The Friday Five is a new project by Realpolitik designed to help readers catch up on the important news of the week. Every Friday, we will post five articles about current events that we find important, with brief descriptions of the various works. We hope that you will post this and other editions of the Friday Five on Facebook or Twitter, or if you follow us by e-mail, you could forward the list of articles to your friends! By doing so, you will help raise awareness about important news items, while at the same time boosting the viewership of Realpolitik. We hope to find articles that offer original insight on a current event, but we also want to give you news tips of stories that haven’t yet become breaking news. So, we hope you’ll enjoy the first-ever edition of Realpolitik’s Friday Five!
1. RIP Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
The death of New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg early Monday morning grabbed the attention of political observers all over the country. He was the last WWII veteran to serve in the United States Senate. Lautenberg’s passing has created a political dilemma for New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, as he considers possible replacements for the now-open Senate seat. Zach Colman of The Hill wrote an article about Lautenberg’s efforts in the areas of public and environmental health. Read it here.
2. UN: Chemical Weapons Used in at Least Four Attacks in Syrian Conflict
The civil war in Syria has drawn much larger amounts of news coverage than action from world governments. President Obama called the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict a “red line”, and there is now increasing evidence that the “red line” has been crossed (according to the United Nations, at least four times!). The Los Angeles Times article about the issue, and the UN report on Syria, can be found here.
3. Shake-up for the National Security Team
A game of bureaucratic “musical chairs” within the Obama administration has Susan Rice as the new National Security Adviser, and Samantha Power as the new UN ambassador. Rice previously served at the UN, and Power was a go-to official in the White House for human rights issues. Scott Wilson of the Washington Post wrote about how the new set-up for the national security team may signal a more activist tone for President Obama’s foreign policy decisions. Read Wilson’s article here.
4. Former Miss America Running for Congress
Erika Harold, the 2003 Miss America winner, is running for Illinois’ 13th congressional seat, in the GOP primary of all places! Harold, 33, is also a Harvard-educated lawyer. Could she be the perfect antidote for a Republican Party looking for a fresh image? Regardless, this is a story that is bound to become pretty interesting as the primary date approaches. Read Politico‘s Tal Kopan’s article on Erika Harold’s campaign here.
5. NSA Phone Record-Keeping: Overreach or Necessary?
It has now been revealed that the National Security Agency, or NSA, has been collecting information from every phone call made by Verizon Wireless users. Items such as callers, their location, and the length of the call are able to be surveyed by the NSA. This has created a firestorm of controversy on both sides of the aisle, with some legislators arguing for the necessity of such widespread surveillance efforts, and others opposing the program on account of its violations of civil liberties. Abby Phillip of ABC News wrote a piece explaining why these monitoring procedures are inevitable in a post-9/11 world. Read it here.
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