The year began with a confident inauguration in Albany and continued rancor followed immediately by violence and tragedy on the national political stage.

Act two moved to foreign lands. Japan suffered a devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant meltdown. Courage, jubilation and hope marked popular uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa while European states tried to keep their economies from going under water. And US forces cornered and killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

Nature continued to rise up against mankind's feckless stewardship with every manner of natural disaster: Texas had wildfires and Missouri tornadoes to name two. Across upstate New York it was floods and landslides. Meanwhile, plans ground ahead for the toxic extraction of methane from the Marcellus shale, and a large oil pipeline to bisect the country across the prairie. In South Africa, a summit aimed at preventing the consequent suffering of global climate change drew far less media attention than the consequent suffering of global climate change.

Throughout the year, our elected representatives in Congress, while showing no aptitude whatsoever for legislating, at least kept us entertained. In political and geographic balance, two New York congressmen flamed out spectacularly with the help of computers. Governor Cuomo proved far more adept in governance, signing a long-overdue same-sex marriage law, revamping New York's economic development system and even breaking a campaign pledge not to raise taxes on millionaires in a manner that few (certainly not Wall Street occupiers) could object to.

Here is a selection of cartoons to mark the passing of 2011.