6 Things You Need To Know Right Now: We’re Going Nuclear

600px-Nature's_Number_6Suri Cruise is the almost-seven-year-old daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Suri Cruise now has bangs. Suri Cruise’s recent acquisition of bangs was a headline featured by various news outlets, including ABC News and The Huffington Post (the latter noting that the elementary-schooler has blazed her own “sartorial trail”). I am more than seven years old, and I have no idea what “sartorial” means. What we do know is whoever gave her those bangs should have their cosmetology license revoked.

Now that your head has exploded (whether it’s over Suri’s bangs or having to look up “sartorial”), please try to gather your wits so that you can absorb this week’s six factoids that might actually serve you well at dinner parties and/or during a self-assessment of your priorities:

1. North Korea Is Rattling Its Nuclear-Warheaded Chains Again. For the past handful of weeks, North Korea has stepped up its rhetoric by issuing a series of threats against American military installments from Hawaii to Guam to the U.S. mainland. The Communist country has also said it would take action against U.S., Japanese, and South Korean fighter jets that have been participating in joint military exercises over the Korean Peninsula. In response, the U.S. Department of Defense has scrambled its advance military defense system, signaling its readiness to deploy the system in Guam two years ahead of schedule. Not much is known about North Korea’s new leader, Kim Jong-un. Even his age is only guessed to be 30. But the CIA can now add to the “miscellaneous” section of its dossier – maybe right under “Dennis Rodman fan” – the following: still young enough to enjoy a good game of “chicken.”

2. Jimmy Fallon Will Take Over NBC’s Tonight Show in 2014. Putting significant speculation to rest, NBC has confirmed that Jay Leno will retire as host of the network’s Tonight Show, a role Leno has held for 22 years. Jimmy Fallon, former Saturday Night Live stand-out and current host of Late Night, will replace him. Leno famously botched a previously planned exit from his hosting duties by giving his seat to Conan O’Brien, only to ask for it back shortly thereafter. Hopefully Fallon has learned from O’Brien’s frustrations and will ask Leno to hand over not only his seat, but his keys and security access card as well.

3. Mark Sanford Wins GOP Nomination For U.S. Congressional Seat. Once upon a time, there was a governor of South Carolina. He had a wife and four sons. One day, the governor disappeared. No one – not his wife, his sons, his staff, his constituents – knew where he was. Was he holed up writing a piece of legislation in calligraphy? Was he out on an extended hike? Was he in secret meetings with North Carolina to make one Big Carolina capable of messing with Texas? Nope! He was in Argentina with his girlfriend! That explains it! The governor resigned from office and spent his days locked in a tower of derision. Until just the other day, when the voters of South Carolina threw down their long hair and rescued their once-and-future leader from exile. He won the Republican primary for a special election to the U.S. House of Representatives, and faces off against his Democratic challenger in early May in the general election. And everyone lived happily every after. Except, perhaps, the ex-governor’s ex-wife.

4. Thirty-five Atlanta Educators Indicted In Cheating Scandal. Speaking of cheaters, the former superintendent of Atlanta’s Public Schools and dozens of other principals, teachers, and testing coordinators have been indicted on charges ranging from racketeering to making false statements in connection with a plot to falsify students’ standardized tests. Allegedly, the superintendent created a system of promotion and advancement based on educators achieving performance targets by any means, including cheating. There are rumors of cheating “parties,” “erasures of students’ answers,” and other changes to tests. This all makes us wonder — is it finally time to acknowledge the unreasonableness of linking standardized test scores with public school funding?

5. Rutgers Fires Men’s Basketball Coach For Player Abuse. In June 2012, a former Rutgers employee advised the university’s athletic director that the men’s basketball coach, Mike Rice, physically and verbally abused his players. Nothing happened. In November 2012, that same employee provided that same athletic director with video footage of the coach using homosexual slurs, hurling basketballs at players’ heads and legs, and shoving the young men. The athletic director suspended the coach for a few games and fined him $50,000. Then that same employee provided ESPN with the video footage. The network aired the tape and most everyone who saw it had the same reaction: how in the world did that coach get to keep his job? The very next day, the university president, whose prior involvement in the situation is disputed, decided that he agreed with the rest of the sensitized world, and he fired Rice. Amazing what a difference public outrage makes.

6. President Obama Opens Mouth, Inserts High-Heeled Shoe. In remarks on April 4, President Obama described California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris as “by far the best-looking attorney general.” All I have to say is this:

Dear Mr. President,

I’m an attorney, but of only average to moderate attractiveness. What’s the highest post I should aim for in my field? Juror? Due to my own level of attractiveness, should I assume I’m not qualified to be an attorney general of any state?


Your Humble Taxpayer 

Please check back next Friday for the “6 things” you need to know right now!

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons

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