Friday, November 30, 2007

Tasering is better than ...

A woman is recovering in hospital after being tasered in the latest event of electronic warfare by police. She allegedly held knives and advanced toward the officers.
But that was better than turning around and backing toward the police. That action might have resulted in a shot in the head as the police defended themselves.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

More expensive?

Making those awful little Japanese character Olympic mascots in China is yet another mistake by the Vancouver Olympic committee. A cold shouldered affront to BC talent. It's like the Campbell government's internal policy is, 'never BC'. (resulting in that Mexican designer company coming to town and thinking the Northwest Territories inukshuk at English Bay was a BC emblem for our Olympics) Of course we can't show you those horrid lil critters because of the Olympic police who prevent that kind of thing.
VANNOC want everyone to get on board our Olympic program and support it, yet it's hard to do with British Columbians being constantly excluded from the process.
Would it really have been more expensive to produce them here? Jim Sinclair of the BC Federation of labour in honesty says yes, they would cost a little more by being produced here. He knows there are many aspects of that cost that actually make them cheaper.
Chinese toys are under fire right now because of the toxicity of many of their plastics. Every week we find another recall and even Mattel is reflecting that in sales. A recent poll showed that most parents are shying away en mass from buying Chinese toys this year. We know that the standards in Canadian production are very high. We know that they are very low in China and indeed, we have no way of monitoring them, let alone policing them. For all we know, those mascots are stuffed with rat fur.
But like the contract for the new BC ferries, ALL the money is going offshore. And now British Columbians won't share one dollar of the manufacture of those little oriental dolls. Had they been produced here, BC workers would have been paid, and spent some of that Canadian money on other things, patronizing local restaurants, buying fridges, home improvements, etc etc. The money would have dispersed back into OUR local economy for the benefit of British Columbians instead of into some Chinese company's pockets.
That is where the cost is truly assessed. How money filters through to you and me from major projects must be considered in the cost analysis.
Wouldn't it have been better to have a sticker on a British Columbia representative mascot that said, 'Proudly Made in Canada'?

And besides, those so called mascots are downright UGLY!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Had enough of crime affecting you?

Steve Brown, the brother-in-law, business partner and friend of Ed Schellenberg, the gas fireplace serviceman murdered in Surrey, BC, in October, has started a blog. Steve is asking for your voice to join his in crying out against the inadequacies of the justice system in combating the crime wave sweeping across Canada.
Ed, was simply doing his job fixing a gas fireplace. He was an innocent victim of a drug killing. This should not happen to law abiding citizens yet IS happening again and again. The power of the web is emerging in our society.
You CAN make a difference. Support Steve Brown's blog here ...

Be part of the groundswell.

Jurist's decision

The Robert Willie Picton trial is winding down. The prosecution has finished their final statements, the defense finished their closing arguments. The jury now considers everything they've heard over the last months. It would be hard not to find Picton guilty with the mound of evidence at his pig farm.
But the consequences of a verdict remain to be seen.
The six women met their horrible end on that farm, there is little doubt about that, but it is hard to believe that even a detestable character like Picton could have carried it all out, time after time, alone. Will finding him guilty result in a closed case? All done, neatly tied up? If Willie Picton is found guilty because the evidence was found on the farm, then could it be that others could be guilty as well? Circumstantial evidence has one problem, it can point to others too.
One wonders if the jury could find Robert Picton guilty, and still make a recommendation that the investigation continue to find others involved. Or does everyone want to get it out of the headlines and into fading history, even if other murderers go free?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sleazy negative billing?

We got our phone bill this week.
We're with Telus. Used to be an honorable company called BC Tel. Been with them for like 40 years. This month's bill had an extra charge on it for $2.95 saying it was "LD network access." Did London Drugs start a phone company? Nope, Telus was billing us for access to a long distance network somewhere.
We never call long distance. We never asked to have a separate charge for access to long distance. They just slipped the charge onto our account. Sort of like those sleazy used car dealers used to do when they told you the fenders weren't included at the original price.
So we called customer service. Got a Chinese guy Erin, he began an argument that we had agreed to pay this access charge. He was hard to understand so we asked that he repeat it, thinking we missed something. There was no mention of such an addition on our previous Telus bill. So after a long dissertation that we had to pay it and it would be monthly = $35.40 a year! We asked for a supervisor.
Erin argued longer about how we had to pay the bill. Asked for the supervisor again. The supervisor isn't here right now. We asked that he transfer the phone to the person sitting next to him. He told us to call in again and repeat the whole procedure of answering metallic questions from a virtual voice. We asked again for a supervisor.
Well you know the procedure, he put us on hold hoping we'd give up in disgust. We stayed. Blood pressure rising over the poor service and frustration so far. Bad music.
Then Erin hung up.
After a repeat call-in with mounting aggravation, a nice man Sasha, arrives and explains that the 'other' telephone companies don't pay for long distance service for their customers and Telus is making their own customers pay. So I see it as Telus customers subsidizing Telus' competition. Why ever would Telus want to stick it to their own?
Easy, slipping another $2.95 onto everyone's bill would be a huge windfall profit to pay all those management bonuses for thinking up this one! Then they wouldn't have the hassle of dealing with their own competition. These guys must be ex bank employees!
So now I am blocked from calling long distance on my land-line but don't have the charge. Don't forget I had to call THEM to have it removed. And why can't Telus stop those telemarketting jerks from Toronto and Michigan from calling ME long distance every night at dinnertime?

Hmm, I am thinking that as I have two cell phones, internet service and a landline with Telus, I might have something to offer that competition myself. I never got a thing from Telus in appreciation of my patronage over the years. I probably would get a new computer or a car by changing all this business to someone else.
Sleazy negative billing has a way of catching up with you.
I think Erin lied about his name too.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Welcome to Canada 2010

Welcome to British Columbia 2010, bring your taser deflector.
Anyone I have talked to about the tragic death of Robert Dziekanski is furious about it. They rant about the RCMP, their training and competence. They're incensed about the 27 second tasering of a confused man. Some are saying that the police just wanted to play with a new exciting weapon. Others that they didn't have any idea how to handle the situation. Four burly officers had to resort to lethal action to subdue him?
In my humble opinion, the officer who put all the weight of his leg against Dziekanski's neck during the scuffle should be charged with manslaughter at the least. In effect a death grip. That is a police matter, not a public inquiry matter. But did you know that the Vancouver Airport 'Authority' doesn't report to anybody? Like BC Ferries they are an entity unto themselves. Answering for their actions to no one.
All the four policemen who partook in this event should be fired in dishonor because none of them had the wit to understand the danger to the victim.
RCMP training should be reviewed to alert new constables to a fact that my young niece mentioned to me, that cutting off the blood circulation to the brain can cause death within 18 seconds. She said she learned that in high school!
Airport security on duty at the time should be fired because one man lingered for hours and hours without alerting suspicion or investigation! He could have been there to blow up a plane! What were they looking at if anything?
And the airport official who allegedly was talking to Robert's mother 5 hours after he was dead and told her he was fine should be fired in disgrace as well.
This is a catastrophic event when we are trying to invite the world to our coming Olympic event. It shows that we are incapable of handling alarming situations that require immediate thought and quick competent action. Do we want the world to think our RCMP are thugs? Very strong and prompt action is required here, or are we going to get another 'inquiry' that starts sometime years ahead when they hope we have all forgotton Robert Dziekanski? Why isn't someone available next week to conduct this while it is fresh in witnesses' minds and most of all, the public mind!
Tourist beware.

addenda: tasers work by firing a small pair of needles on a wire into your skin. The needles do not pull out. If they shot an AIDS or Hep C carrier before you, do they sterilize those needles? Do the needles carry diseases and transfer it from one victim to another? There might be more risk than falling on the ground here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Christmas Shopping

So it's upon us. Tis the season to be jolly. Hmmm, but ... Well I tried to start Christmas shopping. Really. The first place we went was SportChek in Pacific Center. Quite a few employees in there. They didn't have the Adidas wear I wanted, but the pleasant young man was helpful. So my wife picked up an item from UnderArmor and went to pay at the checkout. Another young man was already there, taking the phone. We had our money out ready to pay. He called for a cashier. We waited. Other employees were about, looking important and knowledgeable about sports. Casual, fit, young people. The man called again for a cashier.
I began to get nervous about waiting when I saw that no one appeared to notice. I sidled slowly toward the entrance. Hearing again a call for a cashier. My wife waited. I finally left the store and waited in the mall.
Then after the fourth call, a young girl came running from another store to answer the call for a cashier!
My wife thinks I am impatient. We argue lightly for a minute about customer service. She says it's never going to be like it used to be. We are just too old now. We remember stuff.
But I said, why offer a store your money if they're so lax the cashier isn't even IN the store? Was she the only one who could work the machine?
Wife said again that's the way it'll be this year. I said those Americans at Bellis Faire want my money, they're at the cash register smiling at me when I am there. That's customer service.
I might try a few more stores this year for my Christmas shopping. Give Canadians a chance. Maybe. But my list isn't about who I'm getting gifts for, it's a list of stores I was intending to shop at this year.
I've already crossed one off that list.
Maybe I'll just get everyone a pound of Humbugs.