International Politics ///

Energy fails to gain traction, despite high prices. Energy issues (even $50 oil or the cost to gas up the family SUV) seemed to have had no legs with voters in the election campaign. This was true, despite a few efforts by Sen. John Kerry (Democrat – Massachusetts, and owner of at least five gas-guzzlers and a speedboat) to make energy a populist cause, and to flog the dead horse of US energy independence. But Congress, heading into a more-than-usually lame-duck session in mid-November, is doing its best to take up the slack left by the candidates. Honking like migrating geese, and spewing steam, ash and hot air like Mount St. Helens having a burb-attack, Capitol Hill lawmakers have celebrated the session's end by pushing through measures so generously laden with pork as to make P. G. Wodehouse's famous prize-winning pig, The Empress of Blandings, seem anorexic. Gucci-shod energy industry representatives on the Hill were careful to include themselves in the Honor Roll of “No Lobbyist Left Behind.” The energy industry got nearly 20 provisions into the $140-billion corporate tax break bill (H.R. 4520).

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