chance? The word on the street is "Who? What? Please get out of my sun."

Despite being seriously disconnected, Jim Elve has invited me to participate in his Federal election blog. I'll try not to drag the entire group down to my level - I'm sure you'll see some incisive commentary there despite my presence, cracking jokes and generally treating the whole thing like a big obvious foregone conclusion. I mean, how can Layton lose?

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Internal polling shows Stronach could walk away with Conservative leadership

Belinda Stronach, oops...Belinda Stronach

launched her campaign for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada yesterday. It appears that the auto parts heiress reached the decision to run after one of North America's most credible polling agencies illustrated that she could win handily.

State of the Union: Bush takes credit for safer America

And who wouldn't feel safer with a Commander in Chief like this?

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Kung Hei Fat Choi! Kung Hei Fat Choi, EVERYONE!

Every time this year, when Americans find themselves between Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day, Canadians wonder why they don't have a holiday between New Year's Day and Good Friday.

Albertans, who are like pseudo-Canadians (note to Don's regular readers: I know not all of you wear cowboy hats and vote Republican, but don't make any sudden moves, they have you surrounded) do have a winter holiday, Family Day (third Monday in February) which commemorates Don Getty's remorse as a failed parent when his son Dale was busted for cocaine possession. For those of you scoring at home, this is the same Don Getty who said 'I may beat my kids, but I never abuse a seat belt'.

'Family Day' carries about as much tradition as Costington's Department Store's Love Day It's time for a statutory holiday that celebrates thousands of years of tradition, is already marked by tremendous excitement, colour, and pageantry, and points out Canada's future diversity AND the fact this is a Pacific Rim Nation: Lunar New Year

If the $175 million (at least in BC) turns out to be an issue, we can always drop Easter Monday as a stat, which a lot of us don't get off anyway. Or 'Family' Day...
Does anyone remember who won the Iowa Caucuses in '92?

I can't either, all I remember that it wasn't Bill Clinton, and he didn't win the New Hampshire Primary either. Last night's results may have determined John Kerry is a contender for the Democratic nomination, but by no means is he the winner, especially since no one appeared on the Iowa ballot with the prefix "Major General" in front of his name.

The Primary system has always intrigued me, it's much like opening a musical well off Broadway and bringing it back if it plays well in the sticks. A John Edwards can throw everything he has at a smaller state off the top, and if any of it sticks, hey, suddenly he's a force to be reckoned with. Might not be the most effective way to determine who gets to be chief executive, but neither is stacking party membership rolls with dead pets.

Monday, January 19, 2004

What's that flushing sound?

Let me get this straight - The Klein Tories care more about what the Canadian Standards Association says about low-flush toilets than they do about what the United Nations says about the universal rights of children?, which the Tories refused to adopt?

Isn't it a great day to be living here in British Columbia, where we can (at least for the time being) have both?
'Communist' to lead Alberta Liberals?

Ken Nicol is stepping down as leader of the Alberta Liberals to seek a federal Liberal seat in Lethbridge.

I know there may be a few of Don's regular readers who might want to remind me that the provincial Liberals on your side of the Rockies aren't the corporate-welfare crypto-fascists we have in Victoria. If Laurence Decore hadn't promised "brutal cuts" in 1993, Nancy McBeth hadn't jumped from the Tory caucus to lead the Liberals, and had not the Liberal caucus been in lockstep with the Tories on the Kyoto Accord, I might be inclined to agree.

Liberal MLA Kevin Taft, authour of 'Shredding the Public Interest' and whose articulate and insightful opposition to Bill 11 got him labeled a 'Communist' by Ralph Klein, is waffling about whether or not he should run for the vacant leadership.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but what Taft should be doing, is getting over his "I'm too professional/academic to join the NDP" and think about seeking that Edmonton East nomination. If Sheila can think about jumping ship for the 'Jack Attack', so can Kevin. The reality is, the only difference between the Klein Tories and the Alberta Liberals is that while Ralph & Co. are kept in power thanks to the overwhelming corporate support of Big Oil, the Liberals wish they could be.

Help me out here, I know there are a lot of good left-wingers/progressives in Alberta, but are there any progressive parties left in the legislature? On the one hand, you guys have an NDP legislative caucus as big as ours, but at the same time, I know that in 2001, during the Calgary transit strike, both of them were requested by local party organizers to walk ATU 583's picket line, and they refused, stating that they didn't want to appear to be 'taking sides'. Pam Barrett may have claimed to see God, but at least she had no qualms about picking up a picket sign....

Friday, January 16, 2004

Meet at the corner of Abortion Kills Babies and A Woman's Right to Choose...

The corner of Commercial Drive and Broadway in Vancouver one of the busiest intersections in Canada - plenty of crosstown traffic, Skytrain stations for both the Expo and Millenium Lines, and the terminus for the 'B-Line' rapid bus to UBC. This corner also creates a lot of traffic on its own, since Safeway, Shopper's Drug Mart, and other major retailers moved into the area, despite the objections of the Mom and Pop grocers further up the street.

This intersection is near my home in East Vancouver, where we consistently elect staunch feminist New Democrat MLAs like Jenny Wai Ching Kwan and a staunch feminist New Democrat MPs like Libby Davies. That being said, the overwhelming pro-choice sentiment in the neighbourhood doesn't stop a dedicated group of about two dozen pro-lifers, who judging from their appearance, come from at least the near fringes of the Fraser Valley, to disrupt the hustle and bustle at Broadway and Commercial by reminding us that, in their opinion, Abortion Kills Babies.

On my Fridays off (I work a flex schedule) I get to be disrupted by the presence of these true believers as I'm toting my groceries home to my bus. Having been cornered by one or two on a few occasions, I may have let the occasional sack of frozen peas swing a little too far, but fortunately, Translink has responded by installing its new bus shelters well back of the curb, making the gauntlet of pamphlets and blown up fetus photos a little easier to run.

My own personal views about abortion aside, or for that matter, yours, here's what I don't get: These are people who every week, go out and demonstrate in a very conspicuous area a position on a hot-button issue that I think everyone outside of pregnant teenagers has made up their minds up about. Why do I never see a group demanding a return to capital punishment, say, in front of the Lions Gate Bridge? The only attention I've ever seen the pro-lifers get is being screamed at by people who hold the opposite viewpoint, and a bag of frozen peas for trying to corner a guy while he's running for the #9.

In cases like this, you're either preaching to the choir, or the choir has a mind to kick your ass. Especially if it's a choir of pregnant teenagers....

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Welcome aboard?

You know I'm not much for the autobiographical information here, but I have to come clean about something before I dare comment on today's relevant story.

In the spring and summer of 1990, while my politics were still somewhat more malleable, I was caught up in the excitement of the Liberal leadership race, culminating in a convention in Calgary the same weekend that Meech Lake Accord died. I was caught up enough that as soon as Lloyd Axworthy (my first choice) elected not to run, I was finding someone in the Sheila Copps campaign to volunteer to.

I wasn't a delegate to the convention, but I worked like crazy nonetheless. In some small way, I helped her try to convince six thousand delegates that were already elected on Chretien slates, that she had no chance of converting. And ultimately, as a non-delegate, I was selected to scrutineer, so I knew Chretien had won the thing about five hours before the Liberal party elected to tell the world. Played some euchre, yes I did, squirrled away in the dingy backrooms of the Saddledome. I digress.

It wasn't long after the convention that I first bought an NDP membership, and I haven't felt quite so disillusioned since. Chretien's first term convinced me I made the right decision.

All this is by way of saying that if Sheila Copps decides to follow a path I forged for her a decade ago, she's more than welcome. What fun it would be to doorknock with Sheila one weekend, and Ed Broadbent the next.

Looking around, Bow suggests a Shiela-walk would signal a new political dichotomy in Canada, as Martin shifts right and squeezes out the Conservative Party. Jim Elve suggests that Warren Kinsella may also want to weigh his options. More links as they pop up - I suspect this'll be a favourite topic of conjecture for a few days.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

A Green With Envy

(This entry posted by Bear)

Adrienne Carr is meeting with NDP leader Carole James this weekend in Victoria. Carr told the Vancouver Sun that the meeting is a 'summit of the centre-left' James responded that the meeting is a courtesy call, and that she stands by her promise from last fall's leadership campaign not to take New Democrats into dubious coalitions.

I use the term 'dubious' because Carr's assertation that the Green Party of BC is "centre-left" is dubious. Actually, let's just call it a lie. BC Greens are a bunch of union-hating organic libertarians, as witnessed by their support of the BC Liberals advocating taking right to strike away from teachers during the 2001 campaign, and Carr's assertion that she 'trusts business to do the right thing' during the same campaign (that was in reference to pay equity, but given the number of times tax breaks show up in the BC Greens platform, she could park that statement anywhere).

As a leader, Carr seems to spend a lot of time at Baskin-Robbins because she seems to be tragically hooked on the flavour of the month. "Proportional Representation? Who cares what the Liberals are up to, let's push this like it's a Green idea, even though someone's been working on it since 1998!" Oppose Vancouver's 2010 Olympic Bid? Hell yeah! Who cares if COPE is trying to leverage the bid for social housing in the DTES, there can't be anyone else asking tough questions about the games already, can there?"

For all of the attention Carr has tried to grab since her party cashed in the "None of the Above" vote in 2001, a revitalized NDP has, judging by the last couple of polls, moved within striking distance of the Fiberals, largely because people who voted Green in 2001 are waking up, at least to the fact that Glen Clark hasn't been NDP leader since 1999.

For those of you outside of BC who support a Green Party, be assured this gang is not a real Green Party. Hopefully, after Carr sits down with James, this will become apparent for anyone who thinks BC Greens are progressive or anywhere near the left.
Martin Luther King: Not Just For African-Americans Anymore

(This entry posted by Bear)

Tomorrow is the 74th birthday of possibly the most marginalized person in our collective consciousness: The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King is marginalized every time he is eulogized because corporate media has a vested interest in keeping the frame as tight around his portrait as possible: every time this year we don't get much more than grainy pictures of a well-dressed black man walking in front of a bunch of other, mostly black, well-dressed people because...well...well-dressed people should be nice to each other.

Dr. King said that the 'true testament of a man is not in times of comfort and convenience, but in times of controversy and challenge'. Rerunning a miniscule portion of the 'I Have A Dream' speech for the zillionth time is pretty comfortable and convenient, but how about hearing something controversial from Dr. King about Workers Rights to Organize? The Civil Rights movement worked its way from Montgomery to Memphis, but at the same time so did the Right to Work movement, about which King tried to warn Americans:

"These laws offer no rights and no work!"

Dr. King also made a multitude of salient points about senseless wars in faraway places , many of which are relevant to this day.

"They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1945 after a combined French and Japanese occupation, and before the Communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony. "

Do you think we'll see anything like this repeated in the retrospectives on CNN or FOX News?

Seriously, if Dr. King were alive today in George Bush's America, with its hyperactive flag-waving, military misadventures, Wal-Mart economy, and (maybe you should just stay Home)land Security, do you really think he'd be regarded as a hero? He'd probably be a George Clinton cover away from having as much relevance to the political establishment as Rage Against the Machine.

Anyway, take a moment to remember someone who worked towards a better world in a lot of ways than most people don't usually realize.
The Final Frontier

George Bush wants to drive Americans toward an invasion of Mars. Frankly, I prefer this to the earlier choice - Syria.
Big day for broad humour

The top headline on the Calgary Herald declares a positive start to the "Bush-Martin Era." Frankly, I had no idea that "One year at most" could really be defined as an Era. An Epoch, perhaps.

Okay, the 'one year' is hopeful, but far from guaranteed. Still, I look forward to the Herald's report of the first meeting between Prime Minister and President, after the current Democrat frontrunner wins the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.: "Dean-Martin Era Begins"
All well with Fidel?

(Note: this entry posted by Bear)

The mayor of Bogota says Fidel Castro doesn't appear to have long for this world.

Of course, Castro died in 1967 and was actually replaced. You can tell because he appears barefoot on the cover of the Abbey Road album...wait...let me check that....

Seriously though, Castro to date has outlasted Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush the Elder, and Clinton. That's a long time not only to be set in his ways, but to set other Cuban leaders in his ways. Washington should be careful to wish him out of the picture, for fear they might get their wish.
Another reason I'm glad to be giving US airports a skip during my oncoming trip

U.S. air passengers will be colour-coded according to a perceived level of risk, to assist minimum-wage security people in figuring out who needs to be kept off of planes.

The code will be "green" (that's you, anonymous passenger), "yellow" (that's me, nasty anti-war blogger and one-time candidate for crazy left-wing party), and "red" (wave to the camera, bin Laden!). This is a big improvement over thier first draft, four-shade colour-coding (from low to high risk: white, yellow, black, and brown).

Too much?

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Public Service Announcements for BC Readers

(Note: this entry posted by Bear)

If you are in the Nelson area, do not take the Kootenay Lake Ferry, I repeat, do not take the Kootenay Lake Ferry.

If you are in New Westminster, do not have a baby at this time, I repeat, do not have a baby at this time.

For those of you outside British Columbia, this is pretty much what every day has been like since the start of 'A New Era for British Columbia'
Is Todd Babiak a Communist, or what?

(Note: this entry posted by Bear)

This just in: Edmonton is not one of the most powerful and respected cities in the world.

When I moved to Vancouver three years ago, everyone who lived around me warned me about how high taxes were. Did anyone warn me that I wouldn't wait half an hour for a bus or walk 15 blocks to recycle my newspapers anymore?
I want my M(ercer)TV

Actually, not so much. Monday Report was okay, but nothing I'll schedule my week around. The basic problem? Too much Mercer.

The Middleman reviewed Monday Report much more positively, so I'll suggest you head there for an alternative view. From my perspective, there was simply too much Mercer, and too many clunkers.

It began with a monologue, which simply went on too long. Edit, edit, edit. It continued with a 22 Minutes-style "news report", which wasn't bad, but was a little too intentionally opinionated. Take a page from Jon Stewart's book, here, and make the look and feel more of an an "objective" news report, and you can sneak much more in. We move on to a bit about boosting your car with Keifer's mom. Yawn. Hey, I like Shirley Douglas as much as the next left-winger, but this is the high point of celebrities available for the series premier?

Mercer did a walking, film-stock rant, which worked as well here as it always did for 22 Minutes - no complaints here. This particular one (on the military) wasn't his sharpest ever, but neither was it the worst... keep this bit, no matter what other changes are made. He then moved on to a bit where he gave the Ontario Teachers Union grief about some of their pension investments. You know, when you have $60 billion in investments, it's unlikely that you won't have any in tobacco or pharmaceuticals. Just ask the investors in most mutual funds in this country. Simply guilting them to divest, should you manage it, doesn't change things. Ask them to vote their shares ethically, and there's a whole different result.

Finally, we see a second person on set. Daryn Jones, "famous" for his work on the Comedy Network's Buzz, he did a very "Buzz"-like bit on New Year resolutions. I enjoyed this a lot, as much as anything due to the change of pace. I think Monday Report would be helped by expanding the stable of "reporters", and changing up the pace of an episode a little more, and earlier.

The finishing "streeter" with Torontonians talking about how much the rest of the country sucks was clever, and ended the show on a high note.

This show has a lot of potential, but it isn't there yet. I'll be looking forward to the bugs-ironed-out version, which I hope we're seeing by April.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Right on the money

Dru at DDW is exactly right in his evaluation of the NDP's critique of the "missile defense shield" the Bushites are spending a zillion dollars on. Why shouldn't Canada sign up? The NDP says it's because it's too expensive, won't work, and won't make us safer. Perhaps in response to Dru's post, a fourth point has been added - more on that further down. First up, Dru's critique:

If Star Wars was not expensive, did make Canada safer, and worked, would it be a good thing? No.

The reason is that, despite its name, NMD is an offensive weapon.
Or would be, if they could make the thing work, which it doesn't. The NDP criticisms aren't wrong, but Dru is right - they don't focus the debate to the right question. Missile defense was banned in the ABM treaty for a reason, and Dru hit it on the nose. Being able to flawlessly defend against nuclear retaliation would allow a country to push its weight around the world in ways that no country has a right to do. The NDP is almost getting there with their fourth point (not mentioned in Dru's post):

Star Wars is destabilizing. It's the start of the next arms race, as countries build more or new weapons to beat the so-called missile shield.
Not quite the same thing, but headed in the right direction. I think Dru's criticism stands, but if this is a later add-on, it's still a vast improvement.

But the question isn't "should Bush be developing these weapons?" (which I think is a clear and simple "no"), it's "given that Bush is trying to build these weapons, should Canada be involved?" I think that's a tougher question.

I'm starting to think that we should, for two reasons. Number one, we need to give the American government something right now. We've been smacking them around some lately, and they've been smacking back harder. It's no fun to have our border closed to beef, to have our softwood lumber carry absurd duties, and to have the American government ignore or dismiss our advice on international issues. The last we can't change until January 2005 (if the American voting public is smart) or January 2009 (if not). But we may be able to fix a number of little border annoyances if the current administration was more favourably disposed toward us.

My number two reason to be involved is the NDP's number one reason not to: the damn thing won't work. It will NEVER work. So where's the harm, if we aren't asked to pony up the dough?

I'm not convinced of this. I could easily be convinced otherwise. But right now, this feels like the easiest bone to throw at this administration, until the American public figures out their criminal incompetance, and sends Bush back to Crawford for good.
Citizens Shame

(Note: this entry posted by Bear)

The Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform began meetings last weekend in Vancouver.

Sorry for pouring cold water on this exercise in direct democracy, but I take exception to the future of British Columbia's electoral system being decided by 160 people picked out of the phone book.

In the riding where I live, Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, over 65% of the population isn't white, and the average income hovers just above the poverty line. Taking those major demographic factors about my community into consideration, who gets picked to represent us at the Assembly?

I don't work in my riding either, but at least my workplace is in Greater Vancouver, and I shoot any pool, on Main Street, Fraser Street, and Kingsway, not up in Whistler Village with my chamber of commerce pals.

I wonder if our representation at the Citizen's Assembly has anything to do with our current representation in the Legislature?
Tina's gone!

Alright, that's enough of that. After being stuck for a month on some sort of rhetorical question about homegirls, Tina the Troubled Teen seems to have disappeared, perhaps forever, along with the Brunching Shuttlecocks site. So it is with remorse that her link at the bottom of the page must be removed.

If she turns up somewhere else on the web, let me know and she can return to her regular post on the page. In the meantime, someone has helpfully recapped her highlights here.

Update: Tina's back, but still talking up the "homegirl" thing. Once she changes, she'll return to this page.
Another reason to pick "against"

Paul O'Neill, much to the surprise of absolutely no one who was paying attention, tells the world that the Bush administration plotted an invasion of Iraq from the very first cabinet meeting, long before 9/11.
Last call for bitching about last call

(Note: this entry posted by Bear)

Speaking of Law & Order, the recent shooting of Rachel Davis has Vancouver's bar owners insisting on extra police officers to protect their establishments when they close at 4:00 AM. Of course, the same bar owners, showing where their real concerns lie, refuse to pay the full tab for extra policing.

When the 'Funcouver' coalition bullied 4:00 AM closings on to the 2002 election ballot, did they ever once think of any the consequences, particularly, where the gun-toting gang-bangers would migrate to once the illegal booze cans closed?

If you can't intoxicate yourself before midnight, you haven't spent enough time at Hastings & Main. As for 'Funcouver', why not just get your patrons in the door earlier, rather than making them stay for last call at the witching hour when all hell breaks loose? If Sport Chek can have Door Crasher Specials, why can't The Shark Club?

There is no concrete reason why municipal and provincial governments have prostrated themselves to the short-sighted impresario who contribute nothing to the community beyond trying to inebriate as many suburban teenagers as possible. Especially when these same pillars of the community don't do anything to promote their establishments beyond bitching about not always getting their way at City Hall.
Are you now, or have you ever been, a cheese-eating surrender monkey?

Richard Perle's book reminds European governments, and Canada by implication, that we're with the United States or against it:

We should force European governments to choose between Paris and Washington
I know there are Americans who are still pissed at the French, but Jebus. I mean, I only caught a couple of minutes of 7th Heaven flicking through the channels, but it was long enough to watch the resident clergyman/patriarch take the town to the woodshed for expressing anti-French sentiments (link soon). George Bush, Richard Perle - when Rev. Cam is calling you out for your foreign policy, your days are numbered.

Update: It seems, from the TV listings description, that the family RevCam was defending was not French at all, but Muslim. Though with a name like "Dupree", and a daughter named "Jill", I'm suspecting not first generation Arabic - perhaps they converted. In fact, "Dupree" still sounds kinda --- French. So, they're French, and they're Muslim. Welcome to America, you unfortunate one-off television characters.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Why blogs matter

John Allore at Who Killed Theresa? speaks from both the personal and political on crime and justice issues. We could definitely use a deeper examination of justice issues than the one we draw from our weekly diet of Law & Order.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Let's get ready to ruuuummmmmbbbbble.......

(Note: this entry posted by Bear)

Haven't been in Alberta for a while, so I had no idea Lorne Taylor was still Environment Minister. I see he also hasn't learned much about picking his battles.

Maybe RFK Jr. could do Albertans a favour and arrange for his Uncle Ted to give Lorne a ride home....
'I'm lyin' in bed (with half the caucus), just like Gordon Wilson did....'

(Note: this entry posted by Bear)

A former BC Liberal wants to bring back the Progressive Democratic Alliance.

'The PDA disappeared after its leader, Gordon Wilson, crossed the floor to join the NDP government of the day.'

The PDA started when Wilson was bullied out of the leadership of the BC Liberals by Gordon Campbell. The entire PDA legislative caucus was Wilson and his girlfriend, another former Liberal MLA.

It was kind of like of that scene in 'Jerry Mcguire' when Rene Zwelliger decides to follow Tom Cruise out of the office, but Tom Cruise was never put in charge of the Fast Ferries project.

As far as political brands go in this province, the PDA probably has as much ring as Coleco or Commodore. On the other hand, when the Sons of Socreds (ie. the Fiberals) eventually crash and burn, they might have another place to stage a hostile takeover.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Whaddya mean, no concessions?

(Note: this entry posted by Bear)

When a Union says 'No Concessions' during bargaining, you know you're in for a tough haul. However, when the employer won't even consider concessions from the Union, it just gets ugly. Since passing Bill 29 just over two years ago, the BC Liberals have sent thousands of front-line health care workers packing. Last spring, the Hospital Employees Union realized they were in a fight they weren't going to win, and ran up the white flag.

The response from the Liberals, through their newly created Regional Health Authorities, to date has been to tear up the white flag, set the shreds on fire, and flush the ashes. The Vancouver Island Health Authourity turned down $21 million in HEU concessions last fall. HEU offered even more in concessions to the Vancouver Coastal Health Authourity, and they were flat out rejected as of this week.

It also doesn't help that Locals of the Industrial, Wood, and Allied Workers Union have 'partnered' with Regional Health Authourities and have been offering 'yellow-dog' contracts to the new food services and housekeeping contractors. While the IWA National is on record not supporting the actions of the affected Locals, they haven't gone out of their way to condemn them either. In fact, IWA delegates walked out of last fall's BC Federation of Labour Convention when the issue was raised.

This is the same IWA who supported the Kelowna Accord, cutting the Solidarity BC movement off at the knees in 1983. It's the same IWA whose President supported back-to-work legislation in the coastal forest strike in a photo op with Gordon Campbell.

This is also the same IWA who's affiliated with the NDP, and sent a substantial delegation to the last B.C. leadership convention.

Seriously, what's wrong with this picture?
Polls are Fun!

(Note: this entry posted by Bear)

Especially since they bear no relation to actual results in a first-past-the-post system. However, Political Scientists at the University of British Columbia have developed a method to predict election results with some degree of accuracy.

Like I said, some.

As for the British Columbia numbers in the polls Don mentions, those will turn on how close any Martinites are involved - for some of us, the words 'Christy Clark' and 'Defendant' have a really nice ring together.

At this moment, the rain is washing away the remnants of this week's winter storm. For those of you outside of the 604 who were cackling about how Lower Mainlanders handled the weather, Toronto has 600 snowplows to the 42 across the GVRD, and unlike Crazy Mel, DaVinci never called in the army.
Predictions become worthless: poll

I don't have a link, I don't have the precise numbers (and number-crunching poll data has never been my forte anyway), but a poll that was just being discussed on Newsworld suggests the big winner in the Conservative merger has been the Liberal Party.

I was also thrilled to see the Alberta numbers, which shows the NDP as the big gainer of the lost Tory voters.

More numbers as they come available, but I think Kinsella's minority government prediction is looking not very likely, and James Bow's prediction of a Deifenbaker-sized majority is. But of course, a lot can happen between now and an election, and on election day, no matter what the polls say, everyone starts at zero.
Santa's Helper Dies

(Note: this entry posted by Bear)

The last time I saw this guy, he was shepherding the little ones to see Santa Claus at Kingsgate Mall

Mount Pleasant is by no means as rough a neighbourhood as it used to be, at least the supermarket doesn't have a holding cell like it did 15 years ago. Still, it's unsettling when you see anyone familiar taken out like that.

As for public auto insurance, Dave Barrett and the NDP created the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia in 1975. The Socreds had the better part of two decades to show their right-wing colours and shut down ICBC, but backed off every time the numbers proved it just made sense. Even in the 'New Era', the Fiberals have treaded lightly on what's become a sacred trust among most BC motorists.
Provincial government Christmas present to Albertans

As followers of Alberta politics know, the provincial Tories tend to use the Christmas holiday to make some potentially unpopular change, or release embarrassing information. Why not? The news cycle is about 20 minutes long then, and most people are ignoring even that.

This year, the Liberals wisely waited to unwrap their annual Tory gift until Orthodox/Ukranian Christmas, when attention spans are a little longer. And look what they've found under the tree:

Almost 60 per cent of Albertans support the idea of public auto insurance, according to a government survey that wasn't released for six months.

The poll, conducted in June with 1,000 respondents, was released at the end of December as part of background information to a release on the insurance reform process.
More than anything else, this is the smoking gun proving that the Tories in Alberta are ideolouges, and that's as dangerous or more to the long-term good of Alberta as any particular ideology they happen to be following. The government knows Albertans want public auto insurance. They see evidence from every other prairie province that public auto insurance is cheaper for consumers. And still, they won't seriously entertain the discussion:

... Finance Minister Pat Nelson... says the government isn't in the business of doing business.

"We didn't want to go back into that unless we absolutely had to," [emphasis mine - Don] she said. "That option was always there. What that poll really tells us, and what people said, was we don't really care who offers insurance, as long as it meets our needs, it's affordable and accessible, and we can have insurance that works for us.
If that's all the poll says, I'm a little surprised there weren't poll numbers released with exactly that spin.

It's telling that Nelson sees public auto insurance as the last possible option - not an equally-weighed option. It allows the Liberals to position themselves comfortably to the left of the Tories, something they've sometimes struggled to do since Ken Nicol took over the leadership.

I think this is a harbinger of doom for the provincial Tories. Successful Alberta governments have always looked beyond ideology. The "right-wing" Social Credit party stayed in government for forty years building schools, building hospitals, and paving roads. Peter Lougheed expanded the social safety net. But with ideological decisions like this, the Tories' fortunes will not look particularly rosy once the personally-popular Ralph Klein decides to collect his pension.
Famous Last Words

(Note: this entry posted by Bear)

"We'll take the ball and we'll score"

-Matt Hassalbeck, Quarterback, Seattle Seahawks: overtime coin toss, January 4, 2004

"I think we have to let the investigation run its course and we'll see what happens following that."

-Gordon Campbell, Premier, British Columbia: press conference, January 7, 2004

As for the coffee/diabetes story: Anyone remember the "Coffee Achievers" ads from around 1982? "It picks me up and let's me relax...." Also, in the 70's, at least one pediatrician prescribed coffee as a treatment for hyperactivity. I was hooked around the age of 4 and haven't looked back since.

Anyway, I'm taking the Packers next weekend and tying that to thousands of Tim Hortons customers lining up for double doubles thinking their pancreas are in good hands...

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

More drug news

The Globe and Mail reports that coffee is good for you - the more, the better!

...men who drink six or more cups of caffeinated coffee daily can lower their risk of diabetes by 54 per cent and women by 30 per cent.


Earlier studies have shown it is also beneficial in the prevention of Parkinson's disease, gallstones, colon cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, and depression.
My favourite studies are those that tell me to live my life exactly as I do now. Forget that "diet and excercise" junk. Doctor, I'm feeling a little under the weather - please write me a perscription for ice cream and steak and coffee and red wine. Wheeee!

Update: Re-reading the Globe quote I've lifted, it appears that men who drink lots of coffee can reduce their risk of diabetes by 54%, and reduce their risk of women by 30%. More sharp writing in Canada's national newspaper of record! Would this be a good time to mention that anyone interested in hiring me as a writer or editor is encouraged to e-mail me?
Thanks Don

(Note: this entry posted by Bear)

Interesting stuff about panhandlers in Calgary. I can tell you from experience in Vancouver that every time City Hall tries to get tough on panhandlers, all you end up with is tougher panhandlers.

'They just take the money and buy drugs, blah, blah, blah...' It's an easy assumption to make, but to throw it up on screen at the chi-chi rep cinema just scares the yuppies even more and blows the problem more out of proportion.

Living just up the hill from The Downtown Eastside (tm), I can say with some authourity that people who are panhandling are looking for a cup of coffee or a 99 cent pizza slice. It's the guys breaking into the storage locker in your apartment building and cashing in your possessions who are looking to buy drugs, and they don't take no for an answer.

Of course it's interesting what happens when you try to spellcheck the world 'panhandle' on this thing....
Revmod news

First, some time today RevMod's ten thousandth visitor will pass through. I believe Warren Kinsella calls that "a day", but even over a year, I'm thrilled to have an audience I never expected. Thanks for stopping by!

The second piece of news I've already alluded to here: I'm leaving the country for a couple of weeks, come mid-January. I may drop in an entry or two while I'm gone, but I've also asked an old friend to fill in for me. Bear lives in Vancouver's east end, which you may have read about in the news over the past several months. The general geographic location, not Bear's residence therein.

I'm certain he'll have much more to say about the potential criminal investigation into BC Liberal operatives than I have (read: zero), among many other subjects. He may return the "Revolutionary" to RevMod in a big way.

I'll be adding his e-mail address to the left. Compliments about his sharp writing and incisive comments can go to bear@ this domain. Criticisms of my comparatively wishy-washy politics can, as always, be directed to don@ this domain.

I've invited him to start posting right away, so I expect you'll see him here before I leave on my little holiday.
Justice news

Calgary plans to get tough on panhandlers.

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.

Anatole France (1844-1924)

The Red Lily, 1894

Chapter 7
(Thanks to Junk Food For Thought for the quotation.)

Why politics in the USA just doesn't make sense

It's not the extremeism found in this sort of post that concerns me. It's the overwhelming abuse of the apostrophie that makes me despair.

(Via Uggabugga)
Merry Christmas...

... to all my friends respecting the Julian calendar.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

This kicks ass!

For Shmuel, who likes more chess in his blogging, the ultimate site. Two bloggers duke it out over a "correspondence"-type game while describing, along with each move, a little something about the move: where it fits strategically, a little personal or general history of the game... I'm sure as it wears on, we'll see increasingly interesting posts.

Guy Andrew Hall - N. Todd Pritsky, Dec 2003 - ?, Open Source Politics

1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. Bb5
Note that each move is its own link. Considering how interesting these two are through the first five moves - moves that would take two experienced players mere moments to snap off (once each player had decided to head to a Ruy Lopez) - I'll be watching carefully.

Monday, January 05, 2004


I'm leaving the country for a while, departing mid-month - more on that another day - and was therefore thrilled to learn that the route I'll be taking is a good possible departure point for terrorist attacks on the east coast:

...some security experts have pointed to Canada as a possible launch point for other airliner attacks on the United States, with fuel-laden jets regularly departing Canadian cities for U.S. or Caribbean destinations.
Fortunately, as the Yahoo-hosted Reuters story reports, I'll be made to feel safer by the possibility of the presence of an armed Mountie.

Wait a minute! You know how many armed Mounties on an airplane would make me feel safer? Zero! Mounties are good, I'm okay with them as seatmates, but I could do without the sidearm poking me in the ribs. In a non-threatening way, not a stick-'em-up way, but even then.

I really don't think there's much chance of a repeat of September 11, 2001. I've said it before, but I'm pleased to reiterate: hijacked passengers will not sit by, fearful and docile, with an expectation of an unplanned detour to Cuba. They will instead make peace with their personal Almighty, and then act with the expectation that their own lives are already used. And I can't imagine al Quada thinks things would transpire any differently.

I'm sure there will be other terrorist attacks on American citizens, possibly on American soil. I think Canadians have to be part of vigilantly defending against that. But putting weapons on planes seems counterproductive to that vigilance.
Links to get you through Monday

Both via scribblingwoman, who finds the best stuff:

For the intellectual types, it's the English Title Generator (it has a much longer name, as should be expected from Lit types). How much easier it would have been to get through university, had I been able to whip up a title like Dialectic as Monotheism: Infantilizing Perverted Xenophobia in John Donne's The Sun Rising.

For those attracted to entertainments that are lower of brow, who are curious about the Paris Hilton reality show (not "The Simple Life" on FOX, but "Can a Penis Go in Here?" available exclusively online), but are too prudish, paranoid, or concerned about keeping their employers docile toward them, Barbie helpfully acts out the whole thing for you.

We have to admit that this plastic doll isn't as flexible or willing as Ms. Hilton. But then again, not many real girls are either.
RevMod - showing you our cultural secrets, but concerned about helping you keep your job, since 2002.
Aw, shucks

I've been named a Top Blog for January! How can I help but blush at "Straightforward and highly readable"? Don't blame me if my resume looks just a little more like a newspaper movie ad this time next week. ("Straightforward!" "Highly readable!" - Jim Elve. "Rational!" - Jay Currie. Held over by his employer for a 4th straight year!)

I kid. Really, "highly readable" is the highest praise of all to me. It's all I set out to accomplish when I began the blog. Thanks, judging panel, for the kind review.

Friday, January 02, 2004

My apologies

My recommendation of Counterspin's New Year special and my pre-emptive critique of Sean Cullen were both off the mark. Not that Sean was enormously funny, but the other two were so over-the-top earnest about everything, satire hardly came into it. I'm willing to cut Garofalo a little slack - she seemed to have trouble keeping up with the conversation from a studio in L.A., but still. "Bush is a liar!" "White people run everything!" "Paul Martin is rich!" Comedy at its finest. Book these people for Montreal right away.

I'm a little disappointed in the oversimplifications coming from people who share my end of the political spectrum. They were partially correct: the war wasn't about liberating Iraqis, finding WMD, or hunting for terrorists, but neither can we simply say it was all about the oil. But they did, anyway.

Two comments came from the audience, and they were both, essentially, "Canada should have participated in the war." And Garofalo responded, essentially: "boy, you Canadians I disagree with sure are polite about it". You could almost feel her trying to tone down her response from the fast-talking she's had to do with much more angry and aggressive panels and audiences over the past year.

Garofalo gave me my two Paul Martin sentences, but they were sadly underinformed enough to not have won me for life after all. "Isn't he the guy who cut social programs to balance the budget? He and George Bush will get along just fine." Sure - except that Bush has cut social programmes, without coming anywhere close to balancing the budget. I don't remember exactly, but the current US deficit is budgeted to some number not unadjacent to a gazillion. At least Martin accomplished something with his cuts (cuts that Chretien needs to be held responsible for, or congratulated for, depending on your own opinions, as well). Shared conservative economic policy does not automatically make fast friends. Likewise, Martin's wealth does not automatically get him an invitation to Crawford. Here's an important difference between the two men: Martin actually earned his money. Sure, I'm suspicious of highly successful capitalists, but I'm far more suspicious of horribly failed capitalists who have lots of money anyway, like the Commander-in-Cheif of the United States Armed Forces.

I suppose what I'm saying is that it is far too early to have much of an idea of what Paul Martin's government will really be all about, other than punishing Chretien loyalists for, well, being Chretien loyalists. That theme, at least, has certainly emerged.

What I am also saying is that pre-emptively equating Martin with Bush is not what I would describe as the height of satire.

What I am finally saying is that it may be too soon for Janeane to write the Canadian citizenship exam. But at least I'm getting used to the blonde look. Also, any points she gained with me trying to evaluate Paul Martin and Canada politics in general, she lost with "Alberta is just like Texas"... which the other panelists showed no desire to disagree with, Torontonians that they are. Hey, screw you all.

Special bonus unrelated note: it seems from that panel that there's a new phrase coming out of the left. Remeber the old days, when some selected crazies on the right would use introductory phrases like "I'm not a racist / homophobe / bigot of some description, but [insert offensive overgeneralization here]"? Well, the new one coming from the left seems to be "I'm not a conspiracy therorist, but..."