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The Roundup for January 22, 2012

Have several things teed up for Monday. But we’ll let them go for now, on this, the 39th anniversary of the ruling in Roe v. Wade (yesterday was the 2nd anniversary of the Citizens United decision, so it’s a big weekend for Supreme Court anniversaries). Some links instead.

• Obviously we had the major shake-up in the Republican primary race, with Newt Gingrich winning the South Carolina primary. Florida becomes very important, though not fatal for Romney unless he just gets swamped. That’s a big state with a lot of media markets, and money will loom large as a factor. However, the very Republican panhandle is practically part of Gingrich’s home state of Georgia, which could be a factor as well.

• The race has already changed in one respect: Mitt Romney will release his 2010 tax returns, and an estimate for 2011. He won’t go beyond that because of “the Internet.” Obviously critics will question why only two years are being released; I don’t think this helps Romney out of this box at all.

• Gaby Giffords will step down this week, to focus her time on her recovery. The President released this statement.

• In Indiana, unions hit the airwaves trying to stop the right-to-work legislation which could get a vote as early as tomorrow, while video is discovered showing Governor Mitch Daniels opposing right-to-work changes back in 2004, when he still had to face voters.

• Credit Suisse tries to peddle the nonsense that principal reductions don’t help homeowners. Good luck with that one.

• WMC Mortgage Corp. in Burbank, a former subprime lender, faces a possible FBI investigation over knowingly securitizing mortgages it knew to be fraudulent.

• Saying that the US will meet its goal of doubling exports means nothing unless you know whether imports have increased or decreased. As Jared Bernstein says, “analysis like this always reads to me a bit like, ‘hey, the Wizards scored 92 points last night! Hooray!…(btw, the Bulls scored 110…).'”

• RIP Joe Paterno, who died on Sunday, contrary to news reports on Saturday. I’ve seen studies recently about how you really can die of a broken heart. After the disgraced ending at Penn State, Paterno may have had little left to live for.

• The statistics on the financial cost of piracy are completely bogus.

• Maybe I’ll write more about this tomorrow, but I don’t buy for a second that John Boehner will condition the payroll tax cut extension on the Keystone XL pipeline again. I just don’t see that happening. It’s more what he has to say.

• The drone strikes come to Somalia.

• Now protests against Libya’s transitional government? Really only Tunisia has come through the Arab uprising with any semblance of stability.

• To suggest that Iraq’s government is coming apart assumes that there was any stable government in place to begin with, rather than a strongman waiting to muscle out his competition.

• Britain allows TV ads for abortion clinics, or in other words, a clinic offering a legal medical procedure can advertise for that procedure. So, good.

• Joe Nocera continues his crusade against the NCAA, and actually, the NCAA deserves the scrutiny.

• Students have been sentenced to janitorial duty in Arizona if they don’t comply with the seizure of Mexican-American themed textbooks.

• Wow, the establishment media really feels threatened by Stephen Colbert, ay? Incidentally, Herman Cain, who benefited from Colbert Super PAC ads in the final week in South Carolina and a push from Colbert to vote for him as a proxy, got 1% of the vote in the state, including over 2% in Charleston, where he and Colbert held a rally on Friday.

• Colbert actually picked up an endorsement from Congressman Dennis Cardoza, though I think this is more about his general antipathy toward President Obama than anything.

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David Dayen

David Dayen