This article rather scares me – while there’s a lot I don’t like about the way my country’s government works, I had taken it for granted that laws were actually passed by the House and the Senate. Apparently not, in one recent case: why bother reconciling details between competing versions, if you can find a version that “was ‘certified’ by the leaders of the House and Senate”? Fortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the norm, but if “Republicans are evoking an obscure Supreme Court ruling from the 1890s to suggest that a bill does not actually have to pass both chambers of Congress to become law” then partisanship has gone way, way too far. (Big surprise, I know.)

We are not the only country dealing with this sort of thing: Tony Blair is apparently trying to make it possible for laws to get passed in Britain without going through the horrible bother of actually having parliament vote on the matter. I confess that I don’t have the background to evaluate this one – I have read reasonable-sounding complaints about how we had a major shift in the US last century when we started letting various agencies impose regulations on their own, and maybe that’s all that is going on here. But the British bill does sound a step beyond that.

It’s been kind of scary reading Blogzilla about British politics: see for example this story about the apparently impending national ID cards. How solid is the reporting in that blog?  And how many administrations are we in the US away from ID cards that are just as bad? I don’t think the answer is “zero”, but I wish I were confident that the answer isn’t “one”…

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