Weaselly Theater On Senate Immigration Vote

I want to tell you a story about the shifty way that things sometimes work in the United States Senate and how much slips under the radar of a corporate media far more interested in Paris Hilton's jail-induced crying jag than informing Americans on how their government actually operates.

We saw a tsunami of amendments to the immigration-reform bill that died in the Senate last week -- when Democrats were unable to overcome a Republican blockade of the measure -- and one bill that many casual observers missed was offered by James "Ice-Age" Inhofe (R-OK) who once again wasted Senate time by pushing a bill to make English the "officially language" of the United States.

First things first: Inhofe is a true waste of oxygen in the Senate. When he's not denying the existence of climate change and stopping just short of wearing a sandwich-board decrying global warming as a liberal plot, he's looking for new and improved ways to divide the country over whatever nonsensical issue his short attention span has momentarily hooked into. So the fact that he offered S.Amdt 1151 to "declare English as the national language of the Government of the United States" should not shock anyone -- in fact, he's offered the same measure in the past.

And it probably won’t surprise some of you to find that offsetting legislation -- where one bill can immediately negate another -- is sometimes brought to a vote on the Senate floor. It happens a lot when one party offers a bill and the other proposes one of their own to kill it or neutralize the effect the opposition's legislation would have.

That's what happened last week, when Inhofe brought forward his cracker-barrel bill that would make it difficult for people for whom English is a second language to understand critical government forms like court documents and Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO) proposed his own measure that would totally neuter the English-only bill if it should pass.

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