After multitudinous Republican filibusters against President Obama's Executive branch appointees, Senate Democrats vote to bar filibusters against all such appointees except Supreme Court Justice nominees. I still think that's a big mistake -- don't Democrats remember that Republicans wanted to do exactly this in 2005? I opposed it then, and I oppose it now. Still, hearing Mitch McConnell say Republicans have been very fair to Mr. Obama's nominees doesn't exactly garner my sympathy. You may recall that Mr. McConnell is the man who filibustered his own bill late last year.
Oklahoma's state-owned National Guard facilities will no longer offer benefits to any married couples, rather than give spousal benefits to same-sex couples. Pro-family policies at work! Those same-sex couples can get spousal benefits at one of five federal National Guard facilities, but that might be a long drive, since Oklahoma ain't a small place; I'd be interested to see if the Supreme Court calls that an "undue burden" upon same-sex couples. But isn't this a long way to go, Oklahoma, just to appease bigots?
David Dayen instructs us that we shouldn't be jumping for joy over the $13 billion settlement JP Morgan Chase made with our government. Apparently the reported $13 billion includes other costs from another settlement, but the bigger deal is that the principal reductions might actually hurt homeowners, as their reductions get counted as income and thus subject to unexpected tax hits.
In a peripherally-related note, Jesse Eisenstein at ProPublica notes that Mr. Obama's nominee for Commodity Futures Trading Commission, one Thomas Massad, is a bit of a blank slate. He could be the fellow who supposedly pushed back against Bank of America while running the bailout, or he could be the fellow who frequently clashed with bailout special inspector general Neil Barofsky, a man who should be a hero to Americans. I'm leaning toward the latter, but I'd be happy to be wrong.
Finally, Monica Potts at The American Prospect describes a fairly successful program that helps poor New Yorkers save money by diverting some of their tax refunds into a savings account, and then matching the money they save (at about 50 cents on the dollar) over the course of a year . Such programs just so happen to have a lot of conservative support -- building as they do on the Earned Income Tax Credit, a Reagan-era achievement -- but guess how eager today's "conservatives" are to take such programs national.