Abroad, an Iranian nuclear scientist is killed in a suspicious bomb blast. Responding to accusations that the United States was behind the killing, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declares “we had nothing to do with it,” adding that if any more Iranian nuclear scientists are killed, “we will have had nothing to do with that, either.”
In the new year’s first major disaster, the Mediterranean cruise ship Costa Concordia goes way off course, hits a rock and sinks. The captain, Francesco Schettino, is immediately relieved of command and placed in charge of the Italian economy.
The economic news remains bad in...
…as American motorists struggle to afford ever-higher gasoline prices, prompting a pledge from President Obama to do “whatever it takes” to bring relief at the pump, “including killing Osama bin Laden again.” Romney responds that he, more than any other candidate, understands the consumers’ pain over this issue, since he owns “at least 45 cars.”
In Spain and Greece, hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets in protest against government-imposed austerity measures necessitated by the fact that for the past five years pretty much nobody in Spain or Greece has done anything except take to the streets in protest.
Tensions between the United States and Pakistan mount after eyewitnesses in Waziristan claim that an unmanned U.S. Predator drone robbed a convenience store. Meanwhile, in what international observers see as a red flag, Iran places an ad on Craigslist stating “WE PAY CASH FOR NUCLEAR BOMB MATERIALS.”
In sports, a little-known athlete named Jeremy Lin scores numerous points in a professional basketball game despite having graduated from Harvard. Instantly, he becomes a bigger international star than all of the Kardashians combined. His image appears everywhere — on TV, magazine covers, T-shirts, etc. — and for a brief period he is the leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination. Then, suddenly — Poof! — he vanishes without a trace. Looking back on it, we’re not 100 percent sure that “Jeremy Lin” ever really existed.
In other sports news, Indianapolis, shedding its “hick town” image, shows that it is truly a world-class city as it hosts Super Bowl XLVI, in which the Giants seal a dramatic 21-17 victory when Ahmad Bradshaw, with 57 seconds left, reaches the end zone by vaulting over a cow that wandered onto the field.
Speaking of dramatic, in…
…the endless slog for the Republican presidential nomination reaches “Super Tuesday,” with voters going to the polls in 12 states, including New Hampshire and South Carolina, which have already held primaries but can no longer remember whom they voted for. It is now clear that Romney has won the nomination, but Gingrich vows to continue his campaign, lurching gamely onward despite the tranquilizer darts fired into his neck by his own advisors.
In Florida, the shooting death of Trayvon Martin sets off a passionate, weeks-long national debate among politicians, journalists, pundits, talk-show hosts, activists, celebrities, bloggers, anti-gun groups, pro-gun groups, Al Sharpton and millions of ordinary citizens, not a single one of whom knows what actually happened.