Weekend talking points: 5 top stories
What happened this week? Protests raged in the Middle East and... Wisconsin. Obama came under fire from deficit hawks and birthers. And the abortion debate reclaimed centerstage
1. What's next for the Middle East?After Hosni Mubarak handed power over to Egypt's military, the focus turned to neighboring nations. Leaders in Iran, Bahrain, and Libya are at risk of being toppled by protesters. And the world was shocked by the sexual assault in Egypt of CBS reporter Lara Logan. Here's our complete coverage of the revolts.
2. Wisconsin provokes its own raging protestersRepublican Gov. Scott Walker is in hot water after he announced plans to gut collective-bargaining rights for the state's public sector employees. Thousands of angry teachers flocked to the state capitol building, as Democratic elected officials fled Wisconsin entirely to stall a vote on the plan. Some are beginning to worry if the anger could spread to other states. View our coverage of the protests.
3. Battle of the budgetsThe week began with the president unveiling his spending plan for 2012. Some — including our Bullpen columnist Edward Morrissey — were critical of the budget, believing Obama could do more to cut into the national debt. Obama's plan might wind up being "irrelevant," anyway, with Republicans demanding more immediate cuts. See our breakdown of the different proposals, and the rest of our coverage.
4. Abortion debate heats upA Mother Jones report revealed that some South Dakota leaders were pushing a bill that seemed to legalize the murder of abortion providers (they later backed down). Meanwhile, a Chicago hospital became the first Catholic medical center in the country to make a formal practice of offering "unbortions," which reverse second-trimester abortions mid-procedure. There are plenty more fierce abortion debates taking place on both the state and federal level. Check out more on this polarizing topic here.
5. The birthers are backFirst, House Speaker John Boehner stopped short of denouncing "birthers" for their out-there claims that President Obama isn't a U.S. citizen. But the movement's momentum is growing, with lawmakers in at least 10 states pushing to make all future presidential candidates prove they're citizens in order to run. Then, Karl Rove, of all people, said that enough is enough, and the GOP should stamp out Obama's birther critics once and for all. See more here.