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The Roundup for April 4, 2011

Going to try to get out to the main LA We Are One event later today, I’ll let you know what I discover.

• Chuck Schumer basically called out John Boehner for saying one thing in negotiations and another to the public. “We take it for granted that because of the intense political pressure being applied by the Tea Party, the Speaker needs to play an outside game as well as an inside game. As long as he continues to negotiate, it’s OK by us if he needs to strike a different pose publicly.” That’s good politics, but I don’t know that it gets either side any closer to an agreement. Buy shutdown futures.

• The fighting in Libya has focused on the oil town of Brega, and the rebels made gains there today. Talks aimed at a resolution continue in Europe. Meanwhile, Bill Clinton suddenly decided that the rebels ought to be armed, even though his wife has downplayed the idea.

• Wisconsin Democrats are close to formally handing in signatures for the recall of Sens. Randy Hopper. Meanwhile, Republicans are floating that they have the required signatures to recall Sen. Robert Wirch. We’ll see what happens if and when they get turned in.

• More tax audits of the rich sounds like a good idea to me, and it looks like the audits go up as you go up the income scale. This is known as “enforcing the law” and it’s a novel concept.

• I wouldn’t make too much of Dick Durbin’s call for a drawdown in Afghanistan. The miniscule number of troops withdrawn in July will soon be spun as a bigger deal.

• The problem with a hard cutoff date for Medicare, aside from everything else is the same that we’re seeing with state cuts to Medicaid – after a while, doctors just won’t accept patients any more because there’s no money in it.

• To the extent that there’s a 2012 strategy out of the Republicans, it has to do with raising more corporate money than God after watching the Supreme Court do away with all campaign finance limits and restrictions.

• Scott Fitzgerald, the Majority Leader of the Senate in Wisconsin, had trouble convincing any cop in the state to obey his illegal orders to round up the Fab 14 and return them to Madison.

• Good article from Alex Ulam explaining the second lien problem. Banks are clinging to second lien values in their accounting even though they’re essentially worthless. This failure to write them down is stopping loan modifications on a grand scale. That’s the thumbnail sketch; Ulam has a lot more.

• The large land conservation fund in the Obama 2012 budget has become a target.

• Tokyo Electric Power dumped 10,000 tons of radioactive water into the ocean today, to relieve the amount of water around the plant, which has hampered stabilization efforts. They say it shouldn’t present a health risk. Mm-hm.

• The new menu calorie labeling exempts booze, as well as a lot of foodsellers, including movie theaters.

• An MP in Wales has urged the UK to go on the record about the treatment of Bradley Manning. Not holding my breath, but I hope they do.

• Republican legislators to Maine’s Tea Party governor Paul LePage: “tone it down.”

• First Rep. Martin Heinrich became a high-profile Senate recruit for the Democrats in New Mexico, now Tim Kaine is about to join him in Virginia.

• Haiti has a new President: singer Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly.

• Chernobyl residents have a message for the people of Fukushima.

• Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is still missing and presumed detained, part of a crackdown on activists in China since the Arab uprising, lest they start a copycat movement.

• RIP Rep. John Adler (D-NJ), who just lost his seat in November, from complications after heart surgery.

• Lincoln Chafee, the new Governor of Rhode Island, is caught in the collapsing housing bubble and losing hundreds of thousands of dollars on his home. Things are tough all over.

• Scott Walker hired a lobbyist’s kid to a state job and keeps giving him pay raises.

• Sean Duffy is very sorry he cried poor about his $174,000/year salary as a US Congressman. Or at least, sorry someone heard him.

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David Dayen

David Dayen