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The Roundup for December 2, 2011

Hope you have a fulfilling weekend. I’m going to see The Artist.

• Jon Corzine is now under subpoena to testify about the crackup of MF Global before the House Agriculture Committee (they control derivatives; it’s a legacy thing).

• The EPA finally passed a rule limiting mercury and other pollutants in boilers, but it only covers 1% of the industry. Cass Sunstein strikes again.

• More on the succession battle between Maxine Waters and Carolyn Maloney on the House Financial Services Committee. Good to see Maloney back off that bad derivatives anti-transparency bill.

• Today’s David Brooks and Paul Krugman op-eds about Europe are a study in contrasts.

• Mike Konczal has a fantastic piece at The Nation about the lost economic year of 2011, and at the end he offers a good riposte to Jon Chait’s “clap louder” story in New York Magazine:

Jonathan Chait is only the most recent pundit to wonder why liberals are so upset about the administration and the state of the economy. But the answer is obvious. Everything progressives have fought for—from the policy advancements of the Obama administration like healthcare and financial reform to the New Deal and Great Society programs that remain, like Social Security and Medicare—has been at risk as a result of this Great Recession. A longer period of sustained joblessness will wreck the working class and devastate the budget, leaving our economy even weaker. Important advancements that will actually win the future—from pricing carbon to emptying out our prisons—are virtually impossible with the country experiencing so high a level of unemployment. There are ways forward; it is just a question of whether the administration is prepared to take them. It is easy to lose precious time, and we’ve just lost a full year with nothing to show for it.

It’s not too much to ask to act like 14 million people out of work and 24 million who cannot find work full-time is a crisis rather than an inconvenience.

• Another big issue in the defense authorization bill are Iran sanctions that the Administration opposes because they could upset the coalition of Western nations pressuring Iran. The White House reiterated their veto threat today.

• David Sirota is right: fewer college students moving to Wall Street is definitely a positive development.

• I’ve heard surprisingly little news in the US about this alleged Al Qaeda kidnapping of an American citizen living in Pakistan.

• Mitt Romney gets the National Review endorsement – again. Didn’t help him much in 2008.

• A rare sighting: the US arresting a banker. This looks like garden-variety fraud to me.

• If you don’t like Scott Walker and want to go inside the State Capitol in Madison with some friends and tell Wisconsin all about it, from this point on it’ll cost you.

• Hold everything on that free trade agreement with South Korea. Some Korean judges are coming out against it.

• Here’s another Huffington Post video on some far-flung Occupy sites. In this one, they visit Atlanta, where protesters tried to save a home from foreclosure. As a result, Fannie Mae demanded all email communications between the foreclosed family and Occupy Atlanta.

• Some slightly better news on state budgets, although it didn’t stop state, local and federal governments from firing another 20,000 workers last month.

• Secretary of State Clinton visited Aung Sun Suu Kyi today in the home where she was held under house arrest.

• Brad DeLong has a good take on the November employment numbers, which looked “good” mostly because of people dropping out of the labor force.

• It’s really not the euphemistically-named “labor market reforms” that are the answer for Southern Europe, it’s actual tax collection.

• Nicolas Sarkozy has an idea about how to win re-election in France: how about some austerity? It’s working so well, after all!

• Apparently the country was in the midst of an imminent freight railroad strike, but it has been averted at the last minute.

• National security will not go to the dogs because we’re only spending the equivalent of Fiscal Year 2007 on defense.

• The real reason for the Solyndra bankruptcy was the collapse in the price of solar because of cheap Chinese imports. The International Trade Commission will look into a complaint by US solar companies about illegal dumping by the Chinese. (Personally, I’m OK with cheap imports of solar panels, at least above socks or other manufactured goods)

• That horrific Emergency Financial Manager law in Michigan could hit Detroit soon. John Conyers wants the Justice Department to review the statute.

• Tomorrow could be the end of the road for Herman Cain.

• How pathetic is Glenn Beck, now that Donald Trump has passed him in the stunt-casting debate moderator category? I’m with Jon Huntsman, it’s beyond time to opt out of this farce.

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David Dayen

David Dayen