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Los Angeles is officially panicked over the weekend-long shut down of a major freeway. The objective is to provide a new high-occupancy vehicle lane. Has LA fallen behind the times, when other cities around the world are waging war on the automobile in the interests of a healthier, more comfortable lifestyle? Also, President Obama implores lawmakers to ‘seize the moment’ on debt talks. On Reporter's Notebook, is it all over for Harry Potter?

Banner image: Traffic flows under the Mulholland Bridge on Interstate 405 one day before it is slated to be demolished during the 11-mile shutdown of Interstate 405 from July 16-18 for 53 hours on July 14, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Making News Obama Implores Lawmakers to 'Seize the Moment' on Debt Talks 7 MIN, 47 SEC

With the debt-ceiling deadline now less than two weeks away, President Obama turned up the heat on Republicans today, saying that 80 percent of Americans support a "balanced approach" that includes increased taxes and spending cuts. He also reminded politicians that "constantly being locked into ideologically rigid positions" would come back to haunt them at the polls. But House Speaker John Boehner insisted that the GOP had offered "serious cuts," and called on the President to "put forward a plan, not a speech." Ron Brownstein is political director of Atlantic Media.


Ron Brownstein, Atlantic / CNN (@RonBrownstein)

The Second Civil War

Ronald Brownstein

Main Topic Los Angeles, the Automobile and the Rest of the World 35 MIN, 57 SEC

For weeks, drivers in LA have been warned on freeway signs, televised news conferences and by celebrity Tweeters about possible chaos beginning at midnight tonight. The capital of car culture will be without a major artery for 53 hours when the 405 freeway shuts down between the Westside and the San Fernando Valley. What's come to be called "Carmageddon" might be a warning to other cities in a world now clogged with more than two billion automobiles. Should the romance with the automobile be turned into tough love in order to ease congestion, protect public health and counteract climate change?

Zev Yaroslavsky, veteran politician (@ZevYaroslavsky)
Deborah Gordon, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Sam Staley, Florida State University (@samrstaley)
Dan Neil, Wall Street Journal (@Danneilwsj)

Mobility First

Sam Staley

Reporter's Notebook The Harry Potter Phenomenon 7 MIN, 16 SEC

Harry Potter made his first appearance in 1997. J.K. Rowling's last book was finished in 2007. Now the last of eight movies has opened, The Deathly Hallows, Part II. "In the cottage industry of Potter analysis, no superlative is too super, no grandiosity is too grand, no pie in the sky is too high." That's according to Monica Hesse of the Washington Post, who's read all the books and seen all the movies.


Monica Hesse, Washington Post

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