year in review 2006
but not forgotten
Gerald Ford, Coretta Scott King, Saddam Hussein, James Brown,
Robert Altman, Jane Jacobs, Ed Bradley, Betty Friedan, Kenneth
Lay, Augusto Pinochet, Caspar Weinberger, Jeane Kirkpatrick,
Ann Richards, Lloyd Bentsen, Al Lewis, Maureen Stapleton,
Peter Boyle, Shelley Winters, Red Buttons, Mickey Spillane,
Buck Owens, Gene Pitney, Lou Rawls, June Pointer, Syd Barrett,
Billy Preston, Anita O’Day, Arthur Lee, Katherine Dunham,
Joseph Barbera, Ahmet Ertegun, Gordon Parks, Arif Mardin,
Aaron Spelling, Kirby Puckett, Floyd Patterson, Steve Irwin,
and the casualties of the war in Iraq.
Also, Dubai ruler Sheikh Maktoum; Saparmurat Niyazov, president
of Turkmenistan; Tongan Prince Tu’ipelehake and Princess Kaimana;
Alfredo Stroessner, former dictator of Paraguay; George Field,
founder of the National Committee to Defend America by Aiding
the Allies during World War II; My Lai massacre hero Hugh
Thompson; Al Qaeda terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi; Russian
KGB agent turned dissident Alexander Litvinenko; and Iva Toguri
D’Aquino, aka Tokyo Rose.
Actors Joseph “Patrick” Crenshaw, Moira Shearer, Franklin
Cover, Phil Brown, Richard Bright, Darren McGavin, Dennis
Weaver, Lew Anderson, Paul Gleason, Robert Donner, Jan Murray,
June Allyson, Barnard Hughes, Bruno Kirby, Mickey Hargitay,
Tetsuro Tamba, Phyllis Kirk, and Sid Raymond.
Writers Wendy Wasserstein, Paul Clinton, Alan Shalleck, Peter
Benchley, Stanislaw Lem, R.W. Apple, Sid Adilman, Bebe Moore
Campbell, and John Heath-Stubbs.
Musicians Bryan Harvey, Derek Bailey, Janette Carter, Gene
McFadden, James Yancy (aka Jay Dee), William Cowsill, Barry
Cowsill, Bruce Hart, Sarah Caldwell, Cindy Walker, Nikki Sudden,
Pio Leyva, Bernard “Buddy” Seigal, Jackie McLean, Proof, Daniel
McKenna, Soraya, Johnnie Wilder, Freddie Garrity, Grant McLennan,
Billy Walker, Vince Welnick, Hiroyuki Iwaki, Gyorgy Ligeti,
Claydes Charles Smith, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Milan B. Williams,
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Astrid Varnay, Danny Flores, Raymond
“Boz” Burrell, Paul Vance, Sandy West, Marijohn Wilkin, Betty
Comden, H-Bomb Ferguson, and Will Westbrook.
Sportscaster Curt Gowdy; former Los Angeles Times publisher
Otis Chandler; TV host Louis Rukeyser; CBS news correspondent
Christopher Glenn; New York Times former editor A.M.
Rosenthal and former managing editor Gerald M. Boyd.
Film directors Richard Fleischer, Vincent Sherman and Gillo
Pontecorvo; cinematographer Sven Nykvist; animator Alex Toth;
National Lampoon cofounder Robert K. Hoffman; and cartoonist
Martin Nodell, creator of the Green Lantern.
Activists Omololu Falobi and Dana Reeve; legendary Michigan
football coach Bo Schembechler; heart-transplant pioneer Dr.
Norman Shumway; Dr.Eugene Landy, therapist to Brian Wilson;
Capricorn Records founder Phil Walden; Edouard Michelin, CEO
of Michelin Tires; Mr. Softee founder James F. Conway; Hooters
chairman Robert Brooks; Elma Gardner Farnsworth, who helped
her husband Philo develop the TV; Royal Bank of Scotland banker
Neil Coulbeck, who was questioned on his ties to the Enron
Local notables Teri Currie, artist and Metroland photographer;
Albany Police Detective Kenneth Wilcox; University at Albany
President Kermit Hall; New York State Trooper Joe Longobardo;
poet Pat Covert; and Tony Tirino, founder of Albany’s youth
recreational soccer program.
The Winter Olympics, Jeanine Pirro, Ned Lamont, Tom Suozzi,
John McCain’s maverick status, Albany’s First Night, Michael
Brown (FEMA), Michael Brown (Albany Common Council), Saratoga
Winners, the Hudson Duster, Floyd Landis, The West Wing,
Russell Crowe, stability in the Middle East, “Stay the course”
Gone and back again
Democrats, Ed Dague (via blog), Michael Jackson, Howie Mandel,
Bob Saget, Revolution Hall, Rocky Balboa, Smashing Pumpkins,
ABC (the band), racism and anti-Semitism, the nuclear arms
race, dictatorship in Russia, Britney Spears’ panties
Gone and back and gone again
Sobriety in the Albany Police Department
and back and gone and back again
Guns N’ Roses, Albany Eye
and back and out and gone again
and we miss you
The Music Shack
and we want you back
Consitutional rights, community policing in Albany, winter
and still paying the bills
Gone to Iowa
Gone and bitter
Gone for 50
Gone to rehab
Mark Foley, Mel Gibson, Kate Moss, Pete Doherty, Keith Urban,
Gone to hang with Xenu
Won’t go away
Gun violence in Albany
Going, going . . .
Joe Bruno, Tony Blair, Deadwood, compact discs
Going, going . . . but in denial
Bellevue Women’s Hospital
Please Go Away
Donald Trump, Tyra Banks, Jamie Foxx’s singing career, the
Albany convention center, mayoral committees, Rachael Ray
Cheney shoots his load . . . er, hunting buddy
Perhaps we’ve seen so little of Dick Cheney because he’s been
wearing camouflage. But on Feb. 11, he totally blew his cover—and
almost blew 78-year-old Texas lawyer Harry Whittington’s head
off. Due to a miscalculation (is it a faux pas to yell “Duck!”
while hunting quail?), Cheney discharged his 28-gauge shotgun
in Whittington’s direction, spraying his face, neck, and upper
torso with birdshot pellets. Whittington suffered a non-fatal
“silent” heart attack and landed in intensive care for a week.
But Cheney turned out to be bulletproof: Whittington’s statement
on the “accident” read, “My family and I are deeply sorry
for everything Vice President Cheney and his family have had
to deal with.”
Foreshadowing what would be a turbulent autumn for the Bush
administration, a Detroit District Court judge ruled in August
that the National Security Administration’s warrantless wiretapping
program—a program Bush was awfully fond of—is illegal under
the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as well as unconstitutional
under the First and Fourth Amendments. The decision is currently
stayed pending appeal.
on the laughs
In one of the supreme media moments of the year, President
Bush had to sit there and take it when, at the White House
Correspondents’ Association Dinner, comedian Stephen Colbert
dished it out. Staying in the character he plays on TV’s The
Colbert Report, Colbert gave the prez a verbal beatdown.
The crowd of Washington press and pols hated Colbert’s performance,
but he became a sensation on C-SPAN, YouTube and iTunes.
Coalition of the leaving
who could leave, did leave Iraq this year, from thousands
of Iraqis to our formerly stalwart allies Poland. The Brits
are out in 2007; looks like we’ll be left to turn the lights
out. Oh, that’s right: We never managed to get them turned
The saga of McSmackey and McChokey
Speaking of choking . . . it turns out that when congressmen,
like pimps, allegedly have to smack a bitch, they stick together.
Local blog Democracy in Albany nosed out that former Rep.
John Sweeney (R, out-of-there), who allegedly knocked his
wife around the house in a domestic “incident,” donated $1,000
to Pennsylvania Rep. Don Sherwood (R, also-out-of-there) a
week before the election. Sherwood allegedly had choked his
“20-something mistress” and paid her a couple of hundred grand
in “hush money.” Some “astute tipster” forwarded the link
to national blog Wonkette, which posted it and suggested that
Sweeney and Sherwood could start their own caucus. Alas, since
they both lost, this was not to be.
Elephants extinct in New York
John Sweeney wasn’t the only New York GOPer to go down last
November. The Democrats took an open congressional seat in
central New York; John Hall beat incumbent Sue Kelly in the
19th district; and Hillary Clinton won reelection to the U.S.
Senate in a wipeout over . . . somebody. At the state level,
it was a classic blowout, with Eliot Spitzer taking the governor’s
mansion, Andrew Cuomo winning Spitzer’s old AG post, and Alan
Hevesi winning reelection over a bowtied challenger. Sure,
Hevesi’s out now, but the Democrats in the Senate and Assembly
get to pick his replacement.
Dolphins nearly extinct in China
Rampant development and invasive fishing practices, scientists
fear, have pushed the Chinese river dolphin to the point of
extinction. Maybe if we dubbed the TV series Flipper
into Mandarin and broadcast it into China, folks there would
love the dolphin enough to save it. Hasn’t worked with those
beloved Coca-Cola polar bear commercials here, though.
And on Day Two, Spitzer will change the world
Soon-to-be governor-elect Eliot Spitzer’s “Day One” campaign
slogan became the political buzzword of the 2006 election
in New York. The phrase, which was repeated ad nauseam within
the media, encapsulated the outgoing attorney general’s reform
agenda and promises to improve schools, restore ethics in
government, cut taxes and revive the state’s economy. Spitzer,
who’s well-known for his efforts in cleaning up Wall Street
as attorney general, easily cruised to a record-setting victory
in November, becoming the first new governor in 12 years.
Mrs. Hevesi’ drove Mr. Hevesi out of a job
The election cycle looked to be relatively scandal-free for
New York Dems. That was until September, when Democratic Comptroller
Alan Hevesi admitted that he used a state employee to chauffer
his wife. The “Driving Mrs. Hevesi” affair gave state Republicans
their first realistic chance of victory for GOP candidate,
bowtie-adorned Christopher Callaghan. (Callaghan, by the way,
was the one who pointed out Hevesi’s fiscal irresponsibility.)
Hevesi retained his title, however, only to resign in December
as part of a deal with Albany District Attorney David Soares.
The agreement also called for Hevesi to plead guilty to defrauding
the government, but should keep him from serving any prison
Voters clean House, and Senate
Voters swept Republicans out of power during midterm elections,
issuing a strong message of no-confidence to the White House.
Voters rejected President George W. Bush’s handling of the
war in Iraq, allowing Dems to pick up enough seats to control
the House by 31 members. While the Senate split between 49
Republicans and 49 Democrats, it is considered to be Democrat-controlled
thanks to two Democratic-caucusing Independents. The electoral
takeover prompted Bush to acknowledge a need for “a fresh
perspective” on the war and announce that he had accepted
the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
One terrorist down . . .
In June, U.S. and Iraqi officials announced that Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, had been killed
in an air strike. The news was widely considered the most
significant public triumph of the war in Iraq since the capture
of Saddam Hussein in 2003. President George W. Bush called
Zarqawi’s death “a severe blow to Al Qaeda” and “a significant
victory in the war on terror.”
Arson in Alabama
A string of arson attacks caused alarm among faith-based communities
in rural Alabama during February. Three college students were
arrested and pleaded guilty in federal court, but they still
face state charges. According to prosecutors, the first five
fires, which occurred during the same night, resulted from
an evening of underage drinking and illegal hunting that got
out of hand. The next four fires, which took place four nights
later, were supposed to throw the investigation off course.
A nice piece of carcass
On top of our list of weird news during 2006 is a story involving
Bryan James Hathaway, a 20-year-old Wisconsin man who was
charged with sexual gratification with an animal. The incident
occurred in October, when Hathaway allegedly found a dead
deer by the side of a road and had sex with the carcass.
From yellow jeep to orange jumpsuit
After nearly two years of referring to Christopher Porco as
the “alleged” ax murderer, a jury made it official and found
Porco guilty of attacking his parents with an ax, killing
his father and disfiguring his mother. Porco, a native of
Delmar, was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Secrets, secrets are no fun
Just days before Day One, it was politics as usual in Albany,
where Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Brunswick) held
a news conference to announce that he was under FBI investigation.
The investigation, which concerns Bruno’s business interests
outside of the state Legislature, began in late spring, but
was not exposed until December. The announcement caused bipartisan
chatter about whether Bruno, the most powerful state Republican,
should step down.
Injected with drama
Floyd Landis’ comeback victory in the Tour de France prompted
excitement among Americans who were proud to see the first
tour without cycling icon Lance Armstrong end with the yellow
jersey on the back of another U.S. cyclist. The celebration
lasted for four days, the time it took before it was announced
that Landis’ doping test was positive for unnaturally high
levels of testosterone. While Landis denied and appealed the
claims, Tour de France officials, who still considered Landis
the winner, declined to call him the 2006 champion.
There’s something in the veggies
It started in September, when bagged spinach was pulled from
the shelves at grocery stores nationwide, restaurants refused
to serve the leafy greens, and the Food and Drug Administration
issued an alert of an E. coli outbreak to consumers. Weeks
later, just as salad lovers were comfortable digging back
into the green stuff, E. coli fears spread to the nation’s
fast food junkies, as the E. coli outbreak spread to food
linked to Taco Bell.
Attacks from the right
When the Federal Marriage Amendment—a measure to constitutionally
define marriage as a union between one man and one woman—failed
to pass the Senate in June, gay-rights advocates cheered,
but their delight was short-lived. In July, the New York Court
of Appeals ruled that there is no constitutional mandate for
gay marriage. That was followed by midterm elections in which
seven states passed ballot propositions banning gay marriage.
Even Massachusetts’ status as the only state allowing gay
marriage has come under attack, as lawmakers considered a
constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex unions.
Will you civil union me?
While it refused to give legality to same-sex marriage, New
Jersey’s legislature entitled gay couples to all the rights
and responsibilities of marriage allowed under state law when
it passed a bill allowing civil unions in December. The new
law allows same-sex couples several benefits, including adoption,
hospital visitation and inheritance rights.
How did you fail? Let me count the ways . . .
Just in case he didn’t believe midterm election voters, the
Iraq Study Group, also known as the Baker-Hamilton Commission,
slapped an additional “Failure” stamp on President George
W. Bush’s forehead. The commission, which was formed to assess
the Iraq war and recommend new policy, developed 79 recommendations
for radically overhauling the strategy in Iraq. Included among
the recommendations were a call for gradual withdraw and direct
talks with Middle Eastern countries such as Iran and Syria.
Couric to women hosts: Musical chairs, anyone?
When former NBC Today show co-host Katie Couric accepted
the anchor position at CBS Evening News, it
set in motion a chain of seat-swapping in TV-land. Meredith
Vieira, former co-host on ABC’s talk show The View,
stepped up to replace Couric. Rosie O’Donnell made another
attempt to be somebody by settling into Vieira’s vacant seat.
The music stopped before party pooper Diane Sawyer could make
a change. She stayed put as co-anchor at ABC’s Good Morning
America despite rumors that she might move to ABC’s World
Shhh! Don’t tell . . .
News of three University at Albany football players accused
of repeatedly raping a female student spread quickly through
the Capital Region in October. Many criticized the university’s
public handling of the allegations, questioning its failure
to address the issue swiftly and openly. The university’s
police department also was criticized for its failure to immediately
report the allegations to the district attorney’s office.
Schenectady will be watching you
A plan to place 15 wireless cameras in downtown Schenectady
was approved by the Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority
in November. The cameras are intended to ensure the safety
of people downtown and will pan, tilt and zoom to capture
broad images of the area. The digital feed will be archived
and made available over a secure Web connection.
Proposed changes to the city charter were soundly rejected
by voters in Saratoga Springs. The proposal called for the
creation of a strong mayoral form of city government. Opponents
of the changes criticized the process, calling the proposal
rushed, and made the claim that the city didn’t allow enough
opportunities for citizen input. The debate livened up Election
Day, with picketers from both sides chanting and carrying
signs at corners in downtown Saratoga Springs.
Cancer prevention in a syringe
One of the biggest health developments of the year came in
June when the Food and Drug Administration approved Merck’s
Gardasil, the world’s first vaccine that prevents cervical
Not going anywhere
People took to the streets this past spring to protest against
legislative attempts to heighten penalties leveled at illegal
immigrants. Weeks of ongoing protests turned into months of
protests that spanned most of the Southwest and stretched
throughout the country, into Ohio, Illinois, New York and
Washington D.C. The protests culminated in the Great American
Boycott on May 1, prompting more than one million people to
protest, skip school, skip work, and not shop.
Thirty members of the powerful Arbor Hill/West Hill gang were
charged this October in a sweeping indictment of racketeering
and conspiracy. Many of the defendants are looking at decades
in federal prison.
Now that I have your attention, Mr. President
war, billions more, but no more for the poor.” The Rev. Jospeh
Lowery received a standing ovation when he scolded President
George W. Bush in February at the funeral of Coretta Scott
King. The Rev. Lowery, along with former President Jimmy Carter,
used the funeral service for the late, great civil-rights
leader’s wife to express their distress for the direction
the country is headed—a direction, they noted, that stood
in sharp opposition to the legacy of the late Kings.
Habeas Corpus is, like, so 1215
In their continuing effort to torture the hell out of anyone
deemed an “enemy combatant,” the Bush administration, along
with the kowtowing 109th Congress, succeeded this fall in
pushing through the Military Commissions Act of 2006. This
legislation, which makes the Patriot Act look like the Bill
of Rights, did nothing less than roll back nearly every civil
liberty afforded by the Constitution and 800 years of civilization.
The terrorists must be quaking in their keffiyehs now.
My, what a deadly looking missile launcher you have
There was a lesson to be learned: If the person you are borrowing
money from pulls out what he claims to be a missile launcher,
run, don’t walk, to the nearest exit. Had Mohammad Hossain
done just that, he might not be looking at spending the next
30 years of his life in prison. And also he might not have
gotten his imam, Yassin Aref, involved in the yearlong FBI
sting that ended with the two men convicted on terrorism and
If you destroy it, they won’t come
That seemed to be the principle Troy City Hall was working
under when the orders were given to remove the classic marquee
from the front of Cinema Art on River Street. The theater,
which for the past few decades has been operating as a porn
theater, came under attack after a group of sexually adventurous
adults were busted for meeting inside the private business
to engage in acts very similar to those occurring onscreen.
One small problem with that health insurance
It wasn’t legal, or so said Troy City Hall this fall. When
a city audit discovered a deal worked out in the 1980s with
99 former Troy city workers to insure them and their spouses
was not OK’d by the City Council at the time, the insurance
policies were revoked. It wasn’t a popular move, leaving dozens
of retirees uninsured, but it was the only move the city argued
that it could make.
Iran’s leader kindly becomes new bogeyman
If it weren’t for those bellicose Middle Eastern leaders,
who would the United States have to fear? (Oh, right, the
communists.) Iran’s sixth president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
hadn’t even been in office for a year before his belligerent,
from-the-hip posturing drew the ire of the White House. It
is hard to outdo calling for wiping Israel off the map, as
he did at his inauguration in 2005, but in 2006 he gave it
his all. From drawing a line the sand over Iran’s nuclear
power, to his constant call for Israel’s annihilation to his
jaw-dropping denial of the Holocaust, Ahmadinejad continually
succeeded in delivering the fearmongers in our country the
Congressmen will be boys
Who can forget those rosy cheeks, that Cheshire grin, those
glazed-over eyes? Yes, Rep. John Sweeney made the 20th District
proud—and amused the hell out of the rest of the Capital Region—when
he posed for a down-and-dirty photo-op at frat-house kegger
this past summer. Of course, the scandal caused by those photos
was nothing compared to the cataclysm that was to come.
Stoner turned senator
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) became an overnight darling after
his rousing, powerful speech at the 2004 Democratic Party
convention. With the publication of his second memoir last
year, the country watched as the young senator’s supporters
prophesied an Obama bid for the 2008 White House. Obama, along
with Hillary Clinton, is the name most bandied about as a
real contender in the growing pool of Democratic presidential
maybes. Oh, and he inhaled.
GOP power broker sings
He looked like a mobster in a black trenchcoat and matching
black fedora, walking out of the federal courthouse where
he pleaded guilty to multiple felony counts. He was fond of
dropping lines from mobster movies into his business negotiations.
But Jack Abramoff, former Republican lobbyist, hasn’t played
it cool since being sentenced to more than five years in prison.
Word has it, the onetime Washington, D.C., superstar has spent
the past year singing like a canary to the feds. They even
set him up with an office so he could rat out his former associates.
Caught with his hands in the kinky jar
But really, did it come as any surprise to anyone when a gay
prostitute outed Colorado superchurch pastor Ted Haggard?
Sure, it was funny that Haggard was outed in retaliation for
his support of a ban on same-sex marriage, but at this point,
the irony of a straight-laced, judgmental right-wing wanker
chasing prostitutes and snorting meth is beyond cliché. At
least the prostitute was of age.
RIP Brad Will
The 36-year-old American reporter and documentarian died in
Oaxaca, Mexico, in October, gunned down, allegedly, by Mexican
officials. He was reporting at the time on the uprising in
the volatile southern Mexican state.
Video blogger goes to jail
It was a bad year for journalists: killings, intimidation,
litigation, layoffs, Katie Couric. But with the jailing of
Josh Wolf, the year went from bad to landmark. Wolf, a California-based
video blogger, videotaped a riot and posted an edited version
of what he taped on his blog. The police saw the blog entry,
asked for the whole tape and Wolf said no. So Wolf, who is
not protected by shield laws, went to jail for contempt of
Democracy, the American way
Millions took to the streets of Mexico in July when Felipe
Calderón assumed the presidency amid allegations of scandal,
vote tampering, and intimidation. His opponent, leftist Andres
Manuel López Obrador, lost to Calderón by a less than 1 percent
margin and swore to continue fighting in the streets until
justice was served. By justice, of course, he meant when he
would be recognized as “the legitimate president of Mexico.”
Obrador finally abandoned his hopes of unseating Calderón
and is now campaigning to start his own, separate government.
Reagan must be spinning in his grave
With the New Year swearing-in of Bolivian President Evo Morales,
the stage was set for the “deep, socialist revolution” that
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez would call for 12 months
later. In 2006, the voters of Latin America in country after
country—Chile, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador—bolstered Chavez’s revolution
by putting in power, or returning to leadership, strong socialist
leaders. And Chavez, perhaps giddy from his growing power,
even inferred in a speech to the United Nations that President
George Bush was “the Devil.”
50 gunshots later
Sean Bell, 23, lay dead on his wedding day. Leaving the New
York City strip club where he and his friends were partying,
Bell was gunned down by five undercover cops. Two of his friends
were injured in the barrage. All three men were unarmed.
Welcome aboard our sinking ship
Why Robert Gates wanted to take the job of Secretary of Defense
is beyond us. But apparently the former CIA man couldn’t turn
the president down. Then again, Gates is a member of the Baker
Commission, the revered group that simply everyone believes
will magically fix the debacle in Iraq. Trying to clean up
the mess left behind by the disastrous Donald Rumsfeld sure
seems like a thankless job.
Cultural entertainings for make benefit Metroland
Borat (the clueless Khazak reporter played by Sacha Baron
Cohen) and his hijinks did more damage to productivity in
the Metroland editorial office than MySpace and cell
phones together this year. He also captivated the world, caused
international incidents, marched on the White House, proved
that the hype machine works for good movies, and even garnered
Any time is a good time for war!
This summer, after the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier, Israel
launched a full-fledged assault on Lebanon. World powers looked
on as casualties mounted and the recently reconstructed country
was turned to ash. Toward the tail end of the conflict, Seymour
Hersh revealed in a New Yorker article that earlier
in the year (prior to the soldier’s kidnapping), the White
House and Israel had discussed plans to launch an attack.
If it don’t work, don’t talk about it
If there was a report the Bush administration didn’t like
this year, it likely no longer exists. Reports that indicated
that the Bush administration environmental policy was hurting
the environment were canceled or censored. Economic reports
showing large layoffs in previous years were done away with.
Census data that has increasingly shown that Americans are
making less money and are underinsured are no longer collected.
Battles in Iraq that yielded large casualties have been labeled
classified. Bush also made great headway into restricting
the freedom of the press. (We wrote more here, but it was
The Blair witch
England’s once-popular, Bill Clintonesque, moderate Prime
Minister Tony Blair found himself struggling to hold power
as his constituents punished him for his unpopular support
for the war in Iraq and his Bush-cuddling habits. After narrowly
winning reelection, Blair promised in 2006 that he would step
down before the end of his term—he just forgot to give an
Almost a decade after Princess Diana’s death, documents were
released that purportedly showed that the car crash that cost
her life was caused by drunk driving. The investigation also
revealed that the United States had been spying on the princess.
Tabloid types were left unsatiated.
Wedge issues no more
As autumn set in this year, the Bush Administration tried
desperately to trot out its favorite wedge issues—gay marriage,
immigration and stem-cell research—in a last-ditch effort
to retain their majority in Congress. But it seemed voters
had clued in to the bigger issues of the midterms like . .
. let’s say . . . the war in Iraq.
With guns blazing
The summer in Albany was dominated by the sound of gunfire
ringing out in streets of West Hill, Arbor Hill and Center
Square. After two separate shootings, Police Chief Tuffey,
in an odd attempt at some sort of reassurance, told the press
that police were only blocks away from the shootings and in
one case had even talked to the victims minutes before they
were shot. Apparently, police presence is no longer a deterrent
Shoot the messenger
In May, at a conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Albany
District Attorney David Soares warned the Canadian government
about the perils of copying the United States’ war on drugs.
When he returned to Albany he was greeted with tongue-lashings
from Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings and Police Chief James Tuffey,
who apparently had nothing more pressing to worry about.
The deck chairs
In the middle of what seemed like many to be a crime wave
in Albany, Police Chief Tuffey decided it was time to change
a few things in the Albany Police Department. Although his
plan remained shrouded in mystery for months, the two clear
points were that the Arbor Hill and Pine Bush stations would
close. After months of public outcry and meetings, it wasn’t
clear if anything had changed, but the stations nevertheless
Maf54: Did you spank it this weekend yourself? :)
Mark Foley’s page-loving ways changed the shape of the 2006
elections. Sure, the Democrats probably tipped off the press,
but we’re thinking it might have been important for the public
to know that the dude who was writing the laws to protect
children from molesting creeps was also the creep trying to
molest the kids. The Foley situation beautifully exposed the
corruption and hypocrisy of the spoiled Republican administration.
Of course, Fox news scrambling to do damage control found
a way to deflect the blame from the Republican party—they
simply labeled Foley a Democrat during a number of broadcasts.
Hey, hey, hey, goodbye!
The Republican Congress probably could have used old Rummy’s
exit before the midterms. However, the Bush administration
seemed to take the results of the election as a referendum
on the stay-the-course agenda and its figurehead, Mr. Bitter
Face himself, Donald Rumsfeld. Rummy got to laugh last, though,
when he made everyone at the Pentagon feel a wee bit uncomfortable
by sticking around until the last second before Robert Gates
Please, Sweenster, don’t hurt ’em
A popular rumor about John Sweeney became a matter of public
record when an incident report about a domestic violence call
made to the Congressman’s residence was leaked to the press.
Sweeney, who may not have been as politically savvy as some
claimed he was, responded by insisting there were two reports,
one real, one fake. He failed to deliver the “real” report.
Although Metroland has a fine appreciation for badasses,
we never really thought being an ornery badass was a helpful
qualification for being a diplomat. However, John Bolton’s
cantankerous old-pissy-guy attitude fits Bush’s take-no-prisoners,
make-no-friends style of foreign policy perfectly. But Bolton
did not win any friends in Congress while wearing his disdain
for the United Nations on his sleeve and, after the midterms,
he was forced to hand in his papers.
in wild, wild Russia
Being a muckraking journalist in Russia did not get any easier
in 2006. Critics of the Putin administration have an uncanny
way of ending up dead, and in 2006 Anna Politkovskaya, a well-known
investigative journalist and trumpeter of Russian human-rights
abuses in Chechnya, was found murdered in her apartment. Also,
earlier in her career, Politkovskaya reportedly was jailed
The first victim of international nuclear terrorism, spy Alexander
Litvinenko, had a friend read a statement accusing Russian
President Vladimir Putin of the nuclear attack that left Litvinenko
dying in a hospital bed. Litvinenko had been a critic of Putin
in the past. British authorities traced the residue of the
nuclear isotope that poisoned the spy through London and onto
passenger jets. Russian authorities declined to help with
Albany Treasurer Betty Barnette worried to the Times Union
before the elections this year that “outsiders” were getting
involved in the political process. Although it was not completely
clear who she was talking about, the Democratic Committee
races this year saw a number of mayor-approved candidates,
including the mayor himself, lose seats to area politicians
who aren’t exactly the mayor’s close pals.
The early bird . . .
With President Bush left hiding in foreign countries to avoid
looking his defeated Congress in the eye, speculation ran
rampant about who would vie to replace Bush in 2008. The field
that once looked quite conservative quickly took on a more
moderate tone with Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Barack Obama
and Hillary Clinton looking like frontrunners. John Edwards
was so anxious to announce before the new year that his Web
site mistakenly revealed the announcement a day early. Once
an assumed candidate, John Kerry was still too busy trying
to take his foot out of his mouth to announce a run.
Liberal and fancy free
In the aftermath of the midterm elections that saw Democrats
gain a majority in both the House and the Senate, national
TV stations began to declare that “liberal” was no longer
a dirty word. The press looked for reasons the conservative
dynasty crumbled so quickly. Was it scandal? Was it Iraq?
Meanwhile, Bill O’Reilly insisted he would use it as a dirty
word until Fox censors allowed him to use the word “pussy.”
Politicians steamrolled ahead with a plan to build a convention
center in downtown Albany despite the warnings of experts
that convention centers don’t turn a profit, and usually end
up over budget and acting as a drag on the tax base. A site
for the convention center was chosen where the bus station
now stands. Then, later in the year, it was announced that
the center was already $40 million over budget.
Get on the trolley
Mayor Jennings announced the formation of the Recapitalize
Albany Committee, which would be charged with refinancing
and rebuilding the troubled city. Jennings immediately was
criticized for not including minorities and more actual Albany
residents. Jennings responded by appointing some Common Council
members. Then, in the most sensitive move ever, Jennings took
a trolley ride through Arbor Hill to see what needed fixing.
2005 in Albany was dominated by a battle between City Hall
and a citizens’ group that wanted modest reform to Albany’s
City Charter. Mayor Jennings took the steam out of the reform
by creating his own committee, and chaired it with Judge Larry
Rosen, who had claimed the public needed more education before
the reforms went through. In 2006, nary a peep was heard about
the minor charter changes that Jennings’ personal committee
created. So it was not a surprise on Election Day when a great
many Albanians were confused by the reforms on the ballot.
No recount needed
Kirsten Gillibrand helped add the 20th district to the national
wave of Democratic victories over Republicans wracked by scandal,
but it was certainly no easy task. It was an ugly race from
start to finish. Incumbent U.S. Rep. John Sweeney started
things off in a nasty tone by attacking Kirsten Gillibrand’s
family and mocking her for being a woman. But by the end of
the race, Sweeney was preemptively running ads accusing Gillibrand
of attacking his. Then one of the many scandals of Sweeney’s
making caught up with him, and it was clear that the congressman’s
family didn’t need protecting from Gillibrand, but perhaps
Sweeney section 8
After his defeat at the hands of Kirsten Gillibrand, John
Sweeney was not a happy guy. He stopped attending floor votes,
murmured a lot about being bitter, and generally abandoned
his duties as a congressman. Some report that his new basement
digs were trashed and left in disarray. According to some,
his behavior in his last few weeks in the U.S. Congress caught
the attention of his own party, who are wondering how ethical
his exit was.
Best friends forever
The on-air swooning of Alan Chartock over his “best friend,”
Republican congressional incumbent John Sweeney, raised a
lot of hackles in both the public and the political sectors.
Chartock’s gushing over Sweeney tainted the station’s coverage
of the race and has left a rift between the normally liberal-leaning
station and the Gillibrand camp. Some also wondered about
the connection between Sweeney and Siena College. Siena, whose
polls consistently showed Sweeney winning the race by a wide
margin until near the end, also received the benefits of grants
acquired by Sweeney, and a number of higher-ups at Siena had
donated to the Sweeney campaign.
Death and denial
When Albany Police Detective Kenneth Wilcox died in a car
crash after spending a long evening with Aaron Dare at Albany
bar Noche—and, according to reports, sharing a $900 bottle
of Cognac—Times Union reporter Brendan Lyons included
these and more details of the evening in his story the next
day. This triggered an angry backlash from Wilcox’s grieving
family, and from the police, who not-so-subtly threatened
the newspaper and Lyons. Almost lost in the tragic story and
resulting ugliness was the fact that the TU actually
did a fine and responsible job of reporting the story, and
that an Albany police officer was drinking before his shift.
Have a drink on me
The Albany Police Department instituted a zero-tolerance alcohol
policy after Detective Kenneth Wilcox’s tragic death in a
car accident, following what was alleged as hours of drinking
at a downtown nightspot. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to
take: On Nov. 12, officers William Bonnani and Glenn Szelest
allegedly reported for duty after having been drinking. The
Au revoir, Macacawitz
He was cruising to reelection, and dreaming of the White House,
when former Virginia U.S. Senator George Allen called an ethnic-Indian
campaign worker (for rival candidate James Webb) “macaca”
twice at a campaign rally. Though Allen said he made “macaca”
up, it turned out to be a racial slur in Allen’s mother’s
North African homeland—thus pissing off a lot of people. Then,
when Allen’s Jewish heritage was revealed, he at first denied
it, then backtracked—thus pissing off a lot more people. Needless
to say, Sen. Macacawitz never recovered from these odious
Penguins, not snakes, motherfuckers
The hypesters wanted you to think 2006 was gonna be all about
snakes on a plane, but this was the year of the penguin. First,
March of the Penguins waddled home with a Best Documentary
Oscar, then the animated ’guins of Happy Feet tapped
their way into the nation’s hearts. Get back under the rocks,
It still hurts too much
Hollywood finally made movies about the tragedy of 9/11, but
hardly anyone wanted to see them. ABC’s historically inaccurate
docudrama The Path to 9/11 was unloved; critics praised
Universal’s United 93, but New York City audiences
booed the trailer; and only a few right-wingers had
any interest in Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center.
Maybe if Stone had added penguins . . .
Take that, sweater-wearing clowns
Uwe Boll, director of Bloodrayne and the Tara Reid-headliner
Alone in the Dark, is widely acclaimed as the worst
director in cinema today. (Yes, that’s including Renny Harlin
and Michael Bay.) Tired of taking shots from critics, Boll
issued an open challenge: He would take on all movie-critic
comers in the boxing ring. Guess what? Boll kicked five critics’
asses. Maybe he should have tried to punch performances out
of the likes of Reid and Christian Slater.
Really plugged in
As a promotion for their summer actioner Running Scared,
New Line Cinema set up an online video game in which you,
taking the part played by “actor” Paul Walker, would “perform”
oral sex on his character’s wife. Yes, you read that correctly.
You “won” if “she” had an orgasm. Let’s just outlaw Second
Life now, shall we?
We are so not the champions (but we tied the champions)
The United States was (for once) fairly highly regarded going
in to this year’s World Cup, but the Americans played uninspired
football in two opening-round losses and did not advance.
Italy—which played better and better with each game—squeaked
by France on penalty kicks in the championship match (a result
somewhat overshadowed by the now-infamous Zidane head-butt).
For the Americans, the irony—and only bright spot—was that
they were the only team Italy could not beat; the two sides
scratched and clawed to a 1-1 draw in the opening round.
Goodbye, Sandra; goodbye, center
Samuel Alito won confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court somewhat
more easily than had been expected, in spite of stiff opposition
from some Democrats, who were particularly concerned about
his voting record and past statements on such issues as abortion,
equal justice and executive power. In the hearings, he distanced
himself from some early writings (in one case, claiming an
essay was tailored to help land him a job) and was evasive
on tough questions, but he also did not stumble and was confirmed
58-42. As expected, he already has shown signs of being a
more conservative jurist than his predecessor, Sandra Day
We thought it would last forever
Irreconcilable differences claimed the lives of these seemingly
picture-perfect marriages this year: Reese Witherspoon and
Ryan Phillippe; Chris Robinson and Kate Hudson; Hilary Swank
and Chad Lowe; rock band Sleater-Kinney.
We’re shocked it lasted so long
Also calling it quits in ’06 were Pamela Anderson and Kid
Rock (she gets the china, they’ll both keep the hepatitis);
Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown (some might say the crack
had been showing for years); and Paul McCartney and Heather
Mills (whose divorce proceedings proved too ugly for comment).
Meanwhile, glutton-for-punishment Marshall “Eminem” Mathers
and ex-wife Kim Mathers remarried, only to separate again
after three months.
Oops, she did it again . . .
In November, pop diva Britney Spears filed for divorce from
former backup dancer Kevin Federline after two years of marriage,
and less than two months after the birth of the couple’s second
child. The union outlasted Spears’ 55-hour marriage to one
Jason Alexander in January 2004, which in turn outlasted Federline’s
entire rap career.
Welcome to the Vajungle
To hell with the “nip-slip”: Hollywood bore witness to a new
phenomenon this year, as a record number of starlets left
their underpants at home before hitting the town. Britney
Spears celebrated her newfound single status by spending most
of November with her coochie out, while seasoned exhibitionists
like Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan continued to leave very,
very little to the imagination. (Celeb-stalking Web site TheSuperficial.com
went so far as to say “Paris Hilton’s crotch is like the bathroom
wall opposite your toilet. You’ve seen it so many time’s [sic]
you forget it’s even there.”)
Howard Stern’s jump to Sirius satellite radio went as planned
in January, and millions of listeners followed him to the
subscription-only service. In June, Sirius won the rights
to Stern’s entire back catalog of CBS radio shows—about 23,000
hours—which means those listeners should have much to digest
in the coming years. Unfortunately things didn’t go as well
for Stern’s terrestrial-radio successor, flamboyant rocker
David Lee Roth—his morning show was canceled after only four
months on the air. However, Roth may find himself back at
work soon as Van Halen, again without a singer, have announced
tour plans for 2007, coinciding with their likely induction
into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this March.
Hot, hot, hot
Internet inventor Al Gore became a movie star with the release
of An Inconvenient Truth. In the film by director Davis
Guggenheim, the former president-elect presents the scientific
evidence for global warming and the potential consequences
of global climate change, and offers ways to reduce the amount
of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. The
film grossed more than $23 million domestically, and it is
expected to receive a Best Documentary Film nomination at
the upcoming Academy Awards. Meanwhile, in December, a 41-square-mile
ice shelf was discovered to have broken free in the Canadian
And the Oscar goes to . . .
The Academy Awards have given us some delightfully surreal
television moments, but none more so than these two from this
February’s broadcast: 1) Three 6 Mafia, along with a host
of characters decked out in full pimp-and-ho regalia, performed
their expletive-riddled Hustle & Flow song “It’s
Hard Out Here for a Pimp” against a backdrop modeled after
the whorehouse from the film; 2) Three 6 Mafia actually won
the award, prompting host Jon Stewart to comment “For anyone
keeping record, Martin Scorsese, zero Oscars. For Three 6
Hey! Ho! Let’s go . . . home.
After 33 years, venerable East Village rock venue CBGB hosted
its last shitty punk band (Patti Smith, actually) in October,
driven out by, some would say, gentrification. (The landlord
refused to renew the club’s lease.) Club owner Hilly Kristal
has hinted that he will move the club, urinals and all, to
Las Vegas in the near future, where we can only hope it will
take up residence adjacent to 3121, Prince’s new Vegas nightspot.
Much ado about nothing
Spearheaded by a ferocious viral-marketing campaign, the
year’s most-hyped film was Snakes on a Plane, which
had blogs buzzing and dozens of parodies surfacing on the
Internet a full eight months before initial screenings of
the film. Unfortunately, the threat that star Samuel L. Jackson
would kindly request the removal of the motherfucking snakes
from the motherfucking plane was not enough to get patrons
into theaters: Snakes earned $34 million domestically,
barely making back its budget, and falling well short of box-office
Don’t call it a comeback
Rapper-mogul Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter ended the “worst retirement
ever” this year, reentering the rap ring with Kingdom Come.
Widely expected to be the blockbuster smash album of 2006,
the record debuted at No.1 on the Billboard Pop Albums
chart in November with 680,000 copies sold—the best one-week
tally of Carter’s career—but by year’s end, it had barely
cleared platinum. (For contrast, his final pre-retirement
release, The Black Album, sold more than 3 million.)
Considered by some to be a disappointment, others pointed
to this as merely a symptom of the declining CD market.
You shave your balls with it
The debut of the Philips Norelco Bodygroom brought a disturbing
level of pubic—er, public—awareness to a particularly hairy
personal-hygiene issue. (Hint: The product’s Web site is www.shaveeverywhere.com.)
Taint-shavers everywhere rejoiced.
Over 300 Million Served
The United States population hit the 300-million mark this
fall. We thought the air seemed a little thin.
This fall also saw the tally of dead U.S. soldiers in Iraq
surpass the total number of civilians killed on 9/11. The
tally hit the 3,000 mark on Jan. 1, 2007.
You can’t take it with you
In October, Forbes.com reported that Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain
had officially become the richest dead celebrity, bumping
perennial top-earner Elvis Presley from the number one slot
for the first time since 2001. Turns out the King is still
dumping most of his fortune on bananas and blow.
Big Brother wants to be your friend!
MySpace made stalking ex-girlfriends easier than ever in 2006,
as the “social networking” (read: emo band haven) Web site
grew to outlandish proportions. NewsCorp head Rupert Murdoch
said in November that he expects the site could sell for $6
billion, more than 10 times what his company paid to acquire
it less than 18 months prior. Meanwhile, Google picked up
the highly popular YouTube site for a cool $1.65 billion,
ensuring that the Numa Numa dance would be viewable for generations
Once more, with passion
When Mel Gibson’s on the sauce, he calls things like he sees
them. So when he was pulled over on the Pacific Coast Highway
for erratic driving in July, he just did what any drunken
anti-Semite would do. After threatening to “fuck” an arresting
officer and referring to a female officer as “sugar tits,”
he just threw it out there: “The Jews are responsible for
all the wars in the world.” Not that we didn’t already know
his feelings on the topic—anyone who saw The Passion of
the Christ knows that Mel ain’t kosher. Gibson went on
to release his Mayan-slaughter epic Apocalypto in December;
the Jews have declined to comment on their involvement in
That ain’t funny!
Michael Richards, once and forever known as Seinfeld’s
wacky neighbor Kramer, seriously lost his shit onstage at
a Hollywood comedy club in November, spewing a stream of racial
epithets at a group of black men in the audience. Several
creepy televised apologies and meetings with black leaders
followed, with Richards writing his outburst off as an attempt
at edgy humor, but the general consensus remained that he
is simply a big, fat racist—and not a particularly funny one
It’s hard to say who is the bigger douchebag: O.J. Simpson,
who wrote a tell-all—sorry, hypothetical—account of the murders
we all know he committed called If I Did It, Here’s How
It Happened (Note to O.J.: The words “would have” would
have made that second part a bit less suspicious). or HarperCollins
publisher Judith Regan, who green-lighted the project in the
first place and booked some Fox airtime for an interview/promotional
tie-in with the Juice. Thankfully good sense prevailed, as
both the book and TV special were canceled, and Regan was
canceled from her job weeks later for reportedly making anti-Semitic
comments. Also making the douchebag hall of fame in ’06: Rosie
O’Donnell and Donald Trump. Please, both of you: Shut. The.
Drawing up designs for disaster
Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten pissed off Muslims
something fierce with the publication of 12 editorial cartoons
featuring depictions of the Islamic prophet Muhammed. The
controversial cartoons, first published in Sept. 2005, were
reprinted in newspapers in more than 50 countries, sparking
both peaceful and not-so-peaceful protests worldwide throughout
January. South Park neatly summarized the incident
with a two-part Easter episode that lampooned Family Guy
and the Comedy Central network, and culminated in an image
of Jesus Christ defecating on President Bush and the American
Over the summer, North Korea scared the shit out of everyone
by firing off not one, not two, but seven long-range
test missiles, assumed to be a part of the country’s very
scary nuclear-weapons program, which the world has tried to
get them to put the kibosh on since 2002. It seems those stubborn
bastards just won’t listen.
Neocons jump ship
Prominent neoconservatives, once famously supportive of the
president’s decision to invade Iraq, are humming a different
tune these days. Pentagon insiders Richard Perle and Kenneth
Adelman, and former White House speechwriter David Frum—once
part of a circle of powerful politicos dubbed the Architects
of War—were among those who spoke out about their change of
view on the Iraq War in an article in the January issue of
Vanity Fair. Days before the midterm elections in November
(much to the chagrin of some of the interviewees), VF
posted an abbreviated version of the article on their Web
site, citing the article’s information as so surprising and
important that it should be accessible to the public before
they voted. According to VF’s full article, when the
shortened version was posted, “within minutes, George Stephanopoulos
confronts Vice President Dick Cheney with Perle’s and Adelman’s
criticisms during an on-camera interview.” Ah, the power of
Take your backpack to school, not the steak knives, you
Albany High School experienced a rash of violence this year,
prodding Mayor Jerry Jennings to offer the use of three metal
detectors in the school. The addition of the metal detectors
comes after last year’s decision by the school to randomly
search students for weapons. Apparently, it didn’t have the
expected effect, and now, the high school looks like an airport.
If a network airs and no one can watch it, does it exist?
The English-language version of Middle Eastern news network
al-Jazeera hit the airwaves on Nov. 15, broadcasting from
studios in Qatar, Malaysia, London, and Washington, D.C. While
the new network has achieved success internationally, the
only way Americans can view the controversial channel is through
obscure satellite providers or by paying a fee on al-Jazeera’s
Web site. So those of you hoping for a news network with a
perspective different from the balderdash we have now will
need to wait yet another year. Sorry, folks.
Jill Carroll kidnapped, released
Jill Carroll, a Christian Science Monitor reporter
covering the war in Iraq, was kidnapped by insurgents on Jan.
7 in Baghdad, and was held until March 30, when her captors
released her unconditionally. Carroll’s kidnapping received
a great deal of media attention, both for her high-profile
status and the three videos released during her captivity,
the last of which showed Carroll praising her kidnappers and
denouncing the American occupation of Iraq (Carroll later
said her captors forced her to make the statements). Carroll
was the 31st journalist to be kidnapped in Iraq since March
2003, and narrowly avoided being among the 139 reporters killed
since the war started.
On July 10, the most expensive public works project in U.S.
history fell apart—literally—when 12 tons of concrete fell
from the roof of a tunnel in Boston, claiming the life of
38-year-old newlywed Milena Del Valle. Massachusetts Republican
Gov. Mitt Romney stopped his presidential campaign long enough
to wrest control of the ensuing investigation from the Massachusetts
Turnpike Authority and force MTA chairman Matthew J. Amorello
to resign. Too little, too late, Mitt—where were you when
the Dig had been declared a safety risk years earlier?
Why don’t you sit the next one out, Champ?
It was not a good year for Jeanine Pirro. She started the
year on a low note, having just dropped her Senate bid last
December. Then the FBI informed her she was under investigation
for allegedly wiretapping her husband in an attempt to catch
him in an extramarital affair. Then Democratic candidate Andrew
Cuomo walloped her in the state attorney general race in November.
At least you have family, Jeanine.
Clinton kicks some Fox News ass
Fox News reporter Chris Wallace thought he could sneak a fast
one by Bill Clinton, asking the former President why he didn’t
do more to prevent the events of 9/11 in an interview that
was supposed to focus on Clinton’s work with the Global Initiative.
Wrong move. Clinton laid the smack down, angrily refuting
Wallace’s “conservative hit job” point by point, all the while
finger-wagging his way to an overwhelming rhetorical victory.
Conservatives derided Clinton’s “crazed rant” as behavior
unbecoming of a president. Unlike, say, lying to the American
public to gain support for a war you weren’t even bothering
to plan for.
Bad day for the Amish
Continuing a string of autumn school shootings, a 32-year-old
Pennsylvania man entered an Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster
County, Pa. on Oct. 2 and shot and killed five girls ranging
in age from 7 to 13 before killing himself. The ensuing media
frenzy could have easily overwhelmed the tiny Amish village
where the shootings took place, but what the American public
saw instead was a community quietly mourning its lost daughters,
truly exemplifying grace under fire.
Not quite the top of the class
This year’s lurid media obsession was the Duke university
lacrosse case, in which three white members of the lacrosse
team at Duke University allegedly kidnapped and raped an African-American
stripper at a team party. The case set off racial tensions
in Durham, N.C., and, to a lesser extent, around the nation.
A lack of DNA evidence caused district attorney Michael B.
Nifong to throw out rape charges in December, but the players
still face kidnapping and sexual offense charges.
It was all downhill from there anyway
Less than two weeks after being found guilty of 10 counts
of securities fraud-related charges, former Enron executive
Kenneth Lay died of a heart attack while on a skiing trip
near Aspen, Co. By dying, the 64-year-old Lay avoided the
imprisonment the country had been clamoring for, robbing the
victims of Enron fraud one final time of what was rightfully
TomKat welcomes the tomkitten, and, of course, the accompanying
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes had a pretty eventful year in
2005, and they had an impressive follow-up this year, what
with the arrival of their new baby, Suri (who one Metroland
editor is convinced was named to sound like Cruise’s hometown
of Syracuse—you know . . . Suri Cruise, Syracuse . . . eh,
nevermind), and their extravagant wedding in an ancient castle
in a small town in Italy. Ironically, little Suri was born
on the same day and in the same hospital as Brooke Shields’
second daughter, Grier (Tom Cruise had battled Shields earlier
in the year about the ethics of taking anti-depressants to
battle postpartum depression). Though frequently speculated,
it’s still unclear if Holmes had a silent birth, which is
a birthing procedure advocated by Scientology, the whacked-out
so-called religion to which Holmes and Cruise subscribe.
I killed JonBenét! Oh, wait a minute, I’m just crazy
Wild-eyed nutcase John Mark Karr caused quite a stir in mid-August
when, after being tracked down in Bangkok, Thailand, by Thai
authorities, he admitted that he was guilty of murdering JonBenét
Ramsey, the 6-year-old beauty queen who was brutally killed
in the basement of her Colorado home a decade ago. Suspicions
arose about Karr’s guilt; even tests were conducted to prove
whether he really did commit the crime. DNA tests later proved
that Karr, in fact, was not JonBenét’s killer, and charges
in that case were dropped Aug. 28. He was immediately arrested
on child pornography charges, which were also later dropped
after investigators lost the computer they had confiscated
This just in: Lindsay Lohan is a trainwreck
What a year for our favorite crash dummy, Lindsay Lohan! The
girl just can’t get a break. From getting into several car
accidents with her paparazzi stalkers to releasing a well-meaning
but typo-ridden eulogy for director Robert Altman to trotting
her vagina out like it’s this season’s edgiest accessory,
Lohan has made an impressive amount of celeb faux-pas. The
girl has pretty much earned a permanent residence on Page
Six thanks to her way of hard living—which, in this sense,
refers to the swirling cloud of booze, drugs and parties she
consistently resides in—not to mention her mish-mash of overpublicized,
indecipherable e-mails. Here’s our Public Service Announcement
especially for Ms. Lohan: Girl, cut the shit before you hurt
yourself. Well . . . we mean . . . more than you already have.