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The Roundup for Pi Day, 3.14.2012

Was toying with making the entire roundup a recitation of pi out to 100 decimal points, then thought you’d rather like some links:

• In addition to predicting a larger 2012 deficit (and a smaller deficit out 10 years), the CBO predicted that the Affordable Care Act will cost less but also cover less people. 30 million new people will get covered by the ACA, but 27 million will remain without insurance. So is it fair to now call it “half-universal health care”?

• If the banking industry is so healthy and has put all their mortgage problems behind them, how come they keep getting charged with fraud and have to keep settling claims?

• Though wages have started to rise a bit, overall they remain pretty stagnant, and a labor market that still includes millions out of work will do that.

• Public enemy #2 for the banks, behind Greg Smith, is Maxine Waters, in line to become the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee.

• It’s amusing to read about bank lobbyists and execs in that piece above talking about how “old school” Waters is, and how she doesn’t understand modern finance, after you read this American Banker article about how banking IT systems are so old and creaky and substandard. Physician, heal thyself.

• I thought this was clear already, but Reuters confirmed that the GOP House will break the budget deal and write a resolution under the spending cap agreed to by both sides last year.

• Rick Santorum took Alabama and Mississippi last night, while Mitt Romney took Hawaii and American Samoa. The delegate math is so hard to comprehend because small states get outsized importance if they voted one way or another in Presidential elections. Disenfranchising voters mathematically, I thought that was the Electoral College’s job!

• In the biggest primary news, Spencer Bachus survived his challenge, although with under 60% of the vote, fairly bad for an incumbent.

• Are we all really going to pretend that Romney said he wanted to get rid of Planned Parenthood rather than getting rid of federal funding for it? I mean, the latter is bad enough, no?

• David Leonhardt on the economy and the election.

• The outward directive from President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron today was about staying the course in Afghanistan.

Rising sea levels – the paradigm-changing problem that nobody typically wants to talk about.

• Someone’s not telling the truth and I’d tend to think it’s HUD, not the MBS investors.

• The SuperPAC money still isn’t flowing for President Obama.

• Interesting set of charts about spending and partisanship from Brian Beutler. I think you can explain it this way: the deficit doesn’t matter to conservatives when a Republican is in office, but becomes the only thing that matters upon arrival of a Democrat. And the media is wired for conservatives. So they drive the agenda, and the policy follows accordingly.

• The Syrian army keeps up its campaign of repression, while Bashar al-Assad buys music on iTunes.

• The US Army has now pulled their ads from Rush Limbaugh’s show. He’s been really put on an island with this pushback.

• If this Arizona bill becomes law, you’d have to justify your birth control to your employer.

• It was a matter of time before Peter Van Buren got fired for his book on the substandard Iraqi reconstruction effort.

• Thomas Lubanga became the first individual convicted of war crimes by the new International Criminal Court at The Hague, but because of continuing arguments about the court, it will have no real effect at this time.

• Maybe before making a viral video about Joseph Kony, the group Invisible Children could have run it by people in Uganda, who threw rocks at the screen and loudly booed the portrayal that put this white guy and his kid at the front of the action.

• Kids are stealing Tide detergent in large quantities and trading it for crystal meth. Weird.

• The President goes mostly with chalk again in his March Madness bracket.

• So much for Linsanity.

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David Dayen

David Dayen