Welcome to campaign headquarters at Collected Wisdom. We’re a bit miffed right now because we’ve discovered our late-breaking candidate for the U.S. presidency has been disqualified on the merest technicality. Something about being born in Moose Jaw to Latvian parents.
Mitt Romney’s father was born in Mexico, writes Sally Andrews of Ottawa, yet George Romney ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968. “How is this possible when U.S. presidents must by law be American-born?”
“This issue comes from the fact that the U.S. Constitution gives no clear definition of the term ‘natural-born citizen,’ one of its requirements for being president,” writes Alex Lamoureux of Calgary.
Indeed, says Timothy Hicks of Toronto. The Constitution states: “No person except a natural-born citizen, or a citizen of the United States … shall be eligible to the office of president; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of 35 years, and been 14 years a resident within the United States.”
Over now to Seymour Kanowitch of Toronto. “George Romney was born on July 8, 1907, to U.S. citizens living in a Mormon colony in Mexico,” he writes. “Because of his parents’ nationality, he was registered at birth as a U.S. citizen. His family later fled to the U.S. during the Mexican revolution when the Mormon colonies were threatened.”
When George Romney announced that he would run for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination, Mr. Kanowitch says, some questioned his eligibility. However, owing to a lacklustre campaign, he abandoned his presidential bid before the matter could be settled.
Roger Kingsley of Winnipeg points out that the issue was finally clarified in a 2011 Congressional Research Report that stated: “The weight of legal and historical authority indicates that the term ‘natural-born’ citizen would mean a person who is entitled to U.S. citizenship ‘by birth’ or ‘at birth;’ … by being born ‘in’ the United States and under its jurisdiction, even those born to alien parents; [or] by being born abroad to U.S. citizen-parents …”
Under these terms, George Romney would have been eligible to run for president.
Ron Baylis of Cobourg, Ont., asks: How can you tell how much propane is left is a barbecue tank?
The propane in the tank is colder than the surrounding air, writes Bob Webb of Burlington, Ont., so pour some very hot water down one side of the tank, then slowly run your fingers down the tank where you just poured the water.
“The metal will feel warm where there is air in the tank, and feel cold where the propane level starts. The hot water can heat the metal tank where there is air inside, but not where there is propane. Where it switches from hot to cold is how full the tank is.”
Ron Johnston of Calgary adds: “Temperature-sensitive stick-on strips were available a few years ago that would show different colours after the hot water was poured on the tank. The colour transition indicated the level of the propane.”
Why, in this wireless age, do all the Major League Baseball dugouts have phones wired into the bullpens? Jack Herrington of Peterborough, Ont., wants to know.
Heather MacAndrew of Victoria asks: Why are planets round? Are there are no square planets?
Birds have different songs, unique to each species, writes Doug Newman of North Bay, Ont. Can a robin, a chickadee, a blue jay and a cardinal understand each other’s vocalizations?