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!

May 21, 2014

  • The fight LBJ could not win: D.C. home rule

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    As part of our project on the 50th anniversary of Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society, we will take a look this week at some lesser-known but important things that came out of the myriad programs that were created and legislation that passed. We now take many of them for granted. Each day this week we'll highlight one.

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May 20, 2014

  • Tuesday primaries will shape critical 2014 contests

    By Susan Davis, USA Today

    Six states are holding primary election contests on Tuesday to set the ballots for some of 2014's most consequential general election battles.

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  • Election Drama in Pennsylvania, Georgia House Primaries

    By Reid J. Epstein and Janet Hook, Wall Street Journal

    The drama in Tuesday night’s House primaries is in Georgia – where Republicans will fight for nominations in four districts – and Pennsylvania, where Chelsea Clinton‘s mother-in-law is seeking to win back a seat she lost in 1994 after casting the deciding vote for Bill Clinton‘s budget.

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  • Spy Wars: U.S. charges Chinese military for hacking

    With Pete Williams, NBC News

    The Justice Department has accused five members of the Chinese military of hacking into the computers of some big American companies to steal trade secrets.

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  • As outrage over VA allegations grows, Obama and aides scramble to respond

    By Juliet Eilperin and Ed O’Keefe, Washington Post

    The White House is scrambling to contain growing outrage over delays in treatment and rigged recordkeeping at veterans hospitals as lawmakers on Capitol Hill prepared to vote Wednesday on a bill designed to help make it easier to fire career employees tied to scandals at the beleaguered Department of Veterans Affairs.

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  • FBI Director Tells ABC News Whether the US Has the Goods on China

    By Pierre Thomas, ABC News

    FBI director James Comey sat down for an exclusive one-on-one interview with ABC News today during which Comey spoke at length about the charges announced against Chinese military officials for alleged hacking of U.S. businesses.
    ABC US News | International News

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May 19, 2014

  • U.S. Charges China With Cyber-Spying on American Firms

    By Peter Williams, NBC News

    The Justice Department filed criminal charges against five hackers in the Chinese military Monday, accusing them of stealing American trade secrets through cyber-espionage.

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  • 'This Week': High Stakes Fight over Internet 'Fast-Lanes'

    With Jeff Zeleny, ABC News

    ABC News' Jeff Zeleny breaks down the FCC's new net neutrality ruling and what it means for consumers.

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  • San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro Is Said to Be HUD Pick in Cabinet Reshuffling

    By Jonathan Martin and Peter Baker, The New York Times

    President Obama is preparing to nominate Mayor Julián Castro of San Antonio as his new secretary of housing and urban development, elevating one of his party’s Hispanic rising stars as part of a cabinet shuffle that has possible implications for the 2016 presidential race, Democrats informed about the plans said on Saturday.

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  • Middle East Virus Identified in Third U.S. Patient, CDC Says

    By Alex Wayne, Bloomberg News

    An American who had contact with an Indiana health-care worker infected with a potentially lethal Middle Eastern virus was found to have the disease, though he had no symptoms and didn’t require medical care.

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  • This week’s best state in America? Ohio, for its Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

    By Reid Wilson, The Washington Post

    We all know the dread that comes with an expiring driver’s license. It may be about the passage of time or our advancing age. But mostly it’s because we have to go to the DMV — purgatory in government form.

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  • The Great Society at 50

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    One day shortly after starting his new job as presidential adviser and speechwriter, Richard N. Goodwin was summoned to see the boss. Not to the Oval Office, but to the White House swimming pool, where Lyndon B. Johnson often went to ruminate.

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May 16, 2014

  • Eric Shinseki safe on Capitol Hill — for now

    By Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post

    Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki vowed Thursday to remain in office until President Obama tells him to go, but lawmakers made clear that their patience is wearing thin and that they will be keeping close tabs on how the Department of Veterans Affairs responds to allegations of treatment delays and cover-ups at veterans medical centers.

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  • Why Is the GOP’s Civil War So Civil?

    By John Dickerson, Slate Magazine

    The civil war in the Republican Party is so civil. At least on the Senate battlefield, the much-anticipated and contentious intraparty fights are not happening. After the GOP primaries in North Carolina and Nebraska, the grassroots conservatives of the Tea Party and elites of the GOP establishment can both claim victories, but the real winners for the moment are the forces of order.

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  • Moderates: Who Are They, and What Do They Want?

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    It often seems there's no center in American politics anymore. Increasingly polarized camps on the right and left hold diametrically opposed, irreconcilable views on seemingly every issue.

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  • Obama to Donors: Stakes Are High for Midterms

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    If more Democrats could be exported to live in Nebraska and Wyoming, the country would be better off, President Obama joked during a New York City fundraising event Wednesday evening.

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  • Inside America's Shadow War on Terror—and Why It Will Never End

    By James Kitfield, National Journal

    The muezzin's call to predawn prayers had not yet woken the seaside Somali town of Barawe when a lone figure stepped out of a two-story villa near the water's edge. In the darkness of a walled compound, he smoked a cigarette, the glow of ash rhythmically illuminating his face. It was an effect that was heightened by the night-vision goggles focused on him. When the man stepped back inside, the commander of Navy SEAL Team Six, his own face hidden under black grease, directed his commandos to take up their positions and storm the villa. The date was Oct. 5, 2013, and inside was a Kenyan named Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir, or Ikrimah—the leader of al-Shabaab suspected of masterminding the gruesome killing of non-Muslims at Nairobi's Westgate Mall.

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May 15, 2014

  • U.S. aid won’t solve Nigeria’s Boko Haram troubles, experts say

    By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers


    Amid growing international outrage, the U.S. government has sent 30 military, intelligence and law enforcement advisers to Nigeria to help find 270 teenage girls kidnapped a month ago by Boko Haram, that nation’s most feared armed faction. But in a nation where government forces are distrusted and politicians are resistant to accept help, how much can the U.S. effort help to, as the Twitter hashtag urges, #bringbackourgirls?

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  • In a Democrat’s Efforts on Iraq, a Parallel for Boehner on Immigration

    By John Harwood, The New York Times

    Shortly before the 2002 midterm elections, Richard A. Gephardt, who was then the House minority leader, infuriated his fellow Democrats when he announced he would help President George W. Bush win authorization for the Iraq war.

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  • Aging Bridge Behind Him, Obama Pushes Infrastructure Projects

    By Joseph Berger and Peter Baker, The New York Times

    President Obama came to this Westchester County village on Wednesday to use the three-mile-long Tappan Zee Bridge as a backdrop to pressure Republicans in Congress to support infrastructure spending.

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