Thursday, 9 January 2003

Janes' Blogosphere and GeoURL is now syndicated via Janes' Blogosphere; however, David's code doesn't seem to understand the nuances of my markup. Until LSblog takes over the world by storm (don't hold your breath), don't expect to find the pretty links to stuff I talk about on other peoples' sites. (I tried to figure out what was special about the markup on other sites that helped Janes' pick things out, but gave up. Email me if you know what I need to do.)

Also, is registered at GeoURL, which is generating a fair amount of referral traffic.

Organizing Resolutions

Jacob T. Levy is wondering about the wrangling over the Senate organizing resolution:

In short: at what point could a floor majority ram through an organizing resolution? Is there any such point? What's the longest it's ever taken to get the resolution approved?

I think the issue is that the organizing resolution, like almost everything else in the Senate (except, I believe, conference reports), is subject to filibuster. That means either the Republicans need to get 60 votes (to override a filibuster) or do it by unanimous consent.

My guess is that they only have 52–54 votes for whatever they want to do at the moment; the Dems are holding out for basically the sweetheart deal they got from Lott in 2000 (which they promptly reneged on when Jeffords defected). They may also be tied up over a few other things — like judicial nominations.

So that's why (a) this is taking so long and (b) you'll never see a provision that forbids a change in control of the chamber due to a defection until one party has a wide enough margin. (However, if any party does ever get a 60-vote majority again, which I don't see anytime soon, you'll probably see a permanent rules change that either stops the chamber from being reorganized mid-session or forbids filibusters of organizing resolutions.)

The irony here is that Senate committees are relatively powerless; you can amend to your heart's content on the floor (unlike in the House), so they really only function as gatekeepers due to mandatory referral of legislation. (Hence why I made fun of Trent Lott's new job a few days ago — one he won't have until the organizing resolution is approved.)

I don't know the answer to the last of Jacob's questions; Senate control has gone over a few times in the past fifty years or so, but until the 1980s partisanship in the Senate wasn't very intense. I've certainly never heard of it being a problem in the past.

Two additional points: as far as I can tell, the organizing resolution has historically been adopted by unanimous consent (which suggests it is subject to a filbuster), and there was protracted wrangling over the OR when Jeffords defected in 2001.

Bush out-Clintons Clinton

Glenn Reynolds suggests that the White House was behind the spin on David Frum's Right Hand Man, misleading the media into thinking that the book was critical of the administration's policy (reported by Matt Drudge and others).

I'm reminded of the Bill Clinton videotape deposition during Monicagate — you remember, the one where he allegedly stormed out of the room, according to “highly-placed White House sources.” While the tape was still a major embarassment (nobody could really cover up for stuff like defining the term “is”), he looked positively serene compared to the pre-spun version of the event.

I-69 going through Bloomington

About seven hours ago, Indiana Gov. Frank O'Bannon announced that the preferred alternative for Interstate 69 between Indianapolis and Evansville will pass through Bloomington along the Indiana 37 corridor. For more details, see's sister site

All-in-all, I think it's a good decision for Indiana. But, the fighting isn't over yet; lawsuits (or at least the threat thereof) will likely delay the project through much of the coming year.