Seattle’s socialist, Occupy-approved city council member
Seattle has long been a bastion for liberal politics, but newly-elected City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant pushes the city’s political envelope with her avowed ties to socialism and the Occupy movement. The city’s more conservative political figures are skeptical of Sawant, but her supporters have successfully rallied around her, and her central call for a $15 minimum wage.
Says Sawant of her position outside of the typical political structure:
"It is time, high time, that we workers opt for a mass political alternative to the two big-business parties!"
Photos: Alan Berner / Seattle Times, Ted S. Warren / Associated Press
John F. Kennedy’s rise to the presidency, in photos
As we near the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination on Nov. 22, 1963, Framework takes a look back at some of our own coverage of the nation’s most photogenic president.
Photos: Larry Sharkey, S.A. Hixson, William Murphy / Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times archives
Read about next week’s cover, “Reboot,” by Barry Blitt, online now: http://nyr.kr/1cufZex
Another shot across the bow of the much-maligned launch of healthcare.gov, which new documents reveal successful signed up just a handful of people in its opening day.
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On Oct. 10, 1973, Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned. He was only the second U.S. vice president to resign. (There is no third. John C. Calhoun, a central figure in the Nullification Crisis of the early 1830s, was the first; he resigned Dec. 28, 1832. If only The Times’ archive went…
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Everyone the U.S. Government Owes Money To, in One Graph (via Planet Money)
Meanwhile, House Republicans and President Obama are inching toward a possible deal that would temporarily extend the debt ceiling for six weeks.
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California’s landmark recall election, a decade later
Ten years ago, California soured on Gov. Gray Davis less than a year after he had been reelected, and decided to hold just the second gubernatorial recall election in U.S. history. What followed was one of the strangest political shows in recent memory:
The spectacle — a snap election featuring a color wheel of 135 candidates, including a former child actor, a porn star and a handful of professional politicians — shook California from its usual political slumber and captivated an audience that watched from around the world.
As for the lasting legacy of the recall, which replaced Davis with actor, bodybuilder and frequent T800 Arnold Schwarzenegger in the state capitol:
…many say the historic election heightened awareness of state government and gave Californians a greater sense of empowerment, even if it failed to extinguish the flickering animosity toward Sacramento. For good or ill, the recall served notice on California’s political class, and still looms as a threat over all those holding elective office.
Photos: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times, Robert Galbraith / Associated Press
On October 8, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. The case centers on whether aggregate limits on donations to campaigns are constitutional, an extension of the legal logic behind the infamous Citizens United decision.
Before the Court hears arguments, though, the justices will have already consulted something unique: A legal document predicated on a Tumblr. According to Lawrence Lessig, the Harvard Law professor filing the brief, it’s the first time a Tumblr has been used in a Supreme Court filing.
Read more. [Image: Charlie Loyd]
There’s a first time for everything!
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Previewing the presidential pitch on Syria
Obama administration officials have tried to make the case for military action against Syria for over a week now, but with the public largely against intervention and congressional approval looking shaky, the president himself will address the nation tonight.
Complicating the issue is a Russian proposal, first suggested by Secretary of State John Kerry in an off-the-cuff remark, that Syria avoid an attack by giving up its chemical weapons for eventual dismantling.
And though Obama has said that a “credible” military threat to Syria must be maintained, he did tell CBS News yesterday that the weapons deal could be “a potentially significant breakthrough.”
So can Obama convince the nearly 6 in 10 Americans who oppose military strikes? It doesn’t appear likely: As reported by our own Evan Halper, presidential addresses are historically ineffective at shaping public opinion.
Even Franklin D. Roosevelt found that speeches could fall flat. He took on the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1937 national radio address after it struck down a big part of his New Deal program. He touted a plan to increase the size of the court so he could appoint more justices. The plan failed in Congress nonetheless.
Photos: Sana, CBS News / Associated Press, Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images
Scenes from before the civil war in Syria
The unrest in Syria that swiftly turned into an escalating civil war began in 2011, and with no end in sight, the pre-war country fades further and further into the distance. Now, with the possibility of U.S. military intervention, depending on congressional action and President Obama, take a look at what life was once like in the war-torn country.
Photos: Louai Beshara, Anwar Amro / AFP/Getty Images, Bassem Tellawi, Hussein Malla / Associated Press, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad / Getty Images
Obama requests congressional approval before striking Syria
In carefully-worded series of remarks just a short time ago, President Obama called for the international community to take action against Syria for an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime, stated he has the authority to carry out a military strike of his own, but then backed off and asked for Congress to give the go-ahead.
As Obama clearly said, lining out U.S. military capabilities in the region:
"…after careful deliberation, I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets. This would not be an open-ended intervention. We would not put boots on the ground. Instead, our action would be designed to be limited in duration and scope."
But just moments later, Obama called on Congress to back him:
"I’ve long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. And that’s why I’ve made a second decision: I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people’s representatives in Congress."
And now, as confirmed by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the House will take up a resolution considering U.S. military intervention in Syria the week of Sept. 9. But as congressional reporter Michael A. Memoli knows all too well, getting the legislative body to act isn’t an easy task.
So the question stands: Did Obama made the right decision deferring to Congress? Or should he have gone ahead with his desired military strike?
Photos: Jim Watson, Mladen Antonov / AFP Photo
Obama administration bolsters new marijuana laws
New laws in Washington and Colorado allowed for the recreational use of marijuana, sparking an inevitable conflict with federal laws banning the controversial drug. But in an announcement today, the Department of Justice said that it will allow those laws to remain on the books.
But that doesn’t mean they’ll be turning a blind eye to the growing marijuana industry in the two states:
A department official stressed, however, that marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and that U.S. prosecutors will continue to aggressively enforce the law against those who sell marijuana to minors and to criminal gangs that are involved in drug trafficking.
Photos: Elaine Thompson, Brennan Linsley / Associated Press
The 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington
On Aug. 28, 1963, more than 200,000 Americans took to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to call for civil, and economic, equality - a message that still resonates with with demonstrators today.
That humid summer day would eventually be most remembered for civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, an address which has since been universally applauded for ascending to the top of the oratory mountaintop.
But the days leading up to the march weren’t without worry, with Americans highly skeptical of the cause, and pundits predicting that little would come of the march, which is now regarded as one of the high water marks of the civil rights movement.
So run through the Times’ 1963 coverage of the march, take a look through scenes of the demonstrations or follow along with the accounts of those who were there on that monumental day.
Photos: Associated Press, Getty Images, Los Angeles Times
Welcome to IC ON THE RECORD
In Congress and across the nation, Americans are engaged in a discussion about the value and appropriateness of the foreign surveillance authorities granted to the Intelligence Community. The discussion will ultimately lead us, as a nation, to make decisions about the future of some foreign surveillance-related laws and practices.
As we make those decisions, it is imperative that we do so with a full understanding of what the existing foreign surveillance authorities allow, what the oversight mechanisms are, and most important of all how they contribute to our safety and security.
Announced by President Obama on August 9, 2013 and launched today, August 21st, the goal of IC ON THE RECORD is to provide the public with direct access to factual information related to the lawful foreign surveillance activities carried out by the Intelligence Community.
In addition to comprehensive explanations of the authorities under which the Intelligence Community conducts foreign surveillance, the site will address methods of collection, use of collected data, and oversight and compliance.
The highest priority of the Intelligence Community is to work within the constraints of law to collect, analyze and understand information related to potential threats to our national security.
As we work to deliver the most insightful intelligence possible, we must and will, without compromise, uphold the rule of law and respect the civil liberties and privacy of every American.James Clapper
Director of National Intelligence
The Obama administration has taken to Tumblr in its effort to allay concerns over the ever-growing controversy over widespread government surveillance revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The latest revelation comes from the administration itself though, with reports that the NSA collected electronic communications of U.S. citizens with no discernible connections to terrorist activity until 2011.
Read more on the newly-revealed NSA misconduct over at Politics Now.
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Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years in prison
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning’s trial reached its conclusion just moments ago, with a military judge handing down a sentence of 35 years in jail for his role in leaking a multitude of classified U.S. military and diplomatic documents to Wikileaks.
Hailed by supporters as a heroic whistleblower, and dismissed as a national security threat by critics, Manning apologized last week for any harm that may have arisen from his actions.
Manning faced a maximum of 90 years in prison, though prosecutors sought a 60-year sentence. He has also built up more than three years in credit toward his sentence. With parole, he could be out in as soon as ten years.
Read more as the story progresses on Nation Now.
Photos: Patrick Semansky, Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press