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The Roundup for February 7, 2012

There was supposed to be a press call from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman at 6pm ET, but ten minutes prior, his office abruptly announced it was “postponed indefinitely.” Wow.

So I’ll leave you with this:

• After a deal on interim maps in Texas was announced yesterday, in part due to public outcry from elected officials, the deal broke down, and now nobody knows when the Texas primary will take place.

• 67% of Americans want to see an end to the combat role in Afghanistan by 2014. Of course, what they’ll probably get is a replacement of that role with a stepped-up covert operations role. And just as a sidelight, nothing in Afghanistan is working.

• Paul Ryan plans to take the opening Ron Wyden gave him and write a budget with a Democratically-endorsed end to Medicare as we know it.

• Basically there will be no public employees left in Greece before this is all through. Maybe their Parliament can be the first to fall victim to the budget axe. Outside of Greece, I should note, we’re seeing slightly better economic numbers in Europe.

• The White House may push their housing plan, but as far as the parts that require Congressional approval are concerned it’s DOA. Meanwhile, the bigger fix to the housing market may just be the business cycle, though I remain a bit skeptical of this.

• I don’t see this Republican transportation bill going anywhere. What’s the point here?

• Good profile in Housing Wire of Justice Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada.

• For the banks, a foreclosure fraud settlement is just the cost of doing business. They have more than enough money reserved in this, especially when you consider that even if they comply, the losses will play out over many years.

• I’ve seen anecdotal accounts that differ from this story about banks paying homeowners up to $35,000 in a short sale to avoid foreclosure. If it’s true, however, then there must be some areas of the country where they REALLY don’t want anyone to see the mortgage documents.

• The truth is that we still need help in the economy. Ben Bernanke said as much today.

• Getting reimbursed twice for the same Congressional trips is part of what it means to be a libertarian.

• Russ Feingold slammed President Obama on his reversal on SuperPACs. Feingold is a rare exception to that pragmatic stance taken by most politicians on this subject.

• Michigan and Maine unemployed workers will lose out on 99 weeks of benefits, as the last tier expires there.

• The Republican who helped design TARP under Hank Paulson was just nominated by President Obama to the FDIC.

• Residents use the word “genocide” to describe the situation in Homs, as American interventionists like Lindsey Graham call for arming the rebels. Lots of them are already armed; the problem is their leadership being disjointed and split.

• Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) becomes the latest House retirement; a retired member of Congress, former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE), will not run for Ben Nelson’s open seat.

• A big increase in job openings in December is another good sign for the economy.

Interesting points from Matt Yglesias on whether ultra-low interest rates punish savers, but there is a subset of near-retirees who can’t really take big risks with their money who will be screwed by 6-7 years of zero interest-rate policy.

• Culture of corruption in Congress, Vern Buchanan edition.

• We definitely need another news network.

• That racist Pete Hoekstra ad really is astonishing, especially when he’ll have to take that in a Senate race to what is actually a diverse state in Michigan. So far, Crazy Pete won’t back down.

• I am very inspired by the work of the Occupy Our Homes movement.

• We have to deal with this Uganda kill-the-gays bill again?

• Loving AFSCME’s use of Raising Arizona in their ad decrying the upcoming anti-union bills in that state.

• I don’t know where Mitt Romney would be if it weren’t for Donald Trump.

• Somebody should send constituent calls from Jim Achower and Smoove B to John Fleming’s Congressional office.

• The birthers are back in town!

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David Dayen

David Dayen