A stack of newspapers, in this case the LA Times.

So much news, so little time (Photo: Daniel R. Blume)

There’s wasn’t a lot going on Monday, so I packed up early. Besides, I was born on a President’s birthday (Lincoln), so like everyone with that profile, I celebrate my birthday on the designated observed holiday. So happy birthday to me!

• This Maine caucus debacle, including the new revelation that some tallies of results went to a spam folder and therefore weren’t counted, should be enough to end the entire caucus process entirely, if anyone were being real about it.

• The Obama Administration’s war on medical pot baffles Kevin Drum, but isn’t this just “tough on crime” winning out going into an election year?

• I called Romney coming back in Michigan several days ago, especially after hearing about the SuperPACs outspending Santorum 29-1 or something, so the tightening of the past few days confirms those expectations. I don’t think endorsement-flippers like Mike DeWine will really help Santorum in this regard. He needs more of Foster Friess’ cash.

• John McCain isn’t so ridiculous that he denies the importance of talks with the Taliban to end the Afghanistan war, unlike the man he endorsed for President, Mitt Romney.

• The Administration will no longer defend the blocking of same-sex benefits to military families, a furthering of their challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act.

• I think we can safely call Greece a colonized state at this point. And it’s going as well there as in all those other colonies in the 18th and 19th centuries. [We’ll update about the “agreement” later]

87 members of Congress, from both parties, wrote to the President to essentially let him know they were listening when Leon Panetta said that the combat mission in Afghanistan would be curtailed a year, ending in 2013 instead of 2014.

• More on that Modern Monetary Theory piece that was in WaPo from Jared Bernstein and Kevin Drum. Let’s at least have this debate in public instead of pretending that “everyone agrees” on deficit reduction.  Dean Baker, like Krugman before, sees Keynes and asks, “what’s modern about it?”

“Sacrificing disease prevention in the name of budget austerity.” Those Modern Monetary Theorists are looking better and better.

• What if insurance companies don’t really like the idea of giving out free contraceptive coverage? I would say “big deal,” but considering the precarious ground upon which this contraception compromise finds itself, it may actually be one.

• This Paul Babeu story is practically the model for these conservative hypocrites. At least he owned up to being gay, a new wrinkle in this genre.

• Is there really a shortage of skilled factory workers? I’d tend to think this is more about factory owners who don’t want to take the time to train anyone even slightly.

• Presidential elections were bumping along at relatively the same level of funding until 2004. I blame the blogs. (More seriously, I think you can chalk this up to 527 spending and the first Presidential candidate in modern history to opt out of public financing, along with the inflation of TV advertising and even spending on fundraising.)

• Juan Cole writes that the oil sanctions against Iran aren’t hurting that country nearly as much as the citizens of the West, and with oil prices at a 9-month high, I’d tend to believe him.

• Syrian forces are massing outside Homs for what could be a final assault against the protest movement.

• Members of the IAEA are in Tehran for nuclear talks.

• The horrific story of Jefferson County, Alabama continues.

• More examples of entertainment companies trying to turn a buck off of Whitney Houston’s death.

David Dayen

David Dayen