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A month in review: From Jerry Brown's budget plan to the Tucson massacre to the powerful protests that began with the help of Twitter

January 31, 2011 |  9:33 pm

Isn't January the month for recuperating after the holidays, a month when we navel-gaze and plan our goals for the upcoming year? Yeah, there was no time for that.

Arnold Schwarzenegger bid adieu as governor of California, but not before commuting Esteban Nunez's sentence, a move that reeked of dirty politics and devastated the parents of the victim in the Nunez case.

Jerry Brown took over as governor or California, hitting the ground running with a plan to clean up the state's budget mess, including major hits to the University of California and redevelopment agencies. Readers stressed that they were "taxed out," though perhaps there isn't so much to worry about on that front. We invited readers to suggest alternatives to Brown's plan, and when we didn't get anything constructive, we offered this.

The Sudanese voted on whether the country should be divided into two separate countries -- north and south -- and George Clooney introduced a surveillance system to help facilitate peace in the country, before contracting malaria.

John Boehner became speaker of the House. And then he cried.

The House hosted a reading of the Constitution -- you know, as a refresher for lawmakers who should probably already have a handle on it.

Sen. Joe Lieberman announced his retirement. We decided we might come to miss him.

Republicans railed against what they call "Obamacare." Our editorial board continued to push back. Republicans also wouldn't go along with President Obama's wish to end big tax breaks for big oil. And they proposed a return to workplace raids, which the editorial board thinks is not the answer for immigration reform.

Remember the whole "Huck Finn" scandal, in which NewSouth Books in Alabama whitewashed its edition of the Mark Twain classic by removing all 219 instances of the "N-word" from the text?

It turns out, that was only the tip of iceberg in the debate over language. Immediately after the Tucson shootings, the conversation turned to level of  vitriol in our political rhetoric and the intemperate reactions of armchair commentators. Also, Sarah Palin tried to redefine the term "blood libel," but failed.

During this time, parents became obsessed with 'Tiger mom' Amy Chua and outraged over MTV's new show "Skins."

We caught up with Haiti on the one-year anniversary since its devastating earthquake. Just as we were shining a light on the country's political chaos, former dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier showed up to make things more complicated. We suggested he leave -- immediately.

The U.S. and China took steps to mend fences, and, though progress was made, human rights became a sticking point for many who felt the issue should have been a priority.

Obama's approval ratings climbed, especially after his moving speech at the Tucson memorial, which was followed by his State of the Union address, in which he called for austerity and innovation.

The day after, however, the Congressional Budget Office released a report with its projections for the fiscal 2011 deficit: Yikes!

Middle East peace suffered another setback, thanks to Al Jazeera's version of WikiLeaks.

Wikipedia celebrated its 10th birthday.

The Stuxnet worm showed us our vulnerability in the cyber battlefield.

In the media world, Comcast began digesting NBC Universal.

Locally, Los Angeles was declared the rudest city. Whatever. We were too busy ramping up our endorsements for the March 8 city election to care.

Fitness guru Jack LaLanne died, inspiring quite a reaction among our readers. And we paid tribute to the late Peace Corps founder Sargent Shriver with a moving Op-Ed article by Schwarzenegger, his son-in-law.

And we were reminded of the power of social media. Reference: Tunisia, which created a domino effect in Egypt.

-- Alexandra Le Tellier

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