2012

The year was dominated by presidential campaigning, with the first half given over to a series of GOP primaries pitting an array of predominantly white, predominantly male alternatives to an increasingly conservative Mitt Romney. The party of the older white guy made it clear from early on that it didn't much like women. One woman in particular, Mother Nature, through a proxy named Frankenstorm Sandy, cast her vote early in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, deflating Republican Party aspirations.

Still, nationwide it continued to be white men who turned into the worst monsters this year. In incident after incident heavily armed men mowed down scores of innocents in mass shootings.

At the capitol in Albany, Governor Cuomo's annual budget bet heavily on the spread of legalized gambling across the state. The centerpiece of that effort was to be the conversion of Aqueduct Racetrack into a gaming den/horse track/convention center. The idea stumbled out of the gate and was put down in the legislature.

A corrupted reapportionment of legislative districts in New York's Assembly and Senate yielded an extra Senate district designed to thwart a democratic leadership takeover. After the GOP failed to gain a clear majority at the polls, a dissident band of unhappy Democrats threw in with the Senate GOP, guaranteeing discord and dysfunction throughout the upcoming session. Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Silver got caught buying the silence of female target of Assemblyman Vito Lopez's sexual harassment.

Elsewhere, the debate over hydrofracking continued throughout the year, with a final decision expected once people stop talking about the monster storms our culture has spawned through the overuse of cheap and abundant fossil fuels.

But it was Superstore Sandy that captured most of the attention in the final months of the year. The toll on Long Island, Staten Island, Lower Manhattan and across the Lower Hudson River counties totaled tens of billions of dollars—money that may not be available from the GOP Congress after the whole economy is tossed off the fiscal cliff.

With few exceptions (notably New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who took forceful stands on issues ranging from gun control to global warming and energy policy to the health impact of large sodas) our elected politicians seemed powerless in the face of big money lobbies and PACs on the major issues of the day.

Here is a selection of cartoons to mark the passing of 2012, a regrettable year.