Wednesday Night #2104

Written by  //  July 13, 2022  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

NASA Reveals Webb Telescope’s First Images of Unseen Universe
The dawn of a new era in astronomy is here as the world gets its first look at the full capabilities of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, a partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency).
The full set of the telescope’s first full-color images and spectroscopic data are available at:
Note: Canada’s instrument on Webb confirms water in atmosphere of exoplanet
The race is on!
Boris Johnson’s successor: What does a new British PM mean for Canada? – Jeremy Kinsman – no great change in the predominantly cordial relations. Jeremy’s most interesting comment comes at the end, when he remarks on the number of leadership candidates who are the children of immigrants.
Liz Truss under pressure as rivals steal march in Tory leadership race
Foreign secretary forced to regroup after trailing behind Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt after first round ballot
…she was left trailing in third place after the secret ballot of Conservative MPs, with 50 votes to 67 for Mordaunt, a trade minister and former defence secretary.
Former chancellor Rishi Sunak came first, with 88 votes.
Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt and chancellor Nadhim Zahawi were both knocked out of the contest.
Eight candidates to fight first round of Tory leadership campaign
Rishi Sunak followed by Kemi Badenoch, Suella Braverman, Jeremy Hunt, Penny Mordaunt, Tom Tugendhat, Liz Truss and Nadhim Zahawi
(The Guardian) All the candidates must gain votes from at least 30 MPs in order to pass the first ballot on Wednesday evening. All 358 Tory MPs will vote in the first ballot on Wednesday, with a second ballot to be held on Thursday. Further ballots will be held next week until the list of contenders is down to two finalists.

Late Wednesday afternoon, a breakthrough at Ukraine grain export talks was announced as heavy shelling continues
(Reuters) – Ukraine, the United Nations and Turkey hailed progress at talks in Istanbul with Russia designed to resume Black Sea grain exports and ease the risk of starvation faced by millions, but an end to the war remained far off as heavy shelling continued.
Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said an agreement would be signed next week. He said Ankara will ensure the safety of shipments in transit and the parties will jointly check grain cargoes in ports. But U.N. chief Antonio Guterres said more work was needed before a deal was signed.

Our thanks to C. Uday Bhaskar for reminding us that while ” A series of major-nation summits was held at the end of June – including the Group of 7, BRICS and Nato, …  a little-noticed UN conference [UN Ocean Conference] that concluded in Lisbon on July 1 could yet be the most critical event that has the potential to shape the health of the world and its inhabitants.” Lack of global consensus bodes ill for health of world’s oceans

Reviving US partnerships in the Middle East
Joe Biden has a tough task ahead of him with his trip to the Middle East. From Iranian missile strikes to Russian military actions in the region, Daniel Byman outlines key issues at play and explains what the best outcomes of the trip might be for the Biden administration

As the January 6 Committee hearings continue to fascinate, chill and repel, we increasingly rely on Heather Cox Richardson’s clear-eyed summaries of each session’s high and low points. See July 12, 2022 for the latest.
Meanwhile, we are grateful to our trusty southern source (aka Gloria Calhoun)who has sent along the following clarifications in response to WN questions:
“First, convicted felons (whether state or federal crimes) are not automatically barred from seeking or holding elected office, including the presidency. The logic seems to be that powerful political interests would otherwise have an incentive to contrive a felony conviction to disqualify a formidable opponent. Certain convictions, however, can disqualify one from holding public office as part of the penalty. One example is treason. In other cases, it is a discretionary aspect of sentencing, which might also apply time limits. Page 4 of this PDF (numbered page 2 in the document itself) covers the pertinent points:
Second, impeachment does not necessarily preclude holding office in the future unless disqualification is specified as part of the penalty. If the House votes to impeach, the Senate must vote (by two-thirds) to convict, and the Senate must then determine penalty, for which there are options. The Senate can simply remove the impeached official, or it can remove and disqualify for future. (See footnote on same page cited above.) Bottom line: impeaching, convicting, and penalizing generally are three separate procedures.
Further to pleading the fifth: The logic of all-or-nothing appears to be that it avoids allowing a witness selectively to answer only potentially exonerating questions while avoiding potentially incriminating questions. You either testify or you don’t; you don’t get to pick and choose. Questioners will often persist, however, possibly to get in the record what they wanted to ask, to find a question so compelling that the witness will want to answer, and, probably, because it offers some “made for TV” moments.”
Doug Sweet highly recommends the NYT long read Gerrymander U.S.A. (see below)

François Philippe Champagne has been busy above all with the 5-day Rogers outage/outrage (Canadians distressed as Rogers outage leaves customers stranded). At his meeting on Monday with the CEO of Rogers and the heads of other telecommunications service providers, he gave the group 60 days to consider emergency roaming, mutual assistance during outages, and building out a communication protocol to better inform the public and authorities of any emergencies. We can’t imagine the meeting was pleasant.
On Tuesday, he took time out for a more pleasant task, furnishing a quote to the Canadian Space Agency for the Webb space telescope announcement. “… For decades, talented Canadian scientists and engineers have worked closely with colleagues from around the globe to achieve this great feat. And now, our world-renowned astronomers are poised to make unprecedented discoveries at the cutting-edge of galactic research.” Moving right along, on Wednesday, he and the PM were in Kingston to announce that a $1.5-billion industrial electric vehicle materials plant, the first of its kind in North America, is coming to Loyalist Township,
The PM must have been relieved to have a change of topic (albeit briefly) from the return of the Gazprom turbine to Germany. It appears that the PM was under intense pressure from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who raised the turbine issue with him at the G7 summit in late June. Mr. Scholz is planning a trade visit to Canada on Aug. 22 and 23 to push for the construction of liquefied natural gas export facilities on Canada’s East Coast.

In case you have not been following the governance crisis in Sri Lanka, Devjyot Ghoshal and Alasdair Pal summarize How Sri Lanka spiralled into crisis and remind us that the country has been run by the powerful Rajapaksa family for the better part of the last two decades.

Beryl Wajsman: Censorship will kill free speech and bury the lessons of history
There is a dangerous current running through society that for the sake of not offending anyone’s sensibilities, it is acceptable to engage in censorship.Public sanctioning of individuals daring to use certain words and express unpopular opinions.
Space agriculture boldly grows food where no one has grown before
As access to space increases, the potential for terrestrial benefits directly tied to space exploration grow exponentially.
How Monty Norman composed the ‘James Bond Theme’
From Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, Monty Norman’s “James Bond Theme” has followed 007 through the ages.

Long reads
Ukraine and the Contest of Global Stamina
The conflict’s long-run trajectory seems increasingly likely to be shaped by whether the United States and its allies can maintain their military, political and financial commitments to holding off Russia.
Why Sanctioning Oligarchs is a Gift to Russia
A tactic that seems good on paper may backfire in practice.
By Dmitry Nekrasov, politician, economist and entrepreneur who was deputy chief of the Federal Tax Service analytical department from 2010 to 2012 and former executive secretary of the Opposition Coordinating Council.
The Future of the West Is in Question
The war in Ukraine puts before us one crucial question: Does the transatlantic free world still want to occupy a position of leadership? Do we still believe in the universality of values such as freedom and the right of national self-determination? Do we have determination to defend them? If not, we have already lost our future.

Gerrymander U.S.A.
In Texas’ new political map, the 13th Congressional District stretches about 450 miles from Denton, a fast-growing, multiracial city near Dallas, to sparsely populated rural towns along the western border of the state’s panhandle.

Uber leveraged violent attacks against its drivers to pressure politicians
In push for global expansion, company officials saw clashes with taxi cab workers as a way to win public sympathy, a trove of new documents shows

Presidential protection or abduction? Secret Service wrong for all the right reasons on Jan. 6
Cassidy Hutchinson testified that she was told that Trump became physical with his Secret Service security team, trying to force them to drive him to Capitol Hill as the riot unfolded. …the Secret Service effectively made the President of the United States a captive and refused his repeated, direct orders on where to take him.

The Rise and Fall of Toronto’s Classiest Con Man
James Regan swindled his way through the city’s monied classes. The problem was, he seemed to believe his own lies
Six degrees of separation
He recently moved on to Montreal and presented himself at the law offices of one of my neighbours.

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