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The Roundup for April 17, 2012

You still have until midnight to get those taxes in.

• Politico confirms that the White House meddled in the affairs of the EPA in order to roll back any greenhouse gas emissions restrictions on existing power plants.

• This long Barney Frank interview is getting attention for one sentence on health care that Frank said at the time, but it’s really a rich, occasionally infuriating but never dull interview with the Massachusetts lawmaker.

• The woes continue for ALEC, even after they receded on social and cultural issues. Today Blue Cross Blue Shield dumped them.

• The number of prostitutes involved in the Secret Service scandal keep rising. Secret Service officials also revealed their identities to the prostitutes.

• The Senate started work on a postal reform bill, which really kicks the can down the road and adds some very minor potential revenue sources. It does not change the 75-year pre-funding of pensions which has for no reason magnified the fiscal crisis, nor does it propose anything truly sensible to do with postal service outlets, like the public option for simple banking.

• After postal reform, the Senate will move to reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, which could provide fireworks.

• Housing indicators continue to be mixed, with seller’s asking prices up but housing starts down in March.

• There’s something to be said for changing Section 8 vouchers to cash transfers, but that’s not what Mitt Romney has in mind.

• The kind of centrist Democrats RJ Eskow describes here are exactly the kind who will be responsible if this Bowles-Simpson gambit comes to pass.

• The IMF really has gotten more sensible in its policy prescriptions over the past few years.

• Mississippi almost certainly will be abortion-free by July 1 after the Governor signed a bill placing onerous operational restrictions into law.

• Whatever happened to those US troops pursuing Joseph Kony? They’re not doing a whole lot, WaPo explains.

• A source close to decision makers at PBS and NPR, i.e. my wife, tells me that there’s no way either network will introduce political ads into their programming, regardless of court rulings.

• A year of near-constant fighting has sapped the Syrian regime of cash.

• Mitt Romney and the RNC want to raise $800 million for the general election, and that doesn’t count the outside money.

• Without $2 billion a year as a client state, Afghanistan couldn’t possibly fund the security state installed by the US.

• The Senate GOP filed an amicus brief supporting a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of recent recess appointments.

• I am inclined to agree with George Zimmerman’s attorney that the judge whose spouse is commenting on the murder case for CNN might not be the ideal judge to hear the case.

Doesn’t look great for three of the four state Senate recalls in Wisconsin, but Democrats only need one success to retake the state Senate.

• The new bike share for Los Angeles is really exciting, and just may get me to ride a bike.

• Seamus on the roof is not defensible. The Romneys are welcome to stop trying to mount a defense.

• The Quebec student strikes are an under-the-radar phenomenon.

• A Taliban commander turned himself in to collect the reward on his own wanted poster.

• That’s a crazy attack ad, hitting someone for commenting four years ago that a speech might be good?

• William F. Buckley may have been right about selecting politicians at random to run the country.

• Tom Friedman wins Wanker of the Decade. Take a bow, Tom! Like TBogg I got my start reading at places like Atrios, so great thanks to him for 10 years of blogging and calling out the horror show.

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David Dayen

David Dayen