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The Roundup for June 7, 2011

Programming note: I’m flying to the East Coast tomorrow and will probably only be able to get a half-day in of posting. Not sure what kind of time I’ll have the balance of the week. So expect a light schedule from now until Sunday.

Jared Bernstein, on resetting the economic debate. The problem is that we’re still reeling from the original sin of pivoting to the deficit even when it was clear that the stimulus was not big enough or sustained enough to dig us out of the deep hole of the previous Administration. The White House was simply in too much of a hurry for that pivot.

• NATO steps up the daytime assaults in Tripoli, with bunker buster bombs and multiple casualties. Moammar Gadhafi vowed to fight to the death on state TV today. The escalation is pretty sudden, even though we’re not all that sure of what will happen in the aftermath.

• Meanwhile, rebel leaders feel held back by NATO, who wants to avoid errant bombs and rebel casualties.

• The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard arguments on the anti-union law yesterday, and despite the clear reading of the open meeting requirement it looks like they may take up the case on party lines. This is why that Prosser/Kloppenburg election was so important, and I wish more groups paid attention to it in addition to the upcoming recalls. It’s unclear, however, whether they would rule on the injunction, on the subsequent ruling by Judge Maryann Sumi blocking the law, or the entire Constitutionality of the law itself. And even if they allow the law to go forward, there will be other challenges.

• Tim Pawlenty’s crazy tax plan would cost $7.8 trillion over 10 years. Deficit hawk!

• The Syrian regime still claims there was a massacre of police in Jisr al-Shoughour, and that they plan to retaliate. But accounts of the massacre differ pretty widely. New video shows security forces planting ammunition on dead protesters, so the state’s credibility is low. Meanwhile, in a blow to the regime, the country’s ambassador to France resigned live on French TV (UPDATE: She’s either denying that on Syrian TV or they just showed an impersonator of her). The regime has continued their strategy of repression and detention, including the popular blogger of A Gay Girl in Damascus.

• At least this story assumes the withdrawal of US forces, even as it presumes cash payments of $10,000 a month to tribal leaders to help with the exit along the road to Kuwait. Again, the notion of “withdrawal” must be looked at as relative: after all, we’ll still have a $3 billion private security force guarding the Embassy, with perhaps 5,000 mercenaries.

• If you care, TMZ and Radar have your Anthony Weiner fix, and those are really the areas of the Web where this stuff belongs. Eric Cantor has called for him to resign. I’m with Glenn – the perking up from the media on this, as if there’s nothing else to talk about or as if their sex lives could withstand even the slightest bit of the same scrutiny, is really revolting.

• As Rep. George Miller denounces the proposal to delay swipe fee rules, there are encouraging signs that retailers are gaining the upper hand. We’ll know in a matter of days, anyway. And after Dick Durbin is done here, he may move on with this newfound retailer alliance to ending the Amazon loophole.

• Why yes, the Republican defense bill was loaded with earmarks. They just weren’t called earmarks, is all. They were called “Other Matters.”

• Elizabeth Kolbert on the failure of efforts to mitigate climate change. I’d say there’s a story of media failure to be told here as well (not from Kolbert, of course).

• If all we get out of a deficit deal from a structural standpoint is a two year budget cycle, we should consider ourselves lucky.

Twice as much radiation damage at Fukushima as originally reported. Really just heartbreaking.

• The Emergency Financial Manager law in Michigan has canceled its first union contracts, in Pontiac. We’re only talking about 11 police dispatchers at this point, but on principle, this is really a shocking usurpation of democracy.

• The US has basically stood mute as Bahrain brutally put down their internal uprising, and this is the thanks they get.

• The uprising has moved to Spain and even Macedonia, and in one sense, it’s causing a political awakening. Wikiparliament!

• The White House has gotten the message on an Al Qaeda operative’s shout-out for jihadists to use the gun show loophole. Even if this does mean that Al Qaeda can’t even train their own members in secret and have to basically put out want ads these days, it does show how the gun show loophole is very real, to the extent that even the Washington Post editorial board woke up about it.

• Evan Bayh is where he belongs, as a lobbyist for the US Chamber of Commerce. So typical.

• It’s not just that these charter schools are funded by Turkey – they raise a whole host of associated problems.

• The reductive argument here is not unusual for Matt Yglesias when he discusses education reform. No, it’s not true that the classroom doesn’t matter in student achievement; it’s also not true that poverty doesn’t matter. But the actual policies of the reform movement rarely if ever take poverty into account, nor do they take into account a leading cause of student achievement, adequate classroom resources. What’s more, I don’t even think these two quotes are analogous; the flak for for-profit colleges is saying that socioeconomic status is irrespective of the matriculation from a trade school, as opposed to SES over which a student in K-12 has no control.

• Dan Boren, among the worst if not the worst House Democrat, is retiring, and while this is a district almost certain to elect a Republican, David Nir thinks former Rep. Brad Carson would have a shot.

• Andrew Ross Sorkin can be counted on as a willing media mouthpiece for the bank lobby.

• These fake eviction notices in poor communities in Detroit, placed by Americans for Prosperity in conjunction with some campaign of theirs against a trade law, are really despicable.

• Herman Cain won’t sign a bill longer than three pages. Oh yeah? No longer than THREE WORDS! Beat that!

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David Dayen

David Dayen