D.C. Elite, Political Genius Ari Fleischer

Let’s clean out my link storage facility. Good Super Bowl, by the way:

• So Senate Republicans, and not even all of them, will write a letter and join any challenge of the recess appointments made by the President early this year. There has to be a lawsuit as a vehicle for that amicus brief, of course, and most of the big hitters haven’t filed one yet, though there is one from the National Federation for Independent Business and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.

• Scott Walker will voluntarily meet with the prosecutor in the ongoing John Doe investigation, and he’s lawyered up – with criminal defense lawyers – beforehand. Meanwhile an appeals court could accelerate the timing of the recall against Walker.

• At this pace, we’ll have the payroll tax cut thing all worked out by December 2015.

• Continued union murders lead the AFL-CIO to request a halt to the implementation of the Colombia free trade agreement.

• The White House still uses the frame of helping “responsible” homeowners, but Alan White argues that “Refinancing current borrowers does nothing to prevent the huge deadweight losses from continuing foreclosures, at 50% loss severities, on homes whose owners are delinquent.” My point exactly; it’s a stimulus policy, not a housing policy.

• Mitt Romney took one of the most invisible Nevada caucuses on record. I guess the Trump endorsement did it (at least, according to Donald Trump). Not fair to compare the turnout to 2008, because that was an event and this was an afterthought. This is not what Nevada had in mind when they became one of the privileged early states.

• I thought Republicans would make a real show of this Fast and Furious scandal months ago. They’re really starting to sink their teeth into it now.

• Republicans in Congress will try a Japanese “noh” agenda for the coming year.

• The City of Berkeley will take $300 million out of Wells Fargo, another milestone in the Move Your Money movement.

• The Wall Street donors have migrated to Mitt Romney, and the Koch Brothers picked up $100 million in pledges to defeat Obama. There’s no reason to tailor legislation or executive actions to those interests anymore, and in fact there never was.

• Finally, I can learn about private equity from a PR website designed to spin reporters, so I can get the “real” information on those firms.

• Yes, it has Jack Abramoff, but Republic Report has some other good people involved and has done some early good work.

• The effective corporate tax rate for last year was lower than Mitt Romney’s effective tax rate, at a low low 12.1%. [cont’d]

• Senate Democrats call for SuperPAC hearings.

• This is a really good outcome for that horrible circumstance up in Hershey, where foreign exchange students on a summer jobs program were essentially turned into indentured servants. The State Department banned the sponsor company, the Council for Educational Travel, USA, from bringing any more students into the country.

• Simon Johnson reports progress on too big to fail. In fact, he’s on an independent committee commissioned by the FDIC that will help them with resolution of big banks if that comes to pass.

• A mildly lazy thumbsucker about the 2016 election on the Democratic side, that doesn’t include Kirsten Gillibrand, who’s clearly gunning for a run.

• This modest recovery we’re in now is likely to keep the Fed from performing more monetary accommodation.

• The CFPB does seem to be doing a decent job on consumer complaints. Excellent.

• Colorado’s state House could tip to Democrats because of an ethics investigation into one of its Republican members.

• Mitt Romney can’t take someone else taking credit for his success, so he’s firing people who actually helped him. Slick.

• The Occupy Wall Street candidate.

• Heath Shuler’s now-lame-duck Congressional career was about as successful as his football career. All this and no Erskine Bowles for Governor too! The wanker caucus is taking their ball and going home in North Carolina.

• The veteran unemployment rate has plunged.

• One Florida Republican opposed privatizing state prisons, so he was booted off the committee overseeing the process.

• A few days old, but this $10,000 victory in small claims court over claims about the MPG of a Honda hybrid – an instance where the car company already settled a class action suit over this – shows a triumph over these meaningless settlements that make more money for the lawyers than the injured parties.

• Ray LaHood’s son now faces trial in Egypt.

• Er, in hindsight asking Joe Paterno about assistant coaches the way Newt Gingrich did was a bad idea.

• A Florida Republican forgot to remove the ALEC boilerplate from atop a bill she submitted to the legislature. At least it’s more honest that way.

• A bunch of guys and girls dress up as super-heroes and walk around Hollywood Boulevard to get tourists to take pictures with them for tips. They had a big brawl this weekend that ended with Jack Sparrow getting pepper sprayed. This happens every few months. Ah, Hollywood.

David Dayen

David Dayen