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infoshare
January 5th, 2011, 02:00 PM
Todays' majority vote for John Boehner as speaker of the house is essentially a vote for both an increase in 'fiscal discipline' & a renewed 'respect for the US Constitution'.

A great day for a any Constitutionalist: here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Constitution) is a link to the US constitution which I hope will spark some lively discussion on the subject.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Constitution

Article - ".........Will familiarity lead to fidelity"
http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/136085-reading-the-constitution-will-familiarity-lead-to-fidelity

Ninjahedge
January 5th, 2011, 02:25 PM
Absolute political BS.

Also quite a bit of hypocrisy.

It is one thing to "respect" the US constitution, another entirely to follow it.

For a Christian Right Winger to call for respect for the Constitution is just laughable. Just as laughable as the cant of "Fiscal discipline" from a congress that can't seem to get the difference between spending on everyone and spending on their own self interests and political support industries.

Until he actually DOES something on this, I have no more trust in him than a used car salesman.

scumonkey
January 5th, 2011, 03:07 PM
I have no more trust in him than a used car salesman. I have even less, and absolutely no respect for him at all...

Ninjahedge
January 5th, 2011, 03:51 PM
He cries well.

ZippyTheChimp
January 5th, 2011, 04:56 PM
Todays' majority vote for John Boehner as speaker of the house is essentially a vote for both an increase in 'fiscal discipline' & a renewed 'respect for the US Constitution'.

Cloaking Boehner in the US Constitution is a bit ridiculous.

Same old, same old. (http://www.thestate.com/2010/09/12/1460790/gop-leader-tightly-bound-to-lobbyists.html)

lofter1
January 5th, 2011, 08:01 PM
Todays' majority vote for John Boehner as speaker of the house is essentially a vote for ... a renewed 'respect for the US Constitution'.


Take a listen (starting @ 0:30 thru 1:15) and then perhaps re-consider the man's respect (and knowledge) ...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcGqz49Qt9A

ZippyTheChimp
January 5th, 2011, 09:38 PM
Douchebaggery.

Any idea what 'document' he was actually waving?

Ninjahedge
January 6th, 2011, 08:05 AM
You see guys, when he claims "Constitutional rights" he just means the 2nd Amendment and its rather broad application to weapon ownership.

Just about any other right or freedom is up for "debate". :rolleyes:

ZippyTheChimp
January 6th, 2011, 09:30 AM
This misreading of our most important document by a Speaker of the House happened a year ago. Why would Republicans want to put this in the news again by staging a reading of the Constitution?

Faux news Follies

http://cloudfront.mediamatters.org/static/images/mobile/header-2.gif


Today In Foolish Kilmeade Mistakes:
Reminding Us About Boehner's Constitution Error

January 04, 2011 12:05 pm ET

Brian Kilmeade just doesn't know when to leave well enough alone. During this morning's broadcast of Fox & Friends, our favorite morning misinformers ran a segment about the GOP's planned reading of the Constitution that, well, probably wasn't as helpful for soon-to-be Speaker Boehner as they'd planned.

Co-host Gretchen Carlson kicked off the segment by reporting that the GOP plans to start the 112th Congress by having the Constitution read aloud on the House floor. She then said, "Well, some are now saying, in criticizing that mission, saying that the Constitution is outdated?"

The "some" who are "now saying" this turns out to be Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein. The co-hosts reference Klein's comments during an interview on MSNBC's The Daily Rundown, in which he said, "The issue with the Constitution is that the text is confusing because it was written more than 100 years ago, and what people believe it says differs from person to person, and differs depending on what they want to get done."

After text featuring Klein's comments is aired, co-host Brian Kilmeade says, "He also accuses John Boehner of confusing the Declaration of Independence with the Constitution. I don't know where he got that from."

First of all, a simple Google search reveals many hits, complete with video, showing that Boehner did indeed make this mistake at a Tea Party protest in November 2009. Holding up his pocket copy of the Constitution, he said, "I'm going to stand here with our Founding Fathers, who wrote in the pre-amble, 'We hold these truths to be self-evident.'" However, that's the pre-amble to the Declaration of Independence.

Not only is it true that Boehner made this mistake, but a video of him speaking these words was aired during the Klein interview that Kilmeade is referencing. So I think it's pretty clear where Klein and host Norah O'Donnell "got that from."

Source (http://mediamatters.org/iphone/research/201101040013)

© 2009 Media Matters for America.

Ninjahedge
January 6th, 2011, 09:57 AM
The problem is two fold.

It would not be so bad if they did not keep thumping this congressional version of the Bible. Siting Exodus and quoting "On the 7th day" is a blunder, but forgivable provided you admit your mistake and move on.

These guys will just not let go and their "news" supporters are not helping anything when they go on an easily disproved denial spree.

Second problem is just plain sad. The general ignorance of the American People. People, of ALL nations, are stupid. That is just teh way we, as an average, are. We forget things, incorrectly categorize and lump stuff together, gloss over facts that do not fit with our perception and move on.

These characteristics may have worked fine when we were collecting nuts and berries and trying to keep the wolves off our children, but they just do not work very well in a society where knowledge and societal development has outpaced our biology.

People will listen to this and BELIEVE it. They will not check up on Boehner. They will not call him to answer for his own mistakes and demand he pull the curtains back to show them what is really supporting his show. They will feel sympathy for the man who cries for nothing, and does not cry for that which truly needs it.

They will continue to believe and deny and not come to terms with their own mistakes. These mistakes do not mean they should somehow vote for "the other guy". It just means that they need to go to their dairy and ask them what all the pidgeon poop is doing in their butter.

lofter1
January 6th, 2011, 10:52 AM
I wonder if they're going to read the full Constitution (http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html) as originally enacted? If so, who get's the honor of reading Article I Section 2?

Article I - The Legislative Branch

Section 2 - The House

The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons ...

lofter1
January 6th, 2011, 11:19 AM
The honor went to the esteemed Mr. Eric Cantor, Republican member from Virginia (http://uncpress.unc.edu/browse/page/510), who chose to read the Amended version of Article I Section 2, thereby by-stepping any awkward historical accuracy:



(Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.) (The previous sentence in parentheses was modified by the 14th Amendment, section 2.) The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct ...

ZippyTheChimp
January 6th, 2011, 05:27 PM
http://cdn.rollcall.com/media/ui/footer-logo.png (http://www.rollcall.com/)


Sessions’ Blunder Puts Brakes on House Work

By Anna Palmer
Roll Call Staff
3:28 p.m.


Updated 4:36 p.m.

House Rules Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) abruptly adjourned a hearing on a GOP health care repeal bill Thursday after he became aware that Rep. Pete Sessions was not sworn in as a Member of the 112th Congress, committee spokeswoman Jo Maney said.

The Texas Republican was not on the floor during Wednesday’s swearing-in ceremony, and neither was incoming freshman Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.). Under the Constitution, which was read on the House floor Thursday, only sworn Members of Congress are allowed to conduct official business, but Sessions and Fitzpatrick have already voted eight times in the 112th Congress.

While it was previously thought that Sessions had introduced the motion to create the rules for the Rules Committee, Maney said it was later determined that Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) was the Member who offered the package.

Dreier is consulting with the parliamentarian about how to best craft a unanimous consent agreement to rectify the situation, Maney said.

“We should have an agreement shortly,” she said.

It's unclear whether Democrats will allow a unanimous consent agreement to go forward and Democratic aides pounced on the Republicans’ blunder.

“Despite the fact that they read the Constitution today, they should have read it yesterday, actually,” one senior Democratic aide said. “I guess swearing in their Members wasn’t part of their pledge.”

Sessions, who is a member of the Rules Committee, stated the oath publicly in the Capitol but was not on the House floor, according to his spokeswoman, Emily Davis.

"To ensure that all constitutional and House requirements are fulfilled, Congressman Sessions officially took the oath of office this afternoon from the House floor. Public records and votes will be adjusted accordingly," Davis said in an e-mail Thursday.

ZippyTheChimp
January 6th, 2011, 05:39 PM
At last, (some of) the Constitution is read

By Alex Pareene


http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/01/06/constitution_house_reading/md_horiz.jpg
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Speaker John Boehner


The Historic Incantation of the Constitution was delayed for about a half-hour, as various Democrats attempted to get the Republicans to actually read the whole Constitution, which, in the original text, has some iffy stuff about the enslavement and subjugation of various peoples. Republicans said they'd read the whole text "as amended," which means they're leaving out the stuff that amendments later changed.

If we're whitewashing the shameful bits out of our founding document, we're not getting a very good picture of history. Democrats obviously wanted to embarrass Republicans by getting them to read the three-fifths compromise, but it still would've been a healthy corrective to Founder-worship. The Constitution is a series of instructions for organizing a federal government that could represent wildly different constituencies. (And it only managed to keep the peace for a couple of decades.) It wasn't divinely inspired -- though there were vast quantities of ale involved in its drafting -- it was written by flawed men.

But the point of this stunt isn't actually public education.

Speaker John Boehner got the sexy preamble (which means he says "promote the general welfare"), which he got through without crying. The Constitution very quickly goes downhill after that, as it's full of boring, technical talk about how a federal government should be organized and run. Pelosi got Article I, Section 2. Eric Cantor read Section 2, just in case some Democrat tried to sneak in the three-fifths compromise language. After that, it was first-come, first-served.

It seems more or less pointless to read the skeletal remains of the sections concerning the election of senators and presidents, if we're not going to read the original text as written, but

(The fact that Democrats joined in on the readings both legitimized the silly exercise and also denied the opportunity of watching a Republican read the "general Welfare" bit in Section 8. Psycho Tea Partyer Allen West actually read the "necessary and proper" clause, though, which almost makes up for it.)

Article II got off to a slow start, but picked up when a birther in the gallery began screaming something about Barack Obama when the bit about the president being a "natural born Citizen" was read. A low point: They actually read the entirety of Article VII, with the whole paragraph about "the word 'the'" and all that nonsense. Then various members read the names of the signers.

Civil rights hero John Lewis ended up reading the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery. Now that they're done, maybe they'll start in on the entire United States Code, and then they can keep up these symbolic gestures until freedom is restored and the deficit is gone.

Copyright ©2011 Salon Media Group, Inc.

ZippyTheChimp
January 6th, 2011, 05:47 PM
"Help us Jesus!"




ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yexT53Gm5o

lofter1
January 6th, 2011, 05:48 PM
Help us, indeed.

F*in' whack jobs.

lofter1
January 6th, 2011, 06:04 PM
For your own protection from nutjobs, here's what this particular birther looks like (http://patdollard.com/2008/12/not-developing-scotus-silent-on-obama-citizenship-case/) ...

http://s3.amazonaws.com/newsok-photos/526763/lead620.jpg

She has at least one infamous cohort (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orly_Taitz) (equally bonkers) ...



... she cites the miracles she's seen: being in the Gaza Strip before the 2005 disengagement as well as a movement led by California attorney Orly Taitz to "expose the lie and reveal truth" about the forces at work in the U.S. today.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_pf5AvgSvs44/SrfXIAFFf1I/AAAAAAAAAEI/PQCBFXVWk8E/s400/ie2wdh.jpg.gif

infoshare
January 6th, 2011, 07:28 PM
Reading Tibor R. Machan ,once again - and found the following remarks.
Quote:
"Many people are bent on pushing other people around--always, of course, for lofty purposes--and so bringing up a constitutional objection to their doing so would be annoying for them, even undermine their philosophy of life and their aspirations to be influential in the world. *So they will then commit to the philosophy of Heraclitus, a philosophy that gives them carte blanche about how to interpret the U. S. Constitution or any other document containing principles by which communities must be governed. *It’s a living document, you see, which can be taken to mean whatever one wants it to mean, pragmatically and not according to common reason.

Yes, it is good to refer to the Constitution but it is even more important to keep in mind the underlying philosophical clashes and to make sure which side is right. "



How to Use the Constitution, 
byTibor R. Machan
Many in the just seated House of Representatives have been clamoring for a return to the Constitution. *This is what appears to underlie the planned challenge to Obama care, the massive piece of legislation that President Obama has been eager to make a part of the law of the land, legislation that contains provisions that too many in the new House appear to be in violation of the U. S. Constitution. *In particular, objections have been raised against forcing citizens to buy insurance, something that clearly goes against several principles associated with the American political tradition, such as freedom of contract, freedom of trade, etc. *Some of these principles have found a way into the Constitution but it isn’t always crystal clear just where in the Constitution they appear--the fifth, the fourth, the ninth, the first or which amendment or which ruling that contains precedents should constitutional watchdogs rely as they to issue the proclamation: “Unconstitutional.”

The plain fact of the matter is that while the U. S. Constitution--specifically the Bill of Rights--contains some very laudable provisions, all of them require a fairly nuanced interpretation and application to contemporary issues (such as government coercing people buy health insurance). *While for some citizens this is all a piece of cake, no problem at all, for others it isn’t a slam dunk by a long shot. *That’s because these folks focus on the fact that the principles incorporated in the Bill of Rights are stated in terms that had a slightly different meaning back when the Constitution was ratified from how we understand them today. *

Such development in the meaning of terms is often used as an excuse for evading constitutional principles but it could also be legitimate. *Terms do change their meaning, more or less drastically or radically, even in the physical science--the term “atom” as used today doesn’t mean what it had been used to mean a hundred years ago. *The more people involved in the study of those matters for which such terms were coined come to know--the more information comes to light about the surrounding facts--the more likely some alteration of meaning is probable. *

Now this doesn’t mean the ridiculous idea that nothing is constant in the world, nothing stands still, nothing is stable and dependable, only that one needs to be sure what is and what isn’t. *Some constitutional scholarship would track just such developments--have the crucial terms of the constitution kept the meaning they had back at the time of ratification or did they change a bit or a lot? *The changes wouldn’t be arbitrary, with the result that anything goes--which is the result some of the avid skeptics about the Constitution would try to make us all believe. *They hold to the doctrine originally ascribed to the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus who held that everything is always in flux--he is famously held to have said “You cannot step into the same river twice” because, well, the river is always changing. *And if all of reality were like the river, we could never count on anything to be stable or solid, certainly not principles that are supposed to govern human community life.

But the American Founders and Framers disagreed and had spelled out some--few?--principles that do apply to human community life precisely because it is, after all, human communities that are at issue, not communities of ants or birds or cows. *And these beings, human ones, are not all that changeable even over the time span of centuries. *We know this from anthropology, archeology, history, philology, and other disciplines that study various aspects of humanity’s past and make pretty good progress understanding them. *

So there could well be certain invariable principles, ones that need to be considered in dealing with or governing people and once these make it into a constitution, that document could come in very handy in figuring out public policies and plans. *But none of this would be happening automatically, not certainly from simply reading the Constitution, not by a long shot. *Honest constitutional study and understanding would be needed. *Only then would the imperative to pay heed to the Constitution come to something valuable, important.

The reason that objecting to Obama care would appear to be not just constitutionally misguided but a misguided way of dealing with citizens is that people are the kind of beings in the world who may not be pushed around by other people--they must have their sovereignty or rights to life and liberty well respected and protected. *Unfortunately this idea is so often and widely violated around the globe and, of course, throughout human history, that it is difficult for anyone to be loyal to it. *

Many people are bent on pushing other people around--always, of course, for lofty purposes--and so bringing up a constitutional objection to their doing so would be annoying for them, even undermine their philosophy of life and their aspirations to be influential in the world. *So they will then commit to the philosophy of Heraclitus, a philosophy that gives them carte blanche about how to interpret the U. S. Constitution or any other document containing principles by which communities must be governed. *It’s a living document, you see, which can be taken to mean whatever one wants it to me, pragmatically and not according to common reason.

Yes, it is good to refer to the Constitution but it is even more important to keep in mind the underlying philosophical clashes and to make sure which side is right.

lofter1
January 7th, 2011, 02:29 AM
There will always be -- and has always been, since the inception -- differing views on how the government best serves the people. The founders understood this, and compromised on the words they drafted and signed off on so that they could seal the deal and keep the Union intact (they'd messed it up once before with that Confederation thing and didn't want to run the risk of doing so again). They expected those who came after would have intelligent discussions on the important matters of the day and come to agreement (or at least the losing side would back off for a while when it was clear their side would not be immediately victorious).

What would they, from 200 years ago, think of the Constitution we now abide by? Some no doubt would say "Good Job! Well Done!" while others would mutter "Fools, they threw it all away."

One thing is for sure: It's a good thing that those who wrote and enacted the Constitution were able to control themselves when it comes to those pesky asterisks. Talk about making a piece of writing difficult to understand!

BBMW
January 7th, 2011, 10:01 AM
This is all well and good. The Consititution is neither perfect, nor perfectly specific. There is room for interpretation and interpolation where necessary. However what bothers me, and a lot of other conservatives is when it's interpreted to either not say what it says, or say what it doesn't.

Also, the founders had a specific power balance in mind between the states and the feds when they wrote the constitution. For better or worse, this has been significantly changed. Some of this was done specifically by amendment (direct election of senators.) A lot of it was done by federal courts being overdeferential to the feds in interpretations of things like the interstate commerce clause, and largely ignoring the tenth amendment.

infoshare
January 7th, 2011, 11:15 AM
This is all well and good. The Consititution is neither perfect, nor perfectly specific. There is room for interpretation and interpolation where necessary. However what bothers me, and a lot of other conservatives is when it's interpreted to either not say what it says, or say what it doesn't.


The 'strict constructivist' approach to knowing what the constitution says (as opposed to what it doesn't) requires some historical research in order to know the original 'intent' of the Framers of the Constitution.

I have read a lot of biographical material on both John Adams and Alexander Hamilton and as a result now feel, I have a much stronger (but by no means compete) sense of the framers original intent as well as the basis for the various precepts contained in the Constitution.

The Framers were quite unambiguous about the principals written down in the constitution; the clarity of meaning and intent requires 'getting to know' the context - particularly the philosophical perspective held by those who wrote the document.

If one begins with the notion that this particular 'heritage' is somehow antiquated or no longer relevant in modern times, as I believe is currently the case in our government, the only remaining option is a so-called "living constitution" - another words, it means, whatever YOU want it to mean.

It is a pretty complex philosophical dilemma, and therefore great fodder for the "battlefield of ideas".

Cheers

lofter1
January 7th, 2011, 11:26 AM
There is no way to read the original Constitution and not understand that the intent of those who signed it was that the document was at the service of white men only.

Is that the heritage we should celebrate? Or rather celebrate the fact that it wasn't always relevant to all our citizens, that we've moved forward and now consider women, people of color, non-property owners and others worthy of the rights that are enshrined in the original (instantly amended) document?

ZippyTheChimp
January 7th, 2011, 11:36 AM
The Constitutional Framers weren't prophets; they were politicians. The document they produced was as politically influenced as any legislation proposed today.

What was their intent with the Three Fifths Compromise (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-fifths_compromise#Superseded)?

To get the document ratified.

ZippyTheChimp
January 7th, 2011, 11:49 AM
The Framers were quite unambiguous about the principals written down in the constitution; the clarity of meaning and intent requires 'getting to know' the context - particularly the philosophical perspective held by those who wrote the document.It seems more reasonable to conclude that the Framers realized that the world would change, and the document would have to evolve with it.

After all, they participated in, as was noted at Yorktown, The World Turned Upside Down.

Ninjahedge
January 7th, 2011, 12:30 PM
The framers were politicians, but it is not just a case of the White Man.

It was the slave OWNER they were trying to placate. The 3/5 was better than the 0 that Native Americans got. Why? Well, the slave owners wanted more representation based on some monitary standard such as property ownership. These guys did not vote, but they were a good marker for how much a man owned. The 3/5 was completely arbitrary and was probably a compromise between full credit for an unrepresented individual "property" and 0.

The whole thing about discrimination is OUR framework of interpretation. It is our association as humans that have made a property asset into a direct association with a particular race, and that is then linked to rights.

It had nothing to do with that, and if the situation was as it is now, "blacks" in general would not be automatically associated with human chattel/property.

Today they are PEOPLE, just like everyone else, and using THAT perspective we try to back-associate discrimination into the original document.

I am not saying they were right in doing this. This is akin to equating slaves to a higher, more valuable grade of livestock, but it is not discrimination as we define it and know it today.


The main problem I see with the constitution and our own governmental leanings is that we have outgrown the original intent. This was not meant for true representation, but to give groups of people more power than what they had with Colonial rule. "We the people" is a sham with things such as the Electoral college which, if used as was intended, could elect enybody they chose to the presidency regardless of the actual votes cast. This was the Safety Valve just in case the "uneducated masses" decided to get reactionary and vote out legitimate people for ones they felt, but did not know, would be better.

Odd, but that very thing actually happens today (reactionary voting) and we are none the better for it.

This system is undoubtedly better than many before it, but holding it up like a holy grail is just a waste of time. We are slowly progressing back to an aristocratic society owned by the "haves" that decide everything for us. It will only be a matter of time before we need to rethink our own political system, our own base laws and rights and rewrite almost all of them to truly benefit the people of this country.

Thinking that these areistcrats could have thought all this stuff up 225 years ago is rediculous.

I mean, they did not even have Creskin!!! ;)

BBMW
January 7th, 2011, 12:47 PM
You know what? If we've "moved forward" and the constitution, in whole or part, is not relevent, then amend it to suit the times. The capability it there, but it requires something approaching political unanimity to do.

But if the political will is not there to amend it, the parts that may be less popular still have to be respected. Otherwise the framework (and that's really what it is) becomes useless. And no, it should never "mean what you want it to mean".


If one begins with the notion that this particular 'heritage' is somehow antiquated or no longer relevant in modern times, as I believe is currently the case in our government, the only remaining option is a so-called "living constitution" - another words, it means, whatever YOU want it to mean.




There is no way to read the original Constitution and not understand that the intent of those who signed it was that the document was at the service of white men only.

Is that the heritage we should celebrate? Or rather celebrate the fact that it wasn't always relevant to all our citizens, that we've moved forward and now consider women, people of color, non-property owners and others worthy of the rights that are enshrined in the original (instantly amended) document?

lofter1
January 7th, 2011, 09:53 PM
So much for honoring (or even following) the intent and meaning ...

Article 6 - Debts, Supremacy, Oaths (http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_A6.html)



All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

It seems that the supposed respect that some legislators have for our Constitution is of a unique sort (and gives The Revolution Will Be Televised (http://robertkblechman.blogspot.com/2007/02/revolution-will-be-televised.html) a whole new twist) ...

House GOP Bails Out Sessions & Fitzpatrick With Oops! Bill

TALKING POINTS MEMO (http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/01/house-gop-bails-out-sessions-fitzpatrick-with-oops-bill.php)
Evan McMorris-Santoro
January 7, 2011

The Republican-controlled House voted this morning to wash away the massive fail caused by Reps. Pete Sessions' (R-TX) and Mike Fitzpatrick's (R-PA) decision to skip Wednesday's swearing-in ceremony in favor of taking the oath (http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/01/house-gop-scrambles-to-clean-up-sessions-mess.php) to a television set at a Capitol complex event for Fitzpatrick.

By a vote of 257 to 159, the House voted in a special rule written for Sessions and Fitzpatrick to essentially rewrite Congressional history so the votes they cast as unsworn members-elect Wednesday and Thursday never happened.

"Be it Resolved, that the votes recorded for Representative-elect Sessions and Representative-elect Fitzpatrick on rollcalls 3 through 8 be deleted and the vote-totals for each of those rollcalls be adjusted accordingly, both in the Journal and in the Congressional Record," the resolution reads.

Read the full text of the two-page resolution here (http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/documents/2011/01/house-resolution-to-address-actions-of-rep-elects-who-missed-swearing-in.php?page=1).

Clearing out the history books of Sessions' and Fitzpatrick's brief tenure as unconstitutional members of Congress will allow the House to move forward with the Republicans' top priority: repealing the landmark health care bill passed when the last Congress was controlled by the Democrats. The votes Sessions cast on the House Rules Committee after failing to be sworn in properly had threatened to slow down the repeal process, but now things should be back on track.

The resolution's passage may not be the final chapter in the story, however. Accusations are starting to bubble up that the event Sessions attended for Fitzpatrick was an illegal fundraiser for the Pennsylvania member. The event was in the Capitol complex, where fundraisers or "political activity" is strictly forbidden. More on that part of the story to come.

© 2010 TPM Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

***

One commenter notes (http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/01/house-gop-bails-out-sessions-fitzpatrick-with-oops-bill.php#comment-125716125):



Fitzpatrick and Sessions voted for Boehner as Speaker while they were not properly sworn in as members of the house. That means that EVERY SINGLE ACTION taken while Boehner was Speaker elected illegally has no force in law. The ENTIRE HOUSE IS EXTRA-CONSTITUTIONAL. The vote to remove their votes is similarly illegal, since it included their votes.

lofter1
January 8th, 2011, 11:00 AM
The First Drafts of American History



"When the House readers decided to skip the parts of the Constitution that reveal its original limitations, they were minimizing that history, pretending that our founding document was flawless from the beginning ... to believe that American institutions were ever perfect makes it too easy to believe that they are perfect now."

NEW YORK TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/08/opinion/08kirsch.html?ref=opinion)
By ADAM KIRSCH
OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
January 7, 2011

WHEN the new House of Representatives convened on Thursday, the Republican leadership kept its promise to start the session by reading the text of the Constitution aloud (http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/06/house-reading-of-the-constitution-is-not-without-issues/). This break from Congressional tradition had a polemical purpose: Representative Robert Goodlatte, the Virginia Republican who came up with the idea, remarked that “lots of my constituents have said that Congress has gone beyond its powers granted in the Constitution.”

If the reading was meant to be a win for originalism, however, it stumbled out of the gate, over the text of Article I, Section 2. This deals with the apportionment of House seats among the states, which is said to be based on “the whole number of free persons” and “three-fifths of all other persons.” Rather than draw attention to this infamous euphemism for slaves, the Congressional readers decided to omit those portions, on the grounds that they had been superseded by the 14th Amendment.

It just so happened this conspicuous omission came days after a small publisher, NewSouth Books, announced a new edition of Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn” (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/05/books/05huck.html) that will replace its uses of the word “nigger” with “slave.” Here, again, was a historic text clashing with contemporary sensibilities, and forced to submit.

Taken together, the two cases show the comedy of euphemism: trying to distract us from something ugly only makes the ugliness harder to miss. To the book’s new editor, the Twain scholar Alan Gribben, “slave” is less offensive than “nigger”; to the Constitution’s drafters, “all other persons” was less offensive than “slave.” By refusing to utter even that legalism, the House showed that euphemism can end only in embarrassed silence.

The censored edition of “Huckleberry Finn” has been loudly condemned. Certainly, as a writer, I see the strength of all the arguments against tinkering with the original, not least because it would be a terrible precedent — start eliminating everything offensive in literary history, and you’ll have little left. But once I returned to the actual novel, I began to feel torn, because I could imagine the effect that its deluge of epithets would have on a young reader, especially a young black reader. (Open the book to the passage in the second chapter that begins, “Strange niggers would stand with their mouths open,” and see if you would be able to read it to a room full of ninth graders.)

“Huckleberry Finn” was intended, of course, as an attack on racism. In its most famous scene, Huck hides the runaway slave Jim from a party of slave-hunters, and then feels guilty for having done so. “I knowed very well I had done wrong,” he says, though the reader, and Twain, know he has done right. It’s a searching demonstration of the way conscience is not just innate but also learned, and how confusing it can be to do right in a society dedicated to wrong — the same kinds of questions that bedeviled Hannah Arendt at the Eichmann trial.

Yet all those racial epithets are a reminder that, when Twain wrote it, the audience he had in mind — the America for which he wrote — was segregated. He did not worry about constantly writing “nigger,” because he was writing about blacks, not for them. And for many readers, encountering classic literature means sometimes finding yourself excluded, or insulted, in this way. For blacks reading Twain, certainly, but also for Jews reading Shakespeare or Dickens, and for women reading, say, Plato (among countless others).

But the books we cherish, which deserve the name of classics, feel essentially humane to us, despite their limitations, even their bigotry. “I sit with Shakespeare and he winces not,” W. E. B. DuBois said. We feel that the exclusion of whole classes of humanity from the author’s imagined audience — which means, from his idea of the fully human — is due to ignorance or carelessness; that if he were to think and feel more freely, more deeply, he would acknowledge that all people are equally human.

This is also the promise of American history, and above all of the Constitution. Unlike Twain’s novel, that classic American text was written in the expectation that it would be corrected. And it needed correction, or amendment, for the same essential reason: the framers’ imagination of the people they led was not full enough. It took a devastating civil war, whose sesquicentennial we are now observing, to revise the Constitution in the direction of justice. When the House readers decided to skip the parts of the Constitution that reveal its original limitations, they were minimizing that history, pretending that our founding document was flawless from the beginning.

No, Congress may not go “beyond its powers granted in the Constitution,” as Representative Goodlatte insisted. But to believe that American institutions were ever perfect makes it too easy to believe that they are perfect now. Both assumptions, one might say, are sins against the true spirit of the Constitution, which demands that we keep reimagining our way to a more perfect union.

© 2011 The New York Times Company

Ninjahedge
January 10th, 2011, 09:22 AM
The Twain editing is an example of people's general ignorance of the grand scheme of things.

When taken out of context, almost anything can be made to seem improper. The classic phrase "that's what SHE said" can be applied to just about ANY phrase to suggest some sexual double-entendre when original conversation, when taken in context, could not be further from that intent.

The same goes with "nigger" in the Twain books. It was NEVER meant to be a friendly word, and the use in the book itself does not give anywhere the meaning it had in the 60's or today. It does not say that doing so is right, and it should not be read without proper back-information of the times and situations that were around in that day.

It gets a bit stickier in situations like Briar Rabbit, however (no pun intended).

But in order to understand and TRULY pay homage to our heratage, the constitution, when declared to be read in Congress, should have been read in full. Acknowledgement of the times when it was written and how we have progressed since then should be the prerequisite of those that read this book before they do.

When you become aware of why people are called what they were and why, you know a bit more about why this is no longer acceptable in todays language.

You can't prevent bigotry just by isolating your children from any of it. You have to make sure they know, and are taught better.