Thursday, February 02, 2006

Housework

What happens when you take a wrong turn and get stuck on the floor of the House of Representatives for a whole day.

Dawn breaks, the birds sing, the gates swing open, and boobus Americanus (aka Congressmen) stroll into the chamber. [Ed. note: Actually, there is a significant time lapse between dawn and the boobies showing up to work.]

10:00am A brand new day to legislate and scare the bejeesus out of all of us. As the boobies stroll in, they stick their faces up close to the C-SPAN camera and say "We're in session. Are you scared yet?"

[Ed. note: This happens after the daily prayer done by some Baptist minister.]

10:02am Straws are drawn and the honorable Rep. Poe lost, so he has to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

10:03am A gaggle of Congressmen make noises about having things to say. The House decides to give 15 1-minute speeches to both sides of the aisle. Doing the math, this correspondent figures out 30 minutes of 30 different boobies spouting off. The horror!

10:12am The Speaker couldn't take any more and called a recess.

[Ed. note: In a severe miscalculation, I stayed in the chamber because I thought they'd be back in 15-30 minutes.]

1:05pm The House convened, continuing the legislative day of 1 February 2006.
[Ed. note: Oh yes, that is exactly what they put into the record!]

1:10pm House gets around to talking about HR 648. For 40 minutes.
[Ed. note: What's HR 648? To eliminate floor privileges and gym access to lobbyists. At the 35 minute mark I held up an impromptu sign "Remember Abramoff?"]

1:50pm The Chair, sensing which way the wind was blowing, postponed a vote on HR 648.

1:54pm Some mumbo-jumbo in Robert Rules of Order jargon. Meanwhile I found a discarded NY Times and worked on the crossword.

2:35pm After making some noises about HR 653, they looked at me, whispered something to the Speaker, who announced that it is now considered a privileged matter.

4:31pm After more chatter, the Chairman rules it unfinished business.

5:07pm Some Senate bills were brought up for reconciliation. And some Senate amendments to House amendments. After catcalls and frankly, some pretty blue language describing the deficits of Senators, the House agreed to table all Senate stuff.

5:15pm HR 664 "electing a certain Member to a certain standing committee of the House of Representatives."
[Ed. note: Like I care if I don't know who they're talking about for some stupid committee.]

5:16pm The "honorable" Rep. Ney (R-OH) submitted his resignation as chairman of the Committee on House Administration.
[Ed. note: What Ney failed to mention is that he's being investigated in the Abramoff affair and needs the time to find a really good criminal attorney.]

5:59pm The House pats itself on the back because it "concluded" all anticipated legislative business. Now they'll listen to Special Order Speeches.

8:50pm The House adjourns.
[Ed. note: Since the official record doesn't have it, I'll report on those Special Speeches. The first hour was taken up with Super Bowl squares. The sticking point was the payouts. Then the white Representatives mouthed sanctimonious crap to the black Representatives on the death of Coretta Scott King. After that, they tried to find the Danish political cartoon lampooning Muhammad that has the Middle East in an uproar. That segued into trying to find Iran on an atlas. And finally, wrapped the whole thing up with idle speculation on the Oscars. One thing Diebold can't fix.]

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