“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”
Yes folks we all gave the Mayans some stick when their prediction didn’t come true (including me, click here if you missed it) but they were just ten days out, not too bad in a few thousand years!
Today IS the end. The end of 2012. It has been a difficult and frustrating year business-wise because of the continued mess created by the stupid and greedy banksters, so I for one won’t be sorry to see the end of it.
However that gripe aside, it is the last day of 2012 so I thought we should do something a little different today.
So, before we start to look forward to a new, and hopefully better, year, here is a selective look back at some of the events of this year.
There are a couple of ways you could do a post like this. You could link to other sites, particularly newspaper sites because they all seem to do lists of one kind or another at the close of the year. The other way is to compile a more personal one, with the things you remember personally. Both are equally valid, but this being a blog I’ve chosen to go the more personal route and compile a list of the things I remember so, although it is quite long, it is selective and by no means covers everything that happened in 2012.
I have also included a list of some of the personalities that passed during 2012, you probably heard about them all at the time, but memories being what they are I am sure one or two of them will come as a surprise.
So let’s get started.
- I don’t know whether to class this as the biggest event or the biggest non event of the year, but November 2012 saw the Presidential election campaign and the successful return of President Obama to the Oval Office. Look forward to increasing taxes in 2013!
- Although on the face of it a national event, because of the power and influence of America, the US Presidential Election has now become an International spectacle watched by several billion people worldwide. What they made of it all I don’t know, but they watched it anyway.
- The other big international spectacle of the 2012 that drew large viewing audiences were the Olympic and Paralympic Games held in London in July, August and September. Approximately 10,500 athletes participated in 302 events in 26 sports.
- In the Olympics the top six gold medal places went to USA (46), China (38), Great Britain (29), Russia (24), and South Korea (13), with Germany and France tying for sixth place with 11 gold medals each. The overall medal table was slightly different, USA (104), China (88), Russia (82), Great Britain (65), Germany (44), and Japan (38).
- In the Paralympics the top six gold medal places went to China (95), Russia (36), Great Britain (34), Ukraine (32), Australia (32), and USA (31). In the overall medal results the order was China (231), Great Britain (120), Russia (102), USA (98), Australia (85), and Ukraine (84).
- The weather, at its extremes, was another major talking point of 2012. Starting with the last and worst, ‘Super Storm Sandy’ took most of the headlines and did the most damage, particularly to north east coast areas of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The cost is estimated to be in the tens of billions of dollars.
- Almost forgotten because of the ferocity of Sandy was Hurricane Isaac that slowly lumbered ashore near the mouth of the Mississippi River on August 28 as a Category 1 Hurricane with 80 mph winds. Isaac’s large size and slow motion caused a storm surge of up to eleven feet, more characteristic of a Category 2 hurricane. Thankfully, however, New Orleans’ new $14.5 billion levee upgrade held against Isaac’s surge, although further up the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish near Port Sulphur, it did cause major flooding of homes. In total Isaac still managed to do about $2 billion worth of damage.
- Early March also saw a massive and violent tornado outbreak on an exceptional scale and including two deadly EF-4 tornadoes. In all, seventy tornadoes touched down in eleven states, from southern Ohio to southern Georgia, killing 41 people, with Kentucky and Southern Indiana being hardest hit and suffering 22 and 13 dead, respectively. At one point, 31 separate tornado warnings were in effect during the outbreak covering an area of more than 80,000 square miles. Tornado watches were posted for mpre than 300,000 square miles, an area larger than Texas. Total damage was estimated at $4 billion.
- Also on June 29 a violent line of severe thunderstorms called a derecho swept across the U.S. from Illinois to Virginia, damaging houses, toppling trees, and bringing down power lines. Twenty-two people were killed, and power cuts affected at least 3.4 million people. The derecho was unusually intense due to extreme heat that set all-time records at ten major cities on its south side, helping to create an unstable atmosphere with plenty of energy to fuel severe thunderstorms. At least 38 thunderstorms in the derecho generated wind gusts in excess of hurricane force, making it one of the most severe derechoes on record. Total damage was estimated at $3.75 billion.
- Contrarily, 2012 was the warmest year on record, with July being the warmest month of any month in the 1,400+ months of the U.S. data record, going back to 1895. The spring temperature departure from average was also the largest on record for any season, and March temperatures had the second largest warm departure from average of any month in U.S. history. All-time hottest temperature records were set over approximately 7% of the area of the contiguous U.S., according to a database of 298 major U.S. cities maintained by wunderground’s weather historian, Christopher C. Burt.
- This, despite all this rainfall and flooding caused by the severe storms, also saw a ‘Great Drought’ in 2012, the full consequences of which we have not yet seen and which may well prove to be the biggest weather story of the year. The area of the contiguous U.S. in moderate or greater drought peaked at 61.8% in July–the largest such area since the Dust Bowl drought of December 1939. The heat and dryness resulted in record or near-record evaporation rates, causing major impact on corn, soybean and wheat belts in addition to livestock production. Drought upstream of the Lower Mississippi River caused record and near-record low stream flows along the river in Mississippi and Louisiana, resulting in limited river transportation and commerce. Crop damages alone from the great drought are estimated at $35 billion. As the total scope of losses is realized across all lines of business in coming moths, this number will climb significantly.
- Add to this 2012 as the 3rd worst wildfire year in U.S. history, with 9.2 million acres burned–an area larger than the state of Maryland.
On a completely different subject 2012 will also be remembered as the year of the high profile celebrity paedophiles.
- Penn State University’s former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, was convicted of 45 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years. He was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison. The scandal sparked a national debate over child sex abuse, embarrassed the university and implicated a number of its top officials including legendary football head coach, the late Joe Paterno.
- In Britain there was a major, and still ongoing, scandal within the BBC because of the actions and subsequent cover-up of the actions of paedophile disc jockey Jimmy Savile (now deceased). This has already led to the resignations of several high-ranking BBC employees, including its Director General.
- The Roman Catholic Church also continued to suffer from the fallout from decades of child abuse and cover-ups by its priests and hierarchy.
In the Techie World 2012 saw a number of milestone events.
- There was the introduction of the all new WIndows 8 operating system by Microsoft.
- Then there was the continuation of the big bust up between Apple and Samsung which in its second year seemed even stronger than ever.
- The thought police closed down Megaupload and stopped Americans using Intrade.
- Members of Congress also sponsored the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, and related bills to make it easier to shut down websites that illegally share music, movies and other content. But opponents (which included just about everybody who used the internet) argued it went too far and could end up shutting down legitimate sites while stifling free expression in the process. Unfortunately for backers of SOPA, Web heavyweights such as Google, Facebook, Reddit and Wikipedia joined the fight against the bill. Sites went black on January 18 to raise awareness. Members of communities such as Reddit put intense pressure on lawmakers (including soon-to-be GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan) until they dropped their support or went on record opposing the bill. The unprecedented backlash eventually caused supporters to shelve SOPA, and quite possibly ushered in a new age of Web activism.
- Facebook flopped producing one of the longest alliterated titles in the blogsphere during 2012 (Furious Flabbergasted Facebook Fools Face Frightening Falls From Fanciful Flagging Financial Flotation Farce ).
- Meanwhile Twitter went from strength to strength with even the President of the United States and the Pope tweeting their little hearts out.
- Speaking of flops, Carol Bartz flopped at Yahoo and was sacked being replaced by Scott Thompson. Yahoo continues to be troubled since its idiotic refusal of a $40 billion plus offer from Microsoft.
- Google got itself some tablets and started to take on greedy Apple in the iPad market selling its Android versions for substantially less.
- Along with the rollout of the much anticipated iPhone 5 in September, Apple overhauled iOS, the operating system that runs the phone, its iPad and other mobile devices. A much-hyped feature of the change was Apple’s first effort at its own mapping app – after dumping rival Google’s map software. The result was so bad that a few days later Apple’s CEO was essentially telling customers to use Google Maps.
2012 also the passing of many well known personalities and celebrities. For example,
- Neil Armstrong, aged 82 (8/5/1930 to 8/25/2012), astronaut who flew on the Gemini 8 mission (as commander) in 1966 and the Apollo 11 mission (as commander) in 1969, becoming the first of twelve men to walk on the moon.
- Sally Ride, aged 61 (5/26/1951 to 7/23/2012), astronaut and the first American woman in space, who flew on Shuttle flights STS-7 (1983) and STS 41-G (1984).
- Patrick Moore, aged 89 (3/4/1923 to 12/9/2012), British astronomer, writer, researcher, radio commentator and television presenter. Moore was a former president of the British Astronomical Association, co-founder and former president of the Society for Popular Astronomy (SPA), author of over 70 books on astronomy, and presenter of the world’s longest-running television series with the same original presenter, the BBC’s The Sky at Night. He was also a self-taught xylophone, glockenspiel player and pianist, as well as an accomplished composer. He was a former amateur cricketer, golfer and chess player. In addition to many popular science books, he wrote numerous works of fiction. Moore served in the Royal Air Force during World War II; his fiancée was killed by a bomb during the war and he never married.
- Chuck Colson, aged 80 (10/16/1931 to 4/21/2012), White House counsel under Nixon (1969-72), and imprisoned for obstruction of justice in Watergate scandal (1973). While in prison he underwent Christian conversion and founded Prison Fellowship Ministries.
- Robert Bork, aged 85 (3/1/1927 to 12/19/2012, U.S. solicitor general under Nixon. As acting Attorney General, he fired Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox on Nixon’s orders, after Elliot Richardson and then William Ruckelshaus refused and resigned. He was subsequently Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (1982-88) and Nominated to the Supreme Court by Reagan in 1987 and rejected by the Senate.
- Daniel Inouye, aged 88 (9/7/1924 to 12/17/2012), U.S. Representative (D-HI, 1959-63), U.S. Senator (D-HI, 1963-2012).
- William Rees-Mogg, Baron Rees-Mogg, aged 84 (14 July 1928 – 29 December 2012), British journalist and life peer, Editor of The Times (1967–1981).
- George McGovern, aged 90 (7/19/1922 to 10/21/2012), U.S. Rep., D-SD (1957-61); U.S. Senator, D-SD (1963-81); Democratic presidential nominee (1972).
- Arlen Specter, aged 82 (2/12/1930 to 10/14/2012), U.S. Senator (R-PA, 1981-2009; D-PA, 2009-11). Specter was a member of the Warren Commission that investigated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and co-author of the ‘magic bullet’ theory that Kennedy and Gov. John Connally were shot by the same single bullet.
- Norman Schwarzkopf, aged 78 (8/22/1934 to 12/27/2012), U.S. Army general. Commanded the U.S. and allied forces in the Persian Gulf War (1991).
- Yitzhak Shamir, aged 96 (10/15/1915 to 6/30/2012), Israeli prime minister (Likud party, 1983-84, 1986-92).
In TV & movies
- Gerry Anderson, aged 83 (14 April 1929 – 26 December 2012) publisher, producer, director and writer, famous for futuristic television programs, using ‘supermarionation’, working with modified marionettes, such as Thunderbirds, and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. He was also responsible for the real-life sci-fi tv series Space 1999.
- Ernest Borgnine, aged 95 (1/24/1917 to 7/8/2012), actor, From Here to Eternity (1953), “McHale’s Navy” (Lt. Quinton McHale, 1962-66), The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Code Name: Wild Geese (1984). Won an Academy award for Marty (Best actor, 1956). Husband of singer Ethel Merman for 32 days in 1964.
- Phyllis Diller, aged 95 (7/17/1917 to 8/20/2012), comedienne/actress who appeared frequently on talk shows, game shows, and variety shows in the 1960s and 70s.
- Charles Durning, aged 89 (2/28/1923 to 12/24/2012), actor, The Sting (1973), The Muppet Movie (1979), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), “Evening Shade” (Dr. Harlan Eldridge, 1990-94).
- Larry Hagman, aged 81 (9/21/1931 to 11/23/2012), actor, “I Dream of Jeannie” (Maj. Anthony Nelson, 1965-70), “Dallas” (J.R. Ewing, 1978-91) and reprised the role of J.R. Ewing in the 2012 tv series “Dallas”. Son of actress Mary Martin.
- Jack Klugman, aged 90 (4/27/1922 to 12/24/2012), actor, 12 Angry Men (1957), “The Odd Couple” (Oscar Madison, 1970-75), “Quincy, M.E.” (Dr. R. Quincy, 1976-83). Husband of actress/game show panelist Brett Somers (1953-74). Won two Emmy Awards for “The Odd Couple” (1971, 1973).
- Sylvia Kristel, aged 60 (9/28/1952 to 10/17/2012), actress, the controversial Emmanuelle (1974) and three sequels (1975-84), Private Lessons (1981).
- Herbert Lom, aged 95 (1/9/1917 to 9/27/2012), most famous for his portrayal of Chief Inspector Dreyfus in The Return of the Pink Panther (1974) and five more films in the “Pink Panther” series from 1976 to 1993.
- William Asher, aged 90 (8/8/1921 to 7/16/2012), was a TV and film director whose work included “I Love Lucy” (1952-57), Beach Party (1963), “Bewitched” (1964-72), “Alice” (1977-79). Husband of actress Elizabeth Montgomery (1963-73).
- Turhan Bey, aged 90 (3/30/1922 to 9/30/2012), actor who starred in Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944), The Amazing Mr. X (1948).
- Peter Breck, aged 82 (3/13/1929 to 2/6/2012), actor, “Maverick” (Doc Holliday, 1960-62), “The Big Valley” (Nick Barkley, 1965-69).
- Frank Cady, aged 96 (9/8/1915 to 6/9/2012), actor, “Petticoat Junction” (1963-70), “Green Acres” (Sam Drucker, 1965-71).
- Harry Carey, Jr., aged 91 (May 16, 1921 – December 27, 2012), actor, appeared in over 90 movies including Gremplins and Tombstone and several John Ford Westerns such as The Searchers, as well as numerous television series.
- Dick Clark, aged 82 (11/30/1929 to 4/18/2012), a TV host on shows “American Bandstand” (1957-87), “The $10,000 Pyramid” (1973-88), “TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes” (1984-88), “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” (1972-2012). He was also the producer of a variety of TV game shows, talk shows, entertainment shows, and movies.
- Gary Collins, aged 74 (4/30/1938 to 10/13/2012), actor, Iron Horse (Dave Tarrant, 1966-68), “The Sixth Sense” (Dr. Michael Rhodes, 1972). TV host for “Hour Magazine” (1980-88), Miss America Pageant (1982-90). Husband of Miss America 1959 Mary Ann Mobley (1967-2012).
- Don Cornelius, aged 75 (9/27/1936 to 2/1/2012), host (1971-2007) and producer (1971-88) of “Soul Train”. Producer of the “Soul Train Music Awards” (1987-2007).
- Richard Dawson, aged 79 (11/20/1932 to 6/2/2012), actor and game show host, starred in “Hogan’s Heroes” (Cpl. Peter Newkirk, 1965-71), “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” (regular performer, 1971-73), “Match Game” (panelist, 1973-79), “Family Feud” (host, 1975-88, 94-95), The Running Man (1987).
- Michael Clarke Duncan, aged 54 (12/10/1957 to 9/3/2012), actor, Armageddon (1998), The Green Mile (1999).
- Nora Ephron, aged 71 (5/19/1941 to 6/26/2012), filmmaker responsible for Silkwood (writer, 1983), When Hary Met Sally (writer, 1989), Sleepless in Seattle (writer, director, 1993), You’ve Got Mail (writer, director, producer, 1998), Julie & Julia (writer, director, producer, 2009).
- Chad Everett, aged 76 (6/11/1936 to 7/24/2012), actor, “Medical Center” (Dr. Joe Gannon, 1969-76), Airplane II: The Sequel (1982).
- Jonathan Frid, aged 87 (12/2/1924 to 4/13/2012), actor, “Dark Shadows” (Barnabas Collins, 1967-71).
- Don Grady, aged 68 (6/8/1944 to 6/27/2012), cast member, “The Mickey Mouse Club” (1957-58). Actor, “My Three Sons” (Robbie Douglas, 1960-71).
- Andy Griffith, aged 86 (6/1/1926 to 7/3/2012), cast member, “The Mickey Mouse Club” (1957-58). Gained prominence in the starring role in A Face in the Crowd (1957) before becoming better known for his television roles, playing the lead characters in the 1960–1968 situation comedy The Andy Griffith Show and in the 1986–1995 legal drama Matlock.
- Robert Hegyes, aged 60 (5/7/1951 to 1/26/2012), actor, “Welcome Back, Kotter” (Juan Epstein, 1975-79).
- Sherman Hemsley, aged 74 (2/1/1938 to 7/24/2012), actor, “All in the Family” (George Jefferson, 1973-75), “The Jeffersons” (George Jefferson, 1975-85), “Amen” (Deacon Ernest Frye, 1986-91).
- Celeste Holm, aged 95 (4/29/1917 to 7/15/2012), actress, All About Eve (1950). Won an Academy award for Gentleman’s Agreement (Best supporting actress, 1948).
- George Lindsey, aged 83 (12/17/1928 to 5/6/2012), actor, “The Andy Griffith Show” (Goober Pyle, 1965-68), “Mayberry R.F.D.” (Goober Pyle, 1968-71), “Hee Haw” (Goober, 1972-92).
- Ron Palillo, aged 63 (4/2/1949 to 8/14/2012), actor, “Welcome Back, Kotter” (Arnold Horshack, 1975-79).
- Victor Spinetti, aged 82 (9/2/1929 to 6/18/2012), actor, The Beatles movies A Hard Day’s Night (1964), Help! (1965), “Magical Mystery Tour” (1967).
- Mike Wallace, aged 93 (5/9/1918 to 4/7/2012), TV news correspondent famous for his adversarial style. Programs include “Mike Wallace Interview (1957-60)”, “60 Minutes” (1968-2006).
- Richard D. Zanuck, aged 77 (12/13/1934 to 7/13/2012), film producer for movies like Jaws (1975), Neighbors (1981), Cocoon (1985), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Deep Impact (1998), Planet of the Apes (2001). Son of producer Darryl F. Zanuck.
- Robin Gibb, aged 62 (12/22/1949 to 5/20/2012), member of the Bee Gees with older brother Barry and twin brother Maurice (1958-69, 1970-2003). Hits include “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” (1970), “Jive Talkin’” (1975), “Stayin’ Alive” (1977), and “Too Much Heaven” (1979). Older brother of Andy Gibb.
- Marvin Hamlisch, aged 68 (6/2/1944 to 8/6/2012), songwriter. Hits include “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows” (1965), “The Way We Were” (1973), “The Entertainer” (1974), “What I Did For Love” (1975), and “Nobody Does It Better” (1977).
- Whitney Houston, aged 48 (8/9/1963 to 2/11/2012), pop singer. Hits include “Saving All My Love for You” (1985), “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” (1987), and “I Will Always Love You” (1992). Wife of singer Bobby Brown (1992-2007). Cousin of singer Dionne Warwick.
- Andy Williams, aged 84 (12/3/1927 to 9/25/2012), TV host, “The Andy Williams Show” (1962-71) and singer, “Butterfly” (1957), “Moon River” (1962), “Love Story (Where Do I Begin)” (1971).
- Donna Summer, aged 63 (12/31/1948 to 5/17/2012), pop/disco singer. Hits include “Love to Love You Baby” (1975), “Last Dance” (1978) “Bad Girls” (1979), and “She Works Hard for the Money” (1983).
- Ravi Shankar, aged 92 (4/7/1920 to 12/11/2012), sitar player. Mentored rock musician George Harrison (1966), played in the Concert for Bangladesh (1971). Father of jazz musician Norah Jones (1979).
- Dave Brubeck, aged 91 (12/6/1920 to 12/5/2012), jazz pianist. Hits include “Take Five” (1959).
- Hal David, aged 91 (5/25/1921 to 9/1/2012), lyricist and songwriting partner of Burt Bacharach (1957-1972). Hits include “Walk on By”, “What the World Needs Now Is Love”, “What’s New Pussycat?”, “The Look of Love”, “This Guy’s In Love With You”, “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head”, “Close to You”, and “One Less Bell to Answer”. Inducted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
- Levon Helm, aged 71 (5/26/1940 to 4/19/2012), rock vocalist and drummer, member of The Band (1968-1976, 1983-1999). Sang lead on “The Weight” (1968), “Up on Cripple Creek” (1969), and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” (1969).
- Etta James, aged 73 (1/25/1938 to 1/20/2012), blues singer. Hits include “The Wallflower” (1955), “At Last” (1961), “I Just Want to Make Love to You” (1996). Won four Grammy awards (1994-2004). Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (1993).
- Davy Jones, aged 66 (12/30/1945 to 2/29/2012), actor/singer, “The Monkees” (1966-68). Sang lead on “Daydream Believer” (1967).
- Tony Martin, aged 98 (12/25/1913 to 7/27/2012), singer. Hits include “There’s No Tomorrow” (1949), “I Get Ideas” (1951), “Walk Hand In Hand” (1956). Actor; Casbah (1948), Here Come the Girls (1953), Hit the Deck (1955). Husband of actress Cyd Charisse (1948-2008).
- Earl Scruggs, aged 88 (1/6/1924 to 3/28/2012), bluegrass banjo player, teamed with Lester Flatt (1948-69). Hits include “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” (1963).
- Kitty Wells, aged 92 (8/30/1919 to 7/16/2012), country singer. Hits include “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” (1952), “I Can’t Stop Loving You” (1958), “Heartbreak U.S.A.” (1961). Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame (1974). Received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (1991). Wife of country singer Johnnie Wright (1937-2011).
- Gary Carter, aged 57 (4/5/1954 to 2/16/2012), catcher for Montreal Expos (1974-84, 1992), New York Mets (1985-89), and two other teams (1990-91). 11-time All-Star (1975, 1979-88) and 3-time Gold Glove Award winner (1980-82). Inducted into the Hall of Fame (2003).
- Lee MacPhail, aged 95 (10/25/1917 to 11/8/2012), major-league baseball executive, general manager of the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees, American League President (1974-83) and President of the Players Relations Committee. Elected to the MLB Hall of Fame (1998). Son of baseball executive Larry MacPhail and father of baseball executive Andy MacPhail (1953).
- Marvin Miller, aged 95 (4/14/1917 to 11/27/2012), executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (1966-82), negotiated collective bargaining, arbitration, and free agency with the baseball owners.
- Art Modell, aged87 (6/23/1925 to 9/6/2012), owner of the NFL Cleveland Browns (1961-95) and Baltimore Ravens (1996-2004). President of the National Football League (1967-69). Was the principal force in having NFL games televised on Monday nights (1970).
- Joe Paterno, aged 85 (12/21/1926 to 1/22/2012), college football coach (Penn State 1966-2011). Won 24 bowl games and 3 Big Ten championships. Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (2006). Fired for not doing more about allegations of child molestation taking place in his facilities.
- Darrell Royal, aged 88 (7/9/1924 to 11/7/2012), college football head coach for Mississippi State University (1954-55), University of Washington (1956), and University of Texas (1957-76). Won three national championships (1963, 1969, 1970). Had 23 consecutive winning seasons.
- Alex Karras, aged 77 (7/15/1935 to 10/10/2012), NFL football player; Detroit Lions (tackle, 1958-71). Actor, Blazing Saddles (1974), “Webster” (George Papadapolis, 1983-89).
- Junior Seau, aged 43 (1/19/1969 to 5/2/2012), NFL linebacker for San Diego Chargers (1990-2002), Miami Dolphins (2003-05), and New England Patriots (2006-09). Was on the Pro Bowl team 12 consecutive years (1991-2002).
In Publishing & Books
- Ray Bradbury, aged 91 (8/22/1920 to 6/5/2012), science fiction writer whose works include The Martian Chronicles (1950), and Farenheit 451 (1953).
- Andrew Breitbart, aged 43 (2/1/1969 to 3/1/2012), web publisher, editor for The Drudge Report, and founder of Brietbart.com and BigGovernment.com (2009). Facilitated an undercover video purporting to expose fraud in ACORN (2009).
- Helen Gurley Brown, aged 90 (2/18/1922 to 8/13/2012), author of Sex and the Single Girl (1962) and editor of Cosmopolitan (1965-1997).
- Jim Unger, aged 75 (1/21/1937 to 5/29/2012), cartoonist of “Herman” (1974-92).
- Gore Vidal, aged 86 (10/3/1925 to 7/31/2012), novelist whose works include Myra Breckinridge (1968) and Lincoln (1984).
- Maurice Sendak, aged 83 (6/10/1928 to 5/8/2012), children’s writer whose works include Little Bear (1957) and Where the Wild Things Are (1963).
- James Q. Wilson, aged 80 (5/27/1931 to 3/2/2012), sociologist/criminologist professor at Harvard (1961-87). Rejected prevailing theories that most/all criminal behavior is the product of societal factors. Wrote Varieties of Police Behavior (1968) and Thinking About Crime (1975).
- Zig Ziglar, aged 86 (11/6/1926 to 11/28/2012), motivational speaker and author (See You at the Top, 1975).
- Henry Hill, aged 69 (6/11/1943 to 6/12/2012), organized crime figure with the Luchesse crime family of New York, participated in a hesit of Lufthansa Air (1978), became an FBI informant, expelled from the U.S. Witness Protection Program (1982). Subject of the film Goodfellas (1990).
- Sun Myung Moon, aged 92 (2/25/1920 to 9/2/2012), founder of the Unification Church (1954), also known as “Moonies”. Convicted of willfully filing false US income tax returns (1982); imprisoned for 13 months (1984-85).
- Vidal Sassoon, aged 84 (1/17/1928 to 5/9/2012), hairdresser to the rich and famous.
- Rodney King, aged 47 (4/2/1965 to 6/17/2012), victim of a videotaped beating involving seven Los Angeles police officers on 3 March 1991 that made him a symbol of police brutality and led to racially charged riots in Los Angeles. Four officers were tried; three were acquitted and the jury failed to reach a verdict on the fourth. Their acquittals on 29 April 1992 prompted a riot in which 54 people died. Two officers were subsequently found guilty of civil rights violations in federal court, and King was paid $3.8 million by the city of Los Angeles.
2012 also had its share of manmade tragedies.
- In Aurora, Colorado a crazed gunman opened fire on an unsuspecting audience during a midnight screening of the Batman new movie “The Dark Knight Rises”, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others. The killer was former neuroscience graduate student James Holmes.
- In Benghazi , Libya Islamic militants stormed the U.S. mission on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, killing U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. The attack was the first to kill a U.S. ambassador in the line of duty since 1979 and sparked severe criticism of the Obama administration. An official inquiry found widespread failures in both security planning and internal management.
- In a Wisconsin Sikh temple a gunman killed six people and critically wounded three others, before he was himself shot dead by police.
- At the Empire State Building in New York City, an out-of-work fashion designer fatally shot a former co-worker before being killed in a blaze of gunshots by police, stunning tourists and commuters outside of one of New York’s most popular landmarks.
- Finally, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Adam Lanza shot dead 20 children and six staff members, before killing himself. He had also killed his mother.
- Lance Armstrong, the disgraced cycling champion had his seven Tour de France victories scratched from the records and was banned from cycling for life after the International Cycling Union (UCI) ratified the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) sanctions against him. A USADA report said Armstrong had been involved in the “most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”
- Record-setting skydiver. Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner leapt into the stratosphere from a balloon near the edge of space 24 miles above Earth and safely landed, setting a record for the highest skydive and breaking the sound barrier in the process.
- CIA Director, David Petraeus, who had formerly played a key role in the Iraq war, and led the U.S. Central Command and commanded U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, stepped down after admitting he had engaged in an extramarital affair.