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The Roundup for February 14, 2011

Just got off a White House blogger call about the budget that I think I’ll wait to summarize tomorrow. I will mention that I should be on Al Jazeera English tonight talking about the Obama budget. Until then:

• OMB Director Jack Lew, in his press briefing on the budget, said there’s an agreement between the parties that “it would not be prudent to shut the government down.” Big difference between what’s prudent and what will be attempted, of course. In the same briefing, Austan Goolsbee said that the budget predicts a 8.2% unemployment rate at the time of the 2012 election, but that that’s a more conservative estimate.

• More on the budget: Marc Ambinder says nobody likes it and that was the point; Ezra Klein says that the Defense Department won the future (and they certainly did in this budget); Robert Greenstein of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities basically swallows the Administration line on this. A good breakdown of the entire budget, agency by agency, comes from the Washington Post.

• While the Obama FY2012 budget has plenty of cuts, the near-term threat to fiscal policy comes from the continuing resolution on the FY2011 budget, with cuts so deep that a couple House Republicans from New York state just sent word to their leadership opposing them.

• The deficit peacocks are out in force with this budget, decrying the lack of pain delivered to Social Security recipients. But the GOP doesn’t even know how to approach that, with Paul Ryan demurring about the plans for Social Security and Medicare, while Eric Cantor affirmatively said there would be an entitlement plan.

• Judd Gregg, firmly ensconced in retirement, has started dictating to the President and the Republicans how to handle Social Security and Medicare. I missed where he was elected in 2010 to direct that conversation.

• It is a little uneasy to see pure military rule in Egypt in the aftermath of the Mubarak ouster. However, as one protester said, if they abuse their authority “we know the way to Tahrir Square.” As a side note, do read this great piece on how Egyptian and Tunisian activists collaborated to fight their own separate revolutions.

• The House passed their final version of extending the Patriot Act, under a rule this time that enabled them to pass it by majority vote. So that setback last week was temporary. The final vote resembled the one last week, with 27 Republicans voting against the measure, and a final tally of 275-144.

• The newly formed Civil Rights Commission threw out the nonsensical New Black Panther Party investigation and in fact stopped the printing of the last USCCR report from the Bush-led majority.

• 45,000 GM hourly workers will benefit from $189 million in profit sharing this year, representing quite a turnaround for the bailed-out company.

• SIGTARP Neil Barofsky resigned today. He was one of the tougher regulators in the government.

• I’m actually looking forward to the Federal Reserve report on mortgage servicers, if this preview from Sarah Bloom Raskin of the Board of Governors is any indication.

• Matthew Duss checks in from Herzliya, the “neocon Woodstock,” where you can suffice it to say that the Egyptian uprising hasn’t gone over well.

• We need more attention paid to how the Obama 2012 budget will not only deny the states needed aid, but actively cut their budget largesse in many respects.

• The Chamber of Commerce was well aware of the smear campaigns being cooked up by private security firms against their political enemies, emails confirm.

• Jeff Flake’s running for Senate on the Republican side, to replace Jon Kyl. I hear Janet Napolitano is at least looking into jumping in on the Democratic side.

• The amount of foreign governments and shady corporate actors in Haley Barbour’s lobbying past will stop his fanciful Presidential hopes right in their tracks.

• Another Arab partner you don’t hear much outcry about from the Administration during the recent protests is Jordan. In fact, they sent officials there for meetings and reassurances recently.

• Global banks have now shut down operations in Ivory Coast. This is all aimed at getting Laurent Gbagbo to finally leave.

• Anti-coal activists have been holding a sit-in at Governor Steve Beshear’s office to protest mountaintop mining since Friday.

• Shirley Sherrod sued Andrew Breitbart over the weekend for defamation, and the papers were served at CPAC.

• “I’m Henri Matisse, HOO-AHHH!

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David Dayen

David Dayen