The Roundup for October 28, 2011

Should be a good weekend here in LA, lots planned. Get off the computer and get out there!

• Let me call this op-ed by former Reagan Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady, which pulls off the rhetorical trick of sympathizing with Occupy Wall Street, blaming the financial industry for straying from their core mission, and then blaming everything on outsized government spending, the worst op-ed I’ll ever read until, well, tomorrow’s Washington Post.

• Far better reads today come from Paul Krugman on the tragedy of austerity, and Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein calling out David Brooks’ concern trolling.

• If Congress managed to pass a high-skill immigration bill, that would actually represent a little progress, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

• Eric Lichtblau shows how bundlers who are effectively lobbyists are helping fund President Obama’s re-election campaign, at odds with his pledge not to take any lobby money.

• I really should have wrote about the new drone launching pad in Ethiopia today. The drone war in Somalia has really intensified over the last few weeks.

• The worst thing about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the “NAFTA for Asia” that the Obama Administration is currently negotiating, is that it’s clearly become a tool for special interests like the pharmaceutical industry to ratchet up prices for their products. And when this is done on prescription drugs in impoverished nations that need them, it reaches the height of immorality. For corporate-written trade deals, this has become the model.

• I think that pundit-in-chief Barack Obama will look back on this Financial Times op-ed with quite a bit of embarrassment once the Eurozone crisis plays out. A German court just made the resolution more difficult, incidentally.

• Elijah Cummings is a brave man for dodging the traditional media talking points on the housing crisis. I think the biggest obstacle to a solution there is just a dearth of basic information.

• Medicaid is actually going to have trouble surviving without doing something to relieve the burden of long-term care. Long-term care patients are 6% of the Medicaid population, yet they run up almost 50% of the costs.

• The thing is that Mitt Romney didn’t actually change his view on climate change. He’s always used weasel words on this issue, and even back in 2006 he took Massachusetts out of the Northeast regional cap and trade program.

• The flooding in Thailand, threatening to overwhelm Bangkok, is truly terrifying. I’ve been to Bangkok and the water from the Chao Phraya river is toxic. I can’t imagine that washing up on the streets and in homes.

• When it comes to defense spending, we are all Keynesians now – in particular Republicans.

• A federal judge finally approved the black farmer settlement, and payouts from the government can now begin.

• Great first-person essay from a reluctant protester at Occupy Oakland who was finally motivated to get into the streets.

• It’s not just Republicans and the banking industry that wants to nix risk retention, some housing advocates are sadly being used as pawns in this effort.

• Support for the war in Afghanistan has never been lower.

• The woman who held up that iconic sign at an Occupy Wall Street protest was fired from her job as a freelancer for public radio. That’s two scalps for public radio, now.

• Fox News’ website could be shut down by Anonymous hackers next week.

Twice as much radioactive material was released from the Fukushima nuclear plant, compared to previous estimates.

• John Kerry, who earlier said he didn’t have enough time to look into the State Department’s conflict of interest on the Keystone XL pipeline environmental review, now has promised to leave no question unanswered. As long as it fits into his schedule, I guess.

• What Goldman Sachs is doing to a small credit union in New York City that happens to hold the cash for Occupy Wall Street is really disgusting.

• Is it really so hard – or costly – for politicians to hire a photographer who can get them the images they need, instead of relying on stock photos?

• Herman Cain, now pro-choice again. Or anti-choice. I can’t keep track.

• Good to see Mitch McConnell working on the important issues facing America, like getting the University of Louisville into the Big 12 conference. Which he failed at doing, by the way.

• Jon Huntsman’s daughters are pretty funny.

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