Saturday, October 4, 2008

Circumventing the Constitution ...

The emergency bailout plan was passed by the Senate and then passed by the House, and almost immediately signed into law by the President.

Wait what? Isn't this out of order? Senate then House for an appropriations bill?

From the U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 7:

"All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills."

So much for power of the purse, the senate just stole money from the purse. When I first noticed, I wondered: how can a bailout plan be initiated by the Senate? After a bit of research, I figured out just how sneaky the Senator Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, was in passing this.

The Senate voted on H.R. 1424, a bill previously passed by congress back in March 2008, dealing with, among other things, social security, genetic discrimination, and changes to the tax code. The first part of the bailout bill is this: "Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the following: "

So in case you didn't figure out. The Senate took and old appropriations bill passed by the House, gutted the text and replaced with something completely unrelated (the bailout plan) and sent it back to the House for approval. While technically the bill originated in the House, this move violates the spirit of the Constitution. Go democracy ...

Note: I make no opinion about the bailout plan itself here, I am just upset that Congress broke the Constitution to make it pass.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Stocks ...

Bad financial planning, corporate greed, and lax market regulations did what even terrorist attacks could not do. The Dow lost almost 780 points today after a failed congressional bill, the drop passed by far the previous record for a one-day drop, 684.81, set in the first trading day after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Maybe I should buy cheap stock now, or run for the hills ....


I got more than my fair share of culture this weekend by seeing two operas back to back. Reviews of both below.

Il Trittico

Friday night, after a long day of work. This opera was written by Puccini as a series of three, one-act operas. The first one, Il Tabarro, is a story of a woman in having an affair and her husband eventually finding out and killing her lover. This was a beautiful opera, showing a forceful display of the anguish and hatred that comes with infidelity. Second was Sour Angelica, a story about a nun in a convent lamenting over the loss of her child (taken away at birth) to hide the illegitimacy and scandal. Her sister visits her to tell her that her child died and she commits suicide. This second act was boring, but the ending was amazing. The nun begs the Virgin Mary for forgiveness (mortal sin of suicide) and both the Virgin (who comes flying from above) and her son appear as she dies. The last act, was by far the most enjoyable. Gianni Schicchi is the story of rich uncle who leaves nothing to his family in his will, so the family decides to impersonate the dead man and dictate a new will to a notary. The man hired to impersonate the uncle ended up leaving a large bulk of the estate to himself, but the family can do nothing to stop for fear of being found out that they committed fraud. In the end he gets stabbed. Comedy, good stuff.

The last one was my favorite, but over all all three were great. The production was almost four hours and we did not get out until midnight. There is nothing more fun like riding the LA subway after midnight in a suit.

The Fly

Saturday afternoon, after volunteering in the worker's right clinic that morning. I mentioned the origins of this opera in a prior posting. This opera was OK. Not great, not bad, just OK. This was a modern english opera, and I was not impressed. First there was too much male frontal nudity, second too much vernacular inserted into the signing. At one point the female lead talked about a person throwing up in her car. There were very sexy parts, but even so, meh. I don't think that I will go to a modern opera any time soon.

After the Opera we ended up having dinner at Ciudad, they messed up our orders, but gave us free dessert. Not sure if I would go back, it was expensive and I did not leave satisfied. Mediocre opera and bad dinner, I think I disappointed my date.

Next up, I really want to see Carmen or Madame Butterfly again, they are playing soon.