The Big Think

July 12, 2009

Read The Bill

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 11:52 pm

Hoyer conceded that if lawmakers had to carefully study the bill ahead of time, they would never vote for it. “If every member pledged to not vote for it if they hadn’t read it in its entirety, I think we would have very few votes,’’ he said. The majority leader was declaring, in other words, that it is more important for Congress to pass the bill than to understand it.

“Transparency’’ is a popular buzzword in good-government circles, and politicians are forever promising to transact the people’s business in the sunshine. But as Hoyer’s mirth suggests, when it comes to lawmaking, transparency is a joke. Congress frequently votes on huge and complex bills that few if any members of the House or Senate has read through. They couldn’t read them even if they wanted to, since it is not unusual for legislation to be put to a vote just hours after the text is made available to lawmakers. Congress passed the gigantic, $787 billion “stimulus’’ bill in February – the largest spending bill in history – after having had only 13 hours to master its 1,100 pages. A 300-page amendment was added to Waxman-Markey, the mammoth cap-and-trade energy bill, at 3 a.m. on the day the bill was to be voted on by the House. And that wasn’t the worst of it, as law professor Jonathan Adler of Case Western Reserve University noted in National Review Online:

“When Waxman-Markey finally hit the floor, there was no actual bill. Not one single copy of the full legislation that would, hours later, be subject to a final vote was available to members of the House. The text made available to some members of Congress still had ‘placeholders’ – blank provisions to be filled in by subsequent language.’’

read the whole thing, then call or write your congressperson to ask if they’ll actually read what they’re voting for. Republican, Democrat, or Other, it seems the least they can do.

Transparency

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 10:12 pm

Hoyer conceded that if lawmakers had to carefully study the bill ahead of time, they would never vote for it. “If every member pledged to not vote for it if they hadn’t read it in its entirety, I think we would have very few votes,’’ he said. The majority leader was declaring, in other words, that it is more important for Congress to pass the bill than to understand it.

“Transparency’’ is a popular buzzword in good-government circles, and politicians are forever promising to transact the people’s business in the sunshine. But as Hoyer’s mirth suggests, when it comes to lawmaking, transparency is a joke. Congress frequently votes on huge and complex bills that few if any members of the House or Senate have read through. They couldn’t read them even if they wanted to, since it is not unusual for legislation to be put to a vote just hours after the text is made available to lawmakers. Congress passed the gigantic, $787 billion “stimulus’’ bill in February – the largest spending bill in history – after having had only 13 hours to master its 1,100 pages. A 300-page amendment was added to Waxman-Markey, the mammoth cap-and-trade energy bill, at 3 a.m. on the day the bill was to be voted on by the House. And that wasn’t the worst of it.

If companies that are “too big to fail” are too big to exist, then bills that are “too long to read” are too long to pass. This sort of behavior — passing bills that no one has read — or, that in the case of the healthcare “bill” haven’t even actually been written — represents political corruption of the first order. If representation is the basis on which laws bind the citizen, then why should citizens regard themselves as bound by laws that their representatives haven’t read, or, sometimes, even written yet?

Link

Making a Movie- Day Six

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 12:52 am

Great day today. Pretty short, too (only six hours). We shot inside Genuine Joe’s coffee shop in Austin. I thought it was going to be a sound nightmare, but it ended up sounding really great- very natural and yet intimate. I was really happy with the way things sounded. We were able to shoot in a back area that we could close off. It looked to be new construction and had good windows so that, even though we were right next to a parking lot, very little sound got in. A tiny amount of ambience (“MOCHA!”) got in from the main dining area, and what did was natural coffee-shop sounding.

We seem to be hitting our stride as a group as well. It was a very crowded space, about 10’x30′, but we managed to stay out of each others’ way- no mean feat considering the amount of stuff that has to accompany us.

I also incorporated a good headphone monitoring system for the director and writer/producer so they can hear the takes via the sound gear that’s hanging off of my harness. It’s much easier to get good sound when the director can hear what you’re talking about. Storme has always trusted me to give him good stuff, but it’s really nice that I can let him hear things first-hand.

Overall, I’d have to say it was one of my favorite days on the shoot so far. Maybe that’s due to the shorter hours, or the change of location, or the fact that it was only 90 degrees in the room with the a/c off instead of 130, but whatever it was, I hope it continues.

Day off tomorrow and monday! Then we’re back at it for the rest of the shoot. Should be fun.

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