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Gone but not forgotten

Victims of Hurricane Katrina, the London subway bombings, the Pakistan earthquake, the capsizing of the Ethan Allen; casualties of the Iraq war, Pope John Paul II, Rosa Parks, Prince Rainier, Eugene McCarthy, Shirley Chisholm, William Westmoreland, Edward Heath, Arthur Miller, August Wilson, Hunter S. Thompson, Saul Bellow, Peter Jennings, Johnny Carson, Richard Pryor, Link Wray, William Rehnquist, Chris Whitley, Luther Vandross, Noriyuki “Pat” Morita, Ossie Davis, Eddie Albert, Sandra Dee, Frank Gorshin, Bob Denver, Nipsey Russell, James Doohan, Mitch Hedberg, Karl Haas, Ismail Merchant, Robert Wise, Andrea Dworkin, John Fowles, Shelby Foote, Ernest Lehman, Robert Moog, Artie Shaw, John Raitt, Bobby Short, Ibrahim Ferrer, Will Eisner, Stan Berenstain, James Stockdale, Sam (the World’s Ugliest Dog).

Also, leader of Saudi Arabia King Fahd; Makgatho Mandela; former FBI chief L. Patrick Gray; former Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson; Civil Rights activists Constance Baker Motley and Vivian Malone Jones.

Ex-Crips leader and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Tookie Williams; center of national right-to-life debate Terri Schiavo; activist C. Dolores Tucker.

Chicken guy Frank Perdue; televangelist Dr. Gene Scott; bounty hunter Domino Harvey; computer visionary John Diebold; explorer Norman Dane Vaughan; lawyers Ed Masry and Johnnie Cochran.

Actors Michael Vale, John Spencer, Vincent Schiavelli, Marc Lawrence, Constance Cummings, Jack Colvin, Suzanne Flon, Lillian Lux, Ruth Warrick, Virginia Mayo, Lamont Bentley, John Vernon, Dan O’Herlihy, Simone Simon, Howard Morris, Stephen Elliott, Lane Smith, Leon Askin, Barney Martin, Teresa Wright, Mason Adams, Henry Corden, John Fiedler, Paul Winchell, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Barbara Bel Geddes, Brock Peters, Wendie Jo Sperber, Louis Nye, Kevin Hagen; comedian Charles Rocket.

Musicians Mike Botts, Jerry Lynn Williams, Len Dressler, Spencer Dryden, Jimmy Griffin, Keith Knudsen, Jim Capaldi, Lyn Collins, Danny Joe Brown, Rod Price, Jack Keller, Richard Lewis, Jose Melis, Hasil Adkins, Merle Kilgore, Paul Hester, Renaldo “Obie” Benson, Frances Langford, Ray Davis, Hildegarde, Helen Schneyer, Frankie LaRocka, Jimmy Martin, Karl Mueller, Denis D’Amour, Skitch Henderson, Mana “China” Nishiura, David Riley, Long John Baldry.

Movie producers Debra Hill and Gregg Hoffman; music producer Chet Helms; tour manager Daniel Harrison; director George Pan Cosmatos; studio owner Amjed A. Abdallah; former Doors manager Danny Sugarman; poet Robert Creeley; authors Dennis Lynds, Wayne Booth, Evan Hunter aka Ed McBain; publisher John H. Johnson; iIllustrators Kelly Freas, Dale Messick, Joe Grant and David Sutherland; columnist Marjorie Williams and rock journalist Al Aronowitz.

Northern Ireland soccer star George Best, NFL football coach Hank Stram, Orioles coach Elrod Hendricks, Eddie Guerero, Max Schmeling, NY Giants owner Wellington Mara, former Pittsburgh Steeler Steve Courson.

Inventors H. David Dalquist (Bundt cake pan); John Z. DeLorean, (the DeLorean); Leo Sternbach, (Valium); Ruth M. Siems, (Stove Top Stuffing); Gerry Thomas, (the TV dinner).

Local notables Gertrude Hallenbeck, Emily Lee Grisom, Barbara McEneny, Tom Nattell, George Miller, Larry Lewis, Michael Vacek.

Gone and forgotten

That color-coded terror alert thingy; Afghanistan; Corey Clark

Gone and back again

The Geneva Convention; Congress’ spine; the Clay People; Stigmata

Gone and back and gone again

ANWR drilling proposals; Cream (the band); Dave Chappelle

Gone and back again (against all odds)

Queen (the band)

Gone and back again, more times than we can count

The Rolling Stones

Gone to anger management classes

Russell Crowe

Going, going . . .

General Motors; George Pataki; Revolution Hall; respect for journalists; Bo Bice; Russian democracy

Long gone, and the government finally admitted it


Gone (pissed away)

George W. Bush’s “political capital”

Gone (was he ever really there?)

FEMA head Michael “Brownie” Brown

Gone, and the President wishes we’d forget about it

“Mission Accomplished”; New Orleans; court orders for domestic spying; Osama Bin Laden (again)

Gone, and he won’t let us forget about it

Howard Stern

Gone upside your head

The not-so-gentle hand of Mother Nature

Still gone

Page 10 of Jeanine Pirro’s speech

Gone, and good riddance!

Star Wars; Star Trek; Colin Quinn

Please Go Away

The Patriot Act; “50 is the new 30”; “(anything) is the new black”; Scott Stapp; tribute CDs; the War on Christmas; the War on the War on Christmas; and for that matter, Bill O’Reilly

Mom, where were you when Katrina hit?

From a season of devastating storms, most of the nation will only remember Katrina. Predicted by environmental experts for years thanks to global warming and the destruction of protective wetlands, the hurricane slammed into the Gulf Coast, devastating southern Mississippi and Louisiana, and after a false hope of a reprieve, bursting levees to drown the city of New Orleans.

So that’s what government was supposed to be for

A disbelieving nation watched, helpless, as a defanged, defunded FEMA (with the assistance of inadequate city and state disaster plans) utterly failed to react to Hurricane Katrina, leaving thousands of people stranded, hungry and desperate for days, and even turning back other offers of help. It was so bad that mainstream media started questioning those in power. Meanwhile, across the South it’s suddenly no longer a liberal disease to talk about what it takes to maintain a strong public sector.

Don’t need a weatherman

Was God dissatisfied with Mardi Gras decadence, or did the heavens feel like offering their own response to the 2004 presidential election results? There was no shortage of reasons tossed around for the record-breaking 2005 hurricane season. Some scientists claimed global warming was the culprit, while others blamed a cycle of environmental peaks and lows dating beyond meteorological record- keeping. In all, 26 storms were recorded—five more than in 1933, the previous record year—causing scientists to resort to Greek letters after they ran out of proper names for the storms.

The forgotten disaster

If not forgotten, at least underreported, the 7.6 magnitude Kashmir earthquake of Oct. 8 was as major a disaster as any other havoc wreaked by nature this year. The death toll totaled around 100,000, and the survivors in this war-torn, disputed region on the Pakistan-India border faced winter without adequate food or shelter. While the Pakistani army has won kudos for the way they’ve handled the crisis, the world community has not: Financial pledges and donations are well below the response to last year’s South Asian tsunami. “Donor fatigue” is no excuse.

Respect for what, exactly?

When the ailing Pope John Paul II declined further medical treatment, it occurred to no one to contravene his wishes. But after decades, the wishes of Terry Schiavo, as expressed before she suffered a brain injury that left her in a vegetative state, were buried under a pissing match between her husband and parents, and even worse, under an ideological fight that had little to nothing to do with her actual rights or comfort, but did lead to unprecedented Congressional action that directly interfered with states’ rights. Meanwhile, a poor black child with a terminal birth defect in Texas was removed from life support over the wishes of his mother, with no outcry from the forces of “life.”

Plan D-d-d-uh

There’s nothing wrong with wanting Medicare to cover prescription drugs. It’s great, really. But the nightmarishly complex—and very, very late—announcement of what exactly Medicare’s Plan D coverage would look like left seniors and pharmacists bewildered and scrambling to make a choice by the end-of-year deadline. It also proved yet again that while this Republican administration actually does like big government, they’re not very good at it.

Justice DeLayed, but maybe, just maybe, not denied?

All the legal maneuvering and attempts to defang the House Ethics Committee he could muster wasn’t actually enough to keep Rep. Tom DeLay from getting indicted on money-laundering charges related to corporation contributions to a group that engineered a between-census redistricting of Texas to favor Republicans. DeLay relinquished his post as house majority leader, but is fighting the charges, with no less than VP Dick Cheney still holding fund-raising events for him.

Tweezing the friendly skies

Though less prominent in the news than in previous years, airport screeners continued to defy reason, making people remove nipple piercings, and confiscating grandma’s sewing machine. Nonetheless, politicians sent up a huge outcry when a decision was made to allow some previously banned items like nail clippers and screwdrivers back on board. We understand that’s easier to do than figuring out how to get out of Iraq, but . . .

Tired, poor and huddled masses not welcome

The Minuteman Project, a group of gun-toting vigilantes who patrol the U.S.-Mexico border in order to “convince” illegal immigrants to surrender to Border Patrol, made its debut. While critics contend that the group is motivated more by racism than economic concerns (the movement was labeled a “White Pride Event” on several neo-Nazi Web sites), some lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) have embraced the group. Prominent sociologists have reasoned that the project’s emergence is an example of the nativism that often develops when nations experience a severe economic depression.

Smooth operator

One of the few things to go right for the Bush administration this year was the nomination of John G. Roberts to the Supreme Court. A Federal jurist with impeccable credentials, the very conservative Roberts—who, back in the day, clerked for the man he replaced, Chief Justice William Rehnquist—played the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee like his own string section. With his nimble legal mind, Roberts avoided being pinned down to a position on any issue—even Roe v. Wade. He’s one smooth mofo.

Not quite the bestest nominee ever

It was a Bush family wet dream come true. Bush Jr. got not one but two chances to leave a Bush footprint on the Supreme Court. By the time he got to make his second nomination, he just couldn’t resist putting one of his inner circle on the bench. It looked like Harriet Miers might sneak through despite her lack of credentials and what the Christian right saw as her liberal leanings, but then something astonishing happened: the media and congress actually began to look into Miers’ credentials and her creepy, fawning greeting-card communiqués to the president.

A trail like a snail

Unlike Bush’s first nominee to the Supreme Court, John Roberts (that smooth mofo), Judge Samuel Alito has a long, well-documented paper trail. As a justice department lawyer, Alito drooled at the thought of Roe v. Wade being overturned, and showed an unhealthy favoritism toward wide- ranging executive-branch powers. One can only hope that the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will grill Alito for more details on his clearly out-of-the-mainstream legal enthusiasms.

Sweating to the indictments

In the weeks leading up to Oct. 29, the press reported that the White House was in a fevered state awaiting indictments from Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Then, when the indictment came against Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the White House breathed a deep sigh of relief, as it was quickly overshadowed by the well-played withdrawal of Supreme Court nominee Miers and the subsequent nomination of Alito. Fitzgerald vowed that more indictments would follow. And still we wait.

Once a journalist, now a footnote

In the same year that Bob Woodward’s FBI source for the Watergate revelations came forward after 30 years of anonymity, Woodward himself was revealed to be a player in Plamegate. While Woodward had publicly pooh-poohed the significance of the revelation of Plame’s name, it turns out he was actually protecting sources inside the White House who had revealed Plame’s identity to him. Woodward testified before Patrick Fitzgerald about his involvement in the case and publicly stated that Libby was not his source. Why hadn’t Woodward reported on the leak for his paper? Perhaps he needed to save the juicy bits for his next best seller. America watched as another respected journalist was chewed up in the gears of the Bush administration.

Stop looking at me!

Robert Novak, the man Daily Show host Jon Stewart had dubbed the Douche Bag for Liberty, finally found himself under scrutiny this year, however slight. There is no question that Novak was the first journalist to reveal Valerie Plame’s identity publicly, and yet he somehow managed to avoid the scrutiny and jail time other journalists suffered. Still, during a question-and-answer session following a speech, Novak reportedly told questioners not to bug him for his source’s identity and tried to send deflect reporters by saying: “Bug the president as to whether he should reveal who the source is.”

Judith Miller out of jail, out of a job

In September, after spending 85 days in jail for refusing to testify in front of Patrick Fitzgerald’s grand jury, Judith Miller relented and agreed to testify. The information that she had been withholding may not have been as damning as the Bush administration had expected, but information about her relationship with the administration and how she was fed stories about WMDs was certainly damning in the view of The New York Times. Miller retired from the Times in November, citing difficulties in doing her job after having become the story.

Shit flows downhill

With U.S. military deaths in Iraq surpassing the 2,000 mark and no clear “victory plan” or exit strategy anywhere in sight, President Whatshisfuck watched (we’re still not sure about his reading skills) as his approval ratings plummeted to record lows—mere months after successfully re-scamming his way into a second term. So now everybody decides to get all high and mighty? Everyone waited until after the election to start complaining about how much the president is screwing things up? That’s just not how it works, folks. But 2008’s not so far off, right?

The triumphant elephant sees a mouse

Not even a year after their dominating electoral victories in 2004, Republicans found it nearly impossible to rally behind their leader. Political capital has never been spent faster. John McCain told the administration he would not allow them to have a legislative agenda until they passed his torture ban. The Patriot Act was only given a five-week extension. Harriet Miers’ Supreme Court nomination was squashed by Republican opposition. Arctic drilling was defeated yet again. More and more Republicans challenged an administration that admitted to spying on its own people. And in the 2005 elections, Democrats took major victories in places like Virginia that were thought to be Republican strongholds.

Speaking of, uh, down

Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger watched his own numbers bottom out this summer, as more and more of his constituents came to the realization that the butt-headed beefcake they elected is, as a governor, a butt- headed beefcake. In November, California voters showed the Grope-happy Guv’na how they really felt by shitting all over each and every ballot initiative he’d proposed. Elsewhere, a newly unearthed Brazilian tourism video (from 1983), starring the one-time Mr. Universe as a touchy-feely (that is to say, lascivious) tour guide, revealed Ahnuld’s favorite body part to be, in his own words, “the ass.”

America and torture: like car batteries and nipples

Despite intense opposition from the Bush administration, an anti-torture measure proposed by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was signed into law in early December. While the president initially vowed to veto any anti-torture measure that came across his desk, the amendment managed to gain significant support in Congress. Bush dropped his opposition, fearing a drop in his already low approval ratings. Meanwhile, in a move many see as diluting the anti-torture measure, the Army approved a new, broader set of accepted interrogation methods that would give military personnel accused of torture a stronger legal defense.

So much for all that surveillance

A handful of disastrous bombings on London public transportation brought the meaning of terrorism, and perhaps the meaning of being a U.S. ally, home to a traumatized British public. There were dozens of fatalities and hundreds of injuries. In the aftermath, jumpy police shot and killed a Brazilian resident for looking suspicious. Terrorists also struck in Jordan and Egypt, making it clear that they’re casting a pretty wide net in going after the evil Western empire.

What does 2,000 mean to you?

On Oct. 25, Staff Sgt. George T. Alexander Jr. died from injuries he had sustained earlier in the week from a roadside bomb. His passing marked the 2,000th American soldier dead in Iraq. President Bush immediately latched onto the number as a way to bolster support for the war: “Each loss of life is heartbreaking. And the best way to honor the sacrifice of our fallen troops is to complete the mission and lay the foundation of peace by spreading freedom.” If his approval ratings, which continued to decline that month, were an indicator, it’s not likely too many people bought this.

Discounted! CIA International Torture Vacations

Ever thought about being swept off your feet, blindfolded, given a fruity drink and whisked away by jet plane to a foreign location, perhaps in, let’s say, Eastern Europe? A surprise vacation if you will. According to The New York Times, this may be exactly the kind of treatment terror suspects received from the CIA, minus the cocktail and plus a little torture. Terror suspects have reportedly been brought to countries throughout Eastern Europe and to other areas that do not have very strict rules on torture. The European Union has begun an investigation.

Beware: There are eyes and ears everywhere

Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that the president authorized the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without the standard court-approved warrants for such domestic surveillance, inciting ire across the nation—not to mention ridicule from abroad. The report contradicts a speech the President made last year in which he said, “a wiretap requires a court order. . . . When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so.” Lost in much of the media hype was the Times’ admission that the paper delayed publishing the story for a full year—it was initially scheduled to run a few weeks before the 2004 presidential election—due to White House threats.

Never underestimate a grieving mother

When the tide of opinion turned against the Iraq war, riding the crest (or was it forming the gravitational pull?) was Cindy Sheehan, the mother who lost a son in Iraq who camped outside of Bush’s ranch in Texas, demanding an audience with the president, and attracting hundreds of supporters from around the country. Though she fell out of the spotlight with Hurricane Katrina, public support for the war has not recovered.

There can be more than one bad guy, Ramsey

Saddam Hussein’s trial began, full of the expected posturing on his part and the expected danger to life and limb on the part of those involved in the judicial process. Meanwhile, Ramsey Clark, a leader of activist group the International Action Center, is making good on his belief that everyone deserves counsel by leading the defense team. Unlike the ACLU, however, Clark hasn’t made a very convincing show of being able to act on that laudable belief while still condemning what happened during his clients’ regimes.

And you thought the 2000 election was sketchy?

Conspiracy theorists take heart—the Government Accountability Office, one of the federal government’s most historically independent, nonpartisan agencies, concluded in October that the 2004 presidential election was not only an easy target for fraud, but that numerous incidents of fraud did indeed occur around the nation. Besides confirming that even the most amateur of hackers could affect the ballot-count on the majority of electronic voting machines in use around the nation, the office also determined that questionable ballot-related incidents were concentrated throughout Ohio and many of the swing states. In several Ohio counties, for example, sworn statements from voters allege that votes cast for John Kerry registered for George Bush, while discrepancies between the number of eligible voters and the number of votes cast for Bush were disregarded by local officials. Earlier this month, Warren O’Dell, the CEO of electronic voting machine manufacturer Diebold—who pledged before the 2004 election to deliver Ohio to Bush—resigned after it was revealed that the company was facing charges of insider trading.

Papa Ratzi

After the mixture of media circus and genuine mourning that surrounded the death of Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a respected but highly conservative choice, was put in his place. His ensuing war on gay priests, however, has left many in the United States, at least, questioning his priorities—why go after celibate gays rather than, say, straights with histories of child abuse or adultery? And can you say “priest shortage”? We thought so.

A step forward

In August, in a move unimaginable a few years ago, and—even more improbably—under the leadership of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip. It was painful for both Israelis and Palestinians. Israel had to deal with wrenching images of settlers dragged from their homes by the Israeli Defense Force. Palestinians had to deal with the fact that they still didn’t control their own borders, and that a much-disputed fence was still going up across the West Bank. Worse, sporadic violence continued, and further peace talks are on hold until after the upcoming Israeli and Palestinian elections. Still, it was progress—and should be not be dismissed.

At least we’re ahead of Saudi Arabia

South Africa and Canada decided to allow same-sex couples the right to marry this year, joining Belgium, the Netherlands, and Spain. Fourteen countries have civil unions. Maybe the Land of the Free could stand to borrow some South African lube for our creaky moral joints.

Don’t step on the glass shards

Liberia elected the first female head of state of an African country. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf will have her work cut out for her, but hopes are high that she will divert the country from its long history of violence. In another oft-overlooked continent, Michele Bachelet, an agnostic divorced doctor and mother who fled Pinochet’s regime for a time, looks strong going into the January presidential runoffs in Chile and is seemingly poised to bring South America through the glass ceiling as well.

We can’t imagine why they’d be upset with U.S.

Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first Indio president and a coca farmer and activist by trade, rode to his stunning December victory on a platform of coca farmer’s rights and vowing to be “a nightmare” for the United States when it comes to trade policy. Coca, which the United States has been trying to force the eradication of, can be distilled into cocaine, but is more like coffee in its natural state. It is a major part of Bolivian culture, and is beneficial for helping people adjust to high-altitude living.

Michael Jackson

Not guilty.

Robert Blake

Not guilty.

Not guilty


Meatnormous is not an adjective

The fast-food divide widened, as McDonald’s moved closer to being the hippy-dippy health-food nuts nobody ever wanted them to be, with the addition of organic coffee in their New England restaurants. Meanwhile, Burger King showed a maddening level of malice for their customers’ well-being with the introduction of such heart-healthy items as Chicken Fries (huh?) and the (estimated) 5,000-calorie Meatnormous Omelet Sandwich, an item whose catch-phrase boasted the unthinkable: “Egg and meat and cheese . . . and meat and cheese.” Yum.

My name is Prince, and I am happy

Prince Charles of Wales and his mistress of more than 30 years, Camilla Parker Bowles, finally had their version of a storybook ending, marrying in an April ceremony at Windsor Castle.

Vote for the worst

While scripted dramas like Lost and Desperate Housewives got big ratings, there was real drama at the number-one program on network television. In the fourth season of American Idol, an unsightly domestic abuser (with the voice of an angel!) just missed the final four, a tie-dye-clad Southern rocker made it to the final two, and judge Paula Abdul succumbed to the pressures of being an Idol judge by developing an addiction to painkillers. (She actually suffers from a disorder called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.) In the end, everything went according to plan as the nice Midwestern blonde girl took home the big prize—and the endorsement deals.

Tom Cruise grows a beard . . .

A hat was presented, a slip of paper drawn, and—after Jessica Alba declined the invitation— Tom Cruise selected Katie Holmes as his new love interest. The whirlwind romance included a marriage proposal atop the Eiffel Tower, and insemination. Despite her weak-link status in this summer’s otherwise-fine Batman Begins, Holmes showed off some serious acting chops in her new role, appearing perfectly enamored with her future hubby whenever the cameras came around.

. . . goes completely insane . . .

Cruise’s psycho summer continued with a spastic appearance on Oprah, during which he leapt on couches, reprised a few choice moves from The Color of Money, and generally acted like a lunatic—all in the name of love! Oprah appeared genuinely afraid of her charge, as did a surprised Holmes, who was dragged onto the set in a “no, seriously” move. Weeks later, during a routine examination on NBC’s Today, Dr. Cruise reprimanded host Matt Lauer for not knowing “the history of psychiatry”—something the bat-shit crazy (read: Scientologist) Cruise is apparently quite familiar with.

. . . and people still love him.

War of the Worlds grossed more than $230 million (domestically) to become the year’s third-highest- grossing film, while the third installment of the unkillable Mission: Impossible franchise is among the most-anticipated movie releases of 2006.

He believes he can fly, too

Who’s crazier than Tom Cruise? It’s a tight race, but we’d wager that watersport-loving R&B crooner R. Kelly has a strong claim, based solely on the contents of his 12-part “ghetto soap opera,” Trapped In A Closet. Simultaneously the year’s most hilarious, confounding, and captivating slice of pop culture, Closet found Kelly and a bizarre cast of characters lip-synching and blocking their way through a twisted web of adultery, gun violence, and midgets. In November, South Park lampooned Kelly’s Closet, and lambasted Scientology and (to bring things full-circle) Tom Cruise, in one of their best episodes yet.

Broadcast news

Proving that Comedy Central is the television-news network of choice for the 18 to 34 demo, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart continued to rake in Emmys. In the fall, the network further cemented its place in the news biz by adding its very own pundit show. Starring the unflappable Stephen Colbert as a Bill O’Reilly-type ultra-conservative, The Colbert Report (soft “r”, no “t”) has been regarded as the network’s funniest program. Meanwhile, Daily Show alum Steve Carell had a breakout year, anchoring NBC’s hit remake of the BBC sitcom The Office, and hitting the big screen as the titular sad sack in The 40-Year-Old Virgin—one of the year’s most successful comedies.

Next on Fox: when networks screw up!

A groundswell of support—along with millions of dollars in DVD sales—prompted Fox to revive the animated series Family Guy, which it had unexpectedly cancelled in 2002. This post-mortem return to primetime is widely regarded as the first of its kind in modern media, but what remains to seen is whether the network is learning from its mistakes or repeating them. Fox recently cut its Emmy- winning series Arrested Development, citing the show’s small audience. The decision generated a veritable shit-storm, but the network has yet to weigh in on the series’ future.

Kanye West hates George Bush

In August, Kanye West—already the recipient of three Grammys in 2005—released his second album, Late Registration. The record sold more than 900,000 copies in its first week (it’s since topped 3 million), produced one of the year’s biggest singles (“Gold Digger”—it’s like “Hollaback Girl” for alimony dads!), was uniformly hailed by critics (Rolling Stone gave it the elusive fifth star, typically reserved for Mick Jagger solo albums), and was nominated for eight awards at the 2006 Grammys. Time put him on their cover. And in September, during an NBC telethon to raise money for Katrina victims, he provided a prime example of why live television still rules with the following (unscripted) sound bite: “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”

Coulda been Pope

Nobody in the music world had a better year than Kanye West—except Bono, of course. On top of his band (U2, for those keeping score) having been inducted into to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Percy Sledge also made it, so the criteria are suspect), he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (there’s always next year!), and Time named him Man of the Year (presumably for the whole activism thing). Not a bad run. Maybe next year, he can work on that whole water-into-wine thing.

Feed the world

Bono also had a hand in organizing Live 8, a series of concerts held at locations around the world, designed to draw international attention to the poverty situation in Africa. Organized by original Live Aid promoter Bob Geldof in coincidence with this summer’s G8 conference in Scotland, Live 8 was criticized for diffusing international focus from protests previously planned for the conference site. However, Coldplay fans were unfazed by these criticisms, and the concerts went off without a hitch. Africa, by the way, is still fucked.

Something for free

In November, the Grateful Dead (a band whose concert recordings have been freely traded between fans for close to 40 years) ordered the Internet Archive (a nonprofit service that had offered free downloads of the band’s live recordings for several years) to remove all Dead recordings from its Web site. Deadheads fought back, signing an online petition by the thousands, and the Dead’s heads backpedaled within a week.

Surf’s up . . . for litigation!

Brian Wilson had to wait more than 35 years to finish the aborted Smile! album. As a reward, his cousin, former Beach Boy bandmate and litigious prick Mike Love, filed a lawsuit in November, charging that Wilson “shamelessly misappropriated Mike Love’s songs, likeness and the Beach Boys trademark, as well as the Smile album itself.”—funny, because Love’s only claim to the album is a fragment of a lyric from “Good Vibrations.”

King of other-worldly media

The Howard Stern Show was officially taken off terrestrial radio stations on Friday, Dec. 16. The self-proclaimed King of All Media signed a contract earlier this year for $500 million (yes, you read that right) for five years with Sirius Satellite Radio, Inc. Stern attributes the FCC with helping him make his decision to move to satellite radio, where the long arm of censorship has yet to reach. As noble a notion as that may be, we can’t help but think that the money helped his decision, too. Sirius reported on Tuesday that they have topped 3 million subscribers. Coincidence? We think not. Though rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings, Inc,. reports having more than 5 million U.S. subscribers, Stern’s star power will no doubt help Sirius even that up.

This shit is banana . . . splits

The Hollywood dating-scene machine is nothing short of infamous in its equally skilled abilities to roll out new celebrity couples and bash marriages and relationships to shreds. This year had some very high-profile celebrity splits, beginning with Brad and Jen (Angelina, you homewrecker!). Next, we have newlyweds-no-more Jessica and Nick; the short-lived relationship called Renee and Kenny (some say this whirlwind romance was a ploy to convince the country-music star’s fans that he’s not, in fact, gay); the annoying same-named pair Paris and Paris; Katie and Chris (did Katie actually think she was movin’ on up with scientology freak? Seriously, now. . .); Denise and Charlie, who were pregnant at the time (since the breakup there has been talk of reconciliation); and the sweet young former couple of Orlando Bloom and Kate Bosworth. Oh, and on the endangered species list: Britney and Kevin.

Less is more? To hell with that.

The double-album—a format once reserved for greatest-hits collections or artists who simply couldn’t be talked out of it—was everywhere this year, with a number of high-profile artists (Foo Fighters, eels, and Kate Bush, to name a few) delivering super-size platters. Metal mavens System of a Down broke their latest release into two complementary discs (a wise move, say accountants), and alt-country crooner Ryan Adams began his string of three new albums with the double-disc Cold Roses. Speaking of overachievers, eight-years-dead Notorious B.I.G. returned to the charts last month with a new album of duets. Your move, Tupac.

Oh, the sweet irony

Sony BMG became its own worst enemy after reports surfaced that the music giant included software on more than 5 million albums that, when played on a computer, automatically placed hidden files on the computer and performed all sorts of nasty and undesirable operations (such as opening up the computer for a virus attack). The company, which has been one of the most outspoken opponents of music downloading in the industry, claimed the hidden software was intended to prevent consumers from making a copy of the album or making its contents available on the Internet—but the decision to include the software now looks like it’s pushing more people to download music instead of buying it for fear of unleashing harmful software.

Baby, we’re back

King Kong. Bewitched. The Honeymooners. Bad News Bears. Fun With Dick & Jane. Assault on Precinct 13. Pride & Prejudice. War of the Worlds. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The Dukes of Hazzard. You know where this is headed—this year’s plethora of cinema remakes proved that Hollywood has no new ideas. Period.

L.A. Rules

General Electric so regularly gets its way that it’s a surprise when they don’t. For months, GE-owned NBC Universal negotiated to buy failed indie studio Dreamworks from founders Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen. After Dreamworks had a couple of flops, however, the GE board tried to force a renegotiation of a previously concluded “handshake” deal. So, Dreamworks sold out to Viacom’s Paramount Pictures. In addition to gaining painful insight into the way things are done in Hollywood, GE learned something errant rock stars, snooping celebrity journalists and quivering agents learned decades ago: Don’t fuck with David Geffen.

Using his powers for good

Speaking of Steven Spielberg, he became, to many critics’ shock, artistically relevant again this year. His version of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds was the first popular entertainment with the balls to use elements of 9/11 effectively in a popular entertainment. With Munich, he waded into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a despairing even-handedness. He was so on his game, we’ve forgiven him for The Terminal.

Hang up that light saber

After 25 years, two good (and four terrible) movies, the Star Wars saga is finally over. Now George Lucas can get on with what he really wants to do—whatever the hell that might be. World domination? Theme park? Howard the Duck 2? Gee, we can’t wait. Or not. Whatever.

A victory for AP style

You civilians may not care, but the hyphenation—or, more specifically, the lack thereof—in the title of Universal’s The 40 Year Old Virgin drove copy editors across the journalistic spectrum crazy over the summer. Happily, someone at the studio’s home video division has fixed the problem; on the DVD, it’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Now, the professionals can sleep at night.

The Christmas present that wasn’t

On Nov. 22, the geekiest of the geeks lined up in front of malls and Wal-Marts across the nation. Yet there was nary a Star Wars sequel to be seen. What got this notoriously lazy contingent off their couches with money to spend? Xbox 360; you know the name. It’s that thing the kids have been whining about for months. The toy that sells for thousands of dollars over retail price on eBay, the one you can’t get your hands on unless you’re willing to become the Circuit City stockroom guy’s personal servant for the next couple decades. Microsoft has decided to take a loss on each of these multimedia hubs just to make sure every game geek in the world wants one. If Microsoft has its way you’ll soon want one too.

If you didn’t Yahoo, you will now

Internet jack-of-all-trades company Yahoo! made news this year when it absorbed Flickr and, two of the most popular online media-management applications. While predictions about each application’s demise popped up almost immediately, the arrangement has yet to show any significant ill effects on the applications’ usefulness or popularity. Of course, some said the same about the recent purchase of MySpace, the popular social networking application, by Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch—but we all know that’s the sort of deal that costs a piece of your soul, not your software.

First your porn, then the world

We’ve been kicking ourselves for missing Google’s initial stock offering last year. At $85 a share for the Internet search-engine company we thought, “A little pricey. It will go down.” So now it’s going for $400-something dollars a share, and even if we sell a couple organs we can’t compete. With plans to digitize five of the world’s largest libraries, among other grandiose schemes, journalists and competitors have been closely watching Google’s job offerings for a hint to their next move. When an ad went out looking for “Dark Fiber” specialists, industry insiders guessed Google was looking to start providing high-speed Internet access. Some have predicted that Google is looking simply to become the Internet. We wonder if in a few years we will have to worry about buying Google or if our concern will be whether Google buys us.

Death of the team player

Now-former Boston Red Sox centerfielder Johnny Damon became hypnotized by the bottomless pockets of the New York Yankees and signed a gigantic deal with the team in December, proving that, deep down, every professional baseball player wants to be a Yankee . . . and make tons of money. He does look a lot nicer without the beard, though.

Game on

The National Hockey League returned to the ice this year after a long strike by players resulted in the 2004-2005 season’s cancellation. While many analysts predicted that the nasty holdout between owners and players would be the final nail in American hockey’s coffin, initial attendance numbers suggest that more people than ever are showing up at hockey rinks. Whether those numbers—and the league itself—will translate into a rejuvenated, profitable professional hockey league remains to be seen.

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men

There’s no better evidence of the disarray in the New York State Republican Party than the whole Jeanine Pirro mess. A few weeks ago, she was running a lousy campaign against Hillary Clinton for the U.S. Senate. Now, with the blessing of State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, she’s running a slow-starting campaign for state Attorney General against Andrew Cuomo and a couple other eager Democrats. When Gov. George E. Pataki announced he wasn’t running for reelection, it became every Republican pol for his or herself—and the results ain’t pretty to watch.

Tell me another one

While his own Republican party crumbled at home, Gov. George E. Pataki traveled around the country giving speeches, mostly about how wonderfully he handled the aftermath of 9/11. For some reason, Pataki kept visiting and revisiting places like Iowa and New Hampshire. Some political observers have suggested that our lame-duck gov is running for president. Really. Of the United States. We’d respond, but we’re too busy rolling on the floor in paroxysms of laughter.

The machine makes the election

After good-government groups deemed New York’s state Legislature the most dysfunctional in the nation, state lawmakers took steps this year to ensure that the state’s voting system is similarly ineffective. The committee charged with making the state’s voting system compliant with the federal Help America Vote Act was first granted an extension and then decided not to make any decision at all—opting to let each county choose their voting machines. A similar arrangement set the stage for recent vote-counting issues in Ohio. Voters’ rights groups claim that under the current system, machine manufacturers (who number among the most powerful lobbying groups) will only offer counties their most expensive—and, according to voters’ groups, most unaccountable—models.

Nice try, but we want real reform

New York state voters rejected a controversial budget-reform amendment that would have taken budget power away from the governor and given it to the Legislature in the event of a missed budget deadline. Good- government groups hope that the state’s elected officials will see the results of the vote as a demand for real reform that improves the process rather than simply shifting power, but some fear that the vote will simply be seen as a stamp of approval on business as usual.

Two faces attack better than one

The law about third parties not interfering in other parties’ primaries was the Albany Democratic Party’s favorite little bludgeon in the 2004 primary for district attorney. But they suddenly went mum about it when the Conservative Party sent out attack mailings in support of Albany Treasurer Betty Barnette before the primaries this fall. We bet such selective vision is helpful (short-term at least) in city accounting work as well.

New blood politics vs. old school machine

In Albany’s Third Ward, the controversial results of September’s Democratic primary were overturned in November’s general election, as challenger Corey Ellis ousted incumbent Michael Brown from the Common Council. Brown’s apparent victory in the primary had fallen into question after it was discovered that his supporters barred Ellis poll- watchers from several polling places for long periods of time. Ellis returned in the general election as a Working Families Party candidate, managed to keep his poll watchers in the polling places and made history by becoming one of the only Albany office-holders ever elected on a third-party ticket.

Well, that happened

Here is the spot where we record highlights of the Albany mayoral race. If there had been debates, give and take, or a rousingly close race we’d put them here. But aside from Ralph Nader telling Alice Green to question Mayor Jerry Jennings’ manhood, and Green’s impressive 20 percent of the vote, it was mostly a big gray blur.

Saratoga sweeps

For the first time in the city’s history, Democrats won every seat on the Saratoga Springs City Council, plus the mayorship and both representatives to the county Board of Supervisors. Valerie Keehn, who defeated the endorsed Democrat Hank Kuczynski in the primaries, took a narrow victory against incumbent Mayor Mike Lenz. The biggest obstacle Keehn had to overcome in her campaign was the fact that 43 percent of voters in Saratoga are registered Republicans, while only around 20-some percent are registered Democrats.

A dream deferred . . .

The members of Albany Civic Agenda should have seen the ending to their push to put charter-reform initiatives on the ballot in November a mile away. When Jerry Jennings announced the formation of his Charter Reform Commission in June they should have realized their push was futile, but they didn’t. They had faith in the system. They had faith the Common Council would recognize the 3,000 signatures they had gathered. They had faith that the politicians who had pledged their support would deliver. So they raised money for court appeals and rallied on the steps of City Hall. It was not to be.

We didn’t say experienced in what

After a “national” search (it at least stayed within the nation, though we’re not sure how far across the nation it ranged), the personal assistant to Albany’s Mayor Jennings was appointed this fall as the city’s new planning commissioner. With no advise and consent in place, no one on the Common Council got to ask about his planning credentials, or lack thereof. He is to keep serving in his former role as well (supposedly, that is, only until a new mayoral assistant is found).

Meet the new boss

James Tuffey, an ex-Albany cop and longtime Jerry Jennings political cohort, became the City of Albany’s police chief. Tuffey’s got a sterling rep, so we have no snarky comment about him professionally. Except, it’s worth pointing out that it took the Times Union, in their story about Tuffey getting the job, until paragraph 28 to mention that Tuffey’s brother Kevin, another decades-long Jennings political cohort, had been police chief under Jerry a couple of terms ago. Insiderism in Albany is so ingrained, no one notices anymore.

Hudson River Tunnel, anyone?

OK, so it didn’t fall down as in a heap of rubble on the ground, as we first imagined. But when some important structural features of the highest ramp on I-787’s downtown Albany tangle of exits broke, causing a three-foot drop in the roadway, it wasn’t exactly comforting either. But hey, they’d only been first identified as weakening about 15 years ago.

Shades of black

It was packed right up to the end with eager patrons in denial of the sign in the window. But leaving vegetarians across the region in mourning, Shades of Green did indeed close its Lark Street, Albany, doors at the end of June. Note to budding restaurateurs: there’s a niche going unfilled.

Whither the green fettuccini?

A fixture on the local restaurant scene for decades, Albany’s Quintessence closed its doors this year. While this wasn’t completely unexpected, it still makes us long for the dressed-up diner’s glory days of Chicken Pataki, house dressing in Grolsch bottles and Bert Sommer playing for Sunday brunches. And what other joint had a German-food night?

Have one for Rocky

In June, only months after the death of proprietor Rocky Nigro, beloved downtown-Albany dive bar Palais Royale closed its doors, displacing hundreds of area hipsters and underage drunknards.

These guys rock

When the tsunami hit Southeast Asia at the end of last year, local entrepreneurs George Kansas and Jeff Mirel jumped into action and founded an organization called Rock2Rebuild Charitable Concert Events, which has staged two major concert events in Albany (one to raise money for the tsunami victims and one to raise money for the Hurricane Katrina victims), started a children’s acoustic music series and raised money for charities like Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children and the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Albany.

Tinderbox city

A rash of serious fires in late summer and early fall, including several concentrated in the Mansion Neighborhood, had Albany residents on tender hooks for fear a firebug was on the loose. While some culprits were apprehended, the fires didn’t seem to be the work of one person after all. Meanwhile, generosity in the form of donations, bake sales, and other support for fire victims surged in from all corners, enough that one fire victim chose to stay in the Mansion Neighborhood thanks to the outpouring.

No way, that was that building we spent months meeting about?

Albany’s Community Development Agency demolished a 150-year-old historic building on Albany’s North Swan Street on June 21, with no notice, because bricks were falling from the facade. The row house had been scheduled to be the first building restored under the Arbor Hill Revitalization plan, and Historic Albany Foundation had met with the city about it less than a week before the demolition. Agency head Joe Montana said he didn’t remember the building was slated for restoration.

Safe in Canada

Former UAlbany president Karen Hitchcock had been riding high on the nanotech influx when she suddenly resigned in 2004. But it took a lawsuit by the Times Union to bring to light the accusations of serious ethics violations—including trying to arrange a no-bid construction deal with promises of kickbacks—that had been filed against her around the time she took her leave of absence. The state investigation ended when she left the state’s employ, but Hitchcock, now principal of Queens University in Ontario and still co-host of WAMC’s higher-ed show, claims she’d welcome an investigation to clear her name.


It appears that police officers in the Capital Region are free to drink and drive whenever they please. In April, Officer Robert Schunk drove his vehicle into a parked minivan, sending the van crashing into another parked car. Schunk was allowed to keep his license because he may not have been read his full Miranda rights. Also in April, SUNY Officer Jason Horvath drove his car into a tree. The judge in Horvath’s case tossed out reports that his blood alcohol count was one-and-a-half times over the legal limit when the county prosecutor failed to show up to a hearing.

Build it and they will . . . oh, they’re already here

We saw the construction on Beekman Street in Saratoga and thought, “Oh, sweet! Maybe we’ll finally get that Arby’s!” Who could blame us? It seems that most of the new construction in Saratoga Springs is headed in that fast-food, strip-mall direction. And yet we were dead wrong. Gotchya’s Café and the Beekman Street Bistro added personal charm to the arts district while supporting local artists and farmers. Now about that Arby’s . . . We hear they’ve been doing some interesting things with spot zoning on Holland Avenue in Albany.

Give my regards to Broadway

Life has been injected back into the once-darkened storefronts on Broadway in Albany with the opening of a few new nightclubs over the past year or so. You can enjoy live music, dancing or a meal in venues such as Red Square, Mardi Gras, and Franklin’s Tower, which now line the block to the south of State Street. Most recently, Bombers owner Matt Baumgartner’s new venture, Noche, an upscale New York City-style club located off the beaten path, opened in an old fire station on Broadway, well north of State Street.

Baby, I’m back

In one of the more enjoyable local resurrections, the Washington Avenue Armory was finally refurbished and reopened as a much-needed uptown sports and performance venue. That former Albany County Executive (and convicted felon) Jim Coyne was behind the Armory’s return only made it more sweet.

We’ll get some great acts all right

Meanwhile, at Albany’s Corning Preserve, plans were afoot to wipe out those nice wetlands just north of the current performance area to create something entirely unnecessary—an even larger performance area. And, dear fellow taxpayers, this will be paid for with a multimillion-dollar Federal grant. As Mayor Jerry pointed out, however, we’ll get some “great acts” in the new space.

Time to celebrate

In its five years of operation, Skidmore College’s Tang Teaching Museum and Gallery has brought cutting-edge, nationally known artists and exhibitions to our own backyard. (Check out David Brickman’s Best of Art list on page 21 for this year’s triumph.) And believe us, we’re grateful.

The long, long rollout

Like so much of what goes on at the Rensselear Polytechnic Institute campus, empac—Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center—is hard to pin down. Eventually, it’s going to be an actual, physical performing arts space with the potential to have the kind of impact on Troy that the Tang has had on Saratoga Springs. For now, however, it’s an idea, a floating performance series and 3-D virtual building complex available for viewing online. We’re confused, but ever intrigued and pleased.

Maybe we could just rename the place

After extensive study by hired consultants, it was recommended that the Schenectady Museum’s future was in . . . Albany. Specifically, at a site on the soon-to-be former Harriman State Office Campus. Albany politicians were dismissive; Schenectady politicians were—surprise—not amused.

We turned around and it was gone

For a couple of decades, the movie ticket kiosk for the original Crossgates Mall cinema multiplex was the meeting place in that sprawling temple of consumerism. Then, the weekend after Regal Cinemas closed the old 12-plex, the kiosk was removed—as if it had never existed. Disorienting, and sad.

Tearing down the house

Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady, like many classic movie theaters-turned-performance venues across the country, knocked down their original stage house this year to make way for a massive expansion intended to bring in bigger shows—and, hopefully, bigger audiences. We wish them well.

Beth, we hardly knew ye

It was a case that drew national attention, even though it was certainly not of national interest. When Christian Brothers Academy teacher Beth Geisel was arrested for having sex with one or more students, the worst instincts of both the media and law enforcement were on full display. The mysterious deflation of the case, with Geisel serving little more than time served, only raised more questions.

Ugly from any direction

It’s been just about a year since the residents of Delmar and the rest of the Capital Region awoke to the headlines of the brutal attacks that took place in the Porco home. Peter Porco died of his injuries and his wife Joan was left brutalized and comatose. While police wouldn’t at first confirm couple’s youngest son Christopher was a suspect, Christopher made it known that he kept finding police placed tracking devices on his vehicle. In November, charges were finally brought against Christopher and the DA’s office found itself in the unenviable position of prosecuting a man whose alleged victim, his mother, claimed he was innocent. (She has no memory of the attack.)

Reports of its demise were greatly exaggerated

After a murder took place in front of Troy metal bar the Hudson Duster during a show by the hardcore band 25 Ta Life, the bar itself has been on death watch. Report after report from local TV news suggested the closing was imminent, perhaps through the city’s nuisance-abatement law. Since then the city has received more complaints about violence at the Duster. However the bar remains open, and the hardcore and metal shows the venue is notorious for have been booked far into the spring—including a show by 25 Ta Life.

Teenagers not welcome

This summer, Crossgates Mall closed its doors at 4 PM on weekends to any unchaperoned persons under age 18. Mall spokespeople have indicated that the decision brought about significant reductions in vandalism, theft and rowdy behavior, but there’s been no word yet on whether the number of stroller- and wheelchair-related mishaps has spiked. Consumers take heart, however: As long as you’re of the proper age and political opinion (no antiwar T-shirts, please) you can return to your regularly scheduled (and mall-approved) spending practices.

Next up: Capital Region star tours

Familiar faces from film and television were spotted all around the Capital Region this year, as several independent filmmakers chose to shoot in Albany and Saratoga Springs. Filmmaker brothers Joe and Dan Masucci recruited “Cigarette Smoking Man” William B. Davis for their Albany-based indie project, while Delmar writer-director Tennyson Bardwell’s The Skeptic brought Tim Daly and Tom Arnold to Saratoga Springs. Anthony Michael Hall, star of numerous 1980s films like Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club (and USA’s The Dead Zone) also turned up in the Spa City for film production—the rest of the “brat pack” were nowhere to be found, however.

Because knowing is half the battle

This summer, the University at Albany opened the National Death Penalty Archives to the public, providing a one-stop research location for scholars of all things capital punishment-related. Housed on the university’s main campus, the archives are the first—and only—of their kind in the nation.

Of marquees, menus and mocha lattes

The lights of the Madison Theatre marquee in Albany were lit once again this year, as a tremendous outpouring of support from the neighborhood helped attract a new owner for the local landmark. Close on its heels, the opening of the Muddy Cup coffee house in one of the Madison’s storefronts is a great indicator that the theater is here to stay. Meanwhile, longtime Albany cinema fixture Spectrum 8 Theatre also launched a new neighbor, the Ultraviolet Café, strengthening its status as one of the neighborhood’s most popular landmarks.

The Year in Crime

This fall, based on 2004 FBI crime data, Albany was ranked as the 64th most dangerous city (out of 369), and the 12th most dangerous city with a population under 100,000 (out of 129, including some dubious “cities” like Colonie). Albany’s population is just below 100,000, meaning it might have been more accurately compared to a mid-size city list.

Still, events of 2005 already had crime on the top of many Albany residents’ minds, and the arrival of the Guardian Angels didn’t help with the perception that something was amiss.

After three 13-year-olds were stabbed in an after-school fight outside Philip Livingston Middle School in March, the phrase “school violence” joined “gangs” as a buzzword, with everyone from teachers to candidates saying something needed to be done.

In May, a 14-year-old was stabbed to death on her walk to Hackett Middle School. Another girl was attacked by a man with a butcher knife along the same stretch of road, but escaped thanks to some alert VA Hospital employees. A man was apprehended in connection with the latter case, and several others, but it’s unclear if he will be charged with the murder as well.

Then there was a rash of arson, armed burglaries and murders affecting several different parts of the city.

The silver lining has been the number of citizens rallying together to respond, from the group that walked Livingston students safely home, to the new student-initiated neighborhood watches in the area of UAlbany’s downtown campus, to the quietly ambitious mediation work of John Cutro and Dennis Mosley. There may be trouble, but there is not despair.


And Dubya said:


“Democrats and Republicans in Congress came together last night to give Terri Schiavo’s parents another opportunity to save their daughter’s life. This is a complex case with serious issues, but in extraordinary circumstances like this, it is wise to always err on the side of life.”

—March 21


“This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. And having said that, all options are on the table.”

—Feb. 22


“Do I believe in my gut we can eradicate poverty? I do believe we can eradicate poverty. And, by the way, Bono has come to see me. I admire him.”

—June 7


And Dubya said:


“The good news is—and it’s hard for some to see it now—that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott’s house—he’s lost his entire house—there’s going to be a fantastic house. And I’m looking forward to sitting on the porch.”

—Sept. 2


“I knew that a big storm was coming on Monday, so I spoke to the country on Monday morning about it. I said, ‘There’s a big storm coming’.”

—Sept. 12

“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” —to FEMA director Michael Brown, Mobile, Ala.

—Sept. 2


“I’m going to submit a budget on Monday. They’ve been—the people in Congress on both sides of the aisle have said, let’s worry about the deficit. I said, OK, we’ll worry about it again. My last budget worried about it, this budget will really worry about it.”

—Feb. 4


“The United States of America does not torture. And that’s important for people around the world to understand.”

—Nov. 29

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