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The Roundup for June 29, 2011

I have a feeling that the Roundup for August 2, 2011 is only going to say something like “…Pray for us.”

• After all that make-work for lobbyists associated with the swipe fee battle, after two victories for retailers in Congress, the Fed went ahead and nearly doubled the swipe fee limits, providing billions to the big banks. They always have an out card to play.

• All it took was one story and a bit of outcry for the Administration to cancel its mystery shoppers program to gauge primary care processes. You could knock this crew over with a feather.

• Stan Greenberg really loathes the backward-looking message from the President on the economy, thinks defending the record in that way will lead to electoral doom.

• After the President chided Congress for leaving town all the time, the Senate might cancel their July 4 recess, which would – surprise! – mean no recess appointments, because the Senate would be in session. What exactly could the Senate do, anyway, wait for negotiations between the President and the leadership to continue?

• We could see an ethanol subsidy deal outside of the debt limit talks, which would obviously mean less solutions to place inside of them, which makes things worse.

• The debt limit talks are trying to arrive at $4 trillion in solutions to reduce the deficit. US wars since 9/11 have cost $3.7 trillion so far. With between 224,000 to 258,000 deaths besides. QED.

• Nobody much likes California’s majority-vote austerity budget, which adds another round of around $4-5 billion in cuts onto $12 billion from earlier in the year, meaning more fiscal contraction wiping out any prior expansion. The solution is completely unsustainable as well, and revenues will have to be put up for a vote of the people, because the state won’t rightly survive under this austerity scheme. Among other things, the budget eliminates funding for most of the Mortgage Fraud Task Force that AG Kamala Harris just put together.

• Gawker gets the Bo right: “Bank of America Will Make Amends for Destroying Economy by Paying Billions to Other Banks.”

• We Are Ohio delivered five times the signatures needed to get a citizen veto of SB 5 on the ballot. But many public employees aren’t taking any chances – they’re retiring in droves.

• Syria denies targeting protesters for repression, they just had the misfortune of getting in front of bullets that happened to be flying through the air (I added that last part). The Assad regime actually pulled back some of their forces today.

• Florida housing advocates are alarmed about an unfavorable court ruling that they think sanctions foreclosure fraud and bogus mortgage documentation.

• The attack on the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul shows just how precarious the country is to Taliban infiltration, even after all these years of “good progress.” I don’t think this fact is inconsistent with polling showing massive support for withdrawal – people realize we’ve done everything we can do, without results.

• Yet another report shows speculation as a key driver behind the increase in gas prices.

• Glenn Greenwald is devastating on Harold Koh today. Speaking of Libya, surprise! France is arming the rebels! Slippery slope watch…

• The Senate actually finished some business today, completing a bill which eliminates a whole 169 Presidential appointments from the confirmation process, out of a total of 1,416. The Senate is now 11.9% more efficient! So multiply that by 0…

• New battles in Tahrir Square last night, as reformers protest the ruling military transitional government, and the total lack of preparation for the September elections.

• Surely a massive wildfire near Los Alamos is nothing to worry about.

• We’re now reduced to having unions finance infrastructure projects. The federal government’s busy.

• The story that Massey Energy kept two sets of safety books is crazy, but not at all surprising.

• One house in Wyoming, used as a tax shelter, houses 2,000 corporations.

• These Saudi women drivers are brave as hell.

• A new lawsuit in New Jersey seeks marriage equality there, arguing that the legislature’s plan of civil unions doesn’t meet with a 2006 state Supreme Court decision that “same sex couples should be guaranteed the same rights as heterosexual married couples.”

• I don’t know how good a hit it is to discover that Michele Bachmann’s husband’s mental health operation took $137,000 in Medicaid payments, but it did get Bachmann to admit that “Medicaid is a valuable form of insurance.”

• Be my guest, Heath Shuler, and take the Tennessee AD job. Please.

• Chris Christie, unpopular politician.

• Rudy Giuliani promised to officiate his friend’s gay wedding if marriage equality ever made it to New York. Now it’s the law, and Rudy can’t be found. He must be off with the new wife.

• Rupert Murdoch sold MySpace for the approximate value of Justin Bieber’s Twitter feed. Took a whopping loss in the process.

• 13 Democratic Senators cut an It Gets Better video.

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David Dayen

David Dayen