Hi all, and welcome back to A to ZEE Weekly! Today is March 16th, 2018. Happy Friday!
A Wrinkle in Time, starring Mindy Kaling, Oprah Winfrey, and Reese Witherspoon debuted this week, nearly topping the box office charts, although not quite edging out Black Panther. This weekend marked the first time that the top two slots were occupied by films from black directors, those directors being Ava DuVernay and Ryan Coogler, respectively.
Physicist Stephen Hawking passed away peacefully at home in Cambridge this week after a decades-long battle with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. When Hawking was diagnosed at 22, doctors thought he had only a few years left to live. He lived to be 76, and in those years he set out many major theories of the universe and quantum mechanics. He was known as one of the world’s greatest scientific minds, and left us with many memorable quotes and pieces of advice such as “it would not be much of a universe if it was not home to the people that you love” and “remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.”
Students across the country walked out of their classrooms this week to make a collective statement about gun violence in America. The walkout lasted 17 minutes: one minute for each victim of the shooting in Parkland, Florida, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which has been the catalyst for the growing conversation about the state of gun violence and gun laws in America. In addition to the walkouts, there were marches held throughout the country, and over 7,000 pairs of shoes were laid out in front of the Capitol Building: one for every child lost to gun violence since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012.
Democrat Conor Lamb narrowly won his special election for the 18th Pennsylvania district this week, with the win coming down to a margin of only a few hundred votes. The White House is trying to claim Lamb’s near-tie as a victory for the GOP, but don’t let them think you’ve forgotten that Trump won the Pennsylvania 18th by 20 points in 2016. I mean, can the people say “blue wave” any more clearly? Lamb’s victory serves as an excellent reminder that our individual votes do matter, and it’s our civic duty to go out and cast them.
In other White House news, Trump fired former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson via Twitter this week, not that any of us should be surprised by this. His firing comes less than 24 hours after a public comment condoning Russia and Vladimir Putin. He will be replaced by Mike Pompeo, the former CIA director. In case this whole firing-via-Tweet-post-Russia-comment thing wasn’t problematic enough, Trump’s pick to replace Pompeo, Gina Haspel, was allegedly involved in classified torture programs that took place after the September 11th attacks.
The Senate passed a bill this week to roll back sections of the Dodd-Frank reforms instituted after the 2008 financial crisis. While many progressive Democrats openly critiqued the bill, it passed with the support of over a dozen Democratic Senators. The bill now moves on to the House.
March Madness began this week, with celebrities such as Tim McGraw and Barack Obama sharing their brackets with fans.
Yesterday was the Notorious RBG’s Birthday. She turned 85. Happy Birthday, Ruth Bader Ginsburg!
That wraps up this week for us, y’all! Your pop-culture plug is the film The Big Short, which explains the situation that caused the financial crisis in a way that doesn’t make you feel like an idiot. Plus, Ryan Gosling is in it. Go forth and be news-savvy. I’ll see you on Friday.