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I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material there. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. (Please let me know if you do not get such an invitation.) I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:
To post questions or comments about the readings before we discuss them in class;
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To post relevant news items or videos.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Gift of Objection

The New York Times reports on the ailing Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR):

Mr. Wyden, who had expected to be absent this weekend, returned to the Capitol for important votes on Saturday. And in his first appearance on the floor, he thanked his colleagues from their warm gestures.

“Senators,” he said. “let me thank all of you for your many kindnesses over the last 48 hours. When news about your prostate is ricocheting around the blogosphere, all the calls and notes and even offers to object on my behalf have meant a lot.”

Offers to object? Yes, that is what he said.

In some workplaces, a concerned co-worker might send a note, or even bake a casserole. But in the Senate, where business is conducted by the unanimous consent of all members, and where any one senator can hold up a piece of legislation, nothing is more precious –- or better represents the singular authority of a United States Senator -– than the ability to stand up on the floor, and declare to the presiding officer, “Mr. President, I object.”

But a senator cannot object to floor proceedings or vote from a sickbed (unless of course, the sickbed has been wheeled onto the floor –- which actually has happened in the Senate). And because senators cannot vote for each other, the offer to stand up and object on Mr. Wyden’s behalf was as sure a message of comradeship as a senator could express.

This story won't seem odd to you after you've done the simulation.

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