Wednesday Night #1590

Written by  //  August 20, 2012  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Please note for your calendar:
We love to encourage the community (and other) efforts of Wednesday Nighters. Margaret Duthie is heading up a fundraising concert for the Canadian Celiac Association André Gagnon In Music and In Dance on September 24. Please see http://www.dianaswednesday.com/2012/08/for-your-calendar-andre-gagnon-in-music-and-in-dance/ for details. Margaret advises that ticket sales are brisk.

We start with the Letter A for Assange and Asylum – a complex story quite well explained in the Economist’s Asylum for Assange “… the Foreign Office may be right to question whether Ecuador’s actions adhere to the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations. … Mr Assange’s request for asylum was preceded by lengthy talks with the populist regime. According to an official close to Mr Correa, the president gave his approval for Mr Assange’s asylum request on the condition that it would be a straightforward matter. But unbeknownst to his inexperienced crop of diplomats, says the official, European countries, unlike Latin American ones, mostly do not accept the concept of diplomatic asylum.”

For those who believe that neither economics nor history can be entertaining, the HuffPost highlights an anything-but-dismal spat between Paul Krugman and Niall FergusonPaul Krugman Bashes Niall Ferguson’s Newsweek Cover Story As ‘Unethical’ – complete with disparaging comments about Newsweek’s fact-checking department [it appears there isn’t one] and The Atlantic’s point-by-point argument which concludes “It would have been worthwhile for Ferguson to explain why Obama doesn’t deserve re-election in this real world we actually live in. Instead, we got an exercise in Ferguson’s specialty — counterfactual history.” It seems that Slate doesn’t like the Ferguson article any better: Niall Ferguson’s Absurd Critique of The Obama Administration in One Chart which describes Professor Ferguson as “the once-distinguished economic historian turned crank political pundit

For additional entertaining economic debate (albeit far more courteous), do see the New School of Athens (NSoA) post on The dark side of Globalization, wherein Kimon, Guy and Tony Deutsch tackle some of the assumptions and alternatives surrounding the issues of globalization. All are invited to contribute thoughts to this informative dialogue.

There’s no doubt that for those Quebec voters who are not still basking in some remote idyllic, telecom-free spot, there is entertainment to be found in the election campaign, albeit of a special it-feels-so-good-when-it-stops kind. Last night’s debate was relatively unexceptional. Mr. Charest’s condescending smirk was annoying and offensive to anyone who happened to agree with what the other speaker was saying. We hope that the LPQ image makers will take heed. Nobody made a real game-changing gaffe, nor uttered a world-changing policy statement, and Françoise David’s demeanor actually was a pleasant surprise. We still agree with Chantal Hébert: Minority mandate might best serve Quebecers and that “if there ever were an election that no party deserves a win, or at least not with the top prize of a majority mandate, it’s the one currently unfolding in Quebec.” However, François Legault was adamant that the CAQ would not join with Liberals or PQ. Of course, he has been known to change his mind.
Meantime, we will trust our good friend Bernie St-Laurent’s analysis: CAQ support could grow after Legault’s first leaders’ debate “When it comes to televised debates I trust my gut-meter. And my gut-meter tells me this debate hurt Pauline Marois.” From his lips to God’s ear!

A last item for the Quebec political junkies: Coderre To Run For Liberal Leader Or Montreal Mayor; we simply must remain silent. Any comment that comes to mind would no doubt be offensive to too many people.

Burney and Hampson are at it again, however in their recent piece for iPolitics, Two cheers for Canada, not three they make a lot more sense than the pathetic How Obama Lost Canada.
For example:
“Notwithstanding the good news we got last week, as a trading nation that depends for its survival on what it can produce and sell to the world, Canada is struggling. We are uncompetitive in relation to our major trading partners and sorely lacking in innovation and productivity. Canadian companies are also failing to adapt to a fast changing world.
In a globalized world that has become even more competitive with the rise of emerging markets, which are the new drivers of growth, we will lose big time if our political house becomes fragile and our provinces engage in puerile, internecine warfare with the federal government or among themselves.
Our provinces, the federal government, and the business community are going to have to work much more closely together to help Canadians exploit new markets and make Canada globally competitive at a time when the opportunities for trade expansion and growth in our traditional markets, like the United States and Europe (even if we get a CETA agreement), have dimmed because of weak demand, chronic fiscal problems, and continuing financial instability.”

 Mr Harper is off on his annual trek to the Arctic, but as the Brandon Sun points out in A not-quite Midas touch: Harper heads to Arctic with mixed record , “it seems that what Harper tries to turn to gold in his visits up North doesn’t always stay that way. Many projects he has announced for the region in recent years are behind schedule and some places he stops later find themselves falling on hard times.
“Last year, Harper visited the Kluane National Park, home of Mount Logan, Canada’s highest mountain. There, he announced a new visitor’s centre and extolled the region’s “lush valleys, immense ice fields (and) spectacular mountains.” But a research station located just outside its gates has since had its federal funding cut, and the last federal budget will also see the national park’s services cut as well.”

To file under bloody-minded discrimination
Anger as Iran bans women from universities
Female students in Iran have been barred from more than 70 university degree courses in an officially-approved act of sex-discrimination which critics say is aimed at defeating the fight for equal women’s rights.

To file under the vicissitudes of political correctness
Bank of Canada apologises for removing ‘Asian’ from bill
“I apologize to those who were offended – the Bank’s handling of this issue did not meet the standards Canadians justifiably expect of us,” a statement from Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney said. “We will be reviewing our design process in light of these events. Our bank notes belong to all Canadians, and the work we do at the Bank is for all Canadians.” [Isn’t that nice to know?] Documents obtained by the Canadian Press suggest there were concerns over the representation of an Asian woman for the largest denomination, which was designed to celebrate Canada’s medical advances. … “Some believe that it presents a stereotype of Asians excelling in technology and/or the sciences. Others feel that an Asian should not be the only ethnicity represented on the banknotes.”

To file under the vicissitudes of political incorrectness.
For those of you who are otherwise preoccupied by less weighty matters of state, we are happy to inform you that the Augusta National Golf Club has decided to join the 20th century and accept its first female members – not just anybody, mind you, but Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina businesswoman Darla Moore. We don’t suppose this move has anything to do with the embarrassing situation concerning Virginia Rometty at the 2012 Masters. She is the first female chief executive of IBM, a major sponsor of the Masters; its CEOs have always been given membership in the club. But none was ever a woman. … Just asking.

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