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I’m Still Alive Thanksgiving Week Roundup, 11/27/11

Yes, I’m back. Between the next in a series of Thanksgiving and post-Thanksgiving meals, the point of which I have now forgotten, I could not get around to the computator. This is probably the longest I’ve gone without blogging in eight years, let’s see if I remember how to do it by way of a late-night roundup:

• I’ll have a lot more tomorrow on Europe, which could be days from a crackup.

• Also, more later, but the killing of Pakistani troops in a drone strike has the feel of a last straw for a nuclear-armed nation.

• Ali Abdullah Saleh has agreed to relinquish power approximately 206 times this year, but he at least signed this latest agreement. However, he continues to make crucial decisions affecting the lives of the people of Yemen, in this case a general amnesty for everyone involved in the uprising except the ones who tried to assassinate him. A new Presidential vote is set for February 21.

• Kamala Harris appears to be as good as her word, as the foreclosure fraud settlement is moving on without her, with what will be a much smaller deal, and a harder one to secure, since the banks involved will still be exposed to prosecutions from all the big states keeping themselves out of the deal.

• Newt Gingrich snagged the coveted New Hampshire Union-Leader endorsement, and while this has often gone to a bunch of conservative cranks and also-rans, just getting close in the Granite State will be enough for Gingrich if he takes the other early ones, because Romney has heightened expectations there. That said, I think Gingrich doesn’t actually want to be President and is intentionally throwing the primaries by going soft on immigration. This was just supposed to be a book tour for him.

• Revealing that the Pentagon made no contingency plans to deal with the trigger cuts that would hit next year, while Republicans are making all kinds of contingency plans to avoid them.

• The White House is coming in on the side of the protesters in Egypt, calling on the military government to give up more power. Meanwhile, the first round of parliamentary voting has begun.

• I probably should be down at City Hall seeing what happens to Occupy LA at midnight.

• The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan isn’t even doing that well and it’s already running out of money that’s supposed to last until 2014. This was completely expected. High-risk pools are extremely expensive.

• HuffPo’s Occupy Y’all Street video is worth a look.

• I don’t know if the Republican member of the National Labor Relations Board will actually resign and force an effective shutdown of the agency, but in this age of polarization and especially given anti-union sentiment from conservatives, I’m actually shocked it hasn’t happened already.

• DoJ actually going after bank debit card fees, looking into possible anti-trust violations. I think the fact that they all announced them and then dropped them in tandem is a clue.

• Shoppers were sucked in by Black Friday hype, with sales up 7% year-over-year, but spending on services is falling behind. Demand still is what it is.

• I have my differences with Jerry Brown and California Democrats, but I also have a certain admiration for them for pushing forward on high speed rail, biased Adam Nagourney profiles aside.

• Scott Walker is basically already campaigning in the recall election.

Living in cars: the new American Great Recession trend.

• Another Democratic House retirement, this time Texas’ Charlie Gonzalez. The new Texas maps, the product of a huge overreach by Republicans, pretty much protect incumbents and give 3 of the 4 new seats to Democrats, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

• Apparently the drop in violent crime tracks the plunging price of cocaine. This has always been offered as a reason to end the drug war and move to some kind of decriminalization or legalization strategy.

• Looks like I dismissed the Syracuse college basketball sex abuse scandal way too hastily. Bernie Fine, the assistant coach accused of molestation, was fired by the university, and the once-skeptical coach Jim Boeheim is now backpedaling.

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David Dayen

David Dayen