B12 Solipsism

Spreading confusion over the internet since 1994

Archive for the ‘Canada’ tag

Randy’s House Remains was uploaded to Flickr

without comments

Frostpocket.

embiggen by clicking
http://flic.kr/p/pywxvW

I took Randy’s House Remains on September 13, 2014 at 10:37AM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on October 09, 2014 at 03:32PM

Written by eggplant

October 9th, 2014 at 8:43 am

Some Trade-Offs of Relocating North to Canada

without comments

City Hall
City Hall, Toronto, Ontario

Hmm. I hadn’t realized Canada was not as welcoming to immigrants as it once was. Since I was born there, I’ll always be able to get in, but you might not have such an easy time.

But for some Americans, Canada’s more liberal social and economic policies, including cradle-to-grave health care from the government, remain deeply appealing. So, too, is the draw of a country with spectacular landscapes and, in some places, more affordable real estate.

“We had no physician for three years,” said Elisabeth Burrow, an American who moved back and forth between the United States and Canada for her education and career, and now runs a food company in Fergus, Ontario, about 90 minutes from Toronto. Like Ms. Brogdon, she and her husband used their hospital’s emergency room or traveled to Toronto for care. “The Canadian system isn’t 100 percent foolproof,” she said. “There are waiting lines for some procedures, but they’re trying to address it.”

Born in New Haven, where her father was a professor of medicine at Yale, and educated after high school in the United States, Ms. Burrow now lives on a 97-acre farm, producing and selling pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts. “I can’t see moving from here,” she said. “It’s safe. I don’t lock my door. Canadians are very gracious. They say their please and thank-yous. They’re more than willing to help you.”

Ms. Burrow also highly values Canada’s less divided political culture. “I couldn’t go back to the U.S. now. I just couldn’t,” she said.

(click here to continue reading The Trade-Offs of Relocating North to Canada – NYTimes.com.)

The Myth of Trust
The Myth of Trust

So if Rick Santorum, or worse, becomes president in 2016, what will you have to do to move to Canada? Start planning now, or at least when primary season begins…

Americans who are not yet Canadian residents but hope to retire there should start planning at least two to four years in advance, allowing enough time to meet federal and provincial requirements, said David Aujla, an immigration lawyer in Victoria, British Columbia. Since 2008, the Progressive Conservative party has changed the way potential immigrants are selected, restricting the list of eligible skilled occupations to only about 30; previously most professional, technical and management occupations were acceptable, Mr. Aujla said.

Potential residents can get health coverage within three months of obtaining a work permit or permanent status. They do not have to be citizens to receive it.

To obtain a work permit, Mr. Aujla advises his older clients to attend a Canadian college or university on a student visa and obtain a degree, after which they will be given a three-year permit.

It is also possible for Americans to obtain work permits in 60 professional job categories found in the North American Free Trade Agreement. This avenue gives expedited and easy entry for those potential immigrants who have a signed employment agreement with a Canadian employer. “If you are highly skilled, age doesn’t matter at all,” said Mr. Aujla, “but it’s middle management that the government is very tough in screening.”

Alternatively, if you can prove that you have a viable business, you can apply to the government of whichever province you’ve chosen to live in. If your application is approved, it then goes to the federal government, an interview process that takes about two years, Mr. Aujla said. “There’s no age limit for business owners.”

The third category under which immigration is possible is “self-employed,” reserved for farmers, athletes and artists. “The key is to show you’ve been viable and can produce income,” which can be as low as $40,000 to $60,000 a year, Mr. Aujla said. But applicants must also prove, according to the requirements of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the country’s immigration department, that they intend to make “a significant contribution to the cultural or athletic life of Canada.” Someone hoping to teach piano in Toronto, the country’s largest city, might have less success winning government approval than someone willing to move to a small town in British Columbia, for example.

The 60 professional job categories are listed here http://canada.usembassy.gov/visas/doing-business-in-america/professions-covered-by-nafta.html by the way.

 They Can't Deport Us All

They Can’t Deport Us All

Written by Seth Anderson

May 15th, 2014 at 9:34 am

Posted in government

Tagged with ,

Ted “Calgary” Cruz

without comments

Shaking Hands
Shaking Hands

I don’t know why exactly the blowhard Ted Cruz continues to fascinate, but he does.

Believe it or not, it looks like Sen. Ted Cruz is still a Canadian citizen. Although it has now been over a month since he promised to renounce his Canadian citizenship – which he obtained by virtue of his birth in Calgary, Alberta – there has been no indication (whether press release, statement or otherwise) announcing that he has followed through on the commitment.

(click here to continue reading Ted Cruz’s origins continue to haunt him – Salon.com.)

and his willfully ignorant schtick seems to have started grating on his fellow party members…

“It’s pretty clear they had no plan all along,” said a senior House Republican aide after the vote on Friday. “They already let Senate Democrats leave for the weekend. Where is the action?”

There are a several ways they can actually fight this battle. Senate Democrats ultimately need some Republican votes to advance any continuing resolution: 60 votes are required to begin and end debate; Democrats have 55. One option would be to take to the airwaves and grassroots to raise the heat on fellow Republicans to filibuster until Democratic leaders agree to keep the provision of the House’s bill that defunds Obamacare. Another option for Cruz and his colleagues is to raise a ruckus and demand an open debate, creating an opportunity to mount endless talking filibusters until Democrats fold.

But these options would risk a government shutdown as the eyes of the nation look upon them, subjecting them to fierce criticism for grinding federal services to a halt for the purpose of waging a divisive, ideological battle. Even worse, it risks damaging the GOP’s credibility in upcoming elections and would place the blame squarely on them.

One thing is for sure: Cruz and Lee will lose the battle. Democrats vow not to defund Obamacare, and even if Congress does so, President Barack Obama has threatened to veto it. The only question is if Cruz and Lee go down fighting and leave it all on the field, or if they relent and reveal that their Obamacare rhetoric was a bluff all along.

If, by some miracle, Senate Republicans are successful in delaying the legislation long enough to face a real government shutdown — the first since 1996 — the party is likely to pay a political price. Cruz has seemed unconcerned about the political blowback of such a scenario, likening a shutdown to an extended weekend in July.

(click here to continue reading Ted Cruz’s government shutdown posturing is exposed by fellow Republicans.)

Outhouse
Outhouse

And Cruz is not friends with some parts of the Republican leadership:

Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace said Sunday morning that he’d received opposition research from other Republicans about Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) in advance of Cruz’s appearance this morning, a serious indication of how upset the GOP is with the Senator leading the risky charge to defund ObamaCare.

“This has been one of the strangest weeks I’ve ever had in Washington,” Wallace said. “As soon as we listed Ted Cruz as our featured guest this week, I got unsolicited research and questions, not from Democrats but from top Republicans, to hammer Cruz.”

“This was a strategy laid out by Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz without any consultation with their colleagues,” said Karl Rove. “With all due respect to my junior Senator from Texas, I suspect this is the first time that the end game was described to any Republican Senator. They had to tune in to listen to you to find out what Ted’s next step was in the strategy.”

(click here to continue reading Chris Wallace: GOP Sent Fox Opposition Research on Ted Cruz | Mediaite.)

Steve Benen of Maddow blog has more:

From Ted Cruz’s op-ed this morning on a right-wing website1:

Senate Republicans should demand a 60-vote threshold for any effort that would add Obamacare funding back into the House bill. This is the battle line: Senate Republicans must stop Reid from rejecting the House bill and adding Obamacare funding with merely 51 votes.

The House bill must be protected.

That would be the House bill that Cruz has already said publicly that he expects to fail.

So, as a procedural matter, Cruz wants Senate Republicans to get behind him and vote, in near-complete unanimity, to filibuster the House bill they want to pass. Cruz will tell Reid and Senate Democratic leaders, “We’ll continue to block the bill we support until you agree to let us filibuster your amendments.”

Why would Dems agree to this? They wouldn’t.

But Cruz thinks he has some leverage. Indeed, when Harry Reid laughs in his face, Cruz will say, “Oh yeah? Either you agree to let us filibuster your amendments or we’ll continue to block the bill we support until the government shuts down.”

This plan could work if Senate Republicans were united around the idea. In fact, if nearly every GOP senator announced today, “We stand with Ted Cruz and we’ll all oppose the bill we support until Harry Reid meets our demands,” then the odds of a shutdown would increase dramatically.

But there’s no evidence this is likely to happen. On the contrary, quite a few GOP senators — none of whom actually likes Cruz — consider the whole scheme kind of silly and want Cruz to just go away. (Over the weekend, Republicans even started sending opposition research to Fox News about the junior senator from Texas.)

Making matters worse, even if Senate Republicans felt overwhelming pressure from unhinged Tea Party activists and actually endorsed this scheme, they’d make it impossible to blame Democrats for the shutdown — GOP senators have created the shutdown by filibustering their own bill.

 

 

Useful as a Canadian Penny
Useful as a Canadian Penny

Circling back to his citizenship woes, I have personal experience with Canadian rules, albeit with different end goals – I just wanted my U.S. Passport. I’ve always been a US citizen, but getting a passport was a bit of bureaucratic line-dancing. Ted Cruz is attempting to renounce his birth country for political reasons, and because a large portion of his base has spent the last 6 years gnashing their teeth that President Obama wasn’t a natural born citizen, despite the fact that Obama’s mother is from Kansas.

In order to fulfill his promise to the voters, Cruz must therefore submit proof that he is a U.S. citizen, which will be trickier for him than for most people. Cruz has thus far released only his Canadian birth certificate, which confirms that he was born in Calgary, Alberta, in 1970, and additionally states that his mother was born in Wilmington, Dela. The second part is crucial – Cruz’s only claim to U.S. citizenship through his mother – but it is also hearsay. The birth certificate is primary evidence of Cruz’s own birth, but the entry about his mother merely records her assertion to the Alberta Division of Vital Statistics. Even though I don’t personally dispute what he says, “My mother said so” is not what is usually meant by “proof.”

How, then, can Ted Cruz prove his U.S. citizenship to the satisfaction of the Canadian authorities? He could submit his passport, or perhaps the document called a Consular Certificate of Birth Abroad (if his parents obtained one), but those would have the same hearsay problems as his birth certificate. The only sure-fire evidence, therefore, would be his mother’s birth certificate, presumably issued when she was born in Delaware.

But even that presents a problem. Only one of Ted’s parents was a citizen when he was born (his father is a Cuban émigré who did not take U.S. citizenship until 2005), and he therefore falls under a special section of the Immigration and Nationality Act that applies to “Birth Abroad to One Citizen and One Alien Parent.” Under that provision, Cruz only qualifies for American citizenship if his mother was “physically present” in the United States for 10 years prior to his birth, five of which had to be after she reached the age of 14. The only definitive way to prove Eleanor Cruz’s 10 years of physical presence would be with documents such as leases, school registration, utility bills or tax records.

(click here to continue reading Ted Cruz’s origins continue to haunt him – Salon.com.)

Glancing at the update U.S. Passport rules, I’m glad I jumped through the hoops when I did, tough as they were, because rules and requirements look more complex now. I mean, Jesus H., just read what I would have to do now. Thankfully my situation was taken care of several years ago. In any case, Ted Cruz is smart enough to realize he may have trouble quickly making this issue go away, especially if his mother didn’t file the proper paperwork (Consular Certificate of Birth Abroad) upon his birth. 

Footnotes:
  1. Real Clear Politics []

Written by Seth Anderson

September 23rd, 2013 at 7:29 am

Posted in politics

Tagged with ,

I’ll Be Out of Touch for a Bit

without comments

Whether I'm Right Or Wrong
Whether I’m Right Or Wrong

Just in case you are trying to reach me in the next couple weeks – I’ll probably be unable to respond to you as I’ll be out in the boonies of central Ontario. Frostpocket, if you’ve heard mention of it. Near Mikisew Provincial Park if you haven’t. 

Ragnarokr

Ragnarokr 

Frostpocket

Frostpocket (click to embiggen)

Here’s a Google satellite Map of the area. There isn’t electricity, running water, nor an indoor toilet to be found on these 100 acres of mostly undeveloped land, so I’ll be a bit out of my comfort zone. I have a solar shower, if it is sunny enough to warm up, I may be able to take a shower every day or three. My dad and uncle have already arrived up there a couple days ago, presumedly smoothing over some of the roughest patches, but I won’t know the true status until I arrive. No matter, it will be fun to (almost) escape civilization for a brief moment. 

I should be back, fully connected to the grid in about ten days if all goes well.

If you need to contact me more urgently, try the usual channels. In our hyper-connected world, even South River might have a WiFi enabled coffee shop! Or not. If you are waiting for me to make a move on Words With Friends, you might have to wait, AT&T’s international data plan is a real ripoff…

FP back porch
Frostpocket back porch, circa 1994

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Seth Anderson

August 29th, 2013 at 6:58 am

Posted in Personal

Tagged with ,

Gordon Lightfoot Sounds Like A Jerk

with one comment

War Memories
War Memories

Uncut editor Allan Jones recounts interviewing Canadian curmudgeon Gordon Lightfoot sometime in the mid-70s…

How we come to be talking about it, I can’t remember, but the next thing you know, Gordon’s lambasting the young American draft dodgers who made lives for themselves in exile in Canada rather than get shipped off to Vietnam. As far as he’s concerned, Canada should have booted them all out, sent them packing back to the States or banged them up in prison.

A man, he says, is nothing without a sense of duty. If he’d been an American, he would have volunteered to fight in Southeast Asia.

“Only Americans know the anguish of that war, but what kind of leniency can you extend to a guy who skips out of his country when 50,000 men get killed in a war?”

I may in some circumstances have let this pass. But during the long wait for Gordon, I appear to have grown somewhat cantankerous. So I launch into a patently ridiculous speech about America and Vietnam and the peace movement, generally coming on here like a veteran of the Weather Underground or the SLA, a history of random bombings on an FBI rap sheet, guns stashed in every cupboard of a South Compton safe-house, Patty Hearst trussed up in a closet close-by, peeing on the carpet and going out of her mind.

“Why didn’t I write about the war?” he says, in answer to that very question. “It was none of my goddamn business,” he says. “The United States at that time was a target for every loose tongue around. I didn’t think it was my place to say anything. I have,” he goes on, “a lot of sympathy for America. I also make a lot of money there. And if you don’t mind me saying so, some of the nicest people on earth are Americans and I wish you wouldn’t dwell on this particular subject. I suggest we talk about something else.”

(click here to continue reading ‘Even worse than Lou Reed. . .’ – Uncut.co.uk.)

Yeah, screw you Gordon Lightfoot. I never liked your schmaltzy songs in the first place. 

Written by Seth Anderson

June 12th, 2013 at 9:32 am

Posted in Music,politics

Tagged with , , ,

Frostpocket Maple Syrup Shack

without comments

Sugar Maple
Sugar Maple

Reading this article in the NYT recently, made me think…

Forty years ago, Mr. Morse would snowshoe into the forest with his father to collect sap from galvanized buckets and load them onto a tractor. The farm has not changed much since then, but the winters have. So has the maple syrup ritual itself.

Scientists say the tapping season — the narrow window of freezing nights and daytime temperatures over 40 degrees needed to convert starch to sugar and get sap flowing — is on average five days shorter than it was 50 years ago. But technology developed over the past decade and improved in recent years offers maple farmers like Mr. Morse a way to offset the effects of climate change with high-tech tactics that are far from natural.

Today, five miles of pressurized blue tubing spider webs down the hillside at Morse Farm, pulling sap from thousands of trees and spitting it into tubs like an immense, inverse IV machine. Modern vacuum pumps are powerful enough to suck the air out of a stainless steel dairy tank and implode it, and they help producers pull in twice as much sap as before.

(click here to continue reading Maple Syrup Takes Turn Toward Technology – NYTimes.com.)

Forty years ago? That would be in the 1970s, and as it happened, I witnessed first hand such production at my family’s 100 acre spread called Frostpocket. I put out a call for some photos of it, and so far, have received three.

Frostpocket Maple Syrup Shack
Frostpocket Maple Syrup Shack, originally uploaded by swanksalot. [scanned from a print, and slightly retouched in Photoshop]

The site of the Frostpocket Maple Sugar shack (photo taken a few years after we moved away)

As part of our family history, partially excerpted from:
www.ragnarokr.org/index.php?title=The_workshop,_the_sugar…

In the spring of 1974 George tapped a few maple trees around his house and made five gallons of maple syrup. His evaporator was an old-fashioned flat steel pan that had been given to him by Wilfred. The next year George surveyed the hillside between Randy’s house site and south of the log cabin and found places for 288 taps. That spring he had the help of Greg Sperry and Bie Engelen, who had wintered over in the cabin, and of Colleen, who was pregnant with Katie.

George placed the old flat pan outdoors near his house and carried the sap to the pan in the old fashioned way, in buckets. The first run of sap was on April 7 followed by runs on April 15 and 16, April 20 and 21 and on April 22 and 23. Colleen pulled a muscle while carrying buckets of sap through the deep snow and her doctor ordered her to stop. She devoted her time to curing and smoking last year’s hams and starting tomato plants for the garden while George and Bie continued working in the bush until the weather turned warm and the sap stopped running. George made 25 gallons of syrup that year, much of which was amber or dark. George sold some of the syrup and used the rest at home as a sweetener. In the fall of 1975 a shed was built in the flats below the log cabin and the evaporator pan moved there. A large quantity of standing dead balsam fir trees were cut from the edges of the clearing and stacked near the shed for use as firewood the following spring.

Frostpocket Maple Syrup - Washing the hoses
Frostpocket Maple Syrup – Washing the hoses [scanned from a print, modestly tweaked in Photoshop]

Per my dad: “homemade tubing washer, taken about 1978.”

The eroded granite hills of the Eagle Lake Uplands are an ideal environment for the rock or sugar maple and the sugar maple is the dominant tree on the stony hilltops of Machar Township. The first generation of pioneers placed a high value on maple sugar and brought sugaring off equipment with them when they settled the township in the 1880s. By the 1970s there were half dozen maple syrup producers in the Uplands community.

Frostpocket Maple Syrup - remnants
Frostpocket Maple Syrup – remnants [scanned from a photo print, and slightly tweaked in Photoshop]

The boiler where we made maple syrup, after about ten years of neglect.

For the 1977 sugar season, George designed a system of dump stations to reduce the effort needed to collect the sap. Gathering the sap from the sap buckets and hauling it to the evaporator is the most laborious part of making maple syrup. At least once a day when the sap is running, every bucket has to be emptied and the sap delivered to the evaporator and boiled to syrup as quickly as possible. On a warm day any delay might result in a finished product that is “dark”.

George Shovelling Snow - Frostpocket
George Shovelling Snow – Frostpocket

If the sap is left in the buckets overnight and the temperature stays warm throughout the night the sap may begin to ferment and will spoil. The spoiled sap can still be boiled into syrup but is will be very dark, have an after taste and be difficult or impossible to sell. Furthermore the spoiled sap will contaminate the buckets, tubing and storage tanks making any syrup produced thereafter more likely to be dark.

Most modern sugar bushes use a system of tubes that moves the sap directly from each tap to the evaporator house without the use of buckets. In January or February 1977 George and Philip set up 22 dump stations connected by black plastic PVC tubing to one of two storage tanks. One storage tank was mounted next to the evaporator in the sugarhouse. The other was a transfer tank located in a low spot between the log cabin and George’s house.

The men used a gas-driven gear pump to move the sap from the transfer tank to the storage tank in the sugarhouse. The sap was collected from the buckets hanging from each tap in the usual way but instead of carrying the sap to the evaporator, it was carried to the nearest dump station. From the dump station the sap flowed by gravity through the tubing to one of the storage tanks. Whenever the storage tank was partially full, George would build a fire under the evaporator and began to boil the sap into syrup. As the level in the evaporator dropped he would open a valve to move sap from the storage tank into the evaporator.

The old flat evaporator made syrup in batches. When all of the syrup in the pan was ready, George poured the finished syrup into retail containers and then sealed the cans. In 1977 he purchased a more modern evaporator that had partitions built into it. The sap continuously entered at one end of the pan and moved slowly to the other end where it was taken off as syrup.

George always made the syrup while Philip and Debbie emptied the sap buckets and carried the sap to the dump stations. When the storage tank was near empty the sap in the transfer tank was pumped over to the storage tank and George continued to make syrup until both tanks were empty. After a good run the evaporator was kept boiling until late into the night.

and to quote myselffrom 2010:

Maple syrup season was always my favorite time of year as a kid: spring meant snow was beginning to melt, plus there was lot of opportunity to play in mud as I walked the mile home from where the school bus dropped me off. I didn’t participate much in the actual maple harvesting process, but it does have an evocative smell which I can still recall after all these intervening years.

Written by swanksalot

April 6th, 2013 at 9:14 am

Posted in Personal

Tagged with , ,

How Republicans Killed Own Pet Oil Pipeline Project

with 2 comments

Gas At Last
Gas At Last

The GOP only cares about symbolic victories, not about actual governance. For example, the infamous Keystone XL pipeline. Obama would have happily punted on the decision until after the election, but the GOP was more interested in scoring political points, so they forced Obama’s hand.

At the peak of December’s payroll tax cut showdown on Capitol Hill, two top Republican aides discussed with me the pros and cons of making the Keystone XL pipeline a centerpiece of the debate. They relished the idea of forcing President Obama to take a public stand on the pipeline early in an election year, instead of after the election as he had wanted. And they were eager to force him to choose between supporters in the labor movement, some of whom are pushing for the pipeline, and others in the environmental movement who vehemently oppose it. So they decided to go for it.
At the same time they knew he’d likely have to reject the project, and for them that created a dilemma.

“It’s a question of whether we’d rather have the pipeline or the issue,” said one of the GOP aides. Black or white.

In the end they chose the issue.

On Wednesday, as expected, Obama shutdown the project, dooming it unless the Canadian company angling for the project goes through the costly process of reapplying and winning approval next year.

Pipe Tool Industrial
Pipe Tool Industrial

All to generate some talking points, and talking points based on lies…

The political attack here is based on a number of false and exaggerated claims — including that the pipeline construction would have created 20,000 jobs (the only independent study of the project concluded that the true number would’ve been much lower) and that the oil is now destined for China instead of the U.S.

At her own Capitol briefing Wednesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took issue with these claims.

“If the Republicans cared so much about the Keystone pipeline, they would not have narrowed the president’s options by putting it on the time frame they did,” Pelosi said. “They left him very little choice…. This oil was always destined for overseas. It’s just a question of whether it leaves Canada by way of Canada, or it leaves Canada by way of the United States. So without taking a position on the pipeline, I don’t agree to the stipulation that this is oil that’s going to China now instead of the US. It was always going overseas. I don’t know where to, but it wasn’t for domestic consumption. And that’s really an important point because the advertising is quite to the contrary.”

(click here to continue reading How Republicans Killed Own Pet Oil Pipeline Project | TPMDC.)

Legal Tender
Legal Tender

Not to mention this little under-reported factoid:

In the meantime, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) launched a “countdown clock” that ticks off the time until the permitting deadline expires and posted a video on YouTube that touts the pipeline as a chance to create jobs with private investment. Playing off Obama’s mantra of “We Can’t Wait,” the video flashes phrases across the screen including, “We Can’t Wait for Leadership. We Can’t Wait for Jobs.” Environmentalists note that in December 2010, according to Boehner’s financial disclosure forms, he invested $10,000 to $50,000 each in seven firms that had a stake in Canada’s oil sands, the region that produces the oil the pipeline would transport. The firms include six oil companies—BP, Canadian Natural Resources, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Devon Energy and Exxon—along with Emerson Electric, which has a contract to provide the digital automation for the first phase of a $9.4 billion Horizon Oil Sands Project in Canada.

Bill McKibben, a climate activist and co-founder of the group 350.org, wrote in an e-mail that Boehner has received more than $1 million from fossil-fuel companies, “and now we find out that he’s got extensive personal investments in companies dependent on tarsands oil.”

“He was willing to shut down the government in part to prevent enough time for serious environmental review,” McKibben added. “In any other facet of our public life . . . this whole list taken together would be seen for the gross conflict of interest that it is.”

(click here to continue reading Daily Kos: John Boehner’s Keystone XL conflict of interest.)

Written by Seth Anderson

January 19th, 2012 at 8:20 am

US-TransCanada E-Mail Trail Reveals Corruption

without comments

Free to Change Your Mind.
Free to Change Your Mind.

A little insight into how Washington corruption works – not necessarily with a suitcase of cash, though that is implied, but rather with government officials having a cozy relationship with industry. The Obama administration is better than the prior regime, but not by much…

A State Department official provided Fourth of July party invitations, subtle coaching and cheerleading, and inside information about Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton’s meetings to a Washington lobbyist for a Canadian company seeking permission from the department to build a pipeline that would carry crude from the oil sands of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

E-mails released Monday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the environmental group Friends of the Earth paint a picture of a sometimes warm and collaborative relationship between the lobbyist for the pipeline company, Trans-Canada, and officials in the State Department, the agency responsible for evaluating and approving the billion-dollar project.

The exchanges provide a rare glimpse into how Washington works and the access familiarity can bring. The 200 pages are the second batch of documents and e-mails released so far.

They also offer insight into the company’s strategy, not revealed publicly before. TransCanada lobbyists exchanged e-mails with State Department officials in July about their intention to drop their request to operate the Keystone XL pipeline at higher pressures than normally allowed in the United States to win political support, but then suggested they would reapply for the exception once the project had been cleared.

“You see officials who see it as their business not to be an oversight agency but as a facilitator of TransCanada’s plans,” said Damon Moglen, the director of the climate and energy project for Friends of the Earth. While the e-mails refer to multiple meetings between TransCanada officials and assistant secretaries of state, he said, such access was denied to environmentalists seeking input, who had only one group meeting at that level.

Environmental groups argue that the 1,700-mile pipeline, which could carry 700,000 barrels a day from Alberta to the Gulf Coast of Texas, would result in unacceptably high emissions and disrupt pristine ecosystems.

(click here to continue reading Pipeline Foes See Bias in U.S.-TransCanada E-Mail – NYTimes.com.)

Behind the Scenes at the Garfield Conservatory

From the Friends of the Earth website:

We have received a new round of documents from the State Department in response to our Freedom of Information Act request. These documents are deeply disturbing in that they provide definitive evidence of pro-pipeline bias and complicity at the State Department — including one “smoking gun” email (PDF) in which State Department employee Marja Verloop literally cheers “Go Paul!” for pipeline lobbyist Paul Elliott after he announces TransCanada has secured Senator Max Baucus’ support for the pipeline.

The most interesting emails in this tranche are between Elliott and Verloop, a member of the senior diplomatic staff at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, with responsibility for energy and environment issues. In one back and forth, Elliott and Verloop discuss TransCanada’s July 2010 decision to abandon its efforts to obtain special permission to pump oil through the Keystone XL at higher-than-usual pressures. The same exchange contains a reference to reassurances from the State side that the 90-day review would “delay…State’s recommendation of a presidential permit but such a delay won’t be as long as the one advocated for by the EPA.” (PDF)

The exchange indicates an understanding between the State Department and TransCanada that TransCanada would be in a position to apply for a pressure increase after getting the permit. The tacit understanding on the permit and NID timing was even relayed by Verloop to her boss, U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson, in an email where she says to him: “TransCanada is comfortable and on board.” The revelation of the understanding between State and TransCanada on the pipeline pressure issue could be unwelcome to Senator Jon Tester, who announced his support for the pipeline only after he was reassured by TransCanada’s decision to lower the pressure.

 

(click here to continue reading New FOIA docs reveal smoking gun regarding State Department bias | Friends of the Earth.)

Written by Seth Anderson

October 5th, 2011 at 8:46 am

Climate Scientist Sues Skeptic for Libel

without comments

Sitting in the Clouds

Wonder if any interesting evidence will be unearthed during discovery? Like oil corporation involvement, or Koch Industry payments to Tim Ball? Curious to see what happens.

A prominent Canadian climate scientist is suing a leading climate skeptic for libel, arguing that an article published online in January contained false and malicious claims.

Andrew Weaver, a climate modeler at the University of Victoria, filed the lawsuit against Tim Ball, a former professor of climatology at the University of Winnipeg and a vocal critic of the science linking man-made emissions to global warming, over an article published by the Canada Free Press, a conservative Web site.

The article described Dr. Weaver, who was lead author for the 2007 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as lacking a basic understanding of climate science and incorrectly stated that he would not take part in the next I.P.C.C. panel because of concerns about its credibility. Dr. Weaver is already involved in the preparation of the next report from the panel and has never said that he was ending his involvement with it.

Dr. Ball’s article has been removed from the Canada Free Press site, which published a long retraction and apology to Dr. Weaver after being contacted by the scientist’s lawyer.

The article contained “untrue and disparaging statements,” the site’s editors wrote, adding that the attacks on Dr. Weaver’s scientific credibility were unjustified. “We entirely accept that he has a well-deserved international reputation as a climate scientist and that Dr. Ball’s attack on his credentials is unjustified.”

 

(click here to continue reading Climate Scientist Sues Skeptic for Libel – NYTimes.com.)

As an internet wag said somewhere, this must mean that we can discredit all of the climate deniers now since they acknowledge committing an error, right?1

Footnotes:
  1.  Reached by phone, Dr. Ball acknowledged that he had made “one small mistake” with his statement that Dr. Weaver was bowing out of the I.P.C.C. process, []

Written by Seth Anderson

February 8th, 2011 at 9:20 am

Posted in News-esque

Tagged with , ,

US vs. Canada – Wikileaks

without comments

Not too surprising, considering George W Bush’s oft repeated aphorism, “Ya’ll Are Either With Us or Agin’ Us”. And on that subject, can you explain how Canada not joining in on an illegal war harmed Canada? Me either.

Shame on Canada

A cable briefing President George W. Bush before a visit to Ottawa in late 2004 shed further light on the asymmetrical relationship with Canada — a country, the embassy wrote, that was engaged in “soul-searching” about its “decline from ‘middle power’ status to that of an ‘active observer’ of global affairs, a trend which some Canadians believe should be reversed.”

It also noted that Canadian officials worried that they were being excluded from a club of English-speaking countries as a result of their refusal to take part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The United States had created a channel for sharing intelligence related to Iraq operations with Britain and Australia, but Canada was not invited to join.

The Canadian government “has expressed concern at multiple levels that their exclusion from a traditional ‘four-eyes’ construct is ‘punishment’ for Canada’s non-participation in Iraq and they fear that the Iraq-related channel may evolve into a more permanent ‘three-eyes’ only structure,” the cable said.

(click to continue reading WikiLeaks Archive – U.S. Fretted Over Canada’s Chip – NYTimes.com.)

Written by Seth Anderson

December 1st, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with , , ,

Colleen and Seth – Colfax 1971

with 4 comments

Colleen and Seth - Colfax 1971
Colleen and Seth – Colfax 1971, originally uploaded by swanksalot.

My mother and me, circa 1971 (?), Colfax, California.
Slightly retouched in Photoshop.

maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&geocode=&time=…

embiggen

This is probably my favorite photo of my mother. Something about her expression here is just perfect. She isn’t smiling, exactly, nor quizzical.

Not sure exactly the provenance of this photo: think it was taken in Colfax, California, but don’t know where exactly, nor who took it.

The 1959 VW survived several more cross-country trips past this photo, and eventually became reused as the motor for a sawmill in Frostpocket1. Blue in this photo, later painted school bus yellow.

Footnotes:
  1. if memory serves []

Written by swanksalot

March 4th, 2010 at 11:08 pm

Night Vision: Parliament Buildings in Victoria

without comments

Night Vision: Parliament Buildings in Victoria
Night Vision: Parliament Buildings in Victoria, originally uploaded by swanksalot.

they have been lit thus every night since Queen Victoria’s jubilation in the 19th C.E.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Jubilee

Embiggen:
decluttr

from 2007

Written by swanksalot

February 17th, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Posted in Photography

Tagged with ,

Reading Around on December 11th through December 12th

without comments

A few interesting links collected December 11th through December 12th:

  • No Moods, Ads or Cutesy Fucking Icons (Re-reloaded) » Squidgate. Update. – I have three comments about the allegations therein. Firstly, the story claims that I was entering the US, not leaving it: this is empirically false. Secondly, I find it interesting that these guys characterise “pulling away” as “aggressive” behavior; I myself would regard it as a retreat. And thirdly, I did not “choke” anyone. I state this categorically. And having been told that cameras were in fact on site, I look forward to seeing the footage they provide.
  • Chicago Eats | Travel | Smithsonian Magazine – In 1951, author Nelson Algren wrote of Chicago streets “where the shadow of the tavern and the shadow of the church form a single dark and double-walled dead end.” Yet President Barack Obama’s hometown is also a city of hope. Visionaries, reformers, poets and writers, from Theodore Dreiser and Carl Sandburg to Richard Wright, Saul Bellow and Stuart Dybek, have found inspiration here, and Chicago has beckoned to an extraordinary range of peoples—German, Irish, Greek, Swedish, Chinese, Arab, Korean and East African, among many, many others. For each, food is a powerful vessel of shared traditions, a direct pipeline into the soul of a community. Choosing just a few to sample is an exercise in random discovery.

  • Butchers trimming pork bellies for bacon at Swift meat packing Packington Plant -1930

  • Earth’s Atmosphere May Have Alien Origin | Wired Science | Wired.com – krypton and xenon now present in the air — and many other atmospheric components as well — may be remnants of gas clouds swept up by the newly forming Earth. Or, they suggest, the gases may have been delivered to Earth by comets, in which the proportions of light isotopes for xenon and krypton are relatively higher.

Written by swanksalot

December 13th, 2009 at 12:00 am

Reading Around on December 10th through December 11th

without comments

A few interesting links collected December 10th through December 11th:

    • Dr Peter Watts, Canadian science fiction writer, beaten and arrested at US border– “Along some other timeline, I did not get out of the car to ask what was going on. I did not repeat that question when refused an answer and told to get back into the vehicle. In that other timeline I was not punched in the face, pepper-sprayed, shit-kicked, handcuffed, thrown wet and half-naked into a holding cell for three fucking hours, thrown into an even colder jail cell overnight, arraigned, and charged with assaulting a federal officer, all without access to legal representation (although they did try to get me to waive my Miranda rights. Twice.). Nor was I finally dumped across the border in shirtsleeves: computer seized, flash drive confiscated, even my fucking paper notepad withheld until they could find someone among their number literate enough to distinguish between handwritten notes on story ideas and, I suppose, nefarious terrorist plots. I was not left without my jacket in the face of Ontario’s first winter storm, after all buses and intercity shuttles had shut down for the night.”In some other universe I am warm and content and not looking at spending two years in jail for the crime of having been punched in the face.”

  • The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs : A not-so-brief chat with Randall Stephenson of AT&T – By April, twelve weeks after that album came out, the Beatles had the top five spots on the Billboard chart.Now there was a lot of demand for that record — so much that the plant that printed the records could not keep up. Now here’s the lesson. Do you think the guys who were running Capitol Records said, Gee whiz, the kids are buying up this record at such a crazy pace that our printing plant can’t keep up — we’d better find a way to slow things down. Maybe we can create an incentive that would discourage people from buying the record. Do you think they said that? No, they did not. What they did was, they went out and found another printing plant. And another one and another one, until they could make as many records as people wanted. … Randall, baby. we’ve got a hit on our hands. We’ve got the smartphone equivalent of Meet the Beatles.
  • ‘Editor & Publisher’ to Cease Publication After 125 Years– Editor & Publisher, the bible of the newspaper industry and a journalism institution that traces its origins back to 1884, is ceasing publication.An announcement, made by parent company The Nielsen Co., was made Thursday morning as staffers were informed that E&P, in both print and online, was shutting down.

Written by swanksalot

December 11th, 2009 at 8:00 pm

LBJ Birthed Canada’s Superior Health Care System

without comments

Interesting historical factoid

No Reason at All
[Progress Lighting the Way for Commerce]

As the health care establishment appears to be once again able to block any reasonable changes to America’s sick health care system, it’s important to note that, ironically, the “father” of Canada’s universal, single-payer health care system was late President Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1964, his plan caused Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson to rush the same health care scheme into existence so that Ottawa was not beaten by the Americans, as was the case in 1934 with Social Security. As things turned out, LBJ compromised with the Republicans and scaled back his plan to a co-payer insurance for senior citizens, or Medicare. So it’s hardly surprising that, again, a popular President cannot win out against the nasty tactics and enormous wealth of the medical vested interests.

And yet, today Canada’s system is not only as good as America’s, but better medically speaking, according to the World Health Organization. Even more dramatic, it is between 30 and 60% cheaper for procedures, medications and hospital stays. Despite compelling evidence, the status quo remains south of the border and American voters/media appear to be unaware of the need for change. There are billions in profits being made at the expense of Americans and the country’s economy.

[Click to continue reading Diane Francis: LBJ Created Canada’s Superior Health Care System]

and sad to witness the power of the right wing in American politics. Even though the Republicans are the minority party in both the Senate and the House, they continue to control the national dialogue, whipping up the furies of their hell-hounds to snarl at Town Halls, yadda yadda. Of course, Obama’s minions aren’t exactly shaking vials of anthrax at General Assembly of the U.N., and I guess that is, on balance, a good thing. Unfortunately, too many Americans reject rationality and reasonableness, preferring to get their talking points from drug-addled Jabba the Huts.

Written by Seth Anderson

August 19th, 2009 at 3:54 pm