The Roundup for January 20, 2012

This time next year, we should all get together on the National Mall to see how the SuperPACs did on the Presidential race.

• Never got to this, but the WaPo engages in a baseless smear against writers for the Center for American Progress for daring to not take the lockstep AIPAC position on everything. Glenn Greenwald has more.

• Looks like House and Senate negotiators worked a deal that will avoid another FAA shutdown, and will allow a longer-term extension to go into effect. And I see it as a pretty unqualified win for organized labor. Basically, Republicans caved, and Delta will probably get unionized as a result.

• The US Conference of Catholic Bishops will sue now over the new regulations mandating contraceptive coverage for all employer-based insurance plans.

• Yes, Ron Wyden deserves a lot of credit, and lawmakers like Kirsten Gillibrand don’t, when it comes to stopping SOPA and PIPA.

• Michael Kinsley looks at the data on inflation, acknowledges he was wrong and that inflation hasn’t spiked, and then continues to overhype fears about looming high inflation.

• I don’t know why David Leonhardt thinks this is about ordinary Americans having a lower tax rate than they think. It’s about the principles of progressive taxation, and more to the point, the principles of rich people not abusing the tax code to their advantage. And we have the power to change this. Heck, even Rupert Murdoch gets it!

• I meant to go into the Newt Gingrich “food stamp President” thing, but suffice to say that more people are on food stamps because welfare has been taken away from them. Food stamp assistance has basically substituted for welfare. And yes, Republicans want to welfarize everything.

• Sounds like David Obey won’t be running for Governor in Wisconsin, and that he wants a moderate to challenge Scott Walker.

• France could be bugging out of Afghanistan. Surprise: it’s an election year in France! Meanwhile, this is just another sign that we have no business still being in Afghanistan.

• Juan Cole on the big story out of Israel, confirming that Iran hasn’t decided on building a nuclear weapons program. I haven’t seen this in a single domestic media source (if it’s in here, it’s well-hidden). It is good that Michael Hayden is talking down military action, however.

• The best thing about these new tourism measures is that it probably means other countries will charge less for visas to US tourists wanting to visit there.

• Yes, it’s only the beginning of the Keystone XL battle. But it’s quite a beginning, one that nobody in Washington really expected. The church of the savvy could give some credit.

• Elizbaeth Warren’s moneybomb netted over a million dollars yesterday. Good for her!

• No matter who Republicans choose at this point, they will have picked someone who supported parts of the Affordable Care Act at one time, including the mandate.

• I thought we fixed this: “A Maryland woman says she was denied the right to visit her same-sex partner at Washington Adventist Hospital.”

• The Greek deal on debt could get finalized any day now. Bullet, dodged.

• Interesting blog debate on income inequality and social mobility. The “high correlation” side is winning the argument.

• I think Matt’s reading some organization into the Administration’s plans for the Commerce Department, but he’s right that it probably won’t happen anyway. Which isn’t a bad thing at a time of high unemployment; I’d rather defer this to later.

• It’s Abu Ghraib right here in Los Angeles.

• Guess what, these days Bain Capital primarily gives donations to Democrats.

• The US may shut down the Syrian embassy due to security concerns. That would be from forces loyal to the government, by the way.

• Libya had undeclared chemical weapons. Why, then, didn’t Gadhafi use them?

• Hotel occupancy rates are getting back to normal, which is a good sign.

• Shut down the primaries, Chuck Norris endorsed Newt Gingrich. It’s all over.

• Stephen Colbert: a Ron Paul fan? How dare he! Doesn’t he know the ins and outs of why nobody should ever support anything he says?

• The President does have the singing chops, I’ll say that.

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