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The Roundup for November 13, 2011

Thanks to everyone for bearing with me, my non-blogging schedule got filled up over the past week and cut into the writing. Things should return to normal between now and Thanksgiving. And now for some links:

• Former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky had the ability to pull kids out of classrooms without the knowledge of their parents. As this investigation continues, I shudder to think what we’ll find. More on this testimonial from a former Second Mile kid tomorrow, but go read it now.

• Silvio Berlusconi finally resigned in Italy, after passage of budget measures in both chambers of Parliament. Former EU Commissioner Mario Monti has taken over. But Berlusconi’s party won’t support Monti after the austerity measures pass, and Berlusconi is already talking about a political comeback.

• I thought Mike Konczal’s assessment of the Obama Administration in early 2010, when they made the pivot to the deficit, is really first-rate. White House officials cannot just sit back and say that financial crises lead to long and slow recoveries. They made the decisions that extended that length.

• Finally some sanity from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, as he warns against an attack on Iran.

• Jefferson County, Alabama finally had to file for bankruptcy, after collapsing from a JPMorgan Chase interest rate swap scheme. Really sad story.

• Balanced budget amendment votes, preordained by the debt limit deal, will happen in the House this week.

• Just a few days after the epic fail of SB 5, Koch-aligned operatives are trying to get another anti-union measure on the Ohio ballot. Will they ever learn?

• We’re only talking about “broad outlines” so far, but this agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, essentially NAFTA for Asia, doesn’t look like a good sign to me. There’s a White House fact sheet here. At least Obama mentioned how he wants China to “play by the rules” in global trade.

• Just some additional information on this one: those “We Can’t Wait” initiatives from the President which cut spending by about $4.5 billion in “waste”? That money will be channeled into other measures.

• Annie Lowrey gets A1 in the New York Times with this story about what the Euromess will mean for the US economy.

• It does look as if Newt Gingrich is making a bizarre comeback in the Presidential race, though it feels short-lived. And somehow, I don’t think it has anything to do with Gingrich’s rhetorical support for reinstituting Glass-Steagall.

• Republicans did indeed take over the Virginia state Senate, so the 2011 election wasn’t a total loss for them.

• Will the Federal Housing Administration need a bailout?

• Palestinians come to terms with the reality of their loss on statehood at the Security Council. They won’t even be able to force the United States to veto.

• Well of course MF Global fired everybody. What did they have for them to do at this point?

• White House Advisor Cecilia Munoz feels the heat from immigration activists.

• Um, maybe the war isn’t over in Libya.

• Am I the only person alive who didn’t think the Rick Perry brain fart was a big deal? I blank on certain words all the time. The guy just forgot a talking point he was supposed to memorize, is all. The substance of eliminating the Departments of Education and Energy (though I certainly think Commerce can be realigned out of existence) is the real negative here, not just blowing a line.

• The likely Republican front-runner this week proposed a privatization of Medicare, said that a federal regulator applying enforcement of clear statutes should be fired, and floated a privatization of veterans health care to boot. Those are gaffes that matter.

• Pam Bondi is still having problems dealing with the fallout of firing two foreclosure fraud investigators.

• Adam Levitin on the proposed foreclosure fraud settlement is a must-read. I would add that we’ve blown past a couple more “deadlines.” Wondering if and when this will ever happen. The White House already is looking into other options.

• I finally caught Gasland over the weekend, which is great. But I didn’t know that the White House will have a decisive vote on opening the Delaware River Basin to natural gas fracking in just a week. When thinking about this, consider that the EPA just found fracking chemicals in an aquifer in Wyoming, and that the Delaware River Basin provides water for 15.6 million people, including the cities of New York and Philadelphia.

• Juan Cole explains that the IAEA report on Iran contains less than meets the eye.

• Good story on Occupy Wall Street’s finance committee.

$800,000 every year to house a prisoner at Guantanamo. Indefinite detention has a series of costs.

• Republican candidate for US Senate from Michigan thinks that income inequality should be wider. Just more spite-based politics.

• The Montana Senate race appears to be turning on who played a bigger role in allowing wolves to be shot.

• Small victory stopping Amtrak privatization in the House.

• John Rizzo is the latest to succumb to the war on whistleblowers.

• Mike Tyson does a good Herman Cain.

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David Dayen

David Dayen