The Roundup for April 4, 2012

44 years ago today, Martin Luther King was killed in Memphis. Robert Kennedy, at a campaign stop in downtown Indianapolis, made a powerful speech, delivering the report of King’s death to listeners who hadn’t heard the news. There’s a movie about it called A Ripple of Hope.

• The US and Afghanistan are close to a deal to allow night raids to continue with Afghans in the lead and able to approve or disapprove of specific raids by a court order. Meanwhile, a suicide attack aimed at US troops killed a number of Afghan civilians.

• Another new low for housing prices in Feburary from a separate data group, CoreLogic, although we’re supposed to be happy that the rate of decline has slowed. The run-up of rental princes could lead to people moving back to owning, but of course there’s a major effort afoot to increase rental supply, which should bring those prices back down. Anyway, everything’s alright now because they’re selling briskly in the Hamptons.

• Richard Fisher and Harvey Rosenblum followed up their remarkable presentation for the Dallas Fed about the need to break up the big banks with this op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

• Because of a Parliamentary ruling, Senators may be able to introduce budget resolutions onto the calendar, forcing a tough series of votes for vulnerable Democrats. Though why a vote on the budget should be considered tough, when fiscal policy will obviously come up in the context of an election, makes no sense to me.

• I was completely remiss in writing about the Supreme Court’s ruling on strip searches to point out that the Administration argued for allowing strip searches on anyone, including those convicted of minor offenses. I figured that, since it was a local and not a federal jail, the federal government wouldn’t have been involved at all. I should have been more thorough. My apologies.

• Mitt Romney tried the big speech in front of newspaper editors thing today. You can get the substance of it anywhere, but I agree with this: “I miss the days of two or more sources for a story – when at least one source was actually named.” That’s as much a traditional media problem as a new media one, incidentally.

• Wisconsin’s voter ID law was supposedly ruled unconstitutional and put on hold for yesterday’s primary election, but that didn’t stop poll workers from demanding ID of voters.

• The Connecticut State Senate will vote on the repeal of the death penalty today, and if it passes, passage in the House and signing by Governor Dan Malloy is virtually assured. Connecticut would become the fifth state in five years to repeal the death penalty, and the 17th overall.

• Talks between the Justice Department and Sheriff Joe Arpaio on a settlement in his civil rights case have broken off. Unlike the rest of DoJ, the civil rights division knows when to fold ’em.

• I’m with Jon Walker on the movement to stop unnecessary medical tests. It’s fine at the margins, but ultimately this is about the prices on the necessary tests.

• The President signed the STOCK Act today. It could have been better and a last-minute save protected Wall Street’s political intelligence industry, but overall it’s not actively harmful and it applies some common sense. We could do dozens of these ethics reform bills before striking at the root of the problem, however.

• Not much movement on for-profit college investigations from state Attorneys General.

• How Jeffrey Toobin set the conventional wisdom on the Supreme Court’s health care arguments.

• The 401(k) is just not helpful for those wanting to build retirement security, but that’s also a function of the changes in the stock market into a no-humans-allowed staging ground for high-frequency trading.

• We should have gotten rid of the penny a long time ago. I don’t think less money, in terms of value, will go into circulation, so this won’t lead to mass layoffs. And the cost – 2.4 cents for every penny – cannot be supported as necessary. I could think of about a million worse ways to save money.

• Some actual accountability: prison time for cops convicted in the Danziger Bridge shootings after Hurricane Katrina.

• I don’t think Groupon’s going to be around much longer, thanks to their accounting troubles.

• If you haven’t been following the dust-up between Paul Krugman and MMT supporters, Dan Kervick has a very accessible and thorough explanation.

• Protests of the raid on the Oaksterdam University medical marijuana trade school were pretty big yesterday.

• After successful elections in Burma, the US plans to ease sanctions.

• Four former DNC chairs endorsed putting marriage equality in the party platform. I’ll go out on a limb and say that equality supporters will win this fight. But they should work on the lower-profile but just as important LGBT employment protections order, which is ready to go and only awaits Obama’s signature.

• Yahoo cuts 2,000 jobs. Just don’t touch the mail service!

• I don’t think Republicans are actually concerned about having to find an alternative if Obamacare gets struck down. They won’t do anything. That worked for decades!

• Rep. Federica Wilson calls the Trayvon Martin murder a murder.

• Who deserves another Peabody Award more than Stephen Colbert? Actually, the Peabodies went to everything I like: Portlandia, Parks and Rec, that documentary on Charles and Ray Eames…

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