1. Obama and Republicans fight over new tax plan

Over the past week, President Barack Obama and the GOP in Congress have been negotiating a new tax plan for the remainder of President Obama’s second term.  President Obama, using his re-election as a negotiating tool is pushing for an increase to the highest tax bracket.  Republicans in Congress are asking for new policies from the Obama administration that will cut spending and reduce the deficit before signing off on a new tax plan.

2. NATO backs plan to help Turkey from possible Syrian attacks

On Tuesday, NATO representatives including Secretary of State Hilary Clinton met to discuss Turkey’s request of backing in defense of a possible Syrian attack.  According to Turkey officials, they are worried about the increasing number of threats the country has received from Syria and they are requesting NATO backing in order to prepare for these possible attacks.  On Tuesday, NATO agreed to supply Turkey with missile batteries, drawn from American, German and Dutch forces.  These batteries will allow Turkey to be prepared for a possible chemical missile attack from Syria.

3. Johnny Football becomes the first freshman to win Heisman Trophy.

Johnny Manziel, Manti Te’o and Colin Klein all arrived in New York this week with hopes of walking out with the coveted Heisman Trophy which is awarded to the best overall college football player every year.  Johnny Manziel aka Johnny Football became the first freshman to ever win the award Saturday Night when he captured 55% of the first-place votes cast.  After bursting onto the College Football scene when he lead a Texas A&M to an improbable win over then #1 Alabama and since then he has been the favorite to win the award.

4. Tea Party leader Jim DeMint steps down from his Senate seat to takeover Heritage Foundation

This past week South Carolina senator Jim DeMint, long touted the face of the Tea Party movement stepped down from his Senate seat in order to head the Heritage Foundation.  Republicans have blamed DeMint for being responsible for the party not being able to take Senate control in the last two elections.  The fracture in the Republican party between ultra-conservatives and the rest of the right wing has been put on DeMint’s shoulders.  DeMint said this after announcing his resignation from the Senate:  “I’ve decided to join the Heritage Foundation at a time when the conservative movement needs strong leadership in the battle of ideas.”  DeMint will step down when the new Congress comes in January.

5. Supreme Court to take stance on same-sex marriage

The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it would enter the national debate over same-sex marriage, agreeing to hear a pair of cases challenging state and federal laws that define marriage to include only unions of a man and a woman.  

One of the cases, from California, could establish or reject a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. The second case, from New York, challenges a federal law that requires the federal government to deny benefits to gay and lesbian couples married in states that allow such unions.

These cases will prove to be the biggest social issues the court will tackle in this docket cases.