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The Roundup for March 7, 2012

Why yes, I’ve been looking at iPad specs all day. How are you?

• A big group of bondholders signed on to the Greek debt swap, but not enough for full participation. So Greece may compel participation through a collective action clause that would force bondholders to choose between the haircut or nothing. We’ll know by tomorrow. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the European recession represents the main problem for the continent, not how much one bondholder gets over another.

• John Boehner has given an ultimatum to his conservative flank to support their highway bill or wind up with nothing and a Senate version of the bill that won’t have their input. And they say conservatives are the ones that fall in line…

• The new site America Underwater pushes deep modifications as a solution to the foreclosure crisis. But we’re going in the other direction. Since the new year, foreclosure starts are up and loan modifications are down.

• Even Mitt Romney at this point is calling for sustainable modifications, but I’m sure that postion will change if you wait a minute.

• I’ll outsource Super Tuesday commentary to this one paragraph from Andrew Sullivan:

If Newt bowed out, we might have a real cotest. But he won’t. So we have, perhaps, the worst of all possible worlds for the GOP: a front-runner who cannot be stopped, but who is losing altitude against Obama with every vote, and being slimed by Republican rivals for at least another month. Even his stump speech has deteriorated. And his unfavorables continue a relentless rise.

• Student debt has reached crisis levels, and will sit in the background of every economic policy for the next generation, largely without comment. It now costs more to go to a public university in California than it does to go to Harvard.

• Benjamin Netanyahu predicted in 1992 that Iran would have a nuclear weapon by 1997. And others made similar predictions. They were always wrong. Let’s keep that in mind.

• We’re going to get a new bill imposing duties on Chinese imports signed into law. Didn’t see that coming.

• Bob McDonnell signed the revised ultrasound bill in Virginia today. The culture wars continue apace, and the right gets more than their share of wins.

• What will come first: the Volcker rule implementation or the 2016 election?

• A harrowing story about the replacement for abortion provider George Tiller in Kansas. The right may just scare the country out of access to legal abortions.

• John Kasich reversed himself and will now allow funding for natural disasters to flow into Ohio.

• Some good news for a change: the United Nations met its Millennium Development goals on safe drinking water three years early.

• Republican Rep. Cliff Stearns allegedly tried to bribe his opponent for re-election into dropping out of the race. Mitt Romney should try that. Will that little transaction show up on I Paid a Bribe?

• Leon Panetta was in no mood to take lecturing about yet another war from the likes of John McCain. Indeed, there’s no consensus on intervention in Syria being a particularly good idea, which is tragic in its own way. But at least the cost-benefit analysis is being done.

• We may not have much of a justice system left but we can still convict Ponzi schemers.

• Anti-choice activist Randall Terry probably picked up delegates in last night’s Democratic primary in Oklahoma.

Excellent work from Mark Thoma on morality in budgets and economics.

• Considering who the last “partner” turned out to be, maybe not having a new partner yet in Egypt is a good thing. Maybe the lawmaker who had to quit over getting a nose job could be our partner.

• It’s Rasmussen, but it’s fair to say that Bob Kerrey probably won’t become a US Senator again.

• Moral hazard for banks? Unpossible!

• Davis Guggenheim has made a little career of creating worshipping documentaries about Democratic politicians.

• Breaking: Barack Obama once spoke in public while at Harvard. Radical!

• RIP Rep. Donald Payne.

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David Dayen

David Dayen