Too busy to read the news this week? We’ve rounded up the stories from this past week that everyone’s most likely to be buzzing about. Here, everything you need to know to sound like you know what you’re talking about when you hit the party circuit this weekend.
Hillary Says Goodbye
Farewell, Hillz. After an image-invigorating tenure as U.S. secretary of state, Hillary Clinton will pass the torch to Sen. John Kerry on Friday. To commemorate her work—forming a coalition to stop Muammar Gaddafi, persuading Russia and China to help isolate Iran and North Korea, successfully employing her strategy of “diplomacy and development alongside defense”—President Obama sat down with Clinton for a joint 60 Minutes interview Sunday and said she “will go down as one of the finest secretaries of state we’ve had.” Not to mention, the coolest. The Clinton 2016 chorus is stronger than ever.
Beyoncé Is Redeemed
Like a golden-throated phoenix rising from the ashes of a humiliating lip-syncing fiasco, Beyoncé emerged regally for her Super Bowl halftime-show press conference, seemingly unfazed by the ridicule that followed her inauguration performance. She stepped up to the microphone Thursday afternoon and belted to the heavens a flawless—and 100 percent live—rendition of the national anthem. After utterly, completely, unequivocally, wholly, and astonishingly nailing it, Queen B simply asked reporters, “Are there any questions?” (She also stated for the record that, yes, she was singing to a prerecording track on Inauguration Day; that, yes, it is completely common thing for singers to do; and, yes, she still thinks she knocked the performance out of the park that day.) Oh, and, yes, obviously, she will be singing live Sunday. *Drops microphone.* *Walks away.*
Hagel Hearings Get Heated
Controversial secretary-of-defense nominee Chuck Hagel faced his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday. He fielded hard questions about his views on Israel, his comments about “the Jewish lobby,” his stance on same-sex marriage, containment, the war in Iraq, and the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. “Like all of you, I have a record,” he said in prepared statements. “A record I am proud of, not because of any accomplishments I have achieved, or an absence of mistakes, but rather because I’ve tried to build that record by living my life and fulfilling my responsibilities, as honestly as I know how with hard work.”
‘30 Rock’ Signs Off
After 139 episodes, 7 seasons, 64 Emmy nominations, countless catchphrases, and 1 giant blerg, 30 Rock aired its final episode Thursday night. Though never a ratings blockbuster, the NBC sitcom quickly earned a reputation as one of the greatest modern sitcoms, owing to its unabashed weirdness, tour de force performances (led by Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey), brave skewering of corporate culture, and brash originality. Creator-writer-producer-star Fey emerged as the voice of comedy today. Whatever is next for her once she leaves 30 Rock, one thing is clear: I want to go to there.
Freaky Weather Continues to Freak
On Sunday in New York City, the wind chill made temperatures feel like they were in the single digits. On Wednesday in New York City, it was back up to almost 60 degrees. On Thursday in New York City, winds were strong enough to knock the slight of frame right off their feet. Extreme weather boasted its extremeness this past week, not just with wild temperature swings, but wild weather across the country. Tornadoes touched down in a handful of Southern states, while crazy wind, fog, and storms blew through, plagued, and drowned most of the Midwest and East Coast. The weather extremes have proven to be not just annoying, but also, as this footage of a tornado in Georgia proves, downright dangerous.
Gun Hearings Get Emotional
Hearings were held both in the U.S. Senate and at the Connecticut legislature this week to reevaluate gun-control policies in the wake of the horrific spate of shootings across the country. Things were, predictably, heated and also very emotional. Former Arizona representative Gabrielle Giffords, herself a shooting victim, pleaded with Congress to “do something” about gun violence. “Too many children are dying; too many children,” she said. “We must do something. It will be hard. But the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you.” In Connecticut, the proceedings went off less tactfully when gun enthusiasts began shouting “the Second Amendment!” and heckled Neil Heslin, the father of 6-year-old shooting victim Jesse Lewis, as he testified in favor of more gun-control measures.