Wednesday Night #2033

Written by  //  March 3, 2021  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

We encourage you to pick and choose your media sources for coverage of CPAC. While noting in horror the golden statue/idol both for its sheer ugliness and the message it sends,  our current policy is to give as little publicity to the antics of the former president and his idolators as possible. Nonetheless, we note that Wednesday Night has long tentacles;  Cleo Paskal was at CPAC, ‘talking about China’  with Joshua Philipp of the Epoch Times.

CPAC was short on policy, so we prefer to draw to your attention City Lab 2021,  held virtually on Monday and Tuesday,  co-hosted by four cities that led the world in their responses to COVID-19: Bogotá, Colombia; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Helsinki, Finland; and San Francisco. Vice president Kamala Harris gave the keynote address, stressing the importance of strengthening city infrastructure and, on Day 2 (start at 19 mins),  Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, speaking from experience as a former mayor, emphasized the need for maintenance while echoing the VP’s statement, saying that Congress has an opportunity to deliver a generational boost in infrastructure spending as the Biden administration readies a package that could reach as high as $2 trillion.

Heather Cox Richardson February 28, 2021
In the wee hours of Saturday morning, the House of Representatives passed the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill requested by the Biden administration. The vote was 219 to 212, with two Democrats—Jared Golden (D-ME) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR)—voting no. Not a single Republican voted for the bill.
The American Rescue Plan bill now goes to the Senate, where Republican senators appear to be united against it … Although each party effectively holds 50 seats, the Democrats represent 41.5 million more Americans than the Republicans do, in nation that has 328.2 million people.

Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas discuss the implications of President Biden’s announcement that Merck will help make the Johnson & Johnson single-shot coronavirus vaccine; the government now expects to produce vaccines for all 300 million U.S. adults by the end of May, two months ahead of the previously projected schedule. They make the point that availability of the vaccine does not mean 300 million people vaccinated -problems exist in delivery of the jabs- nor does it cover the younger members of the population.
Last word on vaccines (for now): “I’m old enough to get it, and I’m smart enough to get it,” music legend Dolly Parton said as she received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in a video posted to her social media accounts on Tuesday. Parton also used the opportunity to sing to the tune of her hit song “Jolene” about the importance of getting vaccinated: “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine. I’m begging of you, please don’t hesitate.”

No sooner had Quebec announced that a number of vaccination sites would be open for business for those age 85+ than the age limit for Montreal and Laval dropped faster than the temperature. By Monday morning, it was down to 70+. Online registration (The Clic-Santé website) over the weekend went very smoothly, however, it appears that an overwhelming response  is now causing delays in delivery (MGH not accepting any more bookings as of Wednesday). Nonetheless, we are happily surprised by the efficiency of the system as well as both quality and quantity of information in English!  Next step according to Health Minister Christian Dubé: Pharmacists will administer vaccines as of 15 March.

Last week, there was animated discussion of Andrew Caddell‘s column on the Trudeau government’s discussion paper on official languages  and that led to review of the Quebec government’s increasing threat to English-language services. We have invited Marlene Jennings, president of the QCGN and ED Sylvia Martin Laforge to join us for a WN focused on these matters and  are working on a mutually convenient date.

Andrew‘s column this week Trudeau revelations another nationalist ‘conspiracy’ that isn’t looks at the annoying but quite fruitless attempt by Pierre-Karl Péladeau to sabotage Justin Trudeau by attacking his father’s legacy. And then, there is the proposal to rename the Trudeau airport for René Lévesque – it won’t happen.

On the international stage, on Monday Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala took up the reins at the WTO and immediately set forth her vision for the organization: WTO members must intensify co-operation, detailing many areas where nations must set aside their differences. If only…
Freedom House’s annual “Freedom in the World” report, released on Wednesday indicates that 2020 marked the 15th straight year of declining world freedom. Nearly three-quarters of world’s population lived in a country where rights and freedoms declined last year, Freedom House says.
The world looks on helplessly as the situation in Myanmar deteriorates’ In talks with Myanmar military, ASEAN urges halt to violence, but how effective can that be?

In the on-going saga of Meng Wanzhou’s extradition hearing, her lawyers say Trump made ‘intimidating’ threats to intervene in her case, reducing Meng from a human being to ‘chattel’;they want the extradition case thrown out as a result, but Canadian government lawyers say the argument is ‘moot’ because Trump is no longer US president. Meanwhile the two Michaels languish.

Release of the US intelligence report on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi has created a very public dilemma for the Biden administration. How to treat the obvious responsibility of MBS? See long read below and more on Middle East & Arab World: Saudi Arabia 2021-.

Online events:
Sadly, we received notification too late to join Cleo on the Canadian Global Affairs Institute webinar March 2.
Canadian and Japanese FOIP (formulation of a Canadian Free and Open Indo-Pacific) webinar aims to examine Canadian and Japanese FOIP Visions through the lens of Purpose, Form, and Practice. Maybe a Youtube version will follow?
David Kilgour suggests participation in the March 4 webinar Europe Debates: EU-China Investment Agreement
Sandy Wolofsky asks “What you doing Thursday evening? If you are looking, come listen to Pierre Anctil talk about my Great-grandfather’s newspaper. Through the Eyes of the Eagle: Montreal’s Yiddish Daily looks at French Canada during the 1930s.”
To join please email [email protected] please include your full name and where you heard about this talk. The Zoom link will be sent to registrant only the day before the program.
I Dissent: How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Became the Notorious RBG
Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 7:30 PM EDT
Award-winning journalist Irin Carmon, co-author of the runaway bestseller Notorious RBG, tells the intimate story of a remarkable Jewish woman who transcended divides — and describes how to carry on her legacy.
Free via Eventbrite

Varia
More from Wanda Potrykus on the 2020-21 Revitalization Plan What’s wrong with Westmount Park /2 Comments encouraged
Jumping Jehoshaphat! Have You Seen How Many Israelis Just Visited the U.A.E.?
We may be witnessing a major realignment of the Middle East.
A ‘Lamborghini’ Of Chariots Is Discovered At Pompeii. Archaeologists Are Wowed
(NPR) …researchers at Pompeii have announced the uncovering of an intact ceremonial chariot from a villa near the famous Italian archaeological site.
The chariot is preserved in remarkable detail, officials say, with four iron wheels, metal armrests and backrests, and a seat perched atop that could sit one or two people. Notably, the chariot is adorned with metal medallions depicting satyrs, nymphs and cupids, suggesting the possibility that it may have been used in marriage ceremonies.
Private Rail Cars Will Soon Become The Ultimate Social Distancing Escape
(Forbes) A new resurgence of the Golden Age is on the horizon as interest in private rail travel in a post-pandemic world is increasing. More than pure elegance, travelers can take extraordinary voyages all in the lap of luxury.
… You can charter a train car at the American Association of Private Railroad Car Owners, where they promote luxurious travel experiences with private cars that regularly travel on Amtrak trains and others that create unique itineraries. They offer over 150 rail cars from domes and lounges to observation and sleeper cars.
You can have private carriages attached to the luxury trains like the Rovos Pride of Africa and the Royal Canadian Pacific, where you can also charter the whole train. The Venice Simplon Orient Express boasts Grand Suites, three in a carriage; take them all for a private rail car with in-car dining for up to 6 guests.”
Dr. Seuss Canceled By Virginia School System For ‘Read Across America’ Day
Dr. Seuss, a major supplier of content for television and film through such characters as The Grinch, the Cat in the Hat, and Horton Hears a Who, was banned because his books allegedly have “strong racial undertones,” according to the school system.
[UPDATE: Dr. Seuss Books Are Pulled, and a ‘Cancel Culture’ Controversy Erupts
The beloved author’s most famous books, like “Green Eggs and Ham,” were untouched, but his estate’s decision nevertheless prompted a backlash and raised questions about what should be preserved as part of the cultural record.

The Kennedys in the World: How Jack, Bobby, and Ted Remade America’s Empire by Lawrence (Larry) Haas, Jeremy Kinsman‘s partner in the weekly CTV News panel Diplomatic Community, was published on Monday, 1 March.

Long reads
Inside the Biden team’s deliberations over punishing the Saudi crown prince
Asked why the US had failed to punish the crown prince personally, Blinken told reporters at the State Department Friday that “what we’ve done by the actions that we’ve taken is really not to rupture the relationship, but to recalibrate it, to be more in line with our interests and our values. And I think that we have to understand as well that this is bigger than any one person” …real politik is never pretty.
Thousands of Uyghur workers in China are being relocated in an effort to assimilate Muslims, documents show
Xinjiang’s Muslim minorities have been moved to factories thousands of kilometres away to sever their ties to home and undermine their culture, internal documents and Chinese researchers reveal.
How to give America’s dying malls the 2nd life they desperately need
Not only applicable to the U.S.

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