National Journal Online

Supreme Court Case Reignites Indecency Fight in a Digital Age

A potentially landmark Supreme Court case on broadcast indecency may be the beginning rather than the end of a renewed fight over content on TV and radio in an age of almost unlimited media sources.

On Tuesday the Court will hear oral arguments in a legal battle between Fox and ABC and the Federal Communications Commission over whether federal indecency regulations are unconstitutionally vague.

Posted: Monday, January 9, 2012 - 6:40pm

Romney's Bain Business is Everybody's Business

Mitt Romney has been in politics long enough to know that his record is intertwined with that of Bain Capital, the private-equity firm he cofounded. That’s why it’s so surprising that the Republican presidential front-runner is struggling to fend off his rivals’ attempt at a hostile takeover of his private-sector resume.

Every candidate runs on a record. Incumbent presidents run on the nation’s prosperity and security under their watch. Legislators run on the votes they’ve cast – on big bills and tiny amendments, on each “yea” and “nay” and … “present.”

Posted: Monday, January 9, 2012 - 6:40pm

K Street's Money Runs Deep in Obama and Romney Worlds

Former Washington Post reporter turned journalism professor Tom Edsall takes a look at just how dialed in lobbyists are to the campaigns of Mitt Romney and President Obama and concludes "that the power of the electorate relative to the power of the Washington establishment has inexorably declined."Edsall's online NYT op-ed is a solid user's guide to how much individual lobbyists have given to the campaigns and super PACs supporting the two candidates.

Posted: Monday, January 9, 2012 - 4:40pm

Supreme Court Wrestles With Texas Redistricting Case

The Supreme Court grappled inconclusively for 70 minutes on Monday with a challenge by Texas to a federal appeals court's effort to substitute "interim" electoral maps that favor Democratic and Hispanic candidates for the maps drawn by the state legislature, which favor Republicans.

The potentially momentous case could deliver three of the state's new congressional seats from Republicans to Democrats if the state loses, possibly even helping Democrats gain a House majority.

Posted: Monday, January 9, 2012 - 4:40pm

The Evolution of Super PAC Attack Ads in This Campaign Season

In early August, satirist Stephen Colbert and his super PAC, Making a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, launched the political-attack-ad season with this hilariously confusing commercial targeting Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the Ames Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa.

The Ames Straw Poll is a write-in election so confusing Gov. Rick Perry with Colbert’s fictitious Rick Parry could have proven surprisingly costly for the candidate.

Posted: Monday, January 9, 2012 - 4:40pm

Bev Perdue's Tough Winter

It's been a cold winter so far for North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue.

The first-term Democrat released her fundraising total for the second half of 2011 late last week: She brought in $1.3 million, which is less than the $1.5 million former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory -- the very likely Republican nominee -- raised during the same period.

Posted: Monday, January 9, 2012 - 4:40pm

Lew Is New White House Chief of Staff

President Obama announced on Monday afternoon that White House Chief of Staff William Daley is stepping down to be replaced by budget director Jack Lew. Daley submitted his letter of resignation last week; the change from Daley to Lew will occur at the end of the month.

“He decided it was time to leave Washington," Obama said in making the announcement in the State Dining Room at the White House. "Obviously, this was not easy news to hear and I didn’t accept Bill’s decision right away.

The president added, “There is no question that I will deeply miss” Daley.

Posted: Monday, January 9, 2012 - 4:40pm

Laufman Opens Private Law Firm

David Laufman, a former chief of staff to the deputy attorney general and a congressional oversight investigator, has opened a private firm, The Law Offices of David H. Laufman, which will focus on white-collar criminal defense and corporate compliance counseling.

Laufman has also worked as a special trial attorney in the Justice Department's fraud division, focusing on U.S. economic aid to Iraq; an assistant U.S. attorney in Virginia; and a CIA intelligence analyst.

Posted: Monday, January 9, 2012 - 4:40pm

FCC Looks To Reform Low-Income Phone Subsidies

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski said on Monday he plans to reform a program designed to subsidize phone service for help low-income Americans to provide broadband access.

The FCC's Lifeline program provides up to $10 in discounts on monthly telephone service for people who are at or below 135 percent of the poverty level or are covered by one of several assistance programs, such as Medicaid or food stamps.

Posted: Monday, January 9, 2012 - 4:40pm

Feds Say Tampa Terror Plot Foiled

House Homeland Security Committee member Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., was one of the first members of Congress to react to news on Monday of the arrest of a Tampa, Fla., area resident in the alleged plotting of several terrorist attacks throughout the Tampa area.

“This foiled plot is a disturbing reminder that we must remain vigilant against terrorism not only abroad, but in our own backyards,” said Bilirakis, who represents part of the Tampa Bay area, in a statement.

Posted: Monday, January 9, 2012 - 4:40pm