Political Animal

MORE ON DIVIDENDS!….Reader Eric Mauro

MORE ON DIVIDENDS!….Reader Eric Mauro begs me to keep writing about the proposed dividend tax cut. Hey, it’s Sunday, so why not?

And there is an odd angle to the whole thing that I haven’t mentioned before. Sure, a dividend tax cut is about the least likely candidate there is to provide any economic stimulus, but there are other contenders for that honor as well. Top of the list would be a cut in the capital gains tax, a Republican wet dream since the early 80s. So why not that?

Eric replies:

The real scandal is that not even the Republicans think this is a very good idea… it’s a giveaway to the CEOs of big companies, to make their stock more attractive versus that of small capital-gains paying companies. Then the CEO gets to keep his job.

….This is mostly corporate socialism for big, slow-growth companies.

Considering Bush’s recent nominees to economic posts, he does seem to have soft spot in his heart for big, slow-growth companies. Maybe Eric is on to something here.


INTERNATIONAL EXTORTION: TWO CASE STUDIES FROM THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION….Yeah, I know, Atrios warned me about analogies, but what the hell. Live on the edge, I say.

In today’s LA Times, John Balzar writes about the Bush administration loosening restrictions on tuna fishing:

“I had to look at the big picture,” the agency’s assistant administrator, Bill Hogarth, told me.

As he sees it, the big picture is this: If the U.S. did not buckle to pressure and loosen the 1990 labeling requirement, foreign tuna fishermen would simply drop out of the international program that is supposed to protect dolphins and sell their fish elsewhere.

In other news, the Bush administration had this to say about North Korea:

“The issue of a treaty suggests that we should pay something right now for their misbehavior,” Powell said. “What we can’t do and won’t do is reward North Korea for their behavior.”

So which is it? Do we cave in to extortionate treaty-breaking behavior or don’t we? Or does it depend on whether it’s something we wanted to do anyway?


HOW TO QUOTE IN CONTEXT….AND HOW NOT TO….Via Ken Layne, I read this AP story about a reporter for the Tallahassee Democrat who got in trouble for some intemperate language:

Political writer and columnist Bill Cotterell, in an e-mail exchange, wrote “Except for Jordan and Egypt, no Arab nation has a peace treaty with Israel. They’ve had 54 years to get over it. They choose not to.”

….The complaint started an exchange with Cotterell, who also wrote, “I don’t give a damn if Israel kills a few in collateral damage while defending itself. So be it.” Cotterell was suspended a week without pay. Democrat Executive Editor John Winn Miller apologized for the remarks.

This had me scratching my head: the Council on American-Islamic Relations is complaining about that? Don’t they have better things to do?

Then today I was wandering around on WorldNet Daily (!) and found this:

Cotterell was suspended for one week without pay, beginning today, for writing to a Muslim: “Except for Jordan and Egypt, no Arab nation has a peace treaty with Israel. They’ve had 54 years to get over it. They choose not to. OK, they can squat around the camel-dung fire and grumble about it, or they can put their bottoms in the air five times a day and pray for deliverance; that’s their business. ? And I don’t give a damn if Israel kills a few in collateral damage while defending itself. So be it.”

Ah, now that puts a different spin on it, doesn’t it? A week’s suspension suddenly sounds fairly reasonable.

Question: why did AP write such a lame story? It’s one thing to bowdlerize copy for family consumption, it’s quite another to make it sound like someone is being suspended in an act of ultra-PC idiocy because you don’t print the actual quote that got them in trouble.

I guess journalism schools aren’t teaching enough liberal to our budding young liberal media wannabes these days. It’s a crying shame, I tell you….

POSTSCRIPT: Turns out the Tallahassee Democrat was already in trouble because of a cartoon titled “What Would Mohammed Drive?” that accidentally showed up on their website but was then withdrawn. Cartoonist Doug Marlette, responding to complaints, said the character in the cartoon was not Mohammed, just a generic Arab:

Noting that cartoon images should not be taken literally, he pointed out that “there were no Ryder trucks in Muhammad’s time.”

Glad we cleared that up.