Gulf Coast – The region had record tourism numbers for 2011, which of course was a huge rebound following the catastrophic BP oil spill in 2010 that crippled the local economies.
Law Enforcement – 173 police officers were killed in the line of duty in 2011, which was a 13% increase over 2010. However, it is interesting to note that overall violent crime was down in 2011.
Hugo Chavez - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hinted that the U.S. may be behind a “very strange” bout of cancer affecting several leaders aligned with him in South America (including himself).
California – Here are few new laws being enforced on businesses in the liberal state of California for 2012: Mandatory bereavement leave for employees and an injunction against employers being able to look at a potential employee's credit report before hiring -- as well as the requirement on local officials that union labor agreements must be used for publicly funded construction projects.
Taxes - A new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development shows that in the middle of the last decade -- i.e., after the Bush tax cuts were introduced -- the U.S. income tax was about as strongly redistributive as income taxes in Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden. You might have noticed that the CBO report on top incomes was widely quoted, but one finding got less attention: Between 1979 and 2007, “the federal individual income tax became slightly more progressive.” The main reason for this is mainly because the U.S. does not have a Value Added Tax (VAT), which affects the rich and poor equally.
Progressivism / Liberalism / Socialism – Why do socialists and liberals prefer to be called progressives? In a Pew poll Americans have a 67% favorable view of Progressives, but the favorability of Liberals drops to 50% and Socialists drops to 31%.
National Security - The Obama administration is considering transferring to Afghan custody a senior Taliban official (Mohammed Fazl) suspected of major human rights abuses as part of a long-shot bid to improve the prospects of a peace deal in Afghanistan, Reuters has learned.
Markets – The Dow Jones ended the year up 5.5%, but the S&P was flat.
EPA - A U.S. federal appeals court last week issued a last-minute order to delay the January 1 implementation of stricter federal limits on pollution from coal-fired plants, providing a temporary win for utilities worried about the cost of implementation.
Weaponry – The U.S. has agreed to sell 3.4 billion dollars of military weaponry to the United Arab Empire.
Planned Parenthood - Its annual report indicates that Planned Parenthood had assets of over 1 billion dollars and generated a profit of more than $18 million in 2010 and 2011.
The Occupy Movement – The Occupy Charlotte movement has been showing its displeasure by burning American Flags. Meanwhile, 68 protestors were arrested in New York during the New Year’s Eve party. Even more protestors were arrested outside of Michelle Bachmann’s Iowa campaign office.
My Book: Is America Dying? (Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble)