Weekend talking points: 5 top stories
What happened this week? War raged in Libya, Japan's nuclear nightmare worsened, and the possibility of a government shutdown continued to loom large in D.C.
1. Obama defends the bombing of Libya
The president addressed the nation on Monday, outlining the "moral imperative" for the West to intervene in Libya. Some commentators, like Edward Morrissey, continued to question America's military mission in Libya, while others urged the U.S. to get more involved, and arm the rebels looking to overthrow the resilient Moammar Gadhafi. See our complete coverage of the war in Libya.
2. Japan's nuclear crisis worsens
Worries over safety at Japan's stricken Fukushima nuclear plant escalated with the discovery of plutonium outside the plant, and radioactive material in nearby seawater, heightening fears of a total meltdown. The "Fukushima 50," who are working tirelessly to ward off even more disaster, have put their lives at risk to protect the country. Meanwhile, as the debate over nuclear power intensifies across the globe, some are hyping thorium as a safer alternative to the typical nuclear fuel, uranium. For more about the disaster in Japan, click here.
3. D.C. digs in for a possible government shutdown
Budget talks between Republicans and Democrats continue, and the two sides just can't seem to strike a compromise. Whose fault is it? If a deal isn't reached soon, the federal government will shut down on April 8. House Speaker John Boehner is in a tight spot, needing to craft a deal that satisfies Democrats without alienating the Tea Partiers clamoring for even deeper cuts. If Boehner stands with the hard-line elements of his party, and refuses to make a deal, would that be a political boon for Democrats? See all of our coverage here.
4. The abortion fight heats up
Several high-profile abortion battles exploded this week, highlighted by a startling anti-abortion billboard in Chicago featuring President Obama's image. Meanwhile, Arizona became the first state to criminalize abortions based on a fetus' gender or race. And two Indiana lawmakers engaged in a heated exchange over whether an anti-abortion bill should make exceptions for victims of rape or incest. Here's our full coverage of the abortion battle.
5. Facebook woos an Obama confidante
The social network reportedly wants to hire former Obama Press Secretary (and longtime advisor) Robert Gibbs. They could probably use his help on the PR side of things, after the site was criticized by pediatricians studying "Facebook depression" among young users who feel inadequate compared to their good-time-photo-posting friends. But hey, the lonely can find some e-company, with the help of a new startup called "Cloud Girlfriend," which offers Facebook users a virtual girlfriend who will post on their wall, and give them at least the appearance of happiness and popularity. See more stories about Facebook.