Weekend talking points: 5 top stories

What happened this week? While protests raged in Libya, union showdowns escalated in the Midwest. And the threat of a government shutdown loomed

Libyans carry the bodies of three more victims killed during the anti-government protests this week, while leader Moammar Gadhafi refused to step down.
(Image credit: Getty)

1. Libya takes center stage

A violent crackdown has consumed Libya, where Moammar Gadhafi is under pressure to step down in the face of massive protests. Gadhafi has reportedly threatened to sabotage the North African country's oil supply, which would dramatically hurt western interests in the region. Some wonder whether Obama should do more to push the dictator out. View our continuing coverage of the Arab revolts.

2. The battle over unions spreads

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Showdowns between politicians and labor unions ramped up this week, spreading from Wisconsin to Indiana, and beyond. Democrats who fled their states to avoid voting on tough anti-union bills are disrespecting democracy, says our Bullpen columnist Ed Morrissey. Yet, according to polls, Americans largely back union rights. One journalist, in an apparent show of solidarity with Wisconsinites, even prank called Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.). But are labor unions ultimately doomed? See all of our stories on these union battles.

3. Here come the Oscars!

Sunday evening will bring the much-anticipated 83rd Academy Awards, and with it, an answer, finally, to the question of who will take home Best Picture honors. How will Hollywood deal with the mischievous (and anonymous) street artist Banksy, who is up for Best Documentary? And can James Franco and the possibly unfunny Anne Hathaway score as co-hosts? View our full coverage of the Oscars.

4. Will the government shut down on March 4?

The Obama administration and Congressional Republicans are at odds over a spending plan, and if they can't strike an agreement by the end of next week, key parts of the federal government will close for the foreseeable future. Republicans thus far seem to be sticking to their guns on the major cuts they say Americans want. And while we don't even know what the GOP's long-term plan is, says Bullpen writer Brad DeLong, that doesn't mean Obama's proposal is the solution either. Will either side break this stalemate? For more on the spending cuts clash, click here.

5. Could the economy get even worse?

This month marked the two-year anniversary of Obama's stimulus plan aimed at jump-starting the stalling economy. But economists are worried that the cost of staples like food and fuel will spike in 2011. And investors still may be making ill-advised choices, selling low and buying high. See more coverage of the economy.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.