The Roundup for March 24, 2011

I’m putting a moratorium on news tomorrow so I can catch my breath. Entire Middle East and North Africa, Japan and the American Midwest, take note.

• Fed Chair Ben Bernanke tried to assure community banks that they would not be affected by changes to swipe fees. If the small banks and credit unions can be peeled off, there’s a chance that the delay legislation halts.

• Meanwhile, Bernanke also announced he would hold quarterly press conferences, also known as “days the market completely freaks out on the slightest of asides or arched eyebrows.”

• The Fannie and Freddie bills House Republicans will release next week are going to be pretty ugly, I gather. But the status quo is pretty ugly, too.

• Difficult tasks lie ahead at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, and several workers have now been exposed to high levels of radiation, including possible burns on at least two.

• With several members of Congress vowing to defund the war in Libya or force an authorization vote, the Obama Administration will brief lawmakers next week.

• A court of appeals looking into the injunction against implementing the anti-union law in Wisconsin asked the state Supreme Court to take it up. This is a late wrinkle into Justice David Prosser’s re-election efforts, if he has to go on the record on the bill before April 5.

• Who could have thought that a clean money campaign, where the candidate accepts public funds instead of having to grovel to contributors all day long, increases the time the candidate can spend with voters? Meanwhile, as long as the bill is on hold, union certification elections cannot be held. This essentially keeps the public employee unions in business without a vote for another year.

• The White House has really strongly taken this averting a massacre theory to heart in explaining the Libyan action. But it seems more like they wanted to avoid being blamed for not averting a massacre, which seems like a bad reason to go to war.

• Freddie Mac will stop any foreclosures in the name of MERS. If MERS is around this time next year, I’ll eat a shoe.

• Servicemembers United, the organization that has fought Don’t Ask Don’t Tell for two decades, counts an “unusually high” 261 discharges for Fiscal Year 2010. May there be 0 in FY2011.

• Nobody in the Republican Party actually wants to get rid of earmarks, they just want to say they’ll get rid of earmarks.

• Democrats are already running ads against House GOP members over their desire to cut Social Security. Makes it harder for them to cut benefits themselves, no?

• Kansas’ state insurance commissioner Sandy Praeger may be the best thing to ever happen to Obamacare. Despite a Governor, Sam Brownback, who voted against the law, she’s working diligently to implement it.

• The FAA suspended the air traffic controller who may have fallen asleep at Reagan Airport when two planes landed without clearance from the flight tower. Unions have been complaining about single-staffing for ATCs for years. It’s fitting that this happened at Reagan Airport.

• A rider in the House GOP budget would eliminate food stamp benefits from any family where one member participated in a strike. Just in case you were wondering when the war on workers would go federal.

• After trying to hold on, the Huffington Post succumbed to criticism and took a blog post from Andrew Breitbart off their front page. He still can post on the site, however. HuffPo should have handled this the Breitbart way, and just heavily edited his posts in misleading ways.

• The United States is now 16% Hispanic, up from 8% just 10 years ago. Key point: “In five states, Hispanics now account for at least a quarter of the population.”

• Go Steve Inskeep! Finally, an NPR voice willing to fight back.

• West African leaders want a UN resolution for Ivory Coast, too. And the situation certainly merits it as much as Libya, I’d say.

• In Wisconsin, Randy Hopper’s mistress never formally applied for a state job. She just had it thrust upon her.

• I’d like to see the results of this probe of documents related to the backroom health care deals. Most are well known, but the evidence would be useful, especially on how the public option got deep-sixed.

• I don’t know who made this happen, but I want to thank them for getting Michele Bachmann to run for President. Her own former chief of staff won’t even vote for her, but the campaign trail instantly became must-see TV.

• The New York Times can’t stand people who read the New York Times.

Look familiar? Actually, he took it better than Bush.

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