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Illegal motion



"Opponents complained that most of the critical testimony was silenced when a member of the committee motioned for immediate consideration, a nondebatable procedural maneuver that brought public input on the bill to a halt." ...

"State Rep. Mac Adamia, R-Loontown, motions for the House of Representatives to adjourn Monday ... "

This use of motion is new to me, but I've seen it a couple of times in reports on the recent legislative session. In standard legislative usage, motion is a noun ("a proposal formally made to a deliberative assembly"), not a verb. A legislator can move to adjourn, or move for immediate consideration, or he can make a motion to do such things, but he doesn't motion for them like he was trying to hitch a ride. Informally, I suppose, a majority leader wanting to break for a three-martini lunch could point to the clock and then simulate drinking. That sort of motion might explain some of the late-afternoon actions of this year's assembly.

Political speech:

Opposing factions try to control the terminology of their debates. Pro-life v. pro-choice is pretty much a standoff now, both terms misleading and avoided by all but the most partisan. And although right-wingers have worked very hard, they haven't been entirely successful in selling death tax. Most people understand that it's really an inheritance tax. As such, it's paid by very few, unlike a death tax, which would be paid by everybody.

But the right-wingers have done better with entitlements. Even people who don't share the Republican opposition to Social Security and Medicare sometimes use the word to describe the benefits of social-welfare programs, apparently not recognizing that the sneering use of "entitlements" is intended to inflame. Writing in The New Yorker, Hendrik Hertzberg says that "entitlements" was made popular during the Reagan Administration by the Great Communicator himself, who pined for the end of Social Security. "A so-called entitlement is a benefit extended to those who meet the lawful requirements, without the need for a specific appropriation," Hertzberg writes. "But 'acting entitled' or having 'a sense of entitlement' is something no one yearns to be accused of." People who recognize the need for Social Security and Medicare shouldn't go along with the use of "entitlements," he says.

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