National Journal Online

QUICK TAKE: Dempsey Says No Change In Readiness Upon Death

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany – Following the death of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey said on Monday the U.S. has seen no indication of alarming North Korean military movements and there is no heightened alert for the peninsula.

“No, to this point, we have not seen any change in North Korean behavior of a nature that would alarm us,” Dempsey told reporters.

Dempsey said he learned of the death “in the middle of the night as it was evolving” from Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. James “Sandy” Winnefeld.

Posted: Monday, December 19, 2011 - 11:40am

Race to the Top Slogs On

The Education Department awarded $500 million in grants to nine states last week, carrying out a promise it made in May to concentrate its limited resources on early learning. The awards are the latest to be doled out under the administration's flagship Race to the Top competitive grant program.

Posted: Monday, December 19, 2011 - 11:40am

Tolling Woes

Two Northeast lawmakers aren't too pleased with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for raising tolls to cross bridges into New York City. They are angry enough that they want the federal government to step in. The Port Authority announced in August that cash tolls for cars will go from $8.00 to $15.00 by 2015. Five-axle trucks that currently pay $40 dollars will have to pay up to $125.

Posted: Monday, December 19, 2011 - 11:40am

Hotline Sort: Suddenly Susan

Welcome back to Hotline Sort. Romney gets the backing of the Des Moines Register, Parker is back in as Indiana Democratic Party chairman, EMILY's List moves Bysiewicz up to full endorsement status, and "Choose or Lose" is replaced at MTV. Here's today's rundown:

7) Say goodbye to MTV's "Choose or Lose" and hello to "Power of 12."

Posted: Monday, December 19, 2011 - 11:40am

Ron Paul on The Tonight Show, Plus: Dick Cheney's American Heart Association Warning -- VIDEO

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul appeared on The Tonight Show on Friday where he told Jay Leno what he thinks of the GOP field. Watch to see what he had to say.

Don't miss today's Must See Moment at 3:06 when Leno shows how President Obama's prestige has tarnished during his presidency:

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Posted: Monday, December 19, 2011 - 9:40am

What's Next for Iraq?

The U.S. military closed its Baghdad headquarters last week, formally marking the end of the war as the remaining 3,500 troops leave the country. After nearly nine years of war, nearly 4,500 American troops killed, 30,000 wounded, and nearly $1 trillion spent--and possibly over a hundred thousands of Iraqis dead and millions displaced within the country and abroad--will Iraq's security forces be able to maintain security within and on its borders? What role if any will the U.S. have in Iraq's future security? What is the greatest challenge Iraqis will face in the next year?

Posted: Monday, December 19, 2011 - 7:40am

The Death of Dr. Evil

Kim Jong Il was a real-life Dr. Evil, intent on being taken seriously and yet almost unfailingly laughed at.

Posted: Monday, December 19, 2011 - 7:40am

The Politics of Economics in 2012

Goodbye, 2011. The year managed to hold off a double-dip recession despite Washington’s best effort to unnerve markets, businesses, workers, and nearly every voter in America by taking brinksmanship to new heights. It cost the country its credit rating and a lot of jobs too.

Posted: Monday, December 19, 2011 - 7:40am

Sizing Up EPA's Mercury Rules

What are the economic, health and political significance of President Obama's mercury standards for power plants?

EPA is poised to issue the first-ever national standards for mercury and other toxic air pollution from power plants. The regulations will require electric utilities throughout the country to install technology to control the pollution. Many power plants already comply with the rule, but others--namely older, coal-fired plants--will face challenges complying within the three-year timeline required by the Clean Air Act.

Posted: Monday, December 19, 2011 - 7:40am

Why This Congressional Chaos Is Not About to End

When it comes to the end-of-session loggerheads, what's important to? understand is that Congress isn't simply "dysfunctional," as it's? blithely labeled, but it's being torn by forces that are real, ?historic, and unlikely to abate even with the 2012 election.

On Friday it seemed plausible to think that Congress was done for the ?year, save for House approval of extending the ?payroll-tax cut and unemployment insurance—but there were hints of ?surging discontent.

Posted: Monday, December 19, 2011 - 7:40am