The Roundup for Wednesday, January 19

OK, gotta get back to my exploration of Portland now, so will have to leave it there. Tomorrow’s a travel day, so expect another reduced schedule. Have they repealed health care yet?

• The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission has set a date for the release of its final report on the origins and causes of the financial meltdown – Thursday, January 27, 2011. Could be a good read, actually.

• Darrell Issa has settled on his first hearing, and it will concern TARP and the foreclosure crisis, set for one day before the release of the FCIC report, on January 26. I suspect both sides will have ample material for this one, so Elijah Cummings could get his wish of a responsible oversight process in this case. I see nothing wrong with Issa seeking information on FOIA requests, either. That said, as evidenced by many of the facts of Issa’s past, the guy can be bad news.

• Maybe Baby Doc Duvalier will concede now that returning to Haiti was not such a good idea after all – the Haitian government formally charged him with corruption and theft, and a judge is mulling over the possibility for trial.

• Good work by David Leonhardt pointing to the fact of the weakening American labor movement as a determining factor in the employment crisis and disempowerment of workers. Could a revitalized NLRB be part of the answer here?

• Good luck to Republicans on pitching this claim that they’re responsible for current job growth, based on their… I don’t know, their reduction in Congressional printing costs?

• Goldman Sachs posted a bad earnings result this past quarter, and with the implosion of their Facebook deal, maybe the blood funnel just isn’t what it used to be. Of course, they can just use the guidelines under Dodd-Frank to grow even bigger.

• Haven’t mentioned this bomb at the Spokane Martin Luther King Day parade, but it’s quite clearly another example of domestic terrorism that elites don’t want to talk about in polite company.

• This Medicaid case at the Supreme Court might ultimately prove more damaging to the health care law than the court cases on the individual mandate, if it opens the door for states to cut Medicare payments to providers, inevitably weakening access for the poor to medical services.

• Once upon a time prominent political figures could criticize intemperate rhetoric and connect it to political violence. Such was the case with Teddy Roosevelt after he was shot in 1912.

• This LA Times article about public pensions is such a crock. In addition to what Kevin Drum says, about how they never extend the comparison to Social Security and Medicare for private sector workers, what about the giant benefit that goes to private workers in the form of the health care employer deduction?

• Swiss bankers are working overtime freezing the assets of dishonorable African ex-leaders, from Ben Ali of Tunisia to Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast. Speaking of Tunisia, their new government continues to respond to the desires of the street, now arresting relatives to Ben Ali for crimes against the state.

• Governments around the world flat-out lied about the security impact of the Wikileaks releases, but that hasn’t stopped the arrests of those who help Wikileaks. By the way, this in no way means that the Wikileaks releases weren’t newsworthy: they revealed a lot about how modern governments act (just like any good investigative journalism).

• Amazing that Gaby Giffords could leave the hospital on Friday.

• Rush Limbaugh acting Chinese on national radio should be the end of his career, but don’t hold your breath.

• Part of John Kasich’s approval ratings free fall in Ohio stems from his paying top dollar to his personal staff while criticizing the pay of public sector workers. What a good model for Republican Rick Snyder to follow in Michigan.

• How about a classroom for your kid with no teacher in it?

• The latest in my Silvio Berlusconi obsession. At some level I think Italians covet the attention this kind of thing brings, shame and all.

• I don’t think there’s any chance in the world the US will sign on to a UN resolution criticizing illegal Israeli settlements, but a unique group of US foreign policy specialists wants to pressure Obama into it.

• Book notes: Russ Feingold will release a book on US foreign policy this year, and Bernie Sanders will publish the FiliBernie, and hopefully get it to a wider audience.

• I was saddened by the death of Sargent Shriver, George McGovern’s running mate and a liberal leader for the less fortunate. Scott Stossel has a nice tribute.

• Randall Terry’s Presidential run is all about sucking out federal matching funds for anti-abortion efforts, it seems. The anti-choice movement has run this movie before.

• Haven’t read the Roger Ailes profile in Esquire yet, but I’m told it’s a doozy.

• I guess I’m just not the brother of the new Governor of Alabama.

• Being a Philly guy, I know Camden, and their laying off half the police force will undoubtedly lead to an explosion in crime.

• Burglars snorted the dead ashes of a man, thinking it was coke. Didn’t I see this in the last Zach Galifianakis movie?

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