November 6, 2012
In an extremely close presidential election it is possible that no candidate could get the needed majority of 270 Electoral votes. The Constitution of the United States makes provision for this scenario.
The Twelfth Amendment (ratified June 15, 1804):
This states in layman’s language that if no one presidential candidate gets the required majority, than the House of Representatives would choose immediately, by ballot, the President. However, it is important to note the vote would be by states, the representation from each state would have one vote. So each Representative does not get one vote, rather each state represented in the House gets one vote.
Again if no one vice-presidential candidate gets a majority of Electoral votes, then the Senate would choose the Vice-President from the two candidates with the most Electoral votes.
This system raises an interesting scenario. If both the presidential and the vice-presidential candidate did not receive a majority of Electoral votes, both would be elected by Congress, the House of Representatives the President, and the Senate, the Vice-President. This election if the Senate stays Democratic and the House stays Republican as expected then the likely scenario in this rare case would be President Romney and Vice-President Biden for the next four years.
What an interesting administration those would be. History consists of what-if scenarios. Some come true and others don’t. Watch closely to see what happens here.
November 9, 2011
Grandpa in France
Dear Grandpa Sendell,
I am writing this letter as a Remembrance Day tribute to you and all the others that served our country so unselfishly.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to talk to you about your experiences in the Great War of 1914-1918. I was too young and not very knowledgeable about such things at the time. I certainly did not appreciate your sacrifice, nor did I have any concept of the conditions in France where you served.
I am now in my early sixties with children and grandchildren of my own. I have researched my family roots including the military side of it. Through my research and readings on your military experience I have come to have a deep connection with your experiences. My only regret is that I can’t speak with you directly about this period of your life. This letter is my attempt to do that in a public way.
I discovered you enlisted in the 3rd Division of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in 1915 to go overseas. You were assigned to the Canadian Army Service Corps within this division. There you drove munitions trucks from the rear areas to the front lines under heavy enemy fire. Now I realize why you were such an excellent driver.
Even though these trips were made under cover of darkness, the enemy could hear the sounds of the truck engines and rained heavy artillery fire down on the roads approaching the frontline trenches. Many of your fellow drivers were killed instantly when shells ignited the explosives in the trucks. The stress of driving under these conditions must have been unbearable.
When I compare your military record with the timeline of battles fought in the Flanders area of France during the time you were serving, it is obvious you experienced most of the brutal encounters of that time. It is fortunate you survived and returned to us here in Canada, so many of your friends and fellow soldiers did not.
Grandpa I value greatly this historical connection you gave our family. We treasure it with tremendous pride. Frankly I and others of my generation wonder how you did it. Your country and King called and you gladly gave up years of your life to serve under dangerous and dreadful conditions.
It’s shocking and sad to realize how young the soldiers were that went to war. I can only imagine what it was really like, but at least now I have a true appreciation for your experience. Bless you and all the others for your service to our country. We will never forget.
Your loving grandson,
Steve B. Davis
July 28, 2011
High Level Railway Bridge-Lethbridge
I’m in Lethbridge, Alberta this week while my wife attends university. My exploring has taken me to the Galt Museum and Archives (www.galtmuseum.com) which concentrates on the history of the area and it is fascinating.
Today I’ll tell you about the longest-highest railway bridge of its kind in the world, the CP Rail High Level Bridge. Completed in 1909 it was built to replace 20 wooden bridges and shortened an existing route from Fort McLeod to Lethbridge. It spans the Oldman River valley. The construction of the bridge was named a National Historic Event in 2005.
Length: 1 mile, 47 feet
Height: 314 feet
Cost in 1909: $1,334,525
Time to complete: 2-years (some delays due to flooding in 1908)
Unique feature: Railway track is nestled between two girder beams instead of running on top of them. This makes it practically impossible for derailed cars to leave the bridge deck.
This bridge is very much in use today and is inspected regularly.
Canadian Pacific Railway High Level Bridge at Lethbridge, Johnston, Dr. Alex, Occasional Paper #46 published by Lethbridge Historical Society, 2008
June 6, 2011
On this the 67th anniversary of D-Day we must remember the sacrifice the servicemen of the Allied Powers (Canada, Britain, the United States, France and Poland) made on the beaches of Normandy, France that fateful June day in 1944.
When you look at the photos of aged veterans commemorating that event, realize that on June 6, 1944 these were mere boys and young men who dashed from the landing craft across the beaches under murderous fire from the entrenched German positions. A terrible number of these young men died there on that beach in the battle against tyranny.
The Second World War had been raging for four long years to this point. The invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 resulted in the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of the war in Europe less than one year later. It was the turning point of the war in Europe. If the invasion had failed the war would have dragged on for many more years.
January 20, 2011
President Kennedy - official White House photo
Fifty years ago today John Fitzgerald Kennedy took the oath of office at exactly 12:00 p.m. Eastern time in Washington, DC.
Kennedy’s inauguration signaled a new generation ascending to power. His predecessor, President Eisenhower was of a previous generation and had served 8 years, since 1954-1961.
Kennedy, or JFK as he was affectionally known, was the youngest man ever elected president at age 43. Teddy Roosevelt was younger when he became president, but he became president after McKinley’s assassination.
Kennedy was also the first person of the Roman Catholic faith to be elected to the office.
The other fascination for people was his young family and his war service. He exuded personality and vigor. New ideas and renewed energy brought hope to young people.
When he was elected it was the height of the Cold War. The United States and the USSR had enough nuclear tipped missiles targeted at each other to destroy the world several times over. This wasn’t just an American or a Soviet issue, but a world living in the shadow of destruction. In fact the official policy of both nations was Mutually Assured Destruction or M.A.D. for short. Simply put if one country attacked the other it was assured both would be destroyed. Sounds crazy, but it was a fact that all of us lived with during that period. No wonder people were looking for new ideas and fresh hope.
Although his presidency was short-lived Kennedy began the dialogue with the Soviet Union on disarmament signing the Test Ban Treaty. This was a first step towards reducing nuclear arsenals.
I remember President Kennedy today for those steps he initiated towards reduction of nuclear tensions.
January 2, 2011
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