Weekly roundup: Valentines, Presidents, and cable giants

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It’s Valentine’s Day. We’re coming up on President’s Day. And we have another round of huge snowstorms set to hit the eastern seaboard. So in case you’re trapped inside, hiding from the weather, this is your Weekly Roundup.

In Virginia, a federal judge struck down the state’s ban of same-sex marriage. U.S. District Court Judge Arenda Wright Allen blocked it from taking immediate effect until appeals are heard.

On a somewhat related note, David Gibson from Religion News Service, explores the way that antigay laws around the world have bishops in a public split.

In Washington, Congress passed a clean debt-ceiling bill, with 28 Republicans in the House voting with 193 Democrats. Though House Speaker John Boehner received harsh criticism from fiscal hawks on the right, he brought the bill up for a vote, passing it before the government defaulted on its debt. We’ll take progress where we can get it.

In “taking progress where we can get it” news, Cheryl Sandberg’s nonprofit organization that bears the same name as her book, LeanIn.org, has partnered with stock photo site Getty to produce images of women that are designed to be more realistic and more empowering than the “harried mom” stereotype.

In Tennessee, Volkswagen is making news. Their workers in their plant in Chattanooga will be voting on whether to join the United Auto Workers union, with support from Volkswagen. If the vote is “yes,” this will become the first unionized auto plant in the south. Furthermore, Republican lawmakers have threatened to take away Volkswagen’s tax incentives to stay in the state if the plant goes union.

In a $45 billion deal, cable giant Comcast will merge with Time Warner Cable. The deal will be reviewed for antitrust reason. If the deal goes through, maybe that will mean faster service?

Attorney General Eric Holder called for an end to state laws that ban people who have been convicted of a felony from voting. In his speech on Tuesday, Mr. Holder claimed that those laws disproportionately affect African Americans, and increase the likelihood that individuals recidivate.

And tonight, fueling a romantic evening for couples with young children (who go to bed early) and a Netflix streaming account (that stays up late), the second season of “House of Cards” is now available for consumption. Let the binge-watching commence .

 

Now for the Papal rapid-fire roundup:

This week, Pope Francis:

 

And that’s it for this week’s roundup. Have a lovely Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, and snOMG day.