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Quick Hits

For your reading pleasure while I scamper across the country:

• It does look like the homebuyer tax credit will get extended along with unemployment insurance in a combined bill in the Senate. Not sure the House will go along with that; they’ve already passed their own standalone UI bill. They’re actually expanding the credit to “step-up purchasers,” i.e. couples who make up to $250,000 a year for buying a bigger home. This is just propping up home prices.

• The Huffington Post gets a look at the CBO scores on the House health care bills, and finds their sources emphasizing that they cover the same number of Americans regardless of the Medicare + 5% public option or the one with negotiated rates. That’s a signal that they’ve shifted emphasis in case they’re forced to go with the latter.

• This bombshell of a NY Times story states that Hamid Karzai’s brother, thought to be a drug lord, is a CIA asset. Spencer Ackerman wants hearings and wants to know how much CIA money is funding the Taliban through this drugrunner. I want to know two things: first, was the CIA giving him more or less than they’re planning to directly give the Taliban to switch sides; and second, is this that fifth thing the CIA has lied to Congress about, according to a House panel? Because John Kerry didn’t seem to know a thing about this.

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David Dayen

David Dayen