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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE...

It's almost over. It's First and goal with seconds on the clock. Prepare to spike the pink slips, food stamps, cheesy grits, and foreclosure notices in the end zone and then chuck 'em off the fiscal cliff. 2012 is about to become an ex-year.

Once again we find ourselves saying that without all the Republican obstruction and pettiness, we'd be ending the year in noticeably better shape. But…no. In the never-ending game of tug-of-war between the teabaggers and Democrats, We The People are the ones who ended up stuck in the mud again.

On the other hand, if you point this year at a funhouse mirror, you could pull a groin muscle from laughter: serves-ya-right laughter as Mitt Romney's 47% video seals his doom, nervous laughter as Clint Eastwood dresses down an empty chair, mocking laughter as Paul Ryan washes clean dishes for a photo-op and claims to be the fastest man alive, and good old schadenfreudalistic laughter as Karl Rove's brilliance melts into a gooey puddle of fail. 2012 was like a 365-day-long roast of Republicans, which is ironic since they still believe the world is cooling.

Anyway. Below the fold is the thrilling conclusion---September through five minutes ago---of our flashback series, 2012: Is It 2013 Yet? As we await the descent of the giant ball (HuhHuhHuh…he said giant ball) in Times Square, all the writers, editors, gaffers, key grips, fuzzy critters and caterers at C&J wish you a festive New Year's Eve and a tolerable 2013, stuffed with cash, pie, basic sanitation and lots of warm 'n fuzzy gettingalongness.

Your portal to the past starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] Right now! [Gong!!]

Note: C&J will be off tomorrow and Wednesday in observance of Easter. We'll emerge from our Barbie Dream Bunker on Thursday to thank the Lord for giving us the gift of a year in which we know there won't be a single Mitt Romney campaign speech.  Happy New Year!

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C&J 2012 Flashback: September

The DNC Convention—Charlotte September 5th, 2012
September 5: Presidents Obama and Clinton at the
Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
• The Democratic National Convention begins.  Michael Moore calls the speakers during the first night "The Beatles in Charlotte."  The women are great, the gay congressman is great, the black governor is great, the Latino mayor is great, the triple amputee chopper pilot and future congresswoman is great, the older woman talking about equal pay for equal work is great, the white governor is…eh, he was okay…and the first African-American First Lady's speech is as poetic as it is historic.  Best of all, the diversity of the crowd resembles the diversity of those on stage.  Unlike the Republicans last month, you can actually watch this convention without sunglasses.
Quotable Charlotte:

"No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance, they live, they love, and they die. And that matters. Because we don't run this country for corporations, we run it for people."
---Elizabeth Warren
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"What's missing from the Romney-Ryan plan for Medicare is Medicare."
---HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius
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"When Congressman Ryan looked into that TV camera and attacked President Obama’s Medicare savings as 'the biggest, coldest power play,' I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, because that $716 billion is the same amount, to the dollar, that he had in his own budget. You got to admit one thing. It takes some brass to attack a guy for what you did."
---Bill Clinton
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"[Republicans] want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan. And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last thirty years. Have a surplus? Try a tax cut. Deficit too high? Try another. Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning."
---President Obama

• Congressman and deadbeat dad Joe Walsh (R-IL) tells Georgetown University student and women's rights advocate Sandra Fluke to "Go get a job!"  Not reported is the rest of the sentence he quietly mutters under his breath: "…and please hire me when I lose mine."

• The iPhone 5 makes its official debut.  It slices, dices, makes julienne fries, inflates tires, plays movies, gives directions, and removes unsightly grout stains.  And somewhere on it there's a phone.

By the Numbers:
Jobs created during the 28 years of Republican presidencies since 1961: 24 million
Jobs created during the 24 years of Democratic presidencies since 1961: 42 million
(Source: Bill Clinton)
Number of people now relying on food stamps in America: 46.7 million
(Source: Agriculture Dept.)
Amount by which Paul Ryan's budget would cut the food stamp program over ten years: $33 billion
• The U.S. experiences its third-hottest summer on record.  As usual, the harder Rick Perry prays for it to end the longer it lasts.

• The Middle East bears witness an endless stream of chaos, madness, confusion, screaming, confrontation, finger-pointing, threats, backward-thinking and an almost total lack of self-control.  But enough about the Romney campaign.  Things are pretty bad in the Middle East, too.

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"Michelle Obama said the first car Barack picked her up in was so old you could see the ground below them.  Today, Ann Romney said the same thing about Mitt's helicopter."
---Conan O'Brien
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"I'm a black gay woman. I think the only way for the GOP to hate me more is if I sent them a video of me rolling around on a pile of welfare checks."
---Wanda Sykes
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"Here's the only thing you need to know about Todd Akin and human anatomy: he's an asshole."
---Bill Maher
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• The conservative Values Voters Summit gets underway in the American heartland known as Washington, D.C.  At the same time, a Stormfront convention gets underway in Tennessee.  Here's how you can tell the difference between the two: one's a group of hate-filled extremists who harbor radical views and long for a cookie-cutter world where white men are white men and women and minorities know their place, and the other one's Stormfront.

September 19, 2012: President Obama greets participants after posing for a group photo with Children’s Miracle Network Champions in the East Room of the White House
September 19: President Obama greets participants after posing for a group photo with
Children’s Miracle Network Champions in the East Room of the White House.
• The Census Bureau releases its annual poverty report, showing 15 percent of us are at or below the poverty line, including 22 percent of our nation's kids.  Republicans say they've got a fool-proof plan for making the numbers shrink to zero: eliminate the Census Bureau's annual poverty report.
By the Numbers:

Number of troops who have died in Afghanistan so far this year: 250
Percent of voters who would rather have Obama and Romney, respectively, over for dinner: 52%-33%
(Source: ABC News/Washington Post poll)
The last year during which a Congress gaveled its pre-election adjournment as early as it did this year: 1960
(Source: AP)
Percent of Americans who are moochers, victims and freeloaders: 47%
(Source: The Republican nominee for President of the United States)

• A hidden video---shot in May by a bartender at a private campaign fundraiser---shows Mitt Romney harshing on poor people and safety-net programs.  It promises to do irreparable harm to his campaign.  On the bright side: people stop giving a shit about his tax returns.

• The Chicago teachers strike ends.  All the kids are pour into classes and all the parents pour mimosas into glasses.

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"This [47%] tape is so incriminating.  Everything that liberals suspect Mitt Romney says behind closed doors, now there's a tape of Mitt Romney saying that exactly behind closed doors.  It's like if Republicans had a tape of Obama where he was reading Karl Marx with a highlighter while forging a birth certificate and getting blown by Cleopatra Jones."
---Bill Maher
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I saw a guy today scraping a Romney bumper sticker off his car. It was Paul Ryan.
---Jay Leno
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• All the leaders of the universe assemble at the United Nations in an annual contest to see which one can be the biggest public nuisance.  The General Assembly honors the memory of Muammar Gadaffi with a moment of silence lasting zero seconds.

• Senator Scott Brown's campaign turns ugly as he belittles rival Elizabeth Warren's heritage in a new TV ad and his thugs pile on with crude stereotypes out in the street. Warren fires back by accusing former Cosmo model Brown of overmoisturizing.  Brown's campaign never recovers.

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October
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President Barack Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talk with local residents at the Brigantine Beach Community Center, which is serving as a shelter for those displaced by Hurricane Sandy, in Brigantine, N.J., Oct. 31, 2012.
October 31: President Obama and NJ Gov. Chris Christie talk with local residents at the Brigantine Beach
Community Center, which is serving as a shelter for those displaced by Hurricane Sandy.
• Sir John B. Gordon and Shinya Yamanaka win the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine because of their discovery that "mature, specialised cells can be reprogrammed to become immature cells capable of developing into all tissues of the body."  The most effective way of turning a mature cell into an immature one?  Teach it fart jokes.

Atlas Shrugged II opens in theatres.  Advance word is positive, with conservative millionaires giving it their highest rating: four hissy fits.

By the Numbers:

Percent of the 9,264 Kossacks responding to a C&J poll who believe that Mitt Romney will wield future influence in the GOP if he loses: 0%
Percent of likely voters who believe the economy is recovering: 57%
(Source: NBC News-Washington Post poll)
Rank of Japan, Britain and the U.S. among the world's top climate-change deniers: #1, #2, #3
Portion of everyone polled around the world who believe that "the climate has changed significantly over the last 20 years": 9-in-10
(Source: Ipsos poll)

• President Obama greets people in the midwest.  Mitt Romney greets corporations in the midwest.

• Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein says the U.S. economy must not be allowed to be thrown off the fiscal cliff by Congress.  His exact words: "That's Wall Street's job."

• Everybody and their mother agrees that Joe Biden easily won the vice presidential debate against Paul Ryan.  Biden chews on rusty nails as he tears into the Tea Party wunderkind with one brain lobe tied behind his back, up to and including a "you're no Jack Kennedy" moment that sets twitter on fire.  Afterward, Biden goes back to his hotel for a meal of sheet metal spaghetti with brass balls in victory sauce.

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"Your choice now is pretty clear.  You can either vote for the guy who got rid of bin Laden…or vote for the guy who wants to get rid of Big Bird."
---David Letterman
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"A new poll found that only 47 percent of voters find Mitt Romney to be trustworthy.  Then Romney was like, 'Well, I hope it's not the same 47 percent I don't care about.'"
---Jimmy Fallon
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• President Obama and Mitt Romney meet for debate #2 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.  After it ends, Republicans switch places with Democrats on window ledges.

• The leading economic indicators are released.  Economists agree that, based on their analysis, prosperity can be achieved in a month if the United States switches over to a campaign ad-based economy.

• Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner rides in a giant balloon up 23 miles into space, followed by a death-defying leap that has millions of viewers pearl-clutching and sweating bullets of uncertainty, but all ends well when the charismatic hero uses his smarts and competence to land in the winner's circle as cheers of victory drown out the naysayers who have prematurely written his epitaph.  The aftermath is a bend-down-and-kiss-the-ground moment for both Baumgartner and the creators of political metaphors.

By the Numbers:

Percent of Latinos who are cool with gay marriage: 60%
(NBC Latino poll)
Average age of a video game player: 34
Gender breakdown among gamers: 60% male/40% female
(Source: Entertainment Software Rating Board)
Percent of 6,629 Kossacks who responded to a C&J poll who believe George W. Bush's new book containing his miracle plan to fix the economy belongs in the comedy section: 28% (16% thinks it belongs in the 50-cent bargain bin, which is where it sits today.)

• A large study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that taking a daily multi-vitamin can reduce your risk of cancer.  In an equally dramatic report, Brach's concludes that eating more candy corn is an excellent way to overcome a candy corn deficiency.

• Former liberal senator and 1972 presidential nominee George McGovern dies at 90:

"The longer the title, the less important the job."

"You know, sometimes, when they say you're ahead of your time, it's just a polite way of saying you have a real bad sense of timing."

"If we had run in '74 instead of '72, it would have been a piece of cake."

Attention procreators: more like him, please.

• President Obama and Mitt Romney talk foreign policy at debate #3.  Obama envisions a nimble foreign policy that relies on diplomacy and innovative ways of dealing with future threats before they happen.  Romney wants to bring General John Pershing back from the dead to create a fresh fleet of ironclads and deploy divisions of doughboys in saucer helmets on horseback with fixed bayonets into wherever his dart lands on the map of the Middle East, but not before making "Over There" our new national anthem.  All polls show that Obama wins handily.  Or as Republicans call it: a draw.

By the Numbers:

Number of Nobel Laureates in the science fields who formally endorsed President Obama over Mitt Romney this month: 68
Estimated number of people who lost power over a 15-state swath during Superstorm Sandy: 7.9 million
Height of the waves in Lake Ontario as a result of the storm: 20 feet
Number of iPad Minis Apple expects to sell before the end of the year: 5-10 million

October 25, 2012: Barack Obama becomes the first U.S. president to cast his ballot early. Voting at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Chicago.
October 25: Barack Obama becomes the first U.S. President to cast his ballot early, seen here
voting at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Chicago.
• U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock (R-IN) asserts his firm belief that God chooses which women will be raped, and that it's just God's way of saying, "Whether you like it or not, it's Mommy Time!"  When they hear the news, the Taliban gives him a hearty endorsement for his "cutting-edge 9th century views."

• A huge swath of the U.S. is discombobulated, thanks to "Superstorm" Sandy.  The storm contains three disastrous elements: torrential rains, fierce winds, and Republicans holding FEMA hostage until their spending-cut demands are met.

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"Earlier today, vice-presidential hopeful Paul Ryan gave a major policy address on poverty.  We're still not sure whether he's for it or against it, but he was talking about poverty."
---David Letterman
-
“It is true Michelle takes healthy eating seriously.  But it is an election year so candy for everybody!  And if anybody comes from Ohio to the White House, they will get a Hershey bar about THIS BIG."
---President Obama on The Tonight Show at Halloween time
• The San Francisco Giants win the World Series in straight games.  Meanwhile the Boston Red Sox pledge to come to 2013 spring training ready and willing to learn how to tie their shoe laces.

• An analysis shows that smoking bans work "quickly and dramatically" after communities make it illegal to be in a public place with a lit cigarette.  A similar effect is observed with head injuries after communities ban falling pianos.

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November
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Barack Obama in Madison - November 5th, 2012
November 5: Barack Obama in Madison, Wisconsin.
(Mitt Romney had trouble rounding up crowds half this size.)
• The Star Wars franchise is sold by George Lucas to Disney for a cool $4 billion in Imperial Space Credits.  Shortly after, Page 112 of the script for a Disney remake of The Empire Strikes Back is released:
I'm your father aaaafter all,
I'm your father aaaafter all,
I'm your father aaaafter all,
I'm your fa fa fa fa ther!
In fairness, I hear it's just a first draft.
By the Numbers:

Rainfall and snowfall, respectively, in Easton MD and Gatlinburg TN, the towns with the highest recordings of them during Superstorm Sandy: 12.55" / 34"
Minimum number of flights that were canceled as a result of the storm: 19,000
(Source: The Portland Press Herald)
Number of people who showed up in Concord, NH Nov. 4 for the Obama/Clinton rally (the largest political event in state history, tweets David Axelrod): 14,000

• Folks in Dixville Notch and Hart's location, New Hampshire are the first voters in the country to cast their ballots.  The former sees a 5-5 Obama/Romney tie, and the latter shows a 23-9 Obama blowout.  There's one write-in vote by Old Man McGinley, who as usual votes for McKinley "cuz it rhymes."

• On Tuesday, November 6, President Barack Hussein Obama becomes the first African-American president to win re-election.  Republicans immediately gather behind closed doors to figure out something to impeach him over.  Darrell Issa announces that hearings on the President's old parking tickets will begin on Wednesday, November 7.

Joe Biden in Cleveland - November 6th, 2012
November 6: Joe Biden in Cleveland. He gets four more years, too.
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"Well, it's over, and as usual, the guy from Kenya won."
---David Letterman
-
"Exit polls show that President Obama did well with women, beating Romney by 11 binders."
---Jay Leno
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• Same-sex marriage passes by citizen vote in Maryland, Washington, and Maine.  So now gay couples---say it with me---"can be just as miserable as straight ones!"  Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!  Good times.

• Massachusetts becomes the 18th state to legalize pot use (medicinal), followed by Colorado and Washington (recreational).  Oh, and I just remembered that Massachusetts became the 18th state to legalize pot use (medicinal), followed by Colorado and Washington (recreational).

• New Democratic/Independent senators-elect: Elizabeth Warren (MA), Joe Donnelly (IN), Chris Murphy (CT), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Mazie Hirono (HI), Martin Heinrich (NM), Angus King (I-ME), Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Tim Kaine (VA).  The overall Senate composition after the GOP snatches defeat from the jaws of victory: 53 Ds, 45 Rs and 2 I's who will caucus with Dems.  Conservative think tanks prepare to take in the vanquished as "consultants" so they won’t end up having to whore themselves on the street for money.  Their first assignment: whore themselves on K Street for money.

By the Numbers:

Electoral vote count: Obama 332 Romney 206
Popular vote: Obama 51.06  Romney 47.21%
Percent chance that Dwight Eisenhower was the last president before Obama to win two terms with 51 percent or more of the popular vote: 100%
Number of presidents who have been elected to a second term, including Barack Obama: 16

• Jared Loughner gets sentenced to life in prison for his Arizona shooting spree that killed six and injured 13 including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.  The judge stops short of piping a non-stop audio loop of Dick Morris's election predictions into his cell.  Too cruel, too unusual.

• Another titan falls off his pedestal as CIA Director General David Petraeus resigns after admitting to an affair with his biographer.  Says Newt Gingrich: "Only two more affairs and he'll love America enough to run for president."

-
Headlines You Won’t Read Today:

> Hurricane Sandy victims complain of too much relief
> Speaker Boehner introduces jobs bill
> World weather forecast for 2013: calm, pleasant
> Deaths from marijuana outnumber those from prescription painkillers
> Karl Rove issues refunds to donors for total election-night failure
> Secessionists praised for intellectual, emotional maturity
> Paul Ryan hops locomotive, goes Galt
> President-elect Romney readies Day One plans to repeal Obamacare, approve unfettered oil drilling everywhere, cut taxes on the rich, declare economic war on China, pick Robert Bork as Attorney General, and freeze new regulations.
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• Florida Congressman Allen West, who accused the House Progressive Caucus of being card-carrying commies, concedes his House seat to Democrat Patrick Murphy.  West says he'll now spend more time with his family.  His family says they'll now spend more time finding him another job.

• President Obama travels to Asia. His first stop is Thailand.  After Thailand he travels to Myanmar, which is located between MySpace and MyYahoo (Source: Texas School Board).  Obama and Myanmar pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi work together to come up with a gesture to each other that will give Republicans in the U.S. heart palpitations and make Drudge's blinky light explode:

President Barack Obama greets Aung San Suu Kyi during a stop at her private residence in Rangoon, Burma, Nov. 19, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
They succeed.

• Rush Limbaugh complains that GOP consultants "get rich no matter who wins or who loses."  Just like Rush Limbaugh gets rich no matter who wins or who loses.

• Steven Spielberg's Lincoln pays painstaking attention to detail, right down to the pauses in our 16th president's famous "A House Divided Gangnam Style" speech.

• A new scientific analysis reveals that half of an average liberal's time is spent waiting for conservatives to catch up.

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"President Obama is about to pardon a turkey.  What did the turkey know about Benghazi??!!!"
---Stephen Colbert
-
Clip of Bill O'Reilly: Traditional America as we knew it is gone.  Ward, June, Wally and the Beav…outta here.
Jon Stewart: Yes, Bill.  Obama's re-election marked the moment that traditional America ended; the moment when the family from the 1950s sitcom Leave It To Beaver…ceased to be real.
---The Daily Show
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• President Obama sits down for lunch with vanquished foe Mitt Romney.  With a final parting handshake, Romney leaves the White House grounds in the family station wagon, after which the Secret Service gives the all-clear to let Bo out of his undisclosed location.

• Southerners and East Coasters rejoice as the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season officially ends.  The NOAA's 2013 hurricane season forecast comes out next May.  So other than blizzards, ice storms, tornadoes, nor'easters, mudslides, droughts and Republicans in Congress, we're all clear.

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December
-

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walk along the Colonnade of the White House, Dec. 6, 2012.
December 6: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walk along the Colonnade of the White House,
• The Supreme Court announces that they'll take on both the Prop. 8 and a DOMA appeal, both of which will have an impact on gay marriage in America.  One case they choose to steer clear of: You Never Listen vs. You Never Pick Up Your Socks.

• President Obama pitches his "fiscal cliff" plan to the nation's governors.  Very slowly, so the Republican governors can keep up.

• Jesus returns to wish everyone "Happy Holidays" and is promptly demonized as a crazy pagan commie by Fox News.

By the Numbers:

Amount that collective-bargaining-buster laws cost individual workers in a state that passes them, whether or not they belong to a union: $1,500
(Source: Economic Policy Institute)
Rank of Vermont, Hawaii and New Hampshire on the list of healthiest states in the country: #1, #2, #3
Percent of registered voters who agree that their senator should vote for changing filibuster rules to reduce Republican obstruction: 61%
(Source: PPP)
Percent chance that 2012 will end up being the hottest year on record: 99.7%
(Source: MSNBC)

•  Fiscal cliff negotiations continue.  Republicans claim they've got the upper hand.  Then again, they lie about everything.

• Exactly one month after Obama gets re-elected, the National Christmas Tree gets lit.  But not quite as lit as Republicans get in a hopeless attempt to forget that Obama got re-elected exactly one month ago.

• Maine's new GOP chairman is chosen.  The portly white extremist tea party dude with a cheesy mustache is replaced with a different portly white extremist tea party dude with a cheesy mustache.

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"A lot of dissension among conservatives.  One of the leaders of the Tea Party has resigned after a major split in the movement.  The Tea Party is now divided between angry whites and even angrier whites."
---Conan O'Brien
-
"You've been warned, Harry Reid!  Take away Mitch McConnell's filibuster and he will strike back by obstructing everything you do!  Or let him keep the filibuster so he can obstruct everything you do!"
---Stephen Colbert
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• Prince William and Princess Kate announce that they're having a kid.  No word about the gender, but based on an ultrasound doctors say it looks like either a future king or a future queen holding a scepter.

• Dick Armey, who was instrumental in helping found the tea party movement and all the corporation-funded bullshit it stood for, suddenly cuts all ties with FreedomWorks and the tea party.  Armey leaves only after he is promised an $8 million severence package.  So it turns out there's one moran in the movement with a brain.

• By voting nearly in lockstep to defeat a U.N. treaty that the rest of the world had ratified, December 4 will always be remembered as the day when Senate Republicans sent a strong message to the world's disabled people: DROP DEAD.  Or, as they prefer to call it: a day ending in y.

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"The U.S. Census Bureau says that, by the year 2043, white people will be in the minority in the United States.  By that time, the country will be 15 percent black, 31 percent Hispanic, and 1 percent Republican."
---Jay Leno
-
"Today House Speaker John Boehner struck back with his plan to cut spending by demanding Obama come up with Boehner's plan to cut spending."
---Stephen Colbert
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• Buzzfeed's Matt Stopera posts a photo essay in which he sums up Day 1 of same-sex marriages in Maryland with one word: "Chills."  Or, as the bigots at NOM would call it as they envision their own future as an organization with no future: "Chilling."

• In Michigan, the Mystery Corporate Overlords of the One Percent (ALEC), having purchased the souls of the Republican governor and all but a handful of the House and Senate's Republican lawmakers for a bargain-basement price, take delivery on their prize: a drive-by hit job on public- and private-sector unions.  If you want to look at it from a historical perspective: Republicans tossed the legacy of beloved Michigan icon George Romney into the crapper and flushed it down the drain without so much as a toodle-oo.  Quick, Batman---to the Repeal Machine.

President Barack Obama attends the Sandy Hook interfaith vigil at Newtown High School in Newtown, Conn., Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012.
December 16: President Obama attends the Sandy Hook
interfaith vigil at Newtown High School in Connecticut.
• A mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut leaves 28 dead, most of them students in frst and second grade.  It's the second-deadliest school shooting after Virginia Tech.  A caravan of counselors is immediately dispatched to NRA headquarters to help them deal with the trauma of having to cancel a day's worth of fundraising emails calling for more guns and fewer gun laws.

• Democratic Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, who worked on Capitol Hill since the Eisenhower presidency, dies.  He was 88.  Too young.

By the Numbers:

Number of "Blue Dog" Democrats in the House in January, 2011: 54
Number of "Blue Dog" Democrats in the House in January, 2013: 14
(Source: The Atlantic)
President Obama's approval rating on Nov. 18, 2012: 58%
Americans' approval rating for the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively: 51%, 43
(Source: USA Today/Gallup poll)

• The Mars Rover comes in fourth place to Miss USA at the Miss Universe Pageant in Las Vegas, but not before winning the Soil Collection and Analysis portion of the competition.

• John Boehner's "Plan B" works exactly as advertised: it prevents a big mistake from happening.  Boehner's end-run around the fiscal cliff is killed by his own tea party caucus, thus delivering a strong message to every man, woman and child in America: John Boehner really sucks at his job.

• In the annual mass celebrity checkout event, General Norman Schwarzkopf, Charles Durning, the inventor of the bar code, Jack Klugman, Harry Carey, Jr. and a bunch of other famous people inconvenience us all by dying.  Shame on them.

• Ending the year on a happy note, Maine makes history at 12:01am on December 29th as gay couples start applying for marriage licenses and getting legally wed as a result of the first marriage-equality law created and passed entirely by a state's own citizens.  As Maine goes…?

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Have a safe changing of the year.  I call dibs on throwing the first pie of 2013.  Now here's your Puppy Pic of the Day:

The 2012 White House Holiday Card, designed by artist Larassa Kabel.
The 2012 White House Holiday Card, designed by artist Larassa Kabel.
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