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Mon, June 10 | Tues, June 11 | Wed, June 12 | Thurs, June 13 | Fri, June 14 |Sat, June 15 | Sun, June16

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Friday, June 14

SHOULD WASHINGTON, D.C. COMPETE IN THE WORLD CUP? Go to this page for the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings for international soccer teams, the listing that everyone used to judge the quality of teams competing in the current World Cup. Then scroll down to slots numbers 197, 198, 199, and 200. If you do, you'll notice that these lowly places are held by the teams fielded by Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa (tied with Turks and Caicos Islands), none of whom qualified for the Cup this year. What's odd about these team listings appearing on this so-called "ranking by country"? Well, just the fact that the "countries" in question are all actually territorial possessions of the United States (# 13) -- which, unlike such perennial World Cup favorites as France (# 1), Argentina (# 2), and Italy (# 6), do not enjoy political sovereignty.

What does Tapped mean by "political sovereignty"? Well, as U.S. territories, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands and American Samoa currently lack voting representation in the U.S. Congress. Neither can their inhabitants cannot vote in presidential elections. So how come their soccer teams get classified among what FIFA, the international soccer federation, calls "national A-teams"? What is FIFA up to? And the best question of all: If FIFA is trying to subtly undercut lingering U.S. colonialism, why not give Washington, D.C. a soccer team as well? After all, we're not represented in Congress in the same way that other states are either. Tapped is now pursuing inquiries to FIFA and other authorities to find out whether this is actually possible.... [posted 2:05 pm]
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OF INTEREST. There's some new original content from The American Prospect Online today, including Noy Thrupkaew's review of John Woo's Windtalkers and an interesting article by Matthew Nisbet on how a new General Electric commercial tacitly advances pro-life interests. We hope you'll check it out. [posted 1:10 pm]
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WE APOLOGIZE. For the infrequency of posts over the past few days. We have a pretty good excuse: 2/3 of Tapped has been on deadline for the upcoming issue of the Prospect. We should have more today and then be completely back to normal Monday.

P.S. Team USA didn't deserve to get to the second round of the World Cup after their pathetic and embarrassing choke performance against Poland this morning. Tapped may start to root for them again, but only if defender Jeff Agoos (responsible for 2/3 of Poland's goals against us) finally get benched. Otherwise, go England! [posted 10:00 am]
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Thursday, June 13

THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE IN NOVEMBER WILL BE PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. So why, a day after the House and Senate Democrats unveiled their drug plans, neither the Washington Post nor the New York Times have run a major story about them? And why is CNN's cover story about Hollywood celebrities in Washington? And most importantly, how is Tapped supposed to crib from the papers for our forthcoming article on prescription drugs if the papers won't run a damn article? [posted 4:20 pm]
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WHO NEEDS TERRORISTS TO SCARE US WHEN WE HAVE JOHN ASHCROFT? This is the question that Dick Meyer, a veteran political and investigative producer for CBS News, asks in an outline commentary that rakes Ashcroft over the coals for his hysterical assertions that the recent arrest of Jose Padilla "disrupted an unfolding terrorist plot to attack the United States by exploding a radioactive 'dirty bomb'" (a statement the FBI backed away from later). Meyer points out that we have a pattern here of Ashcroft hyping rather than helping, and of being a Friday afternoon news hog. [posted 11:35 am]
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RUN, W., RUN. Our president is clearly hitting his stride. At least he has some expertise here. [posted 11:20 am]
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THE STORY THAT KEEPS ON GIVING. The Washington Post's James Grimaldi has put together a must-read story on how Enron operated in Washington to get $ 200 million in federal support for a 400 mile pipeline from Bolivia to Brazil through a pristine tropical forest. Turns out the Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC), which made the decision to support the pipeline, is actually charged with protecting the kind of forest that has now been all but destroyed. To quote from Grimaldi's story:

"It shouldn't have been done," said Mike Colby, a former Treasury Department senior environmental adviser and now a corporate consultant. "The forest had already been declared by the World Bank ... one of the two most valuable forests in Latin America. And OPIC chose to ignore that ... because they wanted to finance the project at all costs."

The predictions by environmentalists of the kind of damage that would result have come true. [posted 10:50 am]
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THE OTHER SHOE DROPS. Today the EPA is announcing their pro-industry roll back of the Clean Air Act by promulgating so-called New Source Review (NSR) rules that relax existing air pollution standards. The Clean Air Trust notes that the rules are being rolled out on the eve of a massive Republican fundraiser and during some of the most unhealthy air days of our Washington summer. Click here if you want to know how this effects you. [posted 10:40 am]
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Wednesday, June 12

THE WHITE HOUSE TRASHING STORY IS STILL GARBAGE. First, ignore all the posturing from the White House -- that is, those claims of vandalism which the Government Accounting Office wasn't able to substantiate -- and focus on the dollar cost estimated by the GAO: $19,000 in damages to the White House and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Is this a reasonable amount of money to spend on cleaning up -- fixing banged-up doornobs, chucking extra files, etc. -- after the departure of an administration that has been in office for eight years? Clinton antagonist Bob Barr says no, and holds that "The Clinton Administration treated the White House worse than a college freshman checking out of their dorm rooms."

As it happened, it was not so long ago that Tapped graduated from college, the final year of which we lived in a one-person dorm room of about 150 square feet. So we feel we have some authority to settle this debate.

Tapped was a pretty tidy student, but we did leave behind some trash: A wooden chair, a bunch of boxes, and a pile of folders, paper, CD cases, and other detritus. (Oh yeah, and a burned effigy of our thesis advisor.) The posters we had stuck to the wall with silly putty had also damaged some of the spackle, as had screws driven into the plaster to hang a wooden sculpture we owned at the time. The point being, we left a small mess behind in our haste to get the heck out of Dodge. The following summer, Tapped received a bill from our (former) university's department of building services, charging us about $75 for the service of cleaning up after Tapped. That averaged out to about fifty cents per square foot for one year of occupancy.

According to the White House Historical Association, the floor area of the White House is 55,000 square feet. If the government paid $19,000 to clean up after the Clinton Administration, that comes to about 35 cents per square foot for eight years of occupancy -- and that doesn't even include the Eisenhower Executice Office Building, which is roughly the same size as the White House! Verdict: The government got a pretty good deal, the Clinton Administration was probably not much messier than is the norm, and the White House trashing story is still garbage. [posted 3:30 pm]
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ANOTHER CONSERVATIVE TAPPED LIKES. We would have liked to see Jim Libby, the more conservative Republican gubernatorial candidate in Maine, win his primary. Why? Libby took public financing for his race under the nation's first full public financing Clean Elections law in the country. He didn't win, though, probably because the more moderate candidate - Peter Cianchette -- had wider appeal to voters, and possibly because Cianchette's traditional fundraising gave him a head start. Libby couldn't start a full-fledged campaign until he qualified for state funds in late April. Cianchette is considered the underdog in the race in November, although Green Party candidate Jonathan Carter, who is running under the Clean Elections law, may make that race unpredictable. But don't get us started about the Greens... [posted 12:15 pm]
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SPEAKING OF WHICH... If you want to become even more cynical about the way the administration uses fear of terrorist attacks to manipulate the public, read this just-published TAP Online article from the National Security Archive's John Prados. [posted 12:10 pm]
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THE DIRTY BOMBER SCAM. We expressed some skepticism on Monday as to whether Jose Padilla was really the lead man for a credible plot to explode a dirty bomb in the U.S. or just a minor operative with delusions of grandeur whom John Aschroft had inflated so as to distract the country from his own screw-ups and get the Democrats back on the defensive. (A couple of readers thought we meant that this was important in a legal sense, but we're more interested in the politics.) Turns out we were right. Read this USA Today report to watch first Paul Wolfowitz, then Ari Fleischer back away from Ashcroft's comments. Here's the key passage, from the lede:

"I don't think there was actually a plot beyond some fairly loose talk and (Al Muhajir's) coming in here obviously to plan further deeds," Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told CBS on Tuesday.
Between this, Ashcroft's comment to Democratic senators that not passing his anti-terrorism would give aid and comfort to terrorists, and assorted other incidents, it's more and more clear that Ashcroft is a bully and a thug who has no business being attorney general of the United States. And given that pretty much everyone in the Bush Administration except Tom Ridge commented publicly on the initial dirty bomb warning, it's also pretty clear that Ridge is toast. [posted 11:40 am]
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MCAIN V. SMITH. We sure like the feistiness of John McCain, who is now threatening to haul the Federal Election Commission into court or to go back to Congress for further legislative action if the commission waffles on implementing the new campaign finance law. "I'm not going to let seven years of work be destroyed by rulemaking ... Why should we engage in passing laws if we're going to be thwarted by a bureaucracy?" he said. Conservative FEC commissioner Bradley Smith, a self-professed anti-regulator, retorted, "He has threatened to introduce legislation abolishing the agency. He's saying we have to do what he wants because he's watching our back at every moment..." God bless John McCain. And here's another reason to be grateful to him: He recently announced support for Arizona's Clean Elections law. Beginning this Sunday, groups promoting the system there will run ads with his clear and unequivocal endorsement. [posted 9:35 am]
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FRAMING THE ESTATE. To the apparent surprise of everyone, the debate over permanent repeal of the estate tax has begun. It seems to us that Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-ND) has positioned this matter well in the context of other Senate business: "So while we increase the debt limit $450 billion right now, the question before the Senate immediately following that is, do we want to benefit the top one-half of one percent of taxpayers in this country with a $600 billion tax cut ... I can't imagine that the answer for any senator would be yes." [posted 8:35 am]
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Tuesday, June 11

MORE ON MIDDLE EASTERN CASUALTIES. Judah Ariel says the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), whose statistics we linked earlier, is an "ideologically right-wing/millitaristic group" and finds their numbers suspect. On the same note, reader G.O. sends this link to a casualty asessment from Btselem.org that is very different from ICT's. [posted 4:15 pm]
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PRESCIENT. Lots of people were worried about the "dirty bomb" scenario even before yesterday -- particularly the folks at the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), who have amply illustrated just how easy it would be to get radioactive materials out of a nuclear weapons security complex. And there are numerous other who foresaw this threat, including TomPaine.com, which ran a quarter-page op ad on the insecurity of radioactive materials in January. Talk about being ahead of the news. Talk about scary. [posted 2:05 pm]
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STOP THEM. Joe Conason has an important piece in Salon that hammers Ralph Nader and his Green Party; we highly recommend this item if you can get to it. (And even if you can't read the whole piece, the collage photo really says it all.) Conason hits back forcefully against the self-destructive, who-gives-a-damn attitude exhibited by the Greens when they run candidates against their best friends like Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-MN) and Rep. Gerald Kleczka (D-WI), and in critical races (like the Texas senate race). His article is a nice complement to a piece by our own Harold Meyerson on the Greens.

And after all, do the Greens really want a Republican Senate? Would that help them achieve their goals? Micah Sifry, author of Spoiling for a Fight, Third-Party Politics in America, told Tapped that the latest Green transgressions really aren't representative of a "coordinated strategy." Indeed, Sifry continues, "the Greens aren't capable of acting in a coordinated/strategic way, so even where they are doing something smart, they aren't going to get as much credit as they will get blame for dumb moves like running against Wellstone in Minnesota." Yeah, dumb is one way of putting it. Kamikaze is another. [posted 2:00 pm]
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WHEW. FOR A SECOND WE THOUGHT THEY WERE SERIOUS. It doesn't look like the administration is planning on making any money available for the transition to their proposed super anti-terrorism agency. In a briefing yesterday for Hill aides, Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff; Nicholas E. Calio, the president's liaison to Congress; and officials from the White House's budget and homeland-security offices tried to tell skeptical staffers that the transition money would come from agencies' current budgets. Yeah, right. But maybe this is good news. Without a serious transition budget this new Homeland Security department will never happen. [posted 2:00 pm]
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SMART MAX SAWICKY DEBUNKING... Of a new Progressive Policy Institute study. Here's the link. Shouldn't Rob Atkinson have run the simple numbers Max did? We like the narrower weblog column, too, but the font looks chunky in IE. We'll bear with you, Max. [posted 11:40 am]
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OOPS. Yesterday we linked to what seemed like a juicy post from the usually-reliable Rittenhouse Review regarding a supposed familial tie between Midge Decter and Joshua Muravchik, the former having reviewed the latter's book in Commentary recently. Turns out Rittenhouse was dead wrong. Here's the correction. (The original post seems to have been taken down.) [posted 11:20 am]
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WE HOPE IT GIVES THEM MORE THAN JUST INDIGESTION. GlaxoSmithKline faces charges of a massive tax avoidance scheme over their hugely successful anti-ulcer drug Zantac. This is the company that for years has lead the charge to resist generic pricing of medicines. [posted 9:15 am]
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WE'RE NOT LAUGHING (FOR ONCE). Ari Fleischer might have been chuckling when he admitted that President Bush had never actually read that EPA-prepared report on climate change that went to the UN last week. But cut-ups though we are, somehow we don't find this very funny. [posted 9:10 am]
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SOBERING. That's what we thought of this morning's Washington Post editorial on the incredible dangers inherent in the government's haphazard handling of the rights of American citizens, as evidenced by the apparent indefinite detainment of Abdullah al Muhajir as an enemy combatant. Tapped is inclined to think this guy is indeed a threat and very dangerous -- but what if there's been some mistake? If so, there appears to be no legal recourse. More generally, like Nat Hentoff, we must admit that we find ourselves more than a little bit worried about the post-September 11 surrender of previously hard-won civil liberties. Indeed, we can hazard a prediction: With its new powers, the government is going to go too far, if it hasn't done so already. It's only a matter of time. [posted 9:00 am]
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IN DEFENSE OF PARTISANSHIP. Now and again it simply has to happen: Someone comes along and explains, correctly, that negative connotations notwithstanding, partisanship isn't actually a bad thing. This time, it's Ramesh Ponnuru who does the job, on the op-ed page of The New York Times. Tapped highly recommends that you read his commentary. "Why shouldn't [attacking Iraq] be an issue in the November elections?" asks Ponnuru. The answer is that it should. [posted 8:40 am]
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THE SOCCERIST INTERNATIONAL? Jay Nordlinger of National Review makes the move on goal that Tapped has been anticipating: namely, equating soccer appreciation with the Left. To wit:

It seems to me that we have surrendered to soccer -- the Left loves it, and the young ones are being indoctrinated in it. I remember my daily walks through my neighborhood in Washington, where I saw the baseball diamonds grassed over with those infernal soccer fields. I felt that we'd lost something -- and I think I know why, political neurotic that I am.

This from the same magazine whose John Derbyshire once penned an article about soccer titled "The Longest, Awfulest Game." Quite an animus there, huh?

The trouble is that while the internationalism of soccer may appeal to the Left, the actual practice of soccer in this country today has no such character. Tapped grew up playing the game with down-home Louisiana boys as teammates, and competing against down-home Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida boys. There was nothing "Left" about the experience at all. On the contrary, the budding soccer aristocracy in the South of this country is strikingly Republican and strikingly white.

And why is that? Economics, of course. The culture of youth soccer competition that has evolved is a pricey one. It costs a lot of money to send your kids away to summer soccer camps and clinics -- not to mention to have them play on select-league teams year round. It costs a lot of money to travel to soccer tournaments each weekend, to stay in a hotel room and pay for gas and meals. Finally, it costs a lot of money to pay for the fanciest and most up-to-date soccer gear.

Indeed, we would argue that the country-club nature of soccer, as practiced in some parts of this country, actually hurt the nation's soccer ability when it comes to events like the World Cup -- our talent pool has been artificially restricted. [posted 7:30 am]
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QUOTABLE. Eric Alterman, commenting on Tapped's post yesterday about Ann Coulter's new book, writes,

I've read it and it accomplishes the amazing feat of being even worse than recent books by Bernard Goldberg, Richard Posner and the complete works of David Horowitz. Like Coulter's entire career as a pundit, the book is a black mark on the soul of everyone who's touched it.

God, we wish we'd written that. [posted 6:40 am]
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Monday, June 10

MORE ON THE BOMB THREAT. One, this guy is an American citizen. Two, the "dirty bomb" threat was very hypothetical. It "hadn't passed the early planning stages," according to this unsigned Associated Press report. How far along he was will prove to be very important, Tapped believes. We suspect -- based on the fact that this man was arrested a full month ago -- that the Administration is very carefully making the most of this arrest to change the subject. By hyping the threat this man posed and refusing to elaborate on how close he actually was to making a dirty bomb (as opposed to, say, having a vague idea about bombing the U.S., which not that uncommon), the Bush Administration shifts the focus of our attention and gives a boost to the beleagured intelligence agencies (score one for the CIA!). Moreover, by classifying a U.S. citizen as a combatant (not necessarily unjustifiably; we'll have to wait and see), the administration will set off a discussion that -- with liberals, as always, arguing for the unpopular-but-necessary principle of due process for suspected terrorists -- will put Democrats on the defensive. This whole thing stinks. [posted 4:00 pm]
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SPEAKING OF REFORM.... Today's New York Times has a good summary article proving that lawmakers are more than happy to do the bidding of corporate America, even in the post Enron world. Nearly every reform effort that clear-thinking members of Congress have pushed for is gridlocked -- stricter accounting standards; tougher conflict of interest rules; changes to the treatment of stock options; you name it. Tapped is depressed. [posted 3:20 pm]
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AGAIN, IT'S THE TIMING. Thank God we caught this al Qaeda bomber who had plans to detonate a "dirty bomb" in the U.S. But look closely. Abdullah Al Mujahir was caught on May 8th. That's over a month ago. Why are we finding out about it today?

The GOP keeps accusing Dems of playing politics with the war on terrorism. But the Dems got nothin' on the White House! [posted 11:30 am]
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WHAT WAS HE THINKING? Just as Tapped was settling down to pick apart Tom Edsall's Washington Post story on how the new campaign finance law will benefit liberals (based on this Public Citizen report), we found that our fellow blogger Mickey Kaus had already had his way with him. Kaus is right on -- cats and dogs, living together! -- that the conclusions Edsall draws are pretty specious. And let us second Kaus' point that the PAC experience tells us a lot about how conservative ideologues and corporate America will soon swamp the liberals who've so far been dominant in the world of 527's. But there's another point to be made: Even if all the soft money that the national parties collected morphed into 527 committee-type soft money, it would still be drowned in a sea of hard money, particularly in a post-McCain-Feingold world where hard money limits are doubled (yet another provision that favors Republicans). There was three times as much hard money in the 2000 election cycle as soft money, business interests outgave labor by 13 times, and the Republicans far outdistanced the Democrats in collecting it. ($466 million to $275 million.) Edsall -- normally an astute analyst -- has missed the bigger picture. [posted 11:30 am]
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WHO ARE THE DEAD? Provocative numbers on the demographics of Israelis and Palestinians killed recently in the Middle East, as cited by The Village Voice. (Courtesy of The Poor Man.) Here are the key paragraphs:

"According to data from Palestinian sources, 55 percent of the Palestinian dead were combatants," said Don Radlauer, an ex-New Yorker, who is building a casualty database at ICT. "And we rated all kids under 13 as non-combatants, even if they were armed when they were killed."

On the Israeli side, statistics show that only 25 percent of the dead were combatants.

The data on the number of women killed is even more telling. Radlauer said the findings "were not what we were expecting."

"Less than 5 percent of all Palestinian casualties to date were female," he said, "while 30 percent of Israeli casualties were women."

"Among the non-combatants killed, and again relying on Palestinian reports, we found that 7 percent were Palestinian women," he said. "In contrast, 37 percent of the Israeli non-combatant dead were women."

Looking at solid numbers, the Palestinians report a total of 66 women killed as of the end of April. In the same period, 135 Israeli women died, all but three non-combatants.

"But if you only look at non-combatants, excluding female suicide bombers and women killed in bomb factory 'work accidents,' etc., the number drops to 40 Palestinian women killed," Radlauer said.

"Do the math—132 Israeli female civilians compared with 40 Palestinian women," he said. "That's more than three Israeli women killed for every one Palestinian."

"Palestinian data on fatalities do not bear out the claim that Israel is attacking a civilian population in their homes," said Radlauer.

Tapped doesn't know anything about the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) in Israel, which produced the numbers. We'd like to hear back on this from our readers. [posted 11:20 am]
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FORGET SOCIALISM. WHAT ABOUT NEPOTISM? Astute commentators have long noted the neoconservative penchant for nepotism. (The upwards failure of John Podhoretz, possibly the worst movie critic in Christendom, being the prime example.) Last week the excellent Rittenhouse Review noted that Midge Decter's latest review essay in Commentary heaps praise on Joshua Muravchik's new book Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism. But that's no surprise. Decter is Muravchik's aunt! Like Rittenhouse, we wonder if Commentary editor Neal Kozodoy knew this when he assigned the book. [posted 11:10 am]
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AND WE'RE LIVE. As you may have noticed, we at Tapped have been busy little bees this morning, and that includes providing full-length articles. We just posted four items, the first of which is the cover story from the latest issue of The American Prospect, an essay by India-Pakistan expert Sumit Ganguly on the backstory behind the current tension. There's also Robert Kuttner's latest column on the Bush administration's tough guy approach to welfare reform and a piece by Richard Just on dictators who invoke democracy. Finally, in another piece from our magazine, Nick Penniman outs ALEC, the most powerful lobby you've never heard of. Enjoy! [posted 9:55 am]
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WE DON'T CAIR. Bravo to CNN's Lou Dobbs for calling the threat we face today by its real name: "Islamism." As Dobbs defines the term, "Islamists" are "extreme, radical Muslims, who are trying to destroy us, our society, our economy, our way of life." This has of course triggered various P.C. reactions, not least of all from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). But even someone who dissents from Dobbs' definition, Arab-American professor Fawaz Gerges, notes that "Islamists are Muslim fundamentalists, whose goal is to replace a secular political regime with a religious one." Granted, Gerges draws the following distinction: He says that not all Islamists use violence to achieve their ends. Nevertheless, those ends are theocratic and totalitarian, and as a free people we should by definition oppose them and define them as a threat. Tapped is happy to call those on the religious right "Christian fundamentalists" or even "Christian theocrats," and we see no difference in the religion-specific use of the term "Islamists." [posted 9:30 am]
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ECOUTEZ, DEMOCRATS. Sebastian Mallaby summarizes the case this morning against corporate America: personal greed; accounting flim-flam; and simple cheating (as in the statistical falsification of drug efficacy). Mallaby seems to have the Democrats' 2002 campaign message all worked out: "Companies are fleeing to offshore havens, forcing you to pay more tax. They lobby for useless weapons, farm subsidies and other corporate welfare, so that your tax dollars get wasted. And look at Enron and Adelphia and those pharmaceutical firms: They are wrecking your retirement funds with accounting tricks, jeopardizing your job security by siphoning cash out of your firm and bankrupting your grandma with sky-high drug prices." [posted 9:30 am]
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POLITICAL PROFILING. Maybe nothing should surprise us anymore when it comes to political operating in the nation's capitol, but this time Grover Norquist has taken it too far. He's passing out lists to administration higher-ups that describe which lobbyists are Republican enough to get in the door to argue their clients' cases. These blacklists also dictate which lobbyists are Democrats and therefore should be excluded from meetings with the executive branch and leading congressional Republicans. While Tapped has long observed that those who back up their lobbying efforts with campaign contributions get better access, to threaten to deny access to non-Republicans is patently counter to the basic notion that anyone in this country has a right to present their case before the government. [posted 9:30 am]
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KOZLOUSY. Everyone is focusing on Tyco chief executive L. Dennis Kozlowski's $1 million dollar personal avoidance of New York taxes and his $18 million apartment and $13 million worth of paintings. But the real story is that he moved Tyco "headquarters" to Bermuda and thus avoided $1.6 billion in taxes to the U.S. Treasury over the past three years (this according the Sloan report aired on NPR this morning, no link available unfortunately). The New York Times refers to $400 million in taxes avoided last year alone. That's an outrage. [posted 9:30 am]
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SUPERIOR INTELLIGENCE. Humorist Andy Borowitz decodes the real meaning of what went on at the FBI and CIA. [posted 9:30 am]
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POT, KETTLE DEPT. Un-effing believable. Ann Coulter, the most jargon-peddling and slanderous of all of the extreme right's pundit commentators, is coming out with a book entitled Slander, accusing liberals of defaming the right. Who wants to bet that her book will stoop much lower than anyone she criticizes ever has? [posted 9:00 am]
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FUNDRAISERS IN CHIEF. Most of you probably remember when Republicans derided former President Bill Clinton as our "fundraiser in chief." So, Tapped wants to be the first to bestow the new title on President Bush and Veep Cheney. The Associated Press predicts that all told, that dynamic duo will generate some $90 million for this year's congressional races. [posted 9:00 am]
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MURKY SKIES. The administration's announced plans to enlist environmental groups' support for Bush's industry-friendly, voluntary Clear Skies initiative (similar to the one in Texas that failed miserably to improve air quality) is nothing but a PR scam. Pretty much every group we can think of -- see here and here and here and here -- has denounced it. [posted 9:00 am]
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NEVER MIND. It seems to Tapped like we just read about how the administration was going to push for a huge boost in funding to help defeat the scourge of AIDS overseas. (We usually remember when the administration does good things.) So we were shocked -- shocked -- to read that at the last minute, the White House urged the author of the bill, Senator Bill Frist (R-TN), to scale back by 60 percent. This latest sleight-of-hand is an outrage. [posted 8:40 am]
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LEFT BEHIND. Writing in Canada's National Post, Matt Welch takes a look back at just how off-base some of the far left's leading lights -- Noam Chomsky in particular -- have been since 9/11. Somehow these href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A21188-2002Jun9.html" target=outlink>exposed the obvious inadequacies of President Bush's deck chair-shuffling homeland security scheme -- which Tapped thinks was more about distracting attention from the hearings on September 11th intelligence failures than about solving problems. Earth to Bush: Do the plans touch the FBI or CIA? The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Bob Graham (D-FL), said, "If the administration takes the stonewall position that every word in their plan is biblical and if you change it you're unpatriotic, I think that will be a very serious error." Richard Shelby (R-AL), the ranking Republican on the committee, said that there's more to come: "As this investigation unfolds, you are going to see more and more problems in the intelligence community." Could we, like, maybe, develop a plan to fix them? [posted 8:20 am]
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NO WONDER NO ONE WANTS TO RUN FOR OFFICE. Here's more evidence of just how rotten the campaign finance system is (and will continue to be even after the new law kicks in). The current Oregon secretary of state, Bill Bradbury, is grubbing for money like a telemarketer because he's running against an incumbent who's outraising him by at least 5:1. Bradbury follows his script all day long, every day, to prove he's a credible candidate. And indeed, he's getting people to cough up $100 or $200 a pop -- and, wow, has raised nearly $700,000. Meanwhile, waiting at the bank, is incumbent Republican Gordon Smith, who's raised $5.3 million (and counting). [posted 8:20 am]
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IT'S OFFICIAL. Over the weekend, the administration admitted that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) would have direct say over the development of environmental regulations (this in the immediate case of regulations concerning emissions from diesel-power vehicles and road equipment like bulldozers and tractors). Normally, OMB just reviews the regulations. But with anti-regulatory czar John Graham in charge and already throwing his weight around on health and safety matters, we suppose the administration finally decided to make it official. What was particularly interesting is that the decision to move forward on the regulations comes just a couple of days before the release of a new study linking non-road diesel engines to 8,500 premature deaths a year. [posted 8:00 am]
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YANK JEFF AGOOS. Tapped woke up at 2:00 am this morning to watch team USA play South Korea in the World Cup, and so we think we're entitled to some commentary. Particularly the following: USA defender Jeff Agoos has to go, the sooner the better. This is the guy who scored on his own goal in last week's match against Portugal. And in this morning's disappointing 1-1 tie against South Korea, Agoos a) received a yellow card; b) committed a foul inside the box giving South Korea a penalty kick (one that they managed to miss); and c) as if that weren't enough, was beaten by his man in the closing minutes of the game, resulting in South Korea's tying goal on a header. It's pretty obvious to Tapped where the weak link on this USA team is. [posted 8:00 am]
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OUR JAWS DROP. Senator Phil Gramm's (R-TX) remarks before the Texan Republican convention were really over the top. Good riddance to this guy. [posted 8:00 am]
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