Old news: Wall Street's visible hand (Photo: Woodrow Wilson Presidential Archives)

Kept getting distracted when trying to put this one down. Forgive the lateness!

• Felix Salmon just savages the White House’s new refinancing initiative. I’ll have more on this tomorrow.

• The alarming news that Hamid Karzai would support Pakistan in a war with the US needs to be tempered by the fact that he said this on Pakistani TV. But clearly, the man who we’ve invested much of our strategy in the Af-Pak reason is completely unreliable, untrustworthy and perhaps unbalanced. We knew that, of course. But it highlights the fact that we have no local partner in Afghanistan worth continuing a counter-insurgency campaign to prop up. And that doesn’t end with Karzai.

• Tunisian elections, the first in a post-Arab uprising country, featured massive turnout and led to a win for moderate Islamists. This will be a pattern in any one of these countries with actual fair elections, and it spells trouble for our relationship with Israel and our general standing in the Middle East. Would like to have been a fly on the wall on that call between President Obama and Egyptian Field Marshal Tantawi, to those ends.

• In other global election news, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner won a landslide re-election in Argentina, and the experts are confounded. I mean, she’s only brought about 8% GDP growth and earned the respect and admiration of the masses, while the opposition is a shambles. But she didn’t do it the preferred neoliberal way! So how could it have happened?

• I think we’re going to hear a ton about benefits for undocumented immigrants in the Massachusetts health care law signed by Mitt Romney.

• Let’s be fair to Republicans: they are fighting these jobs programs because they would put a crippling burden of confiscating 1/2 of 1% of total income from the top 0.2% of the country. I don’t see how those millionaires could survive.

• US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, who bravely appeared with opposition leaders and protesters during the uprising, has been pulled out of the country due to fears for his safety. Meanwhile, even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has criticized the brutal killings carried out by the Assad regime (the physician should heal himself in this case). [cont’d]

• The Transitional National Council in Libya will formally investigate the death of Moammar Gadhafi. Peter Welch (D-VT) wants Libya to pay the US the $1-2 billion expended in helping with the liberation.

• Hey, anyone else noticed that we’ve been bombing the crap out of Somalia recently? I’m assuming this has something to do with the Kenyan invasion, which seems like another bad interventionist policy destined to fail like the Ethiopian invasion and all the other ones in Somalia.

• Occupy Wall Street has tapered off a bit online, reports Micah Sifry. Maybe the repression by Rahm Emanuel’s boys in Chicago, and the bomb thrown at their encampment in Maine, will spark attention anew. True Life: I’m Occupying Wall Street on MTV should help, too.

• Nevada blinked and moved their caucuses to February 4, and now the GOP primary calendar is finally fairly set. You have Iowa Jan. 3, New Hampshire Jan. 10, South Carolina Jan. 21, Florida Jan. 31 and Nevada Feb. 4. Nevada got leapfrogged, but they will get good seating and hotel space at the convention. Politics! Unless someone breaks out in those early primaries, Michigan and Arizona, decent-sized states both going on Feb. 28, look to loom pretty large in the decision-making process.

• Americans rightly believe that the Electoral College is stupid, antiquated and unworthy of anything but elimination. National Popular Vote FTW.

Former lobbyist Herman Cain must be seen as a real threat, now that Karl Rove is attacking him. I think you have to run an actual campaign – aside from the Lincoln-Douglas debates with Newt Gingrich, to be an actual threat, no?

• The earthquake in Turkey sounds terrible.

• Here’s a shocker, Joe Lieberman’s being a petty jerk on the way out the door.

• It’s under the radar, but some Senate Democrats are actually rallying to stop some pretty draconian detention legislation.

• I don’t really know the Super Committee’s purpose beyond being a full employment program for lobbyists.

• The new chief economist for the Treasury Department just destroyed the GOP refrain that regulatory uncertainty is at the heart of our economic woes.

• I hate to say this, but Dana Rohrabacher is right.

• Nebraska is proving a major hurdle in the efforts to approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. NIMBYism and environmentalism come together!

• Who deserves free legal services more than torture judge Jay Bybee?

• Another part of the problem with the Administration’s Secure Communities and deportation policies are the warrantless searches.

• BP’s back in business in the Gulf of Mexico, despite no changes to oil spill liability.

• Great writeup of the spectacular Democracy Now and their early coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests. The comparison to NPR’s latest afraid-of-their-own-shadow actions is pretty revealing. Speaking of which, Michele Norris just stepped aside from political coverage because her husband got a job in the Obama White House. By the Lisa Simeone standard, shouldn’t NPR just ban Norris from the network outright?

John Podesta out, Neera Tanden in running the Center for American Progress.

• Kenneth the page gets four more years in Louisiana.

• The Obama campaign has a Tumblr.

Are you ready for some football, Rick Santorum?

• The New York Times gets Angry Birds right on the second try. Scroll down to the correction.

Batman is the 1%, Spiderman the 99%. In case you were wondering.

• The failed 1980s Matthew Perry sitcom Second Chance almost nailed Gadhafi’s death date. They got the year right and just missed the month.

David Dayen

David Dayen