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The Roundup for December 16, 2011

This weekend, treat yourself to a pack of gum: you’re worth it!

• It turns out that the Administration didn’t do as good a job as I thought in restoring funding for the CFTC. They only changed some IT priorities and didn’t claw back any more money.

• Joe Arpaio will not go quietly. They’re going to have to haul him away in one of those patented pink jumpsuits.

• I’m glad that Mario Draghi thinks a potential depression and the imminent suffering of tens of millions of Europeans is kind of like a card game.

• Best of luck to DiFi to try and clarify one part of the detainee provisions in the defense authorization bill, but it’s really only a band-aid. The bill gives the military a large role in counter-terrorism claims and codifies indefinite detention for one of the first times in American history. That’s a power that should simply never be granted.

• Matt Stoller keeps it simple: the foreclosure fraud crisis has turned banks into crime scenes, and they should be treated by the authorities as such.

• The Treasury Department certainly believes that the European crisis represents a serious threat to the US economy.

• The “Move to Amend” campaign to repeal Citizens United represents a true long-term political campaign on the left, one of the first in a while, and one that has the capacity to endure.

• In a display of regional power, Iran warned Afghanistan to stop allowing the US to launch drone flights from inside its borders, saying that they would view any further flights as a hostile act on the part of Afghanistan. This drone thing is a debacle. By the way, the surveillance drones will still fly over Iraq, mainly to spy on the PKK.

• Scott Walker has already banked over $5 million for the upcoming recall election.

• I appreciate the US standing by California’s high speed rail program, but it’s also going to take dollars, which are in short supply in this Congress.

• Everyone likes Ron Paul until they take a look at how profoundly wrong his economic theories are.

• Mike McQueary, the former Penn State graduate assistant, actually testified today in the perjury hearing for two top PSU administrators. The case will go to trial.

• Why am I not relieved about the announcement that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is “stable,” I wonder…

• Rick Perry is that double-dipping greedy public employee you’ve all heard about from conservatives. Once again, the GOP proves that government is inept and corrupt… by being inept and corrupt.

• What Jon Walker said. I hit this before, but he adds some more context.

• I neglected to praise this great series by the Philadelphia Inquirer about fracking and regulation in Pennsylvania.

• Maria Cantwell gets criticized for being unmarried. More of the crap female politicians have to put up with in this country. No wonder there aren’t so many of them.

• There’s a special election to replace Rep. David Wu in Oregon next month. Democrat Suzanne Bonamici has a comfortable lead.

• The Pope wants redistribution of wealth. Why, that’s anti-Christian!

• South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley endorses Mitt Romney. His PAC apparently bankrolled her in her gubernatorial election.

• Activists opposing tar sands oil have a corporate campaign, and they just pressured Chiquita into swearing off using the dirty energy product.

• Cameron, one of the makers of the Deepwater Horizon rig, paid BP $250 million to settle claims about faulty design. Finally, justice for BP.

• At least one EPA rule will not be delayed any longer. The mercury loophole is on its way out.

• This AFT effort in West Virginia sounds fascinating. I couldn’t make it, but they wanted to bring me out to see the project for myself. Best of luck to them.

• Small business lows are at a 12-year low. Yikes.

• I mean, if you can’t afford a political cartoonist on staff, of course you check out the Nazi magazines for inspiration!

• Chris Hitchens died. He seemed to have no problem attacking the recently dead in obituaries, so I’ll endorse Gawker’s take. I recently looked back at some of the things I wrote about him over the years, and it would be out of character for me to praise him just because he shuffled off this mortal coil. I think this line from Ian Buruma put it best: “he was always looking for the defining moment — as it were, our Spanish Civil War, where you put yourself on the right side, and stand up to the enemy.” The man wanted to be a combination of George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway in the worst way. As it is he was on Hardball a lot.

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David Dayen

David Dayen