Archive for December 24th, 2009

Movies & Parliaments & CFCs, Oh My!

Boy, you don’t see that very often.  TCM is usually the paragon of accuracy, but they just credited some actress named, “Celeste Holmes,” when they meant Celeste Holm.  Yes, she’s been married 5 times, but not to anyone named Holmes.  I’ve never seen them do anything like that before, especially with an actress who’s not only still alive, but still working.

It also turns out that, contrary to popular mythology, beagles do not like blueberries.  At least one beagle doesn’t.

I’m the last person on this and several other planets to realize this, but the Internet is, quite simply, the most amazing tool ever devised by the mind of man.  Thirty-fice years ago, my father took me to a movie, a cartoon.  I remember exactly one thing about it: something standing on a keyboard, saying that it was going to commit suicide and “go to that big typewriter in the sky.”  Now 35 years ago, when you got to the theater at 12:30 for an 11:45 showing, you walked in, sat through the last half, and then sat through the first half, eventually uttering the words, “this is where we came in,” and left.  That scene, the one with the suicidal something standing on a typewriter, was where we came in.  So it’s also where we left.  So it’s also the only thing I remembered.

I won’t say it kept me up nights.  Lots of other worries to do that.  And B.I. that would have been the end of it.  But I would google the phrase every once in a while, and maybe some keywords like, “typewriter movie cartoon.”  Nothing.  Until finally, something.  Which something is available streaming on Netflix.  So I watched until I got to the scene I remembered, shouted “Aha!” in joyous triumph.  And then I said, “this is where I came in,” and left.

There’s been a lot of discussion about the un-repealable sections of the Senate’s Health Care Assimilation.  Let’s be clear – there is no such thing as an un-repealable law.  Parliaments can’t bind future parliaments, and Congresses can’t bind future Congresses.  The Democrats are claiming that this is merely a routine alteration in Senate procedure, as opposed to Seante rules, but in either case, the courts are unlikely to intervene.

But there it is in black and white: any attempt to repeal the rationing panels will “not be in order.”

Not so fast there, Slots.  When the Republicans have retaken both houses, presumably the Senate and House parliamentarians will rule that their repeal measures are out of order.  The chair will so rule.  Or the chair will rule the other way.  One side will move to over-rule the chair.  At that point, all hell will break loose, but a vote will be taken.  If the Republicans try to overrule the chair, then the Dems will try to grind process to a halt to avoid a vote.  If the Dems are ruled against, the chair had better be damn sure he has the votes before making the ruling.

As of 2005, the chair can be overruled by a majority vote:

Appealing Rulings of the Chair. By House tradition, the presiding officer’s rulings on points of order raised by Members are seldom appealed. As a result, the House has a relatively large and consistent body of precedents based on rulings of the chair. If the chair’s ruling is appealed, the full House decides by majority vote whether to sustain or overrule this ruling. Because this vote is viewed as a serious test of the chair’s authority, it is typically settled along party lines, with the majority sustaining the chair. In contrast to the Senate, there are only a few situations when the House’s presiding officer does not rule on points of order.

In the Senate, the presiding officer’s rulings on points of order raised by Senators are frequently appealed. The full Senate votes on whether to sustain or overrule the ruling. Under Rule XX, the presiding officer has the option of submitting any question of order to the full Senate for a majority vote decision. He is required to submit questions of order that raise constitutional issues, and those concerning the germaneness or relevancy of amendments to appropriations bills, to the full Senate. Senate votes on appealed rulings of the chair, and on points of order submitted to the full body, often turn on the political concerns of the moment rather than on established Senate practices and procedures. As a result, the Senate has a smaller and less consistent body of precedents than does the House. Yet, because the Senate usually operates informally, it is a more precedent- than rule-regulated institution.

There’s a scene in Barbara Tuchman’s, The Proud Tower, where the Speaker of the House forces a debate on the so-called, “silent quorum,” where the minority could prevent a quorum by just refusing to answer the roll.  It’s transcendent political theater, with a Texas congressman whetting his knife on his boots, other representatives storming the podium, congressmen vocally denying their presence.  In the end, Speaker Thomas Reed (R-Maine) had his way.  If this bill passes with such a provision, I for one would feel cheated if I didn’t get to see a similar scene play out on C-SPAN.

This is why it is critical that Republicans not just wash back into office on a wave of popular anger of what the bums have done.  They have to win with a mandate to roll this thing back.   They have to go in having made it politically palatable to vote that way, and they have to tie Obama personally to this legislation, and keep tying him to it.  The large jump in Rasmussen’s “strongly disapprove” rating for Obama was almost certainly a result of the first cloture vote.  The Dems aren’t operating inside a Beltway Bubble, but in an underground steel-reinforced titanium Beltway Bunker.  But if the Republicans don’t promise to undo the damage, it may well end the party within a few election cycles.

Now it’s the CFCs.  Funny, but about 20 years ago, a friend of mine named Ron Bailey wrote a book called, Ecoscam.  The one credible threat that the enviros were tossing around was CFCs and the ozone hole.  We did ban CFCs, and while it’s take a while for the last of them to waft their way up to the upper atmosphere, there to interact with radiation and destroy ozone, by 2000, CFC levels had begun to decline.  Along with the earth’s temperature.

I don’t know if Prof. Lu is correct.  But I do know that the jokers over at CRU were making it up, and that NASA was covering for them.  I’m not willing to pay Physics Reports $31 to see a paper I’m not qualified to review.  But it’ll be interesting to see what the scientific reaction is.  So far, it’s all been blogs and newspapers.  Eventually, we’ll see whether or not the establishment has learned the right lessons from Climategate, or whether they try to pretend that this paper, along with their own malfeasance, never happened.

No Comments