Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good Heavens: 2011

As usual, thanks to Wikipedia for refreshing my recollection on important events of 2011.  I trust my readers overseas forgive and indulge my concentration on what is of interest primarily in the United States and to me personally.  


1: A bomb explodes outside a Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt, killing 21 and wounding 97 and igniting hostilities between Muslims and Christians.
5: Murder spree, Omaha, Nebraska: a 17-year-old high school student murders an assistant principal and then turns the gun on himself.  Also: John Boehner succeeds Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.
8: Murder spree, Tuscon, Arizona: a shooter sprays bullets at a crowd attending a political event at a Safeway parking lot held by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, killing six (including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge) and wounding 14 others, including Giffords.  The shooter is later taken into custody and declared incompetent to stand trial.
10: Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay receives a three-year sentence for money laundering.
11: Three-quarters of Queensland, Australia is declared a disaster area due to massive floods.
15: The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is erected for English members of the Anglican Church who seek reunion with Rome.  Three former Anglican bishops are ordained Catholic priests; one of them, Fr. Keith Newton, is appointed Ordinary.
18: Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, former dictator of Haiti, is arrested by Haitian police on corruption charges.
25: A "popular" anti-government revolution begins in Egypt.  It is part of a series of similar uprisings throughout the Muslim world that will lead to months of violence and political instability.
31: A winter storm of epic proportions begins to sweep over the entire American Midwest and into Canada.  Global warming is suspected.

Deaths: Charlie Callas (comic actor); Jack LaLanne; Sargent Shriver; Susannah York; David Nelson (actor, older son of Ozzie and Harriet and brother of Ricky); John Dye (the Angel of Death in Touched by an Angel); Gerry Rafferty (musician).


2: NASA announces the discovery of six planets orbiting the star Kepler-11. 
3: The immense 2011 Groundhog Day Blizzard dissipates, leaving ice, snow, power outages, airport shutdowns, tornadoes, billions of dollars in damage and at least 36 deaths in its wake.
11: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigns after more than two weeks of allegedly popular protests and calls by the U.S. government for his resignation.  The military now rules Egypt.
15: Civil war begins in Libya.
22: A 6.3 magnitude earthquake strikes the Canterbury district of New Zealand's South Island.  Also: Rahm Emanuel is elected mayor of Chicago.
27: The 83rd Academy Awards is held in Hollywood, California.  I could care less.

Deaths: Jane Russell; Frank Buckles (last surviving American veteran of World War I); James A. McClure (former congressman and Senator from Idaho); Bernard Nathanson (former abortionist turned pro-life activist and Catholic convert); T.P. McKenna (Irish actor); Betty Garrett (Irene Lorenzo in All in the Family); Kenneth Mars; J. Paul Getty III.


2: A Muslim gunman opens fire on a busload of U.S. Air Force personnel at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, killing two and wounding two others before being taken into custody.  Also: Shabazz Bhatti, Pakistan's only Catholic cabinet minister and opponent of Pakistan's anti-apostasy laws, is assassinated.
8: 21 Catholic priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are suspended in connection with allegations of child sexual abuse.
11: Japan is stricken by the triple disaster of earthquake (magnitude 9.1, among the worst ever recorded), tsunami and nuclear meltdown, resulting in thousands of deaths and billions in damage.
19: Operation Odyssey Dawn begins: the United States intervenes militarily against Libya's Moammar Qaddafi.  Also: Knut the polar bear dies at the Berlin Zoo in the presence of hundreds of visitors.  Also: the Moon reaches its closest point in its orbit to the earth since 1993, appearing 14% brighter and 30% larger than usual.

Deaths:  David Broder (Washington Post columnist); Elizabeth Taylor; Michael Gough (English character actor); Farley Granger; Harry Coover (inventor of Super Glue); Geraldine Ferraro; Warren Christopher.


1: A six-foot hole opens up at 34,000' in the fuselage of Southwest Flight 812 from Phoenix to Sacramento, resulting in depressurization of the cabin and an emergency landing in Yuma, Arizona.  80 of Southwest's planes are afterwards grounded.
4: An outbreak of tornadoes is reported throughout the American south.
13: Idaho's governor signs into law a bill banning abortions beyond 20 weeks.
14-16: 155 tornadoes sweep the southern United States, resulting in 43 deaths.
19: A plane carrying Michelle Obama has a near-miss incident with another plane.
25-28: Another outbreak of tornadoes in the American south leaves more than 300 dead.
29: The royal wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Kate Middleton takes place at Westminster Abbey.

Deaths: William A. Rusher (publisher, National Review); Sidney Lumet; Trevor Bannister (Mr. Lucas in Are You Being Served?); Gil Robbins (the Highwaymen); Phoebe Snow.


1: Ven. John Paul II is beatified in Rome.  Also: The White House announces the death of Osama bin Laden.
4: In the wake of severe storms, the Mississippi River spills over its banks, causing catastrophic flooding from Minnesota to Louisiana.
5: Claude Choules, the last combat veteran of World War I, the last seaman of World War I, and the last veteran of both world wars, dies at the age of 110 in Perth, Australia.
12: John Demjanjuk is convicted in a German court of the murder of over 28,000 Jews at Sobibor during the Holocaust, and then released on the grounds of his old age, as well as the time he has already spent incarcerated.
13: The pontifical commission Ecclesia Dei releases Universae ecclesiae, an instruction to clarify and strengthen the motu proprio Summorum pontificum, which took the Tridentine Mass out of the deep freeze.
14: Dominique Strauss-Khan, head of the International Monetary Fund, is arrested in New York City on charges relating to the alleged sexual assault of a hotel maid.  Although Strauss-Khan admitted having sex with the maid, the criminal charges were later dismissed on the grounds that the maid lacked credibility.
15: Louisiana opens the Morganza Spillway on the Mississippi River for the first time in 37 years, in an attempt to save Baton Rouge and New Orleans by flooding 3,000 acres of rural land.
16: America's Most Wanted is cancelled after a 23-year run.  It will later be brought back on another network.  Also: Spaceshuttle Endeavor successfully launches on its last mission.
17: Oprah Winfrey records her last show, leaving American society with one less pernicious cultural influence.  Also: Ming Ming, the world's oldest panda, dies in China at the age of 34.  Also: Former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger admits to fathering a child on a member of his household staff.  His wife, Maria Shriver, will soon file for divorce.
18: A tornado strikes Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
19: Barack Obama makes a speech in support of the Arab uprisings and declares that Israel must return to her pre-1967 borders.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells Obama, in essence, to sit and rotate.
20: My father celebrates his [CENSORED]th birthday.
21: Contrary to the predictions of Protestant talk radio host Harold Camping, the faithful are not raptured up on this date.  Also: A tornado rips through the town of Reading, Kansas.  Also: another Icelandic volcano, Grimsvotn, erupts, sending up an enormous plume of ash and touching off dozens of earthquakes.
22: The ridiculous hat worn by Princess Beatrice of York to the Big Royal Wedding is sold on Ebay for U.S. $123,325.00.  Also: the city of Joplin, Missouri suffers major damage in a savage tornado strike.  It is the worst tornado since 1947.
24: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of Congress, declaring that he is willing to make far-reaching compromises for peace, but will not agree to a return to Israel's 1967 borders.  Meanwhile, President Obama is out of the country.
25: Jared Lee Loughner, the shooter who murdered a federal judge, a 9-year-old girl and several others, and wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is found incompetent to stand trial.
29: Beginning of the Wallow Fire, an immense wildfire that will burn hundreds of square miles in eastern Arizona.

Deaths: Jackie Cooper; Sada Thompson; Randy "Macho Man" Savage; Edward Hardwicke (played Dr. Watson to Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes); Barbara Stuart; Clarice Taylor; Jeff Conaway.


2: Murder spree, Yuma County, Arizona: a 73-year-old on a county-wide shooting rampage kills five and wounds one before turning the gun on himself.
3: John Edwards is indicted on charges of conspiracy and violating campaign finance laws in connection with his affair with the woman who bore him a child while his wife was dying of cancer.
6: Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) admits sending a picture of his junk to a college student via Twitter.  The revelations will lead to his resignation on June 16th.
17: Three months into an investigation of alleged offenses against his religious vows, Fr. John Corapi, SOLT, announces that he is abandoning his priestly ministry.
19: More than 300 dissident priests in Austria launch a "Call to Disobedience," effectively entering into schism and inviting others to do the same.
25: Same-sex "marriage" becomes legal in the State of New York.
27: The odd-looking, impeached former governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, is convicted of 17 counts of criminal corruption charges.

Deaths: Lawrence Eagleburger; James Arness; Jack Kevorkian; Geronimo Pratt; Roy Skelton (voice of the Daleks); Margaret Tyzack (Claudius' mother Antonia in I, Claudius); Peter Falk; Yelena Bonner (widow of Andrei Sakharov); Clarence Clemons; Fr. Stefano Gobbi.


1: Leon Panetta succeeds Robert Gates as the Unites States Secretary of Defense.  Also: Dominique Strauss-Khan is released from house arrest after it emerges that the maid who accused him of sexual assault made false statements.  Also: the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturns a Michigan law banning sex and race preferences in college admissions, government hiring and government contracting.  Also: Venezuelan president and windbag Hugo Chavez makes his first public speech since returning from cancer treatment in Cuba.  As of the date this post is published, the speech is probably still going on.
5: An immense dust storm engulfs Phoenix, Arizona, grounding flights and cutting electricity to thousands.  Also: Casey Anthony is acquitted of murdering her daughter Caylee, and is only convicted on a few misdemeanor counts.
7: Denver, Colorado suffers an immense storm that results in flooding and mass power outages.  Also: Murder spree, Grand Rapids, Michigan: a shooter murders seven (including his estranged wife and daughter) and wounds two before turning the gun on himself.
10: Britain's News of the World, in circulation since 1843, prints its last issue amidst a firestorm of phone hacking accusations.
14: The government of Ireland proposes to pass a law purporting to require Catholic priests to violate the seal of the confessional by turning in anyone who confesses to a crime against children, on pain of imprisonment.
18: A second giant dust storm engulfs Phoenix, Arizona.
19: Pope Benedict appoints Denver Bishop Charles Chaput, OFM.Cap. to head the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
21: With the landing of the space shuttle Atlantis at Kennedy Space Center, the Space Shuttle Program comes to an end.  Also: A proposal similar to the one in Ireland is launched in Australia to require Catholic priests to turn in penitents who confess to child molestation.
22: On the same day that explosions damage government buildings in Oslow, Norway, a shooter goes on a mass murder spree at a youth camp on the island of Utøya, leaving 84 dead.  The shooter is a Norwegian and a Freemason.
23: Murder spree, Grand Prairie, Texas: a shooter kills five and wounds four at a child's birthday party at a roller rink before turning the gun on himself.
31: First recorded case in a deadly listeriosis outbreak resulting from contaminated cantaloupes.

Deaths: Nguyen Cao Ky (former Prime Minister of South Vietnam); Amy Winehouse; Roberts Blossom ("Doc" in Escape from Alcatraz); Betty Ford; Otto von Habsburg (heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire); Anna Massey (British actress).


2: A Syrian Catholic Church is bombed in Kirkuk, Iraq, wounding 15.
6-10: Rioters rampage through several districts of London and several other English cities, killing five and doing hundreds of millions in property damage.
12: The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals strikes down Obamacare's health insurance mandate.
22: University of Idaho professor Ernesto Bustamante murders Katy Benoit, a graduate student, then turns the gun on himself.  It will emerge that the two had had a sexual relationship, that Bustamante had a history of exhibiting bizarre conduct in the classroom, and that Benoit had complained to the university about his threatening behavior, resulting in his termination days earlier.
24: Steve Jobs resigns as CEO of Apple, Inc.
25: Scientists at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, announce the discovery of an extrasolar planet, possibly composed entirely of diamond, orbiting a pulsar 4,000 light years away in the constellation Serpens.
27: The deadly Hurricane Irene, ultimately responsible for 56 deaths and billions of dollars in damage, makes landfall on the east coast of the United States.

Deaths: Nicholas Ashford (Ashford & Simpson); Jerry Leiber (songwriter: "Jailhouse Rock," "Hound Dog," "Stand By Me," etc.); John Wood (English actor).


4: The most destructive wildfire in Texas history breaks out in Bastrop County, Texas.  It will not be declared extinguished until October 10th.
6: Murder spree, Carson City, Nevada: a gunman murders four and wounds six at an International House of Pancakes restaurant, before turning the gun on himself.
8: A Boise, Idaho lay Dominican blogger and lawyer celebrates her [CENSORED]st birthday.
15: "Indeterminate" is now an option for listing sex on Australian passports.
16: A P51-D Mustang crashes into the crowd at the annual air races in Reno, Nevada, killing five and wounding 50.
17: Beginning of the Occupy Wall Street crybaby demonstrations.
20: The U.S. military's policy of "don't ask, don't tell" officially ends.
22: Pope Benedict XVI begins his state visit to his native Germany.

Deaths: Dolores Hope (widow of Bob Hope); Tom Wilson, Sr. (cartoonist, creator of Ziggy); Cliff Robertson.


3: Amanda Knox, an American convicted in Italy of sexual assault and murder and sentenced to 26 years in prison, is freed by an appellate court.
5: Murder spree, Cupertino, California: an employee at a cement plant opens fire on co-workers, killing three and wounding seven.  He is later shot by police after brandishing a weapon and refusing to surrender.
12: Murder spree, Seal Beach, California: a shooter opened fire in the beauty salon where his ex-wife worked, murdering eight and wounding one.  He was apprehended by police.
20: Ousted Libyan dictator Muammar Qadaffi is killed in the city of Sirte.
21: Obama announces that all U.S. forces will be out of Iraq by year's end.
22: Saudi crown prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud dies.
28: Britain's laws of royal succession are changed to end the precedence of male heirs to the throne over female heirs, and to permit persons in the line of succession to marry Catholics without forfeiting their place in the line.

Deaths: Muammar Qadaffi; Saudi crown prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud; George Baker (Tiberius in I, Claudius); Steve Jobs.


2: Lindsay Lohan gets 30 days for blowing off the terms of her probation, but is soon released from jail due to overcrowding.
6: The state of Oklahoma experiences a 5.6-magnitude earthquake, the strongest in its history.
7: Dr. Conrad Murray is found guilty of the involuntary manslaughter of Michael Jackson.
8: An asteroid 1300 feet in diameter passes closer to Earth than the Moon.
9: Penn State University president Graham Spanier and head football coach Joe Paterno are fired for allegedly covering up the sexual abuse of boys by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
12: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi resigns.
13-15: The Flea Party occupiers are shut down in Portland, Oregon; Oakland, California; and Zuccotti Park in New York City.
17: Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez of Idaho Falls, Idaho is charged with attempting to assassinate the President after bullets are found embedded in the White House.
18: The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department reopens the investigation into the 1981 drowning death of Natalie Wood. 

29: Dr. Conrad Murray is sentenced to four years' imprisonment for the involuntary manslaughter of Michael Jackson.

Deaths: Bill Keane (cartoonist, creator of The Family Circus); "Smokin'" Joe Frazier; Andy Rooney; Leonid Borodin (Soviet dissident); Svetlana Alliluyeva (only daughter of Joseph Stalin).


1: Murder spree, Bay City, Texas: a shooter murders four children, ages five and under, and wounds their mother -- his wife -- before turning the gun on himself.
3: Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain announces the suspension of his 2012 election campaign.
4: Iran captures an American Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel unarmed aircraft.  The U.S. response is to politely ask for the return of the Drone.  It doesn't work.  Also: Koblenz, Germany: after evacuating 45,000 people, bomb squads defuse World War II bombs hidden under the Rhine. 
7: The 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, and the last to be marked by the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, which officially disbands this month due to the extreme old age and infirmity of its few remaining members.
8:  A shooter kills a police officer at Virginia Tech University and is later found dead.
10: The last total eclipse of 2011 occurs, visible in Asia, Australia and North America.
15: A French court sentences infamous terrorist Carlos "The Jackal" to life for carrying out four deadly bombings in 1982-83.
16: Tropical Storm Washi, the deadliest tropical cyclone of the year, makes landfall in the Philippines, where it will kill hundreds.
25: Boko Haram, an Islamist group, bombs several Christian Churches in Nigeria, killing 39.  Also: Murder spree, Grapevine, Texas: a shooter dressed in a Santa suit murders six members of his family, then turns the gun on himself.  The murders turn out to be Muslim "honor killings."
28: Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic priests engaged in a turf battle duke it out with brooms in the Church of the Nativity while preparing for Orthodox Christmas celebrations.
29: Kim Jong Un succeeds his father, Kim Jong Il, as tyrant of North Korea.

Deaths: Bill McKinney (character actor); Harry Morgan (Col. Potter on M*A*S*H); Václav Havel; Kim Jong Il; Christopher Hitchens; Cheeta the chimp; Kaye Stevens.

May 2012 be an improvement over 2011. 


  1. "May 2012 be an improvement over 2011."
    I hope so too, but remember Murphy.
    Happy New Year!

  2. Happy New Year to you (yous?) too, Bob and Adrienne!

  3. I was looking forward to this post. So much work involved, it seems.

    Happy New Year too.

  4. Thank you, TH2, and Happy New Year to you, too! I actually work on these Year in Review posts throughout the year (except the very first one, as I didn't get the idea until about New Year's Eve of that year). I have already started the one for this year.