Wednesday Night #2011

Written by  //  September 30, 2020  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

There is, of course, no topic today other than Tuesday’s presidential debate – except for irate Montrealers who fail to understand why the Quebec government has closed libraries and museums while leaving schools and gyms open. But more of that later.
Like many others, I said I probably would watch little -if any- of the debate and would wait for the transcript (HA!) and commentary. However, I was ensnared. I watched and, above all listened, to every word. It was a disgraceful display by DJT of his worst side – the Big Blustering Bully was front and center, ignoring rules agreed to by his own people, uttering one lie after another. Chris Wallace was cowed (“I’ve never been through anything like this”), as Benjamin Wallace-Wells points out, only Joe Biden addressed his remarks to the camera and kept the focus on people.
Read, watch and listen to your favorite (mainstream)  media, most echo these sentiments:
a chaotic disaster,” “a disgusting moment for democracy,” “a display of a president’s testosterone-fueled, unmanaged rage and insecurity,” and, in the words of CNN’s Jake Tapper, “a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck … a disgrace.

For a balanced review of the debate, see Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters from an American of 29 September

The Commission on Presidential Debates has announced that it would be making changes to the format of the remaining presidential debates – beyond mute buttons or sound-proof booths, it is hard to imagine what can be done to rein in the BBB and restore a semblance of order to a now discredited event. Biden will graciously accept the changes; Trump will say yes and do as he pleases. Some, like Frank Rich are wondering Should the First Presidential Debate Also Be the Last?

Just in case the show goes on, be prepared with his handy guide What to know about the 2020 presidential debates

Now you can resume worrying about Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the US Supreme Court and how she could Reshape the Supreme Court & Hand Trump the Election
For more, see SCOTUS, Trump & the US courts May 2020 Many of you have already received a copy or seen my post of professor William (Bill) Svelmoe’s absolutely brilliant series of suggestions on how to deal with Trump’s nomination of Judge Barrett, How Democrats Should Address the ACBarrett nomination. The best parts are towards the end, so read all the way through! I have had enthusiastic reactions from a number of you and it appears that his post is now going viral.It’s a model for how to conduct hearings – a keeper!

Closer to home, the logistical nightmare of Covid vaccine distribution.
Vaccine Chaos Is Looming
The COVID-19 vaccines furthest along in clinical trials are the fastest to make, but they are also the hardest to deploy.
“On the day that a COVID-19 vaccine is approved, a vast logistics operation will need to awaken. Millions of doses must travel hundreds of miles from manufacturers to hospitals, doctor’s offices, and pharmacies, which in turn must store, track, and eventually get the vaccines to people all across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with state and local health departments, coordinates this process. These agencies distributed flu vaccines during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic this way, and they manage childhood vaccines every day. But the COVID-19 vaccine will be a whole new challenge.”
Who/what organization will coordinate vaccine in Canada? Canada signed an agreement last week to purchase 20 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine from AstroZeneca. There were already deals in place with Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, Pfizer and Moderna. All told, Canada has secured 282 million doses of the most promising vaccines. None has yet been approved for use in Canada.

For all of us who are concerned by events in Lebanon and how they may affect Joumane and John Buchanan:
On Saturday, Lebanon’s prime minister-designate quit after trying for almost a month to line up a non-partisan cabinet, dealing a blow to a French plan aimed at rallying sectarian leaders to tackle the worst crisis since the nation’s 1975-1990 civil war. John is pessimistic about chances of progress ” I would say slim. You will need a lot of coercion before they [Hezbollah and Amal] concede anything. They are following the Iranian playbook.” In a subsequent post, he added “Many weeks have passed since I arrived on August 8 in Beirut. The people are incredible while the rulers are deplorable criminals.”
On Tuesday, he posted this news: “When you have a severe brain trauma no one really knows what happens next. We don’t know how Joumane will evolve. We think the pituitary gland has gone a bit quiet but we don’t really know. We know that the skull fracture with an indentation of 4mm rather than 6 or 7mm probably saved her life.” He added that they had celebrated Joumane’s birthday with friends and attached a short video.

In case you missed it, the outgoing board chair Michel de la Chenelière failed in his bid to retain a seat on the MMFA board, and three of four independent candidates, who were elected, defeating the board’s official nominees. Maybe not as earth shattering as events in Cleveland, but certainly causing ripples in the philanthropic world.

In a far more uplifting announcement, the Atwater Library has replaced its annual fundraising cocktail with an Online Auction from October 21 to November 4.  Formal invitations to participate with a list of creative items available for bidding and details of the procedure to follow. To whet your appetites, here are some of the exciting items on that list:

  • Zoom session for you and your friends with bestselling author Louise Penny to discuss her books and writing career (30 minutes, January to March 2021)
  • Downton Abbey-inspired dinner for 10 at Forget House, Golden Square Mile mansion
  • Manoir Hovey package
  • Auberge Saint-Antoine, Quebec City package
  • Premium hockey tickets for Canadiens games at the Bell Centre, dates and details TBA
  • Definitely something to look forward to!

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