In the Know: January 31, 2014

  • In the Know Reporter: Laicie Heeley
  • In the Know Reporter: Brooke Klauer

“Today, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. A woman deserves equal pay for equal work. She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job. A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship.” President Obama, in his State of the Union address on January 28, 2014

Nation: Boston update.
On Thursday, federal prosecutors announced that they will seek the death penalty against Boston marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhas Tsarnaev. Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to press for Tsarnaev’s execution was widely expected. The twin blasts killed three people and wounded more than 260 others, and 17 of the 30 federal charges against him, including using a weapon of mass destruction to kill, carry the possibility of the death penalty. “The nature of the conduct at issue and the resultant harm compel this decision,” Holder said in a statement. Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty. A trial date has not yet been set.

World: Ukraine’s president might be “sick.”
Negotiations between the Ukrainian government and opposition leaders stalled Thursday when President Viktor F. Yanukovych bowed out due to a respiratory infection. The nature and timing of his illness, of course, has raised some questions. “I remember from the Soviet Union it’s a bad sign — a bad sign because always if some Soviet Union leaders have to make an unpopular decision, they go to the hospital,” said Vitali Klitschko, who leads the opposition party. Others were less worried, but many continue to question the president’s motivations, and when he might return.

Politics: The state of our union.
On Wednesday, President Obama addressed congress in the 2014 State of the Union. He focused on equal pay for women, raising the minimum wage, immigration reform, combating climate change and virtually swearing off extended wars. According to Brown University political scientist Wendy Schiller, Obama is focusing “on all the things that can help folks immediately, even if the impact is small.” One remark that received prolonged applause from the legislators jamming the packed House chamber — the President’s call for ending unfair workplace policies for women “that belong in a ‘Mad Men’ episode.” We give that a standing ovation too.

Science: You think you’re cold? Let’s talk about Atlanta.
Major climate mood swings continued throughout much of the country this week, but snow in Atlanta may have been the worst. Thousands of drivers were stuck on the Interstate, most without food or water, after a snowstorm took the city by surprise. While it might not seem like the worst storm in the world (about 2.5 inches) the city is far from used to this kind of emergency, and most residents flooded the roads at the same time. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said later, “It’s easy to make judgment calls after the fact, but I daresay there’s not anybody in this room that could have predicted the degree and the magnitude of the problem that developed.”

Women’s Affairs: Millennials as moms.
Millennial moms are more focused on “me time,” says a study released on Thursday by BabyCenter. Their parenting styles are also far different than those of the “helicopter parents” they grew up with. Mike Fogarty, SVP at BabyCenter says, “They’re creating an environment for their kids that’s more laid back and less structured, and they feel more relaxed and happy as parents.” More than half those millennials surveyed report wanting to start their own business. BabyCenter found that compared with Gen X moms, Millennial Moms are 17 percent more likely to freelance, and one in five have started a blog with “substantial” followers. Keep it up, millennial moms!

Sports: Are you ready for the Super Bowl?
The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will face off this Sunday in the 48th annual Super Bowl. But while you were probably thinking “snacks” (just us?) the NYPD was thinking “sex rings.” Law enforcement cracked down Tuesday on a massive sex and drug ring they say advertised on public access cable TV. So far, investigators have identified $3 million worth of charges processed in connection with sex and drug sales, and they point out that there are likely many more in cash. Happy Super Bowl, folks!

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