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The Roundup for December 6, 2011

Here it is, straight from the XJ4T-3000 link dump processor:

• This is kind of like watching a fight between two people you don’t like, but BP’s charge that Halliburton destroyed evidence that would have shown their culpability in the Gulf oil disaster could shake things up.

• Here’s a bit more on the one main policy proposal in President Obama’s Osawatomie speech, on increasing penalties for financial fraud. As I suspected, this looks tied to the SEC’s request for stiffer fines. That’s pretty weak tea.

• The President showed some anger in this statement on the filibuster of Caitlin Halligan for the DC Circuit Court. Twenty judicial nominees are currently waiting around for a vote in the Senate.

• More on the Occupy Our Homes protests, which seem to be going well, from Arthur Delaney. Mike Konczal also has a great series up on the foreclosure crisis: here, he relates it to the alleged “hygiene and safety” issues used as a pretext to expel occupations around the country (another good study of vacant properties here). Meanwhile, the next phase of this could be a shutdown of West Coast ports next week.

• Mitch McConnell wants nothing to do with that bipartisan legislation from Susan Collins and Claire McCaskill that includes a millionaire’s surtax. Maybe he’ll endorse this asinine proposal from Rep. Jeff Landry to basically make the tax cut an advance taken out of future Social Security earnings.

• Mitt Romney is right to be nervous: he’s definitively losing to Newt Gingrich! Let’s check back in after a few days of this Ron Paul attack ad in Iowa. Meanwhile, the biggest loser of the GOP primary may be the Republican Party.

• FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt resigned after being arrested on a drunk driving charge.

• Even with apparent widespread fraud Vladimir Putin could only manage a plurality in the Russian parliamentary elections.

• The CFTC had enough of a budget left to ban the use of depositor cash for a firm’s personal trading, basically what Jon Corzine did at MF Global.

• The “crisis at the border” is actually not a crisis at all. Arrests are at 1970s levels.

• David Brooks bravely comes to the rescue of Cass Sunstein, one center-right technocrat helping another.

• Free preventive care, of which I recently availed myself, is among the best elements of the new health care law.

• As Greece prepared to vote in another round of crushing austerity, Matt Yglesias correctly indicates the reasons that central bankers should probably not make policies for Southern Europe. For one, their preferred policy of austerity won’t work, elite propaganda aside.

• Martha Coakley wants a Congressional investigation into illegal foreclosures by GMAC Mortgage. Two can play at the retaliation game.

• The AFL-CIO is collecting unemployment stories.

• The Arab League will not lift economic sanctions on Syria in exchange for getting international monitors in to survey uprising violence. Meanwhile, the killing continues, particularly in Homs, where dozens of dead bodies have turned up. Obama will send the US Ambassador, Robert Ford, back to Damascus.

• Protesters in Wisconsin have no plans to pay the state for the honor of protesting in the Capitol.

• Erik Loomis has some good thoughts on Boeing’s purchase of labor peace with the Machinists union.

• A large explosion at a Shiite shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan today killed at least 60 people.

• The House finished their excellent work on legislation that will block a regulation that doesn’t exist.

• AFSCME today endorsed Barack Obama, the man who ushered in a pay freeze for federal employees, for President.

• This is good work by the Obama Administration: using foreign aid as a lever to support gay rights.

• A $200 million settlement in the Upper Big Branch mine disaster. Apparently criminal prosecutions can still go forward.

• Los Angeles wants to figure out how to punish banks more, which is a good decision to make.

• That company Carrier IQ, whose software saves every keystroke made on smart phones, faces a lawsuit in Delaware over the privacy-depriving app.

• Ridiculous that the American Heritage Dictionary included the phrase “anchor baby.”

• Michele Bachmann gets schooled by an 8 year-old on gay rights.

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David Dayen

David Dayen