Trying to figure out what I’m actually going to write about next week. Last year we at least had a failed terror attack to take up some of our time. If nothing of import arises I’ll probably try to write more big-picture stuff like I did today. And, of course, more roundups.

• In addition to the health care and financial reform laws being threatened by de-funding, the same problem is sure to arise with the food safety law. This was a case where there was a dedicated funding source – paid by user fees on food producers – but it got cut from the final version.

• So the Administration will implement the end-of-life provisions that Sarah Palin called a “death panel,” and they ought to do it with pride and relish, because it was a completely sensible measure.

• Maybe the absolute best example of out-and-out servicer abuse. This is a couple who has never been late on a mortgage payment in the life of the loan.

• The Pentagon pundits scandal was a scandal because the retired generals were recruited by the Pentagon to go on TV and sell the wars. This latest scandal relates to defense contractors recruiting the same retired generals to sell their top weapons systems. It’s the exact same kind of graft.

• The New York Times finally figures out that allowing a bank to stop payments from individual accounts to legal organizations could represent a problem for a nation with an alleged free press.

• Meanwhile, Julian Assange inked a book deal, mainly to defray the cost of his legal troubles.

• The Drug Enforcement Agency’s spiral out of control into an unaccountable global intelligence agency is simply a consequence of these declared “wars” that we keep waging which should never be started in the first place.

• Did Jon Stewart save the 9-11 health care bill? He sparked the press to cover it, basically through shaming, and the politicians then made a bunch of compromises to get it done. Stewart was off the air for a week before the bill finally got passed. I do think his carrying the mantle for the bill was at least an implicit, if not explicit, response to the liberal panning of his message during the March to Restore Sanity.

• This Ivory Coast situation could get ugly, as not only internal forces but international monitors put pressure on Laurent Gbagbo to concede defeat.

• The US might turn back to the rare earth minerals mine in the Mojave desert to help supply their hi-tech products.

• Neil Abercrombie is a one-man birther-wrecking machine.

• Why yes, I went here for Christmas dinner.

David Dayen

David Dayen

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