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Weekend Roundup

I wish I could tell you that I did something productive with my day to this point, but to be perfectly honest, I’m scratching my head right along with you. So we’ll manufacture a roundup and speak of none of this until the AM:

• How did it escape me that the Nissan Leaf made its debut just blocks from my house on Friday night? The electric car, the first mass-produced vehicle in the US, has a 100-mile range but can get an extra 31 miles with just a 10-minute charge at a public station. Building the stations would seem to be crucial here. Another job creator!

• Former Laura Bush press secretary Andrew Malcolm has ginned up another wingnut freakout with this OMG Obama bowed to the Japanese emperor absurdity. Obviously this is the most important thing that’s ever happened in the universe.

• The Obama Administration wants to enact a limited, year-long agreement in Copenhagen, yielding to the reality that Congress won’t complete a climate bill in time for the conference. And it looks like they’ve got buy-in on that from Asia Pacific nations. Of course, given the trajectory of the Senate negotiations they might want to delay beyond a year.

• The Bush Administration – a collection of the most shameless liars this world has ever known. They actually forced NORAD and the FAA to change their timelines on September 11 to jibe with false pronouncements from Cheney and Wolfowitz that planes were ready to shoot down United Flight 93.

• William Jefferson gets 13 years for socking away $90,000 in his freezer. By contrast, most of Wall Street has yet to be charged.

• The trade deficit is a much more ominous predictor than the budget deficit at this point. If we keep running these huge global imbalances, we can forget about the halcyon days of unitary superpower status.

• Troop morale is down in Afghanistan, and perhaps one reason is not that they feel unequipped to deal with the mounting threat of the insurgency, but they don’t really know what they’re doing there, a question that Obama and his team reportedly wants to answer.

• Speaking of Afghanistan, this is really grounds for firing from David Broder:

It is evident from the length of this deliberative process and from the flood of leaks that have emerged from Kabul and Washington that the perfect course of action does not exist. Given that reality, the urgent necessity is to make a decision — whether or not it is right.

America’s Worst Decisionmaker.

• The “Race To The Top” education funding, where the Secretary of Education mandated some controversial procedures around testing and teacher performance to qualify for school stimulus money, apparently changed enough to get some critics, even unions, to sign on.

• Yes, that RNC health plan has end of life counseling in it, too. GOP-sponsored death panels!

• The head of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Phil Angelides, is threatening to publicly disclose any company stonewalling their document requests. This only works if the public knows about it, of course.

• Doug Elmendorf has cracked the code on the Two Santa Claus Theory. Although he’s not “calling out the American people,” as Ezra Klein claims, he’s calling out the political class.

• It’s not political, really, but this is a truly fascinating long piece by Jodi Kantor on the Obama’s marriage. A really compelling work.

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David Dayen

David Dayen

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