Monday, December 29, 2014

The LuLac Edition #2804, December 29th, 2014

(in countdown form) 
Due to a wave of federal court rulings, 19 more U.S. states began allowing same-sex marriages, raising the total to 35 states encompassing about 64 percent of the population. Given that one U.S. court of appeals bucked the trend by upholding state bans on gay marriage, there was widespread expectation that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the issue and make a national ruling.
The Department of Veterans Affairs became embroiled in a nationwide scandal over allegations of misconduct and cover-ups. Several senior officials were fired or forced to resign, including VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. At the heart of the scandal was the VA hospital in Phoenix; allegations surfaced that 40 veterans died while awaiting treatment there.
Millions more Americans signed up to be covered under President Obama's health care initiative, but controversy about "Obamacare" raged on. Criticism from Republicans in Congress was relentless, many GOP-governed states balked at participation, and opinion polls suggested most Americans remained skeptical about the program. However as the year went on many people who did not have insurance found themselves covered. The scare tactics used for people who had insurance with established companies, screaming and yelling that premiums would go up and millions and millions of jobs would be lost just didn’t happen.
Comedian and TV icon Bill Cosby is accused of targeting, grooming, drugging and then raping 27 young women since as early as the 1970s. The slew of sexual assault accusations have never gone to court and Cosby has declined any and all such claims amid the cancellation of several of his ongoing tour shows. Mainly of the nearly 30 women accusing Cosby of sexual assault have only recently stepped forward, prompting national debates on domestic violence among celebrity couples. The highly detailed accusations include renowned model and fashion icon Beverly Johnson’s claims of being drugged and violently assaulted by the TV icon in the mid-1980s.
A cyber attack at the hands of North Korea crippled Sony Pictures Entertainment, with embarrassing emails from executives released and causing “The Interview” to be canceled. These attacks were sparked by “The Interview,” a movie starring James Franco and Seth Rogan about the assassination of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. Theaters were threatened if they showed the movie, which led to Sony cancelling its wide release. Sony is now saying that “The Interview” will eventually be released. Brown, Garner
A story that has been flying under the radar is the U.S. Economy. It seems to be on an upswing mainly because of continued job growth as well as the reduction in gas prices. The lower gas prices has been the kick start that has increased consumer spending since more people have disposable income to use for other things. The U.S. economy grew at its quickest pace in 11 years in the third quarter, the strongest sign yet that growth has decisively shifted into higher gear.
The Commerce Department on Tuesday revised up its estimate of gross domestic product growth to a 5.0 percent annual pace, citing stronger consumer and business spending than it had previously assumed.
It was the fastest growth pace since the third quarter of 2003. The economy was previously reported to have expanded at a 3.9 percent rate.
President Obama took immigration reform into his own hands — at the ire of conservatives — as he put forth executive actions in an effort to spare nearly 5 million immigrants from deportation. His actions come after thousands of immigrants illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border, overwhelming Border Security. Many immigrants were then sent to detention centers across the U.S. Following Obama’s executive actions, many states have sued the administration, calling the executive actions unconstitutional. In m y opinion, if the President had taken action before the election, his base, the base who put him in office twice would have come out strong
President Barack Obama made historic changes to the U.S.-Cuba policy by restoring diplomatic relations with the country in December 2014. The historic shift culminated after 18 months of secret talks between longtime foes which included a series of meetings in Canada and the involvement of Pope Francis at the Vatican. The president spoke with Cuba’s leader, Raul Castro, on the phone for nearly an hour, making it the first presidential-level call between the two nations’ leaders since the 1959 Cuban revolution. American Alan Gross, a government contract worker who had been held in Cuba for five years, was allowed to return back to the U.S. in exchange for imprisoned Cuban spies. Obama’s plans for re-establishing relations with Cuba include expanding economic ties, opening an embassy in Havana, easing travel restrictions to Cuba, and sending high-ranking U.S. officials to visit and review Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Will the GOP landslide in the House and Senate make President Obama a better President or will it be a more challenged situation for him? So far the President has fought back by issuing the decree on immigration. . Republicans not only took control of the Senate, and widened their lead in the House, as Democrats got crushed during November’s midterm elections. The GOP taking control of both chambers of Congress was fueled by Obama’s unpopularity heading into the elections. But why was he unpopular? Mainly because the White House and The Democrats lost control of the message. If the Democrats had run on the fact that millions of Americans were covered under the Affordable Care Act, if they had run on the fact that the deficit has been cut in half by this President, if they had run on the fact that Detroit was reinvented, if they had run on the fact that there hasn’t been a terrorist attack in this country, if they had run on the fact that this administration has eliminated many of the terrorists including Bin Laden who took down the twin towers, if they had not run away from these issues then MAYBE they might have won a few seats!!!!
Separate police killings of two unarmed black men sparked months of nationwide protests against law enforcement brutality. The Aug. 9 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the New York City choke hold death of Eric Garner sparked sometimes violent protests over use of force by law enforcement and highlighted racial tension between police and African-Americans. Grand juries declined to indict either white officer for wrongdoing, erupting federal investigations and ongoing debates of lethal force by police.
The killing of two New York Police officers has only complicated things. Police are now more tense than ever and for good reason. People like Al Sharpton continue to fan the fires along with the Police Union Head in New York who blames the Mayor Of New York for everything that goes wrong with the police. I’m afraid this top story of 2014 will continue right on to 2015 with no good end in sight. 
Source: wikipedia, New York Times, U.S.A. Today and LuLac archives).


At 7:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David, add to your #2 top national story of 2014: unemployment rate below 6 percent, stock market more than double in value since Obama took office, and the first ever international agreement on climate change, to name a few. Just imagine what President Obama could have accomplished if the Republicans didn't fight him at ever turn. Hopefully the electorate will realize that in 2016.


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