Political Animal


SOOTHING AND RELAXING….This is the Tokyo Water Park, which describes itself this way: “Get away from the hustle and bustle of city-life as we welcome you to the breathtaking Tokyo Water Park where you can wash away the pressure and stress of the over-crowded city and relax with your friends in the soothing enjoyment of sun, fun and splashing.”

Well, why not? It doesn’t look too much worse than Huntington Beach on July 4th.


BUSH TO STATES: DROP DEAD….Here’s an extra little effect of the Bush tax plan that no one has noticed: we already know they dropped the idea of any state bailout money, but it turns out that in addition the plan might actually decrease state tax revenue. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

If dividends are no longer taxable for federal tax purposes, there would be little reason for the federal government to continue to require all the paperwork entailed in reporting the amount of dividends received by each person….The information necessary for reporting and compliance would not exist, and thus states would have no choice but to exempt dividends from taxation.

Like most states, California bases its state income tax on federal definitions, so if the feds stop taxing dividends, so do we. And even if we decided to do it on our own, we might not be able to if companies no longer report the data to the IRS.

Cost to California: about $1 billion or so. Thanks a lot, George.


EGOTIST OF THE YEAR ? 2002….Via Eric Alterman, this bizarre Washington City Paper story about why George Bush was not Time’s Person of the Year in 2002: he didn’t want to share the limelight with Dick Cheney. Time wanted to do a piece about the “partnership of the year” between Bush and Cheney, but “Bush aides reportedly preferred that their boss appear alone on the cover.”

Oddly enough, the White House actually confirmed the story ? sort of ? but provided a different explanation:

White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett confirms that the White House denied access after reviewing Time’s “potential” package. “We decided that the president would not be available for an interview,” says Bartlett. However, Bartlett insists that the administration’s policy of rotating press access?not jitters about the “partnership”?dictated the decision. “We decided it was U.S. News & World Report’s turn to have the president in their year-end interview,” says Bartlett.

Are they serious? I’d heard that they were annoyed that Rudy Giuliani got the nod last year, but this is ridiculous. Can these guys hold a grudge, or what?