Archive

  • BREATHLESS FOR THE APOCALYPSE, FROM SAN ANTONIO TO TOLEDO.

    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. Almost two weeks ago, he told his followers that the shaky ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah will �only be a pause before the coming storm between America and Israel and the rogue nation of Iran.� Written just four days after Bush said on national television that America �is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation,� Hagee�s missive included this dire warning: �The people of America do not want to admit Islamo-Fascism is a threat to this nation. It is! They don't want to believe that...
  • WHOA: GEORGE ALLEN...

    WHOA: GEORGE ALLEN IS JEWISH? So says The 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: Allen�s mother, Henriette (Etty), whose maiden name was Lumbroso, is indeed Francophone and Tunisian born, a heritage that forms a romantic theme in �Fifth Quarter: The Scrimmage of a Football Coach�s Daughter� the memoir of Allen family life written by Allen�s sister Jennifer. What�s more, it is likely that she�s Jewish by birth, although no acknowledgment of that heritage appears in the memoir. Allen�s campaign spokesman, Bill Bozin, did not return several detailed messages, left over two days, that asked what the senator and his family know about his mother�s heritage. Depending on what additional information comes out on the matter, the controversy could end up resurrecting a dominant...
  • NYT Discovers Seller Side Concessions

    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.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: AN ACCOUNTABILITY MOMENT. Public outrage; political infighting; the outbreak of myriad corruption, real estate, and sex scandals -- Jo-Ann Mort takes us on a tour of the Israeli domestic political scene in the wake of the war in Lebanon. It ain't pretty. --The Editors
  • POLITICIZING THE TREASURY....

    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." It all seemed a little strange to me. The HSA homepage offers such useful resources as "HSA Basics (tri-fold brochure)" -- because the American taxpayer deserves smaller pocket literature, dammit -- and "Fact Sheet: Dramatic Growth of HSAs." It's almost as if the Treasury Department wants to promote HSAs, and is using their web site to further the mission. That, of...
  • HELP IS ON THE WAY.

    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? --Matthew Yglesias
  • MORE McECCODITTO.

    MORE McECCODITTO. Following up on Ezra 's post , here's the official EccoDitto statement on their CEO's reported flirtation with John McCain : "EchoDitto was founded to further a progressive agenda online, and we are proud of the partners we've worked with over the past three years and the record we've built doing so. As a firm, EchoDitto is committed to progressive campaigns and organizations. We do not now, nor will we in the future, support candidates or organizations that are not aligned with our social mission. Because of that fact, we do not now, nor will we in the future, support Republican campaigns. We have turned down such requests in the past and will continue to do so in the future. Individually, the members of our team are free to support politically whomever they want -- such is the right of anyone in a democratic society. Here's what the man himself had to say about McCain on his blog this morning: A lot of people are asking me about John McCain. When I worked for...
  • MCCAINIACS. Word...

    MCCAINIACS. Word today is that former Dean for America webmaster and current EchoDitto CEO Nicco Mele is swinging into Camp McCain . Nicco is an old Common Cause guy, and retains the affection many campaign finance reformers have for McCain, so it's not an entirely surprising move. It seems, however, oddly tone deaf on McCain's side. EchoDitto is a political firm formed out of the ashes of the Dean campaign. It serves a variety of clients, all of them liberal, nearly all of them offensive to Republicans. We're talking Air America, the UN World Food Program, Jennifer Granholm, Barack Obama , and so forth. In the same way that Joe Lieberman 's choice of a Republican pollster is being used against him by liberals, it would seem that McCain's choice of a Deaniac could be used against him in the Republican primaries. On the other hand, Mele is also a founder of Unity '08, the surreal effort to draft a third party presidential slate to do...well, no one's quite sure what, but definitely...
  • BUSH AND THE FLASHMAN.

    BUSH AND THE FLASHMAN. To me, the strangest thing about the president's summer reading list is not its heft , nor its inclusion of heavyweight history and existential literature, but the indication that the President is working his way through the Flashman series, by George MacDonald Fraser . And no, I don't mean it's odd because Sir Harry Flashman is a coward, a liar, a drunk, and a bully; nor is it odd because Flashman is more than willing to let his countrymen die to save his reputation. It's somewhat surprising because Fraser is a violent opponent of the Iraq War and of the president's foreign policy. Fraser, an octogenarian Scot, a Tory, and a veteran of HM armed forces, could be heard this year on BBC Radio 4 explaining that "[h]e had never in his life felt more ashamed of his country than he had over Iraq.... He could not get out of his head two pictures, one of a small Iraqi boy with his arms blown off by American bombs, and another of our prime minister smirking...
  • QUOTE OF THE...

    QUOTE OF THE DAY. Howard Dean on Hardball : "Look, I served with George Allen when he was governor. I don't think he belongs in public service, to be honest with you. There are Republicans that are capable and smart, thoughtful people -- and he's not one of them." --Ezra Klein

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