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Week In The News: Southern Freeze, State Of The Union, So Long Bernanke

A southern deep freeze. State of the Union. Bye, bye, Ben Bernanke. Our weekly news roundtable goes beyond the headlines.

In this aerial view looking at I-75 north at Mt. Paran Rd., abandoned cars are piled up on the median of the ice-covered interstate after a winter snow storm Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, in Atlanta. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said early Wednesday that the National Guard was sending military Humvees onto Atlanta's snarled freeway system in an attempt to move stranded school buses and get food and water to people. Georgia State Patrol troopers headed to schools where children were hunkered down early Wednesday after spending the night there, and transportation crews continued to treat roads and bring gas to motorists, Deal said. (AP)

In this aerial view looking at I-75 north at Mt. Paran Rd., abandoned cars are piled up on the median of the ice-covered interstate after a winter snow storm Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, in Atlanta. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said early Wednesday that the National Guard was sending military Humvees onto Atlanta’s snarled freeway system in an attempt to move stranded school buses and get food and water to people.  (AP)

The State of the Union, a little sour this week. Small bore. No White House expectation of help from Congress. The President says he’ll go it alone if need be. The South, ice shock — “Ice-lanta” — as a cold wave crawls through. A farm bill in Congress. Fresh immigration reform talk. And talk from Congressman Michael Grimm of throwing a reporter off a balcony. Grim. Ben Bernanke’s wrapping up. Stock market’s stumbling. A death penalty call in the Boston Marathon bombing. And Pete Seeger’s gone. Turn, turn, turn. This hour On Point: our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

David Wessel, director, Hutchins Center on Fiscal & Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution. Contributing correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.  (@davidmwessel)

Kelly O’Donnell, Congressional correspondent for NBC News. (@KellyO)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Interstate-clearing focus turns over 2,000 abandoned cars — “More than 2,000 cars still left abandoned on metro Atlanta interstates as of Wednesday evening, and with road conditions now passable city-wide, state officials were turning their focus Thursday to getting those cars safely off the roads.”

Reuters: Households, trade keep U.S. economy humming in fourth quarter — “Gross domestic product grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the final three months of last year, the Commerce Department said on Thursday, in line with economists’ expectations. While that was a slowdown from the third-quarter’s brisk 4.1 percent pace, it was a far stronger performance than had been anticipated earlier in the quarter and welcome news in light of some drag from October’s partial government shutdown.”

The Economist: Praying for peace — “Only  a few weeks ago the dismissal of the Ukrainian government by President Viktor Yanukovych and his offer to appoint an opposition leader as the country’s new prime minister would have had an electric effect. It would have been cheered by protesters on Kiev’s Independence Square (the Maidan) as an important victory. It might even have persuaded them to unblock the roads in the capital. Not any more. On January 28th Mr Yanukovych at last surrendered Nikolai Azarov, a long-serving but ineffectual prime minister. But that was met with a shrug of the shoulders by those manning the barricades in Kiev. “

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