Federal Communications Commission

The unique peace of flying is about to be shattered by the inane chatter of your fellow travelers.

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If you fret that most forms of female objectification provide insufficient opportunity for concussions, or if you simply feel that the bread-and-circuses decline of American civilization is proceeding too slowly, have I got a sport for you: women playing football in their underwear. The Lingerie Football League claims to be the fastest-growing sports league in the country, and I don’t doubt it.

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When writing for the 5-4 majority that decided Citizens United, Justice Anthony Kennedy argued that caps on corporate campaign contributions were unnecessary because corporations would inevitably be held accountable for the money they spent on advertising. Disclosure requirements, Kennedy suggested, would provide the electorate with full “information about the sources of election-related spending.” But the type of full disclosure that Kennedy envisioned has been harder to achieve than he imagined.

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When the Federal Communications Commission voted last December, after much deliberation, to create rules requiring Internet service providers (ISPs) to give users of the Web equal access to all content, it looked like a decade-long fight over the issue commonly known as “net neutrality” had finally been settled.

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Some commentators have attributed the FCC’s decision last week to block the $39 billion merger of AT&T and T-Mobile to the spread of anti-corporate sentiment in the wake of the Occupy Wall Street protests. “Imagine if the government didn’t take sides” lamented the conservative blog Red State. “Because AT&T really is getting an unfair deal.

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There was more good economic news buried beneath today’s reassuring reports of faster GDP growth: The FCC has just approved a $4.5 billion fund to expand broadband access to the 5 percent of Americans living in rural areas without high speed Internet—nearly 20 million people. The FCC touts this as an economic growth measure, predicting that the expansion will create 500,000 jobs and strengthen the “infrastructure” of the U.S. economy.

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Sell-Outs

Welcome to TNR’s 2011 list issue. Last week we named DC's most over-covered stories, most over-rated thinkers, most powerful, least famous people, TNR's favorite people and the worst words in Washington. Today's installment: DC's sell-outs. EVAN BAYH When Indiana Democrat Evan Bayh announced that he did not intend to run for office in 2010, on the eve of the deadline for the primaries—despite pleas from both President Obama and Rahm Emanuel to stay in the race—he opened up another Senate seat for Republicans and left Democrats scrambling.

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Shameless

Last week, FCC commissioner Meredith Atwell Baker announced that she was leaving the commission to become the chief lobbyist for the newly merged Comcast/NBCUniversal.

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When a divided Supreme Court issued its highly controversial Citizens United decision allowing corporations free rein to use their dollars to intervene in elections, there was one seemingly shining light, an area where broad consensus existed and that was endorsed by eight of the nine justices: the value of disclosure. The Court stated in the decision, “With the advent of the Internet, prompt disclosure of expenditures can provide shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions and supporters.

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A huge, huge announcement, per Mike Allen's Playbook, about Politico's plans to participate in, cover, and generally win the White House Correspondents Association annual bacchanalia: POLITICO UNVEILS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS’ DINNER GUEST LIST, EVENT DETAILS AND COVERAGE PLANS -- Some guest highlights: Musician John Legend; Texas Gov. Rick Perry; designer Tory Burch; Rep. Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin, top aide to Secretary of State Clinton; comedian Joan Rivers; financier T.

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