Wednesday Night #1391

Written by  //  October 29, 2008  //  Climate Change, Economy, Wednesday Nights  //  No comments


Note from Bill Copp: 79 years today since the crash of ’29. Just a mean thought, not a serious one, to help start your day

Julius Grey promises to be with us this week and having said that, we can all look forward to intriguing and challenging conversation – just for starters a comment on David Jones’ “Kirpans and political correctness” might be fun. Catherine Gillbbert will introduce her friend Paul Wiebe , a civil engineer who has worked in the big and sometimes small dam industry for the past thirty years. He worked on Baie James and Churchill Falls and was technical manager for the Feasibility Study for Three Gorges that was done by a consortium of Canadian companies. He has worked in water resources management around the world and is currently a consultant to Ontario Hydro on the development of small hydro. Peter Perkins will take us back to the long hot summer evening (August 27) when he cautioned against buying stocks [has his view changed in light of today’s headlines: Rate hopes and bargain hunting lift world stocks?] – and, like Chil Heward, was also very wary of banks. Tony Deutsch can speak to pension funds and explain what is happening in eastern Europe, especially Hungary (see below).

Financial crisis; secular bear market; transformational effects; Iceland, Hungary & Pakistan improbably lumped together in the news; Alan Greenspan and Davos gurus saying ‘mea culpa’ – where will it all end? Will it end? Last week’s session with Maureen Farrow followed closely the points made by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz in TIME Magazine How to Get Out of the Financial Crisis, but as usual, Wednesday Night owed its wisdom to original thinking.

It’s the final countdown to the U.S. elections – the last Wednesday Night before November 4, and some of us are still nervous, especially given the news of the plot to assassinate Obama by neo Nazi crazies who also planned to kill innocent black school children.  We are pleased that the media are keeping coverage to a minimum, in the hope of avoiding the copy-cat mentality, but we do not envy the FBI or the Secret Service these days.

We have been attempting to cover the U.S. presidential campaign news and issues, and invite you to consult our various posts on the campaign. Of course we cannot resist pointing out Governor Palin’s scientific faux pas regarding research on the fruit fly which, among others, elicited this great response from an MIT Brain and Cognitive Sciences graduate student. 

Climate change has been temporarily off our agenda as we contemplate the global financial meltdown, but today’s stories linking Thoreau’s Walden with climate change are fascinating. We listened to an excellent interview with an earnest young Harvard graduate student tonight – his arguments were compelling, until, when thanked, he responded ‘Totally’, leaving us somewhat mystified. Speaking of climate change, the current downpour makes us wonder – did Stephen Harper complete his ark?

We presume you have all seen the news that Frank McKenna has decided that he would rather be rich than leader of the Liberal Party? Can’t say we blame him, especially as the Party is not only in financial straits, but is suffering from a bankruptcy in the vision department. One informed American writes: ” Glad for Canada’s sake that McKenna has decided to stay in his Hamlet mode (this time saying “no”). It was puzzling to me when a commentator touted his good international reputation.  Not in Washington, where he was probably the worst Canadian ambassador that you have sent us in living memory:  disconnected to Ottawa realities and personally insulting to Americans.  He never seems to have moved beyond a concept of politics epitomized by the victory in his first New Brunswick election when he won every seat–that total control was the norm.”
And now we appear to be facing a provincial election in December?

With all the serious, life-threatening issues that surround us, we nonetheless encourage you to react to the new visual identity for Greater Montreal region, keeping in mind the cost of $487,000, with another $200,000 budgeted to develop a plan next year to promote the distinctive label. If you missed this item, read all about it.

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