Damn Signs

July 31, 2013

Drive signsA little while ago I had my Grandview Heritage Group hat on and made a few calls about road signs appearing all over the neighbourhood that tried to brand the entirety of historic Grandview as The Drive.  It turned out to be a Commercial Drive BIA initiative and when I met with the new Exec Director, Jane McFadden  (wearing both my GWAC and Heritage hats) we managed to get it sorted out quite amicably.

The Courier has run a story about it today where I get to mildly cuss in public.


They ARE Watching You

July 31, 2013

If you were at all unsure about just what the US NSA was tracking about YOUR life, then this long and detailed report in the Guardian should set you straight.  They can and do track everything every one of us does online.  Without warrants.  Without overview.  At the whim of individual monitoring officers.

“A slide entitled “plug-ins” in a December 2012 document describes the various fields of information that can be searched. It includes “every email address seen in a session by both username and domain”, “every phone number seen in a session (eg address book entries or signature block)” and user activity – “the webmail and chat activity to include username, buddylist, machine specific cookies etc” …

“One document, a top secret 2010 guide describing the training received by NSA analysts for general surveillance under the Fisa Amendments Act of 2008, explains that analysts can begin surveillance on anyone by clicking a few simple pull-down menus designed to provide both legal and targeting justifications. Once options on the pull-down menus are selected, their target is marked for electronic surveillance and the analyst is able to review the content of their communications” …

“Beyond emails, the XKeyscore system allows analysts to monitor a virtually unlimited array of other internet activities, including those within social media. An NSA tool called DNI Presenter, used to read the content of stored emails, also enables an analyst using XKeyscore to read the content of Facebook chats or private messages” …

“As one slide indicates, the ability to search HTTP activity by keyword permits the analyst access to what the NSA calls “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet”.

Anyone NOT worried about this is simply putting their head in the sand.


Artful Sundays Are Back!

July 31, 2013

Artful Sundays 2013  Poster 3

Translink Follows Ferries To Disaster

July 30, 2013

It seems that Translink is following the BC Ferries model of lowering service while increasing fares. It sure hasn’t worked on the ferry system, and I don’t see it working for buses and trains, either.

By the way, did you know that when Compass kicks in, a cash-paid bus fare will NOT allow you transfer to SkyTrain? What’s with that?

Time to make Translink responsive to people’s needs. Time to get Translink under political control once again.

Talking Shop

July 30, 2013

Last night was the first of two Community Plan Open Houses this week. I have written about yesterday’s event at http://gw-ac.org/2013/07/30/mondays-open-house/.

I really enjoyed myself because it was a chance to meet a lot of people I hadn’t had a chance to talk to at our meeting on 8th July, and a number of others with whom I have been corresponding via the email lists and the petition — putting faces to names.  Fascinating and heartwarming to watch a whole bunch of “ordinary folks” get worked up over an issue and willing to fight back against City Hall.

Also fascinating to listen to so many former Vision Vancouver supporters talk of their deep disappointment with the party. Even though an alternative seems far off right now, this mood (which seems to be the same across many of the City’s neighbourhoods) should be of real concern to the VV honchos planning their re-election strategy next year.

We’ll do it all again on Wednesday.

Just Another Day In the ‘Hood

July 29, 2013

Started the day sharing coffee and a pleasant chat with a friend at Adeline’s. We chatted amiably about politics and Pride, and happily failed to identify the tree that the owner was interested in (it drops small seed pods and he hoped they weren’t poisonous).

It seemed to be a little cooler today (at least that early in the morning) and, when we were done with chatting, I wandered up to the bank, enjoying the stroll very much. I managed to resist the temptation to have an iced capp, though it was a genuine struggle!

This afternoon, I’ve been getting ready for the Open House on proposals for development at Commercial & Broadway tonight:  made and printed a flyer to hand out advertising GWAC’s next meeting, the online petition  (which continues to collect numerous signatures), and the new blog.

Pretty soon I’ll have to go to the Open House and be a publicly political animal once again. But right now, I’m happy to eat a cheese sandwich, drink tea, and read David Harvey’s “Rebel Cities“.

Not a bad day at all.

Urban Renewal

July 28, 2013

class war