Wednesday Night #2019

Written by  //  November 25, 2020  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

American Thanksgiving and with this week’s news from Washington, there is good reason to give thanks.

President-elect Joe Biden can finally start his formal transition to the White House.
The General Services Administration formally recognized Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election on Monday night, allowing his team to get working on the logistics of the transition, with President Donald Trump announcing the move in a tweet. The president also said he was not conceding (surprise?) The G.S.A. administrator has formally designated Biden the apparent winner of the presidential election.
A trivia question in years to come: who was Emily Murphy?

We have nothing but admiration for the  demeanor of the President and Vice President-elect and their team throughout the trying period since Election Day. His sober Thanksgiving message is only the most recent example.  He has been quietly and efficiently preparing for the multiple challenges ahead, resisting any temptation to respond to non-stop provocation from Trump and his allies. Tamara Keith and Amy Walter on Biden’s White House transition “the president-elect, campaigned specifically on, it’s important to have experience, it’s important to delegate to people who have done this work before. And, also,…to the Republicans, there’s not a lot here for you to object to. I’m not here throwing somebody who’s making a statement to the political class. I’m putting somebody who’s experienced.”
The emerging diplomatic, intelligence and economic teams, as outlined by transition officials, reunite a group of former senior officials from the Obama administration (Antony J. BlinkenJanet Yellen, Alejandro Mayorkas as the first Latino to lead the Department of Homeland Security and Avril Haines as the first woman to be the director of national intelligence) and is a reassuring indication that the new administration will be competent. The appointees share a belief in the core principles of the Democratic foreign policy establishment: international cooperation, strong U.S. alliances and leadership, but a wariness of foreign interventions after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The WaPo offers a handy guide to Who Joe Biden is picking to fill his White House and Cabinet

Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas are positively giddy (well, maybe not giddy) about the Biden cabinet nominations, Larry especially about Antony Blinken and Janet Yellen -“rock solid” and Jeremy emphasizing that professionalism is the dominant feature of all picks so far.
9 things to know about Antony Blinken, the next US secretary of state
What Europe needs to know about Joe Biden’s pick for secretary of state.
For starters, he is U.S. a Europeanist, multilateralist, and internationalist whose ties to Europe are lifelong, deep and personal — and he is a fierce believer in the transatlantic alliance. Plus, he speaks impeccable French!

Now, the single most important campaign is to reduce the power of Mitch McConnell and his evil band by ensuring the election of two Georgia Democrat senators on January 5th. Gloria Calhoun, WN’s Georgia correspondent, recommends What Chuck Schumer doesn’t understand about Georgia by Edward Lindsey, whom she knows and says is “a level-headed guy”. Go Stacey Abrams!

We still must endure six weeks of POTUS 45 and be assured, he will create as much chaos, mischief and possibly irreperable damage as possible. Axios reports that Israeli military [is preparing] for possibility Trump will strike Iran. Not far-fetched since the NYT reported last week that Trump Sought Options for Attacking Iran to Stop Its Growing Nuclear Program “The president was dissuaded from moving ahead with a strike by advisers who warned that it could escalate into a broader conflict in his last weeks in office.”

Worldometer registers 60,590,359 Coronavirus Cases and 1,424,068 deaths to date (25 November) with the USA, India and Brazil posting the most cases and Canada ranked 30th. The graph also shows cases per 1 million population, presenting a quite different perspective.
On Monday, we learned of Another COVID-19 vaccine success? Candidate may prevent further coronavirus transmission, too The AstraZeneca/ University of Oxford vaccine joins those recently announced by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech.
Amid the bad news about the toll the pandemic is taking, Singapore is almost coronavirus-free after going two weeks without a local case. It has recorded more than 58,000 cases, but nearly all patients have recovered and its fatality rate is the world’s lowest with just 28 deaths

Covid-19 has shed light on another pandemic of depression, anxiety and grief, a topic which we believe should be explored in depth before the bleakness of locked-down holidays affects us and/or those near and dear to us. We welcome suggestion about how best to approach the topic.

Quebec’s Quebec’s Minister Responsible for the French Language, Simon Jolin-Barrette, announced on Tuesday a plan to table a bill aimed at strengthening French in the province. Although no details will be announced until the next parliamentary session, Jolin-Barrette has stated he wanted to make it clear overall that protecting the French language in Quebec won’t come at the expense of services and institutions for the English-speaking population. Sceptics abound.
Andrew Caddell tackles the issue in this week’s Hill Times column, Anglo Quebecers are not a threat to French, we shouldn’t be treated as suchI am not a threat to the French language, nor are my fellow Anglo citizens. And to make us feel unwelcome in the guise of promoting the French language is the worst kind of discrimination.
Meanwhile, lawyers from several civil society groups are arguing before a Quebec Superior Court judge that the province’s Laicity Act (Bill 21) is unconstitutional.
In order to do so, they will be raising a series of questions as fundamental as, what rights do Canadians have? What is the constitution? And what kind of democracy does Canada have?
Julius Grey will plead QCGN’s intervention at 9:30am on December 1.

Events
Wednesday, 25 November 7 to 8:30 pm
Our good friend Terry Mosher is supporting the Pointe-Claire Library by presenting a Zoom chat about cartooning in general, (Trump and Covid) and his new biography of Duncan Macpherson. Free to anyone, anywhere. If you would like to watch (and then ask questions) please register by calling 514-630-1218 – or send an email to [email protected]
Thursday 26 November
at CORIM
Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage
“Media : the urgency to act in the digital age”

Good reads

The first of what will certainly be far too many predictions for 2021
A letter from Tom Standage, editor of “The World in 2021”
Ten trends to watch in the coming year
The number 21 is connected with luck, risk, taking chances and rolling the dice. It’s the number of spots on a standard die, and the number of shillings in a guinea, the currency of wagers and horse-racing. It’s the minimum age at which you can enter a casino in America, and the name of a family of card games, including blackjack, that are popular with gamblers.
All of which seems strangely appropriate for a year of unusual uncertainty. The great prize on offer is the chance of bringing the coronavirus pandemic under control. But in the meantime risks abound, to health, economic vitality and social stability. As 2021 approaches, here are ten trends to watch in the year ahead.

Canada’s Eleventh Province; America’s Eleventh City? Planet Canada and a Call to Action
John Stackhouse spent several years writing Planet Canada, How Our Expats Are Shaping the Future. It was worth the wait. If there is any resource which Canada squanders to its detriment, it is Canadians living outside the country. And not necessarily “overseas”, since that implies across oceans, but also in the United States.
Let’s put it in perspective. Say, Canadians living in the United States make up one third of the diaspora (not an unreasonable assumption given its proximity), and we take the diaspora at 3 million people in total. That means that this population comprises the 11th largest city in the United States, slightly more than Austin, Jacksonville and San Francisco. Put differently, it is a population greater than at least six U.S. states (or seven Canadian provinces and territories). We can certainly quibble with the numbers, but there is little doubt that it is a sizeable group. Not a voting bloc, and not homogeneous, but a force of potential benefit for improved Canada-U.S. relations.

Twitter/CNN a good analysis of the problems besetting traditional media and possible solutions.

Fun trivia
Your Old Radiator Is a Pandemic-Fighting Weapon
Turn-of-the-century faith in ventilation to combat disease pushed engineers to design steam heating systems that still overheat apartments today.

Don’t miss Stephen Colbert: A Lame Duck Emerges From His Bunker To Pardon A Turkey And Take Credit For A Wall Street Milestone, with guest Barack Obama.
And whenever we read about the pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey, we must again watch the West Wing Turkey Pardon

And on that note: Happy American Thanksgiving to one and all!

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