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The Roundup for April 6, 2012

Happy Passover, Happy Easter, Happy every other religious holiday that falls within a two-month window.

• First, the housing stuff. The Fed gave its blessing for banks to rent out foreclosed properties, which will hopefully create more “right to rent” programs and not just create a whole new mass of absentee landlords.

• Just as I noted a week ago, HARP 2.0 is turning into a disaster due to lack of competition, writes Pro Publica.

• Housing Wire generates some non-transparent data to rebut the second-lien issue on GSE principal reduction. A lot of this information is public, however, and it concerns $800 billion worth of loans, so it’s not a small deal. In a related story, see Yves Smith on the coming housing finance train wreck.

• David Brooks asserts that the Ryan budget would still be larger than Clinton-era budgets. Dean Baker explains how he’s wrong.

• This Seymour Hersh story on US covert operatives training the terrorist Mujahedin e-Khalq during the Bush era has gotten a lot of notoriety today.

• There is no reason to speed implementation of the Colombia free trade pact to meet an arbitrary meeting time for the President. Especially if the union deaths are still happening.

• I think the legacy of Iraq as an unstable, authoritarian place was baked into the cake after the invasion. It has little bearing on the timing of when we left.

• That suicide in Greece I mentioned the other day was no anomaly.

• I think this counter-intuitive take on pink slime leaves a lot out, some of which is covered by Kevin Drum. Companies will use the beef trimmings anyway in other products, reducing their need for beef in those products while increasing it in beef for human consumption. I’m just not seeing that big a problem here, other than the fact that we should all eat less beef to help save the planet (I had a double-double last night, so I’m an offender here).

• No surprise that the surveillance state has become overwhelmed by the breadth of information they have access to.

• So when you become a journalist, you lose your First Amendment rights?

• Expect the Obama campaign to push this war on women angle hard this year. I do agree that female representation in our legislature is pretty appalling.

• Man, is this Angus King guy going to be insufferable should he get elected, which is actually very probable.

• Just injuries so far in this crash of a Navy jet in Virginia Beach.

• Jean-Luc Melenchon is the savior of the left in the French elections.

• Allow me to mostly agree with Clarence Thomas. From what I can tell, oral arguments at the Supreme Court are mostly grandstanding.

• Good news from Chris Dodd! SOPA 2 is coming. So we’ll get to knock him around all over again. Speaking of the MPAA, they lowered the rating for Bully, after the Weinstein Co. toned down a few scenes.

• Is it possible for the General Services Administration to look worse in this whole thing?

• I laughed out loud at Al Franken’s “Woman Picking Out Fruit In Supermarket” email blast this morning.

• The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will investigate that racist email sent around by a Montana federal judge.

• The Keith Olbermann-Current lawsuit is really a hoot. Alyssa Rosenberg has highlights.

• I know I would spend very large amounts of money to extend my pet’s life, and probably will someday. Not totally covered in this article: how horrible pet insurance is.

• If Rachel Maddow really wants to look at modern-day democracy stripping, she needs to tackle Vernon, California.

$900,000 for a city with a population of 1? I think we’ve figured out an end to our debt problems!

Baraklava Obama.

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David Dayen

David Dayen