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The Roundup

Busy day, and tomorrow should be interesting with the Warren announcement. Let’s give you what you came here for:

• Jim DeMint admits his policy for the Senate is “complete gridlock.” You have a political party that can’t stand government, what do you expect? Democrats are going to run with this like they ran with DeMint’s “Waterloo” line.

• Republicans were going to add a strip-out of EPA greenhouse gas regulations into the Interior Department spending bill, so Dianne Feinstein just put off the bill indefinitely. That won’t stop Jay Rockfeller from getting a vote, though he only counts 53 for his preferred policy so far. 53! And we think we’re getting a renewable energy standard in this environment?

• It wasn’t just poverty rising: we’re up to 50.7 million uninsured Americans. Maybe the poverty rate isn’t measured well, but “do you have insurance” is a pretty solid stat. At this rate, either the health care bill becomes more expensive, with more uninsured people to deal with on the exchanges, or the “success” of 30 million insured pales in comparison to the new scope of the problem.

• The Senate unanimously confirmed a boatload of people today. They expire at the end of the Congress, so this is kind of a mop-up. Still no judges on that list, however.

• People actually don’t like Republican policies. They’re planning on voting for them anyway because the Democrats are perceived to have failed to get the economy to recover.

• The House passed a rural energy efficiency bill today which includes the Home Star program. They also got through a bill yesterday that extends the Buy American Act to the legislative branch, forcing their expenditures to come from US companies.

• So, yes, I’m not ignoring it – Christine O’Donnell’s a wackadoo. But she’s a well-funded wackadoo now, who has the GOP establishment afraid of her, and whose most egregious conspiracy theories are merely rehashes of what Republican officeholders and the entire conservative movement was saying in the mid-1990s. There’s nota whole lot new here.

• This is a pretty interesting battle. Robin Carnahan ran an ad consisting entirely of Fox News’ Chris Wallace taking apart Roy Blunt for his ties to special interests. Fox News responded by suing Carnahan and demanding she take down the ad; it already ran on TV for a week. Carnahan is keeping the ad on the air, and refusing to back down to Fox. Good for her.

No breakthroughs in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, particularly on the settlement issue, which sits at two weeks and counting for the moratorium to expire. Envoy George Mitchell says the two sides are already hitting “tough topics” but without a settlement resolution, it doesn’t matter. Also, Hamas is the great unmentionable in these talks.

• Charlie Cook has had a quick trigger finger in the direction of Republicans this year, but his switching of the Connecticut Senate race to a toss-up is notable, particularly because Democrats will have to spend money there now, where they thought they had an easy victory. Obama’s headed there to fundraise.

• Goldman Sachs has been sued for sex discrimination. Seems in character for Wall Street.

• Is the defense authorization bill in trouble? Between Susan Collins and Scott Brown, there’s a small amount of breathing room, but some conservaDems like Jim Webb can kill it, too. But Lady Gaga is on the case. Y’all have messed with the wrong Senate procedure-understanding music sensation now, GOP.

• Russ Feingold raised almost half a million with his Cheddarbomb yesterday.

• The Interior Department demands that oil and gas companies plug up their idle wells, lest they continue as a danger to everyone.

• Goldline lobbyists up. I’m trying to turn lobbyist into a verb for these purposes, like “lawyers up.”

• Jerry Brown’s making a pitch for zero-based budgeting, more of a gimmick because so much of the California budget is mandatory by statute. His new ad similarly offers the imprimatur of seriousness without actually attacking the real problems with state government.

• As if the AP never steals their stories from interviews with other news services. Give me a break.

• Democrats try to hammer Boehner for his flip-flop on taxes.

• Give me a break with this “we have to end complexity and regulatory barriers” as a job creation engine. Somehow, we had most of the same barriers up in the 1990s and businesses did just fine.

• Might public anger hurt the abilities of the government in a future crisis? Maybe. But the public wouldn’t have been so angry if there were some strings attached to the bailout. Better policies would calm that anger.

Good summary of our housing problems from Calculated Risk.

• Polling on crime is less about being tough and more about being smart than you’d expect, but the problem is the politicians haven’t caught up to that.

• The lonely road of trying to get Congress to fund your settlement for historic discrimination.

• RIP the inspiration for Sybil Fawlty.

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David Dayen

David Dayen