The Roundup for March 1, 2012

I skipped the Leap Day roundup because I simply don’t consider that a real day.

• Never got around to this Jon Chait argument about how the nation’s demographics set up perfectly for Democrats going forward, and that this primal scream of the primary represents conservatism’s last gasp. Basically I agree with Rick Perlstein: mainstream commentators say this all the time, and are always confounded. If the premise is that people’s political opinions are fixed and unchanging over time, furthermore, I would submit the whole of human history as Exhibit A in refuting that. Watching the clown show can be fun, but I tend to believe this rush toward extreme conservatism should be feared and not celebrated.

• Republican Sen. Bob Corker asks Shaun Donovan how the foreclosure fraud settlement will affect retirement funds.

• The Volcker rule won’t happen on time. And even when it does happen, it won’t hurt the banks much. According to Jamie Dimon’s right-hand man, “he said he had received “tremendous reassurance” from Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill that JPMorgan’s overseas operations would not have to implement US rules on derivatives if foreign counterparts were not subject to similar rules.” I keep hearing about bank losses attributed to Dodd-Frank, but this flies in the face of the fact that the banks have gotten almost everything they wanted out of that law.

• The lead economist for the Commerce Department highlights the increase in personal income and the savings rate as a sign that this modest recovery is sustainable. I certainly hope so.

• The siege on Homs is complete, as rebels in Baba Amr retreat. The UN Security Council managed to pass a resolution calling for “immediate unhindered humanitarian access” to the country.

• Republicans are desperately trying to put together their surface transportation bill again, but the gulf between the parties here is so wide that, even if Republicans figure things out, I don’t see how anything but a short-term extension gets done. And that’s bad news for high speed rail.

• BP wants to use its oil spill fund to settle remaining claims in lawsuits with victims of the oil disaster. Doesn’t that mean they’re using the money twice?

• Neocons went after Media Matters and CAP in a full-page ad in the New York Times today. They specifically targeted the funders. And they used a quote from Spencer Ackerman without permission. Sick crew.

• Banks get more free money in Europe. Just another day.

• The final (I think) Texas redistricting map is quite ugly. Republicans mostly got their way.

• Rick Kahlenberg and Moshe Marvit call for a civil right to unionize. I like it, especially given all the assaults on worker’s rights taking place around the country.

• Good for Chris Christie for criticizing the NYPD’s Muslim spying program. He’s decent on these issues.

• Egypt finally lifted the travel ban on American non-profit workers, and all of them, including Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s son, have left the country.

• A federal judge blocked another part of Arizona’s immigration law, this time involving day laborers and the ability for cars to pick them up.

• Nobody ever calls out the torturers, which makes Al Franken’s action toward Stephen Bradbury the other day so unusual (and inadequate, I would add).

• Not sure how the Obama campaign plans to handle these consistent calls to put marriage equality in the Democratic platform.

• If you’re rich you get a long time to deal with foreclosure. If you aren’t, you’d better hope the Occupy movement finds you.

• Hey thanks a lot Bill Clinton for your support for the Keystone XL pipeline. And thanks John Hickenlooper, Governor of Colorado, for appearing in paid radio spots promoting fracking. You guys are the best!

• David Dreier waves good-bye, becoming the sixth House member in California to retire. Meanwhile, in Nebraska, Bob Kerrey will run for Senate. He has a well-earned reputation as a wanker, but it’s not like the wanker brigade would pick up a needed voice in the event of his succeeding. Plenty of wankers about. I don’t see how you get a wanker-free Senator from Nebraska in that seat. Maybe Kerrey can develop this 9/11-Saudi Arabia link while in the Senate.

• So Michigan Republicans just changed their delegate allocation after the fact to give Mitt Romney an advantage, after he actually tied Rick Santorum in delegates on election night. The GOP primary delegate mess is making the Democrats from 2008 look good.

• Romney won the Wyoming caucuses while nobody was looking.

• Ireland will hold a referendum on the EU fiscal treaty, and it will be closely watched by the rest of Europe, to be sure.

• The Koch Brothers are trying to take over the Cato Institute through a lawsuit. Such good libertarians.

• Everything you need to know about how the President feeds his sports jones, in conversation with Bill Simmons.

• RIP Davy Jones. I actually liked the Monkees’ TV show, and Head is a really interesting movie, the only to my knowledge to give its manufactured pop stars a Viking funeral.

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