Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

I was starting to wonder when someone was going to start pressing this point. It seems like half the high-profile Republican Social Security townhalls we cover ends up having Deputy Social Security Commissioner James B. Lockhart III there to preach the phase-out gospel. The Times has a piece on it Friday.

We're always on the look-out for companies making shrewd investments and acquisitions. So today we were interested to see the latest news about Chinese computer manufacturer Lenovo and their on-going effort to purchase the PC division of IBM.

A couple months ago Lenovo and IBM agreed to the purchase. But, as you might imagine, US regulators have serious concerns about the potential for industrial espionage (and, I would assume, good old-fashioned espionage espionage too) given that IBM is one of the leading US computer manufacturers, as well as a center of high-tech research.

According to today's report from Bloomberg, US regulators still aren't satisfied that IBM and Lenovo have dealt with the national security concerns surrounding the deal and have yet to sign off on it.

Now, I had actually heard a while back that Lenovo's stock had gone up on the first news of the regulatory hold-up because the IBM PC division's profit margins are so thin and investors question whether Lenovo should be buying the thing in the first place.

So what's the shrewd acquisition?

Well, I don't know about Lenovo. But IBM knows what's up. They just went out and bought Bruce Mehlman to grease the wheels of the federal bureaucracy and get the deal done. And that's quite an acquisition since Bruce is the brother of Ken Mehlman, Chairman of the Republican National Committee and Chairman of President Bush's successful reelection campaign.

In other words, Bruce's brother is arguably the man most responsible for the president's reelection after Karl Rove. So I figure he gets his calls returned and doors get opened, maybe even export restrictions.

All I can think to say is: Brad Card, stay by your phone.

O'Neill Marketing Company has now posted a note about their current relationship (or rather, lack of a current relationship) with USANext. Since we've discussed this at some length, I've posted the relevant portions here ...

As a result of the recent press coverage of United Seniors Association, (now USANext) and the ensuing questions, we thought it might be helpful to clarify and answer the following:

1. O’Neill Marketing Company, (OMC) has no relationship with USANext, does not provide list-marketing services to them and has not done so for many months.

2. OMC was partnered in 1999 with United Seniors Association, but I acquired full ownership, buying out their interest in 2002 and severed the partnership.

3. OMC was a sublessor in suite 450A, 3900 Jermantown Rd. until October 2004 when we moved to suite #300, an Executive Suite. Any remnant phrases referencing the earlier occupied suite, 450A, was simply oversight we have corrected on our site.

More to <$NoAd$> come.

Rep. Capito (R) of West Virginia: "I see this as another issue where I've got to weigh what's best for my constituents and how they want and then consider what I think is good policy and what the president wants. You'd hope they'd be along the same lines, but that doesn't happen all the time ... There is a problem, and I do think personal savings accounts is something we should look [at]. Unfortunately it's become so politicized and there's been so many lines in the sand drawn, I'm not sure what kind of life it's going to have."

What's best for the constituents versus what the president wants. Interesting way to put it.

See excerpts from this radio interview today.

(ed.note: Note of thanks to TPM Reader AK.)

Campaign for America's Future goes to bat against Rep. McCrery (R) of Louisiana and hits a triple. Picked up in the Times, the Hill and the Times-Picayune.

See CAF's ad about where McCrery gets his money and who he works for, here.

Rep. McCrery, you'll remember, is the new chairman of the House Ways & Means Social Security Subcommittee who was a down-the-line phase-out man, then hopped into the Conscience Caucus for a few days, then recanted after a self-criticism session at the White House.

I think we know who this fellow works for ...

I was not aware of this. But apparently Georgia Republicans are gearing up for a double-dip, mid-decade redistricting a la Texas 2003. Only they don't even have the fig leaf excuse Tom DeLay had.

Georgia Republicans, making Tom DeLay look good.

Deep-dyed Georgian Ed Kilgore has more.

Courtesy of TPM Reader ECK, here's the full text of Administrative Law Judge Steven T. Kessel's ruling upholding the half million dollar fine against United Seniors Association, aka USANext, for sending deceptive mailings intended to fool seniors into believing they were official correspondence from the Social Security Administration.

One of many choice quotes, this one on USANext's persistence as a scofflaw: "[T]he SSA I.G.'s enforcement efforts in this case did not spring fully formed from a blank background. There was a long history of discussion between the SSA I.G. and Respondent [i.e., USANext] in which the SSA I.G. struggled vainly to convince Respondent to curb its practices of sending potentially deceptive mailings to senior citizens. Respondent had been warned on several occasions by the SSA I.G. that its conduct verged on violating or violated the Act. It chose to ignore these warnings."

TPM Readers report in from the field <$NoAd$> on Suite 300 ...

Well, since I work near to 3900 Jermantown Rd I decided to walk over there, in the snow, to check it out.

The directory on the first floor does have "United Seniors Association, Inc" as suite 450. And "O'Neill Marketing Company" as suite 300. Neither address bar seemed to be newer than the rest really.

A quick trip to the 3rd floor found that, in fact, suite 300 is just a large suite with many different companies in it. There's a central reception area and hall ways leading to doors with the names of the businesses on them.

The 4th floor had a door labeled "United Seniors Association Inc Suite 450". That's it. I assume that any sort of suite 450A would have had to been inside suite 450, as I did not see any lettered suites while I was in the building.

My best guess is that they split off some time ago and they were slow to update their website.



I work near O'Neill marketing, so I took my lunch hour to go check them out. I would call it a case of a mouse roaring. 3900 Germantown Rd is a little four story building near Fairfax City. In the lobby, on the orientation board, O'Neill is listed as occupying suite 300, as are about 25 other organizations. The building didn't look that big from the outside, so I trooped upstairs to check out suite 300. Turns out 300 is an incubator. You know the type: start-ups go there, lease some space, share the cost of paying a receptionist, share the copier, share the coffee machine. I am not demeaning organizations that occupy such places. My former company started at one and is now doing quite well... good way of keeping down overhead. A nice person in the elevator told me that 300 is a kind of "mish-mash" of things; people come and go all the time. USA is indeed listed in 450, but, how can I put this? They aren't welcoming visitors.


The small print on our "Privatize This!" t-shirts reads: "Eyes and Ears on Loan to Talkingpointsmemo.com". So we'll be sending one to both BP and DM.