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Dayen’s Roundup from December 12, 2011

Young news readers (from Cornell Univ. Lib., 1920)

A cold and rainy one here in LA.

• The Supreme Court blockage of the Texas Congressional redistricting map, pending a hearing, really has the potential to determine the majority in the House next year. Given the clear partisanship on the court, that’s good news for conservatives.

• The US left the Shamsi Air Force Base in Pakistan, part of the fallout over airstrikes that killed Pakistani soldiers in the border region. Shamsi used to be a site for US drone launches, and these photographs from Wired show the extent of the devastation inside Pakistan from the drone war.

• Dealbook profiles MF Global’s reckless gambling with other people’s money. Corzine’s really in big trouble.

• The “please give me back my drone plane, Iran” statement from President Obama today came during a press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki touting the end of military operations in Iraq. I wonder if they talked in their meeting about the last detainee in Iraq.

• The Occupy the Ports movement Monday at least caused some minor discomfort. I did appreciate this open letter from some port truckers on their economic plight.

• First the Pakistani Taliban announced peace talks with Pakistan, then top commanders and Pakistan denied it, so it’s hard to know what to believe.

• This for-profit college debacle is another example of sleazy money trumping policy, and Democratic stalwarts were at the forefront of this one.

• Let’s just throw a bunch of GOP primary stuff together: I don’t care that Mitt Romney made a $10,000 bet; I don’t care that Rick Perry briefly misspoke and called Solyndra a country; I don’t care about pretty much anything Donald Trump has to say; I do care about Newt Gingrich’s obsession with electromagnetic pulse because it’s straight crazy.

• Just another reminder that you will never get rid of earmarks.

• While CAP gamely plots out other ways that global emissions could be reduced through separate treaties and agreements, the fact that Canada responded to the reauthorization of the Kyoto protocols by backing out of the treaty really doesn’t bode well.

• This is how you build a progressive movement. Public employees on the front lines of the Ohio defeat of SB 5 are being recruited to run for office.

• Brad Plumer is right that most countries in the Eurozone will not be able to follow the new debt deal. The thing is that they will try, and in the process shave several points off growth in the midst of a recession. [cont’d]

• I hope nobody watched JPMorgan’s wholesale purchase of a block of NBC in primetime over the weekend. I’m wondering if they shot it, just for effect, inside one of their foreclosed properties. Yves has plenty more.

• TCF Bank layered up fees on a kid with $4.85 in his bank account. He now owes close to $250.

• Yes, it’s a Fox News primary. The only major candidate left who was a Fox News contributor is now the front-runner!

• Good news in San Francisco, where the city became the first in America with a minimum wage over $10 an hour.

• The FHFA inspector general just happens to be doing his job; that’s why it’s so novel.

• I agree with Ari Melber that Iowa isn’t all that important anymore, but heck, the primary did get Newt Gingrich to vow never to commit adultery again, so that’s something.

• The new White House Office of Manufacturing Policy doesn’t even rate fresh personnel, just other cabinet secretaries and officials who were already hanging around.

• Maybe a Nobel Prize winner sounding the alarm on Ali Abdullah Saleh will cause the international community to keep up its guard and not assume the Yemen transfer of power will go off smoothly.

• Race to the bottom is alive and well in Illinois, where the state gives out tax cuts to companies that threaten to move. Lesson learned for Illinois companies: threaten to move!

• Marcy on John Brennan’s less-than-stirring defense of the proposed veto of the defense bill.

• Nick Kristof was tear-gassed by authorities in Bahrain during protests there.

• I never consistently read Ben Smith at Politico, and I don’t expect to read him at Buzzfeed either. But I find the move of a news writer into a social media aggregator fascinating (and not a little frightening).

• Xe, once Blackwater, is now Academi. One of these days they’ll shake everyone and gain a new identity! They’re like a drifter trying to start a new life in a new town.

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David Dayen

David Dayen