December 10, 2023

State of The State of the Union, The Real “Black Dahlia” and More—In the News 1/21/19

Author: The Great Courses
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In a fast-moving, ever-shifting world, news is continuously breaking. The Great Courses is here to help you understand the full story behind the soundbites. Here are a handful of stories for the week of January 21, 2019, and their accompanying lectures on The Great Courses Plus

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State of The State of the Union
The annual State of the Union address was canceled when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent word she would bar the President from delivering the speech in the House chamber so long as parts of the government remain shut down. The divisiveness plaguing American politics today is nothing new, points out constitutional law scholar Noah Feldman. See how similar spats date back to the earlies days of the republic.

Skip Low/No-Carb, Try Slow-Carb
Low-carb and no-carb diets are a trendy way to lose weight quickly, but new research shows the bigger problem is picking the wrong kind of carbs. Choosing whole-kernel, minimally processed grains which take a while to digest means your blood sugar rises more gently and they leave you feeling full longer. Explore our complex relationship with carbs and the hormone insulin and learn which carbs are best eaten at certain times of the day based on your individual total nutrition and workout schedule.

The Real “Black Dahlia”
The based-on-a-true story series I Am the Night is spurring a lot of conversations, both for the talented headliners and for the resurgence of interest in the still-unsolved 1947 murder of Elizabeth Smart, who the press dubbed the “Black Dahlia.” Explore the special forensic category known as “lust murder” through the lens of this famous case.   

Polar Temps are Coming
Many regions of the country are facing frigid temperatures as a polar vortex targets the northern US. The polar vortex in the Northern Hemisphere refers to counterclockwise circulation patterns near the North Pole. Learn more about the polar vortex and how it relates to extremely cold weather.

Consumer Confidence Slumps—What Does that Mean?
In the midst of the longest government shutdown in the country’s history, a measure of US consumer sentiment has fallen to the lowest in almost seven months, and ratings of the economy have deteriorated. What does that mean? Look at related statistics such as the unemployment rate and consumer price index in context, probing how such statistics are measured and what they suggest. 

Are Big Job Cuts Coming?
Buzzfeed, Apple, and Verizon are just three big names that recently announced impending layoffs. Employees are an important part to building a successful business, but an easy place to exercise cost-cutting. Look at major aspects of employee relations and learn how innovative companies handle issues.

Keeping Tabs on a Chaotic Tax Season
Between a slew of new regulations and the government shutdown resulting in fewer IRS agents to help, analysts are predicting this tax season may be chaotic, confusing, and full of delays. While the tax rules consistently change, it helps to have a clear and concise overview of how the US income tax system works: how our income is taxed, and the myriad credits and deductions that could be available. 

We will be diligently monitoring current events and sharing updates on a regular basis, linking the latest headlines to our courses, so you can get the context, history, background, deeper meaning, and—especially—the facts. Our goal is to help our lifelong learners apply the knowledge they gain from our courses to the real world and become better-informed citizen about the present-day issues that concern us all.

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