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The Roundup for April 19, 2012

That’s it for me. Have a great couple of weeks, and I’ll see you on the flip side.

• UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon admits that Syria has not complied with the UN-prescribed peace plan or the cease-fire.

• Yves Smith rounds up George Zornick’s Nation report on the securitization fraud task force, and how it confirmed what he was trying to rebut. I think RJ Eskow is on the right track here.

• Here’s a beat sweetener with Joseph Smith, the foreclosure fraud settlement enforcement monitor, who’s in just an impossible position, given the terms of the deal.

• Bank of America earnings fell relative to last month. Matt Taibbi has more on the dark clouds for the banking industry.

• The other show may be dropping for the recovery. First-time unemployment claims hit a four-month high, and existing home sales actually fell. Recovery winter is turning into a stalled spring.

• More on the shareholder activism surge, which is really a hopeful sign. I love that they’re calling on Evan Bayh’s wife to resign from WellPoint.

• Competitive bidding is working on Medicare equipment, at least, lowering prices without a loss in quality.

• I actually have a lot to say on this story from Kevin Drum but I’ve run out of time. Let me just sum up by saying that, whenever I hear the implication from Democratic establishmentarians that public attitudes are simply fixed, static and immutable, and that Democrats should just cede the playing field on those policies, I wonder how small the patch of grass Democrats actually bother to defend will be in the future.

• ALEC “sharpening its focus” on economic issues is bad news for anyone not rich enough to, for example, pay 750% more for high speed Internet. So good for the liberal coalition to continue forcing the underwriting corporations out. The latest is the parent company of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut.

The wages are too damn low.

• DiFi’s always been decent on gun control. Good for her for putting a hold on these NRA bills.

• At least Florida Republicans got to humiliate the unemployed for a while, so the drug testing wasn’t a total loss.

• Good piece from Jared Bernstein on how slashing the corporate tax rate would add approximately no net gain in economic growth.

Maneuvering in California to get some decent foreclosure mitigation bills past a right-wing Democrat on the banking committee in the state legislature.

• Perhaps there’s an explanation, but this looks like straight-up shilling for the Massachusetts medical device industry from Elizabeth Warren.

• China tantalizes with some modest currency shifts. They do this every time they feel pressured.

• The drone campaign in Yemen is a huge story I hope will play out over the weeks I’m away. The Administration isn’t even bothering with minimizing collateral damage anymore.

• Soledad O’Brien’s going to take some blowback for this interview with Allen West, but I have to hand it to her for not letting go.

Anti-Semitism in the House GOP? Someone give Eric Cantor a wire.

• Paul Ryan likes to claim that anyone criticizing him or his policies must be lying. They can’t actually mean it.

• What if the hunt for Joseph Kony ends up imperiling a bunch of Ugandans?

• Months later, we finally have a casualty in the UC Davis pepper spray incident.

• Let me just say on Cookie-gate that my wife is from Bethel Park, and our wedding cake came from Bethel Bakery. Romney must have no actual taste buds if he thinks those aren’t good cookies; Bethel Bakery is amazing. Of course, cyborgs are often built without the sense of taste.

• RIP Greg Ham, the flautist from Men at Work, found dead in his home in Australia…. and Levon Helm, who finally passed today. He was one of the greats.

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David Dayen

David Dayen