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The Roundup for January 2, 2012

The entire political world is trudging around pretending to care about “real people” in Iowa and college bowl games are on. So I’m out. Here’s a recap of the past few days as we turned the calendar.

• The AP claims “thousands” of Occupy protesters marched in the Occupy the Rose Parade event, mostly to cheers from the crowd. As expected, it was not broadcast by any of the major networks, or even the local ones here in LA.

• Good for brooklynbadboy for asking this question. I don’t think Democrats and progressives will really have a say in the matter if Republicans take the Senate, but for the record, yes, I think it’s time for functional governance and accountability.

• Verizon backtracked on their online bill pay fee about as fast as I’ve ever seen. The moral here is that the way to impose hidden fees is to keep them hidden.

• Obama will spend the day after the Iowa caucuses giving a campaign speech on the economy in Cleveland.

• Obama will run against Congress. Still unclear; what he will run FOR. I don’t know the agenda for a second term at all.

• Rick Santorum let slip the long-held conservative belief that all welfare recipients are black people.

• Well-known sensitive male Newt Gingrich plans to unload on Mitt Romney in New Hampshire and South Carolina. And if that doesn’t work, I’m sure the reason will be that Eric Holder stole the election from him.

• Brad DeLong on America’s financial leviathan may be the must-read of the weekend.

• Pam Bondi, the Florida Attorney General, covers for her defense of foreclosure fraud operators and intimidation of investigators by pretending to go after foreclosure mill law firms, after an appeals court told her that she cannot.

• No debt limit request just yet for the White House. I’ve heard many call this a cave, but if a meaningless, pointless resolution of disapproval is all the White House caves on this year, we’ll have gotten off easy.

• If the Internet practically shut down over a vote on SOPA, that would certainly get the nation’s attention.

• What’s with all the firebombings in New York and Los Angeles. Sadly, based on who’s being held in the attacks, it could be xenophobia and militancy.

• In the signing statement on NDAA, the White House snuck in a degradation of an actual salutary initiative on transparency in status determinations in Afghanistan.

• Banks get more creative in extracting illegal funds from their customers.

• Occupy the Iowa caucuses continues to cause headaches for politicos there.

• Eric Cantor and his staff just cannot tell the truth about taxes (particularly Ronald Reagan and taxes).

• Rep. Steve Austria decides to retire rather than face a fellow Republican in an intra-party rivalry.

• The head of the Arab League acknowledges that the killing continues in Syria, but they withdrew their tanks, so at least there’s that.

• There was talk that Virginia’s nutty Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, would personally intervene to get some Republican primary candidates back on the ballot in the state’s primary. But Cuccinelli changed his mind.

• We actually have far less certainty about how much natural gas exists under American rock and shale, and shouldn’t give free reign to fracking based on any large estimates.

• The blackbirds in Arkansas fell from the sky AGAIN? Someone needs to reassess their fireworks celebrations.

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David Dayen

David Dayen