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The Roundup for April 2, 2012

I’ll tell you, there’s less going on than on Christmas week! Nothing really worth a full post comes to mind, so let’s pack up for the day:

• If the health care law gets overturned, some states may implement insurance exchanges anyway. I doubt that any of the states suing over the law will, however, and the part that helps people afford insurance is not the exchanges by themselves (which are just comparison-shopping websites), but the subsidies.

• Polish leaders have begun to tell the truth about the secret CIA prisons in their country.

• The President waded into the health care Supreme Court controversy by cautioning against “judicial activism.” I don’t see that as such a good tactical move.

• Obama will give an address on the Paul Ryan budget tomorrow, which I think is a better move with a better story to tell.

• Americans over age 60 still owe over $36 billion on student loans, a harrowing and depressing statistic that will only get worse, as loan balances have exploded in recent years.

• Maybe it’s faint praise, but there’s no question that the US has managed its recovery better than the Eurozone, which is setting new records for futility in economic policy making.

• Attorneys General may bask in the limelight over the health care proceedings, but I have two words for any of them with aspirations for higher office: foreclosure fraud. That settlement, and the observable ramifications over the next few years, will make it very difficult for any of them to obtain higher office.

• I have a real bad feeling about this run up of home purchases on the cheap by investors. Check back on this in two years for all the scandals of absentee landlords and pervasive bad behavior. It’s not possible, however, to have a worse feeling about that than about AIG returning to the mortgage market.

• When we’re cheerful about a prediction of the third-worst year for housing sales since 1963, and the fourth-worst for new home starts since 1959, we should probably keep the whole thing in a bit more perspective.

• So much for that prediction of uncontrollable violence if the US military left Iraq.

• Somewhere down the line, and perhaps soon, a candidate will have to make a big bet on digital advertising and basically give up on TV ads. The DVR is killing ad strategies.

• Bill Clinton is correct that we should rethink things like the Stand Your Ground law, but that would require an end to the complete timidity of the Democratic Party on gun issues.

• As if we needed other deadlines, by May 15 Congress must come up with some postal service reforms to avert mass closures of post offices. My plan for a public option for simple banking remains on the shelf, Congress!

• What is with the federal raids on medical marijuana facilities?

• Innocent men on Death Row and the state of Texas just go together.

• This is a little old, but Thomas Frank is brilliant on the consistent upward mobility of our wrong-about-everything media stars.

• Among other disputes, Keith Olbermann was mad at Current because the drivers at the car services he used would dare to talk to him. I’d love to hear his explanation for that. I should add that Current doesn’t come off looking great in these emails either, and it matches the fly-by-night quality of the network, which has been confirmed to me by current and former employees.

• I have a feeling that will borrow heavily from the sites already producing great content on the Occupy movement, including this one.

• I thought this Sarah Palin guest-hosting spot on the Today Show was an April Fool’s Day joke when it was announced yesterday, and after seeing it confirmed I STILL think it’s a joke.

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David Dayen

David Dayen