As usual, start with Europe.
Surprisingly, the Russian elections. The Monkey Cage has quite a bit on this, for those interested. Syria, Egypt, and other related places as well. Pakistan.
That cloture failed on Richard Cordray is important, albeit not unexpected. That Barack Obama hinted that he might finally use recess appointments is a bigger deal, especially if he's re-elected.
Mostly I don't expect that either Barack Obama's big speech this week or the fighting over UI/payroll tax extensions will matter all that much. The budgetary stuff matters, but the skirmishes around it? Not that much, would be my guess.
Republicans began to take aim at Newt Gingrich. Don't expect a rapid knockout, but it certainly matters going forward -- it's going to be a lot harder for Newt's spin to be accepted on anything with so many party opinion leaders gunning for him. Not sure if that adds up to "matters", but the process rolls along that way.
They found a warm, Earth-like planet. No word yet on whether it has mountains; if so, we're obviously doomed. (Yes, I miss Herman Cain). Seriously, though, I have no idea whether that kind of thing matters or not.
What else? What do you think mattered this week?