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The Roundup

Have to get ready for my “Young Eagles” pub crawl and fetish club tour, so gotta go…

• President Obama signed the reconciliation bill including sweeping changes in the student loan industry today.

• This is going to open the Obama/LGBT rift even wider – the DoJ defended the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy in court, using Colin Powell’s statements from 1993 opposing it – statements he effectively retracted when he offered his support for a change in policy. Joe Sudbay has a lot more. This is really awful.

• The President spoke out about the tea parties today, gave up way too much rhetorical ground to them talking about “legitimate concerns,” but acknowledged a “core group” who he couldn’t possibly mollify.

• Spokesman Robert Gibbs set up a timeline for financial reform, saying that the President expects a bill on his desk by the end of May.

• Dick Lugar was roused from his slumber to present an energy bill today. As a standalone measure it would be horrible – it would only cut carbon emissions by half of Obama’s 2020 goal, and not until 2030 – but as a policy in conjunction with a carbon pricing regime, it could be pretty good, with a better renewable energy standard than competing bills, solid energy efficiency planks, and a mandatory annual increase in CAFE standards. And it shows another Republican willing to get involved in the climate debate.

• The Local Jobs for America Act, the only real stimulus bill on the horizon, is chugging along with 105 co-sponsors in the House. No Republicans yet, however – and I thought Republicans may be reachable on this, because it’s such a major issue in their districts, and Republican mayors would be attracted to it. So far, nothing yet.

• Interesting article from Leo Hindery about the “loyal opposition” – actually, it’s the progressives, this time.

• More track-covering by the Vatican in the growing church sex-abuse scandal. I don’t think it would be wise to expect any measure of accountability from these folks.

• Markos takes a closer look at the RNC’s finances. The burn rate of the funds under Michael Steele is really starting to impact the ability of Republicans to capitalize on the political environment in November.

• This story on state debt problems glosses over the details, so I don’t know if I should worry. With respect to California, the debt servicing is a problem, but a lot of that could have been solved by the federal government backstopping state loans so the banks couldn’t gouge the state any more. The Obama Administration chose not to do so.

• Why yes, the drug lobby won big in the health care debate. Having $150 million dollars to throw around on ads – and more important, to not throw around attacking the people you eventually support – tends to lead to victories like that.

• Up is down, war is peace, freedom is slavery, polls show Democrats are to blame for the violence that has marked the days following passage of health care reform.

• Right as Republicans start to get cold feet about the whole “repeal health care!” thing, one Blue Dog Democrat, Mike McIntyre, joins the cause. He supports the state-level lawsuits, too. I don’t think he’ll get on anyone’s Better Democrats list.

• The EPA will list Bisphenol A as a “chemical of concern.” I think the fact that BPA, featured in many hard plastics including baby bottles, has been linked to heart disease and cancer makes it more than a concern.

• The GAO exposed the Energy Star appliance program as, shall we say, inattentive. They were able to get a high efficiency rating for a non-existent “gasoline-powered alarm clock.”

• Carly Fiorina sends an email blast to supporters wishing them a Happy Passover that starts with “As we break bread…” Now, it’s true that matzo is easier to break, but I wouldn’t call it bread. The spin from the campaign flak was priceless: “We meant all bread, leavened and unleavened, and matzo is just unleavened bread so that’s what we meant by that.”

• The idiot retired US general who blamed gay Dutch soldiers for the Srebrenica massacre has apologized.

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David Dayen

David Dayen