The Roundup for May 15, 2011

Sorry for checking out this fine weekend. Got a lot of stuff for you next week, should be a fun one – I’m holding a couple of the weekend’s events back for tomorrow. Here are some links for you:

• The Army Corps of Engineers opened the Morganza Spillway, flooding the Mississippi delta and the smaller towns along the Bayou to save the pressure on levees in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. This was only the second opening in history since the spillways were built in the wake of the Great Flood of 1927. Vicksburg, Mississippi, a town up the river, is seeing the highest river level in recorded history.

• Pakistan is making a show of anger toward the US for the unauthorized raid on the bin Laden compound. Emphasis on show. Sure, they’re describing closed-door meetings as “heated,” and even threatening to cut the NATO supply line to Afghanistan, but the day any of that happens, call me. I think some Pakistanis may have a right to be angry, particularly about drone strikes that cause collateral damage, but the government is play-acting, going not much further than saying don’t do it again.

• Mike Huckabee won’t run for President this time around. Everything I’ve heard about Huck says that he loves money, and with his multi-platform media projects, he’s making a lot of it.

• If Pakistan gets serious about drones, it would shut down Obama’s favorite mode of warmaking, using covert ops with the CIA (and, as we’ve seen, JSOC). Off-the-books war was and is the way of our empire.

• Whenever media types trying to cover for the rich (which frequently includes themselves and their peers) start discussing the tax system, they quickly reveal their ignorance – or at least count on the ignorance of the public. The problem is you can’t count on a lot of Democrats on these issues, either.

• Surprise, you’re not allowed to resist the police in Indiana if they unlawfully enter your home without a warrant. Freedom, on the march, etc.

• National security advisor Tom Donilon’s meeting with a representative of the Libyan opposition yielded this phrase: “Mr. Donilon stated that the United States views the TNC (Transitional National Council) as a legitimate and credible interlocutor of the Libyan people.” Pretty close to formal recognition of the rebels as the legitimate government. Meanwhile, defector Moussa Koussa may be the man funneling intelligence about Gadhafi’s secret compounds to NATO.

• Nathan Deal signed Georgia’s immigration law, which is just as tough if not tougher than Arizona’s. Given what Arizona and Utah faced, there’s no question it will be challenged in court and not fully implemented.

• The austerity regime in Greece has led to mass unrest in the streets and a breakdown in the authority of the state. This could have been, and could still be, a calculation in governments wanting to impose austere cuts on their citizens. The citizens can choose to protest.

• This is sickening treatment from Deutsche Bank, suing the son of one of their foreclosure victims when he has no connection to the home in foreclosure. Clearly they are trying to intimidate Lynn Szymoniak, the high-profile borrower and document forgery expert who appeared on 60 Minutes to tell her story. Speaking of Deutsche Bank, Harold Meyerson has a great op-ed jumping off from the lawsuit against Deutsche for being a slumlord in LA, to how European firms basically abuse cheap US labor in ways they would never attempt in their home countries.

• Congressional expert Norman Ornstein thinks Congress should ban fundraising when it’s in session. That could shake things up.

• Health insurers making record profits for the third straight year, even as the ranks of the uninsured increase, premiums soar, and people go without care

• An Arab uprising update: Yemen’s Saleh remains defiant; Muslims and Christians continue to clash in Egypt; Bahrain’s uprising is a total non-entity in the eyes of the Administration.

• Surely mobile carriers were just about to set up user-friendly, cheap mobile payment networks until Dick Durbin came and instituted swipe fee reform, messing everything up. Mm-hm.

• So three workers are now dead after toiling at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Maybe it’s all coincidental – at least one had no signs of radiation – but I’m not so certain. Meanwhile, at least three reactor cores have partially melted down.

• Three Pakistani-Americans in Florida were arrested and accused with aiding the Pakistani Taliban financially.

• That Senate report on torture will likely tell us what we already know – torture had nothing to do with the killing of Osama bin Laden. As we know, the Senate knows how to investigate.

• After this weekend’s primary, it’s acting governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D) against previously unknown businessman Bill Maloney (R) in the West Virginia governor’s race to replace Sen. Joe Manchin.

• In California, Jerry Brown blinked, and will beg off some tax increases and give up on canceling useless enterprise zones. Some unanticipated revenue due to a slightly better job picture in the state is the cover for this move, but ultimately he could never get the votes and didn’t want to try at the ballot box at this late date.

• Breaking: Ron Paul is a committed libertarian. He shows what happens when the theory of individual liberty runs up against the reality of injustice and prejudice.

• Stephen Colbert’s foray to the FEC to create a Super PAC actually underlies a pretty serious issue.

• The sports world does seem like a bastion of retrograde homophobia, so good for the President of the Phoenix Suns for coming out.

• Based on this report of the Eurovision song contest, Azerbaijan would have come in last on my scorecard, but the contest as usual did not disappoint. Best outlet for national patriotism ever.

• Why yes, I want to see Michele Bachmann on a new version of the game, called “Are you smarter about the Constitution than a 10th grader?”

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