We had a bit of weather over the week, nothing too terrible, but it was enough to keep high school debate teams off the highways. For a little bit there, Snow Day fever threatened to take over, but ultimately it was mostly business as usual.
There was one big, puzzling exception: UND shut down at 6pm on Wednesday night. I’m really not sure what the University hoped to accomplish by closing after business hours and after the entire blizzard had already happened, aside from testing the announcements API on its website.
North Dakota’s Department of Health has a checkered history as an environmental regulator, but at least now they’re committed to publicly acknowledging oil spills. Only after the worst one ever.
A Conservative MP put up a plan to increase the accountability of party leaders to their members in the House of Commons, which certainly has ruffled feathers in the front bench as the Opposition leaders lined up more or less behind the move.
The Prime Minister seems to be treating it as a direct challenge for the moment, but speaking hypothetically, the Harper Government’s grudging acceptance of caucus reforms is just the sort of damage control needed now that the Prime Minister’s Office is likely to be implicated in the Senate expenses scandal. It’s also exactly the sort of introspection the Conservative Party needs after its narrow victory in Brandon-Souris, which would have been a blowout if Ottawa hadn’t hand-picked the candidate.
The apparent ease at which rank-and-file MPs can propose, pass, and implement reforms is refreshing when compared to American politics, where despite prolonged stagnation and single-digit approval numbers, Congressional reforms are hardly mentioned and the Senate leadership can’t even bring itself to kill the filibuster all at once.
This one is for all my friends in My Nut.
The scale of the waste problem in the oil fields should be obvious when 75 tons a day is radioactive. There’s nowhere set aside to put this stuff, and it will probably be years before there is. What’s going to happen to all of it in the meantime, and who’s going to move 50,000 tons of waste when it does?
Rolf Dinsdale fell less than 400 votes short of an upset in Brandon-Souris tonight, while Ted Falk walked across the finish line in Provencher. Despite some high-profile campaigning from opposition leaders, and even some “non-campaigning” from Stephen Harper, no seats changed hands in today’s by-elections.
Byelections hit the polls in Brandon-Souris and Provencher today. Provencher being the closest riding to Grand Forks, I took a bit of an interest in the race. On Thursday afternoon, I sent out some e-mails, but only one of the campaigns returned my query. All I can say is that if Natalie Courcelles Beaudry doesn’t win tonight, it will not be because she didn’t answer e-mails.
Reid’s end of the filibuster puts a temporary end to gridlock on most political appointees — something that normally changes with the administration automatically in most democracies. Still, the changes don’t go so far as to allow for simple majority approval of laws — also a standard feature of most democracies.
So while it resolves a pet peeve of the Senate Majority Leader, the move doesn’t actually do anything to substantively change Washington, and the Senate remains a backward relic yet to enter the 21st Century.
In less-serious news, North Dakota convenience store chain SuperPumper has switched hands. No word yet on when you can tank up on Maple Syrup.