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The Roundup for April 16, 2012

Have some last-minute pre-travel business to take care of, so checking out a bit early. Can’t wait for Tuesday’s Wanker of the Decade from Atrios!

• Mark Schmitt calls the campaign against ALEC “surprisingly effective, but agrees that it will probably not lead to a complete dissolution of ALEC itself. In case you missed it, I wrote about the search for a progressive counterweight to ALEC this weekend.

• Lobbyists find their way to the White House, regardless of any bans on their conduct.

• The Big Five banks are twice as large today as they were a decade ago. Too Big to Fail remains operative.

• Foreclosure fraud settlement enforcement monitor Joseph Smith does not inspire confidence in this interview. He’s in a no-win situation, because the enforcement terms are nearly impossible to lead to a positive outcome.

“If the NRA is going to pretend that (Obama’s) aggressively pursuing gun control anyway, then why not actually do it?” A timeless question that can be applied pretty broadly.

• Juan Cole on Egypt’s “Saturday Night Massacre”, which made several Presidential candidates ineligible.

• In addition to the Spanish crisis, I’ll be in Europe (and France, briefly) for the endgame of the French elections. I did not plan this, and don’t expect updates. 🙂

• Jeff Neely, the main planner for the now-infamous GSA conference in Las Vegas, took the fifth in his first Congressional hearing on the scandal.

• I thought Congressional retirements were always high in a reapportionment year, but apparently this year is bigger than most. Damn it feels no good to be a Congressman.

• I like how Rich Trumka, in blasting the President for allowing the Colombia free trade agreement to move forward, focuses on how much harder it’s going to make it for him to rally support for Obama’s re-election. As if that support no longer has to be earned.

• The very first Gallup poll shows Mitt Romney ahead of Obama by 2 among registered voters. Likely voters are a much better screen, but it’s perhaps too soon for that. The state polls have shown a clearer edge for Obama; their campaign even thinks they can compete in Arizona.

• Romney answers questions on whether he’s relatable to voters from a skybox at Fenway Park.

• Sheldon Adelson begins his post-Gingrich giving this election cycle with a $5 million gift to a House GOP SuperPAC.

• The Tea Party and the Minutemen join forces to form a past-their-prime right-wing activist supergroup. Kind of like Asia.

• Speaking of Jim Yong Kim and the World Bank, here’s something he can start work on right away: ending work on this horrible coal plant in Kosovo.

• If only Saez and Piketty can become household names.

• Corey Robin connects the Cory Booker exploits to the general loss of decent public services in an age of neoliberalism.

• Allen West always raises gobs of money, because he uses an expensive and scammy direct mail service to fundraise.

• Newsweek didn’t get themselves a Pulitzer this year, and with cover stories as derogatory as this I’m guessing they won’t get themselves one next year, either.

Copy editing for Hustler magazine.

• And the latest in my Silvio Berlusconi obsession. Say it with me: “nun strippers.”

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David Dayen

David Dayen