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The Roundup for May 21, 2012

Fatster had an eye appointment today, so I’m filling in! A few of her items from the past 24 hours are included.

? Senate Democrats managed to get an up-or-down vote on a federal judge without a filibuster, for the first time in I-can’t-remember.

? The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the government’s electronic surveillance program, which would allow a lawsuit against the 2008 FISA Amendments Act to proceed.

? Glad to see an argument I’ve been pushing for a long time, about how to accurately understand whether or not TARP “worked,” make its way into The New York Times.

? Ezekiel Emanuel’s plea for means testing in Medicare and Social Security is a Trojan horse to put these systems on islands where they only help poor (read: undeserving) people.

? Dan Froomkin and Michael Calderone covers the Administration’s war on whistleblowers relative to a court case against the New York Times’ James Risen, where they basically argued against reporter privilege in national security cases.

? Seems sensible: AIG is back in the subprime mortgage game.

? According to a survey by Accenture, 65% of senior executives participating in the survey “said they had moved their manufacturing operations in the past 24 months, with two-fifths saying the facilities had been relocated to the U.S. China was the second destination (28%) . . . followed by Mexico (21%).”

? The Chicago Tribune had a big three-part story over the weekend on the toxic chemicals that can be found all over your house.

? Rep. Daniel Webster, who replaced Alan Grayson in the House, wants to get rid of the American Community Survey because “this is not a scientific survey. It’s a random survey.” That, of course, is what makes it scientific.

? What I took from this Gallup survey on the Presidential race is that Romney is seen as better than Obama, by two points, on housing and foreclosure issues.

? Good start to this week’s nuclear talks with Iran. Of course, progress on diplomacy can hardly ever get mentioned in today’s media.

? Two large Catholic institutions have sued the Obama Administration over new rules on birth control that ensure universal access.

? Regulators going with a voluntary approach? That never happens!

? Lender Processing Services finds that mortgage delinquencies went up slightly in April. The problem with mortgage data, however, is the incredibly high margin of error.

? Juan Cole believes the spreading of the Syrian uprising to Aleppo is significant, and could spell danger for the Assad regime. At any rate, Western powers seem mostly concerned with securing the country’s chemical weapons stockpiles.

? Nuclear Regulatory Commission chief Gregory Jaczko is out, the victim of a coordinated attack from the nuclear power industry and some of his fellow commissioners.

? “The Campaign Against Women”. Major editorial appeared in Sunday’s NYT about the Republican War on Women. It concludes: “Whether this pattern of disturbing developments constitutes a war on women is a political argument. That women’s rights and health are casualties of Republican policy is indisputable.”

? Thanks to the debt limit deal, hundreds of thousands of students will see their Pell grants revoked. Winning the future!

? 7.5% unemployment predicted a year and a half from now. That would be pretty terrible economic performance.

? Another rape allegation for the embattled Dominique Strauss-Kahn, this time over a gang rape in the US.

? Looks like the G8 summit took a stand on a series of greenhouse gas emissions other than carbon, which if serious, could have a legitimate effect.

? The convicted Lockerbie bomber has died in Libya.

? Philadelphia alone is going to “close 40 public school this year and 64 schools by 2017.” What is to be done? Ellen Brown discusses some innovative approaches to try and achieve a better, essential, balance between needs of the people vs awarding huge amounts of tax dollars for the Pentagon, prisons, banks and tax cuts for the rich. Some ideas she suggests: states and cities establish their own banks; put Treasury rather than the Fed in charge of money creation; and refinance the federal debt “through our own central bank, interest-free”. Thought-provoking article.

? London is hosting the Olympic games this year. They plan to have a “security force of more than 40,000 people, backed by a huge intelligence operation, . . . at a cost of . . . $877 million . . .. Among those 40,000 will be 13,500 from the Ministry of Defence and armed forces.”

? Amoebic dysentery plagues many developing countries, killing an estimated 70,000 people per year. A drug currently used for arthritis is showing significant promise in battling amoebic dysentery as well–10 times more effective in animals than the drug currently prescribed.

? According to this report, Bee Colony Collapse could be due to corn seeds that are coated with Bayer’s neonicotinoid pesticides–or about 90% of all corn seeds.

? Federal regulators are working on the JOBS Act, so we will soon find out how investors will get ripped off with the new rules.

? Sarah Palin robo-called Kansas for a Senate race in Texas. They do both end in -as, so a common mistake.

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David Dayen

David Dayen