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The Givers:

Rick

I kind of thought Rick Santorum was going to do really well, because he’s been absolutely giddy for the past week. That tells me his internal polls showed him within striking distance of a win in the Iowa caucus. We’ll see how the final totals shake out.

UPDATE: Hah. Mittens beats Santorum – by 8 14 votes. That they “found”.

Holocene

Bon Iver:

Drinking Liberally

Just got back from my first visit to DL in a very long time. (I called first to see if the kitchen could make food I could actually eat.) Had a nice time, caught up with an old friend and made a new one!

Lonely boy

The Black Keys:

Dear Mr. Fantasy

Traffic:

Where would we be without the right to bear arms and pretend we’re homesteaders, defending our sod houses and log cabins against surprise attacks by West Indians and gangsta rappers? More here.

The new professionalism

Radley Balko:

Maybe there’s a legitimate law enforcement reason to strip a man naked, strap him to a chair, tie a “spit hood” around his mouth, put a hood over his head (see video at the link), and douse him with pepper spray until he dies. That’s what sheriff’s deputies in Lee County, Florida did to 62-year-old Nick Christie two-and-a-half years ago.

I certainly can’t think of any such legitimate reason. But Lee County State’s Attorney Stephen Russell apparently can. Because he cleared the deputies involved of any wrongdoing.

Tonight

Tuesday, Jan 3 | 9 pm eastern | 6 pm pacific |Virtually Speaking Tuesdays | This week, Spocko and Mike Stark talk about today’s media environment, effective activism, organizing strategies and the power of the 99%. Follow @spockosbrain @mike_starkListen live and later on BTR 

The United States of ALEC

Why bother having elected officials at all? Cut out the middleman and let the corporations pass the laws directly!

RICHMOND — In recent years, Virginia legislators have proposed bills that would legalize the use of deadly force in defending your home, call for companies that hire illegal immigrants to be shut down and give businesses tax credits to fund private school tuition for needy students.

All of those bills — and more than 50 others — have been pushed by a conservative group that ghostwrites bills for legislators across the nation, according to a study set to be released in the coming days.

In many instances, the bills are identical to model legislation written by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a pro-business, free-market group whose members include legislators as well as private companies, which pay thousands of dollars to have a seat at the table.

ALEC, as the group is known, has seen seven of its bills passed by the Virginia General Assembly, including measures on education, taxes and health care, according to the study, conducted by the liberal group ProgressVA. One of the resulting laws laid the groundwork for Virginia’s legal challenge of the federal health-care law passed in 2010.

And for the coming legislative session, the first bill introduced in the Senate is an ALEC bill that changes voter requirements — forcing registered voters to cast provisional ballots if they cannot provide identification.

Critics say the group’s low profile cloaks an ambitious agenda driven by corporate interests.

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