America has seen a lot and heard a lot over the span of twelve months, and as we move forward, we submerge ourselves in nostalgia and look back at what our country endured and how we got to where we are today.
This exhaustive list is by no means definitive, as there were numerous events that are not mentioned. But feel free to add what you feel necessary in the Comments box below!
(In no specific order.)
2012 boasted the most highly-anticipated election year in history, between candidates Mitt Romney (R) and the incumbent President Barack Obama (D). Over the course of the presidential run, the campaigns claimed the title as the most expensive in history, topping just above $6 billion combined. The winner, of course, was the precursor President Obama, who won with 332 electoral votes and a 51% edge over the opposing Mitt Romney, who carried his own weight in 206 electoral votes and 47%.
Death of Whitney Houston
One of the most beautiful voices in the music industry slipped away from us one fateful night, as Whitney Houston, 48, died on February 11 in a Beverly Hills hotel. Houston, known for her long, crippling battle with drugs was said, per the coroners, to have died from a large amount of cocaine in her system, amongst other things. She was found in the bathtub of her hotel after she had drowned in it. The manner of the death was listed as an “accident.”
Shooting of Trayvon Martin
The harrowing Florida shooting that took 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s life back on the night of February 26 engaged the community in all kinds of ways. Martin, an African-American, was walking home at the time of, unarmed, when he was shot and killed by a local neighborhood watch coordinator, George Zimmerman. Since the shooting, Zimmerman has been out on a $1 million bond, but remains attached to a GPS tracking device. As new evidence arises, he currently awaits a scheduled June 13 trial.
Tech juggernaut Apple made quite a splash in 2012, with successful new products and a sinking stock, that inevitably forced the company to bare its bones and teeth throughout the year. Its latest line of iPhone products, the highly-inflated iPhone 5, had both consumers and investors jumping jovially up and down, as the smartphone carrier managed to sell five million iPhones in its first three days on the market. It also recently debuted in China, Apple’s second-largest market, and sold a stable two million iPhone 5s in three days after its launch. The company even found time to release a mini iPad this year, which, for many, kind of resembled a larger, more cumbersome iPhone.
But, with all good must come some bad. Apple encountered a massive faux pas along the way, as their mapping application, Maps, came up a bit faulty, due to an erroneous technological glitch. Many consumers lambasted the company, along with current CEO Tim Cook, for their mistake on the product. But, like a good CEO, Cook apologized for their blunder and has pledged to continue to find a resolution. Along with that, Apple’s stock, which once lavishly sat at a lovely $702 a share, now sits near a lackluster $500-something a share. But with a market cap of about $480 billion, I wouldn’t say they’re in the red just yet, just going through a funk.
Since the overthrowing and resignation of Egypt’s previous president, Hosni Mubarak, last year, the country just hasn’t been a stable society. Current president Mohamed Morsi has received much vitriol since his term began, much in part to his avid interest in issuing a declaration that would rid of any challenges to his decrees, laws and decisions. Many see the leader as a power-hungry dictator, something that the citizens had already experienced over the years with predecessor Mubarak. Demonstrators, protesters, liberals and secularists have all violently clashed over the past couple of months, as some support the president’s beliefs and others oppose them.
Remember this guy? Never a more prevalent campaign to graze a computer screen than the one for Joseph Kony. Kony, head of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), has been accused of kidnapping numerous amounts of children in northern Uganda, and surrounding areas, turning girls into sex slaves and the boys into killers for years now. He came into light after a YouTube video pervaded, acquiring a record-high tens of millions of hits within days. The video, assembled by Jason Russell, co-founder of the activist group referred to as Invisible Children, highlighted the perils of Kony’s actions and intentions. Once the video went viral, the campaign #Kony2012 and #StopKony was born.
Facebook, that site that shamelessly consumes all of your quotidian needs, went public this year and you probably didn’t even know. In the biggest, most highly-anticipated IPO in technology (larger than Google’s, yeah), Mark Zuckerberg became a much more wealthier man on the morning of Friday, May 18. The social-networking site debuted at $38 a share, making its market capitalization, at the time, a stunning $104 billion. Investors and even non-investors got in on the action, lauding the company’s public release, only to find that it just wasn’t an ideal pick. Not to mention the little glitch in the stock market that day that it unveiled. Let’s just say they weren’t happy. Since then Facebook has been on an intermittent roller coaster, as shares have tanked well below that initial $38-mark. Albeit it has seen its lowest mark, at $18.15/share, it is doing a little bit better these days, as it currently sits at $26.81. Perhaps once Zuckerberg can figure out how to tackle the mobile industry a little better and monetize on it, the stock will flourish a bit more.
Always an entertaining sporting event to watch, London brought us the 2012 summer Olympics this year and they were chock-full of broken records. Not to mention a harmonious, industrialism-themed opening ceremony directed by Academy Award-winning director Danny Boyle. Records ranged from Michael Phelps winning a slew of medals, too many to mention, and retiring, to gymnast Gabby Douglas, the first ever woman of color, and African-American, to become the individual all-around champion in Olympic history.
One of the most cataclysmic events of the year, Aurora, Colorado was shaken the night of Friday, July 20 during a midnight screening of The Dark Night Rises— the latest and last of the Christopher Nolan Batman films. 24-year-old James Holmes, the convicted gunman, re-entered the unsuspecting theater from the exit door about 30 minutes into the film clad in tactical gear and an eerie Joker-esque hairdo, resembling the nefarious character depicted in the previous Dark Knight film. Holmes opened fire into the seating area, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others. He used tear gas as well upon entering, making it appear as if the imminent carnage were an act. More than two dozen officers responded to the tragedy, arriving to the scene shortly after. Holmes was arrested immediately and currently awaits a preliminary hearing, set for January 7.
Sandra Fluke Speaks Out
Outspoken Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke came into view in February when she was barred from testifying about President Obama’s policy on contraceptives and health insurance. That wasn’t what made headlines, though. It was bawdy radio host Rush Limbaugh’s brazen remarks that really pushed the pupil into the public’s eyes– with salacious slurs such as referring to Fluke as a “slut,” and “prostitute” on her contraception beliefs. Months following the incident though, Fluke, a pro-Obama advocator, was invited to speak at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
The Rise of Jeremy Lin
In an almost sudden cult following, many joined, both fans and non-fans, in the recognition of the New York Knicks’ breakout star of the year, Jeremy Lin. The 24-year-old Harvard graduate dominated the basketball court back in February, immediately boosting him on to the starting lineup. Prior to his wondrous winning streak, Lin was sleeping on his brother’s living room couch, watching games mainly from the sideline. It wasn’t until the injury of another teammate that Knicks then-coach Mike D’Antoni decided to try his luck with Lin, only to his surprise see him flourish in more ways than one. Something worth noting is that Lin is one of the few Asian-Americans in NBA history, and the first American of Chinese/Taiwanese descent to play in the league.
Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)
Back in January, a bill proposed by Congress surfaced, the Stop Online Piracy Act, which was later abbreviated to its acronymic form SOPA. The bill basically outlined the concept of Internet censorship. Its main purpose was to narrow in on copyright infringement by restricting access to websites that host the trading of pirated content. (Think: The Pirate Bay.)
It was the largest online protest in history, acquiring roughly 10 million in signatures– not to mention dominating social-media overall. Free websites such as Wikipedia and Craigslist, amongst a robust list of others, all participated in the protest by “blacking out” their content, making it temporarily unavailable to the public. Luckily for them, Congress ended up scrapping the idea, for now.
Moscow-based band Pussy Riot, a feminist punk-rock collective whose audacious outspoken views got them arrested a couple of times earlier in the year, made headlines from Russia to the other side of the globe this year. They first became more internationally known when three members of the band were arrested in early-to-late March and charged with hooliganism. Being denied bail, they awaited their trial which was to begin in July, and on August 17, they were convicted of the aforementioned crime. The courts felt that their acts were fueled by religious hatred, and each of them received a two-year sentence. In the end, though, one of the members ended up getting off with probation whilst the other two were sent off to labor camps.
Rapper-producer-entrepreneur Jay-Z had quite an impressive year in 2012, between welcoming a beautiful baby girl and pumping the life back into his hometown of Brooklyn, the entertainer was nothing more than modest about it all. In addition to his already hectic lifestyle, the Bed-Stuy native managed to perform at eight sold-out shows at the newly-constructed Barclays Center, which now, is officially home to the Brooklyn Nets– a team in which he has a one-fifteenth percent stake in. There was even yet another documentary filmed about the mogul, which you can view in its entirety here.
Honey Boo Boo
Reality television really took an, ahem, interesting course in 2012 when TLC decided to air one of its newest and surprisingly most popular shows of the year, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. The show basically revolves around a small-town family living in the backwoods of Georgia and dealing with typical family matters. The star of the show, Alana Thompson, better known as “Honey Boo Boo,” and her family first gained recognition after a season-long stint on TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras— a show in which child beauty pageant contestants’ and their families’ lives are documented. Miss Boo Boo is widely known for her fictional lexicon and southern accent.
Death of Michael Clarke Duncan
Michael Clarke Duncan, the actor most notable for his beautiful performance in the film The Green Mile, passed away on Monday, September 3 after suffering from a heart attack back in July. The 6-foot-5, 325-pound behemoth, who was 54 at the time of death, remained hospitalized for more than three weeks after his heart attack scare. In the end, though, he sadly suffered from a myocardial infarction, from over in July, and just never fully recovered.
On Tuesday, September 11, the ironically chilling 11-year anniversary of the terrorist tragedy that took place back in 2001, an attack was sprung upon an American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. Four people were killed during the incident, including the United States Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens. The attack garnered much speculation as many saw it, and remain to, as a surreptitious controversy orchestrated by the government. The White House didn’t look too innocent in the public’s eyes, especially after they attempted to use an audacious, tasteless documentary by a filmmaker mocking the Prophet Muhammad as a scapegoat for reasoning. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice took much of the criticism, though, after appearing on several morning talk shows and disseminating the conjecture that following weekend.
Marijuana and Same-Sex Marriage
Both Colorado and Washington state passed laws this year that officially declared the recreational use of marijuana legal, back in November. Albeit under specific restrictions, those being that the cannabis would be sold and taxed at state-licensed stores, similar to alcohol sales, and that personal possession could not exceed an ounce (28.5 grams) for anyone 21 and older, the bill fared quite well in the public’s eyes.
In addition, Washington state also included same-sex marriage in that offer, which officially took effect in early December. Hundreds gathered that Sunday morning of the 9th, as they all took to the altar to pledge their love for one another.
In a convoluted maze of events that unraveled beneath the country’s eyes, then-CIA director David Petraeus was caught having an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, who had recently penned All In: The Education of General David Petraeus. The story, succinctly, came into view after social liaison Jill Kelly had issued complaints to an FBI investigator about cyberstalking– in which she claimed she was being harassed via email. The messages were eventually traced back to Broadwell, who was accusing Kelly of having an affair with Petraeus. In time, the story dwindled down to its bare bone, revealing that Broadwell and Petraeus were really the ones caught up in an adulterous web, combining other key elements to follow.
Regardless, Petraeus resigned from the position on Friday, November 9, as he sent out a repentant letter to his staff acknowledging his inappropriate actions and his planned departure.
Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner brought the world to its knees, along with 8 million ardent viewers on YouTube at the time of, when he challenged gravity by skydiving at a record-high height of 24 miles (128,100 ft; 39km) up, shattering numerous records in laudable success. He is the first human to ever break the sound barrier through free fall, having traveled at 833.9 mph, or, in cooler terms, Mach 1. The recorded video streamed live that day, October 14, as Felix both prepared for and executed the jump, making it the most-watched live event ever on YouTube.
The ongoing war in Syria never came to a halt this year, as the death toll over the past twenty-two months has exceeded well over 44,000. Bashar Al-Assad, the country’s president, has acquired much censure from the citizens of Syria, along with politicians and pundits, for his dictator-like principles. Much attention came to the tyrant when the idea of chemical weapon usage surfaced— an operation that has still yet to be proven accurate. If legitimate, though, the chemical weapons, instructed under Assad, would be used against his country’s citizens in the current evolving war.
Lance Armstrong Doping Scheme
Universally admired athlete and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong has been accused of doping allegations before but, albeit it was always a topic of discussion throughout his career, it wasn’t until the middle of 2012 that the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) really delved into the case. On reports of evidence from both the USADA’s side and 11 former teammates, the organization finally took the initiative in August to ban the 41-year-old competitor for life, simultaneously stripping him of his seven Tour de France titles. Livestrong still lives on, though, somewhere.
One of the most calamitous hurricanes the United States has ever seen, Hurricane Sandy swept up the coast towards the Northeast back in late October, causing close to $65 billion in damage. A Category 1 storm, Sandy did a majority of its damage in states like New York and New Jersey, where it managed to wipe away the entire Jersey Shore pier, along with an egregious amount of flooding in the New York subway systems.
The storm really brought into light Governor Chris Christie (R) who took it upon himself and others to really unite the state of New Jersey. Not to mention a little a visit from the President of the United States as well. Since the disaster, numerous relief efforts have been made– anything from food drives to donation services to concerts, such as the most recent robust, star-studded 12.12.12 concert put on at Madison Square Garden with feature acts from Bruce Springsteen all the way to Kanye West. The show thus far managed to raise a strong $50 million, all of which will be distributed to Sandy victims immediately.
South Korean musician PSY impregnated American culture this year with his hit “Gangnam Style”– a song that now has officially garnered one billion views on YouTube, which, as many will tell you, is an unprecedented milestone. The video, which shows PSY doing a silly dance throughout it, went viral back in August and has now made its way into the Guiness World Records. The name of the song emanates from Seoul’s Gangnam District, where it associates itself with the lavish lifestyles of the community.
By far one of the most devastating incidents to happen this year, Newtown, CT, along with the rest of the world, was brought to its knees when a school shooting occurred on the morning of December 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, was heavily armed at the time of, as he fired off round after round, killing 26 people total, 20 of which were children. In addition to the shooting, he shot and killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, prior to going to the school. Before police could detain him, Lanza shot himself, making the massacre the second-deadliest shooting in U.S. history. There has been much speculation on the case, as many have yet to conclude a definitive motive.
While there has long been abrasive tension amongst the two territories, the Israelis and Palestinians really bombarded one another this year when rocket-launching grew viciously intense from late October into November. Much of the arousal came after Israeli air strike targeted and killed Ahmed Jabari, chief of the Hamas military wing in Gaza. Hamas, the “terrorist” group that governs the Gaza Strip area, was more than vehement about a retaliation. A majority of the ongoing fighting that took place during the month of November was through bombs, aerial attacks, rockets, etc., and took on a death toll of roughly 150 and more for Palestine, and just a mere five causualities for Israel.
Most likely the one term that you never want to hear again, the Ben Bernanke-coined phrase “fiscal cliff” basically pertains to expiring tax cuts, imminent tax hikes, and America’s overall budget crisis. Set to dissolve in 2013, the Bush tax cuts are a heavy fulcrum to the debate that has Congress walking around aimlessly, trying to narrow in on a legitimate plan. With many looming tax increases and spending cuts in order, House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama have suffered much collision post-election on how to resolve this issue at hand before the time runs out.
There have been numerous proposals, some plausible, others quixotic, but in the end, it is the president’s signature that finalizes the deal. For his part, though, he has implored Speaker Boehner and Congress to side with him on maintaining a solid tax deal that would implement higher taxes on the wealthy, those making at least $250,000 or more, and extending the Bush tax cuts for those making less— a deal he refuses to retreat from.