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The Roundup

Back from my on-the-ground reporting. What was it about? Any scoops come of it? You have to tune in tomorrow! As for today:

• We’ve been “close” to a decision on the venue and type of tribunal for the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed for what seems like a year, but for what it’s worth, we’re still close.

• The spending bill to keep the government funded needs to be renewed by December 3, so that, and perhaps not the tax cuts, will be the main order of business for Congress come Monday. The big question is whether they’ll extend it through the fiscal year or make a short-term patch to give the next Congress a crack at it.

• I’m sure this story on food price increases will give rise to more claims of runaway inflation, but understand the reason – failed crop yields. These factors cause the volatility in commodity prices, not current monetary policy, which keeps prices from dipping into deflation.

• With Democratic outside groups on the playing field in 2012, the money in that election will be ridiculous.

• Benjamin Netanyahu wants settlements more than Middle East peace. Just so we’re clear.

• It looks pretty good for Lisa Murkowski in her write-in battle against Joe Miller, as the vote-counting has begun. She’s going to win. Speaking of counting, Democrats have taken a commanding lead in both outstanding House races in California, and it’s very likely they’ll hold up. That would bring the totals to 237-192, with six races outstanding (IL-08, NY-01, NY-25, NC-02, TX-27, KY-06). But Republicans currently lead five of those six races.

• The French got their retirement age reformed after weeks of street protests and a battered President Nicolas Sarkozy. British students have begun to protest the Conservative government over higher education cuts. The next generation is starting to fight back in Europe.

• Everything that needs to be said in George Bush’s CYA book is contained in this Matthew Norman editorial for the Independent (UK). Or you can go with the 140-character version from Rep. Dana Rohrabacher. But if there’s anything to be gained from Decision Points, it’s the revelation that Mitch McConnell was a pinko cut-and-runner.

• Watch what you eat: traces of oil found in Gulf seafood. Anyone who thought we were past that is crazy.

• Our latest covert war, this time supporting drug war efforts in Mexico.

• The early approval ratings for the Senate 2012 contests show a desperate landscape for the Democrats, especially in Missouri, Ohio and Michigan. However, it is early. Two things seem clear: Ben Nelson’s in big trouble in Nebraska, and John Ensign’s a huge wild card. While Jon Ralston thinks he’s toast, polls show him in pretty good shape for a GOP primary. I don’t know if it’s worse to run soon-to-be-indicted Ensign, or the teabagger who would likely replace him on the ballot.

• The ACLU will sue to block the Defense of Marriage Act, and they made an incredible video about their plaintiff, who was married to her partner for 44 years.

• Another ACLU lawsuit, on the issue of the targeted assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, had a hearing yesterday, and the road looks difficult.

• Nobel Prize winner Peter Diamond will have another committee hearing for his nomination to be a Fed governor next week.

• Swing State Project points out that the redistricting map isn’t THAT much worse than in 2000, but of course the gerrymander that year produced a House map structurally balanced toward Republicans, and this year, more of the population has moved to states with a Republican trifecta.

• You can write all the reforms you want, but you have to pay the federal agencies to carry them out. That’s where the Republicans will chip away, no doubt about it.

• Arnold Schwarzenegger’s gift to Jerry Brown: a $25 billion dollar deficit, with structural shortfalls as far as the eye can see.

• No, Marc Ambinder wasn’t really a blogger, but then, given the co-opting of the blogosphere by access journalists I don’t really know what the word means anymore.

• Hate how dark it’s getting so early? Blame Bush. It works for a lot of things, actually.

• Tucker Carlson: identity thief. Carlson reminds me of every preppie snob with a pink sweater tied around his neck in every 80s movie. They usually lose in the end.

• Restoring sanity: new Chief of Staff for a teabagger calls Nancy Pelosi “garbage”.

• The dream of Michele Bachmann in the House leadership is sadly over.

• The latest in my Silvio Berlusconi obsession: could the Italian public be waking up, after the 320,000th video of their Prime Minister with an underage girl?

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David Dayen

David Dayen