Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New York, New York

So the state of the New York State Senate has gone from bad to worse. The election rendered the chamber 32D-30R, but the Dems were unable to organize for weeks because of the wrangling of three dissident Democrats. Finally they came on board. But it lasted just a few weeks. Two weeks ago, two disgruntled Democrats made a deal with the Republican party to elect one of the two dissidents (Espada-D) the new president of the Senate. Espada managed to get the keys. The other Democrat then switched parties back again within a day, claiming he never really made a switch. So now the NY State senate is split 31-31, and there is no tiebreaking vote because the Lieutenant Governor, Paterson, was elevated to the Governor's chair when Spitzer resigned for lying about repeatedly having illegal sex with a prostitute.

The Democrats have most of the stuff of the Senate body, including the gavel and the staff, but Espada has the keys to the chamber. Governor Paterson called a special session at 3pm today to work it out. The Republicans announced they would start the session at 2pm with their guy, the renegade Democrat, in charge. The Dems then sneaked in at 12:30pm, seized the chamber, and barred the doors. It's not clear why Espada couldn't use his key. When they opened the senate doors, the Republicans commenced to hold their session and the Democrats sat in silence, pretending it wasn't happening. The Republicans passed a slew of bills by unanimous consent, claiming the Dems weren't objecting. The Democrats then held their own session in the same place at the same time. Both groups were apparently shouting over one another tying to hold rival sessions at the same time. The Democratic-appointed sergeant at arms kept the Republicans from mounting the podium. One Democratic senator kept the gavel to herself away from the Republicans. When the Democrats proclaimed the session "at ease" (meaning not adjourned but not in formal session either, allowing members to chat on the floor), the Republicans kept calling them out of order when they would speak. Fistfights almost broke out at various times, but apparently the members worked to restrain the hotheads for a while.

This must have been even more hilarious to watch in person. Before we get all huffy about not doing the people's business, about fiddling while Rome burns, about wasting time and acting like children while the economy is in the crapper, let's at least be grateful that THIS is how we do power struggles in the USA. I'd take it over what's happening in Tehran any day.


Raised By Republicans said...

Republicans are a bunch of degenerates. First, pages, then strangers in airports now they're trying to mount the podium!

Raised By Republicans said...

In all seriousness, I would point out that A) this kind of thing is noteworthy because it is so unusual. B) It hasn't happened in the US Congress in years. So at least at a national level our representatives behave better.

The Law Talking Guy said...

One can only imagine, though, what would have happened in the tied US Senate if the filibuster had not made actual control of the body less important and forced power-sharing arrangements.