What a Drag


If you ever wondered what the significance of the tradition of dragging a newly elected Speaker of the House of Commons to the Chair is, here’s the answer. The custom has its roots in the British parliament (naturally) where the Speaker’s function is to communicate the Commons’ opinions to the monarch.

Historically, if the monarch didn’t agree with the message being communicated then the early death of the Speaker could follow. Understandably, therefore, previous Speakers required some gentle persuasion (or at times, even physical coercion) to accept the post.

By the way, this would make for a rather good “Write Your Own Caption” post, don’t you think?

Update: No wonder so many people were jostling to get the job.

Meanwhile, in Bizzarro World…

The current recession is the president-elect’s fault, at least that is, according to virulent Obama-hater Sean Hannity and the aptly-named Dick Morris.

This is a now-familiar (and thoroughly discredited) meme being touted by right-wing revanchists like Rush Limbaugh and other luminaries of wingnut talk radio. Media Matters debunks the assertion here in response to the same claim being made by Hannity and Hugh Hewitt last week.

“Too Big to Fail”

Watching CNN yesterday, I heard that GM had released a video to drum up support for the government “bail-out” but wasn’t able to find it all that easily (it doesn’t come up through straightforward searches in YouTube — go figure). Anyway, if you’re interested, here’s the pitch in question titled “The Ripple Effect of the US Auto Industry” from their GM Facts and Fiction website (which I’d never heard of before) explaining the macroeconomic impact of their impending Gotterdammerung if they don’t receive the $25 billion “low-interest loan” — which is how it’s being aggressively spun these days — from the Fed.

On Hardball last night, Chris Matthews discussed the question of whether taxpayer money should go to help rescue the domestic automakers with Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia and James Gattuso, a “fellow” from the Heritage Foundation, arguing different sides of the issue.

It’s amazing the way Matthews can always manage to trivialize almost every conceivable issue with his boneheaded remarks… Still, Sachs makes an excellent point about bankruptcy simply not being a viable option in the current economic environment given that the financial system is so obviously a dysfunctional mess these days.