Jan 02 2013

The Biggest Domestic Stories of 2012

Two thousand twelve was an eventful year but perhaps no other event was more significant in the news than the re-election of Barack Obama. Despite, voter ID laws which tried to suppress voter turnout around the country, Obama went on to win another term with resounding support from Latinos and women.

While the number of undocumented immigrants decreased around the country, the Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s ‘show me your papers’ provision of their anti-immigrant SB1070 law. Immigrant activists organized a bus ride on the Undocubus called ‘No Papers No Fear’ to bring attention to the 400,000 people deported from the US every year.

A growing movement against unions and labor rights played out in Chicago with twenty five thousand teachers going on strike this past September. Striking clerical workers at the LA and Long Beach ports brought the nation’s largest shipping terminals to a complete standstill. And, historic strikes took place by Walmart workers on Black Friday, as well as by fast food workers in Mahattan.

Gun violence took over much of the headlines this year starting in Florida with the shooting death of African American teenager Trayvon Martin. Solitary gunmen were also responsible for mass killings in Aurora Colorado, a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and, most shockingly, an elementary school in Newtown Connecticut.

The effects of climate change were felt perhaps most tangibly in the US as tropical storm Sandy ravaged the East Coast and scientists noted that 2012 was the hottest year on record. BP oil reached a settlement figure of $4.5 billion dollars for the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf Coast.

A record number of women were elected to the US House of Representatives and Senate this year despite statements from Republicans like Representative Todd Akin who said that women can not get pregnant from “legitimate rape.” Breast cancer fundraising group Susan G. Komen Foundation ended and then reinstated their funding of Planned Parenthood after much public outcry.

The Boy Scouts of America came under attack after a court ordered release of documents showed how they had helped cover up thousands of molesters in their ranks.

This past June the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act which led to some backlash among conservatives.
Maine, Maryland and Washington became the first states to legalize gay marriage and Colorado and Washington legalized the recreational use of marijuana by popular vote.

Among the notable people who died this year are astronaut Neil Armstrong, singer Whitney Houston, writer and critic Gore Vidal, author Ray Bradbury, musician Ravi Shankar, singer and activist Jenni Rivera, Senator Danny Inuoye, actor and activist Russell Means, and journalist Alexander Cockburn.

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