Ok we have quorum

by Harry on March 10, 2011

(from WisconsinEye, which is distinctly less user friendly than youtube).
Listen to the background noise.

I am so behind the times I’d not even looked at the new Irish cabinet line-up yet, but Eimear ni Mhealoid asks for thoughts in a comment on the post welcoming Niamh to CT.

Here is the new line-up, and some commentary is here. CT commenter Eimear quotes Olivia O’Leary pungently describing as “a Dáil bar cabinet – the boys have divided up the major portfolios and left the girls with the housekeeping and nanny jobs“.

Oh dear. How depressing. Is Frances Fitzgerald truly the only woman front bencher Fine Gael can field? And in the pink ghetto of Minister for Children… How utterly pathetic. (That said, I’m glad the appallingly reactionary Lucinda Creighton has not been given any encouragement.) There’s clearly been a lot more thought given to political rewards – fair enough, though sad to see real new talent ignored for supporting Richard Bruton – and to geographic spread (at least within FG) than gender balance. Why it’s thought more important to have people from every province than from half the population is beyond me.

What a pity to see cranky old limpet Michael Noonan in Finance – the Dept. of Health bossed him around like nobody’s business last time round. Though frankly I’m still sad it’s not Richard Bruton, who brought a moral and intellectual conviction to shadow Finance before his unsuccessful leadership heave against Enda Kenny. For all his loyalty and bluster, Noonan’s economic and financial vision for Ireland’s path forward is, shall we say, tactical rather than strategic. Finance will run rings around him. Kenny would have done far better for Ireland to put his own considerations aside and appoint a Finance minister who can articulate and prosecute the arguments and policy for the way forward, both at home and abroad.

Labour looks overall to have more depth of talent than FG, though it’s odd that they’re all pretty old and from within spitting distance of Dublin. Appointing a (Labour) woman as Attorney General looks tokenist and removes from FG a potential career stepping stone for future ministers for Justice.

I’m glad to see Simon Coveney rewarded with a decent ministry – agriculture, food & fisheries – that he can get his teeth into. A fair exchange for the enormous pressure put on him a few years ago to ditch his promising European Parliament career to keep his seat in FG hands.

Women are always told to wait for ‘next time’, but in Ireland the next time has a funny way of never happening. There are always more pressing concerns. This cabinet has only one more woman than FG/Labour’s previous coalitions in the 1980s. The only consolation is that so many people outside Ireland think Enda Kenny is a woman.

Rally, Capitol, 11 am.

by Harry on March 10, 2011

The Senate passed the bill in a minute today. The process was very unusual, and seems to have violated Wisconsin’s open meeting laws, but we;ll see. Democratic staffers received a notice at 4.18 pm that there would be a conference committee meeting at 6pm (24 hours notice is required by law). The conference committee split the bill — so that the collective bargaining part of the bill is split from the budget part and, because the collective bargaining part is not, contrary to what Walker and the Republicans were saying till 4.19, a fiscal bill, it does not require a quorum in the Senate. Normal procedure would have the Senate and Assembly pass a bill, and only then go into conference committee. But this time, having split the bill in conference, the Senate took up the bill and passed it in the space of a minute with just one, Dale Schultz, voting against.

Also violating the open meetings law, the Republicans have called an Assembly Session for 11 am tomorrow. Of course, it is entirely possible that they will begin roll call at 10.05 am, they have, after all, been doing things like that.

News got out around 5pm this evening and by 6pm people were gathering outside the Capitol. The police had declared the Capitol closed and were trying to clear it, but no-one was leaving. The numbers increased progressively and impressively over the evening and about 30 minutes ago, finally, all doors to the Capitol were opened, and the Capitol is now full of people.

I haven’t verified the rumour that the 14 are returning, but it has been going around, and makes sense. The key thing, for the moment, is this: maximize the size of the demonstration at the Capitol at 11 tomorrow (Thursday) morning. If you can get there, please do, if you know anyone within a reasonable distance, call them and ask them to come. I don’t see any prospect of a good end to this in the short term. The aim now is to ensure that the people who have passed this feel the full strength of the movement against them, and that those who are determined to defeat them in the longer run will also see that they have vast resources on their side.