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Julissa Arce went from selling funnel cakes in Texas to derivatives at Wall Street’s most profitable securities firm. Sitting at her desk at Goldman Sachs, Julissa Arce is doing her best to keep it together. It’s September 2007.

When considering his career, California attorney general Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown Jr. likes to invoke the word evolution. The son of celebrated California governor Pat Brown became secretary of state at 32 and won his first gubernatorial election four years later, serving two terms.
When Rosalind Wyman, a 29-year-old delegate to the 1960 Democratic Convention, heard her nominee speak, she had much to identify with. Granted, she did not have a family fortune, but like John F. Kennedy, she was a trailblazer.
During her tenure as first lady of California, Maria Shriver hosted an October conference that brought together women whom she saw as architects of change. Wallis Annenberg certainly fits that description. The philanthropist—who, like Shriver, is the daughter of a famous family and a mother of four–has since 2002 overseen the foundation started by her father, media tycoon Walter Annenberg.
The first raid came at five o’clock in the morning last May 17. Carlos Montes awoke to a thud. It was the sound, he soon discovered, of his front door splintering open. The sun had not yet risen, and Montes’s bedroom was dark, but in retrospect, he says, he’s glad he didn’t reach for a flashlight—or for a gun. Montes, a retired Xerox salesman, had kept a loaded shotgun behind the headboard and a 9mm pistol beneath a pile of towels on a chair beside the bed since the day he had walked in on an armed burglar a year and a half before.

The sky starts to glow as a cool dawn sets in above Chavez Ravine, where a few hundred labor union activists have assembled for a caravan to Bakersfield—a media event, as it were. Their plan is to bother some Republican congressman about the immigration reform legislation currently stuck in the bowels of Congress.

At approximately 10 A.M., on Tuesday, January 7, Sheriff Lee Baca stepped up to a temporary podium in the front courtyard of the Monterey Park headquarters of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. After a short, emotional preface, he glanced at his notes and, running his fingers along the words as he said them, announced that he was leaving his position as the head of the nation’s largest sheriff’s department—effective almost immediately.

Marianne Williamson is competing for attention with a Malibu sunset. It’s nearly 6 p.m. on a Sunday, and about 200 people—from tanned and toned locals to model Amber Valletta to Todd Phillips, the guy who directed the Hangover trilogy—have come to a supporter’s oceanfront cottage to hear the New Age guru talk politics. Just moments ago singer Jason Mraz had warmed up the crowd with his hit “I’m Yours.”

Aaron Fraser is standing on the woman's wide wooden veranda, asking if she will sign a petition in support of adding his name to the ballot for U.S. Congress in New Jersey's 10th District. He needs 200 signatures from Democrats registered in the district by March 31, but Fraser is aiming to collect at least five times that many, in case his opponent challenges their validity.

Since the 1990s, insurance premiums had averaged double-digit annual increases. America was spending over $7,500 per person per year — 50 percent more than Norway, the next largest contender. Health spending alone was chewing up one-sixth of the U.S. economy, double that of competitors like Japan, and putting American employers at a severe disadvantage.

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