Come on, Congresswoman, read the bill!

October 12, 2010

Oh, for Pete’s sake! It’s bad enough when “representatives” and senators can’t be bothered to read proposed laws because they’re too long and complicated (cue sounds of a toddler whining), but “Representative” Jan Schakowski (D-IL) couldn’t even be bothered to read a bill on an important matter that was one page long. In fact, she hadn’t even heard of it:

There’s really no excuse!

H.R. 3808 would make states recognize documents notarized in other states. It has drawn wide criticism, since many banks have recently admitted that they have been using people called “robo-signers” to sign hundreds of documents without reading them. That is partly why Bank of America and other banks have halted foreclosures in the past few days.

H.R. 3808 could theoretically allow abuses of the foreclosure process to happen more easily. Yet it passed unanimously and without debate in both the House and the Senate, because nobody bothered to read it or object to it.

Unlike the ObamaCare legislation, H.R. 3808 is not thousands of pages long. In fact, it is less than one page long.

Yet almost nobody, Republican or Democrat, bothered to examine it or to think about its possible effects.

Okay, I’m picking on “Red” Jan here, and she definitely deserves it, but all these schmucks who casually voted “aye” need a good whack on the head with a rubber chicken. The banking system has been in a mess for around two years now, largely due to toxic mortgages issued to people who weren’t creditworthy. The restoration of health to the system requires a properly functioning foreclosure process, so the lenders have a chance to recover some of their money. So you would think that a short bill dealing with foreclosures would maybe, perhaps –if you don’t mind, sir or ma’am– garner a bit of attention from the people we hired to pay attention to these things.

Good grief.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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Here’s an idea: Try reading the bill before voting on it!

October 12, 2010

Perhaps one of the most frustrating revelations of recent years has been just how much legislation gets passed without legislators -the people we pay to write our laws- actually reading the bills. The recent health care reform legislation was, sadly, only the most recent example of this derelict practice. And it’s a bipartisan failing, as Byron York shows:

There’s a scene in “Fahrenheit 911,” left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore’s mostly forgotten 2004 tirade against George W. Bush, that some of today’s unhappy voters might recognize.

Moore was angry that Congress passed the Patriot Act so quickly that some lawmakers hadn’t read the whole bill. So Moore went to Democratic Rep. John Conyers for an explanation.

“How could Congress pass this Patriot Act without even reading it?” Moore asked.

“Sit down, my son,” Conyers said, lowering his voice as if to reveal a trade secret. “We don’t read most of the bills. Do you really know what that would entail, if we were to read every bill that we passed?”

Thankfully, the Republicans have listened to the public and included a pledge in their recent manifesto to post a bill online in its final form for 72 hours before it’s voted on. That way everyone can read it, including us, the, um, supposed owners of this joint. It won’t guarantee that legislators read every bill that comes along, but it would be great if they’d at least do it for those of national importance, such as taking over one-sixth of the economy.

Be sure to read the whole article. Conyers answers his own question at the end, and I suspect it’s one we can all agree with.


When crooks no longer fear the cops

October 12, 2010

I’ve used that subject line before, about Chicago. But it’s just as fitting for Mexico, where cartel gunmen ambushed a police convoy in the state of Sinaloa, killing eight officers:

The gunmen, travelling in three or four vehicles, “began shooting with automatic weapons”, an official said.

The state is home to one of the country’s most powerful drug gangs, the Sinaloa cartel run by Mexico’s most wanted man, Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman.

(…)

The police officers were patrolling a road 80km (50 miles) form the state capital, Culiacan, when they were attacked on Monday.

The killings highlight the challenges for Mexico’s police as they and other security forces seek to take on the drug gangs.

Yeah, challenges such as “just staying alive.” Of course, when the cartels can trap even the Mexican Army in one of its bases, what a mere patrolmen supposed to do?

I think I’ll postpone that trip to Mazatlan for a while…

RELATED: President Calderon aims to deal with the serious problem of corruption in the local police forces by eliminating local departments and having the states provide local policing. Given the well-known problems of corruption at the state police-level (example), I can’t see how this is much more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Still, one can hope that it’s a start to purging corrupt cops from the local ranks.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)