The Kerry-Lieberman (nee Kerry-Graham-Lieberman) bill is set to be introduced tomorrow. Given all the chaos that’s surrounded it for the last few weeks, it’s worth taking a step back and taking a broad look at the current political dynamic and the chances for a successful outcome. Here’s the one-sentence summary: chances for passage are quite slim, but not as slim as generally perceived, and ironically, the path to passage now involves the bill getting stronger, not weaker. Read on.
Will it pass?
This is what everyone keeps asking me. (And everyone keeps asking everyone else.) The smart money, of course, is on No. Generally, predicting the death of major legislation is a smart move when it comes to the U.S. Senate. And after Graham’s bailing and the oil spill, lots and lots of folks are completely convinced that the coalition’s fallen apart and the bill’s dead.
I don’t necessarily disagree that the odds are against passage. But I don’t think the chances are as bad as conventional wisdom now has it — i.e., I don’t think they’re zero. (Wo0t optimism!) Put another way: I think the chances are roughly as good as they’ve ever been in the Senate: low but non-trivial.
All of D.C. is currently engaged in the seemingly intractable project of psychoanalyzing Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). What’s he thinking? What does he want? Is he in or out?
The short answer is, nobody knows for certain. Graham’s exit from the process was probably overdetermined. He was taking tons of heat from his party; his buddy McCain needed cover on immigration; he didn’t think Obama was going to do what’s necessary to push the bill; as a supporter of offshore oil drilling, he thought the BP Gulf oil disaster destroyed his Republican Attractor Beam and scuttled the bill’s chances. There’s also what people in Congressional offices delicately refer to his “personal problem” back home in South Carolina, about which the less said the better.
Long story short, he’s not coming back as a sponsor or champion of the bill. However, most people I’ve talked to think he’ll vote for it if it comes to the floor.
Is there another Republican who will step forward as the public face of the bill, a champion that will stump for, and possibly lure, other Republican votes? Uh … no. There are, however, some Republicans who are expected to vote for the bill if it goes to the floor: Snowe, Collins (unless she totally digs in her heels on her pony bill), Scott Brown, and Lemieux are the top tier, with a few longer shots like Lugar and Voinovich.
Oil spill WTF
The BP Gulf oil disaster has completely scrambled the politics of this stuff. The White House is terrified — scared they’ll be stuck with responsibility; scared their response will be seen as inadequate; and scared (believe it or not) that they’ll be seen as overreacting, shutting down all drilling and raising gas prices. No one in Congress is quite sure where public opinion will come out. And of course the spill isn’t over yet — it could get much worse!
One certain effect is that coastal state drilling opponents, who might have had a little wiggle room to compromise before, now have none. Menendez, Lautenberg, and Bill Nelson absolutely will not vote for a bill with drilling.
The smart thing would be for the bill to sim阿拉爱上海同城对对碰
The researchers are studying plants grown in chambers that mimic conditions (including temperature, precipitation and carbon dioxide levels) similar to those projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in coming decades.
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Above: The morning after a full moon party in Thailand. Provided by Pegi Vail.
Gringo Trails is anthropologist Pegi Vail’s over 10-year effort to document the effects of travel on formerly “undiscovered” landscapes, namely in Thailand and Bolivia. Through compelling imagery and interviews with travelers, local residents, travel writers and guides, the documentary demonstrates how these locales have changed over time. In this two part Q&A series, I asked her a few questions about the film’s findings, her thoughts on tourism’s impact, and what we as travelers can do about it.
AA: One of the perspectives the documentary offers is the role of guidebooks is creating the “gringo trail.” How can guidebooks be changed to avoid tourist pressure on the same location?
PV: The guidebooks make you feel random enough for most people to feel they are making the decisions themselves on where they are going. Yet [guidebooks] are the glue — the structure 上海龙凤贵族宝贝