Using previous command arguments in a new line

A friend of mine was talking about his design for a shell that would allow you to programatically reuse arguments. I started looking and found that bash can do this but not programatically (at least as far as I know). The syntax was slighty confusing but here is the summary, it blew my mind when I started using it (but I'll probably forget it again soon enough, like all the awesome things you can do in vi if you can remember...)

Here goes, lets copy a file from a deeply nested path to our location by first tab-completing the filename with ls

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Replication stopped Consumer failed to replay change redhat-ds/fedora-ds/389

One of our ldap seconaries was failing to stay in sync with the main server. We kept getting "Consumer failed to replay change" in the error log. The uniqueid and CSN were always the same, so at first I thought it was specific to the record that was being propogated.
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