THOUGHTS ON UKRAINE

Greetings,

I’m not going to write opinions on a topic that’s already been beaten to death by folks far quicker off the mark than I (Mike McNair, the opposition leader in Ukraine was most definitely poisoned or had a biological weapon used against him, there’s no doubt in my mind – the radical transforming of his skin like that don’t just happen out of the blue, agreed). But the situation in Ukraine’s pretty scary for many, many reasons.

1) Russia. What’s up with Russia? What is Putin trying to pull with these Soviet-style tactics? Last time I checked Russia was a kinda-sorta-trying democracy, advocating free markets and freedom (ah, the words that make conservatives happy) and such. But what’s the big deal with Ukraine wanting to Westernize? And more to the point, why is Moscow so insistant on keeping Ukraine close? Oh wait, this is a pride issue. Or not. Who knows. Putin’s the only one who knows.

2) History biting us all in the ass again. Ukraine has some former Soviet nukes stored away. Isn’t that interesting? Political instability, lots of warheads, the Middle East nearby, Chechnya nearby, power struggles… yeah, this isn’t good.

Hopefully this can all be sorted out soon without civil war. Go peace.

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A MOST BRIEF UPDATE

Greetings,

I’m incommunicado pretty regularly these days; after traveling, unpacking, Grey Cup, commuting, I’ve barely even had time to go online. But, here I am.

Well today marks the end of my first week as an intern at the CBC. I’ve really enjoyed it – lots of interesting people, great opportunities to develop story ideas with professionals. Incidently, my new CBC column is up. It’s on CBC’s front page today, which is always exciting.

Here’s an interesting piece on Instapundit about the rise of the blogosphere. Nowadays, in light of Dan Rather’s resignation from CBS, the influence of blogging is really starting to take hold. The old media establishment seems to be taking its blows from what Star columnist Antonia Zerbisias called the pajamadeen – ergo, bloggers.

Oh, and if you get a chance, go check out Christopher Hitchens’ web site. His output is incredible, I have no idea how he does it. And Hitchens’ writing is always erudite, interesting and snappy. He’s got a new piece out in this month’s Vanity Fair about South American dictatorships and the unsettling relationships they had with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

IN THE END… AND CAROLYN PARRISH, CANADA READS AND I LOVE RADIO!

Greetings,

Well today marks the end of the first term at King’s. What an incredible three and a half months. This program has been everything I expected it to be and more so.

I’m coming out of it wondering where the time went; it feels like only yesterday I was coasting through Montreal en route to Halifax. Still, I’ve accomplished a lot and it feels good. Plus, new friends and new experiences to chat about when I come home.

So, now, comes the internship. I’m proud to say that I’m an intern at the CBC in Toronto with The Sunday Edition. I’ll definitely keep folks posted on how it’s going.

CAROLYN PARRISH: After being turfed by Prime Minister Martin this week, Parrish says she has no regrets about being forced out of the Liberal caucus. Some people at King’s have been wondering why this story has been given so much air time this week – after all, it is kind of a “insider” story that only Ottawa mandarins, political junkies like myself and policy wonks can really appreciate. The only reason reason is because this puts the Liberals into a very precarious position with their minority government. And when President Bush arrives in Ottawa on the 30th (cue the protests), Parrish will be heckling Bush without fear of punishment from Martin.

I’m sure the PM is more than happy this Liberal week from hell is over.

CANADA READS: The nation-wide literary celebration begins yet again. Personally, I’m digging Rufus Wainwright’s choice, Leonard Cohen’s Beautiful Losers.

I like Canada Reads – getting people to read Canadian fiction is a great thing. And if we can encourage people to talk about fiction in a meaningful, interesting way, than why not celebrate books? I think it’s always positive to encourage people to read good Canadian lit, especially not just the stuff that’s been released recently. Because I’m on a Mac and Blogger isn’t providing me with link buttons here, here’s the URL: http://www.cbc.ca/canadareads

I LOVE RADIO! There’s a double meaning here; I do love radio, yes, but CBC technology reporter Tod Maffin has an excellent radio web site called I Love Radio. It’s a terrific resource on everything to do with radio – how to produce a story, what podcasting is (more on that later), pay scales for freelancers, et al. It’s at http://www.iloveradio.org

IN HONOUR OF OUR WAR DEAD

Greetings,

It seems hard to put into words what it feels like today. Honouring those who served Canada in the three major wars of the 20th century – WWI, WWII and the Korean War – is difficult to do, because so many folks more well-spoken than I can articulate exactly what it feels to be in war.

Today, silence is your tribute. Because anything else isn’t enough.

NO COMMENT REQUIRED

Greetings,

Normally posting comments about an election that happened almost five days ago seems pretty pointless. It’s also very much not in the spirit of instant, digital blogging. But, when you’re as busy as I am these days, you’ll understand. Incidently, here’s a link to the Radio Room web site I built for King’s. Some MP3’s of my radio segments are available for download, just go to the Bios’ section and click on my name.

I was pretty irritated on Wednesday morning. Waking up to the news that America has re-elected Bush is a bitter pill to swallow. But, as Globe columnist Jeffery Simpson eloquently put it in last Thursday’s paper, the U.S. South has arisen and the power this region in the U.S. yields is enormous. And it will have drastic consequences for years, if not decades, to come.

Canadians better get used to the idea that American voters are becoming more conservative, not less. America is not liberalizing, it’s regressing both socially and economically. There are a myriad of very complex reasons why this is happening – population patterns, party loyalities, et al – but consider the evidence why America is quickly becoming a 21st century economy with a 19th century social and political ethos:

* Virtually all 11 states that put same-sex marriage for potential ratification rejected it. This leads the way for state legislatures to help ratify a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, which Bush has stated on the record he’s interested in pursuing;

* The Democrat base shrunk once again this election. The West Coast, the North East and various Rust States full of unions seem to be the only areas of America that are reasonably secure for Democrats;

* As much as I appreciated John Kerry, the poor guy got railroaded before the real election race began. The Swift Boat Vets for Truth – the most insulting and vicious negative advertising campaign I’ve ever seen – did the most damage to Kerry, because those ads did what Bush couldn’t do: instill doubt in Kerry’s character, even if it wasn’t true (for the record, those Swift Boat vets who instigated that smear campaign are all Republicans and had a major axe to grind against Kerry – Kerry’s war record never, ever should have been disputed, given the U.S. government doesn’t just hand out the Congressional Medal of Honour for the hell of it. Just goes to show you that petty, jealous, small men are capable of doing just about anything when money’s involved).

So what does this all mean? Get ready for another four years of Bush. He’s going to be very activist in his first two years in office; rumours of the draft being brought back aren’t going to go away while Iraq continues to decend into a quagmire. Moreover, he’s proposed massive changes to the tax code – a flat tax, no less – and partially privitizing social security. So by 2006, America might be a very, very different place.