President Obama proposes a federal budget for fiscal year 2012. Overall the proposal reduces expenses but also increases funding for some programs and still results in an annual deficit of more than $1 trillion.
Frank Buckles, America's last surviving World War I veteran and one of only three verified surviving veterans of the war worldwide, dies at the age of 110. Buckles, who lived in West Virginia, served in Europe as an ambulance driver for 11 months until the war's end in November 1918.
The Wisconsin Senate approves a bill that ends most collective bargaining rights for nearly all unions; it was able to pass the legislation without a quorum by removing the budget oriented parts of it (a quorum would have necessitated the presence of at least one of the absent Democratic members).
The world's largest bond fund, Pimco, announces it is dumping all of its U.S. government-related securities, including U.S. Treasurys and agency debt.
March 19 – In light of the continuing attacks on Libyan rebels by Gaddafi forces, military intervention authorized under UNSCR 1973 began as French fighter jets flew reconnaissance flights over Libya.United States Navy ships were said to be preparing for bombardment of Libyan air defenses.
March 24 – According to a landmark study in The New England Journal of Medicine, an orally administered Takeda Pharmaceutical called pioglitazone, marketed as Actos, shows 72 percent effectiveness at the prevention of the development of type 2 diabetes in pre-diabetic subject participants. Ralph DeFronzo, M.D., study leader and professor in the School of Medicine and chief of the diabetes division at The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, stated that "It's a blockbuster study. The 72 reduction is the largest decrease in the conversion rate of pre-diabetes to diabetes that has ever been demonstrated by any intervention, be it diet, exercise or medication.
March 25 – Archaeologists report that they have found new artifacts in an archaeological site in Texas which indicates of human existence in America 15,500 years ago – around 2,000 years earlier than the alleged Clovis culture took place, which until recently was considered the first human culture in North America.
March 29 – More than 1.5 million web sites around the world had been infected by the LizaMoonSQL injection attack spread by scareware since Tuesday. Novice computer users should be warned that when a pop up window opens the best way to insure you are not infected is to close the window from the task manager.
Because of U. S. federal budget woes and a general migration of information from printed to digital format, starting in April 2011, most U.S. workers will no longer receive their annual Social Security benefit estimates in the mail. "In light of the current budget situation, we are suspending the mailing of the annual statements beginning in April," said Social Security spokesman Mark Lassiter. Congress has failed to agree on a budget for the current fiscal year, which means that most federal agencies, including the Social Security Administration, are operating at last year's spending levels. The annual Social Security benefit statement, which contains a summary of an individual's earnings history and estimated retirement benefits at various ages, generally arrives about three months before the worker's birth month. "So folks born in July will likely be the first ones who won't get the annual statement," Lassiter says. However, workers can still get an estimate of their projected retirement benefits based on their actual work history at www.ssa.gov/estimator. Thus, U. S. citizens need to look at their social security account retirement benefit estimator at that link instead of passively waiting each year for a paper statement (which from now on they will not receive) – thus, they should make a bookmark of this government link for yearly use.
A data breach at one of the world's largest providers of marketing-email services, Dallas-based Epsilon, a subsidiary of Alliance Data Systems Corporation, may have enabled unauthorized people to access the names and email addresses for customers of major financial-services, retailing and other companies, (Citigroup Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Barclays PLC, U.S. Bancorp, Capital One Financial Corp., Walgreen Co., New York & Co., Kroger Co., Brookstone, McKinsey & Co., Marriott International Inc., Ritz-Carlton, and TiVo Inc.).
April 18 – Standard & Poor's downgrades its outlook on long-term sovereign debt of the United States to negative from stable for the first time in history, citing "very large budget deficits and rising government indebtedness" as for why it did so. A statement from Standard & Poor's explained its reasoning; "We believe there is a material risk that U. S. policy-makers might not reach an agreement on how to address medium- and long-term budgetary challenges by 2013; if an agreement is not reached…this would…render the U.S. fiscal profile meaningfully weaker than [its peers]". This could possibly mean the US losing its AAA credit rating.
In a first ever, unprecedented meeting with reporters, The U.S. Federal Reserve chairmanBen Bernanke expects less economic growth for 2011 as the economy has been weaker in recent months than he had thought it would be. Bernanke refused to speculate on when he would discontinue with The Federal Reserve's monetary stimulus policy, known as quantitative easing.
Eight American troops and one contractor were shot and killed by an Afghan National Army Air Force pilot. Five Afghan soldiers were also wounded in the attack, for which the Taliban has claimed responsibility.
In order to save the city of Cairo, Illinois from severe flooding, the Army Corps of Engineers blows up the levee on the Missouri side of the Mississippi flooding acres of farmland and forcing some to go homeless. The issue went all the way to the Supreme Court.
May 13 – The federal government predicts that the Medicare hospital fund will run out in 2024, 5 years earlier than the 2029 previously projected. They also predicted that the Social Security trust fund would run out in 2036, instead of the 2037 previously projected.
The U.S. Supreme Court makes a controversial 8–1 decision that the exigent circumstance warrantless searches do not violate the Fourth Amendment when it is believed that there is an imminent destruction of evidence.”. Writing for the majority, Associate Justice Samuel Alito said that citizens are under no obligation to respond when law enforcement knocks at the door or, if they do open the door, allow the police to come in. In cases where no exigent circumstances exist, police officers who desire entry would have to persuade a judge to issue a search warrant. But Alito said, "Occupants who choose not to stand on their constitutional rights but instead elect to attempt to destroy evidence [had] only themselves to blame."
Congress is currently considering whether and by how much to extend the debt ceiling again.[dated info] In a May 16, 2011 letter to Congress, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner declared a “debt issuance suspension period,” which provides the Secretary with certain extraordinary authorities to prevent a breach of the debt limit. Geithner had previously sent letters to Congress requesting an increase in the debt ceiling on January 6, April 4, and May 2, 2011.
May 22 – A tornado touched down in Joplin, Missouri, causing widespread damage. 158 were killed and 1,150 were injured, making it the deadliest U.S. tornado in 64 years.
May 23 – The U.S. Supreme Court makes a controversial 5–4 decision that court-mandated population limit was necessary to remedy a violation of prisoners’ Eighth Amendment constitutional rights (United States Constitution's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment). The court requires that there be a controversial prisoner reduction plan forced on California prison administrators whereby the state reduces its inmate population by tens-of-thousands to ease overcrowding. Writing for the majority, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy said that "after years of litigation, it became apparent that a remedy for the constitutional violations would not be effective absent a reduction in the prison system population."
The U.S. Supreme Court makes a 7–2 decision that inventors do not give up their patent rights to their employers if that employer received federal funding. The ruling went against Stanford University in a dispute of patent infringement over a RocheHIVPCR detection test. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said that "Since 1790, the patent law has operated on the premise that rights in an invention belong to the inventor. The question here is whether the University and Small Business Patent Procedures Act of 1980—commonly referred to as the Bayh-Dole Act—displaces that norm and automatically vests title to federally funded inventions in federal contractors. We hold that it does not."
June 9 – The U.S. Supreme Court makes an 8–0 decision that in patent dispute challenges against inventors the standard of proof required is more than a preponderance of evidence. The ruling upholds a 2009 jury verdict in favor of i4i in a dispute of patent infringement over a Microsoft Wordsoftware editing subprogram. Writing for the majority, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that "Under §282 of the Patent Act of 1952, “[a] patent shall be presumed valid” and “[t]he burden of establishing in-validity of a patent or any claim thereof shall rest on the party asserting such invalidity.” 35 U. S. C. §282. We consider whether §282 requires an invalidity defense to beproved by clear and convincing evidence. We hold that it does."
The U.S. Supreme Court makes a controversial 5–4 decision that, in the interrogations of minors, a Miranda statement must be made. The ruling involves a 13-year-old child under schoolroom police interview. The court ruled in favor of the child, J. D. B., in a dispute of his confession made during a North Carolina theft investigation. Writing for the majority, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that "This case presents the question whether the age of a child subjected to police questioning is relevant to the custody analysis of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U. S. 436 (1966). It is beyond dispute that children will often feel bound to submit to police questioning when an adult in the same circumstances would feel free to leave. Seeing no reason for police officers or courts to blind themselves to that commonsense reality, we hold that a child’s age properly informs the Miranda custody analysis."
The internet domain names can now be any "dot"-suffix. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved the change.
The U.S. Supreme Court makes a controversial 9–0 decision that, in large class-action lawsuits, a cohesive element must exist. The ruling involves the class-action status of a sex discrimination case against Wal-mart containing 1.6 million litigants. The court ruled in favor of Wal-mart, only on the class action status of the dispute of the women's claims. The ruling rejects the lower courts lowering of standards in class-action status certification. Writing for the majority, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia said that "We are presented with one of the most expansive class actions ever. The District Court and the Court of Appeals approved the certification of a class comprising about one and a half million plaintiffs, current and former female employees of petitioner Wal-Mart who allege that the discretion exercised by their local supervisors over pay and promotion matters violates Title VII by discriminating against women. In addition to injunctive and declaratory relief, the plaintiffs seek an award of backpay. We consider whether the certification of the plaintiff class was consistent with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 23(a) and (b)(2)."
June 23 – The U.S. Supreme Court makes a 5–4 decision that, in will lawsuits, bankruptcy state courts are superseded by will courts in matters of core proceedings. The ruling involves the US$1.6 billion estate of J. Howard Marshall, Jr. between Anna Nicole Smith and Pierce Marshall. The court ruled in favor of the estate of the deceased Pierce Marshall and the Texas Probate Court versus the estate of the deceased Vickie Lynn Marshall (a.k.a. Anna Nicole Smith) and the California Bankruptcy Court. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said that "... the Texas state decision controlled, after concluding that the Bankruptcy Court lacked the authority to enter final judgment on a counter claim that Vickie brought against Pierce in her bankruptcy proceeding. 1 To determine whether the Court of Appeals was correct in that regard, we must resolve two issues: (1) whether the Bankruptcy Court had the statutory authority under 28 U. S. C. §157(b) to issue a final judgment on Vickie’s counterclaim; and (2) if so, whether conferring that authority on the Bankruptcy Court is constitutional ... We conclude that, although the Bankruptcy Court had the statutory authority to enter judgment on Vickie’s counterclaim, it lacked the constitutional authority to do so."
The U.S. Supreme Court makes a 7–2 decision that strikes down a California law enacted in 2005 that bans the sale of certain violent video games to children without parental supervision. The Court upholds the lower court decisions and revokes the law, ruling that video games were protected speech under the First Amendment as other forms of media. The ruling involves a freedom of speech case by The Entertainment Merchants Association against a California law. The court ruled in favor of The Entertainment Merchants Association, only on the overly broad status of the statute's wording of the minors' rights. Writing for the majority, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia said that "We consider whether a California law imposing restrictions on violent video games comports with the First Amendment...Because the Act imposes a restriction on the content of protected speech, it is invalid unless California can demonstrate that it passes strict scrutiny—that is, unless it is justified by a compelling government interest and is narrowly drawn to serve that interest. R. A. V., 505 U. S., at 395. The State must specifically identify an “actual problem” in need of solving, Playboy, 529 U. S., at 822–823, and the curtailment of free speech must be actually necessary to the solution, see R. A. V., supra, at 395. That is a demanding standard. “It is rare that a regulation restricting speech because of its content will ever be permissible.” Playboy, supra, at 818. California cannot meet that standard...And finally, the Act’s purported aid to parental authority is vastly overinclusive. Not all of the children who are forbidden to purchase violent video games on their own have parents who care whether they purchase violent video games."
Casey Anthony is sentenced to four years for lying to law enforcement regarding the death of her child Caylee in the U.S. state of Florida but after credit for time served will be released on July 17.
United States debt-ceiling crisis: After the U.S. trading markets close for the weekend, the Standard & Poor's credit rating agency downgrades the credit rating of the United States from AAA to AA+ with a negative outlook. This was the first downgrade of the US credit rating since it was first issued in 1917. Barack Obama's administration had told Standard and Poor's they made a nearly 2 trillion dollar error in their calculations. S&P acknowledged the error, but proceeded with the downgrade anyway.
The computer hacking group Anonymous attacks 70 mostly rural law enforcement websites in the United States. Many of the sheriff's offices outsourced their websites to the media hosting company, Brooks-Jeffrey Marketing. If Brooks-Jeffrey's have been breached, then that would give hackers access to every website that the company hosted.
United States debt-ceiling crisis: Stocks dive again on Europe and economy fears. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 519.83 points, or 4.62% to 10719.94, more than wiping out the gains posted in Tuesday's sizable late-day rally. It was the Dow's fourth triple-digit move in five days and brings its declines since its April peak to more than 16%.
August 28 – Hurricane Irene: A rare hurricane drives North up the mid-atlantic and Northeast coast. 9 million homes lose power. Total Caribbean and U. S. fatalities and flooding damage are 55 dead and US$10 billion respectively. The New England state of Vermont suffers its worst flooding in 100 years.
September 2 – An audit report from the United States Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that last year illegal aliens fraudulently collected $4.2 billion from the Additional Child Tax Credit, a refundable credit meant for working families. The audit found that the means for the crime was as a result of vague U.S. law.
Wildfires rage across Texas. A fire near Bastrop, Texas burns 1500 homes and 34,000 acres (140 km2), breaking the record for most homes destroyed in a single fire in Texas history.
The new format, prime-time Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethons begin without Jerry Lewis. In six hours, the organization, which leads the fight against progressive muscle diseases, broadcast its 46th annual MDA Labor Day Telethon. The 2011 telethon raised $61,491,393 — up from the $58,919,838 achieved during the prior year’s 21½-hour telethon.
Amanda Knox is released from Italian prison following a successful appeal of her murder conviction.
The U.S. Supreme Court announces that it won't hear a much-noted dispute on the width of the "first sale" doctrine in copyright law. The Supreme Court denied Vernor's petition for certiorari – the action affirms the lower court of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit which held that when the transfer of software to the purchaser materially resembled a sale it was, in fact, not a "sale with restrictions on use", giving rise to no right to resell the copy under the first-sale doctrine. As such, Autodesk could pursue an action for copyright infringement against Vernor, who sought to resell used versions of its software on eBay. The Ninth Circuit's decision means that the policy considerations involved in the case might affect motion pictures and libraries as well as sales of used software. The net effect of the Ninth Circuit's ruling (and now the Supreme Court's) is to limit the "You bought it, you own it" principle asserted by such organizations whom would like to resell items.
October 5 – Steve Jobs dies at the age of 56. He was an American computer engineer, who co-founded in 1976 Apple Inc., an electronics producer, which at many times has been the largest company in the world.
November 7 – Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant coach for the Penn State University football team, is arrested on nearly 40 counts of molesting eight boys over a 15-year period. The charges come following a grand jury investigation, which also alleges attempts to cover up the incidents and failure to report the incidents to law enforcement. In the days following the report, longtime coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier (already heavily criticized for alleged inaction) are fired.
December 13 – Iran rejects a U.S. request to return an RQ-170 unmanned reconnaissance aircraft that was recently captured by Iranian forces. Iranian officials claimed they used a cyber attack to capture the aircraft and that they are extracting data from it.