“It is also very difficult to reduce nuclear risks globally, and set an example encouraging nonproliferation, when Washington, Moscow and Europe are postured for mutually assured destruction on a planet-ending scale.” President Obama, in a foreign policy speech in Berlin, Germany on Thursday, June 20, 2013
WEEK OF JUNE 17, 2013
Nation: Proof of citizenship not required.
On Monday, the Supreme Court struck down a provision in Arizona’s voter registration law that requires proof of citizenship. In a 7-2 decision, the court ruled that Arizona may not require documentary proof of citizenship from people seeking to vote in federal elections. The court insists that the federal government has the dominant role when it comes to national issues like how federal elections are conducted. Some agree, others don’t.
World: Iran elects a moderate.
In an unexpected election victory, Hassan Rowhani, the most moderate of the six candidates, has been elected as the new president of Iran. The exit of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an inflammatory figure on the world stage, is significant because it could help to shift the tone and possibly the policy of the country. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is still ultimately the guy in charge, but Iran’s president is its public face. It’s still too early to tell, but this could mean big change for the future of the country.
Politics: Food stamps are still an issue in the House.
In a surprising defeat, the House voted to reject the farm bill on Thursday, proving that food stamps remain a divisive issue separating Democrats and Republicans. The bill was pulled last year when conservative lawmakers called for deeper cuts in the food stamp program, but Democrats objected. The failure is seen as a major defeat for Speaker Boehner, who has been unable to rally his own party’s support around the issue. More than a quarter of Republicans in the House voted with Democrats to defeat the bill.
Business: Stock market plunges.
Yesterday the stock market suffered its worst day of the year, with the biggest one-day point drop since November 2011. This fearful reaction came one day after an announcement by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke that the central bank may be preparing to wind down its stimulus policies. Depending on how the economy performs, Bernanke said the Fed could begin tapering its bond buying later this year, ultimately ending the program in late 2014, or once the unemployment rate hits 7 percent. Oh the other hand, he also said the Fed could step up its stimulus efforts based upon the general health of the economy; Bernanke summarized, “If things are worse, we will do more. If things are better, we will do less.” Good idea.
Health: Turns out, some vaccines really do work.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cases of human papillomavirus (HPV) have significantly decreased since the advent of the HPV vaccine in 2006, with numbers surpassing the CDC’s expectations. Dr. Thomas Friedman, the director of the CDC said, “The prevalence of the types of HPV that commonly cause cervical cancer in women has dropped by about half in girls ages 14-19. That decline is even better than we had hoped for.” Friedman hopes these results will encourage women to complete all three recommended doses of the vaccine, stating “We can protect the next generation of girls from cancer caused by HPV.” Yes, please!
Women’s Affairs: The future SEAL Team 6 could include women.
Defense officials announced Monday that they are preparing to integrate women into special forces like the Navy SEALs and Army Rangers. We already knew that women would be allowed to serve in combat positions (that was announced in January) but these highly specialized and physically hazardous roles were not automatically considered a part of the deal. Exciting news, since we know that the tough ladies in the field are just as capable of getting the job done as any man.