Wednesday Night #2171

Written by  //  October 25, 2023  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2171

The grey, gloomy weather in Montreal matches the mood of the developing stories of the day.

The U.S. finally has a Speaker of the House, but Mike Johnson is no gift to anyone with a progressive bone in their body.
NOT good news
House elects Mike Johnson as speaker
Republicans’ weeks-long stalemate ends after 3 failed nominations
Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) was elected speaker Wednesday by the full House on a first vote. Johnson, a relatively unknown, staunchly conservative Republican, is an ally of former president Donald Trump and opposed certifying the 2020 election. He is antiabortion, voted against Ukraine aid and supports LGBTQ restrictions. See more U.S. Government & governance January 2023-

Jeff Jackson, U.S. representative for North Carolina’s 14th congressional district, and Andrew Caddell‘s cousin whom we have had the pleasure of hosting several times, is one of the victims of the latest outrageous gerrymander. He wrote:
“Our team expected this so it’s not a huge shock, but a lot of my constituents are going to be surprised and upset.
I’ve been very fortunate to serve in Congress. You’ll get an update from me next week.”
North Carolina’s new GOP gerrymander could flip four House seats
Republicans are likely to pick up at least three seats, bolstering their thin House majority.
North Carolina’s new map, which was approved Wednesday by the state legislature, is particularly efficient at securing a GOP advantage in a state that’s closely divided for many statewide races — setting off a scramble among Republicans for the opportunity to run in the newly safe seats.

Israel, Palestine/Gaza October 2023-
Israel’s determination to destroy Hamas no matter the cost, while understandable, causes even the staunchest allies to harbour doubts about the methods employed -and to be employed. Calls for the resignation of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres because of his comment It is important to also recognize that the Hamas attacks did not happen in a vacuum. The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation were just inexcusable. (UN chief ‘shocked’ by ‘misrepresentation’ of comments in row with Israel – António Guterres had said Hamas attacks had been in context of ‘years of suffocating occupation’ but denied ‘justifying acts of terror’ )
The Economist brief Israel’s prime minister and its army are damagingly divided is not reassuring. Meanwhile, the civilian death toll in Gaza keeps rising (6,500 Palestinians killed by Israel in Gaza) amidst stories like Family of Al Jazeera Gaza bureau chief killed in Israeli air raid -Attack kills daughter, wife, son of Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent Wael Dahdouh.
NOTHING can excuse the brutal Hamas attack of 7 October, but Israel has a way of making it difficult for those who would be its staunchest supporters.

Putin’s War
While it seems pointless to review developments every day, the impact of this story could be far-reaching: Russian Planes Reportedly Dropped Mines Along Ukraine’s Safe Corridor For Grain Ships
Russian planes reportedly have mined the maritime corridor that Ukraine established in the western Black Sea in order to safeguard the export of grain to Europe and Africa. It seems to be the first time in Russia’s 21-month wider war that the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s aircraft have deployed sea mines.

Iceland PM joins crowd of 100,000 for full-day women’s strike
Katrín Jakobsdóttir says she wants nation to achieve full gender equality by 2030 as over a quarter of population attend event in capital.
Organisers of the strike, the first full-day action of its kind in 48 years, said an estimated 100,000 people attended the event in the capital – more than a quarter of the nation’s total population of 376,000, making it the biggest crowd Iceland has ever seen.

Sara Tuzel writes: “I’m so excited to announce that today is my first day working at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) with the team in Geneva! I can’t wait to contribute a tiny bit to the betterment of humanity and to take you all on this journey with me.”

Inside Budapest’s Pivot From Backpacker Haven to Luxury Destination
Palatial historic buildings turned five-star hotels, a park revived with modern museums and a contemporary restaurant scene are part of the city’s fresh face.

Although there is much more to consider in the international world, political events in Quebec are simply overwhelming for those of us who live here.
The fight over the university tuition fee hike (Québec Bill 96/Education) continued unabated and has been strengthened by the support of the heads of Université de Montréal, Université Laval, Université de Sherbrooke, Polytechnique Montréal and HEC, who criticize tuition hike for non-Quebec students. How much tweaking and/or backing down might we expect from the Legault team?
We have been asking when/if the Hon. Marc Miller, our MP whose riding includes Concordia and McGill, may make a pronouncement on the tuition fee crisis. Instead, we understand that on Tuesday he headlined the House citizenship and immigration committee where he was to discuss his priorities and objectives as Immigration Minister. NB No word on the status of his mandate letter. Aside from the always reliable Anthony Housefather, François-Philippe Champagne and Pablo Rodriguez have expressed some dismay, while Marie-Claude Bibeau in whose riding Bishop’s is located, has spoken up clearly. Peter Schiefke, former president of the Concordia student body – where are you? David Lametti, former McGill professor? Could the Quebec Liberal MPs not at least find some avatars?
Six former Quebec premiers — Liberal and Parti Québécois alike — have issued a stinging rebuke against Premier François Legault’s proposed health reform known as Bill 15
Back off creating Santé Québec, six former Quebec premiers urge
“We feel that this … is a dangerous step away from the reform’s objective of making the health and social services network more efficient,” the ex-premiers say in an open letter.
Wednesday Nighters Dr. Mark Roper and Me Julius Grey are challenging the PREM system, headed to the Quebec Court of Appeal on Thursday.
Allison Hanes: It’s a ‘noble effort,’ but the PREMs formula disadvantages Montreal
The methodology to determine where new doctors can practice is deeply flawed, Dr. Mark Roper says.

Doug Sweet points out Richard Martineau: Le Québec est numéro 1!
Champion de l’inflation, des taxes et des impôts!
Richard Martineau’s rant about how decrepit, broken and inadequate everything is in Quebec is a big stick federalists can add to their arsenals, not just sovereignist opposition parties.
While some will undoubtedly say the answer to all these problems is independence, the fact is that he is complaining about services and infrastructure that are entirely within Quebec’s jurisdiction NOW. On the day the PQ unveils its “first budget” for an independent Quebec, it makes interesting reading.
While Josh Freed offers the perfect alternative to the increase in tuition fees:
A simple solution to Quebec’s English student problem
The best way to get anglo students out of downtown is to move McGill to Outremont.

Montreal one step closer to getting park to mark Irish mass grave site
The Irish Commemorative Stone, known as The Black Rock commemorates the deaths from typhoid of 6,000 mostly Irish immigrants to Canada in 1847-48
With the city’s support, the Montreal Irish Memorial Park Foundation will be able to begin work on its project once electricity company Hydro-Quebec completes a new facility nearby. Construction of the park, including the reconfiguration of the street surrounding Black Rock, is expected to begin in either 2027 or 2028 and wrap up after two years.

The Exorcist at Georgetown: Still Haunting and Horrifying 50 Years Later
As Halloween approaches, I am eager to share the news of my beloved alma mater’s relationship with
In 1949, William Peter Blatty (’50) was a student working toward his English degree at Georgetown. He read coverage in the Washington Post about a real-life exorcism performed on a 14-year-old boy just miles away from the Hilltop in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Inspired by what he had read two decades earlier, Blatty published his novel The Exorcist in 1971. He would then go on to adapt his book for the big screen and served as the producer in the movie directed by William Friedkin that would go on to earn nominations for 10 Academy Awards, winning the Academy Award for Best Screenplay in 1974.
In the fall of 1972, scenes for The Exorcist were filmed on Georgetown’s campus and in the surrounding neighborhood.

He was a good boy: World’s oldest dog, Bobi, dies at 31
In February, the Guinness World Records crowned the purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo from rural Portugal as both the oldest living dog and the oldest dog to ever live.
Esther the Wonder Pig has died at the age of 11
‘Even though Esther is no longer physically with us, her memory and legacy will live forever’
Esther lived at the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary in Campbellville, Ont. Jenkins and Walter adopted her in 2012 thinking she was a micro pig, but she grew to 260 kg, almost a metre tall and nearly two metres long.

Long reads
Not just a charming story, but a positive development for the environment.
Lamb Mowers, billed as the country’s only sheep-led lawn care service, is munching its way to success. The small business in Northern Virginia employs more than a dozen sheep to mow, weed and fertilize suburban lawns across the region. The modest animals are changing hearts and minds, and perhaps pointing Americans toward a different relationship with their grass.

I Don’t See a Better Way Out
I see no way out of the nightmare so long as Hamas continues to rule the Gaza Strip, and no viable way to remove it from power without an Israeli ground offensive.

Israel-Hamas war: Biden’s second foreign policy crisis
Ian Bremmer’s Quick Take: We are now two weeks into an Israel war in Gaza against Hamas. …this is the second serious global foreign policy crisis that we have seen during the Biden administration. And there are some very interesting comparisons and contrasts with them.

Americans’ faith in institutions has been sliding for years. The chaos in Congress isn’t helping
For many Americans, the Republican dysfunction that has ground business in the U.S. House to a halt as two wars rage abroad and a budget crisis looms at home is feeding into a longer-term pessimism about the country’s core institutions.

How the Media Got the Hospital Explosion Wrong
Amplifying dubious Hamas claims caused real damage. No wonder public trust in news reporting is so low.

Yuval Noah Harari backs critique of leftist ‘indifference’ to Hamas atrocities
Sapiens author among 90 signatories to statement of dismay at ‘extreme moral insensitivity’

Netanyahu’s Attack on Democracy Left Israel Unprepared
The prime minister brought about a situation in which all the options are bad.
By Anne Applebaum
This summer I spent several days in Israel talking with people who were afraid for their country’s future. They were not, at that moment, focused on terrorism, Gaza, or Hamas. They feared something different: the emergence of an undemocratic Israel, a de facto autocracy. In January, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his justice minister had announced a package of judicial “reforms” that, taken together, would have given their coalition government the power to alter Israeli legal institutions to their own political benefit. Their motives were mixed. Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, was eager to stay out of jail. Some of his coalition partners wanted courts to stop hampering their plans to create new Israeli settlements on the West Bank, others to maintain military exemptions for Orthodox religious communities. All of them were interested in doing whatever it would take to stay in power, without the hindrance of an independent judiciary.

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