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The Roundup

I know I’ve been on a HAMP vamp, everyone, so please bear with me while I relate some other stories outside that sphere:

• The poll numbers for Democrats look a lot like 1994.

• Just a brilliant story from Jane Mayer on the Koch brothers, the bankrollers of the Tea Party movement. More ink than they’ve gotten in decades.

• Alan Grayson’s foundational statement really is fantastic, and by offering a new model of how to defeat tea party Republicans, by rallying the base, sometimes through outright provocation, Grayson is ushering in a new model for progressive leadership. And by the way, he’s in a swing district, not some Democratic stronghold.

• While housing prices may recover at some point in the future, it never was such a great investment, nor will it be in the future. It’s a nice tax dodge thanks to the mortgage interest deduction, but as an investment? Not really. Government should do more on the side of affordable rental units rather than encouraging a risky financial obligation that doesn’t pay off in the long run.

• Marc Lynch explains exactly why a military strike on Iran would be such a disaster for the world. Right in the middle of Jeffrey Goldberg’s Atlantic, to boot.

• It would be better if the Democrats didn’t kick off small business week so soon after the Treasury Department told the bank funding dozens of inner-city small businesses in Chicago to go hang.

• Looks like the Fed will have to disclose information about bailout funding and the big banks, after losing another appeal.

• Private prisons don’t save taxpayers money, much like most other privatization schemes don’t create efficiencies and actually lead to wasteful payouts to sub-contractors.

• I get capitalizing on Fox’ parent company donation to the Republican Governor’s Association by calling on them to have their White House correspondent’s seat revoked, but this ad cooked up by Media Matters doesn’t actually look like anything Fox News’ target audience would find objectionable.

• Forgot to mention this troglodyte who will never get close to becoming Governor of New York, and his plan to create work camp prisons for welfare recipients.

• Republican bloggers are getting paid off to promote Republican candidates, and then they don’t disclose the payments.

• A righteous rant from Berkeley professor Michael O’Hare on the plight of California and the political crisis here.

• Dick Durbin weighs in smartly on the Park51 controversy. GoOPer Ron Johnson does not.

• The Obama Administration is on the defensive about its initially rosy assessment of the state of the oil remaining in the Gulf.

This story from the BBC shows just how precarious the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are. They can be upended by a policy pronouncement at virtually any moment.

• Obligatory Tiger Woods is divorced link.

A day in the life of a blogger. Very close to the truth.

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David Dayen

David Dayen