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.
This week we’re catching you up Top 5-style. Here are the big things going on in the world, and how they might help you on a date:
1. Bad jobs report causes election pivot: Everything this week had been private equity-this, and Donald Trump-that, but this morning we found out that the U.S. only added 69,000 jobs last month (the lowest this year), and unemployment rose to 8.2%
–>So basically: This is what we’ll be hearing about for the next couple weeks, especially from the Romney camp. You might see the President revive talking about the jobs bill he was pushing last fall, (which is totally symbolic at this point, Congress isn’t going to pass anything between now and November) but mostly it’ll be interesting to see whether he pivots away from these Bain Capital attacks or doubles down on them.
–>Date-wise: Here’s a fun conversation question you don’t have to be an economist to have an opinion on: Can Pres. Obama win if unemployment stays over 8% through November?
2. Bloomberg declares war on sugar: Mayor Bloomberg in New York announced yesterday that they’re going to push a ban on soda and other sweetened drinks over 16 ounces. (Read: movie theaters, baseball games, Starbucks, etc.) This continues Bloomberg’s streak of what some have called pushing a Nanny State, and what he says is leading the nation in fighting obesity. (And smoking. And protests. And fun. [<– Editorial emphasis!])
–>Date-wise: Ok this is the best current events conversation you could have this weekend, because it’s not too heavy, and everyone has an immediate opinion on it. Is this leading a charge that the rest of the country will eventually follow? Like California did with smoking in bars and restaurants in the late 90’s?
3. John Edwards had a mistress, now he has a mistrial: This was everywhere yesterday: verdict coming! Amateur jury finally gets it shit together! — and then they come back to the judge and say “Uhh yeah, we only agreed on one of the six counts.”
–>So basically: Edwards was found not guilty on one of the counts, and a mistrial was declared on the other five. The Justice Department has yet to decide whether they’ll re-try any of those counts, and the bottom line is, Edwards will more than likely walk free on this stuff.
–>Date-wise: Most people are already going to have an opinion on Edwards one way or another, but the real political story here is how ineffective the Justice Department’s public integrity section has been. They’ve botched multiple cases like these (see Ted Stevens), that seemed more or less like slam dunks going in. This could lead to a great date discussion on our justice system generally, and I like this a lot personally because it’s not drawn by party lines.
–>Companion Read: With Liberty & Justice For Some, by Glenn Greenwald; which delves into what he calls our two-tiered justice system. (One for the political/wealthy class, and one for the rest of us.) This is especially appropriate given John Edwards’s famous Two Americas speech, which was central to both his Presidential campaigns.
4. Total Recall coming this Tuesday? Wisconsin! You know the story, the Governor passed some big laws to strip unions of rights, mainly collective bargaining, and now the citizens of the great Badger State are taking him to the ballot box. The big Dems are backing away (by which I mostly mean President Obama; Bill Clinton is heading there as I type this), because it’s starting to be seen as more and more likely that Walker survives the recall attempt.
–> Date-wise: There are good date discussions to be had here, but you’ll score points with most dates by simply knowing that the special election is this coming Tuesday, and that most polls are showing Walker has a six-point advantage going in.
5. Florida purges its voter rolls: I’m keeping my eye on this one personally because I think it’ll become a HUGE election issue by late summer. Lots and lots of states (mostly Republican ones, let it be said) are passing new voter ID laws that they (and my Republican Uncle) say are to simply eliminate chances for voter fraud, but that many on the left see as attempts to suppress minority and lower-class votes.
–>So basically: Florida has done some of the most legislative work in this regard, and this week the Justice Department went after them for essentially notifying all Floridians who they “suspect” of not being legal U.S. citizens that they have 30 days to prove their citizenship, or else lose their chance to vote this fall. This amounted to over 100,000 notifications.
–>Date-wise: Be in the know on this one. For all the talk of the national Obama v. Romney polls, the truth is that the election comes down to about 10 states, and several of them are looking at voter ID changes like this. Florida is most certainly one of them, and it only takes a little jog down the year 2000 memory lane to remember that very very close elections happen in that state. The question is, what are appropriate security measures to take, and what is unfair to ask of voters – many of whom are working three jobs and don’t have two forms of government-issued ID.