Wednesday Night #2205

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19 June 2024
Juneteenth is the oldest-known celebration marking the end of slavery in the United States, first recognized by the state of Texas. It is also known as “Freedom Day,” “Juneteenth National Independence Day,” or “Emancipation Day.”
On January 1, 1863, in the middle of the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. It granted freedom to “all persons held as slaves” in 10 Confederate-controlled states. However, for the most part, the order was not enforced until Union soldiers were able to advance into these areas after the end of the war, the beginning of which came in April 1865 with the surrender of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee after the Battle of Appomattox Court House in Virginia.
On June 19, 1865, U.S. Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger delivered to the people of Galveston, Texas, General Order No. 3, which read, in part:
“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”
This day soon became known as “Juneteenth,” a verbal shorthand for June 19.
The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth

Absent Friends
As we continue to mourn the loss of our dear friend Nobby Gilmore whose beautiful obituary was recently published, we have learned of the death of another friend and towering academic figure of the Montreal community – Dr. Steven Appelbaum. Steve was a world-recognized researcher in the field of organizational behavior, and his research performance contributed to the placement of Concordia University as a “leader” in the Business and Management category for 2023. He authored/co-authored eleven successful textbooks used throughout Canada and the US and was the author of over 150 research and applied articles appearing in major publications and journals in Europe, the United States, Canada, and the Far East.
And, although not a friend, we cannot ignore the death of baseball’s great Willie Mays
Willie Mays Was the Greatest Baseball Player Who Ever Lived
The legendary center fielder, who died Tuesday at age 93, was more than just one of baseball’s all-time greats. He was the best of them. The legacy he leaves behind—in every aspect of the game—has no equal.

The 2024 Italia G7 Summit has come and gone. The Leaders’ Communiqué
reaffirmed their “enduring unity and determination to meet global challenges at a crucial moment in history and as the international community confronts multiple interconnected crises”, however observers noted that the leaders of Canada, the US, the UK, Japan, and Germany, are all of on shakier ground domestically compared to their hostess Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni. Nonetheless there were some interesting initiatives (the Russian asset loan) and unusual guests including Pope Francis, the first pontiff to address a G7 summit on Friday, who warned against the dangers of AI overtaking humanity’s decision-making.
Italy hands over the chair to Canada for G7 2025.
Next G7 leaders’ summit to be held in Kananaskis, Alta. Let us hope it will be less controversial than Charlevoix (2018) and Muskoka (2010).
The war between Russia and Ukraine is set to grind on as a diplomatic conference packs little punch
Immediately following the G7 Summit came the Summit on Peace in Ukraine, hosted by Switzerland and attended by representatives of more than 90 countries, minus Russia and China. Agreement on the Joint Communiqué on a Peace Framework was not unanimous. Saudi Arabia, India and South Africa among countries opting out of Ukraine declaration; Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico and United Arab Emirates also did not sign.

North Korea’s Kim declares ‘full support’ for Russian war in Ukraine
While the Allies and quasi-Allies were hobnobbing in Switzerland, Putin announced that he was off on a state visit to North Korea looking for diplomatic and military support. Shunned by the West over his invasion of Ukraine, Putin is seeking partners who share his anti-Western stance, including China, Iran and North Korea. Kim extolled the “firm alliance” with Moscow and openly backed Putin’s war against Ukraine, the strongest support for Russia’s invasion from any foreign leader. He was welcomed in Pyongyang with all pomp and circumstance and signed a ‘comprehensive’ agreement with Kim Jong Un.

The Israel-Hamas struggle continues. Humanitarian aid to Gaza blocked. Peace talks going nowhere. Netanyahu has dissolved his war cabinet after the departures of two significant members, Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot over the direction of the war in Gaza. Meanwhile, Bibi has managed to seriously anger the White House (White House cancels meeting, scolds Netanyahu in protest over video).
We agree with Thomas Friedman American Leaders Should Stop Debasing Themselves on Israel
Further friction is increasing over confrontation with Lebanon’s Hezbollah (Middle East & Arab World Lebanon)

As War Drags On, Gazans More Willing to Speak Out Against Hamas
Ordinary Gazans are bearing the brunt of the 8-month Israeli military onslaught on the territory and many blame the Palestinian armed faction for starting the war.

Is heat a disaster?
How Heat Affects the Brain
High temperatures can make us miserable. Research shows they also make us aggressive, impulsive and dumb.
As we swelter in record-breaking heat, a coalition of US environmental nonprofits, labor unions, health professionals and environmental justice groups is asking why isn’t extreme heat considered a disaster. FEMA responds to natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes — disasters with major and obvious damage to physical infrastructure. But the agency has not historically responded to extreme heat.
As hundred of pilgrims to Mecca die, more attention is focused on a 2024 study by the Journal of Travel and Medicine that found that rising global temperatures may outpace strategies to deal with the heat. A 2019 study by Geophysical Research Letters said that as temperatures rise in arid Saudi Arabia due to climate change, pilgrims performing haj will face “extreme danger”.

Congratulations to Julius Grey who, on Saturday, was awarded the COPHAN Prix Papillon « droits et libertés » « pour son engagement exceptionnel envers les personnes handicapées, vulnérables et démunies » … Julius Grey a contribué à la belle victoire qu’ont remportée les personnes invalides contre les clauses discriminatoires de la loi de la RRQ.

Congratulations to the EMSB. Julien Feldman, you must be very proud.
English Montreal School Board scores highest graduation rate in Quebec
(CTV) The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) has scored the highest graduation rate in the province for the 2022-23 school year with an astounding 95.9 per cent success rate, above the provincial rate of 84.2 per cent, and above private schools at 93.5 per cent.

Doug Sweet and the QCGN shared more good news.
Busting myths: Report shows English-speaking Quebecers are key part of a national-unity solution
(QCGN) There is a lot of good news in a new report from the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL) that confirms two key things about the English-speaking community of Quebec (ESCQ), Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) President Eva Ludvig said today.
“First, the report shows clearly that on an individual basis, English- and French-speaking Quebecers get
along, far better than discourse in the chattering classes would have us believe,” she said. “Second, it is very clear that there is an important role for the ESCQ to play in building bridges, not only within
Quebec, with our Francophone friends and neighbours, but with the rest of Canada, even in helping
promote the importance and value of French to the rest of the country.

It is too hot to discuss this important topic this week. It simply makes us angry. Maybe next week after they all leave for recess.
Andrew Caddell‘s column this week is devoted to Poilievre’s briefing refusal is a sign of the end of collegiality on the Hill
Briefing of the Leader of the Opposition on Canadian security files has now become a political football, with the current leader of the opposition, Pierre Poilievre, refusing the briefing and the necessary security clearance. It allows him to complain about the issue of foreign interference with impunity.
My first reaction to Poilievre’s decision was that it is a sign of the degradation of collegiality between Members of Parliament. While I am no longer a denizen of the Hill, there is a visceral meanness to the public pronouncements I see in the media that didn’t exist before. In the 1980s, it was not unusual for members on opposite sides of the House to socialize together. Today, all that has been lost, and there appears to be a climate of mistrust reigning over the Hill.
Why Poilievre is refusing to read the ‘traitors’ report
To read it, he would need to become a ‘person permanently bound to secrecy’

Media matters
Washington Post Publisher and Incoming Editor Are Said to Have Used Stolen Records in Britain
Years before becoming The Post’s publisher, Will Lewis assigned an article based on stolen phone records, a former reporter said.
The publisher and the incoming editor of The Washington Post, when they worked as journalists in London two decades ago, used fraudulently obtained phone and company records in newspaper articles, according to a former colleague, a published account of a private investigator and an analysis of newspaper archives.

Is the flip phone back? Why some people are switching to dumbphones
Adults and teens go back to basics with devices that only talk and text
Dumbphones, also known as simplephones or featurephones, are having a moment. The mobile devices are limited to basic functions such as making phone calls and sending text messages, and often can’t connect to the internet. According to Counterpoint, a technology market research firm, more than 98,600 feature phones were sold in Canada in 2023 — a 25 per cent increase from 2022.
Ralph Lauren goes with basic blue jeans for Team USA’s opening Olympic ceremony uniforms
When Team USA walks with the world’s athletes at the Paris Olympics’opening ceremony, they’ll be doing so in snappy tailored navy blazers from Ralph Lauren — and blue jeans.
“We work very closely with Team USA to make the athletes feel at once dressed up, feel like a team, but at the same time comfortable and very distinctively American,”
7 Quirky Habits That Indicate an Unusually High Level of Intelligence
From the benefits of doodling and sketching to the power of solitude and introspection, we’ll discuss the science behind these quirky behaviors and discover how they can help unlock the full potential of the human mind.
1. Talking to Oneself
2. Embracing Messy Workspaces
A cluttered desk might seem like a sign of disorganization, but it’s a catalyst for creativity and innovation for many intelligent people. Studies have shown that a messy environment can boost productivity and encourage unconventional thinking. .
3. Constantly Doodling and Sketching
4. Being a Night Owl
Many highly intelligent people find their creativity and productivity peak during late night hours. Studies have suggested that night owls tend to have higher IQs than early birds. The quiet and solitude of the night can provide an ideal environment for deep thinking and creative exploration.
5. Prolific Reading Habits
6. Embracing Solitude
7. Engaging in Mental Exercises and Puzzles

Long reads
Building Bridges: Perceptions and realities about the English-speaking communities of Quebec and their relationship with French in Quebec and bilingualism in Canada
The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (the Office of the Commissioner) has observed that, in recent years, the English-speaking communities of Quebec (ESCQ) have been the focus of much public discourse and debate in the province. Survey and census data indicate that, overall, the ESCQ are highly bilingual and value Canada’s broader linguistic duality, including the French language. The extent to which the general population is aware of these facets of the ESCQ is not clear, however, and the Office of the Commissioner wished to test the hypothesis that problematic myths may persist.
The Geopolitical Economy: Nationalism, Populism and a New ‘Yes, We Can’
By Kevin Lynch and Paul Deegan
The reality today is an uncomfortable mix of geopolitical turmoil, rising nationalism and rampant populism. A useful lens to try and make sense of it is “economic nationalism” – an old problem, recently re-framed on both the left and the right for a 21st-century economic reality.
The Specter of Neo-Fascism Is Haunting Europe
Slavoj Žižek
With mainstream parties and politicians already preparing to accommodate the far right following this month’s European Parliament election, the axiom of post-World War II European democracy has been quietly abandoned. “No collaboration with fascists” is being replaced by a tacit acceptance of them.
U.N. Humanitarian Chief: World Leaders Are Failing Us
By Martin Griffiths, Mr. Griffiths has served as the under secretary general for humanitarian affairs at the United Nations since May 2021.
I have spent much of my career in or on the edges of war zones, but nothing quite prepared me for the breadth and depth of human suffering I have witnessed in my three years as the United Nations’ humanitarian chief.

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