April 8, 2012: For The Win
The NCAA Basketball Championship came to a close this week, and Kentucky and Baylor left as champions. The Wildcats dominated opponents throughout the men’s tournament, using a combination of raw talent and willpower to systematically dissect the competition. Many analysts think Kentucky and coach John Calipari could repeat next year, even with an entirely new team, since the program will likely get a major recruiting boost from this win.
Baylor shut down all comers in the women’s tournament, riding the athleticism of Brittney Griner and her teammates to close out college basketball’s first-ever perfect 40-0 season. The Lady Bears the top-ranked team in the coaches’ preseason poll and remained first in every subsequent poll, leading the field wire-to-wire. And, unlike Kentucky’s men’s team, all five of the Baylor’s starters will return next year, giving the Lady Bears a clear shot to repeat.
The March jobs report defied claims of a rapidly recovering economy, as employers only added 120,000 jobs were added over the past month, roughly half of the totals over each of the previous three months. This was likely caused, at least in part, by long-unemployed workers giving up their job searches, which is reflected in the unemployment rate’s decline from 8.3% to 8.2%: unemployment totals only count people looking for work, so those who have given up hope are excluded. Some commentators say that the faltering economy, and especially this shift away from a healthier growth trend, could throw President Barack Obama’s reelection bid in doubt, even though the unemployment rate’s decline could still help his campaign. For the time being, Obama is working to woo female voters, a key demographic that Republicans have also been targeting in recent weeks.
While Republicans are making a great deal of fundraising progress in preparation for the general election, and rumors are flying that Mitt Romney and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan will be the right-wing ticket to face Obama, the primary battle isn’t over yet. Despite Romney’s wins in last week’s Wisconsin, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. primaries, his biggest remaining rivals, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, are continuing the fight for delegates in the hope to keep Romney from winning outright and forcing a showdown at the Republican National Convention this August to determine the nominee. Their chances of success dwindle further with each primary round that Romney wins, but they’re at least determined to make things difficult for Romney.
The big story this week, though, is the Navy fighter jet that crashed into a Virginia Beach apartment complex on Friday. Navy officials claim that the jet suffered a “catastrophic mechanical malfunction,” forcing the F-18’s two pilots, one of whom was a student being assisted by an “extremely experienced” instructor, to eject before impact. Residents noticed that the jet dumped a great deal of fuel before the crash, which was one of the indicators of a major mechanical problem — along with the fact that observers say the jet was on fire before it reached the ground. It exploded shortly after the crash, leaving at least seven injured. As of Friday evening, rescue crews are still searching the complex debris for three missing residents, although Virginia Beach Fire Department Battalion Chief Tim Riley bluntly noted that “If there is anybody there, chances of survivability would be low.”
Other articles of interest:
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AT&T to unlock your contract-less iPhones this Sunday
Google Nexus S 4G Ice Cream Sandwich update goes live
Google rumored to launch sub-$250 7-inch tablet in July
Google’s Project Glass: You ain’t seen nothin’ yet
Twitter slams top five spammers with legal suit
Selling You on Facebook
52-year-old Fred Couples fires 5-under 67 to grab a share of the Masters lead
Luke Donald avoids disqualification
Gas prices flirt once again with $4 a gallon
Controversy Deepens Over Pesticides and Bee Collapse
How do hyenas observe Lent? By eating more donkey.