Federal Communications Commission

Benched
October 01, 2009

The most-watched case of the Supreme Court's last term, which ended in June, invited the justices to hold unconstitutional a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. The law required certain jurisdictions--largely in the Old South--to "pre-clear" any changes in their electoral systems with the Department of Justice. It was intended to prevent states with poor civil rights histories from changing their voting systems in ways that would keep blacks from voting.

More Fairness Doctrine Nonsense
August 19, 2009

  As if his suggestion that Americans had "every right to fear" the fictional death panels wasn't distracting enough, Charles Grassley has further stoked the Republican base by reawakening that classic conservative bogeyman: the "fairness doctrine," a defunct FCC provision that neither the Democratic administration nor congress has any interest in bringing back. Grassley's latest concern comes from the appointment of Mark Lloyd, a former senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, as the FCC's chief diversity officer.

Gosh Darn Sons of Guns
December 03, 2008

On Election Day, as the Supreme Court was debating the Bush administration's decision to fine TV networks for broadcasting "fleeting utterances" of the words "fuck" and "shit," an obscenity scandal in Britain cast light on the question before the justices: Can a single expletive actually be considered indecent?

Bum Rush
December 03, 2008

Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and other friends have spent the past year screaming about the horrors of Barack Obama. And, while it's true that they talked ad nauseam about socialism and the Weathermen and Jeremiah Wright, careful listeners would have noticed a recurring theme of anxiety: that Obama was going to use the newly acquired levers of government to destroy them.

What the F***?
October 08, 2007

Why we curse.

Wolff Trapped
August 30, 2004

Snuffle. Snuffle. Snuffle. The little black nose is cold and wet on my arm. "Gracie, stop that!" media writer Michael Wolff scolds the small, spastic spaniel wriggling next to me on the sofa. Gracie tumbles to the floor, but Trixie the cat soon takes her place and delivers an exploratory head butt. "No. No. No. Come on," says an embarrassed Wolff, leaning out of his high-backed red chair and waving an arm.  Wolff and I are seated in the living room of his comfy Upper East Side home.

Mobbed Up
June 28, 2004

The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies, and Nations By James Surowiecki (Doubleday, 296 pp., $24.95) In the summer of 2003, analysts at the Department of Defense had an unusual idea. To predict important events in the world, including terrorist attacks, they would create a kind of market in which ordinary people could actually place bets.

Talking Back
February 16, 2004

EVERY WEEKDAY, FROM three in the afternoon until seven in the evening, Randi Rhodes delivers her brief against George W. Bush. Much of it is standard anti-Bush fare: He stole the 2000 election, he wrecked the economy, he led the nation into a disastrous war under dishonest pretenses. But sometimes Rhodes takes her critique into less familiar territory. Citing a book titled George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, Rhodes alleges that in the 1940s Prescott Bush, the president’s grandfather, sold raw materials to the Third Reich.

Not Deciding
October 29, 2001

Playing It Safe: How the Supreme Court Sidesteps Hard Cases and Stunts the Development of Law by Lisa Kloppenberg (New York University Press, 304 pp., $38) For many years, Israel's General Security Service has engaged in certain forms of physical coercion, reasonably described as torture, of suspected terrorists. Suspected terrorists have been repeatedly shaken, in a way that causes their heads and necks to dangle and to vacillate rapidly. They have been tied in chairs for long periods of time, their heads covered in opaque and foul-smelling sacks, while very loud music is played.

The Color-Blind Court
July 31, 1995

The conservative justices are privately exuberant about the remarkable Supreme Court term that ended last week. Surprised and slightly dazed by the magnitude of their victory, they think they have finally exorcized the ghost of the Warren Court, fulfilled the goals of the conservative judicial revolution and vindicated the ideal of a color-blind Constitution for the first time since Reconstruction.

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