Friday, March 24, 2017

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Short Takes

Snow pummels Northeast.

Dutch vote puts populist support to the test.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson used an e-mail alias when he was head of ExxonMobil.

Female senators fiercely question Marine commandant over nude photos scandal.

Canadian Girl Guides cancel trips to U.S. because of Muslim ban.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Boundary Issues

Via CBC:

The father of a fallen U.S. army captain who made headlines during the American election campaign for taking on Republican candidate Donald Trump has cancelled a talk he was set to deliver in Toronto after being notified that his travel privileges are under review, organizers say.

Pakistan-born Khizr Khan, who famously offered up his copy of the U.S. Constitution to the billionaire presidential hopeful who vowed to implement a ban on Muslims entering the U.S., was scheduled to speak at a luncheon hosted by Ramsay Inc. on Tuesday.

But on Monday, organizers of the luncheon issued a statement saying that Khan would not be travelling to Toronto.

“Late Sunday evening Khizr Khan, an American citizen for over 30 years, was notified that his travel privileges are being reviewed,” Julia McDowell of Ramsay Inc. said.

The statement goes on to quote Khan, saying he offered his sincere apologies for the cancellation.

“This turn of events is not just of deep concern to me but to all my fellow Americans who cherish our freedom to travel abroad. I have not been given any reason as to why,” the statement quotes Khan as saying.

CBC News reached out to Khan’s law office directly, which said in an email it had no comment.

As upyernoz — someone who knows a lot about immigration law — points out, U.S. citizens aren’t supposed to have “travel privileges” that can be revoked by the government.  Your U.S. citizenship is not subject to the whims of whoever is in charge of the executive branch or the department heads underneath him.

At least that’s the way it’s supposed to work in a democracy.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Happy Holiday

To some, today is Columbus Day. In some places, school is out and it’s a holiday. Not in Miami-Dade County, though, which means I’m at work, and to some people, celebrating the arrival of Christopher Columbus is seen as not necessarily a good thing.

In Canada, it’s Thanksgiving Day. That means they get a six-week jump on Christmas shopping. I am sure they are thrilled to be inundated with jingling bells and heralding angels before the leaves are off the maples.

Anyway, enjoy the holiday if you celebrate it.

Canadian Thanksgiving

Friday, July 1, 2016

Friday, June 17, 2016

“O Canada” Goes Gender-Neutral

The True North is still strong and free, but now it includes everyone.

Canadian lawmakers have voted to change the country’s national anthem to make the lyrics gender neutral, a move that comes as the new Liberal government focuses on being more inclusive toward women.

The bill would change the English version of O Canada to remove the words “in all thy sons command” and replace them with “in all of us command”.

It must be nice to live in a place where that’s something worth doing something about.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Short Takes

Senate confirms Eric Fanning, first openly gay Secretary of the Army.

TSA apologizes, promises hundreds of new staffers at O’Hare.

Senate passes bill to allow 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia.

Human error, high speed blamed for deadly train wreck in Philadelphia last year.

Better late than never: Court orders Mississippi school district to desegregate.

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau introduces bill to protect transgender rights.

The Tigers beat the Twins 7-2.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Stamp of Approval

As Bryan notes, while some people are upset that the U.S. Treasury is replacing one of America’s worst presidents on the $20 bill with a woman worthy of being honored, Canada is boldly going where no postcard has gone before.

When Star Trek first aired on TV decades ago, the crew members of the Enterprise were in the midst of a five-year mission “to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

Lately, however, its well-known characters have been going to a place where many people have gone before — onto stamps being pasted on envelopes mailed by Canadians.

Canada Post has been rolling out a series of Star Trek-themed stamps, one at a time, in honour of the iconic TV show’s 50th anniversary.

I think they’re trying to make up for sending us Justin Bieber and Ted Cruz.  It’s a start.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Short Takes

Nine dead from 6.4 earthquake in Japan.

Canada proposes a physician-assisted suicide law.

Microsoft sues U.S. over gag orders on search warrants.

Coal in the red: Peabody Energy files for Chapter 11.

R.I.P. Anne Jackson, legendary actor on stage and screen.

The Tigers beat the Pirates 7-4.

Friday, March 11, 2016

He Shoots, He Scores

President Obama had some fun last night during his toast to Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau at the state dinner at the expense of Ted Cruz:

“We see this in our current presidential campaign.Where else could a boy born in Calgary run for president of the United States?” Obama asked in an allusion to Cruz whose eligibility to run for the White House has been called into question by Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.

“Where else would we see a community like Cape Breton, Nova Scotia welcoming Americans if the election does not go their way?” Obama asked. “And to the great credit of their people, Canadians from British Columbia to New Brunswick have, so far, rejected the idea of building a wall to keep out your southern neighbors. We appreciate that. We can be unruly, I know.”

[rimshot]

 

Short Takes

President Obama welcomed Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau to the White House.

Michigan Gov. Snyder released more e-mails related to Flint’s water crisis.

Trump supporter charged with assaulting protestor.  (Yes, he was wearing a brown shirt.)

Senate votes 94-1 to pass bill to combat drug abuse.

Brazil seeks to arrest ex-president for graft.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

Calgary Stampede

There are a lot of reasons Ted Cruz should be kept as far away from the Oval Office as possible, and the question of his “natural born” status is way down there on the list.  After all, if Barack Obama can be born in Hawaii and no one has problem with that, then… oh wait.

Anyway, now the Republicans are beginning to raise the issue of Mr. Cruz’s citizenship status more as a way to tweak his nose — he’s universally despised by his fellow Senate members — than a serious question about his eligibility to actually serve in office.  It sounds like they’re having fun with it.

So we’re entitled to savor some schadenfreude now as Cruz himself gets caught in the birther web. Donald Trump’s questioning of Cruz’s status as a natural-born American and, therefore, his eligibility to be president is rough justice. Cruz, like Trump, has stoked the fires of resentment and xenophobia, so it’s entirely fitting that he gets burned.

[…]

Like Cruz foe John McCain (the 2008 Republican presidential nominee said Cruz’s eligibility is a “legitimate question”), Democratic leaders have been happy to see Cruz twist in the wind. “I do think there is a distinction between John McCain being born to a family serving our country in Panama and someone born in another country,” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said Thursday.

Jim Morin in the Miami Herald

Jim Morin in the Miami Herald

But there may be something worth looking into back up in Canada.  In 2013 TPM found documentation that Ted Cruz’s mother was a registered voter in Calgary, Alberta.

TPM shared an electronic copy of the document with Sen. Cruz’s office when it originally obtained the document in 2013. Cruz’s then-communications director, Sean Rushton, emphasized that the document is not a record of people who actually voted in any election. He further pointed out that the document itself provides notice that “applications for corrections,” “deletions from,” and “additions to” the list may have been necessary.

“At least one other error is evident on its face: the name of Sen. Cruz’s father is misspelled,” Rushton told TPM in his 2013 statement. “Regardless, Mrs. Cruz has never been a Canadian citizen, and she has never voted in any Canadian election.”

TPM eventually decided not to publish an article based on the document at the time, in part because Cruz was not yet a candidate for president. TPM decided to revisit the story earlier this week as rival Donald Trump renewed his skepticism about Cruz’s eligibility, moving the story to the center of the campaign, and was prepared to publish this evening.

Then late Friday afternoon, Breitbart.com published an article about the same document TPM had shared with Cruz’s office in 2013, a voter list for the southern district of Calgary, alongside a lengthy, exclusive statement from the Cruz campaign.

Jason Johnson, Cruz’s chief campaign strategist, said in the statement that candidate’s mother “was never a citizen of Canada.” He added that she could not have been a Canadian citizen at the time her son was born because of residency requirements. Eleanor Cruz was born in Delaware, while her ex-husband, Rafael Cruz, was born in Cuba, obtained Canadian citizenship while living in Calgary and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in the mid-2000s.

The document in question is a voter list of individuals who lived in the southern district of the city of Calgary, were over the age of 18 and were Canadian citizens, thus eligible to vote.

In accordance with the Canadian Election Act, such lists were compiled in the 1970s by a pair of officials, called enumerators, who went door-to-door together in an electoral district to ascertain the name, address and occupation of any person qualified to vote. The statute states that enumerators who “willfully and without reasonable excuse” added a name to the list “of any person who is not entitled to have his name entered thereon” forfeited pay for their services and were be subject to other punishments.

Another election official, called a returning officer, then reviewed the list. The statute states that the returning officer could not certify the document if he believed the list contained the name of any person who shouldn’t be included. The document obtained by TPM was certified in Calgary by a returning officer.

In 2013, a Canadian elections official told TPM that in the process of compiling the list, enumerators asked people to affirm that they were Canadian citizens.

“So when they knock on doors, they ask them: are you Canadian citizens, are you 18 years of age or older, and are you a resident in this facility and how long have you been living here?” Drew Westwater, the director of election operations and communications for Elections Alberta, told TPM. “If they meet all that criteria then they add them to the list, take their name and addresses and anyone else who’s living there. And they ask, is anyone else living here a Canadian citizen 18 years of age or older? And if they are, then they take their names from them at the door. And that’s the way it worked in those days.”

The Raphael and Eleanor Cruz listed on the document clearly appear to be Cruz’s parents. The spelling of Cruz’s father’s name is anglicized to “Raphael” rather than the correct spelling “Rafael” and his occupation is listed as self-employed; at the time, the Cruzes worked in the oil industry running a seismic data-processing business.

To confirm the Cruzes’ identity, TPM cross-referenced the address listed for the couple on the southern district voter list with Calgary city directories for the years 1971-1974.

Most of the directories listed the Cruzes as living at the northwest Calgary address where it’s been reported that Ted Cruz was born. The address listed for the couple in the 1973 city directory matched the address on 1974 voter list and further listed both Cruzes as executives of the data-processing firm.

According to phone books from 1971, 1972 and 1973, Cruz’s parents were the only individuals with the surname Cruz living in Calgary.

There’s no proof that Mrs. Cruz ever voted in an election in Canada, but showing up on a voter list at least raises the question as to what she was doing on it.

If the schadenfreude fits, enjoy it.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

End Of The Line

Via TPM:

TORONTO (AP) — The company behind the controversial Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the U.S Gulf Coast has asked the U.S. State Department to pause its review of the project.

TransCanada said Monday a suspension would be appropriate while it works with Nebraska authorities for approval of its preferred route through the state. The move comes before the Obama administration was widely expected to reject it.

Historically low oil prices have also undercut the financial logic of the project.

Note that the company asked for a suspension, not a full-out okay-we-give-up, but they might as well; it’s like when a candidate pulling in .05% of the vote in a poll decides to “suspend” their campaign.  It sounds temporary, but it’s over.

And the earth breathes a small sigh of relief.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015