• comment on a post A Room Of One's Own over 7 years ago

    First it was the Martin Luther allusion, now it's Virginia Woolf.

    Some classy joint you've made this place, buddy!

    (The fact I recognize the allusion doesn't mean I've, y'know, read any of the oeuvre. Just saying...)

  • comment on a post Farm Bill Payment Limits: Part 2 over 7 years ago

    Having read the RAI thing, I'm not so sure a proper subsidy cap will be quite such an easy sell to Sixpack!

    (It's a PDF but without the extension, which is a little confusing. Ghostview will open it, and (I'm fairly sure) Acrobat will too.)

    Seriously - from a first read (it'll need several!), it looks like a very worthwhile thing to have.

    With Grassley-Dorgan a sure-ish thing in the Senate, I wonder about the other elected elements: what's USDA's view on G-D? I'd expect it to be a case of regulatory capture, but, with Bush suddenly making a show of fetishising fiscal responsibility, might a cut in handouts be appealing?

    (I've snagged the USDA farm bill legislative language but don't want to reinvent the wheel!)

    And is the House likely to pass a text similar to Grassley-Dorgan? I'd assume a priori that a more urban chamber would be less prey to the blandishments of agribusiness. But - a priori is for the Greeks...

    Plus - I'm a little disturbed that we're already moving on to how to replace bad actors in 08! Are the chances of some success in with the current bill really that bad?!

  • Sarcasm! I love it!

    (Far too much po-faced earnestness in the lefty sphere, for my taste...)

  • comment on a post Farm Bill Payment Limits: Part 1 over 7 years ago

    I'm struggling with an Eiger-like learning curve here with the actual issues.

    But, as a possible rallying point for public opinion, it seems to me that Grassley-Dorgan scores as being explainable to Sixpack in a soundbite:

    Capping the subsidies hits at corporate welfare for the fat cats while protecting the family farm. With some decent visuals, that's 20 seconds tops on the nightly news.

    Much the same as §123 which preempts state and local exclusion of GMOs.

    Whereas most of the issues in the bill are not so congenial to the newbie.

    (Believe me!)

  • on a comment on The Afrosphere over 7 years ago

    Reading that piece you linked, I'm moved to ask, Are we sure FLH isn't a spoof?

  • on a comment on High Party Unity Isn't Enough over 7 years ago

    The Post looks like it's using every vote of the 425 to date.

    The CQ method looks pretty much the same as the party unity vote stats on the Voteview site. You'd certainly get a much better idea that way.

  • I'm fully on board with the fact that it's early days and no one could reasonably expect a Hillarycare-type bill (1993 vintage, that is) at this or any other stage in the campaign.

    But - the thing that is completely out of sync with the rest of the piece is that precise dollar amount.

    If you, the candidate, state a dollar amount in your campaign proposals, it doesn't require sybilline powers to foresee that voters might ask where the Sam Hill you got that amount from!

    And - my concern was full disclosure of the model, rather than the plan.

    The plan, I assume, is in any early stage, and will undergo a good many changes; the model that produced the $2,500 number must exist now - otherwise how was the number arrived at?

    I think it highly unlikely that the model will be disclosed ever; no doubt, it includes a load of valuable IPR.

    But, whatever, the fact of its not being disclosed (assuming it isn't) is bound to undermine the credibility of the plan as a whole, at least among those who get wise to the point; why did the plan have the dollar amount at all, if not to provide a soundbite for the low info voter?

    Now, since low info outnumber gotten wise umpteen times, that's no real hardship on Obama...

  • comment on a post High Party Unity Isn't Enough over 7 years ago

    For one, they treat equally trivial votes (on post office renaming bills, say) sure-thing votes (like votes on the previous question) and genuinely make-or-break votes.

    For a second, they don't count voice votes - for obvious reasons!

    For a third, they don't count votes on bills that never happen: because they're foreclosed by a closed rule, or because the bill is junked.

    Polisci guys like party unity scores (and similar quantitative measures) because (they think) the large N lets them off the horrendously time-consuming  task of evaluating each RCV for significance. (And the House alone has around 1,200 RCVs each Congress!)

  • comment on a post Obama Campaign Elaborates on Health Care Plan over 7 years ago

    Cutler repeats the claim that the Obama plan

    will bring down the cost of every family's premiums by up to $2,500...

    I can't believe that a Harvard prof would have pulled a number as specific as that out of his ass.

    So I assume he has modelled the Obama plan, and that's the number he and his boys came up after extensive work on the computer facilities at Cambridge.

    But - he's obviously not going to turn over a copy of the model so we can check out his assumptions. We have to take the pig in the poke, or not, sight unseen.

    Plus - use of the up to phrase is pretty sleazy: but, equally obviously, he's not going to be giving us details of the distribution of savings in his model's base case.

    Now, I'm sure that the prof's integrity is impeccable, and that he wouldn't have dreamt of putting a finger on the scales. But the fact that the Obama plan - on the substance of which I have no view - is presented as backed his status as a scholar, but without the sort of openness that scholarship  requires, is less than inspiring.

  • I walk through how §123 might be stopped in Congress - broad brush strokes.

    Tentative conclusion: never gonna happen. Pick holes in my argument - please!

  • on a comment on Obama on coal-to-oil over 7 years ago

    Your advice is duly noted.

  • on a comment on Obama on coal-to-oil over 7 years ago

    My concern is only with legislative process here, not with the merits of the Bunning bills that Obama cosponsored or the effect of his legislative actions on the 08 prez campaign.

    Coming late to the topic, I find that, with the Bingaman bill already reported out and plenty of others potentially in the mix, it looks like there'll be plenty of texts making progress this Congress, if not this year.

    So it's an area well worth keeping an eye on.

    Still, if you've hit a bump in the road...

  • on a comment on Obama on coal-to-oil over 7 years ago


  • on a comment on Obama on coal-to-oil over 7 years ago

    I somehow don't think Lugar will mind.

  • comment on a post Lobbyist Gephardt over 7 years ago

    What we're talking about, for future reference, is S 1321, which was concocted by Energy (chairman Bingaman) and reported out on May 7.


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