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The Roundup for November 2, 2011

Today is a rare 8-digit palindrome: 11-02-2011. Also, just 425 or so shopping days left until Christmas 2012!

• The Rebuild American Jobs Act, the infrastructure piece of Obama’s jobs bill, gets a vote in the Senate tomorrow. No Republicans are expected to vote for it, though Democrats will be mostly unified, save for perhaps Nelson and Lieberman.

• Somebody could perhaps tell me the purpose of authorities at Guantanamo reading the mail correspondence between detainees and their attorneys.

• On the first day that retroactive sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine offenders were operative, many saw reduced sentences.

• Still not buying that the Catfood Commission will reach a deal, but for what it’s worth, Jay Newton-Small reports that there could be some GOP give on taxes. There’s a letter from 40 House Republicans asking that taxes be put on the table, too. I don’t know about the strategic long-term thinking claimed here – first of all, these GOP members are asking somebody else to make the move, and second, in the immediate term the pressure to reject would be intense.

• Here’s that bipartisan proposal to fix the Postal Service’s finances. It’s not as bad as I expected, and it does include the refund of overpayments. I still like the idea of letting the Postal Service innovate and get into the simple banking business.

• A House bill would stop all discussions between US officials and Iran unless Congress had a 15-day heads-up. This sounds really stupid. More from Heather Hurlburt. Meanwhile, Israel engaged in a provocative act toward Iran today by test-firing a missile capable of carrying a nuclear payload.

• Some legal wrangling in the BofA settlement with institutional investors over mortgage backed securities.

• Richard Shelby says “Break up the banks!” Shelby actually voted for Brown-Kaufman’s Safe Banking Act in 2010.

• Julian Assange loses his appeal in Britain and will likely be extradited to Sweden to face questioning in a sexual assault case.

• Here’s a history lesson on the last general strike in America, also in Oakland, 65 years ago.

• The foreign aid budget and improving lives abroad is certainly important, but we also have to return America to its meritocratic ideals and aid our own troubled communities. For proof, consider that, when you factor in inequality, the US ranks 23rd in the UN global development index.

• Of course banks will try to lard on more fees, but the point is that whenever they’re transparent, the public will have a chance to fight back… and win.

• The big question is which Republican campaign dropped the dime on Herman Cain?

• Two Democrats introduced a financial transaction tax today, modeled on an idea so popular in Europe that the German Finance Minister and the archbishop of Canterbury support it. As I understand it, the tax is pretty microscopic – just 0.03% on trades. It could stand to be a bit bigger.

• Ben Nelson has willingly used hundreds of thousands of DSCC dollars already this cycle, but surprise – he isn’t announcing that he’s running until the end of the year.

• A Colorado initiative that would have increased sales and income taxes statewide to pay for education got destroyed yesterday. In one bright spot in Colorado, the city of Boulder voted to support a Constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood.

• The militias are not disarming in Libya.

• This FBI bust of a bunch of yahoos in Georgia looks like another case of entrapment.

• New Hampshire’s primary date has been set for January 10. So that’s Iowa January 3, New Hampshire on the 10th, January 21 in South Carolina, January 31 in Florida and February 4 in Nevada. Super Tuesday (which isn’t all that Super this time around) is on March 7.

• Stephen J. Baum, the foreclosure mill law firm with the homeless Halloween party, is very sorry. Probably sorry that the pictures got out, but sorry nonetheless.

• Viktour Bout has been convicted of illegal global arms sales.

• Glen Beck’s favorite supplier Goldline faces a 19-count criminal complaint for fraud. I understand these are not just scamsters but horrible human beings besides.

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David Dayen

David Dayen