A reminder that the Huffington Post Mortgage Madness Meetups are tonight all over the country. I’ll be at the Los Angeles event and if you’re so inclined, I hope to see you there.

• The establishment really wants to turn Fannie and Freddie over to the private market. That’s the only idea they have, and it’s modeled on the Mortgage Banker’s Association. Mark Zandi busted out his proposal today. If I had a lot of power and could get a guaranteed subsidy with all the downside taken by the taxpayer, I guess I’d find some economist to bless it for me too. I’m sure Alan Greenspan will come up with something just as awesome at Brookings this Friday.

• Meanwhile, Zandi showed insight into his economic acumen in November 2006, when the housing bubble just began to pop, by saying “The only way the housing correction can undermine the economy is if it first infects financial markets. For that to occur we’d need a financial event which hurts global investor confidence or the banking sector directly, and becomes a global problem.” I think that occurred!

• Despite the three judges confirmed yesterday, there remains a crisis in the federal judiciary, and with retirements quickening, the vacancy rate has doubled since President Obama entered office. Almost half of current vacancies have been empty for over 18 months and have hundreds of backlogged cases. Harry Reid rightly said that the crisis is “putting the constitutional right to a speedy trial at risk.”

• Some Senate Democrats up for re-election in red states in 2012 want to roll back the individual mandate, and there are plenty of possible alternatives. But of course, Republicans will surely not allow any alternatives, and the law will just operate without a mandate, which would be fine if you thought that insurance companies wouldn’t respond by doubling their rates. This all could have been solved during the rendering of the law itself, but it won’t be possible to solve it now.

• Rummy’s Wikileaks are out, but also, he admits in the book that he “made a misstatement” when he said “We know where (the WMD) are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad.” I guess it’s something.

• With the story of Wael Ghonim captivating the Egyptian protesters, and the protests in Tahrir Square swelling to their largest ever today, the White House had to turn back on their “Suleiman’s taking care of it strategy.” Vice President Biden called Suleiman today and said that the attacks on journalists and activists had to stop, and that the emergency law had to be lifted. Also the Press Secretary criticized Suleiman for saying that Egypt “wasn’t ready for democracy.” They didn’t mention the deaths of 300 Egyptians (according to Human Rights Watch). Nor did they call for Suleiman to end his leadership of the transition. Or for Mubarak to take a long vacation in Baden-Baden.

• By the way, the American public supports the protesters in Egypt by a wide margin.

• This is a potentially fatal report for the charter school movement in New York, though I imagine they’ll continue to deny reality. Meanwhile, I’m sure it would be easier to get college-ready students out of all of our nation’s schools if the teachers weren’t afraid to teach sound science and suffer reprisals from strident denialists.

• Great Robert Kuttner piece on Obama’s missed political moment.

• Another good piece: David Roberts on how modern journalism invites lies to enter the political debate.

• Prison reform has become a money saver for state governments, leading to good politics. I’ll hold judgment on good policy: prison “reform” can also mean canceling rehab and treatment programs, or just moving state prisoners to county lock-ups where conditions are even worse and recidivism even higher.

The leashing of Elizabeth Warren?

• The Green movement in Iran has returned with renewed calls for protests, inspired by the pro-democracy movement in Egypt.

Yet another tax amnesty – show us your offshore money and we won’t indict you, and we’ll only take 25% of what you owe over eight years, plus interest. Believe it or not, these are higher penalties than in the 2009 tax amnesty.

• Republicans will vote for the Presidential nominee with the best chance to win, as they have for the best umpteen years. Bas news for Sarah Palin.

• Aside from the tackiness of asking how America can put judges “on the Endangered Species list” a month after Judge John Roll was shot and killed, Denny Rehberg isn’t some random loon but a longtime Representative from Montana who is now challenging Jon Tester for Senate.

• Students who came out as undocumented during the DREAM Act debate now fear for their futures and potential deportations.

• Dick Wadhams was considered the next Karl Rove; now, a multi-time loser in Republican politics, he’s quitting the Colorado GOP chairmanship because he’s “tired of the nuts” in the party.

• Another New Yorker gem: Lawrence Wright on Scientology.

“Rather than disputing the GOP’s contention that cutting taxes is almost always and everywhere a good thing, they’ve quietly agreed and attempted to defuse the issue by grabbing the mantle of tax cuts for themselves.” You may know who that’s about. You may not know who wrote it.

• Julian Assange continues to fight extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges.

• Mark Zuckerberg is being stalked on Facebook. Maybe he should install privacy settings!

• Tell me that Doctor J didn’t lie! You’re really messing with my childhood now.

• The latest in my Silvio Berlusconi obsession. The people vs. Silvio?

• I could keep hitting the Malcolm Gladwell Book Generator all day.

David Dayen

David Dayen

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