Four for 2010


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It’s time for the lists. I usually post a few during the last week of the year as they traditionally pop up like mushrooms. You know — the Ten Best, Ten Worst, the Dirty Dozen, the Top Five, yadda. Everybody jumps on board with the lists.

If you want the bad news, there are lists out there for you. There’s the top ten ways the Right will squash our recovery and the ten worst lies from Wall Street. There are more linked in the reads.

I’m posting the least toxic today — I want to keep a good thought going into this weekend, my weekly on Saturday [look for it here] is about how much we’ve accomplished in the last two years. The more we focus on what we CAN do, the more what seems almost impossible loses its momentum to deter us. There’s power in that.

But let’s not put too fine a point on it, since a couple of the reads — like a Morford of game-changers and the rare David Corn piece that amused — are of the stuff we ponder late into the night. And if this isn’t a season to ponder deeply, I don’t know what is.

Just four easy reads today.

Wishing you a safe, sane and fun New Years Eve — and a 2011 brimming with blessing.

Jude

Ten Most Hopeful Stories of 2010
Sarah van Gelder, founder/editor of YES! Magazine via Truthout
22 December 2010

There was plenty of disappointment and hardship this year. But the year also brought opportunities for transformation.

It was a tough year. The economy continued its so-called jobless recovery with Wall Street anticipating another year of record bonuses while most Americans struggle to get work and hold on to their homes.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continued, and spilled over into Pakistan and Yemen, and more American soldiers died by suicide than fighting in Afghanistan.

And it was a year of big disasters, some of them indicators of the growing climate crisis.

World leaders, under the sway of powerful corporations and banks, have been unable to confront our most pressing challenges, and one crisis follows another.

Nonetheless, events from 2010 also contain the seeds of transformation. None of the following stories is enough on its own to change the momentum. But if we the people build and strengthen social movements, each of of these stories points to a piece of the solution.

1. Climate Crisis Response Takes a New Direction. After the failure of Copenhagen, Bolivia hosted a gathering of indigenous people, climate activists, and grassroots leaders from the global South—those left out of the UN-sponsored talks. Their solution to the climate crisis is based on a new recognition of the rights of Mother Earth. Gone are notions of trading the right to pollute (which gives a whole new meaning to the term “toxic assets”). Instead, life has rights, and we can learn ways to live a good life that doesn’t require degrading our home.

The official climate agreement that came out of Cancún was weak and disappointing, although it did represent a continued commitment to work to address the challenge. But the peoples’ mobilizations, and the solutions born in Cochabamba, continue to energize thousands.

Meanwhile, Californians voted to uphold their ambitious climate law, despite millions spent by oil companies to rescind the measure in November’s election. And cities—Seattle, for one—are moving ahead with their own plans to reduce, and even zero-out, their climate emissions.

2. Wikileaks Lifts the Veil. The release of secret documents by Wikileaks has lifted the veil on U.S. government actions around the world. While the insights themselves don’t change anything, they do offer grist for a national dialogue on our role in the world—especially at a time when our federal budget crisis may require scaling back on our hundreds of foreign military bases, our protracted overseas wars, and our budget-busting weapons programs. Likewise, the traumas inflicted on civilian populations and on our own military are spurring fresh thinking. We now have data points for a bracing, reality-based conversation on the future of war—the kind of conversation that makes democracy a living reality.

3. Momentum is Building for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons. The ratification of the START Treaty is an important step in the right direction. And the National Council of Churches, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and others from across the political spectrum have joined UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in calling for an even more ambitious goal: the end of nuclear weapons.

4. Resilience is the New Watchword. As familiar sources of security erode, people are rebuilding their communities to be green and resilient. Detroit, a city abandoned by industry and many of its former residents, now has over 1,000 community gardens, a six-block-long public market with some 250 independent vendors, and a growing support network among small businesses. Around the country, faith groups and others are forming Common Security Clubs to help members weather the recession and consider more life-sustaining economic models. Communities are becoming Transition Towns as a means to prepare for breakdowns in society that may result from any combination of the triple crises of climate change, an end to cheap fossil fuels, and an economy on the skids.

5. Health Care—Still in Play. The passage of the Obama health care package seemed to lock us into a reform package that maintains the expensive and bureaucratic role of private insurance and props up the mega-profits of the pharmaceuticals industry. But the story is not over. The decision by U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson to strike down the individual mandate in the health care reform may begin unraveling the new health care system.

As insurance premiums continue their steep climb, some are advocating expansion of Medicare to cover more people—or everyone. Thom Hartmann points out this could be done with a simple majority vote in Congress—expanding Medicare to everyone was what its founders had in mind in the first place, he says.

Vermont is exploring instituting a statewide single-payer healthcare system. The United States may wind up following Canada’s path to universal coverage, which began when the province of Saskatchewan made the switch to single-payer health care, and the rest of Canada, seeing the many benefits, followed suit.

6. Corporate Power Challenged. Small businesses are distancing themselves from the Chamber of Commerce, which promotes the interests of mega-corporations over Main Street businesses. And there are more direct confrontations to corporate power. The citizens of Pittsburgh, Penn., passed a law prohibiting natural gas “fracking,” and declaring that the rights of people and nature supersede the rights of corporations. Other towns and cities are adopting similar laws. The biggest challenge will be undoing the damage of the Citizens United decision, which opened the floodgates to wealthy special interests to spend what they like on elections. Groups around the country are gearing up to take on the issue, with a constitutional amendment just one of the potential fixes.

7. A local economy movement is taking off as it becomes clear that the corporate economy is a net drain on our well-being, the environment, communities, and even jobs. A “Move Your Money” campaign inspired thousands to close their accounts with predatory big banks, and instead, to open accounts at credit unions and locally owned banks. Schools, hospitals, local retailers, and families are increasingly demanding local food. Farmers markets are spreading. Independent, local stores have huge cachet as people look local for a sense of community. And the experience of one state with a budget surplus and very low unemployment is capturing the imagination of other states—North Dakota’s state bank is creating a buzz.

8. Cooperatives Make a Comeback. A new model for local, just, and green job creation is gaining national attention. Leaders in Cleveland, Ohio, created worker-owned cooperatives with some of the strongest, local institutions (a hospital and university) promising to be their customers. The result: formerly low-income workers now own shares in their workplace and earn family-supporting wages. They can plan for their families’ futures, knowing that their jobs can be counted on not to flee the country. The model is spreading, and people now talk about how to bring “the Cleveland model” to their cities.

9. A Turn Away from Homophobia. The revoking of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is just the most dramatic sign that the country has turned away from homophobia. A widespread anti-bullying campaign sparked by the suicide of Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi led to an “It Gets Better” campaign with videos created by celebrities and others.

10. Social Movements Still Our Best Hope. Thousands gathered in Detroit in June for the second US Social Forum, an event that galvanized grassroots social movements from across the United States. In Toronto, the meeting of the G20 was greeted by thousands of protesters, many of whom were subjected to police beatings and gassing. The Cancún climate talks brought caravans of farmer/activists and global justice activists as well as greens to press for a meaningful response to the climate crisis.

Social movements are alive and well, even though they are disparaged or ignored by the corporate media, which choose to instead shower attention on the well-funded Tea Party. And movement leaders are connecting the dots between Wall Street’s plunder, growing poverty, and the climate crisis, and setting priorities instead for people and the planet.

The turbulence of our lives is increasing, spurred by the crises in the economy and the environment, growing inequality and debt, military overreach, deferred peacetime investments, and species extinctions. Turbulent times are also times when rigid belief systems and institutions are shaken, and change is more possible. Not automatic, and definitely not easy, but possible. The question of our time is how we use these openings to work for a better world for all life. ++

Top 5 Overlooked Stories of 2010
Mark Clayton, Ron Scherer, Amanda Paulson and Chris Gaylord , The Christian Science Monitor via Truthout
Sunday 26 December 2010

History, it seems, will remember 2010 in the United States as the year of health-care reform, the Gulf oil spill, and the tea party movement. But the most widely covered stories are clearly not the only events that could shape the future of the nation.

Here we note five overlooked stories of 2010 – developments that might have received some press coverage but perhaps not as much as they should have, given the impact they could have on various aspects of American life in the years ahead.

1. Stuxnet

Computer viruses that steal identities are nothing new. But 2010 introduced the world to something potentially far more dangerous: Stuxnet.

Stuxnet is the world’s first publicly known cybersuperweapon – a computer program that is able to cross the digital divide and destroy a real-world target. In the case of Stuxnet, that target seems to have been Iranian nuclear facilities. But future variants could be used to hammer US critical infrastructure, too, the Congressional Research Service warned this month.

Discovered in June by a Belarus antivirus company and later revealed as a cyberweapon by a German researcher, Stuxnet was designed to control and destroy industrial control systems. It could be activated merely by plugging a thumb drive loaded with the malware into the target computer system.

Many experts worry that a “son of Stuxnet” clone could make an appearance in 2011. “My greatest fear is that we are running out of time to learn our lessons,” Michael Assante, an industrial control systems security expert, told a congressional hearing on Stuxnet in November. “Stuxnet … may very well serve as a blueprint for similar but new attacks on control system technology.”

Stuxnet required a team of experts working clandestinely for months or more to build it – and cost millions of dollars to produce and test. Only a few nations – Israel, the US, China, France, or Britain – could create it, many say. Now a rich terrorist could buy a Stuxnet variant.

The original Stuxnet was a cyber “guided missile” that unleashed its digital warhead only under very specific conditions (believed by a number of experts to be part of Iran’s nuclear plant designs). The son of Stuxnet might not be so selective. If retooled slightly, a Stuxnet clone could be made to detonate and damage a wide swath of critical infrastructure facilities – water, power, energy, and transportation facilities, for instance.

It “threatens to cause harm to many activities deemed critical to the basic functioning of modern society,” the Congressional Research Service reported Dec. 9.

“Depending on the severity of the attack, the interconnected nature of the affected critical infrastructure facilities, and government preparation and response plans, entities and individuals relying on these facilities could be without life sustaining or comforting services for a long period of time,” the study’s summary states. “The resulting damage to the nation’s critical infrastructure could threaten many aspects of life, including the government’s ability to safeguard national security interests.”

2. TARP is Cheap

In the fall of 2008, as the US financial system teetered on the precipice of collapse, the Bush administration announced it would inject $250 billion directly into the banking system.

Called the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the program quickly swelled to $700 billion, with Uncle Sam owning large chunks of many of the major US financial institutions, the auto industry, and AIG (a giant insurance company).

TARP was instantly unpopular, the butt of jokes on late-night television and reviled by both political parties as a bailout for fat-cat Wall Street executives. There were predictions of huge losses, which would come out of the pockets of taxpayers.

That is not how it has actually turned out.

In a report at the end of November, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the losses to the taxpayer will be $25 billion, mostly from investments in the auto sector and AIG.

“TARP was probably one of the most successful financial crisis cushioning programs ever executed,” says Brian Bethune, chief financial economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Mass. “It is astounding the costs came down that low.”

Some of the banks, such as Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, quickly paid back the loans with interest. In an October opinion article in the Washington Post, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Uncle Sam had received $200 billion, plus a profit of $28 billion. Since then, billions more have piled in, the government has reduced its stake in General Motors to 33 percent, and AIG has announced a plan to pay back all the money it borrowed.

Even some of the fiscal hawks now see TARP as a successful effort. Retiring Sen. Judd Gregg (R) of New Hampshire, interviewed on MSNBC, called the program “the most significant thing that’s happened in the last five to 10 years.” He added, “I think the program worked the way it was supposed [to].”

The TARP program does not include the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Mr. Geithner has estimated their losses as less than 1 percent of gross domestic product, or $150 billion.

3. Common School Standards

In the US, it has always been an accepted fact that if a student moves from Georgia to Minnesota – or from any state to any other state – she can expect a potentially major shift in the way she is taught, what she is taught, and how she is tested on what she knows.

In 2010, the US took a significant step toward changing that situation: It created common, rigorous standards that are on track to be adopted by 44 states and the District of Columbia.

These standards are intended to influence curricula, teacher training, and textbooks, and spur the creation of better, more sophisticated tests. By most accounts, these standards are good ones, and go a long way toward addressing the oft-cited US problem of teaching that is “a mile wide and an inch deep.”

This is the first time in US history that states seem serious about having one set of universal standards – something that’s commonplace in most countries, but has always been anathema to the decentralized American education system.

“Big, modern countries in a flattening, shrinking world don’t have separate academic expectations for kids living in different portions of their country,” says Chester Finn, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and a longtime advocate for common standards. “We also have a mobile population of people that are as likely to live in Portland, Ore., as Portland, Maine.”

Though overshadowed by the Obama administration’s Race to the Top education grants and education reform battles in cities like Washington, common standards could be a key step toward meaningful reforms to improve US education, advocates say.

Mr. Finn, who was among those pleasantly surprised by the overall excellence of the standards, acknowledges that creating and adopting them is only about “10 percent” of what ultimately needs to take place.

“But if you don’t have a destination for your journey that’s worth getting to,” he adds, “why start driving?”

4. Rise of Natural Gas

The dramatic rise in the amount of retrievable natural gas in the United States could recast the nation’s energy profile.

Natural gas is threatening the dominance of coal and undercutting nascent efforts not only to resuscitate nuclear energy but also to establish renewable energy as a viable and economic alternative.

The vast expansion of US natural-gas reserves is due in large measure to the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing of shale deposits, which critics say contaminates ground water. Natural-gas prices have fallen more than 40 percent in two years, settling below $4 per thousand cubic feet, the US Energy Information Administration reported in September.

As a result, utilities are unfurling plans to build new gas-fired turbine plants nationwide – and others are shelving plans for renewable energy projects and nuclear projects.

Wind power, in particular, has had a hard time competing with electricity produced by burning cheap natural gas. Wind-turbine generating capacity soared through 2009, making the US the largest market for power. Wind power was cheap enough to sell itself on the open energy markets of the Northeast and West Coast, where it competed with natural gas-fired generators and nuclear energy generators.

Now flip that picture, says Matt Kaplan, a senior analyst with IHS Emerging Energy Research in Cambridge, Mass. The first half of 2010 saw a 70 percent drop in new wind-power installations.

Fossil fuels such as coal are on the chopping block, too. “A large-scale switch from coal to natural gas in the US has become possible largely thanks to the major increase in supply from unconventional shale gas,” according to a Deutsche Bank analysis last month. “Increasing supply is causing a long term fall in the price of natural gas, making it a far more economic fuel than in the past.”

5. Twilight of the Desktop

Largely lost in the scramble for Android smart phones and Apple’s iPad tablet is mounting evidence that the desktop computer – long the staple of personal computing – is becoming obsolete.

Two years ago, desktops made up nearly half of all PC sales, according to Forrester Research. They’ve now skidded to one-third, and will likely slump to one-fifth in the next three years, when they’ll be outsold by tablet computers – a category that didn’t even exist in Forrester’s report until the iPad arrived last spring.

Leading the charge away from table-bound PCs is Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, who offered a controversial metaphor at a tech conference in June:

“When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks, because that’s what you needed on the farm,” he said. “But as vehicles started to be used in the urban centers, cars got more popular…. PCs are going to be like trucks. They’re still going to be around. They’re still going to have a lot of value. But they’re going to be used by 1 out of X people.” (Mr. Jobs includes Macs in this atrophying category.)
The “cars,” or maybe even mopeds, of the future will be mobile, he argues. And already, software is changing to match this new dynamic.

In December, Google started publicly testing Chrome OS, a laptop operating system that tosses out many of the fundamental ideas behind a desktop PC. Bye-bye hard disks, installed applications, and lumbering start-up times. Hello online storage, Web apps, and immediate access to a browser.

Similarly, the proliferation of online app stores on phones and even televisions shows a thirst for inexpensive, single-purpose programs. Of course, there will always be a need for Photoshop and databases – powerhouse software with countless menus and taxing hardware requirements. But, the thinking goes, such workmanlike applications will run best on “trucks.” ++

Five things that change everything
Mark Morford, SF Gate
December 15, 2010

This is what they say. This is the breathless abandon that accompanies each tale of discovery and terror, pain and glory across the vast and troubled worlds of science and tech, politics and warfare, love and sex and death, oh my.

“This changes everything,” they say. This revelation, that amazing gizmo, this startling new way of seeing things, that flaccid terrorist’s imbecilic underwear bomb that now means anyone can be freely groped at the airport. Baby, the terrorists won long ago. Haven’t you seen the news?

This box just arrived. Let’s see what we’ve got.

1) Here we have a wall. A thing that divides us, that separates but also contains. That holds everything out, and also in. Also, a thing you safely hide behind, trembling and panting, as the monsters, the tanks, the demons, the enemy gunfire whiz on by, seeking to end your existence but not finding you because, hey look, wall.

Not anymore.

“You get behind something when someone is shooting at you, and that sort of cover has protected people for thousands of years,” said Lieutenant Colonel Chris Lehner, manager for the new XM25. “Now we’re taking that away from the enemy forever.”

Behold, the military’s new “game changer” weapon, a programmable “smart” grenade launcher whose shells, well, like the man gushes, actually hunt you down behind a wall and kill you where you tremble. Neat.

Isn’t it ironic? How we’ve developed countless horrific ways to massacre each other, most of them banned by various protocols and laws for being too appalling and inhumane and unspeakable: sonic waves, atomic warheads, radiation beams, chemical warfare, a thousand ingenious ways to induce unutterable pain? And yet, here, a new device that changes everything by doing the same thing as a billion devices before it, only, uh, “smarter.” Jesus but we are a thoroughly ludicrous species.

2) Winner, most deliriously misleading headline of the year: “NASA finds new life form.” OMG you guys! NASA! New life form! Maybe some crazy soil sample came back from Omega X-19 containing some pulsing blue alien microbes! Perhaps they found the living, conscious source of dark matter! Wait, what? They only found an odd microorganism in creepy ol’ Mono Lake in California? A place where any tourist with a $95 Canon P&S could tell you bizarre things certainly must live? Oh.

Do not misunderstand. The discovery of an uncanny new organism that rearranges the six common ingredients for “normal” life — carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur — and instead munches arsenic for a living and it’s not Dick Cheney? Well, that opens up all sorts of fascinating possibilities for what might be out there. Yes, gods of science, “this changes everything.” But we’re just not yet exactly sure how.

3) Which one might it be? Which one of the latest shifts could change everything? Is it this tiny generator? Is it Boeing’s production of super-efficient solar cells at massive, consumer-ready scale? Or perhaps it’s MIT’s recent breakthrough discovery that could radically alter the course of energy production forevermore so long as we don’t run out of water and sunlight and genius MIT geeks who never have sex? Maybe.

It would be lovely to think one idea could do it. But this has always been the impossible dream of empires on the verge of collapse: that somewhere in the maelstrom of wanton discoveries lies a wild new technology, a stupendous magic bullet that seven billion bipeds pray will soon absolve us of our unchecked gluttony, cure the vicious cancer we’ve inflicted on ourselves and make everything right with the world. Sure. As Jesus used to say, good luck with that.

4) Do you know what Wikileaks is? What it actually represents? It’s not a dire threat to national security. It does not endanger soldier’s lives. Nor is it some bogus trigger for the unutterably vile Espionage Act of 1917, appallingly brought back to life not merely by right wing nutballs but also far too many members of the Obama administration, as they try to convince the world the very heart of democracy is being threatened by some oddball blond Aussie and his mad fetish for political transparency.

Dear paranoid politicos: F– you. We are not suckered. The onus is on you, not us. And back off the New York Times.

What Wikileaks really is, besides being countless thousands of pages covering the most brutally mundane churn of the daily war machine — yes, war is hell, but not in the way most of us think — Wikileaks is one unprecedented, stunningly detailed explanation of just how the global diplomatic sausage gets made.

And lo, it is vile sausage indeed. This is the biggest revelation of all, the thing that changes everything: What we’re learning is, this meat is more rancid, disrespectful, abusive, cruel, barbarian and childish than anyone wanted to imagine. No wonder world governments and whimpering doltbuckets like Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee want this Assange guy dead.

It’s because Wikileaks is just terrifically embarrassing, humiliating to the bone, so lucid and detailed in its anatomy of the dark and heartless political soul it will be years before its sundry nasties are fully unpacked and absorbed.

This is the real reason Washington and world governments alike are so alarmed by Wikileaks’ revelations. It reveals most of them to be world-class charlatans and fools, dictators and megalomaniacs who would eat their own babies for a glimpse into each other’s personal Dear Diaries. Same as it ever was? Sure. Only much, much worse.

The humiliation, the awkwardness, the ugly maneuverings are simply off the charts. Wikileaks is global politics, banking, diplomacy, war stripped ugly and flea-bitten and bare. More civilian deaths, abuses of power, assassination attempts, botched raids, illegal air strikes, wasted funds, inane acts of spying and clandestine backroom dealings than even these thousands of pages can capture.

Truly, the banality of global political evil has never been this exposed. Hell, even the Vatican is condemning Wikileaks over revelations about its own pathetic sex scandals in Ireland. In my book, that alone makes Julian Assange a goddamn saint.

5) Now, look here. Or rather, up there. It would appear there are far more stars in the sky than once believed. In fact, the raw number of stars we once thought existed in space-time might just actually triple, thanks to new findings by oddball scientists with very large brains. The number of stars, they say, might now be somewhere around 300 sextillion.

Tasty word, sextillion. And 300 of it is a 3 plus 23 zeroes, or three trillion times 100 billion, or a number so mind-scramblingly large that to imagine it crosses some internal threshold of basic understanding, hurling us headlong into realms of magic and surreality that makes the world turn tiny and translucent. Go ahead, try it. See? It’s a nice number.

Oh and BTW? 300 sextillion, says our sly scientist, also happens to be the rough sum total of all cells inhabiting all human bodies on planet earth at this particular moment. 300 sextillion stars, 300 sextillion cells. Isn’t that fascinating? Isn’t that an odd coincidence?

Well, no, say the wise ones. Not really. Now pipe down and get yourself awed. ++

The Top 10 Political Moments of . . . 2011
David Corn, Politics Daily
12/28/10

t’s end-of-year time, and that means journalists and pundits, looking to survive the news dead-zone of the holiday season, toss out the easy-to-compile Top 10 lists. The Top 10 political events of the year.

The Top 10 quotes of the year. The Top 10 campaign ads of the year. And so on. Well, anyone can use Google to assemble such a feature. I’m going to do a little more and offer you a list of the Top 10 political moments of the coming year. After all, in the world of punditing, it is never too early to predict what will be. As for 2012 . . . well, you’ll just have to wait until this time next year.

January 5, 2011. After being handed the speaker’s gavel at the opening of the 112th Congress, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) breaks down in tears, as he recounts how he has gone from being a barkeeper’s son to speaker of the House. Later in the day, during an interview on Fox News, when questioned about the bawling, Boehner cries again, explaining that he is a symbol of the American Dream. Once he regains his composure, Boehner bursts into sobs, as he outlines his plans to repeal President Obama’s health care legislation. “It’s all about the children,” he says, weeping.

January 20, 2011. The House of Representatives considers the Just Say No to Obama bill, a non-binding resolution declaring that the House will decline to consider any legislation proposed by the White House. In an interview on Fox News, House majority leader Eric Cantor says, “The American public sent us here to say no, and that’s what we’re doing.” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), however, leads a walk-out of tea party caucus members, who protest that the measure ought to be binding.

February 7, 2011. Fox News announces it has signed Sarah Palin to star in a new reality show called “So You Want to Be President.” The press release issued by Fox says, “The show will follow the controversial and popular ex-governor and Fox News commentator as she pursues a possible presidential campaign. It will feature behind-the-scenes footage of Gov. Palin writing her own tweets and Facebook messages — as she hunts caribou and juggles the demands of a working mother.” In an interview on Fox News, Palin says she has no plans to say whether or not she has plans to run for president.

March 3, 2011. Vice President Joe Biden, working the crowd at a fundraiser at Katy Perry’s home, is caught on a cell phone video saying, “Of course, the war in Afghanistan can’t be won. My father was a used car salesman who didn’t know anything about the Treaty of Gandamark, and he could’ve told you that.” In a subsequent appearance on Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show,” Biden apologizes to used car salesmen everywhere.

March 10, 2011. Fox News announces it is hiring Mitt Romney as a commentator. And Tim Pawlenty. And John Thune. And Mike Pence, Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, and Rick Santorum. The network also announces that all GOP presidential 2012 debates will be conducted by Fox News, with each debate to be moderated by Glenn Beck.

May 8, 2011. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” discusses the ongoing GOP effort to repeal Obama’s health care reform measure and says, “If God had wanted Americans to receive health care regardless of preexisting conditions, he wouldn’t have created insurance companies.” During a later interview on Fox News, Paul says, “I must clarify my remarks. What I meant to say was that if God had wanted Americans to receive health care regardless of preexisting conditions he wouldn’t have created the free enterprise system that led to the creation of insurance companies.”

June 19, 2011. During an interview with student journalists from Starkville, Miss., Barbour, asked whether it was a “good thing” that the South lost the Civil War, says, “It’s complicated.” In a subsequent interview on Fox News, Barbour explains that he was “just engaging in a thought-experiment meant to show the kids that there are no easy answers in life.”

July 4, 2011. At a rally in North Carolina, Obama announces he will seek reelection in 2012. As the event begins, Secret Service agents prevent Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid from appearing on the stage. Later, the White House explains, “An intern on the advance team made a simple mistake.”

September 3, 2011. Hillary Rodham Clinton denies rumors that she will be replaced as secretary of state by her husband, Bill. A media frenzy ensues, and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the chair of the House oversight committee, announces an investigation. On Fox News, Issa explains, “We can’t know whether there is anything here that deserves investigation until we investigate.”

November 15, 2011. As a government shut-down looms, the Senate and House pass one gigantic omnibus bill covering all the legislative business of the entire year. The first session of the 112th Congress comes to a close. Obama hails it as a sign that “we can all work together.” Palin, who still hasn’t declared her 2012 intentions, tweets, “Our guys/gals did best could;Shows why USA needs real ldr. Me for POTUS? Answer coming soon. On “SYWTBP” on Fox. Go liberty!Go freedom!” On Fox News, Boehner cries. ++

“I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington … I’m asking you to believe in yours.”
~ Barack Obama

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One Response to Four for 2010

  1. bob says:

    you get better as you age. age slowly.

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