Barack Obama: On January 20th, our 44th and first African-American President was sworn in at the age of 47. So much hope, so much energy. We'd never again have to hear nuclear pronounced nucular or wonder if our chi'dren was learnin'. He started quickly out of the box, but got bogged down by the health care reform kerfuffle. Then there were the unfortunate August town halls. Like many observers have noted, no one has ever made a dime betting against this guy. It's nice having a smart guy in the White House again. Let's hope 2010 gives him the bounceback we'd all like to see...well, most of us.
Rachel Maddow: She never shouts. She doesn't talk over guests or down to them. She doesn't ask questions to listen to herself talk. She examines, reports and exhibits a cool calmness while politely dissecting adversaries on both sides of the aisle, often to their faces...then thanks them for being on her show! Her preparation is unmatched. She covers stories no one else wants too. She goes out of her way to explain complex issues, often with humor so her viewers 'get it' without feeling inadequate. Her show has definitely found it's niche and hit it's stride.
Senator Al Franken (D-MN): Franken’s very first piece of legislation was an amendment to the FY2010 Defense Appropriations Bill, prohibiting defense contractors from restricting their employees’ abilities to take workplace discrimination, battery, and sexual assault cases to court. 30 male Republicans voted against it. Then they were shocked by the blowback they received. Apparently, they viewed Jamie Leigh Jones gang rape and the 24 hour lock up in a shipping container, which inspired this amendment as frivolous; "Just boys being boys." Protecting Halliburton/KBR against lawsuits must come first in their neo-con world. I honestly do not understand how any self-respecting woman can vote Republican. This was just another example of their ongoing dismissal of women as equal parts of society.
Chesley Sullenberger: How could you not be impressed on January 15th when Captain Sully landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River saving all 155 on board. The plane encountered a double bird strike which crippled both engines. Further adding to his legend was that he walked the aisle of the jet twice looking for passengers before exiting the plane himself. One part of his legend that was too much information was how it increased his "love" life.
Susan Boyle: Who can forget her rendition of "I Dreamed A Dream" on Britain's Got Talent. The sneers, jeers, eye rolls and chuckles the portly, frumpy woman received prior to her song, and the immediate reactions upon launching into it was one of the greatest moments ever on live TV. If ever anyone proved you can't judge a book by it's cover, she sure did.
Shaquille O'Neil: In a nice gesture towards a poor family, NBA star Shaquille O'Neal paid for the funeral of 5-year-old Shaniya Davis whose body was found November 16 in North Carolina on the side of the road. Her mother and another man were charged with multiple offenses. I'm not a basketball or O'Neil fan, but I'll give the guy credit for doing a very nice thing.
Glenn Beck & Rush Limbaugh: Conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory. Lie after lie. All nonsense, much of it dangerous. They give the teetering fringe the outlets they need to justify radical actions. I'm all for freedom of speech, however when you are able to spread outright lies without consequence, we have a problem.
Dick Cheney: He does everything the above do, but he says it as an ex-VP. That may give him a bit more credibility with a few more people. His constant attacks on Obama are meant to distract people of the true Bush-Cheney record. The 20%ers honestly believe they kept us safe and think Clinton was at fault for 9/11. They think the economy was strong under Bush. It does seem to have effectiveness with the same old segment. Of course Cheney won't appear anywhere but Fox Newz, the right wing propaganda channel. This is another case of repeating the message incessantly until it becomes a perceived truth to as many as possible.
Birthers: So is it that they don't realize Hawaii was a state in 1961? Do they really believe Obama's grandparents posted birth announcements in the Honolulu Advertiser & Star Bulletin in August of 1961 because they knew he'd be president one day? Do they just not care that Kenya didn't become a republic until 1964? Or is it as simple as trying to delegitimize the "exotic" guy for some predisposed opinions? Hmm...
Deathers: The same people as the birthers. They couldn't make that argument stick so they moved on. The new claim, kicked off by Sarah Palin was that Obama was going to have a panel of bureaucrats to decide who lives and who dies. Apparently, in addition to the elderly and down's syndrome babies, there was even an amendment that conservatives get offed first! You know, we could laugh about this, but there's a whole lot of people in this country that actually believe this crap. You know who they are as well as I do. They're the anti-education Christofascists. No surprise that my top pick(s) gave both groups credibility for their message(s).
Sarah Palin: There's not much more that I can add to what I've already written about her. I just find it terribly disturbing that 58,343,671 people willingly voted for a ticket that could've put this empty-headed nitwit one heartbeat from the presidency. In 2009 she proved that she's a liar, she's deceptive, she's manipulative, she's an anti-intellect, she's an opportunist ... and she's becoming a multi-millionaire because she has a huge fan base who thinks she's attractive - and waves the bible.
Peyton Manning: Because it's my blog. I can't stand this guy for a variety of reasons. It started while he was a college "star" and continued as his professional success grew. Somewhat recently, Huffington Post had an article about his commercials that eventually led to a discussion comparing him and Tom Brady. A lot of responses were calling Manning the all-American boy and disparaging Brady because he had a child out of wedlock. Even the fact that it had been a long-term relationship was irrelevant to these flag-waving, bible-thumping clowns. Manning likes to use the God word. Whenever I spoke of Manning's issue, I got scrubbed. Whenever I linked the article, I got scrubbed. Read this linked article if you want to see where my feelings about him begin. It's the story of a female trainer's treatment by not only him, but her employer because of him. I will root against the Indianapolis Colts until he retires. Brother Eli's stunt when the San Diego Chargers drafted him was just one more clue about how cocky these guys are, thanks to their father Archie who was a below average NFL quarterback in the 70's. I'll keep Tom Brady, thank you very much.
Joe Wilson (R-SC): He of the "You lie" fame. Can you imagine had a Democrat yelled "You lie" at Bush when he was making his WMD claims? He/she would've been censured, Republicans would've demanded an apology on the floor and the Republicans would've spent millions on a challenger. How did the Democrats handle it? As usual they did nothing. They once again let the R's have a "win". Is it an important win? Not by itself. Democrats still don't get that these little victories add up in the minds of our simple minded electorate. There's a group that thinks by not responding, it means any of their various nonsense is correct. When will Dems learn?
Michele Bachmann: "I have experience that throughout my political career, being labeled a kook." - "Michael Steele, you be the man. You be the man." - “What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing." Ok, I just used a few of my favorites although there are dozens more. Gee Michele, given the comment about slitting wrists over HCR, I have no idea why you would be labeled a kook!
Tiger Woods: There's really nothing I can add that you haven't heard or thought yourself. I'm not sure if I've ever witnessed a faster fall from grace. He'll return to golf and he'll win, but he'll never have the marketability that he had before Thanksgiving. His brazenness probably even makes Bill Clinton jealous.
Balloon Boy: You now, the day I got home from work and saw this on tv, while we didn't know officially that it was a hoax, I knew that kid was going to be found hiding in the house. Glad mom and dad are going to jail for a little while. They should also be forced to pay the $42,000 bill they received to reimburse police, the National Guard, and the FAA who were all involved in the search.
Party Crashers: Michaele and Tareq Salahi, managed to slip into a state dinner at the White House even though they were not on the guest list. Reportedly, the Secret Service is looking into its own security procedures. Yeah, that makes sense, let them investigate themselves. Am I the only one who thinks that's ridiculous? Anyone?
Happy New Year!