Ominous economic news has crept back into the headlines, along with election developments that might have turned the founding fathers into monarchists. Take this quiz to see if you've paid enough attention to current events to save our country.
Here are some random but actual hints: They'd be better off in "old Europe;" we hope Bernanke has Hermione's beaded handbag; clean but bitey; and this is a job for Spooky Mulder. Now put those to good use and take the quiz! Answers are at the bottom of the quiz.
1) According to a new report from the Pew Research Center, what is true about the American middle class?
a. The middle class has expanded by 15 percent over the past three years
b. 85 percent of the middle class say it is harder to maintain their standard of living today than it was a decade ago
c. 50 percent of the middle class identifies itself as being upper class
d. 30 percent of the middle class slipped into poverty during the past decade
2) This week, after an 18-year wait, Russia became a member of what group?
b. The World Wildlife Federation
d. The World Trade Organization
3) The GOP platform writers included an abortion plank that calls for what?
a. A constitutional ban on abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest
b. Leaving the issue of abortion's legality up to the states
c. An exemption for abortions that are the result of "legitimate rape"
d. Declaring all post-conception birth control methods to be illegal
4) The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office issued a report on Wednesday declaring that the country will head back into recession if what happens?
a. The federal government fails to resolve the "fiscal cliff" problems of expiring tax cuts and mandated deep budget cuts
b. Greece is kicked out of the Eurozone
c. Congress extends the Bush tax cuts but doesn't pay for them with spending cuts
d. Apple doesn't meet expectations with the iPhone5
5) After GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin claimed wrongly that rape victims' bodies had ways of preventing pregnancies, he was roundly criticized. However, he was also supported by some on the right. Which of the following did not support him?
a. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council
b. GOP Rep. Steve King
c. The National Republican Senatorial Committee
d. Former teen actor Kirk Cameron
6) What did the United States Federal Reserve indicate about its near-term plans?
a. It was "confidant of continued albeit slow recovery" through the rest of 2012
b. It would act "fairly soon" if there isn't proof of "substantial and sustainable" economic improvement
c. It has reached the limits of its "ability to move the economy" and said further help would have to come from the European Central Bank
d. It was too busy preparing for its audit to do any work on the economy
7) What sentence was given to Gu Kailai, the top politician's wife convicted by a Chinese court of the murder of a British businessman?
a. Time served
b. Summary execution
c. A suspended death sentence
d. Five years in a labor camp
8) Forbes released its list of the 100 most powerful women in the world. Who was not included in the top 10?
a. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
b. German Chancellor Angela Merkel
c. TV legend Oprah Winfrey
d. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff
9) While much of the news coverage of the August 27-30 Republican National Convention has focused on potential disruptions by Ron Paul's supporters or hardcore social conservatives, there is another potential disruption that could outdo either of those threats. What is this new disruption?
a. Tropical storm Isaac
b. Senatorial candidate Todd Akin's planned prime time speech on women's values
c. A protest in the convention hall by supporters of jailed Russian punk band Pussy Riot
d. A strike by the convention hall's union staff, scheduled to begin on August 28
10) According to a new book by Michael Grunwald, The New New Deal, how did GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney once describe the Tea Party?
a. "My home state of Massachusetts knows how to hold a tea party; the others are frauds"
b. Tea Party leaders are "my fellow soldiers in the fight to take back this country"
c. The Tea Party "would be useful if they weren't so distasteful"
d. It's like a "ferret in the dishwasher," ... "so frightened and angry"
BONUS QUESTION) Why did Texas judge Tom Head publicly call for a property tax increase?
a. To provide shelter and education to undocumented immigrants in his county
b. To fund the nationalization of "foreign-owned banks and financiers" in Texas
c. To pay for increased law enforcement to handle the "civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war, maybe" that would result from President Obama's re-election and an expected subsequent takeover by the United Nations
d. To fund religious teaching in America's "morally at-risk overseas military bases"
Is that still not enough news for you? Join us for each of our Week to Week news commentary programs at The Commonwealth Club's San Francisco auditorium. See the Week to Week website for event dates, audio, and more.
ANSWERS: 1) b. 2) d. 3) a. 4) a. 5) c. 6) b. 7) c. 8) c. 9) a. 10) d. BONUS) c.
EXPLANATIONS OF THE HINTS: It's easier to rise from low economic status to upper income levels in a number of European states than it is in the United States; in the Harry Potter books, Hermione's beaded handbag had been treated with a spell that allowed it to hold a lot more than it looked capable of carrying; that would be a ferret in a dishwasher; In The X-Files Fox "Spooky" Mulder dodged more than his share of black helicopters and international (and interplanetary) intrigue.