Wednesday Night #1502

It has been a busy time and proposed topics are not yet settled on – so this will not be the usual Prologue inciting you to follow numerous links and do homework. Well, there is some of that.  Rather, it is a warm invitation to join us in our cosy new home and celebrate the season while contemplating some of the pretty dismal news items.

Certainly one topic will be the tremendous loss to American diplomacy that comes with the death of Richard Holbrooke Strong American Voice in Diplomacy and Crisis .

The WikiLeaks (Taking Stock of WikiLeaks) saga continues – should Assange [fascinating profile] stay behind bars? Or is he a folk hero, robbing the rich of their control of information and delivering it to the poor (world at large?).
Canada’s performance at Cancun – about what some of us (sadly) expected (UN Climate Change Talks Overcome Harper Government Obstruction). We would have wished for more in the vein of Stéphane Dion’s speech to the panel on The transition to a low-carbon economy: Creating synergies between business, government and academia (hoping to have a link very soon; we have the Word version and will be happy to send it along if you would like to have it).

Has anyone been watching/reading Conrad Black’s advice to Canada in the National Post? Despite the usual diatribes (and sniping at the Conservatives for whom he obviously has lost all love), we quite enjoyed both Four ideas for a better Canada and a better world and

The Liberals shall rise again
“Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae and Stéphane Dion are intelligent men, and the Liberals retain the advantage in access to cutting edge academics and professionals. It should not be beyond the wit of these leaders to patch together some interesting ideas that would get even the consumptive cynics of the political press buzzing about some novelty in the camp of the Liberals.
“The political media have no love for the Conservatives, who are competent but not especially popular and widely believed to be a monolith whose every move beyond basic administration is widely thought to be wholly political. The media are ready to proclaim a Liberal renaissance, if they had anything to work with.”

And, finally, a couple of bookends for last week’s discussion on education:

China’s Army of Graduates Struggles for Jobs
(NYT) … an unprecedented wave of young people all around China who were supposed to move the country’s labor-dependent economy toward a white-collar future. In 1998, when Jiang Zemin, then the president, announced plans to bolster higher education, Chinese universities and colleges produced 830,000 graduates a year. Last May, that number was more than six million and rising. And the NYT editorial: College, Jobs and Inequality
Meanwhile, as we are being bombarded with information about the long hours students of all ages spend in schools in Asia, and how the West is falling behind academically, this move on McGill’s part appears counter-intuitive University considers cutting semesters from 13 weeks to 12

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