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The Roundup for March 12, 2012

Prepare to be rounded up! Lots of backlog from previous days. And I’ll definitely have a lot more on the settlement documents Tuesday.

• Paul Krugman tells the correct story about Greece, one of austerity during a time of economic strife, a story that can only end badly, with economic suffering and no progress on reducing debt. And the news of recession in Italy and rising debt in Spain only fits that analysis. Perhaps the perfidy of Greece’s opposition leader will save the public from a more crushing burden.

• The Obama Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, one of the bright spots over there, has denied pre-clearance under the Voting Rights Act to a voter ID law in Texas that it says would unfairly burden Hispanics.

• No argument with Dean Baker on the silliness of comparisons between the housing bubble and the student loan bubble, but that’s not to say that rising student debt poses no problems for the economy. Or, more important, for those collapsing under the weight of that debt.

• BP lobbied their way out of liability for the Gulf oil spill.

• I’m surprised that Rick Hasen’s statement about surging campaign spending in the wake of the Citizens United decision is in any way controversial. Just follow the money.

• I know he’s wacky and all, but Dennis Kucinich happens to be right about the damage to the Constitution done by the Administration’s confirmed targeted killing program. Especially when we don’t even know if that can be applied stateside or not.

• Nobody bothered to pay attention to that “JOBS Act” from last week beyond the title. Nobody noticed that the bill gutted regulations on public company startups at the expense of investor security. Arthur Levitt called the bill a “disgrace.”

• Should they just install an actual revolving door between Capitol Hill and K Street at this point?

• Rick Santorum does have a plan for winning the GOP nomination. He believes that the “official” delegate counts are all wrong, and that he’ll clean up in the state nominating conventions. And the Romney camp, as a result, will talk about “overturning the will of the people,” and chaos will ensue.

• We just can’t have Doonesbury commenting on a recent public policy debate, it’s just too controversial.

• The deputy oil minister and four high-ranking generals have defected in Syria. Perhaps the brutality is taking a toll.

• Even with the economy improving in 2011, public transit use went up. If it could get me anywhere near where I wanted to go, I would use mass transit all the time.

• The Government Accountability Board in Wisconsin has zeroed in on June 5 as the likely recall general election date, with primaries four weeks earlier.

• When in doubt, blame the foreigners, is I guess what Nicolas Sarkozy is trying to say.

• Good news about declining coal use in the US.

• Is the NYPD also spying on Occupy Wall Street?

• High oil prices are helping Iran survive sanctions. Meanwhile, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan’s 60 Minutes interview is well worth watching.

• The UN special rapporteur on torture finds that Bradley Manning received cruel and inhuman treatment at the hands of the US military.

• Jay Inslee will retire from the House to focus on his gubernatorial bid in Washington state.

• The next big thing in foreclosures? Churches.

• So much for that bold Mitt Romney stand on indexing the minimum wage to inflation.

• A landmark case in Illinois could rule gerrymandering unconstitutional.

• I missed a lot of the Kony 2012 viral sensation and accompanying brouhaha, but I generally side with the critiques of the project, and the general idea that only the white protectors can save the Africans from despair.

• Haven’t read Matt Yglesias’ The Rent is Too Damn High yet, but here’s the nickel summary over at Bloomberg.

• It’s fair to say that Rush Limbaugh is feeling abandoned and under siege. But it will take many months to determine the outcome here.

• I’m not holding my breath, but we should absolutely move elections to the weekend.

• The Obama hagiography doc is here. Funny that Elizabeth Warren, who just criticized Treasury for another back-door bailout of AIG, appears in it.

• As Pakistan charges Osama bin Laden’s three wives with immigration violations, the final days in that lair sound pretty awful to deal with.

• Nice slice of life piece on how Washington deals with Jobs Day.

• Chris Hughes of Facebook and the 2008 Obama campaign purchased The New Republic.

• AFSCME endorsed Leslie Knope for Pawnee City Council.

• Pissed that I missed the giant rock arriving in LA. This took on folk status over the past couple weeks.

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David Dayen

David Dayen