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The Roundup

This has been a bear of a day for me. Sometimes life intervenes.

Programming note: I’ll be down at the California Democratic Party convention in LA this weekend, and will report on the goings-on there.

And also…

• As expected, Andy Stern stepped down from the Presidency of the SEIU in a video statement. He gave a long-ranging exit interview to Ezra Klein.

• The Senate gave final passage to a short-term unemployment/COBRA extension. They made the benefits retroactive and for two months, not one. But unless they move the extenders bill by the end of the current work period, we’ll all be back here in six weeks.

• The special election for Jack Murtha’s race in PA-12 (between Democrat Mark Critz and Republican Tim Burns) is shaping up to be areal fight. Democratic and Republican campaign committees are dumping a lot of money into the race. The fact that the primary and the special election are on the same ballot could create some confusion, and the expected turnout given other contested primaries on the ballot favors Democrats.

• Iyad Allawi is warning of war if he doesn’t get made Prime Minister. He doesn’t have that kind of power, actually, and the Sunnis seem to be tired of conflict. But there could be some violence given the stakes involved.

• Kind of despairing stories about Afghanistan from Joe Klein and Greg Jaffe. The latter in particular, about how it took five years for the military to realize they weren’t wanted in a strategically unimportant area, is maddening.

• The Massa probe goes to the Ethics Committee. Where it will promptly sit.

• The banks want to keep information about Federal Reserve lending secret. What does that tell you about the amounts they received?

• The latest ad from Bill Halter counterpoints Blanche Lincoln’s dishonest ad about Social Security privatization (which SHE floated support for, not him).

• I hope Congress passes a bill to encourage telecommuting. Good for the environment and quality of life.

• Got nothing to say about this “hard-working” a-hole from today’s WSJ opinion page. I have no tolerance for selfishness.

• Why would Joe Lieberman be worried about losing his committee chairmanship?

• Is Richard Blumenthal in trouble in Connecticut? I’d say it’s impossible to tell from this article.

• Blue Dog Democrat Walt Minnick (D-ID) is so far to the right that the Tea Party Express endorsed him.

• Jim Bunning sticks the knife in Mitch McConnell by endorsing Rand Paul to succeed him over McConnell protege Trey Grayson.

• Anyone who’s heard This American Life knows about the “rubber room” in New York City, where public school teachers in limbo sit collecting full salary in between jobs. New York City just ended them. That’s probably for the best.

• Behold the awesomeness of the Mickey Kaus oppo research project. Mickey must be thrilled that somebody cares about him. I’ll add this – his apartment in Venice is really kind of awful.

• Alex Chilton may have died from a lack of health insurance. Wow.

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David Dayen

David Dayen