The Roundup for June 30, 2011
This is the traditional deadline date for many state budgets, and I actually thought we’d see a lot more government shutdowns, but so far, only Minnesota looms. A lot of the more extreme Governors have a friendly legislature to contend with, so horrible budgets like Ohio’s aren’t being challenged.
• Eric Holder announced two criminal investigations into detainee deaths in CIA custody, but dropped 99 other investigations into torture and detainee abuse. Marcy has more. As Spencer writes, this is a gift for newly minted CIA Director David Petraeus.
• Small solace that one Kansas abortion clinic will remain open, amid fears that every clinic in the state would have to shut their doors on Friday.
• About the only person who has even slightly shaken me from my belief in the Constitutional option for the debt limit is Kevin Drum. His interpretation is similar to the place of debt service in the California constitution, that it comes first, but that the government would have to stop paying everything else before it could get around to ignoring the debt limit. Feel free to tell me why he’s wrong in the comments.
• The NLRB wins the first round in the fight with Boeing, as an Administrative Law judge denies a motion to dismiss.
• On his last day as Defense Secretary, Robert Gates insisted that the military budget didn’t cause the deficit. Right, only the two wars since 9/11 which cost $3.7 trillion and counting caused it.
• The punch line on the Greek austerity and privatization vote is that there’s no guarantee that their creditors will respond with a full bailout and restructuring of debt.
• Pakistan shut the US out of its drone base today. Now do you know why the US wants permanent bases in Afghanistan, to continue to do the same work? Incidentally, the drone wars have moved on to Somalia, our 6th
kinetic military action war.
• Today is the final day of QEII. So now monetary policy will tighten, though it’ll be really interesting to see what happens to unsupported Treasury bond rates.
• This story seems a little speculative, and the final rule on fracking in New York could take months. But just a reminder that Andrew Cuomo is no liberal hero, just a DLC type who happens to have a progressive position on marriage equality.
• Brad DeLong on the crime of financial deregulation, and a mea culpa. “It seemed worth trying. It wasn’t.”
• The Senate plays hardball with Palestine, threatening to take away aid if they go to the UN for statehood.
• Ron Johnson’s deferred compensation shenanigans now has him in trouble with the IRS.
• 30 years for Lee Farkas, one of the only mortgage executives going to jail for fraud as fallout from the financial crisis.
• More financial fraud: we’re finally getting to the banksters! In Afghanistan.
• Rhode Island passes civil unions, while fellow New England state Maine prepares for a ballot measure in 2012 for marriage equality. In 2009, the state passed a measure overturning marriage equality, which passed the Legislature.
• That Libyan action the US is just “supporting” has led to 3,475 sorties by American planes. By the way, Britain acknowledged that they have sent supplies to the Libyan rebels, though not military weapons.
• Super-scary: “In the weeks after the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster, eight cities in the northwestern United States reported a 35-percent increase in the infant mortality rate.”
• The Administration has “limited engagement” with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
• The New Jersey legislature passed a bill to stay in the regional cap-and-trade program. I don’t think they can overcome a Chris Christie veto, however. New Jersey also passed a ban on fracking with veto-proof majorities.
• According to internal documents at the Department of Homeland Security, they don’t even know if the pornoscanners are safe for use.
• The sad, slow decline of Andy Stern. He now says he was too tough as the SEIU leader on private equity and the banks, and he’s full-on pimping for the repatriation tax holiday.
• President Thaddeus McCotter? More like “guy who’s getting a raw deal in redistricting looking for some exposure for his next career on K Street.”
• Mark Halperin should be suspended for being Mark Halperin, nothing else.