Wednesday Night #2132

Written by  //  January 25, 2023  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2132

Jan. 22, 1973: The day that changed America
Jan. 22, 1973, was the day Henry Kissinger flew to Paris to end the Vietnam War for the United States. It was the day the Supreme Court issued its opinion on abortion rights in Roe v. Wade. And it was the day the nation’s 36th president, Lyndon Baines Johnson, died of a heart attack in Texas at 64.

A combination of peer pressure and shaming seems to have worked
European allies will send about 80 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, Germany says
Jeremy Kinsman comments
on the delay in agreement to send the Leopard tanks, tying German reluctance to history, but also pointing out that some NATO nations worry about the possibility of escalation. He adds that Canada’s position is ambiguous (U.S., Germany to send almost 100 tanks to Ukraine; Canada not yet committed to plan) -as it is for action in Haiti and a number of other international challenges.
He underlines that President Zelensky’s move against government corruption is highly important, not only given the need for credibility among donor nations of financial and material aid to Ukraine’s war effort, but especially in consideration of the need to secure the faith of international financial institutions whose support will be vital in the post-war reconstruction, and it pursues a bid to join the European Union.

Putin’s War
Vladimir Putin & Russia January 2023
An increasing number of pundits are talking about the possibility -even probability- that Ukraine will ultimately defeat the Russian invasion, while also citing the decline in Vladimir Putin’s power and popularity. While nothing is a given, the tone of the commentary has moved from the realm of what if? to when and its aftermath.
In March 2022, Margaret MacMillan wrote on Leadership at War “If anyone doubts the importance of individual leaders in the shape of world events, surely the war in Ukraine has dispelled them.” How Putin and Zelensky Have Defined the Ukrainian Conflict.

In the last of Paule Robitaille‘s seven-part series Back to the U.S.S.R., she concludes “Until recently I believed the war in Ukraine was amenable to compromise. Giving up Ukrainian claims to the Donbass and Crimea seemed like a reasonable price to pay to end Europe’s most ruinous and shattering conflict since the Second World War. But four weeks on the road in the ex-Soviet Union this past fall has disabused me of that notion. To me the prospect of negotiating with Vladimir Putin feels as futile as bargaining with Hitler” Putin’s imperial ambitions must be crushed

Israel’s ambassador to Canada to resign over ‘different policy’ under Netanyahu
“With the transition to the new government and to different policy in Israel, my personal and professional integrity has compelled me to request to shorten my post and return to Israel this summer,” the envoy said in a tweet.

Turkey continues to merit the epithet ‘troublesome’, although Sweden has to bear some of the blame while Iran is engaged in sanction/counter sanction contest with the West as the latter continues to ponder whether to designate Iran’s IRGC a terrorist organization. A move that Iran’s foreign minister argues strongly against (!) ‘Terrorist’ designation for Iran’s IRGC would harm EU securityIran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is a leading counterterror force and essential to Europe’s security interests in the Middle East.

Iran blacklists more European officials as tensions rise The foreign ministry in Tehran blacklists three entities and 22 individuals from the EU as well as a think tank and eight officials in the UK.

Late breaking news last Wednesday (18 January) was the announcement that Jacinda Ardern resigned as prime minister of New Zealand. Since her announcement, she has been widely praised, but as Ellen Ioanes states Jacinda Ardern is a global icon — but she’s still a politician. She led New Zealand through some of its biggest crises, but the country’s political winds are shifting.

Jacinda Ardern’s resignation has given rise to conjecture about Justin Trudeau including this inconclusive piece by The Guardian’s Leyland Cecco:
Jacinda Ardern’s resignation prompts new questions over Trudeau’s future
The Canadian leader is at a point in which he can bow out with his reputation relatively intact – just as the New Zealand PM did.
Meanwhile, the PM completed a three-day Cabinet meeting in Hamilton in anticipation of the resumption of Parliament.
He has confirmed that he is convening a Feb. 7 meeting with the premiers and territorial leaders in Ottawa to discuss health care. But as he announced the gathering, Mr. Trudeau said Wednesday there will be no health-care agreement on the table for the leaders to sign. “It’ll be a good moment for us to gather, but we’re not going to be signing deals on that particular moment,” Mr. Trudeau told a news conference as this week’s federal cabinet retreat in Hamilton concluded.
No further updates so far. BUT Passport backlog and delays are over, minister says – why is the minister in question Families minister Karina Gould?
All was not rosy in Hamilton: Large, angry protests targeted the cabinet retreat in Hamilton. Apparently most demonstrators were identified as standard-bearers for the Freedom Convoy, now an all-purpose anti-Trudeau political movement.
Nothing new about the committee investigating the McKinsey and other mega consulting contracts, nor anything from Peter Schiefke‘s committee on transportation chaos – as the stories of wayward and missing luggage continue to surface, a new chapter opens on Wednesday evening as Toronto Pearson Airport cancels 25% of flights as snowstorm hammers southern Ontario.

LATE UPDATE Une dizaine de postes seront supprimés au Montreal Gazette
Une dizaine de postes seront supprimés d’ici peu dans la salle de rédaction du Montreal Gazette, dernier quotidien anglophone de la métropole. La nouvelle, annoncée mercredi aux employés, fait craindre le pire pour la survie du journal.
How to ensure that a daily newspaper can be successful -and not held hostage by greedy hedge funds? So many newspapers have died, especially regional/community papers. But there are some success stories. What can we learn from them?

Are you following the discussion of the good, bad and ugly of ChatGPT? See Society, Science & Technology March 2022- for assorted opinions. And on a positive note, read ChatGPT: Chatbots can help us rediscover the rich history of dialogue
Geoffrey M Rockwell, Professor of Philosophy and Digital Humanities, University of Alberta:
How will we know if what we read was written by an AI and why is that important? Who are we responding to when we comment on an essay or article? By looking to the philosophical history of dialogue, we can reframe the question to ask how we might use these new chatbots in our learning.

Control Your Tech Before It Controls You
(Forbes) People spend about five hours per day on their devices. Always-on technology can distract you and erode your ability to focus at work. You might pick up your device to look up something specific but end up losing hours to mindless scrolling or being distracted from your task by notifications and recommendations. This lost productivity can severely impact your career. In fact, smartphone use can interrupt your workflow and prevent you from achieving concentration. Sound familiar?

California grapples with two mass shootings in three days. Once again, renewed calls for gun reform, which we know will have no effect.
Gunman dead after 10 killed in California Then, on Sunday, an apparently targeted attack in Baton Rouge, Louisiana injured twelve people at a nightclub, and in another in Shreveport, a gunman wounded eight people.
Scott Wiener, a California state senator: 34 mass shootings in 23 days isn’t normal. It doesn’t have to be this way. There are too many guns. Our country needs the will to say enough.

Look for the cameo of astronaut Chris Hadfield at the beginning of this episode of Murdoch Mysteries. A man of many talents, however …
Dog influencers are barking straight to the bank
Dog influencers were already on their way to becoming ubiquitous prior to the pandemic, racking up tens of millions of social-media followers and raking in large sums through sponsored posts.
Heather Cox Richardson notes
Representative Bill Foster (D-IL), an award-winning physicist who holds a PhD from Harvard, trolled George Santos today in a way that powerfully demonstrated the current difference between the two parties. In response to the news that House speaker Kevin McCarthy has put Santos on the House Science Committee, Foster tweeted: “As the only recipient of the Wilson Prize for High-Energy Particle Accelerator Physics serving in Congress, it can get lonely. Not anymore!… I’m thrilled to be joined on the Science Committee by my Republican colleague Dr. George Santos, winner of not only the Nobel Prize, but also the Fields Medal—the top prize in Mathematics—for his groundbreaking work with imaginary numbers.”

It has been a while since we’ve included a Randy Rainbow parody, but Speaker of the House, his first of this year, is worthy.

Long reads
Why we have a debt ceiling, and why this trip to the brink may be different
For those on Capitol Hill who would threaten a default as a means to compel concessions on policy, the destructive power of default is what makes it makes attractive as a tactic.
‘Joe Biden has been constantly underestimated’: Chris Whipple on his White House book
Interview with Chris Whipple whose Fight of His Life Inside Joe Biden’s White House, has just been published (and sounds like a must-read). Of particular interest, his take on the relationship between President Biden and VP Kamala Harris.
The U.S. has an overclassification problem, says one former special counsel
For months, classified documents have been turning up in places where they’re not supposed to.
Is the criticism of overclassification fair, in Biden’s case currently and previously with former President Trump?
Can you spot a ‘snow leopard’? Six to watch for in 2023
The Atlantic Council foresight team defines the concept (not the cat) of a “snow leopard” as “a known but underappreciated—perhaps even forgotten—phenomenon” that has the potential to change the world and shape its future. This year’s elusive phenomena include structural batteries built into the frames of cars, a platform-worker labor movement, and the risky business of geoengineering. In the tech world, the need for AI governance, particularly to rein in algorithms, is increasing. This regulation, writes Danielle Miller, is “a broad and complex challenge” sure to face additional pushback from the tech industry and even legal hurdles. Meanwhile, Imran Bayoumi posits that harmonious relations between Japan and South Korea could be on the horizon, shaking up the landscape in the Indo-Pacific.
For followers of the McKinsey débacle in Ottawa, this review of When McKinsey Comes to Town: The Hidden Influence of the World’s Most Powerful Consulting Firm by investigative reporters Walt Bogdanich and Michael Forsythe.

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