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The Roundup for March 10, 2011

It’s a sad day for democracy and rights in the workplace. Fortunately, democracy never follows a straight line up or down – these issues always keep moving back and forth. Price of liberty, eternal vigilance, etc. So tomorrow, the fight starts anew.

• Ezra Klein’s interview with Nelson Lichtenstein is quite perceptive. I’ve tried not to minimize the loss this is for the labor movement – the restrictions on dues check-off and annual re-certification will basically end the labor movement in Wisconsin. And as Lichtenstein says, “you can’t have a union revival without having some of these structures in place.” But if labor capitalizes on this moment and throws Walker and his party out, it could have the opposite effect.

• As Gadhafi’s forces retake a strategic port city thanks to superior firepower, DNI James Clapper made the mistake of telling the truth, that Gadhafi is sure to win a ground war if nothing changes. Now Lindsey Graham wants Clapper fired for telling the truth. Neocons are such warmongering fantasists, and their perspective has really warped the country’s on these issues.

• Other states are trying to break their own unions in their own way. In Michigan, the State Senate passed a bill that would allow emergency managers, which could be corporations, to bust union contracts and take over schools. And there was a huge rally in Indianapolis today protesting a series of anti-worker bills.

• Adam Serwer says that the Peter King hearings weren’t so bad today, thanks mainly to relentless pressure from liberals. I want to know more about the framed photo of the burning Twin Towers in the hearing room.

• No Child Left Behind’s strictures are so severe that 82% of all schools could be seen as failing by next year if the law isn’t changed. Sadly, the law will not just be abandoned in favor of a better way, but barely modified at all.

• Maine became the first state to get a waiver from the health care law, specifically to ignore the medical loss ratio requirements until 2013. And Kathleen Sebelius outlined plans to keep handing out waivers to states like Dodger dogs on Opening Day. But one lawmaker, Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan, has the killer app: waivers for individuals. That’s sheer genius.

• And the House will defend DOMA in court, I never even got to that one. I’m sure John Boehner will tell me soon how he plans to offset this new spending.

• While one Democrat, Gene Green, is helping out conservatives in creating a bipartisan bill to delay EPA greenhouse gas regulations, Republicans may put together a bill just to target utilities who signed on to the Democrats’ cap-and-trade plans. Remember, the Democrats are the anti-business ones here.

• I think we have our first candidate for a new military commission at Guantanamo.

• Hey, let’s celebrate a win at the state level – the state of Illinois abolished the death penalty yesterday, becoming the 16th state to do so. The speech by Gov. Pay Quinn about it was pretty moving, too.

• Chris Christie is a liar. The New York Times managed to make this fact clear today.

• Reverse mortgages for the elderly are truly a cesspool. The AARP is suing HUD over them.

• Conservatives have successfully tied the South Korea free trade deal to the deal with Colombia, and are trying to squeeze the President into quickly signing off on the latter, as a condition for them passing the former.

• If NPR thought they could fire their CEO and get the conservative jackals off their backs, they haven’t been paying attention for the last several years.

• The President has finally spoken out on the situation in Ivory Coast, which really almost nobody is paying attention to. There will be no diplomatic solution there. Sudan has flared up as well, prompting additional warnings from the US.

• Hopefully, Senate Democrats will win over Harry Reid on the horrible policy of eating up exchange subsidies from the working poor to pay for other fixes to the health care law.

• So proud of my old pal Digby getting an op-ed in The Hill.

• US Uncut infiltrated a Bank of America investor meeting.

• Ex-member of Congress becoming a lobbyist watch: Ike Skelton edition. Isn’t Ike Skelton 206? Shouldn’t he just go home and retire?

• Newt Gingrich is that rarest of breeds, the adulterous patriot. The patriotism caused the adultery. If you have more than 10 American flags in your house, consult your therapist. You could be next.

• Rand Paul has toilet problems. TMI.

• This is going to really hurt the budget hawk bona fides of Claire McCaskill. She brought it upon herself.

• Bernie Sanders shamed the Smithsonian into selling American-made gifts.

• Boy, Janice Hahn’s City Hall allies have started early with the strong-arm tactics and lies against Debra Bowen, and a date hasn’t even been set for that Congressional special election yet!

• After complaining about not getting his government health care fast enough, now Andy Harris won’t join the federal plan.

• New bill in Florida would criminalize picture-taking on farms – to stop undercover operations from the likes of the Humane Society from exposing illegal practices.

• The latest in my Silvio Berlusconi obsession. He’s taking his anger out on the judiciary with legislation.

• They found a Boston mobster living as a rancher in Idaho.

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David Dayen

David Dayen