The Edge: The March, Beyond the Dream

National Journal

The Edge is National Journal's daily look at today in Washington -- and what's coming next. The email features analysis from NJ's top correspondents, the biggest stories of the day -- and always a few surprises. To subscribe, click here.

The March, Beyond the Dream

Washington is turning to the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington this coming week.

That pivotal day is rightfully lauded but little understood. We selectively remember King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Before he laid out his famed, optimistic vision of a color-blind future he painted a dark picture of America, likening its promise of justice to a bounced check.

The march may be remembered for King's dream, but it was forged by the organizers' specific demands—including economic ones like a hike in the minimum wage to at least $2.00, or $15.27 in today's dollars.

We forget that it was a billed as a march for "Jobs and Freedom." Yes, unemployment was an enviable 5.4 percent that month. But the march's labor and civil-rights organizers knew that minority and American advancement depended on economic growth—not just nondiscrimination—and that's why they wanted both.

Matthew Cooper
mcooper@nationaljournal.com

TOP NEWS

OBAMA HOLDS TOWN HALL IN BINGHAMTON; TRAVELS TO SCRANTON TONIGHT. President Obama took his bus tour to Binghamton, N.Y., where he conducted a town-hall meeting on the cost of higher education. The president noted the importance of education in his own life. "We need to make sure college is affordable, that's it's a good value," he said. "Not all the reforms that we're proposing are going to be popular," Obama said. "There are some who are benefitting from the status quo. There will be some resistance." The president made unscheduled stops, working out at a YMCA in Auburn and visiting boys' and girls' soccer practices at a high school in Tully. This evening, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are scheduled to address a crowd at Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pa. Read more

JURY CONVICTS HASAN IN FORT HOOD SHOOTING. After several hours of deliberations, a military jury convicted Army Maj. Nidal Hasan of 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder in the November 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, CNN reports. Hasan, who admitted shooting his fellow service members in an effort to protect the Taliban, is eligible for the death penalty as a result of his conviction on the premeditated-murder counts. Read more

TWIN CAR BOMBS EXPLODE OUTSIDE TRIPOLI MOSQUES; HEZBOLLAH DENIES INVOLVEMENT. Car bombs exploded today outside two Sunni mosques in Tripoli, Lebanon, leaving dozens dead and hundreds wounded, The New York Times reports. Images of the destruction broadcast on local television recalled the country's 15-year civil war, the Associated Press reports. The twin bombings, on opposite ends of the city, mark an escalation of sectarian violence in the country. No group has claimed responsibility for the bombings, but Hezbollah, which supports embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, condemned the attacks and accused unspecified foreign forces of involvement. Today's bombings follow an Aug. 15 car bombing in a Beirut suburb that killed 27. Read more

PROTESTS SUBDUED AMID HEAVY MILITARY PRESENCE IN CAIRO. Islamist supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi took to the streets of Cairo today, but a show of force from the country's military prevented the formation of large-scale demonstrations, the Associated Press reports. The military closed several major thoroughfares and deployed armored vehicles and soldiers to mosques and other key locations in anticipation of the protests. The Muslim Brotherhood had called for mass protests on the "Friday of Martyrs," but major crowds failed to materialize. Still, some non-Islamist and liberal activists are joining the protests against the military takeover, The New York Times reports. Read more

ADMINISTRATION WEIGHING RESPONSE TO SYRIA CRISIS. Obama administration officials are divided over the appropriate response to allegations that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has deployed chemical weapons against civilians, The New York Times reports. A Thursday meeting of senior officials from the Pentagon, the State Department, and intelligence agencies yielded no decisions, according to senior White House officials. The administration reportedly is considering responses ranging from a cruise-missile strike against the Assad regime to a sustained air campaign. In a wide-ranging interview with CNN, Obama said that the administration is pushing for greater action on the part of the United Nations, but also noted that the Syrian conflict now involves "core national interests" of the United States, "both in terms of us making sure that weapons of mass destruction are not proliferating, as well as needing to protect our allies, our bases in the region." Read more

  • The United Nations announced today that approximately half of the 2 million refugees from the Syrian civil war are children, and that 740,000 of those are under the age of 11, the Associated Press reports. Read more

HOTLINE'S INAUGURAL 2014 SENATE RANKINGS. The battle for the Senate is primed to go down to the wire, Hotline's Josh Kraushaar writes. Democrats can lose up to five seats while retaining the majority—assuming Cory Booker wins October's special election in New Jersey—but the party is threatened by members facing tough races in the Deep South and other conservative states. Already, races for three Democratic-held open seats (Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia) are favoring Republicans, and Sen. Mark Pryor is looking in tenuous shape in Arkansas. But as strong a cycle as this is looking for Republicans, that's as attributable to the very conservative bent of the "playing field" as it is to the environment or strong recruitment. Hotline has released its inaugural 2014 Senate rankings of the seats most likely to switch parties. Read more

1963 MARCHERS REFLECT AS THEY RETURN TO WASHINGTON FOR ANNIVERSARY. Though Daniel Smith, who participated in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, said the nation has progressed in the last 50 years, "the pace has slowed considerably," The New York Times reports. There have been both positive and negative changes since Martin Luther King Jr. gave his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech. While the number of blacks living in poverty halved between 1960 and 2011, the percent of blacks who never married hit 49 percent in 2011, compared with 23 percent in 1963. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Obama has faced challenges finding a balance among post-racial politics, his own experience growing up, and his role as the country's first African-American president. Read more

WHITE HOUSE, SENATE REPUBLICANS TO MEET NEXT WEEK ON FISCAL CLIFF. As the August recess comes to a close, Congress and the White House are nearing the one-month mark until a potential government shutdown, The New York Times reports. A group of Senate Republicans will have its first meeting since Aug. 1 with White House on Thursday. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports that during a House Republican conference call Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Republican leadership would pursue a short-term continuing resolution. One Republican lawmaker said Boehner could not get the GOP votes to pass a short-term CR without a provision that defunds Obama's health law. Read more

MUELLER REFLECTS ON HIS TIME AT HELM OF FBI. Nearing the end of his tenure as the Federal Bureau of Investigation director, Robert Mueller said he still fears the country could be attacked by a "lone wolf" terrorist or a cyberattack, The Los Angeles Times reports. Mueller, who will step down on Sept. 4, has overseen the agency during a transformational period. "I thought I'd be spending my time working on organized crime, public corruption, white-collar crime," he said. James Comey, a former U.S. deputy attorney general, will succeed him. Meanwhile, The Washington Postreports that Mueller cited the Boston Marathon Bombings and the Ft. Hood, Texas, shooting when asked about his "least-proud" moments. Read more

NSA COVERED CERTIFICATION COSTS FOR INTERNET COMPANIES AFTER FISC DECISION. The National Security Agency paid millions of dollars to technology companies including Google, Yahoo, and Facebook to help defray the costs of qualifying for new certification requirements after a 2011 ruling by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, The Guardian reports. The payments were outlined in documents disclosed by the Obama administration Wednesday. The judgment found that the NSA had to be able to separate communications that began and ended in the United States from foreign communications—which it could not do at the time—so as not to violate the Fourth Amendment. Read more

NATIONAL CATHEDRAL STILL SHAKEN BY 2011 EARTHQUAKE. Two years ago today, a rare earthquake shook the nation's capital, leaving most buildings in the area unharmed but taking a toll on two of the city's most iconic structures—the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral. Perched atop Mount St. Alban, the cathedral sustained significant damage, from the cracking of rooftop finials to the toppling of pinnacles and the opening of cracks in flying buttresses of the apse. The soaring Gothic edifice remains shrouded in scaffolding. According to cathedral administrators, the estimated cost of repairing the damage now totals $26 million, of which $10 million has been raised. To date, the cathedral has spent approximately $3 million, or 12 percent of the expected total, on the restoration efforts. The past two years have been devoted to a assessing the scope of the damage and developing a plan for restoration. Read more

SUNDAY TV

Please note: This is not a comprehensive list of Sunday show guests, and lineups are subject to change. Please consult network websites for details.

  • Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., Gen. Colin Powell, and Newark Mayor Cory Booker will appear on CBS' Face the Nation. NAACP President Ben Jealous and Children's Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman will take part in a panel discussion.
  • Lewis, Booker, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will discuss the state of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream on NBC's Meet the Press. Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, National Action Network President Rev. Al Sharpton will participate in a roundtable discussion.
  • Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., will discuss the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East on FNC's Fox News Sunday. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Stephens Co., District Attorney Jason Hicks will address the murder of an Australian college athlete in the state.
  • ABC's This Week will feature Martha Raddatz reporting from Cairo and a roundtable discussion including Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, ABC's Byron Pitts, and The Washington Post's Dan Balz.
  • Lewis will discuss the March on Washington and King's dream on CNN's State of the Union. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, will weigh in on Egypt, his effort to defund the Affordable Care Act, and 2016.

QUOTABLE

"If you want to convert this into real meaningful numbers, that means people are going to die of influenza five years from now because we don't yet have the universal vaccine. And God help us if we get a worldwide pandemic that emerges in the next five years, which takes a long time to prepare a vaccine for." —Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (The Huffington Post)

BEDTIME READING

THE SECOND TIME AROUND? After being thrown out of the Kadima Party's leadership last year, Tzipi Livni, who worked to try to negotiate a peace between Israel and Palestine in 2007 and 2008, has joined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government under a new party, Ben Birnbaum reports for Newsweek. She was named Justice Minister and will lead any Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Livni called a two-state solution "the reason for me to be in politics." And with her relationship with Netanyahu and Palestinian officials—chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei told her in one 2008 meeting, "I would vote for you"—as well as her international credibility, Birnbaum writes that Livni "may be the only person who can drag Israelis and Palestinians together and … broker an agreement both sides can live with." Read more

THE QUIRK

STANDING UP FOR SOUTHPAWS. Author Maria Konnikova, reporting for The New Yorker, tackles some stereotypes associated throughout the years with left-handed people—including beliefs that they were more often criminals, more frequently affected by mental disease, and possibly even died sooner than right-handed people. Many of the earlier studies have been discredited, and lefties historically are in good company, including Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. In fact, every president except George W. Bush since the end of the Cold War has been left-handed. Read more

CHART OF THE DAY

GOTTA FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT? John Beieler, a doctoral student at Pennsylvania State University, mapped every protest since 1979, using data from the Global Database of Events, Language and Tone, Foreign Policy reports. The data, and therefore the map, have some odd quirks. For every U.S. protest mentioned in the media, but not given a specified location, the dot is placed in Wichita, Kan. "The same goes for that flickering dot north of Mongolia in Middle-of-Nowhere, Russia," Foreign Policy's Dana Stuster writes. Read more

 

Subscribe to The EdgeSee The Edge Archive

 

View Comments (4)