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The Roundup for February 15, 2012

Insert sentence worth of jokes here.

• Iran claimed progress on the road to nuclear fuel production, which incidentally is perfectly consistent with nuclear power production and not necessarily weapons.

• Great investigation from Lee Fang at Republic Report showing that the drone industry is banking on continued global conflict to drive their profits. The industry also lists “civil liberties” as a key obstacle to their business model.

• Meanwhile, the drone wars aren’t exactly helping matters in Yemen.

• Shaun Donovan and Eric Holder placed an op-ed in the Las Vegas Sun defending the foreclosure fraud deal. I don’t even have the heart to break this thing down (it hails “immediate relief” when it will take 6-9 months to notify borrowers of their eligibility, just to use one example). It should be noted that Donovan didn’t get the facts straight when discussing the settlement with mortgage investors.

• The Federal Reserve created another bank conglomerate that could become Too Big to Fail in the future, this time by allowing the Capital One/ING Direct merger.

• It must be the apocalypse, because I mostly agree with Robert Samuelson that higher health care costs and a graying population are crowding out federal spending on anything else. I’m sure we have different ideas on how to deal with that.

• Sam Stein reads Noam Scheiber’s new book The Escape Artists, and finds that Christina Romer actually wanted a $1.8 trillion stimulus. Incidentally, Scheiber himself remarks on the “11-dimensional chess” theory of Obama’s political strategy, and pronounces it non-existent.

• Depending on who you read, the Federal Reserve Board is unlikely to pursue more asset purchases, open to consideration of more asset purchases or somewhere in the middle.

• The chief judge in New York announced the creation of “foreclosure courts”, which have been bad news for homeowners in Florida. But these look like they won’t end up being “rocket dockets.”

• Greek leaders proclaimed “progress” in ongoing talks with Eurozone finance ministers on a bailout. Meanwhile, you’re still going to see holdouts among bondholders on the debt restructuring aspect of the deal.

• The President desires subtle changes to the debt limit deal, which you can see from his FY 2013 budget plan.

• Dean Baker thinks that Japan’s announcement of an inflation target is big news.

• Climate skeptics are getting a taste of their own medicine, as leaked documents from the Heartland Institute reveal the funding and strategy for climate denial, including indoctrination in secondary schools.

• The landmark Egyptian Presidential election will take place at the end of May, according to reports.

• Bashar al-Assad, meanwhile, set a vote for February 26 on a new Syrian Constitution that would include more political participation from opposition parties. Needless to say, this is seen by many as a sham.

• Look for a New START II in an Obama second term, provided the Russians elect someone with an eye toward reducing their nuclear arsenal further.

• After an expose showing Nancy Brinker completely ripping off the Susan G. Komen charity, the Washington Post instead runs a gauzy puff piece about her.

• Robert Zoellick will leave the World Bank. Let the Hillary Clinton/Larry Summers rumors begin.

• Rick Santorum, now well in the lead in the Republican nomination for President in some polling, released an ad today with a Mitt Romney impersonator firing a frothy mix of seminal fluid and fecal matter at him with a paint gun. At least that’s my assumption.

• More on Occupy the SEC’s Volcker rule document from Masaccio.

• The way in which US and British intelligence coddled Moammar Gadhafi is destined for the memory hole.

• Chris Christie will veto a marriage equality bill this week when it gets to his desk after passing the New Jersey state legislature.

• Interesting article about a proposed “land bank” to deal with foreclosures in Kansas City.

• Using Politifact’s logic, 4 out of every 10 voters in Kansas selected Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential election, giving him a majority.

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David Dayen

David Dayen