This week saw the resurfacing of an unfortunate episode that many had thought was over, or had at least conveniently forgotten about. I'm talking, of course, about our still-sputtering economy. On Wednesday, President Obama gave what was billed as a major speech, in which he called on Congress to end the ongoing partisan gridlock and do something for the middle class, but offered few specifics on how to make this happen. In reality, the speech was mostly a pre-emptive strike in anticipation of upcoming budget and debt ceiling battles. But few in the country were paying attention, too caught up in the latest revelations in the summer's worst sequel (yes, worse than The Hangover Part III), Weinergate II: The Rise of Carlos Danger. The outpouring of ink and airtime provoked by some naked selfies and sleazy sexts proved once and for all that what America's job crisis really needs to move to the top of the agenda is a good sex scandal.
Happy New Year, HuffPosters! This out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new weekend is my favorite time of the year -- and the perfect opportunity for cleaning out our internal hard drives of all the accumulated detritus from 2011, including Anthony Weiner's photographic skills, Charlie Sheen's "winning" streak, Rick Perry's "Oops" moment, Kim Kardashian's 72-day marriage, 9-9-9, Tebowing, Carmageddon, Newt Gingrich blaming his affairs on his passion for America, the Raptureless May 21, and the president sending an end of the year fundraising email to tens of thousands with the subject line "Hey"... As we leave 2011 behind, let's drop the faux intimacy, clear our personal hard drives of any hurts, grudges, and disappointments and start the New Year with a clean slate -- ready to welcome all the surprises, opportunities, and, yes, challenges, 2012 will bring. Let's celebrate the spirit of renewal that is the essence of new beginnings -- and that the world so desperately needs.