JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: WHAT WOULD LENIN DO? Should progressives seek to shore up the employer-based healtcare system in ways that help employees of companies like Wal-Mart, or are such measures actually counterproductive to the long-term goal of replacing that system with national health insurance? Do things need to get worse before they get better? Ezra and Nathan Newman recently tussled over this question. Today, Maggie Maharweighs in on the debate. She's with Ezra.
THE PERILS OF MULTILATERALISM UNILATERALISM.Charles Krauthammer has another one in his occasional series of columns deriding the usefulness and effectiveness of multilateralism. It would seem, however, that his thinly veiled contempt for the cumbersome process of consensus-building is a bit misplaced -- he's convinced that both North Korea and Iran will finish their nuclear bombs, and nothing we or our allies can do will stop them. That is, of course, true. But it's a truth that multilateralism could have helped prevent.
WORTH SEEING? So far I have watched one-and-a-half of the recently released documentaries about the national tragedies of September 11 and Katrina. On Native Soil is the film version -- presuming a documentary can actually substitute for the National Book Award-nominatedReport -- of the findings of the 9-11 Commission. I�m also halfway through Spike Lee�s four-hour film, When the Levees Broke, about the Katrina disaster.
PURGE OF MELE BEGINS. As well it should. The New Organizing Institute (a "grassroots training and research program created by experienced online organizers...in conjunction with MoveOn.org") just announced it has "removed Nicco Mele from its Advisory Board after learning that Mele will be supporting John McCain if he should run for president." It is important that someone is taking the lead in drawing the line against progressive support for McCain, and I hope more progressive organizations follow. NOI went on to add, "Senator McCain's record is radically out-of-step with the values of most Americans�and certainly inconsistent with the values of the NOI."
BREATHLESS FOR THE APOCALYPSE, FROM SAN ANTONIO TO TOLEDO. As talk of war with Iran intensifies, it�s hard not to see the bated breath of the Armageddon brigade fogging up the windows of the White House. John Hagee, the San Antonio televangelist and leader of Christians United for Israel, has used every twist and turn of the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah to promote his vision of a world-ending confrontation with Iran.
WHOA: GEORGE ALLEN IS JEWISH?So saysThe Forward, which has traced his mother's lineage back to a family of Tunisian Jews, making Allen, as we used to say in my German-Jewish family, "Jewish enough to be killed for it, if they start killing Jews again," even though he's a practicing Episcopalian:
The New York Times had an excellent piece this morning on the fact that sellers are increasingly offering substantial non-price concessions in order to move their homes. As the article notes (and has been mentioned repeatedly on BTP) these concessions are not recorded in the sale prices that enter the standard house price indexes. Therefore these indexes are missing some of the price decline in recent months.
I promised a BTP goat prize to articles commenting on housing prices that did not note this seller side concession issue. In the future, such articles will get a BTP-NYT goat prize.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: AN ACCOUNTABILITY MOMENT. Public outrage; political infighting; the outbreak of myriad corruption, real estate, and sex scandals -- Jo-Ann Morttakes us on a tour of the Israeli domestic political scene in the wake of the war in Lebanon. It ain't pretty.
POLITICIZING THE TREASURY. So there I was, happily tracking down some dry budgetary statistics to bore you all with, when I noticed something odd on the Treasury Department's homepage. On the left sidebar, in the top, "DIRECT LINKS" category, the first entry was "Health Savings Accounts." The next was "Refund Status," followed by "IRS Tax Reforms," both categories I would expect elicit more interest than HSAs. Under "Browse Key Topics," you see such standbys as "Accounting & Budget," "Currency & Coins," "Economy," and, yep, "Health Savings Accounts." Not "Health Care," mind you, but "Health Savings Accounts."
HELP IS ON THE WAY. Press release in the ol' inbox today: "Movements for Peace, Katrina Recovery, Immigrants' Rights, Women's Rights, Labor Rights, Environmental Sanity, Electoral Reform, and Impeachment Plan Joint Encampment in Washington."
If Bush gives in to their first seven demands, will they agree that Dick Cheney doesn't need to be made president?