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The Roundup for February 9, 2011

Sorry for the lateness of tonight’s roundup, I was taping a segment for RT’s The Alyona Show on the job market and corporate investment outside America in emerging markets. I’ll have the link for you tomorrow.

Moving on:

• So, Chris Lee. I’ve been having fun on the Twitter box on this one, though I’m not sure the fairly normal transgression of adultery – or just trying to commit it – is a firing offense. So good for Gawker for winning the day, but if less politicians would get so high and mighty over family values we could all chill out about this. That is, unless you commit a crime and wear a diaper like David Vitter, or pay off the husband of your mistress illegally like John Ensign, who I might add are both still in the Senate.

• Alan Grayson on Dylan Ratigan’s podcast, which is quickly becoming a must-listen. Again, where are the prosecutions?

• Looks like the Treasury plan for Fannie and Freddie will be a big bag of nothing, just a range of options with no actual preference. Republicans don’t actually want to affirm a proposal either. One aide quoted in the article says “Industry-defining legislation often takes more than one Congress to pass.” So while the CAP proposal was astonishingly unhelpful, I don’t think anyone wants to mess with the broken mortgage market right now, and this won’t happen for a while.

• So far, the Federal Reserve’s conception of a systemically important firm is pretty broad. So far, the SEC is phasing out the reliance on credit rating agencies in securities. Dodd-Frank could have an impact if the regulators regulate, which is not necessarily what will happen.

• Two great ones from Marcy today: one on the CIA torturers who all got promoted, the other on Bank of America’s potential targeting of Glenn Greenwald. Amazing stuff.

• Republicans blew ANOTHER vote today, this time on UN funding. They didn’t come close to the 2/3 threshold needed under suspension of the rules. Peter King was the culprit this time, working with NYC officials to lobby against the cuts. Republicans couldn’t even get a must-pass trade adjustment assistance bill to the floor yesterday. Not a good day for the GOP.

• I don’t think Democrats mind Republicans in the position of defending oil company subsidies. I’d expect votes on this.

• Privatization of public programs continues apace, this time allowing big financial companies the shot at making a profit on programs and getting subsidized for it.

• Pretty sure we’re going to have half-formed buildings and actual roads to nowhere if Republicans get their way.

• Some public advocates are trying to defend the weak net neutrality rules from Congressional repeal (which would eliminate the ability for basically any regulation online discrimination) with a site called The Internet Strikes Back and a national call-in day on February 17. It would be better to direct the calls to the FCC.

• The first monetary policy hearings chaired by Ron Paul today featured a Ludwig von Mises Institute scholar who Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) accused of ties to hate groups. Sounds like it went well.

• One of the better explanations of the AOL-Huffington Post merger.

• Jonathan Rauch on Republinomics. Hint: it’s not Reaganomics.

• We knew it would be a lobby job, but we figured it would be Wall Street and not Hollywood for Chris Dodd, who’s poised to head the MPAA. He promised after his retirement that he would not become a lobbyist, by the way.

• The Fabulous Fab says he can’t be tried for civil fraud charges because he sold stuff to foreigners, I think.

• Mike Pence joined the Live Action bandwagon yesterday. An election that featured almost no mention of social issues has yielded to a House of Representatives obsessed with them. Democrats really want to play this up (though they don’t have the cleanest hands here).

• This major drought in China could send commodity prices shooting up even higher. Good thing there’s no systemic global warming, so we won’t have this forever!

• Nebraska awarded electoral votes by Congressional district for several Presidential cycles. It never mattered. Then Barack Obama took 1 EV in the Omaha area. Now Nebraska wants to change the law back to winner-take-all.

• Rahm Emanuel’s going to win the Mayor’s race in a couple weeks in Chicago, but keep an eye out for his name popping up in the Blagojevich trial.

• Tunisia doesn’t want the Parliament, most of it handpicked by the last dictator, making any decisions, so they gave the new President near-dictatorial powers. Um, you’re doing it wrong?

• So much for the Korean military talks.

• The latest in my Silvio Berlusconi obsession. Fabulous – the Prime Minister suing the state to block a trial.

• California’s climate law still may get delayed, this time thanks to a lawsuit by low-income environmental justice groups who say that their communities are adversely impacted by the law.-

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David Dayen

David Dayen