Here's a look at the stories you made popular on social media in 2012.
Did we miss your favorite? Tell us in the comments!
1. In Nothing We Trust
By Ron Fournier and Sophie Quinton
Johnny Whitmire is a story of Muncie, and Muncie is the story of America. In this place—dubbed “Middletown” by early 20th-century sociologists—people have lost faith in their institutions. Government, politics, corporations, the media, organized religion, organized labor, banks, businesses, and other mainstays of a healthy society are failing. It’s not just that the institutions are corrupt or broken; those clichés oversimplify an existential problem: With few notable exceptions, the nation’s onetime social pillars are ill-equipped for the 21st century. Most critically, they are failing to adapt quickly enough for a population buffeted by wrenching economic, technological, and demographic change. >> Read More
2. Too Hot for TED: Income Inequality
By Jim Tankersley
If you’re plugged into the Internet, chances are you’ve seen a TED talk--the wonky, provocative Web videos that have become a sort of nerd franchise. TED.com is where you go to find Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg explaining why the world has too few female leaders, or Twitter cofounder Evan Williams sharing the secret power of listening to users to drive company improvement. The slogan of the nonprofit group behind the site is “Ideas Worth Spreading.”
There’s one idea, though, that TED’s organizers recently decided was too controversial to spread: the notion that widening income inequality is a bad thing for America, and that as a result, the rich should pay more in taxes. >> Read More
3. How Two Presidents Helped Me Deal With Love, Guilt, and Fatherhood
By Ron Fournier
On the trips to Arkansas and Texas, I saw through both presidents a successful future for Tyler—in Clinton, big possibilities for a boy with a sharp mind and rough edges. In Bush, Tyler’s gift of humor as a means to find confidence in himself and connections with others. I learned that while Tyler was not my idealized son, he was the ideal one. In the Oval Office, years ago, I thought Bush had ordered me to “love that boy” in spite of his idiosyncrasies. Now, I realize, I love my son because of them. >> Read More
4. Scalia: Guns May Be Regulated
By John Aloysius Farrell
Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the Supreme Court's most vocal and conservative justices, said on Sunday [July 29, 2012] that the Second Amendment leaves room for U.S. legislatures to regulate guns, including menacing hand-held weapons.
"It will have to be decided in future cases," Scalia said on Fox News Sunday. But there were legal precedents from the days of the Founding Fathers that banned frightening weapons which a constitutional originalist like himself must recognize. There were also "locational limitations" on where weapons could be carried, the justice noted. >> Read More
5. Floodgates Open on New Health Regs
By Margot Sanger-Katz
Many sources close to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told National Journal that the Obama administration had a number of important health rules ready to go but was holding them back until after the election to avoid a political backlash. Now that President Obama has been reelected, they predicted those rules would start emerging, and fast. The forecast is about right. We are now three days postelection. >> Read More
6. Why (and How) Romney Is Playing the Race Card
By Ron Fournier
Working-class whites are already more prosperous and secure than working-class minorities, but they’re less optimistic because they don’t believe they’re climbing anymore. They’re simply trying to hold on to what they’ve got, and see others grabbing at it.
Thanks to Romney, they see minorities grabbing at their way of life every day and all day in the inaccurate welfare ad. It opens with a picture of Bill Clinton (a man obsessed with Macomb County and Reagan Democrats) signing the 1996 welfare-reform act, which shifted the benefits from indefinite government assistance to one pushing people into employment and self-reliance. >> Read More
7. Team Romney Accidentally Publishes Victory Website
By Lara Seligman
Mitt Romney suffered a sound defeat but you’d never know it from his campaign’s victory website, briefly published by mistake on election night.
Political Wire’s Taegan Goddard captured screenshots of the transition website, which was taken down by Thursday morning. The website featured biographies of Romney and his vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, as well as pages dedicated to “The Inauguration” and to “Join the Administration.” >> Read More
8. Generational Warfare: The Case Against Parasitic Baby Boomers
By Jim Tankersley
I love my dad fiercely, even though he’s beaten me in every argument we’ve ever had except two, and even though he is, statistically and generationally speaking, a parasite.
This is the charge I’ve leveled against him on a summer day in our Pacific Northwest vision of paradise. I have asked my favorite attorney to represent a very troublesome client, the entire baby-boom generation, in what should be a slam-dunk trial—for me. On behalf of future generations, I am accusing him and all the other parasites his age of breaking the sacred bargain that every American generation will pass a better country on to its children than the one it inherited. >> Read More
9. Divided We Stand
By John Aloysius Farrell
The House and the Senate are in a state of near-paralysis over the country’s finances. Even conservatives—who generally embrace Thoreau’s maxim that the government that governs best governs least—show signs of fear and alarm about the government’s inability to get things done.
The United States has an aging population that is depending on underfunded federal health and pension programs during a time of sluggish economic growth, unrelenting international challenges, soaring debt, and pertinacious division.
The 2011 National Journal voting ratings offer little cause for optimism. Polarization remains endemic. Lawmakers march in lockstep with their party. Heretics are purged. >> Read More
10. Erupting Urinal Soaks House Press Gallery
By Billy House
A big splash occurred on Monday morning [June 4, 2012] at the House Press Gallery in the U.S. Capitol.
No, this wasn’t one of those unexpected guest appearances for celebrities to talk to reporters about some favorite cause.
This splash came from an exploding urinal. More specifically, something suddenly broke in the piping of the third-floor urinal, and water began spewing from beneath the men’s room door. >> Read More