Wednesday Night #1827

Written by  //  March 15, 2017  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Big dig begins after Quebec slammed with record-setting blizzard
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre urges people to stay home as crews scramble to clear roads.

Montreal storm March 2017Flights cancelled, schools closed for Wednesday as winter storm barrels through southern Quebec

There are two rows of large orange cones that extend from Atwater east along Sherbrooke as far as the eye (or at least my eye from our windows) can see. Earthmover across the street from our building dug a very large hole yesterday. No parking on either side of the street. The big snow-clearing machines are out. Snow removal will be such a joy!

Europe and the EU in the news
Parliament has passed the Brexit bill and opened the way to triggering article 50 – it has triggered a lot of other things including reaction from Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
On the eve of the vote in The Netherlands [Dutch vote in test of anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe on Wednesday], there has been a nasty spat between that country and Turkey since The Netherlands authorities banned a rally in Rotterdam aimed at rallying Turkish expats to support Mr. Erdogan’s power-grabbing referendum. And now, in an SNL-or-Onion-worthy headline, we learn that Turkey is expelling Dutch cows saying it no longer wants to farm the cows due to the diplomatic crisis between the countries.
Meanwhile, in his most recent article Turkey’s referendum, Gwynne Dyer casts some doubts on its successful outcome.
And then there is Hungary whose … “prime minister, Viktor Orban, echoing President Donald Trump’s views, has called refugees the “Trojan horse of terrorism.” When Mr. Orban was denounced by the United Nations and human rights organizations for the new policy, he dismissed the chorus of condemnation as “charming human rights nonsense.” The New York Times points out that while deriding the European Union’s values, Hungary has no trouble taking its support, having received 5.6 billion euros from the union in 2015. With calculated timing, Hungary’s new plan for refugees was approved the day after it got the green light from the union for a Russian-built nuclear plant.

In another in the series “David v David” published in the Epoch Times, Wednesday Night’s two Davids, Jones (Refugees Find Canada’s Southern Border) and Kilgour (Does Canada Have an Illegals Problem?), address the question of refugees, illegal aliens, and whether Canada has a problem, given recent media attention to “irregular” border crossers. As usual, two very different perspectives.

Now the fun begins.
The Republicans’ Health Bill Would Add 24 Million Uninsured but Save $337 Billion,the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office Report says. The Atlantic morning round-up suggests With points stacking up against the bill, it’s looking more and more like the plan to repeal Obamacare will fail—and that might be best for the health of the Republican Party.” However, it’s unlikely Paul Ryan will see it that way.
Meanwhile, the Senate has confirmed Seema Verma, a health policy expert from Indiana (note, that is Mike Pence’s home state), to lead efforts by the Trump administration to transform Medicaid, expand Medicare and upend the Affordable Care Act.
The Guardian commented on Sunday that the Republican proposal would upend a healthcare system in Indiana that covers many low-income people – in a program that Mike Pence put in place.
In case you aren’t as familiar with the role of the CBO as are the pundits, the Chicago Tribune story White House attacks on CBO signal how Trump will fight for his agenda gives a pretty thorough summary of what it does and also of Director Keith Hall’s credentials.

BUT – with DJT there seems to always be a ‘But’ – the controversy over the CBO Report has now been overshadowed by the excitement over The Tax Returns. If, as is suspected, it was the Trump team that leaked the document, it was, no doubt, in an effort to stimulate a media feeding frenzy and distract from all those other pesky problems.

Hosein Maleki has pointed us to a fascinating study from the Pew Research Center on religions in the US and their effects on individuals’ social and political views.
Warning: the Religious Landscape Study is detailed and the interactive data bases will keep you entertained for hours.

This from Maclean’s is encouraging, but we would like to see mention of at least one of Montreal’s universities.
How universities are working to shatter the ivory tower — Academic life is slowly becoming more engaged with the outside world—and students are leading the way
Some interesting initiatives including U of T’s naming urban affairs professor Shauna Brail to a new position of presidential adviser on urban engagement, with a mandate to foster partnerships and raise their profile.

The gift to the comedians – in particular SNL – that keeps on giving.
Kellyanne Conway, President Trump’s senior adviser, amplified Mr. Trump’s claim that President Barack Obama had tapped his telephone, suggesting on Monday that the former president’s surveillance effort could have employed any number of devices, even including a microwave oven.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s Upside Down Flag Pin
Ivanka has not escaped SNL’s gaze. “Complicit” has made all the rounds on social media and also attracted some serious commentary on the First Daughter such as The blinding elegance of Ivanka Trump
Andrew Cohen is a talented writer, political observer-cum-policy wonk, and gifted with a wry, sometimes acerbic sense of humor.
He combines all these talents in Can Ivanka Trump stop disaster? Does she even want to?

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