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The Roundup for April 15, 2012

I passed over 9,000 posts at FDL over the weekend. So that was fun.

• The first round of talks with Iran on their nuclear program showed enough progress that the two sides scheduled a new round of talks for late May in Baghdad.

• The World Bank Presidency outcome will probably be known on Monday. Jim Yong Kim is the American favorite, but Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been garnering a lot of support, and the third challenger, former Colombian finance minister Jose Antonio Ocampo, dropped out and backed Ngozi, making this historic challenge to American leadership even more possible.

• The UN authorized 30 military observers to enter Syria, and the monitors arrived on Sunday, but at the same time regime forces resumed shelling towns. The monitors appear to be heading into a renewed war zone, much like the ineffectual Arab League monitors from earlier in the year.

• The President’s trip to the Summit of the Americas conference in Colombia was marred by the Secret Service prostitution scandal, which appears to be widening in scope. This is a real embarrassment for the President, who projected anger about it in remarks on Sunday. The fact that bombs went off in Bogota (the President was in Cartagena) during the visit can’t be helping matters.

• Meanwhile, the real news at the Summit of the Americas was the regional revolt from the US position on Cuba, with the summit divided over whether to invite Cuba to future meetings, and no formal declaration coming out. This could be the last Summit of the Americas.

• Truly an awesome column from former FDIC Chair Sheila Bair. It’s actually ends as a screed against runaway inflation, but the logic of the beginning is scarily consistent, and more plausible than I think she wanted to make it.

• According to Eliot Spitzer and pretty much anyone paying close attention, Barack Obama “has really been on Wall Street’s side since Day One.”

• Judge Jonathan Lippman is doing very good work on foreclosures in New York, basically with a mandatory mediation program between borrowers and the foreclosure mill law firms.

• Here’s more on that redefining of second liens at JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo that I mentioned previously. This has the potential to be a really good thing for the housing market, but the regulators aren’t moving quickly enough to force these second liens down.

• You can almost see Ryan Avent shout out his window Howard Beale-style on this one. “Try overshooting for once!”

• We’ve been in Afghanistan so long there’s a fighting season, and it began in earnest this weekend. I was more struck by the march for justice by young women in Kabul.

• Rep. Ed Towns wasn’t really running a campaign, so his retirement isn’t much of a surprise. Hakeem Jeffries is a solid candidate in this race, the kind of liberal you need in a solidly liberal seat.

• Excellent find by Chris Hayes, Andrew Kacynzski-style, that should put an end to this whole “women should be able to make their own choices on work/family issues” nonsense.

• Kim Jong-un addressed his people in North Korea today, a break from the past: his father, Kim Jong-il, gave one public address during his entire rule. He promised more prosperity and, interestingly, an end to hunger, acknowledging mistakes in the past. The US, by the way, cut off planned food aid to North Korea, after their failed missile launch. And the North Korean leadership gave “presents” to the people, including fish and pork, which apparently each individual family has to pay for.

• Good breakdown of CISPA, the cybersecurity legislation that has the anti-SOPA activists alarmed, from Joan McCarter.

• A federal judge struck down an NLRB ruling requiring businesses to post information on worker’s union rights in the workplace.

• French President Nicolas Sarkozy broadcast a videoconference between him and President Obama a week before the first round of elections, in order to try to get some kind of endorsement from another head of state. The reaction in France has been caustic.

• Allegations of sex abuse against Bernie Fine, a longtime assistant basketball coach at Syracuse University, were revealed as a lie.

• And the excellence in headline writing award goes to: “After being bit by a penguin, Gingrich says he’s the underdog”.

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David Dayen

David Dayen