2013 Year-End Review, Part I

Published: December 27, 2013

By Jim Lichtman
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Remember these guys? Did they rise to the top of the bottom of the barrel? A look at the Good, the Bad and the Ridiculous over the past year.

By the numbers –

The Center for Public Integrity offers up a few items from the ridiculous:

Number of bills passed by Congress this year that have been signed into law: 58

Number of bills passed in 1948, the year President Harry Truman assailed the “Do-Nothing Congress”: 511

Number of minutes Senator Ted Cruz, (R-Texas), spent reading Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham” during a 21-hour talk-a-thon in September: 5 ½

Amount of campaign cash all members of Congress have reported raising so far in 2013: $403,952,012

Minimum number of super PACs and hybrid super PACs that registered with the Federal Election Commission since January:210

Rank of New Yorkers and Californians, respectively, among donors who gave at least $200 to the main pro-Clinton super PAC between January and June: 1, 2

Amount a previously little-known California vintner poured into a pro-GOP super PAC ahead of the special Massachusetts U.S. Senate race in June: $1,700,000

Number that mention a candidate’s “integrity,” “ethics” or “character”: 10

Amount of money donated by hamburger chain White Castle to a super PAC aligned with Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio: $25,000

Amount of money doled out to conservative groups by the Koch brothers-connected Center to Protect Patient Rights in 2012: $112,158,149

Number of campaign bundlers Obama has nominated to serve as ambassadors since January: 23 All Bad

The Secret Life of “B” –

…as in Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents via WikiLeaks in 2010, then pleaded guilty in a military court this year. However, after his apology, Manning took the time to contact NBC’s Today Show with this little update: “I am Chelsea Manning. I want to begin hormone therapy a soon as possible,” oh, and he believes the military should pay for it. Ridiculous

Outrage Nation –

Despite the fact that polls had shown for weeks that 81 percent of Americans did not want the government to shut down, both parties failed to come to an agreement, due largely to hard line conservatives, and 850,000 federal workers were furloughed without pay for 16 days. According to the Office of Budget and Management, the long term cost was 2 Billion in productivity.Ridiculously Bad

The Snowden Matter –

Some see former NSA contractor Edward Snowden as a hero for starting an important national dialog and action on the NSA’s “spying” program on Americans. Others see him as a traitor who has cost the country billions in security retro-fit and reputation with allies like Germany and Britain. While I’m glad the NSA has been called on the carpet, Snowden could have gone directly to Congress under whistleblower protection. However, where was the Senate Intelligence Committee on all this? From Bad to Worse

Speaking of Surveillance –

With runners in the annual Boston Marathon in the final stretch, two bombs detonate killing 3 and injuring more than 250 others. The self-radicalized Russian brothers Tsarnaev were quickly identified with the help of surveillance cameras and law enforcement within 4 days. While Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police officers, Dzhokhar was soon captured hiding in a boat in a Watertown neighborhood. In spite of the tragedy, surveillance and quick action by law enforcement wasGood, and drones over American cities aren’t far behind.

Bottom of the Barrel –

According to a Sports Illustrated report, former Oklahoma State football players accuse the school of committing a laundry list of NCAA violations involving impermissible benefits, academic fraud, drugs, and sex. Money trumps morals… again!

Rutgers basketball Head Coach Mike Rice was fired from the men’s basketball team in April after video footage showed him physically and verbally abusing his players. How many times do colleges need to learn the Bobby Knight lesson?

Notre Dame Linebacker Manti Te’o finished second in the Heisman voting. Then, it was revealed that Lennay Kekua, Te’o’s supposed girlfriend, never existed. Notre Dame defended Te’o, saying he was bamboozled. However, school officials later admitted they knew of the hoax since Dec. 26. Notre Dame and Te’o both lose credibility.

Celeb chef Paul Deen apologizes for racial slurs; blames Southern upbringing. Sorry, Paula, that was then; this is now.

Despite overwhelming evidence that he lied and interfered with an investigation, Yankee slugger Alex Rodriquez continues to stick to “If I don’t defend myself, no one else will.” Enough blame to go around, but the buck stops with you, A-Roid!

Who’s worst: San Diego Mayor Bob Filner or New York Mayor wannabe Anthony Weiner? Mayor of Harassment versus “Carlos Danger”? Thank God, they’re both gone! Very Good!


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