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Published: May 10 2017, 01:01:am

    Wednesday, May 10, 2017


    Yesterday, the earth moved.

    Today, CounterPunch managing editor Joshua Frank posted a report telling us that “on May 9, the roof of a tunnel that’s used to store highly contaminated radioactive waste collapsed at the Hanford nuclear facility in eastern Washington state.

    “Thousands of workers took shelter. Nobody was directly injured by the event, but the 20 by 20 foot hole in the underground tunnel will likely expose the surrounding soil and atmosphere to radioactive contamination.

    “The safety culture at Hanford has long been under scrutiny for not protecting workers from events like these. The name of the game at Hanford is how to expedite the multi-billion dollar cleanup process at all costs – a colossal tab, picked up by taxpayers that is lining the pockets of the usual suspects without producing many results.”

    And then there was that election in B.C.

    The provincial race that was “too close to call” remains a cliffhanger. This morning, in an opinion piece headlined Election Night Sends BC Down an Unmapped Road The Tyee’s Paul Willcocks told us “this election won’t be decided for at least two weeks, when absentee ballots are counted and recounts are complete.

    “But it’s likely British Columbia is heading into unfamiliar territory, with a high probability of the first minority government since 1952 . . .” As in Hanford, the roof fell in. With 87 seats in the legislature, a party needs to elect 45 members to have a clear majority.

    If the current count stands, the rebranded Social Credit Party — they now call themselves “Liberals” — will have 43 seats and the New Democrats 41. Holding the balance of power with three seats will be the Green Party.  As in Hanford, this toxic tale is far from over, with a big bill for the cleanup.

    Personally, I’m deeply disappointed with the situation. What we are calling democracy is a lot like that mess in Washington, and the corporate concentration of media in Canada is a big part of the problem.

    In search of positive solutions are progressive websites like the California-based CounterPunch and B.C.’s The Tyee. In an attempt to do something moderately useful, I’ll continue to connect the past with the present on Reeling Back.

    The 10 most recent additions to the archive are:

THE PLAGUE DOGS — The second collaboration between Watership Down author Richard Adams and director Martin Rosen, this 1982 animated feature is an effective drama that pits a pair of escaped laboratory pooches against the realities of a cruel world. (Posted May 9)

PINK CADILLAC — Clint Eastwood entrusted the direction of this 1989 action comedy to his former stunt double Buddy Van Horn. Despite fine work by his co-star Bernadette Peters, the results are commonplace and shopworn. (Posted May 8)

FAR FROM HOME: THE ADVENTURES OF YELLOW DOG — Remembered as a classic of canine cinema, this 1995 feature from Grey Fox director Phillip Borsos is a tale of survival set on the rugged British Columbia coast. (Posted May 5)

THE OUTER SPACE CONNECTION — Producer Alan Landsburg completed his trilogy of paranormal “documentaries” that began with In Search of Ancient Astronauts with this 1975 feature. Mostly recycled nonsense, it benefits from Rod Serling’s self-assured narration. (Posted May 3)

UNFINISHED BUSINESS — Made aware that the Korean War never officially ended, U.S. President Donald Trump has turned his attention to that vexatious conflict. In this Editorial (aka Blog posting), I consider the possibility of renewed military action, and Trump fulfilling General Douglas MacArthur’s dream of nuking the North. (Posted May 1)

REUBEN, REUBEN — Director Robert Ellis Miller’s contribution to the sub-genre of mad poet movies, this 1983 romantic comedy introduced audiences to actress Kelly McGillis. Tom Conti starred as the self-destructive celebrity rhymer she falls in love with. (Posted April 30)

THE NEVERENDING STORY II: THE NEXT CHAPTER — This 1991 fantasy epic takes up the story begun in 1984’s The Neverending Story. Scots-born Australian director George Miller visited six countries, including Canada, during the production of his German-American family feature. (Posted April 29)

ANOTHER SMITH FOR PARADISE — Writer-director Tom Shandel made his feature film debut with this 1972 comedy about social mobility in a rapidly changing Vancouver. His satirical targets included the business, academic, artistic and ethnic communities. (Posted April 25)

A PRIVATE FUNCTION — Class consciousness in post-war Britain is played for laughs in director Malcolm Mowbray’s 1985 feature. Screenwriter Alan Bennett provided the witty dialogue for Monty Python alumnus Michael Palin and his co-star Maggie Smith. (Posted April 21)

EMBATTLED SHADOWS — Film scholar Peter Morris’s 1978 book, subtitled A History of Canadian Cinema 1895-1939, remains essential reading for anyone interested in the tangled roots of the art and commerce of moviemaking in the Great White North. (Posted April 19)