Happy Groundhog Day! Early spring, I hear, or so says Punxsutawney Phil. I won’t rub it in with a discussion of the temperature here in Los Angeles.

• John McCain has called for Mubarak to step down, and interestingly enough, the announcement came after a one-on-one meeting with the President. Maybe it’s easier for a Senator to say that than the President. But especially given the regime-directed violence in Tahrir Square today, Obama has all the reasons he needs to make this explicit.

• Whatever John McCain is, take heart that he’s not Tony Blair.

• One Republican freshman is getting tired of being cast as a budget slasher. This comes after a DCCC radio ad campaign in his district.

• They learned from the best: secret prisons and torture still predominate in Iraq.

• The David J. Stern foreclosure mill’s legal troubles are turning out to be a major problem for his Wall Street investors. Wes Clark owned one of these firms that invested in David J. Stern? Sheesh.

• If both parties can’t agree on taking steps to eliminating prison rape, they might as well cancel Congress.

• The huge Cyclone Yasi hit Australia today, and it’s expected to be one of the most powerful in the history of the region. It has degraded slightly on its approach inland, however. The Guardian has live updates.

• Some have pointed to Ken Vogel’s story on the Koch Brothers and marveled at how they used hired goons to kick reporters out of their resort during the Billionaire’s Caucus meeting. But I like the part where Vogel talks about the PR operatives who spun the media to include the Koch’s side of the story in articles about the protests, including… Vogel’s own Politico article. The essence of this story was: “How right-wing billionaires and their pR machine spin the media… like me!”

• According to the GAO, the Canadian border is the one to watch for illegal activity. We need some new Minutemen.

• The CAP plan for the GSEs really is a windfall for Wall Street, and it mirrors the Mortgage Banking Association working paper on the subject.

• David Axelrod seems to think that President Obama will remain competitive in all the states he won in 2008, including North Carolina and Indiana.

• Holly Petraeus gets to work in her new position on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, writing major banks and warning them to honor regulations that bar predatory lending against military families.

• The Senate is working on an oil spill response bill that can get 60 votes, meaning they have to please oil-state Senators like Mary Landrieu and Mark Begich. And even then, how will that pass the House?

• Speaking of oil spill response, BP’s getting right to work on those financial claims from Gulf Coast victims. Out of 91,000 claims, so far they’ve finished… one.

• Michael Lewis hops to his next European destination, Ireland, and explains the financial crisis there.

• ADP’s survey was more optimistic than the Labor Department survey on employment last month, but for what it’s worth, it’s predicting an increase of 187,000 jobs for January. We’ll see the Labor Department survey Friday.

• Rupert Murdoch’s iPad-only paper The Daily launched today. I’m trying to figure out just which failed newspaper to compare it to.

• Planned Parenthood called the police after a would-be James O’Keefe tried to smear them. Nevertheless, due to one of the resulting videos, someone lost their job. And of course, that’s the story over the calling of the cops.

• John Kasich finally hired a minority cabinet member in Ohio.

Loving the passion of this kid, a child of two lesbian moms, in Iowa. He spoke against the legislature’s attempt to repeal the gay marriage law there.

• We’re not yet near to Peak Wingnut: a Georgia lawmaker wants to end driver’s licenses. Liberty!

• The Onion on the repeal of Obamastroid.

David Dayen

David Dayen

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