The Roundup for February 16, 2012
Shahien Nasiripour just dropped a bombshell report that confirms something I wrote about previously on the foreclosure fraud settlement and HAMP. Much more on that tomorrow.
Also tomorrow, FDL will welcome Bill Black, the professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and leading criminologist who helped prosecute the S&L scandal, for a conversation about the foreclosure fraud settlement. I will be hosting the special salon. Join us at 2:00 PM ET tomorrow.
• This new Medicare proposal fro Republican Senators Tom Coburn and Richard Burr actually scales back the Ryan plan to end Medicare, and preserves a role for traditional Medicare, according to Igor Volsky. That doesn’t make it good – it raises the eligibility age to 67, for example, and it’s more like a Ryan-Wyden “premium support” system than not – but it is something of a walkback.
• Jobless claims fell again last week and are at their lowest point in four years. Moreover, housing starts were up last month. I think the biggest obstacle now for the economy is going to be rising gas prices. Otherwise, we’re in a modest recovery. And to quote Mitt Romney, “thank heavens.”
• The UN had to use the General Assembly for a resolution on Syria that Russia and China still opposed. The resolution backs an Arab League plan calling for Bashar al-Assad to step down.
• Subprime mortgage bonds are experiencing a comeback, and this news is part of the whole “housing crisis over” meme we’re seeing around.
• Sarah Posner has a wrap on the men-only-no-ladies birth control hearing today in the House. Meanwhile, the real fireworks on this came outside the hearing room, when Foster Friess made his stand-up debut with a joke on how back in the day, women used Bayer aspirin for birth control by holding it between their knees! (Get it, that means they can’t open their legs! Sluts! I’ll be here all week.)
• I will say that it is unclear how self-insured institutions are supposed to handle the Obama Administration’s accommodation on birth control access. But then, the entire hoop-jumping on accounting is kind of nonsensical, anyway.
• The New Jersey legislature gave final approval to a marriage equality bill that Chris Christie plans to veto. And should he run for President in four years, I predict that will actually haunt him.
• Amnesty International reports that Libyan militias are “out of control.”
• David Leonhardt reports on the rise of Chinese currency, but of course it’s coming from a very low bottom.
• Dane 101 takes a look at the Wisconsin angle on Scott Walker diverting foreclosure fraud settlement money to fill the state’s budget hole.
• Joseph Kennedy III will take Barney Frank’s seat in Congress, and the Kennedy run in politics will continue for at least another 30 years, after a brief hiatus.
• The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will seek oversight of debt collectors and credit reporting companies.
• We’re backing the coup plotters in the Maldives???
• Incredible that the prison privatization bill in Florida went down.
• Daniel Davies’ Choose Your Own Adventure story for the Greek crisis is pretty fun. I don’t know if I agree with his conclusion for the scenario I chose, but it’s fun nonetheless.
• What exactly does Fox News’ Eric Bolling have to do to lose his job?
• Sarah Palin’s sitting in a corner saying “Hey GOP, if you want to make me the nominee at the last minute, as long as I don’t have to do a damn thing beforehand, call me, you know?”. I believe TBogg called this “pulling a Rosie Ruiz.” Sounds about right.
• Politico reveals its ignorance. This is the cached version of the story they put up yesterday, when they claimed that the Wisconsin state flag (with its 1848 signifying the year it was accepted into the Union) was a flag for union local 1848.
• Al Green will have his revenge on Barack Obama tonight.
• Best wishes to Stephen Colbert, who is apparently dealing with a family matter that forced the cancellation of his Comedy Central show yesterday and today.
• Um, the piggy-back bandit? That’s just a new level of deviancy on me.