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The Roundup

It has rained for about 150 straight hours here in Southern California, so if I’m busy in the next two days building an Ark, you know why.

• Crisitunity has some additional data on the Census reapportionment, and Nate Silver has some preliminary analysis. Some of the growth in these red states is coming in blue areas, which should limit the damage to Democrats, but exurbs are growing rapidly, and almost all of them are currently red. The question is whether the growth, which could be coming from flight from more urban locales, could moderate these districts. We’ve seen that in California to a degree.

• Meanwhile the Wanker of the Day on reapportionment goes to David Vitter, who blames Louisiana’s lost seat on “illegal immigrants” rather than that, um, historic flood in the middle of the decade which wiped out the state’s largest city and triggered a mass exodus.

• Nouri al-Maliki got his second term, and Iraq’s Parliament approved a new cabinet, so the country finally has a government after nine months. More from the NYT.

• Haley Barbour did a 180 on his comments about the White Citizen’s Councils in Mississippi in the 1960s, but the damage to his national reputation lingers. Top conservatives couldn’t run away from him fast enough.

• For those who thought that Richard Holbrooke’s final words, saying that the war in Afghanistan must end, merely represented playful banter, Joe Scarborough is basically backing up the sentiment as legitimate.

• One of the reasons why Congress must get legal aid money to defenders of foreclosure victims is that the pay schemes for these defense attorneys currently is so unsustainable as to basically deny these homeowners representation.

• It’s a matter of time before we have a ground war in Pakistan. The question is whether our media, which has given up on actual reporting in that part of the world, will cover it.

Keep an eye on this: “U.S. regulators are considering whether to require large financial firms to hold onto a chunk of executive pay to discourage the excessive risk-taking that contributed to the financial crisis, according to people familiar with the situation.” Good idea!

• Members of the Fed board of Governors who were somewhat skeptical of QEII are now deeming it modestly successful.

• Hedge funds are not systemically significant, according to the Financial Stability Oversight Council, which means they could avoid Federal Reserve oversight. They’d still have to register with the FCC.

• The death penalty is being used less as a sentence and in executions, according to new data. You just cannot do it in the US criminal justice system without leading to wrongful deaths.

• This story on corporate credit unions will make you want to puke.

• The continuing resolution does restore LIHEAP assistance for low-income families needing help with their heating bills, and it saves Pell grants from what would have been a major shortfall. However, that worthwhile help comes at a major cost, including a trial ban for Guantanamo prisoners.

• Lanny Davis has found another brutal would-be dictator to give him money. He could wash his hands for the rest of his life and not get the blood off.

• California will put that high-speed rail money to good use, doubling the plans for the first buildout of its line, which will now stretch to Bakersfield.

• Experts predict a steady decline in gasoline use in the US, due to a variety of factors (new electric cars, fuel efficiency, telework, demographics, etc).

• The ethanol supporters beat the opposition this time, mainly because they had the big money on their side.

• The incredible shrinking environmental movement. Well, progress anywhere is progress, I guess.

• Austerity protests move across Europe, heading this time to Rome.

• Larry David to Congress and the President: Thanks for the tax cut!

• I don’t understand what kind of commitments the President can give on immigration reform, at this point.

• That’s right, a landmark shark protection bill got through the lame duck too. Sharks.

• Apple gets in on the act of banning Wikileaks services, this time their iPhone and iPad app. Chilling.

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David Dayen

David Dayen

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