1. STAY IN SCHOOL FOR NOW, KIDS. Whatever happened to the time-out chair? Apparently the trend in school discipline these days is the creation of “scream rooms.” Basically, kids who are acting out in school are sent to a secluded, padded room until they cool off. In Connecticut alone, scream rooms and similar discipline methods are employed more than 30,000 times annually. One senator is calling for an end to the practice. It’s the time of year when anxious teenagers panic about getting their SAT scores in the mail. But should we even be factoring standardized test scores into the college application process? Maybe not. In addition to the trauma of finding out your own score, there is also the frustration and bewilderment when you inevitably hear about someone who you know isn’t that smart getting a perfect score. Now THAT is traumatic. When will the cost of college outweigh the benefits of getting a college degree? If the cost escalation keeps its current pace, college will be worth it for a while still. But after 2086, when the cost of a 4-year degree is expected to exceed $725,000, all bets are off.
2. WHAT HAPPENS IN SOUTH DAKOTA … Twenty six percent of Americans think abortion should be legal under any circumstances. Twenty percent think it should be illegal under any circumstances. But, more than half of Americans fall somewhere in the middle. Does Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis actually represent the widely ignored middle ground in the abortion debate? When it comes to abortion, most Americans agree: it’s complicated. The Supreme Court is expected to decide whether a 2007 Massachusetts law that creates a 35-foot “buffer zone” around abortion clinics violates first amendment rights. To understand the future of the abortion debate in America, you need to look to a state that often finds itself outside the media glare. South Dakota is one of three US states with only one abortion provider. The state is fast becoming a testing ground in the wider abortion debate. South Dakota may attempt passage of a law that would prohibit any abortions after the first trimester. Will what happens in South Dakota stay in South Dakota?
3. THE OLD COUNTRY, REIMAGINED. The old-fashioned English pub is fast becoming a thing of the last. Apartment buildings and clothing stores are popping up where pubs once stood. Can the pubs be saved? And if we save the pubs, where will all the new Starbucks and American Apparel stores go? A candidate for mayor of Paris wants to turn the city’s abandoned subway stations into chic nightclubs, fancy restaurants, art galleries and swimming pools. Imagine how much easier that long wait for the Green line would be if you could sit by the pool, cocktail in hand, while you wait. Spain has long held true to the belief that adults, like toddlers, operate better after a good afternoon nap. Which helps you stay up late enough for 10 p.m. dinners and prime time TV shows that don’t end until 1 a.m. But is it time for this to change?
4. REIGN OF THE SELFIE. Like it or not, selfies are a thing. Kids take them. Grown-ups take them. Politicians take them. Sports Illustrated sometimes posts them accidentally. Selfies are even popular amongst farmers, although they call them “felfies.” And selfies aren’t just a thing here. Yesterday, Pussy Riot band members used the “paddy wagon selfie” to announce the news they had been arrested. Even the Russian police are jumping on the selfie bandwagon! Oh, and don’t forget the bruised and battered Olympic selfie. But be careful, posting a selfie with Vladimir Putin can get you in trouble if you’re a Canadian Olympian. Maybe it’s time to redefine the selfie. On that note, 84-years-young Barbara Walters has an idea for a new, alternative definition.
5. ALSO … An enormous asteroid flew past the Earth while you were sleeping last night. It missed. Where can you find rich men in drag doing musical acts and comedy skits behind closed doors? Wall Street, apparently. There’s a national clown shortage, presumably the result of society coming to terms with the fact that even children—the target audience for clowns – are petrified of them. Scott Brown continues his long trend of being Scott Brown. The former nude model and possible candidate for US senator “ripped it up onstage” with rock band Cheap Trick this weekend. As we prepare for yet another snowstorm of the season, is it time to look to a better way of predicting the weather? How about your otherwise useless cat?
Five@Five is a new feature that you can expect on this blog every weekday at 5 p.m.