Wednesday Night #2079

Written by  //  January 19, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

It is with greatest sorrow that we share the news that Brian Morel died on Thursday. I do not yet have any details and will be sending more information as I receive it.
He was such a loyal friend, generous to a fault, intellectually curious, blessed with a deep spirituality, and an integral part of Wednesday Night for so many years. We will miss him greatly, but take consolation in the pleasure he will take in rejoining such Wednesday Nighters as Kimon and Desmond Morton for debates echoing those he so greatly enjoyed at the McGill Faculty Club.
Meantime, we came across this wonderful clip of Brian’s pitch for Infinitheatre for whom he volunteered in many capacities over the years.
Infinithéâtre’s Brian Morel Invites YOU!

Topping our list of issues this week is the Russia threat to Ukraine:
At his press conference on Wednesday, President Biden made it clear that he expects Russia will invade Ukraine.
Melanie Joly ends her visit to Ukraine, and Canada vows to support Ukraine as warship departs for Black Sea
Tensions rising over Russia/Ukraine – what to do? And how does the US look after one year of Biden? Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas agree that while sanctions often do not work, the ‘nuclear bomb of sanctions’ -the threat to remove Russia’s ability to function within the global financial community- could be highly effective. Turning to the Biden first year anniversary, both spoke admiringly of Biden’s commitment to U.S. foreign policy engagement, but deplored the inept execution in Afghanistan and above all the fact that foreign policy is largely at the mercy of domestic legislation and the very real threat to America’s democracy.

President Biden marked the end of his first year in office with a rare news conference Wednesday — running nearly two hours — amid continued struggles both with the pandemic and his agenda. The WaPo offers some key takeaways from the back-and-forth, starting with “The end of Biden’s wishful bipartisan epiphany. In case Biden’s voting-rights speech last week didn’t make it clear, he reinforced Wednesday that he has largely given up on his high-minded but far-fetched vision for bipartisanship on his watch. He instead cast his Republican opponents as principle-free, power-hungry legislators.” But we will await full-blown analysis in the coming hours and days.

‘U.S. needs to fix weaknesses in its Indo-Pacific strategy to counter China’
Cleo Paskal‘s interview with Grant Newsham -a retired United States Marine Corps (USMC) Colonel, a lawyer, and a former US Foreign Service Officer who specialized in insurgency, counter-insurgency, and commercial matters- is not encouraging.
Meanwhile, she writes that she is doing what’s possible for Tonga

Kyle Matthews makes a short appearance at the 40 second mark of the news report on Canadian researchers find security flaws in Chinese government’s MY2022 Olympic app

We have always had a favorable bias towards Australia (koala bears and kangaroos, heroism at Gallipoli, Crocodile Dundee, Waltzing Matilda…) despite Rupert Murdoch and his political allies, however, we were reminded of the ugly plight of asylum seekers that was given recent global exposure by the short-term detention of Novak Djokovic. (refugees hope tennis star’s hotel detention will cast light on their ‘torture’).
By the way, The Guardian reports that Djokovic has 80% stake in biotech firm developing Covid drug

Will Boris Johnson be brought down by the cries of ‘In the name of God, go’? The entire story brings to mind the lovely British expression “penny dreadful”. And even worse is the saga of the unroyalled Prince Andrew. The poor Queen!

Healthcare
At home in Quebec, we continue to struggle with Covid battles including conflicting -often reversed policies-. Not much has changed/improved since Arruda’s resignation. Moreover, Quebec’s new contingency plan for hospitals could further burden family members already exhausted from two years of the pandemic.
When combined with Wednesday’s other (not unexpected) report CHSLD system completely unprepared for pandemic, health commissioner says, it is no wonder that people are discouraged.
Doug Sweet has brought to our attention Why Canada’s hospital capacity was so easily overwhelmed by the COVID pandemic
For two years, COVID-19 has been highlighting a crisis of Canadian hospital capacity that has been limping along for decades. This is not an opinion piece, but based on data from the OECD.
Were you aware of the existence of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami’s school of medicine. or that this field of investigation exists?
Loss of human touch: How pandemic isolation is taking another toll on health-care workers
Neuroscientists are just beginning to understand the impact of touch from others and what happens when it’s disrupted.

Food for thought from the OECD Building a resilient recovery
Emerging stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic is transforming how we think about our economies and our societies. The policy choices governments make today will determine their success in building a transition to a greener, more inclusive and more resilient tomorrow. It is an opportunity to chart a path that empowers everyone to face the future with confidence.

As Steve Stiles asks What Does a Pig-to-Human Heart Transplant Mean for Medicine?, others wonder Is It Ethical to Transplant a Pig Heart into a Human? and Prof. Sylvain Charlebois of Dalhousie University, reminds us that Breeding animals specifically to produce organs for people could level the field for those on waiting lists for life-saving treatment. But we need to ask some hard questions about xenotransplantation.

The Davos Agenda
17—21 January 2022
Day 2  2022: The year to rebuild trust?
The world has a trust problem.
That’s come through clearly in [Tuesday’s] sessions at The Davos Agenda – and indeed in the latest Edelman Trust Barometer, launched this morning.
From social entrepreneurship to our economic and social future to vaccine inequality, speakers from across the globe and from business, academia and beyond mentioned the challenge of trust.
Edelman Trust Barometer: Cycle of distrust threatens action on global challenges
The Davos Agenda focus on trust echoes the remarks of UN Sec-Gen: Without trust, catastrophe awaits last September
António Guterres…does not mince words when it comes to the dire state of the world. “We are standing at the edge of an abyss.” COVID is “defeating” the global community and a climate catastrophe is all but assured without drastic action. Amidst this unprecedented peril, there remains a startling lack of trust among nations.

For relevance, check out Nawaz: Quebec’s selective relationship with COVID-19 reality makes me want to shout

Varia
Highly recommend the Wednesday Politico Ottawa Playbook for the exchange with Anne McLellen and Lisa Raitt on a number of issues. We wish there had been more on the latest cross-border trucker regulations – we have a feeling it may end badly.
“Bambi” Is Even Bleaker Than You Thought
The original book, a 1922 novel by the Austro-Hungarian writer and critic Felix Salten, is far more grisly than the beloved Disney classic—and has an unsettling message about humanity.

Why do I seem to be one of the last people on earth (or at least among Rabbit’s friends and relations) to adopt the perfect antidote to all Life’s other stress points? Why Wordle is the perfect game for the moment

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