Mic Check: A Simple Explanation Of the Bank in Charge Of Saving the Economy

1. The Most Powerful Banker in the Country Doesn’t Believe in Congress
 
It turns out you have something in common with the most powerful banker in the country: Neither of you are very big fans of Congress. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke pulled a fast one on investors on Wednesday when he announced he will continue to flood the economy with $85 billion a month. Almost everyone expected Bernanke to cut back the Fed’s bond-buying program, so what gives? Apparently Bernanke doesn’t have a lot of faith in Congress to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month. And if that happens, the economy could take another nosedive. Investors are clearly on board with the Fed’s announcement: The stock market closed at an all-time high.
 
• A simple explanation of the bank in charge of saving the economy (PolicyMic).
 
4 explanations for why the Fed postponed the taper (Quartz).
 
 
2. There’s a 40% Chance the Government Will Close Its Doors This Month
 
Well, this doesn’t look good: The odds of a government shutdown just shot up to 40%. President Obama and Republicans in Congress can’t agree on a new budget, and if they don’t compromise before Oct. 1 the government will have to close its doors. Republicans won’t sign off on any deal that doesn’t defund Obamacare, and so far the president hasn’t budged. The GOP is banking on Americans blaming Obama if the government cuts off services, but recent polls suggest the plan could backfire. Even if the government scrapes together a last minute deal, Republicans will have another chance to hold Obamacare hostage when Congress votes to give Obama more cash next month.
 
Why the government might shut down, in plain English (WaPo).
 
• Republicans finally unveil their alternative health care reform plan (PolicyMic).
 
 
3. Is It Time For Beauty Pageants to Go the Way Of the Corset?
 
Who thought beauty pageants could be so controversial? France banned beauty contests for girls under 16 on Wednesday, and Twitter exploded with hateful messages when Nina Davuluri became the first woman of Indian descent to be crowned Miss America over the weekend. In response to the backlash over Davuluri’s victory, some experts criticized beauty pageants for promoting outdated stereotypes of women. There are arguments on both sides of the debate: Some say pageants pressure women to conform to ridiculous beauty standards, but Miss Virginia 2003 disagrees. She says Miss America gave her a platform to introduce feminism to girls across the country. The problem is, Miss America will only give you that opportunity if you look the right way.
 
Get an inside at look at the creepiest $5 billion industry in America (PolicyMic).
 
 
4. Your iPhone Just Got a Whole New Look
 
Your iPhone got a whole new look on Wednesday when Apple released the newest version of its iOS mobile operating system. iOS 7 has been getting a lot of hype thanks to Tim Cook’s claim it is the “biggest update to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone.” So, how does the new software stack up? First, the ugly: Apple jumped on board the flat design trend with its new app icons, and the results are not going over well. But iOS 7 has some new features that make up for what it lacks in design. The camera lets you add Instagram-like filters to your photos, and the updated control panel gives you access to important features with the swipe of a finger. If you really want to upgrade your smartphone experience, you can try out iOS 7 on an iPhone 5S or 5C. So far the reviews are fantastic.
 
• Learn about the best hidden features in iOS7 (Verge).
 
• Your iPhone is about to get a whole lot uglier (PolicyMic).
 
 
DESSERT
• Tomato Can Blues: the Story of a small-time cage fighter who owed money to impatient people (NY Times).
 
• On Muppets and Merchandise: How Jim Henson turned his art into a business (Longreads).
 
• Inside Google’s battle to beat death (TIME).
 
How slavery shaped the Ivy League (NPR).
 
• This eagle cam is the most majestic thing you’ll see all day (Mashable).
 
Thanks for reading!
Nick
 
What do you think about the topics in today’s Mic Check? Share your thoughts with me on Twitter @nicholascbaker.
 
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