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The Roundup

As I noted, we’ll bring you the debate between Jon Walker and 538’s Nate Silver on Monday. Should be fun. More on that later. For now…

BREAKING: Byron Dorgan just vowed on Ed Schultz that he will get his drug reimportation bill passed this year in the US Senate, designed to save Americans $100 billion dollars in drug costs over 10 years. He didn’t think it would be included in the health care bill, obviously, but he said he would get it passed in 2010. Best of luck to him. He also said “I’m not going to let the Bernanke nomination go through until we figure out what he did with out money.” Dorgan becomes yet another Democrat unwilling to vote for Bernanke. Much more on this tomorrow.

• Chris Van Hollen is confident that not many other House Democrats will retire during this cycle. There’s a lot of reassuring words going around Democratic circles right now. But because the main Republican committees are broke and in disarray, the reassurance may be on the money.

• Brad Plumer says not to write the obituary on a climate change bill in the Senate just yet.

• Republicans want no part of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Democrats who want to see any energy on the left should go to the mat for this, and should ultimately be willing to lose on principle.

• Martha Coakley has released her first TV ad in Massachusetts. The US Senate election is in less than two weeks. That’s cutting it close IMO.

• On a wild political day in Washington, Joe Biden writes at The Huffington Post about how much he likes trains. And you know what, he’s right. Trains and mass transit are a public good. We should devote more resources to them.

• The Justice Department has indicted the underpants bomber. Meanwhile, CNN reports that he’s providing actionable intelligence.

• We’re nearing a total crisis in public pensions, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation isn’t likely to be able to bail us out. It’s easier to focus on near-term and more high-profile problems, but this one could really destroy the country. Happy New Year!

• Looks like we’ll get a vote on marriage equality in the New Jersey State Senate tomorrow. There’s precious little time left in the lame-duck session to actually pass it and get it to Jon Corzine, who would sign it.

• Meanwhile, at the Prop. 8 trial set for next week, cameras will be allowed in the courtroom; but the broadcast would be tape-delayed onto YouTube. That’s a bit odd.

• Hey, how’s Afghanistan going? Really terrible, it turns out, as I noted with Juan Cole’s post the other day. And it’s not going to get better unless we improve at all levels.

• Ben Bernanke not only missed the housing bubble, but he’s presiding over the Federal Reserve as they make the exact same bad assumptions which led to missing the housing bubble.

• Pete Hoekstra’s campaign has finally figured out who registered It wasn’t Pete Hoekstra. That should tell you a lot.

• And finally, female toads inflate to avoid sex. I don’t think I can write a joke about this without accusations of sexism, so I won’t.

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David Dayen

David Dayen