Jeana's World of Law

Jeana's World of Law

Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 2012 News Stories, in Brief

In 2012, the United States faced many newsworthy events - both of tragedy and joy. Below, are the top ten news stories that stick out in most minds:

1. Obama re-elected. President Obama won the re-election for his second term this year for US President, beating Governor Romney 332 to 206 electoral votes. This election relied more heavily on swing states than ever before, and with most of them choosing Obama, the win went to him. This election showed the polarization of the parties that has occurred in our country.

2. Marijuana legalized. This year, not one, but two states voted to legalize recreational use of Marijuana in the 2012 Presidential Election. Eighteen states and Washington D.C. have already voted to legalize medical marijuana, but Colorado and Washington passed a law to end its prohibition. The laws are similar and different in many ways, the the main similarities being that marijuana is only permitted only for adults over 21 in small amounts.

3. Gun control re-looked. As President Obama as stated, December 14 was the worst day of his life. The President has since pledged to support legislation that would attempt to curb mass shootings, similar to the one at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, that took the lives of 20 children and six adults. Vice President Biden has been put in charge of the task to come up with proposals for gun control.

4. Keystone XL advances. In January, Obama rejected the proposal to build the Keystone XL pipeline on federal land. In March, a GOP-led bill sought to speed up the construction, but that to was rejected. However, in December, an appeals court in Texas ruled that TransCanada Corporation, the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline, could use eminent domain to seize land for the construction of the pipeline. Via eminent domain, TransCanada has been able to etch out the pipeline’s path, settling with private landowners and their condemnation lawyer specialists along the way. Obama, however, has yet to state his decision on whether or not the pipeline can connect to Canada, going over country borders, to bring oil from Alberta to the Gulf region.

5. Hurricane Sandy hits. Hurricane Sandy landed in the US in late October 2012, and was the largest Atlantic hurricane in diameter on record. For the Mid Atlantic and Northeast US, the damages caused by Sandy reached over $20 billion - making this hurricane the more expensive hurricane in history. Out of the storm, came Mayor Bloomberg's endorsement of Obama, and NJ Governor Chris Christie showed his true colors when he put aside the election to focus on his NJ citizens - making him both a 2016 possibility and an object of criticism within his own GOP party. Hurricane Sandy put climate change in the forefront of politics, as many scientists believe that climate change helped the storm become what it was. In his re-election speech, Obama listed climate change as one of his top priorities.

6. General Petraeus Resigns. David Petraeus, Former CIA Director General, stepped down from his position on November 9, following the release of information that revealed that he was involved in an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Petraeus confirmed the affair publicly before resigning.

7. Eminent domain in VA altered. In another outcome of the 2012 elections, VA voters agreed to limit eminent domain and give property owners more rights. The new law makes it so that the state will have to pay more for what they claim are appropriate eminent domain uses and force them to hire an eminent domain lawyer to review the possible outcomes of any proposal.

8. The Benghazi attack. On September 11, unidentified assailants led an attack on the US embassy in Benghazi, killing the US Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. The attack was deemed a terrorist act by The White House. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that her office was responsible for security at the consulate in the Benghazi - which could very well impact the 2016 presidential race if Clinton decides to run.

9. ObamaCare signed in. On June 28, the US Supreme Court ruled Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act (more commonly known as ObamaCare) was constitutional - a major victory for Democrats. The act is set to go into effect by the end of 2013, despite several GOP oppositions.

10. The Fiscal Cliff. The “Fiscal cliff” is the term used to describe the situation the US government faced at the end of 2012, when the terms of the Budget Control Act of 2011 are scheduled to go into effect (December 31 at midnight, to be exact). In the beginning of the 2013, about $500 billion in tax increases and $200 billion in spending cuts are scheduled to take effect. How to stop it, and its profound effect on the struggling economy, has been the subject of negotiations between both parties. The political and financial issues coming out of the Fiscal Cliff will be felt far into 2013.

As 2012 comes to an end, one can only wonder what 2013 holds in store for our country. Although their effect 2013 is yet to be seen, as President Obama starts his second four year term, and several laws and acts go into effect, these top stories and events will no doubt affect the economy and political situation of the US.

No comments:

Post a Comment