This Week in Headlines: The Pope, Mars, and the Big Budget Problem
What happened this week? Lots. And our friends at theSkimm have you covered with a run-down of the top headlines. (Want them delivered daily to your inbox? Sign up at theskimm.com)
Where There’s Smoke, There’s Pope
[Editor's note: Since we've published this, a new pope has been chosen! Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio will be the new pope.]
It’s final-round interviews for many a cardinal. Yesterday officially began the waiting game to choose the new pope. Expect papal talk all week.
What's the Job Description?
Under 80 and young in spirit, good with crowds, strong leader, PR expert, accomplished linguist, down with G-O-D.
115 cardinals are attending conclave this week. Some are already considered “papabile,” pope-speak for qualified.
Yeah, But Who Will Win?
Like in Oscar season, there are rarely true upsets in papal selection. While there is no clear front-runner, a few standouts are being watched: Italy’s Angelo Scola (who’s reportedly been wanting this for years), Brazil’s Odilo Scherer (big moment for Latin America, epic Tweeter), Ghana’s Peter Turkson (could be the first black pope), Canada’s Marc Ouellet (bonjour), or maybe even New York’s finest Timothy Dolan (knows how to work a Mass). While campaigning for something technically guided by the Holy Spirit isn’t considered kosher, it’s known that, like in any industry, it’s all about networking.
What Happens Now?
Conclave. The cardinals moved into a Vatican residence early yesterday and celebrated a morning Mass. Don’t bother texting them, as cell service has been jammed to prevent contact with outside influencers. Then they chanted in Latin and walked into the Sistine Chapel, where they took an oath of secrecy. Now they pray, vote, pray, and rinse and repeat until there is a new pope.
How Do They Vote?
There are up to four rounds of votes a day; the winner has to get two-thirds of the votes. Then there is smoke (from burned voting ballots—it’s a secret, after all). Black smoke means no pope, white smoke means there is a pope. In case you get confused, the new pope will then appear on the balcony of St. Peter’s.
The papal tailors will get to work. Turns out papal robes and shoes are not one-size-fits-all.
Numbers Are Not Fun
House Republicans, led by numbers-obsessed Paul Ryan (R-WI), presented a new budget. Shockingly, Democrats and the White House are not fans.
Yawn, We Always Talk About This
That’s because it is a very big problem. The GOP’s plan is a starting point for everyone’s favorite pastime—renewed talks on the budget and how to reduce the deficit. Rep. Ryan (yup, that one) loves budgets more than we love chocolate, and introduced his dream framework, which is being called the most provocative fiscal plan in years. It’s not sexy, but it is something Dems hate.
What's the Plan?
A proposal that would balance the nation’s budget in 10 years without raising taxes, and save the government the $4.6 trillion it’s currently on track to spend.
How's That Possible?
Ryan would eliminate Obamacare altogether, revamp Medicare into a subsidized private program, leave it up the states to deal with Medicaid, and downsize the various tax brackets into only two (there are seven income tax brackets now).
What'd the Democrats Say?
Ha! Say goodbye to free birth control, make sure Granny is popping her vitamins, and send your friends in the middle class a fruit basket. The White House, which will introduce its own budget vision in April, said this is a bad course that will lead to hurting the middle class. Senate Dems, set to roll out their budget today, are not expected to balance the budget, but will seek to lower the deficit by $1 trillion in new taxes—their strategy to help the middle class and create jobs.
The Why (Do I Need to Skimm?)
We have some major money problems (hey, sequester). The House GOP and Senate Dems are clearly coming from different ideological positions on taxes, spending, and how big government should be. What’s worse is that the starkly different views held by both make it quite difficult to even try to compromise. The two plans set the stage for the fighting that will overtake Washington for the foreseeable future. Please fix this, we have a headache.
Repeat After Me
What to Say to Your Roommate
This apartment, like Mars, may have been a pleasant place to live a long time ago, before you drank all the Brita water. The Curiosity Mars rover has detected traces of the chemicals and compounds needed for a habitable environment on the Red Planet. NASA scientists aren’t positive life, in any form, managed to ever evolve on Mars billions of years ago, but the point is that the rover revealed an environment that could have supported microbial life, just like on Earth. A scientist said that the environment was so life-friendly that we could probably even have drunk the water around Mars town.
What to Say to Wake Up Your Co-workers
“Men still run the world.” You can see why Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Lean In, has caused a bit of a debate. The Facebook COO and former Googler, promoting the book, laid it all out on 60 Minutes. Sandberg, one of the most legendary Silicon Valley leaders, acknowledged that she thinks the women’s movement is stalled but that can be changed—as long as they, well, “lean in.” Sandberg says men outnumber women in terms of ambition to lead and women should put their pedal to the metal and lead.
And the most important choice you can make? Marry wisely. Turns out, that affects the boardroom and the bedroom; and apparently, it’s nice to have a husband who does laundry.
What to Say at a Family Dinner
It’s always the son-in-law. Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, who was an al Qaeda spokesman, has been caught and brought to New York. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith has been charged with conspiracy to kill Americans, according to unsealed court docs. He appeared alongside OBL in a 2001 video, taking shared responsibility for the 9/11 attacks and promising more to come. After that, he disappeared for almost a decade—until now. Gotcha.
Some lawmakers, taken by surprise that he would be transported to NY, are not too happy. As part of his goal to close Guantanamo Bay, President Obama has said that he would like to see more foreign terror suspects charged in American courts. Some Republicans want Gitmo open and terrorists to stay far, far away from the U.S. of A., even if it is for a trial.
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Photo courtesy of dslr travel.
We are two women in their 20s who hail from New York and Chicago. Our startup romance is one for the books — we met on a rainy day in Rome while we were both studying abroad in college. We bonded over a mutual love of fried artichokes. What we didn’t know as we struggled to order in Italian, was that we’d reconnect years later working in our own country’s capital. By that point, we had become professional storytellers, as producers for NBC News- working in breaking news, political news, and documentaries. We clicked as colleagues and as friends and it didn’t take long for theSkimm to take form. We see ourselves as a part of a generation where women are out-earning men in paychecks and degrees. We’ve grabbed our seats at the table, now it’s time to Skimm to the head.More from this Author