I Nap With My Ur-Nammu, But Still
Submitted by chicago dyke on Tue, 01/16/2007 - 11:08am
I only do that because it's big and fluffy. Yack:
Most of the work presiding over chamber debate in the House and Senate is decidedly dull, following procedure and managing time on the floor, but every gaffe, cough and parliamentary ruling is caught live by the cameras of C-SPAN.
"It's just like riding a bike," says Rep. John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania. "I didn't forget a thing."
For those who served in the House 12 years ago when Democrats last held the majority, it's merely a reprise of good old days, but for the freshmen, it's all new.
Sen. James H. Webb Jr. of Virginia seems nervous, clearing his throat several times as he makes rulings as presiding officer. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois reads the Bible between rulings. It's rarely entertainment for the galleries, but one day last week one Democratic surrogate announced to the chamber: "The gentleman has expired."
Yeah, it's the Times. But still. What the hell is this? He's Koran-inoculating himself, that's for sure. Whatever. The Power of Christ Compels You.
The actual speaker of the House rarely presides over debate. Mrs. Pelosi, the first woman to assume the position, has taken the chair only a few times since Congress convened Jan. 4. But each time legislation from her "first 100-hours agenda" passes the House she exclaims: "The bill is passed!"
The "presiding officer" of the chambers, as he or she is officially called, is often responsible for making sure chatter doesn't drown the remarks at the podium.
"The chamber is not in order, could senators please take their conversations off the floor," Mr. Obama boomed following a recent ethics vote, and then returned to his Bible reading in the Book of Luke.