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The Roundup for May 8, 2012

I’m sure Jon Walker will have updates tonight from primary elections in Indiana, North Carolina, Wisconsin and West Virginia. I will have this:

• Looking forward to reports from tomorrow’s Bank of America shareholder meeting in Charlotte, which is being treated with all the security that would attend a papal visit.

• Wow, this latest from the conservative masses, that there actually wasn’t any austerity coming out of Europe the past couple years, is really quite amazing. Ryan Avent responds. By the way, it’s intellectually consistent to believe that tax increases are a better option relative to spending cuts in an economic downturn, and to regard them as both forms of budget tightening, which is unwise during said downturn.

• Somewhat related to this, David Brooks doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

• Speaking of taxes, Democrats are putting a lot of faith in the notion that Republicans will crack in the fiscal cliff negotiations because they will want to avoid the expiration of all the Bush tax cuts. I just don’t think that’s a credible threat. The Democratic establishment also wants to avoid the expiration of all the Bush tax cuts. We saw this movie in 2010.

• Gas prices are gradually decreasing, a good sign for the US economy, driven in part by a lessening of tensions with Iran, which you have to chalk up to some decent diplomacy to lower the temperature.

• Here’s another program initiative released to wide fanfare that has not delivered on its promises: stopping tax evasion. Some wealth taxes would put a stop to that.

• As I noted previously, those “national” fracking guidelines are restricted to Bureau of Land Management parcels, meaning they really don’t apply to the overwhelming majority of fracking happening today. H/t to Steve Horn for pointing out the article.

• That same Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill that House Democrats are trying to improve has drawn a veto threat from the White House.

• Tim Duy on Greece. The first brick in the Eurozone wall will fall this summer, that’s becoming clear. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will change course in Europe.

• I don’t know if the President’s marriage equality equivocation is about suburban voters or winning North Carolina or what, but I’m having a lot of trouble picturing a single-issue gay marriage voter that would be perfectly happy to vote for an Obama “evolving” on the issue, but would angrily object if he came to the end of the evolution.

• It’s certainly handy that the second underwear bombing plot came along at the same time as another array of drone strikes in Yemen, which can now be said to have taken out the perpetrators of that failed plot.

• This Interpol “red notice” for Iraqi VP Tariq al-Hashemi on terror charges is really incredible, and will surely raise tensions in Iraq and throughout the region.

• This Heartland Institute implosion shows that there actually is a previously undiscovered line in the sand on offensive political billboards. Who knew?

• Kathleen Sebelius has been asked to speak at Georgetown, just a few months removed from her agency’s rule on religiously affiliated institutions and birth control. It’s a strong statement.

• The Kansas legislature’s new abortion restrictions force doctors to actually lie to their patients about the procedure.

• I know and like Faiz Shakir, so best of luck to him as Nancy Pelosi’s new online director.

• Could Rick Santorum have buried that emailed endorsement of Mitt Romney any more?

• Senator Mark Kirk’s stroke looks from this video to be far more serious than previously described.

• Matt Yglesias’ MCA-inspired story on sampling leaves out several of the artists who have worked around the new rules and made sampling-heavy albums since the Biz Markie decision in the 1990s. Beck, Fantastic Plastic Machine and The Avalanches come to mind.

• Sasha Baron Cohen tried to send all of Washington to the Zimbabwean embassy for a fake screening of his new movie, The Dictator.

• A fond RIP to Maurice Sendak.

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David Dayen

David Dayen