Auld Lang Syne
It's that time of the year again, a time when we sing the traditional New Year’s song of "Auld Lang Syne" as we reminisce about the past and look forward to the future. When the clock strikes 12 midnight on the first day of January, millions of people will give their partner a smooch and then toast to the New Year. The overall mood is happy and hopeful, people are ready to forget the past and move on. Folks are generally hoping to get a fresh start . . . but in that whimsical moment it's impossible to truly imagine what the next year will have in store for anyone. We are all hoping for a good and "Happy New Year" but we have to take the bad with the good. Just like 2012, 2013 will be full of ups and downs.
What are you hoping for in 2013 and what will you remember about 2012? Here's hoping that 2012 was a good year for you and that in 2013, the positives will outweigh the negatives.
Memorable Moments from 2012
12. Trading Faces: Facebook Becomes a Publically Traded Company
In the past, Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg had resisted a number of buyout offers. What he did do however was accept private investments from companies. But when the number of shareholders crossed the 500 threshold Facebook had to take the company public. Thus on May 18, 2012, social media site Facebook became the largest IPO (initial public offering) ever for a tech company. Initial shares were offered at $38 each and people bought them up.
The frenzy proved to be premature and was short lived, share prices quickly plummeted and the stock lost over a quarter of its value in less than a month and was down to less than half of the IPO value after three months of trading.
11. The Endeavor to Find a Home: Space Shuttle Endeavour gets a Permanent Home in Los Angeles
After 25 space missions in 22 years, the Space Shuttle Endeavour will forever be housed at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. The last journey for the shuttle was the 12 mile trek from the Los Angeles International Airport to the science center. The trip took over two days, from October 13-15 and passed through a route that required almost 400 trees removed to make room for the massive shuttle. Thousands lined the streets to get a look as the Endeavour was paraded through the streets of Inglewood and Los Angeles. Although steep, the transport cost of $10 million paid by the science center and private donations will be recouped as the shuttle is now a major attraction, much like Disneyland. Tickets for adults to view the Endeavour start at $8.25 but can go as high as $26.00 depending on the package. In addition, you can purchase a tile in the "Sponsor a Shuttle Tile" deal, starting at $1,000 and going up to $25,000. Your donation buys you a sponsored thermal tile somewhere on the Endeavour.
10. Sports Brings Competitiveness and Comradery to the World: 2012 Olympic Games Bring the World Together for 16 Days
Although the 2012 Olympic Games were held in London, America had a lot of reasons to celebrate, 104 reasons to be exact. Americans won a total of 104 medals (46 gold, 29 silver and 29 bronze). With all those medals there were several stories of American Olympic stars, some of the stories include swimmer Michael Phelps, who brought home 4 gold and 2 silver medals. Then there was Abby Wambach who scored 5 goals in 6 games to lead the women’s soccer team to a gold medal victory in front of 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium. Next, who can forget Gabby Douglas? The 16-year-old was instrumental in helping the American women's gymnastics team win a gold medal, the first since 1996. Those are just a few of the many Olympic athletes who kept us glued to our television sets day after day from July 27th through August 12, 2012.
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09. Twinkie Termination: Hostess Files for Bankruptcy
On November 21, 2012, the Hostess Company was given authorization by a judge to start the liquidation process and layoff workers. The company failed to come to an agreement with their union, who would not accept any new wage and benefits cuts, citing claims that top executives had rewarded themselves with higher pay. The union stated it was "well aware" of the future consequences which included an immediate layoff of approximately 15,000 workers and the termination of the remainder within the following four months. A lawyer for the Hostess Company said, "We are trying to be as sensitive as we can possibly be under the circumstances to the human cost."
08. "Dirty Harry" Talks to the Chair not the Hand: Clint Eastwood's Speech at the RNC
Actor and director Clint Eastwood gave an unusual speech at the Republican National Convention on August 30, 2012. In an improvised routine, Eastwood addressed an empty chair which represented the empty promises, presidency, and president. The speech was broadcast in prime time and was viewed by more than 30 million Americans. The scheduled five minute speech lasted almost 12 minutes and a large segment of the speech consisted of Eastwood speaking to the empty chair as if the president were sitting in it. At the conclusion of his speech, Eastwood turned his attention to the audience and said; "I think it is very important . . . that, you, [that] we, we own this country. It's not politicians owning it; politicians are employees of ours, and whether you're Democrat or whether you're a Republican or whether you're Libertarian or whatever, you're the best. And we should not ever forget that. And when somebody does not do the job, we got to let 'em go." Eastwood ended his speech with the famous line from his famous character, Dirty Harry; "Go ahead, make my day!"
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07. Contemptible Behavior: Attorney General Eric Holder Held in Contempt Over Fast and Furious
Attorney General Eric Holder has the dubious distinction of becoming the first sitting member of a president's cabinet to be held in contempt of Congress. On June 28, 2012 the House of Representatives voted 255 to 67 to hold the attorney general in contempt for his continued refusal to produce relevant documents in the investigation of a failed gun-running sting which was linked to the death of U.S. federal Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, known as "Fast and Furious." Seventeen Democrats voted with the majority of Republicans however the rest of the Democrats refused to vote and marched out of the House in a protest led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
06. Sandy's Cruel Halloween Trick: Super Storm Causes Havoc and Delays Halloween for Many
As crews continued their recovery effort in the aftermath of super storm Sandy, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie postponed the celebration of Halloween saying; "I've taken this action to minimize additional risks to lives and the public safety as we begin the process of rebuilding and recovering from Hurricane Sandy. In too many communities in our state, the damage and losses from this storm are still being sorted out, and dangerous conditions abound even as our emergency management and response officials continue their work. As Governor, it is my responsibility to use all available resources of the state government to protect against the emergency created by Hurricane Sandy, postponing Halloween celebrations by five days is a commonsense and necessary step to accomplish that."
05. Brought to you by the Letter O and the Number $16 Trillion: Big Bird Gets Political
The lovable Sesame Street character Big Bird became an issue in the 2012 election after the first of three presidential debates, when GOP candidate Mitt Romney was asked by moderator Jim Lehrer (host of PBS program News Hour) how he would reduce the deficit. Romney first mentioned eliminating the president's health care law and then talked about other cuts, including cuts to PBS. Romney said "I like PBS. I love Big Bird. . . but I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for."
The Obama campaign ran with that statement, they took the big yellow bird by the neck and made it a campaign issue. On their website the O campaign said; "During the debates, Mitt Romney told America how he plans to pay for those tax cuts he wants to give America's wealthiest tax payers by killing Big Bird! We've got to stop this guy. Please donate what you can." The campaign also made a fundraising appeal and stated "Save Big Bird! Vote Democratic."
But, would a cut to PBS really kill Big Bird? No, a 2009 financial disclosure from the Sesame Workshop shows that out of $130 million in total revenue $7.9 million (or 6%) came from government grants. The company also benefits from station program fees (about 8% of their profit), and the remainder of the money comes from many corporate partners and sales from licensed merchandise. So, even with a cut to PBS, Big Bird wouldnt do so badly, you might even call him a one percenter.
In an interview with CNN, Sesame Workshop executive vice president and chief marketing officer Sherrie Westin said; "Sesame Workshop receives very, very little funding from PBS. So, we are able to raise our funding through philanthropic, through our licensed product, which goes back into the educational programming, through corporate underwriting and sponsorship. So quite frankly, you can debate whether or not there should be funding of public broadcasting. But when they always try to tout out Big Bird, and say we’re going to kill Big Bird - that is actually misleading, because Sesame Street will be here."
04. Video Vigilante Violence or Terrorism (The Emperor's New Clothes): Administration Blames a Video for the Attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi
Much in the way the Emperor (in the story "The Emperor's New Clothes") was duped into believing he was wearing clothes when in fact he was naked, the Obama Administration attempted to convince the American citizens that the attack on our consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012 was over a video.
According to witness testimony, the Obama administration knew the facts of the terrorist attack within 24 hours of the assault. In addition, the administration was warned repeatedly by professionals on the ground in Libya about the possibility of an attack prior to the violence. But instead of being forthright with the American people, the president, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and other administration spokespersons continued, for almost two weeks after the attack, to blame it on a spontaneous crowd who were incensed over a video. That story about the video was much like the story told to the emperor about his clothes.
That act of terrorism killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith, U.S. embassy security personnel Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
03. An Evening at the Movies Turns Deadly: 12 Dead and 58 Injured in Movie Theater Shooting
It was supposed to be an evening of fun for the audience members who attended a midnight premiere of the latest Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises," on July 20, 2012, but the evening turned deadly. A heavily armed gunman entered the theater through an emergency exit door and shot 70 people, killing 12. The incident took place at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, sometime around 12:30 a.m., just after the movie began. Over 250 police officers, ambulance, and emergency crews were called to the scene and the Aurora Police Chief described the incident as a "horrific event."
02. A Sad, Sad Song : Whitney Houston Dead at 48
Whitney Elizabeth Houston, born August 9, 1963, rose to fame at the ripe ol’ age of 22 with the release of her debut album simply titled "Whitney Houston." The album became the best-selling debut album by a female act at the time of its release and catapulted Houston to superstardom. That debut album has been ranked number 254 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time .
Houston sold over 170 million albums, singles and videos worldwide and won numerous awards. In 2009 she was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most awarded female act of all time. In addition to singing she also starred in movies and her credits include The Bodyguard 1992; Waiting to Exhale 1995; The Preacher's Wife 1996; Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella 1997; Nora's Hair Salon 2004; and Sparkle 2012.
Houston was in a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown whom she married in 1992. She gave birth to her only child, a daughter, Bobbi Christina, the next year in 1993. Houston divorced Brown in 2007, after 14 years of marriage, and was granted custody of their daughter.
Houston's body was found in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 11, 2012 on the eve of the 2012 Grammy Awards. Toxicology reports indicated she drowned accidentally as a result of the effects of chronic cocaine use and heart disease.
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01. Shock, Sadness, and Unbelievable Grief: Gunman Kills 26 People including 20 Children at a Connecticut Elementary School
On Friday December 14, 2012, a male walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and opened fire, killing several people including an entire kindergarten class. The gunman even shot and killed his own mother who taught at the school and also killed the principal prior to killing himself.
Sandy Hook Elementary School had approximately 450 students in grades kindergarten through 4th. The surviving students were instructed to cover their eyes as they walked past rooms where the shooting occurred. Many parents, understandably in shock, said they always thought of Newtown, Connecticut as one of the safest places to live.
This is the 2nd deadliest shooting in U.S. history. In a speech, the president read the names of the children who were killed; Allison, Ana, Avielle, Benjamin, Caroline, Catherine, Charlotte, Chase, Daniel, Dylan, Emile, Grace, Jack, James, Jesse, Jessica, Josephine, Madeline, Noah, and Olivia, and then said "God has called them all home. . . ." The names of the adults who also perished that day are; Anne Marie, Dawn, Lauren, Mary, Rachel, and Victoria.
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