Afternoon Reads

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–An Obama campaign blogger argues that the growing chasm between President Obama and his liberal base is not a function of alienating the “professional left,” but rather that Obama hasn’t engaged the network of grassroots supporters he nurtured throughout his campaign. Organizing for America, writes Sam Graham-Felsen, was “silent” during the tax bill battles.

–As President Obama signs the tax bill at 3:50 PM this afternoon, he’ll do his part toward ensuring that the present remains of the best times in history to be a rich American.

–Our colleague Steve Gray explains how drug companies are beginning to market their concoctions through social media outlets, which aren’t subject to the stringent guidelines of print and broadcast media.

–The FCC will take up Chairman Julius Genachowski’s net neutrality proposal on Tuesday, but the text of the order is yet to be unveiled, and House Republicans are crying foul.

–The sand berms Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal pressed for to protect the Gulf Coast were a bust, according to a report from a presidential commission. (H/t commenter grape_crush.) I looked at Jindal’s leadership during the spill in this piece.

A Chicago elections board is expected to rule next week on whether former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel meets eligibility requirements to serve as the Windy City’s mayor. City rules require mayoral candidates to have residency for at least a year prior to the Feb. 22 election. Objectors to Emanuel’s candidacy say the Chicagoland native wasn’t physically present as he toiled in Washington; Emanuel’s lawyers have argued that by maintaining a home and stowing family keepsakes in the city, the Chicagoland native made clear his intention to return.

–Federal prosecutors reach a deal to add $7.2 billion to the pool of cash available to compensate victims of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

–And as Congress bravely soldiers toward their yuletide festivities, the Awl compiles a list of things equal to the legislative branch’s epically low 13% approval rating. Among them: Dick Cheney’s polls as he left the White House; the percentage of Germans who “would welcome the return of a Fuhrer.”