FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
March 27, 2014

The Supreme Court is deciding whether or not craft emporium Hobby Lobby and other private companies founded on religious principles can be compelled to offer their employees health care plans that cover contraception. After oral arguments this week, it appears a narrow majority of the court may well side with Hobby Lobby — and Jon Stewart has some questions.

The main one he asked on Wednesday night's Daily Show is why a for-profit corporation should be allowed to claim the religious rights of an individual, espeically based on scientifically faulty views about contraception and abortion. "Let me get this straight," he said. "Corporations aren't just people, they're ill-informed people whose factually incorrect beliefs must be upheld because they sincerely believe them anyway?"

The answer, as always, lies in the hands of Justice Anthony Kennedy. But in this case, the asking is all that matters — Stewart doesn't get a vote at the high court, and neither do you — and The Daily Show does a fine job of finding a lighter side to a thorny question. Certainly watch the part with Senior Legal Analyst Jordan Klepper; there's a nice little borrow from Annie Hall. --Peter Weber

7:02 p.m. ET
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

For the first time in the United States, a person has been diagnosed with a superbug that can't be treated, not even with with a last-ditch antibiotic.

As described in a study published Thursday in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a 49-year-old woman went to a military clinic in Pennsylvania with symptoms of a urinary tract infection, and when her sample was sent to a lab, it was determined the E. coli bacteria that caused her infection was resistant to colistin, an antibiotic used as a last resort. Bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics due to overuse of antibiotics in medicine and food production, and in April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced one in three antibiotic prescriptions is unnecessary. "We risk being in a post-antibiotic world," CDC Director Thomas Frieden told USA Today. "The medicine cabinet is empty for some patients."

Doctors say this woman's diagnosis is noteworthy because she has not traveled outside of the United States. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) have been working on legislation to make the approval of new antibiotics go faster, and in a statement, Bennet said the news out of Pennsylvania is "terrifying," adding, "we need new drugs to fight these antibiotic-resistant bacteria that pose serious and unique challenges to health care professionals." Catherine Garcia

5:49 p.m. ET
STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images

On Friday, President Obama will become the first American president to visit Hiroshima, one of two Japanese cities against which the U.S. waged nuclear war during World War II. Obama, who entered office in 2009 vowing to scale back global nuclear power, spoke on his nuclear record as commander in chief Thursday during the G7 summit in Asia. He defended his administration's work but acknowledged "we're not where we need to be yet," citing last year's controversial Iran nuclear deal as evidence of progress but conceding the legitimate threat of terrorist organizations obtaining nuclear arms.

"Part of the reason I'm going [to Hiroshima] is because I want to ... underscore the very real risks that are out there and the sense of urgency that we all should have," the president said. In 2009, just months after his first inauguration, Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize for his "extraordinary efforts" toward international peace, and specifically his vision for a "nuclear-free world." Kimberly Alters

4:43 p.m. ET
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Egypt's state-run news agency announced Thursday that aircraft manufacturer Airbus had detected locator signals from EgyptAir Flight 804, which crashed May 19 in the Mediterranean Sea. While debris from the plane, an Airbus A320, has been recovered in early search operations, the craft's fuselage, flight data, and cockpit recorders have yet to be found.

The pings detected by Airbus are not coming from the plane's black boxes, which record crucial flight information, but instead from "emergency locator transmitters" that are located throughout the aircraft. One such transmitter is usually located in the tail of the aircraft, CNN notes, which is also where flight data recorders are stored; if that transmitter is the one that has been detected, that could lead investigators to recover important flight data as well.

The discovery of the signals also means the massive search area will shrink to just a 3.1-mile radius as officials try to recover the main segment of the plane. The cause of the crash is yet to be determined, though authorities have strongly suggested it was an act of terrorism. Kimberly Alters

3:55 p.m. ET
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

On Thursday, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) announced his intent to join the lawsuit filed by several states against the Obama administration's transgender bathroom directive, Reuters reports. Officials from 11 states filed a suit Wednesday in Texas against the administration over its stipulation that transgender students be allowed to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity rather than biological sex. "Our office has talked to the Texas attorney general's office and I intend, as soon as possible, to join the lawsuit against this latest example of federal overreach," Bryant said in a statement. Mississippi's Democratic attorney general Jim Hood has decided not to participate in the lawsuit, Reuters notes.

The lawsuit, filed in Wichita, Texas, specifically accuses the Obama administration of trying to "turn workplace and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment." The states that have currently signed on to Texas' lawsuit are Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Louisiana, West Virginia, Utah, and Wisconsin, as well as Arizona's Department of Education and Maine's governor. Becca Stanek

3:13 p.m. ET
BOB OCHEN/AFP/Getty Images

Vince Foster's sister is none too pleased about the rumors that Donald Trump is resurfacing about her brother, a former White House deputy counsel during the Clinton administration. In an op-ed published Thursday in The Washington Post, Sheila Foster Anthony railed against Trump for suggesting that her brother's death was not a suicide, but rather a murder, and for saying that Hillary Clinton may have been involved in said murder because Foster "knew everything that was going on."

She then set the record straight in what marks the first time she's publicly spoken out about the tragedy:

This is scurrilous enough coming from right-wing political operatives who have peddled conspiracy theories about Vince's death for more than two decades. How could this be coming from the presumptive Republican nominee for president?

Five investigations, including by independent counsels Robert B. Fiske Jr. and Kenneth Starr, concluded that Vince suffered from severe depression that caused him to be unable to sleep, unable to work, unable to think straight, and finally to take his own life.

I know this to be true. [Sheila Foster Anthony, via The Washington Post]

Anthony wrote that while she "did not see a suicide coming," when she heard that her brother had died she "knew" that he'd committed suicide. "Never for a minute have I doubted that was what happened," she wrote. Because of that certainty, she said, she cannot let "such craven behavior" as Trump's "pass without a response."

Read the entirety of her response over at The Washington Post. Becca Stanek

2:26 p.m. ET
Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Chinese developers might have just single-handedly solved both the country's traffic and air pollution problems with their latest invention. The country's state news agency, Xinhua, reported Thursday that developers have come up with a bus called the Transit Explore Bus, which is elevated off the ground so that cars can drive underneath it. The bus would glide along on rails straddling two lanes of traffic, offer enough space for cars less than two meters high to pass underneath it, and be able to travel at speeds up to about 37 miles per hour.

While the bus is still in the planning stages, developers say it could cut down big time on traffic and, subsequently, the country's increasingly worrisome air pollution problem. One of the project's lead engineers, Song Youzhou, estimates this project would cost just 16 percent of the theoretical cost of an entirely new subway, and that construction of the bus would be much quicker than other alternatives. Youzhou says the bus would be powered by electricity and could replace as many as 40 regular buses, thanks to its carrying capacity of up to 1,400 passengers.

The first bus is set to be tested at the end of July or in August outside of China's Qinhuangdao City. Becca Stanek

2:26 p.m. ET

In case there was any question that this is Trump's world and we're just living in it:

Clinton, meanwhile, is in Las Vegas discussing her plans to raise incomes for working families. Jeva Lange

See More Speed Reads