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The Roundup for August 25, 2011

No DC earthquake today, so it was really boring…

• Treasury has no idea where the New York Times got that number, $22.9 billion, to describe how much of their TARP money has been pledged or committed for housing. They put it at more like $12 billion (out of an initial $50 billion commitment). And they plan not to use the rest, putting it back toward the deficit. That kind of says it all.

• Official statistics are showing a reduction in the growth of Medicare spending, an actual bending of the cost curve. It’s early, but it’s somewhat promising because the reduction in spending is not accompanied by a reduction in quality of care. Peter Orzsag says that health IT and better hospital administration are among the reasons. Of course, the implication is that moving more people into Medicare would be the trick to reduce overall spending.

• California may be a real leader in the next steps on health care. In addition to passing a rate review bill through the Senate Appropriations Committee (although the Governor’s office may not be on board), a consumer group wants to put together a ballot measure that would massively roll back insurance rates and add a public option.

• We’ll see a story about the “good progress” from the Catfood Commission II every day between now and November.

• Libyan rebels continue to fight in the final pockets of Tripoli, amid reports of scattered bodies, victims of atrocities. The rebels claim those corpses died at the hands of Gadhafi’s forces.

• As I understand it, the long-term unemployed job training program the Administration proposed would not preclude those long-term unemployed from getting UI benefits,  In the Georgia version, they get an extended stipend, I believe. But obviously, creating a free labor program for businesses is concerning.

• HHS is well behind in figuring out the CLASS Act, about a year behind schedule. This public long-term care insurance program is on the chopping block.

• Mitt Romney is going to crazy base land on climate change, but regardless of what he believes, he’d never do anything about it, so I don’t see why it matters.

• There’s no Texas miracle, there’s a Great Plains miracle. And it’s more of an oil and gas “miracle,” which isn’t much of a miracle at all.

• A counter-intuitive take on Bank of America.

• Another article about the multi-day protest at Paul Ryan’s district offices.

• What do you know, welfare recipients in Florida are mostly not drug addicts!

• The special prosecutor looking at the David Prosser choking incident in Wisconsin decided not to press charges.

• Initial jobless claims spiked again, and even though some of it is due to the Verizon strike leading to people filing for unemployment, it’s still a bad sign.

• Jon Huntsman thinks the rich should sacrifice, but not, you know, by paying more in taxes or anything.

• I think Cheney’s biography is actually just a map with a bunch of crosshairs on it. But this is the best part: “And in the epilogue, Mr. Cheney writes that after undergoing heart surgery in 2010, he was unconscious for weeks. During that period, he wrote, he had a prolonged, vivid dream that he was living in an Italian villa, pacing the stone paths to get coffee and newspapers.”

• Elizabeth Warren got her first union endorsement, and it was unsolicited.

• Rick Perry tried to run the dead peasant’s insurance scheme on Texas retired teachers.

Good Lord, what a terribly wrong quote from German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble.

• JPMorgan was fined by Treasury for trading with the enemy.

• Being a Congressman is hard, I tell you, hard! Maybe we should ask immigrants to do it, because it’s a job Americans just won’t do.

• More invisible town hall revolution madness here and here, including a victory against Steve Chabot.

• Virginia is the latest state to try a back-door abortion ban.

• I hate Polish Spiderman.

• If Moammar Gadhafi were just a taxi driver in New York, he could have just started a CondiBlog and been done with it.

• Three words you don’t want to hear about your company’s founder: “New Nazi claims.”

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David Dayen

David Dayen