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The Roundup for May 27, 2011

It’s a holiday weekend! I have some additional family matters to take care of, so expect relatively light posting through Tuesday.

• Today in the Arab uprising: another “Day of Rage” from democracy activists in Egypt; tribal leader Sadeq al-Ahmar announced a cease-fire in Yemen, but Yemeni fighter jets bombedopposition tribes anyway; eight are reported dead after the 10th straight week of Friday protests in Syria.

• Al Jazeera says there were between 70-100,000 in the streets of Baghdad yesterday, protesting the US presence with techniques learned from the Arab uprising. Kind of out of nowhere, the NYT has a scaremongering article up about the fear of reconstituted Shiite militias planning to do harm if the military leaves. Coincidental?

• Juan Cole adds that Pakistan kicked out some US troops as well, as the world tired of our military presence.

• I think by now we have to lump in Spain among the series of uprisings in the world. Today, Spanish police charged demonstrators and fired rubber bullets, injuring over 100 in an attempt to clear the protest camps in Barcelona. Everywhere looks like Tahrir now. Video here:

• More camo-washing: “Two mortgage servicing companies have agreed to settle federal complaints that they wrongfully foreclosed on the homes of at least 178 military service members and to set aside a minimum of $22 million to compensate those victims.” If they’re doing this to members of the military, they’re doing it to everyone. The servicing model is completely broken.

• The White House only looks backward and not forward when it comes to loosening regulations. Progressives looked warily at the cut of “unneeded” regulations. I don’t have a problem with streamlining, but I don’t particularly trust those doing the streamlining.

• Republicans want to privatize Amtrak. Private companies have already failed at providing rail service for the Northeast Corridor.

• The Fed finally had to turn over documents about emergency lending during the crisis. Despite trying to hide the data with a giant document dump, they couldn’t conceal the $80 billion giveaway to European banks, at an interest rate as low as 0.01%.

• At least a few Democrats have bothered to characterize President Obama’s comments on Israel accurately, particularly the 1967 borders comment. Given the ratfucking Benjamin Netanyahu gave the President, it’s not clear why he’s trying to persuade allies to vote against Palestinian statehood at the UN in September.

• I think Micah Schwartzmann is mostly right that Goodwin Liu had another strike against him – his youth, which meant he would have served on the federal bench much longer than other nominees.

• Ratko Mladic will get a trial at the International Criminal Court. Why didn’t Osama bin Laden?

• Mitt Romney may have equivocated on the Ryan budget in his campaign stop in Iowa today, but he knew the terrain well enough to promise to keep ethanol subsidies.

• Wow, great op-ed from Michael Gerson on the California prison crisis and the recent Supreme Court ruling.

• Medical innovation prizes are pretty darn good ideas. Bernie Sanders is carrying the legislation on it.

• Sure, there will be huffing and puffing in Congress, but I can’t imagine that would lead to blocking the AT&T/T-Mobile deal.

• An Alabama state representative just switched to the Democratic Party over education cuts. That’s right, in Alabama.

• Sarah Palin apparently bought a new house in Arizona. Is the title clear on it? Linda Green signed the satisfaction of mortgage for the property.

• Rick Perlstein writes a great elegy for Hubert H. Humphrey on his hundredth birthday. Perlstein calls Humphrey the “forgotten liberal” (war tendencies notwithstanding).

• I’m ambivalent on the autopen, the device used to allow a President to sign legislation in absentia. But no surprise that Tea Partiers are jumping on it. Their representatives in Congress could have blocked the Patriot Act, and then no autopen. Voila.

• Are you ready for the Presidential campaign of noted secessionist Rick Perry?

• You can’t talk about school reform in New Orleans without talking about how much the population has changed. Yes, when they get rid of all the poor people, you would expect to see school performance go up.

• The latest in my Silvio Berlusconi obsession. The judges are the dictators in Italy, you see. The judges.

RIP Kenickie.

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David Dayen

David Dayen