Morning Roundup, June 15, 2011

By the time you read this, I’ll be on a plane headed for Minneapolis, site of this year’s Netroots Nation convention. If you’re headed to the event, try to come by and see me and say hi. I know that Marcy is introducing Russ Feingold at the Thursday night keynote, and Jane is on a panel with Dan Choi. So there’s a lot going on. The posting schedule will be a bit irregular for the rest of the week, so I wanted to get this up to set the marker for where we’re at:

• Joe Biden continues to tout cuts in the $1 trillion range in the debt limit talks, when he knows that the Republican demand is $2.5 trillion. Meanwhile, David Leonhardt games out the “stimulus now, deficit reduction later” scenario, and if his options reflect the thinking in the White House, it’s another round of small ball, if anything. Interesting that Leonhardt promotes a targeted employer-side payroll tax cut, only for businesses that increase their hiring over a short time frame.

• This is wild: Pakistan has arrested five informants that led the CIA to bin Laden.

• The Senate rejected an amendment to repeal ethanol subsidies, but that’s not the story. The story is that 34 Republicans defied Grover Norquist and voted for the amendment. Since Democrats opposed for procedural reasons and Harry Reid is going to give Dianne Feinstein a vote on the same amendment next week, that means this can pass, and probably as a standalone measure if they wanted.

• The Senate also got two more judges confirmed yesterday, as the White House steps forward to say they’ll try to end the judicial vacancy crisis.

• Tim Pawlenty tried to claim that he didn’t actually back down from his “Obamneycare” criticism of the GOP front-runner, but you can see for yourself. It was a major choke job.

• Another day, another delay for the EPA on their greenhouse gas regulation. And this is the agency that has Republicans so scared? Heck, regulation is being run through anti-regulator Cass Sunstein. Republicans should be thrilled.

• Andrew Cuomo sent the marriage equality bill to the state Senate, at the same time as a second Senate Republican expressed support for the bill. They’re one vote away from marriage equality in New York, which would be a huge victory. Meanwhile, a bankruptcy judge in California ruled DOMA unconstitutional. And the effort to get the Prop 8 trial ruling thrown out because Vaughn Walker is gay crashed and burned. Good times.

• It’s weird that Bob Gates would only certify the repeal of DADT this month if the service chiefs give him the go-ahead. That’s not how the law works; he and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs have the authority. The service chiefs have no role.

• Bank of America hindered the HUD AG probe into mortgage irregularities, as the impression from the banks that they’re above the law continued. I wonder if the firing of the head of the mortgage division at JPMorgan Chase is a sign of things to come. Probably just a sign that his bosses think that he didn’t work enough miracles.

• Arab uprising update: tanks roll into more towns in Syria, as sectarian tensions build; the largest protests since the departure of Ali Abdullah Saleh rock Yemen; Free Libya rebels continue their slow advance on Tripoli.

• If you’re waiting on that executive order forcing disclosure from government contractors of political donations, you may have a long wait.

• The UK is actually splitting up commercial and investment banking. File under “something not happening in the US anytime soon.”

General strike planned in Greece.

• Retail sales dipped in May, but this does look driven mostly by a slowdown in auto sales, which probably has a lot to do with the supply lines faltering from Japan. We’ll know a lot more next month.

• Here’s the story on the California budget. Democrats wanted to extend taxes that expire at the end of the month. They got Republicans to agree to a vote of the people on those taxes, but they refused to “bridge” the gap with a temporary extension. Furthermore, to give up the vote of the people they demanded a wish list of reforms. Jerry Brown hinted that maybe he could accept something a little more, shall we say, gimmicky, if it ended the budget battle. And lawmakers face a Wednesday deadline where they lose their legislative pay if there’s no budget. So now, Democrats created a majority-vote budget, which they can do this year thanks to Prop 25. However, with some minor revenue increases in there I wouldn’t be surprised if they were taken to court by the anti-tax faction in the state. Here are some of the budget features. State political guru John Myers has more.

• The House cut to women and children’s nutrition programs is truly vile.

• Jon Huntsman is in.

• GAO put to rest conservative claims about favorable treatment from HHS in the granting of health care reform waivers.

• The right-wing Concord Coalition came out in favor of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the group of medical experts that get expanded powers to implement Medicare reforms in the ACA.

• Lebanon will have some Hezbollah members in their coalition government, so of course conservatives want to cut off financial aid and drive them further into the arms of the Iranians.

• Good to see copyright trolls get their comeuppance.

• Google invests $280 million in SolarCity, which will install solar systems on residential roofs.

• All those airline fees cost $5.7 billion in 2010. A lot of them cropped up in 2008 when gas prices spiked, then the prices went down and none of the fees went away.

• The Rand Paul supporter who curb-stomped a MoveOn activist got probation and paid the woman’s medical bills.

• Pulp Fiction: just the cursing.

Comments are closed.