2008 Time Mag. Person of the Year: Barack Obama (1961-); next time 2012. Chinese Year: Rat (Feb. 7). This is the U.N. Internat. Year of Sanitation. The Great (Global) Recession (Dec. 2007-?) sees U.S. stock market investors lose $7T this year as the Dow Jones Industrial Avg. peaks at almost 13K in May, then crashes to 6.5K by Mar. 2009, then begins a long slow rise, reaching 8.5K by May 2009; total loses reach $7M in real estate losses, $11T in stock market losses, and $3T in retirement account losses; rising oil prices cause inflation in the U.S., which spreads into a global food crisis (worst in over 30 years) that rocks Egypt, North Korea, Haiti, Indonesia, et al., sparking food riots and spilling into net-producer nations such as Thailand; the whole fiasco is caused by the huge waste of the U.S. Iraq War, or is war good for the economy and it's the fault of global warming, or is it the Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage crisis? Global military spending rises 4% to a record $1.464T, up 45% since 1999 - sounds like a lot until all of the U.S. bailouts? The U.S. poverty rate climbs to 13.2% from 12.5% in 2007. The proportion of malnourished people in poor countries rises for the first time since ?; by next year the number of the world's chronically hungry reaches 1B for the 1st time since 1970, an increase of 100M since this year; meanwhile India and Horn of Africa countries incl. Ethiopia begin leasing farmland to Saudi Arabia et al. in exchange for quick cash, low-paying jobs and lessons in industrialization of agriculture. New immigrants to the U.K.: 590K (vs. 574K in 2007); 427K British people emigrate (vs. 341K in 2007). A record 1,046,539 are naturalized as U.S. citizens this year, with most coming from Mexico, India, and the Philippines; Pres. Bush begins 1K Iraq refugees into the U.S. per mo., which jumpts to 19K a year next year, after which in 2009 Pres. Obama signs a bill adding thousands more from Palestine; illegal immigrants in the U.S.: 11.6M (Jan.) (v. 11.8M in Jan. 2007); the illegal immigrant pop. in the U.S. has increased 37% since 2000; the U.S. Border Patrol makes 723K arrests at the Mexican border this year (97% of total arrests) (vs. 1.7M in 1986 and 1.2M in 2005), which drops 27% next year after the ailing economy makes El Norte less attractive; the number of Border Patrol agents increases from 9K in 2001 to 20K by Sept. 2009, with 626 of 661 mi. of planned fencing and walls erected next year; money sent back to Mexico by Mexicans in the U.S. drops from $2.19B this Apr. to $1.78B in Apr. 2009 ($24B in 2007). Turkey has $23.6B in overseas construction contracts this year, up from $750M in 2000; it slides to $20B in 2009. This year the avg. resident of London, England is filmed 300x a day for security by 4.2M surveillance cameras, one for every 15 people in the country. Premium crude oil prices, which broke the $100 a barrel level in 2004 peak at $145 in July, causing a rush to tap new sources of energy that result in breaking U.S. dependence on Middle East oil in ?. The first year that the U.S. adds more wind turbine than coal-fired power generation. At the beginning of the year there are 12 women heads of state: Michelle Bachelet (Chile), Helen Clark (New Zealand), Luisa Diogo (Mozambique), Tarja Halonen (Finland), Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (Liberia), Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (Philippines), Mary McAleese (Ireland), Angela Merkel (Germany), Yulia Tymoshenko (Ukraine), Emily de Jongh-Elhage (Netherlands Antilles), Pratibha Patil (India), and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (Argentina). The 2008-2009 Keynesian Resurgence among economists and policy makers is a massive fiscal and monetary response to the 2007-10 financial crisis. On Jan. 1 USC defeats Illinois by 49-17 to win the 2008 Rose Bowl. On Jan. 1 Kenya starts the year out wrong with violent protests over the results of the Dec. 27 election that returned pres. Mwai Kibaki to power for another five years, which his Christian opponent Raila Amolo Odinga (1945-) claims is a rigged election; on Jan. 7 the two rivals agree to end their dispute after 486 are killed and 250K are made homeless, fleeing their homes in the Rift Valley; too bad, the protesters don't go along with them, and protests continue until Jan. 19, when opposition leaders decide to switch to a boycott, after which backroom negotiations by Madeleine Albright result in Kibaki appointing Odinga as PM on Apr. 17 (until Apr. 9, 2013). On Jan. 1 CourtTV (founded July 1, 1991) changes its name to truTV. On Jan. 1 Washington state becomes the U.S. state with the highest minimum wage, $8.07 an hour. Oh won't you stand by me, not? It's curtains for the little remaining goodwill for the George Dubya Bush admin. just as election time is nearing? On Jan. 2 oil reaches the $100-a-barrel mark ($102 on Feb. 27), greeting Americans with the news that the year is probably going to turn into a recession or worse; meanwhile the U.S. Foreclosure Scandal, caused by adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) affects up to 1 in 5 of subprime borrowers; on Jan. 11 the Bank of Am. announces plans to buy Countrywide, the largest mortgage lender in the U.S.; too bad, the lack of regulation of large investment bank holding cos. causes the Great Credit Meltdown of 2008 as they begin the Credit Default Swap, selling each other $60T of CDS's, swap contracts in which the buyer makes a series of payments in exchange for the right to a payoff if a credit instrument goes into default or there is a bankruptcy or restructuring; by the end of the hear former Federal Reserve Chm. Alan Greenspan utters the soundbyte "I made a mistake", referring to 18 years of preaching deregulation. On Jan. 3 the Iowa (pop. 3M) primary gives a V to Barack Obama with 38% of the Dem. vote, with John Edwards getting 30% and former front runner Hillary Clinton 29%; Mike Huckabee wins the Repub. vote with 34%, vs. 25% for big spending Mitt Romney, and 13% each for Fred Thompson and John McCain; Obama's Iowa caucus victory speech contains the soundbyte: "They said or sights were set too high. They said this country was too divided, too disillusioned to ever come together around a common purpose. But on this January night, at this defining moment in history, you have done what the cynics said we couldn't do. You have done what the state of New Hampshire can do in five days. You have done what America can do in this new year, 2008"; Hillary runs an It's 3 A.M. Ad, with the soundbyte: "It's 3 a.m. and your children are safe in the city, but there's a phone in the White House and it' s ringing... Your vote will decide who answers that call"; campaign ad against Obama; too bad, Obama's campaign co-chmn. Jesse Jackson Jr. (1965-) stinks himself up with the comment "The natural reminder is O.J. How does an African-American candidate attack a white woman." On Jan. 6 (Sun.) three U.S. Navy ships entering the Persian Gulf are chased by five Iranian Rev. Guard speedboats, who drop white boxlike objects in the water in front of them and transmit the message "I am coming at you; you will explode in a couple of minutes"; they veer off moments before an order to fire on them is carried out. The tears of a clown? On Jan. 7 Hillary cries during a Q&A session, causing many face, er, fence-sitting women to come over to her camp after seeing her old image of a heartless bitch apparently melt; the woman who asked the question votes for Obama? - a desperate stage trick? On Jan. 8 Hillary Clinton rides on female support to win a surprise V over Barack Obama in the N.H. primary (pop. 1.3M) (39%), with Barack Obama coming in 2nd (36%), John Edwards 3rd (17%), and Bill Richardson 4th (5%); John McCain saves his campaign with a win (37%), with Mitt Romney 2nd (32%), Mike Huckabee 3rd (11%), and Rudolph Giuliani 4th (9%); too bad, the liberal media gives away their bias when the MSNBC election team laughs derisively at McCain's victory speech, which contains the soundbyte "I'm past the age that I can claim the noun kid no matter what adjective precedes it, but tonight we sure showed them what a comeback looks like." On Jan. 8 15-y.-o. Boy Scout Mohammed Jaisham Ibrahim (1992-) foils an assassination attempt on Maldives pres. Maumoon Gayoom, grabbing his knife after he leaps from the crowd and lunges. On Jan. 8 Sudanese soldiers shoot at a U.N. peacekeeper convoy in Darfur, wrecking a fuel tanker and wounding a local driver. On Jan. 8 Pres. Bush signs legislation aimed at preventing the severely mentally ill from buying guns after the Virginia Tech shootings cause bipartisan agreement; the holy grail of background checks at gun shows is still nowhere in the anti-gun lobby's sights, although Va. gov. Timothy M. Kaine puts in his two cents worth by proposing it now that he's got the spotlight. On Jan. 8 Bill Clinton makes a remark that Barack Obama's solid past opposition to the Iraq War is "the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen", and is jumped on by the PC police, who stretch it into the very idea that a black can be a U.S. pres., with black S.C. rep. James Clyburn saying on Feb. 11 that he might end his neutrality because of the comment. On Jan. 9 the U.S. military reports nine U.S. soldiers killed in the first two days of a new offensive against al-Qaida in Diyala Province, Iraq NE of Baghdad. On Jan. 10 N.M. Dem. gov. Bill Richardson, the one with the most actual executive experience (first Hispanic candidate for U.S. pres.?) drops out of the U.S. pres. race. On Jan. 10 the $2,500 bare bones no-frills Tata Nano, the cheapest car in the world is unveiled, creating excitement in India, China and other poor countries and causing speculation about whether global air pollution will end up going up or down as they replace smoky motorcyles; it becomes available in the summer. On Jan. 10 a suicide bomber detonates in a crowd of police officers in a courthouse in Lahore, Pakistan, killing 22 and wounding 58. On Jan. 13 the 2008 Golden Globe Awards are a bare bones affair as the Writer's Guild of Am. strike continues; Atonement wins best picture (drama), Julian Schnabel wins best dir. for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; No Country For Old Men wins best screenplay; Julie Christie wins best actress for The Brave One and Daniel Day-Lewis best actor for There Will Be Blood; Sweeney Todd wins best picture (comedy) along with Johnny Depp for best actor (comedy); Marion Cotillard wins best actress (musical) for La Vie en Rose, Cate Blanchett best supporting actress in I'm Not There, Javier Barden best supporting actor in No Country For Old Men, Ratatouille for best animated feature, and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly for best foreign language film. On Jan. 14 a Taliban suicide bomber at the luxury Serena Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan kills six incl. an American and Norwegian journalist; meanwhile U.S. officials announce that they are sending an additional 3.2K Marines to Afghanistan for a spring offensive. On Jan. 14 Repub. Piyush "Bobby" Jindal (1971-) becomes La. gov. #55 (until ?), becoming the first Indian-Am. gov. of a U.S. state, and the first non-white gov. of La. since Reconstruction, vowing a "clean break with the past" and to root out corruption; at 36 he's also the youngest sitting U.S. gov.; meanwhile ex-La. gov. (1972-96) Edwin Edwards misses the ceremony since he's in priz on corruption charges - touch no cow in Louisiana? On Jan. 14 NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft flies by Mercury at 124 mi. (200 km) above the surface, beaming back photos showing that it's black and white like the Moon, but with red and blue tones; it photographs Caloris Crater, also an unusual Spider Crater. On Jan. 16 a female Shiite suicide bomber kills nine Shiites and wounds 15 in a marketplace in Khan Bani Saad, Iraq in S Diyala Province during the nutso self-flagellating Ashoura rites of the Shiites (11th female suicide bomber in last 4.5 years), causing a retaliatory attack on Jan. 17 by a Sunni a suicide against a nearby Shiite mosque, killing 11 and wounding 15; meanwhile the U.S. offensive in Diyala rages on. On Jan. 20 the well-written TV show Breaking Bad, created by "The X-Files" producer Vince Gilligan (1967-) debuts on AMC cable TV network for 62 episodes (until Sept. 29, 2013), starring Bryan Lee Canston (1956-) as 50-y.-o. high school chem. teacher Walter White, who has terminal cancer, a handicapped tennie son (R.J. Mitte) and pregnant wife (Anna Gunn), and decides to cook meth with former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) to provide for his family when he goes, entering the sleazy criminal world and keeping viewers entertained with what bad thing's going to happen to him next as they slowly drag him down to their level, which doesn't stop you from rooting for him. On Jan. 21 a suicide bomber detonates inside a funeral tent in Baghdad, Iraq, killing 18; his target, a security official escapes unharmed - it's all just a little bit of history repeating? On Jan. 21 Dem. candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards attend a Martin Luther King Jr. Day rally in Columbia, S.C., giving him credit for paving the way for their candidacies and promising to further his vision. On Jan. 21 Iraq adopts a new Iraqi Flag that keeps the green Takbir ("Allahu Akbar" motto) but dispenses with Saddam Hussein's three green stars. On Jan. 22 officials of the Dem. Repub. of Congo sign an agreement with rebels to end the decade-long insurgency (begun 1996) that displaced 400K from their homes. On Jan. 22 Fred Thompson drops out of the Repub. pres. race. On Jan. 22 a suicide bomber pushing a cart attacks a high school in Baqubah, Iraq N of Baghdad, killing a bystander and injuring 21; initial reports that the bomber was female prove false - it was found sticking in what? On Jan. 22 the Federal Reserve delivers an emergency cut of the federal funds rate of 0.75%, followed by another 0.5% in its regular meeting on Jan. 30, for a total of 1.25%. On Jan. 23 Hamas militants blast large stretches of the Gaza Wall between Gaza Strip and Egypt, causing a stampede of shoppers into Egypt; the Egyptian military reseals it on Feb. 3 12 days after pres. Hosni Mubarak says they should be first given a chance to spend money there, buying cigs, yeast, mattresses etc.; too bad, terrorists see their chance and cross into Israel? On Jan. 24 Italian PM (since 2004) Romano Prodi resigns after losing a key confidence vote, making govt. #62 since WWII necessary. On Jan. 25 Pakistan successfully fires a medium-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile with a range of 420 mi. On Jan. 25 computer-savvy Frenchman Jerome Kerviel (1977-), a trader with Societe Generale in Paris is caught in the French Gigaeuro Bank Fraud after costing 4.9B Euros. On Jan. 26 the 2008 S.C. Primary is a V for Barack Obama, with 38%, vs. 30% for Hillary Clinton, and 19% for John Edwards; Obama utters the soundbyte "We are hungry for change"; too bad, her hubby Bill Clinton steps on it by trying to connect Obama's win to Jesse Jackson's win in 1984 and 1988; meanwhile John McCain wins the Repub. primary with 33%, vs. 23% for Mike Huckabee, 20% for Mitt Romney, 13% for Fred Thompson (who dropped out), and 4% for Rudy Giuliani, who has been concentrating on Fla. On Jan. 27 Caroline Kennedy announces support for Barack Obama, followed by Sen. Ted Kennedy on Jan. 28, which is a big snub for "co-presidency" candidates Bill and Hillary Clinton, who model themselves on JFK; on Jan. 30 prominent black Calif. congresswoman Maxine Waters counters by endorsing Cinton, while Kan. gov. Kathleen Sebelius endorses Obama; on Jan. 31 Arnold Schwarzenegger endorses John McCain, while his wife Maria Shriver endorses Obama. On Jan. 27 the worst snowstorms in 50 years strike China just before the Lunar New Year, catching 150M+ trying to travel to their family homes. Staying al-i-i-i-i-ve? On Jan. 28 U.S. Pres. Bush delivers his lame duck 2008 State of the Union Address, citing the successful surge in Iraq (30K new troops, plus the 90K-man Sons of Iraq (formed in summer 2006), former insurgents now on the U.S. payroll to protect neighborhoods and provide intel) and touting a $150B economic stimulus package of tax rebates while vowing to veto any spending bill that doesn't cut the number and cost of congressional earmarks; he pushes renewal of his No Child Left Behind Act and for permanent extension of the Anti-Terrorism Law, and claims that it's his goal to arrange a deal between Israel and the Palestinians by the end of his presidency, warning that the U.S. will confront Iran if it messes with its troops; Barack Obama snubs a handshake offer from Hillary Clinton, giving mixed explanations. On Jan. 28 a roadside bomb blast in Mosul, Iraq kills five U.S. soldiers, after which gunfire is sprayed at the rest of the unit from a mosque, and the perps flee. On Jan. 28 gunmen in Peshawar, Pakistan hold dozens of students and teachers hostage until authorities let them flee unpunished. On Jan. 29 John McCain wins the Fla. Repub. primary with 36%, putting him in the #1 position over Mitt Romney, who gets 31%; meanwhile Rudy Giuliani, who bet everything on Fla. gets 15% and drops out, endorsing McCain; Mike Huckabee gets 14%. On Jan. 30 handsome-smiling John Edwards drops out of the Dem. pres. race in New Orleans, La., the same city where he began it, and begins jockeying for a vice-pres. position, while continuing the massive $1.5M coverup of his sexual affair with Rielle Hunter with money from Mellon heiress Rachel "Bunny" Melon. On Jan. 30 the New Baptist Covenant Celebration meets in Atlanta, Ga. in an effort to unite 30+ Baptist groups representing 20M adherents - at this late, it's time to circle the wagons or the savages will pick us off at will? On Jan. 31 a U.S. missile strike in Waziristan in NW Pakistan near the Afghan border kills Abu Laith al-Libi (b. 1967), a senior al-Qaida cmdr. suspected of engineering the Feb. 2007 bombing of the U.S. military base at Bagram, Afghanistan during a visit by U.S. vice-pres. Dick Cheney. In Jan. Paraguay has its first outbreak of yellow fever in 34 years. In Jan. record cold sees the global land surface temp dip below the 20th cent. mean for the first time since 1982, along with the largest Jan. snow cover extent on record for the Eurasian continent and Northern Hemisphere, causing record biz for Colo. ski towns. In Jan. Sun Microsystems announces a $1B acquisition of MySQL, an open source database co. that gives away its software to 99% of its customers; the paying 1% incl. Google, Yahoo!, Nokia, and Alcatel-Lucent. In Jan. vending machines for marijuana and other prescription drugs go into service in Los Angeles, Calif. In Jan. Hasbro, owner of the rights to Scrabble threatens legal action against the popular Scrabulous Web site run by two brothers in Calcutta, Rajat and Jayani Agarwalla, which gets more than 700K players a day - how any co. can own the exclusive rights to simulate one following the rules of a game, as opposed to owning copyrights on physical board designs and trademarks eludes moi? In Jan. English Muslim Ishaq Kanmi (1987-) posts messages on the Internet under the name Shaykh Umar Rabie al-Khalaila, announcing the formation of a British al-Qaida branch and calling on "all Muslims in Britain to join us and prepare themselves for martyrdom operations and not lose this golden chance"; he arrested in Aug. at Manchester Airport, and pleads guilty on May 10, 2010. In Jan. Muslim convert to Christianity Mohammed Ahmed Hegazy (1982-), who became the first Muslim-born Egyptian to sue the govt. for denying him official recognition of his religion sees a Cairo court rule that it is against Egyptian law for a Muslim to leave Islam, with the soundbyte "He can believe whatever he wants in his heart, but on paper he can't convert." In Jan. the U.S. Library of Congress establishes the Nat. Ambassador for Young People's Literature position; the first award goes to Jon Scieszka (1954-). On Feb. 1 Hollywood star Wesley Snipes is found not guilty of federal tax fraud and conspiracy charges after he refused to file returns from 1999-2004 to protest the legitimacy of the IRS, causing him to become their target; luckily, the jury saves him from felony charges, returning only misdemeanor convictions. Hanging Chad? On Feb. 2 rebels invade N'Djamena, hanging capital of Chad after a 3-day advance across the desert, causing pres. Idriss Deby to hole-up in the pres. palace until Feb. 9, when a ceasefire is reached; meanwhile 500 French nationals are evacuated; Chad is a refuge for 250K Darfur refugees (out of 200K killed) from the horrible janjaweed militas, and a rebel takeover threatens them as well as humanitarian groups trying to help them; meanwhile in the W Kenyan town of Eldoret, rival ethnic groups hunt each other through the streets; on Feb. 10 the Sudanese air force strikes rebels in Darfur, causing 12K "destitute and terrified" refugees to pour into Chad, which accuses Sudan's pres. Omar al-Bashir of putting the rebels up the N'Djamena attack in order to stop planned deployment of a Euro peacekeeper force in the border region. On Feb. 2 French pres. Nicolas Sarkozy quietly marries supermodel-singer Carla Gilberta Bruni (1967-) (who called herself a "tamer of men" and calls monogamy boring) at Elysee Palace 3 mo. after meeting; on Feb. 13 she gives her first interview, saying "I am Italian by culture, and I would not like to divorce, so I am the first lady until the end of my husband's mandate and his wife until death." On Feb. 3 Super Bowl XLII (42) is held in Cardinals (U. of Phoenix) Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.; the underdog 5th-seeded wild card New York Giants (coach Tom Coughlin) defeat the 18-0 New England Patriots (coach Bill Belichick) by 17-14 to deny them the first perfect NFL season since the 1972 Miami Dolphins and become the first NFC wild card team (3rd consecutive) to win a SB; there are a record three lead changes in the 4th quarter; the Patriots, led by QB (#12) Thomas Edward "Tom" Brady Jr. (1977-) had already defeated the Giants by 38-35 in the final game of the regular season; Giants QB (#10) Eli Manning (1981-) (little brother of last year's SB-winning QB Peyton Manning) leads "Eli's Drive" to score the winning TD with 35 sec. left in the game, after instant hero David Mikel Tyree (1980-) makes a miracle helmet catch to set it up with 1:15 remaining, before which Manning eludes the grasp of four defenders and pulls free to throw the ball; Fox Network charges $2.7M for a 30 sec. commercial. On Feb. 3 a roadside bomb in Mogadishu, Somalia near a passenger-carrying minibus kills eight and wounds nine. On Feb. 3 the U.S. military announces that an errant airstrike SE of Baghdad, Iraq killed nine civilians (incl. a child) and wounded four (incl. two children). On Feb. 4 a Hamas suicide bomber in a shopping center in Dimona, Israel, 35 mi. from the border with Gaza Strip kills a 70-y.-o. Israeli woman and wounds 11, after which Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades release farewell videos bragging about getting to them via the broken barrier in Egypt; on Feb. 6 Israeli missiles kill eight Hamas militants in the courtyard of a Hamas police station in Gaza City in Christian forgiveness, er, Jewish justice. On Feb. 5 Super Tuesday puts half of the states up for grabs in the U.S. pres. race; John McCain is a big winner (9 states), wrapping up half the delegates he needs for nomination; Hillary Clinton picks up 9 states, incl. N.Y., Calif., and Mass., but remains only slightly ahead of Barack Obama, who wins the South (13 states total); white evangelical Christian Mike Huckabee sweeps the South plus W. Va., threatening to put deep-pockets Mormon Romney out of the race, and on Feb. 6 he drops out, saying "If I fight on in my campaign all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win, and in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror" - duh, a President Lucas McCain would bring on WWIII because he was tortured in the Hanoi Hilton and programmed to be the Manchurian Candidate, or at least isn't all there mentally and will crack under pressure, nuking China without warning to get even for all those bad times and nightmares? On Feb. 5 (night) 50+ tornadoes rip through the SE U.S., killing 44 - the Devil came to Jawjah because who didn't vote for whom? On Feb. 6 Rear Adm. Mark H. Buzby, cmdr. of Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba confirms the existence of the formerly top secret Camp 7 for 15 "high value" al-Qaida prisoners. On Feb. 7 Space Shuttle Atlantis blasts off from Cape Canaveral with the $2B Columbus Science Lab, donated by Europe; it returns Feb. 20. On Feb. 7 U.S. authorities announce the indictment of 62 people associated with the if-you-have-some-crayons-take-a-look Gambino Family of New York, claiming that they're finally shutting it down; simultaneously Italian authorities announce Operation Old Bridge, targeted at Mafia figures who were trying to strengthen ties with the U.S. On Feb. 7 archbishop of Canterbury #104 (since 2003) Rowan Douglas Williams (1950-) causesd a firestorm of controversy by saying that the adoption of Sharia in the U.K. is "unavoidable", with the soundbyte that "There is nor reason why Sharia Law, or any other religious code should not be the basis for mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution", adding "It's not as if we're bringing in an alien and rival system"; he is backed-up by Nicholas Phillips, lord chief justice of England and Wales; after PM Gordon Brown said he "believes that British laws should be based on British values", they backtrack to keep their jobs. On Feb. 8 a woman shoots two fellow students then commits suicide at Louisiana Technical College in Baton Rouge, La. On Feb. 9 a bomber strikes a rally in Charsadda in N Pakistan, killing 25 at an opposition secular Awami Nationalist Party rally; police later claim to find the bomber's head - did he give good head? On Feb. 10 English Jewish Britney Spears wannabe (rehab client with a beehive hairdo?) Amy Winehouse (1983-2011) steals the show at the 2008 Grammys, winning five, and giving a tearful speech from London, where she decided to stay to be with her mommy - does she have a short skirt and long long jacket? On Feb. 10 three masked robbers walk into the uninsured E.G. Buhrle Collection in Zurich before closing and walk off with four paintings worth $163M after 3 min. work, becoming the biggest art heist since the 2004 theft of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" in 2004; who's got Paul Cezanne's "Boy in the Red Waistcoat", Edgar Degas' "Ludovic Lepic and His Daughters", Claude Monet's "Poppy Field at Vertheuil", and Vincent Van Gogh's "Blooming Chestnut Branches" now?; perhaps the same dudes who stole Picasso's "Head of a Horse" and "Glass and Pitcher" last week? On Feb. 11 Pakistani authorities (under big Yankee pressure?) announce the capture the capture of Talibean counter, er, Taliban leader Shah Mansoor Dadullah, brother of Taliban leader Mullah Dadullah, who was killed last year by GIs; meaanwhile Pakistan envoy Tariq Azizuddin is kidnapped in the Khyber trival area of Pakistan en route to Kabul. On Feb. 11 Iranian pres. Imadinnajacket addresses the 29th Anniv. of the Islamic Rev., vowing not to slow Iran's nuclear program and announcing plans to launch more rockets into space and eventually orbit a domestic satellite. On Feb. 11 the 541-ft. Singapore Flyer opens, becoming the world's tallest Ferris wheel (until 2009). On Feb. 12 the U.S. Senate by 68-29 approves the reauthorization of a law giving the govt. greater powers to eavesdrop in terrorism cases without obtain warrants from a secret courts, along with immunity from lawsuits for telecom cos. cooperating with intel agencies; too bad, the House balks and smashing pumpkins it, allowing the law to expire at midnight on Feb. 16. On Feb. 12 Barack Obama decisively defeats Hillary Clinton in three Dem. primaries (Va., Md., Washington D.C.), seizing the overall electoral lead, causing him to utter the soundbyte "The cynics can no longer say that our hope is false. We've won East and West and North and South and cross the heartland of the country." On Feb. 12 Australian PM Kevin Rudd delivers an apology to the aborigines for cents. of injustice, and promises to make improving their lives a top priority, which is unanimously approved by parliament; Australia joins Canada (1998) and South Africa (1992) in apologizing to the natives they stole their land from after arriving in 1788. On Feb. 12 the bullet-ridden body of Iraqi journalist Hisham Muchawat Hamdan (b. 1980) is found in Baghdad; meanwhile police search for two CBS journalists kidnapped in Basra near the Sultan Palace Hotel, and dozens of Iraqi lawmakers walk out to stop a nat. budget and other laws from being passed. Uh-oh, better get NATO? On Feb. 12 Russian pres. Vladimir Putin on the Fitz warns Ukraine against joining NATO, and threatens to aim its nukes at if it deploys a missile defense system, even though the U.S. has not suggested expanding its missile shield in Poland and Czech Repub. there; in Jan. new Russian pres. Dmitri Medvedev says that Russia will deploy its Iskander missiles (adopted in 2006) in Kaliningrad in W Russia "to neutralize, if necessary, a NATO missile defense system"; meanwhile Russia and China push for a global ban on arms in space at the 65-nation Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, while the U.S. pushes for halting production of fissile material; too bad, the Russian proposal also incl. banning defensive missile shields, causing a deadlock; on Feb. 9 U.S. defense secy. Robert Gates says he thinks that Russia wants to resolve its security disputes with the U.S., and predicts that if Kosovo declares independence from Serbia this month, it will "react cautiously". On Feb. 12 English leftist environmentalist newt-loving London mayor Kenneth Robert "Ken" Livingstone (1945-) (known for setting up Britain's first register for gay couples in 2001, hosting a Jewish Hanukkah ceremony in City Hall in Dec. 2005, introducing an annual St. Patrick's Day festival in 2002, reviving the anti-racism Rise: London United music festival in 2001, and can you think of anything else, oh yes, the first "Eid in the Square" Muslim Ramadan celebration in Trafalgar Square in Oct. 2006) announces a new $50 charge for drivers of gas-guzzling cars to enter C London, tripling the original fees set in 2003. On Feb. 12 howling 15-in. Uno becomes the first beagle to win best of show in the 132nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, beating 2,626 other dogs. On Feb. 12 (night) car bomb in Damascus, Syria kills top Shiite Hezbollah cmdr. I'm A Mad Mugger, er, Imad Fayez Mugniyeh (Mughniyah) (b. 1962), in hiding for years after being suspected for the 1983 Marine Barracks bombing, a 1985 TWA jetliner hijacking, and tons of other dirty work; on Feb. 14 Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrullah threatens to strike Israel anywhere in the world in a borderless war to get them for it, saying "You have crossed the borders" beyond the traditional battlefield of Lebanon and Israel; the CIA and Mossad really really did it? meanwhile on Feb. 13 Danish newspapers reprint Prophet Muhammad cartoons in a solidarity gesture after police reveal the arrest of three Muslims for plotting to kill the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard; remember that the horrible insult showed the prince of peace wearing a turban shaped like a bomb with a lit fuse?; do they start the protest all over again? - figure the rules out for yourself? On Feb. 13 the U.S. Senate approves by 51-45 approves a new intelligence bill that bans waterboarding and other torture of suspects, and limits them to a list of 19 U.S. Army Field Manual tactics; Pres. Bush vows to veto it. On Feb. 14 black-dressed Steven Kazmierczak (b. 1980) opens fire on a geology class inside Cole Hall (built in 1968) at Northern Ill. U. in DeKalb, Ill. in suburban Chicago, picking the crowd off from the stage with a shotgun and two handguns, firing 48 bullets and six shotgun shells and shooting 21 people and killing five before committing suicide; it is later found out that he bought gun accessories from the same TGSCOM Web Site patronized by Seung-hui Cho; school officials later demolish the hall. On Feb. 14 Roger Bergendorff is hospitalized from his Extended Stay America Motel near the Las Vegas Strip with ricin poisoning; later vials of ricin are found in his room along with guns and "The Anarchist Cookbook"; after recovering enough to talk, he says he kept it all for self-protection. On Feb. 15-19 Pres. Bush goes on a 6-day tour of Africa. On Feb. 17 a suicide bomber at a dog-fighting competition in Kandahar, Afghanistan kills 80. On Feb. 17 speaking of dogs, the USDA announces a recall of 143M lbs. of beef from Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. in Chino, Calif. after a video is sent them showing sick animals being forced to their feet with prods and hoses, and/or dragged with ropes or pushed with forklifts into the slaughterhouse, after which USDA spokesmen call for an investigation of other plants, realizing that they take advantage of inspectors by doing the dirty work when they're preoccupied - road kill burger, yum yum? The seeds of WWIII are sewn? On Feb. 17 90%-Muslim ethnic Albanian Kosovo (pop. 2M) declares independence, with capital at Pristina, becoming the first Muslim country in Europe, with former Kosovo Liberation Army leader Hashim "the Snake" Thaci (1968-) as PM #1 (until ?), causing riots in Belgrade, Serbia, during which rioters invade and set fire to the U.S. embassy while shouting slogans about their precious St. Sava (1174-1236); the U.S. is among the first to recognize Kosovo, allegedly because it is allegedly pro-U.S. (and because Russia won't recognize it?), perhaps thinking it can be used as a poker chip against the other Muslim states, while a glance at history shows that for 620 years (since 1389) the poor Orthodox Christian Serbs have suffered one defeat after another in their attempt to unify the Balkans against the Muslim threat, and triggered WWI at the beginning of the 20th cent. over it, so what will happen in the 21st cent., stay tuned? On Feb. 17 John McCain pledges no new taxes if elected pres., while Bill Clinton campaigns in Ohio, saying that the nomination will come down to that state and Texas; meanwhile after it is later revealed that he snuck down to see John Edwards in N.C. to get an endorsement, Barack Obama gives a campaign speech with a soundbyte nearly identical to one given in 2006 by his friend, Mass. gov. Devall Patrick, which is seized on by the desperate Clinton campaign as horrible don't-vote-for-him plagiarism, despite the speech itself being plagiarism of JFK, MLK Jr., and FDR, and little more than a slogan?; "Don't tell me words don't matter. 'I have a dream' - just words? 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal' - just words? 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself' - just words, just speeches?"; Obama rightly downplays it as trivial, and reminds Hillary that she used his slogans in her speeches, like anybody cares - the whole idea that tiny soundbytes can be owned and must carry disclaimers, even in verbal ad libs is stupid, and belongs in backstabbing tenure-hoarding academia not a public arena, so don't vote for Hillary, give her a job at the U. of Colo.? On Feb. 17 the divorce settlement of Paul McCartney and Heather Mills is finalized, with Mills being awarded Ł24.3M plus payments of Ł35K a year for a nanny and school costs for their daughter; the divorce is granted on May 12. On Feb. 18 parliamentary elections in Pakistan deal a big D to pres. Pervez Musharraf's Pakistan Muslim League, the opposition party of ex-PM Nawaz Sharif winning more than half of the 272 seats, a clear signal to back off on the Taliban and al-Qaida and stuff Bush. On Feb. 18 billionaire Egyptian-born Harrods owner Mohammed Fayed (1933-), father of Dodi Fayed claims at the Royal Court of Justice in London (in its 5th mo. of an inquest) that Prince Di told him hours before her Aug. 30-31, 1997 death that she had Dodi's bun in the oven and that they were engaged to be married, and that the convienient accident was arranged by Elizabeth II's Greek hubby Prince Philip, whom he calls a racist Nazi, accusing Prince Charles of being in it too so he could marry Camilla Parker-Bowles - sign right here says Mel Gibson? On Feb. 18 Michelle Obama addresses a campaign rally in Milwaukee, Wisc., uttering the soundbyte: "What we have learned over this year is that hope is making a comeback. It is making a comeback. And let me tell you something, for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country", causing a firestorm of criticism and causing her to try to 'splain until Laura Bush defuses it in June with the comment "I think she probably meant 'I'm more proud'" - and if she didn't? On Feb. 18 British Pakistani Muslim terrorist Parviz Khan (1971-) is jailed for life for planning to kidnap and execute a British soldier "like a pig". On Feb. 19 Cuban pres. (since Jan. 1959) Fidel Castro (b. 1926) officially retires in favor of his younger whippersnapper brother Raoul Modesto Castro Ruz (1931-), who is rubberstamped pres. on Feb. 24 (until ?), ending the Great Miami Exile Dream of the demise of Communism with his overthrow. On Feb. 19 PM (since 2007) Serge Sargsyan (Sarkisian) (1954-) wins pres. elections in Armenia with 53%, defeating ex-pres. (1991-8) Levon Ter-Petrosian, and succeeding pres. (since 1998) Robert Kocharian (until ?); on Feb. 20 thousands gather in Yerevan to protest the election, calling it rigged; on Mar. 1 15K demonstrate in Yerevan, and and after it turns violent, Kocharian declares a 20-day state of emergency. On Feb. 20 U.S. Navy Aegis cruiser USS Lake Erie shoots down a failing U.S. spy satellite filled with 1K lbs. of hydrazine (launched Dec. 2006) with an anti-missile missile at 100+ mi. alt. travelling 17K mph; when China tried the same thing in 2007, the U.S. got pissed-off, but this is different, because white is still right? On Feb. 21 the New York Times runs a story alleging that John McCain had an affair with lobbyist Vicki L. Iseman (1967-) during the 2000 pres. primaries, timed just as he is wrapping up the nomination; she bears a striking resemblance to McCain's wife (since 1980) Cindy Lou Hensley McCain (1954-) - yawn? On Feb. 21 Turkish forces began incursions into N Iraq to take on Kurdistan Workers' Party insurgents; on Feb. 27 U.S. defense secy. Robert Gates warns them to wrap up in the next few days; on Feb. 29 Turkey declares that it has achieved its goals, but on Mar. 5 their warplanes and artillery blast some more guerrillas 15 mi. across the Iraqi border. On Feb. 23 John McCain comments on ailing Fidel Castro, uttering the soundbyte: "I hope he has the opportunity to meet Karl Marx very soon." On Feb. 24 U.S. federal judge Richard P. Matsch (who presided over the Okla. City bombing trial) overturns a $51M jury verdict on a patent infringement case, then orders the attys. to pay each others' fees, saying that the entire lawsuit was frivolous because it was filed to stifle competition rather than protect a patent - first time in history they get it right? On Feb. 24 Louis Farrakhan publicly backs Barack Obama at a Nation of Islam convention in Chicago, Ill., with the soundbyte: "We are witnessing the phenomenal rise of a man of color in a country that has persecuted us because of our color." On Feb. 24 the 80th Academy Awards, hosted by Jon Stewart are held at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, Calif.; 306 films are eligible for consideration; the Coen brothers win the best dir. Oscar for 2007 for No Country for Old Men, which wins best picture, along with best adapted screenplay, and best supporting male actor for Javier Bardem, who says that the Coen brothers "put one of the most horrible haircuts in history on my head"; Daniel-Day Lewis wins best actor for There Will Be Blood, and first-time actress Marion Cotillard (wearing a fish-scale gown by Jean Paul Gaultier) wins best actress for La Vie en Rose (first winner for a French-language performance, first for a non-English language performance since Sophia Loren in 1960, and 2nd French actress to win best actress after Simone Signoret in 1959) (too bad, certain earlier statements about the Twin Towers of 9/11 being impossible to bring down with fire later haunt the voters; orange-haired Tilda Swinton (wearing a black draped velvet dress with one sleeve) wins best supporting actress for Michael Clayton, giving Euros a clean sweep of all four acting Oscars; Ratatouille wins for best animated feature; Falling Slowly from Once, by Glen Hansard and Czech-born Marketa Irglova (1988-) (youngest person to win an Oscar in a musical category until ?) wins for best song; The Bourne Ultimatum wins three Oscars, incl. film editing, robbing a record 4th Oscar chance for the Coen brothers; actresses Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, and Jessica Alba are preggers, with Blanchett wearing a purple embroidered Dries Van Noten gown showing it off; Diablo Cody wins for best screenwriter for Juno. On Feb. 26 Hillary Clinton makes a last attempt to save her failing campaign with yet another debate with Barack Obama in Cleveland, Ohio, attempting to challenge his honesty; meanwhile Conn. Sen. Christopher Dodd endorses Obama, and John McCain apologizes for remarks made at a fundraiser by Cincinnati, Ohio radio talk show host Bill Cunningham, who repeatedly refers to "Barack Hussein Obama", reminding listeners that if this dude becomes president it will rock them to their socks (Saddam Hussein + Osama bin Laden in the White House?); meanwhile a Los Angeles Times poll shows that either would lose to John McCain if the election were held now. On Feb. 27 the U.S. dollar drops to an all-time low against the Euro of 66 cents; meanwhile Fannie Mae of the U.S. reports a $3.55B loss for the last quarter of 2007; meanwhile Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard U. prof. Linda Bilmes pub. The Three Trillion Dollar War, claiming that the Iraq War has cost the U.S. guess how much? On Feb. 27 U.S. secy. of state Condoleezza Rice stops in Tokyo on the final leg of an Asian trip to deal with North Korea's nuclear program, expressing regret over the case of U.S. Marine SSgt. Tyrone Luther Hadnott (1970-), accused of raping a 14-y.-o. Japanese girl and arrested on Feb. 11, which Japanese PM Yasuo Fukuda called "unforgivable"; he is charged on Apr. 24. Shit or get off the pot, no? On Feb. 27 35-y.-o. "Toilet Seat Woman" Pam Babcock (1972-) is found physically stuck to a toilet seat she had been sitting on for two years in Ness City, Kan., her boyfriend Kory McFarren (b. 1971) bringing her food and water while she kept saying "Maybe tomorrow" to requests to leave the bathroom; of course the local authorities press charges for mistreatment of a dependent adult - oh crap, what do I do, this is huge? On Feb. 28 news that Prince Harry has been serving on the front lines in Afghanistan with the British army for 10 weeks (first British royal since Prince Andrew in the Falkland Islands in 1982) leaks on the U.S Web Site Dredge Report, causing him to be quickly withdrawn to avoid an assassination attempt. On Feb. 29 a bus crash in Guatemala caused by bad brakes kills 53. On Feb. 29 John McCain slips at a rally in Tyler, Tex., saying "I'm a proud, conservative, liberal Repub...", immediately repeating it without the bad word "liberal". On Feb. 29 the daytime soap opera The Young and the Restless reaches its 1,000th consecutive week as #1 (since Dec. 1988). In Feb. the U.S. govt. budget deficit reaches a record $175.56B. In Feb. black former "Diff'rent Strokes" actor Gary Coleman (1968-2010) (candidate for gov. of Calif. against Ahnuld in 2003, placing #8) reveals his secret marriage last summer to white busty redhead Shannon Price (1985-), claiming until then he was a 40-y.-o. virgin - oral sex doesn't count because it's not going all the way? In Feb. a poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life shows declining loyalty to traditional U.S. mainline religious denominations; Protestants now make up only 51%. In Feb. Neb. passes a Safe Haven Law allowing parents to legally abandon their children by leaving them at a hospital, but goofs by not naming an age limit, causing anything up to teenies to be dropped off, incl. a woman from Atlanta, Ga. who dropped off her 12-y.-o. son, causing them to reconvene on Nov. 17 to set the age limit to 3 days like in Colo. On Mar. 1 severe storms hit C Europe, tearing off a roof at the Dusseldorf Airport, disrupting power to 1M in Prague, and killing 10. On Mar. 2 pres. elections in Russia are no surprise as Tsar Vladimir Putin's hand-picked successor, Leningrad-born deputy-PM (since Nov. 14, 2005) (converted to Orthodox Christianity at age 23, and became a fan of Deep Purple) Dmitri (Dmitry) Anatolyevich Medvedev (1965-) wins; Putin's men spent months clamping down on all opposition with strongarm tactics, creating a de facto 1-party state, with the approval of most Russians, who are used to cents. of tsarist authority and can't stand the free-falling loose-cannon-on-deck feeling of Western multi-party politics; Putin becomes PM, and wields the real power, since Russia can have only one tsar, and he's it; meanwhile Medvedev claims to be the boss. On Mar. 2 the Non-Governmental Internat. Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) (sponsored by the Heartland Inst.) meets in New York City to discuss its report dissing the ability of human-generated emissions to cause climate change in opposition to the IPCC; leaders incl. Christopher Walter Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley (1952-), former adviser to British PM Margaret Thatcher. On Mar. 2 a suicide bomber kills 42 and injures 53 during a meeting of 200 tribal leaders in Zarghon Village in Pakistan being held to discuss a suicide attack two days earlier that killed 40 in the Swat Valley during the funeral for a police officer, and another the day before that killed two in Bajur, all in NW Pakistan; as usual, pres. Pervez Musharraf gets the heat from the U.S. On Mar. 3 Pres. Bush appoints Pakistan-born Tex.-based Muslim Sada Cumber (1951-) as the first U.S. ambassador to the Org. of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Muslim U.N. (until Feb. 2010). On Mar. 4 pres. primaries in Ohio, Tex., Vt., and R.I. are a V for Lucas, er, John McCain, who cinches the Repub. nomination and gains the endorsement of Mike Huckabee; meanwhile Hillary Clinton, whose hubby Bill earlier admitted has to win or get out, scores Vs in Ohio and Tex., plus R.I., staying alive after losing 11 straight contests, causing them to head out to Wyo. to stump for the state's few delegates, which Obama wins by 60% to 40% on Mar. 9; meanwhile another poll shows that either would beat McCain if the election were held now. On Mar. 4 Northern Ireland Protestant leader Ian Paisley announces that he's stepping down in May. On Mar. 4 Venezuela and Ecuador reinforce their borders with Colombia after getting pissed-off at its border strike on a leftist guerrilla base in Ecuador on Mar. 1 that killed senior FARC (Rev. Armed Forces of Colombia) member Raul Reyes (Luis Edgar Devia Silva) (b. 1948), who had a $5M U.S. reward on his head; on Mar. 6 Nicaragua breaks off diplomatic relations with Colombia, while the Rio Group Summit is hosted by the Dominican Repub. to find a diplomatic solution, U.S. spokesman saying they back Colombia's right to defend itself against FARC guerrillas, and wondering aloud what Venezuela has to do with it; the intervention of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is an attempt to revive the Marxist rev. in South Am.? On Mar. 4 the U.S. military announces the crash of an Iraqi heli in N Iraq that killed a U.S. soldier and seven others. On Mar. 5 Xia Tao, armed with explosives takes 10 Australians hostage on a tourist bus in Xi'an N China, and is shot and killed by police. On Mar. 6 two bombs in the Shiite Karada district of Baghdad, Iraq kill 55 and injure 131 in a busy shopping mall, ruining all the talk of emerging from the doldrums of war. On Mar. 6 a Palestinian gunman kills eight students and wounds nine at the Mercaz HaRav, the top yeshiva in Jerusalem before being killed. On Mar. 6 before dawn a small bomb explodes in front of a miliary recruiting station in Times Square in New York City, causing minor damage, after which a video shows a thin white man with graying hair on a bicycle planting it; a big protest against a Marine recruiting station was held on Feb. 1 in Berkeley, Calif.; meanwhile U.S. gen. Victor E. "Gene" Renuart Jr., cmdr. of the North Am. Aerospace Defense Command in Colo. says that al-Qaida may be stepping up efforts to attack the U.S. to maintain their credibility and recruit followers; meanwhile Pres. Bush welcomes 107-y.-o. Frank Woodruff Buckles (1901-), the last known surviving U.S. WWI vet, who met Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing - left behind by the Kaiser's army? On Mar. 7 the new Forbes Billionaire List shows Bill Gates slipping to #2 after Microsoft's unsolicited $44.6B takeover bid of Yahoo was snubbed and his stock slid, allowing Warren Buffett to become #1; meanwhile Facebook.com new kid on the block Mark Zuckerberg becomes the youngest self-made billionaire in history, worth $1.5B, all through the funny money of clicks. On Mar. 7 (7:00 a.m.) a suicide bomber at a police compound in Mosul, Iraq kills four and wounds 17. On Mar. 7 17-y.-o. Tasleem Solangi (b. 1991) is mauled by dogs then shot to death by her Muslim uncle Zameer Solangi in Pakistan in an honor killing for alleged immorality; it is later revealed that it was done to convince her father to sell him some land. On Mar. 9 Spanish Socialist PM (since 2004) Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero wins reelection, an endorsement of his actions of pulling troops out of Iraq, legalizing same-sex marriages and on-demand divorce. On Mar. 9 Chinese authorities claim to have broken up a terrorist plot targeting the upcoming Beijing Olympics; meanwhile a flight crew foils an attempt to crash a China Southern flight from Urumqi. On Mar. 9 (dawn) a passenger train slams into a double-decker bus near Dolores, Argentina 125 mi. S of Buenos Aires, killing 26. On Mar. 10 N.Y. Dem. gov. #58 (since 2007) and former N.Y. atty.-gen. (1999-2006) Eliot Laurence Spitzer (1959-), formerly known as "the sheriff of Wall Street" for aggressive prosecution of securities and Internet fraud (incl. prostitution rings) is named as "client #9" in a federal sting of a high-priced ($4.3K an hour) prostitution ring known as the Emperor's Club VIP; he resigns as gov. on Mar. 12 after info. surfaces that he spent as much as $80K on the classy hos; on Mar. 17 he is replaced by lt. gov. (since Jan. 1, 2007) David Alexander Paterson (1954-) (known for failing the N.Y. bar exam, then blaming it on the testers for not accomodating his disability), who becomes N.Y. gov. #55 (until ?), the first black and first legally blind person to hold the position; the ho Spitzer was caught with is Kristen, AKA Madonna wannabe Ashley Alexandra Dupre (Dupré) (Youmans) (1985-), whose star is now on the rise (Madonna started the same way in the Big Apple?); too bad, on Mar. 18 Paterson admits that he also had affairs with a "number of women", incl. state employees, but is coming clean to avoid a later revelation; like the fashion dicates (McGreevey et al.), he makes the announcement with his zonked wife by his side - does she swallow or spitzer? On Mar. 10 Barack Obama gives a speech in Columbus, Miss. saying that he isn't running for vice-pres., and uttering the soundbyte: "I don't know how somebody who is in second place is offering the vice-presidency to someone who is in first place - honey, two shampoos? On Mar. 10 a 5-mo. AP inquiry is announced that detected prescription drugs in the drinking water supplies of 24 major U.S. metro areas. On Mar. 11 the big news breaks that Dawn Wells (1938-), who played Mary Ann in "Gilligan's Island" is serving 6 mo. probation for marijuana possssion, having been sentenced on Feb. 29 after pleading guilty to reckless driving; she claims a friend left the stuff in her car and she was swerving while trying to find the heating controls - while on a 3 hour tour, a 3 hour tour? On Mar. 11 U.S. Adm. William J. Fallon (1944-), top U.S. military cmdr. for the Middle East resigns amid speculation that his rift with Pres. Bush over Iran was a "distraction"; he had been described as single-handedly stopping an invasion, causing more rumors that now it's a green light to go balls-out to Tehran. On Mar. 11 twin suicide bombs in Lahore, Pakistan kill 24 and injure 200; meanwhile in Iraq eight GIs are announced killed on Mar. 10, and 42 civilians on Mar. 11, incl. 16 bus passengers in a roadside bombing, becoming the most GIs killed since last Sept. 10, when 10 were killed. On Mar. 11 Ind.-born African-Am. Muslim convert Andre (André) D. Carson (1974-) becomes the 2nd Muslim in Congress as a Dem. rep. from Ind. (until ?). On Mar. 11 (night) Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-123 lifts off from Cape Canaveral to deliver a robot and the Japanese Logistics Module, the first piece of a new Japanese lab to the ISS. It's not even Easter yet and they've got Obama on the cross? On Mar. 12 Geraldine Anne Ferraro (1935-) resigns from Hillary Clinton's campaign after her remarks publicly on Mar. 7 that Barack Obama wouldn't be in the position he's in if he weren't black pisses-off the PC police and causes them to call the PC Posse; meanwhile Obama wins 5 of 5 weekend contests on Mar. 7-8, winning 90+% of the er, black vote and only about one-third of the er, white vote; too bad, the race card starts being played by the opposition, and Obama's longtime (20 years) minister Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. (1941-) of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Ill. comes under fire for his black racist statements supporting Louis Farrakhan and dissing whites for their er, history ("blue-eyed devils", "Antichrist", the U.S. govt. invented and spreads AIDS among blacks), Jews ("bloodsuckers", "Satanic"), homos, and America itself ("Great White West", "Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run", "God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people"); despite Obama's attempts to distance himself now, the sad truth is that his father is a black Muslim Communist from Kenya who put him through a year of Islamic classes, and it was only through Wright that he was baptized a Christian by him in 1988, having him marry him to his wife Michelle Robinson in 1992 then baptize his two daughters, even titling his book "The Audacity of Hope" from one of his sermons; on Mar. 18 after his campaign reaches a crisis, Obama finally gives up trying to avoid mentioning the subject of race for fear of being labelled the black candidate like Jesse Jackson (1941-), and delivers his Big Race Speech, starting "We the people, in order to form a more perfect union", followed by "I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas"; after distancing himself from Wright politically, he adds "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother... who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe"; too bad, on Apr. 28 Wright makes more un-PC remarks at the Nat. Press Club, causing Obama to officially cut his ties on Apr. 29, calling them "a show of disrespect to me", "directly contradicting everything that I've done during my life"; in May 2010 after licking his wounds or two years, Wright sends a letter to the AP, grumbling that Obama "threw me under the bus" - so much for President Obama, and hello President McCain, or is this America's racial turning point? The Almay candidate, starts out white and adjusts to match your skin color? On Mar. 13 body of Chaldean Catholic archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho (b. 1942) is found in a shallow grave in N Iraq two weeks after he was kidnapped by gunmen - I'm ready, let's play, Christians? On Mar. 13 Palestinian pres. Mahmoud Abbas accuses the Israeli govt. of "ethnic cleansing" in Palestinian areas around Jerusalem after four Islamic Jihad members are killed in a raid on Mar. 12. On Mar. 13 a suicide bomber targeting U.S. troops in Kabul goofs and kills six Afghan civilians; meanwhile U.S. forces strike across the bordeer into Pakistan at a suspected Taliban compound, killing four more civilians, pissing-off Pakistani officials. On Mar. 14 riots marking the 40th anniv. of the exile of the Dalai Lama and the coming of the Beijing Olympics rock Tibet, killing two (zillion?); meanwhile 100 Tibetan exiles on a 6-mo. protest march to Tibet defy orders of the Indian govt. to halt; on Mar. 17 the Chinese govt. deadline to the protesters to disperse expires, and they stop being nice, swarming Tibet with troops by Mar. 20, causing Tibetan to become an extinct language before our eyes, while the U.S. does nothing because it owes them so much money?; on Mar. 23 China accuses the Dalai Lama of inciting the unrest to undermine the Olympics, which he calls "baseless", causing 30 Chinese intellectuals to appeal to them to admit that its policy of crushing dissent while blaming the violence on him isn't working; on Mar. 25 French pres. Nicolas Sarkozy suggests an Olympic boycott to punish China for its crackdown; too bad, on Apr 29 a Chinese court sentences 30, incl. six Buddhist monks arrested on Mar. 14-16 to prison terms ranging from three years to life - the horror, the horror, of giving them the Olympics in the first place? On Mar. 15 a bomb explodes in the back garden of the Luna Caprese Italian Restaurant in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing one and injuring 11, incl. five Americans (four FBI personnel); the restaurant is known for slipping alcoholic drinks to foreigners (Allah damn them?); on Mar. 16 an unmanned drone flattens a suspected militant safe house in Pakistan's tribal area, killing 20; meanwhile on Mar. 16 the Pakistan parliament convenes, packed with foes of U.S.-backed pres. Pervez Musharraf. On Mar. 15 the 5th anniv. of the U.S. Iraqi War sees total U.S. troop casualties total 29,320 wounded in action and 3,987 KIA; on Mar. 19 clueless Pres. Bush defends the war again, claiming that "the world is better" and the U.S. is safer because of him, er, it. On Mar. 15 a YouTube audio clip of Okla. Repub. rep. Sally Kern saying that "The homosexual agenda is destroying this nation", and "It's the biggest threat our nation has", comparing homosexuality to "toe cancer", and adding the soundbyte that "Studies show that no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted more than, you know, a few decades, so it's the death knell of this country" pisses-off gay activists, bringing death threats along with a slew of anti-Kern YouTube uploads, while Okla. conservatives make her their champion; in 2009 she sponsors an "Okla. Citizen's Proclamation for Morality", blaming U.S. economic woes on "our greater national moral crisis" - make her eat her words? On Mar. 16 the Subprime Mortgage Crisis begins when JPMorgan Chase buys New York City investment bank Bear Stearns (founded 1923), whose stock slid from $170 to $2 because of its giant portfolio of worthless subprime mortgages for a measly $236M, with the U.S. govt. guaranteeing $30B of it, causing rumors of a coming new Great Depression, fueled again on Mar. 17 when the Federal Reserve lowers the prime rate for the 6th time in 6 mo., although the Dow Jones jumps 420.41 points (to 12,392.66) on Mar. 18, the biggest daily point gain in five years; on Mar. 17 the price of gold tops $1,035, the highest in history, then slides to $990 on Mar. 18. On Mar. 16 $15M Our Lady of the Rosary in Dohar, Qatar opens; too bad, they are afraid to display a cross on it or even a signboard for fear of hate-filled Muslim blacklash. On Mar. 17 ABC News announces the discovery of a large blue whale pop. in the Gulf of Corcovado in Chile, and lobbies for making it a Marine Protected Area to keep more salmon hatcheries from being built. On Mar. 17 it's happy St. Patty's Day in Iraq as a female Sunni suicide bomber in Karbala, Iraq kills 43 in front of a Shiite mosque, while another 29 are killed in other attacks, incl. six youths from mortar rounds at a soccer field in E Baghdad, and two U.S. soldiers in a roadside bombing N of Baghdad; the violence was obviously meant to greet U.S. vice-pres. Dick Cheney and pres. candidate John McCain, who tout recent security gains and reaffirm their long-term commitment. On Mar. 17 former N.J. gov. Jim McGreevey claims that he used to have 3-ways with his wife Dina Matos McGreevey and male aide Teddy Pedersen, the latter confirming it but claiming he didn't know if Sweet Cheeks, er, Big Jim was gay; she denies it all - mommy, what's a menage a trois? On Mar. 18 the U.S. Supreme Court begins hearing a challenge to the 1976 Washington D.C. ("murder capital of the U.S.") law banning handguns, and the justices orally indicate that they are finally going to rule that the in-your-face 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the individual's right to own guns, which the court has avoided for over 200 years; "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" -by the government; seems clear, right? wrong, ever since the flintlock was superseded by the Colt 45, yet the one thing Americans believe makes them different than the rest of the world is their right to have a personal arsenal, and if the govt. ever tries to take their guns away, it will be only after prying them from their cold dead fingers? On Mar. 18 Barack Obama gives his Race Speech at the Nat. Constitution Center in Philly, which hearkens to Abe Lincoln's Cooper Union Speech in New York City on Feb. 27, 1860? On Mar. 18 the divorce between will-you-still-need-me-will-you-still-feed-me-when-I'm 65-y.-o. Paul McCartney and 40-y.-o. Heather Mills is finalized, and she gets a tidy $47M of his $850M, acting as her own atty.; the trial reveals that Paul finally took his wedding ring for Linda off for her, and considered it a life marriage, therefore didn't make her sign a pre-nup, and that they stopped using birth control. On Mar. 19 (5th anniv. of the U.S. Iraq War) Pres. Bush's approval rating hits a new low of 31%, down 40 points from the start of the war, echoing the drop in LBJ's approval rating during the Vietnam War (74-35); not phased, Bush says "Defeating this enemy in Iraq will make it less likely we will face this enemy here at home", and "We're helping the people of Iraq establish a democracy in the heart of the Middle East. A free Iraq will fight terrorists instead of harboring them". On Mar. 19 Hillary Clinton calls for Barack Obama to agree to new primaries in Mich. and Fla. which gave her a V back in Jan. but whose delegates were excluded from the Dem. Convention for doing it too early; of course, Obama isn't going to give the nomination to her, so nothing happens? On Mar. 19 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Courts rules 7-2 in Snyder v. La. that prosecutors may not use peremptory strikes to remove African-Am. jurors solely on the basis of race; Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia dissent on the grounds that the court is merely second-guessing the decisions of the trial court, and doesn't really know the true reasons. On Mar. 20 a suicide bomber kills five and wounds 11 outside a brigade HQ in the Pakistan tribal region on Afghanistan's border while U.S. vice-pres. Dick Cheney is visiting Kabul for talks with Afghan Pres. Hamid Karzai. On Mar. 20 the Web site JuicyCampus.com is slammed on U.S. network TV after 20-y.-o. Colgate U. student George So (1987-) is arrested for threatening to stage a school massacre; the main gripe is that they rely on the U.S. Bill of Rights to protect anon. malicious gossip posts about real names; it goes out of biz on Feb. 5, 2009. On Mar. 21 Dem. N.M. gov. Bill Richardson endorses Barack Obama. On Mar. 21 it is revealed that the passport files of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain had been breached by low-level U.S. State Dept. employees, embarrassing the brass. On Mar. 21 Thomas Beatie reveals that he's pregnant; he's really a woman named Tracy LaGondino who had her breasts excised and took testosterone and got the govt. to list her as a male so she could marry a woman and not be called a lesbian, causing him/her to become a cause celebre for the gay community since he totally upends the traditional roles, and they think they can score a V with the publicity? On Mar. 21 the Washington Post pub. a photo of Hillary Clinton's welcoming ceremony in Tuzla, Bosnia on Mar. 25, 1996, showing that she didn't have to run from the airplane to a waiting vehicle under sniper fire like she has recently become fond of repeating, causing her to come clean on Mar. 24 and admit she misspoke; proof that women can't face reality and shouldn't become the chief executive? On Mar. 22 it's Happy Easter to the U.S. as a roadside bomb kills three U.S. soldiers N of Baghdad, bringing the Iraq War death toll to 3,996. On Mar. 22 pro-Beijing Nationalist Party oppositition candidate Ma Ying-jeou (1950-) wins the pres. election in Taiwan, promising to work toward unification with China. On Mar. 22 U.S. vice-pres. Dick Cheney visits Jerusalem, and says that the U.S. wants a new beginning for the Palestinians but will never pressure Israel to take steps jeopardizing its security, and that U.S. support of Israel is "unshakable". On Mar. 23 a protest against Chinese rule by Uighur Muslims in Khotan in Xianjiang (NW China) is put down by Chinese police. On Mar. 24 longtime Bhutto aide Yousaf Raza Gillani (1952-) becomes PM #26 of Pakistan (until ?), immediately ordering the release of judges detained last year by pres. Pervez Musharraf, incl. chief justice (since 2005) Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry (1948-), who appears on the balcony of his Islamabad villa to cheering spectators. On Mar. 24 79+% of voters turn out for the first-ever parliamentary elections in Bhutan. On Mar. 25 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 6-3 in Medellin v. Tex. that an internat. treaty is not binding domestic law unless Congress enacts statutes implementing it or unless the treaty is self-xecuting; decisions of the Internat. Court of Justice are not binding domestic law, and without authority from Congress or the Constitution, the U.S. pres. lacks power to enforce internat. treaties or decisons of the Internat. Court of Justice. On Mar. 26 the Iraq govt. expands its anti-militia offensive against Shiite militias in 70% Shiite-controlled Basra, with the U.S. (which claims it was not given advance notice) providing air cover and advisers, giving Shiite groups 72 hours to surrender; too bad, when that doesn't work, the deadline is extended by more than a week; when that doesn't work 1K U.S. and Iraqi forces are called in to take on the 60K Mahdi fighters of Muqtada al-Sadr in the Shiite slum of Sadr City (pop. 3M); a ceasefire begins on May 11. On Mar. 26 Joshua Mauldin (1985-) is sentenced to 25 years for putting his infant daughter in a microwave in his motel room and turning it on for up to 20 sec., causing severe burning, after a jury rejects his insanity plea. On Mar. 28 Yousuf (Yousaf) Raza Gilani (1952-) becomes PM #17 of Pakistan (until ?), the first from the Saraiki-speaking belt in the C and SE. On Mar. 29 a 15-min. film titled Fitna (Arab. "ordeal") by Dutch anti-Muslim-immigrant politician Geert Wilders (1963-), founder of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy brings hate-filled protests in Pakistan, causing Sudanese pres. Omar al-Bashir to call on an Arab summit meeting in Damascus to demand a "binding international charter" prohibiting insults to Islam, er, religions; even more sick, Western leaders seem to conspire to silence those telling the truth about Islam, starting with Brigitte Bardot (1934-), who has been convicted 4x since 1997 of "inciting racial hatred" for pub. articles warning that the Muslims are ruining France - stick those kind of laws up your al-Bashir? On Mar. 29 elections are held in Zimbabwe, and on Mar. 30 dictator (since 1980) Robert Mugabe summons his security apparatus leaders and informs them that he plans to publicly concede the next day to opponent Morgan Richard Tsvangirai (1952-) of the Movement for a Dem. Change of a V, but military chief gen. Constantine Chiwenga talks him out of it and promises military support backed by the ruling Zimbabwe African Nat. Union-Patriotic Front; on Mar. 31 it's April Fool's Day in Zimbabwe as opposition foes of touring-facilities-and-picking-up-slack dictator Robert Mugabe claim a V in the Mar. 29 election, only to see official election returns slowly trickle in after Mugabe's Wiki is used to edit them; on Apr. 7 after the election results are still not pub., Mugabe forces several white ranchers and farmers off their land in an effort at a diversion; on Apr. 8 Operation CIBD (Coercion, Intimidation, Beating and Displacement) is implemented; on Apr. 23 as the coverup continues, Mugabe's party offers to form a govt. of nat. unity with Mugabe as pres.; after more violence, Tsvangirai, who is holed-up in the Dutch Embassy drops out on June 22, and on June 27 a rigged runoff election gives Mugabe a V, and on June 29 he is sworn-in for another term wile his country remains a starving hyperinflationary terrorized shithole, with 80 opposition supporters killed, hundreds missing, thousands injured, and hundreds of thousands homeless; meanwhile the U.N. lamely ponders sanctions. On Mar. 30 CIA dir. Michael Hayden appears on NBC-TV's "Meet the Press", and says that al-Qaida is training new operatives in W Pakistan who "look Western", and "would be able to come into this country without attracting the attention others might"; he adds "If there is another terrorist attack, it will originate there". On Mar. 31 gorgeous white blonde babe Katie Piper (1983-) is splashed in the face on Golder Green High St. in London with industrial strength sulfuric acid by hit man Stefan Sylvestre (1988-), hired by her black (South Asian?) former Internet boyfriend Daniel Lynch (1976-) (did somebody say lynch?) (who already raped and beat her), horribly disfiguring her; after 30 mo. of pain, surgeries and therapy, she goes public; they both get life in priz. In Mar. a consortium of ranchers and loggers puts a $500K price on the head of Austrian Roman Catholic bishop Erwin Krautler, who has been working in the Brazilian state of Para since 1980 helping the indios fight back against oppression; he has been under police protection since last year - I guess the threat of excommunication doesn't work anymore? Speaking of balls out? In Mar. the police chief of Tehran, Iran is caught in a raid of a brothel with six nude women, and arrested. In Mar. after her campaign team circulates photos of Obama wearing a turban during a diplomatic trip to Kenya in 2006, Hillary Clinton gives an interview to Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes, who asks her if she believes that Obama is a Muslim, to which she utters the soundbyte: "No, there is nothing to base that on, as far as I know"; in 2015 despite her team starting the Obama-is-a-Muslim rumor, she slams Donald Trump for not rebuking a supporter who suggests it - what does it matter? On Apr. 2 the U.S. House OKs $50B to battle AIDS, TB and malaria in Africa over the next five years, tripling the previous budget; $41B will go to AIDS, which infects 6K new people each day. On Apr. 2 26-nation NATO rebuffs Pres. Bush's proposal to put Ukraine and Georgia on the path toward membership, which is opposed by Russia; Greece blocks Macedonia from joining by claiming its N region is also called that; Croatia and Albania are issued invitations to join. On Apr. 2 Russia's lower parliament house votes 370-56 to declare that the 1930s Ukrainian famine that killed millions of peasants was not genocide; Alexander Solzhenitsyn backs them, calling Ukrainian claims a "fable". On Apr. 3 Chinese dissident Hu Jia (1973-) (jailed since Dec.) is given 3.5 more years for "inciting state subversion" by posting articles against the intolerant Commie govt. on the Internet. On Apr. 4 it is reported that singers Beyonce Knowles (1981-) and Jay-Z (Shawn Corey Carter) (1969-) were married in a secret ceremony in New York City. On Apr. 5 Syrian Orthodox priest Father Youssef (Faiz Abdel) is killed in Baghdad, becoming the 2nd senior Christian priest killed in Iraq this year. On Apr. 6 protests against the Chinese Olympics in favor of Tibetan independence rock London during the passing of the torch, followed on Apr. 7 by Paris and on Apr. 8 by San Francisco, home of longtime Tibet supporter Richard Gere; meanwhile on Apr. 5 China vows to ramp up its "patriotic education" campaign to force Tibetan Buddhist monks to denounce the Dalai Lama and declare their loyalty to Beijing. The U.S. govt. never could stand Mormon polygamists, and love to stomp them like cockroaches like in Short Creek in 1953? On Apr. 7 after a phone call by "Sister" to Flora Jessop of the Child Protection Project in Phoenix Ariz. claiming she was sexually abused there, Texas authorities take 416 children into custody from the Eldorado, Tex. Yearning for for Zion ranch of the polygamist slash pedophile Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints of Warren S. Jeffs, where every old billy goat is his own Elvis, with the right to mistreat women as bad as the Taliban and marry them at age 14; after each kid gets his own court-appointed atty., and the mothers show up wearing handmade 19th cent. prairie dresses with weird hairdoes caused by never cutting their hair (the height of the do indicating rank in the marriage), causing a hilarious courtroom fiasco, the puppet state district judge Barbara Walther refuses to release the children to their parents, instead ordering DNA testing, then putting the kids in foster homes, adding more kids after some are found posing as adults, incl. mothers, bringing the total to 440; meanwhile 33-y.-o. Rozita Swinton (1975-) is arrested in Colo. Springs, Colo. for filing a false police report and is suspected of faking the Sarah call; too bad, the five pregnant girls taken into custody who are under 17 give them the excuse to tear all of the kids from their mommies, who cares about the daddies either?; too bad, on May 23 the state appeals court orders the return of the children - call in Lexington Steele? On Apr. 7-8 tens of thousands of pro-Tibet demonstrators protest the Olympic torch relay across India, causing 15K police to be mobilized and hundreds to be arrested. On Apr. 8 Iranian pres. Imadinnajacket announces a tripling of the Iranian nuke program, with 6K new centrifuges to be installed in Natanz; it takes 3K centrifuges one year to make one nuclear bomb, and they have had the joy-to-the-Islamic-world Big 3K since Nov. 7, 2007. On Apr. 8 U.S. Gen. David Betrayus, er, Petraus tells Congress that there will still be 100K troops in Iraq at the end of the Bush admin., pissing them off. On Apr. 8 six teenage girls and two teenage boys are arrested for inviting 16-y.-o. Victoria Lindsay in Lakeland, Fla. over, then beating her up on Mar. 30, later releasing a video to the Internet to get famous; they end up getting charged with enough trumped-up charges to get life sentences; meanwhile thousands of other videos are uploaded to the Internet showing other teen girls beating each other up, showing that the future of war is assured? On Apr. 10 Israel cuts off all fuel to the Gaza Strip after a bloody Palestinian raid on the Israeli depot pisses them off. On Apr. 10 the Bush admin. defines a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Deterrent Doctrine, incl. retaliation through resort to all available options incl. nukes on "those states, organizations, or individuals who might enable or facilitate terrorists in obtaining or using weapons of mass destruction"; it is gutted by Pres. Obama in 2010. On Apr. 11 Denver, Colo.-based Frontier Airlines declares bankruptcy, becoming the 4th airline in two weeks to do so after hundred-buck-a-barrel oil cuts their profits to zilch; meanwhile Delta and Northwest Airlines attempt to merge, pissing-off consumer advocates. On Apr. 11 Barack Obama steps in it by claiming that small town Americans "cling to guns or religion" during a speech in Penn., allowing both Hillary Clinton and John McCain to pounce; Hillary then stages a photo opp by chug-a-lugging a boilermaker in a bar to pander to the blue collar crowd. On Apr. 10-13 food shortages in Haiti cause food riots, causing the ouster of PM (since 2006) Jacques-Edouard Alexis on Sept. 5. On Apr. 12 an explosion in a mosque in Shiraz, Iran during a meeting of an Iranian Shiite religious group kills nine and wounds 66; no group takes credit - call me irresponsible? On Apr. 13 the govt. of Iraq sacks 1.3K soldiers and policemen who had deserted during recent fighting against Shiite militias in Basra. On Apr. 13 former U.S. pres Jimmy Carter leaves for a 9-day mission to Israel, the West Bank, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. On Apr. 13 Barack Obama compares Hillary Clinton unfavorably to Annie Oakley, with the soundbyte that she has the same talking points as John "the Rifleman" McCain, esp. being pro 2nd Amendment and pretending to pack a 6-shooter. On Apr. 14 a grainy silent 16mm B&W film of Marilyn Monroe giving a beejay on her knees in the 1950s is sold to a private buyer in New York City for $1.5M, resurrecting speculation that the john is JFK, like J. Edgar Hoover once tried in vain to prove - by restaging it personally a thousand times with his boyfriend? On Apr. 14 British journalist Richard Butler is rescued 2 mo. after being kidnapped in Basra, Iraq while on assignment for CBS News; meanwhile car bombings and other attacks in Iraq kill 22 more. The phenomenon of trying to own knowledge as a product and not knowing when to stop is not limited to Bill Gates and Monopolysoft? The dying gasps of the paper-based publishing industry, who don't know how to handle the Internet threat? On Apr. 14 author J.K. Rowling goes to court in New York City to stop pub. of The Harry Potter Lexicon by librarian Steve Vander Ark, saying that she wanted to write her own lexicon and sell a zillion copies and give the money to charity, and that all his work should be discarded and the govt. should force him out of biz and send him to, er; while his lexicon was just a Web site she uttered the soundbyte "This is such a great site that I have been known to sneak into an Internet cafe while out writing and check a fact rather than go into a bookshop and buy a copy of Harry Potter, which is embarrassing", and went nonlinear only when he tried to get his book into that bookshop, which she thinks she owns exclusive rights to, because those who publish on the Internet are losers and she's a winner, with her own literary agent, major publisher and all, who will actually make most of the moolah before the rest goes to charity? On Apr. 15 Pope Benedict XVI arrives for his first U.S. visit, becoming the first pope to be greeted by a U.S. pres. at Edwards AFB in Washington, D.C., where evangelical Methodist cowboy Pres. George W. Bush calls him "the most listened-to man in the world", apologizing for the Church's sex scandals while salivating over the 70M U.S. Catholics, whose numbers grow daily with illegal immigration; popey makes no public statements on Iraq because of the murder of Christian churchmen changing his mind about pulling out too quick?; on Apr. 16 a musical ceremony on the White House Lawn sings happy birthday to him, and he goes on to admit that the clergy sex-abuse scandal has been "very badly handled", then adds "What does it mean to speak of child protection when pornography and violence can be viewed in so many homes through media widely available today?"; on Apr. 17 he meets with victims of sexual abuse in the Boston area, and is given a list of 1K children who were abused going back several decades by Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley of Boston, issuing the soundbyte "No words of mine could describe the pain and harm inflicted by such abuse"; on Apr. 18 the pope gives an address to the the U.N., saying that respect for human rights and not violence is the key to solving many of the world's problems (what church has more experience?), and complaining about decision power resting in the hands of a few powerful (unnamed) nations; he leaves on Apr. 20 after leading a Mass before 60K at Yankee Stadium in New York City and telling them to be "obedient" to Church authority - a contradiction? On Apr. 15 a dorm fire in Kampala, Uganda kills 21 children. On Apr. 15 a Hewa Bora plane crashes in E Congo, killing 44 and injuring 146 after plowing into a market area in Kinsasha; all 79 passengers and six crew survive. On Apr. 16 the U.S. (Roberts) Supreme Court rules 7-2 in Baze v. Rees that the 3-drug cocktail used by Ky. and most states for legal injections is constitutional under the 8th Amendment. On Apr. 17 British PM Gordon Brown visits Washington D.C. and meets with pres. candidates John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, and talks about the "special relationship" between the U.S. and U.K.; meanwhile his relationship with Bush is frosty, although he adds "The world owes president George Bush a huge debt of gratitude for leading the world in our determination to root out terrorism." On Apr. 17 yet another suicide bomber gooes kablooey in Albu Mohammad, Iraq (90 mi. N of Baghdad) at the funeral of two Sunni tribesmen who fought al-Qaida, killing 50. On Apr. 17 ex-U.S. pres. candidate Tom Tancredo (1945-) alleges that Pope Benedict XVI is encouraging illegal immigration to the U.S. in order to boost Church membership. On Apr. 18 Pres. Bush stinks himself up again, finally admitting that he believes in global warming, then calling for a halt in the growth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, causing critics to complain that he is giving permission to do nothing for almost 20 years. On Apr. 18 (Fri.) oil prices reach $116.69 a barrel. On Apr. 19 Palestinian militants siege the key Kerem Shalom Israel-Gaza border crossing, wounding 16 Israeli soldiers before they kill four of them. On Apr. 19 Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr (1973-) issues a "final warning" to the Iraq govt. to halt the U.S.-backed crackdown or he will declare "open war until liberation"; meanwhile U.S. keeps attempting to clear a no-man's zone between Sadr City and the Green Zone in Baghdad, complete with a Berlin-style wall, and the Iraq govt. announces successes in Basra; after Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki tells al-Sadr to disband his Mahdi Army or face a ban from politics, al-Sadr calls him a U.S. sellout. On Apr. 19-20 the Battle of Mogadishu sees Ethiopian soldiers enter insurgent-held areas of the city, sparking heavy street fighting which kills 126-142, mostly civilians. On Apr. 20 elections in Paraguay give a V to Fernando Armindo Lugo Mendez (1949-), a suspended Roman Catholic bishop known for wearing sandals, flipping peace signs and admiring Che Guevara. On Apr. 20 a riot in Florence Supermax Prison near Canon City, Colo. started by white supremacists in honor of Hitler's birthday kills two. On Apr. 21 Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki appeals for support from his Arab neighbors, calling on them to open embassies and forgive Iraqi debts. On Apr. 21 "Hill-Rod" Clinton, "do you smell what Barack is cooking" Obama and John "McCainiac" appear in a computerized World Wrestling Entertainment wrestling bout on "Monday Night Raw" to settle their differences by force? On Apr. 21 U.S. defense secy. Robert Gates calls on the U.S. Air Force to send more Predator drones to the battlefield in Iraq to spot attempts at planting roadside bombs, complaining that they are "stuck in old ways of doing business". On Apr. 21 Repub. Colo. state rep. Douglas Bruce calls migrant workers "illiterate peasants" in a speech against a pending bill authorizing 5K, immediately being kicked off the House podium like a mangy dog by Dem. state rep. Kathleen Curry, who says "How dare you?", followed by efforts at impeachment for exercising his rights to free speech in PColorado, while his opponents make unlimited use of local media air time in the capital of Denver, one of the worse "home rule" police states in the U.S. (home of illiterate peasant TLW); the publicity backfires on Curry, who is flooded with "you're nuts" and "drop dead" type hate mail from the Colo. pop., as Bruce defends his statements as accurate. On Apr. 21 U.S. pres. George W. Bush, Mexican pres. Felipe Calderon, and Canadian PM Stephen Harper open the first annual 2-day Three Amigos (People's) Summit in New Orleans, La., with Bush and Calderon strongly defending the 1994 NAFTA Act for creating hundreds of thousands of jobs on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border - jobs aimed at taking millions of jobs from illiterate peasant Americans, hehe? On Apr. 22 despite Obama outspending her, Hillary Clinton wins the Penn. Dem. pres. primary by 10 points (55-45), closing the delegate gap to about 150 and the popular vote gap to 500K (not counting Fla. and Mich., which would give her a lead); the fight heads to N.C. and Ind. On Apr. 22 a suicide bomber explodes his truck at a checkpoint near the W Iraq city of Ramadi, Iraq, a former al-Qaida stronghold, killing two U.S. Marines and wounding three, not counting civilians (one killed, 24 injured). On Apr. 23 envoys from the U.S. and other nations dash out of a U.N. Security Council meeting after Libyan ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi compares the plight of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to those in Nazi concentration camps - hey I'm Maryann from Gilligan's Island? On Apr. 23 in the case of David Lee Moore of Portsmouth, Va. the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upholds the power of police to conduct searches and seize evidence even if the arrest later turns out to have violated state law, with Antonin Scalia writing "We reaffirm against a novel challenge what we have signalled for half a century", namely that pigs only need probable cause of a crime committed in their presence and that mere laws can't stand in their way of searching for evidence to prove it in court. On Apr. 26 a fire in a mattress factory in Casabalanca, Morocco kills 55 and injures 12 out of 100, mostly women. On Apr. 26 running street gun battles between drug traffickers in Tijuana, Mexico kill 13 and wound nine. On Apr. 26 after U.S. Army Rangers of Co. A 2nd Battalion, 75h Regiment in UH-60 Black Hawks land in a grassy field in rural Iraq and are ambushed by insurgents, Spc. Joe Gibson defeats a suicide bomber with his bae hands, becoming a hero and earning a silver star. On Apr. 27 (Sun.) Afghan Pres. Hamid Karzai escapes an attempted assassination in Kabul; three are killed and 10 are wounded. On Apr. 27 Shiite militants hammer the U.S.-protected Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq with rockets and mortars during a sandstorm, pissing-off the U.S. military; on Apr. 28 militants kill four U.S. soldiers in Baghdad with rockets and mortars as they try to push Shiite fighters farther from the Green Zone and out of range; too bad, after a 4-hour battle that kills 28 in Sadr City, some residents claim that the U.S. was killing civilians not militants. On Apr. 27 the Bush admin. announces a plan to enlist the 80M U.S. recreational boaters in the fight against terrorism by watching for a small boat coming in with a nuke aboard - gee why doesn't that make me feel real safe? On Apr. 27 a 350-acre wildfire near Los Angeles, Calif. forces 1K+ to flee their homes in the foothills. On Apr. 27 John McCain tasks Barack Obama for opposing his idea to suspend the tax on gasoline during the summer, saying it would help low income people with older gas-guzzling cars; Obama responds by pointing to his support of extending tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, saying "He hasn't told us really how he's going to pay for them. It is irresponsible, and the irony is he said it was irresponsible." On Apr. 27 English Islamist Abu Izzadeen (Trevor or Omar Brooks) (1976-) of the banned Muslim org. Al Ghurabaa is convicted of inciting terrorism for comments made in the Saudi-funded Regents Park Mosque in Nov. 2004, incl. "He who joins the British Army, the American Army, he is a mortal kaffir and his only punishment is for his head to be removed"; he is sentenced to 4-1/2 years, reduced to 3-1/2 years on appeal, then released to take up where he left off. On Apr. 28 (4:40 a.m.) a high-speed train en route from Beijing to coastal Qingdao derails and slams into another train near Zibo, China in Shangdong province in E China, killing 70 and injuring 400. On Apr. 28 an explosion in Gaza Strip kills a mother and four kids; Israel and militants point fingers at each other. On Apr. 28 Vietnam responds to allegations of baby-selling and corruption by halting all U.S. adoptions effective July 1 - closed party house? On Apr. 29 a suicide bomber and some gunmen attack a poppy eradication team in E Afghanistan, kiling 19 (incl. 12 police officers) and injuring 40. On Apr. 30 the U.S. troop death toll for Iraq is announced as 50, a 7-mo. high, with more than half in Baghdad. On Apr. 30 several Palestinian groups agree to an Hamas-sponsored Egyptian-mediated temporary truce proposal, but Israeli officials yawn it off, saying they would merely use it as a pretext to rearm and go at it again - it's funny how everything ends in o, like bombo and riflo? On Apr. 30 members of the Hawaiian Kingdom Govt. (founded 2001) storm the old Iolani Palace in Honolulu, Hawaii and set up a govt. in exile, seeking to restore the Hawaiian monarchy under queen Mahealani Kamau'u, who last year fined the Hawaiian state govt. $7T. In Apr. J Street is founded by Tel Aviv-born former Clinton senior domestic policy adviser Jeremy Ben-Ami and funded by George Soros as a rival to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) (founded 1963), claiming they're bad because they're alligned with the political right when in actuality J-Street is filled with traitor leftist Jews who want to see Israel go down the tubes, calling it a "new direction in American policy"? In late Apr. 42-y.-o. Elizabeth Fritzl blows the whistle on her father Josef Stefan Fritzl (1935-) for holding her captive for 24 years (since 1984) in a windowless underground cellar and fathering seven children by her while only visiting her to rape her, not even speaking to her; on Mar. 16, 2009 he pleads guilty incest - she reached 40 and he wanted to trade her in for two 20s? In Apr. the first rumors that Obama was not a U.S. citizen were not spread by the right but by supporters of Hillary Clinton when her volunteer in Iowa was fired for spreading the rumor, her adviser Sidney Blumenthal asked McClatchy Washington bureau chief James Asher to go to Kenya to search for his birth records, and told him in person that he was born there, and her pollster Mark Penn sent her a memo raising the issue of Obama's "lack of American roots"; meanwhile the Obama campaign charges her campaign with publicizing a photo of Obama in traditional Somali garb. On May 1 3,550-ft. Chaiten Volcano in S Chile 750 mi. S of Santiago awakens after 10K years to have a smoke. On May 1 U.S. missiles targeted at his house in Mogadishu, Somalia kill al-Qaida chief Aden Hashi Farah Ayro. On May 1 two suicide bombers attack a wedding caravan in the market district in Dayala Province NE of Baghdad, Iraq, killing 35 and wounding 65, incl. the bride and groom. On May 1 former Dem. nat. party chmn. Joseph J. "Joe" Andrew (1960-) defects from the Clinton to the Obama camp, saying that keeping the race going is only helping John McCain. On May 3 Cyclone Nargis crosses the Bay of Bengal and devastates Myanmar (Burma), killing up to 100K and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless, forcing the corrupt govt. to finally break down and accept internat. aid, although they refuse to allow nearby U.S. military forces to enter their country with relief aircraft, and on June 3 the U.S. Navy announces that it is pulling its ships out after failing to get permission to help and being ordered to leave - we know the ships are really full of Rambos and blonde female Christian missionaries? On May 3 the U.S. military fires guided missles into Sadr City, Iraq, goofing up and hitting a building 55 yards from a hospital, wounding 23. On May 5 oil prices hit $120 a barrel; The Futurist claims that this will ultimately be good for the U.S. economy as it causes technology solutions to be found. On May 6 the 2008 N.C. Dem. Primary is a 51-37 200K-vote V for Barack Obama, while the 2008 Ind. Dem. Primary is a slim 38%-34% V for Hillary Clinton, causing calls for her concede, which the wife of the Comeback Kid refuses to do? On May 8 a 6.7 earthquake hits E Japan. On May 8 Sen. Barack Obama drops by the U.S. House allegedly to say hello to superdelegates - blacks have a habit of going in the servant's entrance? A good idea is punished? On May 9 a U.S. soldier is caught using a Quran for target practice, causing a protest in Herat, leading him to be disciplined and removed from Iraq, while his cmdr. kisses a new copy before giving it to tribal leaders in Radwaniyah on May 17 and Pres. Bush apologizes on May 20 to PM Nouri al-Maliki - he should order all Qurans confiscated and burned if he had any guts? On May 11 storms in the U.S. Great Plains and South kill 22 in three states, incl. 15 in SW Mo. and 6 in Picher, Okla. On May 11 the first elections in Serbia since the Feb. declaration of independence of Kosovo are a V for the pro-Western Dem. Party of pres. Boris Tadic over the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party. On May 12 the 7.9 Chengdu Earthquake strikes W China along the Longmenshan Fault separating the Sichuan Basis from the Tibetan Plateau, killing 70K (incl. 19K students) and leaving 4M homeless; reports of faulty construction of schools, which left thousands of children dead cause angry parents to protest in Dujiangyan on June 3, causing a police crackdown; 9-y.-o. Mao Mao, a prime breeding female panda is killed in the Wolong sanctuary in Sichuan province; the Chinese govt. exempts their 1979 policy to allow another child to qualifying parents. On May 13 Hillary Clinton wins the 2008 W. Va. Dem. Primary by 2-1 as white working class Dem. voters won't vote for a nig, er, Barack Obama to sit in the er, White House?; meanwhile on May 14 John Edwards endorses Obama. On May 13 the U.S. Senate votes 97-1 to halt oil shipments to the federal emergency reserve in order to help reduce gasoline prices; a similar measure passes the House by 385-25; the lone dissenter in the Senate is Colo. Een. Wayne Allard, who says that he prefers to expedite oil shale development; too bad, the action only increases the U.S. supply by 0.3% of the total demand of 21M barrels a day. On May 13 Saudi Arabia warns Iran that its support for the Shiite Hezbollah in the "Lebanon coup" (its war with the Sunni-led Lebanese govt.) will damage its relations with other Muslim and Arab countries; meanwhile Israel celebrates its 60th birthday, causing Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad to call it inappropriate and offensive as long as Israel rules over the Palestinians. On May 13 seven Muslim terrorist bombs in Jaipur, India kill 80 and wound nearly 200. On May 14 suicide bombers hit a funeral W of Baghdad plus an Iraq army post S of Baghdad, killing 21. On May 15 the Calif. Supreme Court by 4-3 overturns the ban on same-sex marriage, becoming the 2nd state after Mass. to allow full marriage rights for same-sex partners - Captain Peacock is on his knees? On May 15 John McCain predicts that the U.S. will be out of Iraq by 2013 and that Osama bin Laden won't be a threat, but declines to set a timetable. On May 15 Pres. Bush gives a speech to the Israeli Knesset, warning against appeasing terrorists, saying "Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along... We have an obligation to call this what it is, the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history", pissing-off Barack Obama, who calls it a "false political attack", and Hillary Clinton, who calls the remarks "offensive and outrageous, especially in light of his failures in foreign policy". On May 18 Pres. Bush lectures Arab leaders in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, telling them to expand their economies, offer equal opportunity to women and embrace democracy in order to bring peace to the Middle East - life is about more than sex, are you sure? On May 19 Barack Obama responds to criticism by John McCain that he has "reckless" judgment on foreign policy for wanting to talk with Iran, saying that the Iraq War has made Iran stronger; he then goes defensive on ABC News, warning the media to lay off his wife Michelle - or I'll make her wear her veil in public? On May 19 France acknowledges informal contacts with Hamas, which are denounced by the U.S., causing French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner (1939-) to describe them as "contacts, and nothing else, to inform us about the situation, first on the humanitarian front, and then especially the political one". On May 20 Hillary scores a big V (65-30) in the 2008 Ky. Dem. Primary, while Obama cruises 58-41 in the mail-only 2008 Ore. Dem. Primary, achieving a majority of pledged delgates. On May 20 (dawn) Iraqi troops enter Sadr City in E Baghdad, with Shiite militia fighters offering virtually no resistance. On May 20 Double-Decker Bus #188 crashes into a tree near Tower Bridge in C London, killing one and injuring 18. On May 21 Syria and Israel announce the start of peace talks after eight years of futzing around (since 1999). On May 21 David Roland Cook (1982-) beats younger judge favorite David James Archuleta (1990-) for Am. Idol Season 7 57%-43% after Simon Cowell issues a rare apology for all-but awarding the win to Archuleta on the prior show; Cook orginally came to the audition to support his younger brother Andrew, who didn't make it. On May 21 Mass. Dem. Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy (1932-) leaves Boston's Mass. Gen. Hospital after a stroke and a diagnosis of a malignant brain tumor shocks the nation; on May 20 W. Va. Sen. Robert Byrd hillaries, er, cries on the Senate floor over his "dear friend", saying "I love you"; on June 2 Ted K undergoes 3.5 hours of risky surgery at Duke U. Medical Center in Durham, N.C. - how soon till he turns conservative? On May 21 Pres. Bush announces that U.S. residents will finally be allowed to send cellphones to Cubans; the Cuban govt. began allowing its citizens to buy them on Mar. 29. On May 22 oil prices hit a record $135.09 a barrel, then begin a slow slide until June 24, when they go back up to $138, then hit $140 a barrel on June 26. On May 22-26 the 2008 Libertarian Party Convention in Denver, Colo. nominates Robert Laurence "Bob" Barr Jr. (1948-), former Ga. Repub. U.S. rep. (1995-2003), who gained fame as the leader of the movement to impeach Bill Clinton and started out as an ultra-conservative flag-waver until he began to balk at the Bush admin.'s encroachments on civil liberties and joined the LP in 2006 - just in time to steal votes from McCain? On May 23 Hillary Clinton steps on it when she brings up the assassination of Bobby Kennedy on June 6, 1968 to illustrate why it's okay to stay in the race this long, causing the PC police to come out and accuse her of inferring that Obama might be assassinated too and she's waiting like a vulture; Obama himself nixes them, but the controversy rages for days, illustrating the triviality of the campaign all along? On May 23 the city of Vallejo, Calif. files for bankruptcy - to be followed by every city in the U.S.? On May 23 after chef Rachel Ray appears in a Web ad for Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee wearing a thin nylon neck scarf, conservative Am. blogger Michelle Malkin (1970-) compares it to the Palestinian keffiyeh, causing conservatives to begin a boycott Dunkin' Donuts, which pulls the ad and explains the scarf as having no symbolism, causing a backlash against the conservatives by liberal bloggers. On May 25 Scott Ronald Dixon (1980-) wins the 92nd Indy 500. On May 25 U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll issues a soundbyte at a news conference that the militants in Iraq "are off-balance and on the run", although al-Qaida remains a "very lethal threat"; meanwhile the 300 attacks by militants in the previous week are the fewest since 2004, compared to 1.6K nearly a year ago. On May 25 former army chief of staff (Marionite Christian) gen. Michel Suleiman (1948-) becomes pres. of Lebanon (until ?). On May 25 Zimbabwe pres. Robert Mugabe threatens U.S. ambassador (since Nov. 6, 2007) (black) James David McGee (1949-) with expulsion for advising his opponent in the June 27 runoff to return to the hellhole country; on June 5 a mob of Mugabe loyalists attack vehicles carrying U.S. and British diplomats as they are investigating the political violence, causing U.S. state secy. Condy Rice to complain about "outrageous behavior". On May 26-27 The Andromeda Strain, based on the 1969 Michael Crichton novel debuts on A&E Network, starring Benjamin Bratt as Dr. Jeremy Stone, Christa Miller as Dr. Angela Noyce, Daniel Dae Kim as Dr. Tsi Chou, and Eric McCormack as Jack Nash. On May 27 a Memorial to the Gay Victims of Nazism is unveiled in Tiegarten Park in Berlin, Germany, complete with a kissing gay couple. On May 28 diplomats from over 100 nations agree to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, banning cluster bombs and requiring the destruction of stockpiles within eight years. On May 28 a new constituent assembly turns Nepal into a repub. and gives king Gyanendra 15 days to leave the palace. On May 28 the North Am. Aerospace Defense Command moves from its longtime home inside Cheyenne Mt. to nearby Peterson AFB in Colo. Springs to save $200M a year; too bad, the Pentagon finds flaws in the security, incl. potential hazards from a nearby airport. On May 29 Tropical Storm Alma hits NW Nicaragua, becoming the first tropical storm of 2008. And in the continuing story of Allah the God of Love and his prophet Badass M? On May 29 a suicide bomber wearing a military uniform detonates in Sinjar, Iraq in NW Iraq among a group of police recruits, killing 16, causing the Iraqi interior minister to remove the police chief. On May 29 leftist activist "Thelma and Louise" actress Susan Sarandon announces that if John McCain is elected pres., she will move to Canada or Italy. On May 30 Russian pres. Vladimir Putin visits France and meets with former pres. Jacques Chirac, who praised his 10 years in the Kremlin as "great years for Russia", saying that there can be no "balance in the world without a strong Russia". On May 30 Jeff Peckman meets with the Denver, Colo. city council and proposes an 18-member Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission to greet them. On May 30 78-y.-o. Angel Arce Torres is captured on a streetlight surveillance camera in Hartford, Conn. being hit by a car that just speeds away leaving him sprawled in the street, after which several cars zoom by ignoring him, while bystanders gawk and do nothing; he ends up in critical condition in Hartford Hospital - three strikes against him: old, Hispanic, poor? On May 31 Barack Obama resigns from the pesky Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Ill. after visiting white Roman Catholic priest Michael Louis Pfleger (1949-) mocks Hillary Clinton as crying over "a black man stealing my show"; Pfleger later apologizes, saying "These words are inconsistent with Senator Obama's life and message." In May U.S. state secy. Condoleezza Rice visits Jerusalem and has dinner with Israeli PM Ehud Olmert, who shocks her by how far he was willing to go for peace, incl. offering to give away nearly the entire West Bank, divide Jerusalem, and allow 5K Palestinian refugees to settle in Israel; too bad, Mahmoud Abbas rejects the offer because he wants all 4M Palestinian refugees to "go home"; on Sept. 18 Olmert offers Abbas a similiar plan incl. a 2-state solution, which Abbas also turns down, killing negotiations. In May the Israeli air force begins a 2-week air war exercise over the E Mediterranean incl. Greece, during which Israeli deputy PM Shaul Mofaz issues the soundbyte that if Iran continues "its program for developing nuclear weapons", Israel "would attack". In May the 2008 U.S. tornado season becomes the worst since 1998. In May the starched-pressed U.S. Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) is phased out in favor of a wrinkle-free cotton-nylon version which features a Mandarin collar, Velcro-attached insignia, and rough-side-out leather boots that don't require polishing; the U.S. Marines changed over to the Marine Corps Combat Utility Unform, with a computer-generated MARPAT (Marine Pattern) on Oct. 1, 2004, the U.S. Coast Guard switched to the Operational Dress Uniform (ODU) in 2004, and in 2007 the U.S. Air Force switched to the Airman Battle Uniform (ABU); meanwhile the New Iraqi Army gets to use surplus U.S. chocolate chip camoflauge uniforms, originally designed in 1962. On June 1 an article in Vanity Fair alleges that former pres. Bill Clinton has been engaging in hanky-panky with women incl. actress Gina Gershon, pissing him off and causing him to deny it. On June 2 a car bomb in Islamabad, Pakistan kills six and wounds dozens near the Danish Embassy to 'get' Danish newspapers for reprinting the Muhammad carbombtoons. On June 3 the Prague Declaration is signed by C Euro leaders, former Soviet dissidents et al., calling on Europe to have "an honest and thorough debate on all the totalitarian crimes of the past century". On June 3 Barack Obama makes history by becoming the first African-Am. U.S. pres. delegate for a major political party, reaching the 2,118 delegates needed despite Hillary Clinton winning the 2008 South Dakota Dem. Primary by 55%-45% and not conceding until June 7, when she finally gives up trying to figure out how to strongarm him into a vice-pres. nomination and throws her support behind the Man, saying that electing him will achieve her goals of universal health care, a strong economy, and the end of the Iraq War, while calling her 18M primary twats, er, votes "18 million cracks in the glass ceiling" (I'd like to view that ceiling?); Obama also wins the 2008 Mont. Dem. Primary by 56%-41%; virtually all of Africa (not just his daddy's home country of Kenya) goes er, ape-shit with happiness at the big news?; before giving a speech in St. Paul, Minn. to celebrate his V, Obama exchanges a fist bump with wife Michelle, which Fox news anchor E.D. Hill calls a "terrorist fist jab", causing her show to be canned; meanwhile John McCain gives a speech in Kenner, La., claiming that he has stronger credentials to be an independent agent of change than Obama, and a Pew Research Center Poll indicates that only 49% of independents have a favorable impression of Obama now, vs. 62% in Feb.; Obama meets with Hillary on June 5 at the home of Calif. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and informs her that he's not going to ask her to be his running mate, and on June 6 she holds a meeting at her Whitehaven St. home in Washington, D.C. to plan her concession speech; about this time Barack Obama secretly informs Iran that he will be much easier to bargain with than Pres. Bush? On June 3-5 the 2008 U.N. Summit on World Hunger in Rome attended by 180 countries sees world leaders pledge to reduce trade barriers and boost agricultural productivity to fight soaring food prices, while vowing to cut world hunger in half by 2015; U.N. officials claims that $30B a year is needed to resolve the crisis; meanwhile the U.S. Congress sends a $290B farm bill to Pres. Bush for a 2nd time after fixing a printing error that left out delivery of U.S. food aid abroad. On June 4 a truck packed with rockets blows up in a Shiite area of Baghdad, Iraq, killing 18 and wounding 75. On June 5 Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (1964-), mastermind of the 9/11 attacks tells the Pentagon's war crimes court that he wants to be put to death to become a martyr - and go to his glass ceiling and get his promised cracks? On June 5 the Turkish Constitutional (Supreme) Court votes 9-2 to declare a Feb. 9 law ending the 80-y.-o. ban on women wearing head scarves at univs. unconstitutional, pissing-off the party of new PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan - the glass ceiling party? On June 5 a top Turkish gen. admits that Iran has been carrying out coordinated strikes with his troops on Kurdish rebels in N Iraq, becoming the first admission of such cooperation. On June 6 the unemployment rate for May is announced as 5.5%, the biggest monthly rise since 1986 (49K jobs cut). On June 6 former Israeli defense minister Shaul Mofaz warns that Israel will attack Iran if it continues to develop nukes, calling it "unavoidable"; meanwhile Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan says that Iran has a "right to peaceful nuclear energy", and says that if the West and Israel don't want Iran to have nuclear weapons they should give theirs up first, while claiming to be against all nukes. On June 7 new Russian pres. Dmitri Medvedev gives a speech in St. Petersburg accusing the U.S. of "economic egotism" that has fueled global troubles, while portraying Russia's growing economic might as a force for worldwide stabilization - I spell Arian with an i instead of a y? On June 8 a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan kills three British soldiers as U.S. First Lady Laura Bush makes a surprise visit to Afghanistan - if you get caught between the Moon and New York City, I know it's crazy, but it's true? On June 10 two bombs rock a train station in Beni Amrane, Algeria, killing 13. On June 10 heavy street fighting in Mogadishu, Somalia kills 20 and injures 80 after Somalian troops begin searching homes for weapons, causing insurgents to flood the streets. On June 10 a Sudanese Airbus (A310) veers off the runway in a thunderstorm in Khartoum, Sudan, killing 100 of 214. On June 10 after leaving Internet posts saying "I am hopeless... What I want to do: commit murder. My dream: to monopolize the tabloid TV shows", factory worker Tomohiro Kato (1963-) goes on a bloody rampage in Tokyo, slamming his rented truck into a crowd and then jumping out and stabbing them, killing three with his truck, four with his knife, and injuring 10; more knives are discovered in his apt. On June 10 protests over high fuel prices erupt in Asia, incl. truckers in Hong Kong and tire-burning demonstrators in India and Nepal; meanwhile a meater protest of 80K in Seoul, South Korea against pres. Lee Myung-bak is staged over his Apr. agreement with Pres. Bush to resume U.S. beef imports, which were banned in 2003 after a case of mad cow disease was discovered. On June 10 Barack Obama delivers a Speech on the Economy in St. Louis, Mo., with the soundbyte that the G.W. Bush admin. is "the most fiscally irresponsible administration in history", citing its record $413B deficit in 2004; too bad, after becoming pres., Obama's annual deficit is never lower than $650B for his entire admin.? On June 11 U.S.-led forces drops more than a dozen bombs in Pakistani tribal regions near the Afghan border, killing 11 Pakistani paramilitary troops. On June 12 a tornado hits a Boy Scout camp in Omaha, Neb., killing four teenage Scouts - be prepared? On June 12 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in Boumediene v. Bush that Guantanamo Bay detainees can challenge their imprisonment in federal court, striking down the 2006 U.S. Miliary Commissions Act, an alternative review system set up by Congress that was drafted by John McCain, making him look dumb along with Pres. Bush, whose admin. is dealt a setback. On June 12 police find a 47-y.-o. woman in a filthy room in Naples, Italy, where she had been kept locked up for 17 years after having a son out of wedlock; her brother, sister, and 80-y.-o. mother are put under er, house arrest. On June 13 (Fri.) 30 Taliban militants stage a rocket attack on prison in Sarposa Prison in Kandahar, S Afghanistan, freeing 1.5K prisoners incl. 400 Taliban members. On June 13 a 7.2 earthquake strikes N Japan, killing six; thanks to predictive technology, residents of Honshu were given a 2-min. warning; a 6.7 earthquake hit E Japan on May 7. On June 13 the Big Iowa Flood of 2008 is their worst on record (until ?), supposedly of a magnitude that only happens once in 500 years; on June 17 the flood crest moves down the Mississippi River, while a levee breaks in Gulfport, Ill.; on June 28 another levee breaks in Winfield, Mo. On June 15 Afghan Pres. Hamid Karzai threatens to send troops into Pakistan if Taliban fighters there continue crossing his border. On June 16 Ariz. Repub. Sen. John McCain flops and calls for an end to the federal ban on offshore oil drilling; meanwhile a Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that almost 80% of Americans believe that high gasoline prices (now over the $4 a gal. mark) are causing them financial hardship. On June 16 Pres. Bush visits London, receiving pledges of new financial sanctions against Iran and a commitment for a car bomb's worth, er, 230 new British troops for Afghanistan; meanwhile Taliban fighters take over seven villages on the outskirts of Kandahar, causing residents to flee. On June 17 (Sun.) a car bomb in a busy commercial street in a Shiite area of Baghdad, Iraq kills 51 and wounds 35, becoming the worst blast in the city in over 3 mo.; the U.S. military accuses Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, saying he is trying to rekindle the Shiite-Sunni violence. On June 17 a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan kills 35. On June 18 hijab-wearing Muslim women Hebba Aref and Shimaa Abdelfadeel are refused seats directly behind Barack Obama in Detroit, Mich. by volunteers, pissing them off and causing them to go to the press; Obama spokesman Bill Burton later apologizes. On June 18 hundreds of Afghan and Canadian troops launch a major new offensive against the Taliban in S Afghanistan in Kandahar and other areas. On June 18 the EU passes new guidelines on ilegal immigrants, allowing them to be held in detention centers for up to 18 mo. before being expelled, while being provided with basic rights incl. free legal advice; 500K illegal immigrants pour into the EU every year; 24K N African immigrants were caught trying to sneak into Spain in 2006, and 10K in 2007, and 1K died at sea trying to reach it in 2007. On June 18 white Larry Sinclair holds a press conference, claiming he had a homosexual relationship with Obama in Chicago, and they both smoked crack cock, er, cocaine, and that Obama quit going to gay bars and bathhouses when he began running for the Senate in 2004; the PC press 69s the story. On June 21 the Philippine Ferry Princess of the Stars ferry capsizes from high seas in the wake of Typhoon Fengshen, killing 700+ of 740. On June 21 (Sat.) Pres. Bush gives a Sat. evening radio address, urging Congress to lift its ban on offshore oil-gas drilling, and accusing Dems. of blocking it. On June 23 the PC police blow the whistle again on Don Imus (1940-) after he asks what race oft-arrested Dallas cornerback Adam Bernard "Pacman" Jones (1983-) is, then adds "There you go - now we know"; after the whistle blows, he backtracks, saying "What people should be outraged about is that they arrest blacks for no reason." On June 23 the 2008 Pew Religious Landscape Survey finds that 92% of Americans believe in God, but 70% said that "many religions can lead to eternal life", and 68% said that "there's more than one true way to interpret the teachings of religion"; 55% believe in guardian angels, and 52% in prophetic dreams; only Jehovah's Witnesses (80%) and Mormons (57%) have majorities who believe their religion is the "one true faith leading to eternal life" (else why keep knocking on all them doors?); the percentage who think that many religions can lead to eternal salvation: Evangelical Protestants: 57%, Muslims: 56%, Hindus: 89%, Mainline Protestants 83%, Catholics: 79%, Jews: 82%; meanwhile on June 23 Colo. Springs, Colo. evangelical Focus on the Family leader James Dobson (1936-) accuses Barack Obama of distorting the Bible and trying to govern by the "lowest common denominator of morality", so he can kiss off most of the evangelical vote now. On June 23 John McCain proposes a $300M reward for anyone improving the electric car battery, and $5K tax credits for purchasers of zero-emission vehicles. On June 24 a bomb explodes inside the district council bldg. in Sadr City, Iraq, killing 10, incl. four Amricans; Iraqi officials call it an inside job and finger the Shiite guard force. On June 25 a freak dry lightning storm in N Calif. unleashes 8K lightning strikes and sets 800+ wildfires, threatening tourist mecca Big Sur by July 3. On June 25 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in Kennedy v. La. that the 8th Amendment's Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause prohibits a death penalty in all cases except those involving murder or crimes against the state such as treason, and does not permit a state to execute child rapists; on Oct. 1 the court refuses to reconsider after it is informed that it overlooked a recent federal law authorizing capital punishment for members of the military. On June 26 Pres. Bush moves to drop North Korea from a list of countries sponsoring terrorism and lift some trade sanctions after it turned over a report with details of plutonium production, signalling the start of an "action for action" process to dismantle its nuke program - start here, my 24/7 modem? On June 27 after policeman Dick Heller challenges the District of Columbia's de facto handgun ban (a 1976 law requiring handguns to be registered, while never issuing any registrations) the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 5-4 in District of Columbia v. Heller that Washington, D.C. may not ban personal gun ownership, and that there is an individual right to bear arms independent of militias for self-defense, throwing the zillions of state and local gun laws up for grabs, and giving anti-Second Amendment forces their Roe v. Wade later when Scalia suddenly dies; "Undoubtedly, some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of the nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct" (Antonin Scalia); "Today's ruling recognizes that gun ownership, like the freedom of speech or the right to freely assemble, is a fundamental right" (U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard); "Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner and for whatever purpose" (Scalia); the ruling only applies to weapons "in common use" incl. handguns, and not to dangerous or unusual weapons; the ruling only applies to D.C. until "McDonald v. City of Chicago" (2010); on June 27 the NRA sues San Francisco, Calif. to overturn its ban on guns in public housing. On June 29 Secrets of a Restaurant Chef debuts on Food Network (until ?), starring Cazenovia, N.Y.-born chef Anne Burrell (1969-); on Jan. 3, 2010 Worst Cooks in America debuts on Food Network (until ?), hosted by Burrell; in 2012 she is outed by Ted Allen, and on Dec. 31 she announces her engagement to fellow chef Koren Grieveson. On June 29 Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham meet with John McCain, after which Franklin issues a statement praising his "personal faith and moral clarity on important social issues facing America today", although neither endorse any candidate. On June 29 an exploding twa, er, female suicide bomber goes off before she can reach her destination, a Sunni council 60 mi. NE of Baghdad, Iraq, becoming the 20th-something female suicide attack this year (vs. 8 in 2007). On June 29 Pakistan's new govt. claims a V against Islamic warlords threatening to overrun Peshawar in the Khyber tribal area in NW Pakistan. On June 29 the Chinese govt. prevents human-rights lawyers invited to a dinner in Beijing hosted by two U.S. congressmen from attending, pissing the U.S. govt. off. On June 30 Pres. Bush signs a bill providing $162B for the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars; meanwhile the U.S. military absorbs $400M a mo. increase in fuel costs, and Iraq opens internat. bidding for eight huge oil and gas fields which they hope will double production by 2013 to 5M barrels. In June the U.S. death military toll in Afghanistan is 28, highest since they arrived in late 2001; meanwhile the Group of Eight foreign ministers meets in Japan to address the issue of opium in Aghanistan, which is financing the Taliban, and agree to create a coordinating body to oversee $4B in aid to the tribal areas to improve police and military training, and implement anti-drug trafficking programs on the Turkish model, which allows farmers to sell their opium to pharmaceutical companies to make legal medicines. In June the poor economy makes finding summer jobs in the U.S. piss-poor hard. In June the number of personal computers in use worldwide hits 1B (822M at the beginning of 2005). In June negotiations begin on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) to establish internat. standards on intellectual property rights enforcement; in Oct. 2010 the Senate of Mexico votes unanimously to bow out of it. On July 1 the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Denver, Colo. announces a $5.5M settlement in 18 cases of sexual abuse by three priests on young parishioners between 1954-8, incl. defrocked priest Harold Robert White (1933-2006), accused of 30 cases between 1960-81 as the church covered it up and shifted him from parish to parish - for fresh white meat? On July 1 three Iraqi Shiite officials claim that Lebanese Hezbollah instructors trained Shiite militiamen in camps in S Iraq until 3 mo. ago; on July 2 British PM Gordon Brown proposes making it a crime to join or support Hezbollah. On July 2 berserk Muslim worker Hussam Dwayat (b. 1978) (who had a Jewish girlfriend?) kills three and injures 20 in a bulldozer in Jerusalem before being killed by police, causing Israeli PM Ehud Olmert to call for reviving the practice of demolishing the homes of attackers' families (ended 2005), and others to call for rescinding benefits given to the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem; vice-PM Haim Ramon calls for cutting off the attacker's home village in E Jerusalem by rerouting the West Bank wall. On July 2 five people are killed in rioting in Ulan Bator, Mongolia after allegations of fraud in parliamentary elections by the ruling party (the former Commies who ran it as a Soviet satellite), causing pres. Nambaryn Enkhbayar to declare a 4-day state of emergency. On July 2 Barack Obama gives a Speech in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he raises eyebrows by calling for a civilian national security force, adding that "People of all ages, stations, and skills will be asked to serve", and that it "will be a central cause of my presidency"; he is only talking about AmeriCorps, and the right-wingers jumped the gun with baseless allegations?; let's say they are right; not sworn to uphold the Constitution, they could become a bunch of Nazi Brownshirts or Stormtroopers, and include non-citizens?; it's especially kinky since Colo. Springs is the headquarters of a number of mainly white Christian evangelical conservative organizations. On July 3 the New York Times reports that people-hating Leona Helmsley (1920-2007) left $5B-$8B for the care of the nation's (the world's?) dogs in her will. On July 5 the new Madame Tussaud Berlin Branch opens, and the 2nd customer, a 41-y.-o. man angrily rips off the head of the wax figure of Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), who is portrayed sitting at a desk in his Berlin bunker; it is replaced on Sept. 13. On July 6 Afghan officials claim that fighter aircraft battling militants accidentally kill 27 Afghan civilians walking to a wedding ceremony in E Afghanistan, which the U.S. military denies. On July 6 insurgent attacks in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq kill 16 and injure 15 one day after PM Nouri al-Maliki declares that terrorism has been defeated; meanwhile the UAE cancels $4B in debt owed by Iraq and restores full diplomatic relations. On July 6 after oil prices hit a record of almost $146 a barrel, OPEC chief Chakib Khelil (1939-) says that the high prices are due to a weak U.S. dollar caused by the U.S. decision to lower interests rates to bolster the economy. On July 7-9 the 34th G-8 Summit in Tokyo, Japan is attended by lame duck pres. George W. Bush, and focuses on global warming amid mucho protesters; on July 8 it agrees to a target of halving CO2 emissions by 2050, but sets no actual goals. On July 8 Bush admin. officials announce that they are negotiating with EU govts. to exchange fingerprint, DNA, and racial-ethnic origin data. On July 8 Congressional investigators announce that Medicare has paid up to $92M to phony medical suppliers using IDs of dead doctors. On July 9 the U.S. Congress passes a compromise surveillance bill that shields telecom communities from lawsuits for helping the govt. wiretap phone and computer lines after 9/11 without court permission. On July 9-10 Iran test-fires nine missiles, incl. one capable of hitting Israel to demonstrate to the U.S. not to mess with them. On July 9 Rev. Jesse Jackson apologizes for an off-camera remark about Barack Obama that he is talking down to blacks, and that he "wants to cut his nuts off". On July 9 al-Qaida-inspired gunmen storm the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, killing three police and three assailants. On July 9 200 gunmen in SUVs and on horseback attack internat. peacekeepers in Darfur, killing seven. On July 9 Boulder, Colo. DA Mary Lacy officially clears John and Patsy Ramsey in the 1996 murder of daughter JonBenet based on DNA evidence, and issues an official apology, even though Patsy has been dead for two years and their lives have been wrecked by the "umbrella of suspicion" for 12 years - Colo. authorities are never under an umbrella of suspicion? On July 13 the Battle of Wanat sees 100-150 Taliban guerrillas attack a coalition outpost in Dar-l-Pech district in the E Afghanistan Kunar Province, killing nine U.S. soldiers, most since June 2005, when 16 were killed. On July 13 French pres. Nicolas Sarkozy launches the Union for the Mediterranean, consisting of 16 Euro nations plus 16 non-EU Mediterranean states; too bad, it gets nowhere? On July 13 New Yorker mag. reveals the cover of its July 21, 2008 issue, portraying Barack Obama and his wife as Muslim terrorists burning a U.S. flag, pissing him off even though they claim it was meant to satirize the false image the right has been giving him; Obama responds that it insults Muslim Americans? - duh, like him? On July 14 the U.S. govt. decides to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac after IndyMac Bank in Calif. collapses. On July 16 a satire video of McCain and Obama by JibJab.com makes nat. news in the U.S. On July 16 Allen Andrade (1977-) beats transgender genetic male Angie Zapata (1988-2008) to death with a fire extinguisher in Greeley, Colo. after sleeping with him and getting a beejay, then finding out the little secret, telling police he "killed it", after which the gay-lesbian movement makes a cause celebre of Andrade for U.S. federal hate crimes legislation; on Apr. 22, 2009 he is found guilty of murder despite a "trans panic" defense, and given life plus 60 years as an habitual offender on May 8. On July 18 MIT-educated female neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui (1972-) allegedly attempts to murder U.S. citizens while being questioned at a police HQ in Afghanistan; after shouting down witnesses, she is ejected from her federal trial; on Sept. 23, 2010 despite a worldwide protest she is sentenced to 86 years by a federal judge in New York City. On July 20 Hurricane Dolly forms, killing 17 on July 21 in Guatemala, then hitting South Padre Island, Tex. on July 23 and doing $1.5B damage. On July 20 Colo. Spam King Eddie Davidson (b. 1973) walks away from a federal prison camp near Florence, Colo., and on July 24 shoots his wife and child and wounds a teenage girl before killing himself near his home in Bennett, Colo. On July 20 the Indian govt. survives a vote of confidence, clearing the way for a deal with the U.S. giving India access to nuclear fuel and tech. On July 20 U.S. pres. Barack Obama shows everybody that he's not a girlie man by sinking a 3-pointer on the basketball court with troops in Kuwait. On July 24 Dem. pres. candidate Barack Obama gives his A World That Stands As One Speech in Berlin in the same location as JFK (June 26, 1963) ("Ich bin ein Berliner"), Reagan (June 12, 1987) ("Mr. Gorbchev, tear down this wall") and Clinton (July 12, 1994) ("Berlin ist frei") before thousands of adoring admirers; too bad, he acts as if he were already pres. On July 25 seven bombs kill two in Bangalore, India; on July 26 (eve.) 16 bombs go off in crowded neighborhoods in Ahmadabad, India, killing 45 and wounding 161; on July 27 an email from the Indian Mujahideen claims credit, with the soundbyte "Do whatever you can, within 5 minutes from now, feel the terror of Death!" On July 27 the U.S. military admits that its soldiers killed three innocent civilians last mo. after opening fire on a car on the high security Baghdad airport road in Iraq. On July 28 unemployed truck driver Jim D. Adkisson (1950-) opens fire on the Tenn. Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tenn., known for liberal and pro-gay views, killing two; he is charged with 1st degree murder; a 4-page letter found in his SUV says he hates the liberal movement and gays. On July 28 suicide bombers, incl. at least three women hit Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad and Kurdish protesters in Kirkuk, Iraq, killing 57. On July 28 Pres. Bush approves the execution of U.S. Army pvt. Ronald Adrin Gray for four murders and eight rapes in Fayetteville, N.C. over 8 mos. in the late 1980s while stationed at Ft. Bragg, making him the 11th to be executed by pres. approval since the 1951 Universal Code of Military Justice was enacted; the last was Pvt. John Bennett in 1961. On July 29 the U.S. Congress issues a milestone apology for the wrongs committed against blacks in the past incl. slavery and Jim Crow segregation laws - only 232 years late? Oh yes, there might be one of them black guys in the er, White House soon? On July 29 U.S. govt. microbiologist Bruce Edward Ivins (b. 1946) commits suicide via Tylenol-codeine OD as the FBI closes in on him for the 2001 anthrax attacks; he is the wrong man? On July 30 Israeli PM (since 2006) Ehud Olmert, under pressure from corruption charges announces that he will not compete in his party's leadership primary in Sept. On July 31 Repub. Sens. Tom Coburn of Okla. and Jon Kyl of Ariz. send a letter to U.S. state secy. Condoleezza Rice asking her to stop funding Muslim Brotherhood entities incl. the Islamic Society of North Am. (ISNA) and the Assoc. of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS). In July the U.S. paratroopers of Chosen Company are attacked by the Taliban in E Afghanistan, losing nine after almost being overrun by 200 insurgents, later causing new loose-mouthed U.S. Afghanistan CIC (June 15, 2009 to June 23, 2010) Gen. Stanley Allen McChrystal (1954-) to change his strategy. In July a high-society man calling himself Clark Rockefeller kidnaps his 7-y.-o. daughter Reigh in Boston, Mass., causing a police manhunt; he is arrested on Aug. 3, and the search for his real identity begins. In July gay ex-con Bradley LaShawn Fowler (1969-) files a $70M lawsuit against Bible publishers Zondervan and Thomas Nelson, alleging that their versions refer to homosexuality as a sin and therefore injure him personally to the tune of you know how much by violating his constitutional rights and causing him emotional distress - as he sucks what and takes what up his what, then wipes his chin on what, but it's no sin, it's what the Founding Fathers died for? In late July the govt. of Zimbabwe cuts 10 zeroes from its currency, allowing a mere 20 dollar coins to buy a loaf of bread on the black market. On Aug. 1 there is a total solar eclipse, causing a double sunset over Zheng, China. On Aug. 2 a battle between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza kills nine. On Aug. 3 a stampede at a Hindu temple in Himachal Pradesh in N India triggered by rumors of a landslide kills 145 pilgrims, incl. 30 children. On Aug. 3 nine K-2 climbers are killed after an avalanche cuts their ropes. On Aug. 4 Barack Obama flip-flops, saying he would support tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserves to cut gasoline prices, then on Aug. 5 pledges energy independence from imported oil for the U.S. in 10 years. On Aug. 5 the U.S. Govt. Accountability Office reports that Iraq could have a $79B budget surplus this year. On Aug. 6 a coup in Nouakchott, Mauritania ousts pres. (since Mar. 2007) Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi. On Aug. 7 U.S. district judge (since 1994) James Robertson (1938-) rules that Am. Indians are entitled to $455M for being cheated out of oil, gas, timber, gas, grazing, and other royalties by the U.S. Interior Dept. since 1887, only 1% of the $47B they had sued for; Blackfeet Indian Elouise Cobell filed the original lawsuit. On Aug. 8 former U.S. Sen. (D-N.C.) John Edwards finally admits having an affair in 2006 with filmmaker Rielle Hunter (1964-), but denies being the father of her baby Frances Quinn Hunter; he can kiss his vice-pres. hopes goodbye; after the dust settles, he finally admits to being the father on Jan. 20, 2010, and on Jan. 27, 2010 it is announced that he and his wife Elizabeth have legally separated. China says Hi, world, we're here, whatcha going to do about it? On Aug. 8, 2008 (8/8/8) at 8 p.m. (the number 8 being lucky to the Chinese) the XXIX (29th) Summer Olympic Games (slogan: "One World One Dream") open in Beijing, China after 400K Beijing residents are forcibly evicted from their homes (end Aug. 24); 11,028 athletes from 204 nations compete in 302 events in 28 sports in the new Feng Shui-approved Bird's Nest stadium and Water Cube swimming pavilion; the mascots are the Eight, er, Five Friendlies, representing China's four most popular animals (fish, panda, Tibetan antelope, swallow); the number 8 (ba) is lucky because it rhymes with fa (wealth); the number 4 (si) is unlucky since it means death in Chinese; the Chinese crowds like to yell "Jiayou!" (pr. jya-yo), meaning "add oil!", "lubricate!"; BMX (Bicycle Motocross) racing makes its debut; the U.S. wins 110 medals (36 golds), China 100 (51 golds), Russia 72 (23 golds), Britain 47 (19 golds); on Aug. 10 32-y.-o. Jason Edward Lezak (1975-) swims a record 46.06 sec. last leg of the 400m freestyle relay, running down French world record holder Alain Bernard (1983-) and breaking his world record of 47.50 by 1.5 sec. and giving the U.S. a gold with a final time of 3:08:24, shattering the world record of 3:12:23, and saving Michael Phelps' gold medal run, causing him to let out a loud victory yell which becomes the games' #1 soundbyte, being touted as the greatest relay of all time; meanwhile on Aug. 10 the Chinese basketball team led by Yao Ming loses by 101-70 to Team USA in the most watched basketball game in history, the crowd cheering wildly as he opens up the game with a 3-point shot; on Aug. 13 6'4" Jim, er, Michael Fred Phelps II (1985-), "the Baltimore Bullet" of the U.S. wins his 5th gold in swimming, giving him a record 11, followed by #6 on Aug. 15, #7 on Aug. 16, tying Mark Spitz's 1972 Munich record, and #8 on Aug. 17, setting the all-time Olympic record for most golds; on Aug. 16 Phelps defeats Am.-born swimmer Milorad Cavic (1984-) of Serbia by only 0.01 sec. in the final, giving Serbia its first Olympic swimming medal, with Cavic claiming he touched first but not with enough force to register; the Space Age Speedo LZR Racer (pr. like laser) swimsuit is used by 94% of the swimmers, bringing all their achievements, esp. Phelps' in question; on Aug. 15 Nastia Liukin (1989-) of the U.S. wins the all-round women's gold medal in gymnastics, with Shawn Johnson (1992-) of the U.S. winning the silver medal; on Aug. 17 Natalie Anne Coughlin (1982-) becomes the first U.S. female athlete to win six medals in one Olympics, and the first to win gold in 100m backstroke in two consecutive Olympics; 41-y.-o. Dara Grace Torres (1967-) becomes the first U.S swimmer to compete in five Olympics (1984-2008), and wins three silver medals; on Aug. 19 flyweight Henry Cejudo (1978-) of the U.S. (son of pesky fly-like illegal immigrants from Mexico) becomes the youngest Olympic freestyle gold winner; on Aug. 16 6'5" Usain "Lightning" Bolt (1986-) of Jamaica wins the 100M with a world record time of 9.69 sec., then on Aug. 20 wins the 200M with a world record time of 19.30 sec., shattering the supposedly unbreakable 19.32 sec. 1996 record of Michael Johnson, and becoming the first man to win both races since Carl Lewis in 1984, and the first to set world records in both in the same Olympics; on Aug. 24 (Sun.) the U.S. men's volleyball team wins gold after defeating defending champion Brazil, ending the Olympics on an upbeat, since the father-in-law of Kiwi-born coach Hugh McCutcheon (1969-) was fatally stabbed the day before competition started, and his mother injured, causing him to miss the team's first three games; the U.S. men's basketball Redeem Team (a play on the 1992 Dream Team) features Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, and LeBron James, plus coach Mike Krzyzewski, and wins gold after defeating Spain 118-109. Russia sees its chance and begins a push to reabsorb its former satellites, starting with Oily Juicy Jawjaw? On Aug. 9 as the Chinese Olympics begin, the tiny country of Georgia (known for its long-past glory with Queen Tamara, and cultural connections with Muslim Persia) declares war on Russia over the breakway nation of South Ossetia; on Sept. 15 after Russia steps up attacks, U.S. Pres. Bush accuses them of being "21st century barbarians", while U.S.-Russian relations slide back in the direction of Cold War days; on Aug. 26 Russia recognizes the breakaway repubs. of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, pissing-off the U.S. more in a strange reversal of rhetoric, since the U.S. has always been on the side of self-determination of peoples until now?; meanwhile virtually all of the 14K ethnic Georgians flee South Ossetia; on Sept. 2 Russian pres. Putin says that Russia will respond to an increase in NATO ships in the Black Sea, and says he doesn't fear expulsion from the G-8 - did anybody mention Domino Theory again? On Aug. 9 China is rocked by an Olympic murder as a knife-wielding Chinese man attacks two relatives of a coach for the U.S. men's vollyeball team in Beijing, killing one injuring the other, then throwing himself from the 2nd story of the 13th cent. Drum Tower and committing suicide. On Aug. 10 a mudslide in Boussoukoula in Burkina Faso kills 31 at an illegal gold mine, ordered closed by the govt. from June to Sept. 30. On Aug. 13 U.S. atty.-gen. Michael Mukasey announces that he is releasing new rules to turn the FBI into a nat. security agency with streamlined investigative guidelines to protect Barack, er, the new U.S. pres., who will be the first new one since 9/11. On Aug. 14 Poland announces a deal to base U.S. missiles on its territories, causing a Russian gen. to threaten nuclear retaliation, sending shudders through all the former Soviet satellites, esp. Ukraine. On Aug. 14 a UFH20 happens, and later covered by Farmer's Insurance :) On Aug. 14-16 suicide bombers in Iraq strike Shiite pilgrims headed for Karbala for three days in a row. On Aug. 15 mascot Sir Nils Olav (named after Norwegian Lt. Nils Egelien and Olav V of Norway), a king penguin living in Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland is visited by the Norwegian King's Guard and awarded a knighthood from Harald V; he started out way back in 1972 as a lance corporal and was promoted each time the guard returned to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. On Aug. 16 Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi of the Pakistan People's Party gives pres. Pervez Musharraf two days to quit or face impeachment; meanwhile protesters in Multan carry signs reading "Shame on Bush and Mush", and demand the release of Aafia Siddiqui, accused of attempted murder of U.S. agents in Afghanistan; on Aug 18 hours before the proceedings are slated to begin he resigns, and Sindhi Muhammad Mian Soomro (1950-) becomes acting pres. (until Sept. 9). On Aug. 16 27-y.-o. Ghazala Khamis (1981-) gives birth to septuplets (four boys, three girls) in Cairo, Egypt using fertility drugs. On Aug. 17 Ellen DeGeneres officially marries her 4-year live-in Australian lover Portia de Rossi (1973-) (Nelle Porter in "Ally McBeal") in their Beverly Hills home - what did they have to eat? On Aug. 17 Russian pres. Vladimir Putin promises to begin puttin', er, withdrawing troops from Georgia, but is wishy-washy about specifics; on Aug. 19 NATO says there will be "no business as usual" until it withdraws troops immediately, causing Russia on Aug. 20 to threaten to withdraw from NATO, proving it was all about reconstructing the Soviet Union? On Aug. 19 after six suicide bombing attacks against military and police targets since Jan., an al-Qaida AQIM suicide bomber drives his car into a line of applicants at a police academy in Less Issers, Algiera, killing 48 and injuring 45, becoming the deadliest attack in Algeria since the 1990s. On Aug. 20 (12:20 GMT) Spanair Flight JK 5022 (MD-82) crashes during takeoff in Madrid en route to Las Palmas, Canary Islands after one of the two engines catches fire, killing 153 of 172; why couldn't the pilot survive on one engine? On Aug. 21 twin suicide bombings at the gates of a military ordnance factory in Wah, Pakistan (in Punjab N of Islamabad) kill 70+ and wound 100+, becoming the deadliest terrorist attack on a Pakistani military site (until ?); the site is a nuclear warhead assembly plant? On Aug. 22 coalition forces turn into baby killers when they kill 76 civilians, incl. 50 women and 19 children in a military operation in the Shindand district of Herat Province in W Afghanistan, stinking themselves up. It's like black face in reverse? On Aug. 22 Marc Harold Ramsey (1969-), an Arapahoe County Jail inmate in Colo. is charged in federal court with trumped-up charges of mailing a threatening letter from jail to Sen. John McCain's Denver campaign office with the legend "If you are reading this then you are alread dead! Unless of course you can't or don't breathe"; it contained a harmless white powder, which freaked out the workers, who called in the law, who stunk themselves up by over-reacting, and now must cover up their police action by charging the letter writer with something and put him on trial for exercising his rights to freedom of speech instead of themselves for abuse of power when they know it was an impotent hoax, with the prize five years in a federal priz and a $250K fine so they can go on to great careers and their convicted victim will be prohibited from even voting; if it was a deadly powder, they should arrest the jail officials too for letting it through?; why doesn't everybody clone that letter, dash some talc on it and send it to some politician to choke the stinking system?; duh, on Oct. 29 smart-dumb True American Hero Marc M. Keyser (1942-) of Fresno, Calif. is arrested for sending 120+ envelopes containing a packet of sugar labelled "Anthrax Sample" to test if this is still the Land of the Free or the Home of the Craven, claiming he's doing it as a publicity stunt for a his new novel - just like karioke only a little different? On Aug. 23 (2:45 a.m. EDT) the selection of middle-of-the-road liberal Dem. Del. Sen. (since 1973) (Roman Catholic) Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden Jr. (1942-) (sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act, as a slap, er, sop to disgruntled Hillary supporters) is confirmed via text message, and after it leaks to the press Barack Obama's campaign Web site officially confirms it later in the day, followed by an official announcement, with Obama calling Biden a "friend of the underdog", pissing-off Hillary Clinton supporters, 30% of whom say they won't vote for him; too bad, the idea of him closing the glass ceiling on her for a white man is a giant blunder, especially as he needs every vote she can bring him to have a chance of winning, and just as bad, the sight of Obama and Biden standing side-by-side makes people wonder who's more qualified for pres., the one with peach fuzz on his half-black cheeks or the wise experienced white veteran, playing into the hands of John McCain? On Aug. 25 Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic And Internat. Studies in Washington, D.C. issues a report claiming that "the U.S. is now losing the war against the Taliban", and calling for the U.S. to treat Pakistani territory as a combat zone; meanwhile the U.S. military death toll in Afghanistan this year is 101. On Aug. 25-28 (Mon.-Fri.) after the Dem. Party pulls off a con game in certifying Obama's constitutional eligibility, the 2008 Dem. Nat. Convention in Denver, Colo. is kicked off with the first-ever interfaith prayer meeting on Aug. 24, which scarf-wearing Canadian-born Muslim convert (pres. of the Islamic Society of North Am. since 2006) Ingrid Mattson (1963-) is invited to, pissing many off; meanwhile the pitiful few protesters are outnumbered by the police; on Aug. 26 after United Farm Workers (UFW) leader Dolores Huerta (1930-) places her name into nomination, Hillary Clinton gives a speech, starting out with "I am... a proud supporter of Barack Obama. My friends, it is time to take back the country we love"; too bad, her endorsement of Obama comes off lame and forced, as the obvious fact that he slammed the glass ceiling in her face in order to pick a white man to back him up hurts and it shows; is it to her advantage that Obama lose the election, allowing McCain a chance to stink the country up for four years in order to set her up for the White House?; too bad, if McCain were smart he'd pick Condoleezza Rice as his running mate, to trump the Dems. and win the election by a landslide, since he's got more experience than Biden, and Rice has more experience than Obama, and is 100% not 50% black, and is a woman to boot, giving Hillary supporters someone to vote for, and since McCain is an old fart Rice would have a realistic chance of being pres.?; on Aug. 25 police arrest 106 protesters, a record for the convention; it is later revealed that some of them were undercover Denver cops; on Aug. 27 Barack Obama becomes the 3rd Dem. nominee to give an outdoor acceptance speech (JFK in 1960, FDR in 1936), addressing 75K in Denver's Mile-Hi Invesco Field (home of the Denver Broncos) on a dazzling hi-tech stage complete with fake Greek columns as if he's a god, with a TV audience of 40M+, filled with the same old walk-on-water platitudes he's been giving all along, strung end-to-end, with few if any specifics other than the empty "change" message repeated ad infinitum, mixed with soundbytes about blacks (him) finally cracking through the barrier, incl. "America, we cannot turn back", and "This moment, this election, is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive"; his big celeb backer Oprah Winfrey (1954-) later calls it one of the greatest speeches ever given, saying "Just seeing him on stage, I cried my eyelashes off"; too bad, the thud with which he slammed the glass ceiling on Hillary backfires, causing him to get no convention bounce. On Aug. 25-Sept. 2 Hurricane Gustav starts 260 mi. SE of Port-au-Prince (1958-), Haiti and reaches Category 3 before hitting the U.S. near Cocodrie, La. on Sept. 1 as a Category 2, dropping to Category 1 within 4 hours, and missing New Orleans, which had been evacuated by orders of mayor Ray Nagin, who called it "the mother of all storms", and later changes that to mother-in-law, causing the Repub. Nat. Convention to be delayed one day. Ms. Smith Goes to Washington, or the new White Wonder Woman? Sure winner Obama blunders by sacrificing his queen, and never-give-up McCain responds with a lightning check, causing a key rook to change to his color and threatening checkmate in 60 days? On Aug. 29 (his 72nd birthday) after allegedly dropping his #1 choice Condoleezza Rice begins of rumors that she's a lesbian, John McCain zoom-zoom wastes no time and selects conservative white Alaska gov. (since 2006) (80% approval rating), mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (1996-2002), runnerup in the 1984 Miss Alaska contest, and straight-arrow Pentecostal Christian did-I-say-white-white-white hockey mom Sarah Louise Heath Palin (1964-) (favorite phrase "You betcha"), known as Sarah Barack, er, Barracuda in high school, where she was the star point guard, leading her team to a state basketball championship in 1982 on a fractured ankle (a real-life Maggie O'Connell in Northern Exposure?) as his running mate, becoming the first female Repub. vice-pres. candidate; although she is no Condoleezza Rice, her mediocre experience cancels out Obama's, while McCain's vast experience cancels out Biden's, so call it a push on that issue, while giving Hillary, er, women their big chance to vote one of their own into the er, White House, if that's important to them, duh, despite her conservative stand on abortion and gun ownership (does a frustrated woman voter care whether the mallet that broke through the glass ceiling was red or blue?); too bad, she anonymously quotes right-wing anti-Semitic journalist Westbrook Pegler (1894-1969) in her acceptance speech "We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity", bringing out the PC police; college student David Kernell (1988-) hacks her Yahoo email account, and is tried in Tenn. in 2010, facing up to 50 years in federal prison; meanwhile on Sept. 1 the press jumps on Palin for having a Down's syndrome baby in Apr. then going right back to work, and another story that Palin's 17-y.-o. daughter Bristol is 5 mo. pregnant, but Palin fires back that she is not going to abort the baby and will marry the 18-y.-o. daddy Levi Johnston, gaining praise from the pro-lifers and words from Laura Bush, who accuses the press of being sexist and not holding male candidates to the same standard, while even Obama says that the subject should be off limits since his white mommy was 18 when she had him, which doesn't stop the press from harping on it for days; wasting no time, Tina Fey impersonates her viciously on the season debut of SNL, esp. her statement that "I can see Russia from my house", while Darrell Hammond (1955-) impersonates McCain (highest rating since the 9/11 attacks); meanwhile Hollywood actor Matt Damon rips her, saying "I need to know if she thinks dinosaurs were here four thousand years ago... because she's going to have the nuclear code"; Obama is unique in that it's hard to find anything to satirize in his mannerisms?; meanwhile on Sept. 16 the Alaska atty.-gen. announces that state employees are refusing to obey subpoenas in her ethics inquiry - Obama can have the blacks, they're only 13%, I'll take the women, they're 51%, and even if he gets all of the blacks, if I get only 50% of the white men plus 65% of the white women I'm in da White House, stick a feather in that hat and call it macaroni? In Aug. a breach in a dam in Nepal causes the Kosi River in India to overflow, flooding hundreds of villages in Bihar, displacing 2M and becoming the worst flooding in 50 years. In Aug. Mexicans begin returning from the U.S. to Mexico in record numbers after they fail to find work; illegal immigration has dropped 11% since last Aug., indicating that 1.3M have returned to their home countries. On Sept. 1 the U.S. formally returns control of formerly nasty Anbar Province in Iraq to the Iraq govt. On Sept. 1 Allied troops kill three Afghan children and wound seven more in a mistaken artillery strike, then kill two more children and their father in a second incident near Kabul, piling up the wrongs, incl. 60 children plus 30 more killed on Aug. 22 in W Afghanistan; meanwhile Afghan Pres. Hamid Karzai openly calls for the U.S. to stop bombing and exercise more caution when operating in civilian areas. On Sept. 1 Japanese PM (since Sept. 2007) Yasuo Fukuda abruptly resigns after a year-long struggle with a deadlocked parliament. On Sept. 1 Palinstan, er, Pakistan opens an investigation into the killings of five women who defied all-male Prophet Muhammad and tried to choose their own husbands, causing them to be shot, thrown into a ditch and buried alive by their own relatives in what the Muslims call honor killings - another Allah akbar, right? On Sept. 1 category 4 Hurricane Ike is sighted W of the Cape Verde Islands, and on Sept. 8 it hits Haiti and Cuba hard, killing 114, then proceeds towards the Gulf of Mexico, hitting Tex. on Sept. 13-14 after 1M are told to flee or face "certain death", killing 28 before heading NE, causing $27B in damage (#3 costliest U.S. hurricane in history). On Sept. 1 Benjamin Todd Jealous (1973-) (white father, black mother) succeeds Bruce S. Gordon as pres. #17 of the NAACP (until ?), becoming the youngest ever. On Sept. 1-4 the 2008 Repub. Nat. Convention in Minneapolis, Minn. is the latest ever held, and the first one to take place entirely in Sept.; George W. Bush does an LBJ and stays away (first time in 40 years, since LBJ); on Sept. 2 Pres. Bush (remote), Fred Thompson, and (surprise!) former Dem. vice-pres. candidate Joe Lieberman address the convention, taking Obama on and building McCain and Palin up, with Bush saying "If the Hanoi Hilton could not break John McCain's resolve to do what is best for his country, you can be sure the angry left never will", Thompson calling Obama the "most, liberal, most inexperienced" candidate ever, and Lieberman saying that "country matters more than party", and that "The Washington bureaucrats and power brokers can't build a pen strong enough to hold these two mavericks" (Lucas McCain the Rifleman and Paladin, Have Gun Will Travel?), drawing applause by contrasting Obama's record to Dem. pres. Clinton, "who stood up to some of those same Democratic interest groups, worked with Republicans and got some important things done like welfare reform, free trade agreements, and a balanced budget"; on Sept. 3 Sarah Palin addresses the convention, dressed in a smart pleated skirt with high heels to outdo Hillary and Michelle Obama's pant suits, her eyeglasses projecting the brain babe look, with big smiling beauty queen looks underneath, going on to win over the audience bigtime, making points for her small town roots by comparing herself with Truman, uttering the soundbyte "I'm not going to Washington to seek their (the media's) good opinion. I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this country", winning them over with a quick joke about the difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom (the lipstick), then immediately becoming the Repub. lipsticked pit bull, going after Obama with several great soundbytes, such as "Don't forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform, not even in the state senate", "Victory in Iraq is finally in sight. He wants to forfeit", "al-Qaida terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America. He's worried that someone won't read them their rights", "Government is too big. He wants to grow it", after which McCain makes a surprise appearance, rhetorically asking the cheering crowd if he picked the right running mate while Heart's 1977 hit Barracuda rocks the convention, after which it is revealed that her TV audience was almost as big or bigger than Obama's, while a big convention bounce brings the McCain-Palin ticket from 8 points behind to a dead heat, incl. a 12-point lead among white women; too bad, the media begins digging up dirt on her, incl. how she got state trooper Mike Wooten fired after he divorced her sister and got in a bitter custody battle, and how she actively sought money from Washington and supported the Bridge to Nowhere (Gravina Island Bridge) before she found out that the state would also have to pay a share, then kept the $223M in federal money after the earmark designation was removed; they also have a field day when the Repub. campaign staff buys her a $150K designer wardrobe; if the dirt doesn't end up sticking, the McCain-Palin ticket is on track for a landslide V, with the Obama-Biden ticket lucky to win their own home states?; meanwhile, is Obama all show, posing as a Messiah but needing a boat to cross water like everybody else?; is he like a chocolate bunny, hollow inside?; in days he went from a probable winner to a sure loser, starting with his er, inexperienced decision to alienate the giant never-lost Clinton vote machine in order to run with a white man who gets him no votes and would be better left in the Senate to help him pass legislation later; is it too late for Obama to switch in Hillary as his running mate to give him a chance, and is he smart enough to try, after all, it's politics not chess, and you can take moves back if you are er, man enough to take the flack?; or is he so confident of winning that he will turn Hillary and her supporters to his side despite the temptation, because he knows that women, unlike men, are known to split ranks, stay tuned?; on Sept. 4 John McCain gives his 49-min. acceptance speech, telling his killer war hero personal story (even the part about cracking and being made to mouth anti-American Commie slogans, although this was after refusing early release because of family connections), repeatedly saying "I'm going to fight for you", adding "Let there be no doubt, my friends, we're going to win this election", and rising to a crescendo at the end, uttering the soundbyte "Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. We're Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history, we make history". On Sept. 3 Hurricane Hannah hits Haiti, killing 61, after which it ends up moving up the U.S. east coast as a tropical storm. On Sept. 3 Kurt Sutter's crime drama series Sons of Anarchy debuts on FX Network for 92 episodes (until Dec. 9, 2014), about the outlaw SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original) motorcycle club operating in Charming, Calif., starring Charles Matthew "Charlie" Hunnam (1980-) as Jackson "Jax Teller, who begins questioning the club as it fights the rival Mayans of Oakland, Calif. On Sept. 4 U.S. SSgt. Kennith Mayne (b. 1979) of Arvada, Colo. is killed outside Baghdad, Iraq in his Humvee by a roadside bomb two hours after talking to his mother on the phone. On Sept. 4 Pakistan condemns the U.S. for a military raid into its South Waziristan tribal area earlier in the week that killed 15 civilians; the area has been wild and untamable since Alexander the Great - and now they give a shit? On Sept. 6 YACB (yet another car bomb) explodes in I Reek in the NW city of Tal Afar, Iraq, killing six and wounding 50. On Sept. 6 thousands of pissed-off Armenians protest the first-ever visit of a Turkish leader to Armenia, pres. Abdullah Gul, who watches the World Cup qualifying match beside Armenian pres. Serge Sarkisian; Turkey wins 2-0. On Sept. 7 the Bush admin. announces the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Takover, causing Moody economist Mark Zandi to predict that 30-year mortgage rates will dip to 5.5%, although the slumping housing market may or may not get stabilized by the multi-billion-dollar taxpayer bailout. On Sept. 7, 2008 Alan Ball's drama series True Blood debuts on HBO for 80 episodes (until Aug. 24, 2014), based on "The Southern Vampire Mysteries" novel series by Charlaine Harris, starring Kisi actress Anna Hele Paquin (1982-) as Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress in Bon Temps, La. who has to deal with vampires. and falls in love with vampire Bill Compton, played by Stephen Moyer (Stephen John Emery) (1969-); after she comes out as bi on Apr. 1, 2010, they wed on Aug. 21, 2010; "It hurts so good." On Sept. 8 Fringe debuts on Fox Network for 100 episodes (until Jan. 18, 2013), about an FBI Fringe Div. team in Boston, Mass. that uses fringe science to investigate a parallel universe incl. a 48-state U.S., starring Anna Torv (1978-) as agent Olivia Dunham, Joshua Carter Jackson (1978-) as consultant Peter Bishop, John Noble (1948-) as mad scientist Walter Bishop, and Lance Reddick (1969-) as agent in charge Phillip Broyles; Mark Thomas Valley (1964-) plays Olivia's secret lover John Scott, whose death causes her to join the div.; they marry for real in Dec. 2008, then separate in early 2010. On Sept. 9 billionaire (one of Pakistan's five richest men, worth $1.8B) Asif Ali Zardari (1955-), widower of Benazir Bhutto becomes pres. #11 of Pakistan (until ?). On Sept. 9 Bolivia expels U.S. envoy Patrick Duddy, followed on Sept. 10 by Venezuelan pres. Hugo Chavez, who withdraws his ambassador Bernardo Alvarez Herrera (1956-) from Washington, D.C., saying he'll only be sent back "when there's a new government" in the U.S. On Sept. 10-13 the First World Knowledge Dialogue Symposium is held in Crans Montana, Switzerland, led by Dame Julia Higgins (1942-) (pres. of the British Assoc. for the Advancement of Science in 2003-4) to explore uniting the natural and human sciences; of course, they don't make any progress; "The World has problems, and Universities have Faculties". On Sept. 11 the Center for Empowered Learning and Living (CELL) opens in Denver, Colo. as the frist museum specifically devoted to the subject of terrorism. On Sept. 12 (Fri.) Metrolink Train 111, driven by gay cell phone-texting engineer Robert Sanchez (b. 1962) runs a red light and doesn't hit the brakes, colliding head-on with another train, killing 25; his last text message was sent 22 sec. before the crash. On Sept. 13 gunmen abduct and kill four employees of an Iraqi TV station in Mosul, Iraq as they film a program about Ramadan. Just when McCain has a sure forced checkmate, his own bumbling king gets exposed for his years of bad moves, throwing the game back in Obama's favor without even having to make a move of his own? Just when McCain has a sure forced checkmate, his own bumbling king gets exposed for his years of bad moves, throwing the game back in Obama's favor without even having to make a move of his own? On Sept. 14 after months of the fit hitting the shan, and failing to find a buyer, Wall Street broker Lehman Brothers (founded 1850) declares plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and a govt.-brokered $50B takeover of Merrill Lynch, CEO John Alexander Thain (1955-) by the Bank of Am., CEO Kenneth D. "Ken" Lewis (1947-) is also revealed, bringing the brokerage failures to three since the credit crisis began 14 mo. ago, with only Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley remaining; Lewis only went through with it after U.S. treasury secy. Hank Paulson threatened to fire him along with the entire BOA board; news that Am. Internat. Group Inc. (AIG), the world's largest insurance co. needs a $40B restructuring (increased to $150B by Nov. 10) to avoid bankruptcy shakes the U.S. up more, causing the Dow Jones to drop 504.48 points on Sept. 15, AKA Black Monday, the worst day on Wall Street in seven years; on Sept. 15 there is a coordinated withdrawal of $550B from U.S. banks; meanwhile John McCain makes fatal error #1 by repeatedly uttering the dumbass-on-my-forehead statement "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" (which cinches Obama's coming V?), and Wonderless Woman Sarah Palin praises the govt. for not bailing out any more investment (as opposed to commercial and savings) banks, while claiming that her ticket is going to reform them in speeches in Colo., with the soundbyte "We're going to reform the way Wall Street does business and stop the golden parachutes for CEOs who betray the public trust", while McCain tells the press that he doesn't want taxpayers to be "on the hook for AIG"; too bad, on Sept. 16 at 7:30 p.m. EST news leaks that the federal govt. is going to bail out AIG with an $85B loan (80% share), causing maverick, er, Bush yes-man McCain to flip-flop and state "I didn't want to do that... But there are literally millions of people whose retirement, whose investment, whose insurance were at risk here. They were going to have their lives destroyed because of the greed and excess and corruption"; too bad, the news doesn't stop the Dow from plummeting 449.36 points on Sept. 17 (after recovering by 141.51 points on Sept. 16), until Euro and Asian countries on Sept. 18 announce that they're pumping in $180B to stabilize the world markets, causing the Dow to rebound by 410.03 points; but that still isn't enough to prevent the U.S. economy from continuing into a tailspin, causing Ben Bernanke to tell Congressional leaders on Sept. 18 that the country is days (hours?) away from collapse, with panic withdrawals from U.S. banks and money market accounts totalling $5.5T unless they take emergency action to create a superagency to buy all of the risky mortgages that are at the root of the problem, even though it will cost the taxpayers $700B, and the money goes to the investors not the homeowners; is it because the big investment houses are owned by ahem, Jews that a power play is being tried to get in the wallets of taxpayers, causing all the main candidates to fall in line, when the theory of free enterprise says let them fail, then let new investment houses rise? - it's all really a cover story to pay for the Iraq War while patsy Bushy Baby is still in office, stiffing his successor with the tax collection headaches, then backfiring as the U.S. elects a socialist who sees his chance? On Sept. 14 protesters in La Paz, Bolivia set fire to the town hall and blockade highways to protest gasoline and food shortages; meanwhile 30 are killed in Pando province, where pres. Evo Morales declared martial law against separatists on Sept. 12. On Sept. 14 three roadside bombs in Jalawla, Iraq (60 mi. N of Baghdad) kill five in an Iraqi police convoy. On Sept. 15 the British govt. announces that Prince William plans to become a search-and-rescue pilot in the RAF. On Sept. 15 Pres. Bush places Bolivia on its counter-narcotics blacklist. On Sept. 16 Los Angeles, Calif.-born Columbia U.-educated Roman Catholic Rev. Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann (1933-) of Nicaragua (former foreign minister of Daniel Ortega, who went on a 2-mo. hunger strike in 1985 to protest U.S. military intervention via the Contras, then took the U.S. to the World Court, which rules in 1886 that it violated internat. law and must pay reparations) becomes pres. of the U.N. Gen. Assembly (until Sept. 2009), going on to back Iranian pres. Imadinnajacket and Sudanese pres. Omar al Bashir, and accuse Israel of apartheid against the Palestinians. On Sept. 17 al-Qaida militants disguised as policemen denotate two car bombs outside the U.S. embassy in Sana'a, Yemen, killing 16, incl. six Yemeni police, six attackers, and four bystanders. On Sept. 17 Chinese authorities announce that 22 of 109 Chinese dairy firms failed an inspection, with kidney-damaging melamine found in their baby formulas (to make the protein content in watered-down milk seem higher so they can charge more), causing 53K to get sick, 80% of them 2-y.-o. or younger; the contaminant is even found in their tasty White Rabbit milk candy, eaten by adults; they obviously covered it up until the Olympics were over, and now the fit has hit the shan that the Commie country is full of baby killers for Capitalist profits? On Sept. 18 a U.S. Chinook CH-47 heli accident in S Iraq kills seven GIs. On Sept. 18 a rally by mainly Jewish groups is held to protest Iranian pres. Mahmoud Imadinnajacket; too bad, an invitation to Sarah Palin is cancelled, although another one to Hillary Clinton is confirmed, causing a controversy. On Sept. 19 11 Euro and eight Egyptian tourists are kidnapped in Gilf al-Kebir, Egypt, 500 mi. SW of Cairo. On Sept. 20 a suicide bomber at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan kills 53 and wounds 250+. On Sept. 21 high-flying investment banks Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs become regular banks. On Sept. 23 redwood treespassing treesitters Billy Stoetzer and Nadia "Cedar" Berg finally come down after 11 mo. in 300-ft. 1.5K-y.-o. Spooner in Nanning Creek in Humboldt County, N Calif. after the new owners Humboldt Redwood Co. agree to spare the trees, ending their 20-year fight with mean Pacific Lumber Co. On Sept. 23 the U.N. gen. assembly convenes, giving several world leaders, incl. Brazilian pres. Luis Inacio Lula da Silva a platform to slam the Bush admin. and Wall Street for threatening the global economy with their shenanigans; Bush counters with the lame soundbyte "We've promoted stability in the markets by preventing the disorderl failure of major companies", to which British minister Mark Malloch Brown responds "What you are seeing here is the letting off of some political steam. They are all remembering the very hard, unforgiving advice that they got from American financial institutions to deflate your economy, let your banks go to the wall." On Sept. 23 the U.S. Senate by 93-2 passes a $100B package saving 20M U.S. taxpayers from the alternative minimum tax; it also funds alternative energy incentives, gives tax breaks to businesses and individuals, and gives the same level of insurance benefits to mental health treatments as other medical treatments. On Sept. 23 the police procedural series The Mentalist debuts on CBS for 151 episodes (until Feb. 18, 2015), starring Tasmania-born Simon Baker (1969-) as fake psychic Patrick Jane, who is an adept magician, and becomes a consultant to the Calif. Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to help them track down Red John, the killer of his wife and daughter. On Sept. 24 a new poll indicates that Obama has passed McCain up bigtime because of the economic crisis, leading by 52%-43%. On Sept. 25 John McCain announces that he is suspending his campaign to return to Washington, D.C. and work to pass the economic bailout package; he also bugs out of a scheduled debate with Obama on Sept. 26 (Fri.), and invites Obama to join him in Washington, then changes his mind after a White House meeting with bipartisan congressmen ends up in failure, with House Repubs. saying they are philosophically opposed to bailing out Wall Street even after Bush folds on limiting exec pay; meanwhile on Sept. 24 the U.S. Senate okays a $630B package to finance the federal govt. for 6 mo., lifting their 25-y.-o. ban on offshore drilling, and Iraqi lawmakers pass a law setting provincial elections by early next year; meanwhile on Sept. 26 119-y.-o. Washington Mutual (WaMu) ($300B assets) files for bankruptcy after losing $19B on bad mortgages, becoming the largest banking failure in U.S. history, soon being auctioned by the FDIC for $1.9B to JP Morgan. On Sept. 25 after Thabo Mbeki is ousted over the weekend, Kgalema Petrus Motlanthe (1949-) is sworn-in as pres. of South Africa after being elected by a secret parliamentary ballot, being expected to hold the position for ANC leader Jacob Zuma when a new parliament is elected next year. On Sept. 25 an interview of Sarah Palin by noticeably shorter NBC journalist Katie Couric is aired, in which Sarah exposes her basic ignorance of issues and stinks herself up when she can't name a single newspaper or mag. that she reads, causing many to finally see that she's no Jack Kennedy (as if it matters, since she's only running for vice-pres., but actually does this time, because McCain would be the oldest U.S. pres. in history?). On Sept. 25 50 Somalian pirates seize Ukrainian-operated ship Faina (21 crew) off the Somalian coast en route to Mombasa, Kenya carrying 33 Russian-built T-72 tanks and ammo, and demand a $20M ransom; on Sept. 28 first mate Viktor Nikolsky dies from a stroke; on Sept. 30 three pirates are killed in a gunfight with rival pirates. On Sept. 25 the Chinese Shenzhou 7 spacecraft blasts off on a Long March 2F rocket from Jiuquan Launch Center, carrying Zhi Zhigang (1966-), Liu Boming (1966-), and Jing Haipeng (1966), returning on Sept. 28. On Sept. 26 the First McCain-Obama Debate, focusing on nat. security sees both bring their A-game, with Obama trying to pin Bush's legacy on McCain, who counters by claiming he's a maverick who took Bush on, recounting numerous insider anecdotes parading his decades of great experience while Obama was doing school homework, and ending by seemingly showing open contempt for the punk, calling an Obama presidency dangerous; Obama walks into it by agreeing with McCain eight different times, making it look like he was getting a diplomacy lesson on camera; meanwhile few minds were changed, but Obama's knack of keeping his cool under pressure and quick learning ability showed many that he could handle the job of CIC after all; too bad, McCain misses Obama's real con game, that he loves to agree with the Dem. Party, and indeed can't say no, and is little more than a front for it, the party hoping he will let them design and pass a whole 21st Cent. New Deal and have him just rubberstamp it, creating a virtual 1-party nation for several years; McCain started out unable to say no to the Repub. Party but has evolved into a maverick to the extent that he can say no to it and work with Dems. when he thinks it's to the benefit of the nation of the whole, or is that just a ploy? On Sept. 27 a car bombing in Damascus, Syria near security offices kills 17, becoming the deadliest attack in decades. On Sept. 29 after days of wheeling-dealing accompanied by popular protest at "bailing out Wall Street", and sneers at its architect, U.S. treasury secy. (since 2006) bald (Treasuredome?) Henry Merritt "Hank" Paulson Jr. (1946-), (former CEO of Goldman-Sachs, who is himself worth $500M+, and is not a Jew but a Christian Scientist), the $700B "economic rescue" program" to buy the toxic mortgages from the banks in the hopes that one day they will make the govt. a profit (as if there won't be a massive vandalism of the "Bush houses", stripping most of them to the ground?) is defeated in the House by 228-205, causing the Dow to drop by 666, er, 777.68 points, costing shareholders $1T, followed by Pres. Bush appealing for them to go back and reverse their votes; every stock on the Standard & Poor's 500 drops except Campbell Soup Co.; too bad, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi goofs by giving a speech before the vote blaming the crisis on the Bush admin., giving several Repubs. an excuse to switch their vote to no; on Sept. 29 Wachovia announces that it is selling its banking operations to Citigroup for $2.2B; on Sept. 30 the House takes off for the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), while the Dow rallies by 485.21 points on news that a new House vote will be taken afterwards; Merrill Lynch, which went for $75 a share a year ago, now goes for $29 a share; on Oct. 1 the Senate beats them to it, passing the bailout package by 74-25, even though it is loaded with earmarks (pork), and on Oct. 3 it finally passes the House by 263-171, and Pres. Bush signs it 1 hour later; on Nov. 13 Henry Paulson flip-flops and announces that the govt. will not purchase troubled bank assets - suckahs? On Sept. 29 a Hindu terrorist attack in Malegaon in Maharashtra state is a response to Muslim terrorism. On Sept. 30 a cowlike stampede at the Chamunda Devi Temple in Jodhpur, India kills 168 and injures 425, mostly men and boys, after devotees break coconuts for offerings, making the floor slippery. On Sept. 30, 2008 Swedish critic Horace Oscar Axel Endahl (1948-) top member of the Nobel Lit. Prize award jury utters the soundbyte that it's no coincidence that most winners are Euros, because "You can't get away from the fact that Europe still is the center of the literary world... not the United States", which is "too isolated, too insular. They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialog of literature"; New Yorker ed. David Remnick responds that the Swedish Academy "has historically overlooked Proust, Joyce, and Nabokov... spare us the categorical lectures", and drops the names of Philip Roth (1933-), John Updike (1932-2009), and Don DeLillo (1936-); Nat. Book Awards dir. Harold Augenbraum adds that he'd like to send the bum a reading list of U.S. lit. In Sept. Russian gen. Nikolai Makarov visits Raul Castro in Havana, and offers to modernize their old Soviet-installed weapons systems and reactiatve their electronic eavesdropping station on Lourdes Island in return for using Cuba as a base to refuel Russian bombers and as a port for its warships. In Sept. Nigerian imam Mohammed Bello Abubakar (1922-), who chucked Sharia and married 86 wives and had 170 children and ended up arrested and sentenced to death for violating Sharia, gets out of it by divorcing 82 of them -one time when Sharia almost makes sense? On Oct. 1 Russia permits hundreds of EU monitors to deploy in Georgia, while declaring a 4-mi.-wide buffer zone extending from South Ossetia off-limits. On Oct. 1 the Russian Supreme Court rules that the Romanov family was a victim of political repression, and restores the Romanov name; the Russian Orthodox Church had already canonized Tsar Nicholas II and his family - clearing the way for Tsar Vladimir Putin? On Oct. 2 the Pew Hispanic Center announces that illegal immigration has dropped from 800K a year to about 500K a year since 2005, trailing legal immigration for the first time, while the total number has decreased from 12.4M in 2007 to 11.9M this year - give or take another 12M? On Oct. 2 the widely-viewed (70M viewers) Biden-Palin Debate surprisingly doesn't turn into a fiasco for Palin, who holds her own and shows debating experience, her biggest soundbytes being "Say it ain't so, Joe" and "I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear"; while Biden seemingly forgets to boost Obama rather than himself several times; the expected self-destruction of Palin not materializing, the race is back to the pres. candidates. On Oct. 3 Pres. Bush signs the 2008 U.S. Child Soldiers Accountability Act, prohibiting the recruitment or use of child soldiers, designating those who recruit them as inadmissible aliens, and allowing their deportation. On Oct. 3 Canadian-Am. "Bobos in Paradise" Jewish author David Brooks (1961-) calls Sarah Palin a "fatal cancer to the Republican Party", but calls McCain and Obama "the two best candidates we've had in a long time". On Oct. 4 after the polls showing Obama making inroads in key battleground states, Sarah Palin gives a speech in Englewood, Colo., saying the "gloves are off, the heels are on", and digging up Obama's past associations with Weather Underground Org. co-founder (hubby of Bernardine Dohrn) William Charles "Bill" Ayers (1944-), who once planned to bomb the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol; Obama responds that his associations were slight and the bad stuff all happened when he was eight years old. Hold on, just a little bit tighter baby? On Oct. 6 Indian-Am. mechanical engineer and Wharton School grad. Neel T. Kashkari (1973-) is appointed by U.S. treasury sec. Hank Paulson as the federal bailout chief (until ?); too bad, despite the big bailout, the Dow Jones Industrial Avg. plummets 800 points, then partially recovers but closes down by 386.88 points, sinking below the 10K mark (lowest since 2004), after which stock markets throughout the world also tank, then on Oct. 7 the Dow Jones (which hit a high of 14,164 on Oct. 9, 2007) plummets another 508.39 points, for a total of 1.4K points in 2 weeks (lowest since 2003), after which the govt. reveals that it actually spent $800B bailing out Lehman Brothers, AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac etc. before the additional $700B bailout for Wall Street was voted in, and injected another $99B into the short term money market before the stock market opened, to no avail; on Oct. 9 (Thur.) it plummets another 678.91 points, closing at 8,579.19, then on Oct. 10 (Fri.) it see-saws by 1K points, closing down another 128 points; meanwhile superthieves incl. Robert Edward Rubin (1938-) of Citicorp, Richard Severin Fuld Jr. (1946-) of Lehman Bros., and Franklin Delano "Frank" Raines (1949-) of Fannie Mae, who made millions as they drove their institutions into bankruptcy get off without criminal prosecution, stinking the U.S. up and stirring memories of the fall of ancient Rome; on Oct. 5 (Sun.) Fuld is punched in the face and knocked out in the Lehman Bros. gym. after the bankruptcy announcement. On Oct. 6 U.S. military judge Col. Ralph H. Kohlmann grants terrorism suspects at Gitmo the right to laptop computers; it is later revealed that they had been using them earlier. On Oct. 6 The Daily Beast (after the fictional newspaper in Evelyn Waugh's 1938 novel "Scoop") U.S. news Web site is founded by Tina Brown; in Nov. 2010 it merges with Newsweek. On Oct. 7 the Second McCain-Obama Debate in Nashville, Tenn. is a boring push overshadowed by the looming collapse of the U.S. and world economies. On Oct. 9 a bomb in Baghdad kills Iraqi lawmaker Saleh al-Auqaeili (b. 1967), former spokesman for Muqtada al-Sadr. On Oct. 9 a suicide bomber in Islamabad, Pakistan carrying a box of sweets wrecks a residential bldg. housing anti-terrorism police, injuring six officers; another roadside bomb in Pakistan hits a police bus carrying prisoners, while a U.S. unmanned aircraft kills nine near the Afghan border. On Oct. 9 Russian PM Vladimir Putin receives a 2-mo.-old 20 lb. Ussuri tiger cub for his birthday. On Oct. 10 the Conn. Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage. On Oct. 10 the panel investigating gov. Sarah Palin anounces that she abused her power but didn't break any laws in getting her former brother-in-law fired - here's the new deal, bucko, you do as I say? On Oct. 11 Peru's chief cabinet minister Jorge del Castillo resigns along with 16 colleagues in an oil kickback scandal, and on Oct. 12 leftist Yehude Simon (1927-) replaces him. On Oct. 11 zonked Pres. Bush removes North Korea from its terrorism blacklist, pissing of Japan, 70-80 of whose citizens were kidnapped by North Korea from 1977-83, giving them a permanent grudge. On Oct. 11 Iraqi officials admit that 3K Christians have fled Mosul to escape Muslim extemist attacks in the past week; on Oct. 24 thousands more Christians flee Mosul, causing the U.N. to send relief. On Oct. 11 Gibson Square Publishing of Britain announces that it is postponing of the novel "The Jewel of Medina" by Am. author Sherry Jones (about one of Prophet Muhammad's wives) after its offices were firebombed. On Oct. 11 (p.m.) a 5.9 earthquake hits Russia's N Caucasus region, killing four. On Oct. 11 the first annual Skepticon convention for atheists and skeptics is held in Springfield, Mo. by Mo. State U. students J.T. Eberhard and Lauren Lane. On Oct. 13 after the U.S. govt. announces that it will buy $250B equity in banks instead of just buying their toxic mortgages, and seven European nations unite to put $2.3T in banks, the Dow Jones rebounds bigtime by 936 points, recouping $1.2T of the $2.4T in lost shareholder equity; meanwhile Morgan Stanley saves itself with a $9B line of credit from a major Japanese bank after its shares plunged 60% last week; meanwhile in just a few weeks Washington D.C. becomes the new financial capital of the U.S., supplanting New York City; meanwhile on Oct. 13 Am. Jewish economist Paul Robin Krugman (1952-) of Princeton U., known for relentless criticism of the Bush admin. incl. the $700B bailout, who calls the Repub. Party "the party of the stupid" and John McCain "more frightening now than he was a few weeks ago" is awarded the Nobel Econ. Prize solo (first time since 2000). On Oct. 13 Barack Obama tells Joe the Plumber that he wants to "spread the wealth around", which the McCain campaign jumps on as proof that he is a Socialist; meanwhile McCain proposes buying up the toxic mortgages from homeowners and letting them renegotiate them, while Obama proposes a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures. On Oct. 13 election officials in Ohio begin investigating the Dem. Party pumper-uper ACORN (Assoc. of Community Orgs. for Reform Now) for voter fraud after one voter admits to signing 73 voter registration forms in 5 mo.; it has registered 1.3M, mainly poor and blacks for the 2008 election, and been investigated in several states. On Oct. 14 Canadian PM (since 2006) Stephen Harper is reelected, but his Conserative Party falls short of a majority in Parliament. On Oct. 14 a U.S. soldier is shot dead in W Baghdad, making news for being the first U.S. combat death in the city in two weeks. On Oct. 14 5'7" 267 lb. Richard Wade Cooey II (b. 1967) is executed for the killing of two U. of Akron students in 1986, becoming the first to die by lethal injection in Ohio in more than a year; his plea that he was too fat to be executed humanely by lethal injected was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court and Grill. On Oct. 14 the Internat. Conference on Religion in the Modern World opens in Tehran, Iran. On Oct. 15 three New York City police officers allegedly sodomize Michael Mineo with a police baton on a subway platform and try to cover it up, after which he sues the city on May 28, 2009 for $220M. On Oct. 16 the Third (Last) McCain-Obama Debate features McCain's soundbyte "If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago", and both of them dropping the name Joe the Plumber 16x total, really Samuel Joseph "Joe" Wurzelbacher (1973-) of Holland Ohio. On Oct. 18 nine Chinese workers are kidnapped in the Kordofan region of SW Sudan by rebels who want China (which buys two-thirds of all Sudanese oil) out, after which two hostages flee and five are executed on Oct. 27. On Oct. 18 Giada at Home debuts on Food Network (until ?), starring Italian chef Giada de Laurentiis (1970-). On Oct. 19 Colin Powell announces that he's backing Obama, citing McCain's choice of running mate and the rightward turn of the Repub. Party, dissing rumors that Obama's a secret Muslim with the soundbyte: "Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in America?... Is there something wrong with some 7-y.-o. Muslim-American kid believing that he could be president?" - yes, the Quran? On Oct. 19 Taliban militants seize a civilian bus in Kandahar Province and execute two dozen passengers, some by beheading. On Oct. 21 India launches Chandrayaan-1 (Sansk. "Moon Craft") from the Sriharikota Space Center in S India on a 2-year mission to map the lunar surface, plus to prove that backward India has arrived in the Space Race? On Oct. 22 Elizabeth II visits the famous Lipizzaner stud farm in Lipica, Slovenia, and is presented with a Lipizzaner horse. On Oct. 22-29 the 104th World Series sees the Philadelphia Phillies (NL) (mgr. Charlie Manuel) defeat the Tampa Bay Rays (AL) (mgr. John Maddon) 4-1. On Oct. 23 a suicide bomber drives into a Shiite govt. minister's convoy during morning rush hour in Baghdad, killing 11 and wounding 22. On Oct. 24 the bodies of black singer Jennifer Hudson's mother Darnell Donerson (b. 1951) and her son Jason Hudson (b. 1979) are found inside their S Chicago, Ill. home, followed by the body of her grandson Julian King (b. 2001) on Oct. 27; on Oct. 28 convicted felon William Balfour, estranged husband of Jennifer's sister is suspected. On Oct. 24-25 Barack Obama takes off campaigning to go to Hawaii to visit his ailing white grandmother Madelyn Lee Payne "Toot" Dunham (b. 1922), who went without new clothes to help him pay for college tuition (she dies on Nov. 2, two days before the election); on Oct. 25 he's back it, dissing a statement John McCain made that he's like George Bush. On Oct. 25 Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez puts in his two centavos worth and calls Sarah Palin a "poor thing" and a "beauty queen that they've put in the role of a figurine" who doesn't know what she's talking about when she calls him a dictator. On Oct. 26 with a week to go before the elections, a transcript from a Jan. 18, 2001 public radio show is dredged up where Barack Obama muses on using the U.S. Supreme Court to socialistically redistribute wealth, giving the Repubs. a last chance to swing the polls, which are already going against them badly, while Obama's campaign has endless megabucks to spend for mood ads; the Dems. try to spin it as innocuous; is O Mama really promising to take the $10B per mo. going to the Iraq War and, instead of cutting off the expense tab after pulling out, think he's got a mandate to redistribute that to social welfare programs, forever? On Oct. 26 Colombian lawmaker Oscar Tulio Lizcano (1947-) escapes from leftist rebels after eight years in captivity. On Oct. 26 nine policemen kidnapped by Shirani tribesmen in Dera Ismail Khan in Pakistan near the Afghan border are released; on Oct. 27 a U.S. missile hits the house of a Taliban cmdr. there, killing 20. On Oct. 26 a U.S. Cobra heli attack on a bldg. in Syria near the Iraq border kills eight, incl. a top al-Qaida operative, pissing-off the Syrian govt., which on Oct. 28 closes the Am. School and U.S. cultural center in Damascus. On Oct. 26 a congregation of 5K Christian Copts are attacked by a hate-filled Muslim mob in Minya, Upper Egypt after trying to repair their church tower. On Oct. 27 severe flooding in Yemen caused by Tropical Depression ARB 02 kills 65 and displaces 20K. On Oct. 27 Am. feminist Erica Jong gives an interview to the Italian newspaper "Corriere della Sera", telling them that if Barack Obama loses the pres. election, "it will spark the second American Civil War. Blood will run in the streets." On Oct. 27 federal agents claim to thwart a plot by two white skinheads to attack an African-Am. high school and kill 88 blacks and decapitate 14 more, as well as assassinate Barack Obama. On Oct. 28 former Detroit, Mich. black mayor (2002-8) Kwame Mailik Kilpatrick (1970-) gets 4 mo. in jail for obstruction of justice for lying about his affair with his chief of staff in a civil lawsuit in 2007 and assaulting a sheriff's detective, and is ordered to pay $1M in restitution. On Oct. 28 Congolese rebels under gen. Laurent Nkunda break a Jan. U.N.-brokered ceasefire and advance toward Goma, sending tens of thousands fleeing, firing on civilians On Oct. 29 Barack Obama airs a $3M 30 min. infomercial on U.S. TV, viewed by 30M; meanwhile John McCain and Sarah Palin criticize the Los Angeles Times for withholding a 2003 event in which Obama praises Palestinian scholar (Columbia U. prof.) Rashid Khalidi, and McCain claims that an Obama presidency would hurt both the economy and the nat. security, saying "At least when European nations chose the path of higher taxes and cutting defense, they knew that their security would still be guaranteed by America. But if America takes the same path, who will guarantee our security?"; meanwhile the 16M early voters so far go 59-40 for Obama, while U.S. gasoline prices fall 25.8 cents to a nat. avg. of $2.65 (first time to drop below 2007 levels), and oil falls toward $60 a barrel - proof that Obama is a secret Muslim, and his Muslim oil buddies want him to get elected, or he's just lucky like Oswald? On Oct. 29 the 6.4 SW Pakistan Earthquake kills 170 and leaves thousands homeless; meanwhile the Pakistani govt. files a formal protest against U.S. missile attacks in tribal areas and demands that they be stopped. On Oct. 30 a Taliban suicide bomber in a govt. ministry in C Kabul, Afghanistan kills five and injures 12. On Oct. 31 Philip J. Berg became the first to try to get the federal courts to order pres.-elect Obama to produce his birth certificate by Dec. 1 before the electoral college met on Dec. 13; assuming rightly that the U.S. Supreme Court will refuse to hear the case, Obama ignores them, later releasing the infamous computer-generated certification (not certificate) of live birth (and not birth certificate - three different things) that was "filed" (not necessarily accepted) by registrar (or the state) to end the standoff, keeping the real certificate of live birth under lock and key and leaving the issue at the current impasse. In Oct. Am. porno star Lisa Ann (1972-) stars as Repub. candidate Serra Paylin in the XXX film Who's Nailin' Paylin by Larry Flynt's Hustler Mag., featuring her doing the lezzie thing with impersonators of Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice - some kind of historical thread comes full circle here? On Nov. 2 the Chinese govt. destroys 3.6K tons of animal feed tainted with melamine; meanwhile on Oct. 3 the U.S. FDA sets 2.5M ppm as a safe level for melamine in food for adults - enough to make me into a vegetarian? On Nov. 3 a U.S. airstrike in West Baghtu in Kandahar Province hits a wedding party, killing 36, incl. 10 women and 23 children, causing Afghan Pres. Hamid Karzai on Nov. 5 to plead the allies to try harder to avoid injuring noncombatants, saying "We cannot win the fight against terrorism with airstrikes", adding "This is my first demand of the new president". On Nov. 3 Israel sends a cable to the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv telling them that they are working to keep Gaza's economy "functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis", as revealed in 2010 by WikiLeaks. On Nov. 4 (Tues.) (election day) the New Black Panther Party is filmed intimidating voters at polling stations in Philly, causing the U.S. Dept. of Justice to file a lawsuit, which the Obama admin. later drops even though they had won the suit by default when the defendants refused to answer the charges, pissing-off Repubs. - Obama doesn't trust the pigs to patrol polling places and make sure all blacks voted for him and not his white opponent? Another I-remember-where-I-was moment for Americans? On Nov. 4 (Tues.) with the tanking U.S. economy widely blamed on the Repub. Party, and Obama (campaign slogans: "Change we can believe in", "Yes we can", "No drama") running the best-financed pres. campaign in U.S. history ($745M vs. $350M in contributions) ($11 for each Obama vote) after flip-flopping on a promise to take only govt. funding from Sept. on, while McCain kept his promise and had to stop taking contributions in Sept. after accepting $84.1M in public campaign money (spending $150K on clothing for Palin) (while Obama raises $150M in Sept. alone), the 2008 U.S. Pres. Election (first in which neither major party candidate had been U.S. pres. or vice-pres. since 1952) is a V for Hawaii Sen. Barack Obama over Ariz. Sen. John McCain (131M of 197M eligible voters vote) (52.9%-45.7%, 365-173 electoral votes, 28-22 states, 69.5M vs. 59.9M votes) (most votes in history, vs. 62M for Bush in 2004) (first pres. candidate two split the electoral votes of Neb.), marked by joyful tearful celebrations in the streets all over the U.S., esp. by blacks, with only 43% of white voters voting for him, although 60% of Obama supporters are white, and only 74% of the voters in the election are white, and Obama gets 40% of the white men; 95% of black voters go for guess who (don't call it a racist vote, it's a spiritual thing, a first, it's history?), 67% of Hispanic voters, and 78% of Jewish voters (vs. 74% for Kerry in 2004), who were treated to "The Great Schlep", in which Jews flew to Fla. to talk their Jewish grandparents into voting for him; young voters go for Obama 2-1, and the Repub. turnout is the lowest since 1976; for the first time, young black voters ages 25-44 have the highest percentage turnout (64%, vs. 62.2% for white, 47.3% for Asian, and 47.7% for Hispanic); Obama wins contested states Penn., Ohio and N.M., which swings it; the Sarah Palin chess move fizzles with women, as 56% go for McCain-Palin, incl. 82% of Hillary Clinton voters; and Joseph Biden becomes the first Roman Catholic vice-pres. to be elected; a record 70M watch election returns on TV, culiminating with the sight of a 125K (240K) crowd at Grant Park off Lake Michigan in Chicago, Ill. gathering to hear his victory speech, where he utters the soundbytes "Change has come to America", "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer", and "The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there"; Jesse Jackson openly weeps; John McCain gives a concession speech which shows his big heart, with the soundbytes "The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly", "This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight", "I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president, and I call on all Americans, as I have often in this campaign, to not despair of our present difficulties, but to believe, always, in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here"; he promised his daughters Malia Ann and Sasha a new puppy if he won, making a big deal about it; 106-y.-o. African-Am. Ann Louise Nixon Cooper (1902-2009), who knew MLK Jr. and voted for him in Oct. and was called by him specially is given special notice in the speech, then dies on Dec. 21; the U.S. enters a new era where the young and the increasing numbers of non-whites can swing nat. elections, the culmination of decades of mass brainwashing for the equality of races by Jewyweird, with Obama being their rabbit, a political Sidney Poitier (who always had to be apolitical, asexual to white people and help them out), only now he gets to be political, as long as it's on the left, and has to have a supporting cast of whites and Jews; the grate powah of Hollyweird was rolled out bigtime to elect Obama, evidenced by daytime TV shows "Oprah Winfrey", "The View" et al., plus nighttime shows such "24" (featuring black pres. David Palmer, played by Dennis Haysbert), and "Saturday Night Live", which pulled out all stops to caricature Sarah Palin as an unqualified nitwit; too bad, he has to give his victory speech behind a bulletproof screen, as white supremacists blow their gaskets and vow to kill him; the Obama V causes a massive positive reaction worldwide, changing America's failing image instantly; meanwhile the V causes a run on gun stores as a belief he will outlaw guns spreads (he has promised to outlaw automatics), and Roman Catholic priest Jay Scott Newman of Greenevile, S.C. warns parishoners to refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they voted for Obama because he supports abortion, and claims that voting for him "constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil"; in the days before his inauguration the U.S. liberal media began painting his legacy as the new Abraham Lincoln; too bad, I-shake-my-little-tush-on-the-catwalk Obama is what they used to call a mulatto, half-and-half, which until modern times neither the white nor black communities would accept, but luckily he looks more black than white (them ears, them ears), and the black community enthusiastically claims him as their own, although he has no Am. slave ancestry like other U.S. black leaders, and the warm misty feeling even white Ams. have for him conveniently glosses over the massive failure of African-Ams. in crime, education and economic status; meanwhile many Americans are scared of Obama because of his prior alignment with radical extremists, covered-up background, and Socialist leanings; a 100% black slave-descended U.S. pres. still may not happen in their lifetimes, stay tuned? - and where is "there"? On Nov. 5 just hours after Obama is elected pres. Michael Jacques (1984-) and two other white men who are pissed-off at the result set fire to the under-construction Macedonia Church of God in Springfield, Mass. On Nov. 4 Calif. Proposition 8 is passed, making same-sex marriage illegal, invalidating 18K marriages made over 4 mo. and causing protests to begin; after a court challenge, on May 26, 2009 the Calif. Supreme Court rules the proposition constitutional but lets the marriages stand because it didn't explicitly nullify them - closet yes, altar no? On Nov. 4 the 2007 U.S. Nat. Elections give Dems. nine more seats in the U.S. House (regaining control) and five more seats in the U.S. Senate, not enough to override Repub. filibusters and steamroller through anything they want, creating a de facto 1-party system at the nat. level, yet - it is time for them to have their turn so they can screw things up too? On Nov. 4-6 Pope Benedict XVI and 25 Catholic scholars meet with 25 Muslim clerics and scholars in the Vatican who are pissed-off at his baptism of a prominent Egyptian-born Muslim last Easter in St. Peter's, his 2006 statements on Islam, etc., with the pope telling them they must overcome their misunderstandings - just give up Muhammad? no, you give up Christ? On Nov. 5 rebels led by Laurent Nkunda capture Kiwanja, Congo, killing 20 and wounding 33, then order the 30K pop. to leave town. On Nov. 6 pres.-elect Barack Obama selects former Pres. Clinton adviser and board member of Freddie Mac (2000-1), U.S. rep. (D-Ill.) (since 2003) Rahm (Heb. "lofty") Israel Emanuel (Heb. "God is with us") (1959-) (an ardent Zionist) (Ramses Emanuel?) (Rahm wasn't built in a day?) as his chief staff (until Oct. 1, 2010); his pediatrician father Dr. Benjamin Emanuel (former member of Irgun) is reported by The Jerusalem Post as saying the appointment will be good for Israel, adding "What is he, an Arab? He's not going to clean the floors of the White House" - just when you thought the Jewish conspiracy theory was exploded by "Arab" Obama's nomination and election? On Nov. 6 the Gazan al-Qaida-linked org. Jama'at Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad (Jahafil Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad fi Filastin) (Armies of Monotheism and Jihad in Palestine) is formed; in Apr. 2006 they stage the Dahab bombings in Egypt; on Feb. 5, 2011 leader Sheikh 'Ahed Ahmad 'Abd Al-Karim Al-Sa'idani (AKA Abu al-Walid al-Maqdisi) posts a fatwa declaring that Jews and Christians may be targeted in 9/11-type attacks because they are "fundamentally not innocent" and "aggressive combatants", and that it's okay to hurt Muslims in such attacks because otherwise "this would mean stopping the jihad"; on Mar. 2, 2011 Hamas arrests al-Maqdisi, and in retaliation on Apr. 14, 2011 they kidnap Italian pro-Palestinian activist Vittorio Arrigoni (b. 1975) in Gaza, then kill him on Apr. 15 when their ransom demands aren't met. On Nov. 6-7 70+ Saudis stage the first hunger strike in Saudi Arabia to protest the jailing of 11 dissidents. On Nov. 6 insurgents in NW Pakistan stage two suicide bombings against counterinsurgents, killing 19 and wounding dozens; meanwhile the Pakistani govt. announces the killing of 15 insurgents in an aerial bombardment. On Nov. 7 a fierce winter storm dumps 4 ft. in the Dakotas. On Nov. 7 a the College La Promesse in Petionville, Haiti suddenly collapses, killing 89, mostly students - it doesn't take much to ruin a moment like this? On Nov. 8 Category 3 Hurricane Paloma slams into S Cuba near Santa Cruz del Sur, causing hundreds of thousands to flee. On Nov. 8 a nuclear-powered Russian navy sub has an accident during a test run, killing 20+. On Nov. 8 Merrill Lynch currency trader John Phillip Key (1961-) of the conservative Nat. Party easily defeats left-wing bad-teeth PM (since 1999) Helen Clark, becoming PM #38 of New Zealand (until ?), promising to undo her greenhouse gas emission trading scheme. On Nov. 8 about 6K Muslim clerics in India approve a fatwa against terrorism at a conference in Hyderabad; the Indian supreme court issues a ban on fatwas, then lifts it on May 12, 2011 with the proviso that extralegal punishments are still illegal, and that only "propertly educated persons" may dispense fatwas that may be "accepted only voluntarily". On Nov. 9 (Sun.) Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan (1933-) gives a sermon titled "America's New Beginning", admitting he kept quiet for 9 mo. to help Obama get elected. On Nov. 9 Canadian reporter Melissa Fung is released after four weeks in captivity in Afghanistan, saying they held her in a small underground cave. On Nov. 10 pres.-elect Barack Obama visits the White House, where Pres. Bush gives him a look around (only too glad to give him the keys and get outta there before the fit hits the shan?); meanwhile Obama's 48 transition advisers reveal a list of 200 admin. actions and executive orders he plans on making to reverse Bush policies on climate change, stem-cell research, reproductive rights et al., incl. abolishing POW camps Delta and Echo at Guantanamo Bay; lame duck Pres. Bush's approval rating stays at a lame 24%, the most unpopular pres. since they're-coming-to-take-me-away-ha-ha Nixon. On Nov. 10 Sarah Palin blames the GOP defeat on the Bush admin., saying "How did we run up a $10 trillion debt in a Republican administration?", and "It's amazing that we did as well as we did." In Nov. 10 New York Times correspondent David Stephenson Rohde (1967-) is kidnapped S of Kabul by the Taliban along with Afghan reporter Tahir Ludin (1964-); they scale a wall and escape next year in the N Waziristan region of Pakistan after 7 mo. 10 days; meanwhile the NYT blacks out coverage to aid them, although they regularly refuse to heed federal govt. requests to black out news on the specific ways in which it combats terrorists. On Nov. 11 Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announce a plan to allow mortgage holders to get reduced interest rates and longer terms to keep them from foreclosure; too bad, this covers only 20% of delinquent mortgages. On Nov. 11 Am. Hollyweird celeb Lindsay Lohan (a supporter) calls pres.-elect Barack Obama America's "first colored president" on "Access Hollywood", pissing-off the PC police; she actually mumbles and might have said good president? On Nov. 11 moderate Muslim Mohamed Nasheed (1967-), founder of the Maldivian Dem. Party becomes pres. of Maldives (until ?). On Nov. 12 U.S. treasury secy. Henry Paulson gives a news conference, saying "The facts changed and the situation worsened", calling for using bailout money to help consumers rather than financial institutions; the news causes the Dow to fall by 411.3 points. On Nov. 12 U.S. authorities announce that a supply convoy for the 65K allied forces in Afghanistan was hijacked by Taliban fighters near the Khyber Pass. On Nov. 12 ex-U.S. Border Patrol agent Jose Alonso Compean (José Alonso Compeán) (1976-) receives a 10-year sentence for shooting unarmed drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete Davila in 2006 and trying to cover it up, causing cries for Pres. Bush to grant him amnesty; meanwhile Davila gets 10 years for smuggling and nobody cares; Compean is granted an early prison release by Bush on Jan. 19, 2009. On Nov. 12 the Taliban attacks Afghan schoolgirls in Kandahar for daring to get educated, splashing battery acid on them and hurting 11 girls and four teachers; after a worldwide outcry, 10 Talibanis are arrested on Nov. 25. On Nov. 12 Reventador Volcano 55 mi. NE of Quito, Ecuador begins erupting; it last revented itself in Oct. 2007. On Nov. 12 Paula Goodspeed (b. 1980), an obsessive fan of Paula Abdul (1962-) (who bears a slight resemblance to her and once tried out for "American Idol" Season 5, displaying a voice like a parrot in pain) commits suicide in her parked car outside Abdul's home; her license plate reads "ABL LV". On Nov. 12 a U.N. Interfaith Conference sees Israeli pres. Shimon Peres shake hands with Egyptian grand shiek Mohammed Sayed Tantawi (1928-2010), causing a firestorm of criticism in the Muslim world, after which Tantawi says he didn't know it was him. On Nov. 13 senior diplomats from Germany plus the five permanent U.S. security members Britain, China, France, Russia, and the U.S. hold a conclave in Paris to discuss fast-tracking new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program that have been stalled. On Nov. 13 (10 a.m.) the pop. of S Calif. stages the Great ShakeOut, an earthquake drill, becoming the largest in history. On Nov. 13 pranksters distribute thousands of free copies of the New York Times with a prank headline that the U.S. Iraq War and Afghanistan War have ended; it is actually dated July 4, 2009 and describes the Obama Utopia with nat. health care, a rebuilt economy, higher progressive taxes, a nat. oil fund to study climate change et al. On Nov. 13 Sarah Palin addresses the Repub. Governors Assoc. meeting in Miami, Fla., admitting that the Repub. are the "minority party", and asking her fellow Repub. governors to keep new Pres. Obama in check, saying that if the new Congress should "err on the side of excess taxes, we have to show them the way"; of course, she is leaving her options open for 2012, saying "It's crazy to close a door before you know what's even open in front of you"; meanwhile Dem. officials leak the info. that Hillary Clinton is being considered by Obama for secy. of state. On Nov. 13 the London Times reports that an 8K-member Bedouin tribe in Bir al-Maksour, Galilee, Israel claims that Barack Obama is a lost member. On Nov. 14 the 15 euro-using EU countries announce that they're in a recession; meanwhile on Nov. 15 the G-20 representing 85% of the world economy and 67% of the pop. meet, and agree to a broad range of solutions, leaving the details to be worked out in the spring - after Obama's first 100 days are over? On Nov. 14 Ann E. Dunwoody (1953-) becomes the first female U.S. 4-star gen., breaking the legendary brass ceiling; the photo opp shows her woo-wooing on the shoulder of her hubby Col. Craig Brotchie? On Nov. 15 U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that the House will aid the ailing U.S. auto industry, which has been seeking $25B in loans, as long as it meets new fuel-efficiency standards, begins producing advanced vehicles, and restructures itself "to ensure their long-term economic viability"; too bad, the loan gets hung up after it is revealed that they really need many times that and would be better off filing for bankruptcy to reorganize and try to stay afloat amid global competition, although who would want to buy a vehicle from them when they might not be around when parts and service are needed?; meanwhile foreign automakers employ tens of thousands of workers in dozens of auto plants in the U.S., and are in rosy financial condition - the ultimate oldies but goodies collection? On Nov. 16 Barack Obama officially resigns his U.S. Senate seat, while staying ensconced in Chicago, claiming that he won't exercise his influence until he is sworn-in next Jan. 20 - because he's the fastest blackberry ever? On Nov. 16 after a suicide car bomber hits a U.S. convoy in Herat, Afghanistan, wounding two soldiers, and insurgent attacks go up 30% compared to 2007, Afghan Pres. Hamid Karzai invites the Taliban to talks, offering protection, and saying that the U.S. can leave the country or try to oust him if they don't like it. On Nov. 16 the Colombian govt. begins emergency measures to appease irate victoms of the Proyecciones DRFE pyramid scheme that suckered 600B pesos by promising 150% returns, and caused rioting in 13 towns when the owner Carlos Alfredo Suarez took the dough and skipped the country. On Nov. 17 Jerry Yang announces that he's resigning as CEO of Yahoo.com after a replacement is found, a probable move to get Microsoft to make another buyout offer. On Nov. 17 Pirate Alley in Somalia heats up again when Somalian pirates dodge warships to hijack Saudi supertanker MV Sirius Star, carrying $100M in oil, causing several major nations to begin rerouting tankers the long way around Africa. On Nov. 17 top Israeli Mafia kingpin "Don" Yaakov Alperon (b. 1955) is killed in Tel Aviv by a car bomb set by a rival gang. On Nov. 18 the Dem. Caucus votes to keep side-switcher Joe Liebermann - Mission: Impossible: Get Obama Elected worked? On Nov. 19 al-Qaida deputy Ayman al-Zawahri posts a letter on the Internet insulting Barack Obama, calling him, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice "house Negroes" - duh, he's da head of da house now? On Nov. 20 U.S. district judge Richard Leon releases 50 Guantanomo Bay Algerian prisoners after rejecting govt. claims that they are enemy combatants, becoming a first. Speaking of Barack Obama, he's already become president and begun his 100 days before Thanksgiving Turkey Bush leaves office? On Nov. 21 (Fri.) Barack Obama announces that he's picking Hillary Clinton to be his secy. of state (which by now is a woman's job?), and former N.Y. Federal Reserve Bank chief (since 2003) Timothy Franz "Tim" Geithner (1961-) (former chmn. of the Bank for Internat. Settlements) to be his treasury secy., the news causing the Dow Jones to surge upward 494 points, above the 8K mark, which it fell below on Nov. 19; meanwhile U.S. gasoline prices fall below $2 after peaking at $4.11 four mo. earlier. On Nov. 21 hours after a Shia cleric is killed, a bomb explodes at a funeral of a Shia Muslim in Dera Ismail Khan in lawless NW Pakistan (near Waziristan), killing six. On Nov. 22 Rashid Rauf (b. 1981) (a British citizen) and Abu Zubair al-Masri (a Saudi militant) are killed by a U.S. missile raid in N Waziristan near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border; they had been linked to a jetliner bomb plot; meanwhile on Nov. 23 protests are staged in Islamabad calling for the severing of ties with the U.S. On Nov. 22 Barack Obama says that he is crafting a massive 2-year Socialist, er, stimulus program to revive the economy, which in his first of three straight news conferences on Nov. 24 he estimates to be a $500B-$600B bailout, announcing Lawrence "Larry" Summers (1954-) as head of the Nat. Economic Council (more powerful than Tim Geithner), although he was one of the key architects of the policies that led to the financial meltdown, and was the Harvard pres. who made remarks on Jan. 14, 2007 that there are innate differences between men and women that explain why fewer women succeed in science and math, getting him fired - explaining why Obama closed the glass ceiling of the White House on Hillary, because to work up here you gotta know math, witness the mess Bush made, and just think of the mess McCain-Palin woulda made? On Nov. 22 ex-U.S. pres. Jimmy Carter and others are denied entry to Zimbabwe for a humanitarian mission. On Nov. 22 the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) announces that talks have fallen through and it will "authorize" members to go on strike. On Nov. 23 the U.S. govt. announces a $306B bailout of Citigroup. On Nov. 24 the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, largest Muslim charity in the U.S. is convicted of funneling millions of dollars to Hamas, a rare V for the Bush admin. On Nov. 24 thousands of protesters surround the Thai govt. HQ in Bangkok demanding the resignation of PM Somchai Wongsawat, who is in Peru for the Pacific Rim conference; on Nov. 25 the protests turn violent, causing the airport to be closed; on Nov. 30 several explosions in Bangkok wound 50 protesters; on Dec. 1 the constitutional court in Bangkok orders Wongsawat deposed and banned from politics for five years, and dissolves his People's Power Party - bad month for Yankee pedophiles? On Nov. 24 Chinese riot police suddenly take up posts in Xiahe, Tibet, while a court sentences a group of Tibetans for anti-govt. protests. On Nov. 25 the U.S. govt. announces that it is pumping $200B into the consumer credit market by guaranteeing securities backed by credit card debt and other loans; meanwhile the U.S. stock market bounces up and down like a rubber ball, and no permanent stability is in sight? Will them Allah Akbars never give up trying to go to paradise? On Nov. 26-29 (India's 9/11) the 2008 Mumbai Attacks see well-equipped Pakistan-trained Muslim Thanksgiving turkey gunmen attack 10 sites, incl. three luxury hotels, a hospital, train station, and popular restaurant in India's financial capital of Mumbai (Bombay), India, targeting Westerners with U.S. and British passports, esp. Jews, killing 173 (incl. 28 foreigners, incl. six Americans) and injuring 308, holding Western hostages in the Taj Mahal Hotel (founded 1903) (scene of horrible carnage) and Trident-Oberoi Hotel, plus the Nairman House Jewish center (killing five, incl. a rabbi) while demanding the release of fellow Islamic militants before they are captured or killed by authorities; on Nov. 30 India's top domestic security official (patsy?) Shivraj Vishwanath Patil (1935-) resigns, while U.S. secy. of state Condoleezza Rice is sent to India (are you sure you are keeping them nukes safe?); the sole terrorist survivor Ajmal Amir Kasab claims to be a member of Pakistan-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (Urdu "army of the righteous") (founded in Kunar Province, Afghan; in 2010 he claims that they got training from Pakistan Navy frogmen; on Oct. 19 a report from India claims that Pakistan's intel agency was deeply involved in planning the attack, funding recon missions, incl. to the Bhabha Atomic Research Center. On Nov. 27 the Iraq govt. agrees to allow U.S. troops to stay three more years; on Apr. 11 2015 Lashkar-e-Taiba operations chief Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi (1959-), suspected mastermind is released by the Pakistan courts on bail pending trial, outraging India. On Nov. 29 NATO and Afghan troops kill 53 militants in Afghanistan, incl. Taliban cmdr. Haji Yakub, who was hiding behind a woman's burqa. On Nov. 29-30 the Roman Catholic Church holds its first beatification ceremony on Cuban soil for Jose Olallo Valdes (1820-89) of the Hospitaller Order of St. John. In Nov. the U.S. loses 533K jobs, the highest since 1978. On Dec. 1 (Mon.) the U.S. govt. officially admits that the U.S. economy is in a recession. On Dec. 1 it is revealed that India was alerted to the Mumbai plot in Sept., but gave up its vigilance program; on Dec. 9 alleged mastermind Zaki ur-Rehman Lakhvi (1960-) is arrested in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir; on Dec. 11 Pakistan shuts down the Islamic charity Jamat-ud-Dawa for backing the militants; David C. Headley (1960-) of Chicago, Ill. is accused of scouting targets for the terrorists after he is arrested in Oct. 2009 along with Tahawwur Rana of Canada and charged with plotting to attack the Danish newspaper that pub. the Muhammad cartoons in 2005 along with retired Pakistani maj. Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed. On Dec. 2 GM and Chrysler execs tell the U.S. Congress they need a $34B bailout, forecasting doom for the U.S. economy if they are allowed to fail. On Dec. 2 after the Nat. Repub. Trust raises $1M to keep him from losing his seat and giving Obama a filibuster-proof majority, white conservative Repub. U.S. Sen. (since 2003) Clarence Saxby Chambliss (1943-) of Ga. wins a runoff election against Dem. challenger Jim Martin by 57.5-42.5. On Dec. 3 a new U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement is announced, to take effect Jan. 1, with Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. cmdr. in Iraq telling his troops that they will have to start obtaining warrants before searching homes and detaining suspects. On Dec. 4 600 Israeli troops evict 200 right-wing Jewish settlers from a disputed bldg. in Hebron in the West Bank. causing other settlers to rampage through Palestinian areas; the Kfir Brigade, known for wearing camouflage berets proudly refuses to assist. On Dec. 4 Barack Obama uses his hi-tech Internet capability that helped him get elected to mobilize momentum for health reform; on Dec. 5 the Denver Health Care Summit in Colo. is held, and HHS nominee Sen. Tom Daschle says that the economic collapse is due to high health care costs - therefore he's recommending that more medical schools be built and medical salaries driven down by increasing the number of medical personnel, er, he's recommending that the all-powerful AMA monopoly be bolstered by putting doctors on the govt. dole ahead of other social services so the rich can get richer? On Dec. 6 pres.-elect Obama promises the largest public works construction program since the creation of the U.S. interstate highway system 50 years ago as a part of his economic recovery program; meanwhile he picks U.S. gen. Eric Shinseki (who was forced into retirement in 2003 for telling Congress that more troops are needed in Iraq) as the veteran affairs secy. On Dec. 6-8 leftist youths begin rioting in Athens, Greece after a cop kills a 15-y.-o. boy in Exarchia, spreading to Thessalonica and other Greek cities despite the two officers involved being arrested and charged, and the precinct police chief being suspended; the last time this happened was in 1985. On Dec. 7 Taliban militants attack two transport terminals for U.S. military supplies in Peshawar, Pakistan, destroying 160+ Humvees and trucks. On Dec. 9 a day after telling reporters "Feel free to tape me", Ill. Dem. gov. (since 2003) Milorad R. "Rod" Blagojevich (1956-) is arrested for trying to sell Barack Obama's senate seat for personal profit, causing Obama and his staff to attempt a coverup, er, distance themselves, after which the Ill. state legislature begins efforts to impeach him, which he responds to on Dec. 19 with the soundbyte: "I will fight, I will fight, I will fight until I take my last breath. I have done nothing wrong" (only was caught planning to?), after which on Dec. 30 he coolly appoints look-what-the-tide-washed-in former state atty.-gen. (1991-5) Roland W. Burris (1937-) to Obama's senate seat, bringing in the race card since Burris was the first black elected official in Ill. (1979), and after a bunch of PC flip-flopping he is confirmed, after which it is revealed that he raised money for Blagojevich and had tried to cover it up; meanwhile Caroline Bouvier Kennedy (1957-) asks to be appointed to Sillary, er, Hillary Clinton's N.Y. Sen. seat, causing Rep. Gary Ackerman of Queens on Dec. 10 to utter the soundbyte "I don't know what Caroline Kennedy's qualifications are, except that she has name recognition, but so does Jay-Lo [Jennifer Lopez]"; she drops out on Jan. 23 after problems with taxes and undocumented workers; on June 27, 2011 Blagojevich is convicted on 17 of 20 counts of attempting to sell Obama's Senate seat, and sentenced on Dec. 7, 2011 to 14 years - the Democratic Sarah Palin? On Dec. 9 Pres. Bush addresses the cadets at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, crowing on his great performance in fighting terrorism, saying he has "laid a solid foundation", the U.S. military is "stronger, more agile and better prepared", and "we've laid a solid foundation on which future presidents and future military leaders can build"; he leaves Pakistan with a warning that "We will do what is necessary to protect American troops and the American people." On Dec. 10 a mistaken attack by U.S. forces in Afghanistan kills six Afghan police officers and one civilian. On Dec. 11 nutcase Robert Mugabe (1924-) announces that his govt. has ended the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe; meanwhile it rages on while he keeps internat. aid at bay. On Dec. 11 (night) a $14B emergency bailout for U.S. automakers falls through in the Senate after the UAW refuses to accept wage cuts commensurate with Japanese-owned auto cos. in the U.S. On Dec. 11 a bipartisan Senate committee releases their Report on Detainee Abuse, which says that former U.S. defense secy. Donald Rumsfeld and other top Bush admin. officials are responsible for abuses at Guantanamo Bay prison and elsewhere. On Dec. 11 Richard Cizik resigns from the Nat. Assoc. of Evangelicals after switching to supporting same-sex marriage; he had just been named one of the 100 most influential thinkers by Time mag. On Dec. 11 a suicide bomber at a restaurant in Kirkuk, Iraq during a meeting of Sunni Arabs and Kurds kills 55 and injures 109, demonstrating the fun future of the Iraq govt. after a U.S. pullout. On Dec. 11 nuclear talks with North Korea by the Bush admin. collapse, causing it to be left for Obama's admin. On Dec. 11 the U.N. Security passes Resolution 1267, declaring the Pakistan-based terrorist group Jamaat-ud-Dawa and four others as terrorist fronts. So much for a Jewish conspiracy if they steal each other blind? Or maybe it is a Jewish conspiracy, stay tuned? On Dec. 12 the Madoff Investment Scandal begins when Jewish-Am. investment broker Bernard Lawrence "Bernie" Madoff (1938-) is arrested after he reveals to his sons that his massive empire is a Ponzi scheme, and they turn him in; he is accused of making off with $65B from investors, incl. major names like Steven Spielberg, Elie Wiesel and several rich Palm Beach, Fla. Jews; after being allowed to stay in his rich apt. in New York City for months, he pleads guilty next Mar. 12 and is sent to jail to applause; on June 29 he is sentenced to 150 years in prison after his wife is allowed to keep $2.5M in assets; his case causes the Madoff Bill to be introduced into the N.Y. state legislature in July 2009, forcing the rich to pay for their jail stays at $90 a day; Boston financial analyst Harry Markopolos tried in vain to persuade the SEC since 2000 that Madoff was a crook, and an SEC investigator warned a superior about irregularities with Madoff's financial mgt. firm in 2004, but was ignored; on Dec. 11, 2010 his son Mark Madoff is found hanged in his New York City apt., an apparent suicide; Austrian banker Sonja Cohn is accused on Dec. 10, 2010 of conspiring for 23 years to funnel $9B+ into Madoff's Ponzi scheme; after only $1B is located, the mystery of where the money went becomes the biggest conspiracy theory since who killed JFK? - funneled to Israel? He shoulda been made Federal Reserve chairman? On Dec. 12 the BBC announces that it will not air the Crufts Dog Show (biggest in Britain) over allegations of inbreeding in pedigreed dogs. On Dec. 13 Miss Russia Kseniya Sukhinova (1987-) of Siberia is crowned Miss World #58 in Johannesburg, South Africa - kiss ya and shiver all over? On Dec. 24 Meet the Press gets new moderator David Michael Gregory (1970-) (until ?). On Dec. 14 (Sun.) Pres. Bush makes a surprise state visit to Iraq to crow about his success, saying "The war is not over but it is decisively on its way to being won" (4,209 U.S. military dead, $576B spent, 150K troops remaining in Iraq); too bad, during a press conference Iraqi reporter Muntadar al-Zaidi (1979-) hurls his shoes at him (a gesture meaning he's lower than dirt), with the soundbyte "This is a farewell kiss, you dog"; Bush, who displays quick reflexes in ducking the missiles, later jokes "It was a size 10"; a new folk hero is born?; too bad, on Dec. 22 Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki claims he was put up to it by an unnamed militant known for slitting throats; on Mar. 12, 2009 he is sentenced to three years to cheers for being a hero; he could have gotten 15 years - Rosa Klebb in "From Russia With Love"? On Dec. 16 the U.S. Federal Reserve lowers its prime rate to banks to virtually zero in an all-out attempt to jumpstart the stalled economy. On Dec. 16 a bus carrying Russian tour guides crashes in the S Israeli desert near Eilat, killing 26 and injuring dozens. On Dec. 16 French police find five sticks of dynamite in a Paris dept. store along with a demand for the withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan. On Dec. 17 Iraqi officials announce the arrest of 35 Iraq Ministry of the Interior officials for planning a coup; meanwhile British PM Gordon Brown announces that British troops will withdraw from Iraq before June 1, and Iraqi speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani resigns amid debate about a bill to order the withdrawal of all non-U.S. forces by July 31 along with another debate on a Shiite motion to discuss the case of shoe-tosser Muntadar al-Zaidi. On Dec. 18 a nonbinding resolution is passed by the U.N. Gen. Assembly, backed by the 57-nation Saudi-based Org of the Islamic Conference urging members to take state action against "defamation of religion" and "incitement to religious hatred", particularly Muslim; meanwhile another nonbinding resolution calling for worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality is signed by 66 of 192 U.N. member countries, but the U.S. refuses. On Dec. 18 Col. Theoneste Bagosora (1941-), ringleader of the 1994 Rwanda genocide is sentenced to life in prison for the massacre of 800K, becoming the highest-ranking officer convicted by the U.N. Internat. Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. On Dec. 20 Continental Airlines Flight 1404 en route to Houston runs off the runway in Denver, Colo. in a snowstorm on takeoff, catching fire and injuring 38 of 112 aboard. On Dec. 20 adm. Mike Mullen, chmn. of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff says that the U.S. may double the number of troops in Afghanistan by next summer from 30K to 60K. On Dec. 21 the AP reveals that pay and perks for the execs of the bailed-out banks this year will come to $1.6B. On Dec. 21 U.S. vice-pres. Dick Cheny is interviewed by Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday", saying tht the pres. "doesn't have to check with anybody" before launching nukes, and "could launch the kind of devastating attack the world has never seen... He has that authority because of the nature of the world we live in. It's unfortunate, but I think we're perfectly appropriate to take the steps we have"; he also ridicules vice-pres. elect Joe Biden for calling him "the most dangerous vice-president", pointing out that it's Article II not Article I of the U.S. Constitution that gives the pres. broad executive powers, and adding that if Biden wants to diminish the office, that's his call. On Dec. 22 Guinea pres. (since 1984) Lansana Conte (b. 1934) dies, and on Dec. 23 after drawing lots twice with two other soldiers, Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara (1964-) seizes power in the bauxite-exporting electricity-lacking France-hating Repub. of Guinea, becoming de facto pres. (until ?), ruling from military camps instead of govt. bldgs., deflating any hopes that he will bring democracy to this African stinkhole by massacring 157 on Oct. 1, 2009. On Dec. 24 Bishop Desmond Tuto says that it's time to threaten Zimbabwean pres. Robert Mugabe with removal by force, citing his misrule and the death of 1.1K from a cholera epidemic; meanwhile Mugabe brings human rights activist Jestina Mukoko to trial for plotting his overthrow. On Dec. 25 recently-divorced 45-y.-o. Bruce Jeffrey Pardo (b. 1963) dresses up as Santa Claus and arrives at the home of his ex's parents in Covina, Calif., then opens up, killing eight, then accidentally sets his suit on fire while throwing Molotov cocktails, giving him critical burns, after which he commits suicide at his brother's home near Sylmar; he was carrying $17K in cash and a plane ticket to Canada. On Dec. 25 Chinese police arrest 59 in Tibet for downloading banned "reactionary songs" from the Internet at the behest of the Dalai Lama. On Dec. 27 (Sat.) Israeli forces begin Operation Cast Lead, an all-out air assault on Hamas in the Gaza Strip, which the Palestinians call "the Massacre of Black Saturday", as Israeli bombs kill 350, incl. 62 women and children, and injure 1.4K by Dec. 28; the Israelis warned them first via phone calls and leaflets; they finally pullout on Jan. 18, 2009 after killing up to 1.4K Palestinians (most on the first day) (incl. 400 women and children), injuring 5K, and destroying 4K and damaging 20K houses, after which Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri declares "We are the winner"; on Dec. 26 Turkish diplomats claimed to be on the verge of clinching a peace deal between Israel and Syria, and when they started the operation without informing him first, Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan began turning on Israel? On Dec. 27 Berkley Books (Penguin Group) cancels the contract for the book Angel at the Fence: The True Story of a Love That Survived by alleged Holocaust survivor Herman Rosenblat (1930-) after they prove it's a hoax; he had claimed that his wife Roma Radzicky was a young Jewish girl pretending to be Christian, who would pass him food through the fence at Buchenwald camp, after which they met in the 1950s on a blind date and got married, fooling Oprah Winfrey, who hosted them and called their fiction "the single greatest love story... we've ever told on the air"; the film adaptation goes on? On Dec. 28 a bomb in the backpack of Li Yan explodes prematurely as he is about to plant it in a coffee shop in Kunming, SW China owned by two Americans and frequented by Westerners. On Dec. 30 Herman A. Van Rompuy (1947-) (Flemish) becomes PM of Belgium (until Nov. 25, 2009), succeeding Yves Leterme. On Dec. 30 Kabine (Kabiné) Komara (1950-) becomes PM of Guinea (until ?). On Dec. 30 the Dow Jones Industrial Avg. closes at 8,668.39 (up 184.46) (vs. 13,365.87 at the end of 2007). On Dec. 31 a fire in the crowded Santika Club in Bangkok, Thailand kills 59 and injures 180. On Dec. 31 Madonna's Sticky and Sweet Tour ends the year with a record $408M in ticket sales for a solo artist. On Dec. 31 the U.S. Nat. Debt reaches a record 74.1% of GDP (vs. 68.1% under Clinton on Dec. 31, 1996). In Dec. the U.S. loses 524K jobs (1M in the last 2 mo.), for a yearly net loss of 2.59M jobs (12 consecutive mo., accelerating each mo.), worse since WWII, shutting out even college grads. In Dec. the U.S. Joint Forces Command issues its Joint Operating Environment 2008 Report, listing Pakistan and Mexico as the most likely states to collapse in the near future, causing Pres. Felipe Calderon next Jan. 9 to deny that there is chaos in Mexico or that "the civilian population was being massacred in the streets." In Dec. United We Dream is founded in Washington, D.C. for "the elimination of barriers to higher education for immigrant youth" by working to persuade the U.S. public and legislators to embrace the DREAM Act as enlightened policy rooted in "principles of social inclusion and justice". In Dec. Valerie Jarrett, co-chmn. of the Obama-Biden transition team signs a memorandum of understanding with Clinton Foundation CEO Bruce Lindsey that the foundation's activities will not "create conflicts or the appearance of conflicts for Senator Clinton as Secretary of State", which doesn't stop 180+ persons, cos., and foreign govts. from giving it money while officially lobbying the U.S. State Dept. The U.S. Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2008 is a 10-year aid package to Israel that requires that military aid maintain Israel's "qualitative military edge" over any combination of states and non-state actors. Indonesia issues a ban on followers of the minority Ahmadiyah sect from promoting their activities. Three Kurdish villages led by Turkish parliamentarian Suleyman Celebi start a war on Mor Gabriel Monastery in Turkey, founded in 397 C.E. The first major natural gas discovery in Israel is made off the coast of Haifa, containing 8T cu. ft., followed in Aug. 2010 by up to 1.5B barrels of oil near Rosh Ha'ayin, enough to make Israel self-sufficient for three decades. The U.S. Genetic Info. Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) is passed, prohibiting insurance cos. from using family medical histories or genetic testing to deny medical insurance or set rates, effective next Dec. 7. Bahrain passes a law setting a min. age of 15 for girls to marry, but because of Islamic influence leaves a loophole allowing younger girls to be married with the consent of the courts; meanwhile British PM Gordon Brown and Hazel Blears set up the Nat. Muslim Women's Advisory Group of 19 women to help Muslim women break down cultural barriers incl. forced measures; in Apr. 2010 founding member Shaista Gohir resigns, calling it a "political fad". Pakistani-born Maajid Nawaz (1978-), member for 14 years of the Sharia-loving caliph-desiring Hizb ut-Tahrir (Liberation Party) suddenly claims to have a change in heart and devote his life to fighting Islamic extremism, with the soundbyte: "After learning through my studies that Islamism was not the religion of Islam, but rather a modern political ideology, I no longer felt guilty simply for criticising a political system inspired by 7th century norms", founding the Quilliam Foundation in London, which battles "the Narrative", "that the West is waging a war against Islam and Muslims to destroy Islam, and that the only way to stop this war is for Muslims to start fighting back on all fronts against the West"- why don't I believe he's honest, and suspect he's just a Muslim disinfo. expert? Indian-born Sikh Sant Singh Chatwal, founder of Hampshire Hotels and Resorts,and owner of the Bombay Palace restaurant chain raises $100K for Hillary's pres. campaign, becoming a trustee of the William J. Clinton Foundation and good friends with Bill and Hillary; on Apr. 17, 2014 he pleads guilty to illegal campaign contributions to "three unnamed candidates", and is sentenced on July 31 to ?. Sheryl Kara Sandberg (1969-) becomes CEO of Facebook (until ?). The Peter G. Peterson Foundation is founded by Peter George Peterson (1926-), co-founder of the Blackstone Group asset mgt. co., former U.S. commerce secy. (1972-3), and chmn. of the Council on Foreign Relations (until June 30, 2007), with a $1B endowment and a mission to address U.S. fiscal sustainability issues incl. deficits, tax policies, and entitlement programs; the first dir. is David M. Walker (1951-), U.S. comptroller gen. in 1998-2008. The annual $75K Cundill Prize in History is founded at McGill U. in Canada by Canadian investor F. Peter Cundill (1938-2011) for the non-fiction book most likely to have profound literary, social, and academic impact in the area of history, becoming the richest non-fiction historical lit. prize in the world; the first award goes to Stuart B. Schwartz for "All Can Be Saved: Religious Tolerance and Salvation in the Iberian Atlantic World" (2007). The annual Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. Prize for distinguished writing in American history of enduring public significance is established by the Society of Am. Historians, with a $10K award. Harlow, Essex, England-born fashion designer Victoria Caroline Beckham (nee Adams) (1974-) (formerly Posh Spice of the Spice Girls) (wife of soccer star David Beckham) launches her own fashion label, becoming a success despite being a WAG (wife/girlfriend of a high-profile prof. athlete). Band-e Amir ("dam of the commander of the faithful Imam Ali") consisting of five lakes in the Hindu Kush Mts. of C Afghanistan (W of the Buddhas of Bamiyan) becomes Afghanistan's first nat. park. The FEMEN feminist protest group is founded in Ukraine to hold topless protests against sexism. Lindsay Lohan announces a lesbian relationship with Samantha "Sam" Ronson (1977-). The Internet authorizes new "dot anything" domain names. $9 Zhu Zhu (Chin. "little pig") Pets are introduced by Russ Hornsby of Cepia LLC of St. Louis, Mo., becoming a craze during the 2009 Xmas holidays. Sports: On Feb. 17 the 2008 (50th) Daytona 500 is won by Ryan Joseph "Rocket Man" Newman (1977-), who receives a special gold-plated Harley J. Earl Trophy. On Apr. 20 Danica Patrick (1982-) finally breaks the "gas ceiling" and wins the Indy Japan 300, becoming the first female winner in IndyCar history - and how many women were looking for shells today? On May 3 the Kentucky Derby is attended by Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea, and Eight Belles (b. 2005), the race's first filly in nine years finishes 2nd, 4-3/4 lengths behind favorite Big Brown; too bad, she then collapses with two broken front ankles and has to be euthanized on the track - sounds like Hillary's race? On May 24-June 4 the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals see the Detroit Red Wings defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2, becoming their 11th win and 4th in 11 seasons; MVP is Swedish-born 5'11" center Henrik Zetterberg (1980-), who scores the series-winning goal; Niklas Lidstrom becomes the first Euro-born-and-trained team capt. to win the Stanley cup. On May 25 (Sun.) the 2008 (92nd) Indianapolis 500 is won by fastest qualifier Scott Ronald Dixon (1980-) of New Zealand. On June 5-17 the 2008 NBA Finals sees the Boston Celtics (coach Doc Rivers) defeat the Los Angeles Lakers (coach Phil Jackson) by 4-2, becoming their first win since 1986 (17th overall); small forward Paul Pierce (1977-) (#34) of the Celtics is MVP. On June 16 Tiger Woods wins his 3rd U.S. Open (14th major title) in dramatic fashion, defeating 157th-ranked Rocco Anthony Mediate (1962-) in a sudden-death playoff after surviving on June 14 by making two eagles on the final 9 holes, followed by a 2-ft. birdie putt on the 72nd hole, calling it the "greatest tournament I've ever had"; he is later discovered to have a fractured leg, and is told to lay off for 9 mo. to let it heal. On July 6 Rafael Nadal Parera (1986-) of Spain defeats 5-time champ Roger Federer of Switzerland for the Wimbledon men's singles tennis title in 5 sets in a record 4:47 with two rain breaks, becoming the first Spaniard to win since Manuel Santana in 1966 and the first male since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win the French Open (against Federer) and Wimbledon the same year. On July 8 after seven seasons, two NBA MVPs, and six All-Star picks, superstar 6'8" forward LeBron Raymone "King" James (1984-) leaves the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat (until 2014), as announced in the ESPN special The Decision; the Seattle SuperSonics relocate to Okla. City, Okla., becoming the Oklahoma City Thunder, changing the team colors to blue-yellow-sunset. On Aug. 14 Am. jockey Russell A. Baze (1958-) becomes the first with 10K wins at Golden Gate Fields on Two Step Cat; he passes the 11K mark on Aug. 14, 2010. On Nov. 7 Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan becomes the first in NBA history to win 1K games with the same team with a 104-97 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. On Nov. 29 the China Speed Horse Race Open becomes the first officially-sanctioned horse race in China since the declaration of the People's Repub. of China in 1949. On ? Serbian tennis player Ana Ivanovic (1987-) defeats Dinara Safina to win the 2008 French Open, followed on ? by the Australian Open, achieving #1 world ranking. Architecture: On Apr. 1 the National Harbor, Md. waterfront development S of Washington, D.C. at the junction of the Capital Beltway and the Anacostia Freeway near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge opens. On Aug. 16 $720M Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. opens as the home of the NFL Indianapolis Colts. The 787-ft. (240m) Bahrain World Trade Center opens, becoming the first skyscraper to integrate wind turbines. The Neal Bridge in Pittsfield, Maine is made of carbon and glass fiber fabric tubes stuffed with concrete. The Olympic Dragon Terminal in Beijing, which looks like a giant sleeping dragon from the sky opens in Feb. in time for the Beijing Olympics, becoming the world's largest airport terminal (until ?). Silivri Prison in Silivri, Istanbul opens, becoming Turkey's most modern penal facility, and Europe's largest, housing 11K of Istanbul's 16K inmates under pink roofs. Nobel Prizes: 2008: The year of Nobel snubs? Big year for Japan? Peace: Martti Oiva Kalevi Ahtissari (1937-) (Finland); Lit.: Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio (Clézio) (1940-) (France); Physics: Yoichiro Nambu (1921-) (U.S.), Makoto Kobayashi (1944-) (U.S.), and Toshihide Maskawa (1940-) (U.S.) [spontaneous broken symmetry]; Chem.: Osamu Shimomura (1928-) (Japan), Martin Lee Chalfie (1947-) (U.S.), and Roger Yonchien Tsien (1952-) (U.S.) [discovery of green fluorescent protein (GFP) in jellyfish]; colleague Douglas Prasher (whom they owe it all to?) is snubbed, and is found working for $10 an hour in Huntsville, Ala. as a shuttle operator; Med.: Francoise Barre-Sinoussi (Barré-Sinoussi) (1947-) (France) and Luc Antoine Montagnier (1932-) (France) [discovery of HIV] and Harald zur Hausen (1936-) (Germany) [discovery of HPV]; U.S. virologist Robert Charles Gallo (1937-), who disputes credit with the French team is snubbed; Econ.: Paul Robin Krugman (1953-) [U.S.] [New Trade Theory, New Economic Geography]. Inventions: On July 28 the cuil (pr. like cool) search engine is launched by ex-Google employees, featuring the largest index; it shuts down on Sept. 17, 2010. In Nov. the Conficker (Downup) (Downadup) (Kido) Internet worm begins propagating via the bug-filled Microsoft Windows operating system. The $549 ASUS Eee PC 900 netbox is released, with an 8.9-in. display, 12 GB SSD, and 1 GB of RAM, starting yet another techie gadget rev. The Blu-Ray and HDVD formats are locked in competition for HD DVD players this year. The NuVinci Transmission is patented, using rotating and tilting balls to smoothly vary transmission speed. The Octopus Tap increases the flow of beer from a beer tap, allowing up to four spouts. The Bullet Fingerprinting Technique is invented, allowing fingerprints to be recovered from bullets. Science: Researchers at the U. of Southern Denmark discover that the schizophrenia drug thioridazine kills antibiotic-resistance bacteria incl. Staphylococcus aureus; in 2013 it is found that it works by weakening the cell wall. On Jan. 18 Botanic Gardens Conservation Internat. issues a statement that "400 medicinal plants are at risk of extiction, from over-collection and deforestation, threatening the discovery of future cures for disease"; examples incl. Yew trees, Hoodia, Magnolias, and Autumn crocus. On Jan. 31 British scientists announce the creation of sperm cells from a human female embroyo, opening up the possibility of lesbian couples having children. On Feb. 14 the 124K-member Am. College of Physicians calls for the U.S. govt. to end its ban on research on marijuana as a medicine. On Feb. 14 an article in Nature reveals what we've always wanted to know, whether bats developed their airborne sonar before or after learning to fly, a 52M-y.-o. bat fossil of Onychonycteridae finneyi (AKA "the clawed bat") (found in Wyo. in 2003), showing wings but no sonar equipment, and claws on all five fingers instead of just 1-2 like modern bats - so they got sonar after trimming Lady Five Fingers? In Feb. High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) creates a patch of "artificial ionosphere" using their 3.6MW radio transmitter, leading to a new way to bounce radio signals around the Earth. In Mar. Avraham Trakhtman, a Russian immigrant to Israel who worked as a night watchman becomes a real-life Good Will Hunting by solving the 1970 Road Coloring Problem, proving the existence of a universal map permitting a traveller to reach a given destination whatever his starting point. In Mar. French surgeon Laurent Lantieri of Henri-Mondor Hospital in Creteil performs the first full face transplant on neurofibromatosis sufferer Pascal Coler. On Apr. 24 an article in Science reports that protein derived from T-Rex bones closely resembles the main protein in chicken and ostrich bones and is only distantly related to lizard protein - tastes like chicken jokes here? In Apr. astronomers discover a storm on Saturn's moon Titan the size of India. On May 5 Archives of Gen. Psychiatry reports that 6-year-olds whose mothers breastfeed them have a verbal IQ 7.5 points higher - the next study will show that oral sex raises IQ among adults? On June 16 a Swedish study of 90 adults pub. in the Proceedings of the Nat. Academy of Sciences Journal finds that gay men and hetero women have brain halves of similar size, while lezzies and straight men have bigger right sides, lending evidence to sexual orientation being genetically determined or influenced - or proof that the once perfect 100% straight human race is degenerating through God's judgment on sin? On June 19 the New England Journal of Medicine pub. a report on a 52-y.-o. Ore. man with terminal skin cancer who was put into remission after an experimental treatment that revved up his T cells. On June 28 U.S. scientist Mark Serreze of the Nat. Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. predicts that the North Pole may becoming ice-free for the first time in recorded history by the end of the summer; luckily, he was wrong. On July 25 an article in Science shows that in the U.S. girls in grades 2-11 have caught up with boys in math tests in the top 5% echelon, making former Harvard U. pres. Lawrence Summers look lame - but what about at the college and postgraduate level? In Aug. the $10B 5-mi.-diam. Large Hadron Collider in Meyrin Switzerland begins test runs, hoping to eventually prove the existence of dark matter and dark energy, which make up 96% of the Universe, plus the Higgs boson, which gives mass to matter, not to mention evidence of the 10 dimensions of superstring theory; meanwhile critics warn that it might cause micro black holes to be created which hunker down inside the Earth and gobble it up; an electrical fault in Sept. 2008 causes it to be shut down until Nov. 20, 2009; in 2009 Holger Bech Nielsen of Denmark and Masao Ninomiya of Japan pub. a theory that the Higgs boson is so abhorrent to Nature that its creation could ripple back in Time and stop the colider before it could make one. On Aug. 5 the Wildlife Conservation Society reports that the gorilla pop. in the Congo is now 125K, double what they used to believe. On Sept. 1 Google releases Chrome, a free open-source competitor to Microsoft's expensive monopolistic Internet Explorer. On Sept. 5 three studies are pub. in Science and Nature, showing how the cascade of genetic changes that turn brain and pancreas cells cancerous proceed along the same 12 core pathways. On Sept. 16 Vatican spokesman Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi announces that Darwin's Theory of Evolution is compatible with the Bible, but plans no posth. apology to Charles Darwin (1809-82), while announcing a Rome conference next Mar. for the 150th anniv. of his "Origin of Species". On Sept. 28 (Sun.) SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies) successfully launches its commercial rocket Falcon 1 into orbit from the South Pacific carrying a dummy payload on the 4th attempt. On Oct. 17 the NASA Cassini spacecraft makes the first observations from within the radio aura of another planet other than the Earth, Saturn. On Oct. 22 India launches its 2-year Chandrayaan-1 ("Moon Craft-1") mission (ends 2008) to map the lunar surface and search for water; it reaches the Moon on Nov. 12; in Aug. 2009 it detects evidence of large quantities of water in the polar regions. In Oct. photos of Mercury sent by the NASA Messenger spacecraft reveal that the planet was racked by volcanoes 3.8B-4B years ago, but fail to reveal the composition of the mysterious blue material all over the planet. On Nov. 12 doctors announce that a 42-y.-o. Am. patient /living in Berlin, Germany has been cured of AIDS after receiving a bone marrow transplant 20 mo. earlier, giving AIDS patients hope, although the procedure is costly and dangerous. On Nov. 14 the Hubble Space Telescope captures the first photos of planet Formalhaut B, circling Formalhaut 25 l.y. from Earth in the constellation Piscis Australis (Southern Fish), becoming the first photo of a planet circling another star outside the Solar System. On Nov. 20 Nature pub. the result of a $1M study by Stephen Schuster et al. of Penn State U. which deciphered the genetic code of the woolly mammoth, concluding that they could be recreated in as little as 10-20 years - tell McDonald's to try selling one billion of them burgers? In Nov. the U.S. govt. begins funding the Human Microbiome Project to see if shit from one person's intestines can help another person with antibiotic-resistant C. difficile to fight back - shit happens jokes here? In Nov. scientists announce that they have mapped all of the genes of a person with cancer, incl. normal and cancerous cells. In Nov. IBM announces Blue Gene, a supercomputer that they will use to explore the frontiers of computing and brain simulation. On Dec. 28 Thomas Inge et al. of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital report that stomach stapling can reverse Type 2 diabetes in youths just like in adults. On Dec. 30 China announces the discovery of the largest dinosaur fossil site on Earth in Zhucheng, containing 7.6K fossils. In Dec. Alexey Vikhlinin announces that observations from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory indicate that dark energy, which fights gravity to cause the Universe to keep expanding also keeps clusters of 1K or more bright galaxies from getting too big. In Dec. the first exo-solar organic molecules are detected in Jupiter-sized Planet HD 189733b; next year HD 209458b becomes the 2nd exoplanet with organic signatures detected. Japanese scientist Osamu Shimomura isolates a glowing green fluorescent protein in the jellyfish. Seth Lloyd of MIT proposes Quantum Illumination to improve the sensitivity of radar. The Dark Flow of billions of stars racing towards the edge of the observable Universe is discovered by Harald Ebeling of the U. of Hawaii and Dale Kocevski of UC Santa Cruz. Am. neurologists Jack Gallant and Shinji Nishimoto at UCB discover a way to correlate activity in the human brain cortex with static images seen by the subject; next year they extend the technique to moving scenes. Nonfiction: Peter Ackroyd (1949-), Poe: A Life Cut Short. Uri Avneri (1923-), 1948: A Soldier's Tale, the Bloody Road to Jerusalem; Israel's Vicious Circle. Andrew J. Bacevich (1947-), The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism. Robert Baer (1952-), The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower (Aug. 18); Iran has already half-won its 30-year war with the U.S.? Nicholson Baker, Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, The End of Civilization. Russ Baker, Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put it in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America (Dec. 18); George H.W. Bush's suspected involvement in the Kennedy assassination, Watergate, et al. J.G. Ballard (1930-2009), Miracles of Life (autobio.). James Bamford (1946-), The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America; how 9/11 turned the NSA from downsizing to mushroom growth, "the largest, most costly, and most technologically sohisticated spy organization the world has ever known", with new tools "Orwell's Thought Police would have found useful"; "Never before in history have so few people wiretapped so many"; the 500K-name Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), which is sued to screw honest Americans up, "sits ingloriously on a dated and inexpensive Dell laptop in the basement of the National Counterterrorism Center". Russell Banks (1940-), Dreaming Up America. Clive Barker (1952-), The Painter, The Creature and The Father of Lies: Essays. Julian Barnes (1946-), Nothing to Be Frightened Of (autobio.). Greg Bear (1951-), City at the End of Time; about the city of Kalpa in 300T C.E., which is fighting the Typhon, and sends psychic messages to three drifters in modern-day Seattle, Wash. Harry Beckhough, Germany's Fourth Reich; German domination of the EU. Peter W. Bernstein and Annalyn Swan, All the Money in the World: How the Forbes 400 Make - And Spend - Their Fortunes (Dec. 2). Benazir Bhutto (1953-2007) and Mark Siegel, Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West (Feb. 12); claims that Islam can peacefully coexist with the world, that the Quran promotes female equality, that Islam and democracy are "not only compatible but mutually sustaining", and that Western Islamophobes are upset over nothing; too bad, a few days after completing the ms. she is assassinated by er, Muslims. Stephen G. Bloom and Peter Feldstein, The Oxford Project; photojournal of Oxford, Iowa, pop. 700. Howard Blum, American Lighting: Terror, Mystery, Movie-Making & the Crime of the Century; the 1910 Los Angeles Times bldg. bombing. Abraham Bolden, The Echo from Dealey Plaza; the first African-Am. Secret Service agent (1961), who is subjected to racism. Andrew G. Bostom, The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History (June 5). Taylor Branch, Wrestling History: The Bill Clinton Tapes; his 80 secret White House conversations with Pres. Clinton. H.W. Brands, Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Judith M. Brown, Gandhi and Civil Disobedience: The Mahatma in Indian Politics, 1928-1934. Zbigniew Brzezinski (1928-), and Brent Scowcroft (1925-), America and the World: Conversations on the Future of American Foreign Policy. Tom Brown Jr. (1950-), Conversations with Grandfather (7 vols.) (2008-9). Charles Bukowski (1921-94), Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook: Uncollected Stories and Essays, 1944-1990 (posth.). Avraham Burg (1955-), The Holocaust Is Over: We Must Rise From Its Ashes (Oct. 28); Israeli Jewish politician raises a firestorm of controversy by comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, and claiming that Israel's cloning of that nation-state and wallowing in the Holocaust is Hitler's final victory. Nina Burleigh, Unholy Business: A True Tale of Faith, Greed and Forgery in the Holy Land (Oct.). Vincent Bzdek, Woman of the House: The Rise of Nancy Pelosi. Dana Canedy, A Journal for Jordan: A Memoir of Love and Loss. Jimmy Carter, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Ha-Joon Chang (1963-), Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism (Dec. 23); claims that history proves that the modern economic superpowers got that way by shameless protectionism and govt. intervention in industry, and are promoting a fairy tale about free trade that the IMF, World Bank, and WTO are ramming down developing countries' throats. Raj Chetty (1979-), Moral Hazard vs. Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance (Apr.). Pat Choate, Dangerous Business: The Risks of Globalization for America. Deepak Chopra (1946-), The Third Jesus: The Christ We Cannot Ignore; Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment; Jesus studied the Kabbalah and esoteric wisdom? Christopher Ciccone (1960-), Life with My Sister Madonna (July 14); her bay brother and personal asst. exposes all her dirty laundry in order to knock her off her high horse? Ta-Nehisi Paul Coates (1975-), The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood (autobio.). Jenny Cockell (1953-), Journeys Through Time: Uncovering My Past Lives. Steve Coll (1958-), The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century. Jennet Conant, The Irregulars (Sept. 9); Roald Dahl's WWII British spy years, and his sexual liaisons with Clare Boothe Luce and Millicent Rogers. Ward Connerly, Lessons from My Uncle James. David Cope (1941-), Hidden Structure: Music Analysis Using Computers. Dora L. Costa and Matthew E. Kahn, Heroes and Cowards: The Social Face of War. Robin Darwall-Smith, A History of University College, Oxford (June 18); first treatment in over a cent. John Darwin (1948-), After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire Since 1405 (Feb. 5). David Brion Davis (1927-), In Human Bondage: Slavery in the New World. Katie Davis (1989-), Awake Joy: the Essence of Enlightenment (Feb. 1). Jerome Robert Corsi (1946-), The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality (aug. 5). Jay P. Dolan, The Irish Americans. James W. "Jim" Douglass (1937), JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters; he was killed by "unspeakable" forces within the U.S. nat. security state after he changed from Cold Warrior to Man of Peace? Billy Doyle, The Mirage of Separation (Apr. 4). Tony Dungy (1955-), Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life; first NFL-related title to reach #1 on the NYT bestseller list. Martin Edmond, Luca Antara. Barbara Ehrenreich (1941-), This Land Is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation. Bart D. Ehrman (1955-), God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question - Why Do We Suffer?; Princeton theological student gives up his faith and claims the Bible doesn't really answer anything, but gives his own reasoning on why we should all work to alleviate suffering anyway. Marc Eliot, Reagan: The Hollywood Years; Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood. Per Olov Enquist (1934-), A Different Life (autobio.). Gunter Faltin (1944-), Brain versus Capital (Kopf schlagt Kapital); English tr. Feb. 2013. Jonathan Fast (1948-), Ceremonial Violence: The Psychological Explanation for School Rampage Shooting. Tarek Fatah, Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State (first book); liberal Pakistani-born Canadian Muslim takes on the ultimate Islamic goal, advocating separation of church and state along with religious tolerance - is that a misdemeanor or felony under Sharia? Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War; how the mass deaths in the U.S. Civil War transformed society. Jules Feiffer (1929-), Feiffer: The Collected Works. Andrew Ferguson, Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe's America. Niall Ferguson (1964-), The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World (Nov. 3); history of money, ending with Chinamerica, and how an Asian savings glut propelled the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis. George Fetherling (1949-), River of Gold: The Fraser and Cariboo Gold Rushes. Eamonn Fingleton, In the Jaws of the Dragon: America's Fate in the Coming Era of Chinese Dominance. Jon Fisher (1972-), Strategic Entrepreneurism: Shattering the Start-Up Entrepreneurial Myths (Sept. 15). Caroline Fourest, Brother Tariq: The Doublespeak of Tariq Ramadan; how he pretends to be pro-West but really wants an Islamic takeover. David Freddoso, The Case Against Barack Obama: The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media's Favorite Candidate; "I don't think you beat Obama by saying that he's Paris Hilton. The more important thing is really to look at is he who he says he is. Is he really this great reformer?"; "He's like all the rest of them. Not a reformer. Not a Messiah. Just like all the rest of them in Washington"; claims he won his Ill. Sen. seat by getting a team of attys. to throw all the other candidates off the ballot on technicalities, incl. a veteran black woman who helped him get his start, then backed mayor Richard Daley and his machine. Jo Freeman (1945-), We Will Be Heard: Women's Struggles for Political Power in the United States. David M. Friedman, The Immortalists: Charles Lindbergh, Dr. Alexis Carrel and Their Daring Quest to Live Forever; Lindy'a attempt to save the life of his heart-damaged sister leads him to work with the tissue culture expert and invent a way to keep organs alive for weeks outside the body. Francis Fukuyama (1952-) (ed.), Falling Behind: Explaining the Development Gap Between Latin America and the United States. John Lewis Gaddis (1941-), Ending Tyranny: The Past and Future of an Idea. James K. Galbraith (1952-), The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too; how the Bush admin. turned govt. over to the big corps. Oded Galor (1956-) and Quarul H. Ashraf, Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch. Jan Garavaglia (1956-), How Not to Die: Surprising Lessons on Living Longer; medical examiner tells how 90% of corpses in the morgue died suddenly and unexpectedly from not taking medicine, accidents, bee stings, carbon monoxide, etc.; the #1 day for the morgue is Christmas? Nelson George and Alan Leeds (eds.) The James Brown Reader: 50 Years of Writing About the Godfather of Soul (Apr. 29). Diana DeGette (1957-), (with Daniel Paisner), Sex, Science and Stem Cells: Inside the Right Wing Assault on Reason; Colo. Dem. Rep. known for backing stem-cell research shows how the U.S. religious right has politicized science and hijacked the Repub. Party. Sir Martin Gilbert (1936-), The Story of Israel. Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, 1919-1950; about Pauli Murray (1910-85). Newt Gingrich (1943-), Real Change: From the World That Fails to the World that Works. Malcolm Gladwell (1963-), Outliers: The Story of Success (Nov. 8); duh, the formula is doing meaningful work, work hard, and remembering that reward depends on effort? Caroline Glick, Shackled Warrior: Israel and the Global Jihad (Apr. 20); how resurgent Islamic fundamentalism is the #1 threat to Israel and the West. Herbert Gold (1924-), Still Alive!: A Temporary Condition (autobio.). Ben Goldacre (1974-), Bad Science (Sept.); exposes medical fads and quacks incl. the Brain Gym, and dissing the medical profession for caving into drug co. pressure. Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism. Eva Golinger, Bush vs. Chavez: Washington's War on Venezuela. Annette Gordon-Reed (1958-), The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (Pulitzer Prize) (first African-Am.) tracing the 75 descendants of Elizabeth Hemings, incl. the descendants of Thomas Jefferson. Amit Goswamy, Creative Evolution: A Physicist's Resolution Between Darwinism and Intelligent Design (Sept. 1). Simon Gray (1936-2008), The Last Cigarette: Smoking Diaries Vol. 3; Coda (posth.). Robin Griffith-Jones (1956-), Beloved Disciple: The Misunderstood Legacy of Mary Magdalene, the Woman Closest to Jesus; by the master of the Temple Church in London, so he oughta know? Terry Grossman (1947-) and Ray Kurzweil (1948-), Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever; people who are now 60 (like him?) will live to a healthy 120, at which point emerging technologies will kick in for those who can afford it; sugar is "the white Satan" - sounds like Satan is selling sugar, want any, Tim Russert? Mamdouh Habib and Julia Collingwood, My Story: The Tale of a Terrorist Who Wasn't; Egyptian-born Australian Muslim detained at Gitmo for helping to plan 9/11 is later released and proclaimed innocent. David Halberstam (1934-2007), The Glory Game: How the 1958 NFL Championship Changed Football Forever (posth.); completed by Frank Gifford. Judith von Halle (1927-), Secrets of the Stations of the Cross and the Grail Blood: The Mystery of Transformation; how she received the stigmata in 2004 and began to experience visions of events from the time of Christ. Chelsea Handler (1975-), Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea (Apr. 22); bestseller. Donna Haraway (1944-), When Species Meet. Daoud Hari, The Translator (autobio.); memoir of the Darfur massacres; "If American atheletes saw what I saw the Chinese doing in Darfur, they would not be able to play sports at the Olympics". Kathryn Harrison, While They Slept: An Inquiry Into the Murder of a Family (June); the 1984 Gilley family murders. Gary Hart (1936-), Under the Eagle's Wing: A National Security Strategy for the United States for 2009; "In the 21st century, we will have increasing difficulty distinguishing the security of some from the security of all... The new twenty-first-century security demands that nations collaborate across cultural and ideological barriers and across national borders to achieve common goals." Thom Hartmann (1951-) and Lamar Waldron, Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination. Brian Haughton, Haunted Spaces, Sacred Places: A Field Guide to Stone Circles, Crop Circles, Ancient Tombs, and Supernatural Landscapes (July 1); Lore of the Ghost: The Origins of the Most Famous Ghost Stories Throughout the World (Sept. 1). Shirley Hazzard (1931-), The Ancient Shore: Dispatches from Naples. Chris Hedges (1956-), I Don't Believe in Atheists (Mar. 4); both the atheists and the religious fundamentalists don't get it, because religion is for making us into moral human beings? Chris Hedges (1956-) and Laila Al-Arian, Collateral Damage: America's War Against Iraqi Civilians (June 3). Arthur Herman, Gandhi and Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age. George C. Herring, From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations Since 1776; the U.S. has always been "an active and influential player in foreign affairs" and "aggressively and relentlessly expansionist", "heralds of a novus ordo seclorum, a new world order, in which enlightened diplomacy based on free trade would create a beneficent system that would serve the broader interest of mankind rather than the selfish needs of monarchs and their courts". Esther Hicks (1948-) and Jerry Hicks, Money and the Law of Attraction: Learning to Attract Health, Wealth and Happiness (Aug.); The Astonishing Power of Emotions: Let Your Feelings Be Your Guide (Sept.). Edward Hoagland (1932-), Early in the Season: A British Columbia Journal. Philip Hoare (1958-), Leviathan, or The Whale (Sept. 1); what is the true nature of the whale? Michael Holroyd (1935-), A Strange Eventful History: The Dramatic Lives of Ellen Terry, Henry Irving and Their Remarkable Families. Harold Holzer, Lincoln: President-Elect, Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter, 1860-1861; his 16 weeks to prepare, and how he made good use of it. Song Hongbing, Currency Wars; claims that Jews rule the world and were behind Hitler, the JFK assassination, and the 1990s Asian recession; becomes a bestseller in China; claims that the Rothschild family is worth $5T, 100x more than Bill Gates. Mike Huckabee (1955-), Do the Right Thing: Inside the Movement That's Bringing Common Sense Back to America. Lynn Hunt, Inventing Human Rights. Andrew Hurley, Diners, Bowling Alleys, and Trailer Parks: Chasing the American Dream in the Postwar Consumer Culture (Dec. 15). Janis Ian (1951-), Society's Child (autobio.). Georg G. Iggers, Q. Edward Wang, and Supriya Mukherjee, A Global History of Modern Historiography; how Western academic historians of the last 2.5 cents. grew out of their Eurocentrism and are developing more of a global comparative view. Clifford Irving (1930-), Phantom Rosebuds (autobio.). Susan Jacoby (1945-), The Age of American Unreason; how post-WWII society created a "crisis of memory and knowledge involving everything about the way we learn and think". Philip Jenkins (1952-), The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia - and How It Died. Ha Jin (1956-), The Writer as Migrant (essays); his life as a lit. exile. Dr. Richard Johnson and Timothy Gower, The Sugar Fix: The High-Fructose Fallout That is Making You Fat and Sick. Robert Joling and Philip Van Praag, An Open and Shut Case; claims the CIA was behind the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. Brian Jay Jones, Washington Irving: An American Original (first book). Marjorie G. Jones, Frances Yates and the Hermetic Tradition; British historian Dame Frances Amelia Yates (1899-1981). Van Jones (1968-), The Green Collar Economy (Oct. 7). Tony R. Judt (1948-2010), Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century. Robert Kagan (1958-), The Return of History and the End of Dreams. Michio Kaku (1947-), Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel - we won't have the ability to travel in time anytime soon? Stefan Kanfer, Somebody: The Reckless Life and Remarkable Career of Marlon Brando (Mar. 10). David Kaiser, The Road to Dallas: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy; blames it on organized crime and Cubans, no CIA; too bad about Oswald being the patsy? Thomas Keneally (1935-), Searching for Schindler; "Had I read [this] before making the film, I may have made it an hour longer" (Steven Spielberg). David I. Kertzer (1948-), Amalia's Tale: A Peasant's Fight for Justice in 19th Century Italy (An Impoverished Peasant Woman, an Ambitious Journey, and a Fight for Justice). Jytte Klausen, The Islamic Challenge: Politics and Religion in Western Europe. Alec Klein, A Class Apart: Prodigies, Pressure, and Passion Inside of America's Best High Schools; Manhattan's Stuyvesant H.S.; where a grade below 99 is considered flunking? Michael Korda (1933-), Ike: An American Hero. Gary A. Kowalski (1953-), Revolutionary Spirits: The Enlightened Faith of America's Founding Fathers; claims that the U.S. Founding Fathers were neither devout Christians nor secularists but tried to combine religion with the Enlightenment. Deepa Kumar (1968-), Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization, and the UPS Strike. Wally Lamb (1950-), Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story. Robert Betts Laughlin (1950-), The Crime of Reason And the Closing of the Scientific Mind. Edward G. Lengel, To Conquer Hell: The Meuse-Argonne, 1918. Bernard Lewis (1916-), Islam: The Religion and the People; after all the cents. of blood, a Jewish scholar on Islam pontificates that "At no time did the [Muslim] jurist approve of terrorism. Nor indeed is there any evidence of the use of terrorism [in Muslim history]"; "The emergence of the now widespread terrorism practice of suicide bombing is a development of the 20th century"; "The fanatical warrior offering his victims the choice of the Koran or the sword is not only untrue, it is impossible"; "Generally speaking, Muslim tolerance of unbelievers was far better than anything available in Christendom, until the rise of secularism in the 17th century". Michael Lewis (1960-), The Real Price of Everything: Rediscovering the Six Classics of Economics. Jessica Livingston, Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days (Recipes: A Problem-Solution Ap. Ben Macintyre, Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal. Crystal Gail Magnum (1978-), The Last Dance for Grace: The Crystal Magnum Story; the Duke U. rape accuser's cash, er, side. Jane Mayer, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals. Eric S. Margolis (1947-), American Raj: Liberation or Domination? Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World (Oct. 1); predicts an Islamist takeover of Egypt. Ali al-Amin Mazrui (1933-), Globalization and Civilization: Are They Forces in Conflict?; The Politics of War and Culture of Violence; Euro-Jews and Afro-Arabs: The Great Semitic Divergence in History; attempts to explain why "Arabs lagged behind Jews in manifest genius", concluding "Jews have been at their best when they were Europeanized... almost as if you needed a mixture of Jewishness and Europeanness." Mark Matousek (1957-), The Boy He Left Behind: A Man's Search for His Lost Father; his search for the father who boned, er, abandoned him; When You're Falling, Dive: Lessons in the Art of Living; how he copes with HIV. Ali al-Amin Mazrui (1933-) et al. (eds.), Islam in Africa's Experience. Andrew C. McCarthy III, Willful Blindness: Memoir of the Jihad. Scott McClellan (1968-), What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception; Bush's press secy. from 2003-6 accuses Bush of "self-deception" and of maintaining a "permanent campaign approach". Walter Allen McDougall (1946-), Throes of Democracy: The American Civil War Era, 1829-1877. Danica McKellar (1975-), Kiss My Math; why girls should get into it when not watching her as Winnie Cooper in "The Wonder Years". Larry McMurtry (1936-), Books: A Memoir. Jon Ellis Meacham (1969-), American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House (Nov. 11) (Pulitzer Prize). Michael Mirdad, You're Not Going Crazy... You're Just Waking Up! The Five Stages of Soul Transformation Process (Nov. 3); An Introduction to Tantra and Sacred Sexuality (Nov. 8). Jurgen Moltmann (1926-), A Broad Place (autobio.). Thomas Moore (1940-), A Life At Work: The Joy of Discovering What You Were Born to Do. Jefferson Morley, Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA; the CIA station chief in Mexico in 1963 covered-up CIA operations involving Lee Harvey Oswald? Benny Morris (1948-) (ed.), Making Israel. Benny Morris (1948-), 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War. Charles R. Morris, The Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash (Mar.); "The sad truth, however, is that subprime is just the first big boulder in an avalanche of asset write-downs that will rattle on through much of 2008. There will inevitably be margin calls, panicked selling, clamors from shareholders, and the flight from all risky assets that could double or triple the damage." Andrew Morton (1953-), Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography (Jan.); claims he's #2 in command in the Church of Scientology, and that some true believers claim that his daughter Suri was conceived with L. Ron Hubbard's frozen sperm. Paul Mosley and John Hudson, The Macroeconomic Impact of Aid Volatility. Paul Mosley, Ales Bulir, and Alan Gelb, Introduction: the Volatility of Overseas Aid. Nat. Research Council, The New Americans: Economics, Demographics and Fiscal Effects of Immigration; how Mexican immigrants to the U.S. "are poorer, pay less tax, and are more likely to receive public benefits than American citizens", and cost taxpayers $346B a year after some economic voodoo. William Nordhaus (1941-), A Question of Balance: Weighing the Options on Global Warming Policies (June 24). Christiane Northrup, The Secret Pleasures of Menopause. Michael Parenti (1933-), Contrary Notions: The Michael Parenti Reader. Ron Paul (1935-), The Revolution: A Manifesto; libertarian U.S. Rep. (R-Tex.) (1976-85, 1997-) advocates abolishing Social Security, income tax, nationalized health care, the FBI and DEA along with the war on drugs, and ending the Iraq War, starting his own movement. Ralph Peters (1952-), Looking for Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World. James Petras, Zionism, Militarism and the Decline of U.S. Power. Walid Phares, The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad. T. Boone Pickens (1928-), The First Billion is the Hardest: Reflections on a Life of Comebacks and America's Energy Future (Sept. 2); wants to run all of America's trucks on natural gas and fill the prairies with wind generators. Stanley Plumly (1939-), Posthumous Keats: A Personal Biography. Sidney Poitier (1927-), Life Beyond Measure: Letters to My Great-Granddaughter. Samantha Power (1970-), Chasing the Flame Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World. Jill Price (1965-), The Woman Who Can't Forget: The Extraordinary Story of Living with the Most Remarkable Memory Known to Science (autobio.); suffers from hyperthymestic syndrome, never forgetting personal experiences, which weight her down as time progresses; the ultimate OCD? Jon Provost (1950-) and Laurie Jacobson, Timmy's in the Well: The Jon Provost Story; Timmy never fell into a well in "Lassie" but that doesn't stop the popular myth with its own true believers? Ibn Q. Al Rassooli, Lifting the Veil: The True Faces of Muhammad and Islam (Dec. 15). James Arthur Ray (1957-), Harmonic Wealth: The Secret of Attracting the Life You Want (Apr. 8); bestseller; too bad, on Oct. 8, 2009 two die during a sweat lodge ceremony at a Spiritual Warrior retreat in Sedona, Ariz., getting him convicted of negligent homicide - that's the life he wanted to attract? John Rechy (1934-), About My Life and the Kept Woman (autobio.). Andrew Roberts (1963-), Masters and Commanders: How Roosevelt, Churchill, Marshall and Alanbrooke Won the War in the West. David Roberts, Devil's Gate: Brigham Young and the Great Mormon Handcart Tragedy. Aram Roston, The Man Who Pushed America to War: The Extraordinary Life, Adventures, and Obsessions of Ahmad Chalabi. Suze Rotolo (1943-2011), A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties (autobio.); Bob Dylan's girlfriend in 1961-4, who clutches his arm on the cover of his 2nd album "Freewheelin' Bob Dylan"; claims that he may have talent but is no honorable man. Barry Rubin, The Truth About Syria (May 27). Anthony Rudel, Hello Everybody! The Dawn of American Radio. Gus Russo and Stephen Molton, Brothers in Arms: The Kennedys, the Castros and the Politics of Murder. Jeffrey Sachs (1954-), Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet; advocates plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Marc Sageman, Leaderless Jihad; former CIA agent says that al-Qaida is in decline and the new generation of radical Islamists is less skilled and effective. Bill Salus, Isralestine: The Ancient Blueprints of the Future Middle East (July 7); uses the Bible to predict the outcome of the inevitable Jewish-Muslim war. Ricardo S. Sanchez (1951-), Wiser in Battle: A Soldier's Story; U .S. CIC in Iraq in 2003 retires and slams Pres. George W. Bush. Michael Savage (1942-), Psychological Nudity. William A. Schabas (1950-), War Crimes and Human Rights; the Khmer Rouge massacres in 1970s Cambodia lack "the ethnic dimension that is part of the essence of the crime [of genocide]." Simon Schama (1945-), The American Future: A History; a comparison of Barack Obama and John McCain, strongly preferring Obama; aired in four episodes on BBC-TV on Oct. 10-31. Michael F. Scheuer, Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq; by a CIA agent who resigned in 2004 in disgust after accusing his superiors of failing to aggressively target Osama bin Laden; "If you want to understand what's going on and if you would like to get to know some of the reasons for your losing the war against us, then read the book of Michael Scheuer" (Osama bin Laden, Sept. 7, 2007). Peter Dale Scott (1929-), The War Conspiracy: JFK, 911, and the Deep Politics of War. Natan Sharansky, Defending Identity: Its Indispensible Role in Protecting Democracy (June 3). Rick Shenkman, Just How Stupid Are We? Facing the Truth About the American Voter. Alix Kates Shulman (1932-), To Love What Is: A Marriage Transformed (autobio.); caring for her brain-impaired husband. John Selby (1945-), Quiet Your Mind: An Easy-to-Use Guide to Ending Chronic Worry and Negative Thoughts and Living a Calmer Life. Jim Sheeler, Final Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives; a casualty notification officer for the U.S. Iraq War. Philip Shenon, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Commission; how high-level U.S. govt. people got away with wrongdoing and incompetence. Clay Shirky (1964-), Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations; advocates "crowdsourcing" and other online collaborative efforts; "The Internet runs on love." Peter Singer (1946-), The Future of Animal Farming: Renewing the Animal Contract. Quentin Skinner (1940-), Hobbes and Republican Liberty. Mark Skousen (1947-), EconoPower: How a New Generation of Economists is Transforming the World (Mar. 21). Thomas P. Slaughter, The Beautiful Soul of John Woolman, Apostle of Abolition. Daniel Lord Smail, On Deep History and the Brain; "Where individuals once relied on religion and ritual as sources of dopamine and other chemical messengers, they turned increasingly to items of consumption, giving up God in favor of mammon.” Larry Smith (1968-) and Rachel Fershleiser (eds.), Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure (NYT bestseller); a takeoff of a line by Ernest Hemingway: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn". Theodore Sorensen (1928-), Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History (autobio.); JFK's adviser. George Soros (1930-), The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means. Robert Spencer (1962-), Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America Without Guns or Bombs. Tori Spelling (1973-), Stori Telling (Mar. 11). George Steiner (1929-), My Unwritten Books; George Steiner at The New Yorker. Michael Sturmer (1938-), Putin and the Rise of Russia: The Country That Came In From the Cold; an admiring bio. by a right-wing German historian? Cass R. Sunstein (1954-) and Richard H. Thaler, Nudge: Improving decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness; govt. should gently force people to be better, incl. putting healthiest foods in front at school cafeterias; marriage should be downgraded to a civil contract like a country club membership. Ron Suskind (1959-), The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism (Aug. 5). Radhanath Swami (1950-), The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami; his journey from Jewish boy in Chicago to Hare Krishna guru in Mumbai, India. M. Wesley Swearingen, To Kill A President: Finally - An Ex-FBI Agent Rips Aside the Veil of Secrecy That Killed JFK (May 28). Michael Taeckens, Love is a Four-Letter Word. Victor Thorn, Hillary (and Bill), (3 vols.); incl. The Sex Volume (Feb. 14), The Drugs Volume, and The Murder Volume. Bruce Thornton (1953-), Decline and Fall: Europe's Slow Motion Suicide. Mary Tillman, Boots on the Ground by Dusk: My Tribute to Pat Tillman (Apr. 29); Pat Tillman's mother disses Stanley A. McChrystal (who was promoted to maj. gen. nine days after the death) for covering up his friendly fire death, calling him the "golden boy" of Pres. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld; "The false narrative, which McChrystal helped construct, diminished Pat's true actions". Kathleen Turner (1954-), Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on My Life, Love and Leading Roles; claims that Nicolas Cage was arrested for DWI while filming "Peggy Sue Got Married", pissing him off and causing him to file a lawsuit. Paul Tough, Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America; Harlem Children's Zone dir. (1990-) Geoffrey Canada (1952-). Donald Trump (1946-) and Meredith McIver, Trump: Never Give Up: How I Turned My Biggest Challenges into Success (Jan. 18). Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (1922-2007), Armageddon in Retrospect (essays) (posth.). Charlotte S. Waisman and Jill S. Tietjen, Her Story: A Historyscope of the Women Who Changed America; 300 women starting with Virginia Dare in 1587. Barbara Walters (1929-), Audition: A Memoir (autobio.) (May 6); admits affair with black Mass. Dem. Sen. Edward Brooks. Benjamin J. Wattenberg (1933-), Fighting Words: A Tale of How Liberals Created Neo-Conservatism. Jacob Weisberg, The Bush Tragedy; George W. Bush "has been driven since childhood by a need to differentiate himself from his father", leading his presidency to crash and burn? Paul West (1930-), The Shadow Factory. Joan Wickersham, The Suicide Index: Putting My Father's Death in Order. Frank Wilczek, The Lightnebss of Being: Mass, Ether, and the Unification of Forces. Sean Wilentz, The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008. Laura Lynne Williams, The Storks' Nest: Life and Love in the Russian Countryside. Marianne Williamson (1952-), The Age of Miracles: Embracing the New Midlife (Jan.); bestseller. R.C.L. Wilson, The Great Ice Age. Anthony C. Wood, Preserving New York: Winning the Right to Protect a City's Landmarks; how the demolition of the Penn Station in NYC in 1963 led to the 1966 U.S. National Historic Preservation Act. James Wood (1965-), How Fiction Works; the "novel exists to be affecting... to shake us profoundly. When we're rigorous about feeling, we're honoring that"; coins the term "hysterical realism". Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. Terry Tempest Williams (1955-), Finding Beauty in a Broken World (Oct.). Garry Wills (1934-), What the Gospels Meant. Michael Wolff, The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch. Fareed Zakaria, The Post-American World (Apr. 17); how the U.S. will no longer dominate the world economic, cultural or political scene due to the "rise of the rest", incl. China, India, Brazil, and Russia; "This is not a book about the decline of America, but rather about the rise of everyone else." Vadim Zeeland, Reality Transurfing (4 vols.) (2008-11); combines quantum physics with the idea of parallel worlds and the Law of Attraction. Philip Zimbardo (1933-), The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life; incl. his Time Perspective Inventory. Phil Zuckerman, Society Without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment; secular society in Denmark and Sweden. Music: Saving Abel, Saving Abel (album) (debut) (#49 in the U.S.); from Corinth, Miss., incl. Jared Weeks, Jason Null, Scott Bartlett, Eric Taylor, Blake Dixon, and Daniel Dwight; incl. Addicted, 18 Days, Drowning (Face Down). The Academy Is..., Fast Times at Barrington High (album #4) (last) (Aug. 18) (#17 in the U.S.); incl. About a Girl. AC/DC, Black Ice (album #16) (Oct. 17); incl. Rock 'N Roll Train, Big Jack, Anything Goes, Money Made. Adele (1988-), 19 (album) (debut) (Jan. 28) (#1 in the U.K.); incl. Chasing Pavements, Hometown Glory, Cold Shoulder, Make You Feel My Love. Christina Aguilera (1980-), Keeps Gettin' Better: A Decade of Hits (album) (Nov. 7). Akon (1977-), Freedom (album #3) (Dec. 2); sells 600K copies; incl. Right Now (Na Na Na), Holla Holla (with T-Pain). Amon Amarth, Twilight of the Thunder God (album #7) (Sept. 17) (#50 in the U.S.); incl. Twilight of the Thunder God, Guardians of Asgaard (w/Lars Goran Petrov). The Presidents of the United States of America, These Are the Good Times People (album #5) (Mar. 11); first with Andrew McKeag instead of Dave Dederer; incl. Rot in the Sun. David Archuleta (1990-), David Archuleta (#2 in the U.S.) (900K copies worldwide); incl. Crush. Joseph Arthur (1971-) and the Lonely Astronauts, Temporary People (album #7) (Sept. 30); incl. Temporary People. Ashanti (1980-), The Declaration (album #4) (June 3) (#6 in the U.S.); incl. The Way That I Love You, Body on Me (w/Nelly, Akon), Good Good. B-52's, Funplex (album) (Mar. 25); first new album in 16 years, minus the hairdos and Ricky Wilson, and drummer Keith Strickland switching to guitar; incl. Funplex, Juliet of the Spirits, Deviant Ingredient, Eyes Wide Open, Pump, Ultraviolet. Gnarls Barkley, The Odd Couple (album #2) (Mar. 18); incl. Run (I'm a Natural Disaster), Going On, Who's Gonna Save My Soul. Bauhaus, Go Away White (album #5) (Mar. 3); first album since 1983; incl. Too Much 21st Century. Beatallica, All You Need Is Blood (May); in 13 languages. Bun B, II Trill (album) (Apr. 1). Erykah Badu (1971-), New Amerykah (album) (Feb. 26). Marcia Ball (1949-), Peace, Love & BBQ (album). Beck (1970-), Modern Guilt (album) (July 8). Natasha Bedingfield (1981-), Pocketful of Sunshine (Jan. 22); incl. Pocketful of Sunshine, Love Like This. Beastie Boys, The Mix-Up (album). Bell and Sebastian, The BBC Sessions (album) (Nov. 18). Beyonce (1981-), I Am... Sasha Fierce (album #3) (Nov. 18) (#1 in the U.S., #2 in the U.K.) (7M copies); incl. If I Were a Boy, Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It), (the video starts a dance craze), Diva. Pet Shop Boys and Xenomania, ?. Billy Bragg (1957-) and The Blokes, Mr. Love & Justice (album #7) (Mar. 3); incl. Mr. Love & Justice, I Keep Faith, The Beach Is Free. Jackson Browne (1948-), Time the Conqueror (album #13) (Sept. 23) (#20 in the U.S.); expresses his disgust with the George W. Bush admin. Buckcherry, Black Butterfly (album #4) (Sept. 12) (#8 in the U.S.); incl. Too Drunk, Don't Go Away< Rescue Me, Talk to Me. Chris de Burgh (1948-), Footsteps (album #16) (Nov.). The Cab, Whisper War (album) (debut) (Apr. 29); from Las Vegas, Nev., incl. Alex DeLeon, Cash Colligan (bass), Alex Johnson (drums), Alex Marshall (piano), Ian Crawford; incl. I'll Run. Mariah Carey (1970-), E=MC^2 (Emancipation = Mariah Carey) (album #11) (Apr. 15) (#1 in the U.S., #3 in the U.K.) (2.5M copies); incl. Touch My Body (#1 in the U.S.) (helps her pass Elvis Presley for the most #1 solo pop singles, 18), Bye Bye, I'll Be Lovin' U Long Time (w/T.l.), I Stay in Love; The Ballads (album) (Oct. 17). Tracy Chapman (1964-), Our Bright Future (album #8) (Nov. 11) (#57 in the U.S., #75 in the U.K.); incl. Sing for You. Owl City, Maybe I'm Dreaming (album) (debut) (Dec. 16); from Owatonna, Minn., incl. Adam Randal Young (1986-). Coldplay, Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends (album #4) (June 11) (#1 in the U.S. and U.K.) (10M copies); incl. Viva La Vida (Living the Life) (title named after a Frida Kahlo painting) (Cat Stevens sues for allegedly ripping off his "Foreigner Suite"), Lost!, Lovers in Japan, Violet Hill. David Cook (1982-), David Cook (album) (Nov. 18); incl. Light On, Time of My Life. Coolio (1963-), Stear Hear (album #6) (Oct. 28). Alice Cooper (1948-), Along Came a Spider (album #25). Elvis Costello (1954-) and the Imposters, Momofuku (album) (Apr. 22). Sheryl Crow (1962-), Detours (album) (Feb. 8); incl. Shine Over Babylon. Counting Crows, Saturday Nights and Morning Songs (album #5) (Mar. 25) (#3 in the U.S., #12 in the U.K.); incl. 1492, Washington Square, You Can't Count on Me (#80 in the U.S.), When I Dream of Michelangelo (#7 in the U.S.). Motley Crue, Saints of Los Angeles (The Dirt) (album #9) (June 24) (#4 in the U.S.); incl. Saints of Los Angeles (#5), Mutherfucker of the Year (#29), White Trash Circus (#37). Hyper Crush, The Arcade (album) (debut) (May 1); from LA, incl. rapper Donny Fontaine, vocalist Holly Valentine, and DJ/keyboardist Preston Moronoe; incl. The Arcade, Robo Tech, This Is My Life, Candy Store. Death Cab for Cutie, Narrow Stairs (album #6) (May 12) (#1 in the U.S., #24 in the U.K.); incl. I Will Possess Your Heart, No Sunlight, Cath..., Grapevine Fires. Miley Cyrus (1992-), Breakout (solo debut) (July 22); incl. The Damned, So, Who's Paranoid? (album #10) (Nov. 17); incl. Little Miss Disaster. Taylor Dayne (1962-), Satisfied (album) (Feb. 5). Panic! at the Disco, Pretty. Odd. (album #2) (Mar. 21) (#2 in the U.S., #2 in the U.K.); incl. Nine in the Afternoon, Mad as Rabbits, That Green Gentleman (Things Have Changed), Northern Downpour; ...Live in Chicago (album) (Dec. 2). Disturbed, Indestructible (album #4) (June 3, 2008) (#1 in the U.S., #20 in the U.K.) (1M copies); incl. Indestructible, Inside the Fire, Perfect Insanity, The Night. Snoop Dogg (1971-), Ego Trippin' (album #9) (Mar. 11). Dokken, Lightning Strikes Again (album #10) (May 13) (#133 in the U.S.); incl. Disease, Point Of No Return. Pussycat Dolls, Doll Domination (album #2) (Sept. 19) (#4 in the U.S., #4 in the U.K.); incl. When I Grow Up, Bottle Pop, Whatcha Think About That (w/Missy Elliot), I Hate This Part. 3 Doors Down, 3 Doors Down (album #4) (May 20) (#1 in the U.S.); incl. It's Not My Time, Citzen/Soldier. Haylie Duff (1985-), Walk the Walk (album) (debut). Duffy (1984-), Rockferry (album) (debut) (Mar. 3); sells 6M copies; incl. Mercy, Warwick Avenue, Syrup and Honey. Forgive Durden, Razia's Shadow: A Musical (album) (Oct. 28). Enya (1961-), And Winter Came... (album #8) (Nov. 10); sells 3.5M copies; incl. White Is In the Winter Night, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, Trains and Winter Rains, My! My! Time Flies!, Oiche Chiuin. Exodus, Let There Be Blood (album) (Oct. 28). Extreme, Saudades de Rock (album #5) (Aug. 12); first album since 1995; incl. Comfortably Dumb. Marianne Faithfull (1946-), Easy Come, Easy Go (album) (May). Fall Out Boy, Folle a Deux (album #5) (Dec. 10) (#8 in the U.S.) (500K copies); incl. I Don't Care. Maroon 5, Call and Response: The Remix Album (album #3) (Dec. 9). Filter, Anthems for the Damned (album #4) (May 13) (#60 in the U.S.); incl. Soldiers of Misfortune. Fleet Foxes, Sun Giant (EP #2) (Apr. 8); incl. Mykonos, Drops in the River, English House; Fleet Foxes (album) (debut) (June 3) (#3 in the U.K.); incl. White Winter Hymnal, He Doesn't Know Why. Lady Gaga (1986-), The Fame (album) (debut) (Aug. 19); incl. Just Dance, Poker Face (about having to not show a man she's with that she'd rather be with a woman), Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say), LoveGame, Paparazzi. The Game, L.A.X. (album) (Aug. 26); original title "The D.O.C."; incl. Game's Pain, Dope Boys (with Travis Barker). Glasvegas, Glasvegas (album) (debut) (Sept. 8) (#2 in the U.K.); from Glasgow, Scotland, incl. James Allan (vocals), Rab Allan (guitar), Paul Donoghue (bass), and Joanna Lofgren (Löfgren) (drums); incl. It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry, Geraldine, Daddy's Gone; A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like A Kiss) (EP) (Dec. 1); incl. Fuck You, It's Over, Please Come Back Home, Silent Night (Noapte De Vis). Don Grady (1944-), Boomer: JazRokPop (album); songs for the Baby Boomer gen., by Robbie Douglas in "My Three Sons". The Phenomenal Handclap Band, The Phenomenal Handclap Band (album) (debut) (Oct. 28); incl. 15 to 20 (w/Lady Tigra), Baby, You'll Disappear. Jeff Healey (1966-2008), Mess of Blues (album) (Apr.) (posth.). Uriah Heep, Wake the Sleeper (album #21) (June 2); incl. What Kind of God. Her Space Holiday, XOXO, Panda and The New Kid Revival (album); Sleepy Tigers; used in a popular Bassett Furniture TV commercial; "You'll make biscuits and I'll make tea/ We'll curl up close and then fall asleep/ To the sound of no one else, no one else around." Vanessa Hudgens (1988-), Identified (album #2) (July 1). David Ippolito, Crazy on the Same Day (album #9). Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago (album) (debut) (Feb. 19) (#64 in the U.S., #42 in the U.K.); from Eau Claire, Wisc., incl. Justin DeYarmond Edison Vernon (1981-); incl. For Emma, Skinny Love. LL Cool J (1968-), Exit 13 (album). Alan Jackson (1958-), Good Time (album) (Mar. 4); incl. Small Town Southern Man. Janet Jackson (1966-), Discipline (album #10) (Feb. 26) (#1 in the U.S., #63 in the U.K.) (500K copies); incl. Feedback (#19 in the U.S.), Rock with U, Luv, Can't B Good. Jack Hody Johnson (1975-), Sleep Through the Static (album #4) (Feb. 5) (#1 in the U.S. and U.K.); incl. Sleep Through the Static, Hope, If I Had Eyes. Jonas Brothers, Camp Rock Soundtrack (album) (June 17); A Little Bit Longer (album #3) (Aug. 12) (#1 in the U.S., #19 in the U.K.); incl. Burnin' Up, Lovebug, Tonight. Grace Jones (1948-), Hurricane (album #10) (Nov. 3); first album since 1989; incl. Hurricane, Williams' Blood, Corporate Cannibal. Journey, Revelation (album #13) (June 3); incl. Never Walk Away, Where Did I Lose Your Love, After All These Years. Juanes, La Vida... Es Un Ratico (album) (Nov. 25); incl. Me Enamora. Danity Kane, Welcome to the Dollhouse (album #2); incl. Welcome to the Dollhouse, Damaged. The Black Keys, Attack & Release (album #5) (Apr. 1) (#14 in the U.S.) featured I Got Mine, Same Old Thing, Strange Times. Cold War Kids, Loyalty to Loyalty (album #2) (Sept. 23); incl. Something Is Not Right with Me. The Killers, Day & Age (album #3) (Nov. 18) (#6 in the U.S., #1 in the U.K.) (3M copies); incl. The World We Live In, Human, Spaceman, A Dustland Fairytale. The Kominas, Wild Nights in Guantanamo Bay, (album) (debut) (Mar. 14); from Boston, Mass., incl. Pakistani-born Shahjehan Khan (vocals), Basim Usmani (bass), Imran Malik (drums), and Bengali-born Arjun Ray (guitar); got their start after reading Michael Muhammad Knight's 2002 Muslim punk novel "The Taqwacores"; incl. Sharia Law in the U.S.A., Blow Shit Up, and I Want a Handjob. Barenaked Ladies, Snacktime! (album) (May 6); children's album. Ladyhawke (1979-), Ladyhawke (album) (debut) (Sept. 22) (#16 in the U.K.); incl. Back of the Van, Paris Is Burning, Dusk Till Dawn, My Delirium, Magic. k.d. lang (1961-), Watershed (album #5) (Feb. 5); her first #1 album, in Australia. Cyndi Lauper (1953-), Bring Ya to the Brink (album #10) (May 27); incl. Set Your Heart, Same Ol' Story, Into the Nightlife. John Legend (1978-), Evolver (album #3) (Oct. 20); incl. Everybody Knows, Green Light (with Andre 3000). Def Leppard, Songs from the Sparkle Lounge (album #10) (Apr. 25); incl. Go. Black Lips, 200 Million Thousand (album #5) (Feb. 24); incl. Short Fuse. Flaming Lips, Christmas on Mars Soundtrack (album #12) (Nov. 11). Demi Lovato (1992-), Don't Forget (album) (debut) (Sept. 23); incl. La La Land, Get Back; Behind Enemy Lines. Ludacris (1977-), Theater of the Mind (album #6) (Nov. 22) (#5 in the U.S.); incl. What Them Girls Like, One More Drink (w/T-Pain), Nasty Girl (w/Plies). Madonna (1958-), Hard Candy (album #11) (Apr. 25) (#53 in the U.S., #36 in the U.K.); last with Warner Bros. Records; sells 2M copies; cover shows her sucking on a mike; incl. Candy Shop, 4 Minutes (w/ Justin Timberlake) (#3 in the U.S., #1 in the U.K.), Give It 2 Me (#57 in the U.S., #7 in the U.K.), Miles Away (#39 in the U.K.). John Mayer (1977-), Where the Light Is: Live in Los Angeles (album) (July 1). Martina McBride (1966-), Martina McBride (album #9); incl. Ride. Paul McCartney (1942-) and Youth (AKA The Fireman), Electric Arguments (album) (Nov. 24) (#67 in the U.S., #79 in the U.K.); title taken from the Allen Ginsberg poem "Kansas City to St. Louis"; incl. Sing the Changes. John Mellencamp (1951-), The Company We Keep (album). Metallica, Death Magnetic (album) (Sept.). Steve Miller Band, The Truth About the Lies (album). Millionaires, Bling Bling Bling! (EP) (debut) (July 22); from Huntington Beach, Calif., incl. sisters Melissa Marie and Allison Green; incl. I Like Money, Alcohol, In My Bed. Moby, Last Night (album) (Mar. 10); incl. Everyday It's 1989. Arctic Monkeys, At the Apollo (album) (Nov. 3). Van Morrison (1945-), Keep It Simple (album #32) (Mar. 17) (#10 in the U.S.); incl. That's Entrainment; "Entrainment is when you connect with the music... Entrainment is really what I'm getting at in the music... It's kind of when you're in the present moment - you're here - with no past or future." Motorhead, Motorizer (Motörizer) (album #19) (Aug. 26); Rock Out. Alannah Myles (1958-), Black Velvet (album #4). Nine Inch Nails, Ghosts I-IV (album #6) (Mar. 2) (#14 in the U.S., #60 in the U.K.); released under a Creative Commons license, with price points up to $300; The Slip (album #7) (July 22); released free, with the comment "This one's on me"; incl. Discipline. The National, The Virginia EP (album) (May 20). Nelly (1974-), Brass Knuckles (album #5) (Sept. 16) (#3 in the U.S.); incl. Party People (w/ Fergie) (#40 in the U.S., #14 in the U.K.), Stepped on My J'z (w/Ciara and Jermaine Dupri) (#90 in the U.S.), Body on Me (w/Akon and Ashanti) (#42 in the U.S., #3 in the U.K.). Ne-Yo (1979-), Year of the Gentleman (album #3) (Sept. 16); incl. Closer, Mad. Nickelback, Dark Horse (album #6) (Nov. 17) (#2 in the U.K., #4 in the U.K.) (5M copies); incl. Gotta Be Somebody, Something in Your Mouth, If Today Was Your Last Day, I'd Come for You, Burn It to the Ground, Never Gonna Be Alone, Shakin' Hands, This Afternoon. Oasis, Dig Out Your Soul (album #7) (Oct. 6) (#5 in the U.S., #1 in the U.K.) (5M copies); incl. The Shock of the Lightning, I'm Outta Time, Falling Down. The Offspring, Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace (album #8) (June 17); incl. Half-Truism, You're Gonna Go Far, Kid, Hammerhead, Kristy, Are You Doing Okay? Paris, Acid Reflex (album); incl. Don't Stop the Movement. Square One. Katy Perry (1984-), One of the Boys (album #2) (June 17) (#9 in the U.S., #11 in the U.K.) (5M copies); incl. I Kissed a Girl (June 16) ("I kissed a girl and I liked it") (the 1,000th #1 Billboard hit of the rock era, selling 4M+ copies). Kellie Pickler (1986-), Kellie Pickler (album #2) (Sept. 30); incl. Don't You Know You're Beautiful, Best Days of Your Life. Pink (1979-), Funhouse (album #5) (Oct. 24) (#2 in the U.S., #1 in the U.K.) (1M copies); incl. So What (#1 in the U.S.) ("I guess I just lost my husband, I don't know where he went, so I'm going to drink my money, I'm not going to pay his rent"), Sober, Please Don't Leave Me, I Don't Believe You, Glitter in the Air (#20 in the U.S.). Phantom Planet, Raise the Dead (album #4) (Apr. 15); incl. Raise the Dead. Pretenders, Break Up the Concrete (album #9) (Oct. 7). Eric Prydz (1976-), Pjanoo (#2 in the U.K.). Juno Reactor, Gods and Monsters (album #7) (Apr. 22); incl. Immaculate Crucifixion, City of the Sinful. The All-American Rejects, When the World Comes Down (album #3) (Dec. 6) (#15 in the U.S., #48 in the U.K.); incl. Gives You Hell (#4 in the U.S., #18 in the U.K.), The Wind Blows (#113 in the U.S.), I Wanna (#92 in the U.S., #84 in the U.K.); Soundcheck Vol. 1 (EP) (Dec. 16). R.E.M., Accelerate (album #14) (Mar. 31); incl. Man-Sized Wreath, Supernatural Superserious, Hollow Man, Until the Day Is Done. Queen and Paul Rodgers, The Cosmos Roks (album #16) (Sept. 12); incl. Say It's Not True, C-lebrity. My Chemical Romance, The Black Parade Is Dead! (album) (June 30). La Roux, Quicksand (debut) (Dec.); combo of le roux and la rousse; from Brixton, England, incl. androgynous redhead Eleanor "Elly" Jackson (1988-). Primal Scream, Beautiful Future (album #9) (July 21); incl. Can't Go Back. Mr. Scruff (1972-), Ninja Tuna (album) (Oct. 6). Seal (1963-), Soul (album #6) (Nov. 1); incl. A Change Is Gonna Come (by Sam Cooke). Pete Seeger (1919-2014), Pete Seeger at 89 (album). Shaggy, Lucky Day (album); incl. Me Julie (with Ali G), Hey Sexy Lady (with Brian and Tony Gold). Howard Leslie Shore (1946-) and Henry Hwang (1957-), The Fly (Theatre du Chatelet, Paris) (July 2); based on the 1986 David Cronenberg film, starring Daniel Okulitch as Seth Brundle, Ruxandra Donose as Veronica Quaife, and David Curry as Stathis Borans. Ashlee Simpson (1984-), Bittersweet World (album #3) (Apr. 22) (#4 in the U.S., #57 in the U.K.); incl. Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya), Little Miss Obsessive. Jessica Simpson (1980-), Do You Know (album #6) (Sept. 9) (#4 in the U.S.); incl. Come On Over, Remember That. Carly Simon (1945-), This Kind of Love (album) (Apr.). Hush Sound, Goodbye Blues (album #3) (Mar. 18); incl. Goodbye Blues. Spiderbait, Ghost Riders in the Sky; from the 2007 film "Ghost Rider". Britney Spears (1981-), Circus (album) (Dec. 2); incl. Circus, Womanizer (Sept. 26) (her first #1 single since "Baby One More Time" in 1998, rejuvenating her hot body career). Staind, The Illusion of Progress (album #6) (Aug. 19) (#3 in the U.S., #73 in the U.K.); incl. Believe, All I Want, The Way I Am, This Is It. Ringo Starr (1940-), Liverpool 8 (album #14) (Jan. 14); incl. Liverpool 8; Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band Live 2006 (July 7). Al Stewart (1945-), Sparks of Ancient Light (album #18) (Sept. 15); incl. Hanno the Navigator. The Rolling Stones, Shine a Light Soundtrack (album) (Apr. 1). Sugarbabes, Catfights and Spotlights (album #6) (Oct. 17); incl. Girls, No Can Do. Donna Summer (1948-2012), Crayons (album #17) (May 20); first original album since 1991; incl. I'm a Fire, Stamp Your Feet, It's Only Love, Fame (The Game). Nada Surf, Lucky (album #5) (Feb. 4) (#82 in the U.S.); incl. Weightless, See These Bones, Beautiful Beat. Taylor Swift (1989-), Fearless (album #2) (Nov. 11) (#1 in the U.S.) (8.7M copies); incl. Love Story, Change. Testament, The Formation of Damnation (album #9) (Apr. 28) (#59 in the U.S.); features original guitarist Alex Skolnick and bassist Greg Christian, along with drummer Paul Bostaph (1964-); incl. The Formation of Damnation. Therion, Live Gothic (album) (July 25). Seven Mary Three, Day & Nightdriving (album #7) (Feb. 19); incl. Last Kiss. T.I., Paper Trail (album) (Sept. 30); incl. Whatever You Like, No Matter What. The Ting Tings, We Started Nothing (album) (debut) (May 19) (6M copies); from England, incl. Katie Rebecca White (1983-) (vocals), Jules "Jules" De Martino (1969-); incl. That's Not My Name, Fruit Machine, Shut Up and Let Me Go. The Fall of Troy, Phantom on the Horizon (album) (Nov. 28). Six Feet Under, Death Rituals (album #8) (Nov. 11); incl. Shot in the Head, Seed of Filth. Usher (1978-), Here I Stand (album #5) (May 27); sells 1.5M copies; incl. Trading Places, Love in This Club (with Young Jeezy), Moving Mountains. The Verve, Forth (album #4) (first album since 1999) (Aug. 25); incl. Love Is Noise (#4 in the U.K.). Lil Wayne (1982-), Tha Carter III (album). Weezer, Weezer (Red Album) (album #6) (June 3) (#4 in the U.S., #21 in the U.K.); incl. Pork and Beans, The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn), Troublemaker, Dreamin'. Kanye West (1977-), 808s & Heartbreak (album #4) (Nov. 24) (#1 in the U.S.) (1.6M copies in the U.S.); incl. Love Lockdown, Heartless, Amazing (w/Young Jeezy), Paranoid (w/Mr Hudson). Wisin and Yandel and DJ Nesty, Wisin & Yandel Presentan: La Mente Maestra (album) (Oct. 28); incl. Me Estas Tentando (You're Tempting Me). Lil' Zane (1982-), Tha Return (album #3) (Feb. 26). Frank Zappa (1940-93), One Shot Deal (album) (posth.) (June 13); Joe's Menage (album) (posth.) (Oct. 1); The Frank Zappa aaafnraa Birthday Bundle (album) (posth.) (Dec. 21). White Zombie, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (5-disc boxed set) (Nov. 25). Movies: Eric Red's 100 Feet (July 24) stars Famke Janssen as Marnie Watson, who kills her abusive husband in self-defense, is put under house arrest, and is stalked by his ghost. Roland Emmerich's 10,000 B.C. (Mar. 7) stars Steven Strait, Camilla Belle, Cliff Curtis, and other no-names in a mammoth flick. Robert Luketic's 21 (Mar. 28) is about six MIT students who are trained to count cards by Prof. Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey), and are sent to Las Vegas to rake in millions, led by whiz kid Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess), who gets caught and is roughed up and threatened with murder by Casino goon Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne), and turned into a sandbagger; the message of the flick is that all blackjack players are supposed to be dopes who don't use their brains to win and that casino employees are above the law?; anybody can learn card-counting on the Net, and casinos don't have to offer blackjack, or can put more decks in the shoe, so what's the point of the stupid movie except to sucker viewers into the theater if they have any money left after losing at the casino? Anne Fletcher's 27 Dresses (Jan. 18) is a breakthrough for Katherine Heigl, the new Meg Ryan. Hesham Issawi's AmericanEast (Nov. 14) pushes the Islam is a Religion of Peace narrative in a 1-sided way via a speech, trying to explain away the existence of Islamic terrorists while portraying Muhammad as a "cool dude" who has no bad side to emulate, leaving most of real history out and leaving viewers ignorant of the real facts; ironically it suggests a way out for Muslims, viz., conversion to Judaism; stars Sayed Badreya, Sarah Shahi, Tim Guinee, Tony Shalhoub, and Michael Shalhoub. Baz Luhrmann's Australia (Nov. 26) stars Nicole Kidman as Lady Sarah Ashley, whose N Australian cattle ranch is threatened by land barons, causing her to lean on her handsome farmhand Drover (Hugh Jackman) in a 2K-head cattle drive, witnessing the Japanese bombing of Darwin at the start of WWII. Uli Edel's The Baader Meinhof Complex (Sept. 25), based on the 1985 bestseller by Stefan Aust is a documentary about the 1960s West German Red Army Faction. Chris Bell's Bigger, Stronger, Faster is a documentary about the weird world of sports steroids, incl. "poster boy for steroids" Ahnuld. Ridley Scott's Body of Lies (Oct. 10), based on the 2007 David Ignatius novel stars Leonardo DiCaprio as CIA operative Roger Ferris, who is sent by his boss Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe) (who gained 63 lbs. for the role) to track down a top terrorist in Jordan (really Morocco). Mark Herman's The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (Nov. 14), based on the 2006 John Boyne novel stars Laszlo Aron as Bruno, son of Auschwitz concentration camp commandant, who befriends Jewish POW Shmuel, after which he dresses up in striped you know whats, sneaks in to help him, and ends up in a gas chamber - the farther from the real events, the more fake history sprouts up? Rob Reiner's The Bucket List (Jan. 11) stars Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as Edward Cole, and Carter Chambers, two old farts who escape a cancer ward for a last wild ride through the Seven Wonders of the World incl. Mt. Everest; blacks have come a long way since "The Defiant Ones" (1958)? Ethan Coen's and Joel Coen's Burn After Reading (Sept. 12) stars Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, and Tilda Swinton in a comedy about a CIA agent who writes a tell-all on a disk, which ends up in the hands of two gym employees, who try to cash it in. Darnell Martin's Cadillac Records (Dec. 5), about the early years of Chess Records in 1950s Chicago stars Adrien Brody as Leonard Chess, Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters, Cedric the Entertainer as Willie Dixon, Eamonn Walker as Howlin' Wolf, Mos Def as Chuck Berry, and Beyonce as Etta James; does $8.8M box office on a $12M budget. Clint Eastwood's Changeling (Oct. 31) stars Angelina Jolie as Christie Collins, whose son Walter (Gattling Griffith) is kidnapped in 1928 Los Angeles, and the corrupt LAPD return a different kid and tell her it's him, putting her through hell to come clean. Jon Poll's Charlie Bartlett (Feb. 22) stars Anton Yelchin as a rich kid who becomes the self-appointed pshrink to his high school; Robert Downey Jr. plays Principal Gardner. Arnaud Desplechin's A Christmas Tale (Un Conte de Noel) (May 21) stars Catherine Deneuve as Junon, and Jean-Paul Roussilon as Abel, heads of a dysfunctional French family, whose children incl. Elizabeth (Anne Consigny) try to get them to a Christmas reunion. Steven Soderbergh's Che (Jan. 24) stars Benicio Del Toro as Ernesto "Che" Guevara, the Argentine doctor turned rev. leader who disappeared from Cuba in 1965 and ended up dead in Bolivia in Oct. 1967; comes in two parts. Andrew Adamson's The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (May 18) stars Ben Barnes as Prince Caspian in a flick filled with too many pitiless battle scenes and no obvious Christian message other than that animal-human monsters are just as good as white men?; the Pevensie kids forget the wardrobe and use a train station this time; Sergio Castellitto stars as bad king Miraz of the Telmarines; also stars Peter Dinklage as Trumpkin the Red Dwarf, and Harry Gregson-Williams as the voice of Pattertwig the Squirrel. Matt Reeves' Cloverfield (Jan. 18) (named after Santa Monica Airport, located near the HQ of the production co. Bad Robot) stars Lizzy Caplan, Michael Stahl-David, and Jessica Lucas in an "Omigod" flick about a sea monster attacking New York City, but this time the tables are turned and the viewer only sees dust clouds like in 9/11? David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Dec. 25), based on a 1922 short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald stars Bradd Pitt as an infant born in his 80s and aging backwards, and Cate Blanchett as his er, babe; so silly you want your money back? Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight (July 14) stars Christian Bale as Batman, Gary Oldman as Lt. James Gordon, Heath Ledger as the Joker, Aaron Eckhart as district atty. Harvey Dent, and Maggie Gyllenhaal as his asst. Rachel Dawes; on July 18 it sets a 1-day box office record of $66.4M, then another record of $157M for opening weekend, going on to do $1B box office on a $185M budget; followed by "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012); "Some people just want to watch the world burn" (Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth); "Upset the established order and everything becomes chaos." (Ledger) Scott Derrickson's The Day the Earth Stood Still (Dec. 12) (20th Cent. Fox) is a remake of the 1951 film, starring Keanu Reeves as Klaatu; does $233M box office on a $80M budget. Edward Zwick's Defiance (Dec. 31) stars Daniel Craig as Tuvia Bielski (1906-87), who helps 1.2K Jews escape to the Belorussian forest and actively holding out against the Nazis, despite all the other Jews meekly submitting like lambs to the slaughter? Yojiro Takita's Departures (Sept. 13) is about young unemployed cellist Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki), who suddenly decides to become a nakanshi (mortician). Neil Marshall's Doomsday (Mar. 14) is a sci-fi thriller about a plague in future Britain. D.J. Caruso's Eagle Eye (Sept. 26) (Paramount Pictures) stars Shia La Boeuf and Michelle Monaghan as Jerry Shaw and Rachel Holloman, who are thrown into an adventure via cell phone by mysterious voice Julianne Moore, who turns out to be the top secret Autonomous Reconnaissance Intelligence Integration Analysit (ARIAA) computer, which triggers Operation Guillotine, tasked to assassinate the president in favor of defense secy. Curly, er, George Callister (Michael Chiklis); Billy Bob thorton plays FBI agent Tom Morgan; does $178.1M box office on an $80M budget. Laurent Cantet's Entre les Murs (Between the Walls) (The Class) (May 24), based on the 2006 novel by Francois Begaudeau stars himself as a teacher in Paris dealing with racially-mixed students; first French film to win the Palm de'Or since 1987 ("Under the Sun of Satan"); does $28.7M box office on a 2.5M Euro budget. Ben Stein's Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Feb.) takes on the scientific establishment for systematically suppressing and ruining the scientific careers of creationists and intelligent design advocates incl. Richard M. von Sternberg, evoking memories of the bad ole days when the all-in-one establishment Roman Catholic Church burned heretics, only without the burning part, just their employment and access to scientific resources and journals, with the soundbyte: "Big Science in this area of biology has lost its way. Scientists are supposed to be allowed to follow the evidence wherever it may lead, no matter what the implications are. Freedom of inquiry has been greatly compromised, and this is not only anti-American, it's anti-science. It's anti the whole concept of learning", with co-producer Walt Ruloff adding "People will be stunned to actually find out what elitist scientists proclaim, which is that a large majority of Americans are simpletons who believe in a fairy tale", all of which of course is vigorously denied by its employed spokesmen. Dennis Lee's Fireflies in the Garden (Feb. 10) (Universal Pictures) stars Willem Dafoe, Ryan Reynolds, and Julia Roberts in a story about three generations of an academic family devastated by an automobile accident, causing domineering father Charles Taylor (Dafoe) to have to face his failings; does $3.4M box office on an $8M budget. Andy Tennant's Fool's Gold (Feb. 8) stars Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson as estranged couple Benjamin and Tess Finnegan, who are reuinited by a search for the 1715 Queen's Dowry treasure off the Fla. coast. Rob Minkoff's The Forbidden Kingdom (Apr. 18) is the first martial arts film teaming Jackie Chan (as Lu Yan the Drunken Immortal) and Jet Li (as Sun Wukong the Monkey King), with hidden wires everywhere; Michael Angarano plays Jason Tripitikas the traveller. Ron Howard's Frost/Nixon (Oct. 15), based on the 2006 Peter Morgan play stars Frank Langella as Richard Nixon, and Michael Sheen as David Frost, who turn Nixon's last interview into a 3-round world boxing match, with Nixon winning hands-down until the last round, when Frost battles back and knocks him out, getting him to admit he failed the Am. people and its system of government, making Frost a giant hit with journalists; too bad, Langella lays Nixon on a little too thick, making him look half-drunk all the time, and the shark music is too manipulative? Courtney Hunt's Frozen River (Jan. 18) stars Melissa Leo as Ray Leo, and Misty Upham as Lila, who smuggle illegal aliens across the St. Lawrence River between N.Y. and Quebec in a Mohawk Rez. Matteo Garrone's Gomorra (May 16), based on the book by Roberto Saviano depicts the gory Camorra crime mob in Naples in an artsy fashion. Ramin Bahrani's Goodbye Solo (Aug. 31) stars Souleymane Sy Savane as Winston-Salem, N.C. Senegalese taxi driver Solo, who picks up suicidal Southern good ol' boy William (Robert Gene "Red" West, former bodyguard of Elvis Presley), and forms an unlikely friendship. Zak Penn's The Grand (Apr. 4) is a light comedy about a $10M prof. poker game, starring Woody Harrelson as One Eyed Jack Faro, plus six other players, incl. Chris Parnellas Asperger's case Harold Melvin, who recites the Mentat Oath from "Dune" before every game, Richard King as Andy Andrews, Dennis Farina as Deuce Fairbanks, Werner Herzog as a German psycho, and Cheryl Hines and David Cross as twins whose father Gabe Kaplan makes them compete against each other; the second half of the film doesn't keep up with the first half? Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino (Dec. 12) stars Eastwood as lonely old hoarse cig-puffing Polish-Am. Korean War vet Walt Kowalski, whose Vietnamese Hmong (pr. Mung) teenie neighbor Thao Vang Lor (Bee Vang) tries to steal his prize 1972 Gran Torino, only to have his family force him to pay him back by working for him, after which it turns into a cross-cultural father-son thing; Ahney Her plays Sue Lor, and Christopher Carley plays Father Janovich. Peter Berg's Hancock (July 1) stars Will Smith as a black boozing superhero who dresses like a street bum, and hires PR agent Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman) to repair his image; does $107M by July 6, incl. $66M over the July 4th weekend. M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening (June 10) stars Mark Wahlberg as Philly h.s. science teacher Elliot Moore, who flees from an airborne neurotoxin; Zooey Deschanel plays his wife Alma; does $163M box office on a $48M budget. Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy II: The Golden Army (July 11) star Ron Perlman and Selma Blair in a sequel that's better than the original. Jimmy Hayward's and Steve Martino's Horton Hears a Who! (Mar. 14) is an animated flick starring Jim Carrey as the voice of Horton, Steve Carrell as the mayor of Whoville, and Carol Burnett as Kangaroo. Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker (Sept. 4), written by producer Mark Boal stars Ralph Fiennes, David Morse, Guy Pearce, Jeremy Renner, and Anthony Mackie in an action thriller about the U.S. Army's elite Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams in Iraq. Louis Leterrier's The Incredible Hulk (June 13) stars Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, William Hurt as Gen. Thunderbolt Ross, Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky, and Liv Tyler as Betty Ross; Lou Ferrigno appears as the Hulk's voice. Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (May 22) sees long-in-the-tooth Harrison Ford return to reprise the 1980s franchise; Cate Blanchett plays Russian villain Irina Spalko; grosses $126M on the 4-day Memorial Day weekend. Iain Softley's Inkheart (Dec. 11), based on the 2003 novel by Cornelia Funke stars Brendan Fraser as booklover Mo "Silvertongue" Folchart, a man who when he reads fiction aloud sees a main chars come to life, at the expense of a person from the real world being sent back to theirs, in particular his wife, who has been trapped in guess what book for nine years; also stars Eliza Bennett, Paul Bettany, Helen Mirren, and Jim Broadbent; does $62.5M box office on a $60M budget. Aaron Newman's Iran is Not the Problem is a documentary with the tagline "Will truth be the casualty of our next war?", portraying Iran as innocuous and not worth invading by the U.S., because it's only about oil and U.S. world domination. Jon Favreau's Iron Man (May 2), based on the Marvel Comics char. stars Robert Downey Jr. as hi tech genius Tony Stark, who builds an advanced exoskeleton that makes him into a superhero; Gwyneth Paltrow plays his asst. Pepper Potts; Terrence Howard plays military liaison James Rhodes; Jeff Bridges plays Stark Industries exec Obadiah Stane; brings in $585M on a $140M budget; followed by "Iron Man 2" (2010), "Iron Man 3" (2013). Jean de Sigonzac's Lost City Raiders (Oct. 31) stars James Brolin, Ian Somerhalder, Ben Cross, and Jamie King on globally-warmed 2048 New Vatican, where Cardinal Battaglia wants to use the Scepter of Moses to stop a global flood. Marco Schnabel's The Love Guru (June 20) stars Mike Myers as Am.-born Guru Pitka, who returns to break into the self-help biz with books such as "If You're Happy and You Know It Think Again"; also stars Justin Timberlake as Jacques Grande, Verne Troyer as Coach Cherkov, Jessica Alba as Jane Bullard, and Jessica Simpson, Deepak Chopra, Kanye West, and Rob Blake as themselves in a mediocre comedy filled with penis jokes; "His Karma is huge"; "Get ready for the summer of love". Paul Weiland's Made of Honor (May 2) stars Patrick Dempsey, who is asked to be the maid of honor by Michelle Monaghan, after which he tries to get her to break it off for him. Phyllida Lloyd's Mamma Mia! (June 30), written by Catherine Johnson is a musical based on songs by ABBA and named after its 1975 hit, starring Amanda Seyfried as bride-to-be Sophie Sheridan, who invites three of her mother Donna's (Meryl Streep) former beaus to her wedding on Kalokairi Island in Greece hoping to ID one as her father, either Sam Carmichael (Pierce Brosnan), Harry Bright (Colin Firth), or Bill Anderson (Stellan Skarsgard); grosses $603M worldwide (5th highest grossing film of 2008, and highest grossing musical until ?), the most commercially successful British film (until ?). James Marsh's Man on Wire (Jan. 22) is a documentary about 1974 WTC tightrope walker Philippe Petit. David Frankel's Marley & Me (Dec. 25) stars Owen Wilson, Jennifer Anniston, and Eric Dane in a film about a loveable pooch, played by 22 dogs. Spike Lee's Miracle at St. Anna's (Sept. 26), based on the 2003 novel by James McBride is about four black WWII soldiers who get trapped in a Tuscan village. Bharat Nalluri's Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Mar. 7), based on the Winifred Watson novel stars Frances McDormand as English nanny Guinevere Pettigrew, who ends up working for flashy Am. actress Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams) in WWII London. Gus Van Sant's Milk (Oct. 28) stars Sean Penn as Harvey Milk (1930-78), and Josh Brolin as Dan White (1946-85); "Can homosexuals reproduce?" (Brolin); "No, but God knows we keep trying" (Penn). Sergei Bodrov's Mongol, starring Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano attempts to humanize Genghis Khan and show his good side. George C. Wolfe's Nights in Rodanthe (Sept. 26) stars Diane Lane, Richard Gere, and Christopher Meloni in a storm in N.C. Howard McCain's Outlander (July 2008), a remake of Bewolf set in 709 C.E. Norway stars James Caviezel as ET humanoid soldier Kainan, whose spacecraft wrecks in a large lake, allowing his Moorwen prisoner to escape, causing him to hoodwink local Norse king Hrothgar of Heorot (John Hurt) into helping him hunt a "dragon" while he hooks up with his daughter Freya (Sophia Myles). Tim Russ's Star Trek: Of Gods and Men (June 15) stars geriatric ST:TOS actors in a Lawrence Welk of the 23rd cent., starring aging Nichelle Nicholas as Uhura, Walter Koenig as Chekhov, and Grace Lee Whitney as Janice Rand. Marc Forster's Quantum of Solace (Oct. 29) (Eon Productions) (MGM) (Columbia Pictures0) (James Bond 007 film #22), the 2nd starring Daniel Craig is a sequel to the 1953 novel "Casino Royale", in which Bond battles Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), a member of the evil Quantum org., who poses as an environmentalist to stage a coup in Bolivia and take control of its water supply, with the help of MI6 agent Strawberry Fields (Gemma Arterton); meanwhile Bond seeks revenge for his babe Vesper Lynd ("West Berlin") (Eva Green) (only woman other than future wife Tracy to whom he proposes), while his loyalty is questioned by M; does $586M box office on a $200M budget, incl. $70M office on opening weekend; the Quantum of Solace Theme is performed by Jack White and Alicia Keys. Stephen Daldry's The Reader (Dec. 10), based on the 1995 novel by Bernhard Schlink stars Ralph Fiennes as law student Michael Berg, who encounters his former lover Hanna Schmitz (Kate Winslet) (who likes to be read to) in a Nazi war crimes trial, and discovers her big secret, illiteracy; David Kross plays young Michael; Winslet's best supporting actress Oscar is the first ever for playing a Nazi. Larry Charles' Religulous (Oct. 3) ((Thousand Words, Liongate) is a documentary giving Bill Maher's irreverent take on world religions; "Why doesn't he just obliterate the Devil and therefore get rid of evil in the world? ... He will? What's he waiting for?"; "Senator, it worries me that people are running my country who believe in a talking snake"; "Sir, you would agree that even if a billion people believe something, it could still be ridiculous"; does $13.6M box office on a $2.5M budget. Gotz Spielmann's Revanche (Revenge) (Feb. 10) stars Irina Potapenko as Tamara, yet another hooker with a heart of gold, and Johannes Krisch as her lover Alex, who takes on her mean pimp and robs a bank with her to escape, only getting into more trouble. Sam Mendes' Revolutionary Road (Dec. 15) (DreamWorks Pictures) (BBC Films), based on the 1961 Richard Yates novel stars Leonardi Di Caprio and Kate Winslow as salesman Frank Wheeler and his wife April, who live at 115 Revolutionary Road in Conn., where their dream marriage crumbles; does $75.2M box office on a $35M budget. Tamara Jenkins' The Savages (Jan. 18) stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney as troubled siblings Jon and Wendy Savage, who take care of their ailing father Lenny (Philip Bosco). Gina Prince-Bythewood's The Secret Life of Bees (Oct. 17), based on the 2002 Sue Monk Kidd novel set in the racist Am. South in 1964 stars Dakota Fanning as 14-y.-o. Lily Owens, who lives with the knowledge that she killed her mommy at age 4 and that her racist daddy doesn't love her, and springs her black nanny Rosaleen Daise (Jennifer Hudson) from jail so they can hitchhike to just-as-racist Tiburon, S.C. to pursue her mother's memory, finding three black beekeepers, August, June and May Boatwright (Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys and Sophie Okonedo), who take them in and help her face her demons and learn that she is loved; their honey labels have a Black Madonna. Gabriele Muccino's Seven Pounds (Dec. 19) stars Will Smith as IRS agent Ben Thomas, who gets religion and sets out to help seven strangers, incl. Emily Posa (Rosario Dawson). Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire (Aug. 30) (Film4) (Warner Bros.) (Celador Films), written by Simon Beaufoy based on the 2005 novel "Q&A" by Vikas Swarup stars English-born Dev Patel (1990-) in his film debut as Mumbai slumdog Jamal Malik, who faces long odds to go all the way to 20M rupees on the Indian version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" to save his childhood sweetheart Latika (played by Rubina Ali and Freida Pinto), and ends up in trouble with the police in a complex story with flashbacks of his horrible childhood; the show's MC Prem Kumar is played by Anil Kapoor; after he proves to the police that he didn't cheat because every answer came from a life experience, the lovers do a Bollywood dance at the C.S.T. train station to the song Jai Ho; does $377.9M box office on a $15M budget; on Apr. 22, 2009 allegations that Rafiq Qureshi attempted to sell his 9-y.-o. daughter Rubina Ali (1999-) for $300K are dropped; on May 14, 2009 the home of 10-y.-o. star Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail (1999-) is bulldozed for pre-monsoon control. Mark Waters' The Spiderwick Chronicles (Feb. 14), based on the books by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black about an invisible world of magic creatures who are trying to break through the magic circle into the Spiderwick Estate and steal Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You stars Freddie Highmore as twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace, and Sarah Bolger as their sister Mallory; Nick Nolte plays the evil ogre Mulgarath; Martin Short plays brownie/boggart Thimbletack. Kimberly Peirce's Stop-Loss (Mar. 28) stars Ryan Phillippe as Sgt. Brandon King, a decorated Iraqi War hero who is forced to do another tour of duty by the Bush admin., forcing him to leave his nice life next door to the Bradys. Pierre Morel's Taken (Feb. 27); is a sleeper hit that ends up doing $226M on a $25M budget, starring Liam Neeson as ex-CIA agent Bryan Mills, who searches for his kidnapped daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) in Paris against a 96-hour time limit; Famke Janssen plays Kim's mother Lenore "Lenny" Mills; the thugs are all from Tropoje, Albania; cements Neeson's rep as an action hero; followed by "Taken 2" (2012). Daniel Junge's They Killed Sister Dorothy, narrated by Martin Sheen documents the murder of 73-y.-old Catholic nun and Brazilian rain forest activist Dorothy Stang (1931-2005) in Feb. 2005, causing Brazilian cattle rancher Regivaldo Galvao to be arrested by authorities in Dec. Ben Stiller's Tropic Thunder (Aug. 13) is a satire comedy about prima donna actors making a Vietnam War film who end up doing it for real, starring Stiller as Tugg Speedman, Jack Black as Jeff Portnoy, Anthony Ruivivar as Platoon Sgt. Shot in Head, and Robert Downey Jr. as Kirk Lazarus, who appears in blackface. Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight (Nov. 21), based on the Stephenie Meyer novel stars Kristen Stewart as Isabella "Bella" Swan, a teenie from Ariz. who moves to Wash. state and falls in love with 100+-y.-o. vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) (who has been 17 since 1918), grooving on his Superman-like abilities, and not having to worry about sex with a stone-cold walking slab, only about getting that way herself?; does $192M domestic and $191M foreign, for a total of $382M worldwide box office. Bryan Singer's Valkyrie (Dec. 25) (Studio Babelsberg) (United Artists) (Bad Hat Harry Productions) (Cruise/Wagner Productions)(MGM) (20th Cent. Fox) stars lookalike profile Tom Cruise as German Col. Claus von Stauffenburg, who unsuccessfully attempts to assassinate Herr Hitler on July 20, 1944 but at least gets close enough to make it exciting; features Kenneth Branagh as Maj. Gen. Henning von Tresckow, Bill Nighy as Gen. Friedrich Olbricht, Terence Stamp as Col. Gen. Ludwig Beck, Tom Wilkinson as Col. Gen. Friedrich Fromm, Carice van Houton as Stauffenberg's wife Nina, Matthias Freihof as Heinrich Himmler, Harvey Friedman as Joseph Goebbels, and David Bamber as Adolf Hitler; does $200M box office on a $75M budget. Pete Travis' Vantage Point (Feb. 13) (Relativity Media) (Columbia Pictures), written by Barry Levy is a hi-tech thriller about the assassination of U.S. pres. Ashton (William Hurt) in Plaza Mayor in Salamanca, Spain (really Mexico City, dressed up to look like i) as he is about to end the war on terrorism; luckily, he was tipped off and sent a double into the plaza, where Secret Service man Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid) (who took a bullet for the same pres. 6 mo. earlier, and isn't told it's a double because he's considered still too shaken up) can't stop it all, but views videos by Am. tourist Howard Lewis (Forest Whitaker) and begins chasing the lone gunman, only to be caught in a big bomb blast; the way cool plot then recycles the timeline over and over to show that the real pres. is holed-up in a nearby hotel, the assassins (as in conspiracy) know it, and hit him there and abduct him, but God Bless America, big cowboy hero Clint, er, Thomas Barnes survives superhuman odds and figures it out and saves him anyway; meanwhile subplots abound, involving actors Matthew Fox, Eduardo Noriega, Richard T. Jones, Holt McAllany, Ayelet Zurer, Said Taghmaoui et al.; too bad, it rocks until the ending, which has too many coincidences?; does $151.1M box office on a $40M budget. Woody Allen's Vicky Chistina Barcelona (Aug. 15) stars Javier Bardem as sensitive Spanish painter Juan Antonio Gonzalo, who attempts to romance Am. tourists Vicky (Rebecca Hall) (brunette) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) (blonde) in Barcelona at the same time (preferably in the same bed), only to have his jealous ex-wife Maria Elena (Penelope Cruz) butt in; narrated by Christopher Evan Welch; "Only unfulfilled love can be romantic." Oliver Stone's W. (Oct. 16) stars Josh Brolin as U.S. pres. George W. Bush, Richard Dreyfuss as Dick Cheney, Elizabeth Banks as Laura Bush, Thandie Newton as Condoleezza Rice, Sayed Badreya as Saddam Hussein, and J. Grant Albrecht as Jacques Chirac; does $29.5M box office on a $25.1M budget. Andrew Stanton's Wall-E (June 27) is about cute lovable sanitation bot Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class (last robot on Earth) (voiced by Ben Burtt of R2D2 fame), who falls in love with and follows his robot babe EVE into space; does $521M box office on a $180M budget. Ari Folman's Waltz with Bashir (June 12) (B&W animation) explores the gappy memory of an Israeli soldier who lost it in the 1980s Lebanese war. Timur Bekmambetov's Wanted (June 12) (Universal Pictures), based on the Mark Millar and J.G. Jones graphic novel series is a high-energy thriller about the Fraternity, a millennium-y.-o. secret society of super-powered assassins whose day job is weaving, starring James McAvoy as Chicago office worker Wesley Gibson, Angelina Jolie as Fox, Thomas Kretschmann as Cross, and Morgan Freeman as Sloan; does $341M box office on a $75M budget. Joshua Seftel's War, Inc. (Apr. 28) stars John Cusack as hit man Brand Hauser, and Marisa Tomei as reporter Natalie Hegalhuzen in a satire on the role of U.S. vice-pres. Dick Cheney and Halliburton in the Turaqistan War. Kelly Reichardt's Wendy and Lucy stars Michelle Williams as homeless Wendy from Ind., who loses her dog Lucy; also stars Will Patton. Jerome Tanner's Who's Nailin' Paylin (Nov. 4) (election day), a XXX porno spoof film stars Lisa Ann as Serra Paylin, Nina Hartley as Hilly, and Jada Fire as Condi, who get it on in hot lesbian action that's so realistic they didn't have to use actors? Alexander Olch's The Windmill Movie (Sept.) is based on a documentary filmmaker Richard P. Rogers tried to make before his 2001 death about his rich Hamptons lifestyle. Diane English's The Women, based on a 1939 Clare Buth Luce play about a wealthy New Yorker leaving her cheating husband to bond with other society women at a resort features Bette Midler turning Meg Ryan on to pot; Ryan's soundybte "I'm really stoned" is censored in the DVD. Peyton Reed's Yes Man (Dec. 9) (Warner Bros.), based on the 2005 book by Danny Wallace stars Jim Carrey as bank employee Carl Allen, who is mesmerized by Yes! guru Terrence Bundley (Terence Stamp), and can't say no to anything, gaining girlfriend Allison (Zooey Deschangel); Bradley Cooper plays his best friend Peter; does $226M box office on a $70M budget; Dennis Dugan's You Don't Mess with the Zohan (June 6) (Columbia Pictures) stars Adam Sandler as superhuman Israeli commando Zohan Dvir, who fakes his own death to become New York City hairstylist Scrappy Coco ("Half Australian, half Mount Everest"); John Turturro plays his superhuman Palestinian archenemy Fatoush "the Phantom" Hakbarah; does $202M box office on a $90M budget. Art: Emilio Lobato, La Charla (The Chat). Robert Rauschenberg, Lotus X; Lotus Bed I. Plays: Jeanine Tesori (1961-) and David Lindsay-Abaire (1969-), Shrek The Musical (musical) (Broadway Theatre, New York) (Dec. 14) (441 perf.); based on the 2001 film and the 1990 book by William Steig; stars Brian d'Arcy James as Shrek, Sutton Foster as Fiona, Christopher Sieber as Farquaad, and Daniel Breaker as the Donkey. Jacob Appel, The Mistress of Wholesome (Little Theatre, Alexandria, Va.) (May 16). Joey Arias, Arias With a Twist (New York) (June 12). Howard Brenton (1942-), Never So Good (Nat. Theatre, London) (Mar. 26); stars Jeremy Irons as Conservative British PM (1957-63) Harold Macmillan. Ethan Coen, Almost an Evening (New York) (Jan.). Lucinda Coxon, Happy Now? (Nat. Theatre, London) (Jan. 24). Don DeLillo, The Word for Snow (Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago) (Oct. 27). Michael Frayn (1933-), Afterlife (Nat. Theatre, London) (June 11); stars Roger Allam as Max Reinhardt. Jeremy Gable, Flying Spaghetti Monster: The Holy Mug of Grog. Gina Gionfriddo, Becky Shaw (Louisville, Ky.). Michael Gow, Toy Symphony; Roland Henning gets writer's block. David Hare (1947-), Gethsemane. Tony Harrison, Fram (Nat. Theatre, London) (Apr. 10); Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen and his ship Fram. David Henry Hwang (1957-), Yellow Face (Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles). Nicholas de Jongh, Plague Over England (Finborough Theatre, London) (Mar.); based on the Oct. 21, 1953 lewd behavior arrest of gay actor John Gielgud. Dan Kwong, Be Like Water (Union Center for the Arts, Los Angeles) (Sept. 17); a young Asian-Am. girl is visited by Bruce Lee's ghost. Tracy Letts (1965-), August: Osage Country; a dysfunctional Okla. family. Adrienne Kennedy (1931-), Mom, How Did You Meet the Beatles? Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Her Naked Skin (Nat. Theatre, London) (July 24); first play by a woman writer to be produced in the Olivier Theatre; a love affair between two early 20th cent. suffragettes, played by Lesley Manville and Jemima Rooper. Frank McGuinness (1953-), The Holy Moley Jesus Story (Greash Theatre, Dublin). James Millar and Peter Rutherford, The Hatpin (musical) (Seymour Centre, Sydney) (Feb. 27); based on the story of Amber Murray. Joanna Murray-Smith (1962-), Scenes from a Marriage (Jan.); Ninety (Melbourne) (Aug.). Morris Panych, What Lies Before Us; a railway survey team is stranded in the Canadian Rockies in 1884. Tyler Perry, The Marriage Counselor (Jan.). Yasmina Reza (1959-), God of Carnage (Gielgud Theatre, West End, London) (Mar. 25) (Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, New York) (Mar. 22, 2009) (452 perf.); two children get in a fight in the park, causing their parents to meet to discuss it, but their discussion degenerates as they become childish too; dir. by Matthew Warchus; London production stars Ralph Fiennes, Tamsin Greig, Janet McTeer, and Ken Stott; Broadway production stars Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, James Gandolfini, and Marcia Gay Harden; "A comedy of manners... without the manners." Robbie Roth, Robert Cary, and Tom Hedley, Flashdance the Musical (musical) (Theatre Royal, Plymouth) (July); adapted from the 1983 film; stars Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as Alex Owens, and Noel Sullivan as Nick Hurley. Sarah Ruhl (1974-), Dead Man's Cell Phone (Playwrights Horizons, New York); stars Mary-Louise Paker. Nick Stafford, War Horse (Nat. Theatre, London) (Oct. 17); adaptation of the book by Michael Morpurgo. Paula Vogel (1951-), Civil War Christmas. Anna Waronker (1972-) and Charlotte Caffey (1957-), Lovelace: A Rock Musical (Hayworth Theater, Los Angeles). Michael Weller (1942-), Beast. Robert Wilson (1941-), Rumi for the Polish Nat. Opera; Faust for the Polish Nat. Opera. Poetry: Frank Bidart (1939-), Watching the Spring Festival; his first book of lyrics. Andrei Codrescu (1946-), Jealous Witness: New Poems. Billy Collins (1941-), Ballistics. Mark Doty (1944-), Fire to Fire: New and Collected Poems; Theories and Apparitions. Reginald Gibbons, Creatures of a Day. Jorie Graham (1950-), Sea Change. John Hollander (1929-), A Draft of Light. Reginald Howard, Without Saying. Ted Kooser (1939-), Valentines. W.S. Merwin (1927-), The Shadow of Sirius. Sharon Olds (1942-), One Secret Thing. Mary Oliver (1935-), Red Bird. George Oppen (1908-84), New Collected Poems (posth.). Kenneth Patchen (1911-72), We Meet; The Walking-Away World (posth.). Karl Shapiro (1913-2008), Coda: Last Poems (posth.). Charles Simic (1938-), Sixty Poems; That Little Something; Monster Loves His Labyrinth. Patricia Smith (1955-), Blood Dazzler; Hurricane Katrina; "None of them talked about Katrina/ She was their odd sister/ the blood dazzler". Gerald Stern (1925-), Save the Last Dance. James Tate (1943-), Ghost Soldiers. Sir Arnold Wesker (1932-), All Things Tire of Themselves. Novels: Peter Ackroyd (1949-), The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein. Aravind Adiga (1974-), The White Tiger (first novel); rickshaw puller's son Balram Halwai in the Ganges River Valley escapes crushing poverty. Martin Amis (1949-), The Pregnant Widow. Jami Attenberg, The Kept Man (first novel); Manhattan party girl Jarvis Miller shops for a kept man. Paul Benjamin Auster (1947-), Man in the Dark (Sept.). Russell Banks (1940-), The Reserve; artist Jordan Groves in the Adirondacks in the 1930s. Clive Barker (1952-), The Scarlet Gospels; Absolute Midnight; Abarat #3. Stephanie Barron, A Flaw in the Blood; the real reason Prince Albert died "almost certainly was not typhoid". CharLes Baxter (1922-96), The Soul Thief; Nathaniel Mason and Theresa visit Lucas Samaras' Mirrored Room in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery of Buffalo, where each reflection shows them aging by a year. Glenn Beck (1964-), The Christmas Sweater (first novel) (Nov. 11). Steve Berry (1955-), The Charlemagne Pursuit; Cotton Malone #4. Maeve Binchy (1940-), Heart and Soul. William Peter Blatty (1928-), Elsewhere (Dec. 22); a ghost is a person who refuses to accept he's dead? Pierre Bourgeade (1927-2009), Ca n'Arrive qu'aux Mourants. C.J. Box, Free Fire; atty. Clay McCann uses a legal loophole to get away with a multiple murder. Dan Brown (1964-), The Solomon Key; Freemasons and the founding of America. Frederick Buechner (1926-), The Yellow Leaves: A Miscellany. James Lee Burke (1936-), Swan Peak. Robert Olen Butler (1945-), Intercourse (short stories). Jan Burke, The Messenger; supernatural thriller. John le Carre, The Most Wanted Man; surveillance of Muslim terrorists in "guilty city" Hamburg (home of Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 plotters) goes too far? Mary Higgins Clark (1927-), Where Are You Now?. Mary Higgins Clark (1927-) and Carol Higgins Clark (1956-), Dashing Through the Snow. Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio (1940-), The Refrain of Hunger (Ritournelle de la Faim); set in 1930s Paris, about Ethel Brown, who must save herself and her parents. Paul Coelho (1947-), The Winner Stands Alone. Jackie Collins (1937-), Married Lovers (June 10); personal trainer Cameron Paradise. Suzanne Collins (1962-), The Hunger Games; 16-y.-o. Katniss Everdeen lives in Panem over the ruins of North Am., ruled by the Capitol, which holds an annual event where a boy and girl ages 12-18 from each of the 12 districts are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle to the death; bestseller (1.5M copies); filmed in 2012; first of the Hunger Games Trilogy (2008-10). Evan S. Connell Jr. (1924-), Lost in Uttar Pradesh. Robin Cook (1940-), Foreign Body. Stephen Coonts (1946-), The Assassin; Rear Adm. Jake Grafton #11. Patricia Cornwell (1956-), The Front. John Crowley (1942-), Four Freedoms. Mitch Cullin, The Post-War Dream. Clive Cussler (1931-), Plague Ship. Clive Cussler (1931-) and Dirk Cussler, Arctic Drift (Nov.); Dirk Pitt #20. Nelson DeMille, The Gate House; Susan Stanhope Sutter of Long Island shoots next-door neighbor Frank Bellarosa, a mob boss, then divorces her hubby John. Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Pulitzer Prize). Thomas Michael Disch (1940-2008), The Word of God; written in the voice of God; The Wall of America (short stories). Cory Doctorow (1971-), Little Brother. E.L. Doctorow (1931-), Wakefield (The New Yorker, Jan. 14); Homer & Langley; the Collyer brothers, rich Harlem packrats, who die in their trash-filled mansion in 1947. Larry Doyle, I Love You, Beth Cooper; awkward boy falls for cheerleader. Andre Dubus III (1959-), The Garden of Last Days. Tony Earley, The Blue Star; sequel to "Jim the Boy". David Ebershoff, The 19th Wife; a Mormon is murdered, and guess who is accused? Louise Erdrich (1954-), The Plague of Doves; The Red Convertible: Selected and New Stories, 1978-2008. Sebastian Faulks (1953-), Devil May Care (May); an authorized 007 James Bond novel set during the Cold War; in Jan. Britain marks the May 28 centennial of the birth of Ian Fleming (1908-64) by releasing James Bond theme postage stamps. Ken Follett (1949-), World Without End; #1 in the Century Trilogy. Paula Fox (1923-), A Portrait of Ivan. Carlos Fuentes, Happy Families; tr. Edith Grossman. Alan Furst (1941-), Spies of Warsaw; Night Soldiers #10. Neil Gaiman (1960-), The Graveyard Book. Kim Gatlin, Good Christian Bitches (Oct. 31); divorced mother of two Amanda moves back to Dallas. Julia Glass (1956-), I See You Everywhere (Oct. 14). Allegra Goodman (1967-), The Other Side of the Island. Thomas Christopher Greene, The Envious Moon. John Grisham (1955-), The Appeal. Lauren Groff (1978-), The Monsters of Templeton (Feb.) (first novel). David Grossman (1954-), To the End of the Land (Sept. 21); Ora, Ilan, Avram, Adam, and Ofer in Israel; English trans. Sept. 21, 2010; on Pres. Obama's summer 2011 reading list. Everette Lynn Harris (1955-2009), Just Too Good To Be True. Jim Harrison (1937-), The English Major. Scott Heim (1966-), We Disappear. Aleksandar Hemon (1964-), The Lazarus Project. Alice Hoffman (1952-), The Third Angel. P.D. James (1920-), The Private Patient; Adam Dalgliesh #14. Sherry Jones, The Jewel of Medina (Oct.); one of the wives of Prophet Muhammad. Hillary Jordan, Mudbound (first novel); the white landowning McAllan family vs. the black sharecropper Jackson family in the Deep South. A.L. Kennedy, Day; WWII RAF turret gunner Alfie Day relives the war as an extra in a movie. John Kessel (1950-), The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories. Elias Khoury (1948-), Yalo; the Lebanese civil war produces a likeable rapist? Stephen King (1947-), Duma Key; Edgar Freemantle gets in a construction accident, leases the waterfront house Big Pink in Fla., and takes up painting; N; releases an animated video adaption of this short story in July, getting 1M hits on the Internet by Dec. Jane F. Kotapish, Salvage; a mother and daughter slowly go mad. Rachel Kushner (1968-), Telex from Cuba (first novel). Mark Leach, Marienbad My Love; a free e-book claiming to be the world's longest novel (17M words), about a journalist who tries to produce a new sci-film film version of the 1961 French New Wave film "Last Year at Marienbad" in order to bring about the end of the world. Yann Martel (1963-), A 20th Century Shirt; a talking monkey and donkey in a man's dress shirt discuss the Holocaust. Guillermo Martinez, The Book of Murder. Peter Matthiessen (1927-), Shadow Country; reworking of the Watson trilogy. Colleen McCullough (1937-), The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet. Dennis McFarland, Letter from Point Clear; evangelical preacher Pastor Vandorpe. Bill McKibben (1960-), The Bill McKibben Reader: Pieces from an Active Life. Stephenie Meyer, The Host (May 6); Breaking Dawn (Aug. 2). Stanley Middleton (1919-2009), Her Three Wise Men. Sue Miller (1943-), The Senator's Wife. Toni Morrison (1931-), A Mercy. Katherine Neville (1945-), The Fire; sequel to "The Eight" (1988). Elle Newmark, The Book of Unholy Mischief. Bragi Olafsson, The Pets; Emil Haldorsson suffers from eternal houseguest Havard Knutsson. Stewart O'Nan (1961-), Songs for the Missing. Chuck Palahniuk (1962-), Snuff. Sara Paretsky (1947-), Bleeding Kansas; non-Warshawski novel. Robert Brown Parker (1932-2010), The Boxer and the Spy; Rough Weather; Spenser #36; Stranger in Paradise; Jesse Stone #7; Resolution; Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch #2. Jayne Anne Phillips, Lark and Termite. Jodi Picoult (1966-), Change of Heart. Steven Pressfield (1943-), Killing Rommel. Richard Price (1949-), Lush Life. Francine Prose (1947-), Goldengrove (Sept.); suburban teenie Nico loves her older sister Margaret. Annie Proulx, Fine Just the Way It Is: Wyoming Stories 3. Jon Raymond, Livability (short stories). Anne Rice (1941-), Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana. Marilynne Robinson, Home. Joel C. Rosenberg (1967-), Dead Heat. Boualem Sansal (1949-), Le Village de l'Allemand ou Le Journal des Freres Schiller (The German Mujahid) (An Unfinished Business). Jose Saramago (1922-2010), The Trip of the Elephant (Elephant Journey) (A Viagem do Elefante); Death with Interruptions (Oct. 6); a world where people grow old and frail but never die. John Scalzi (1969-), Zoe's Tale (Aug.); Old Man's War #4. Bernhard Schlink, Homecoming; Peter Debauer grows up in post-WWII Germany, then searches for writer John de Baur. John Burnham Schwartz, The Commoner; Haruko, Japan and the A-bomb. Salvatore Scibona, The End (first novel). Simon Sebag-Montefiore (1965-), Sashenka (first novel). Jeffrey Shaara (1952-), The Steel Wave: A Novel of World War II (May 13); #2 in trilogy. Anne Rivers Siddons (1936-), Off Season (Aug. 13); Lily Constable McCall and her rival Peaches Davenport for the love of Jon Lowell. Dan Simmons (1948-), Muse of Fire (Dec. 28); the Earth becomes a mausoleum after the Archons erase its culture except for Shakespeare. Zadie Smith (1975-) (ed.), The Book of Other People. Nicholas Sparks (1965-), The Lucky One (Sept. 30); Logan Thibault of the USMC looks for a woman whose picture brings him good luck. Scott Spencer (1945-), Willing; 37-y.-o. New York writer Avery Jankowsky has a midlife crisis. Danielle Steel (1947-), Honor Thyself; Rogue; A Good Woman. Neal Town Stephenson (1959-), Anathem, about the planet Arbre, where brain people live like monks (fraas and suurs) in concents to pursue intellectual endeavors, and can only communicate with outsiders on the 10-day Apert. Steve Stern (1947-), The North of God. Charles Stross (1964-), Saturn's Children. Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kitteridge (short stories); a retired 7th grade math teacher. Duane Swierczynski (1972-), Severance Package. Brad Thor (1969-), The Last Patriot; NYT #1 bestseller about counterterrorism agent Scot Harvath, who uncovers a big secret about Muhammad via clues left by Thomas Jefferson; pisses-off Muslin convert (ex-Richard Nixon aide) Robert D. Crane for "Islamophobia", causing Glenn Beck to predict that he might be assassinated by Muslim extremists, and the WorldNetDaily to call him "the new Salman Rushdie"; banned in Saudi Arabia, making it more popular? Hannah Tinti, The Good Thief (first novel). Rose Tremain (1943-), The Road Home. John Updike (1932-2009), The Widows of Eastwick (last novel); sequel to "The Witches of Eastwick" (1984). Carrie Vaughn (1973-), Kitty and the Silver Bullet; Kitty Norville #4. Dan Vyleta, Pavel & I (first novel); the feral post-WWI children of Berlin. Joseph Wambaugh (1937-), Hollywood Crows. Charles Webb (1939-), Home School; sequel to "The Graduate" (1963). Alison Weir, Elizabeth, the Queen. Irvine Welsh (1958-), Crime; inspector Ray Lennox from "Filth". Stephen White (1951-), Dead Time (Mar.); Alan Gregory. John Edgar Wideman (1941-), Fanon. Dirk Wittenborn, Pharmakon; 1950s Yale psychologist William Friedrich creates a happiness drug. Tobias Wolff (1945-), Our Story Begins (short stories). Alissa York, Effigy; the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre in S Utah. Births: Am. "I Am Jazz" gay activist (trans) Jazz Jennings on Oct. 6 in South Fla. Deaths: Am. mob boss Salvatore "Bill" Bonanno (b. 1932) on Jan. 1 in Tucson, Ariz. (heart attack). Am. photographer Herbert Keppler (b. 1925) on Jan. 4 in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. Kiwi mountain climber Sir Edmund Hillary (b. 1919) on Jan. 11 in Auckland. Am. cancer researcher Judah Folkman (b. 1933) on Jan. 14 in Denver, Colo. (heart attack). Am. historian Robert Vance Bruce (b. 1923) on Jan. 15 in Olympia, Wash. Am. "The Client" actor Brad Renfro (b. 1982) on Jan. 15 in Los Angeles, Calif. (OD). Am. Carl's Jr. founder Carl Karcher (b. 1917) on Jan. 11 in Fullerton, Calif. (Parkinson's). Am. expatriate world chess champ #11 (1972-5) Bobby Fischer (b. 1943) on Jan. 17 in Reyjkavik, Iceland: "Chess is life" - your move? Am. "Sam the Butcher in The Brady Bunch" actor Allan Melvin (b. 1923) on Jan. 17 in Los Angeles, Calif. (cancer). Am. "Emily Hartley in The Bob Newhart Show" actress Suzanne Pleshette (b. 1937) on Jan. 19 in Los Angeles, Calif. (lung cancer). Australian "The Joker in The Dark Knight" actor Heath Ledger (b. 1979) on Jan. 22 in New York City (OD); found dead in his apt. of an accidental prescription drug OD, with six drugs in his system 4.5 mo. after breaking up with Michelle Williams (1980-) on Sept. 4, 2007, making him the new James Dean? Am. Marlon Brando's son Christian Brando (b. 1958) on Jan. 26 in Los Angeles, Calif. (pneumonia); dies destitute. Am. Mormon Church pres. (1995-2008) Gordon Bitner Hinckley (b. 1910) on Jan. 27 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Indonesian pres. #2 (1967-98) Suharto (b. 1921) on Jan. 27 in Jakarta. Am. writer Margaret Truman Daniel (b. 1924) on Jan. 29 in Chicago, Ill. Mexican Roman Catholic priest Marcial Maciel (b. 1920) on Jan. 30 in Jacksonville, Fla. U.S. agriculture secy. #18 (1971-6) Earl Butz (b. 1909) on Feb. 2 in Washington, D.C. English-Canadian "Lt. Philip Gerard in The Fugitive" actor Barry Morse (b. 1918) on Feb. 2 in London. Am. ABC-TV journalist John McWethy (b. 1947) on Feb. 6 in Keystone Resort, Colo. (runs into tree while skiing). Am. astronomer Robert Jastrow (b. 1925) on Feb. 8. Am. actor Robert DoQui (b. 1934) on Feb. 9 in Los Angeles, Calif. Am. "Police Chief Martin Brody in Jaws" actor Roy Scheider (b. 1932) on Feb. 10 in Little Rock, Ark. (cancer). Mexican playwright Emilio Carballido (b. 1925) on Feb. 11 in Xalapa, Veracruz (heart attack); dies after getting a civil union with his gay bud Hector Herrera approved in 2007. Hungarian-born Am. Dem. Jewish Holocaust survivor congressman Tom Lantos (b. 1928) on Feb. 11 in Bethesda, Md. (cancer). Am. "Lt. Lou Escobar in Chinatown" actor Perry Lopez (b. 1929) on Feb. 14 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (lung cancer). Am. "Hot Rod Lincoln singer Charlie Ryan (b. 1915) on Feb. 16 in Spokane, Wash. French writer-filmmaker Alain Robbe-Grillet (b. 1922) on Feb. 18 in Caen (heart failure). Am. "The Green Berets", "The French Connection" novelist Robin Moore (b. 1925) on Feb. 21 in Hopkinsville, Ky. Slovenian pres. (2002-7) Janez Drnovsek (b. 1950) on Feb. 23 in Zaplana. Am. historian George M. Frederickson (b. 1934) on Feb. 25 in Palo Alto, Calif. Am. conservative celeb William F. Buckley Jr. (b. 1925) on Feb. 27 in Stanford, Conn.: "I would rather be governed by the first two thousand people in the Boston telephone directory than by the first two thousand people in the Harvard faculty"; "A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling 'Stop!" Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (b. 1914) on Feb. 5 in Vlodrop, Netherlands. Canadian jazz musician Jeff Healey (b. 1966) on Mar. 2 in Toronto, Ont. (cancer). Am. physicist Frederick Seitz (b. 1911) on Mar. 2 in New York City. Am. Dungeons & Dragons game designer Gary Gygax (b. 1938) on Mar. 4 in Lake Geneva, Wisc. German-born Am. "ELIZA" computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum (b. 1923) on Mar. 5 in Berlin. Am. geophysicist Richard Doell (b. 1923) on Mar. 6 in Point Richmond, Calif. Am. economist David Gale (b. 1921) on Mar. 7 in Berkeley, Calif. Am. Eckanar leader Darwin Gross (b. 1928) on Mar. 8. Am. "Kinch in Hogan's Heroes" actor Ivan Dixon (b. 1931) on Mar. 16 in Charlotte, N.C. (kidney failure). English "The English Patient" film dir. Anthony Minghella (b. 1954) on Mar. 18 in London (cancer). English "2001: A Space Odyssey" sci-fi novelist Arthur C. Clarke (b. 1917) on Mar. 19 in Colombo, Sri Lanka (where he lived since 1956, contracting polio in 1959); pub. 100+ books. English "A Man for All Seasons" actor Paul Scofield (b. 1922) on Mar. 19 in Sussex (leukemia). Am. Popeyes Chicken founder Al Copeland (b. 1944) on Mar. 23 in Munich, Germany (Merkel cell carcinoma). Am. actor Richard Widmark (b. 1914) on Mar. 24 in Roxbury, Conn. Am. novelist Helen Yglesias (b. 1915) on Mar. 28 in New York City. Am. musician Sean Levert (b. 1968) on Mar. 30 in Cleveland, Ohio. Am. writer Johnny Byrne (b. 1935) on Apr. 3. Am. "Ben-Hur", "Ten Commandments", "Planet of the Apes" actor Charlton Heston (b. 1923) on Apr. 5 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Alzheimer's). Irish pres. #6 (1976-90) Patrick Hillery (b. 1923) on Apr. 12 in Dublin. Am. physicist John Archibald Wheeler (b. 1911) on Apr. 13 in Hightstown, N.J. English "The Nice" drummer Brian Davison (b. 1942) on Apr. 15 in Horns Cross, Devon. Am. singer Joe Feeney (b. 1931) on Apr. 16 in Carlsbad, Calif. (emphysema). Am. Butterfly Effect mathematician Edward Norton Lorenz (b. 1917) on Apr. 16 in Cambridge, Mass. Am. artist Joseph Solman (b. 1909) on Apr. 16 in New York City. Martinican poet-playwright Aime Cesaire (b. 1913) on Apr. 17 in Fort-de-France (heart failure). French ethnologist Germain Tillion (b. 1907) on Apr. 18 in Saint-Mande; buried in the Pantheon. Am. "Cool Night" singer Paul Davis (b. 1948) on Apr. 22 in Meridian, Miss. (heart attack). Am. jazz musician Jimmy Giuffre (b. 1921) on Apr. 24 in Pittsfield, Mass. (pneumonia). Canadian-born Am. spatial music composer Henry Brant (b. 1913) on Apr. 26 in Santa Barbara, Calif. Swiss LSD scientist Albert Hofmann (b. 1906) on Apr. 29 in Burg im Leimental - don't ask what made him live past 100? Am. "Hazel" cartoonist Ted Key 9b. 1912) on May 3 in Tredyffrin, Penn. (bladder cancer and stroke). Canadian-born Am. Baskin-Robbins co-founder Irv Robbins (b. 1917) on May 5 in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Am. country singer Eddy Arnold (b. 1918) on May 8 in Nashville, Tenn.; sold 85M records incl. 28 #1 hits. Am. "Wall of Sound", "A Taste of Honey", "Pet Sounds" audio engineer Larry Levine (b. 1928) on May 8. Polish resistance hero Irena Sendler (b. 1910) on May 12 in Warsaw. Am. ENIAC mathematician Arthur Walter Burks (b. 1915) on May 14 in Ann Arbor, Mich. (Alzheimer's). Am. physicist Willis Eugene Lamb (b. 1913) on May 15 in Tucson, Ariz.; 1955 Nobel Physics Prize. Am. poet-novelist George Garrett (b. 1929) on May 25 in Charlottesville, Va. (cancer). Am. mathematician (ENIAC pioneer) Arthur Walter Burks (b. 1915) on May 14 in Ann Arbor, Mich. (Alzheimer's). Am. "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" comedian Dick Martin (b. 1922) on May 24 in Santa Monica, Calif. Am. poet Luis Omar Salinas (b. 1937) on May 25 in Sanger, Calif. Am. frozen french fries king J.R. Simplot (b. 1909) on May 25 in Boise, Idaho. Am. "Tootsie" dir. Sydney Pollack (b. 1934) on May 26 in Pacific Palisades, Calif. Am. comedian Harvey Korman (b. 1927) on May 29 in Los Angeles, Calif. French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent (b. 1936) on June 1 in Paris (brain cancer). Am. rock & roll founder Bo Diddley (b. 1928) on June 2. Am. "ABC's Wide World of Sports" TV host (1961-98) Jim McKay (b. 1921) on June 7 in Monkton, Md. Am. country musician Danny Davis (b. 1925) on June 12 in Nashville, Tenn. (heart attack). Am. "Meet the Press" TV host (1991-2008) Tim Russert (b. 1950) on June 13 (Fri.) in Washington, D.C. (heart attack); after his funeral service a beautiful rainbow appears above Washington, D.C. Am. architect Walter A. Netsch (b. 1920) on June 15. Am. dancer-actress Cyd Charisse (b. 1922) on June 17 in Los Angeles, Calif. (heart attack). Am. Hardee's founder Wilber Hardee (b. 1918) on June 20 in Greenville, N.C. Am. comedian George Carlin (b. 1937) on June 22 in Santa Monica, Calif. (heart failure): "Dan Quayle is all three: stupid, full of shit, and fuckin' nuts"; "Life is sacred? Who said so? God? Hey, if you read history, you realize that God is one of the leading causes of death"; "If everything that ever lived is dead, and everything that's alive is gonna die, where does the sacred part come in?"; "People say life begins at conception, I say life began about a billion years ago and it's a continuous process"; "Why is it that most of the people who are against abortion are people you wouldn't want to fuck in the first place?" Am. "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" actress Dody Goodman (b. 1914) on June 22 in N.J. Am. "Muppets" costume designer Kermit Love (b. 1916) on June 21 in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Russian-born Am. economist Leo Hurwicz (b. 1917) on June 24 in Minneapolis, Minn.; 2007 Nobel Economics Prize (oldest to receive a Nobel Prize until ?). Kazakhstani model Ruslana Korshunova (b. 1987) on June 28 in Manhattan, N.Y. (suicide) (murder?). Am. conservative Repub. sen. Jesse Helms (b. 1921) on July 3. Am. novelist Thomas Michael Disch (b. 1940) on July 4 in New York City (suicide). Am. supermodel Dorian Leigh (b. 1917) on July 7 in Falls Church, Va. (Alzheimer's). Am.-born British philanthropist Sir John Marks Templeton (b. 1912) on July 8 in Nassau, Bahamas. Dutch transvestite singer Charles Lucker (b. 1965) on July 9 (AIDS). Am. Internat. Harvester CEO (1977-82) Archie R. McCardell (b. 1926) on July 10 in Casper, Wyo. Chilean-born Am. dir. Claudio Guzman (b. 1927) on July 12 in Los Angeles, Calif. (pneumonia). Am. "The Trolley Song" singer Jo Stafford (b. 1917) on July 16 in Century City, Calif. (heart failure). Am. historian Richard Clement Wade (b. 1921) on July 18 in Manhattan, N.Y. Am. actress (Maureen O'Hara's stand-in) Lucille House (b. 1910) on July 21 in Los Angeles, Calif. Am. "Sophia Petrillo in The Golden Girls" actress Estelle Getty (b. 1923) on July 22 in Los Angeles, Calif. Am. composer Norman Dello Joio (b. 1913) on July 24 in East Hampton, N.Y. Am. synthetic diamond process inventor Howard Tracy Hall (b. 1919) on July 25 in Provo, Utah. Am. computer scientist Randy Pausch (b. 1960) on July 25 (cancer). U.S. surgeon gen. #12 (1977-81) Julius Benjamin Richmond (b. 1916) on July 27 in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Am. "Grand Hotel" playwright Luther Davis (b. 1916) on July 29. Am. folk singer Erik Darling (b. 1933) on Aug. 3 in Chapel Hill, N.C. (lymphoma). Russian novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn (b. 1918) on Aug. 3 in Moscow. Am. "Ferrante & Teicher" pianist Louis Teicher (b. 1924) on Aug. 3 in Highlands, N.C. (heart failure). English playwright Simon Gray (b. 1936) on Aug. 6 in West London (aortic aneurysm). Am. comedian Bernie Mac (b. 1957) on Aug. 9 in Chicago, Ill. (pneumonia). Am. singer-songwriter Isaac Hayes (b. 1942) on Aug. 10 near Memphis, Tenn.; found dead near his still-running treadmill. Am. country musician Buddy Harman (b. 1928) on Aug. 21 in Nashville, Tenn. Am. "Mac in Magnum, P.I." actor Jeff MacKay (b. 1948) on Aug. 22 in Tulsa, Okla. (liver failure). Am. virologist Thomas Huckle Weller (b. 1915) on Aug. 23 in Needham, Mass.; 1954 Nobel Med. Prize. Am. "Fletch" novelist Gregory Mcdonald (b. 1937) on Sept. 7 in Giles County, Tenn. German-born Am. military advisor Fritz G.A. Kraemer (b. 1908) on Sept. 8 in Washington, D.C. Am. "Talk Back" talk show host George Putnam (b. 1914) on Sept. 12 in Chino, Calif. (kidney failure); "Some people didn't like what he said, some people liked what he said, but everybody listened to George Putnam. That is why he has been one of the most influential commentators of our times." (Richard Nixon) Am. country musician Charlie Walker (b. 1926) on Sept. 12 in Hendersonville, Tenn. (colon cancer). English Pink Floyd rocker Rick Wright (b. 1943) on Sept. 15 (cancer). Am. "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone", "I Heard It Through the Grapevine", "War" songwriter-producer Norman Whitfield (b. 1940) on Sept. 16 in Los Angeles, Calif. Canadian actor Peter Kastner (b. 1943) on Sept. 18 in Toronto, Ont. (heart failure). Am. Kingston Trio singer-songwriter John Stewart (b. 1939) on Sept. 19 in San Diego, Calif. (stroke); wrote "Daydream Believer" for the Monkees. Am. mob boss (retired in 1977) Frank J. Valenti (b. 1911) on Sept. 20 in Sugar Land, Tex. Am. "Cool Hand Luke" actor Paul Newman (b. 1925) on Sept. 26 in Westport, Conn. (lung cancer); retired from acting in 2007. Am. "Mr. Clean" actor Robert House Peters Jr. (b. 1916) on Oct. 1 in Los Angeles, Calif. (pneumonia). Am. Kingston Trio singer Nick Reynolds (b. 1933) on Oct. 1 in San Diego, Calif. English-born Kiwi actor Rob Guest (b. 1950) on Oct. 2 (stroke). English scholar Peter Avery (b. 1923) on Oct. 6. Romanian biologist George Emil Palade (b. 1912) on Oct. 7; 1974 Nobel Med. Prize. Jamaican musician Alton Nehemiah Ellis (b. 1938) on Oct. 10 in London, England (cancer). Am. "Cookie in Stalag 17" actor Gil Stratton Jr. (b. 1922) on Oct. 11 in Toluca Lake, Calif. (heart failure). English sci-fi novelist Barrington J. Bayley (b. 1937) on Oct. 14 (bowel cancer). Am. singer Edie Adams (b. 1927) on Oct. 15 in Los Angeles, Calif. (cancer). Am. TV game show host Jack Narz (b. 1922) on Oct. 15 in Los Angeles, Calif. (stroke). Am. singer Levi Stubbs (b. 1936) on Oct. 17 in Detroit, Mich. Canadian bodybuilding magnate Ben Weider (b. 1924) on Oct. 17 in Montreal, Quebec. Am. singer Dee Dee Warwick (b. 1945) on Oct. 18 in Essex County, N.J. Am. fashionista Mr. Blackwell (b. 1922) on Oct. 19 in Los Angeles, Calif.: "Unclean and unpleasant, it's also impossible for women over 35" (going braless). Am. "The Aquarius Conspiracy" psychologist Marilyn Ferguson (b. 1938) on Oct. 19 (heart attack). Am. "The Devil in Miss Jones" porno dir. Gerard Damiano (b. 1928) on Oct. 25 (stroke in Sept.). Am. cell phone inventor Amos E. Joel Jr. (b. 1918) on Oct. 25 in Maplewood, N.J. Am. writer Tony Hillerman (b. 1925) on Oct. 26 in Albuquerque, N.M. (pulmonary failure). Am. Joffrey Ballet co-founder Gerald Arpino (b. 1923) on Oct. 29 (prostate cancer). Am. "Birdy" novelist William Wharton (b. 1925) on Oct. 29 in Encinitas, Calif. English film producer John Daly (b. 1937) on Oct. 31. Am. writer Studs Terkel (b. 1912) on Oct. 31 in Chicago, Ill.; epitaph: "Curiosity did not kill the cat." Am. "Mothers of Invention" rock drummer Jimmy Carl Black (b. 1938) on Nov. 1 (lung cancer). Am. nurse Florence Wald (b. 1917) on Nov. 8 in Branford, Conn. Am. "Jurassic Park" novelist Michael Crichton (b. 1942) on Nov. 4 in Los Angeles, Calif. (cancer). South African singer Miriam Makeba (b. 1932) on Nov. 9 in Castel Volturno (near Caserta), Italy (heart attack during a concert). French poet Charles Le Quintrec (b. 1926) on Nov. 14 in Lorient. English "The Miracle Worker" poet-playwright William Gibson (b. 1914) on Nov. 25. English historian Brian Pearce (b. 1915) on Nov. 25. Am. world's oldest living person (since Feb. 14, 2007) Edna Parker (b. 1893) on Nov. 26 in Ind. Am. guru Adi Da (b. 1939) on Nov. 27 in Naitaba, Fiji (cardiac arrest). Am. psychiatrist Louis A. Gottschalk (b. 1916) on Nov. 27 in Calif. Am. "Harry Bentley in The Jeffersons" actor Paul Benedict (b. 1938) on Dec. 1 in Martha' Vineyard, Mass. Am. singer Odetta Holmes (b. 1930) on Dec. 2 in New York City (heart disease); doesn't live to achieve her dream of performing at Obama's inaguration. Am. celeb neuroscience patient Henry Molaison (b. 1926) on Dec. 2 in Windsor Locks, Conn. Polish-born Am. psychologist Robert Zajonc (b. 1923) on Dec. 3. Dutch actress Nina Foch (b. 1924) on Dec. 5 in Los Angeles, Calif. Am. actor Robert Prosky (b. 1930) on Dec. 8 in Washington, D.C. (heart failure). Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Glazkov (b. 1939) on Dec. 9. Am. model Bettie Page (b. 1923) on Dec. 11 in Los Angeles, Calif. Am. prion physician Daniel Carleton Gajdusek (b. 1923) on Dec. 12 in Tromso, Norway; 1976 Nobel Med. Prize; convicted in 1997 of child molestation. Am. actor Van Johnson (b. 1916) on Dec. 12 in Nyack, N.Y. Am. political scientist Samuel Phillips Huntington (b. 1927) on Dec. 24 in Martha's Vineyard, Mass. English playwright Harold Pinter (b. 1930) on Dec. 24 in West London (esophageal cancer); 2005 Nobel Lit. Prize. Am. actress-singer Eartha Kitt (b. 1927) on Dec. 25 in New York City (colon cancer). Palestinian terrorist George Habash (b. 1926) on Dec. 26 in Amman, Jordan (heart attack). Am. "Bonnie and Delaney" singer Delaney Bramlett (b. 1939) on Dec. 27 in Los Angeles, Calif. Am. oldest African descent man George Rene Francis (b. 1896) on Dec. 28 (heart failure). Am. novelist Donald Edwin Westlake (b. 1933) on Dec. 31 in Mexico.