David Frum discusses the breakdown in government, in which he argues that the obedience to informal rules has collapsed. I think that is a good point, though the nature of informal rules makes it difficult to tell if these are mythological standards of behavior meant to extract some political leverage against the opposition. There are many processes in law-making, and often the informal rules are as important as the formal, but those rules which are not codified are often left into the netherworld for a reason, to give subjective flexibility to the body or person during the formal processes. Its easy to say that our Congress has descended into chaos, but its also easy to lose sight of history and the context in which legislation is made. Is Congress a less civil place today than it was.. well, when? Ante-bellum years? Depression era? Civil Rights era? The Nixon Era? My guess is not, but its worth the effort to take a look and to hold our representatives accountable.