The Vancouver Scrum

On the move!

Agh! You’re still here? My new site and weblog, is now up and running; new posts are building up over there, never to be mirrored here. Go! What are you waiting for? All the stuff worth keeping has been migrated over to the new server, and I don’t anticipate making any more posts here.

Bloggers and webmasters: Update your links! Simply replace with in your blogrolls or bookmarks to point to the new site. Old posts will remain on this server for as long as the people at Blogger/Google allow them to remain; unfortunately, I’m not going to bother to come up with any way of converting permalinks on this blog to their corresponding posts on the new site. Yes, I plead laziness. I also realize the irony of switching away from Blogger just it starts to add features that the demanding blog nerds insist upon.

Thanks for reading and linking, and see you over at!

—Ian King, December 13, 2004

Friday, January 30, 2004


Without comment


Impaired Judgment

Oh, goody. The BC government is planning to soften up on drunk drivers. No more inconvenient $600 fines, lifelong criminal records, or 1-year licence suspensions -- try $250 and 90 days, with exemptions if you've gotta use the car to get to work. Jeez, that sounds a lot like the penalties in, oh, I don't know... Hawaii?

Officially, it has nothing to do with this:


Wednesday, January 28, 2004


Two more on stealth taxes

After the BC government's latest backhanded tax hike, a couple of Vancouver Sun scribes weigh in.

Vaughn Palmer: Pow.

Chad Skelton: Bam.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004


Easy on the toad --he's a prince, y'know

Did Barbara Frum make some sort of deathbed pact with the CBC to ensure that the MotherCorp never get too tough with her spawn? Between Susan Ormiston’s soft chat with David Frum about State of the Union addresses (AS IF Bush doesn’t pay attention to the media, and AS IF Bill Clinton’s speeches were a disordered mess with no purpose. Susan, ask a bloody followup and call him on it!) and Evan Solomon’s only slightly more challenging conversation about Frummy-boy’s new book with fellow armchair general Richard Perle, I’m getting my suspicions.

Some Frumisms: “You must see the world as it is, not how you want it to be.” TRANSLATION: If you disagree with how I see things, you’re looking through red spectacles. The truth is what I say it is.

“America must always champion the ideals of freedom.” Riiight: like interning people in military encampment as neither civilians nor prisoners of war? Sending Maher Arar over to Syria instead of Canada? Encouraging meter-readers and mail carriers to be spies on their routes? More like rant a lot about freedom, while overriding civil liberties whenever they get in the way of your latest bastard-Trotskyist escapade—or the search for monsters under the bed.

One thing I’ve gotta credit Frum with: He’s always on message, even as he does logical loop-de-loops about the rationale for kissing ass with some of the world’s strongmen while invading other countries, or how the fact that there was nothing wrong with invading Iraq under false pretense (“moral clarity” apparently doesn’t forbid lying to your own people and the entire international community.) In that respect, he’s like any good snake-oil salesman.

Still, it doesn’t excuse Solomon or Ormiston’s softness, especially when there’s nobody else on the show who would force Frum to flesh out his assertions. (The old broadcast interviewing principle: if there’s one guest, the interviewer does the challenging; if it’s more than one, the host can be more inquisitive than adversarial. Said principle does not apply to partisan or ideological love-ins.) Solomon did what he does with every book on Hot Type—tells the reader to go out and buy it. No thanks. If I want to read any Frum, I’ll get it from the local library and let the think-tanks and their wealthy benefactors line his pockets.

Stealth Tax!

Governments like to publicize unpopular moves when nobody's looking -- like around 4:30 Friday afternoons, when any good reporter is either hitting the pub or headed that way. Case in point:

Drinkers of British Columbia revolt: Province boosts booze prices

Of course, our beloved provincial government did it one better -- let it slip out in a press release at 6 PM on the day of a Cabinet shuffle! Nice one, that. Had it come out on any other day, it'd have made page A1, not buried deep down in the Bs.

Worth noting: The last time a BC government raised the markup on liquor in, the then-Opposition Liberals screamed and moaned that the then-NDP government was introducing a new tax. From the article...

The markup increase is the agency's first since August 1996.

That increase, brought in by the then-NDP government, was roundly criticized as a tax hike by the B.C. Liberals.

"The liquor markup is a tax and the NDP government is desperate for cash. [Then-premier] Glen Clark is a taxaholic," Liberal MLA Rick Thorpe said at the time.

As an aside, Thorpe was the minister who was responsible for privatizing liquor sales in BC -- and who cocked up the job miserably.

Might want to gently remind them that this move will net the Liberal government -- which blew a mother of a hole in its finances when it slashed income taxes before looking at the books first -- a cool $55-million annually, compared to $3-million in the 1996 booze tax hike. Taxaholics, indeed.

I eagerly await the howls of protest from the supposedly "non-partisan" Canadian Taxpayers Federation. Who bets that had the NDP done such a thing, the CTF's current local spokesturd would be on every TV newscast screaming bloody murder?

Wednesday, January 21, 2004


Amusing Images

Two photos found on the web and worth passing on:

"Shareholders -- what an accursed lot of babbling ingrates! Have they no respect for my stature, my superior cognition and verbiage, or my mercantile acumen? These blatherskites of Tweedy Browne and their feculent ilk have all the intellect of a decomposing cane toad, and an equally putrid aroma. Blast! I shall have my revenge yet!"

"Here comes some photographer trying to get the most unflattering shot he can. Please, God: I beg you to make him not get that shot. If this runs, I'll be seeing myself comparted to Millhouse Van Houten, when I really wanted to be Professor Frink with the death raaays and the brilliant theories and the hyperbolic topology and the MM-HOYVIN-GLAYVEN!"


Okay, you talked me into it!

Thanks to James Bow, Dawn, and several other correspondents for putting on a little pressure to keep on bloggin'. My problem is that when I'm drunk on distracted by holiday cheer, amusing genetic experiments, or other strange diversions, blogging goes from low to no priority.

Either that, or I'm just really freakin' lazy.

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