Essential Reads

Essential Reads is your one-stop source for the top stories of the day as reported by your favorite Washington Week panelists. It's a simple way to save time and stay informed about the news you need to know. Check it out every day!

Aug 27, 2013

  • US Military Commanders Await Green Light for Syria Attacks

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

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  • Obama Mulling Response to WMD Use in Syria

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama worked Monday to muster a coordinated international response to retaliate against Syria’s apparent deadly use of chemical weapons near Damascus on Aug. 21.

    Faced with video evidence and some first-person accounts of lethal gassing, and under renewed pressure to react, the president weighed options as Syria’s more than two-year-old civil war crossed the “red line” Obama laid out a year ago.

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  • Blasts in the Night, a Smell, and a Flood of Syrian Victims

    By Ben Hubbard, Mark Mazzetti and Mark Landler, The New York Times

    Thousands of sick and dying Syrians had flooded the hospitals in the Damascus suburbs before dawn, hours after the first rockets landed, their bodies convulsing and mouths foaming. Their vision was blurry and many could not breathe.

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  • Sec. Lew: White House Will Not Negotiate Debt Limit

    With John Harwood, CNBC

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  • King Anniversary Puts a Spotlight on Obama and Civil Rights

    By Christi Parsons and Kathleen Hennessey, Los Angeles Times

    Fifty years after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed his dream of freedom and equality from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the first African American president will stand in his place to celebrate that mountaintop moment.

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  • Obama Honors Soldier for Bravery Under Fire, and Afterward

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    For generations, soldiers have been honored at the White House for valor under fire. And no one questions the heroism of Staff Sgt. Ty Michael Carter, who raced through a hail of bullets to rescue a wounded comrade and helped keep Taliban fighters from overrunning a combat post in Afghanistan.

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Aug 26, 2013

  • U.S Has 'Very Little Doubt' of Syria Chemical Weapons

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    Secretary of state issues the strongest statement yet about the Assad regime's chemical weapon use.

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  • Obama Faces Toughest Foreign Policy Challenge in Syria

    By David Lerman & Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, Bloomberg News

    In deciding how to respond to the Syrian regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians, President Barack Obama faces the toughest foreign policy dilemma of his administration.

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  • Immigration Bill Generating Little Heat in Town Halls

    By Susan Davis and Alan Gomez, USA Today

    Republican Rep. Frank LoBiondo represents a South Jersey congressional district with a sizable Hispanic population, farmlands that employ migrant workers, an influential labor union presence and a constituency that voted twice for President Obama.

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  • Justice Department Gets Aggressive On Voting Rights

    With Carrie Johnson, NPR

    After the Supreme Court threw out a key provision of the landmark 1965 law in June, the DOJ is taking action. This the department sued the state of Texas over its voter ID law. Texas officials immediately denounced the moves as stepping on states' rights.

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  • The March on Washington’s Unfinished Agenda

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    In the way history can be conflated, the March on Washington has been reduced to a few vivid images. One is the size of the gathering, with photos showing a crowd flowing from the foot of the Lincoln Memorial and stretching the length of the Reflecting Pool and beyond. The other and most iconic by far is the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivering his “I Have a Dream” speech, which continues to echo powerfully 50 years on.

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  • On MLK Anniversary, Black Numbers Are Up in Congress, but Power Is Down

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    When Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech 50 years ago this week, just five African-Americans held seats in Congress. There are 44 today.

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Aug 23, 2013

  • Obama Officials Weigh Response to Syria Assault

    By Mark Landler, Mark Mazzetti and Alissa J. Rubin, The New York Times

    The day after a deadly assault in Syria that bore many of the hallmarks of a chemical weapons attack, a sharply divided Obama administration on Thursday began weighing potential military responses to President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

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  • Snags Slow Formation of Surveillance Review Group

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    President Obama’s decision to create a new expert group to weigh national security surveillance, government secret-keeping, and the public trust has prompted internal headaches, leaks, and plenty of second-guessing from critics.

    “This investigation, run out of the executive [branch], certainly can’t come to any unbiased conclusions” about government access to Americans’ phone and email communications, Electronic Frontier Foundation Policy Analyst Mark Jaycox told RCP. “It’s time for Congress to exert its own powers as a coequal branch of government and leave no stone unturned.”

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  • Boehner Proposes ‘Short-Term’ Bill to Avert Government Shutdown

    By Lori Montgomery, The Washington Post

    House Speaker John A. Boehner said Thursday that he plans to avert a government shutdown at the end of September by passing a “short-term” budget bill that maintains sharp automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester.

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  • The Movement to Defund Obamacare, Explained

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    The Tea Party has a new obsession: killing Obamacare by stripping the funding needed to implement the law. Thirteen Republican senators have signed on to the effort, which would likely lead to a government shutdown, since Democrats and President Obama are unlikely to agree to gut the president's signature domestic achievement.

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  • What the DOJ decision means for Texas’ congressional delegation

    By Ed O'Keefe and Sean Sullivan, The Washington Post

    The Justice Department announced plans Thursday to challenge Republican-drawn redistricting plans in Texas, launching another round in a years-long legal fight over voting rights between the Obama administration and the Lone Star State.

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  • There'll Be A Democratic Primary. With Or Without Hillary

    By Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

    When people find out what I do for a living, the first question they inevitably ask is "Is Hillary running?" When I answer that I think she will, the follow up is almost always: "Will anyone run against her?" My answer is, of course. Why wouldn't they?

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Aug 22, 2013

  • Egyptian Turmoil Continues with Mubarak’s Pending Release, More Arrests

    By Nancy A. Youssef and Jonathan S. Landay, McClatchy Newspapers

    During the latter half of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade rule, those who suggested rising up against him often would be reminded of an Egyptian phrase, “The one you know is better than the one you don’t know,” referring to Mubarak’s potential replacement.

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  • FISA Court: NSA Surveillance Program Was Unconstitutional

    With Tom Gjelten, NPR

    The National Security Agency illegally collected emails of tens of thousands of Americans. The numbers are revealed in a newly declassified secret court opinion. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court found the collection of those emails unconstitutional and ordered the NSA to fix the problem.

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