The Roundup for March 25, 2011
I like this new protocol of adding dates to the Roundup because it makes me remember what day it is.
• Chuck Schumer says there’s movement toward a grand bargain. This deal could include cuts to Medicaid, which would represent the Democratic version of “repeal and replace.” Fully half of the coverage expansion in the Affordable Care Act came from expansion of Medicaid. Now, it will be cut?
• Meanwhile, there’s the near-term issue of the FY2011 budget, and Republicans may increase the pressure for a deal by threatening to include riders distasteful to Democrats and the President in any stopgap bill. But riders can’t be seen as a chip to be bargained away, because some Republicans view them as essential.
• The Vermont House passed a single payer bill yesterday. There’s a real chance that this succeeds in the legislature, though it would need some federal waivers to get going. Kay at Balloon Juice has more.
• Canada’s government falls! Viva la revolucion! Only, not really: now there will be a new Parliamentary election, and with the Canadian left fractured, the Conservatives are favored to win.
• A conservative coalition of the military, economic elites and the Muslim Brotherhood may be taking control in Egypt. But this analysis discounts the agency of the people and their ability to threaten a takedown of the leadership a bit too much.
• The Office of
Bank Advocacy the Comptroller of the Currency determined in its preliminary investigation that very few borrowers were wrongfully kicked out of their homes. Reuters calls bullshit.
• Doug Hampton, the cuckolded husband in the John Ensign affair, has now been indicted for violating Congressional lobbying rules. Which I believe stems from a lobbying job Ensign procured for him. Ensign just loves screwing this family, doesn’t he?
• Two Republican former EPA Administrators defend the agency and criticize the House GOP assault on it in a WaPo op-ed.
• Elizabeth Warren: “If we’re going to go out there and spill ink on accountability, we should also ask about how to hold powerful financial institutions accountable. The idea that we should be worried that some agency that will speak up for consumers might get a little too loud is looking in the wrong direction.”
• Michigan goes after its unemployment insurance program, targeting the most needy families in the state for cuts. It’s a neat trick: enact a state budget that costs hundreds of thousands of jobs, and then cut back on the money owed people who lose those jobs.
• The Arab uprising has made the US-Saudi relationship less tenable. Not untenable enough for the Administration to speak out publicly yet, however.
• Ron Brownstein on Obama as Eisenhower, in terms of leadership style.
• I agree with Howard Gleckman that the solution to a federal long-term care insurance system where the numbers don’t add up because healthy people won’t enter the pool is to universalize the system. That happens to be the humane argument as well.
• New Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) inks weak settlement with one of the state’s many foreclosure mill law firms. This is the danger of having the global settlement blow up, that some states will just let abuses go almost completely unpunished.
• US economic growth was revised upward slightly.
• Good article on J Street, the progressive pro-Middle East Peace foreign policy organization that is changing the concept of “pro-Israel.”
• The UN High Commissioner for Refugees fears that one million people have left their homes in Ivory Coast due to violence. Sounds like a humanitarian crisis to me.
• Ezra Klein on the accounting of war.
• I don’t think progressive failure on monetary policy tells us everything about inequality and wage stagnation, but it could be a bigger point of emphasis.
• A large earthquake near the Myanmar/Thai border has already killed at least 50.
• Didn’t take long for people to write code to hurdle the New York Times paywall. I won’t be using it, I got the Lincoln ad.
• @MayorEmanuel gets a book deal.
• Ian Murphy, creator of the prank Koch Brothers/Scott Walker phone call, meanwhile, is running for Congress. It’s the special election for the seat that Craigslist Chris Lee held.