Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 8:07 pm
As President Obama attempts to make good on his threats to punish Syrian officials for crossing a "red line" by allegedly using deadly chemical weapons, he's being buffeted by political crosscurrents.
Some arise from the structure of U.S. democracy itself, and the balance of powers between the branches. Others emerge from the nation's particular state of mind after more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Here are six points to keep in mind as Obama considers how best to demonstrate American resolve to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Patent trolls — a term known more among geeks than the general public — are about to be the target of a national ad campaign. Beginning Friday, a group of retail trade organizations is launching a radio and print campaign in 17 states.
They want to raise awareness of a problem they say is draining resources from business and raising prices for consumers.
Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California is among nearly 200 members of Congress who've signed letters to President Obama demanding he seek authorization from Congress before ordering the use of military force in Syria. To do otherwise, they say, is unconstitutional.
Congresswoman Lofgren joins me now from San Jose. Welcome to the program.
Secretary of State John Kerry says there is clear evidence that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its citizens. He laid out that evidence at a briefing at the State Department, and pledged a "tailored and limited" US response to hold the Assad regime accountable.
President Obama says the world cannot accept the use of chemical weapons on a mass scale in Syria, but much of the world seems unwilling to act in response. The president says the U.S. has not made a final decision either.
Labor Day is right around the corner, so before we mark the unofficial end of summer, here is the final installment in our series, Summer Nights. And for this last evening adventure, we head to Phoenix, where urban hikers strap on headlamps to ascend Piestewa Peak. This time of year, the desert heat can be deadly, so hikers wait until dark to climb to the summit, about 1,200 feet above the city.
Peter O'Dowd of member station KJZZ sends this postcard of one family that's been making the night trek for years.
Six years ago this month, the I-35 West Bridge in Minneapolis suddenly collapsed during the evening rush hour. Thirteen people died and 145 were injured when the eight-lane bridge fell into the Mississippi River below. Among those hurt that day was Kim Dahl. She was on the bridge driving a school bus full of dozens of children, including two of her own and eight other adults. She remembers the bus rising up then freefalling 45 feet, crashing onto a road below.