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    Profanity on TV: The FCC's Evolving Rules

    Yes—if it’s used as an adjective, say, or after 10 p.m. Indecency rules have been in flux since the early days of radio. Back then, the FCC’s sole weapon was to revoke broadcast licenses, so networks, and their advertisers, set their own censorship standards. A few weeks ago, a federal court ruled that the FCC can no longer fine broadcasters if someone blurts out an expletive on the air. And we have Bono to thank.
  • Immigrants Leaving Arizona

    The day before Arizona's controversial immigration law takes effect, reports show immigrants are fleeing the state. But the law is not the only cause of declining numbers.
  • Closeted Gays in Military Organize Against DADT

    OutServe, an organization of gay and lesbian active-duty service members, launches today, and most members plan to remain anonymous as they work with the Pentagon toward repealing "don't ask, don't tell."
  • The New GOP-Tea Party Alliance

    The GOP has had an uneasy dance with the Tea Party movement, trying to borrow some of its passion while sidestepping its members’ most radical ideas (like abolishing the Department of Education). As the fall elections approach, however, that standoffishness is melting into something else: a resigned embrace.
  • The Country's Dumbest Budget Cuts

    Lawmakers love to talk about hard choices. But as states have tried to bridge at least $100 billion in budget gaps, politicians are making choices of a different variety: dumb ones. California furloughed thousands of tax collectors, although they would have earned the state an estimated seven times what they cost. New Jersey (along with at least six other states) canceled funds to help people quit smoking, though tobacco-related illnesses already cost the state an estimated $4.7 billion. And Kentucky even shuttered its Long-Term Policy Research Center, foreclosing a mission to “report on trends affecting the state’s future.”
  • Why the Cartels Could Survive Legal Weed

    Advocates of legalizing marijuana have long argued that it would bolster state tax revenue and undercut Mexican drug cartels, much as the repeal of Prohibition hurt Al Capone and the mob. But since no modern government has ever embraced the drug—permitting both its sale and cultivation—this connection between pot and gang control has never been tested. Now a new study from the RAND Corporation suggests that it might not hold up.
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    Poor Must Be Protected From Main Street Too

    Businesses that thrive on people needing access to emergency funds boom when unemployment skyrockets, wages dip, and millions find themselves struggling to make rent each month. So what happens next? Who protects these people?
  • When the Facts Get in the Way

    My family and I have spent most of July in Tennessee, which has put me in the position of being in touch with but not obsessed by the news cycle. (Though there is not really a cycle to news anymore. It is more of a treadmill.) My first glimmer of things comes from my e-mail, with its news alerts, and last week, inevitably, I found myself following the strange saga of Shirley Sherrod, a hitherto unknown employee of the Department of Agriculture.
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    Money Raised and Spent by GOP Pols for 2012

    Even though no GOP politician has formally declared a run for president in 2012, gauging how much money potential candidates have raised for their political action committees--and what they're doing with it--reveals something about their game plans: key endorsements they're trying to secure and volunteer networks they're aiming to harness. Some of these pols are starting to rev up. Others, not so much. Here's a rundown.
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    Left Pushes Hard for Elizabeth Warren at CFPB

    There’s a 2.0 version of health care’s public-option debate, and her name is Elizabeth Warren. She’s the Harvard law professor who’s been giving Treasury Department insiders heartburn over their excessive generosity to Wall Street bigwigs. Liberals are lobbying hard for Warren to head the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, warning the White House that failure to do so would rival the left’s disappointment over President Obama’s refusal to fight for a public option.
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    The New Black Panther Story: Light on Facts, Heavy on Echo

    The problem with the version of the New Black Panthers story circulating in right-wing media is that everything rests on one man's unverifiable testimony. Rather than find facts, those driving the narrative are content to repeat the same unverified story over and over.
  • Congressional Approval Falls Again

    Congress has never been held in very high regard. But new numbers out today suggest a stunning drop in confidence in lawmakers across the board. Among 16 different public institutions surveyed by Gallup—from churches to news organizations—Capitol Hill ranks dead last, below banks and big industry.
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    Sharron Angle Perfects Dodging Reporters

    It's not a bird. It's not a plane. That worried-looking blur reporters keep seeing in Nevada is Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle. Her new signature move is to (almost) literally sprint away from the press.
  • A Military Record Made for Washington?

    Wags are suggesting that the patchy military record of Alvin Greene, the unexpected Democratic Senate nominee in South Carolina, implies he could be a perfect fit in D.C. He was, reports the AP, "usually capable of handling mundane tasks with supervision."
  • oil-spill-now-what-artlede300

    Now What?

    Even with the oil gusher plugged, BP still has to worry about tropical depressions, months of cleanup, billions in claims, and a federal investigation. Five issues to watch.
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    Why Obama Should Speak Out on Sherrod

    It’s time for President Obama to give another “race speech.” Because in response to the very public and very undeserved firing of Shirley Miller Sherrod as the USDA’s Georgia director of rural development, a phone call isn’t going to cut it.
  • Vilsack Offers Sherrod New Position

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has offered Shirley Sherrod a new position with the Department of Agriculture, AP reports. "A good woman has gone through a difficult time, and I will have to live with that for a very long time," Vilsack told reporters late Wednesday.