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Mini-Roundup and Programming Note

I’ll be in the desert for a couple days in what you might call an FDL News Desk shutdown. Shutdown! Regular programming to resume Tuesday AM. In the meantime, you can chew on some links:

• Well, here it comes. David Plouffe announced this morning that the President would give a speech on Wednesday delivering a long-term deficit reduction plan. He took the bait from the Ryan budget, the hectoring from the punditocracy to “be serious.” And this is a guy who considers cutting the budget amid 8.8% unemployment “just common sense.”

• Somehow I don’t think the Obama speech will sound anything like this righteous rant by John Cole, though it should. Instead, Obama is basically reacting to those lazy, incurious, insulated pundits.

• We have some details on the 2011 budget deal, made difficult by the fact that the White House is basing their numbers on the Obama 2011 spending request, which makes the cuts look bigger than they are over the 2010 baseline. But they’re not hidden, with some of the biggest cuts going to the Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services, as well as the foreign aid budget. My money’s on 400,000-500,000 job cuts from this. I also appreciate their claim that “We also made sure this was a debate about spending cuts, not social issues or pursuing an ideological agenda that has nothing to do with our budget” when they allowed a rider blocking DC from using local funds to help women get abortions and reinstituted the DC school voucher program. There’s a rally about this in DC Monday.

• Since Obama apparently likes talking to business leaders, maybe he should give a ring to the British CEOs having second thoughts about austerity in the UK.

• Laurent Gbagbo’s forces have regained ground in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and they’ve also attacked embassies and lobbed mortars at the hotel where Alassane Ouattara has been holed up. The UN peacekeepers guarding the hotel fired back the Gbagbo loyalists. This looks like a longer war than what was originally assumed.

• This is why we’re going to see US troops leave Iraq at the end of the year: because the mere hint of an extended stay from Robert Gates can tens of thousands of protesters on the streets, and can lead coalition partner Moqtada al-Sadr to call for an end to occupation. The only way we get out of any country is if we get run out. The Iraqis will run us out. We will play Hosni Mubarak to the Tahrir protesters of Baghdad.

• Major fighting in Misurata and Ajdabiya in the Libyan civil war. Still looks like a stalemate.

• With fiscal policy going in the crapper, monetary policy is all that’s left, even if it’s an imperfect substitute. Janet Yellen says it would be unwise to reverse the Fed’s loose monetary policy, another indicator that the recovery is fragile and can’t withstand austerity.

• Republicans will try to extract major spending and policy changes for an increase to the debt limit. In a perfect world, President Michael Corleone would respond, “My offer is this: nothing.” Furthermore, I’d let the Masters of the Universe negotiate with the Republicans on this one. Wall Street would be at risk in a default event, so let them deal with it.

• The ACLU is trying to stop the fake foreclosure courts in Florida. Meanwhile, with all the vacant homes, the state has become a haven for turnaround artists.

• Japanese officials are holding the nuclear data close to the vest, making it hard for outside experts to gauge the progress at Fukushima Daiichi.

• The Washington Post, funded by student loan cash from the federal government. Surely that doesn’t bias coverage. To their credit, they actually reported on it.

• The answer to this is no.

• I was under the impression that Hamas did call for a cease-fire, but the situation was heading toward an escalation with Israel prior to that.

• This synagogue bombing in Santa Monica, now believed to be the work of a local transient, happened just a couple miles from my house.

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David Dayen

David Dayen