Farm bill: can Ron Kind foil the interests?

It may pass the notice of some in the lefty sphere; but there's politics suppurating from every pore of legislative process, if only you can recognize it when you see it.

As witness the Ron Kind motion to recommit to conferees of HR 2464 (107th), that I discussed earlier today.

Had it not been for the piece from Dan Owens to which that was a comment, I'd have continued in ignorance of the story. As it is - I've had the tip.

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What´s happened to ´Add Tags´

I've just worked out that the facility to add tags to other people's pieces no longer exists.

(Not something I do much of, except when I add some complicated gee-whiz comment that I suspect I might want to retrieve at some point.)

Is that a bug or a (new) feature?

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History and etexts

What with one thing and another, the conceptually simple task of digitizing historical materials (primary and secondary) has been an unconscionably long time coming.

It's getting there, though. What with Google Books and Internet Archive we're starting to cook on gas.

A search on Woodrow Wilson, for example, brings up 58 items on IA, including one or two rather interesting tomes. A couple of them on his Bush-esque Latin American policy from denizens of the 'victim' states; and, from 1912, an encomium from a groupie on his tenure as NJ gov as deserving of the top job that year. (The available versions of Congressional Government don't include the first edition, which is probably the most useful.)

The coverage of other historical subjects is similarly spotty but surprise-ful: loads of good stuff on the Civil War (but then that's been so for a long time); mostly, to go beyond mere curiosities, you need to know what you're looking for.

For example, if you're interested in Machiavelli, IA has the 1891 edition of Il Principe by Arthur Burd (Italian text with abundant English notes) which is probably still the best text for a mother-tongue anglophone.

(Several of the volumes referred to in Burd's biblio are also available online on IA or Google Books.)

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House Democrats against contraception: what's going on?

A piece from In These Times augers into the House Democratic leadership psyche and produces a rather disturbing core:

The FY08 defense authorization bill HR 1585 came to the House floor under H Res 403, what was technically a modified closed rule (allowing only specified amendments); but since it specified 49 amendments, it wasn't as closed as all that!

One of the amendments, #43 on the list, would have required the DOD to provide emergency contraception at all its clinics.

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Energy bill: passes, thanks to GOP

It's tough to stop a corporate welfare bill - unless you've got a hot-button poison pill to deploy. (The Schumer Amendment with the bankruptcy bill, for instance.)

And Harry brought home HR 6 on time (according to his latest schedule, at least!).

Of course, that was minus the RPS standards for power generation from S 1321, via the Bingaman Amendment SA 1537). And the Baucus tax package got killed, too.

But - we cannot ask for miracles.

However, Detroit scored a partial victory by watering down the CAFE standards provision that was passed - sneakily by a voice vote, so who voted isn't on the record. (Levin and Stabenow opposed cloture, though.)

Overall, I think Harry picks up points for his handling of the energy bill so far.

But - he only managed it with a little help from his friends:

No fewer than 19 GOP voted for cloture. And 6 Dems voted against.

More analysis when the font of roll call stats gets back on the clock.

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Nancy and cutting off Iraq funding

Jonathan's shmooze with Nancy drew suggestions that she should have cut off Iraq funding, countered by a suggestion that she didn't have 218 votes to swing it.

It's counterfactual - grotesquely so, one might say - but I can't resist:

Suppose Nancy had said, No FY07 Iraq supplemental. Could a coalition of Blue Dogs and GOP have forced her hand?

The discharge petition would have been available: if 218 reps had signed up, they could have got a funding bill to the floor (strictly speaking, they'd have been discharging the rule related to the funding bill which, we assume, Pelosi has had deep-sixed in committee).

What if the rule discharged had been a closed rule - the doer done! - that would mean that Pelosi and her henchmen couldn't introduce any sneaky poison pills or the like into it.

If the bill had passed, I'm thinking, it would (politically speaking) have been over Pelosi's dead body: how could she possibly have carried on as Speaker if thus thwarted? (Step forward Speaker Steny!)

Point is, if the Dem House leadership had had the cojones to tell Bush no more Iraq funding, it would probably have been up to holding the party together against a funding bill rebellion.

Since said leadership is - not exactly caponized, but certainly careful - neither course of action was ever on the cards.

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Battle for Ethics: calling it for the Swamp...

Never give a sucker an even break is as American a motto as E pluribus unum.

And Nancy and her little helpers - especially Ethics Task Force leader Capuano - have shown themselves truly American.

According to a Hillpiece, Capuano's proposals would mean that, before an ethics complaint from an organization like Common Cause could be investigated, the organization would have to disclose all sources of funding.

Under pretext of openness, the Head Vowel and her paisan get to put the freeze on the boat-rockers: Mamma mia!

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Energy bill: 'it's not your Congress'?

If there is a case why HR 6 must pass this year (or this Congress - or at all), I've yet to see it convincingly made.

I've been staying well away from any suspicion of being the play-by-play guy on the bill; but I note that cloture on the tax title crashed and burned 57-36 a coupla hours ago (

(The voting was tight; but I'm fairly sure that catch and release (in one form or another) was in operation on the GOP side.)

Will this kill the bill?

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Energy bill: feel the ennui!

It's not juicing the lefty sphere, that seems pretty obvious! But neither does it seem to have generated much heat in the wider world (that I've noticed).

My impression is that, by accident or design, the bill's passage has pretty much been an under-the-radar all-insiders-together exchange of favors - though obviously without the remotest suggestion of a quid pro quo! - that passes for business as usual in the Capitol.

The 10% of the iceberg peeking above the water presents an interesting parsing challenge:

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Energy bill: big votes today!!!

A UCA was announced in the Senate yesterday for votes this afternoon on several key amendments: Bunning (SA 1628 - minimum usage of CTL in gas and other liquid fuels), Tester (SA 1614 - loans to CTL projects); also Kohl (SA 1519 - OPEC under the Sherman Act), Thune (SA 1609 - electricity transmission corridors) and Cardin (SA 1610 - LNG terminals).

So - we'll have a much better idea by the end of the day of the disposition of forces that Harry has to deal with.

Note, however, the absence from the list of Bingaman's RPS amendment (SA 1537) - looks like that's planned as the big finale, assuming everything else goes as planned.

Big Oil is suggesting that, if renewables (eg ethanol) are further boosted in the bill, it will curb expansion of refinery capacity to keep gas prices high. Nice.

They're fighting on several fronts, though: the tax title of the bill (currently being drafted by Finance) looks as if it will pay for giveaways to renewables producers by increasing taxes on oil.

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