• Thanks to actual Maoist Scott Brown, the Senate passed its version of the financial reform bill, huzzah! The bill creates a "financial stability oversight council" (presumably the equivalent of a "death panel," but for money), regulates derivatives trading, and allow the SEC to regulate hedge funds. But what are all the ways in which this landmark piece of reform will fail to solve anything and will only annoy your friend who's always forwarding you things from MoveOn? Well, the bill still has to be reconciled with the House version, a process the administration apparently plans to be involved in, which means Blanche Lincoln's mean old derivative reform provisions could get cut. And thanks to some last-minute maneuvering by Sam Brownback, the rule suggested by Paul Voelker, whereby banks can't engage in proprietary trading or play the market with their own money, didn't make it in. Still, it passed, which is more than a lot of people thought would happen, so, uh, Hope? [NYT]
  • American hero Mitt Romney is leading polling for the 2012 New Hampshire primary! In other news, perhaps as many as several dozen humans are conducting New Hampshire primary polling, when they could have spent that time with their families, or just taken up the opportunity to curl up with a good book. [UNH]
  • Utah Senator Robert Bennett went and held an entire press conference to say that he wouldn't run for Senate as a write-in candidate, which must have been the most boring press conference ever. [Salt Lake Trib]
  • Hillary Clinton tells the North Koreans that they can't just go around sinking South Korean ships and not expect "consequences," which, uh-oh. (Don't worry, it will probably just be more sanctions against a country that is already 100 percent isolated from the outside world, but you might want to move away from the West Coast just in case.) [NYT]

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