Sunday, July 31, 2016

Weak Cosmopolitanism and Immigration

Ran across the term "weak cosmopolitanism" in a newspaper piece today (don't remember which paper or whether it was op-ed or book review).  Apparently it's  a standard term in philosophy--just try Googling it: "strong cosmopolitanism" is much the same to my eye as Christianity or libertarianism: the brotherhood of man, meaning everyone is equal in the eyes of God and other distinctions are meaningless and should be ignored; the "weak" version says that humans favor their kin, their neighbors, their tribe, their nation and there's no way that such distinctions can be ignored.

The strong version would eliminate all immigration controls; the weak version permits controls but requires universalistic criteria for admission. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

E-Residents in Estonia

I've blogged before about the great Estonia digital infrastructure supporting government.  Now they're trying to take advantage by offering e-residency to businesses.  See this Technology Review article.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Genetics and the Precautionary Principle

Read an article yesterday about concerns over manipulation of the human genome.  Forget where.  Some issues were over correcting genetic problems which cause diseases versus modification of the genome to improve human capacities.  And then you bring in the problem of non-genetic modification: we don't permit performance enhancing drugs in sports, but we no doubt approve of our surgeon drinking a cup of coffee in the morning before she operates on our brain.

Anyhow, it's a deeper subject than I can deal with, but two aspects strike me:
  • it's highly likely that benefits from such things will not be equally divided: as usual the rich will get richer (taller, smarter, less disease-ridden, whatever) and the poor won't.
  • our discomfort with some of the modifications tends to be higher at the margins.
Accordingly, I'd propose a couple of rules, somewhat similar to the precautionary principle (which can be summarized as: "when in doubt, don't"--not that I like the way it's often been applied.
  • before you undertake any modification, determine whether the result will push the existing bounds of  normal human capability.  We don't make a society of Einsteins.
  • in undertaking any modification, consciously try to counter the "golden rule" (i.e. the rich get richer).

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Why the Russians Don't Matter

Sometimes I have kneejerk reactions based on ancient history--that's today's post.  Back in the 50's and 60's conventional wisdom believed that the Soviets wanted Democrats to win presidential elections because they were "softer" on nuclear weapons, test moratoriums, test bans, etc.  This was probably true.  But I felt then and feel now that in principle what the Soviets wanted, what the Russians want, what whoever wants, is basically irrelevant.  It may be the same sort of reaction as the Brits had when Obama spoke in favor of their remaining in the EU.

When we look at foreign policy, it's a question of our values, of our interests, and of the realities.  Now one of the realities may be a nation's attitude, but the real questions lies in our power.

Carolyn Hax is an advice columnist for the Post; one of her refrains in giving advice is to take responsibility for what you control, don't get tortured by what the other people want, do, say. Same applies in foreign affairs: is it wise for us to continue NATO guarantees to the Baltic countries or not? That's a different issue than whether Putin is trying to install in office someone who might not continue NATO guarantees.  We shouldn't react against Trump on the basis of Putin's supposed support for him; we should react against Trump because he would be a bad protector of our values and interests in the midst of world realities (mostly because he doesn't know our values, interests, or the realities.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Those Damn Russians

Not content with messing with the 2016 elections (see Josh Marshall at TPM), they're now messing up my statistics for my blog.  I don't quite understand what's going on, but apparently there's an automated process called "referer spam" which hits a blog and increments the pageview count in Blogger Stats, and Russians are using this process, apparently much more in the last 10 days or so than they have before.

If I understand, as long as I don't click on any of those sites, there's no problem.

Most Surprising Paragraph of Yesterday--M.Obama

From Powerline, the conservative blog, Paul Mirengoff writes:
Sanders’ address was preceded by a speech by Elizabeth Warren and an introduction by Keith Ellison. Before that, Michelle Obama spoke. I didn’t hear her speech, but assume she was good. She always is. [Emphasis added.]
Powerline hasn't gone completely soft; Scott Johnson was not impressed

I'm avoiding watching the convention, but given the praise for Michelle's speech I just watched it on Youtube. Glad I missed it--I'm too old to cry.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Preserving History--The Brutalists

I've lived in Reston 40 years now.  A hot controversy these days is whether a building from Reston's early days is worth saving.  The arguments for saving it are basically the fame of the architect, a prominent "Brutalist" one.

Given my education, I might be expected to be on the preservationist side.  But no. (I'm stealing the image form a Reston Patch post, linked  to above.)  I see no point in preserving all of mankind's mistakes.  I like some modern architecture, but I don't think this building qualifies as good.  The only valid argument for its preservation I can think of is as an example of how misguided we humans can be, how prone to fads and following the crowd.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Town Folk Taking Over

My mother had her prejudices; one of which was against town or city folk.  She knew they didn't understand farming, and therefore failed to recognize that farming was fundamental in the way that town folk's work was not.

Mom would be unhappy at the trend reported in this article, at least in one African country the available agricultural land is being bought up by townies, who often are adopting modern techniques.

BTW, her father was also a townie, having worked in the Wisconsin woods and New York carpentry after immigrating from Germany, before he moved the family to upstate NY and became one of the founders of the Farm Bureau.  Oh, and my father was also a townie, having been reared in cities and only forced to the farm by lead poisoning in the paint factory he worked in after college.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Trainable Car

Damn, sometimes I'm good!

A while back I blogged about the virtues of a bottom-up approach to an autonomous vehicle.

The other day I see this piece in Technology Review about a company working on such a car.
Oxbotica’s software gradually acquires data about the routes along which a vehicle is driven and learns how to react by analyzing the way its human driver acts. “When you buy your autonomous car and drive off the (lot), it will know nothing,” says Ingmar Posner, an associate professor at Oxford and another of Oxbotica’s cofounders. “But at some point it will decide that it knows where it is, that its perception system has been trained by the way you’ve been driving, and it can then offer autonomy.”

The result is a vehicle that can gain a deep understanding of the routes it drives regularly. That, Posner says, means that the software isn’t simply trying to do a mediocre job wherever it’s placed—instead, it does an excellent job where it’s learned to drive.
The objection, of course, is this works only repetitive drives over the same route(s).  My answer is that I'll bet most driving fits the 80/20 rule; 80 percent of time spent driving is done on a route you've driven many times before.  People are creatures of habit, mostly, and that means we can train our cars. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Eggs and Cannibals

NYTimes article on eggs, discussing the trend to cage=free eggs, specifically the replacement of cages by "aviaries".  I must admit I was shocked by the picture of the aviary in the article--while the hens could move freely, it was almost a solid mass of chickens on every flat surface.

For a human parallel, caged hens are like human prisons with no common areas/exercise yard. Hens in aviaries are living perpetually on a New York City sidewalk at the height of rush hour.

The article quotes a report:
Perhaps most troubling, “hen mortality was much higher in the aviary system,” the report said. When hens move around more freely, it is easier for them to spread germs. And hens in cage-free aviaries were also more aggressive than their cage-bound peers, pecking at one another and, in some instances, becoming cannibalistic.
The sight of chickens pecking a hen to death is not a pretty one, take it from experience.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

President Trump Is Scary?

Ezra Klein is afeared of the prospect of a Trump presidency.

While I bow to few in my dislike of such a presidency, I also remember being upset at the idea of a Nixon presidency in 1968 and a Reagan presidency in 1980.  I'm pretty sure Trump is smarter than Reagan and perhaps a nicer guy than Nixon, even if he's more egoistic than either, which is a high bar.  In the long run our institutions are stronger than any individual. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wolf Trap: Where Elephants and Donkeys Play

Went to Wolf Trap last Sunday for an opera at the Barns*.  It was good, would have been better if I'd roused myself to get my cataracts corrected in time that I could read the supertitles.

Turns out Bill Kristol, the conservative pundit, and wife were there the previous performance.  A couple years past the Notorious RBG was there the same night as we were. That's proof there's no polarization in the DC area, nothing that can't be bridged by enjoying old operas sung by young singers.

* the "barns" are two old New York barns, disassembled and moved to the Virginia suburbs and arranged into a venue seating about 375. The larger barn reminds me of the design of the one on the farm I grew up on.  Get nostalgic every time I go.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

"Pudgy Old Man"

Is that what Ann Althouse thinks the next president of the US should be (her reaction to Trump's entry to the convention in silhouette).?  How about a pudgy old woman? (Althouse hasn't discussed her 2016 vote.)

I have to say, our next president is going to be pudgy, which is a good indicator that Michelle Obama's influence does not extend everywhere.

Corn Production Moving North?

Stealing from this site: Schnitkey, G. "Changes in Where Corn Is Grown in the Last Ten Years." farmdoc daily (6):135, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, July 19, 2016. Permalink: It seems corn production is moving northward.  Can't imagine the reason why.

Monday, July 18, 2016

The End of the GOP?

I think I've seen a little discussion that the Trump candidacy will lead to/means the end of the Republican Party. 

I disagree, based mainly on my memory of the 1964 election and its aftermath.  First I'd like to say there's little evidence that 2016 will be as one-sided as 1964.  While Goldwater was a more attractive personality than Trump, we forget how much LBJ was respected if not loved in 1964.  He had rallied the nation after JFK's death and had accomplished things which seemed unlikely.  So HRC is no LBJ.

After the landslide there was, IIRC, a lot of discussion that it was the end for the GOP,  Areas which had never voted Democratic, like my upstate NY district, had gone for the Democratic candidate, not only for President but for Congress. That's how we got the super-majority in the Senate.  Cointon is not going to beat Trump by upwards of 20 points; more to the point she's going to be very lucky if she even has a bare majority in the Senate and squeaks by the in House. So the Republicans would have a good base to rebuild from, much better than the 1965 Reps.

It's arguable that the divisions in the party are greater and more firmly based now.  It may be true, though I'd bow to the political scientists on that.  Certainly the divisions on free trade and immigration, and between social conservatives and populists seem sharp.  But in the long run, the pursuit of power is a great consolidating force.  So I'd predict the GOP would rebound rather quickly after a Trump defeat, just as it began to in 1966.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Specialization and Taste: Wheat Terroir and Gertrude Stein

Modern Farmer has a long piece about wheat, specifically people trying to de-commoditize it, by creating niche markets.  "Wheat is wheat is wheat" is not true, contra Gertrude Stein's roses, it turns out, if it's a landrace which can carry a certain aura, and which is grown organically.  It's rather like my supermarket's cooler--you wouldn't believe all the different beers now stocked.  It's the "long tail" of the internet, where there's more and more variety available in books, but the average sale per book is smaller and smaller (think of all the self-published books).  It's a reflection of the rise of the upper class, not just the 1 percent but the 5 or 10 percent who have the money to buy the varietals.

I know I've commented before on the amount of differentiation in our consumer society, probably using the example of jeans, but I'm too lazy in the heat to search out my previous words of wisdom.  Trust me--that was a much much better post than this.  :-)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Williamson and I Together?

Not often that Kevin Williamson of the National Review and I agree on anything (not that he knows I exist), but this post, entitled "Calm Down Doom Monger" is pretty good. See my earlier post.

The Saving of America: Immigrants

My mother would have claimed rural America as the heart of true America (even though she was a Bronx girl, her family moved to upstate NY a couple years after she was born).  If she was right, and she wasn't, then immigrants are saving America. From the Blog for Rural America:

"Using recent U.S. Census data, Johnson discovered that, where there is growth in rural areas, minorities account for 83 percent. The Hispanic population in nonmetropolitan areas grew at the fastest rate of any racial or ethnic group during the 1990s and post-2000 time period."

Friday, July 15, 2016

Feminists--Move to Rwanda

I was surprised by this: "Post-conflict Rwanda today has the highest rate of female legislative representation in the world – 63.8 percent of its legislators are women – and has held that spot since 2003"  A scholar argues that when African countries emerge from conflict their women gain power.

The Culture Which Is British (not USSR or USA)

With apologies to Marginal Revolution where Tyler Cowen has posts beginning: "The Culture Which Is...", here's a link to a Politico piece on how the UK handles Doomsday: if it's Armageddon and the government is decapitated, what does the prime minister want the commanders of its nuclear deterrent to do?  Very interesting, as well as the quick comparison with the USSR and USA's plans for the same contingency.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Food Waste

Was talking to the Starbucks guy in my local supermarket and he got onto the subject of food waste.  Apparently they have guidelines for the value of the food they toss each day: $800 for produce, $400 for other (including meat).  Food is tossed for the usual reasons: produce is ugly and not chosen so it spoils, other items pass their sell-by date.  According to the guy, who seemed to be knowledgeable, but after all he's just a guy, homeless people from the neighborhood utilize some of the tossed goods, but there was no indication of a food pantry or similar setup.

One can dream of a day where the flow of information from shelves to store to management to customer will be so good that prices can be adjusted to reflect advancing age, hopefully allowing more consumption and less waste. Sometimes I suspect that's already happening with the really perishable produce, like blackberries and raspberries, but maybe not.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Ginsburg and the Election

One of the concerning things to me is the possibility of a repeat of 2000.  Trump/Clinton has changed some of the normal election dynamics and my hunch is that the changes increase the likelihood of one candidate winning national popular vote, and the other candidate winning the electoral college.  (My idea being that Trump may suppress margins in the red states but do well enough in blue and purple to squeak through.) If that happens, the lawyers will find a way to litigate.

Jonathan Adler at Volokh speculates that Justice Ginsburg has now take steps to ensure there won't be a 4-4 split in the Supreme Court on any election issue.

Ignorance in Congress

" I can say that it’s actually quite common for members of Congress to have no idea what they’re talking about."

A quote from Matt Yglesias in his post apologizing to Gov. Pence for being too hard on him. 

When new to DC Matt was amazed that Pence didn't understand "moral hazard" back in 2005 debates on SS privatization.  Since then he's learned his lesson, Congress doesn't do policy well.  

His piece is a good read on the structural problems with Congress.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

1968? Not Even Close

I lived through 1968, walked through the riot in DC following MLK's assassination, watched the anti-Vietnam protests, got mugged at the local Safeway, had my car broken into in the garage of my apartment building, mourned RFK's assassination, and finally voted for Hubert Humphrey.

There's really no comparison between 1968 and now.

Monday, July 11, 2016

A Great Cornellian Sees Light

Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution has the text of a letter by E.B.White written in 1973.

Trust me, I knew that time period, I lived through that time period, our times are much better and getting more so.

Astyk and Black Men

Been a couple years since I linked to Sharon Astyk's blog, which it seems she only updates a couple times a year now.  Anyhow, here she muses on current events (the adoption of her foster kids went through BTW).

Astyk's an example of how a person can be wrong on one issue and right on others.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Dodge City and Marshal Dillon

" The school-age population of Dodge City is 70 to 80 percent non-white, mainly Latino." That's from James Fallows writing about the impact of immigration to work in meat-packing plants in western Kansas.

Funny, I was thinking about Dodge City, which I've never visited, but I've spent many hours there. I was born early enough that we only had radio for entertainment, so the late 40's and early 50's I'd come home from school and listen to radio, also on the weekends.  I remember fondly "what evil lurks in the hearts of men, the Shadow knows", Sergeant Preston, Amos 'n Andy (I still think it was better than its historical reputation.  Around supper time there was "Our Miss Brooks" (an early feminist serial, IMHO, and One Man's Family.

But in 1952 Gunsmoke came on the air and quickly became a favorite.  Then late in the 50's we got TV and could see Matt Dillon, Kitty, Doc, Chester, and the others.  I recommend the wikipedia entry; the show was both very popular (the longest running show) and sometimes very liberal.  I wonder what today's historians are making of it.

Of course the Dodge City of Gunsmoke was different than the Dodge City of the 1880's, and different than today's Dodge City.  Things change.

Oh, and Marshal Dillon: he believed in strict gun control, no guns in town.

Funny on Trump

Too long for twitter:
"A New Verb in Mexico: Trumpear (From ‘to Punch’)
In the state of Chihuahua in Mexico, an eatery is churning out Donald Trump tacos. They’re made with a lot of tongue, a dash of pig snout and just a little bit of cow brain."
I think too perfect to be true, but funny nonetheless.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Three Female Heads of Government?

This possibility was mentioned in a Washington Post piece on June 30. With Angela Merkel head of German government, Hillary Clinton currently favored to be elected president, and Theresa May the frontrunner for UK prime minister, we could see it happen.  Interesting to speculate on the impact on the dynamics of G-7, G-8, G-20, etc. etc. meetings which typically these days just have Merkel surrounded by business suits.

In this context I recall an article on Sen. Mikulski, who organized a weekly/monthly? luncheon for female senators which was credited with helping them to assume a greater role in the Senate. (IIRC she was an early, maybe the first elected female senator in the current era.  Just checked wikipedia--I thought maybe I was slighting Nancy Kassebaum (KS) and I was.  She and Hawkins were the female senators present when Mikulski was elected.)

Assuming it happens, I predict there will be multiple articles on the issue of how a common gender has affected the dynamics of the group.

[Corrected: Paula Hawkins served only one term, ending on the day Mikulski was sworn in.  So it was a bipartisan club of two from 1987 to 1992.]

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

The Iron Triangle: Modern Version

From a USDA press release:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of $8.4 million in competitive grants to support the work of partner organizations that provide training, outreach and technical assistance for socially disadvantaged, Tribal and Veteran farmers and ranchers. USDA's Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program, also known as the 2501 Program, is administered by the Office of Advocacy and Outreach (OAO).
In the old days the discussion of the Iron Triangle started with interest groups who had their representatives in Congress and worked with bureaucrats in the appropriate agency.  One classic example was the US Army Engineers: the interest groups were ad hoc organizations at the local level who wanted/needed a port to be dredged, a levee refurbished, a dam built.

The press release shows an updated version: the USDA agency is sponsoring these interest groups/nongovernmental organizations.  I suspect there little or no money going into their support from the individuals who they aim to serve (no dues-paying members).  Rather the funding is coming from charitable foundations and from the government.  While the activity is similar to the old Iron Triangle with each party (Congress, the bureaucracy, the private groups) getting something out of it, in this case one can argue that governmental functions are being out-sourced. It's no longer an educational agency of the government (Extension Service, NRCS, etc) educating; it's an intermediary semi-private "partner organization".

At least in this case there's likely a partisan cast--I doubt President Trump's Secretary of Agriculture would approve such aid.

FBI and Sentinel

I recall writing about the FBI's case management project back in the day.  Apparently they've learned some lessons on how to develop software, that is if one can trust this writeup.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Clinton and Emails

I may have written this before, but Clinton's behavior at State, at least as described in a recent summary of the aide's deposition, makes sense to me.  Bottomline: bigshots don't give a damn about systems and legalities.  It's the job of the bureaucracy around the bigshots to adjust the systems and legalities to what the bigshot wants.  Clinton wasn't going to devote any brain cells to worrying about the security status of what she writes or reads; she was focused on the content.  The exception to this is the initial discussion of the private server and Blackberry.  Then you're expecting a civil service bureaucrat to tell the big boss the rules and how to get around them.  Won't happen with many bureaucrats.

The big mistakes Clinton made was on insisting on a lot of close personal aides (Obama let her have more control over State personnel than is usual) so no one to say nay and on insisting on total control of release of emails. 

The big mistake we the public make is expecting that laws are self-enforcing; they require bureaucrats to say nay.

Translating the DofI Into Biology

Returning to Harari's  Sapiens, he compares the legal code of Hammurabi and the US Declaration of Independence.  One bit of the discussion is translating the opening of the declaration into biological reality.  So "all men are created equal" becomes "all men are evolved with differences".  That allows him to undermine equality, to declare it simply as one of his "imaginary realities", with no objective existence.

It's a cute trick, and thought-provoking, but it's not the only way to look at it.  One could say "all men are members of the same evolutionary species".  Seems to me that would allow one to reestablish an objective basis for an equality, even if it's not exactly the equality we're used to and like.

Monday, July 04, 2016

The Future of Agriculture: Floating Dairies

This makes a nice followup to yesterday's post on wired tomatoes: a floating dairy (in the Netherlands, of course).

The idea here is "circular farming", where manure from the dairy cows is captured and used to grow vegetables.  But the key thing seems to be the availability of open (water) space in an urban area.

Count me skeptical:  one reason is my memory of the flooding the Netherlands suffered back in the 1950's.  The water won't always be calm, and cows like humans can panic.  

Sunday, July 03, 2016

The Future of Agriculture: Wired Tomatoes

This post at Technology Review describes the potential for really precision agriculture--essentially applying the "internet of things" to tomato growing in New England.  Did you know New England tomatoes are different than tomatoes grown elsewhere (as in warmer climates)?  There's potential for using technology to monitor growing tomatoes .

I suspect this represents one set of developments in future agriculture, where farmers lose their rednecks (I've got one--from bending over in the garden) by much more intensive use of technology. There will be a further bifurcation of farmers:

So on one hand we'll have the tech-farmers, investing more capital into much more precise control of growth.  I'd count the vertical farmers of leafy greens as other examples.  This agriculture will be seen as much less "natural" than today's.

On the other hand we'll have the artisan farmers, who will be more organic and grow more diverse crops (heirloom tomatoes, etc.)

Women's Work

Interesting post here describing research into "early modern" women's work in England.  Disrupts some stereotypes:
  • Cooking wasn't much--a pot of stew on the fireplace to simmer for hours.
  • Childcare wasn't much--go about your work and trust the child to stay out of trouble.
  • Cleaning and washing weren't much--"cleanliness is next to Godliness" hadn't been invited.
Lot of consideration of market involvement.  Read the whole thing.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

SSNs and VA

FCW describes a bill to force the VA to stop using SSN's.  On this weekend I want to pat myself on my back--the SCIMs data design was intended to allow FSA to stop using them, and that was 20 years ago.  I hasten to add that I've no information or confidence that all FSA systems no longer use SSN's, or even that SCIMS doesn't.  The force of inertia and the interweaving of dependencies hard to overcome.

Friday, July 01, 2016

No Cottonseed Loans But Another Cotton Program

AEI has a post criticizing the new cotton program, taking a cynical view of the motivations, as one might expect of them. It reminds me I never posted on the program.

What's the new cotton program?  It's a "one-time" cost-share program to assist in ginning cotton.

You ask: is ginning cotton a new requirement?  I thought cotton had been ginned for a few years.  I even read about Eli Whitney inventing the saw gin in 1797 and how that impacted history. If cotton ginning isn't new, why do cotton producers suddenly need cost-share assistance?

I suggest googling "cottonseed" in this blog--you'll find 3 posts back at the beginning of the year on the issue of adding cottonseed as an oilseed.  The issue then was whether Secretary Vilsack had the authority to do as the cotton producers asked.  He was saying no back in February.  I cynically said lawyers would find a way.  Apparently they didn't find a way to add it as an oilseed; perhaps the years and decades of history was too much. 

But they did find a way to authorize a $300 million program, which was announced mid June.  How?  Damned if I know.  I did a quick check for a Federal Register document, and found a notice, not a rulemaking.  The notice says: "The Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act (15 U.S.C. 714c(e)) includes authority for CCC to use its general powers to increase the domestic consumption of agricultural commodities (other than tobacco) by expanding or aiding in the expansion of domestic markets or by developing or aiding in the development of new and additional markets, marketing facilities, and uses for such commodities."  It goes on to argue the need for the program.

So, I rest my case, my cynical case: put enough pressure on the lawyers and they'll come up with something which sounds halfway reasonable.  As a retired bureaucrat, I can only applaud their chutzpah.  It's not PIK, but it's on that scale.  (Have I written about PIK--someday I must.)

Now if there were anyone really opposed to the program, they might find a favorable Texas district judge to slap an injunction on USDA for not following the Administrative Procedure Act, like the conservatives did on Obama's immigration (actually Jeh Johnson's) measure.  But there's no one opposed to doling out money, not like there is on immigration.  So no court case, only the Brazilians, whose victory over our cotton subsidies is probably ultimately responsible for the new program, might have problems with it.  And since it's one-time, they may not challenge it under WTO.

Given the decimation of Southern Democrats, I'm wondering the political motive for this action.  In the past you could account for favoring cotton because there were people like Sen. Lincoln, or Pryor still in Congress, but now not.  Was there a backroom deal, maybe to get Sen. Cotton to lay off on an appointee?  (I'm sure Sen. Cotton will be happy about this program. :-)