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The Roundup for October 2, 2011

I’m getting on a plane Sunday night bound for Washington, where I’ll be at the Take Back the American Dream conference for the next two days. I’m on a panel Tuesday morning. So expect conference-level posting for me for the next couple days, in other words not a whole lot.

• Greece’s cabinet approved another round of austerity for the country, including the firing of 30,000 public workers. If that doesn’t kickstart growth, nothing will!

• Why hasn’t Meredith Whitney been drummed out of the country for her laughable prediction about municipal bankruptcies? In particular she thought the pension funds would blow up, and they’re coming back strong.

• Another round of lawsuits from investors over BofA and JPMorgan Chase-issued MBS. These are just going to keep coming. And it’s not even them but Morgan Stanley whose position is putting analysts in fear. They’re more exposed to the euro crisis. Though in a sense we all are.

• Anwar al-Awlaki’s assassination has led to more talk than I expected about the legality of the act, especially after the revelation of a secret memo authorizing the killing. Lots of Administration officials are dropping state secrets on the media to justify the action, and the phrase “chief of external operations” has cropped up as a description of Awlaki, which I guess is another way of saying “cleric with YouTube account.”

• I’d love to see the name of Trent Lott or Haley Barbour’s old hunting camp. Something tells me Barbour is REAL happy he wasn’t subjected to this type of scrutiny.

• Rick Perry, incidentally, is striking back at claims that he’s soft on undocumented immigrants by threatening to invade Mexico. But if he captures the territory and annexes it, that just means MORE illegals in this country! #wingnutlogic

• Yet for some reason, Chris Christie may want to jump into this cauldron. His time as the US Attorney in New Jersey is just a swamp of oppo research. The weight thing, however, is kind of absurd, and would generate huge blowback in this country.

• The SEC Enforcement Director is whining about problems with charging the rating agencies. I think this is a little ridiculous. Consult the Levin report: there’s physical evidence to be used here.

• Here’s a pretty good model for how to reset the housing market and deleverage debt: the Hungarian model.

• The mental toll of persistent unemployment is incalculable.

• An Arab uprising roundup (that other uprising): Protesters are still dying in Syria, but so are soldiers, as the country tips toward civil war; Yemen remains a mess, as Ali Abdullah Saleh (John Bolton’s favorite strongman) vows not to step down until his rivals do the same; in Egypt, opposition groups are talking about boycotting the elections as protests in Tahrir Square resume.

• It costs China hundreds of billions of dollars a year to keep up their currency manipulation. They do it to boost their export industries.

• The FAA workers affected by the shutdown earlier this year will recoup back pay. Good news.

• A senior leader of the Haqqani network in Afghanistan was captured over the weekend.

• The JPMorgan Chase donation to the NYPD was made in June, so I don’t think it’s a direct reaction to Occupy Wall Street. Makes for bad optics, however.

• I think this appeals court was too hasty striking down a challenge to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell because it has been repealed. Now, if it’s reinstated, advocates have to start all over again in the courts.

• Good interview by Joan McCarter with Brian Schweitzer, who wants to enact his own universal health care system for Montana instead of the Affordable Care Act. In a red state this is a pretty good play.

• The honor student in New York who was about to be deported got a temporary reprieve.

• No, there were no $16 muffins purchased by the Justice Department.

• Military chaplains are now able to perform same-sex unions.

• The candidate for sheriff of Philadelphia is running on a platform of no evictions for homeowners.

• Mike Stark is starting to make conservative talk radio sweat with his project to put a wave of liberal callers to their shows on the airwaves.

• Best to Harry Reid’s wife, diagnosed with breast cancer.

• Sad: Troy Davis’ funeral was over the weekend. Meanwhile, California prisoners resumed their hunger strike protesting the miserable conditions in the jails.

• Anti-obesity taxes on unhealthy foods are starting to predominate in Europe. It will be a while before they come here.

• The NYT sexy chicken picture has a Twitter feed.

• Keeping with the chicken theme, there’s an Obama Fried Chicken restaurant in China.

New Arrested Development!

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David Dayen

David Dayen