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In this suburban area 70 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, as elsewhere, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington is a time to note how the country has fallen far short of Martin Luther King Jr.’s goals of jobs and freedom.In this suburban area 70 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, as elsewhere, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington is a time to note how the country has fallen far short of MLK’s goals of jobs and freedom.

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While much of the coverage of the end of the space shuttle age has focused on Florida, the launching pad for many missions, it should be recalled that another region of the country was equally important: the Antelope Valley of Los Angeles County and, in particular, the Mojave city of Lancaster.The little-known Mojave city of Lancaster may have been one of the most powerful places in the world.

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Such areas contain the dispirited middle that Obama will have to win over to be re-elected, people whose struggles with daily life are so consuming that the national political debate over the budget and the deficit seems far away and irrelevant.Rather than a view of a candidate, the valley offers a view of the nation.

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