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The Roundup for April 3, 2012

I guess there are primary elections tonight in Wisconsin, Maryland and DC. Jon Walker has you covered.

• Why is the takeaway in these kinds of stories about how “reforms” of foreclosure fraud will widen, rather than the realities of foreclosure fraud happening industry-wide at even the smallest operators? Doesn’t that speak to the fundamentally broken model of mortgage servicing? Why are we trying to sustain it?

“Drone operator” is now a basic profession in America, complete with boredom and striving for something more out of life.

• The new wrinkle in this mortgage backed securities lawsuit by a German bank is that they contend that the mortgage backed securities don’t actually exist, because the mortgages were not properly conveyed to the trusts.

• This isn’t a perfect description, but it’s mostly true that we’ve had a recovery-less recovery.

• The New Republic maps out an Obama second term. Most of the recommendations are pretty rote, but I was pretty stoked by John McWhorter’s call for the President to end the drug war.

• Van Jones puts a little too much emphasis on “outsiders” in this critique of the demobilization of the grassroots. Or at least, what he calls “outsiders” I would actually call insiders.

• Curveball admits he lied. Old news, but amazing how much damage one man’s lies – and those who appropriated them to their own ends – caused.

• I guess exempting police and firefighter unions from his anti-union machinations paid off for Scott Walker, at least among those unions in his hometown of Milwaukee. Statewide, the lead police and fire unions are likely to oppose Walker and support his challenger in the recall.

• Approximately nobody cares about the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and it will not be a factor at all in the upcoming elections. It was that most successful of triumphs, an utterly boring one.

• Much thanks to Jared Bernstein for shooting down this ridiculous notion that we’re headed to a “recovery” in housing.

• Auto sales actually dropped a bit in March compared to February, but still plugged along at a pretty solid pace, with particular growth in fuel-efficient vehicles.

• UN observers will enter Syria to monitor the cease-fire. Hopefully they’re better than the Arab League observers.

• Meanwhile, former Syrian soldiers who escaped the regime are speaking out for the first time about killing civilians.

• Smaller banks are no saints, as they shift their charters to avoid federal regulation and downshift to more compliant state regulators (yes, there are regulators more compliant than the feds).

• Good takeout by Ryan Grim and Ben Hallman on Fannie Mae and forced-place insurance.

• It would be hard to find someone who deserves a Hillman Prize more than Ta-Nehisi Coates.

• The Fed signals that the economy is on its own at this point, with no more asset purchases on the horizon.

• Xavier University just curtailed its contraception coverage through its health plan, which they were offering, but now that it has been mandated, they just can’t bear to deal with their consciences.

• UN agencies got the message from the US defunding of UNESCO over Palestinian recognition. The International Criminal Court just denied Palestine the same thing.

• The last refuge of a true loser: hoping to influence the party platform, a la Newt Gingrich. And what does he want to add to it, exactly? His moon colonization plan?

• Weep for the processor of ammonia-treated “pink slime” beef-like product, now headed into bankruptcy. I am not of the belief that we should keep eating sickening products to keep this company in business. And if you believe that people won’t just eliminate their pink slime intake and replace it with some other form of sustenance, the food preparation, distribution and sales industries will make up the difference.

• Atrios’ Wanker of the Decade awards have begun, with Megan McArdle taking the 9th runner-up spot. Atrios also has a fundraiser going.

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David Dayen

David Dayen