Archive

  • 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
  • YOU, SIR, ARE NO KARL.

    YOU, SIR, ARE NO KARL. Just to chime in on the latest macacagate news , it's worth noting that for all the fuss about Dick Wadhams being the next Karl Rove , he sure seems to have forgotten Rule #1 of campaign damage control: Either apologize completely and fully from the start, or don�t apologize at all. Instead of throwing up bogus explanations and semi-apologies and half-apologies and then trying to blame the media, Allen should have either blown the thing off or apologized to S.R. Sidarth the next day. Instead, we are now on Day 10 of Macaca-watch. "Senator Allen made a heartfelt apology,� Wadhams told the Associated Press . �He told Sidarth he thought he would see him on the campaign trail, but Sidarth had headed back to U.Va., so we Googled his name, found his number and the senator called him this morning.� Googled his name on Day 9? Wadhams or some low-level staffer could have gotten the contact info directly from Webb�s staff on Day 1. Instead, Wadhams waits a week and...
  • MACACA FRACAS.

    MACACA FRACAS. Over at Midterm Madness, Steve Benen reports that George Allen finally decided to apologize to S.R. Sidarth yesterday -- while leaving to his campaign manager the task of firing up the Republican base with a very different take on the whole matter. (Steve also flags a New York Times article that, by using a month-old poll, gives the entirely false impression that macacagate hasn't had a negative effect on Allen's numbers.) Meanwhile, for those who haven't read Subodh Chandra 's web piece on the topic from yesterday, you're missing out on seeing some very cute kids in "macaca" t-shirts. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • WELFARE REFORM AS POLITICS.

    WELFARE REFORM AS POLITICS. Naturally, discussions of the ten year anniversary of the 1996 welfare reform bill have tended to earnestly focus on the bill's impact on welfare recipients. It's worth recalling, however, that from the beginning the promise to "end welfare as we know it" was primarily a political gambit. And, as this TNR editorial points out , it's been a tremendously succesful one. Not just in the sense that it helped Bill Clinton win elections in 1992 and 1996, but that it accomplished what his "third way" approach is often accused of failing to do -- it vastly improved the overall prospects for progressive politics in America. Before 1996, both the Democratic Party in particular and the general idea of the activist state were incredibly hobbled by their association with a single small program -- Aid to Families With Dependent Children -- that nobody thought was especially effective and that had become massively unpopular. Eliminating it has vastly increased the public's...
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: DON'T LOOK AWAY.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: DON'T LOOK AWAY. Inspired by a blistering speech from a former U.N. special envoy, Ezra reminds us that pleading futility is a bogus excuse when it comes to the global AIDS crisis. In fact, millions could be saved with just a minimal uptick of commitment from Western countries. --The Editors

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