Friday, December 30, 2011

What were the Top News Stories of 2011?

What were the top news stories of 2011 that captured the public's attention?

Here's what I think were the top stories of 2011 - some of which captured the interest of the public and some that did not, but should have...

  1. Osama Bin Laden killed by US Special Forces in his compound inside Pakistan.
  2. Representative Gabriel Giffords and 18 others shot during a Town Hall meeting in Tuscon, Arizona.  6 killed in the attack, Giffords survives after being shot in the head.
  3. 9.0 Earthquake (Tohoku Earthquake) off Japanese coast triggers devastating tsunami - resulting in nearly 20,000 killed and missing and major nuclear incident at a nuclear power plant at Fukushima.
  4. Wisconsin Protests - Wisconsin voters elected Governor Scott Walker and a Republican majority in the State Legislature to address / change the fiscal challenges in the state.  Walker and his fellow Republicans targeted public sector unions, in particular, the power of the teacher's unions, as a major part of the problem.  To address this problem, they proposed legislation that required the public sector unions to contribute more towards their benefit programs and limit some of their collective bargaining rights.  Wisconsin Democrats fled the state to prevent a vote, and unions staged massive protests and an occupation of the State Capital.  Ultimately unsuccessful, the Democrats and unions attempted to recall sufficient Republicans from the Legislature to overturn the law.  This also failed.  Since the legislation passed, Wisconsin's fiscal problems have lessened significantly - but Democrats and Unions are still trying to recall Scott Walker.
  5. Operation Gunwalker / Fast and Furious - The DoJ / ATF program which 'walked' assault, sniper, and other weapons from American gun stores to Mexican Drug Cartels burst to the news as it was determined that several of these weapons were used in the murder of an American Border Patrol agent - and subsequently hundreds of Mexican officials and civilians.  The DoJ embarked on a full scale cover-up - including deliberately lying to Congressional investigators.  Documents uncovered in the investigation also indicated that the program was being used as a justification for increased US gun control laws.
  6. Crony Capitalism in the Obama Administration - The Obama Administration lost billions of taxpayer funds by providing funds to green energy companies like Solyndra and Solar Millennium - and then finding that many principles involved in these organizations were leading contributors to the Obama Presidential Campaign.  Late in 2011, adding to the problems of crony capitalism, the company run by former US Senator, NJ Governor, and major Obama campaign bundler, Jon Corzine failed as a result of Corzine's risky Euro bets - $1.2 billion in client funds remain missing.
  7. OccupyWallStreet - building from the Wisconsin protests, a coalition of unions, anarchists, progressives, and marxists attempt to create a new 'movement' to promote social revolution, social justice, and class warfare - the 99% versus the 1%.  The movement loses credibility because of the roots and the lawlessness / crimes / violence that the movement promotes.
  8. European Union and US Economic / Sovereign Debt Crisis - the viability of the European Union and the Euro currency were tossed into question as a number of European countries balanced on the edge of major economic defaults resulting from their irresponsible fiscal policies.  The year started with concerns over Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, and Greece - but ended with all of these countries in turmoil as well as France.  The major banks in the EU region are in severe risk because of the risk of default - and a German / French program to increase the power and central management authority of the EU over member nations caused Britain to pull back from the EU.  In conjunction with the Euro debt crisis is the US debt crisis which pits the GOP Majority in the House of Representatives against the Democrat Majority Senate and the Obama Administration in a number of major fights throughout the year.  Ultimately, little is done to arrest the Obama Administration adding nearly $5 Trillion to the national debt in 3 years.
  9. The Arab Spring - the replacement of totalitarian dictators by islamist government.  In Egypt, longtime President Mubarak was ousted and the Salafists / Muslim Brotherhood make huge gains in Egyptian elections - and threats against Christians in Egypt increase.  In Libya, the uprising breaks into full civil war with France, Italy, Britain, and the US supporting the rebels.  Dictator Gaddafi is captured and executed by the rebels - and al-Qaeda / Islamists are stepping into the power vacumn.  In Syria, Assad's military forces have killed nearly 6,000 civilians protesting his dictatorship - but in this case the US and other western countries are silent / inactive.
  10. (Tie) Anthony Weiner loses seat in 'Twitter' scandal after sending photos of his 'junk' to women and then the Democrats lose his seat in a special election.  The Republicans gain a seat that they had not held since 1922...  and...  Opposed by the GOP majority in the House of Representatives, the Obama Administration works to enact, via regulatory fiat many of their major agenda items including Cap & Trade (via the EPA), Card Check / Increase Union power (via the NLRB), and 'social justice' via Elizabeth Warren's Consumer watchdog bureau
Any stories missed that should have made the list?

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