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Koch brothers make me mad

Linda Solomon Wood
Apr 23rd, 2013

David and Charles Koch

Michaëlle Jean's Canadian love affair

Linda Solomon Wood
Mar 2nd, 2013

Photograph of Michaëlle Jean courtesy of National Speaker's Bureau website

Michaëlle Jean isn't willing to reveal the juicy details about what went on behind the scenes at that pivotal point in Canadian history "on the day the Prime Minister came to me to ask for my signature on his request for Parliament to be prorogued."

During her talk at the UBC Chan Centre for the Performing Arts last night, Jean held back by dropping only a few crumbs of intrigue and the possible hint of a future tell-all book -- but only after Stephen Harper is no longer PM.

"I don't think it would be appropriate to share while the Prime Minister is still in power," she said, ever the diplomat, adding: "The decision you make as Governor General has to be made in the interests of the country.  You have to leave politics aside and think of Canadians."

Dragons' Den's Arlene Dickinson at the Board of Trade on the power of Persuasion

Linda Solomon Wood
Feb 25th, 2013

Photo of Arlene Dickenson by Tyson Jerry

Two guys with a candy company called OMG's stand nervously pitching their product. Kevin O'Leary ridicules their valuation, and the other guys on the Dragons' Den scoff and bow out. None will put money behind the venture, not even knowing that the two operated and sold a successful company a few years back. The camera pans in on Arlene Dickinson, the only woman on the show and a marketer with cred and clout. O'Leary pokes fun at her tendency to sit back, listen and deliberate while she does exactly that. 

She's funny, she's charming. She's beautiful. She's Canada's iconic television power woman. She'll take half of the company for $250,000, she tells the pair.

It's a fraction of what they're after. But within minutes, they agree that Arlene Dickinson is the perfect partner and she's got half the company.

Barry Saxifrage's Climate Snapshot goes viral, and VO's Jan-Feb numbers

Linda Solomon Wood
Feb 14th, 2013

Climate Snapshot writer Barry Saxifrage's Arctic "death spiral" leaves climate scientists shocked and worried went viral last month and it got people talking.

The conversation around Barry's piece has been going on from blog to social media sites to dining room tables.  And the comments on the piece reveal a lot about how people feel facing climate change.   Find the conversation on Reddit here.

Barry's Peak Oil solved, but climate will fry: BP Report has broken through in an even bigger way, reaching audiences around the world.

2013 has been very strong for the Vancouver Observer. Our audience grew in these ways:

Scary super spy software tracks information on social media about terrorists - and you

Linda Solomon Wood
Feb 11th, 2013

The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is about the Soviet forced labour system that existed from 1918-1956.   The novel is based on the author's experience of a system he compared to a vast chain of islands known only by those doomed to visit them. In the Gulag, political prisoners accused of crimes against the state endure terrible torture meant to force them to name who they've been associating with and what they've been doing. They struggle to resist naming their friends because to name them is to condemn them. Obviously, this all happened before Facebook and other social media seduced more than a billion people to give over this information away.  

It was a great party and there's more to come

Linda Solomon Wood
Jan 25th, 2013

There'd been a shooting at 5 a.m. at Smithe and Granville,  the morning of the Extract book launch party and the location of it as well.

Ceili's downtown manager called at noon to say the police had cordoned off the block around Ceili's for a police investigation.  No one could get through and Ceili's staff hadn't been able to get in and clean the pub.  They couldn't  host the event. 

Two hundred and fifty people RSVP'd  and  more expected to just show up. We had a whole floor of the pub reserved for the event. A completely private space.

Could you even find a location in Vancouver for a party for 250 people five hours before the event, on a Saturday afternoon?

We've published a great new book and are throwing a launch party!

Linda Solomon Wood
Dec 21st, 2012

We've published a great new book and are throwing a launch party! Sponsored by LUSH, Hollyhock and SPUD.ca,  you can get your momentum going at the first big bash of 2013.  Two days before the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel hearings begin in Vancouver, gear up for one of the most pivotal moments in Vancouver's recent history.

The Vancouver Observer's new eBook
Extract: The Pipeline Wars Vol. 1 Enbridge

THE STORY
The controversy about oil sands pipelines has put B. C. on the stage of history and Extract brings you the essence of that debate, including:

More guns, more shootings, more profit

Linda Solomon Wood
Dec 15th, 2012

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) speaks proudly on its website of how the gun industry benefits America.  In its Firearms and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact Report 2012, the foundation outlines the economic benefit the gun industry has brought to every state in America.

"The economic growth America's firearms and ammunition industry has experienced over the years has been nothing short of remarkable," NSSF's website says.

Good jobs and tax revenue are two boons,  jobs that pay nearly $50,000 annually, "And today, every job is important," the website crows.

Not only does the firearms and ammunition industry create jobs, it also generates sizable tax revenues. In the United States the industry and its employees pay over $2.07 billion in taxes including property, income, and sales based levies.

Chart from NSSF website

Right to bear arms results in 11 billion dollar industry in U.S.

Friends of the Vancouver Observer fundraiser brings "Extract" authors and community together

Linda Solomon Wood
Dec 1st, 2012

Extract: The Pipeline Wars Vol. 1 Enbridge authors, designers, editors, left to right: Barry Saxifrage, David P. Ball, Alexis Stoymenoff, Sandy Garossino, Linda Solomon, Marc Baumgartner, Jenny Uechi, Carrie Saxifrage, Tzeporah Berman at Friends of the Vancouver Observer fundraising party

Friends of the Vancouver Observer fundraiser last Thursday night brought together the authors, editors, and designer of Extract: The Pipeline Wars, Vol. 1 Enbridge with VO's first monthly sustaining sponsors to celebrate publication of the ebook and a fantastic year of accomplishments. 

Thank you so much to the generous Vancouver Observer readers who became our first monthly donors.  These sustaining dollars will help provide funding for ongoing reporting on the proposed Nothern Gateway pipeline.  It will also help us cover the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion as well as other important stories breaking in British Columbia.

We look forward to our next community gathering, January 12, at The HiVE, which will mark the official launch of Extract: The Pipeline Wars and will feature talks and readings by Carrie Saxifrage, Tzeporah Berman,  Andrew Wright who photographed along the proposed Enbridge pipeline route and has many moving stories to tell about what he learned. 

Making media in the new economy

Linda Solomon Wood
Nov 23rd, 2012

Media is an excellent window into the challenges of living the new economy.

The digital age has been devastating to the old economy of media.
People say journalism is dead. Newspapers are dying. And they are.  But at the same time, journalism is proliferating. New ways of making and breaking the news are proliferating as fast as pipeline proposals in Canada. One company goes down, more sprout up.

It's like this gooey alien from outer space that is both dying and being born at the same time.  New ideas are turning into new companies every day. 175 newspapers closed down in North America, thousands of journalists lost their jobs.  

On the other hand, amazing new sources of news and new ways of delivering the news emerge every day and more keep coming...from Twitter to the New York Times innovative digital version to my online-only news publication, the Vancouver Observer. 

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