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Weekend Roundup, January 2, 2011

Had kind of a busy Sunday out of the house, but I’m well-rested and ready for the GOP’s new dominion over all. It doesn’t start until Wednesday, actually, so there’s still time for the necessary resignations to give John Boehner the Presidency. It’s the only responsible thing to do.

• Michael Powell expanded on the GOP war on public employees and their unions in the NYT today. One of the showdown states for this, in addition to Wisconsin, is Florida, where human Muppet Rick Scott is about to begin his reign of terror. He also wants poor people to essentially “shop around” for medical care to keep costs down.

• With the turn of the calendar, several new health care laws took effect, including the mandating of the medical loss ratio (except in cases where waivers were extended), free preventive care for seniors and a closing by half of the prescription drug doughnut hole.

• Didn’t take Chris Christie too long from getting out of the sun of Disney World to return to New Jersey and start blaming everyone but himself for the state’s response to the recent blizzard. That’s what tough guys do.

• Once all prospective judges who didn’t get a vote had their nominations terminated, only then does SCOTUS Chief Justice John Roberts pipe up and say that the President and the Senate need to fill the vacancies. Thanks for being so helpful.

• Democrats start to recognize that the House GOP rules give near-dictatorial powers to incoming Budget Committee chair and Randroid Paul Ryan.

• The corrupt head of the energy and water ministry in Afghanistan still has a job, reflecting the limits of our influence in that country, especially when there’s graft to pass around. And the head of the Pakistani Army won’t go after the Taliban in his midst. We have little influence there, either.

• Portugal could end up in the bond market’s sights after the first auctions of the year, of which we could learn the results as soon as this week. The youth of southern Europe, facing a disastrous future, are growing restless.

• Matt Taibbi takes on MERS. I covered this territory back in October.

• Ron Paul is not a huge fan of Elizabeth Warren or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. All regulatory agencies are captured by business, you see, so the solution is to have no regulatory agencies at all.

• I see no reason to believe that Gene Sperling would do anything fundamentally different or set the Administration on a new economic path, and the same goes for really anyone else. They’re all slotting in behind Geithner, anyway.

• Meet the new Rahm, the new White House dealmaker, Joe Biden.

• I will say that things are looking up on the Korean peninsula, rhetorically speaking, at least.

• The House is interested in the Congressional Review Act as well, particularly on the EPA regulations. The President had better locate that veto pen.

• George Will calls the brinksmanship on the debt limit “suicidal.” Well, the next House has some suicidal tendencies.

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David Dayen

David Dayen