2018 got us in our feelings. You flossed. You hopefully didn’t eat a Tide Pod. Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson came and went. Megyn Kelly and Roseanne Barr just went. Serena Williams is still the coolest cat in the game. Plastic straws got the boot. LeBron James moved out west and set up Shop. Beychella was the new Coachella. Kim and Kanye went to Washington. No comedian can follow Michelle Wolf. Kylie Jenner made history. Khloe had a baby with a side of drama. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle said ‘I do’ and have a royal baby on the way. Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra also tied the knot. So did Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth. Meek Mill got out of jail. Alex Jones got banned. Canada was feeling green, eh. Melania Trump really doesn’t care, do u? You can count Oprah out of the 2020 race. Ruth Bader Ginsburg needs to be bubble wrapped. Childish Gambino headlined all the think pieces. Kendrick Lamar won a Pulitzer Prize. The yodeling kid went viral. Authorities found the Golden State Killer. Hawaii had a false alarm. Your friend who hates romaine lettuce might've been onto something. IHOb was an IHOrrible idea. Elon Musk and MoviePass were a mess. Instagram scared us. The FDA said ‘hey Juul, don’t make it bad.’ QAnon raised lots of Qs. Some of us have BDE. Banksy said ‘you need to cut it.’ And Space Force is going to infinity and beyond. But why stop there…
President Trump...as in the one putting America First. And saying ‘bye’ to international obligations like the Iran nuclear deal and the UN Human Rights Council. He moved the US’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. He doubled down on the country’s friendship with Saudi Arabia. He thinks some places are “sh*thole countries.” He had a historic handshake with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He ordered the US to pull troops out of Syria and Afghanistan. And made his first visit to a combat zone. There are ongoing questions about his ties to Russia. On the biz front: his admin intro’d NAFTA 2.0. And issued tariffs on tariffs to try to get the US better trade deals. The stock market’s been a little nauseous from the ups and downs. Then there was domestic news: the government is partially shut down...making it the third shutdown this year. The admin intro’d a zero-tolerance policy toward people crossing the border illegally – causing major backlash when families started being separated. He beefed up border control to try to stop migrant caravans from crossing into the US. It’s unclear what’s next for DACA. Or birthright citizenship. Or the wall. He signed a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill. And the admin eased up on some environmental regulations. We learned not to get too attached to people: Jim Mattis, John Kelly, Jeff Sessions, Nikki Haley, Rex Tillerson, Hope Hicks, Scott Pruitt, Don McGahn, and HR McMaster are out. Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, Gina Haspel, and Matthew Whitaker are in. Things got Stormy for a while. Comey told it all. Jim got Acosta’d.
Midterms...the one with the highest estimated turnout in more than 100 years. There were a bunch of firsts – like the first Muslim women and first Native American women elected to Congress, the first openly gay man elected as governor, and others. More congresswomen were elected than ever before. Florida still doesn’t understand elections. Neither does North Carolina...or legislators in Michigan and Wisconsin. Next up, a split Congress: Democrats took the House. Republicans have a few more Senate seats. Here’s what that means for some issues you care about.
#MeToo...as in you saw women wearing black saying ‘Time’s Up.’ You saw men saying ‘not guilty.’ Harvey Weinstein is facing charges. So is Kevin Spacey. Bill Cosby’s in prison. Larry Nassar could be there forever. Jeffrey Epstein is somehow not. Les Moonves and Jeffrey Tambor are out of a job. Hoda Kotb has a better one. Meanwhile, #MeToo was front and center in this year’s SCOTUS hearings. Speaking of...
Brett Kavanaugh...President Trump’s second addition to the Supremes after Justice Kennedy put in his notice. Kavanaugh was accused by CA professor Dr Christine Blasey Ford of sexually assaulting her decades ago. Other women came forward with stories, too. Kavanaugh denies them all. There were hearings. And protests. And lots and lots of opinions. Some thought he deserved the benefit of the doubt. Others felt we should #BelieveWomen. A lot of people were reminded of Anita Hill. Kavanaugh got the job. And is scooching the bench to the right in a position he’ll have for life.
Climate change…as in the world is getting hotter and something needs to change. Now. You may have seen the UN report that said we have 12 years to massively cut greenhouse gas emissions, or else. Or maybe you saw the report that predicted climate change could cost the US economy hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century. Or maybe the one that said countries aren’t on track with their goals to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and that their goals are too low to begin with. What could help: things like carbon taxes and lowering coal use.
Social media fails...as in it’s all fun and games until companies start giving out your personal info and spreading fake news. You may have seen the heads of big tech companies testifying on Capitol Hill. Facebook’s in trouble for Cambridge Analytica, going after critics, and how its platform was used to fuel the violence in Myanmar. Also trending this year: Twitter's ongoing issues with fake news and alleged political bias. Google’s employees took the co to task for how it handles sexual misconduct cases, its work with the Pentagon, and the search engine project in China it hasn’t ruled out yet (hi, censorship).
PS: GV (formerly Google Ventures) is a minority investor in theSkimm.
Russia…the one with the meddling problems. And not just with elections. This year it also fired on Ukrainian ships near Crimea – and Ukraine issued a 30-day martial law. Russia was accused of poisoning an ex-spy and his daughter in the UK. And the country re-elected President Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, Putin and President Trump ran away from it all and met up in Finland – which had many people raising eyebrows. Mostly…
Robert Mueller…as in the special counsel could wrap up his Trump-Russia investigation soon. What we know: Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen is guilty of violating campaign finance laws. And of lying about a potential plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort pleaded guilty to bank and tax fraud related to his time as a lobbyist for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn got his sentencing pushed back so he can keep cooperating with prosecutors. And Russia used social media to influence the 2016 election, specifically targeting black voters. What we don’t know yet: if/how Trump is involved in all of this.
US-China trade war...as in after tit-for-tat tariffs for months, President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping decided to pump the brakes with a tariff ceasefire until 2019. Trade talks almost hit a roadblock after the CFO of Huawei (a major Chinese telecom co with alleged ties to China’s gov) was arrested. But the US and China keep on keeping on, and are back on those trade talks.
Brexit...as in the UK has until March to figure out a plan to divorce the EU. Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote to remain the lucky person who gets to hash out the details. Meanwhile, no one can agree on the fine print.
Taking a stand…as in teachers from West Virginia to Washington said ‘class dismissed’ to demand bigger paychecks and more school funding. Prison inmates across the US refused to work and went on hunger strikes to call for better pay and conditions. Hundreds of thousands of people around the US turned out for the second Women’s March. The Parkland, FL students took action and marched for their lives. People in France said ‘oui aren’t happy’ about the gov’s proposed fuel tax hikes. And Israelis challenged the gov to protect women against violence.
Tensions in America...as in videos of people yelling at Muslims and Spanish speakers went viral. The deadly police shootings of Stephon Clark, Antwon Rose Jr, Thurman Blevins, Botham Jean, and Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr made headlines. The FBI says hate crimes in the US are on the rise. There was a spike in anti-Semitic incidents. Starbucks changed its bathroom policy. The NFL changed its anthem policy. And Colin Kaepernick and Nike decided to ‘Just Do It’ and take a stance.
The far-right...as in nationalism is singing ‘can we get much higher?’ around the world. In Italy, the country voted in an anti-EU, anti-immigrant gov. And approved measures to roll back protections for migrants. German Chancellor Angela Merkel – who’s gotten pushback for her open border policies for migrants – is passing on the party chairwoman baton and isn’t running for re-election in 2021. Sweden still can’t get its gov together after a far-right group gained more seats than expected in its election. Belgium’s PM resigned after getting pushback for supporting the UN’s pact on migration. And Brazil elected right-wing presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro.
The Catholic Church...as in a Pennsylvania grand jury dropped a bombshell report, saying hundreds of priests sexually abused more than 1,000 children going back decades. Cue other states and the DOJ saying ‘we’re looking into this too.’ Pope Francis and the Vatican still haven’t come up with a game plan to end the systemic problem. But they’re hosting a global summit in February, and could announce changes then. We’ll be here, waiting. In the meantime, the pope wants sexual predators to turn themselves in.
The opioid crisis...as in it’s still very much a problem. So much so that the surgeon general recommends carrying Narcan. Kentucky and Florida told pharmacies to lawyer up. The DOJ announced its largest crackdown on healthcare fraud ever. And Congress put on its bipartisan hat and passed a sweeping package to fight the epidemic.
Violence in America...as in the deadly shootings around the country: the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, FL. The high school shooting in Santa Fe, TX. The Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, MD. The synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, PA. The shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, CA. The political divide also took a scary and violent turn before the midterms. 3-D printed guns tried – and failed – to be a thing. And the Trump admin banned those bump stocks you heard about in 2017.
Mother nature...as in Hawaii’s months-long volcano eruption. And the volcano eruption in Guatemala that killed more than 100 people. California had its deadliest wildfire ever. Greece had its deadliest fire season in more than a decade. Hurricanes Michael and Florence hit the East Coast. Typhoon Mangkhut killed dozens. And Indonesia’s natural disasters killed thousands. This year’s disasters were not only tragic but very, very costly.
North Korea…the country that made us all think we were on the brink of WWIII. Now, not so much. That’s because President Trump and Kim Jong Un shook hands and agreed to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. Great, except all signs are pointing to the North still building up its nuclear program. And it's not giving up its nukes unless the US gets rid of its "nuclear threat" first.
Jamal Khashoggi...the Saudi journalist and dissident who was murdered while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Everyone pointed the finger at Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as being behind the killing. Including the CIA, which looked into it and still thinks it was ordered by the crown prince. President Trump said ‘maybe he did, maybe he didn’t’ – and got a lot of heat for letting the country get away with a slap on the wrist and putting business interests first. US lawmakers have been trying to take matters into their own hands. TBD how that goes. Khashoggi and other journalists were named Time Person of the Year.
Yemen...the years-long civil war may come to an end soon. Yemen’s gov has been fighting against Houthi rebels. And it's led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The gov has had its eye on the rebel-held main port city of Hodeida. But fighting there risks crucial aid and food, and human lives. Millions of people are at risk of famine. But the two sides have been talking things out. So far, they’ve agreed on a ceasefire and a prisoner exchange. They’re expected to continue talks next month.
Venezuela…as in the country has been facing a crisis for years. And it's still going on. President Nicolas Maduro won another term. Although some called it a sham. Maduro survived an alleged assassination attempt. The currency is basically worthless. There's a shortage of food, water, and other basics. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled the country. And if that wasn't enough, inflation hit 1,300,000% this year.
Nicaragua…as in earlier this year, the gov said it was making some big cuts to social security benefits. People protested and President Daniel Ortega scrapped the plan. But the gov cracked down hard on the opposition. Hundreds were killed, thousands were injured, thousands fled. People have been calling on the prez to step down. And the UN accused the government of human rights violations in dealing with protestors and told it to back off. The gov apparently says ‘everything is back to normal,’ everyone else is saying ‘not really.’
All the balls...as in France became the World Cup champ for the first time in 20 years. Chloe Kim rocked the 2018 Winter Olympics. The Golden State Warriors are the best on the court. Everyone knows who Naomi Osaka is now. Justify won the Triple Crown. Patrick Reed won the Masters. The Philadelphia Eagles are the Super Bowl champs. Kareem Hunt is persona non grata. College basketball recruiting is as sketchy as ever. Urban Meyer is calling it quits. The University of Maryland had a lot of explaining to do. USA Gymnastics is still under fire. The Washington Capitals brought their first Stanley Cup home. And Boston fans are still the most.
Things we watched…“To All the Boys I've Loved Before.” “Queer Eye.” “Wild Wild Country.” “Salt Fat Acid Heat.” “Set It Up.” “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj.” “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.” "Big Mouth." "The Haunting of Hill House." "Sierra Burgess Is a Loser." “Roma.” “Sharp Objects.” “Black Panther.” “A Star Is Born.” “Crazy Rich Asians.” “A Quiet Place.” “The Hate U Give.” “The Handmaid's Tale.” “BlacKkKlansman.” “Sorry to Bother You.” “Insecure.” "The Favourite." "Creed II." "Homecoming." "Bohemian Rhapsody." "This Is Us." "Eighth Grade." "Succession." "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" "The Good Place." “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
Things we read..."The Immortalists." "Fruit of the Drunken Tree." And a lot more.
Companies making money moves…as in Spotify and Dropbox made their stock market debut. Apple became the first public US company valued at one trillion dollars. Amazon is saying 'homes sweet homes' to New York and Virginia. Claire’s, GE, Sears, and David's Bridal are hoping to put 2018 behind them. Meanwhile, Disney and Fox, Comcast and Sky, CVS Health and Aetna, and AT&T and Time Warner are learning each other's love languages.
PS: 21st Century Fox is a minority investor in theSkimm.
People we’ll miss… George HW and Barbara Bush. John McCain. Aretha Franklin. Mac Miller. Stephen Hawking. Kate Spade. Anthony Bourdain. Stan Lee. Linda Brown. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Burt Reynolds. Avicii. Neil Simon. Billy Graham. Penny Marshall. Richard Overton.
Thai cave rescue…as in the story that captivated the world. A group of 12 boys plus their soccer coach got trapped in a cave earlier this year. Cue international panic and everyone watching their rescue. A diver died when he ran out of oxygen trying to get back from the cave. After more than two weeks, all the boys and their coach were safely rescued.
Data…so hot right now. The EU had everyone googling 'what is GDPR?' And the US said goodbye to net neutrality. Meanwhile, Marriott, Panera Bread, Facebook, Google, and other companies are going through training on 'how to keep customers' data safe.'
The Yanny vs Laurel debate...it wasn't over, it still isn't over.
Thank u 2018, next.