Morning Must Reads: Loss

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Japanese fire-department personnel rescue a woman from the devastated city of Natori on March 13, 2011. (EPA)

–The scale of tragedy and human loss in Japan is absolutely staggering.

–The unfolding nuclear crisis may throw a wrench into U.S. nuclear energy policy. The last time a nuclear power plant was approved for construction in America was in the 1970s, before Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl.

–The Wall Street Journal averages together a few economists’ projections to get a very important number for the next election cycle: the unemployment rate in November 2012. (Well, September’s is probably the last monthly jobs report voters will actually hear about, but regardless…) They’re guessing 7.7%. That would still be above normal, but pretty good for Obama. And economists have historically underestimated the speed of recoveries and depth of recessions.

–Tim Pawlenty gives a few interesting quotes to Jeff Zeleny that largely bear out my impression than 1) he is at the center of the venn diagram that is the developing 2012 field and 2) he’s in a good position to be the “anti-Romney”:

I want to be every person’s candidate — that’s my goal,” Mr. Pawlenty said. “The notion that you can’t do more than one thing at a time, I think, is a flawed premise.”

“I think the people who get tossed around in this process are people who don’t have their compass set, who don’t have their feet firmly planted on the ground,” Mr. Pawlenty said in an interview. “And then they start to just grab for the wind and they flop around. That’s not me.

Here are the cuts included in the Republicans’ latest short-term spending bill.

Tens of thousands of protesters descended on Madison, Wisconsin, on Saturday. I’m not really sure where the story goes from here, so here’s a round up of political science papers on recall votes. (via)

–It’s just an op-ed in the Arizona Daily Star, but I think this is the most Obama has ever weighed in on gun control in his entire national political career.

–House Republicans will unveil a few options for dealing with government backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac this week.

–The interchange fee scrum in financial reform spotlights the fact that our central bank isn’t particularly good at regulating payments, writes Felix Salmon.

–Meg Whitman, I guess having gotten her money’s worth, says she’s done with politics for now.

–Karl Smith argues movement liberals won the war of ideas on social welfare. They seem to have lost on taxes and short-term spending.

–And Dept. of Awkward Tea Party Corrections:

“So I misplaced the battles Concord and Lexington by saying they were in New Hampshire,” Bachmann posted on her Facebook page later. “It was my mistake, Massachusetts is where they happened. New Hampshire is where they are still proud of it!”

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