2012’s Biggest News Stories

NYT2008121512593046C2012 will be remembered as a year that saw both great progress and reminders of how far our country has yet to go. Take a look back at 10 of the year’s biggest news stories (in no particular order.)

Gun Violence: On December 14, an armed maniac went on a shooting rampage at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school. Twenty children and six administrations were killed. Newtown became the latest mass shooting this year and has “reignited a debate over gun violence.” Shootings and gun violence have become as American as apple pie. Each year roughly30,000 Americans die from gun violence.  Unfortunately the escalating numbers of Black and Latino youth killed in gun violence rarely makes headlines. More than 270 school aged children have been killed in Chicago in the last three years.

President Obama’s Re-Election: Americans voted to extend Barack Obama’s historic presidency by another four years. Obama managed to hold on to every state he won in 2008 except for Indiana and North Carolina. Republican Mitt Romney infamously described Obama as the candidate of the “47 percent” of Americans who are dependent on the government. Romney ultimately finished the campaign with only 47 percent of the vote. Poetic justice.

Hurricane Sandy: The hurricane made landfall in New Jersey and New York on October 29 and became the largest and one of the most expensive hurricanes ever. At least 253 people were killed in seven countries. The price tag is estimated at $63 billion in the United States. The devastation was fiercest in New York City and New Jersey, washing away homes, flooding streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power. The storm devastated  the city’s most vulnerable populations—low-income people, people of color, and the elderly— living in waterfront high-rise public housing developments.An investigation shows the city was unprepared to help those residents.

Supreme Court Upholds “Obamacare”: The signature achievement of the Obama Administration’s domestic agenda has been the Affordable Care Act, which “expands [health insurance] coverage to 30 million uninsured Americans.” The Supreme Court upheld the landmark act’sindividual insurance mandate by a 5-4 decision last June. Chief Justice John Roberts, a Bush appointee, joined the liberal wing of the court to uphold the law.

The Death of Trayvon Martin: The unarmed, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was gunned down by a self-appointed neighborhood watchman in a gated Florida subdivision last February.  The shooter, George Zimmerman was finally arrested in June. Martin became one of an escalating number of cases of unarmed Black men who have been brutally shot down. Seventeen-year-old Jordan Davis, also unarmed, was killed in late November by a 45-year-old White man who disapproved of his loud music.

The Republican “War on Women”: The weeks leading up to the November election were dominated by Republican attacks on contraception, abortion and state funding for Planned Parenthood. The GOP lost two Senate seats they were once almost certain to win—in Missouri and Indiana—after their candidates made outrageous comments about rape, pregnancy, and abortion. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” said Missouri Rep. Todd Akin.  Many women across the country had apparently heard enough and were indeed ready to “shut it down”—dealing “historic blow[s] to the religious right and helped put a record number of women in the Senate,” notes The Daily Beast.

Historic Support for Gay Marriage: Voter-approved referendums banning same-sex marriage have been upheld 32 times in a row. That was until this year when voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington upheld their state’s new same-sex marriage laws. Voters in Minnesota rejected a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The Maryland results were even more significant because many of the state’s Black voters supported equality—probably taking a lead from President Barack Obama’s historicendorsement of marriage equality last May.

HIV Prevention Pill?: The antiretroviral medication Truvada became the “first medication ever to be approved” to reduce the risk of HIV infection in uninfected individuals. The prevention strategy is known as pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP … but you have to take a pill once daily for the rest of your life and the meds cost up to $14,000 per year. Meanwhile, the epicenter of the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic remains in Black America. The 1 million-plus Americans living with HIV/AIDS or at risk of infection are disproportionately Black and low-income.

Susan Rice: United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice was harshly criticized by GOP senators after her initial reactions to the terrorist attacks at the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The critical tone and drumbeat from FOX News grew harsher after Obama nominated Rice to become the next Secretary of State.  Rice would have become the nation’s second Black female in that position. Rice was eventually forced to withdraw her name from consideration.

The Economy: Some good news on the economy—the national unemployment rate finally fell below 7 percent. But the bad news: The official Black unemployment rate is almost twice that at 13.2 percent. New research also shows Blacks have been hit hardest by layoffs across the public sector, which historically had become a pathway for Blacks into the middle class.

Notre Dame/Alabama BCS Championship Game!

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There’s only one week left until the big Notre Dame/Alabama BCS Championship Game! To help you get ready, Mick Boogie and adidas will be dropping a new mixtape called ALL IN: NOTRE DAME later this week. And, we’ve got the first leak from it, a track by Donwill that features him going in over the Notre Dame fight song.

LISTEN TO SONG ON SOUNDCLOUD: http://soundcloud.com/donwill/01-we-are-notre-dame-prod-by

Trending Now: News Headlines 01.02.13

realtalklogoNATION
Renditions continue under Obama
Secret detention of three in Djibouti shows administration’s continued embrace of controversial practice.
( by Craig Whitlock , The Washington Post)
More National: Breaking National News & Headlines – Washington Post


LOCAL
D.C.-area lawmakers divide along unusual lines on ‘fiscal cliff’ vote
Only one of Virginia’s three House Democrats voted with the majority to pass legislation to avoid “fiscal cliff”
( by Ben Pershing , The Washington Post)
Former GWU president Lloyd Elliott dies at 94
Elliott played a key role in transforming GWU from a commuter school into a selective university.
( by Emma Brown , The Washington Post)

D.C. police chief has ordered 15 bars, clubs closed this year
Opinion is divided on whether Chief Cathy Lanier is making appropriate use of her emergency power.
( by Peter Hermann , The Washington Post)
Prince William officer killed in crash had sirens on and green light
Police released more information about the death of Officer Chris Yung, 35, on Monday afternoon.
( by Peter Hermann , The Washington Post)
Arlington housing to take center stage
New board chairman focuses on affordable rents for residents.
( by Patricia Sullivan , The Washington Post)
More Post Local: Washington, DC Area News, Traffic, Weather, Sports & More – The Washington Post


POLITICS
Texas among 10 states facing lawsuits over education funding
Since 1984, the state’s school-funding system has been challenged six times, most recently in 2005.
( by Ben Wieder , The Washington Post)
D.C.-area lawmakers divide along unusual lines on ‘fiscal cliff’ vote
Only one of Virginia’s three House Democrats voted with the majority to pass legislation to avoid “fiscal cliff”
( by Ben Pershing , The Washington Post)
Action to avert ‘cliff’ leaves federal employees with uncertainty
Budget cuts for government agencies continue to loom just two months down the road.
(, The Washington Post)
Bethesda Row construction project agitates residents, businesses
Construction on a mixed-use building in downtown Bethesda will be completed in 2015.
( by Victor Zapana , The Washington Post)
For Korean War vets, Tournament of Roses is ‘the parade they never got’
Pentagon sponsors float in nationally televised event to raise awareness of anniversary of often-overlooked war.
( by Steve Vogel , The Washington Post)
More Post Politics: Breaking Politics News, Political Analysis & More – The Washington Post


STYLE
Carolyn Hax: Seeking support during husband’s cancer diagnosis
How to get the help you need and support a loved one without making it “about you.”
(, The Washington Post)
Good to Go: Sprig & Sprout in Glover Park
Pho and Vietnamese sandwiches are made to order.
( by Andrea Adleman , The Washington Post)
Love of pizza, beach, words adds up to book
Aidan Meath, a 10-year-old boy from Bethesda, wrote a book.
(, The Washington Post)
Georgetown’s Kickk Spott is a slice of heaven for local sneakerheads
It’s the only boutique destination in the area for high-end sneakers.
( by Ryan Little , The Washington Post)
Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey to take up residence in Washington
By moving to the capital, she hopes the public will “sit down and have a conversation” with her about the craft.
(, The Washington Post)
More Style: Culture, Arts, Ideas & More – The Washington Post


BUSINESS
Auto sales saved the economy in 2012
WONKBLOG | Despite recalls and U.S. downturn, dealerships had highest sales since 2008 crisis hit.
( by Brad Plumer , The Washington Post)
Congress approves ‘fiscal cliff’ deal
Bill will increase taxes for the rich, shield the middle class and extend emergency unemployment benefits.
( by Lori Montgomery and Rosalind S. Helderman , The Washington Post)
‘Fiscal cliff’ deal ignores threats to the economy both now and down the road
Bill avoids austerity but doesn’t tame dangers of national default, high unemployment or swelling debt.
( by Zachary A. Goldfarb , The Washington Post)
‘Fiscal cliff’ bill is a bitter pill for House’s tea partiers to swallow
Conservatives grudgingly accept bill embodying everything tea party backers hate about Washington.
( by David A. Fahrenthold, Rosalind S. Helderman and Ed O’Keefe , The Washington Post)

Get it right in this new year
COLUMN | Here’s a roundup of personal finance information to keep your eye on this upcoming year.
(, The Washington Post)
More Business News, Financial News, Business Headlines & Analysis – The Washington Post


SPORTS
TV and radio listings: January 2
(, The Washington Post)

Mavericks end slide, handle Wizards
Vince Carter regains his youth for a day, scoring 23 points to help Dallas end a six-game losing streak.
( by Michael Lee , The Washington Post)
Best of the Ravens’ regular season
A look at the highlights from the Baltimore Ravens’ regular season.
( by Jeff Zrebiec , The Washington Post)
Maryland defeats IUPUI
ACC schedule begins Saturday against Virginia Tech, and Coach Turgeon thinks his team is ready.
( by Alex Prewitt , The Washington Post)
‘Just another kick’
Stoic SoCal native Kai Forbath, Redskins’ rookie kicker, hit a record 17 straight to start his career.
( by Adam Kilgore , The Washington Post)
More Sports: Sports News, Scores, Analysis, Schedules & More – The Washington Post


WORLD
Renditions continue under Obama
Secret detention of three in Djibouti shows administration’s continued embrace of controversial practice.
( by Craig Whitlock , The Washington Post)
The Syrian conflict is having a profound effect on children
“The children’s thoughts are in red,” said a school principal about the war’s impact on the young.
( by Carol Morello , The Washington Post)
Indian border state grapples with rising drug epidemic
Joblessness, flood of Afghan heroin and easily available pharmaceuticals fuel drug use in Punjab state.
( by Simon Denyer , The Washington Post)
More World: World News, International News, Foreign Reporting – The Washington Post


EDITORIAL
The D.C. Council’s resolutions
Here’s hoping the members put better behavior on the list.
(, The Washington Post)
Assassinating Clinton’s character
The attacks on the secretary of state during her illness have been cruel and unfair.
(, The Washington Post)
Longshoremen lessons
How workers can succeed in a high-tech world.
(, The Washington Post)
Rash words on Israeli settlements
Harmful rhetoric from all sides.
(, The Washington Post)
Congress’s feeble finish
Having set the stage for major reforms, lawmakers instead elect to do almost nothing.
(, The Washington Post)
More Opinions: Washington Post Opinion, Editorial, Op Ed, Politics Editorials – The Washington Post


LIVE DISCUSSIONS
Color of Money Live
Post columnist Michelle Singletary offers her advice and answers your questions.
(, vForum)
The Reliable Source Live
Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.
(, vForum)
Ask Tom: Rants, raves and questions on the DC dining scene
Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema entertains your dining questions, rants and raves.
(, vForum)
ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri
The Compost, written by Alexandra Petri, offers a lighter take on the news and political in(s)anity of the day.
(, vForum)
ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri
The Compost, written by Alexandra Petri, offers a lighter take on the news and political in(s)anity of the day.
(, vForum) 

President Obama praises US ‘fiscal cliff’ deal

political_radar_218x155Barack Obama has hailed a deal reached to stave off a “fiscal cliff” of drastic taxation and spending measures as “just one step in the broader effort to strengthen the economy”. The US president was speaking after the House of Representatives passed a Senate-backed bill by 257 votes to 167. It raises taxes for the wealthy and delays spending cuts for two months. There had been intense pressure for the vote to be passed before financial markets reopened on Wednesday. In Tuesday night’s house vote, 172 Democrats and 85 Republicans voted in favour of the bill. It had been passed in the Senate less than 24 hours earlier by 89 votes to eight after lengthy talks between Vice-President Joe Biden and Senate Republicans.

Continue reading the main story

At the scene

Adam Blenford BBC News, Capitol Hill In the end, it was settled after a tense meeting of House Republicans in a basement conference room. When a stony-faced Speaker John Boehner left the room an hour later, one Congressman was overheard on the phone – it was “looking like a long night”, he said, apologetically. Out of the basement, the smell of pizza wafted through the ornate House corridors. If the fiscal cliff was going to hurt ordinary Americans, the threat of it did no harm to one pizza parlour just a short hop down Pennsylvania Avenue. Before the final vote, dissenters and supporters lined up to make their point. “Common sense has prevailed,” one Democrat declared; a prominent Republican said he simply did not believe spending cuts would eventually be delivered. But as the votes rolled in, House members stood on the floor and watched as the scoreboard lit up, and applauded – briefly – when the crucial 217th vote was cast.

Asian markets have responded positively to the move, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index up 2.1% on Wednesday morning, while South Korea’s Kospi added 1.7% and Australia’s ASX 200 rose 1.2%. Economists’ warnings Speaking before returning to Hawaii for his interrupted Christmas holiday, Mr Obama said that in signing the law he was fulfilling a campaign pledge. “I will sign a law that raises taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Americans… while preventing a middle-class tax hike,” he told a White House press conference. The US deficit was still too high, he said: While open to compromise on budgetary issues, he would not offer Congress spending cuts in return for lifting the government’s borrowing limit, known as the debt ceiling. CONTINUE READING