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The Roundup for April 3, 2011

I don’t mean to gloat, but let me gloat about the fact that I won the internal FDL staffer NCAA tournament pool. Picking UConn to reach the national championship game did it for me. As a reward, I have informed the rest of the competitors that they need to make out a check to the charity of my choice, the Scooter Libby legal defense fund.


• Lots of divisions today about arming the Libyan rebels on the Sunday shows. Harry Reid said we don’t know enough, while Lindsey Graham was all for it. But even Republicans have concerns about another instance of arming insurgents and inviting blowback. Meanwhile, former national security advisor Gen. James Jones is probably not the White House’s favorite alumni at the moment.

• Congressional leaders really only have until Tuesday to get a 2011 budget agreement done, and there are still massive differences. You could see yet another short-term stopgap.

• Democrats may take the offensive and propose a new millionaire’s bracket as the longer-term budget battle begins.

• If the fact that the Federal Reserve bailed out Gadhafi’s central bank just passes by unnoticed, then you’ll know we no longer have a very functional democracy. Matt Taibbi adds that he has a story coming up on the Fed bailouts in the next issue; I can’t wait.

• Hard for me to be shocked by anything that happens on Wall Street, but who are these people buying subprime mortgage bonds again? Have they been asleep for a long time?

• Annie Lowrey gets beyond the boosterism and talks straight about TARP, whether it worked and for whom. Good piece.

• Unions have begun to collect signatures in Ohio for a referendum on the anti-union law signed by the Governor last Thursday. They have 90 days to gather the 230,000 signatures needed to trigger a November election.

• Ted Kaufman would have been a good CFPB Director, but he passed on it, according to Bloomberg. Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm apparently passed on it too. I guess nobody wants to sit in dry dock while waiting for confirmation.

• The pushback from Administration courtiers on Jim Messina has been pretty fierce. They are welcome to try to rewrite history. Best of luck to them.

• The rumor about a US-Saudi deal, where the Arab League supported a Libya intervention in exchange for letting Saudi Arabia send troops to Bahrain, has certainly been borne out by events (Bahrain’s now shutting down opposition newspapers). And it shows the pitfalls of relying so heavily on assent from the Arab League in this.

• Syria named a new Prime Minister, but it won’t lead to the protest movement being satisfied. Tens of thousands marched in funeral processions today for those killed in the uprising.

• Protests in Afghanistan over the burning of a Koran in the United States contuined for a third straight day. The fact that I haven’t heard of a single protest anywhere else in the Arab world besides in Afghanistan makes me think that the protests there aren’t really about Korans.

• Police opened fire on protesters in Yemen today. Are you noticing a pattern the way I am? Would the protest camp in Trafalgar Square do the trick?

• Pro-Gadhafi forces continue to shell Misurata, as another Gadhafi envoy flies to Europe, this time Athens, to talk about a resolution to the crisis. At least there are talks.

• LA City Councilwoman Janice Hahn did not get the 60% required for an official California Democratic Party endorsement in the special Congressional election to replace Jane Harman. She did, however, go negative by questioning the party loyalty of Secretary of State Debra Bowen because she was a Republican back in 1984. Incidentally, Hahn was a 2008 DNC delegate for Hillary Clinton, a former Goldwater girl (Disclosure: I’m an appointed CDP delegate of Bowen’s and voted yesterday to endorse Bowen).

• Terrible suicide bombing attacks at a shrine in Pakistan kill at least 41.

• BP will restart deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico on the same day that the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig, Transocean, handed out bonuses for the “best year in safety performance in our company’s history.”

• Dissident IRA activists killed a policeman in Omagh with a booby-trap car bomb.

• An administrative panel in California allowed a gay midshipman to serve despite the fact that the military’s don’t ask don’t tell policy is still in effect.

• Labor groups criticized OMB for moving too slowly on new workplace safety regulations.

• How could it possibly be legal for the RNC to use debates as fundraisers.

• Felix Salmon has the latest on the New York Times/Huffington Post verbal sparring, which includes NYT writing an entire story based on a HuffPo scoop without crediting them.

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David Dayen

David Dayen