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The Roundup

How could it be two years since that MGMT song came out and I STILL have it in my head?

• It doesn’t matter if the GOP works weekends to repeal health care, it matters that there are simply structural barriers to getting legislation fully repealed.

• A potential breakthrough in Pennsylvania on foreclosure fraud: one of the foreclosure mills used fake lawyers to file cases. A judge in the state sanctioned the law firm and one of its attorneys for separate actions of document fraud. This isn’t going away.

• While nobody was looking, the Congress passed a stopgap continuing resolution that pushes the ultimate solution on funding the government by two weeks, to December 18.

Presidential pardons are here! Amazingly, these are the first pardons of the Obama Presidency. But as Dan Froomkin points out, none of them were commutations of people currently in jail, and many of them were moldy cases where the pardoned individual never even went to jail. Key quote: “So that makes Obama 9 for 140 on pardon requests, and 0 for 1,157 on commutation requests.”

• The real “death panels” – Arizona stops financing transplants through Medicaid, consigning a good number of poor, sick people to death. There already is rationing in America.

Michael Copps is the only hope for sensible telecommunications policy at the FCC, and for getting a better deal on net neutrality. Meanwhile, Tim Wu offers a pretty good take on what Julius Genachowski proposed. He calls it “a two-and-a-half out of five. It’s the classic Obama thing: right there in the middle!”

• Could Europe and China engineer their own cap and trade system, leaving the US in the lurch?

• Lisa Jackson is ready to defend the EPA’s turf from a conservative onslaught next year. This is just a beat sweetener, but clearly this will be a major showdown.

• Julian Assange practically shut down the Guardian with an online chat yesterday, but here’s the full text. What did Wikileaks have to do with the Kenyan general election, anyone know? Oh, and is a Kristinn Hrafnsson profile next?

• Meanwhile, Ron Paul offered Assange support. I think some in the establishment will take this as proof that Assange is a crackpot, since they think that of Paul. But it’s further proof why the establishment generally finds Paul dangerous.

• John Conyers is right to call the catfood commission’s failure “a victory for working people.”

• Here could be the ethanol compromise – in his big tax cut bill, Max Baucus extends them at a lower rate, 36 cents a gallon as opposed to 45 cents. It’s a sign of weakness for the pro-ethanol forces, at least.

• Who does America trust? Nurses, apparently. And military officers, pharmacists, and teachers. Many of the most trusted professions happen to be unionized, actually.

• I would have no problem with a serious discussion of the mortgage interest deduction. I think it’s quite destructive.

• Bookmark this: Issa Exposed. Lots of information on the new House Oversight Committee leader will be coming through here.

• Online poker is a major priority for the Senator from the top gambling area in the country. Dog bites man.

• I’m surprised it took this long for Goldman Sachs to consider selling their mortgage servicer, Litton Loans, but who in God’s name would buy them, after the mess they helped make of the housing market, and the criminal exposure they face?

• The “recovery” we’re seeing in the jobs data is a textbook conservative recovery: an increasing private sector and shrinking public sector.

• Pittsburgh already did it, and now the state of New York may ban hydraulic fracking.

• Good to know that the leaks which should move nations to assassinate Julian Assange aren’t that big a deal and won’t harm national security, say officials in those same nations.

• Chris Christie is now fighting his liabilities to the US government as all true deadbeats are wont to do.

• Budget cuts could lead to the crumbling of historic sites in Europe.

• Seriously, the CALM Act could be the best thing Congress did all year. I can’t stand commercials that come in twice as loud as the programming. It’s also a big problem for the programming itself, because it makes the audio mix that goes out into the world relatively softer and more muddled.

• You, too, can have your very own PAC with the Sunlight Foundation PAC Name Generator. I’m the proud founder of “Robber Barons against Those Against Us.”

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David Dayen

David Dayen