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The Roundup for January 3, 2012

Caucus excitement! Jon Walker and Eli will have full coverage here. I’ll be watching the game, so wake me when it’s over.

• Tom Barrett, the Milwaukee mayor who lost to Scott Walker in 2010, might be up for a rematch in the expected recall election this year.

• The RNC will employ the President’s own words and predictions as a political weapon in 2012. It certainly worked in 2010 when they waved around the stimulus projections at every opportunity. And even for those voters where the economy is rebounding slightly, this strategy might feed a narrative about disappointment.

• I don’t really want to get pulled back into the Ron Paul/progressive wars, but what Ta-Nehisi says about Louis Farrakhan is important, though I draw a different lesson. I think the rise of flawed individuals who appeal to certain constituencies speaks a lot to the leaders who are aren’t serving those constituencies, and I don’t agree that can be just explained away with “all politicians compromise.”

• A Supreme Court dispute about an Idaho home and protected wetlands may end up diminishing the power of the EPA.

• Kevin Carey from The Quick and the Ed has a crucial post on California’s disaster in higher education, which has as much to do with capacity as affordability. I would add that the unaffordability of the UC system has pushed students who might otherwise qualify into the CSU or community college systems, overburdening them and creating capacity problems. And it’s not like California has the spare change to build more colleges right now, because of the minority veto over revenue.

• Related: Calculated Risk on state and local government budgets, which in non-insane states like California look a bit better this year.

• I can actually get behind this Ken Rogoff essay on rethinking growth and economics, at least as a discussion-starter.

• More verbal volleys between the US and Iran. Let’s hope it ends at verbal.

• Turns out Iowa and New Hampshire, those bold and self-reliant first-in-the-nation primary states, get a ton of aid from the federal government, not that this will be a topic of discussion in Republican circles.

• Mike Huckabee is making sense about SuperPACs. What you’re seeing in Iowa is the future of US campaigning.

• While the Arab League holds an emergency meeting on their increasingly farcical Syria mission, French President Nicolas Sarkozy accuses Syria of war crimes and urges Bashar al-Assad to step down.

• All of a sudden, Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiators meet in Jordan today, and they pledged to meet again, though little else.

• JPMorgan Chase is the latest to get sued by investors over legacy mortgage backed securities from the Bear Stearns days. Meanwhile, Bank of America lost a major ruling in another MBS case against monoline insurer MBIA.

• I would give the electric car revolution some time, but they haven’t performed well out of the gate.

• Hans von Spakovsky is using Bush-era moles at the Justice Department to leak out information about the agency, in violation of various federal laws.

• There’s still no functioning Parliament in Iraq since the withdrawal, because of Sunni boycotts. No functioning government – we really did bring American-style democracy to Iraq!

• The Republican speaker of the Indiana House does not look to be backing down on right to work.

• Maryland is the next state targeted by LGBT advocates for marriage equality, but conscience exemptions may trip up hopes.

• If you hear about a lot of “uncommitted” votes at the caucuses tonight, that’s probably the work of Occupy Des Moines.

• Musician Youssou N’Dour will run for President in Senegal.

• Solar storage technology could be a big field in the future.

• All the vote totals you’ll see tonight in Iowa have nothing to do with how convention delegates are selected. Surprise!

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David Dayen

David Dayen

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