The Brush-Up: Your Weekly Current Events Cheat Sheet

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Busy week? If you didn’t have time to keep up with the news, our weekly current events cheat sheet will put you in the know so you’ll be a grade-A conversationalist at the bar/on a date/anywhere you might talk to other people.  

Well happy Memorial Day weekend, campers.

(Fun Fact: The first Memorial Day was called a Decoration Day, and it was on May 1, 1865 in Charleston, SC. Recently freed slaves gathered to honor the fallen Union soldiers.)

Here are some stories from this week worth memorializing (sort of) as you head off for your holiday weekend dating fun:

1. “Bain” of Romney’s existence (and other puns): This is one of those Washington slip-ups where there’s an actual interesting issue involved, but all the coverage is about the slip-up itself.

The Gist: So Newark mayor (and amateur firefighter) Cory Booker went on Meet the Press last Sunday, and when the subject of Romney’s experience at Bain Capital came up, Booker broke from the Obama campaign line and said the attack ads they’ve been running are “nauseating.” He basically compared these attacks to the Karl Rove-fueled attacks on Obama’s relationship with Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

Gist of the Gist: Before he was Governor of Massachusetts, Romney co-founded a private equity company called Bain Capital which, if you’re pro-Romney, means he has a lot of great private sector experience, or, if you’re pro-Obama, means he cost a lot of people their jobs by taking over companies and liquidating their assets.

So back to Cory Booker, who later did some revision work, saying Romney’s tenure at Bain is totally fair game, and that he was mostly objecting to the pettiness of election season campaign ads.

Discuss: So just generally, what’s fair game in an election, and what isn’t? Is Romney’s experience in the financial sector a positive, considering how stagnate the economy still is — or is it a negative?

2. Debt Debate: Aye-ye-ye, another summer, another debate about DEBT. We already may be looking at another debt ceiling show-down (remember that melodrama?) And while this can sound really boring and wonky, it’s really important stuff politically, so I think it’s worth the briefest of brush-ups:

The Gist: Here are two really important graphs, and in a way, they encapsulate what the entire election’s going to be about:

And then:

The first one is how most Republicans see the state of things, the second is how Dems see it. This is a debate of “Obama is a big liberal spender who’s spiraling us into unsustainable debt” versus “Obama is trying to fix the bad economy he inherited, and yeah, that involves digging some more debt.”

Discuss: So which is it?

Yep, that’s Pres Clinton with porn stars this week, in Monaco.