Morning Must Reads: Duck

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Former U.S. Air Force Major Michael D. Almy hugs Speaker Nancy Pelosi after she signed legislation repealing the military policy law during a ceremony December 21, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

–The Senate will ratify the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty today and President Obama will sign the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The Senate may move on to the health bill for 9/11 first responders after START.

–Jim DeMint not a fan of yuletide legislating. Lindsey Graham blames his Republican colleagues for Democrats’ prolific lame duck.

–The Obama administration is drafting an executive order establishing indefinite detention for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay that they say cannot be tried and should not be released. It’s not a new position for the president.

–The FCC approved “net neutrality” rules yesterday by a party line vote of 3-2, the government’s first foray into regulating Internet traffic. Republicans mostly see it as another unwanted tentacle of government overreach and those in Congress may mount a challenge.  Many net neutrality advocates feel the new guidelines don’t go far enough, in part because of laxer rules for wireless companies. I haven’t seen the text of the order itself yet.

–Congress passed a three-month extension of government funding at 2010 levels. Of course, that sets up another budget battle in March and a Republican House may not be too enthused about funding new projects and bureaucracies established by this year’s Democratic legislation.

–Bloomberg’s Yalman Onaran has a good overview of the current state of international financial regulations. In short, how competetition between nations, industry protests, and the Greek crisis broke up, watered down or delayed many pieces of the new Basel Committee on Banking Supervision rules. But it’s still worth noting:

Even after being weakened, the new ratios and definitions would require banks to hold about $800 billion more capital, the committee said last week. Most lenders will be able to raise the money by retaining profits before the rules go into effect.

The cushion will be that much thicker.

–Nine long months after the election, Iraq finally forms a government.

–And AFP’s Mauricio Lima took some stunning photos of Afghanistan this year.

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