Friday, January 05, 2007


I'm really terrible at learning foreign languages. For some reason, my brain just doesn't take to it very well. I took two years of Spanish in high school and two years in college. The result? I can say the days of the week, the months of the year, count to 100 and manage a few weak phrases.

For that reason, when I'm communicating with someone who doesn't speak English I often require a translator.

This morning I read a KATU news story in which the interviewees words look like English, but uses so much doublespeak that someone with better translating skills is going to have to decipher it (note the text below in bold):

This time around, Democrats are pledging more openness, in an effort to crack down on the bitter partisanship that has often paralyzed the chamber in past sessions. They've proposed allowing each member, regardless of party, to designate two bills per session for "priority consideration" by the House. As long as the bills in question have at least two sponsors from each party, they're guaranteed at least a public hearing and a work session.

Speaker-elect Jeff Merkley termed the new rule, "an experiment. We are not sure that anyone has tried this anywhere in the country. We have not been able to find evidence of that. It may work, it may be useful, or it may not work."

The new rule could open the door for bills unlikely to find favor with the current leadership, like those on abortion, cost containments at the Department of Human Services or cutting the corporate gains tax, to at least get a hearing at the committee level.

The move also recognizes the voters' oft-stated desire for bipartisanship in Salem and acknowledges that many legislators were upset over feeling like the nitty-gritty of the 2005 session was worked out by a handful of leaders behind closed doors.

Democrats also hold just a razor-thin majority in the chamber, and will need to team with Republicans to pass some of their pet proposals, including a raise in the cigarette tax to pay for an expansion of children's health care proposals.

And there's always the possibility that after future elections, Democrats could find themselves in the minority again, and they'd be the beneficiaries of the new proposals.

Asked why Republicans can support the proposals now that they are in the minority, but made no similar move while they were in charge, House Republican Leader Wayne Scott was noncommittal, saying, "That's a good question that I can't answer for you directly, in that it is history, and I don't have that history. But I can tell you that I don't think that they don't give advantages one way or the other, whether you are in the minority or the majority."

What the hell does that mean, exactly? Anyone care to take a whack at translating it?