Sunday, April 30, 2006


A shameless plug for Guillemots, an excellent band that includes a good friend of mine. The BBC says, "To those already in love with Guillemots, the record label bidding war and breathless music business buzz have come as no surprise. It all makes sense considering their eccentric invention and top-drawer songwriting that covers everything from joyous anthems to haunting heartbreakers." Michael Lomas, writing in PopMatters, calls From the Cliffs "the pop record of the year so far". And the spin from Spin isn't bad either.

Update, May 5: Guillemots live performance of "Trains to Brazil" on MTV from Toronto today. Warm reception. Cool!

Monday, April 24, 2006


Sunday, April 16, 2006

You there, yes, you

You live in Oklahoma or Kansas or Indiana. A tornado has just destroyed the trailer park you lived in, and you're wondering what message God is trying to send you. So you've typed "windy weather" into your search engine at the public library, and here you are. Go away. The title of this blog is metaphorical, not meteorological.

You live in Ulan Bator or Kuala Lumpur or Glasgow. You're looking for more info on a certain beauty-pageant contestant from Mongolia, a young lady with a winning smile, looking particularly fetching in her national costume, someone whose name I dare not mention again for fear of inviting another horde of visitors. To you I say, get over your obsession. Move on. She's probably already engaged to some government official.

You're from the Bubble -- the Hall of Mirrors, the Echo Chamber -- and you've stumbled onto this site even though you don't live in a trailer park. This is it! This is your chance to break out of the Bubble! There is a real world out there, shocking and disturbing as that idea may be to you. Look over on the right-hand side of this page and you will find many worm-holes to fascinating places and people in the real world.

You've come here via Progressive Bloggers. Sorry, this post is not a rant about Stephen Harper or Michael Ignatieff. Better luck next time.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Take note

Well, the people's representatives have had their "take note debate" on the Canadian military mission in Afghanistan. Bill Graham, Liberal interim leader, said his party didn't consider it a debate but rather "an opportunity for the Canadian public to better understand this mission." Apparently parliamentary debates are not supposed to enlighten the public. Graham also said the Liberals, who authorized the undertaking in the first place, support the troops. Support the troops! Who woulda thunkit? But, actually, this is obfuscatory balderdash -- as if the troops decided on their own to deploy to Afghanistan and the politicians have patriotically got behind them. In fact, it's the troops that are putting their lives on the line in support of a political decision, and the politicians who made that decision had better show them and the Canadian public that there were compelling reason to send them to fight. CTV reports an illuminating little exchange between Jack Layton and Gordon O'Connor, the new Minister of Defence.
However, NDP leader Jack Layton voiced concern over the operation and rhymed off a list of questions about the deployment that were first asked by O'Connor during a similar debate on the topic in the House last November.

"What are the goals and objectives of the mission and how do they meet our foreign-policy objectives? What is the mandate, what is the defined concept of operations, what is the effective command and control structure, what are the rules of engagement," Layton asked quoting O'Connor.

The defence minister responded by accusing the NDP of being anti-military.
It's wonderful how a switch from opposition to government can change a person's perspective.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Nuclear threat from Washington

Is the Bush administration preparing to attack Iran with nuclear weapons? According to this piece by Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker, Washington is making plans for air strikes against Iran, and the nuclear option is on the table. The idea would be to use "tactical" nuclear weapons to destroy underground facilities that Iran may be using in its own nuclear programme. Iran claims that it is developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, but there is widespread belief internationally that the religious zealots in charge in Tehran are aiming to develop nuclear weapons, something that the U.S. says it will not tolerate. After all, what need would Iran, which floats on a sea of oil, have for a nuclear-energy programme? But from the point of view of any country that feels threatened by powerful opponents like the political and religious zealots in Washington, having nuclear weapons is a pretty good guarantee against being attacked.

Hersh says that top U.S. military brass are not happy with the nuclear option, which is being pushed by the Rumsfeld clique. The rhetoric now being employed to prepare the U.S. public for attacking Iran is similar to that employed in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. It hardly need be said that the international fallout (nuclear, political, economic, or otherwise) from an attack on Iran would be anywhere from serious to catastrophic.