TIME Know Right Now

Know Right Now: From Nationwide Protests to a Historic Space Launch

Watch this week's #KnowRightNow to catch up on all the latest stories

This week, Cyber Monday shattered records with sales surpassing $2 billion. Sales were up 17% compared to last year, making it the biggest shopping day ever.

Protests flared around the country after a grand jury decided there would be no indictment in the case of Eric Garner, a black man who died while being violently subdued by the NYPD. Protesters blocked major roadways in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington D.C., and more than 200 protesters were arrested in New York alone.

The Orion spacecraft successfully launched Friday morning, orbiting 3,600 miles above the planet, 15 times higher than the International Space Station. The spacecraft orbited Earth twice before landing in the Pacific Ocean.

And finally, Warner Bros. revealed the cast for its movie Suicide Squad this week. The film will feature Will Smith as Deadshot, Tom Hardy as Rick Flagg, Jared Leto as The Joker, and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. It’s slated for release in 2016.

TIME politics

Why Thousands of Washingtonians Loved Marion Barry

Marion Barry Discussed his New Autobiography and Met With Locals
D.C. Council member Marion Barry discussed his new autobiography, "Mayor for Life: The Incredible Story of Marion Barry, Jr." during an event hosted by the Washington Informer at the Old Congress Heights School in S.E. Washington. The Washington Post—The Washington Post/Getty Images

Vincent C. Gray is the Mayor of the District of Columbia.

The former mayor began his career as a civil rights activist and helped build the District’s black middle class

When Marion Barry, Jr. passed away last Sunday at the age of 78, many likely took little more note than to say “good riddance.” After all, most of the nation knew about the so-called “Mayor for Life” primarily from his appearances in national headlines after getting arrested, while in office, for smoking crack cocaine–or for his last term in office, when a congressionally appointed Control Board took over our city’s finances and many of our agencies.

But there was a vastly different side to Barry – a side that endeared him to tens of thousands of Washingtonians over the years and a side that became his greatest political asset, enabling him to win redemption again and again at the ballot box.

Barry cut his political teeth early on, as a civil-rights activist and a leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. There, he organized sit-ins and got young people involved in creating a new future for African Americans. Having been born into a sharecropper’s family in the sweltering oppression of Jim Crow-era Mississippi, he knew well the daunting height of the barriers to advancement and success faced by African Americans.

When Barry came to Washington in 1965 to work for SNCC, he saw a city that, in many ways, was every bit as segregated as the Mississippi of his childhood. Moreover, he found a majority-black city that was ruled not by its residents, but by a Congress in which its residents didn’t even have a voting voice. And that Congress had generally delegated oversight of the District to its most conservative white Southern members.

Marion Barry had found the place where he would make his mark, first as an activist for better relations with police and better employment opportunities for African Americans in the District. He got elected to the school board, and then finally, after the advent of Home Rule in the District, to the first popularly elected D.C. Council.

In his first term as mayor, he achieved some truly remarkable successes. He helped get the city’s chaotic finances under control, helped turn our Metropolitan Police Department into an agency whose officers are much more reflective of the population they serve than many other police agencies around the country, helped build the District’s black middle class through a groundbreaking program that required a share of city business to go to minority-owned enterprises and created a summer employment program for the District’s youth.

I still meet people who remember getting their first job because of a program that Mayor Barry started. And it’s this Marion Barry – the one who fought courageously for fairness and justice for much of his career – that those of us who saw him at his best choose to remember.

It may surprise many who aren’t keenly aware of the District’s history that Marion Barry won his first mayoral term largely by relying on upper-middle-class white voters and good-government advocates. Despite an unfortunate later choice to oppose marriage equality, Mayor Barry was one of the earliest elected officials to openly embrace the LGBT community, passing one of the nation’s earliest LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination laws. His legacy is so much more complex and wide-reaching than that fateful drug sting would reflect.

I knew Barry for years, and one anecdote leaps to mind as an example of his true character. I once served as executive director of what was then known as the Association for Retarded Citizens (now called The Arc of D.C.). One of our key advocacy goals was to move people with intellectual disabilities from an inhumane institution named Forest Haven to community living. There was fierce opposition in many neighborhoods to group homes, bolstered by some of the most egregious myths imaginable. One evening, I was with Mayor Barry in an affluent community where the District was preparing to establish a home. Nearly 200 people showed up for this meeting, with one purpose – to stop this home from opening.

Once Barry had concluded his presentation, a man rose and began to pepper him with questions. When it became apparent that the man’s inquiries had no constructive purpose, Barry said, “You really don’t want any answers, do you? If you want to talk about how we make this work, I will stay with you all night. Otherwise, I have nothing else to say to you!” It was vintage Barry – standing up for disadvantaged people who could not effectively fight for themselves. The meeting ended uneventfully – and the home soon opened and proved a huge success.

And so, like many other Washingtonians, I choose to remember Marion Barry by remembering his lifelong commitment to building up our city and freeing it from congressionally imposed shackles. I hope that history will remember, and honor, his virtues and successes – because they far outnumber his failures and foibles.

Vincent C. Gray is the Mayor of the District of Columbia.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME weather

Know Right Now: Northeast Braces for a Holiday Nor’easter

Watch today's #KnowRightNow to catch up on the latest trending stories

In today’s trending stories, winter weather will wreak havoc for the 41 million holiday travelers expected to hit the roads on Wednesday and Thursday. Storms could dump as much as 18″ of snow in northern New Jersey, and will affect most of the northeast.

Airports in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Newark, NJ are expected to experience the most cancellations and delays. Interstates 76, 81, and 90 will experience the worst weather and traffic.

And lastly, many major airlines are allowing customers to rebook without fees. More than 200 flight cancellations have already been announced for Wednesday.

TIME Ferguson

See How Cities Across the U.S. Reacted to the Ferguson Decision

Protests erupted from New York to Los Angeles

Ferguson was not the only place protesting Monday’s grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown in August. In New York, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, among others, outraged protesters shouted, “No justice, no peace” and “Hands up, don’t shoot,” late into Monday night. Watch the above footage of protests in those three cities.

Should Ferguson Protestors be Person of the Year? Vote below for #TIMEPOY

TIME Ferguson

See the Nation React to the Ferguson Decision

Citizens from L.A. to New York City staged protests following the announcement that a grand jury would not indict Officer Darren Wilson

Should Ferguson Protestors be Person of the Year? Vote below for #TIMEPOY

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: August 28

1. New Orleans is at the heart of a new HIV epidemic, and only massive health system reform can remedy the situation.

By Jessica Wapner in Aeon

2. From dismantling Syria’s chemical arsenal to hunting down Joseph Kony, America’s military missions abroad far outlast the public’s attention span.

By Kate Brannen in Foreign Policy

3. To look beyond stereotypes and understand the programs and interventions that improve life for young men of color, the U.S. Department of Education invited them to a “Data Jam.”

By Charley Locke in EdSurge

4. Taking a page from silicon valley, incubators for restaurateurs can help get new ideas on the plate.

By Allison Aubrey at National Public Radio

5. So the homeless can work, worship, and transition to normal life, cities should offer safe, flexible storage options.

By Kriston Capps in Citylab

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Pop Culture

A Weekend With ‘Nerds’ at the Pokémon World Championships

Players at the 2014 Pokémon World Championships in Washington, D.C.
Players at the 2014 Pokémon World Championships in Washington, D.C. Aaron P. Bernstein—Pokémon Company International

Why people travel from all over the world to don their Pikachu ears

Jaxson Piwek wants to be a world champion. He has been training for this day for months, even waking up at 4 in the morning and going to bed at 7 at night for the past week so that the time change between his home in Vancouver and the championships in Washington, D.C. wouldn’t affect his performance.

Jaxson, 10, plays the Pokémon trading card game. And this is his first time qualifying for the world championships.

“It’s very overwhelming for my first time,” he says as he looks around at the more than 3,000 fans packing the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, not far from the White House.

Overwhelming is a good word for it. There are two competition arenas at either end of the massive room—one for the video game competitions, the other for TCG, or trading card game. There is a stage in the front of the room with three screens on which they project the most exciting matches, with live commentary from an ESPN-style booth a few yards away. Gasps and roars come from the mesmerized crowd at crucial moments in the games. If you just heard the audio, you would think you were in a stadium watching soccer.

Pikachu is everywhere. The little yellow creature is emblazoned on t-shirts, backpacks, hats, sweatshirts and iPhone cases, and a giant inflatable Pikachu hangs suspended over the crowd: a smiling cartoonish deity for the pilgrims who have come from 33 different countries to watch the players like Jaxson battle to become world champion. (There are three age brackets—juniors, ages 12 and under; seniors, ages 13 to 16; and masters, ages 17 and up. Jaxson comes in 36th in the junior division.)

Caleb Judkins, 17, is one such pilgrim. He’s an avid Pokémon video game player but isn’t on the competitive circuit. He and his friends traveled here from Gainesville, Va., to see a competition firsthand. “It was on my bucket list to come,” he says. “I wanted to see the battles in progress.”

One person many people are here to see is Ray Rizzo. Ray, 21, is a three-time world champion in the video game—no one has won Worlds more times than he has. He won in 2010, 2011 and 2012 but didn’t make finals last year, so he’s coming back this year with a vengeance.

I talk to Ray after his first match of the weekend; he’s just won his battle so he’s feeling pretty confident. “I don’t really get too nervous anymore because I’ve been playing for a long time,” he says. (This year Ray once again did not make the finals, so he was unable to get a record-breaking fourth win.)

But for those who aren’t veterans like Ray, this weekend is packed with nerves. It’s a year-long road to get here—to qualify for Worlds, players have to compete in regional and national competitions, earning a certain number of “championship points” in each depending on how well they do. The number of these points a player accrues over the season determines if he or she is eligible to compete.

So why Pokémon? What is it about the characters and the games that inspire these people to spend months honing their skills and obsessing over strategy, or to don their Pikachu ears and travel across the world just to be here?

Jaxson Piwek’s answer seems to sum it up —“All the friends I make.”

“Everyone’s so happy and passionate and really enjoying the game,” his mother Shauna says. “It’s a great community.”

J.C. Smith, director of consumer marketing for The Pokémon Company International, says this idea of community is built into the game itself. “The principle they build the game around is communication,” he says. “They really want people to talk and to come together, either online or face-to-face to build these communities. This is the ultimate expression of that. … This is a world championship, but it doesn’t feel cutthroat to me. It feels like a community of people who like to play games, coming together to play games.”

The international element of the tournament does spur some divisions and regional pride—many spectators come armed with their country’s flag, and cheers of “USA! USA! USA!” erupt when American Nikolai Zielinski wins the senior video game tournament.

But people say the game still unites more than it divides. “You can be [an American kid] playing a Japanese kid, but you can totally get it and you can have an interaction through Pokémon,” a company spokesman says of the tournament.

Nikolai, 15, also talks about community, beaming and energetic after his win. “The video game Pokémon community is the best community I’ve ever been a part of,” he says. “Compared to other video games even, it’s amazing. Everyone is so friendly and really nice. I’ve made friends just by placing well in tournaments—people have wanted to become my buddy. And everyone just helps each other out a lot, online and in person. It’s a really, really nice community to be in, and great people to be around.”

Andrea Bacca, 18 and wearing a black and gold costume that includes striped knee socks and ears, puts it both bluntly and affectionately: “I like that we can all fit in and be nerds together.”

Sunday evening after the finals sees 12 trophies awarded—one for each runner-up and champion in the three age divisions of the two games. The most coveted awards of the evening, the masters division trophies, went to Canadian Andrew Estrada for TCG and South Korean Se Jun Park for video game.

As the champions stand onstage, holding their Pikachu trophies and being showered with confetti, the cheers from the audience change. No longer are the viewers chanting country names or clapping for individual players. Now, yelling over the triumphant music blaring from the stage, the audience swells behind a single cheer: “Pokémon! Pokémon! Pokémon!”

 

TIME Drugs

The Rules About Pot Just Changed in Washington D.C.

Pot Marijuana Weed
Getty Images

Adults caught with up to one ounce of pot will be fined $25 in the nation's capital

Washington D.C.’s pot decriminalization policy went into effect Thursday, lowering the penalties for marijuana possession to just a $25 civil fine for adults caught with up to one ounce.

The law may still encounter some pushback from Congress, as the Republican-controlled House passed a bill Wednesday that includes an amendment to stop D.C. from using federal or local funds to implement the law. The bill was passed largely along party lines; only six Democrats supported the bill.

Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), who sponsored the D.C. provision, told the Washington Post that pot is “poison to a teenager’s brain” and that the new law would treat teenagers in a dramatically different way to young people right across the Maryland border, where violators younger than 21-years-old are required to appear in court.

The Administration “strongly opposes” the House provision, writing in a letter released Monday that it poses legal challenges to the Metropolitan police department’s enforcement and violates the principle of D.C. home rule.

Washington D.C. has an extraordinarily high rate of marijuana arrests, ranked seventh out of 945 counties examined in a 2013 American Civil Liberties Union report. There’s also a huge racial disparity in who gets penalized for smoking weed, according to the same report, which found that black people are eight times more likely than non-blacks to be arrested for marijuana possession.

Possession of any amount of marijuana in the District was formerly counted as a criminal offense punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. It remains a criminal offense to smoke pot in the nation’s capital.

TIME Washington D.C.

Marion Barry Flies on Friday

Marion Barry
Former Mayor and current DC City Council member Marion Barry in Washington, March 19, 2014. Alex Brandon—AP

On Friday night at the K Street aqua backlit lounge Look, Marion Barry, the former four-term mayor of Washington, D.C., burst into song.

“They called it stormy Monday, but Tuesday is just as bad,” Barry belt out into a microphone for a crowd of about twenty five reporters, staff and Look employees. “That’s my blues.”

“The eagle flies on Friday—that’s payday baby,” continued Barry in his rendition of B.B King’s Stormy Monday. “Saturday go out to play. Then comes Sunday morning, what do I do? Get down on my knees and pray. Lord have mercy; Lord have mercy on me…If you see my baby, please somebody, send her back home to me.”

Barry, 78, is selling his blues in the new biography Mayor for Life written with novelist Omar Tyree. While the book describes his humble beginnings and role in the civil rights movement, most readers will be intent on reading about his crack-cocaine fueled downfall, which led to his FBI arrest and sentencing at the end of his third term as mayor. Barry, to his credit, does not shy from the subject. (One sample line in the book: “That was my first time ever trying cocaine, and it felt like I had ejaculated.”) But like all autobiographies, Mayor for Life is a subjective account; he blames the FBI sting on racism. “White folks may let you in their country clubs to play golf, invite you out to dinner, take you out to play tennis, but when it comes to dividing up the money, that’s a whole ‘nother story,” Barry writes. “They didn’t want me creating all of these opportunities for black folks.”

“The book is very honest,” said Barry Friday. “It’s the truth—the good, the bad, the ugly. More good than anything else. I wrote this book to tell people who Marion Barry is.”

And if you wanted to get to know Marion Barry, a two-hour dinner wouldn’t be a bad place to start. At Look, Barry directly responded to almost every question the group of journalists asked, from cocaine use to slavery reparations to changing the Redskins name.

“Don’t try it,” said Barry of cocaine. “Don’t try it. If you do try it, you got to stop. Get some help—psychotherapy…I’m just blessed. For the two years that I was out there, I never missed a rent payment.”

“I believe in [slavery] reparations,” said Barry. “The German people got reparations. The Marshall Plan was a form of reparation. … What’s wrong with us? We helped build this country.”

“He ought to wake up in 2014 and change that name,” Barry said of Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins.

As the reporters passed a microphone around the tables set up in a large square, and raised their voices to be heard over the loud din of a singles mingle at the nearby bar, Barry would patiently wait, nod his head and interject (When event host Janet Donovan quoted a 1998 Washington Post article—“To understand the District of Columbia, one must understand Marion Barry”—Barry quipped, “That’s right.”), or sing. He deemed Grand Theft Auto “the worst video game in the world” for its cop killing, called on the President to recognize D.C. as a state (What about democracy here?”) and called homelessness the “sin of this nation.”

Barry even reviewed the menu from his perspective as a diabetic. “The worst chemical in the world is sugar, sugar, sugar” he said, before ordering the not too healthy penne with Bolognese. “I got my insulin needle with me.”

But the focus of the dinner was about comebacks. Barry, who currently serves as a member of the District’s City Council, is an expert, accomplishing the stunning feat of winning the 1994 mayoral election after serving a six month federal prison sentence. He spoke of our “society of second chances, of third chances, of fifth chances” and referenced Matthew 18:22, in which Jesus says to forgive up to “seventy times seven” times.

“We all got to regret,” said Barry. “If you live you got to regret. If you live, you’re going to make a mistake. You’ll make a misjudgment about something. I always think of Frank Sinatra. ‘Regrets, I have a few. I did it my way.’ That’s what’s important.”

MONEY Housing Market

The Future’s Most Walkable Cities: Prepare to Be Surprised

061417_REA_boston
Urbanization of next-door neighbor Cambridge is one of the chief reasons Boston's walkability is on the rise. Boston Harbor Association—Boston Harbor Association

Walkable urban places are the cities of the future, a new study says. And where will those be? New York, Boston? Try Miami and Phoenix. No, we're not kidding.

If you live in Washington D.C., New York City or Boston and your legs are your main mode of transport, this won’t be news to you: These three cities rank among the country’s most walkable large cities, and they are destined to remain so.

After those top three, watch out: Cities known more for suburban sprawl and traffic jams have new development planned that will shoot them up into the top scores as “walkable urban place,” or, WalkUPs, as researchers at George Washington University and advocacy group Smart Growth America call them.

Miami, Detroit, Denver, and Tampa will vault into the new Top 10 large WalkUPs, according to a new study released today. Atlanta, Los Angeles and Phoenix will also take a big leap forward. Future rankings are based on things like planned investment in public transportation and commercial clusters.

jefferson memorial
D.C. ranks No. 1. Its suburbs are as walkable as the central city. Destination DC—Destination DC

“The WalkUPs are witnessing the end of sprawl,” said Christopher Leinberger, a professor of urban real estate at George Washington University School of Business. “This is a change in how we built the country in the 20th century.” Suburban sprawl, he argues, has constrained the country’s economic growth.

Walkable urban places, sometimes referred to as urban burbs, have high concentrations of college-educated adults and demonstrate a strong correlation between urban development, education and economic growth. Office rents in urbanized areas, for example, command a 74% premium over suburban. (Researchers focused on the 30 largest metropolitan areas because they comprise 46% of the U.S. population and 58% of the country’s GDP.)

And homeowners, take note: Walkability and proximity to shopping, restaurants and work are becoming increasingly important to buyers, especially young buyers. Research has shown that increases in measures of walkability such as WalkScore translate into increased property values.

Today’s Top 15 Walkable Cities

1. Washington, D.C.
2. New York City
3. Boston
4. San Francisco
5. Chicago
6. Seattle
7. Portland, Ore.
8. Atlanta
9. Pittsburgh
10. Cleveland
11. Baltimore
12. Miami
13. Philadelphia
14. Denver
15. Houston
Least Walkable: Tampa, Phoenix, Orlando

The Future’s Most Walkable Cities

1. Boston
2. Washington, D.C.
3. New York City
4. Miami
5. Atlanta
6. Seattle
7. San Francisco
8. Detroit
9. Denver
10. Tampa
11. Los Angeles
12. Phoenix
13. Houston
14. Portland
15. Chicago
Least Walkable: San Diego, Kansas City, San Antonio

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser