10 – Chilean Miners Emerge
After 69 days, 33 Chilean miners where rescued from a stocked safe room. The miners were feed supplies through a small shaft while rescuers attempted to devise a plan to get the men out alive. The world watched the news as the story became front-page news. After more than two months in the cramped chamber, the men where rescued in front of millions of eyes on national television. Florencio Avalos was the first of the 33 men to emerge and he was greeted by his wife and son.
9 - Wikileaks
Julian Assange is really freaking proud of himself. The plan: to publish leaked government cables provided by a disenfranchised private to gain much wanted public attention. He's getting all of the attention in the world now, so I guess the world is giving him what he wants. Some have argued he is a big time America-hater. Okay? But shouldn't we be focusing on any possible diplomatic damage that may come from bad blood boiled by the content of the cables?
8 - Washington Rallies
On August, 28, Glenn Beck hosted the Restoring Honor Rally which had one the largest turnouts of any mass gathering in America's history. The focuses of the rally where the founding principles of our country, but that didn't stop some from holding counter rallies. I'm not really sure who you explain being against faith, hope and charity (the buzzwords at Beck's rallies) but the first counter-rally, hosted by John Stewart, was a far-left comedy romp that lacked any honesty and seriousness, the second was a multi-union-funded rally that either paid or forced their members to attend to boost numbers and included more than a few radicals in the form of communists and other revolutionaries.
7 - TSA Security “Procedures”
“Don't touch my junk” is probably the catch phrase of the year, and thanks the good ole' TSA, it has serious undertones. The invasive security process, which includes the choice between a graphic 3D image that can see through your clothes or an extremely invasive pat-down which includes the touching of every square inch of a passenger's body, have been the center of a lot of controversy, mostly involving the debate between those who believe it is a blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment and those who just “don't mind because it's better than getting blown up”.
6 - The Ground Zero Mosque
“It's not a mosque!” I'm sick of the argument about this. It is funny that this “community center” was a mosque UNTIL being a mosque was a problem. The story of questionably sincere Imam Abdul Rauf's pet project (a Muslim Community Center and MOSQUE built on the site of a building that was struck with debris on 9/11) was a volatile subject on both sides and was the center of large number of smaller stories surrounding this major one. My favorite smaller headline centering around this is the famous View Walk-Off, where, in a display of attempted moral superiority, Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar leave the set of the show during a shouting match with Bill O'Reilly because he said “Muslims killed us on 9/11.” Because he did not specifically identify these Muslims as “extremists” he was bad and needed to be interrupted and ignored. Really, from my view it looked like a show; a shameless act of self-aggrandizement.
5 - Tea Party/Republican Victories in the Midterm Elections
For better or for worse, the Elephant People picked up a huge victory this past year. It was also a big win for female candidates as almost all of the major races involved a woman who is either just starting like O'Donnell, or a long-time insider, like Murkouski. I'm an Independent myself, more of a Constitutional purist (almost a Libertarian, but not quite), so the fact that a lot of blue states turned red really doesn't phase me much, I know that no one party is more corrupt than the other and I will believe this Tea Party Change when I see it. But then again, I think that some new blood in Washington is a good thing. It's time for term limits people!!!!
4 - Health Care Passes
I'm not happy about this at all. This massive power grab by Washington is an overreach in every definition of the word. It's time for people to go back and read our founding documents, because when it lists what rights we have, health care is not one of them. “But we have the 'Right to life'...” Ok, yeah, nobody is saying die. In fact, before this health care nightmare launched, America already had the most readily available health care system in the world and people where not regularly denied care if they really needed it, despite what John McCain (Who, suddenly, is against the bill? Or something... I just don't like that guy) and Anthony Weiner say.
3 - The Gulf Oil Spill
The worst man-made environmental disaster since Chernobyl, and Tony Hayward just wants his life back. The oil spill in the Gulf destroyed sea life, land life, plant life and businesses all up and down the Gulf Coast. It went on for what seemed like an eternity and both BP and the US government seemed to drag their heels. A number of other countries offered their resources to us and the Obama Administration turned their aid down. Try explaining that one away with a straight face. Still, the one to blame here is definitely BP and the incompetence of Hayward and his minimalist efforts. The Deepwater Horizon was not sufficiently inspected and did not meet the safety standards it should have. BP really screwed the pooch on this one.
2 - North Korea Attacks Yeonpyeong Island
I've thought for a long time that Kim Jong-Il is one of the most dangerous people on the planet. He proved that he is as nuts as I thought he was by launching artillery strikes on the South Korean disputed territory Yeonpyeong Island, which is an obvious test of South Korean and American forces to see how far they can press before we fire back. The most egregious thing is, North Korea issued a warning telling South Korea not to retaliate or defend itself. Amazing.
1 - The Earthquake in Haiti
The 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12th is one of the most devastating natural disasters in history, and the most powerful earthquake recorded in the last two centuries. The nation's limited infrastructure and impoverished state exasperated the death toll and destruction even more. I commend all of the people who are working day and night to continue to rebuild the nation and supply funds to aid the devastated victims of this horrendous disaster.