2009 Chinese Year: Ox. Time Mag. Person of the Year: Ben Bernanke (1953-) (first Federal Reserve head). This year has three Friday the 13ths: Feb., Mar., and Nov. This is the U.N. Internat. Year of Astronomy. The 2009-10 Eurozone Crisis causes the IMF, led by French economists Dominique Gaston Andre Strauss Khan (DSK) (1949-) (IMF dir. in 2007-11) and Olivier Blanchard (1948-) (chief IMF economist in 2008-) to drop neoliberal policy and return to progressive policy. Due to the 2008 global recession, world wealth drops 11.7% to $92.4T; bailouts received: Bank of America $45B, AIG $180B, Citigroup $50B, Gen. Motors $50.4B, Chrysler $12.5B, GMAC $12.5B, Chrysler $1.5B; China surpasses the U.S. as the largest consumer of the automobile, with sales of 12.8M cars and light trucks vs. 10.3M in the U.S., up by 40% since 2008. The percentage of Americans in poverty rises to 14.3%, worst in decades. For the first time 1B (1.02B) people worldwide go hungry according to the U.N. World Food Program (100M than in 2008), and on Nov 11, 2009 UNICEF pub. a report claiming that almost 200M children have stunted growth because of malnutrition. More than half of the U.S. Treasury Dept. is owned by foreign lenders, who also own a third of U.S. corporate bonds and a sixth of U.S. corporate assets; the percentage of U.S. treasury notes purchased by China and Hong Kong drops to 9% from a high of 55% in 2006; China's banking system has 25x the reserves of the U.S. Federal Reserves, vs. (1/2.5)x in 1990; the U.S. dollar comprises 19% of the world's money supply vs. 100% at the end of WWII; the U.S. income gap between rich and poor is the widest since 1917, with the top 10% receiving 49.7%; meanwhile China's economy grows 8.7% this year, and China has 130 billionaires, up from 101 in 2008 and zero in 2003, making it #2 after the U.S. U.S. GDP falls 3.9% this year, becoming the worst drop since records began to be kept in 1947; the U.S. loses 4.7M jobs, 3.1M held by men and 1.6M by women, causing U. of Mich. economist Mark Perry to coin the term Mancession; Mexico's GDP drops 10% in the 2nd quarter, worst since 1981; in the 3rd quarter the U.S. economy grows at an annual rate of 5.7%, fastest since the 3rd quarter of 2003, indicating that the recession is ending. This year the U.S. imports 13.1M barrels of oil a day, incl. 2M from Canada, 1.4M from Saudi Arabia, 1.1M from Mexico, 1M from Venezuela, .87M from Nigeria, .55M from Angola, and .52 from Iraq; shale gas is discovered in North Am., creating a new picture vis a vis oil. China's share of world exports reaches 10% for the first time, passing up Germany (9%) to become #1, and up from 3% in 1999; U.S.: 8%. Global CO2 emissions fall 1.3% compared to 2008. The U.S. deports a record 779K this year and next. This year 2,412 Afghan civilians are killed, a 14% increase from 2008, with the Taliban responsible for two-thirds after the U.S. restricts the use of airstrikes; meanwhile the U.S. deploys 75K airborne drones and 12K unmanned vehicles in Iraq, and the USAF trains more pilots for unmanned than manned aircraft this year for the first time. The U.S. delivers $13B worth of arms to Saudi Arabia between this year and 2014. World HIV/AIDS cases: 33.3M. There are 10,999 terrorist attacks worldwide this year (killing 14,971), down from a high of 14,443 in 2006 (killing 23K); meanwhile U.S. prosecutors charge more suspects with terrorism (54) than any year since 9/11. This year the Mexican Drug War causes vicious violence near the U.S. border, combined with massive govt. corruption, with 5.7K deaths last year and over 7K this year, causing the U.S. press to talk of Mexico becoming a failed state like Pakistan, bolstered by a Dec. 2008 U.S. Defense Dept. assessment; 2.6K are killed in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico (pop. 1.3M), along with 16K car thefts and 1.9K carjackings. Number of children born to illegal immigrants in the U.S.: 4M (vs. 2.7M in 2003); there are 450K illegal alien criminals in U.S. jails, and ? are deported, vs. 113K in 2008. Muslim pop. in W Europe: 15M, incl. 5M in France, 4M in Germany, and 2M in Britain; in 1950, there were virtually none; there are 200K Somalis in the U.S., incl. 70K in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. area. Total Third World origin pop. in Britain skyrockets from 180K in 1958 to 8M this year. There are now 27M slaves worldwide, most in history? This year Twitter (founded 2006) sweeps the U.S., incl. Congress, becoming a political and business tool; messages are limited to 140 chars. More U.S. women than men receive doctoral degrees this year for the first time ever, 28,962 vs. 28,469. The pop. of Fla. declines for the first time since 1946, dropping by 58K since last year. U.S. women become the chief breadwinners for the first time as 75% of all jobs lost since 2008 were held by men; in homes where both spouses work, 25% of wives earn more than their hubbies. This year the name Barack moves up 10,126 places in the list of U.S. baby names for boys to #2409; Miley moves up 152 places to #127, while Hannah moves down 8 places to #17; top boys names are Jacob, Ethan, Michael, Alexander, William, and Joshua; top girls names are Isabella, Emma, Olivia, Sophia, Ava, and Emily. The U.S. loses 611K private jobs by the end of Mar., creating an unemployment rate of 8.9%. There are 1,595 craft beer breweries in the U.S. (highest since before Prohibition), producing 9.1M barrels/year. On Jan. 1 USC defeats Penn State by 38-24 in the 2009 Rose Bowl, becoming their 3rd V in four straight appearances (except 2006), and 24th Rose Bowl title; USC QB Mark Travis John Sanchez (1986-) scores five TDs and is named MVP. On Jan. 1 the Israeli attack on Gaza continues, stinking themselves up on Jan. 15 by hitting the U.N. HQ and destroying bags of food aid. On Jan. 1 the U.S. officially gives control of Iraq to the Iraq govt., handing over the Green (Internat.) Zone in Baghdad. On Jan. 1 Russia turns off its natural gas tap to Ukraine for unpaid bills. On Jan. 1 Slovakia dumps the koruna for the euro. On Jan. 1 the Sri Lankan army captures Kilinochchi, capital of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, pushing them to the NE then cornering the rebels in a tiny sliver of land on the NE coast by early Apr.; meanwhile on Apr. 17 top U.N. official Vijay K. Nambiar (1943-) meets with Sri Lankan leaders to discuss the estimated 100K ethnic Tamil civilians that have been trapped by the civil war, of which 4.5K have been killed; sadly, it all started with religion, with the majority Buddhist Sinhalese vs. the minority Hindu Tamils. On Jan. 1 after giving him warning, which he ignores, the Israelis bomb the home of hardline cleric and Hamas leader Nizar Rayyan (b. 1959) along with his family for hiding an arsenal, pissing of the Palestinians. On Jan. 3 the 111th U.S. Congress convenes (until Jan. 3, 2011); it goes on to add more debt ($3.22T) than the first 100 congresses combined ($10,429 per capita); on Jan. 6 the Speaker Nancy Pelosi utters the soundbyte: "We need action and we need action now"' Repubs. pledge cooperation; new black Ill Dem. Sen. Roland W. Burris (1937-) (Obama's replacement) is denied his seat on the excuse that his credentials are not in order (no signature by the Ill. secy. of state) (really the fact that he was appointed by pariah Rod Blagojevich), causing him to threaten a lawsuit and pull in black and PC political muscle, after which he is allowed to sit. On Jan. 6 the U.S. Save America Comprehensive Immigration Act of 2009 is introduced in Congress, providing increased protections and elibility for family-sponsored immigrants. On Jan. 7 John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills (1944-2012) becomes pres. of Ghana (until July 24, 2012). On Jan. 9 U.S. House majority leader Steny Hoyer and minority whip Eric Cantor pub. an opinion piece, quoting Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak, who said "Think about what would happen if for seven years rockets had been fired at San Diego, California, from Tijuana, Mexico", comparing this to Israel's invasion of Gaza. On Jan. 9 Mahmoud Abbas' term as pres. of the Palestine Nat. Authority ends without elections being scheduled, and the constitutional successor, parliament speaker Aziz al-Duwaik (1950-) is elected on Jan. 18, 2006, but is kidnapped and imprisoned by the Israelis on Aug. 6, 2006 to keep Abbas in office, then released on June 22, 2009; meanwhile Bahar's deputy Ahmed Bahar claims that he should succeed in his place. On Jan. 10 Yahoo names Carol A. Bartz (1948-) (CEO of Autodesk in 1992-2006) as its new CEO. On Jan. 10 Roman Catholic singer Fergie (Stacy Ann Ferguson) (1975-) marries Roman Catholic actor Joshua David "Josh" Duhamel (1972-) (until ?). On Jan. 11 a U.S. federal court orders Microsoft Corp. to stop selling its Word program and pay a Canadian software co. $290M for violating their patent, effective next Jan. 11; on Dec. 22 Microsoft's appeal is denied. On Jan. 13 Chopped debuts on Food Network (until ?), pitting four chefs against each other for a $10K prize. On Jan. 14 a new tape from guess-who Osama bin Laden calls for jihad against Israel, claims that the global financial crisis spells a coming end to U.S. influence in world affairs, and mentions Obama but not by name; meanwhile Obama says that it's no longer important to kill him - he got us umpteen trillion dollars without the people discovering that he's been dead for years? On Jan. 15 the U.S. Senate narrowly approves Barack Obama's request of the remaining $350B financial bailout money to expand lending and reduce foreclosures instead of handing it to the banks. On Jan. 15 the Miracle on the Hudson sees Flight 1549 (Airbus 320) en route from LaGuardia Airport in New York City to Charlotte, N.C. run into a flock of geese, damaging an engine, after which capt. Chesley Burnett "Sully" Sullenberger III (1951-) successfully lands it in the Hudson River, saving all 155 aboard, causing him to become a new post-9/11 New York hero and giving desperate Americans hope of a lucky year to come; he later testifies to Congress how older pilots are treated like merde by the airlines, incl. how his pension was elminated. On Jan. 15 black U.S. atty.-gen. designate Eric Himpton Holder Jr. (1951-) tells the Senate Judiciary Committee that "waterboarding is torture", cinching his nomination, and he is sworn-in on Feb. 3 as U.S. atty.-gen. #83 (until ?), pledging to expand the Justice Dept's civil rights div. (founded 1957). On Jan. 15 a fluke gets former Washington State U. provost Steven Hoch a part-time job at the univ. teaching one class on the 1917 Russian Rev. at $245K a year, vs. an avg. full history prof. salary of $75K - Karl Marx jokes here? On Jan. 17 Barack Obama goes on the Obama Express Whistle-Stop Tour from Philadelphia, Penn. to Washington, D.C. on the exact same train route used by his hero Abraham Lincoln before his 1861 inauguration. On Jan. 18 the 3-week Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip ends; too bad, after claiming for a year that all but 50 of the 1.3K killed by the Israelis were innocent civilians, on Nov. 1, 2010 Hamas interior minister Fathi Hamad admits that 250 Hamas fighters and 150 "security personnel" died in the conflict. On Jan. 18 Diablo Cody's comedy-drama United States of Tara debuts on Showtime for 36 episodes (until June 20, 2011), starring Australian-born Antonia "Toni" Collette (1972-) as suburban housewife-mother Tara Gregson, who is coping with multiple personality disorder., incl. Teenager T, 1950s Housewife Alice, beer-swigging Vietnam Vet Buck, and Gimme. On Jan. 19 (Mon.) the U.S. celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day; the nat. media create a Sunday religious sermon atmosphere in deference to the extraordinary event scheduled for Jan. 20; meanwhile in his last day in office Pres. George W. Bush commutes the prison sentences of U.S. Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos (1969-) and Jose Alonso Compean (1976-), who were serving 10+-year terms for trying to coverup a shooting; they had become poster boys for Americans against illegal immigration. On Jan. 19 Ramzi Binalshibh of Yemen and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (1964-) declare their guilt in the 9/11 attacks in what is believed will be the last session of the Guantanamo war crimes court. On Jan. 19 Britain announces its 2nd rescue plan for its ailing banks incl. the Royal Bank of Scotland to unfreeze lending. On Jan. 19 Morrocan-born Ahmed Aboutaleb (1961-) becomes the first Muslim mayor of Rotterdam, Netherlands (until ?). On Jan. 19 the Glenn Beck Program (on CNN from May 8, 2006 to Oct. 16, 2008) debuts on Fox Network (until ?), hosted by conservative commentator Glenn Lee Beck (1964-), becoming a nexus of anti-Obama sentiment and conservative commentary and a thorn in Obama's side. The first 99-44/100% pure president, a combination Lincoln, FDR, JFK, MLK Jr., and Gandhi, plus a disturbing Play-Do makeup incl. doses of Osama bin Laden, Idi Amin, Dorothy Gale from Kansas, and the Wizard of Oz from Emerald City? On Jan. 20 (Tue.) the 2009 U.S. pres. inaguration sees 6'1" 170-190 lb. Hawaiian-born (Kenyan-born?) Harvard Law School grad. (black) (lefty) (Christian) (closet Muslim?) (closet Marxist?) Barack (Arab. "blessed") Hussein (Arab. "handsome") Obama (Kenyan "crooked") II (1961-) (Secret Service codename: Renegade) (known for saying "Well, Look" at the start of his answer to questions, along with "Let me be clear" and "Make no mistake") become Dem. U.S. pres. #44 (until Jan. 20, 2017) (first African-Am. and first urban pres.) (first U.S. pres. to have Internet access at his desk, have a BlackBerry, and use email daily) (first Pacific pres.) (3rd U.S. pres. to win the Nobel Peace Prize) (a stooge of the Zionist Illuminati?) (11th U.S. pres. to grow and/or use cannabis after Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Taylor, Pierce, Lincoln, JFK) is inaugurated; Richard Tosaw, a lawyer from Modesto, Calif. sells 4K $20 printed cardboard periscopes called Obama-Scopes that "make you two feet taller" and help improve one's view of the proceedings; First Lady Michelle Robinson is given the Secret Service codename Renaissance; Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden Jr. (1942-) (Secret Service codename: Celtic) becomes the 47th U.S. vice-pres. (until ?) (first Roman Catholic vice-pres.); First Lady is Princeton-educated Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama (1964-) (Secret Service codename: Renaissance); first children are Malia Ann Obama (1998-) (Secret Service codename: Radiance) and Natasha "Sasha" Obama (2001-) (Secret Service codname: Rosebud); Second Lady is Jill Tracy Jacobs Biden (1951-) (Secret Service codename: Capri); First Dog is Bo Obama (2008-) (Portuguese Water Dog or Portie), a gift from Sen. Edward Kennedy and his wife Victoria "Vicki" Kennedy, and named after R&B singer Bo Diddley; Obama takes his oath of office on the same velvet-bound Bible used at his hero Abrahama, er, Abraham Lincoln's first (1861) inaguration, and another Bible used by MLK Jr. before a record 1.9M crowd, who brave 17F weather (no arrests?); the inaugural theme is "A New Birth of Freedom", a phrase taken from Lincoln's Nov. 19, 1863 Gettysburg Address allegedly to celebrate the 200th anniv. of his birth year; Sen. Edward Kennedy experiences a seizure during a lunch for Obama, but recovers; Obama's 2009 Inauguration Speech, written by 27-y.-o. white guy Jonathan E. "Jon" Favreau (1981-) doesn't live up to expectations of being full of great JFK-caliber soundbytes, skips past Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln to George Washington, and flip-flops from promising to walk on water to calling for sacrifice and service from the pop., with the soundbytes: "A man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath. So let us mark this day with remembrance of who we are and how far we have traveled"; "On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics"; "We must pick ourselves up"; "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist"; Harlem, N.Y.-born black poet Elizabeth Alexander (1962-) recites her inaugural poem Praise Song for the Day, becoming the 4th poet to read at a U.S. pres. inauguration (Robert Frost in 1961, Maya Angelou in 1993, Miller Williams in 1997); Obama becomes the first U.S. pres. to address "the Muslim World", uttering the soundbyte that the U.S. is "a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews, and Hindus and non-believers"; as he assumes office, 79% of Americans incl. 59% of those who voted for John McCain are optimistic about his admin.; the Dow Jones plunges 4%, becoming the worst inauguration day slide (until ?); he inherits a $1.3T deficit from the Bush admin., and by Mar. he increases the 2009 deficit to $1.8T, while his own spending programs will more than double the nat. debt from $8T to $17.3T ($15.4T?) by 2019, equal to 82.4% of the GNP, although he does promise to halve the 2009 deficit by 2014; Obama's look, funny ears, and intellectual style cause him to be compared to Star Trek's Spock; his political philosophy is a combo of Abe Lincoln and John Dewey?; too bad, a growing groundswell of anti-govt. hostility begins by Americans who fear that Obama is plotting to take the U.S. Socialist, Fascist, or Islamic, or foist a OWG on the U.S. complete with concentration camps, causing a fervor of frantic Internet postings by extremists incl. Tex. radio show host Alexander Emerich "Alex" Jones (1974-), leading to Tea Parties in the spring, town hall meeting disruptions in the summer, the Birther Movement, which questions the validity of his birth in U.S. territory, fears that the swine flu virus was manufactured, and fears that he is handing the U.S. over to Muslim Sharia; in the evening Obama hosts the first-ever pres. ball open to the residents of mainly-black Washington, D.C., sweetly dancing with his wife Michelle to music by African-Am. singer Beyonce (Beyoncé) Giselle Knowles (1981-), who sings the 1960 Etta James hit At Last; Obama begins going gray 44 days into his presidency?; after chief justice John Roberts flubs the oath of office, he gives it to Obama again in the White House before nine witnesses; on Jan. 20 Ariz. gov. (since 2003) Janet Napolitano (1957-) (former atty. of Anita Hill, known for being tough on illegal immigration while opposing the $3.9M-per-mi. U.S.-Mexico border fence, with the soundbyte: "You build a 50-ft. wall, somebody will find a 51-ft. ladder)) becomes U.S. homeland security secy. #3 (first woman) (until Sept. 6, 2013), Kenneth Lee "Ken" Salazar (1955-) becomes U.S. interior secy. #50 (until Apr. 12, 2013), Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Chu (1948-) becomes U.S. energy secy. #12 (until Apr. 22, 2013), Arne Duncan (1964-) becomes U.S. education secy. (until Jan. 1, 2016), former Iowa gov. #40 (since 1998) Thomas James "Tom" Vilsack (1950-) becomes U.S. agriculture secy. #30 (until ?), and Eric Ken Shinseki (1942-) becomes U.S. veterans affairs secy. #7 (until May 30, 2014); on Jan. 21 Hillary Rodham Clinton (1947-) becomes U.S. secy. of state #67 (until Feb. 1, 2013), vowing to end the paranoia of the George W. Bush era by not worrying exclusively about the safety of the U.S., with the soundbyte "I don't get up every morning just thinking about the threats and dangers, as real as they are. I also get up thinking about who we are and what we can do"; Egyptian-born Dalia Mogahed (1974-) becomes the first veiled Muslim woman to serve in the White House; on June 23 U.S. state secy. Hillary Clinton appoints Kashmir-born Farah Pandith (1968-) as her special rep to reach out to Muslim communities; on Jan. 21 Pres. Obama signs Executive Order No. 13489, barring release of his birth certficate, fueling rumors that he wasn't really born in the U.S. and thus isn't eligible to become pres., meaning that every act of office he commits is legally void; his refusal to release a long list of other documents adds fuel to the fire and make him a mystery man; no wonder that his name all by itself causes many to think he's a Muslim plant, plus the funny way he hides his birth certificate and the fact that he might have been indoctrinated into Islam as a child (maybe the birth certficate is half and half too?; many note his startling resemblance to Osama bin Laden; in his first year, he receives 30 death threats a day (4x what GW Bush faced), stretching the Secret Service; a poster of Obama as the Joker (as portrayed by the late Heath Ledger) with the word "Socialism" at the bottom becomes a hit with conservatives; it was made by 20-y.-o. U. of Ill. history student Firas Alkhateeb (1979-) using Adobe Photoshop. On Jan. 22 Stanford-Oxford grad Susan Elizabeth Rice (1964-) (no relation to Condoleezza Rice) becomes U.S. ambassador to the U.N. #27 (until June 30, 2013). On Jan. 22 Mary L. Schapiro (1955-), chief of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority becomes chmn. #29 of the Securities and Exchange Commission (until Dec. 14, 2012); Obama appoints Joshua DuBois (1982-) as dir. of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (until Feb. 2013), with the mission of stressing responsible fatherhood and downplaying homosexuality and abortion; on Jan. 20 retired USMC gen. James Logan Jones Jr. (1943-) becomes U.S. nat. security adviser #22 (until Oct. 8, 2010); on Jan. 20 Iranian-born Valerie Bowman Jarrett (1956-) becomes Obama's senior adviser and asst. for public engagement and intergovt. affairs; on Sept. 10 Harvard law prof. Cass Robert Sunstein (1954-) becomes head of the White House Office of Info. and Regulatory Affairs (until Aug. 21, 2012), stirring fears he will become the "Obama's Obama", seeking to use the courts to impose a "chilling effect" on Internet bloggers to stop them from hurting somebody's feelings. Speaking of chilling effect on free speech, Europe is 20 years ahead of the U.S.? On Jan. 21 speaking of hurting somebody, an appeals court in the Netherlands orders Dutch politician-filmmaker Geert Wilders (1963-) to stand trial for "insulting" and "spreading hatred" against sacred cow Muslims in his 2008 short film Fitna, with up to two years in priz as the punishment. On Jan. 21 Lie to Me (me*) debuts on Fox Network for 48 episodes (until Jan. 31, 2011), starring Tim Roth (1961-) as genius psychologist Dr. Cal Lightman, who can figure out what people are thinking via body and facial language - does it work on new Pres. Obama? On Jan. 22 Microsoft Corp. announces 5K layoffs (5% of total workforce), a first for the ever-profitable giant; their cruddy Windows Vista is blamed; meanwhile Sony Corp. announces their first annual loss in 14 years; on Jan. 23 Gen. Electric reports a 44% drop in quarterly profits; on Jan. 26 Caterpillar, Pfizer, Sprint Nextel, Home Dept and GM announce 45K job cuts; on Apr. 21 GM announces that they're dumping their Pontiac brand and cutting 21K jobs, along with a 9-week summer plant closing. On Jan. 23 Pres. Obama orders the closing of the POW detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba by Jan. 22, 2010, causing state govts. to complain that they don't want the 240 prisoners to be moved to their states; meanwhile some EU leaders indicate that they will accept them; on Mar. 13 the Obama admin. drops the term "enemy combatant" as a justification for holding them, claiming the authority to hold them comes from Congress and the internat. laws of war, not the wartime powers of the U.S. pres. On Jan. 23 N.Y. Dem. gov. (since Mar. 17) David Paterson chooses U.S. Rep. (D-N.Y.) (since 2007) Kirsten Rutnik Gillibrand (1966-) to succeed Hillary Clinton as Dem. N.Y. Sen., and she is sworn-in on Jan. 26 (until ?). On Jan. 23 20-y.-o. Flemish man Kim De Gelder attacks a children's daycare center in Sint-Gillis-bij-Dendermonde, Belgium, stabbing a teacher and two babies to death and injuring 20. On Jan. 24 Pres. Obama orders yet another Socialist, er, 2009 Economic Stimulus Plan to double U.S. renewable energy capacity within three years and lay down 3K mi. of new electrical lines; it incl. the $4B Broadband Technology Opportunities Program to bring high-speed fiber optic Internet to rural areas; too bad, the tech community has no more clue how to create affordable energy from sources other than fossil fuels and nuclear energy than back in the days of Pres. Carter, whose energy plan created the Synthetic Fuels Corp. and promoted the conversion of corn to ethanol; meanwhile China launches a $586B stimulus plan, which it uses to buy independent steel and other private cos. and turn over to state-owned rivals; $823K ends up getting spent on an African Genital Washing Program for uncircumcised Africans. On Jan. 24 after Congo pres. Joseph Kabila invites troops from neighboring Rwanda in to help end the war in E Congo, rebel leader Laurent Nkunda (a former ally) is arrested along the Congo-Rwanda border, allowing many of his troops to disband, incl. child soldiers. On Jan. 24 a sports center in Barcelona, Spain collapses in high winds, killing four children and injuring 16 others. On Jan. 24 20-y.-o. Brazilian model Mariana Bridi (b. 1988) dies from a bacterial infection that caused her hands and feet to be amputated - the first of billions served by the Rusty Arches? On Jan. 25 an avalanche on 7.2K-ft. Mount Zigana in Turkey kills 11 of 17 hikers. On Jan. 26 the impeachment trial of Ill. gov. Rod Blagojevich begins, which he boycotts, calling it unfair, while going to the media instead, dropping the bombshell that he considered appointing black TV host Oprah Winfrey to Obama's Sen. seat; on Jan. 29 he is impeached by a 59-0 vote; on Aug. 17, 2010 a federal jury finds him guilty of one count of lying to federal agents, but deadlocks on 23 other counts, making the feds look like grand inquisitors; he then stages a publicity tour to spin his V, claiming that the feds tried to get him to out Obama, offering him a deal for his cooperation. On Jan. 26 Pres. Obama announces that "It will be the policy of my administration to reverse our dependence on foreign oil", ordering new federal rules for more fuel-efficient cars and allowing Calif. and other states to target greenhouse gases in vehicle emission standards. On Jan. 26 after the country's banks collapsed in Oct. from over-expansion, the Saucepan Rev. (in which protesters clang pots and pans) results in the collapse of the coalition govt. of Icelandic PM Geir Haarde, who resigns. On Jan. 26 after weathering exposure for failing to pay $34K in taxes until his nomination, Federal Reserve Bank pres. #9 (since 2003) Timothy Franz "Tim" Geithner (1961-) becomes U.S. treasury sec. #75 (until ?). On Jan. 27-Feb. 1 the 9th World Social Forum in Davos, Switzerland, attended by five heads of state (Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Lula da Silva of Brazil, Fernando Lugo of Paraguay, Evo Morales of Bolivia) blasts world capitalism, blaming it for the economic chaos, with the official theme "another world is possible", and the unnoficial theme "we told you so". On Jan. 28 despite Repub. opposition, the U.S. House by 244-188 (no Repubs. vote for it, and 12 Dems. vote against it) approves (without being given time to read it?) Pres. Obama's record-busting $819B Stimulus Bill, which is supposed to revive the economy despite its loads of pork, and incl. $275B in tax rebates; in practice it becomes a hog trough for every pet project, incl. a New Penn Station in New York City; U.S. banks reap $38B in overdraft fees this year because of the financial plight of consumers; it's really part of a sinister plan by world bankers to create a OWG controlled by a World Bank? On Jan. 28 Pres. Obama gives a speech, admitting to the U.S. role in toppling Iranian PM Mohammad Mossadegh on Aug. 19, 1953, which doesn't satisfy Iranian pres. Immadinajacket, who calls for a full apology. On Jan. 29 Pres. Obama calls the $18.4B in bonuses paid to Wall Street execs last year "shameful", and signs the U.S. Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to give workers more time to take their pay discrimination cases to court, named after Ala. woman Lilly Ledbetter (1938-), who was denied redress by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007 in a 5-4 ruling; instead of having to file a claim within 180 days of the first too-low paycheck, they can file within 180 days of any paycheck. On Jan. 29 Turkism PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan utters his famous 56 Words to Shimon Peres in a debate over Gaza in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland: "You are older than me and your voice is very strong. The reason for your raising your voice is the psychology of guilt. I will not raise my voice that much. When it comes to killing, you know very well how to kill. I know very well how you hit and killed children on the beaches." On Jan. 30 former Md. lt. gov. (2003-7) Michael S. Steele (1958-) becomes the first African-Am. chmn. of the Repub. Nat. Committee. On Jan. 31 Sunni Sufi Muslim Sharif Sheikh Ahmed (1964-) becomes pres. of Somalia (until ?). On Jan. 31 after receiving fertility treatments, 33-y.-o. single "Octomom" Nadya (Nadia) Suleman (1975-) (who lives with her parents) gives birth to octuplets, giving her 14 children total, stirring outcries against the medical community as well as her, compounded by revelations that she spent her entire $100K disability on fertility treatments, and some of her children are receiving disability payments. In Jan. the U.S. govt. steps on its own dick again, deciding to begin prosecuting minors for "sexting", i.e., transmitting nude pics of themselves to their boy/girlfriends under federal child porno laws, messing up their entire lives as they are are manufactured into convicted state or federal felons that have to register as sex offenders wherever they go, causing them to spend their lives learning to hate the stinking Land of the Free and the various govt. abusers who did them in with Mickey Mouse abuse of the intent of the law, while real criminals, incl. them get away with major crimes all the time? In Jan. Am.-born freelance journalist Roxana Saberi (1978-) (1997 Miss North Dakota) (Iranian father, Japanese mother) is arrested in Iran for buying a bottle of wine, then accused of spying for the U.S. on Apr. 8, convicted and sentenced to eight years on Apr. 18, causing Pres. Obama to express disappointment with the medieval regime and say on Apr. 19 that he's "gravely concerned"; on May 11 after Mahmoud Ahmadeinejad writes them a letter urging the court to be fair, the appeals court rejects her sentence, allowing her to be freed - did she get wine in prison? In Jan. an election in the N Iraqi province of Nineveh gives control to Sunni Arabs, pissing-off the Kurds, who fight the election and refuse to recognize the new govt.'s sovereignty; on May 8 new gov. Atheel al-Nujaifi is prevented from entering Kurdish-controlled Bashiqa NE of Mosul by Kurdish troops, causing him to turn back. In Jan. the group weblog Stay LDS/Mormon is founded by John Parkinson Dehlin (1969-) et al. for Mormons experiencing a crisis of faith; the Internet becomes home to a wide spectrum of cultural Mormons, incl. New Order Mormons who have ditched the religious tenets but stick with the culture, and Humanistic Mormons, who identify with the history and culture but don't believe in God. In Jan. 598K jobs are lost in the U.S. On Feb. 1 Social Dem. Johanna Sigurdardottir (1942-), known for the slogan "My time will come" becomes PM of Iceland (until May 23, 2013), the first female and first gay/lez. On Feb. 1 Super Bowl XLIII (43) is held in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.; the Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC) defeat the 9-7 Arizona Cardinals (NFC) by 27-23, becoming the first team to win 6 SBs; when the Cardinals were still in Chicago, they merged with the Steelers for one season in 1944 under the name Card-Pitt; an ad featuring devout Christian Fla. U. QB (#15) Timothy Richard "Tim" Tebow (1987-) (first college sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy) claiming that his mother disregarded physician advice to abort him becomes controversial; on Apr. 22, 2010 Tebow is selected as #25 in round 1 of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos in the hope he will become their next John Elway, only to see him become way too controversial from his habit of kneeling in Christian prayer on the field; they let him go after the 2011 season despite winning a playoff game. On Feb. 1 Gaza militants fire 10 rockets and mortar shells across the border 9 days before scheduled Israeli parliamentary elections, causing an immediate retaliatory strike; on Feb. 4 armed Hamas police break into a Gaza warhouse and seize U.N. food aid, which the UNRWA condemns . On Feb. 2 Olympic swimming champ Michael Fred "Mike" Phelps II (1985-) is caught smoking a bong, causing his career as a role model to take a fast dive, starting with his Kellogg's cereal endorsement to be ended (not renewed), and thousands of boxes of cereal with his picture to be donated to food banks. On Feb. 3 U.S. Sen. (D-S.D.) Tom Daschle (1947-) withdraws his nomination for secy. of Health and Human Services after reports that he failed to disclose free limo services as income and owed the IRS $140K in taxes. On Feb. 4 Pres. Obama imposes a $500K cap on senior exec pay bonuses for the financial institutions receiving bailout money, and promises to end the system of "executives being rewarded for failure". On Feb. 5 elections in Iraq give Shiite PM Nouri al-Maliki a big V over the Sunnis and violent Shiites. On Feb. 5 Jennifer Figge (1952-) of Aspen, Colo. survives a 24-day ordeal to swim from the Cape Verde Islands off Africa to Trinidad off Venezuela, a total of 2,150 mi., mostly inside a shark cage; after the press reports that she swam across the entire Atlantic Ocean, which would require a 10 mph speed, she comes clean and admits that she only swam about 250 mi. and rode on her crew's catamaran the rest of the way - I don't care a figge jokes here? On Feb. 6 Pres. Obama names Chicago Muslim (of Gujarati Indian heritage) Eboo Patel to his advisory Concil on Faith-based Neighborhood Partnerships, who calls the U.S. an "ideal place for renewal of Islam". On Feb. 7 Ecuadoran pres. (since 2007) Rafael Correa (1963-) orders the expulsion of a top U.S. diplomat after accusing him of suspending $340K in annual aid because Ecuador wouldn't allow the U.S. to veto appointments to his drug-smuggling police. On Feb. 7 a small plane en route to Manaus crashes in the Amazon River in Brazil, killing 16 of 20 aboard. On Feb. 9 a car bomber in Mosul, Iraq hits a U.S. patrol and kills four GIs; meanwhile on Feb. 10 another car bomber in guess-where Mosul, Iraq wounds three policemen. On Feb. 10 (16:56 GMT) two large comm satellites, the 1997 Iridium 33 satellite and a 1993 Russian Cosmos 2251 satellite collide in orbit 500 mi. over Siberia, becoming the first satellite collision in a sea of space junk (until ?). On Feb. 10 the U.S. Senate passes a $838B stimulus plan, while treasury secy. Timothy Geither unveils a strategy to protect banks and clear a lending logjam using $350B of the fall 2008 bailout plus as much as $2T more; on Feb. 11 by a straight party-line 61-37 vote, the U.S. Congress agrees on a compromise $720B economic stimulus bill, of which more than one-third is a tax cut for middle-income families, but dropping a housing tax credit; on Feb. 17 Pres. Obama signs the stimulus bill in Denver, Colo., site of his pres. nomination. On Feb. 10 parliamentary elections in Israel give a V to the Likud Party; on Mar. 31 former PM (1996-9) Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu (1949-) of the Likud Party becomes PM of Israel again (until ?), facing leftist and Arab hecklers at his inauguration. On Feb. 11 the Taliban hits the justice and education ministries in the heart of Kabul, Afghanistan, killing 20 and wounding 57, showing how bad the U.S. position is becoming. On Feb. 12 Zillur Rahman (1929-) of the Awami League becomes pres. of Bangladesh (until ?). On Feb. 12 Continental Airlines (Colgan Air) Flight 3407 en route to Buffalo from Newark crashes into a home in Clarence Center (near Buffalo), N.Y., killing all 49 aboard plus one in the house, and injuring four on the ground. On Feb. 12 Repub. N.H. Sen. (since 1993) Judd Alan Gregg (1947-) abruptly withdraws his nomination as U.S. commercy secy, citing "irresolvable conflicts" with Pres. Obama's handling of the economic stimulus and upcoming 2010 Census. On Feb. 12 a special federal court finds no link between vaccines and autism, rejecting 5.5K despite all the evidence that there might be a link and not enough scientific research has been funded. On Feb. 12 after comments by Bishop Richard Williamson of the Society of St. Pius X, the Conference of Presidents of Major Am. Jewish Orgs. (founded 1956) meets with Pope Benedict VI to reassert the importance of good Jewish-Roman Catholic relations. On Feb. 12 Pakistani-born Am. Muslim banker Muzzammil Syed "Mo Steve" Hassan (1964-) of Orchard Park, N.Y. beheads his wife Aasiya Hassan (b. 1972) after she files for divorce, then turns himself in; he is charged with 2nd-degree murder; they had founded Bridge TV, the first Am. Muslim TV network broadcasting in English to counter Muslim stereotypes, claiming that Hollywood wasn't accurately portraying them - you can take a Muslim out of the Dark Ages, but? On Feb. 12 U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) admits that the CIA launches drones from bases inside Pakistan, not from across the border in Afghanistan as believed. On Feb. 13 Italian-Am. Dem. politician (Clinton's chief of staff in 1994-7) Leon Edward Panetta (1938-) becomes CIA dir. #19 (until ?). On Feb. 13 Hillary Clinton receives an email from her chief of staff Cheryl Mills informing her that the NSA has denied her request for a more secure BlackBerry that she wants to use to circumvent normal classified info. security protocols. On Feb. 14 39,897 people lock lips in Mexico City to set a new world kissing record, besting Weston-super-Mare's 2007 record - if they did that in some Muslim countries, they'd set a new beheading record? On Feb. 14 a U.S. missile strike in Pakistan near the HQ of the Taliban chief near the Afghan border kills three. On Feb. 16 the Pakistani govt. caves in and agrees to implement medieval Sharia Law across a large part of NW Pakistan to placate the Taliban, who are growing stronger while the U.S. grows weaker. On Feb. 16 Obama's Trillion Dollar Week in the U.S. sees Pres. Obama travel to Denver, Colo. on Feb. 17 to sign the $877B stimulus package, putting a whopping $13 a week in each worker's paycheck. On Feb. 16 200 lb. 13-y.-o. Travis the Chimp (1995-2009), who was raised by humans from birth and starred in Old Navy and Coca-Cola ads goes beserk in Stamford, Conn. and rips the face and hands off 55-y.-o. Charla Nash (1953-), then attacks a police car, and is shot dead after his owner Sandra Herold wounds him with a butcher knife and shovel, later admitting to giving him Xanax before the rampage; on Feb. 18 the New York Post pub. a political cartoon caricaturing Obama as a crazed chimp gunned down by pigs, drawing out the PC er, police; Nash goes on to win $4M from the owner Sandra Herold, then sues the state for $150M, which is dismissed. On Feb. 17 Pres. Obama approves 17K more U.S. troops for Afghanistan, which has historically been known as "the Graveyard of Empires"; on Feb. 18 U.S. gen. David McKiernan warns that the new troops will take on emboldened Taliban insurgents who have "stalemented" the allies - and just why does Obama want to keep the U.S. in that wild hellhole when he's committing to pulling out of Iraq? On Feb. 17 Pres. Obama visits Phoenix, Ariz. On Feb. 22 (Sun.) a homemade bomb explodes in a 650-y.-o. bazaar in C Cairo, Egypt, killing a French woman and wounding 21, most of them infidel foreigners. On Feb. 22 a coal mine blast in Gujiao, Shanxi in N China kills 74 and injures 114. On Feb. 22 the 81st Academy Awards, hosted by Hugh Jackman are held at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, Calif.; 281 films are eligible for consideration; Danny Boyle wins the best dir. Oscar for 2008 for Slumdog Millionaire, which also wins best picture, cinematography, sound mixing, and four other Oscars; best actor goes to Sean Penn for Milk, best actress to Kate Winslet for The Reader, best supporting actor to Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight, best supporting actress to Penelope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona; Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire wins best original song. On Feb. 23 the Dow Jones Industrial Avg. tumbles to its lowest level since May 7, 1997, losing about half its value since its record high in Oct. 2007; meanwhile Pres. Obama vows to slash the deficit by half by the end of his 4-year term - leaving the U.S. set up with debt that triples or quadruples it after his successor is in office? On Feb. 23 the Obama admin. announces $900M in aid for Hamas to help rebuild Gaza after the Israeli attack; meanwhile U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton appoints longtime pres. adviser Dennis B. Ross (1948-) as special adviser for the Persian Gulf and SW Asia (until Nov. 10, 2011). On Feb. 23 Pope Benedict XVI names Timothy Michael Dolan (1950-) (archbishop of Milwaukee, Wisc. since 2002) as the new Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, the 2nd largest diocese in the U.S. after Los Angeles, Calif. On Feb. 24 Obama admin. officials announce that Obama plans to order all U.S. combat troops to be withdrawn from Iraq by Aug. 2010, slipping his campaign promise by 3 mo. and pissing-off anti-war activists who voted for him. On Feb. 24 a roadside bomb in S Afghanistan kills four U.S. troops, becoming the deadliest of the year so far. On Feb. 24 Pres. Obama delivers his We Will Recover Speech to a joint session of Congress, promising to lead the U.S. from a "day of reckoning" to a brighter future, saying "The time to take charge of our future is here"; "We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before"; "Now is the time to act boldly and wisely, to not only revive this economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity. We are a nation that has seen promise and peril. Now we must be that nation again"; he also pushes his Guaranteed Access Health Care Plan, saying that it "cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year", and asks Congress for legislation that places a "market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America"; he concludes that there is no reason that the 21st cent. can't be "another American century"; a Repub. reply by La. gov. #55 (since Jan. 14, 2008) Piyush "Bobby" Jindal (1971-) is widely panned as inept; meanwhile Obama invites Leonard Abess Jr. (1948-) of City Nat. Bank in Fla. to the speech, calling him a hero for sharing $60M of his bonuses with 471 employees and retirees, making him America's 2nd big hero of the year. On Feb. 24 the rich are getting richer as the 733-piece art collection of Yves Saint Laurent and his gay partner Pierre Berge are auctioned in Paris for a record $484M. On Feb. 24-25 the Dhaka Mutiny sees Bangladeshi border guards mutiny, demanding higher pay, then surrender after 20 hours after being promised amnesty; too bad, after the govt. discovers that they massacred 148 army officers, they withdraw the amnesty and charge 1K+ border guards with murder and arson - because knowing is the first step to healing? On Feb. 25 Turkish Airlines Flight 1951 slams into a muddy field while attempting to land at Amsterdam's Schiphil Airport, killing 9 of 134 aboard. On Feb. 27 Pres. Obama gives a speech at Camp Lejune, N.C., telling U.S. Marines that he'll withdraw all combat troops from Iraq by Aug. 2010 and the rest by Dec. 2011, with his strategy based on the "achievable goal" of a "sovereign, stable, and self-reliant" Iraq. On Feb. 27 the Obama admin. says that Mexican drug violence is a big threat to the U.S., with battles between Mexican authorites and drug cartels killing 6K+ last year and 1K this year. In Feb. the U.S. Peanut Butter Scandal sees cockroach-ridden Peanut Corp. of Am. in Ga. exposed as knowingly shipping products tainted with salmonella, causing a giant recall of 1.9K items and congressional hearings - them Jawjaw cockroaches is as big as unshelled peanuts? In Feb. new U.S. Homeland Security secy. Janet Napolitan launches Operation Vigilant Eagle, an attempt to turn U.S. security upside-down by taking the focus off Islamic security threats to put a magnifying glass on white supremacists, the U.S. military and other patriot non-Muslims; on Apr. 7 she issues a dept. memo. In Feb. the U.S. State Dept. pub. its Human Rights Report on Libya; "Although there is no law prohibiting conversion from Islam, the government prohibits efforts to proselytize Muslims and actively prosecutes offenders." On Mar. 1 the U.S. govt. loans AIG another $30B to go with the $30B already loaned, the $40B purchase of preferred shares, and the $50B in Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) funds to buy up toxic debt, for a total of $150B; Harvard Law prof. Elizabeth Warren (1949-) chairs the congressional oversight panel for the Trouble Assets Program, and in 2007 developed the idea for a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency, which Obama pushes; too bad, Congress later can't find out where all the TARP money went? On Mar. 1-4 U.S. secy. of state Hillary Rodham Clinton makes her first official visit to the Middle East, meeting with lame duck Israeli PM Ehud Olmert and PM-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, and declaring U.S. support for Israel "unshakeable" while saying that the Palestinian Authority is the "only legitimate government of the Palestinian people", and going after the Israelis for withholding aid to Gaza. On Mar. 2 the 21st Annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney, Australia cruises on the buzz from the 2008 Hollyweird film Milk, and features Am. queen, er, comedian Joan Rivers. On Mar. 3 Pres. Obama commits a boo-boo, saying "profit and earning ratios" instead of price to earnings ratios, causing speculation about his preparation to be you know what. On Mar. 3 Britney Spears launches her Circus Tour, her first concert tour in five years in New Orleans, La. On Mar. 4 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules 6-3 in Wyeth v. Levine that federal regulatory clearance of a medicine does not shield the manufacturer from liability under state law. On Mar. 5 U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton proposes an internat. meeting on Afghanistan to incl. "key regional and strategic countries" incl. Iran, even though on Mar. 5 she accused its leaders of fomenting divisions in the Arab world, promoting terrorism, threatening Israel and Europe, and seeking to "intimidate as far as they think their voice can reach". On Mar. 5 Pres. Obama holds a Health Care Forum, telling 120 reps "If we want to create jobs and rebuild our economy, then we must address the crushing cost of health care this year"; the U.S. spends $2.5T a year on health care while leaving 46M people uninsured and having higher infant mortality rates than other Western countries; Obama decides to set aside $634B in his 2010 budget for health care reform; the $3.6T budget is titled A New Era of Responsibility: Renewing America's Promise; according to Newt Gingrich, 20-year-olds will owe $114,280.72 for the interest payments on this budget by age 70. On Mar. 5 a car bomb in a crowded livestock market in Hillah, Iraq S of Baghdad kills 12 and injures dozens. On Mar. 6 U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton presents her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Geneva with a mock reset button, but the label is misworded to read "overcharge" instead; it was swiped from a Jacuzzi in Geneva; on Mar. 20 a U.S. delegation led by Henry Kissinger meets with Russian pres. (since May 7) Dmitri Medvedev (1965-), calling it an attempt to "press the reset button" on U.S.-Russian relations. On Mar. 8 Pres. Obama announces that 12K U.S. soldiers will leave Iraq by Sept.; meanwhile the acne eruption keeps on as yet another suicide bomber in Bag Dead kills 30+. On Mar. 9 the Dow Jones Industrial Avg. bottoms out below 6.5K, rising 20% by June 1. On Mar. 9 the U.S. and South Korea stage annual war games, causing the North Koreans to prepare for an invasion - like they don't deserve it? On Mar. 9 Michael McLendon (b. 1981) goes on a rampage in two counties in S Ala. killing 10, incl. his mother, then himself; he allegedly held a grudge against his former employer Pilgrim Pride. On Mar. 9 U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stinks herself up with the soundbyte "We have to pass the [health care reform] bill so that you can find out what is in it." On Mar. 9 the crime drama series Castle debuts on ABC-TV for ? episodes (until ?), starring Canadian-born Nathan Christopher Fillion (1971-) as famed mystery novelist Richard Castle, who suffers from a writer's block, and ends up helping the NYPD solve murders with hot babe detective Kate Beckett, played by Canadian-born Stana Jacqueline Katic (1978-). On Mar. 10 Students for a Free Tibet protesters march in New York City, Europe, and Asia to commemorate the 50th anniv. of the failed uprising that sent the Dalai Lama into exile. On Mar. 10 a suicide bomber in a market in Abu Ghraib, Iraq in W Baghdad attacks a group of Shiite and Sunni tribesmen and police officers, killing 133. On Mar. 11 17-y.-o. Tim Kretschmer (1991-) goes on a rampage at his former high school in Winnenden, Germany, killing 15. On Mar. 11 the 2009 Forbes Billionaire List is pub., with Bill Gates back at #1 after losing only $18B of his $58B net worth, with Warren Buffett slipping to #2 after losing $25B of his $62B; a record 332 people drop off the list, which falls from 793 to 1,125, with total net worth down from $4.4T to $2.4T. On Mar. 11 Pres. Obama creates the White House Panel on Women and Girls to advise him on the issues, invoking his white single mother and dead white grandmother. On Mar. 11 19-y.-o. Levi Johnston and 18-y.-o. Bristol Palin announce that they have split after he couldn't handle new baby boy Tripp (born Dec. 27). On Mar. 12 police arrest anti-govt. protesters in Islamabad, Pakistan as part of a plan by new pres. (since Sept. 9, 2008) Asif Ali Zardari (1955-) to detain anybody critical of his policies. On Mar. 13 (Fri.) Wall Street has its best week of 2009, with a 3-day rally after reports that the U.S. trade gap narrowed in Jan. to $36B (lowest since Oct. 2002), Bank of Am. reports profits in Jan. and Feb., and Citigroup claims its best quarter since 2007; the Dow gains 53 points (.9%) to close at 7,223, and Nasdaq gains 5 points to 1,431; on Mar. 17 the Dow is up 849 points (13%); the rally continues until ?; meanwhile Chinese PM (since 2003) Wen Jibao (1942-) utters the soundbyte "We have loaned a huge amount of money to the United States. Of course, we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I'm a little bit worried. I would like for you [a Western reporter] to call on the United States to honor its word and stay a credible nation and ensure the safety of Chinese assets"; China has $2T in foreign reserves and is the #1 creditor of the U.S., holding $1T of its debt; he also outlines a $585B stimulus plan for China, claiming that the Chinese economy will grow by 8% this year - mighty capitalist of him? On Mar. 13 thousands of Protestants and Catholics unite at the funeral of constable Stephen Carroll (b. 1960), who was shot on on Mar. 7 as he sat in his patrol car, becoming the first policeman shot in Northern Ireland since 1998; on Mar. 5 two unarmed soldiers were gunned down outside their base, becoming the first British troops killed since 1997; on Mar. 14 police arrest three IRA members, incl. Colin Duffy (1967-), "the IRA godfather of Lurgan", causing more violence. On Mar. 14 (Sat.) bedlam breaks out in Manhattan, N.Y. at a crowded audition for "America's Next Top Model", injuring six and resulting in three arrests. On Mar. 14 a recording of Osama bin Laden is released on al-Jazeera TV, calling the Israeli offensive in Gaza a "holocaust" and lashing out at Arab leaders, accusing them of being hypocrites who are sacrificing Palestinians and collaborating with Israel; meanwhile on Mar. 13 Am. activist Tristan Anderson (1970-) of Oakland, Calif. is hit in the head by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops in the West Bank, fracturing his skull and putting him in the hospital. On Mar. 14 former DJ Andry Nirina Rajoelina (1974-), head of the opposition emerges from two weeks of hiding and on Mar. 17 declares himself pres. of Madagascar (until Jan. 25, 2014), but pres. Marc Ravalomanana refuses to quit. On Mar. 15 ex-vice-pres. Duck Shooter, er, Dick Cheney calls the actions of the Bush admin. after 9/11 "a great success story", and says that Americans are less safe after Pres. Obama overturned his policies; on ? he says that if his successor Joe Biden "wants to diminish the office of the vice-president, that's... his call." On Mar. 15 leftist former guerrilla Carlos Mauricio Funes Cartagena (1959-) of the Farabundo Marti Nat. Liberation Front (FMLN) wins elections in El Savador, defeating conservative Rodrigo Avila of the Arena Party. On Mar. 15-21 more than 500 protests against the Iraq War are held, complaining that Pres. Obama is stalling in his promise to pull out. On Mar. 17 Pres. Obama stays true to his Chicago roots and has the water in the fountain in front of the White House turned green; actually his wife put him up to it; meanwhile Congressional Dems. get pissed-off at news that Ain't I Greedy AKA AIG (Am. Internat. Group) has given its employees $169M in post-bailout bonuses, causing them to take emergency action to get them back and consider letting the outfit go into bankruptcy. On Mar. 18 the state of N.M. repeals its death penalty, effective July 1. On Mar. 19 Jewish-Am. Harvard Law School dean (since 2003) Elena Kagan (1960-) (who banned military recruiters from campus over their don't ask don't tell policy, and filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in May 2009 arguing that the victims of 9/11 couldn't sue the Saudi govt. or royal family because they had "sovereign immunity") becomes U.S. solicitor gen. #45 (until ?), the first woman, going on to fight lawsuits questioning her boss Obama's citizenship and get paid back by a Supreme Court nomination. On Mar. 19 Barack Obama is the first guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. On Mar. 20 Pres. Osama, er, Obama releases a Special Video Message to the People of Iran: A New Year, a New Beginning, offering a "new day" in U.S.-Iraq relations, calling it the Islamic Repub. to stroke their leaders, who brush it aside with the reply that Washington must show concrete change first, then inaugurate their first nuclear fuel manufacturing plant on Apr. 8; meanwhile a U.S. delegation led by Henry Kissinger meets with Russian pres. (since May 7) Dmitri Medvedev (1965-), calling it an attempt to "press the reset button" on U.S.-Russian relations; on Mar. 6 Hillary Clinton presents her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Geneva with a mock reset button, but the label is misworded to read "overcharge" instead; on May 5 U.S. defense secy. Robert Gates assures U.S. allies in the Middle East that their relationships with the U.S. won't be damaged by Obama's naive, er, open dialoguing efforts. meanwhile candidate Obama's aides met in secret with senior Hamas and other Islamist group figures in Gaza, covering-it up so that McCain couldn't use it as ammo, and first revealed in Nov. 2011; was one of the aides Robert Malley (1963-), who was let go when his regular meetings with Hamas became public, then put back in the fold after the election? On Mar. 20 the 6th Anniv. of the U.S. Invasion of Iraq sees Sadrists burn U.S. flags and call for immediate pullout - they don't believe them Enzyte ads? On Mar. 21 Antananarivo mayor (since 2008) (former disc jockey) Andry Nirina Rajoelina (1974-) seizes power, becoming pres. of Madagascar (until ?). On Mar. 21 Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry (1948-) is reinstated as chief justice of Pakistan after being fired by ex-pres. Pervez Musharraf in 2007 for challenging his rule. On Mar. 21 Pope Bendedict XVI visits Luanda, Angola, uttering the soundbyte: "In today's Angola, Catholics should offer the message of Christ to the many who live in the fear of spirits, of evil powers by whom they feel threatened"; too bad, on his way to Africa he makes remarks about AIDS and condom use, saying that condoms aren't the answer to Africa's AIDS epidemic and could make it worse, and that the Church should promote abstinence and monogamy, bringing out the PC police, and causing the Belgian parliament on Apr. 2 to pass a resolution calling his remarks "unacceptable", which the Vatican counters on Apr. 17 by calling it an attempt to intimidate him into silence - stick your remarks up what? On Mar. 22 the U.S. Treasury Dept. announces the creation of the Public Investment Corp. to purchase up to $1T of toxic assets from banks. On Mar. 22 black parolee Lovelle Mixon kills four police officers in Oakland, Calif. before he is killed, raising the bar for suicide by cop wannabes? On Mar. 25 responding to U.S. criticism that the EU is not spending enough to stimulate demand, Czech PM (since 2006) Mirek Topolanek (1956-) (head of the EU) says that Pres. Obama's $2T economic stimulus plan is "the road to Hell". On Mar. 25 U.S. treasury secy. Timothy Geithner stuns global markets by stating that the Obama admin. is "quite open" to Chinese proposals for the gradual development of a global reserve currency run by the IMF to supersede the dollar. On Mar. 26 stinking corrupt prosecutors in Passaic, N.J. do what we coulda guessed and abused, er, arrested a 14-y.-o. girl on charges of child porno for posting nude pics of herself on MySpace.com, which will end up marking her for life in the system as a sex offender - the prosecutors should be sentenced to go around nude for a year, but who can prosecute a prosecutor in the stinking U.S.? On Mar. 26 Pres. Obama holds the first-ever White House Internet Forum; meanwhile his admin. issuing a warning to North Korea not to launch a rocket in orbit in Apr. after it was seen being put into position on its pad. On Mar. 26 U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton admits that the U.S. shares responsibility with Mexico for its drug violence, with the soundbyte that traffickers "are motivated by the demand for illegal drugs in the United States, and are armed by the transfer of weapons from the United States"; meanwhile the U.S. DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act is introduced into the U.S. Congress, providing undocumented immigrant students citizenship after they graduate from h.s. and earn a 2-year college degree or serve in the military for two years; too bad, it fails in the Senate by a 44-52 vote. On Mar. 27 Pres. Obama utters the soundbyte that the U.S. goal in Afghanistan and Pakistan is to "disrupt, dismantle, and eventually destroy al-Qaida". On Mar. 27 8-y.-o. Sandra Cantu is kidnapped in Tracy, Calif. by Sun. school teacher Melissa Huckaby (1981-), who rapes and murders her with a rolling pin, then stuffs her body in a black Eddie Bauer suitcase and thows it into a pond; on June 24, 2010 she is sentenced to life in prison. On Mar. 28 protesters march in London to protest the G20 meeting coming up on Apr. 2, which ends up wanting to bolt away from prior support of the U.S. and its jiffy capitalist system. On Mar. 28 (Sat.) a dam bursts outside Jakarta, Indonesia in the early morning hours, catching many asleep, killing 69. On Mar. 31 Pres. Obama rejects a $22B bailout request from GM and Chrysler after forcing GM CEO (since 1998) George Richard "Rick" Wagoner Jr. (1953-) to resign on Mar. 29, giving GM 60 days to roll-out a new plan that trims brands, jobs and dealers; Wagoner gets a $10M retirement package, effective Aug. 1; on Mar. 31 Frederick "Fritz" Henderson (1958-) becomes the new GM CEO (until Dec. 1); on May 11 he announces that he is open to moving the co. HQ out of Detroit (his birthplace), selling its U.S. plants, and renegotiating its restructuring plan with the UAW, and that GM is likely headed for bankruptcy by June 1 after missing a $1B debt payment; after it survives, Henderson is ousted on Dec. 1 for restructuring the co. too slowly, and is replaced by GM chmn. Ed Whitacre as interim CEO (until ?). On Mar. 31 yet another suicide bomber in Iraq strikes Mosul, Iraq, killing seven and wounding 25, most of them police officers; meanwhile a weekend Sunni uprising in Baghdad bodes poorly for the future of a U.S. pullout, and Britain hands over control of oil-rich S Iraq to the U.S. On Mar. 31 two ships smuggling North Africans to France run into a storm off Libya, capsizing one ship and drowning 200. In Mar. Afghanistan passes the Sharia Personal Status Law, effective in July, requiring wives to obtain their husband's permission just to leave home, granting child custody rights to fathers and grandfathers instead of mothers and grandmothers, requiring a woman to "make herself up" and have sex whenever the husband demands it, and giving the hubby the right to cut off her maintenance if she doesn't, while reducing the penalty for a man raping a child or elderly woman to a mere fine. In Mar. Wash. state by 56.7% passes a Death with Dignity Law, permitting assisted-suicide; on May 21 terminal cancer patient Linda Fleming (b. 1942) of Sequim becomes the first to die under the new law. In Mar. the Obama admin. gives Congress detailed plans behind closed doors to send up to 80 narcs (narcotic agents) to Afghanistan in an attempt to disrupt the main source of financing for terrorists - 80 more drug billionaires in the making? In Mar. the Mexican govt. imposes a retaliatory $2.4B tariff on the U.S. after Pres. Bush cancelled the program allowing Mexican trucks to cross the U.S. border under NAFTA, saying they are old and unsafe. In Mar. former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia Charles "Chas" Freeman withdraws his nomination to head the Nat. Intelligence Council after financial ties to the bin Laden family are revealed, along with board membership in a Chinese-owned oil. co. making deals with Iran; in Nov. he makes a speech to a pro-Arab U.S. group claiming that Israel has long been assassinating peace-loving Palestinian leaders, that the 9/11 attack was caused by U.S. support for Israel, and that if Pres. Obama attempts to pressure Israel, its "American lobby" will use Congress to punish him. On Apr. 1 (April Fool's Day) new U.S. pres. Barack Hussein Obama bows to Saudi King Abdullah at the G20 summit in London, a giant protocol no-no and a terrific insult to his own office, probably an instinctive reaction, he won't do it again?; Saudi Arabia is known for their mutawas (morality police), who throw women into medieval dungeons and beat and gang-rape them for daring to drive a car or go out in public without a male escort, great ally the U.S. has there - imagine any preceding president doing it even to a good monarch? On Apr. 2 after new DNA tests, 72-y.-o. insurance adjuster John Floyd Thomas Jr. (1936-) is charged for murder, after which police say he is suspected of raping and strangling up to 30 older women over a 20-year period. On Apr. 3 Pres. Obama visits Strasbourg, France, where he utters the soundbyte "Instead of celebrating our dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive." On Apr. 3 unemployed Korean immigrant Jiverly Wong (Voong) (1967-) kills 13 and wounds four in a rampage at a citizenship class in an immigrant community center in Binghampton, N.Y. before killing himself. On Apr. 3 the Iowa Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage, licking the marital problem of Trish Varnum (1975-) and Kate Varnum (1966-). On Apr. 3 Dato Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak (1953-), son of PM #2 Abdul Razak and nephew of PM #3 Hussin Onn becomes PM #6 of Malaysia (until ?), going on to launch the 1Malaysia campaign. On Apr. 3-4 NATO celebrates its 60th anniv. with a NATO Summit in Strasbourg-Kehl, welcoming new members Albania and Croatia, and extending an open invitation to Macedonia; the membership of Turkey hotly is disputed, the fact that since 1974 it has occupied 40% of NATO member Cyprus with its army (that would be the 2nd largest in NATO after the U.S.) in point; the HQ of Turkey's EU efforts was seized from the Orthodox Christians in the 1990s? On Apr. 5 North Korea launches the Taepodong 2 comm sat to protests by Japan and the U.S.; too good, the 3rd stage fails, and it falls into the Pacific Ocean - there is only one Lord of the Ring? On Apr. 6 on the tail end of his trip to Europe, Pres. Obama visits Turkey, his first official pres. visit to a Muslim nation, and meets pres. Abdullah Gul, uttering the soundbyte "I'm trying to make a statement about the importance of Turkey, not just to the United States but to the world. I think that where there's the most promise of building stronger U.S.-Turkish relations is in the recognition that Turkey and the United States can build a model partnership in which a predominantly Christian nation, a predominantly Muslim nation - a Western nation and a nation that straddles two continents - that we can create a modern international community that is respectful, that is secure, that is prosperous, that there are not tensions - inevitable tensions between cultures - which I think is extraordinarily important"; he tells the Turkish parliament: "Some people have asked me if I chose to continue my travels to Ankara and Istanbul to send a message. My answer is simple: Evet (yes). Turkey is a critical ally"; he tells a press conference: "One of the great strengths of the United States is... we have a very large Christian population. We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation, we consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values"; during a town meeting in Istanbul he makes a point of finishing a half hour before the Muslim call to prayer, acknowledging that it's no longer such a secular nation. On Apr. 6 an earthquake in C Italy causes bldgs. to collapse in and around L'Aquila, Abruzzo and other towns, killing 50+; six seismologists and a govt. official are charged with manslaughter for not alerting the public in time; on Nov. 10, 2014 six of them are acquitted. On Apr. 7 a gunman opens fire in a court in Landhut, Germany, kiling a woman then himself; in the last mo. crazed gunmen have killed a total of 57 in eight separate rampages, causing many to blame the economy. It takes two, baby? On Apr. 7 Vt. legalizes same-sex marriage, becoming the first state legislature to do it instead of a court - how do you like your sweetcakes? On Apr. 8 a bomb in a plastic bag explodes 100 yards from the Imam Mousa al-Kazim Shiite tomb in Baghdad, killing seven. On Apr. 8 British police arrest 12 men on suspicion of a "very big" terrorism plot, then release them on Apr. 22, seeking to deport 11 of them back to Pakistan while admitting embarrassment. On Apr. 9 Pres. Bush, er, Obama asks Congress for $83.4B for U.S. military and domestic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, pushing the cost of the two wars to $1T since 9/11; as a candidate, he opposed the same special troop funding. On Apr. 9 Shawn Merriman (1962-) of Aurora, Colo. is charged with running yet another Ponzi scheme, using $20M from 38 investors to fund a lavish lifestyle, incl. Rembrandts, which are soon put up to auction. On Apr. 9 an al-Qaida terrorist cell is arrested in Manchester and Liverpool, England, a few days before a planned Easter terrorist attack on Apr. 12. On Apr. 9 (Thur.) the sitcom Parks and Recreation debuts on NBC-TV for 125 episodes (until Feb. 24, 2015), starring Amy Meredith Poehler (1971-) as Leslie Knope, deputy dir. of Parks and Recreation in Pawnee, Ind. On Apr. 9 (Thur.) the crime drama series Southland debuts on NBC-TV for 43 episodes (until Apr. 17, 2013 afer switching to TNT on Nov. 2, 2009), about the LAPD and its officers' lives, starring Michael Cudlitz (1964-) as Officer John Cooper, who is a closet gay. On Apr. 10 a suicide bomber at a police station in Mosul, Iraq kills five U.S. soldiers and two policemen, and injures dozens, incl. 17 policemen and a U.S. soldier. On Apr. 11 a suicide vest bomber in Al-Iskandariya, Iraq 24 mi. S of Baghdad kills nine and injures 31 members of the anti-al-Qaida Sunni Sons of Iraq movement; meanwhile another suicide bomber in Jbala, Iraq 35 mi. S of Baghdad kills nine and wounds 30. 4/11 (Cry Me a River Day) becomes an anti-9/11 for millions in the Western world, lifting their spirits faster than the Twin Towers fell on 9/11? On Apr. 11 (Sat.) one of the most powerful reality TV moments ever sees Britain's Got Talent rocked by the stunning debut of 47-y.-o. never-married "never-kissed" Scottish soprano Susan Boyle (1961-) (contestant #432), who comes off at first like a frumpy bag lady or mental institution outpatient and endures degrading looks and wolf whistles, shaking her booty and uttering the soundbyte "And that's just one side of me", saying that she'd like to have a musical career like Elaine Paige (1948-) ("First Lady of Musical Theatre"), then displaying a voice like an angel with the discipline and art of a diva, singing a brilliant interpretation of I Dreamed a Dream from the 1980 musical "Les Miserables", bringing the entire audience to its feet and causing the "don't judge a book by its cover" lesson to be learned by millions; her voice is compared to Kate Smith and Barbra Streisand; the Cinderella story that is later revealed of being born with brain damage, losing her 91-y.-o. mother two years ago, and fighting back against insurmountable odds causes millions to weep as they play the video over and over, incl. celebs Demi Moore (1962-) and Patti LuPone (1949-), who first sang the song in London's West End; good sport Elaine Paige offers to sing a duet with her; the Western romantic fantasy of lowly commoner Susan Boyle revealing herself to really be Queen Susan de Balliol, descended from the kings of Scotland, who deigned to grace her audience of commoners with her royal presence causes even historyscoper TLW to weep, recalling less powerful moments in "Shrek" (Princess Fiona), Disney's Fairy Godmother, and Susan Osborne's "What If God Was One Of Us"; she goes on to zoom to the top with 60M+ views of her debut on YouTube by Apr. 19 (most viewed YouTube clip until ?), and 93.2M views on 650 different placements by Apr. 20, with fans worldwide listening to her video many times in a row and telling friends, and Susan Boyle Fan Sites springing up overnight, becoming the biggest music sensation since the Beatles?; ironically British viewers can't access YouTube videos because of a revenue dispute, and Sony Music, owner of the TV show fails to make any money from all the views; she soon signs a recording contract with tight-fisted Simon's Sysco Music Co., becoming the big music story of 2009, the waste of her talent finally ended; her cat Pebbles becomes the world's most famous cat?; her home province of West Lothian becomes an immediate travel destination ("It's a sort of collection of, it's a collection of, uh, villages, I had to think there"); too bad, in 1999 she recorded Cry Me a River and was overlooked, selling only 1K copies for charity, which become instant collectors items; on Apr. 22 she gets a new look, then on Apr. 24 dyes her hair for $50; meanwhile on Apr. 18 12-y.-o. Welsh-Iranian Shaheen Jafargholi (1997-) from Swansea appears on the show, causing a mini-stir with a rendition of "Who's Lovin' You" by the Jackson Five, followed on Apr. 25 by 10-y.-o. Hollie Steele (1999-), but at least the producers tried?; on May 25 buffed-up Susan sings Memory from Cats, the previous situation reversed, with all the hype of this big star putting her under tremendous pressure she isn't used to, causing her to start off-key, then regroup and finish strong again, going on to the finals on May 30 after the paparazzi put her through hell on May 27 in the Wembley Plaza Hotel in London, doing "I Dreamed a Dream" again well, but ending up #2 after the dance troupe Diversity, causing bookmakers to make a fortune with the unexpected outcome, after which on May 31 she is hospitalized, but later recovers and begins her hot career. On Apr. 12 French atheist self-appointed Messiah Rael Maitreya announces to the nation of Israel: "I, Yahweh, through the mouth of my prophet RAEL, your awaited Messiah, am sending you this ultimate message... you all need to unite to prepare the construction of the Third Temple, Our Embassy and the glorious return of our beloved son, our last and ultimate messanger, the Messiah Rael, who will bring centuries of peace on Earth with our return. Every minute counts and remember that you cannot say we did not warn you." On Apr. 13 U.S. Navy snipers kill three Somalian pirates holding freighter capt. Richard Phillips, who was kidnapped from his ship the Maersk Alabama on Apr. 8 and held in a lifeboat, embarrassing the U.S.; he is rescued unharmed; on Apr. 30 he calls for military protection and armed crew officers to thwart future attacks; meanwhile the pirates set up a lair at Haradheere (250 mi. NE of Mogadishu) to attract financiers for future lucrative operations; on Feb. 17, 2011 Abdulwali Abdukhadir Muse, sole survivor of the pirates is sentenced to 405 mo. in U.S. federal prison for his role in the Maersk hijacking. An Apr. 13 after folding to pressure, Pakistani pres. Asif Ali Zardari signs a regulation putting a NW district under Islamic Sharia law, appeasing militants who have been brutalizing the Swat Valley for two years. On Apr. 13 a fire in a 3-story shelter for homeless families in Kamien Pomorski burns down, killing 21. On Apr. 13 the AFL-CIO and the Change to Win, the two largest labor union federations in the U.S. announce unanimous support for a plan to legalize illegal immigrants in the U.S., along with a "worker verification program" and the erection of significant barriers to businesses attempting to bring in new foreign temp workers. On Apr. 15 Neo-Boston Tea Party Rallies are held in several U.S. cities, incl. Denver, Colo. against Obama's bailout policies, with some carrying signs calling him a traitor; Tex. Repub. gov. (since 2000) James Richard "Rick" Perry (1950-) tells a cheering crowd in Austin that the Obama admin. has abandoned the founding U.S. principles of limited govt., and strangled Americans with spending, debt, and taxation, and that if it keeps up Texas might secede - who's had a Jimmy Dean breakfast this morning? On Apr. 15 U.S. homeland security secy. Janet Napolitano names former federal prosecutor Alan Bersin to be the new "border czar" to oversee U.S. efforts to end drug cartel violence along the U.S.-Mexico border and stem illegal immigration. On Apr. 15 300 Afghan women protest in Kabul a new law that imposes disgusting medieval Islamic Sharia law on women, esp. the right to marital rape; men respond by stoning them - they should have that infidel women's libber crap f*cked out of them? On Apr. 15 Time mag. goofs and sends incorrect eds. of the debut issue of its new mag. Mine, which lets subscribers tailor their issues by selecting five of eight mag. titles (really a printed RSS feed). On Apr. 16 Pres. Obama arrives in Mexico City and meets with Mexican pres. Felipe Calderon, who compares him to JFK, after which Obama says that he will not seek to renew the U.S. assault weapons ban but will instead work to stop their flow to Mexico, saying that the Mexican drug war is "sowing chaos in our communities"; Obama then attends the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, where the restoration of relations with Cuba is on the table, with Calderon wanting to play the matchmaker since Mexico is friendly with both countries, which Obama decides to pass on for now; on Apr. 20 the summit ends with Obama outlining a broad agenda incl. a more central role for the U.S. in global alliances, with the soundbyte "We do our best to promote our ideals and our values by our example"; after Obama calls for a "new beginning" with Cuba, Raul Castro says that he is willing to sit down with him and discuss "everything, everything, everything", causing his retired brother Fidel Castro to tell the press that Obama "misinterpreted" his remarks, and that freeing political prisoners is out of the question; on Apr. 17 Obama shakes hands with Venezuelan pres. (since 1999) Hugo Chavez, who is known for calling Pres. Bush a "devil"; Chavez hands Obama the 1971 book Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, by Uruguayan author Eduardo Hughes Galeano (1940-), which exposes U.S. and Euro imperialism in Latin Am. for the last five cents., and is written in Spanish, causing Obama to think it was written by Chavez; it becomes an immediate bestseller on Amazon.com, jumping from #54,295 to #2 in three days - did he feel amazingly boxed in or grateful to know what's wrong? Take our word for it, and ci ya later? On Apr. 16 Memos on Torture, a "Holy Grail of torture documents" written by CIA inspector gen. John Helgerson in 2004 during the Bush years describing inhumane torture techniques used by the CIA are pub. after the agents involved are shielded from prosecution; the CIA admits to destroying 12 tapes of particularly devilish interrogations, plus 80 others they claim weren't so bad; a 2005 Justice Dept. memo shows that they gave Abu Zubaydah 83 waterboardings in Aug. 2002 alone, all of which pisses-off lawmakers into calling for more extensive inquiries into the Beat the Bush admin., incl. calls for prosecution anyway, causing Obama on Apr. 21 to say he'll have the new U.S. atty.-gen. look into it, and recommend Congress to set up an independent commission rather than a congressional panel; too bad, ex-vice-pres. Dick Cheney steps in, delaying the declassification of the document until ?. On Apr. 18 after pleas by Pakistani pres. Asif Ali Zardari, who says "I still fear that the understanding of the danger that Pakistan faces does not register fully in the minds of the world... If we lose, you lose. If we lose, the world loses", the U.S., Japan, the EU, and Saudi Arabia promise $5B in aid to Pakistan. On Apr. 19 22 polo horses from the Venezuelan-owned Lechuza polo team collapse and die in West Palm Beach, Fla. shortly before the start of the U.S. Open after being given a botched Biodyl vitamin-mineral prescription, which was illegal to bring into the U.S., so they had it mixed locally. On Apr. 19 a U.S. missile strike in S Waziristan, Pakistan on the Afghan border kills three al-Qaida militants and destroys a truck filled with high explosives that could have been used in a suicide bombing; the incident shows the growing strength of al-Qaida in shaky Pakistan. On Apr. 19 U.S. homeland secy. (since Jan. 21) Janet Napolitano goes on CNN's State of the Union, and says that crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally isn't a crime; too bad, Section 8, Title 1325 of the U.S. Criminal Code says it is - call it on-the-job training? On Apr. 19 Prince Philip, duke of Edinburgh (b. 1921) becomes the longest serving consort in British history, 57 years and 71 days, passing up George III's consort Queen Charlotte. As smooth as a baby's behind? On Apr. 19 the Donald Trump Miss USA 2009 Pageant in Las Vegas, Nev. (known for not promoting tons of non-whites over the heads of whites but being mostly fair, until now?) is won by blonde-blue Miss N.C. Kristen Jeannine Dalton (1986-) (not to be confused by the redheaded actress Kristen Dalton, b. 1966) after gorgeous blonde-blue Miss Calif. Carrie Prejean (1987-) (a Bible-believing Creationist) honestly answers a question about same-sex marriage by ugly bigmouth gay celeb Perez Hilton (1978-), saying "I do believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, no offense to anybody out there", after which Hilton gives away that he voted her down for her beliefs, calling her answer "the worst answer in pageant history", and adding on his blog "She lost not because she doesn't believe in gay marriage, she lost because she's a dumb bitch" (duh, like him?); on Apr. 21 Repub. state rep. (since 2002) Jay Love (1968-) introduces a resolution to the Ala. legislature to praise Prejean for standing by her beliefs; the gays then begin a systematic harassment campaign, announcing that she had breast implants and dredging up old photos to use against her, but Donald Trump intervenes, allowing her to keep her crown; meanwhile the U.S. liberal media takes to calling her comments "controversial"; too bad, after the heat dies down, Trump fires her anyway on June 10 on er, trumped-up excuses. On Apr. 20 British ambassador Peter Gooderham leads dozens of diplomats in walking out of a U.N. Conference on Racism in Geneva after Iranian PM Imadinnajacket calls Israel a "cruel and oppressive racist regime", and says that the state of Israel was created "on the pretext of Jewish suffering" in WWII; protesters dressed in clown wigs disrupt Dinnajacket, shouting "racist" in French and throwing something at him; meanwhile the U.S., Israel, Germany, Poland, and the Netherlands boycott the conference, which soon falls apart. On Apr. 20 Pres. Obama orders his cabinet to find ways to cut spending by $100B, er, $100M, admitting that it's a "drop in the bucket" but that there's a "confidence gap" that needs to be overcome; meanwhile he visits the CIA and gives them a pep talk, saying "I know the last few days have been difficult. You need to know you've got my full support", but adding that they have to follow all his new rules. On Apr. 20 a suicide bomber in Baqouba, Iraq wounds eight U.S soldiers - I'll be baaaq? Last year we had Made-Off, now we have Mark-Off? On Apr. 20 police arrest suspected "Craigslist Killer" Philip "Phil" Markoff (1985-), a medical student accused of contacting escort services in Craigslist then meeting with their hos in upscale hotels and robbing them to mark off, er, pay off gambling debts, collecting their panties as souvenirs and leaving his tracks all over the Internet, making him easy to catch after he went too far on Apr. 14 and killed 26-y.-o. Julissa Brisman, upping his police priority; his babe Megan McAllister stands by him at first, then cancels the Aug. 14 wedding on Apr. 27. On Apr. 21 Bank of Am. Corp. posts a first quarter profit of $2.81B. On Apr. 21 Pres. Obama signs the U.S. Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act (HR 1388), reauthorizing and expanding the Corp. for Nat. and Community Service (founded 1993); he appoints leftist activist Patrick Corvington as its new head, who is unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Feb. 11 (until ?). On Apr. 21 the College Board, known for its SAT test pub. a report calling on Congress to give illegal immigrants tuition aid to help them become educated illegal immigrants, er, citizens. On Apr. 21 animal rights activist Daniel Andreas San Diego (1978-) becomes the first domestic terrorist to make the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist List - where in the world is Daniel San Diego? On Apr. 21 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Ariz. v. Gant that police may search the passenger compartment of a vehicle after the occupant is under arrest without a warrant only if it is reasonable to believe tht the person might access the vehicle at the time of the search, or that the vehicle contains evidence of the offense for which they are being arrested, unless there is an actual and continuing threat to officer safety, overturning New York v. Belton (1981) and Thornton v. U.S. (2004); Justices Alito, Roberts, Kennedy, and Breyer dissent. On Apr. 22 the IMF says that the world economy is going to shrink by 1.3% this year, the first shrinkage in 6 decades in a "Great Recession"; in Jan. they predicted 0.5% growth; as of Apr. the U.S. GDP shrunk 2.6% over the past 12 mo., compared to 9.5% for Russia, 9.1% for Japan, 6.9% for Germany, 4.1% for the U.K., and 3.2% for France. On Apr. 22 (morning) Freddie Mac CFO David Kellerman (b. 1967), who was blamed for causing the U.S. mortgage crisis is found dead by suicide by hanging in his $900K home in Fairfax County, Va. On Apr. 22 the FDA bows to a judge's order and agrees to make the "morning after pill" RU-486 available to 17-y.-os. On Apr. 22 the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on a reverse discrimination suit by white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., appearing divided; on June 29 in Ricci v. DeStefano they rule 5-4 in favor of the firefighters (even though the appeals court led by Sonia Sotomayor ruled against their case with the "disparate impact" excuse), with the soundbyte "an employer could not cast aside a selection method based on a statistical disparity alone"; Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissents, writing "Relying heavily on written tests to select fire officers is a questionable practice, to say the least." On Apr. 22 elections in South Africa (4th since the 1994 transition to black majority rule) give a V to the African Nat. Congress (ANC); despite corruption investigations and a rape acquittal, Zulu-born ANC pres. (since Dec. 18, 2007) Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma (1942-) becomes pres. #4 of South Africa, and is sworn in on May 9 (until ?); which of his six wives will be first lady? On Apr. 22-23 a fire in Myrtle Beach, S.C. causes evacuation. On Apr. 23 two suicide bomb attacks in Iraq kill 70; meanwhile the Iraqi govt. finally captures al-Qaida leader Abu Abdaullah al-Rashid al-Baghdadi, leader of the Mujahideen Shura Council, who claims to be head of the Islamic State of Iraq, and shows photos on Aug. 28 to prove it. On Apr. 23 AP announces that it has computed that at least 110,600 Iraqis have been killed in the Iraqi War since 2003; meanwhile an AP poll reveals that 48% of Americans believe the U.S. is on the right track despite the trillions in debt and bailouts, and millions of jobless; 41% disagree; meanwhile the Obama admin. asks the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse its Apr. 1, 1986 decision in Michigan v. Jackson that police can't use confessions from suspects unless they have their lawyer present, pissing-off civil libertarians - get me a bent coathanger? What was that about Mexico becoming a failed state, and going to the swine? On Apr. 24 the World Health Org. (WHO) convenes an emergency meeting after reports of a deadly outbreak of 800+ "influenza-like" cases in Mexico caused by a new strain of swine flu combined with bird flu and human flu from a U.S.-co.-owned pig farm near Veracruz that killed 16-60 late in the flu season, incl. some young strong victims, stirring fears of a super pandemic to beat all pandemics like in 1919; Maria Adela Gutierrez (b. 1969), who died Apr. 13 in Oaxaca becomes the first known Mexican swine flu victim; is this the apocalyptic World's Seventh Killer Plague?; on Apr. 26 after 20 cases are confirmed in the U.S., the U.S. govt. declares the 2009 Mexican (North American) H1N1 Swine Flu Outbreak a public health emergency; on Apr. 27 the first U.S. death is a 23-mo. infant in Houston, Tex., which is officially confirmed on Apr. 29; cases are reported in Canada, Britain, Germany, Spain, Israel, Austria and New Zealand, but no deaths (until ?); after the flu proves less virulent than expected, Mexico City lifts its office bldg. and market closures after five days, with the death toll at only 42; on Aug. 11 Costa Rican pres. Oscar Arias (1931-) becomes the first head of state to contract it; on Sept. 4 WHO declares a pandemic, even though the flu has killed only 2,837 and has not mutated yet; did WHO do it to make pharmaceutical cos. billions, or were the latter just lucky? On Apr. 24 two female Sunni suicide purse bombers kill 66 and injure 120+ (incl. 80 Iranian pilgrims) outside the Shiite Imam Mousa al-Kazim Tomb in Kazimiyah, Iraq. On Apr. 24 Pres. Obama commemorates the anniv. of the 1915 Armenian genocide of 1.5M by the Muslim Turks with a written statement calling it "one of the great atrocities of the 20th century", but reneging on a campaign promise to label it as genocide, pissing-off Armenian-Ams.; on Oct. 10 they sign a historic agreement to establish diplomatic ties after a dramatic last-minute intervention by U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton to make it happen; the real reason Turkey wants to improve relations with Armenia is to get it to drop claims to the Nagorno-Karabakh region so they can pipe C Asian gas through Azerbaijan? - Armenians should all get govt.-paid fertility treatments and become octomoms and octodads to make up for the genocide? On Apr. 25 Obama's secretary, er, U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton makes a surprise visit to Baghdad, Iraq, and holds a town hall style meeting in the U.S. embassy, promising the Iraqi people that the Obama admin. will, er, won't abandon them as the U.S. begins pulling out troops; meanwhile four suicide bombings in the last two days kill 160+. On Apr. 26 Iraqi PM (since May 20, 2006) Nouri al-Maliki (1950-) denounces a predawn U.S. raid in S Iraq that killed two Iraqis, vowing to prosecute the soldiers involved, becoming the first such call. On Apr. 26 Pakistan launches a military operation against the Taliban in the Lower Dir region, ending their controversial peace deal. On Apr. 26 the Sri Lankan govt. mocks a unilateral ceasefire declared by entrapped Tamil Tiger rebels, who are balls to the wall with one foot in the Indian Ocean, and on May 17 defeat them in a bloody final battle, killing 250, incl. the rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, causing the remainder to surrender, ending Asia's longest civil war (begun 1983) after 70K are killed. On Apr. 26 German voters reject the Pro-Reli program to make teaching of religion in Berlin schools compulsary. On Apr. 27 a 5.6 earthquake hits Mexico City, shaking bldgs. in flutown. On Apr. 27 an Air Force One Photo Opp in Manhattan, incl. a flyover of Ground Zero for 9/11 causes panic, pissing-off New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who calls it "ill-conceived" and a "waste of taxpayers' money", after which Pres. Obama chews out the personnel involved, esp. White House military office dir. Louis Caldera (1956-), who resigns on May 8; after finding that it cost $328K, David Letterman asks them if they ever heard of Photoshop. On Apr. 27 Qasim Ahmed becomes the first Muslim imam to open a session of the Fla. House of Reps with a prayer; he is also the first polygamist? On Apr. 28 Penn. Jewish Sen. (since 1981) Arlen Specter (1930-) switches from Repub. to Dem., taking the Dems. to within one vote of a filibuster-proof Senate (60); 200K other Penn. Repubs. migrated to the Dem. Party already this year; meanwhile the Obama admin. celebrates its first 100 days. On Apr. 28 TLW pub. his essay The Megamerge Dissolution Solution on the Internet, advocating the dissolving of the U.S.-Mexico border and the megamerge of both countries into a 75-state U.S. - will it catch on or will Rodin's Thinker get another tattoo? On Apr. 29 Chrysler Corp. declares bankruptcy despite a last-minute deal with Fiat to pool technology and acceptance of a Treasury-brokered rescue package by unions and bank creditors after a group of hedge and investment funds refuse to cancel $6.9B in debt in return for a $2B cash payment; Chrysler plans to build the Fiat 500 minicar at a factory in Mexico; meanwhile on Apr. 27 a massive $30B restructuring plan for GM is laid out, which would make the U.S. govt. and the UAW majority stockholders; the UAW boon is a scandal because they donated over $23M to the Dem. Party and its candidates from 2000-8?; meanwhile China waits in the wings, poised to pass Japan and become the world's largest automaker; too bad, on June 8 U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg bows to Chrysler's creditors and delays the Fiat deal. On Apr. 29 the U.S. House by 249-175 passes the U.S. Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, giving special federal protection to gays and providing state and local authorities with federal funds; a weaker bill died two years ago under a veto threat by Pres. Bush; the bill was spurred by the 1998 killing of Wyo. college student Matthew Shepard; in the wrong hands it could be used to put people on trial for their beliefs and org. memberships; too bad, it is snuck through the House on Oct. 8 in a defense authorization bill, passing by 281-146. On Apr. 29 conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court attack a key element of the 1965 U.S. Voting Rights Act, questioning whether Southern states should still be held to account for past racial discrimination; the law forces those states to get special approval before making changes in the way they conduct elections. On Apr. 29 the Wacky Warning Labels award goes to the Original Off-Road Commode, which attaches to a trailer hitch and features the label "Not for use on moving vehicles"; the award highlights how low U.S. manufacturers will go to fend off lawsuits. On Apr. 29 the number of words in the English language passes 1M; either that or on June 9 at 5:22 a.m., according to the Global Language Monitor, "Web 2.0". On Apr. 30 U.S. Supreme Court justice David Hackett Souter (1939-), who was appointed by pres. George H.W. Bush in 1990 for his conservative credentials, then flopped to stop the court from going conservative, becoming known as the liberals' 5th vote announces plans to retire at the end of the court's term in June, causing speculation that Pres. Obama will appoint a woman to fill the vacancy, although he only indicates that he will pick someone with "empathy", adding "I will seek someone who understands that justice isn't about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a case book. It is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people's lives"; on May 24 after flack over his empathy psychobabble, he adds that they have to understand the "practical day-to-day" implications of rulings - empathetically understand? On Apr. 30 Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri (1966-) pleads guilty to being a sleeper agent for al-Qaida; he arrived in the U.S. on the day before 9/11 - and has had plenty of time to sleep where they put him? On Apr. 30 (9:30 a.m) Georgian citizen Farda Gadyrov opens fire in the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy school in Baku, Azerbaijan, killing 12 and wounding 12 before killing himself. On Apr. 30 four Muslim men from Leeds, England abduct a 16-y.-o. boy over a drug debt, then torture him with a hot iron and boiling water; next Mar. 10 they receive sentences of 5-12 years. In Apr. a YouTube video of two Domino's Pizza workers, Kristy Lynn Hammonds (1978-) and Michael Anthony Setzer (1977-) doing gross things with food in the kitchen while saying "Do it again, do it again" causes an uproar and hurts Domino's business bigtime, after which it is revealed to be a hoax with the food never actually served, but that doesn't stop them from being fired and prosecutors from filing felony charges on them for food tampering. In Apr. three political leaders in Baluchistan, SW Pakistan are kidnapped and killed by Pakistani agents, sparking an insurgency that lasts until ?. In Apr. ex-Peruvian pres. (1990-2000) Alberto Fujimori (1938-) is convicted of human rights violations and sentenced to 25 years in prison for kidnappings and murders by the Grupo Colina, becoming the first elected head of state to be extradited to his home country, tried, and convicted of human rights violations; in July he gets another 7.5 years for giving $15M from the treasury to intel chief Vladimiro Montesinos; in Sept. he gets six more years for bribery, but his sentence is pegged at 25 years max. In Apr. the Dept. of Homeland Security report Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment by Daryl Johnson et al. is leaked, warning that veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan can be drawn to radicalized movements in the U.S., pissing-off conservatives and Fox News, creating the first scandal in the Obama admin., tanking the career of DHS secy. Janet Napolitano and causing the Extremism and Radicalization Branch of the DHS (created in 2004) to be shut down, leaving the U.S. vulnerable for radicalized veterans? In Apr. the Nat. Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders calls for illegal aliens to boycott the 2010 U.S. Census until Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform. In Apr. an image of Our Lady of Guadelupe on a griddle in Calexico, Calif. causes over 100 faithful to flock to see it, incl. a group of masked Mexican wrestlers on Apr. 30 - or just regular wrestlers guarding against the flu? In Apr. mail order DVD rental co. Netflix delivers its 2 billionth movie. On May 1 "Turkish Henry Kissinger" Ahmet Davutoglu (1959-) is appointed foreign minister of Turkey, calling for Turkey to expand its role in world politics, stirring fears of re-Ottomanization. On May 1 hundreds of marchers in San Francisco and Oakland, Calif. brave rain to call for an end to immigration raids and legalization of the umpteen-million undocumented workers (don't say illegal aliens). On May 1 Scottish-born Carol Ann Duffy (1955-) becomes poet laureate of Britain (until ?), becoming the first bi, first woman, and first of the 21st cent. On May 2 a Sunni Iraqi soldier opens fire on U.S. troops, killing two near Mosul before being killed - let me do the work, you just get well? On May 3 news that Notre Dame U. in Repub.-leaning Ind. (which he carried in the pres. election) invited Pres. Obama to its graduation ceremony pisses-off Roman Catholic bishops because of his stand on abortion, and causes protests on three straight Fridays, on the last of which (May 15) black former Repub. candidate Alan Keyes is arrested; meanwhile a Gallup poll shows that 67% of Catholics and 79% of Jews support Obama; on May 17 (Sun.) Obama addresses Notre Dame grads amid abortion protesters shouting "Stop killing our children", calling for "open hearts, open minds, fair-minded words" in the public debate over the issue, and that neither should caricature or demonize the other; 37 protesters are arrested, incl. Norman McCovey, the Roe in the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case, who was used by liberal attys. then came out against abortion. On May 3 grocery mogul Ricardo Martinelli (1951-) is elected pres. of Panama, taking office on July 1 (until ?). On May 4 the U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously in Flores-Figueroa v. U.S. that undocumented workers who use made-up Social Security numbers can't be prosecuted as identity thieves to make them kowtow and leave the country to avoid federal prison terms unless they knew the ID numbers were from real people. On May 4 the U.S. coalition battles the Taliban in the W Afghan Farah Province, with the Taliban using Afghan civilians as human shields, after which the pissed-off Afghan govt. comes down on the Talibanis, er, U.S. forces, claiming that they killed 147 civilians. On May 5 Brazilian officials announce that floods and mudslides in N Brazil have driven 186K from their homes and killed 19. On May 5 a French judge okays an investigation into African leaders Omar Bongo of Gabon, Denis Sassou-Nguesso of DRC, and Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guina for money-laundering of their ill-gotten gains in France. On May 5 U.S. vice-pres. Joe Biden tells the Am. Israel Public Affairs Committee that the Obama admin. is committed to a new Palestinian state, saying "The status quo of the last decade has not served the interests of the United States, or Israel, very well." On May 5 a 500-man tank battalion in Georgia mutinies, causing pres. Mikheil Sakashvili to accuse Russia of being behind it; the mutiny is ended in a few hours. On May 5 British home secy. Jacqueline Jill "Jacqui" Smith (1962-) pub. Britain's first shame list of 16 of 22 people barred from entering the Y.U.K., er, U.K. for exercising freedom of speech by allegedly fostering extremism or hatred, incl. Jewish-Am. talk-radio host Michael Savage (Michael Alan Weiner) (1942-), who told it like it is and called the Queer, er, Quran a "book of hate". On May 6 Maine passes a bill allowing gay marriage, followed by N.H., becoming state #6; of six New England states, only R.I. is holding out. On May 6 the Taliban wars with the Pakistani military over the NW Pakistan town of Mingora (Mangora) (Minagora), causing thousands to flee; the Pakistani military takes control on May 31. On May 6 U.S. Navy vet. (a Colo. resident) Stephen P. Morgan (1979-) guns down Wesleyan U. student (also from Colo., where he met her in 2007) Johanna Justin-Jinich (b. 1987) in a cafe near the campus, after which his notebook is discovered, containing the soundbyte "Kill Johanna", plus notes about his grudges against Jews and "beautiful" and "smart" Wesleyan students; he gives himself up on May 7. On May 6 Pres. Obama meets with leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and states that "The security of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States are linked", calling for a joint strategy to defeat the Taliban and al-Qaida militants. On May 7 U.S. regulators tell the 19 largest U.S. banks that they need $75B in extra capital to stay viable. On May 7 Manuel "Manny" Aristides Ramirez is banned for 50 games, costing him $7M, just because he took the prescription women's fertility drug human chorionic gonadotropin, which might help increase his testosterone level - real poontang does the same thing? On May 7 ex-police sgt. Drew Walter Peterson (1954-) is finally arrested for the death of his 3rd wife Kathleen Savio, who he claimed accidentally drowned in her empty bathtub in Bolingbrook, Ill., but was reinvestigated after his 4th wife Stacy Peterson disappeared mysteriously in Oct. 2007. On May 8 Pope Benedict XVI begins his First Trip to the Middle East, incl. Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian territories, becoming the first time that a pope has made an official visit to a Muslim country, Jordan; on May 11 he visits the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, saying the victims "lost their lives but they will never lose their names", pissing-off the Jewish PC police, who wanted him to use the hot button words "murder" and "Nazi" in his speech, and make a stand on Pope Pius XII, whom they claim didn't do enough to save Jews from guess what by guess what on his watch; on May 13 he is welcomed to the West Bank by Palestinian pres. Mahmoud Abbas, since he shares his goal of a separate Palestinian state. On May 10 the Mexican govt. announces that it will not participate in a Shanghai trade fair on May 19-21, calling China's treatment of its citizens over the swine flu epidemic unacceptable, incl. banning imports of pork and quaranting Mexican travellers - only a maroon thinks that eating pork can give you swine flu? On May 10 human rights groups in the U.S. announce that they are investigating reports that U.S. troops have been illegally using white phosphorus as weapons against the Taliban in Afghanistan; it is legal to use it to illuminate a target or create smoke, but innocent civilians can get burned if it is used over populated areas, which constitutes a war crime. On May 10 ex-U.S. vice-pres. Dick Cheney breaks precedent and attacks the Obama admin., saying the U.S. has become more vulnerable to a terrorist attack since it took power. On May 10 U.S. vice-pres. Joe Biden insults Pres. Obama's new black-and-white (half black and half white?) Portuguese water dog Bo, saying that his dog Champ is smarter. On May 11 the cost of a first-class U.S. stamp rises to 44 cents. On May 11 U.S. defense secy. Robert Gates replaces gen. David D. McKiernan with lt. gen. Stanley Allen McChrystal (1954-) as top U.S. gen. in Afghanistan less than a year after he took over, indicating that the U.S. is in deeper doo-doo?; McChrystal assumes command on June 15 (until June 23, 2010); on June 21 he announces that the U.S. will sharply restrict airstrikes to situations in which they are needed to prevent coalition troops from being overrun in an effort to reduce civilian deaths. On May 11 after years of legal wrangling, ailing Ukrainian-born suspected Nazi guard "Ivan the Terrible", retired Ohio autoworker John (Ivan) Demjanjuk (1920-) is deported to Germany to face 27.9K counts of accessory to murder even though he's not Ivan the Terrible and at most was a low-level Nazi concentration camp guard. On May 11 stressed-out U.S. Sgt. John M. Russell (b. 1964-) of Sherman, Tex. fires on his comrades inside a combat stress clinic in Baghdad, killing five; meanwhile U.S. Army Specialist Zachary Boyd (1990-) is photographed in E Afghanistan fighting the Taliban dressed in pink boxer shorts reading "I Love NY" and flip-flops, drawing the praise of U.S. defense secy. Robert Gates, says it takes "a special kind of courage", and "I can only wonder about the impact on the Taliban... What an incredible innovation in psychological warfare." On May 11 the U.S. health care industry agrees to cut $2T in costs over the next 10 years by using more info. technology etc.; in 1977 Pres. Carter got them to promise the same thing, and they never went through with it; meanwhile the White House releases hit-the-fan numbers showing that the U.S. budget deficit will reach $1.84T this year, $89B more than forecast in Feb., increasing the inaugural deficit of $1.2T by $600B; meanwhile in Apr. a Pew poll shows Obama having an overall approval rating of 64%, but just 49% approving his handling of the deficit, and a week earlier worldwide investors demanded higher interest for 30-year Treasury bonds. On May 11 King Abdullah II of Jordan issues an ultimatum, saying that the Obama admin.'s comprehensive Israeli-Arab peace plan must work, else "If we delay our peace negotiations, then there is going to be another conflict between Arabs or Muslims and Israel in the next 12-18 months." On May 11 Space Shuttle Atlantis blasts off on a mission to repair the aging Hubble Space Telescope, and returns on May 22; on May 23 Hubble senior project scientist David Leckrone posts on the NASA Web site, complaining that NASA is abandoning its capability of servicing scientific instruments in space. On May 11 African-Am. comedian Wanda Sykes (1964-) gives a performance at a Mon. night White House Correspondents' Dinner, pissing-off conservatives by accusing Rush Limbaugh of treason, and wishing that his kidneys would fail as a gotcha to his frequent comments that he wishes that the Obama admin. would fail. On May 11 former Minn. gov. (1999-2003) Jesse Ventura (1951-) appears on CNN's Larry King Live, calling George W. Bush the worst U.S. pres. of his lifetime and offering to waterboard Dick Cheney, then asking to be appointed U.S. ambassador to Cuba; meanwhile a CIA inspector-gen. report from May 7, 2004 that is finally being released reveals that waterboarding didn't produce the desired results, and that it is difficult "to determine conclusively whether interrogations have provided information critical to interdicting specific imminent attacks." Priests go for Vitamin P, archibishops for Vitamin D? On May 12 Rembert George Weakland (1927-), former Roman Catholic archbishop of Milwaukee, Wisc. (1977-2002), who resigned in a sex and financial scandal announces that he is gay; meanwhile in May Puerto Rican-born Cuban Miami, Fla. Roman Catholic priest Father Alberto Cutie (1969-) (AKA Father Oprah) is photographed with a divorced woman that he's been hooking up with for two years, causing a firestorm of controversy about pussy power, er, celibacy of non-gay priests; in June he becomes an Episcopal priest and marries 35-y.-o. Ruhama Canellis (1974-). On May 12 the U.S. FDA threatens Gen. Mills Inc. over its Cheerios oats cereal, claiming that since it contains the slogan "You can lower your cholesterol 4 percent in six weeks", that makes it a drug, putting them in charge of approving it, which they haven't, so it's now "unauthorized" and subject to criminal action - this despicable overreaching of a federal regulatory agency makes me want to whinny and send a herd of horses stampeding onto their officials? I'm fed up with the FDA? Fight them all the way to the Supreme Stable? On May 12 up to 12 suicide bombers stage synchronized attacks on govt. buildings in Khost (E of Kabul) in Afghanistan, triggering scattered fighting that kills 20 and wounds three U.S. soldiers. On May 12 Pres. Obama threatens Britain that if it reveals the methods of torture of Ethiopian-born alleged terrorist Binyam Ahmed Mohamed (1978-) (who was arrested in Pakistan on Apr. 10, 2002, detained in Guantanamo Bay Prison until the charges were dropped on Oct. 21, 2008 then released, arriving in Britain on Feb. 23, claiming torture), he will reevaluate his intel-sharing relationship with them; Obama's decision to block the release of photos depicting torture of terrorism detainees causes ex-pres. Jimmy Carter to break with him, saying "I think... most of his supporters were hoping that he would be much more open in the revelation of what we've done in the past." On May 12 on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly (1949-) theorizes that legalization of gay marriage could lead to interspecies marriages, with the soundbyte "You would let everybody get married who want to get married. You want to marry a turtle, you can" - her sleek bristles reach deeper? On May 13 the European Commission fines Intel Corp. a record 1.06B Euros for abusing its dominance in the computer chip market vis a vis its rival Advanced Micro Devices. On May 13 Pres. Obama flip-flops his position, deciding to oppose the court-ordered release of photos of abuse of Muslim ragheads by U.S. forces after all. On May 13 Tiffany Toribio (1985-) of Albuquerque, N.M. smothers her 3-y.-o. son Tyruss "Ty" Toribio in a playground in a park, resuscitates him, smothers him again, then buries him there, the body found two days later, after which she is arrested on May 21, saying that since no one cared about her when she was growing up, she didn't want him to grow up that way. On May 14 U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (1940-) claims that the CIA lied to Congress in 2002 about whether waterboarding was being used on terrorists suspects, causing CIA dir. (since Feb. 13) Leon Panetta (1938-) to deny it on May 15, after which Pelosi wakes up and closes ranks with the Obama admin., shifting the blame to the Bush admin. but sticking with her story; too bad, the CIA officials who lied to her were career officials, not working for the Bush admin., and Repub. pundit Newt Gingrich (1943-) calls for her to step down, with the soundbyte, "If you were a young man or woman just starting out today, would you put on a uniform or become an intelligence officer to defend America, knowing that tomorrow a politician like Nancy Pelosi could decide you were a criminal?"; meanwhile White House spokesman Robert Gibbs tells the press he wishes they would focus on the future not the past, causing her to be compared on YouTube to Pussy Galore; the CIA has already been proven to have lied to Congress, so why try to cover for them now? On May 15 Pres. Obama revives the military tribunals for Guantanamo Bay detainees, while promising to make changes to give them stronger legal protections, pissing-off liberal supporters, who accuse him of reneging on campaign promises. On May 15 U.S. atty.-gen. Eric Holder announces that the federal govt. will no longer pursue medical marijuana dispensaries or patients unless marijuana is illegal under both state and federal laws, becoming a V for marijuana legalization and states rights advocates; on May 22 Pres. Obama announces that he will reverse a Bush admin. rule known as preemption, where federal regs override state laws on environment, health, public safety et al., becoming another V for states rights. On May 16 Pres. Obama nominates Repub. Utah gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. as U.S. ambassador to China; he is fluent in Mandarin. On May 17 the Indian Nat. Congress Party of Italian-born Sonia Gandhi (Edvige Antonia Albina Maino) (1946-) (widow of PM Rajiv Gandhi) scores a stunning political coup in India, winning 205 of 543 seats, 12 shy of a majority, its best performance in 25 years. On May 18 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Ashcroft v. Iqbal that high-level U.S. officials incl. FBI dir. Robert Mueller and U.S. atty.-gen. John Ashcroft can't be sued by 9/11 terrorist detainee Javaid Iqbal of Pakistan for alleged torture and humiliation for being a Muslim without initial evidence (sans discovery) that they ordered the abuse personally; liberal justices David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and John Paul Stevens dissent, with Ginsburg saying they "messed up the federal rules" for civil suits, and Souter saying the decision could "upend" the civil litigation system; after hundreds of lower courts begin citing the decision as a pretext to get rid of civil cases they don't like at will, it becomes the most significant U.S. Supreme Court decision of the decade? On May 18 Pres. Obama meets with new Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, hinting at a timetable to resolve differences with Iran over their nuke program, with Netanyahu saying he won't negotiate with the Palestinians unless they recognize the right of the state of Israel to exist; on May 26 Obama meets with Egyptian pres. Hosni Mubarak, followed on May 28 by Palestinian pres. Mahmoud Abbas. On May 18 Michelle Obama gives a speech at the opening night of the Am. Ballet Theater, saying that the arts can "express, enable and empower Americans of all ages". On May 18 prominent U.S. Civil War historian James M. McPherson (1936-) signs a petition asking Pres. Obama not to lay a wreath at the Confed. Monument Memorial at Arlington Nat. Cemetery, claiming it will encourage the neo-Confed. movement; he does it anyway, receiving praise from the Sons of Confed. Veterans. On May 19 Pres. Obama announces a plan to curb vehicle emissions by 2012 a la Calif. by mandating a fleet avg. of 35.5 mpg vs. 25 mpg this year, saying that the vehicles will cost more but pay off at the pump. On May 19 Sen. Dem. leaders announce that they will not provide the $80M requested by Pres. Obama to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, and on May 21 the U.S. Senate resoundingly rejects Obama, causing him on May 21 to give a speech at the Nat. Archives in Washington, D.C., giving further details about his plans for Guantanamo detainees, saying that he intends to transfer some to facilities in the U.S., and proposing "prolonged detention" for those who cannot be tried, calling it "the toughest issue we face"; afterward, saying that Obama "deserves an answer", ex-vice-pres. Obi Wan Kecheney delivers his own speech, defending Bush admin. policy along with the Gitmo prisoner camp, calling Obama's nat. security approach "recklessness cloaked in righteousness", and his opposition to torture "unwise in the extreme", with critics being guilty of "phony moralizing" and "feigned outrage", adding that Obama has "found that it's easy to receive applause in Europe for closing Guantanamo", and that "The administration seems to pride itself on searching for some kind of middle ground in policies addressing terrorism. Triangulation is a political strategy, not a national security strategy", concluding with "When they see the American government caught up in arguments about interrogations, the terrorists see just what they were hoping for, our unity gone, our resolve shaken, our leaders distracted. In short, they see weakness and opportunity"; meanwhile an unreleased Pentagon Report is leaked, which found that about one in seven of 534 prisoners a lready transferred abroad from Gitmo are engaged in terrorism again; the report is a phony, with loose definitions used to make its point? On May 19 British House of Commons speaker (since 2000) Michael John Martin (1945-) becomes the first to be ousted from his job in over 300 years, promising to step down on June 21 after Am. freelance writer Heather Brooke (not to be confused with the porno queen at IDeepthroat.com) uses the new British FOI Act to dig up proof of his and other British politicians' greed, incl. using tax money to renovate and sell properties for profit, and pay for an electrical massage chair and the clearing of a country house moat. On May 19 Colombian lawmakers approve a measure to let voters decide whether popular pres. (since 2002) Alvaro Uribe may seek a 3rd term. On May 19 the U.S. Senate passes sweeping pro-consumer credit card legislation, ending some of the abuses of the industry; too bad, it allows the credit card cos. to continue to charge any interest rate they want, kowtowing to them and refusing to plug up they hole they made in 1979; it also contains a sneaky provision allowing visitors to nat. parks to carry loaded and concealed weapons, causing concerns about it passing the House or Obama signing it, but the House passes it on May 20, and Obama signs it on May 22, saying the new law won't take effect for 9 mo. (next Feb.). On May 19 while Gov. Terminator is visiting the White House, a special election in Calif. rejects measures to keep the reeling state solvent amid calls for a constitutional convention. On May 19 Glee debuts on Fox Network for ? episodes (until ?), about the William McKinley High School New Directions glee club, starring Matthew Morrison as club dir. Will Schuester, Jane Lynch (1960-) as cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester, Jayma Mays as guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury, and Cory Monteith as hearthrob club member Finn Hudson. On May 20 an Indonesian Air Force plane carrying 100+ crashes into a residential area in Jakarta, killing 79. On May 20 a car bomb explodes in an ice cream parlor in a Shiite neighborhood of N Baghdad, Iraq, killing 34 and wounding 72. On May 20 Iranian pres. Imadinnajacket slaps Pres. Obama in the face by announcing the test-firing of a solid-fuel medium range missile capable of hitting Israel and U.S. bases in the Persian Gulf. On May 20 Burmese democracy advocate and hero Aung San Suu Kyi (1945-), who has been under house arrest for 13 of the last 19 years is put on trial in Rangoon by the cruddy military dictatorship for allowing John W. Yettaw (1955-) of Falcon, Mo. to stay overnight at her house allegedly to help her escape from the military dictatorship shithole, this big crime in Aftershaveland carrying five years for Suu Kyi and seven for Yettaw; on Aug. 11 she is sentenced to 18 mo. detention, bringing internat. condemnation, but getting her out of the way of the 2010 elections; on Aug. 15 U.S. Sen. (D-Va.) (since 2007) James Henry "Jim" Webb Jr. (1946-) (Navy Sec. under Reagan) meets with Burmese military leader gen. Than Shwe and arranges Yettaw's release - hoping to ape fellow military shithole North Korea? On May 20 a 2.6K-page Report on Irish Reformatories released in Dublin reports physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of inmates by priests and nuns from the 1930s to the 1990s - when's the movie coming out starring Brangelina? On May 20 Muslim-Am. would-be terrorists James Cromitie (1967-), Onta Williams (1976-), David Williams (1981-), and Laguerre Payen (1982-) are arrested en route to Bronx, N.Y. synagogues to plant fake bombs after being set up by federal agents, later claiming entrapment; on Aug. 31 at their federal trial audio tapes are played where Cromitie utters the soundbytes "Muslims want to take the U.S. down. Believe me, we can do it with our regular Muslims here" and "I will kill 10 million [Jews] before I kill one Muslim"; next Oct. 18 they are convicted. On May 20 Repub. Pentecostal minister James A. Young (1955-) becomes the first black mayor of Philadelphia, Miss. (until ?), known for the slaying of three civil rights workers in 1964. On May 21 Pres. Obama delivers a Speech on Nat. Security, dissing the Bush admin. for going too far with Islamic (never mentions the word) terrorists, and slapping himself on the back for ending torture and planning on closing Gitmo, with the soundbytes: "My single most important responsibility as president is to keep the American people safe. It's the first thing that I think about when I wake up in the morning. It's the last thing that I think about when I go to sleep at night"; "We know that al-Qaida is actively planning to attack us again. We know that this threat will be with us for a long time, and that we must use all elements of our power to defeat it"; "I believe with every fiber of my being that in the long run we also cannot keep this country safe unless we enlist the power of our most fundamental values. The documents that we hold in this very hall, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, these are not simply words written into aging parchment. They are the foundation of liberty and justice in this country, and a light that shines for all who seek freedom, fairness, equality, and dignity around the world. I stand here today as someone whose own life was made possible by these documents"; "After 9/11 we know that we had entered a new era, that enemies who did not abide by any law of war would present new challenges to our application of the law... Unfortunately, faced with an uncertain threat, our government made a series of hasty decisions... based on fear rather than foresight, that all too often our government trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions"; "Let me be clear. We are indeed at war with al-Qaida and its affiliates"; after trying to wrestle over how to prosecute Islamics who have been detained at Gitmo, and whether to use military tribunals or civil courts, he utters the soundbyte "There may be a number of people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, in some cases because evidence may be tainted, but who nonetheless pose a threat to the security of the United States." On May 21 a new French Anti-Internet Piracy Law is passed, to take effect in the summer, allowing the govt. to snoop on Internet users and cut off access of those who download music and movies without paying; luckily on June 10 the constitutional court rules that only a judge can order Web access cut off, calling access a human right. On May 21 after a roundup of 99 of 1K members, and the confiscation of dozens of firearms, U.S. prosecutors charge 145 members of the 50-y.-o. Hispanic Varrio Hawaiian Gardens Gang of Hawaiian Gardens (E of Long Beach, Calif.), known for persecuting blacks and killing a sheriff's deputy in 2005; they call themselves the "Hate Gang" and take orders from the Mexican Mafia. On May 22 Leilani Neumann (1967-) is convicted in Wisc. of 2nd degree reckless homicide for relying on prayer to cure her 11-y.-o. daughter Madeleine of diabetes instead of medicine, after which she died on Mar. 23, 2008 - convict God too? On May 23 Pres. Obama nominates former Marine aviator and Space Shuttle astronaut maj. gen. Charles Frank "Charlie" Bolden Jr. (1946-) as the new head of NASA, becoming the first African-Am; he is confirmed by the Senate on July 15 (until ?). On May 25 (morning) (U.S. Memorial Day - thanks for thinking of us?) North Korea conducts its 2nd underground nuclear test in three years, drawing global condemnation, incl. from Russia and China, and the U.N. Security Council; their Apr. 5 launch of a long range missile compounds the condemnation, which doesn't stop them on May 27 from announcing that it no longer honors the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War, and that it will respond with "a powerful military strike" if any nation tries to stop it from exporting missiles and WMDs, calling such naval actions a "declaration of war"; on May 26 South Korea announces that it would join nations doing just that - they have decided that Obama is another Jimmy Carter already? On May 25 U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton announces that partners of gay U.S. diplomats will be given the same benefits as spouses of hetero diplomats - I need to blow that dude, let me through now? On May 26 France opens its first military base in the Persian Gulf in Zayed Port, Abu Dhabi, its first permanent oversease military installation outside its former colonies in Africa in 50 years; in Mar. France returned to NATO after 43 years, signalling that it is trying to become a more active strategic partner of the U.S. On May 26 the U.S. Supreme (Roberts) Court rules in 5-4 in Montejo v. La. that a defendant may waive his/her right to counsel during a police interrogation even after asserting it at an arraignment or similar court proceeding, reversing Michigan v. Jackson (1986). On May 26 after David Souter announces his retirement (June 29), Pres. Obama nominates New York City-born U.S. Appeals judge (since 1998) Sonia Sotomayor (1954-) (whose parents were immigrants from Puerto Rico, and who is known for ending the 1994 ML baseball strike) for the U.S. Supreme Court, becoming the first Hispanic nominated; Repubs. immediately dredge up her past statements showing she might be a budding judicial activist and/or Latin racist and vow to fight; in 2001 she uttered the soundbyte "Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases... I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement... I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life", causing Newt Gingrich to call her a "reverse racist" and call for her to withdraw, and Christian televangelist Pat Robertson to call her nomination an "outrage", calling her "one of the most left-wing judges that there is in the United States"; on May 29 the Obama admin. backs down a little, calling her choice of words "poor"; on Aug. 6 the U.S. Senate confirms her by a 68-31 vote, with 9 of 40 Repubs. voting for her, incl. Lamar Alexander of Tenn.; John McCain of Ariz. votes against her, and Jeff Sessions of Ala. says that at least Obama won't nominate any more judges who claim to be guided by empathy; new Dem. Sen. Al Franken presides over the Senate during the vote; on Aug. 8 she is sworn in as U.S. Supreme Court justice #111 (until ?), becoming the first Hispanic and Latina U.S. Supreme Court justice, 3rd female, and 12th Roman Catholic (until ?). On May 27 a Taliban suicide bomb attack at a police bldg. in Lahore, Pakistan kills 30 and wounds 250; a reprisal for the govt. offensive?; meanwhile the Obama admin. asks Congress for $736M to build a new U.S. embassy and housing complex in Islamabad; the one in Iraq cost $740M; on June 16 Pakistani warlord Baitullah Mehsud claims responsibility, and threatens to attack the White House and Washington, D.C.; on Feb. 5, 2013 Pakistan-born Am. Muslim Reaz Qadir Khan (1964-) of Portland, Ore. is arrested and charged with providing advice and financial help to Ali Jaleel, one of the three suicide bombers; on June 26, 2015 he is sentenced to 87 mo. in U.S. prison. On May 28 after Israel rejects U.S. overtures to stop settlement construction on the West Bank, Pres. Obama personally steps in and tries to pressure it while meeting with Palestinian pres. Mahmud Abbas; it was Hillary Clinton who demanded a freeze on new home construction in existing settlements, making a new issue of it, killing all peace talks? On May 28 a bomb in a mosque in Zahedan in SE Iran kills 25 and injures 125; the Iranian govt. blames the U.S. of putting the Sunni rebel org. Jundallah ("Soldiers of Allah") (founded 2003) up to it. On May 30 three white supremacist Minutemen vigilantes invade a home occupied by Mexican illegal immigrants in Arivaca in S Ariz., and kill 9-y.-o. Brisenia Flores and her daddy Raul Junior Flores, and seriously injure her mommy Gina Gonzalez; they were looking for drugs and cash to fund their anti-immigrant org.; police allege that the ringleader is Minuteman Am. Defense dir. Shawna Forde (1968-), who is arrested along with two others. On May 31 late-term abortion provider George Tiller is murdered at a church in Wichita, Kan. by pro-lifer Scott Roeder, who draws condemnation from pro-life groups. On May 31 (Sun.) the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards are stunk up by a stunt where "Borat" comedian (now "Bruno") Sacha Baron Cohen (1971-) flies over the audience dressed as an angel, then crash-lands in the audience, ending upside-down with his bare buttocks exposed in rapper Eminem's face, causing the latter to walk out while cussing. In May in the midst of his feuding with Nancy Pelosi, CIA chief Leon Panetta travels to Israel to "read the riot act" to them, warning them against attacking Iran to stop them from developing nukes; meanwhile the Obama admin. quietly accepts their inevitability, stirring fears of a coming Jewish holocaust. In May U.S. solicitor gen. Elena Kagan files an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court against the victims of 9/11, arguing that they have no right to sue the Saudi govt. or royal family in U.S. court because the latter have "sovereign immunity" - more evidence that Obama, like Bush, is a pawn and puppet of the Saudi royals, I bet he nominates her for the Supreme Court? In May the U.S. loses 345K jobs, bringing the total lost since the economic stimulus was passed 3 mo. ago to 1.5M, causing Sarah Palin to tell Sean Hannity of Fox News, "We told ya so". In May China, the world's #2 exporter records a 26.4% drop in exports since last May, becoming the worst since 1995; imports fall 25.2%. In May the U.S. military burns stacks of Bibles in Afghanistan to avoid Christian proselytizing of precious Muslims. On June 1 Gen. Motors AKA Generous Motors becomes Govt. Motors as GM (founded 1908) declares bankruptcy; the U.S. govt. now owns 60% of the co. in return for $50B, with Canada getting 12%, the UAW 17.5%, and bondholders 10%; on June 1 Pres. Obama gives a speech, calling the U.S. a "reluctant equity owner"; a Ramussen Poll shows support for the plan at 21%, with 67% opposed; meanwhile House Repub. leader (R-Ohio) (since Feb. 2, 2006) John Andrew Boehner (1949-) (pr. BAY-ner) calls the Obama takeover of GM "lunacy", and calls on Congress to create a watchdog oversight body after grumbling that Obama bypassed the Congress unlike with the 1970s Chrysler bailout; after an outcry, GM agrees to cover liability claims despite being in Chapter 11; on July 10 GM surprises by emerging from bankruptcy. On June 1 the land and sea portion of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) goes into effect; U.S. citizens are required to have a U.S. Passport Card to reenter their own country, raising the possibility that illegal aliens could kidnap them in the U.S., dump them over the border, and watch them try to get back in without success until they pay the coyotes to bring them in as illegal aliens; the biggest initial impact is at the U.S.-Canadian border, known for allowing crossers to merely state their nationality. On June 1 (4:15 a.m.) Air France Flight 447 (Airbus 330) disappears over the Atlantic en route from Rio to Paris, carrying 228 passengers and crew from 32 countries; it takes weeks to recover the wreckage, which suggests that the plane broke up in the air; on June 30 an Airbus A310-300 en route from Yemen to Comoros crashes into the Indian Ocean, killing 152 of 153 aboard. On June 1 African-Am. Muslim convert Abdulhakim Muhammad (1986-), formerly known as Carlos Leon Bledsoe from Tenn. (raised a Baptist) attacks a recruitment center in Little Rock, Ark. in a drive-by shooting, killing a soldier and injuring another; his father Melvin still calls him Carlos; in Jan. 2010 he writes a letter to the judge presiding over his case, claiming to be a member of al-Qaida in Yemen, and calling his spree a "jihadi attack" to get even for the killing of brother Muslims by U.S. troops - shoot me for treason too? On June 1 Tonight Show host (since May 25, 1992) Jay Leno retires, and Conan Christian O'Brien (1963-) takes over (until Feb. 22, 2010); the final episode of "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" aired on Feb. 20. On June 2 Kim Jong-un (1982-), youngest son of Kim Jong-il is announced as his heir and given the sobriquet "Brilliant Conrade"; meanwhile Kim Jong-il's brother-in-law Jang Song Thaek (Chang Sung-taek) (1946-) waits in the wings. On June 2 anti-Semitic white supremacist N.J. Internet blogger Harold Charles "Hal" Turner (1962-) posts on his blog that three federal judges who are against the Nat. Rifle Assoc. "deserve to be killed', causing the FBI to arrest him on June 3, and he is denied bail to boot; too bad, on Aug. 11 prosecutors admit that Turner had been an FBI informant against radical right-wing orgs. - the FBI should be killed too? On June 2-7 375M people in the EU vote to fill 736 seats in the new European Parliament (EP), becoming the world's 2nd largest election on Earth after India; conservatives dominate the results; the British Conservative Party breaks from the European Peoples Party after two decades to form a new right-wing anti-federalist bloc, the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (EGR), becoming the 4th largest bloc in the EP. On June 3 the Obama admin. reverses a Bush admin. rule that illegal immigrants facing deportation don't have an automatic right to an effective lawyer, and on June 10 orders the FBI and CIA to inform terrorists overseas that they have the "right to remain silent" (Miranda warning) before torturing, er, probing them for info. to save perhaps thousands or millions of lives, which U.S. Rep. (R-Ark.) (since 2001) John Boozman (1950-) calls "the craziest idea I've ever heard in my life". On June 3 Pres. Obama arrives in Riyadh and meets with Saudi King Abdullah; on June 4 after working with his Cairo-born adviser Dalia Mogahed (1974-), Obama delivers his Cairo Speech (Initiative) to the Arab World, titled "A New Beginning", hoping to make a fresh start with Muslims by changing perceptions of the U.S. as not out to get Islam itself, making a clean break with George W. "Crusader" Bush, never mentioning the word terrorism, claiming that the U.S. acted "contrary to our traditions and our ideals", and uttering the soundbyte "I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear. But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire"; "As a student of history, I also know civilization's debt to Islam. It was Islam - at places like Al-Azhar University - that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality"; he invited the Muslim Brotherhood to attend his speech, which backs women's rights, electrifying many in the Middle East, while others grumble that it's just a speech and they're still waiting for actions; he misquotes the Quran (Sura 9:119), saying "As the Holy Quran tells us, 'Be conscious of God and always speak the truth'", when what it really says is "Fear Allah and be with the truthful", i.e., Muslims, right before Muhammad commands "O you believers, fight those infidels who dwell around you, and let them find harshness in you" (9:123); he remarks that the U.S. has brought legal cases "to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab and punish those who would deny it", while saying nothing about protecting the right of Muslim women not to wear it; meanwhile many Jews get pissed-off at his remarks comparing the Israeli persecution of Palestinians with the WWII Holocaust - no shoes thrown? On June 5 former U.S. state dept. official Walter Kendall Myers (1936-) and his wife Gwendolyn Steingraber Myers (1937-) are charged with spying for Cuba for the last 30 years, passing info. over shortwave radio and by switching shopping carts with Cuban agents in grocery stores; Walter's great-grandfather is Alexander Graham Bell. On June 5 Pres. Obama tours the WWII Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany, uttering the soundbyte "Today there are those who insist the Holocaust never happened. This place is the ultimate rebuke to such thought, a reminder of our duty to confront those who would tell lies about our history"; on June 6 Obama visits Omaha Beach in Normandy to commemorate the 65th anniv. of D-Day, uttering the soundbyte "Friends and veterans, what we cannot forget, what we must not forget, is that D-Day was a time and a place where the bravery and selflessness of a few was able to change the course of an entire century." On June 5 struggling 23-y.-o. white S.D.rancher Neal Wanless (1986-) claims the $232M Powerball prize (9th largest jackpot in game history), vowing to use his $88.5M after-tax fortune (out of the 1-time cash prize of $118M) to help others; he bought the ticket in a town called Winner, S.D. On June 5 "devout Muslim" Kareem Shora is appointed by Janet Napolitano to the U.S. Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC). On June 6 Pres. Obama launches his grassroots campaign for health care reform via his massive Internet friends network; on June 15 he addresses the root of the, er, Am. Medical Assoc. (AMA), kissing, er, allying their fears by promising to curb malpractice lawsuits and cancel a proposed 21% cut in Medicare payments - no call for more medical schools to increase the supply of medical personnel and drive down their prices? On June 7 parliamentary elections in Lebanon result in a V for the pro-Western coalition over the militant Shiite Hezbollah, giving Hezbollah 58 seats and the coalition 70 seats out of 128. On June 8 a North Korean court sentences U.S. journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee to 12 years in a labor camp for illegal border crossing from China, increasing tensions with the U.S. On June 8 Alaska Repub. gov. Sarah Palin gives an interview to Fox News' Sean Hannity, saying that the Obama admin. is steering the U.S. toward Socialism, and that "Our country could evolve into something that we do not even recognize, certainly that is so far from what the founders of our country had in mind for us." On June 8 the medical dark comedy-drama series Nurse Jackie debuts on Showtime for 80 episodes (until June 28, 2015), starring Edith "Edie" Falco (1963-) as Jackie Peyton, an emergency dept. nurse at All Saints' Hospital in New York City. On June 9 10 U.S. banks incl. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase are deemed strong enough by federal regulators to return more than $68B in taxpayer aid, with interest; Goldman Sachs execs receive record bonuses this year. On June 9 a suicide bomb in the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar, India kills five and wounds 70; considered the safest place for foreigners, the U.S. was planning to purchase it for a consulate. On June 9 Pres. Obama's former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright gives an interview to the Va. Daily Press, saying that he hasn't spoken to Obama since he became pres., with the soundbyte "Them Jews ain't going to let him talk to me. I told my baby daughter that he'll talk to me in five years when he's a lame duck, or in eight years when he's out of office"; on June 11 he corrects himself, saying "I'm not talking about all Jews... I'm talking about Zionists". On June 8 world's longest-serving (since 1967) head of state Omar Bongo (b. ) dies of cancer, and on June 10 Rose Francine Rogombe (Rogombé) (1942-) becomes acting pres. of Gabon (until ?). On June 10 (9 a.m.) yet another car bomb in Bathaa, Iraq in S Iraq kills 30 and wounds 65. On June 10 anti-Semitic white supremacist (Navy officer in WWII) James W. Van Brunn (1920-2010) enters the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and shoots and kills a guard before being shot and captured; he later dies in the hospital in which he was incarcerated; it is later revealed that David Axelrod was one of his targets. On June 10 the U.S. Reuniting Families Act is introduced to the U.S. House of Reps., which would allow gays to sponsor "permanent partners" for residency. On June 10 U.S. rep. (D-Mich.) John Conyers introduces the U.S. Health Care Act, proposing to spend $2.5T to fund an all-govt. health care system. On June 10 the U.S. House of Reps. approves a resolution directing the Capitol architect to engrave the words "In God We Trust" along with the Pledge of Allegiance inside the new Capital Visitor Center (CVC). On June 11 the the U.S. Senate gives the FDA the first-ever official power to regulate cigarettes and other forms of tobacco; 17 Sens. vote against it, incl. top recipients of campaign contributions from the tobacco industry. Iran, where everybody's got dark hair finally starts to get tired of its old non-democratic dinnajacket? On June 12 (6/6+6) Iranian elections result in both pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and right-wing reformist challenger Mickey Mouse, er, Mir Hussein (Hossein) Mousavi Khameneh (1941-) (PM in 1981-9) claiming a V until the govt. ministry gets to work, declaring a 63% landslide for Imadinnajacket, causing 1.3M Mousavi supporters (who like to wear green) to cry fraud and stage violent protests, taking on the govt. in the streets, with protesters shouting "We want freedom", and "Where is my vote?", becoming the biggest demonstrations since the 1979 rev., causing the 2009 Iranian Green Movement (until ?), a mini-rev. pumped up by people using the Internet, incl. YouTube and Twitter to bypass govt. control of the media; too bad, only the urban elite have the hi-tech devices, and the rest of the country doesn't 'get' it, seeing only a Western plot, dooming the budding rev. as the Mobilization Resistance Force (Nirou-ye Moqavemat-e Basij) of hardline univ. students springs into action to kick protester butt; on June 16 the govt. offers a stalling limited recount, which fails to appease the protesters, who stage a massive rally in Tehran on June 17, with the protester death toll reaching 32, and 392-1,135 arrested; on June 17 grand asahollah Hossein Ali Montazeri (1922-2009) (#2 cleric behind supreme leader Ali Khamenei and spiritual leader of the opposition) says that "no one in their right mind can believe" the reported election results, and singles out "evil" Britain as the #1 enemy of the Iranian Islamic Repub., since it controls the BBC, while the U.S. doesn't control CNN, both of which portray the protesters as fighting for democracy, when they're really fighting to demote clerics from ruling the govt. to advising elected rulers; another Green leader is cleric Mehdi Karroubi (1937-), an alleged advocate of women's rights and participation in politics along with Montazeri; meanwhile on June 16 unexplainably passive Pres. Obama says "I have deep concerns about the election. I think that the world has deep concerns about the election", then adds "Peaceful dissent should never be subject to violence", causing him to be criticized for being a whimp that won't speak out for democracy for fear of offending some slimy govt.; too bad, Mousavi is a hardline rightist who helped start Iran's nuclear program, found Hezbollah and direct the attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut, but somehow attracts the 20-something pro-Western Twitter crowd, causing observers to tell Westerners to not expect any real change even if he wins; Mousavi's headscarf-wearing wife Zahra Rahnavard (1945-) has a Ph.D in political science, and has urged reforms incl. elimination of morality police and discrimination against women; on June 19 Iran's supreme assahola Ali Khamenei (1939-) (the Evil Emperor of the Shia Sith?) steps in, siding with Imadinnajacket and calling his election "an absolute and definitive victory", blaming the infidel West for the turmoil, and warning protesters to stop or else, while the govt. tries to coverup a bloody crackdown, causing the U.S. Congress on June 19 to condemn the crackdown; on June 20 (Sat.) a protest in downtown Tehran is put down by police with tear gas, water cannons and batons, along with warning shots, causing to Pres. Obama to call on the govt. to "stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people", while Moussavi says that his supporters are "facing unrighteous liars"; on June 21 (Iranian Bloody Sun.) the pigs step it up with shots into the crowd, and protester Neda (Farsi "voice") Agha-Soltan (b. 1983) is shot in the heart in the street by the pigs, and dies in her friends' arms, becoming a martyr for democracy after her death video is put on the Web; on July 9 despite the govt. intimidation, the protests resume; Rafsanjani's followers turn on the Russians for portraying the affair to Imadinnajacket as another U.S.-backed Color Rev. like in Ukraine; Islamic cleric Mehdi Karroubi (1937-) emerges as an opposition figure. On June 12 the U.N. Security Council imposes tough new sanctions on pesky North Korea, incl. authorizing ship searches on the high seas to look for nukes; meanwhile on June 16 rabbit-scared South Korean pres. Lee Myung-bak visits the White House, and otains assurances that the U.S. will continue protecting his country from attack by North Korea, with Pres. Obama uttering the soundbyte that he doesn't think that North Korea "will or should be a nuclear power" - watch myung bak, okay? On June 12 (midnight) the U.S. switches to digital TV; the date had originally been set to Feb. 17 until Obama gets it extended; too bad, individual stations are left free to decide which date to do the transition. On June 14 (Sun.) replying to Pres. Obama's call to Israel to help create a Palestinian state, Israeli PM (since Mar. 31) Benjamin Netanyahu gives a speech in the Knesset where he publicly accepted a 2-state solution and agreeed to the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian Arab state, provided they recognize Israel as a Jewish state; the news causes the Arab world to explode in rage, with aging Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak, calling this proposal "scuppering the possibilities for peace", and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat warning that Netanyahu "will have to wait a thousand years before he finds one Palestinian who will go along with him." On June 16 a summit in Yekaterinburg, Russia by leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China, to which the U.S. is refused admittance announces the creation of BRIC, a new political bloc to challenge the global dominance of the U.S., incl. 40% of world pop. and 15% of world GDP; economist Michael Hudson calls it "the most important meeting of the 21st century so far", because they are planning on ending the U.S. dollar as the world's reserve currency. On June 16 ex-U.S. pres. Jimmy Carter visits Gaza, and says that he had to "hold back tears" when he saw the destruction caused by the Jan. war. On June 16 U.S. Sen. (R-Nev.) (2001-) John Eric Ensign (1958-) admits to an extramarital affair with Cynthia Hampton, member of his campaign staff, and on June 17 he steps down as chmn. of the Repub. Policy Committee; on June 19 the Las Vegas Sun reports that Cynthia's hubby Doug Hampton had been complaining about it, and on July 9 Ensign admits that his parents had given Cynthia and her family $96K in Apr. 2008, calling them "gifts". On June 17 Pres. Obama proposes sweeping changes, incl. the creation of a powerful independent Consumer Financial Product Safety Commission to regulate mortgages, credit cards and other financial products, allegedly in the interests of the consumer not the banks. On June 17 100 Romanian Romas (Gypsies) are driven from their homes in Northern Ireland by racists after they stage a demonstration against racism; most of them announce they're leaving Northern Ireland, and only 14 decide to remain. On June 18 the U.S. Senate approves a resolution apologizing for slavery, which House members of the Congressional Black Caucus promise to block because of its lack of restitution payments; it also passes a $105.9B emergency war-spending bill after the White House assured them that it will bar the release of photos of detained terrorism suspects by executive order if necessary - Obama is morphing into a Bush? On June 18 the U.S. Supreme Court by 5-4 in Jack Gross v. FBL Financial Services Inc. reverses a longstanding rule that employees suing employers for firing them because of age discrimination only have to show that age was one of the motivating factors, throwing the employer into the need for proving that it had a legitimate reason to fire them other than age, saying that now the employees must bear the full burden of proving that age was the deciding factor. On June 18 it is revealed that two Ohio police chiefs are being investigated for burglarizing the home of a surrogate mother carrying twins for Hollywood stars Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick. On June 19 by 405-1 the U.S. House passes House Resolution 560, titled "Expressing support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law, and for other purposes"; the sole dissenting vote is Tex. Repub. Rep. Ron Paul, who opposes economic sanctions against the Iranian regime. On June 19 a railroad train carrying ethanol derails in Rockford, Ill., exploding and killing a 41-y.-o. woman at a crossing, and injuring six. On June 19 Pres. Obama gives the keynote speech at the 2009 Nat. Hispanic Prayer Breakfast, promising to work for amnesty for 10M+ illegal Mexican immigrants this year, although 40+ House Dems. are against it, with the soundbyte that the U.S. is a "nation of Christians and Muslims and Jews and Hindus and nonbelievers". On June 21 Pres. Obama's approval index goes negative for the first time ever, with 32% of voters strongly approving of his performance and 34% strongly disapproving; meanwhile Obama says that the U.S. is "fully prepared for any contingencies" with madass North Korea, which is threatening a long-range missile test on July 4 in the direction of Hawaii. On June 21 Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu appears on NBC-TV's Meet the Press, and after being asked "If the international community proves unable to stop Iran [for developing nukes], is it your view that Israel will have to?", responds that there's an "American commitment to make sure that that doesn't happen, and I think I'd leave it at that"; meanwhile a poll of Jewish Israelis by the Jerusalem Post reveals that only 6% see the Obama admin. as pro-Israel. On June 22 the New Yorker carries an article carrying a statement by CIA dir. (since Feb. 13) Leon Edward Panetta (1938-) that ex-veep Dick Cheney's criticism of Obama's terrorism policy suggests that "he's wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point"; after it leaks in advance, current veep Joe Biden tells NBC-TV's "Meet the Press" on June 14, "I think Dick Cheney's judgment about how to secure America is faulty. I think our judgment is correct." On June 22 two Red Line Metro subway trains slam into each other outside Washington, D.C. during afternoon rush hour, killing six and injuring 75. On June 22 Yunus-bek Yevkurov (1963-), pres. (since Oct. 30) of the Islamic Russian Repub. of Ingushetia between Georgia and Chechnya is hit in Nazran by a suicide bomber and seriously wounded; his aide is killed. On June 22 30+ are killed across Iraq, making the weekend total top 100 a week before the June 30 deadline for U.S. troop pullout from urban areas. On June 22 the U.S. Supreme Court rules 9-0 in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Holder that the district qualifies for the bailout provision of Section 5 of the 2006/1965 Voting Rights Act, and rules 8-1 that it is unnecessary to decide whether it is unconstitutional, Clarence Thomas being the dissenter; the language of the ruling causes observers to conclude that most justices feel the section is unconstitutional, signalling a sea change in the court. On June 23 Pres. Obama gives a press conference, toughening up his stance on Iran and trying to explain away his earlier hesitation, saying that he's "appalled and outraged", and "strongly condemn these unjust actions", and uttering the soundbyte "Those who stand up for justice are always on the right side of history", but can't do much since the U.S. has no formal relations with Iran; meanwhile brave Iranian babes begin the Lipstick Rev., defying the maniacal mullahs by parading around in public sans veils wearing Western makeup incl. lipstick; on June 25 after the assaholah's men brutally crack down on protesters, Imadinnajacket warns Obama to "avoid interfering" in Iranian affairs; meanwhile on June 22 French pres. Nicolas Sarkozy makes a speech against the nasty Muslim practice of forcing women to bear head-to-toe burkas, saying that they are not welcome in France, and instead France should force them to adopt Western garb, particularly the miniskirt; in 2004 France banned the Islamic headscarf and other conspicuous religious symbols in public schools; on June 2 al-Qaida in North Africa threatens France with a bloodbath over it; France groans under the weight of 5M Muslims. On June 23 U.S. defense secy. Robert Gates establishes the U.S. Cyber-Defense Command, to be led by NSA dir. Lt. Gen. Keith B. Alexander (1952-), who is to be promoted to 4-star gen.; on Aug. 3 Melissa Hathaway, the White House acting cybersecurity czar resigns - can I get a free decoder ring? On June 23 Pakistani Taliban leader Qari Zainuddin is assassinated by his own men under the orders of rival leader Baitullah Mehsud (1974-) as a U.S.-backed offensive is about to begin, ending hopes by Pakistan and the U.S. of using their rivalry against them; meanwhile on June 23 a U.S. Predator drone fires missiles into a Taliban training center in S Waziristan, then fires again into a funeral procession for the seven victims, killing 80 and maiming dozens, mostly civilians, becoming their deadliest attack so far. On June 23 Tenn.-born Christian Christopher Leggett (b. 1970) is shot and killed in Nouakchott, Mauritania by al-Qaida member Mohamed Abdallahi Ould Ahmednah for allegedly trying to convert Muslims to Christianity; on Mar. 15, 2010 he is sentenced to death. On June 24 S.C. Repub. gov. (since 2002) Marshall Clement "Mark" Sanford Jr. (1960-), who mysteriously disappeared over Father's Day weekend, making nat. news, admits he has been having an extramarital affair with a 43-y.-o. divorced multilingual Maria Chapur (1966-) in Argentina while on a govt.-funded trip, dashing his hopes of running for U.S. pres. in 2012, and becoming another hit to be absorbed by the reeling Repub. Party. On June 25 the U.S. Supreme Court by 8-1 rules in Safford Unified School District #1 v. Savana Redding that school Ariz. officials violated her rights by strip-searching 13-y.-o. Savana Redding on the strength of a suspicion that she was hiding prescription-strength Advil; they then rule that the officials are immune from damages because they hadn't made it an official rights violation yet. On June 25 former U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North (1943-) gives an interview to Kathleen Walter of newsmax.com, slamming Pres. Obama for his foreign policy, saying that he needs to recognize "that they [the U.S.] have all but won in Iraq", claiming that waterboarding isn't torture because he was waterboarded during Marine training, calling apologizing for the U.S. response to 9/11 "unconscionable", and adding that the U.S. is forgetting the lessons of 9/11 by lowering surveillance of the Internet. On June 25 Hamas chief (since 2004) Khaled Mashaal (Mashal) (1956-) delivers a speech in Damascus, Syria, saying that he likes the "new language" from Pres. Obama; he carefully refrains from mentioning his sponsor state of Iran. On June 25 King of Pop Michael Jackson (b. 1958) dies of a prescription drug OD in his rented mansion in Holmby Hills in Los Angeles, becoming another JFK moment for legions of fans worldwide; he had been preparing for a 50-concert tour to restore his wasted fortune; his doctor Conrad Murray (1943-) finds him in bed not breathing and with a faint pulse, and administers CPR in vain, after which he is scrutinized for prescribing Demerol and/or OxyContin to him, which he denies; Jackson is later found to have OD'd on Propofol, which he illegally used to sleep; on July 7 his funeral at Staples Center in Los Angeles, attended by 18K turns into a Michael Jackson show, with Pastor Lucious Smith followed by Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie, Usher, John Mayer et al., plus eulogies by Berry Gordy (who calls him "the greatest entertainer that ever lived"), Smokey Robinson, Queen Latifah, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Brooke Shields; his $25K bronze Promethean casket is plated with 14-karat gold and lined with blue velvet, and he wears a single white glove on his right hand; Russian security sources allegedly tell pres. Dmitri Medvedev that Jackson was assassinated by the CIA with an electromagnetic pulse; reports later surface that Jackson wanted to clone himself; on Nov. 7, 2011 Conrad Murray is convicted of involuntary manslaughter, and sentenced to four years; meanwhile on June 25 Hollywood glam babe Farrah Fawcett (b. 1947) dies after a long struggle with cancer, making three top U.S. celebs to go down in the same week; on June 28 the 9th BET Awards honors Jackson, and his Queen of Pop sister Janet Jackson gives a speech; on June 30 Jackson's will names his mommy Katherine Jackson as the guardian of his mystery children (of whom it is rumored that he is not the biological father, and his ex-wife Debbie Rowe might not be the genetic mother of the eldest two), and cuts off his father Joe (whom he alleges beat him as a child), along with Debbie Rowe - he must have had a Marilyn complex? On June 26 the U.S. American Clean Energy and Security (Waxman-Markey) Act, sponsored by Dems. Henry Arnold Waxman (1939-) of Calif. and Edward John "Ed" Markey (1946-) of Mass. is passed 219-212 by the U.S. House, establishing a cap-and-trade plan for greenhouse gases to control climate change, becoming the first-ever U.S. legislation on the issue; the Senate approves it on ?. On June 26 Pres. Obama signs the U.S. Cash for Clunkers Act (Car Allowance Rebate System), giving purchasers of a new car up to $4.5K in exchange for having their gas-guzzling clunker disposed of; it starts on July 27, and is set to end on Nov. 1 or as soon as the $1B allocated runs out, which turns out to be July 31, causing $2B more to be authorized, causing Ford to reports its first sales increase in two years; the response is so huge (457K sales) that they end the program on Aug. 24 (Mon.) at 8:00 p.m. EST; meanwhile dealers grumble about late reimbursements from the govt.; the top trade-in is the Ford Explorer SUV; the top-selling new car is the Ford Focus, followed by the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic; the German program it's modelled on has less restrictions and more money ($5B euros); as usual, the Obama plan props up rich automakers while destroying the business of used car and parts dealers? On June 26 the U.S. House by 219-212 (incl. 8 Repubs.) passes the landmark American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), calling for greenhouse gas emissions to be cut 17% by 2020 and 83% by 2050 (by raising the price of energy), and for 20% of all electricity in the U.S. to be generated by renewable sources and/or more efficient methods by 2020 (via tax incentives), supposedly creating millions of new "green" jobs while costing the avg. U.S. household only $175 a year by 2020; Pres. Obama speaks out against a provision imposing trade penalties that don't accept global warming pollution limits, and adds the soundbyte that the legislation could make renewable energy "a driver of economic growth"; meanwhile House leaders complain that they won't have time to read the 1.2K-page monster before having to vote on it; critics call it a Soviet-style 50-year plan that foists Cap-and-Trade on U.S. industry; too bad, Thomas Crocker, who invented the idea in the 1960s, now says it's not a good idea, causing the Obama admin. to call his skepticism a "straw man" argument. On June 27 al-Qaida militants of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) detonate two IEDs under an Algerian police convoy escorting Chinese workers to a highway construction site near Bordj Bou Arreridj, Algeria E of Algiers, then ambush the disabled convoy, killing 18 policemen and one Chinese worker, and sounding six policemen and two workers, becoming the deadliest terrorist attack in Algeria since Aug. 19, 2008; the Islamic terrorists have been plaguing Algeria since 1998 as the civil war was ending. On June 27 the Ulster Volunteer Force and Ulster Defense Assoc., two major Protestant paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland announce voluntary disarmament after killing 1K in their war with the Catholic IRA, which disarmed in 2001-5 after killing 1.8K over 27 years; the way is paved for the 1998 Good Friday Peace Accord to be implemented. On June 27 the English Defence League (EDL) is founded by Tommy Robinson (Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) and Trevor Kelway to fight Islamization of England, using street marches to attract attention; too bad, the leftist media keep trying to frame them as racists while using the pigs to arrest and imprison them on trumped-up charges. On June 28 (6 a.m.) after pushing for a constitutional amendment to allow him to run for a 2nd 4-year term, U.S.-backed Honduran pres. (since 2006) Jose Manuel "Mel" Zelaya (1952-) is ousted by the military, who arrest him in his pajamas and fly him to Costa Rica (without asking Costa Rican pres. Oscar Aras for permission?), causing him to utter the soundbyte: "They are creating a monster they will not be able to contain"; the army insists that it is not a coup but that they had an order by a supreme court judge to remove him for abuse of authority; Roberto Micheletti (1943-) is named interim pres. by the congress; meanwhile Obama calls for his return to office, placing himself in the same camp as a number of nearby leftist govts. incl. allies Venezuela and Nicaragua, along with the U.N., EU, and OAS, causing conservative U.S. pundit Rush Limbaugh to suggest that he is trying to get the 22nd Amendment repealed so that he can serve a 3rd term, pointing to his backing of Zelaya, who wanted to amend his constitution to serve another term, along with his refusal to stand up to the bogus Iranian election, plus the facts that his daddy was a Marxist, and his followers are "cult-like"; on July 26 Zelaya sets up a camp on the Honduran-Nicaraguan border, ignoring the call of foreign leaders to not force a confrontation; his wife Xiomara Castro de Zelaya (1959-) is blocked by Honduran soldiers from joining him; on Sept. 21 (night) Zelaya slips back into Honduras and takes refuge in the Brazilian embassy, claiming to want to talk to the interim govt. to "restore democracy", causing his supporters to demonstrate and clash violently with police; after U.S. diplomatic efforts, on Oct. 30 the Honduran govt. accepts a deal allowing Zelaya to return to power; all along U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton worked against Zelaya. On June 28 Argentine pres. Cristina Fernandez loses her majority in the lower house to the party run by billionaire businessman Francisco de Narvaez, while her hubby, former pres. Nestor Kirchner loses his congressional race. On June 28 Iranian pigs beat demonstrators in Tehran, while arresting nine Iranians working at the British embassy; on June 29 (Mon.) democracy in action not in Iran sees a recount begin, immediately claiming that Imadinnajacket got even more votes than before; meanwhile German chancellor Angela Merkel visits Pres. Obama at the White House, and says that the Iranian election results still need to be substantiated; meanwhile Scottish MP George Galloway stinks himself up by appearing on Iranian TV and blaming the BBC for fomenting unrest in Tehran. On June 28 Taliban fighters ambush Pakistani soldiers in N Waziristan while passing through the village of Inzar Kas, killing 16; the Pakistanis call it an unprovoked attack. On June 29 elections in Mexico return the Institutional Rev. Party (PRI) to power, with leader Beatriz Paredes saying "The PRI has learned from its errors and corrected itself"; meanwhile the Mexican economy is expected to contract by 5.5% this year. On June 30 Iraq celebrates Sovereignty Day as U.S. troops pull out of major cities, but remain available to back Iraqi troops up, with PM Nouri al Maliki uttering the soundbyte "Those who think that Iraqis are unable to defend their country are committing a fatal mistake"; Pres. Obama hails the authority transfer in the East Room of the White House, predicing more violence, with the soundbyte "There are those who will test Iraqi security. I'm confident that those forces will fail. The future belongs to those who build, not those who destroy"; meanwhile a bomb in the Kurdish sector of Kirkuk, Iraq kills 25 and wounds 40; on July 2 the first roadside bomb in post-U.S. Baghdad explodes near an Iraqi army patrol, killing one Iraqi soldier and wounding two soldiers and eight civilians; on July 7 bomb attacks in Baghdad and N Iraq kill 41; meanwhile Kurdistan pushes for a new constitution in defiance of Baghdad, claiming land and oil. On June 30 Al Franken (known for his SNL character "Stuart Smalley") is finally declared the winner of the Minn. Senate race, giving Senate Dems. a filibuster-proof majority of 60; Franken becomes the first comedian Senator; meanwhile a Rasmussen daily tracking poll shows Pres. Obama receiving his first negative approval index. On June 30 a freight train carrying LPG derails and explodes in Viareggio, Italy, killing 16 and injuring 50. On June 30 after the U.S. begins a major offensive in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, U.S. Pfc. Bowe Robert Bergdahl (1986-) of Hailey, Idaho (who wrote that he is "ashamed to be an American"?) goes AWOL, and is kidnapped in E Afghanistan by the Taliban-aligned Haqqani Network, who release a video of him on July 18, saying a "drunken American soldier had come out of his garrison"; another video is released on Xmas. On June 30 the Greek-flagged boat Spirit of Humanity carrying 21 activists of the Free Gaza Movement with humanitarian supplies for Gaza is seized by the Israelis; activists incl. black former U.S. rep. (D-Ga.) (1993-2003, 2005-7) Cynthia McKinney (1955-) (2008 Green Party candidate for U.S. pres., known for striking a Capitol police officer in the Longworth House Office Bldg. on Mar. 29, 2006, then apologizing on the House floor on Apr. 6, then introducing articles of impeachment against Pres. George W. Bush later in 2006), who arrives back in the U.S. on July 7 after a week in jail; the U.S. press stifles coverage? In June Goldman Sachs repays $10B in TARP loans while raising another $8.9B in equity, debt, and asset sales, paying its way out of the govt. bailout. In June the U.S. mortgage market begins rebounding, with a 11% increase in home sales. In June U.S. unemployment soars to 14.5M (16.5% counting part-time workers), losing 6.1M jobs since last June, and 467K jobs since Apr., becoming the biggest year-to-year June increase in four decades, up 70%; meanwhile U.K. unemployment reaches a 14-year high of 2.4M. In June a Christian woman is executed in North Korea for the crime of distributing Bibles. In June the world's ocean surface temp sets a record of 1.12F (0.62C), beating the previous high mark set in 2005; records began to be kept in 1880; June is also the 2nd warmest on record, and the Jan.-June avg. temp ties 2004 as the 5th warmest on record. In June the state of Maine fines the Christian Action Network (CAN) for mailings containing an "inflammatory anti-Muslim message", after which CAN goes to federal court and gets Maine to drop it. In June women hold 49.83% of the 132M jobs in the U.S., meaning that they are on the verge of becoming a majority. In the summer former Afghan PM (1995-6) Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai (1944-) brokers a meeting between the Taliban and U.S. Brig. Gen. Edward M. Reeder, where they agree to cut al-Qaida loose but won't accept U.S. access to three airbases. In the summer the JVC Jazz Festival in New York City is not held for the first time in 37 years because of financial difficulties; ditto jazz festivals in Chicago and Miami. On July 1 the govt. of China requires all home PCs to be sold installed with their new $5.8M Green Dam software, which blocks access to porno and anything else the govt. wants to censor, under the label "anti-revolutionary content"; in Aug. China ditches its plans after opposition by manufacturers and users. On July 1 the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announces that it is beginning to investigate workplaces in every state to check if they are hiring illegal workers in order to crack down on employers - Pres. Bush didn't do that because he's pro-business? On July 1 the Ariz. Senate by 16-11 okays an Illegal Immigrant Trespasser Bill, which would make Ariz. the only state to make its 500K illegal immigrants (out of 6.5M pop.) into trespassers; the House rejects it by 26-15. On July 1 three opposition leaders, incl. Mohammad Khatami, pres. candidate Mehdi Karroubi, and Mir Hossein Moussavi step it up and openly defy Iran's govt., vowing to resist the Imadinnajacket presidency. On July 1 U.S. defense secy. Robert Gates tells the press that he is directing Pentagon lawyers to find ways to reinterpret the 1993 "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy to prevent gays from being blackmailed by threatening them with outing. On July 1 pregnant scarfed Muslim Egyptian pharmacist Marwa Ali El-Sherbini (b. 1977) is stabbed to death in a court in Dresden, Germany by a German man named Alex W., who was on trial for defaming her in a playground, shouting "You don't deserve to live", becoming a cause celebre among Muslims. On July 1 Pakistani Christian shopkeeper Imran Masih is tortured by a group of Muslims, then arrested for allegedly burning pages of the Quran; on Jan. 11 he is sentenced to life in prison for blasphemy against Allah. On July 1 Eric Lee Garner of Seattle, Wash. threatens a scarfed Muslim women carrying an infant and brandishes a knife, with the comment "You Muslim people scare people when you wear things like that", after which he is arrested, pleads guilty next Mar., and is sentenced to a maximum sentence of 13-17 mo. On July 1 a survey by WorldPublicOpinion.org finds that 80% of Pakistanis now consider terrorist groups a "critical threat" to their country; up from 34% in 2007. On July 1 Calif. begins its fiscal year with a $26.3B deficit, causing it to issue IOUs to state contractors, which on July 20 is handled by a budget deal brokered by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that incl. $15.5B in spending cuts plus borrowing and shifting of state funds without raising taxes; on July 26 after a 24-hour session, the Calif. legislature approves the budget after cutting $1.1B and rejecting a measure allowing new drilling off the Calif. coast for the first time since 1969; meanwhile on Aug. 6 a federal court orders the release of 43K Calif. prisoners due to overcrowding; meanwhile Calif.'s budget gets in such bad shape that it begins auctioning state items off on eBay and Craig's List on Aug. 28-29 in the Great Calif. Garage Sale. On July 2 Amnesty Internat. says that Israel inflicted "wanton destruction" in the Gaza Strip during its Dec.-Jan. offensive against Hamas. On July 2 Italy approves a law criminalizing illegal immigration with a heavy fine plus prison terms for knowingly housing them, permitting unarmed citizens patrols to help the police. On July 2 India decriminalizes homosexuality. On July 3 Alaska gov. (since Dec. 4, 2006) Sarah Palin (1964-) announces her resignation effective July 26 after deciding that she won't run for reelection, and doesn't want to "embrace the conventional lame duck status", saying "I'm doing what's best for Alaska", mentioning the need to take care of her family, and adding the immortal soundbyte "We're fishermen. We know that only dead fish go with the flow"; this stuns the press, who expected her to announce a run for nat. office; after rumors, the FBI announces on July 5 that she's not being investigated, and she appears again on Facebook, saying that her move is part of a "higher calling" to "advance this country together". On July 30 journalist Lubna-Ahmed al-Hussein along with 12 other women is arrested in a restaurant in Khartoum for wearing trousers, and sentenced to 40 lashes. On July 4 Iranian diplomats attend 4th of July parties in the U.S. for the first time after the Obama admin. with its policy of "engagement" doesn't have the balls to rescind the invitations. On July 4 visitors are allowed to ascend into the crown of the Statue of Liberty for the first time since 9/11. On July 5 Uighur anti-Han riots in Xiangjian in NW China kill 140 and result in hundreds of arrests; on July 7 hundreds defy a govt.-ordered lockdown, causing the govt. to send in 20K troops on July 8. On July 6 Pres. Obama visits Russia to try and mend strained relations, and on July 6 signs a new nuclear arms control treaty agreeing to cut U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals by 25%, saying that the two countries are not destined to be adversaries, but that "Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected"; too bad, Russian pres. Dmitry Medeved immediately visits South Ossetia, which he calls a "new country". On July 6-7 a cyberattack targets govt. Web sites in the U.S. and South Korea; North Korea is suspected. On July 7 U.S. Defense Dept. lawyer Jeh Charles Johnson (1957-) tells a Senate committee that the govt. may keep terrorism detainees even if they're acquitted. On July 7 Warehouse 13 debuts on the Syfy Channel (until ?), about a secret govt. warehouse in S.D. that houses supernatural artifacts, starring Eddie McClintoch (1967-) as Secret Service Agent Pete Lattimer, Joanne Kelly (1978-) as his partner Myka Ophelia Bering, and Saul Rubinek (1948-) as warehouse chief Dr. Arthur "Artie" Nielsen. On July 7-10 the 35th G-88 Summit is held in Italy by the U.S., U.K., Germany, Italy, France, Russia, Canada and Japan; on July 10 they agree to raise $20B over the next three years for food and farm aid; on July 7 Pope Benedict XIV issues the encyclical Charity in Truth (Caritas in Veritate) for the summit, backing the rights of workers to form unions, and calling for a "true world authority", despite the possibility of "a dangerous universal power of a tyrannical nature"; he is really backing the U.N.? On July 8 a U.S. drone attack kills 25 militants in South Waziristan, Pakistan. On July 8 the climbing jobless rate causes the Obama admin. to put out feelers for yet another stimulus package; on Aug. 10 Nobel laureate economics prof. Paul Krugman tells CNBC that the world economy needs a second stimulus if it wants to avoid the fate of Japan in the 1990s; on July 14 the Federal Reserve predicts that unemployment will reach 10% in the coming months, and that no net new jobs will created in five years; Obama admits that his earlier prediction that his stimulus package would prevent unemployment from exceeding 8% was wrong, and that it will likely reach 10% (vs. 4% in 2000); it takes 2% increase in GDP to reduce the unemployment rate by 1%, so to go from 10% to 5% it would take a $1.5T increase in GDP. On July 8 Greenpeace activists unfurl a banner on Mount Rushmore next to Abraham Lincoln's bust urging climate change action, resulting in their arrest. On July 8 the state of Mass. files a lawsuit against the U.S. govt. over its 1996 U.S. Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), claiming it undermines same-sex marriages and codifies an animus towards gays and lesbians. On July 9 Uzi Arad, an adviser to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu says that Israel must have "tremendously powerful" weapons to destroy any enemy trying to nuke it, letting the cat out of the bag about its own nuke capability; last week one of its three German-made subs sailed from the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal to the Red Sea port of Eilat to send Iran a message. On July 10 Russian pres. Dmitry Medevedev warns the U.S. that if it deploys missile defense systems in Europe, Russia will deploy missiles in an enclave near Poland. On July 10 Pres. Obama visits the Vatican, discussing abortion and stem cell research with Pope Benedict XVI, promising to try to reduce the number of abortions in the U.S.; on July 11 he visits Ghana, where he is treated like a god and rock star, visiting the infamous Door of No Return at Cape Coast Castle, comparing it to Buchenwald Nazi concentration camp, and uttering the soundbytes: "We must start from the simple premise that Africa's future is up to Africans", "The West is not responsible for the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy over the last decade, or wars in which children are enlisted as combatants", and "No country is going to create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy to enrich themselves, or police can be bought by drug traffickers", adding "These things can only be done if you take responsibility for your future... But I can promise you this: America will be with you every step of the way, as a partner, as a friend"; too bad, Nigeria feels snubbed. On July 10 U.S. House Dems. announce that they will seek a huge $540B income tax increase to pay for a new Health Care Reform Plan (Obamacare), which they announce on July 14; the same day the Congressional Budget Office predicts that it will add more than $1T to the U.S. nat. debt over 10 years; despite House Dems. claiming that the plan will impose a 5.4% surtax on incomes above $350K a year to pay for it, affecting only the richest 2M taxpayers, U.S. Rep. (R-Tex.) (since 2003) Michael Clifton Burgess (1950-) (a physician) predicts that it will boost costs for small business and force more people into the govt.-run health insurance program - can't we just borrow more money from China? On July 10 Alaska gov. Sarah Palin signs the unanimous House Joint Resolution 27, claiming sovereignty of Alaska, joining Tenn., Idaho, N.D., S.D., Okla., and La. as part of a movement to fight federal govt. encroachment, esp. the Real ID Act of 2005, and Obamacare. On July 11 insurgents detonate bombs in Baghdad and Mosul, Iraq, killing six and wounding 67. On July 13 the U.S. Senate begins confirmation hearings for judge Sonia Sotomayor, who claims that her guiding principle is "fidelity to the law"; hostile Sen. (since 2003) Lindsey Olin Graham (1955-) (R-S.C.) (successor to Strom Thurmond) utters the soundbyte: "Unless you have a complete meltdown, you're going to get confirmed", since the Dems. have enough votes to confirm her without Repub. help; four anti-abortion protesters are arrested, incl. original Roe v. Wade "Jane Roe" litigant Norma Leah McCorvey (1947-); on July 14 Graham questions her judicial temperament, saying that she "sticks out like a sore thumb" compared to other judges; she says that she will have an "open mind" on gun rights, adding "I have friends who hunt", says that she considers the question of abortion rights to be "settled law" along with a constitutional right to privacy, and attempts to defuse critics of her "wise Latina" remarks by calling it a "misunderstanding", and uttering the soundbyte: "To give everyone assurance, I want to state up front and without doubt, I do not believe that any racial, gender, or ethnic group has an advantage in sound judgment", adding "Life experiences have to influence you. We're not robots who listen to evidence and don't have feelings. We have to recognize those feelings, and put them aside"; she also contradicts Pres. Obama's "empathy" criterion, with the soundbyte "I wouldn't approach the issue of judging in the way the president does. He has to explain what he meant by judging. I can only explain what I think judges should do, which is judges can't rely on what's in their heart. They don't determine the law. Congress makes the laws; on July 15 it turns into a circus, with Sen. Al Franken asking her in which episode of Perry Mason he lost his only case; answer: The Case of the Deadly Verdict (Oct. 17, 1963) - but Latina women are wiser than white men, and her friends hunt fish with fishing poles? On July 13 after eight British soldiers are killed in Afghanistan, bringing the British death toll to 184, exceeding losses in Iraq, British PM Gordon Brown tells Parliament that the 9K British troops in Afghanistan have the "strongest possible plan", plus enough resources "to do the job". On July 13 the bodies of 12 Mexican federal agents are found dumped along a mountain road in Michoacan, W Mexico, becoming the highest 1-day death toll for federal forces in the 3-y.-o. drug war; on July 14 Mexican authorities blame the La Familia drug cartel. On July 13 a consortium of 20 cos. incl. Siemens, Deutsche Bank, E.On and Munich Re launch an initiative to build the $555B Saharan Mega Solar Plant (Desertec) in North Africa to supply 15% of Europe's electricity needs. On July 13 Pres. Obama nominates Regina Marcia Benjamin (1956-) as U.S. surgeon gen.; being black, which is taboo to discuss, critics focus on her being "too fat"? On July 14 Pres. Obama makes a speech at Macomb Community College in Warren (near Detroit), Mich., which suffers from 14% unemployment, proposing the Am. Graduation Initiative, with $12B to be pumped into community colleges to add 5M new grads by 2020. On July 14 U.S. HHS secy. Kathleen Sebellus announces that $350M is available to help states prepare for the 2009 flu season, adding that Mexican swine flu is "no more lethal than the seasonal flu". On July 15 the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee passes health care legislation written by Ted Kennedy, who calls it "the cause of my life"; too bad, he is too sick to be present, and dies on Aug. 25 of brain cancer. On July 16 after it test-fires a barrage of ballistic missiles into waters off its E coast, the U.N. imposes new sanctions on pesky North Korea in an effort to stifle its nuclear ambitions; by Sept. North Korea is going with the Iraqi flow and placing IEDs on roadsides. On July 16 Pres. Obama addresses the NAACP, uttering the soundbyte "Make no mistake, the pain of discrimination is still felt in America", with blacks "out of work more than just about anybody else", and "more likely to suffer from a host of diseases but less likely to own health insurance", adding "Government programs alone won't get our children to the Promised Land", and "One of the most durable and destructive legacies of discrimination is the way we've internalized a sense of limitation; how so many in our community have come to expect so little from the world and from themselves, causing some blacks to criticize him for blaming them for the crisis and for resurrecting Daniel Patrick Moynihan's 1965 "culture of poverty" theory. On July 17 the U.S. Senate by 63-28 approves the ain't-he-cute U.S. Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act as a rider on the DOD bill, becoming the most sweeping expansion of federal hate crimes law since 1968, extending the definition of protected sacred cows in 18 USC 245 to those attacked because of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability; while noble in intent, its implementation at the federal level all because of one cute one-of-a-kind gay victim in Wyoming raises disturbing questions about Orwellian control of free speech and even thought, and whether the concept of states rights and state criminal codes is kaput; after the House approves it by 281-146, the Senate votes 68-29 on Oct. 22 to send it to Pres. Obama after it is attached to a $680B defense appropriations plan; Obama signs it on Oct. 28. On July 17 nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office dir. Douglas Elmendorf tells the U.S. Senate Budget Committee that Pres. Obama's health care proposals won't rein in skyrocketing govt. health care costs, but cost more, countering Obama's soundbyte that his plan will "bend the curve" with the soundbyte "The curve is being raised." On July 17 bombs detonate in the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton luxury hotels in Jakarta, India, killing eight and wounding dozens, embarrassing recently reelected (July 8) pres. (since 2004) Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (1949-). On July 17 Pope Benedict XVI slips in his bath and breaks his right wrist while on holiday in N Italy. On July 18 oldest known British man so far Henry William allingham (b. 1896) dies in Ovingdean, East Sussex after becoming the oldest surviving member of the British Armed Forces, last survivor of the Battle of Jutland, last survivor of the Royal Naval Air Service, and last surviving founding member of the Royal Air Force (RAD), also the 12th known oldest man of all time. On July 19 the New York Times pub. an interview with U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in which she says that she thought the purpose of Roe v. Wade was to rid the U.S. of those "that we don't want to have too many of", causing a firestorm of controversy about whether she meant the poor or a race or ethnic group; too bad, the reporter doesn't follow up. On July 19 a Russian-owned civilian heli crashes and burns after takeoff in S Afghanistan's largest NATO base, killing 16 civilians. On July 19 CIT Group, a U.S. lender to small and midsize businesses obtains a $3B emergency loan. On July 19 former Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin calls on Congress and the U.S. people to use the memory of the Apollo 11 Moon landing (July 20, 1969) as an inspiraton for a manned landing on Mars. On July 20 New York City-born Michael B. Oren (Michael Scott Bornstein) (1955-) succeeds Sallai Meridor as Israeli ambassador to the U.S. 317 (until Sept. 30, 2013). On July 20 after Hillary Clinton's first trip to India paves the way, the U.S. and India sign a defense pact, allowing U.S. arm sales to India, to the applause of U.S. defense contractors. On July 20 U.S. defense secy. Robert Gates bolsters U.S. troops in Afghanistan by 22K; meanwhile four GIs are killed by a roadside bomb in E Afghanistan, bringing the July coalition death toll to 55 incl. 30 from the U.S. On July 21 a report special U.S. inspector gen. Neil Barofsky says that the federal govt. has actually devoted $4.7T to bail out the financial sector, and that this could balloon to $23.7T (vs a U.S. GDP of $14T) under worst case conditions ($80K for every U.S. citizen), pissing-off the U.S. House, whose members vie to utter memorable soundbytes, incl. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) ("one fraud after another"), and Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) ("a brave new world"). On July 21 a British judge rules that Google can't be sued for libel just because libelous comments appear in text blurbs in its search results, saying that it isn't publishing them but just "playing the role of a facilitator". On July 21 Pres. Obama tells PBS, "I think that we have stepped back from the abyss. I think we've put out the fire", but that a lot of work remains to do with "the limited resources" available; meanwhile a USA Today/Gallup Poll reveals disapproval of Obama's handling of the economy by 49% to 47%, and disapproval of his health care policy by 50% to 44%; his overall approval rating is down to 55%, lower than George W. Bush's at the same 6-mo. point into his presidency (56%). On July 21 bombs kill 21 and wound dozens in Baghdad, Ramadi, and Baqubah, Iraq. On July 21 Oakland, Calif. becomes the first U.S. city to tax medical marijuana and have a business tax category for pot merchants. On July 22 a 155-mi. (250km) wide 6 min. 39 sec. solar eclipse (longest of the cent. because the Earth is at the farthest part of its orbit) sweeps across India and China, stirring ancient superstitions. On July 22 U.S. state secy. Hillary Clinton visits Bangkok, Thailand, saying that the U.S. will consider creating a defense umbrella over the Persian Gulf region if Iran keeps developing nukes, and signing the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, originally drawn up by the Assoc. of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1976, then signed by China and India in 2003, Russia and South Korea in 2004, and Australia in 2005, with the soundybte that it is "a very strong statement on behalf of our administration that the United States intends to be a very active presence in the region." On July 22 despite intensive NRA lobbying, the U.S. Senate by one vote (58-39) defeats a tacked-on provision to their $680B defense authorization bill that would allow certain gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines - shoot? On July 22 Pres. Obama gives a press conference to boost his struggling health care reform program, in which he mentions the July 16 arrest of famed black Harvard prof. Henry Louis "Skip" Gates Jr. (1950-) in his own house near the Harvard campus after being investigated for being a burglar and cleared after producing an ID, the white policeman Sgt. James Crowley trumping up "disorderly conduct" charges for "exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior" just for mouthing off to him and other trespassing gun-wagging cops who refuse to produce their badge numbers so he could identify them later, Obama saying that the police "acted stupidly"; although the charges were dropped, and no charges filed against the police, Gates goes on to speak out against police racial profiling and demand an apology, raising a nat. firestorm of controversy in the PC press, with Obama sticking to his guns and the police backing each other up, and Crowley calling Obama "way off base", after which Obama calls Crowley and says he should have used different words to avoid inflaming the controversy, but stops short of apologizing to Da Man, and on July 25 Obama invites both of them to the White House for a 1-hour Beer Summit on July 30 in an attempt to get it behind him; the open statements to the press by Crowley that he would arrest anybody who was "loud and boisterous" (i.e., mouths off to him) in the future raises profound constitutional questions (three strikes of mouthing off to a cop and you get life?); Gates goes for Red Stripe, Obama for Bud Light, and Crowley for Blue Moon; on July 30 Boston policeman Justin Barrett (1973-) is suspended for sending an email calling Gates a "jungle monkey", and later fired; meanwhile Lucia Whalen, who made the 9/11 call speaks to the press on July 29, saying she is pained by being called a racist and didn't actually know or describe Gates as black. On July 23 Georgian pres. (since 2004) Mikheil Saakashvili (1967-) asks visiting U.S. pres. Joe Biden for military aid, advanced weaponry and unarmed observers, but Biden won't bite, although he promises U.S. support. On July 23 44 N.J. politicians, incl. three mayors and five rabbis are arrested in a 10-year federal corruption sting called Operation Bid Rig. On July 24 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga. predict that up to 40% of Americans could get swine flu this year and next, and several hundred thousands could die without a successful vaccine campaign. On July 25 Pres. Obama tries to get back on track after the Gates incident, with the Congressional Budget Office saying that his program would save $2B over the next decade in Medicare costs. On July 25 Iran's Rev. Guards announce that they will hit Israel's atomic sites with its missiles if attacked first by any of Israel's three German-built subs, with RG CIC Mohammad Ali Jafari uttering the soundbyte that Iran "was not scared" of Israel's nukes, adding "It's part of the pyschological war that the West has launched against Iran." On July 26 supporters of Mir Hossei Moussavi hold rallies in dozens of cities worldwide demanding release of jailed activists and an end to the crackdown. On July 26 U.S. state secy. Hillary Clinton tells the press that the Obama admin. views Russia as a "great power" in an attempt to defuse statements by vice-pres. Joe Biden that it is saddled with deepening economic problems and backward-looking leadership. On July 26 Pawn Stars debuts on History Channel (until ?), set at the World Famous Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, Nev., operated by Richard "Old Man" Harrison (1941-), his son Rick Harrison (1965-), his grandson Corey "Big Hoss" Harrison, and Correy's friend Austin "Chumlee" Russell (1982-), becoming the network's #1 show. On July 26-27 the largest gathering of the Scottish clans in 200 years sees 400K kilt-clad Scots from around the world make merry in Edinburgh to celebrate the 250th anniv. of the birth of poet Robert Burns; Prince Charles opens the event; 125 of 500 clans incl. 85 clan chiefs attend. On July 27-30 U.S. drug czar (since May 7) Richard Gil Kerlikowske (1949-) meets with Mexican atty.-gen. Eduardo Medina Mora (1957-) to discuss the Mexican drug war. On July 28 the U.S. and China conclude their first annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue, agreeing on a broad framework of cooperation, incl. maintaining stimulus spending and supporting free trade, with vice-PM Wang Qishan uttering the soundbyte "As a major reserve currency-issuing country in the world, the United States should properly balance and properly handle the impact of the dollar supply on the domestic economy and the world economy as a whole." On July 28 Google reaches an agreement with publishers to make scanned books available online in return for 63% of their revenue. On July 29 the U.S. Health Protection Agency sends a confidential letter to 600 senior neurologists warning that the new swine flu vaccine has been linked to the deadly nerve disease called the Guillain-Barre Syndrome; the public doesn't find out about it until Aug. 15. On June 29 Am. hikers Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal, and Sarah Shourd are arrested at the Iranian-Iraqi border in Iraqi Kurdistan and held in Tehran for 11 mo. before being released on May 21, 2010. On July 30 Nigerian security forces raid the compound of a militant Islamic sect in Maiduguri in N Nigeria, killing 100, incl. Boko Haram founder Mohammed Yusuf (b. 1970); imam Abubakar Shekau Bin Muhammad becomes the leader of Boko Haram (until ?). On July 30 rumors that a Quran had been defaced at a Christian wedding in Korian, Pakistan in Punjab province causes a mob of 800 Muslims on Aug. 1 to attack Christians in the nearby town of Gojra, Pakistan, looting and burning homes and burning eight Christians alive, followed by Christmas death threats; since blasphemy carries the death penalty, they are just doing Allah's work? - another reason not to allow mass Muslim immigration into any Western country? On July 31 bombs explode near five Shiite mosques around Bag Dead during prayer services, killing 29 followers of anti-U.S. cleric Moqtata al-Sadr, who accuses the Iraq govt. of being behind it; between June 30 and Aug. 11 566 Iraqis have been killed, mostly Shiites; meanwhile longtime region underclass Shiites are talking their followers into showing retraint by not responding with violence? In July Pres. Obama nominates Francis S. Collins, co-leader of the Human Genome Project to head the Nat. Institutes of Health (NIH), stirring controversy because of his non-PC belief in God; meanwhile a Pew Research Center Survey reveals that 1 in 3 scientists believe in God, vs. 83% of the gen. pop., about the same as the 1920s. In July Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Corp. launch a 10-year deal to challenge market leader Google with their Bing search engine; when the deal contains no upfront payments to Yahoo, its stock falls 12%. In July U.S. casualties drop to an all-time low of six soldiers and a U.S. Marine, only four in combat related circumstances. In July U.S. personal bankruptcy filings reach 126,434, the highest total since the implementation of the Oct. 2005 U.S. Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act. In late July noctilucent clouds begin to be observed S of the the polar regions for the first time, incl. Paris, Seattle, and Omaha; the first were observed in 1885; a scientific explanation is not forthcoming; a sign of global warming? On Aug. 1 Switzerland begins a Big Brother program of intercepting all Internet traffic in real time from a central location. On Aug. 1 100 Iran puts 100+ political activists, incl. several prominent politicians on trial for protesting the election, where several give lengthy confessions praising Imadinnajacket and claiming that his June 12 election was legit - just take that soldering iron out of my anus? On Aug. 1 members of the Iraq-based People's Mujahedeen of Iran, dedicated to the overthrow of the 1979 Islamic rev. govt. in Tehran go on a hunger strike near the White House to protest the death of at least six members (ends ?). On Aug. 2 U.S. treasury secy. Timothy Geithner appears on This Week with George Stephanopoulos on ABC-TV, and reveals that the Obama campaign promise to not raise taxes on Americans earning less than $250K is now being reconsidered, causing the White House to backpedal and reaffirm the campaign promise. On Aug. 2 the White House announces that it will award a Pres. Medal of Freedom to former Irish pres. (1990-7) Mary Robinson (1944-), a longtime opponent of the state of Israel and backer of the 2001 Durban Conference Against Racism that came out against Israel and the U.S. walked out of, creating a firestorm of controversy, incl. the Repub. Jewish Coalition coming out against it. On Aug. 3 a tribal attack in a fishing village in SE Sudan over cattle and territorial rights kills 185+, making 1K for the year. On Aug. 3 a remote-controlled bomb set by the Taliban kills 10 civilians and two police and critically injures a police chief in Herat in W Afghanistan. On Aug. 3 Der Spiegel reveals that the Roman Catholic Pax Bank in Germany bought stocks in defense, tobacco, and birth control cos., causing it to issue a public apology since it had advertised that it never does such things. On Aug. 3 the Chinese govt. seals off the town of Ziketan in Tibet after three die and eight are infected with a pneumonic plague. On Aug. 3 Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez signs a letter of approval giving Iran financial help to build nukes. On Aug. 4 (Pres. Obama's birthday) ex-U.S. pres. Bill Clinton arrives in North Korea on his first diplomatic mission, quickly negotiating the release of U.S. Current TV journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling, succeeding where his wife Hillary (who on Aug. 26 called the North Koreans "unruly children") couldn't because old fart Dear Leader Kim Jong-il wanted to be seen with handsome in public, and he wanted a chance to get back in the spotlight, despite torpoeding all efforts at isolating North Korea? On Aug. 4 U.S. Sen. (R-N.H.) Judd Gregg of the Senate Budget Committee utters the soundbyte "We're going to be like a banana republic in 10 years" if the fiscal situation stays on the same track, saying that "Cash for Clunkers" and like programs could consume up to 80% of the total U.S. economic output via federal spending, adding "Sure, Americans want the program, but if you do stop and think about it, is it right to do for our children?" On Aug. 4 (8:15 p.m.) bald love-frustrated George Sodini walks into the LA Fitness gym in Bridgeville (near Pittsburgh), Penn., turns off the lights, and opens fire on a women's Latin dance class, firing 50 rounds and killing three and wounding 10 before committing suicide, leaving a blog at georgesodini.com, telling how no woman has wanted him for many years, and that unless he beds a babe soon he will soon see God and Jesus, and won't go to Hell because "Eternal life does not depend on works... Christ paid for every sin" - he should have been born a Muslim? On Aug. 4 two first-line Akula-class Russian subs are reported patrolling off the E coast of the U.S., raising eyebrows, because ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union the Russian Navy has been nearly kaput - another Hunt for Red October? On Aug. 4 Australian Muslims Wissam Mahmoud Fattal (1976-), Saney Edow Aweys (1983-), and Nayef El Sayed (1984-) are arrested for planning a jihadist attack on the Holsworthy army barracks in Sydney, planning to kill up to 500 before running out of ammo; they are convicted on Dec. 24, 2010; a Muslim who warned the govt. about it is found not guilty. On Aug. 5 Dem. Senate campaign chief Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) tells ABC News' "Top Line" that Repubs. are risking an electoral backlash by opposing the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor in large numbers, and that her "impeccable credentials" have contributed to "a moment of pride for the Hispanic community throughout this country"; she is confirmed on Aug. 6, and when only 9 of 40 Repub. Senators vote for her, Hispanic leaders go to work to make his warning come true? On Aug. 5 Iranian pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad takes his oath of office for his 2nd term despite all the protests and repression, incl. shouts of "death to the dictator". On Aug. 5 (1 a.m.) a U.S. Predator drone kills Pakistani tribal leader Baitullah Mehsud at his father-in-law's house in South Waziristan; it also takes out seven bodyguards, his wife, and 25 others; on Aug. 22 his deputy Hakimullah Mehsud (1979-2013) is appointed the new leader of the Tehrik-e-Taliban by the 42-member shura (until Nov. 1, 2013). On Aug. 5 after resigning in Apr. to hold elections on June 6, Gen. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz (1956-) becomes pres. of Mauritania (until ?). On Aug. 5 the Nat. Inst. on Drug Abuse (NIA) makes an offer to produce and distribute large quantities of marijuana cigarettes for purposes other than research. On Aug. 6 on an 11-day tour of seven countries in Africa, U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton speaks in Kenya, saying that it is a "great regret" that the U.S. is not a member of the Internat. Criminal Court that tries people for genocide and crimes against humanity - if it joined then every U.S. politician back to George Washington would be indicted? On Aug. 6 the super-popular Twitter Web site becomes the victim of a denial of service attack, causing a Tweetapocalypse and Tweet withdrawal systems for 45M visitors; as attacks continue for days, it is traced to attempts to shut down the Web pages of a prof. from the Repub. of Ga. who is trying to explain the history of the war with Russia? On Aug. 7 three more regional U.S. banks fail, bring the total to 72, almost tripling the 2008 total of 25. On Aug. 7 Typhoon Morakot hits Taiwan, killing 600 via mudslides. On Aug. 7 before leaving for Mexico, Pres. Obama meets with Hispanic media outlets and announces that he won't push immigration reform until next year despite his promise to do it this year; he also jokes about himself being called an illegal immigrant. On Aug. 7 Sarah Palin posts on Facebook, saying that Pres. Obama's health care plan that incl. regular physician consultations with the elderly will turn into a "death panel" that decides whether they should be euthanized; after many of her supporters call her comments nuts, she backs down a little, claiming she was talking about the Medical advisory Board and forecasted declines in Medicare spending, and tries to change the subject, only to see Sen. (R-Iowa) Charles Grassley tell voters: "You have every right to fear. You shouldn't have counseling at the end of life, you should have done that 20 years before, should not have a government run plan to decide when to pull the plug on grandma"; Rahm Emanuel's physician brother Ezekiel J. "Zek" Emanuel (1957-) (an Obama adviser) is a leading opponent of state-assisted suicide, and a backer of Obama's health care program, and known for a 1996 report in which he proposed that health services should be socially guaranteed to those who are capable of being participative citizens, and not guaranteed to those with dementia; on Aug. 11 Obama gives a town hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., claiming that the Am. Assoc. of Retired Persons (AARP) backs his plan, causing them to state that they haven't endorsed it. On Aug. 8 a riot by 1.3K of 5.9K inmates at overcrowded Chino Prison 40 mi. E of Los Angeles, Calif. sparked by racial tensions between blacks and Latinos injures almost 200 inmates; a federal 3-judge panel ordered Calif. to reduce prison pop. less than 2 weeks earlier. On Aug. 8 (11 a.m.) a tourist heli and small plane collide over the Hudson River in New York City, killing nine, becoming the city's worst air disaster of the narrow air corridor there. On Aug. 9 Saudi al-Qaida member Abdullah Hassan al-Asiri (b. 1986) attempts to assassinate deputy interior minister Prince Muhammad bin Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, and is killed by his own 1 lb. anus bomb, leaving the prince with a bandage on two fingers of his left hand - imagine that? On Aug. 9 Mark Burnett's reality series Shark Tank debuts on ABC-TV for ? episodes, based on the 2001 Japanese show "Tigers of Money", featuring investor angels hearing pitches from entrepreneurs than fighting to invest at the lowest possible price; investors incl. Terence Thomas Kevin O'Leary (1954-), Robert Herjavec (1962-), and Daymond John (1969-). On Aug. 9-10 the 4th Annual North Am. Leader's (Three Amigos) Summit in Guadalajara, Mexico is attended by Pres. Obama, Mexican pres. Felipe Calderon, Canadian PM Stephen Harper, who discuss the H1N1 virus problem and trade issues, stirring fears of a horrible secret North Am. Union. On Aug. 10 yet more bombs hit Shiite areas of Baghdad, Iraq, killing 33 more, bringing the total to 100+ in four days in Irock. On Aug. 10 U.S. gen. Stanley McChrystal tells the press that the Taliban have advanced out of their old strongholds in S and E Afghanistan, and are gaining the upper hand as they move N and W; no surprise, in Sept. he releases a 66-page document saying that unless he gets 45K more troops within the next year, the 8-year conflict "will likely result in failure"; on Sept. 21 he orders the troops to pull out of rural areas and concentrate on protecting major urban centers; meanwhile U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, retired lt. gen. Karl W. Eikenberry thinks that more troops should be conditioned on the Afghan govt. meeting benchmarks. On Aug. 10 Hillary Clinton gets ballsy, er, testy after a Congolese univ. student asks what her hubby Bill thinks about a multibillion dollar Chinese loan offer to Congo, replying "My husband is not secretary of state, I am. I am not going to be channeling my husband"; Bill's recent triumph in North Korea has gotten under her skin?; later it is revealed that the translator made a mistake, and should have said Pres. Obama not Bill Clinton; on Aug. 11 she sees evidence of the brutality in E Congo, incl. violent rapes, and is visibly shaken, calling it "evil in its basest form". On Aug. 11 after a public outcry, the House cancels plans to spend $550M on passenger jets for lawmakers and senior govt. officials. On Aug. 11 the U.S. returns $2.4M to Mexico's tax admin. that it seized during an investigation into smuggled oil, revealing that U.S. refineries bought millions of dollars worth of oil stolen from Mexican govt. pipelines and smuggled by Mexican drug cartels, hurting the Mexican oil monopoly Pemex, whose production fell 7.5% in the first half of the year; meanwhile on Aug. 11 a federal indictment is brought against the Salt Lake City, Utah Alcala Law Firm and others for conspiring to get illegal visas for Mexican workers in Utah. On Aug. 11 Yemen launches Operation Scorched Earth in order to end the 5-y.-o. Iranian-backed Zaydi Shiite Houthi uprising in the N province of Sa'da; on Nov. 9 fighting in N Yemen between Shiite Houthi rebels and Saudi border guards erupts when Houthis attack a Saudi border post, killing one guard and injuring 11, drawing the Saudi govt. into the fight, which spends 3 mo. to clear the border area, with 100+ Saudi casualties, causing 240 villages to be evacuated and 50 schools to be closed; the Sunni-Shiite war could eventually drag the U.S. and Russia into war? On Aug. 12 U.S. Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch tells the press that he's urging the military to deploy more unmanned vehicles on the ground to go with the unmanned drones, with the soundbyte "Let's get those kids out of the vehicles" in Iraq and Afghanistan - one day the U.S. military will consist of robot soldiers commanded by human officers? On Aug. 12 a battle between Philippine troops and Muslim Abu Sayyaf guerrillas in Basilan Island kills 53+, incl. 30 guerrillas. On Aug. 12 Bishop Edir Macedo and nine others linked to the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in Brazil are charged with siphoning billions of dollars in donations from mostly poor followers for personal use. On Aug. 12 Pres. Obama awards the Medal of Freedom to 16 "agents of change", incl. Billie Jean King, Sidney Poitier, Ted Kennedy, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sandra Day O'Connor, homeless medical care leader Pedro Jose "Joe" Greer Jr., Mary Robinson (protested by Jewish orgs.), Stephen Hawking, Chita Rivera, Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh, even two posth. ones to Harvey Milk and Repub. rep. Jack Kemp (token white guy?). On Aug. 13 a double suicide bombing in the Kurdish-speaking Yazidi city of Sinjar in a cafe packed with young people in NW Iraq kills 21; four suicide truck bombers already took out the nearby village of Qhataniya on Aug. 14, 2007, killing 500 Yazidis. On Aug. 13 25K demonstrate in Copenhagen, Denmark over the forced deportation of a group of 121 Iraqi refugees, who were arrested by the police as they took refuge in Brorson Church the previous night. On Aug. 14 the govt. of Russian-controlled South Ossetia asks residents to turn in their weapons, prosecuting 50 for illegal possession and offering a $300-$400 reward for each Kalashnikov rifle. On Aug. 14 Pakistan lifts a ban on political activity in its tribal regions near the Afghan border, granting them parliamentary rep in hopes of reducing the influence of the Taliban. On Aug. 14 the militant Islamist Jund Ansar Allah org. (founded Nov. 2008) based in Rafah, Gaza Strip declares an Islamic emirate in the Palestinian territories, causing Hamas to attack it, killing 24 incl. leader Sheikh Abdel Latif Moussa (b. 1959) on Aug. 15. On Aug. 14 Venezuela okays a new education law mandating the teaching of Hugo Chavez' Bolivarian Doctrine (based on Simon Bolivar, featuring nat. self-determination and Latin Am. unity), causing cries of indoctrination in Socialism. On Aug. 14 the Australian high court grants quadraplegic Christian Rossiter (1960-) the right to refuse food and water and die without his nursing facility being held criminally liable. On Aug. 15 a Taliban suicide car bomb near the main gate of the NATO-led internat. mission in Kabul kills three Afghans and wounds 70. On Aug. 15 despite the military retaking the area, a suicide car bomber in the Swat Valley of NW Pakistan kills five. On Aug. 15 Pres. Obama hosts a town-hall meeting in Grand Junction, Colo., being greeted by protesters outside, where a univ. student asks him how private insurers can compete with the govt., causing him to reply that the "public option" (a new govt. insurance program similar to Medicare) is only a small piece of his health care reform program, and he mainly wants to control costs, expand coverage, protect consumers, and improve efficiency; on Aug. 16 U.S. HHS secy. Kathleen Sebelius tells CNN Sun. Morning that the public option "is not the essential element"; too bad, later that day White House health reform comm. dir. Linda Douglass releases a statement saying "Nothing has changed. The president... believes the public option is the best way to achieve those goals"; later U.S. Sen. (D-N.D.) (since 1987) Kent Conrad (1948-) proposes govt.-funded private cooperatives as an alternative to a govt. plan; meanwhile new Canadian Medical Assoc. pres. Anne Doig admits that Canadian patients get less than optimal care, and says that the system is "imploding". On Aug. 17 a Muslim suicide truck bomber at a police HQ in the main city of Nazran, Ingushetia kills 20 and wounds 118, becoming the deadliest attack in the North Caucasus region since 2005; the Muslims are lapping at the S flank of Russia? On Aug. 17 Sunni Muslim Millat-e-Islamia Pakistan militant party leader Ali Sher Haideri is shot and killed in a sectarian attack in Khairpur, Pakistan (150 mi. NE of Karachi). On Aug. 17 Albert Gonzales and two Russians are indicted for stealing 130M+ credit and debit card numbers in 2006-8 in the largest hacking and ID theft case ever prosecuted (until ?). On Aug. 17 John Morton, new head (since May) of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announces that he has ended quotas on illegal immigrants who have ignored deportation orders, and will target those who already have had their day in court. On Aug. 17 the Obama admin. announces that the 1996 U.S. Defense of Marriage Act that denies benefits to gay domestic partners of federal employees and allows states to reject same-sex marriages performed in other states should be repealed, er, repealed. On Aug. 17 Hurricane Bill (first hurricane of the 2009 Atlantic season) heads toward Bermuda; meanwhile Tropical Storm Ana dissipates. On Aug. 17 al-Qaida in Indonesia drops a planned Mumbai-style rifle-grenade assault on Indonesian pres. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and other nat. leaders on Indonesian independence day. On Aug. 17 the identity of anonymous blogger of Skanks in NYC is ordered revealed by New York Supreme Court judge Joan Madden for comments about Canadian-born model Luskula Cohen (1972-), incl. "skank", "ho", and "psychotic"; after Fashion Inst. of Tech. student Rosemary Port is unmasked, Cohen decides to drop her defamation suit, saying she just wanted to make a point, after which Port announces her intention of suing Google for $15M because it "breached its fiduciary duty to protect her expectation of anononymity". On Aug. 18 the Armed Dozen, a group of pro-gun rights demonstrators carry firearms outside Pres. Obama's health care rally in Phoenix, Ariz., where "open carry" is legal throughout the state; one named Chris carries an automatic AR-15 rifle, calling it a "publicity stunt", with the soundbyte "We will forcefully resist people imposing their will on us through the strength of the majority with a vote," Chris later tells an Obama supporter in the video... Just because you sic the government on people doesn't make it morally okay to steal money from people. Taxation is theft"; the NRA claims to be embarrassed by then; back in 1996 Pres. Clinton praised law enforcement for arresting the 12-man Viper Militia in Phoenix for doing even less? On Aug. 18 a suicide car bomber kills 7+ in Kabul, while a Taliban rocket hits the pres. palace grounds as violence across Afghanistan precedes the election; on Aug. 19 gunmen storm a bldg. in Kabul and battle police for hours, becoming the 3rd attack in Kabul in five days; on Aug. 20 elections in Afghanistan reelect pres. Hamid Karzai to a 2nd term, although his chief rival Abdullah Abdullah (1960-) also claims a V; Afghan women stay away from the polls; meanwhile the U.S. reveals a plan to make finance minister Ashraf Ghani into a chief exec serving beneath him; too bad, after a U.N. team does a recount and uncovers massive voter fraud of 1M votes for Karzai, lowering his total from 54% to 48.3% on Oct. 19, a new election is called for on Nov. 7, causing Karzai to question the reliability of the U.S. as a partner on Oct. 25; on Nov. 1 Double Abdullah drops out of the runoff election, and calls Karzai's reelection illegal. On Aug. 18 (07:40 GMT) South Korea launches its first satellite, the $400M Naro-1, pissing-off North Korea. On Aug. 18 Pres. Obama holds talks with Egyptian pres. Hosni Mubarak in Washington, D.C., hoping to unstall the Middle East peace process. On Aug. 18 a senior Iranian official announces that Iran is ready for negotiations with the West on its nuclear program based on mutual respect and without preconditions; meanwhile RPGs and other weapons are found on an Australian cargo vessel en route from North Korea that is searched by the UAE, which Iranian officials deny are bound for them, calling it all a "Zionist plot". On Aug. 19 a series of explosions kills 75+ and wounds 300+ in C Baghdad, Iraq, becoming the deadliest day since U.S. troops left in June, and showing that without the U.S. the Iraq govt. is doomed? On Aug. 19 an ABC News-Washington Post Poll reveals that a majority (51%) of the U.S. pop. thinks that the Afghanistan War is not worth fighting; 47% thinks it is. On Aug. 20 pres. Imadinnajacket picks Ahmad Vahidi as the new Iranian defense minister; he is suspected to be an internat. terrorist connected with the 1994 attack on a Jewish community center in Argentina; criticism of his appointment is called a "Zionist plot" - and now you get to obliterate Israel itself with our new nukes? On Aug. 20 Chilean authorities that they have detected the H1N1 swine flu in turkeys, becoming the first time it's been detected outside humans and pigs - the real Fifth Element? On Aug. 20 after thuggish threats from Muammar Gaddafi (revealed by WikiLeaks in Nov. 2010), Abdel Basset Ali Mohammed al-Megrahi, the only person convicted for the 1988 Lockerbie, Scotland jet bombing arrives in Libya to cheers after only serving eight years of his 27-year min. sentence for murdering 270 infidels because he has terminal prostate cancer, drawing criticism from FBI dir. Robert Mueller, U.S. JCS Adm. Mike Mullen et al., along with the victims' families, putting Scottish justice secy. Kenny MacAskill on the grill for making the decision to free the bum; in Dec. it is revealed that he had a £1.8M Swiss bank account, raising the suspicion of payoff money, although the evidence wasn't used at his trial; BP (British Petroleum) is later revealed to have lobbied for release of Libyan terrorist (but of course not him) in order to obtain a 2009 oil lease for the huge Rumaila oilfield (partnering with CNPC of China), which compensates them even when oil is not being produced; by 2010 it becomes obvious that the original 3-mo. lifespan prognostication is way off, causing renewed outcries; British ex-PM Tony Blair flew to Tripolo last June 10 to meet with Daffy to arrange a £400M arms export deal first?; meanwhile Libyan nutcase leader (since 1969) Muammar (al-) Gaddafi (1942-2011) (celebrating his 40th anniv. in power) plans to visit the U.S. for the first time in Sept., being refused permission to pitch his Bedouin tent in New York's Central Park then settling for Englewood, N.J., pissing-off state residents, who lost 38 in the Lockerbie bombing; meanwhile Daffy Duck quacks, er, calls for the dismemberment of Switzerland for mistreating his son Motassim "Hannibal" Bilal Gaddafi last year, then gives a nutty U.N. speech on Sept. 23, saying that Obama should be pres. for life, and that the H1N1 virus was created by the military, demanding $7.7T reparations to Africa for Euro colonialism, uttering the soundbyte "What's next, fish flu?" - they should have put a bomb on the bum's plane to Libya, and another on Daffy's plane to New York, and a 3rd guess where? On Aug. 20 a new Zogby Poll is released, showing Pres. Obama's voter approval sliding to 45.3%, with only 37.5% of independents approving of his handling of his job. On Aug. 20 Mexico enacts a new Drug Decriminalization Law, setting maximum "personal use" limits for LSD, marijuana, cocaine, meth, heroin et al.; too bad, they still require mandatory treatment if you're cited for a 3rd time, and actually make possession of all but miniscule amounts a prosecutable offense; meanwhile on Aug. 24 the supreme court of Argentina rules it unconstitutional to punish an adult for private use of marijuana. On Aug. 20 Hustler pub. Larry Flynt pub. an article titled Common Sense 2009, calling for a 1-day gen. strike throughout the U.S., with the soundbyte "The American government - which we once called our government - has been taken over by Wall Street, the mega-corporations and the super-rich. They are the ones who decide our fate. It is this group of powerful elites, the people President Franklin D. Roosevelt called "economic royalists", who choose our elected officials - indeed, our very form of government. Both Democrats and Republicans dance to the tune of their corporate masters. In America, corporations do not control the government. In America, corporations are the government. This was never more obvious than with the Wall Street bailout, whereby the very corporations that caused the collapse of our economy were rewarded with taxpayer dollars. So arrogant, so smug were they that, without a moment's hesitation, they took our money - yours and mine - to pay their executives multimillion-dollar bonuses, something they continue doing to this very day. They have no shame. They don't care what you and I think about them. Henry Kissinger refers to us as 'useless eaters'." On Aug. 20 (8:30 p.m.) millions in China claim to see two huge rotating glowing mist-shrouded saucer-shaped UFOs. On Aug. 21 the U.N. Refugee Agency expresses shock at reports that a sinking boat carrying illegal immigrants from Libya is ignored by passing vessels, causing 75 of 77 to die en route to Italy. On Aug. 21 White House press. secy. Robert Gibbs says that Pres. Obama is "quite comfortable" with the prospect of being a 1-term pres. if he gets all the spending, er, issues he's concerned about passed. On Aug. 23 (Sun.) the body of pastor Carol Daniele (b. 1938) is found brutally murdered in Christ Holy Sanctified Church in Anadarko, Okla., riling people up. On Aug. 24 the Obama admin. admits that the 10-year budget deficit will be $2T more than originally forecast, reaching $9T. On Aug. 24 U.S. atty.-gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. wins his argument against CIA dir. Leon E. Panetta, getting cases of suspected torture by CIA officers during the Bush admin. reopened; after former vice-pres. Dick Cheney disses Obama for it, former Repub. U.S. atty.-gen. Alberto Gonzales comes out in support; meanwhile on Aug. 25 Pres. Obama renominates Ben Bernanke for a 2nd term as chmn. of the Federal Reserve. On Aug. 24 pres. panel announces that H1N1 swine flu could infect half of the U.S. pop. this fall and winter, causing up to 90K deaths and hospitalizing up to 1.8M. On Aug. 24 the CIA releases its Guidelines for Interrogating High-Value Detainees, detailing methods incl. slamming their head against the wall up to 30x. On Aug. 24 Muslim model Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno (1977-) beomes the first person to be caned in Malaysia for drinking beer, receiving six lashes with a rattan cane. On Aug. 25 a 16-y.-o. neo-Nazi man is arrested in a Moscow bomb plot. On Aug. 25 Britain unveils proposed laws to cut off Internet access to people who repeatedly pirate films and music, raising an outcry. On Aug. 25 Rodolphe Adada of the Repub. of the Congo, head of the U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur resigns. On Aug. 26 Franklin, Ky. circuit judge Thomas Wingate strikes down a 2006 Ky. law requiring the Ky. state office of homeland security to stress "dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth". On Aug. 27 Taiwan pres. Ma Ying-jeou decides to allow the Dalai Lama to visit, pissing-off China, whom he pleased by refusing the same trip last Dec., saying that it would ease the pain from Typhoon Marakot. On Aug. 27 Iranian supreme assaholla Ali Khamenei says that there is no proof that the reformists are working with the West, pulling the rug from under pres. Imadinnajacket's prosecutors, but plays both sides by adding "There is no doubt that the events were planned, no matter whether their leaders knew it or not." On Aug. 27 Jaycee Lee Dugard (1980-), who was abducted while waiting for a school bus at age 11 in South Lake Tahoe 18 years ago wanders into a parole office in a town near San Francisco, Calif., telling a tale of her abuser, 58-y.-o. Philip Garrido (1951-), who is arrested, and will never get out of priz alive; Voices Are Real, his non-hit song recorded in the 1980s surfaces on YouTube. On Aug. 28 a suicide bombing at the main NATO border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan kills 18+ Pakistani security officials; meanwhile the Taliban make a comeback in N Afghanistan, incl. the Baghlan, Kunduz, and Taqhar Provinces, where mainly German troops guard the N supply route that supplements the more vulneratle routes through Pakistan. On Aug. 29 leaders of 12 Latin Am. nations hold a Union of South Am. Nations (Unasur) Summit in Argentina to discuss expanding U.S.-Colombia military ties; meanwhile Venezuelan pres. Hugo Chavez accuses the U.S. of plans to topple govts. and steal the region's resources. On Aug. 30 elections in Japan are a giant V for the opposition Dem. Party, ending 54 years of 1-party rule; they were called early by PM Taro Aso after his Liberal Dem. Party (LDP) coalition lost an election on July 12 in the Tokyo metropolitan assembly election, dethroning it as the assembly's largest party; the news causes stock markets in Japan (0.4%), Germany (0.7%), France (0.6%), and China (7%) to fall; Yukio Hatoyama (1947-) becomes PM of Japan (until ?), claiming that he's not anti-American and that his vision of a future Asian community doesn't exclude the U.S., but that he is against globalism; his wife Miyuki Hatoyama claims that she was abducted by aliens; too bad, he fights against the moving of a U.S. Marine base in Okinawa, and spins U.S. diplomats around to look good to his party? On Aug. 31 Turkey and Armenia agree to establish diplomatic relations despite that little old 1915-18 Armenian genocide thingie. On Aug. 31 Disney announces plans to buy Marvel Comics for $4B, putting Spider-Man in bed with Mickey Mouse. On Aug. 31 on its 6th day after their size doubles overnight, the Calif. Staton Fire N of Los Angeles threaten 12K+ homes and kill two firefighters, burning a quarter of the LA mountain backdrop before finally being extinguised in early Oct. In Aug. a strike wave sweeps Serbia, with 33K striking daily in 40-45 mostly privatized firms that aren't paying salaries or health insurance. In Aug. the Mid-Season Review, Budget of the U.S. Govt., Fiscal Year 2010 reveals that the U.S. govt. will have to borrow 39.9% of its total expenditures in 2010. In Aug. GM signs a $293M (2B yuan) deal with Chinese automaker FAW Group to produce light commercial vehicles in Changchun and Harbin in NE China. In Aug. the SRI Internat. Report on Online Education, commissioned by the U.S. Dept. of Education finds that online education beats classroom education; no surprise, home schooled students in the U.S. outscore other students on the ACT by 22.5 to 21.1. In Aug. the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports (in Sept.) that unemployment increased by 466K, giving the U.S. a 9.7% unemployment rate, highest since 1983; the Calif. rate is 12.2%, highest since 1940. In Aug. the U.S. strikes a deal with Swiss bank UBS to reveal the names of 4,450 secret bank account holders, signalling the beginning of the end of internat. tax cheating? In Aug. the New York Taxi Scam is exposed by Dr. Mitchell Lee, who suspects a rat and reports it, causing $8.3M in inflated fares by cabbies to be exposed, incl. $40K by Lee's driver Wasim Khalid Cheema. In Aug.-Sept. the U.S. and British govt. spend millions of dollars to try to persuade Afghan farmers to give up growing poppies and substitute wheat and fruit, offering them cheap credit and jobs; the poppy planting season begins in Oct. This summer is the 4th warmest in the U.S. on record. On Sept. 1 Category 5 Hurricane Jimena races toward Baja Calif., weakening to Category 1 then killing one, a 74-y.-o. man. On Sept. 1 the FCC prohibits robo-calls on the telephone except when agreed to by the recipient; too bad, there are so many exceptions incl. bill collectors and charities that it won't change anything. On Sept. 2 the Obama admin. proposes using $85B of the stimulus money to extend tax breaks for the working poor over the next decade, causing criticism that he pleged to use it to pay for new policies. On Sept. 2 a 7.0 earthquake in Indonesia kills 33 and forces thousands to evacuate Indonesia's main island. On Sept. 2 a Taliban suicide bomber attacks officials leaving a mosque E of Kabul, killing Afghanistan's chief deputy intel chief Abdullah Laghmani plus 22 others - Afghanistan is becoming Obama's Vietnam? On Sept. 2 a dozen hooded gunmen burst into a rehabiliation clinic in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico near the U.S. border, lining up and killing 17 and wounding three patients because these clinics allegedly protect dealers from rival gangs; 10K troops and police in the city don't stop them. On Sept. 2 Obama health care reform opponent William Rice (1934-) has his finger bitten off by an Obama supporter at a vigil in Thousand Oaks, Calif. organied by MoveOn.org. On Sept. 2 U.S. drug maker Pfizer agrees to a record $2.3B health care fraud settlement - to them that's chickenfeed? On Sept. 3 after Charlie Gibson announces his intention of resigning, ABC-News announces that Diane Sawyer will replace him. On Sept. 4 a NATO air strike against two Taliban-hijacked fuel tankers in Kunduz province in N Afghanistan kills up to 142, incl. civilians who are burned alive in a giant fireball, pissing-off the Afghanis; after Taliban activity drops off, the police force is cut by one-third in 2006, leaving a few thousand German peacekeepers; too bad, they begin a resurgence in 2007; on Nov. 27 former German defense minister Franz Josef Jung resigns as employment minister, along with gen. inspector Wolfgang Schneiderhan and state secy. Peter Wichert. On Sept. 6 after conservative commentator Glenn Beck puts on the pressure, admitted ex-Communist Anthony "Van" Jones (1968-), Obama's special adviser for green jobs (since Mar.) with the White House Council on Environmental Quality resigns after Repub. pressure linking him to the 2004 9/11 Truth Statement by 911Truth.org calling for Congress to investigate whether 9/11 was caused or allowed by the govt., plus derogatory comments about Repubs. On Sept. 6 Li Zhi, secy. of the Communist Party in Urumqi, China is removed after reports of bizarre needle attacks amid the mob violence. On Sept. 7 (Mon.) the U.S. celebrates Labor Day after losing 7M jobs since the start of the recession in Dec. 2007, incl. 12% unemployment in Calif. since July and 9.7% nationwide. On Sept. 8 Pres. Obama delivers his Address to Students Across America, becoming the first U.S. pres. to speak directly to the nation's school children. On Sept. 8 Vietnamese-Am. Yale U. pharmacology student Annie Le (b. 1985) disappears from a lab, with 60 cameras showing her entering but not leaving; on Sept. 13 police find her body stuffed in a wall on the day of her planned wedding. On Sept. 8 four U.S. Marines die in an ambush in the Battle of Gangjal in E Afghanistan; Dakota L. Meyer (1988-) wins the Medal of Honor for his actions during the battle. On Sept. 9 (9/9/09 - lucky day to the Chinese) U.S. defense secy. Robert M. Gates gives his first interview to al-Jazeera TV network, admitting that the U.S. made a "serious strategic mistake" when it turned its back on Afghanistan after the Soviets were defeated there, and pledging that "both Afghanistan and Pakistan can count on us for the long term" - meaning how many months? On Sept. 9 NATO troops free British NYT reporter Stephen Farrell in N Afghanistan; too bad, his colleague Mohammad Sultan Munadi plus a British soldier and civilian are killed during the rescue. On Sept. 9 the French newspaper Le Figaro carries an interview with Venezuelan pres. Hugo Chavez in which he claims that the 22-day Israeli bombing of Gaza starting last Dec. 27 that killed 1.3K Palestinians was unprovoked, and accuses Israel of genocide, calling for sanctions to be imposed; meanwhile on Sept. 9-10 Chavez visits Moscow, predicting that U.S. influence in the world is "dying" and will be replaced in "the next decades" by a "multi-polar" world led by Russia. On Sept. 9 Uruguay permits same-sex couples to adopt children. On Sept. 9 after speaking at a memorial in New York City to Walter Cronkite and calling on the media to take his lead, Pres. Obama addresses a joint session of Congress to promote his health care reform program, saying it's the "season for action", and invoking the memory of late Sen. Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy, uttering the soundbytes "A bill for comprehensive health reform was first introduced by John Dingell Sr. in 1943. 65 years later, his son continues to introduce that same bill at the beginning of each session"; "I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit now or in the future"; "I am not the first president to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last"; he gives a nod to Sen. John McCain for wanting to insure the poor against catastrophic medical expenses, and gets applause from Repubs. for endorsing medical malpractice limits, but draws silence with the soundbyte "I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it's better politics to kill this plan than improve it"; when he asserts that his plan won't provide coverage for illegal immigrants, Repub. S.C. Sen. (2001-) Addison Graves "Joe" Wilson Sr. (1947-) yells out "You lie", breaking House Rules Section 370, and later apologizes amid talk of censure, but only in writing, and on Sept. 15 the House votes 240-179-5 (incl. 7 of 174 Repubs. and 233 of 250 Dems.) for a resolution of disapproval; on Sept. 15 (eve.) former U.S. pres. Jimmy Carter says that much of the vitriol against Obama's health reforms and spending plans is "based on racism"; Pres. Clinton tried a similar speech in 1993, and his plan was defeated sans heckling; too bad, public support for his program (42%) does not improve after the speech; on Sept. 16 Senate Finance Committee Chmn. Max Baucus unveils a $856B health care reform plan sans Repub. support. On Sept. 10 a U.N. report recommends a new global currency to replace the ever-weakening U.S. dollar, stirring fear among Americans who know how being the world's reserve currency gives the U.S. the ability to use it as a weapon. On Sept. 10-11 inmates at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq riot, demanding better living conditions. On Sept. 11 silence is observed at 8:46, 9:03, 9:59, and 10:29 in New York City in observance of the 8th anniv. of 9/11; meanwhile as Pres. Obama is travelling to observe it, an ill-timed Coast Guard training exercise in the Potomac River near the Pentagon pisses people off. On Sept. 11 Iranian supreme you know what Ali Khamenei warns the reformists that they will face a "harsh response" if they don't give up. On Sept. 11 Harlan James Drake (1976-) drives by a school in Owosso, Mich. and guns down abortion protester James Pouillon for carrying a sign showing a fetus, then drives to a grave pit and shoots owner Mike Fuoss, finally being captured before he can pull off a 3rd planned shooting. On Sept. 11 "Lebanese Bernie Madoff" Salah Ezzedine is charged with fraud in connection with his billion-dollar pyramid scheme; he has close ties to Hezbollah, tarnishing its image as a defender of the masses. On Sept. 12 two German merchant ships traverse the fabled Northeast Passage after melting ice opens a route from South Korea along Russia's Arctic coast to Siberia. On Sept. 12 police in Baghdad, Iraq find a bomb hidden inside a Quran outside the Musa al-Khadim Shiite mosque; meanwhile two bombs go off near another Shiite mosque. On Sept. 12 Thabet bin Laden (b. ?), brother of Osama bin Laden (one of 54 children of Yemeni-born Mohammed bin Laden, who moved to Saudi Arabia and got rich in the construction biz) dies. On Sept. 12 U.S. Census worker and schoolteacher William Edwin "Bill" Sparkman Jr. (b. 1958) is found hanged in Daniel Boone Nat. Forest in SE Ky. with the word "fed" scrawled on his chest. On Sept. 13 200K-500K march on Washington, D.C., incl. 75K down Pennsylvania Ave. to protest the Joker, er, Pres. Obama and the leftward direction being taken by his admin., with many calling him a Socialist or Marxist, pointing to his advisers as proof. On Sept. 13 al-Qaida terrorist Saleh Ali Nabhan is killed by U.S. forces in S Somalia; meanwhile an audio message from Osama bin Laden to the U.S. people on the anniv. of 9/11 is released, warning them to quit support Israel or else al-Qaida will proceed "on all possible fronts". On Sept. 13 the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards are hosted by Russell Brand for the 2nd straight year; 9M watch; the show is dedicated to Michael Jackson, with a video montage tribute and speech by Janet Jackson; Taylor Swift is awarded best female video for "You Belong With Me", defeating Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)", causing cognac-swigging Kanye West to storm onstage and announce that Beyonce deserved to win, then utter the soundbyte "I'mma let you finish." On Sept. 14 Pres. Obama gives a speech at Federal Hall on Wall St. near the NYSE in New York City on the 1-year anniv. of the Lehman Bros. collapse (the end of the most wealthy and happy period in U.S. history, which began with the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, after which the U.S. begins its final slide toward Da End?), pushing for more financial regulation of Wall St., tasking it for "complacency", and uttering the soundbyte "The old ways that led to this crisis cannot stand. History cannot be allowed to repeat itself"; he arrogantly gave the speech while the markets were open? On Sept. 14 after conservative activists Hannah Giles (199-) and James E. O'Keefe III (1984-) make hidden-camera recordings in its offices being given advice on how to engage in tax evasion, human smuggling, and child prostitution, the U.S. Senate votes to end funding for the Assoc. of Community Orgs. for Reform Now (ACORN) (founded 1973 for working and non-working poor, and growing to 400K members in 100+ cities, backing Obama's campaign last year); the House follows suit on Sept. 17 by a 345-75 bipartisan vote, with #2 House Repub. Eric Cantor of Va. calling it a "corrupt organization"; on Dec. 8 a 2-mo. internal investigation by ACORN finds no evidence of criminal conduct by employees; on Dec. 11 a federal court rules that the resolution cutting them off from federal dollars is unconstitutional; it disbands in Mar. 2010 although a Congressional investigation into alleged mishandling of $40M in federal funds clears them in June 2010. On Sept. 14 Pres. Obama nominates Jewish-Am. atty. Chai Rachel Feldblum (1959-) to the EEOC, becoming the first open lesbian or gay. On Sept. 15 Federal Reserve chmn. Ben S. Bernanke announces that the recession is "very likely over". On Sept. 15 JCS chmn. U.S. Adm. Michael Mullen tells the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that the U.S. "probably" needs to send more troops to Afghanistan. On Sept. 15 Omar Khalafe (b. 1940) is murdered by Islamic Al-Shabaab fighters near Merca, Somalia (45 mi. from Mogadishu) for distributing Christian Bibles; on Nov. 28 they seize a town close to the Kenyan border, driving out the rival Hizbu-Islam Islamic guerrilla separatist movement and consolidating control over the strategic Juba region, with Sheikh Mukhtar Abdurahman Abu Zubayr, leader of the Islamist group Al-Shabaab warning 5K African Union peacekeepers to leave Somalia or attacks will be intensified. On Sept. 15 after an investigation by a 3-person committee that incl. pro-Palestinian Desmond de Silva, who on Sept. 28 utters the soundbyte "Even if Bin Laden himself was on board the Mavi Marmara, it wouldn't have made the blockade legal", the 575-page Goldstone Report, by the U.N. Human Rights Council led by Jewish South African ex-judge Richard Joseph Goldstone (1938-) is released, accusing both Israel and Hamas of war crimes, saying that both sides had committed violations of the laws of war, and that while Israel had provocation it overreacted with disproportionate force, targeting Palestinian civilians and infrastructure, even using some as human shields, pissing-off the Israelis; it is approved on Sept. 29, after which in Oct. Palestinian Nat. Authority pres. Mahmoud Abbas (a U.S. ally) is accused of colluding with both the U.S. and Israel by deliberately ignoring it; on Oct. 8 Libya asks the U.N. Security Council to consider it in an emergency session; on Oct. 16 British Col. Richard Kemp testifies before the U.N. Human Rights Council that "The Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare. Israel did so while facing an enemy that deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population"; on Apr. 1, 2011 Goldstone recants the report, partly blaming israel for not cooperating with the HRC; meanwhile the Israeli govt. considers restricting travel by its officials and military personnel to Europe for fear of arrest as war criminals, and Hamas asks for postponement of a planned Oct. 24-26 ceremony in Cairo to sign a reconciliation pact with Fatah over the report, while Iranian pres. Inastraightjacket says that the West has been using psychological weapons that coverup how Palestians not Israelis are the real victims; on Oct. 12-16 Turkey pulls out of the EU, citing the Gaza atrocities, signalling the rejection of Kemal Ataturk's pro-Western secular Islam and the acceptance of radical fundamental Islam as it turns against its former allies Israel and the U.S. bigtime and openly courts Hamas, Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, and al-Qaida; the B'Tselem group in Israel, which is against Israeli anti-terror actions supplies info. to use in the study; in Oct. it is revealed that the Goldstone Report was initiated by the anti-Israel Org. of the Islamic Conference (OIC) (founded 1969), known for trying to criminalize any criticism of Islam or Muslims worldwide as part of a "stealth jihad"; on Nov. 7 the U.S. Congress votes 344-36 to condemn the report, after which the Obama admin. pressures Israel to accept U.N. oversight of its military for the first time ever; on Dec. 14 a London court issues an arrest warrant for former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni, causing her to cancel a planned visit, after which the British govt. apologizes and foreign secy. David Miliband says that the govt. will change its laws to prevent any more warrants being put out on Israeli officials, causing the Muslim Council of Britain to loudly complain; in May 2010 pro-Israeli activists ban him from attending his grandson's bar mitzvah in Johannesburg. On Sept. 16 Afghan-born Muslim Denver, Colo. shuttle bus driver Najibullah Zazi (1985-) and his aunt Rabia Zazi of Aurora, Colo. are questioned by the FBI about terrorist ties, and their homes searched; after hours of questioning he admits "possible" al-Qaida links, and on Sept. 24 he is charged with a conspiracy to use bombs made from chemicals purchased at beauty supply stores; on Feb. 22 he pleads guilty; on Mar. 5 Afghan-born Queens, N.Y. imam Ahmad Wais Afazli (1970-) pleads guilty to lying to the FBI about tipping them off about police investigation, and is deported - the Al-Shampoo Bomber? On Sept. 16 AFL-CIO head (since 1995) John Sweeny resigns, and his long-time lt. Richard Louis Trumka (1949-) (UMW pres. from 1982-95, who presided over its virtual destruction?) is elected to replace him as pres. #4 (until ?). On Sept. 16 the U.S. military announces the closing of Camp Bucca, a large prison in S Iraq, turning it over to the Iraq govt., who takes custody of all but 180 of the detainees. On Sept. 17 a suicide bomber attacks a convoy of Italian NATO soldiers in the heart of Kaboom, er, Kabul, Afghanistan, killing six, plus 10 civilians; 50+ are injured; the 3rd suicide bomb in Kabul in the last five weeks. On Sept. 17 the Obama admin. announces that it is shelving the Bush admin. plan for a missile defense system for Poland and the Czech Repub., saying that the Iranian Shish-Kebab, er, Shebab-3 ballistic missile isn't developed enough to be a threat, pleasing Russia greatly, with State Duma foreign affairs committee head Konstantin Kosachev uttering the soundbyte "The U.S. president's decision is a well-thought and systematic one. Now we can talk about restoration of strategic partnership between Russia and the United States"; U.S. Navy ships based in the Mediterranean and North Sea will plug the gap; Obama's ties to Gen. Electric are behind the decision? On Sept. 17 U.S. official Bisa Williams meets with Cuban officials to resume bilateral mail service, then is invited to stay for six days. On Sept. 18 suicide bombers from the Islamic Al-Shabaab insurgent group in cars with U.N. logos kill 11 at the main base of African Union peacekeepers in Mogadishu, Somalia in revenge for a U.S. raid that killed al-Qaida leader Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan in S Somalia on Sept. 14. On Sept. 18 a suicide car bomber in Kohat, Pakistan (100 mi. SW of Islamabad) kills 33 and wounds 80 shoppers stocking up for a holiday. On Sept. 18 Islamic terrorist leader Noordin Muhammed Top is killed in Solo, Indonesia to get even for the Bali night club bombings. On Sept. 18 tens of thousands of opposition protesters march in Tehran, Iran, hijacking a govt.-organized anti-Israel march. On Sept. 18 Obama foreign policy adviser Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski (1928-) suggests to The Daily Beast that Obama shoot down Israeli planes if they fly over Iraqi airspace to attack Iran, and complains that he is "diddling around", trying to reach an "evasive compromise" on the Israeli-Arab problem. On Sept. 19 al-Qaida releases a video warning the German people that unless they elect a govt. that withdraws its troops from Afghanistan on Sept. 27 they will stage attacks in Germany, causing rumor of a German 9/11. On Sept. 20 Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, referring to his 2004 anti-nuke fatwa announces on TV that Iran isn't developing nukes, saying "We fundamentally reject nuclear weapons and prohibit their use and production"; the Obama admin.'s Euro shield was designed to protect against Iranian nuclear missiles. On Sept. 20 the nat. flag of the Communist People's Repub. of China is hoisted on the South Lawn of the White House to celebrate Red China's 60th anniv.; on Sept. 22 Pres. Obama meets with Chinese pres. Hu Jintao in New York City to discuss the new U.S. tariffs on Chinese tires - and we intend to stay? On Sept. 21 U.S. FCC chmn. Julius Genachowski proposes that his agency expand and take control, er, formalize rules to keep Internet providers from discriminating against certain content - the first step along the road to total govt. control of the Internet? On Sept. 21 the govt. of Paraguay names Augusto Noguera as its top diplomatic official in New York City, only to find out that he's an illegal U.S. immigrant, and reverse the decision. On Sept. 22 three vans loaded with scores of Mexicans try to run the U.S.-Mexico border at San Diego, Calif., causing U.S. customs agents to fire on the van and close down the station, wounding the driver and a passenger, after which two Mexican men are arrested on federal human trafficking charges. On Sept. 22 the legal-political drama The Good Wife debuts on CBS-TV for ? episodes (until ?), starring Julianna Luisa Margulies (1966-) as atty.-turned-mother Alicia Florrick, whose hubby Peter is in jail for a political corruption and sex scandal, causing her to return to her old job. On Sept. 23 Pres. Obama makes his first address to the U.N. Gen. Assembly, saying that he intends to begin a "new era of engagement" with the world based on "mutual respect", and that the task of solving global crises "cannot be solely America's endeavor"; he meets with Russian pres. Dmitry Medvedev and gets a concession to consider tough new sanctions against Iran and support him on Sept. 24 as he chairs a historic meeting of the 15-member U.N. Security Council (5th time it has met at the heads-of-state level since 1946, and first chaired by a U.S. pres.), which unanimously approves a U.S.-drafted resolution calling on nations with nukes to scrap their arsenals; China, who agrees to the resolution also tells everybody that stepping up pressure on Iran isn't an effective way to persuade them to halt its nuclear program, dissing the Sept. 23 resolution of the five permanent security council members that Iran has until Oct. 1 to prepare a "serious response" to its demands to halt or face consequences, which doesn't phase them, since on Sept. 27-28 Iran tests short and long-range missiles capable of hitting Israel and Europe; luckily, on Oct. 1 after a high-level meeting in Geneva, Iran agrees to ship its enriched uranium to Russia for processing so it can be watched. On Sept. 23 Iranian pres. Imajackass gives his speech to the U.N., which bashes Israel as usual, causing 11 countries to walk out, causing Israeli pres. Benjamin Netanyahu to condemn the U.N. for allowing him to speak since he also denies the Holocaust; meanwhile on Sept. 25 Obama, Sarkozy, and Brown accuse Iran of building a secret underground nuke plant, causing him to cave and announce that he will open it to inspection. On Sept. 23 the sitcom Modern Family created by Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan debuts on ABC-TV (until ?), about the Pritchett family of suburban Los Angeles, Calif., headed by Jay Pritchett (Ed O'Neill), with an ensemble cast and mockumentary style, incl. his way-younger hot wife Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, played by Colombian-born Sofia Margarita Vergara Vergara (1972-). On Sept. 23 the sitcom Cougar Town debuts on ABC for 102 episodes (until Mar. 31, 2015), switching to TBS in 2013, set in Gulfhaven "Cougar Town", Fla., starring Courteney Bass Cox (1964-) as recently divorced 40-something woman Jules Cobb, who goes out on the dating circle, dating younger men before turning to men her own age. On Sept. 24 an Indonesian woman gives birth to a record 19 lb. baby; the record is 22 lb. 8 oz. in Italy in Sept. 1955. On Sept. 24-25 the 2009 G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, Penn. (which the Obama admin. considers a poster boy for economic recovery) works to reform the IMF amid mucho protesters; after it ends, Pres. Obama says that their actions "brought the global economy back from the brink"; Obama surrendered U.S. economic sovereignty by agreeing to submit all economic policies and programs to the IMF for approval? On Sept. 25 after the U.S., U.K., and France expose the existence of a secret uranium enrichment site inside a mountain in Qom, Iran under control of the Rev. Guard, designed to hold 3K centrifuges, enough to make nukes, Pres. Obama appears with French pres. Nicolas Sarkozy and British PM Gordon Brown to discuss it, giving Iran two weeks to admit to its existence; actually they had been dismantled 6 mo. earlier and moved to a new secret spot, causing IAEA inspectors to later find empty tunnels. On Sept. 25 Fri.) (Dar ul Islam) a Muslim Nat. Prayer Day, organized by anti-Semitic Sheik Ahmed Dewidar and atty. Hassen Abdellah (who defended the Muslim terrorists accused in the 1993 WTC bombing) sees only 5K-8K of 50K promised Muslims show up in Washington, D.C. for a Jumu'ah prayer event in front of the U.S. Capitol, with signs saying "The White House will become the Muslim House" et al.; meanwhile illegal Jordani immigrant Hosam Maher Husein Smadi (1990-) is charged with attempting to use a WMD in Dallas, Tex. to blow up a skyscraper, and pleads guilty on May 25, 2010 in return for a 30-year prison sentence, uttering the courtroom soundbyte: "I truly say it that my dream is to be among God's soldiers, first for the support of Islam and my beloved Sheik Usama, may God give him long life. I don't know what is in me, but I love him as I love my father. I don't want to add to this. Now, my brother, the point is that thousands of Muslims have been killed at the hand of Jews - the dogs - and the silent disloyal backsliders. Those are the Arab kings and, God willing, their end will be the hanging rope and Hell." On Sept. 26 Tropical Storm Ketsana (AKA Ondoy) causing flooding in the N Phillipines, killing 240+ and driving 450K from their homes. On Sept. 27 German elections reelect center-right Angela Merkel, and are a D for the left-center Social Dem. Party, which has gets its lowest vote share since 1932 (32%). On Sept. 28 the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan is greeted with a string of bombings that kill 18 across Iraq, targeting Iraqi security forces, incl. a suicide bomber who slams his tanker truck into a police post in Ramadi (70 mi. W of Baghdad), killing seven and wounding 16. On Sept. 28 the Dow Jones Industrial Avg. closes at 9,789.36, up 124.17 points. On Sept. 28 Pres. Obama announces that he's flying to Copenhagen on Oct. 2 to pitch his town of Chicago, Ill. for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, becoming the first time for a U.S. pres.; too bad, Chicago is eliminated in the 1st round of voting, and Rio de Janeiro is picked; the reason given is the "broken immigration system" and "anti-visitor policy" in the U.S., with Pakistani IOC member Syed Shahid Ali saying that entering the U.S. can be "a rather harrowing experience". On Sept. 28 a demonstration against the Dec. 2008 junta govt. by 50K in electricity-poor Conakry, Guinea in W Africa ends in a massacre and mass rape by the troops of dictator Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara, killing 157, causing U.S. secy. of state Hillary Cinton to call it "criminality of the greatest degree", adding "Those who committed such acts should not be given any reason to expect that they will escape justice", calling for "appropriate actions" and saying that the Camara govt. "cannot remain in power". On Sept. 29 pop singer Andy Williams makes world news by accusing Pres. Obama of "following Marxist theory" and "wanting the country to fail". On Sept. 29 the U.S. Senate Finance Committee rejects the govt.-run public insurance option for the healthcare overhaul plan; too bad, that means that the rest of the plan is moving toward passage since it will keep Repubs. from mustering 60 votes to block it procedurally. On Sept. 29 a crowded passenger bus hits a roadside bomb in Kanadhar, Afghanistan, killing 30 incl. 10 children, and injuring 30+. On Sept. 29 the U.S. Govt. Accountability Office pub. A Nat. Strategy and Other Actions Would Strengthen TSA's Efforts to Secure Commercial Airport Perimeters, concluding that airport security remains largely vunerable and/or untested. On Sept. 30 the U.S. economy collapses not. On Sept. 30 the London Financial Times calls the rulers of Iran "cheats and deceivers" who "cannot be remotely trusted" in regard to its nuclear program. On Sept. 30 a typhoon causes a series of tsunamis that hit the Pacific island nations of Am. and Western Samoa, killing 100+; meanwhile Vietnam's central province gets its biggest floods in decades, killing 40; on Sept. 30-Oct 1 7.6-8.0 earthquakes hit Indonesia, killing 1.1K; on Oct. 1 another 6.3 earthquake and tsunami near Tonga kills 200. On Sept. 30 U.S. Gen. Ray Odierno tells Congress that 4K troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of Oct. as part of the plan to get them all out by Sept. 2010. On Sept. 30 a suicide bomber rams a military convoy of foreign forces in the Mandozai District of Khost Province in SE Afghanistan, killing one GI. On Sept. 30 U.S. transportation secy. Ray LaHood releases figures showing that 5.8K+ were killed and 515K injured in 2008 in car crashes in the U.S. tied to distracted driving, mainly texting behind da wheel; meanwhile on Sept. 30 (night) Pres. Obama signs an executive order banning federal employees from texting while driving, and encouraging them to pressure contractors. In Sept. 28-y.-o. Venezuelan-born wunderkind Gustavo Adolfo Dudamel Ramirez (1981-) becomes dir. #11 of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (until ?), causing Dudamelomania, a resurgence of interest in classical music; on Oct. 3 he conducts his first concert called "Bienvenido Gustavo". On Sept. 30 the sitcom The Middle debuts on ABC-TV for ? episodes (until ?), about a working-class Ind. family, starring Patricia Helen Heaton (1958-) as Frances "Frankie" Heck (nee Spence), and Neil Richard Flynn (1960-) as her hubby Michael "Mike" Heck Jr.; cute little Atticus Ronald Shaffer (1998-) plays youngest child Brian. In Sept. after the worst crisis since independence, with inflation since 2008 at 231M%, the Govt. of Nat. Unity ie established in Zimbabwe, causing a quick turnaround of the economy; on Oct. 16 Zimbabwe PM Morgan Tsvangirai suddenly abandons shared rule with pres. Robert Mugabe, citing "persecution" of a top aide; too bad, after four years the Unity Govt is abandoned. In Sept. Joachim Crima, a black watermelon seller from Guinea Bissau bucks the rampant racism of Russia to run for public office in Srednyaya Akhtuba in S Russia, becoming the first black in Russian history to run for office. In Sept. the U.S. unemployment rate rises to 9.8%, and the economy loses 263K jobs despite all them gigabucks of stimulus. In Sept. a Draft Report on Sex Education by UNESCO recommends that children ages 5 and up be taught about masturbation, abortion, same-sex relationships, and STDs - by who, their parents? In Sept. the U.S. trade deficit widens by 18.2%, worst in 10 years. In Sept. King Abdullah U. of Science and Technology in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia is inagurated in an effort to catch the backward Muslim Middle East up with the West; too bad, they allow women to mingle with men and drive, pissing-off Sunni clerics - spend a lifetime here filling your head, then they will lop it off? In Sept. the Muslim province of Aceh, Indonesia pauses a Sharia-based law mandating stoning to death for adultery; child rape is punished with 400 lashes. In Sept. Klout.com is launched to calculate peoples' Klout Scores based on their social media influence. On Oct. 1 Communist China celebrates its 60th anniv. with its biggest-ever military parade, incl. hundreds of thousands of soldiers complete with all the hardware - standing between the Chinese people and freedom? On Oct. 1 Tulsa World in Okla. reveals that Sabri Husibi, a Muslim who turned atheist and pub. an article criticizing Islam has received death threats from irate Muslims. On Oct. 2 a suicide bomber hits a U.S. convoy in S Afghanistan, killing two U.S. soldiers; meanwhile officials announce that they got a U.S. and a British soldier on Oct. 1 to say Happy October, Infidels. On Oct. 2 Germany's Turkish community expresses indignation over comments by Thilo Sarrazin (1946-), board member of the German Bundesbank that Germany's Turkish and Arab pop. are unwilling and unable to assimilate. On Oct. 3 (dawn) Egyptian police arrest some Christian Copts in Alexandria for being related to Rafaat Girges Habib (1989-), a father who freed his daughter Myrna Hanna (kidnapped 10 mo. earlier) from her Muslim husband Mohammad Hefnawy's home after she was forced to convert; after beating them they try to arrest their wives until neighbors' protests cause them to back off. On Oct. 3 the British Telegraph reveals that Iranian pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has Jewish roots, his family having been converted to Islam after his birth, and originally having the Jewish name Sabourjian ("cloth weaver"); his denial of the Holocaust is therefore an attempt to coverup his roots? - either that or he's a Jewish mole planted to give Israel an excuse to nuke it? On Oct. 3-4 the 12-hour Battle of Kamdesh in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan sees 53 U.S. soldiers defend ammo depot Combat Outpost Keating with no air cover from 350 Taliban fighters after 35 Afghan army soldiers flee, losing eight KIA and 22 injured after killing 150 Taliban, becoming NATO's biggest loss of life since 10 French troops were killed in an ambush in Aug. 2008, causing a Taliban spokesman on Oct. 6 to utter the non-surprising soundbyte "We are prepared for a long fight"; two Army staff sgts. earn the Medal of Honor; the base was poorly defended because troops were being diverted to search for AWOL soldier Bowe Bergdahl. On Oct. 5 (noon) a Tehrik-i-Taliban suicide bomber dressed as a Frontier Constabulary paramilitary soldier asks to use the bathroom then detonates at an office of the U.N. World Food Program in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing five, becoming their first successful attack in Islamabad since June 6, and the first anti-Western attack in Pakistan since June 9, becoming the start of a Taliban guerrilla war on Pakistan (ends ?), with the Taliban linking up with al-Qaida and other militant Muslim groups to come in for the kill and get their hands on Pakistan and its nukes during the whimpy wishy-washy Obama regime, making many reflect on the nightmare film "The Manchurian Candidate" about a planted U.S. president who works for the enemy?; on Oct. 5 Muhammad Aqeel (AKA Dr. Usman), the only militant surviving the attack turns out to be the leader, who led an attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Mar., causing the press to reveal that the Pakistani police had warned the military that he was planning the attack back in July. On Oct. 5 David Letterman surprises his late-night talk show audience by revealing that he was blackmailed for $2M over his sexual affairs with subordinate employees by CBS "48 Hours" producer Joe Halderman (1958-), who was stung and caught. On Oct. 5 Brigitte, Germany's #1 women's mag. announces that starting next year it is dumping super-skinny prof. models for "real women" in order to combat the unhealthy standard of beauty. On Oct. 6 Russia announces that it has struck a $4B-$7B deal to sell its advanced S-400 anti-missile shield to Saudi Arabia, silencing objections by Israel that it was going to sell the less advanced S-300 system to Iran, making it harder for Israel to hit their nuke plants. On Oct. 6 the U.S. Supreme Court begins its new term, with the debut of the first Latino justice Sonia Sotomayor. On Oct. 6 Egypt's top Muslim cleric Sheikh Mohammed Tantawi announces that he's going to ban women from wearing the traditional head-to-toe niqab, saying that it "is a tradition, it has no connection with Islam". On Oct. 6 Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel is arrested for inciting a "religious war" in Jerusalem, then released with a warning to stay away for 30 days; on Oct. 7 the Israel govt. announces that it is considering banning his Islamic Movement. On Oct. 6 Algerian Muslim Hadron Collider physicist Adlene Hicheur (1977-) of CERN is arrested after being caught offering to work for al-Qaida in N Africa; he also worked at physics labs in the U.K. and U.S. On Oct. 6 the Obama admin. unexpectedly cuts off funding for the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center. On Oct. 7 Am. Muslim Yousef al-Khattab (1968-) (formerly a Jew named Joseph Cohen) posts a pray on his Web site RevolutionMuslim.com calling for the murder of Jews and exhorting Muslims to "throw liquid drain cleaner in their faces", claiming it's a prayer to Allah and protected by the U.S. First Amendment. On Oct. 7 a court in Saudi Arabi convicts Mazen Abdul Jawad of insulting Islam for boasting on a TV program of his sexual exploits, and sentences him to 1K lashes and 5 years in prison. On Oct. 8 (8:40 a.m. local time) a bomb outside the Indian embassy in C Kabul, Afghanistan kills 17 and wounds 76 (2nd embassy suicide attack in 16 mo.), showing that the 8-year war against the Taliban is being lost. On Oct. 8 (11 a.m. local time) a 30-ft.-diam. asteroid explodes over an island region of Indonesia, becoming the biggest since the Marshall Islands fireball on Feb. 1, 1994. On Oct. 8 Pres. Obama snubbed the Dalai Lama during his first visit in 18 years to avoid upsetting China; meanwhile Iranian Rev. Guards official Mojtaba Zolnour tells the press that "Even if one American or Zionist missile hits our country, Iranian missiles will blow up the heart of Israel"; meanwhile a Taliban suicide car bomber in Peshawar, Pakistan kills 49. On Oct. 9 (4 a.m. EST) (First Dog Bo's birthday) Barack Obama is unanimously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, surprising the audience in Oslo because he was virtually unknown three years earlier and the Feb. 1 deadline for nominations was less than two weeks after he took office; the committee praises him for calling for a nuclear weapon-free world in Prague in Apr., and for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples" and for creating a "new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the U.N. and other internat. institutions can play"; being the first black U.S. pres. is not mentioned; 3rd U.S. pres. to win after Woodrow Wilson in 1919 and Theodore Roosevelt in 1906; first to win for what he is going to do, not done?; really a slap on the G.W. Bush admin?; Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid mocks the award, citing Obama's troop hike in Afghanistan, saying he should have been given the "Nobel violence prize"; Am. conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh calls the Nobel win worse than the loss of the Olympics, saying that the Nobel Committee "suicide-bombed itself" over Obama; on Mar. 10 he announces that he's splitting the $1.4M prize money between 10 charities. On Oct. 9 a Uruguayan CASA212 U.N. peacekeeper surveillance plan crashes into a mountain in Haiti W of Fonds-Verrettes near the Dominican Repub. border, killing all 11 military personnel aboard. On Oct. 9-10 the Washington Green Festival in Washington, D.C. features 125 speakers incl. leftist radicals William "Bill" Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Amy Goodman, and Cornel West. On Oct. 10 Poland signs the 2007 Lisbon Treaty, leaving the Czech Repub. as the only one of 27 EU nations that hasn't done it yet; on ? Czech. pres. Vaclav Klaus finally signs it. On Oct. 10 Iran announces it has given death sentences to two election protesters, identified only as A.P. and N.A. On Oct. 10 Pres. Obama appears at the Human Rights Campaign dinner and renews his pledge to end the military's ban on openly gay service members, with the soundbyte "You will see a time in which we as a nation finally recognize relationships between two men or two women as just as real and admirable as relationships between a man and a woman"; on Oct. 11 the Nat. Equality March sees tens of thousands of gay activists march in Washington, D.C., calling for across-the-board federal protection. On Oct. 10 North Korea fires five short-range missiles off its E coast and declares a "no sail" zone until Oct. 20. On Oct. 10 (eve.) self-described youthful anarchists dressed in black with plastic masks tear up the town of Poitiers, France. On Oct. 10-11 the Taliban sieges the Pakistan army HQ ("the Pakistan Pentagon") in Rawalpindi, Pakistan for 22 hours before being stopped after killing three of 42 hostages; 20 total are killed, incl. nine militants. On Oct. 11 a string of car bombings kill 19 in Iraq's Anbar Province that was once the scene of intense fighting and is now supposed to be a showcase for restored peace. On Oct. 11 after declaring it so poorly-run as to be "unsustainable", Mexican pres. Felipe Calderon makes good on his campaign promises and sends 1K federales in riot gear to occupy the office of the state-owned electricity monopoly Luz y Fuerza del Centro in an effort to clean up its union featherbedding and corruption; its 44K employees and 22K pensioners gobbled $3B a year while losing 30% of its power output to illegal connections and technical failures; no surprise, pissed-off union members take to the streets on Oct. 15. On Oct. 12 a 13-y.-o. Taliban suicide bomber attack on a military convoy in Shangla district near the Swat Valley kills 41 near where the army supposedly flushed the Taliban out after a fierce offensive; on Oct. 15 more brazen Taliban attacks all over Pakistan kill 39, incl. the Federal Investigation Agency in Lahore; on Oct. 16 yet another Allah Akbar Taliban suicide bomber kills 12 in Peshawar, Pakistan, while Pakistani forces pound a Taliban stronghold in South Waziristan in a new major offensive. On Oct. 12 U.S. state secy. Hillary Clinton urges Northern Ireland to push forward with its peace process begun by her hubby Bill. On Oct. 12 the State of Colo. becomes the first U.S. state to lower its minimum wage, from $7.28 to $7.24, one cent lower than the federal minimum wage. On Oct. 13 the U.S. Senate Finance Committee approves the $829B health care reform bill by 14-9, with Olympia Snow of Maine being the only Repub. who voted yes, saying she just wants it to go on through the system but won't necessarily vote for it later. On Oct. 13 thousands of immigrants hold a rally in Washington, D.C. to call for comprehensive immigration reform as U.S. Rep. (D-Ill.) Luis V. Gutierrez introduces a new immigration bill in the House; no mention of TLW's Megamerge Dissolution Solution yet. On Oct. 13 Pres. Obama calls on Congress to approve a $250 1-time payment to the elderly after the negative inflation rate causes them to not get a cost of living increase in their Social Security checks. On Oct. 13 the Pentagon announces that it has met all of its annual recruiting goals for the first time since the establishment of the all-volunteer force in 1973 as the bad economy causes youth to sign up by the hundreds of thousands even as they know they will go to war. On Oct. 13 17-y-o. Rifqa Bary, an Am. Muslim convert to Christianity is ordered by Fla. judge Daniel Dawson to return to her home state of Ohio despite her pleas that her Muslim family wants to kill her for insulting Islam by her conversion. On Oct. 13 Dutch right-wing MP Geert Wilders (1963-) defeats a decision by U.K. home secy. Jacqui Smith to prevent him from visiting to show his new film Fitna, which calls the Quran a "Fascist book", with the new PC word "Islamaphobe" applied to him to justify stifling his right to freedom of thought and speech. On Oct. 13 Russian foreign minister Sergei Viktorovich Lavrov (1950-) tells the U.S. that further sanctions against poker chip Iran would be "counterproductive", adding "all efforts must be focused on supporting the negotiating process"; too bad, on Oct. 23 Iran rejects a U.N.-drafted deal to cut its nuclear fuel stockpile that could be (is?) used to make nukes. On Oct. 13 Pres. Obama picks Minn. policewoman Sharon Lubinski as the first openly gay U.S. marshal - Marshall Dildo? On Oct. 14 the Dow Jones Industrial Avg. tops 10K for the first time since Oct. 7, 2008; it hit a 12-year low of 6,547.05 on Mar. 9; meanwhile the Wall Street Journal announces that the major U.S. banks and financial firms are going to hand out $140B in pay this year, 20% from 2008. On Oct. 14 U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton announces that the U.S. has reversed its longstanding opposition to an Internat. Arms Trade Treaty, pissing-off conservatives; after joining a 153-1 vote, the U.N. sets a conference to produce a final accord for 2012. On Oct. 14 it is revealed that the Obama admin. cut funding for pro-democracy and human rights programs in Iran, reversing the Bush admin. program, buckling to Iran's leaders who criticized him for seeking to fund a "velvet rev." during the June pres. elections. On Oct. 14 jewelry thieves rob three stores in Baghdad, Iraq in broad daylight, killing eight and wounding nine; at least they aren't terrorists? On Oct. 15 Islamic militants stage a string of attacks in the heart of Pakistan, incl. Lahore and Kohat, killing 31. On Oct. 15 Finland makes broadband Internet access at 1 megabit per sec. a legal right for its 5.2M citizen, with the goal of 100 megabits per sec. by 2015; 95% of the pop. is already wired; in June France declared Internet access a right, but didn't mandate a speed. On Oct. 15 leading British polar scientist Peter Wadham says that global warming will leave the Arctic Ocean ice-free during the summer within 20 years, hurting seals, polar bears et al. On Oct. 15 conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh is unceremoniously kicked out of a group trying to buy the St. Louis Rams after PC police incl. several black NFL players and owners force him out, and racist quotes are falsely attributed to him, stinking themselves up more than him? On Oct. 15 the "99 Red Balloons" by Nena Balloon Boy Hoax sees a home project to build a helium-filled weather balloon in Ft. Collins, Colo. go bad when a 6-y.-o. Falcon Heene (2003-) allegedly gets in it and untethers it when unattended, and the balloon sails across across Colo., causing a military alert and massive law enforcement involvement while viewers across the state watch on preempted TV with bated breath until it lands 50 mi. away in a field with no one aboard, after which a massive search turns up nothing until he is found hiding in a box in his attic, afraid he's in trouble; meanwhile the story becomes world news, and spreads like lightning on the Internet; too bad, after which the cover story that his mad scientist daddy Richard Heene yelled at him for trying to get in and he hid, after which daddy released it with 20-ft. tethers which broke, and the other sons told he he had climbed in, the real story that it was a pre-planned hoax staged by publicity-hound daddy to get his own reality TV show gets him criminal charges, along with former actress mommy Mayumi Heene; comedian Joy Behar calls it a floating Jiffy Pop bag, and says the kid will be grounded until he's 18; on Oct. 23 Mayumi admits in an affidavit that she and Richard planned it for two weeks as a stunt; on Nov. 11 he pleads guilty to a felony and she pleads guilty to a misdemeanor in order to avoid deportation to Japan; on Dec. 23 Richard Heene is sentenced to 90 days and a $42K fine, plus orders to not profit from the publicity for 4 years; even if he has to wait, Richard Heene is going to end up rich because he got maybe $100M worth of free publicity already, he's a self-marketing genius, watch for his bestselling book, true life movie, reality TV show, video game line, etc.? On Oct. 15 Bulgarian politician Irina Georgieva Bokova (1952-) becomes the first woman dir. of UNESCO (until ?). On Oct. 15 Pres. Obama visits a charter school in New Orleans, La., where 4th grade black boy Tyren Scott asks "Why do people hate you? And why aren't they supposed to love you, if God is love?", to which he replies "First of all, I did get elected president, so not everybody hates me. I got a whole lot of votes. A lot of it is what's called politics, where once one party wins, the other party feels like they've got to poke you a little bit to keep you on your toes. So you shouldn't take it too seriously." On Oct. 16 Bosnia, Lebanon, Gabon, Brazil and Nigeria are elected to the U.N. Security Council for 2-year terms starting next Jan. On Oct. 16 an Allah Akbar suicide bomber hides in a Sunni congregation in a mosque in Tal Afar, Iraq, then sprays them with gunfire and blows up, wounding 95 and killing 15+ incl. the imam, who had spoken out against al-Qaida. On Oct. 18 a Sunni Jundallah suicide bomber kills 42, incl. five senior cmdrs. of the Iranian Rev. Guard in the Sistan-Balochistan Province in the Pishin District near the Pakistani border in SE Iran, pissing-off Imadinnajacket, who threatens retaliation against Britain and the U.S. On Oct. 19 hoaxers one-up Balloon Boy by an email claim that the Chamber of Commerce has announced that it's throwing its support behind climate change legislation in the U.S. Senate, which causes several major media orgs. to fall for it incl. CNBC. On Oct. 20 Saeed Jalili (1965-) becomes secy. of Iran's supreme nat. security council (until ?), in charge of pumping up their nuke program. On Oct. 20 Taliban suicide bombers rock the Internat. Islamic U. in Islamabad twice, killing two and wounding 20; meanwhile the 4th day of the Pakistani offensive in South Waziristan brings the dead Taliban toll to almost 80. On Oct. 20 the Vatican surprises Anglicans by announcing plans to make it easier to convert, especially those who don't like female and gay bishops, permitting married hetero priests and other distinctive Anglican traditions; this despite 400 years of Anglicans calling the pope the Antichrist and his church the Whore of Babylon. On Oct. 20 a Muslim protester verbally assaults British Middle East envoy Tony Blair in a mosque in Hebron on the West Bank, saying "You are a terrorist", telling the guards who are cuffing him, "He is not welcome in the land of Palestine." On Oct. 20 a student protest begins at the U. of Vienna to protest the adoption of the Bologna process, growing into a gen. demonstration for free education by 15K-40K, with the slogan "Money for education not for the banks and big business." On Oct. 20 Faleh Almaleki of Glendale, Ariz. runs his 20-y.-o. daughter Noor Almaleki and another woman down in a parking lot for being "too Western", killing her; the prosecutor declines to seek the death penalty specifically because he's a Muslim, and wants to assure "that there is no appearance that a Christian is seeking to execute a Muslim for racial, political, religious or cultural beliefs"; on Apr. 15, 2011 he is sentenced to only 34.5 years after judge Roland Steinle says that he is struck by his lack of remorse - giving all Muslims a blank check? On Oct. 21 after spending two weeks in a militant training camp in Yemen, then returning and translating and posting al-Qaida agitprop, U.S. federal authorities arrest and charge Penn.-born Muslim pharmacist Tarek Mehanna (1982-) of Sudbury, Mass. with conspiring with two others to carry out an Islamic holy war, incl. killing politicians, U.S. troops in Iraq, and shoppers in malls; on Dec. 26 his alma mater Mass. College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences bans Islamic head coverings; in Apr. 2012 he is sentenced to 7 years, arguing that he is being persecuting for his ideas not his actions - and the reason they let masses of non-secular Muslims immigrate to the U.S. is? On Oct. 21 Northwestern Airlines Flight 188 (Airbus A320) en route from San Diego speeds 150 mi. past its destination of Minneapolis, Minn., causing military jets to scramble as a terrorist hijacking is suspected; after the pilots Timothy B. Cheney (1956-) and Richard I. Cole (1955-) finally contact the authorities and land, it is found out that they were illegally using laptops and got so engrossed that they lost track of time, and their pilot's licenses are revoked. On Oct. 21-22 the U.S. Justice Dept. arrests 303 members of the ruthless La Familia Michoacana drug trafficking cartel (known for beheading its enemies) in 19 states in the last two days under 4-y.-o. Project Coronado, becoming the largest arrest of members of a Mexican drug cartel; too bad, no kingpins, only grunts. On Oct. 22 Ethiopia appeals for 159K tons of emergency aid to feed 6.2M hungry people. On Oct. 22 former U.S. vice-pres. Dick Cheney says that Pres. Obama is "dithering while America's armed forces are in danger" in Afghanistan, causing the White House to fire back "The vice-president was for seven years not focused on Afghanistan. Ever more curious, given the fact than increase in troops sat on desks in this White House, incl. the vice-presidents for more than 8 mo., a resource request filled by Pres. Obama in March"; meanwhile on Nov. 3 the EU endorses a "step change" in policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, backing Obama's military plans. On Oct. 22 U.S. pay czar Kenneth Feinberg slashes compensation for top earners at seven bailed-out cos. for Nov.-Dec. by 50%, causing them to complain that they can't attract top talent, and rush to pay back their TARP loans without disposing of their original toxic mortgages or lending money to business or consumers in order to get out of govt. regulation and pay the execs their customary big bucks and go back to the risky betting-type loans that got them into trouble? - I'm available cheap? On Oct. 22 yet another Taliban suicide bomber kills eight outside the key Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in Kamra (45 mi. NW of Islamabad); an official denies that the facility contains nukes; earlier in Islamabad militants shoot and kill Brig. Gen. Ahmed Moinuddin, deputy comdr. of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Sudan. On Oct. 22 the Minn. Supreme Court in a split decision rules that bong water is a drug, and possession of 25g or more can be prosecuted as a 1st degree drug felony. On Oct. 22 Islamic militants shell the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia, as pres. Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed boards a plane, sparking battles that kill 24 as return fire hits residential areas and a market. On Oct. 23 a fire begins in the Caribbean Gulf Refinery in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. On Oct. 23 Alyssa Bustamante (1994-) leads police to the body of her next-door neighbor, 9-y.-o. Elizabeth, whom she cut and stabbed to death just to see what it was like, burying her in one of two adjacent holes she dug. On Oct. 24 U.S. pres. Barack Obama declares the swine flu a nat. emergency, allowing emergency rooms to be moved offsite to protect non-infected patients. On Oct. 24 the Pakistani army captures the Taliban stronghold of Kotkai, home of Taliban leader Zulfiqar "Hakimullah" Mehsud (1981-). On Oct. 25 Iran sentences five anti-govt. protesters to death; four of them are members of the Iran Monarchy Committee, who were arrested before the elections. On Oct. 25 (Sun.) (8:00 a.m.) over 100 FBI agents raid the tiny town of Kinsman, Ill. (pop. 109) and surround a Muslim halal butcher shop, but do not reveal why for a week, then claim they were plotting to kill Danish anti-Muhammad cartoonist Kurt Westgaard, calling it the Mickey Mouse Project; they are later linked with Black Muslim H. Rap Brown AKA Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, who wants a separatist Islamic Am. state. On Oct. 25 two al-Qaida suicide car bombs detonate in front of the Iraq Justice Ministry and another govt. bldg. in Baghdad, Iraq, killing 155 and wounding 520, becoming the worst terrorist attack in two years (summer 2007); blast walls had been removed from the road a few weeks earlier; on Oct. 28 dozen of Iraqi security officials are arrested for collusion with the bombers - once the U.S. completely pulls out, total civil war? On Oct. 25 Jeffry M. Picower (b. 1942), business partner of Bernie Madoff, who is accused of raking in $7B from his Ponzi scheme is found dead in his mansion swimming pool in Palm Beach, Fla. On Oct. 25 masked Palestianian protesters hurl stones and plastic chairs at Israeli riot police outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, holing-up in the mosque for several hours, after which 18 are arrested. On Oct. 25 after converting to Judaism under the name Yael, Ivanka Trump marries New York Observer owner Jared Corey Kushner (1981-) (until ?). On Oct. 25-27 the Showdown in Chicago sees 5K union members and activists protest against the annual meeting of the Am. Bankers' Assoc. On Oct. 26 U.N. inspectors make their first inspection of an Iranian nuclear site in a mountain S of Tehran. On Oct. 26 a U.S. heli crash in W Afghanistan kills seven U.S. troops and three U.S. civilians, and injures 12 Americans and 14 Afghans; meanwhile two U.S. helis collide in flight, killing four and wounding two, all going to make Oct. the deadliest mo. for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, with 55, and 281 for the year. On Oct. 27 a court in Paris fines the French branch of the Church of Scientology 600K euros after finding it guilty of fraud, but doesn't order the org. kicked out of France because of a loophole in the law, although the next time they will be. On Oct. 27 Chinese-Mexican businessman Zhenli Ye Gon is arrested after police find $205M in cash in his Mexico City mansion, after which he confesses that he sold tons of a chemical used to make meth.; meanwhile U.S. defense secy. Robert Gates welcomes a top Chinese gen. to the Pentagon, calling for lasting dialogue after years of "on-again, off-again" talks. On Oct. 27 the Obama admin. unveils his landmark Systemic Risk Bill, incl. a measure for more govt. scrutiny of hedge funds; House Financial Services chmn. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) unveils a plan to force large banks and financial firms to contribute to a "financial superfund" to pay for future bailouts instead of the taxpayers; meanwhile Sen. Dems. introduce a health care reform bill that incl. the govt.-run insurance option, despite lack of support by some Dems. incl. Sen. Joe Lieberman, who says he may join a GOP filibuster. On Oct. 27 Bill and Melinda Gates appeal to U.S. govt. officials to continue funding global health initiatives and commit to half the number of child deaths worldwide by 2025, saying that the $11.9B they have donated is "tiny" in comparison to what is needed; meanwhile on Oct. 27 Pres. Obama announces $3.4B in stimulus funding to smart grid projects aimed at promoting green power. On Oct. 27 the New York Times reports the Ahmed Wali Karzai, brother of Afghan Pres. Hamid Karzai has been on the CIA payroll for the last eight years despite being involved in the opium trade, helping to recruit a paramilitary force for the CIA in and around Kandahar. On Oct. 27 U.N. human investigator Philip Alston warns the U.S. that its use of drones to carry out targeted executions may violate internat. law against aribitrary extrajudicial executions. On Oct. 27 a 15-y.-o. girl is gang-raped for two hours outside Richmond H.S. in Calif. after a homecoming dance by suspects aged 15-21, with up to 20 either taking part or watching and doing nothing to stop or report it; five are arrested. On Oct. 27 U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton breaks with Pres. Obama on his support of the hijacking of the U.N. by Muslims who seek to get a resolution passed against "defamation of religion" (really, only theirs), saying "An individual's ability to practice his or her religion has no bearing on others' freedom of speech." On Oct. 28 a car bomb detonates in the crowded market street of Peepal Mandi in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing 100, mostly women just hours after Hillary Clinton arrives and pledges a fresh start in strained relations, becoming the deadliest terrorist attack since the 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto. On Oct. 28 (5 a.m.) Taliban militants kill six U.N. foreign staff in an attack on an Internat. Bakhtar Guest House in Kabul as part of their plan to disrupt Nov. 7 elections. The original John Wick? On Oct. 28 radical Sunni imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah (b. 1956) of the Masjid al-Haqq Mosque in Detroit is shot in a warehouse in Dearbon, Mich. by the FBI after he holes-up and resists arrest for illegal possession and sale of firearms, and allegedly shoots a police dog; 10 of his followers are also rounded up, after which it is revealed that he works for Ummah, a group of mostly Africa-Am. converts to Islam led by imprisoned former Black Panther H. Rap Brown (Hubert Gerold Brown), now known as Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (1943-), who want to set up a separatist Islamic State in the U.S.; the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) jumps in and denounces the FBI sans facts, after which all four FBI agents are cleared by three reviews. On Oct. 28 the U.N. votes 187-3 to denounce the 50-y.-o. U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, with only Israel and 21K-pop. Palau in the Pacific siding with the U.S. On Oct. 29 the govt. announces that the economy has grown for the first time in a year, with a 3.5% increase in GDP in the 3rd quarter; the White House announces that 650K jobs were crated or saved by $150B in stimulus funds. On Oct. 28-Nov. 4 the 105th World Series sees the New York Yankees defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-2 for their 27th win; in game 1 (6-1) Phillies lefty pitcher Clifton Phifer "Cliff" Lee (1978-) pitches the first complete WS game with 10+ strikeouts and no walks since Deacon Phillippe in game 1 of the 1903 WS, and first to do so without allowing an earned run; Japanese-born Hideki "Godzilla" Matsui (1974-) (highest paid Japanese player in baseball, first Yankee to hit a grand slam in his 1st game at Yankee Stadium in 2003, and first Japanese player to hit 100 MLB homers on Aug. 5, 2007) is series MVP, hitting .615, with 3 homers, incl. a record 6 RBI in game 6, becoming the first Japanese-born and first full-time designated hitter series MVP, and 3rd player to bat .500 or above and hit 3 homers in a series after Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig; on Dec. 16 he signs with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. On Oct. 29 U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveils the 1,990-page Dem. Health Reform Bill (Obamacare), which will cost $849B over 10 years and incl. a public option, allegedly cutting the deficit by $30B in the first 10 years. On Oct. 29 Hillary Clinton winds up her 3-day visit to Pakistan with a broadcast interview in front of a mainly female audience of several hundred, who task her about drone attacks; she surprises observers by asking why al-Qaida's leaders are being allowed to operate in the country, saying "I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are, and couldn't get to them if they really wanted to"; too bad, despite $1.5B in aid, Pakistani leaders don't jump to endorse a friendship or alliance in the war on terror with the U.S., causing Clinton to say "We're not getting through". On Oct. 29 retired British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler, who disappeared on their 38-ft. yacht on Oct. 23 phone to their relatives, telling them that Somalian pirates are holding them for a $3M ransom. On Oct. 30 Columbia and the U.S. sign a military cooperation deal increasing U.S. access to seven Colombian military bases to help with anti-drug and counter-insurgency operations. On Oct. 30 top Taliban leader Mullah Brader Akhund delivers a message to Pres. Obama that U.S. attempts to lure Taliban fighters with money is "an old weapon that has already failed", adding "This war will come to an end when all invaders leave our country and an Islamic government based on the aspirations of our people is formed in the country." On Oct. 30 Pres. Obama signs the reauthorization of the 1990 U.S. Ryan White HIV/AIDS Act, named for Am. hemophiliac Ryan Wayne White (1971-90), who got infected with HIV from a blood transfusion in 1984, and was heavily discriminated against. On Oct. 30 Pres. Obama announces the end of a 22-year ban (since 1987) on travel to the U.S. by people with HIV. On Oct. 30 the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) unanimously approves the use of non-Latin characters in Internet addresses beginning on Nov. 16. On Oct. 30 Typhoon Mirinae hits Manilla, Philippines, killing seven. On Oct. 30 Hillary Clinton says that Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has offered "unprecedented" concessions on West Bank settlement construction, but Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas rejects the offer since it excludes 3K housing units under construction and excludes East Jerusalem; the U.S. quietly drops its call for a settlement freeze while calling them illegal; on Nov. 4 after meeting with Egyptian pres. Hosni Mubarak in Cairo, she clarifies that the settlements are not legitimate but she wants to get talks going to achieve a freeze; on Nov. 5 Mahmoud Abbas announces that he's not going to seek reelection in Jan. after dismay over the whole affair. On Oct. 30 Calif. gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says that the encoded phrase "fuck you" in the initial letters of a line in one of his veto messages was "a wild coincidence". On Oct. 30 (night) a U.S. Coast Guard airplane on a rescue mission collides in midair with a U.S. Marine heli near San Clemente Island off San Diego, Calif., killing nine. On Oct. 30 the U.S. Nat. Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center is officially opened by U.S. homeland security secy. Janet Napolitano; it will serve as the central repository of cyber-protection efforts for the civilian side of the federal govt. and its private sector partners. In Oct. the Obama admin. orders the downgrading of intel gathering on China, causing a minor interagency war. In Oct. the U.S. unemployment rte as 10.2%, highest since 1983; the real rate is more like 17.5%, maybe as high as 22%? The month when U.S. home military bases were no longer safe from American Muslims? On Nov. 1 the Taliban blows up a girls school in Kari Gar in the Khyber tribal district, wounding four in neighboring homes; on Nov. 2 yet another Taliban attack in Pakistan close to the army HQ in Rawalpindi by a motorbike bomber in a Nat. Branch bank kills 34 and injures 30, causing Pakistani human rights activist Ghazal Bhatti to bemoan "Islamization" of Pakistan by the Taliban and call for a return to the principles of Pakistan founder Ali Jinnah, who championed freedom of religion. On Nov. 2 Ford Motor Co. announces that it earned a $997M profit in the 3rd quarter, paying off for not accepting govt. bailout funds. On Nov. 2-3 Hillary Clinton attends a forum with Arab leaders in Morocco, praising it as a model for dem. reform, while they diss the U.S. for backing down on the settlement freeze in Israel. On Nov. 3 La. justice of the peace Keith Bardell resigns after he is caught refusing to marry interracial couple Beth Humphrey (white) and Terence McKay (black), and the nat. PC police put on the screws. On Nov. 3 midterm U.S. elections are a V for the Repubs., who see gov. Robert F. McDonnell elected in Va., ending a decade of Dem. advances in the state; former U.S. atty. Chris Christie defeats Dem. gov. Jon S. Corzine in N.J. despite being outspent 3-1; Calif. Dem. rep. John Garamendi (1945-) is elected, immediately hiking to Washington, D.C. to help pass Obama's health care reform bill, giving the Dems. 257 House seats vs. 177 for the Repubs.; meanwhile voters in Maine overturn a same-sex marriage law by 53%-47%, making it the first state where it was approved by popular vote rather than legislatures and judges like in Conn., Iowa, Mass., N.H, and Vt.; 30 other states have rejected it by popular vote; Dominican-born William Lantigua is elected as the first Latino mayor of Mass. in Lawrence ("Immigrant City"), with 53% of the vote, defeating David C. Abdoo; an anti-immigrant measure in Denver, Colo. to force police to automatically impound cars of unlicensed drivers is rejected by 70%. On Nov. 3 an Afghan policeman shoots and kills five British soldiers in Helmand Province, then escapes, proving that the Taliban has infiltrated the police force. On Nov. 3 ABC-TV debuts the V sci-fi TV series for 22 episodes (until Mar. 15, 2011), a refilming of the 1983 Kenneth Johnson series about disguised reptilian aliens led by Anna, played by Brazilian-born Morena Baccarin (1979-) who come to Earth and try to seduce them into being eaten by promising universal health and happiness, causing viewers to see a parallel with Pres. Obama and his universal health care program. On Nov. 4 the 30th anniv. of the U.S. embassy takeover in Iran sees supreme assahollah Ali Khamenei diss Pres. Obama's efforts at reconciliation while the govt. fights anti-govt. protesters in Tehran, with the soundbyte "The American government is a really arrogant power and the Iranian nation will not be deceived with its apparent reconciliatory behavior." On Nov. 4 an Italian judge Oscar Magi sentences 23 Americans to up to eight years in prison and 1M euro fines for the abduction and torture of Egyptian-born Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr in a symbolic condemnation of the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" flights, which captured terrorism suspects in one country them flew them to another where they could use harsher interrogation techniques; the U.S. tells Magi to take a hike and won't permit extradition. On Nov. 4 U.S. Army SSgt. Amy C. Tirador (b. 1980) of Albany, N.Y. (an interrogator) is shot in the back of the head and murdered in Kirkush, Iraq in a secure area of the base; the govt. covers it up by calling it a "non-combat related incident". On Nov. 4 22-y.-o. U.S.-born Muslim Abdul Walid Hamid (1987-) tears a crucifix from a shopper's neck at Stoneridge Shopping Center in Pleasanton, Calif. and shouts "Allah is power. Islam is great"; meanwhile on Nov. 3 hardcore Muslim extremist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan (1970-) goes to Stan's Shooting Range in Florence, Tex. for target practice for his big upcoming Yankee infidel safari. On Nov. 4 U.S. maj. gen. Anthony Cucolo issues a rule against women soldiers from becoming pregnant on active duty, punishing them and the male who impregnated them, with the soundbyte that he is "losing too many women with critical skills"; no surprise, the PC police come out, and on Dec. 23 he drops the rule. The first radical Islamic terrorist assault on U.S. soil since 9/11, and the U.S. govt. tries to portray it as pre-post-traumatic stress syndrome? On Nov. 5 Loomis France armored car driver Toni Musulin (1971-) steals his own armored car containing 11.6M euros, stashes it in a garage, rents a motorcycle and flees to Italy, then turns himself in after hearing that the loot was found, and pleads guilty, becoming a Robin Hood in a time of bank shenanigans, and receiving a 3-year prison sentence; 2.5M euros of the loot remains missing. On Nov. 5 (Thur.) after visiting a 7-Eleven store wearing a traditional South Asian chalwar camise popular with al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan, devout Muslim Allah-Akbar-shouting U.S. Army psychiatrist (formerly working at Walter Reed Army Hospital counseling returnees from Iraq and Afghanistan) Nidal Malik Hasan (1970-) (son Palestinian immigrants, who was promoted to maj. from col. despite a poor performance review, and who closed his safety deposit box and handed out Qurans ahead of time) stages the Ft. Hood Massacre, pulling out two pistols and shooting 40+ times for 10 min., killing 13 unarmed fellow soldiers and wounding 30 at the Soldier Readiness Center at Ft. Hood, Tex., biggest military base in the world (53K soldiers) after being selected for deployment to Afghanistan before he is wounded and captured, becoming the worst shooting on a U.S. military base until ?; white female police officer Kimberly Denise "Kim" Munley (1974-) becomes an instant first U.S. military heroine as she is claimed to take him down with several shots, paralyzing him from the chest down and putting him into a coma, until it is revealed that Hasan took her down and seiously wounded her, and that it was her black male partner St. Mark Todd (1967-) who ended Hasan's rampage; the press and Pres. Obama purposely downplay if not attempt to coverup the jihadist angle, seeking to portray him as a victim of discrimination and even "pre-post-traumatic stress syndrome", with Obama uttering the soundbyte that "we cannot fully know" why Hasan did it, even after it is revealed that he worshipped at the Dar al-Hijra Mosque in Great Falls, Va. of radical pro-al-Qaida anti-U.S. "skirt-chasing mullah" imam Anwar al-Awlaki (1971-2011) (who fled to exile in Yemen) at the same time as two of the 9/11 terrorists, and exchanged emails with him in 2008-9, and later praises him and says "Fighting against the U.S. army is an Islamic duty today", and that U.S. intel agencies had been aware for months that he tried to electronically contact al-Qaida (hence the govt. is trying to keep them from being punished?); 18 mo. ago he warned senior Army physicians that the military should allow Muslim U.S. soldiers like him to be released as conscientious objectors instead of being sent to kill other Muslims to avoid "adverse events", and says "We love death more than you love life"; he gave a Power Point slide show titled "The Koranic World View as It Relates to Muslims in the U.S. Military", announcing his intentions of jihad in advance; he was recently spotted at the Starz strip club; his business card contains the legend SoA(SWT) (Soldier or Sword of Allah, Sharia Will Triumph); on May 20 he posted on the Internet the message: "Scholars have paralleled (a U.S. soldier's falling on a grenade to save surrounding troops) to suicide bombers whose intention, by sacrificing their lives, is to help save Muslims by killing enemy soldiers", and repeatedly asked his superiors to criminally prosecute U.S. soldiers he claimed had confessed to "war crimes" during his psychiatric counseling; U.S. Army Lt.Gen. Jerry Boykin later tells CBS that the Army knew that Hasan was an Islamic terrorist but was stopped from doing anything about him from the top, after which he is forced to retire; on Mar. 12, 2011 nine Army officers are reprimanded for failing to heed their own warnings about Hasan's behavior and judgment; the U.S. Defense Dept. under Pres. Obama's influence classifies the massacre as "workplace violence", causing U.S. Sen. Susan Collins to blast it on Dec. 8, 2011 for putting political correctness above nat. security; al-Awlaki issues the soundbyte: "Nidal Hasan is a hero. He is a man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people... The U.S. is leading the war against terrorism which in reality is a war against Islam"; on Nov. 8 U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George William Casey Jr. (1948-) stinks himself up with the soundbyte "What happened at Ft. Hood was a tragedy, but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here", then later says he doen't rule out the possibility of terrorism, and calls for a "unified inquiry" into the Army's inability to recognize the warning signs of ticking time bomb Muslim jihadists in their ranks, and also calls it for it to be expanded "department-wide"; the U.S. Senate holds its first public hearing on the shooting on Nov. 19; in Oct. 2010 it is revealed that Pfc. Lance Aviles was ordered by his superior officer to destroy two videos he made of the shooting; Obama becomes the first U.S. pres. to be responsible for a jihadist attack on U.S. soil by his lax policy on Islam?; a clear warning of the dangers of allowing mass Muslim immigration?; there are more than 13K Muslims serving in the U.S. armed forces; on Nov. 8 Jewish U.S. Sen. (D-N.H.) Joe Lieberman, chmn. of the Senate Homeland Security Committee suggests that the Ft. Hood Massacre was an act of "Islamist extremism", drawing the PC police on him; if he had been outed as gay instead of radical Muslim he would have been removed from the military long before he could do it?; on Nov. 17 Pres. Obama asks Congress to slow down the investigation of the shootings, sparking denunciations from Repubs., who push to speed it up, and on Nov. 22 U.S. Rep. (R-Tex.) John Carter introduces legislation to declare that the soldiers at Ft. Hood were killed "in a combat zone as the result of an act of an enemy of the U.S."; on Nov. 10, 2011 80 victims and family members file a lawsuit seeking $750M from the U.S.Army for willful negligence; it takes until Jan. 15 for an Obama admin. official to officially label the Ft. Hood Massacre "an act of terrorism". On Nov. 5 the U.S. Senate blocks a proposal by Sen. (R-La.) (2005-) David Bruce Vitter (1961-) to ask people on census forms whether they are U.S. citizens so that illegal immigrants can't skew the statistics used for apportionment of congressional seats; critics say that 400M of 600M forms have already been printed, and that it would require a constitutional amendment, which doesn't stop them from voting against it now. On Nov. 5 (4 a.m. local time) a car bomb explodes outside a military barracks in Burgos, Spain, injuring 60+ police officers, their families and neighbors. On Nov. 6 Italian interior minister Roberto Maroni says that Italy is susceptible to terror attacks by the al-Qaida network, and that terror cells have "authorization" to carry out attacks there who are not part of it but allied to it. On Nov. 6 fired engineer Jason Rodriguez (1969-) gets revenge at his old firm, killing one and wounding five before being arrested, saying "They left me to rot." On Nov. 7 (Sat.) (11 p.m.) after the AMA and AARP announce their support, and an amendment by Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) to bar federal funding for most abortions by 240-194 (incl. 176 Repubs. and 64 Dems.) passes, the U.S. House passes the Obama health care reform bill by 220-215; one of the loudest cheers ever heard in the chamber greets the deciding vote of Maxine Waters (D-Calif.); it requires virtually all Americans to obtain health insurance and creates a govt.-run health insurance plan; 39 Dems. vote against it, and only repub. Joseph Cao of La. votes for it; an alternative Repub. plan is rejected by 176-258, with only Repub. Timothy Johnson of Ill. voting against it. On Nov. 7 (the Taliban sets up an ambush for U.S. and Afghan troops in Zabul Province in E Afghanistan in "F.O.B. Nowhere", but they outsmart them, killing 17-20 Taliban instead with no losses of their own. On Nov. 8 Hurricane Ida triggers floods and mudslides in El Salvador, killing 124, then heads toward the U.S. over the Gulf of Mexico on Nov. 9. On Nov. 8 the severed head of kidnapped school principal Gabriel Canizares is found in a bag at a gas station on Jolo Island in the Philippines 22 days after he was abducted, causing the Philippine govt. to vow revenge against al-Qaida-linked Islamic militants - if it had been in the U.S. the govt. would have tried to excuse their behavior with psychobabble? On Nov. 8 the Dalai Lama arrives in the Buddhist monastery town of Tawang in N India near the Tibetan border for a a 5-day visit despite Chinese govt. disapproval. On Nov. 8 a suicide bomber in Adazai, a suburb of Peshawar, Pakistan kills 12, incl. anti-Taliban mayor Abdul Malik. On Nov. 8 Brazilian college student Geisy Arruda is expelled for wearing a short pink dress to class, causing her to become a celeb. On Nov. 9 billionaire Sunni Muslim Saad Hariri (1970-), 2nd son of assassinated PM Rafiq Hariri becomes PM of Lebanon (until ?). On Nov. 9 the 20th Anniv. of the Fall of the Berlin Wall in Berlin is snubbed by Pres. Obama, becoming "the most telling non-event of his presidency" according to Nat. Review ed. Rich Lowry; Angela Merkel and Mikhail Gorbachev cross the path of the Wall together to shouts of "Gorby, Gorby"; too bad, when it fell, the Communism on the East German side was replaced by naked capitalism not socialism, causing catastrophe and resulting in a generation of unhappy people? On Nov. 9 NATO and Afghan officials claim to have killed 130+ Taliban fighters in N Afghanistan, incl. eight cmdrs. during a 5-day operation. On Nov. 9 a suicide bomber in an auto-rickshaw kills three in Peshawar, Pakistan, while Islamist militants kill four soldiers in South Waziristan. On Nov. 9 Iran strikes again, charging three American hikers, Shane Bauer (b. 1982), Sarah Shourd (b. 1979), and Josh Fattal (b. 1982) who strayed over the border with N Iraq at the end of July with espionage. On Nov. 9 Iranian pres. Imadinnajacket gives a speech at a meeting of the Org. of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Turkey, calling for a NWO, claiming that capitalism is dead, and calling Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan his "friend". On Nov. 9 the Danish People's Party begins offering a 100K kroner incentive payment to "anti-social" foreigners who leave Denmark, mainly fundamentalist Muslims. On Nov. 9 10-y.-o. Will Phillips appears on CNN with his father Jay to explain that he will not say the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance again until gays and lesbians are given full rights like the pledge says, "liberty and justice for all". On Nov. 9 a court in Saudi Arabia sentences Lebanese TV journalist Ali Sibat to death for witchcraft for making predictions on TV after he is arrested last year on pilgrimage (hajj). On Nov. 9 Antonio Musumeci (1981-) of Edgewater, N.J. is arrested for taking photos of a federal courthouse in Manhattan; on Oct. 18 a settlement is announced by the N.Y. Civil Liberties Union that the Federal Protective Service will inform its employees in writing that people have a right to photograph the exterior of federal courthouses from publicly accessible spaces. On Nov. 10 Beltway Sniper John Allen Muhammad is executed after the Supreme Court clears the way. On Nov. 10 the North and South Korean navies exchange gunfire, becoming the first time in seven years. On Nov. 10 a car bomber outside a crowded market in Charsadda, 25 mi. N of Peshawar in NW Pakistan kills 20. On Nov. 10 the U.S. govt. announces that it will start using the USAF to combat drug trafficking at the U.S.-Mexico border. On Nov. 10 Pres. Obama gives a speech at Ft. Hood in memory of the victims of Maj. Nidal Hasan, with the soundbyte "No faith justifies these murderous and craven acts, no just and loving God looks upon them with favor", concluding "The killer will be met with justice in this world and the next" - guess he never read the Quran? On Nov. 10 a 5-day conference sponsored by the Vatican on the possibility of extraterrestrial life ends - their missionaries are already learning alien talk so they can move on in? On Nov. 10 Iranian physician Ramin Pouranarjani (b. 1983) dies in the Kahrizak Prison near Tehran after going public with reports of torture of protesters; the govt. takes days to acknowledge his death, and denies that they did it. On Nov. 11 anti-immigrant CNN anchor Lou Dobbs resigns after a massive campaign by pro-immigrant groups. On Nov. 11-22 the Second Continental Congress in Chicago, Ill. discusses the trampling of the U.S. Constitution by the Obama admin. and its unprecedented expansion of federal govt. power. On Nov. 12 Human Rights Watch releases a report accusing China of operating a network of secret "black prisons" in Beijing; the govt. denies it. On Nov. 12 the U.S. govt. begins seizing $500M in assets (incl. four mosques) of the nonprofit Muslim Alavi Foundation, claiming that it's a front for the Iranian govt. On Nov. 12 French pres. Nicolas Sarkozy gives a speech at the Elysee Palace, saying that France is on the verge of losing its soul because of immigration of radical fundamentalist Muslims. On Nov. 13 (6:30 a.m. local time) a suicide car bomber in the Inter-Services Intelligence HQ in Peshawar, Pakistan kills seven and injures 35. On Nov. 12 English ex-Roman Catholic nun Karem Armstrong unveils A Charter for Compassion, which is signed by 83K incl. the city govt. of Seattle, Wash. On Nov. 13 (Friday the 13th) after extensive lobbying by the ACLU, the Obama admin. announces their decision to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others in a New York City civil court, which House Repub. leader John Boehner of Ohio calls "irresponsible", and an attempt at "treating terrorism as a law enforcement issue", former Bush admin. atty. John Yoo says the trail would be an "intelligence bonanza" for the enemies of hte U.S., N.Y. Dem. gov. David A. Paterson says "This is not a decision that I would have made", former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani says this proves that Obama's soft on terrorism, Edwin Meese II calls a "tragic mistake", former asst. FBI dir. James Kallstrom says "adds dramatically to the possibility New York will be attacked, and former vice-pres. Dick Cheney says that this will make the Sheikh "as important or more important than Osama bin Laden"; U.S. Rep. (D-Ohio) Dennis Kucinich says that everybody, even Osama bin Laden should be given the same "basic rights", and U.S. Sen. (D-N.J.) Robert Menendez says ditto; U.S. Rep. (R-Ariz.) Trent Franks says that the Dem. idea to house Gitmo detainees in Ill. shows the Dems. have at least come up with "a jobs program"; U.S. atty.-gen. Eric Holder, who made the decision ignores Article 1 Section 8 Clause 10 of the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress power "to define and punish piraces and felonies committed on the high sea, and offenses against the law of nations" via military commissions; since the West and the Quranic values of jihadists are totally incompatible, to grant U.S. constitutional rights to them could prove suicidal in the long run?; Obama did it to put the Bush admin. on trial instead of the terrorists?; he did it to show that he's Islam's friend and they should drop their jihad?; a petition urging Holder to move the trial out of New York gains 60+ signatures by Jan. 11. On Nov. 13 Pres. Obama visits Tokyo, calling himself "America's first Pacific president", and vowing that the U.S. "will not be cowed by threats" from North Korea, which he says for decades "has chosen a path of confrontation and provocation, incl. the pursuit of nuclear weapons"; continuing his new style, on Nov. 14 he bows to Japanese emperor Akihito; on Nov. 15 Obama becomes the first U.S. pres. in over 40 years to meet with the rulers of Burma (Myanmar). On Nov. 13 the British Holocaust (Stolen Art) Restitution Act is passed, giving nat. institutions in Britain and Scotland the power to return art stolen during the Nazi era. On Nov. 14 anti-terrorism expert Jean-Louis Bruguiere says that the Pakistani army ran training camps for the Muslim terrorist group Laskhar-e-Taiba with the acceptance of the CIA from 2001 until recently. On Nov. 14 a suicide car bomber at a police checkpoint on the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan kills 11, incl. four children, bringing the month's score to 300+. On Nov. 14 NATO and Afghan forces kill several insurgents in Shinand District in Herat, W Afghanistan, incl. an armed woman. On Nov. 16 (soundbyte day?) Iranian pres. Imadinnajacket utters the soundbyte that "The Iranian nation's nuclear rights are not negotiable"; meanwhile on Nov. 15 Pres. Obama visits Shanghai, uttering the soundbyte: "I continue to believe that the greatest threat to the United States security are the terrorist networks like al Qaeda", along with the soundbyte: "We do not seek to contain China's rise. On the contrary, we welcome China as a strong and prosperous and successful member of the community of nations", adding that he sees no need to change the One-China Policy of regarding Taiwan as part of Red China; he gives his consent to a plan by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Singapore to delay a binding agreement on climate change until next year; he also calls for greater Internet freedom in China, but in his Nov. 16 town hall meeting with 40 carefully-selected Beijing U. students, he refuses to discuss China's Internet censorship or meet with liberal leaders, many of whom were put under detention, which he doesn't object, then lets Chinese pres. Hu Jintao control a 30-min. news conference on Nov. 17, making the U.S. look like it's getting weak and whimpy; on Nov. 18 Obama tells the press in Beijing that the U.S. needs to contain its rising deficits (which have passed the $12T mark) in order to avoid "double-dip recession", and urges Hu Jintao to allow the yuan to rise, but is ignored; on Jan. 19 Obama visits Seoul, and says that he's willing to help North Korea with its economy and end its 50-year isolation if they finally move toward nuclear disarmament; meanwhile on Nov. 16 PLO leader Ahmed Qurei says that the Obama admin. has reached an understanding with the Palestinian Authority that won't stop efforts to unilaterally create a Palestinian state via a U.N. Security Council resolution, and on Nov. 17 Israel approves the building of 900 new homes for Jews on the West Bank, pissing the Obama admin. off. On Nov. 15 Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi invites 200 women to a party in Rome during the global food summit, then tries to convert them to Islam. On Nov. 16 Shiite insurgents dressed in military uniforms kill at least 12 in a pre-dawn attack in the Sunni village of Zauba, Iraq W of Baghdad. On Nov. 16 Australian PM Kevin Rudd issues a historic apology to the 7K survivors of their program to ship 150K improverished British children to Australia for the past 3.5 cents. (until 1969), who were subjected to systematic abuse and neglect. On Nov. 16 internat. inspectors pub. a report, voicing suspicions that Iran has concealed nuclear facilities. On Nov. 16 (eve.) Russian anti-racist activist Ivan Khutorskoi is shot and killed in front of his Moscow apt. bldg.; on Nov. 17 (night) Russian atty. Sergei Magnitsky (b. 1972) dies in Butyrskaya Prison in Moscow of heart failure; he had been jailed after uncovering evidence of police involvement in a $230M theft from the govt.; his Am. partner Jamison Firestone accuses the authorities of murdering him. On Nov. 16 the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force releases new recommendations against annual mammograms for women between the ages of 40-49, pissing-off the Am. Cancer Society, Am. College of Obstetrics and Gynecology et al., whose physicians make a fortune, er, believe they need them anyway, after which the Obama admin. says that the new guidelines don't represent govt. policy. On Nov. 16-18 the 2009 U.N. Food Summit in Rome fails to secure substantial new funds to fight world hunger. On Nov. 17 the EU rejects calls for the Palestinian Authority to declare a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, saying that the conditions "were not there yet". On Nov. 17 Somalian woman Halima Ibrahim Abdirahman (b. 1980) is stoned to death Muslim style after being convicted of adultery. On Nov. 17 the Obama admin.'s Recovery.gov Web site is revealed to have listed non-existent Congressional districts and jobs in order to explain its spending of the billions in stimulus funds, some of which is revealed to be payoffs to its political allies; the bad info. only affects 1% of the data. On Nov. 17 Australian Sen. Nick Xenophon calls the Church of Scientology a "criminal organization" in the Australian federal parliament, citing letters detailing his claims and calling for an official investigation to end its tax-exampt status - no M:I sequels in Australia now? On Nov. 17 Mass. Dem. gov. (since 2007) Deval Patrick releases the New Americans Agenda for better integration of immigrants and refugees into the civic and economic life of the Mass. Commonwealth; too bad, it treats Muslims equally with non-Muslims? On Nov. 17 a dozen Muslim men in "full attire" spread out on AirTran Flight 297 from Atlanta to Houston, causing fears of a hijacking and an aborted flight; the airline later denies that it was an actual or dry run of a Muslim terrorist hijacking. On Nov. 18 a U.S. official reports that Afghan mine minister Mohammad Ibrahim Adel accepted a $30M bribe in Dec. 2007 in Dubai from the Chinese Metallurgical Group Corp. to approve a $2.9B copper extraction province in Logar Province. On Nov. 18 U.S. Sen. Dem. majority leader Harry M. Reid unveils their new $848B health care overhaul package, claiming it will reduce federal deficits by $130B over the next decade. On Nov. 18 U.S. atty.-gen. Eric Holder endures four hours of hostile questions from 9/11 family members in the U.S. Senate over his decision to try the 9/11 terrorists in a Manhattan civil court rather than a military one, bringing up Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's confession and desire to plead guilty and be executed, telling them it was his own decision not the terrorists', and not to fear them; Sen. Lindsey Graham asks Holder if he could cite one prior case where an enemy combatant like KSM was tried in a criminal court, and is given no response. On Nov. 18 U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton visits Afghanistan, telling Hamid Karazi to clean up corruption. On Nov. 19 the Lithuanian parliament begins investigating a suspected secret CIA prison set up in 2004 in Antaviliai, Lithuania in a riding stable. On Nov. 19 Afghan Pres. Hamid Karzai is inaugurated amid a state of siege in Kabul, with no Western heads of state present, although Hillary Clinton did bring her 18M votes. On Nov. 19 a bill by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) to subject the Federal Reserve to unprecedented scrutiny passes; meanwhile both the House and Senate show signs of getting fed-up with Obama's handling of the economy and continuing unemployment, with Repubs. on the Joint Economic Committee going after treasury secy. Tim Geither, wich Rep. Michael C. Burgess (R.-Tex) uttering the soundbyte "I don't think that you should be fire, I thought you should have never been hired." On Nov. 19 the U.S. Senate Committee on Ft. Hood, chaired by Joseph Liebermann (I-Conn.) begins public hearings, focusing on the perils of political correctness; on Nov 20 it concludes that Maj. Nidal Hassan is a terrorist. On Nov. 19 a Fla. jury orders Philip Morrisa USA to pay $300M in damages to ex-smoker Cindy Naugle (1948-), who contracted emphysema. On Nov. 19 after ex-British PM Tony Blair's bid fails, Belgian Flemish PM (since 2008) Herman Achille Van Rompuy (1947-) becomes pres. of the EU (until), and British technocrat Catherine Margaret Ashton (1956-) becomes the foreign policy head (until ?); on Nov. 25 former PM (a Christian Dem.) Yves Letermine (1960-) replaces him as PM of Belgium (until ?). On Nov. 19 two Christian converts from Islam, Maryam Rustampoor (1982-) and Marzieh Amirizadah (1979-) are released by Iran from jail after 259 days after worldwide protests and petitions. On Nov. 20 a Taliban suicide bomber in Farah City in SW Afghanistan kills 17 incl. a senior police official, and wounds 29; meanwhile politician Abdul Rasul Sayyaf is targeted by a bomb under a bridge near Kabul, but escapes, although five of his bodyguards are killed; meanwhile a U.S. missile strike near Mir Ali in North Waziristan kills eight militants, a poll by Fritz Wendel finds that 65% of Americans are expecting a Muslim terrorist attack within 6 mo. On Nov. 20 Am. Roman Catholic cardinal Justin Rigali of Philly says that there's "no way" that Catholic members of Congress can support the proposed U.S. Senate health care reform bill as long as it incl. a provision allowing govt. funding of insurance plans covering abortion, causing liberal activist Phil Attey of Church Outing.com to say that he will out gays in the priesthood to "encourage" them to change their views on gay marriage, etc. On Nov. 20 former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs gives an interview to Maria Celeste of Telemundo, softening his stand on illegal immigration and causing hardcore anti-illegal immigration groups incl. Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) to dump him as a U.S. pres. or senate candidate - did the TLW's awesome Megamerge Dissolution Solution start to get to him? On Nov. 21 a gas blast at the Heilongjiang Coal Mine in China kills 104 of 500; on Nov. 22 11 more are killed in a blast at a pit in Hunan; 3K were killed in mine disasters last year. On Nov. 21 a new U.S. law prohibits a co. from asking employees, a potential employee, or family members for a DNA sample. On Nov. 22 a report commissioned by the British Council claims that Pakistan will face a "demographic disaster" if it doesn't address the needs of its youth, who are split between wanting Western democratic-style and Muslim Sharia govt., and who consider themselves Muslims first and Pakistanis second. On Nov. 22 an overloaded ferry sinks in bad weather off Riao Islands, Indonesia, killing 29 of 274. On Nov. 22 Pakistani security forces attack Taliban forces in the village of Shahukhel in NW Pakistan, bordering the Taliban stronghold in Orakzai, killing 22 militants. On Nov. 22 the 2009 Am. Music Awards shock the audience when gay Am. Idol runner-up performer Adam Mitchel Lambert (1982-) shoves dance team members' faces into his crotch, leads other around on dog leashes, and passionately smooches his male keyboard player. On Nov. 22-26 Iran stages an air defense exercise to prepare against a possible Israeli strike against its nuclear facilities. On Nov. 23 a group of 100 gunmen surround a group of 50 journalists and women, and abduct, rape, torture, and kill (plus behead) 46 in Mindinao in S Philippines, incl. Genalyn Tiamzon-Mangudadatu to prevent her from filing her hubby Esmael (Ismael) Mangudadatu's nomination to run for provincial gov.; Philippine pres. adviser Jesus Dureza calls it "a gruesome massacre of civilians unequaled in recent history"; on Nov. 25 prominent politician Andal Amputuan Jr., a member of pres. Gloria Arroyo's governing coalition is named as a prime suspect by Philippine security forces; Esmael files his papers on Nov. 27. On Nov. 23 after the U.S. raised alarms about lack of security, pissed-off Libya refuses to let Russia take the last of its highly enriched uranium; on Dec. 20 after the U.S. makes concessions, the Russians return and take it. On Nov. 23 Hannah Rosenthal (1951-) becomes dir. of the Obama admin. office to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, becoming known as his anti-Semitism czar (until Oct. 5, 2012); next Jan. after Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren criticizes J-Street in Dec. and she calls his remarks "most unfortunate", the American Israeli Action Coalition (AIAC) calls for her ouster, but the Obama admin. backs her up. On Nov. 24 the U.K. begins the Chilcot Iraq War Inquiry going back to 2001, chaired by Sir John Chilcot; gen. Sir Michael Rose calls for Tony Blair to stand trial for war crimes; former U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said that Pres. George W. Bush and Tony Blair behaved like 17th cent. witch hunters in their willingness to oust Saddam Hussein, and "misled themselves and then they misled the public", showing "very bad judgment". On Nov. 24 the Voice of Am. announces that it's expanding its audience to Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua in order to counter Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, Rafael Correa, and Daniel Ortega. On Nov. 24 Honduran police arrest two Nicaraguans and two Hondurans along with several rifles, claiming they were plotting to assassinate pres. Roberto Michelette during the upcoming Nov. 29 election. On Nov. 24 Pres Obama holds his first official state dinner, hosting Indian PM Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur; 320 are RSVP'd; too bad, two party crashers, Tareq and Michaele Salahi from Va. make a fool of the Secret Service, who wave them in without checking for invites, making later talk of criminal charges seem ludicrous when it should be talk of firing them; a secret 2003 document detailing 91 Secret Service security breakdowns since 1980 is soon leaked to the press, causing White House social secy. Desiree Rogers to step down on Feb. 26, 2010; the couple have ties to pro-Palestinian prof. Rashid Khalidi (1948-), who is also close to Pres. Obama; later it is revealed that Harvey and Paula Darden from Hogansville, Ga. got into a White House breakfast on Veterans Day despite no invitations as a courtesy because Harvey is a Navy vet - I'll show you my invitation if you show me your birth certificate? On Nov. 24 the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, Penn. upholds a school district's ban on Christmas carols incl. "Silent Night" and "Joy to the World", while approving more pagan, er, secular songs incl. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman"; meanwhile effective Dec. 1 after protests from the Freedom from Religion Foundation, religious holiday symbols incl. nativity creshes and menorahs are banned inside the Wash. state capitol in Mount Olympus, er, Olympia by gov. Chris Gregoire. On Nov. 25 a double bombing in Karbala, Iraq injures 25 civilians gathering for the 4-day Shiite holiday of Eid al-Adha starting on Nov. 27. On Nov. 25 Pres. Obama's grandmother (mother of his father) Sarah Obama (1922-) goes to Mecca on Hajj as a guest of King Abdullah along with Obama's cousin Omran; during his campaign, she was portrayed as a Christian - like him? On Nov. 25 Dubai announces that it's defaulting on $59B in loans for at least 6 mo., after which the govt. denies responsibility for the debts of its flagship conglomerate, and on Dec. 14 Abu Dhabi loans it $10B. On Nov. 25 Iran takes five British sailors hostage from a racing yacht owned by Sail Bahrain; it releases them on Dec. 1. On Nov. 26 Internat. Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) dir. gen. Mohamed ElBaradei says that Iran has stonewalled nuclear investigators, and that inquiry is at a "dead end"; on Nov. 30 he resigns after 12 years. On Nov. 27 Islamic extremists attack the home of prominent Pakistani columnist Kamran Shafi, firing six shots while he and his family are sleeping, but missing; five journalists have already been killed in Pakistan this year; Shafi blames the Pakistani govt. for the attack because he writes for the English-language Dawn paper. On Nov. 28 an amnesty protecting Pakistani pres. Asif Ali Zardari and thousands of others from graft charges expires, causing calls for him to resign; meanwhile he relinquished command of Pakistan's nukes to PM (since 2008) Yousuf Raza Gilani. On Nov. 29 the luxury Nevsky Express is bombed by Muslim Chechen rebels near Uglovka (250 mi. NW of Moscow) en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg, killing 26 and injuring 100 of 682 passengers and 29 crew, causing the head of the Russian Orthodox Church to call for a "powerful reply" by authorities, after which on Feb. 9, 2010 the Russian Supreme Court bans the Caucasus Emirate, largest Islamist separatist group in S Russia. On Nov. 29 Iran vows to expand its nuclear enrichment program to 10 new sites, stirring fears that they're rushing to get their hands on nukes. On Nov. 29 elections in Honduras are a V for conservative opposition candidate (landowner) Porfirio Lobo Sosa (1947-) by 56% vs. 38% for rival Elvin Santos, with a 60% voter turnout, causing the Manuel Zelaya controversy to fizzle as the U.S. and four Latin Am. countries recognize the result; he takes office next Jan. 27 (until Jan. 27, 2014); Hillary Clinton's U.S. State Dept. and U.S. Agency for Internat. Development (USAID) launch the $26M Honduras Convive (Sp. "Hondoruas Coexists") program to reduce violent crimes; it is really about erasing memories of the coup while bolstering the repressing regime that is owned by big corporations? On Nov. 29 leftist flower farmer and former 1970s Tupamaro rebel (who spent 14 years in prison) Jose Alberto "Pepe" Mujica Cordano (1935-) defeats Luis Alberto Lacalle by 52%-44% and is elected pres. of Uruguay, taking office next Mar. 1 (until ?). On Nov. 29 after a Stop Minaret Movement in Switzerland, where 400K Muslims (mainly secular) now live gathers momentum, with MP Ulrich Schuler uttering the soundbyte "They are symbols of a desire for power, of an Islam which wants to establish a legal and social order fundamentally contrary to the liberties guaranteed in our constitution", Swiss voters overwhelmingly approve a ban on minaret construction; four have already been built; no surprise, the Muslim world acts in anger and outrage, claiming discrimination, while trying to get the West to overlook its own gigantic dirty laundry, such destroying over 100 historic Christian churches in Kosovo since 2000; on Dec. 4 a group of Muslims in Turkey threaten to kill a Syriac Orthodox priest unless he tears down his bell tower; on Dec. 6 Muammar Gaddhafi of Libya gives a speech saying that the vote is an open invitation to al-Qaida to launch new attacks on Europe, and calling Switzerland "the Mafia of the world". On Nov. 29 (8 a.m.) a black gunman walks into Forza Coffee Shop near Tacoma, Wash. and guns down and murders four police officers before escaping; on Dec. 1 career criminal Maurice Clemons (1972-) is shot and killed by police; his sentence had been commuted earlier by Ark. gov. Mike Huckabee; in Nov. Swiss politician Daniel Streich, who worked to ban minarets suddenly flops, resigns, and convert to Islam. On Nov. 29 the Greek-flagged Maran Centarus tanker is hijacked 800 mi. off the coast of Somalia by Somalian pirates, along with $20M in crude oil. On Nov. 30 North Korea announces a devaluation of its currency by two zeroes. On Nov. 30 Nazi guard John Demjanjuk (1920-) goes on trial in Munich as accessory to forcing 27.9K Jews into gas chambers in Sobibor death camp in 1943; too bad, his role is more minor than ever before before prosecuted, making millions wonder if there's a limit to Jewish desires for revenge, as a whole new class of prosecutions of aging low-level grunts would open up. In Nov. Exxon Mobil and Occidental Petroleum become the first U.S. oil cos. to reach production agreements with the Iraq govt. since the 2003 invasion. In Nov. Climategate starts when a hacker breaks into computers at the U. of East Anglia and finds emails of Climatic Research Unit scientists faking global warming data at will and bragging about it, dogging the Dec. Copenhagen summit; CRU dir. Philip Jones is in charge of the two key data sets used by the U.N. Intergovt. Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to draw up its reports; too bad, it comes too near the Copenhagen Summit to stop it, with U.N. climate scientist panel head Rajendra Pachauri uttering the soundbyte: "The internal consistency from multiple lines of evidence strongly supports the work of the scientific community, incl. those individuals singled out in these email exchanges." In Nov. the 2009 Internat. Religious Freedoms Report of the U.S. State Dept. accuses Israel of "governmental and legal discrimination against non-Jews and non-Orthodox streams of Judaism." In Nov. the Lutheran Church of Sweden begins conducting same-sex marriages to go with the May law giving same-sex couples equal rights with hetero couples. In Nov. Osama bin Laden's son Omar Bin Laden says that he'd like a job at the U.N. - if Barack Obama can be U.S. president? In Nov. Negar Azizmoradi, atheist leader of the Raelian movement in Iran flees Iranian persecution to Turkey, where she is arrested for having no passport, after which authorities discuss returning her to Iran despite facing execution for apostasy. In Nov. the Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience, drafted by Watergate conspirator Chuck Colson et al. calls on Christians to unite in upholding the sanctity of life, the historic understanding of hetero marriage, and religious liberty, receiving 150K signatures. In Nov. Japan begins installing special blue LEDs over Tokyo railway platforms to help stop suicide attempts; the 2003 record was 34,427 deaths; in 2008 2K jumped in front of trains, 6% of all suicides. In Nov. U.S. SSgt. Calvin Gibbs arrives at Forward Operating Base Ramrod in Afghanistan, talking fellow soldiers into forming a "kill team" that goes on to murder Afghans and collect fingers as trophies; Gibbs is convicted by a military jury of 15 counts incl. murder, and sentenced to life in priz in Nov. 2011. On Dec. 1 disbarred Fla. atty. Scott Rothstein surrenders to the FBI after returning from Morocco, where he fled last Oct. to face charges of running a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors of $1B+. On Dec. 1 Pres. Obama gives a speech at West Point Military Academy on Afghanistan, announcing that he's sending 30K new troops to bring the total to 100K, with a time limit of July 2011 to stabilize the country and train the security forces to take over and begin withdrawing (without specifing a time limit for the last withdrawals), with the soundbytes: "I want the Afghan people to understand, America seeks an end to this era of war and suffering"; "I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future", adding that to achieve those goals "We need a stronger, smarter and comprehensive strategy", adding "I do not make this decision lightly. I make this decision because I am convinced that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is the epicenter of the violent extremism practiced by al-Qaida", calling it "our vital national interest" to deny al-Qaida safe bases to plan attacks on the U.S.; also "The struggle against violent extremism will not be finished quickly, and it extends well beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan", and "There have been those in Pakistan who have argued that the struggle against extremism is not their fight, and that Pakistan is better off doing little, or seeking accommodation with those who use violence"; too bad, on Aug. 30 Gen. Stanley McChrystal told him he needed 40K more troops (to be supplied by other nations?), the public setting of a time limit undermines Afghan and Pakistani confidence, and he never mentions the real problem of nuke-packing Pakistan; the key questions of whether the Taliban is a threat to the U.S. and/or is going to invite al-Qaida back into Afghanistan is sidestepped, or the idea of negotiating with the Taliban for an immediate withdrawal if they finally hand over Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida men; on Dec. 4 Rusell Wiseman, may of Arlington (near Memphis), Tenn. accuses Obama of timing his speech deliberately to block the airing of the "Peanuts" Christmas TV special, proving he's a Muslim; on Dec. 2 U.S. House majority leader Sten Hoyer (D-Md.) says that he supports a war surtax to offset the cost of the Afghanistan war; meanwhile since Aug. 30 the U.S. lost 116 troops in Afghanistan since Gen. McChrystal asked for the reinforcements, incl. 17 in Nov., 58 in Oct., and 37 in Sept.; on Dec. 4 NATO leaders pledge 7K troops to back Obama up; on Dec. 8 Gen. McChrystal tells the Afghan govt. that troops will only begin pulling out in July 2011, and it might take several years to complete; U.S. Sen. (D-Mich. Carl M. Levin says that "The surge that is needed is a surge of Afghan troops"; meanwhile on Dec. 3 the New York Times reports that the CIA is expanding its use of drones in Pakistan, incl. in Balochistan Province in S Pakistan where Taliban leader Mullah Omar is believed to be hiding in the provincial capital of Quetta, and U.S. nat. security adviser Gen. James R. Jones delivers a "blunt message" to the Pakistan govt. that it must become more aggressive in going after al-Qaida and the Taliban or the U.S. will do it for them; on Dec. 10 the U.S. conducts its first unmanned airstrike in South Waziristan since the mid-Oct. Pakistani Army offensive, hitting a Taliban stronghold in Tanga in the Ladha region, and killing two Taliban and four al-Qaida fighters. On Dec. 2 Israeli foreign minister Yigal Palmor rejects a Swedish-led push for the EU to call for the division of Jerusalem and the recognition of East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, saying that "All it can do is to marginalize the European role" and "It will only convince the Palestinians that they can remain in the trenches"; EU foreign ministers meet on Dec. 7 to settle on a Middle East policy statement. On Dec. 2 147 years have passed since U.S. pres. Abraham Lincoln called the U.S. the "last best hope of Earth" (1862). On Dec. 2 Am. filmmaker Michael Moore (1954-) appears on Larry King Live, saying that he feels sorry for Obama for deciding to pump up the Afghanistan War because 15 of the 19 9/11 terrorists were mainly from Saudi Arabia, then turning around and lamenting that the job wasn't done as fast as with Hitler and Mussolini in WWII, and claiming it will become Obama's Vietnam, yet dissing the idea of setting a deadline - although the U.S. actually won the Vietnam War then unilaterally pulled out and let the Commies take the weak South Vietnamese govt. at jet speed while Americans got into disco? On Dec. 2 a suicide bomber explodes outside the Pakistan Naval HQ, killing a guard and critically injuring two navy personnel. On Dec. 2 the N.Y. State Senate rejects a bill to allow same-sex marriage by 38-24 despite over a year of lobbying by gays; meanwhile the first gay marriage in Argentina (first in Latin Am.) is delayed by Buenos Aires officials after conflicting judicial rulings. On Dec. 3 a Muslim Shabaab suicide bomber dressed as a veiled woman in Mogadishu, Somalia kills 19 incl. three govt. ministers at a graduation ceremony in a hotel. On Dec. 3 Pakistani PM Yusuf Raza Gilani says that Pakistan doesn't believe that Osama bin Laden is in their country, and wants more info. from the U.S. on the new Obama surge plan. On Dec. 3 the U.S. House by 225-200 (with 26 Dems. voting no) cancels the proposed repeal of the estate tax, keeping the 45% rate for estates over $3.5M, making the rich work harder to subvert the tax system to pass their wealth to their children; too bad, they give all estates a free pass for 2010, allowing the heirs of Tex. pipeline billionaire Dan L. Duncan (b. 1933-) to inherit his $9B estate tax-free. On Dec. 3 Comcast and NBC Universal announce their $30B merger. On Dec. 3 U.S. homeland security secy. Janet Napolitano utters the soundbyte that al-Qaida members or followers are inside the U.S. and would like to attack targets in the U.S. and other countries, and that a recent string of domestic arrests should "remove any remaining comfort that some might have had from the notion that if we fight the terrorists abroad, we won't have to fight them here", adding "The fact is that home-based terrorism is here, and like violent extremism abroad, it is now part of the threat picture that we must confront. Individuals sympathetic to al-Qaida and its affiliates, as well as those inspired by their ideology, are present in the U.S., and would like to attack the homeland or plot overseas attacks against our interests abroad." On Dec. 3 the U.S. IRS stinks itself up by auctioning 7.1K acres of Crow Creek Sioux ancestral land in S.D. for $3.1M after legal shenanigans void 1868 treaty protections; the first time in history? On Dec. 4 the U.S. govt. announces that only 11K jobs were lost in Nov., reducing the unemployment rate from 10.2% to 10%, causing Pres. Obama to say "the trend line right now is good". On Dec. 4 a Muslim suicide squad storms a mosque in Rawalpindi near the Pakistani army HQ during Fri. prayers, killing 35 with guns and grenades. On Dec. 4 the Bolivian govt. of Hugo Chavez arrests top banker Arne Chacon and removes his brother Jesse as science minister, broadening his purge of the Boligarchs. On Dec. 4 Google begins personalizing search results, making the Internet shrink as new material is systematically eliminated. On Dec. 4 (midnight) Am. college student Amanda Marie Knox (1987-) is convicted in an Italian court in Perugia and sentenced to 26 years for the murder of her British apt. flatmate Meredith Kercher, along with her former Italian beau Raffaele Sollecito despite lack of evidence, causing the U.S. govt. to call the jury prejudiced by publicity and anti-Americanism. On Dec. 4 Episcopalians in Los Angles, Calif. elect openly lesbian bishop Mary Douglas Glasspool (1954-), who becomes the first since Gene Robinson of N.H. in 2004. On Dec. 4 after telling a fellow student "I feel like just waking up and destroying the world", British Muslim Abdulsalam Al-Zahrani stabs Binghamton U. prof. Richard Antoun to death in the science bldg. On Dec. 5 CIA agent Alan P. Gross (1949-), working for Development Alternatives Inc. is arrested in Havana after being caught handing out laptop computers and cell phones to Cuban dissidents under the $10M 2008 U.S. Cuba Democracy and Contingency Planning Program; he is later revealed to have been helping Jewish groups gain unfiltered access to the Internet. On Dec. 5 former U.S. prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy III (who on Oct. 22, 2008 uttered the soundbyte "I believe that the issue of Obama's personal radicalism, incl. his collaboration with radical, American-hating Leftists, should have been disqualifying") comes out against prosecuting Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in a civilian court, saying "A war is a war. A war is not a crime, and you don't bring your enemies to a courthouse." On Dec. 6 10K+ demonstrate in Athens on the 1-year anniv. of the shooting of 15-y.-o. student Alexis Grigoropoulos by Greek police, pissing them off and causing them to call them "vandals" and sodom, er, brutalize them. On Dec. 6 Human Rights Watch releases a report on denial of women's rights in Afghanistan, with the soundbyte: "Eight years after the fall of the Taliban, and the establishment of the [Hamid] Karzai government, Afghan women continue to be among the worst off in the world. Their situation is dismal in every area, incl. in health, education, employment, freedom from violence, equality before the law, and political participation." On Dec. 6 Veronica D. Deramous is arrested in Arlington County, Va. after she kidnaps a pregnant 29-y.-o. homeless woman then uses a razor blade and box cutters to cut out the fetus. On Dec. 7 Student Day in Iran sees anti-govt. protests despite the govt. arresting scores of students and mothers of children killed in the unrest since June 12 in advance and shutting down the Internet. On Dec. 7 a Taliban suicide bomber outside a court in Peshawar, Pakistan kills nine while it hears challenges to an amnesty order covering 8K incl. interior and defense ministers; meanwhile the Taliban bombs a market in Lahore, killing 49 and injuring 100; on Dec. 31 Pakistani police announce the arrest of senior Taliban cmdr. Khalil Ullah, saying he is the mastermind. On Dec. 7 the U.S. Environmental Protection Admin. (EPA) announces that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare, opening the way for the Obama admin. to impose its own curbs on emissions with or without approval from Congress. On Dec. 7 the Hopenhagen.org Web site sponsored by Coca-Cola, Siemens, and SAP corps. opens, inviting the world's citizens to sign a petition demanding world leaders draft binding agreements on climate changes; meanwhile Europe has its coldest winter in 50 years, snowing uninterruptedly starting on Dec. 13; Coca-Cola spearheads a coalition of 100+ cos. pushing a U.N. climate treaty, which commits the world's wealthiest nations to $10T in foreign aid, and possible create an internat. "super-grid" for regulating and distributing electric power; on Dec. 7-18 the 2009 U.N. Climate Change Conference attended by 15K reps from 192 nations is held in Copenhagen, Denmark to attempt to reach an internat. agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions, with U.N. Climate Change Secretariat head Yvo de Boer uttering the soundbyte "The clock has ticked down to zero. After two years of negotiations the time has come to deliver"; developing nations will be offered aid to cut emissions; on Dec. 8 a leaked document showing that world leaders will be asked to sign an agreement handing more power to rich countries and sidelining the U.N.'s roll in all future climate negotiations causes an uproar, after which African reps. walk out on Dec. 14; on Dec. 14 Al Gore gives a speech, claiming that polar ice may vanish in 5-7 years (summer 2014), rather than in 2030 like other scientists estimate, citing Wieslav Maslowski, who later disclaims it; on Dec. 18 Pres. Obama visits it, originally planning to pledge a 17% emissions cut by 2020, and 83% by 2050, but ending up frantically trying to rescue it from a stalemate after China balks at a real deal, getting snubbed by the Chinese PM then crashing a meeting to work a last-minute toothless deal in order to claim a V; the last day of the conference is blanked with 4 in. of snow; Christopher Monckton, former science adviser to British PM Margaret Thatcher claims that the real purpose of the conference is to lay the foundation for a OWG, but since it was a dud he must have been mistaken?; on Dec. 12 Danish police arrest 968 of 100K pro-global-warming protesters in Copenhagen; next July U.N. climate chief Yvo de Boer resigns. On Dec. 7 Iranian pres. Imadinnajacket tells Dubai TV station Al Arabiya that the U.S. is attempting to thwart the return of the Muslim Mahdi, saying "We have documented proof that they believe that a descendant of the prophet of Islam will raise in these parts and he will dry the roots of all injustice in the world." On Dec. 7 the Los Angeles Times reports that the Obama admin. finally admits that the U.S. is confronting a rising threat from homegrown Muslim extremism. On Dec. 7 Virgin Galactic unveils SpaceShip Two, their commercial passenger spacecraft set to take its first tourists into space by 2011. On Dec. 7 the Yemeni army begins an offensive against Houthi rebels in Saada. On Dec. 7 after holding up a financial regulation bill supported by Pres. Obama for weeks, the 9-person U.S. Congressional Black Caucus, led by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) gets House Financial Services Committee Barney Frank (D-Mass.) to steer $3B in TARP funds toward mortgage relief for the unemployed, plus $1B for a program to have state and local govts. buy foreclosed properties and use them for more productive purposes; other than Waters, several members continue to claim that Obama isn't going far enough to help African-Ams.; on Dec. 17 U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton backs an annual $100B global fund by 2020 to support climate change needs of poor countries. On Dec. 8 (10:15 a.m.) Bloody Tuesday in Baghdad, Iraq sees a string of five bombings that kill 127 and wound 450; al-Qaida later claims responsibility for this attack plus the Aug. 19 attack, and threatens more to come. On Dec. 8 an early morning a U.S. Special Forces raid on the village of Armul in the Laghman Province of Afghanistan results in 13-15 civilians massacred, causing 5K to march on the provincial capital of Mehtar Lam shouting anti-Obama and anti-Karzai slogans, spreading to the neighboring province of Nangarhar, where 3K students occupy the main highway between Kabul and Jalalabad on Dec. 9. On Dec. 8 Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erodgan meets with Pres. Obama in the White House, and refuses to support further sanctions against Iran, which it's becoming increasingly friendly with. On Dec. 8 the U.S. House passes H.R. 2278, AKA the U.S. Anti-Incitement Act, directing the U.S. pres. to transmit to Congress a report on anti-Am. incitement to violence in the Middle East, and calling for sanctions against satellite cos. providing services to TV channels that incite violence against the U.S., incl. Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV and Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV, as well as Iraqi Al-Rafidayn TV broadcasting from Egypt; on Dec. 9 the bill is read twice in the Senate and then referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. On Dec. 8 Pres. Obama gives a speech on jobs at the Brookings Inst., saying he wants to spur new jobs and give more help to Main St. as opposed to Wall St., incl. tax breaks for new hires by small businesses, along with $50B more for roads, bridges, aviation and water projects. On Dec. 8 Stephen Bosworth, Pres. Obama's first envoy to North Korea arrives in Pyongyang to try and talk them into going back to the nuclear talks it walked out of a year ago - make it work was the answer? On Dec. 8 Biurny Peguero of N.J. pleads guilty to perjury for a false story of a gang rape that sent William McCaffrey to 20 years in prison; he was released in Aug. after DNA tests. On Dec. 8 U.S. gen. Stanley A. McChrystal tells the U.S. Senate that there are up to 27K Taliban in Afghanistan but that they can be defeated; meanwhile a joint press conference in Kabul by Hamid Karzai and U.S. defense secy. Robert Gates is held, in which Karzai predicts that it will take 15-20 years before the Afghan govt. can stand on its own against the Taliban, and Gates responds that "our government will not again turn our back on this country or the region", and "We will fight by your side until Afghan forces are large enough and strong enough to secure the nation on their own", adding that the July 2011 withdrawal date is "conditioned-based" and "gradual", and not a complete pullout but a "gradual change in the U.S. military's role". On Dec. 8 the White House releases a series of mandates requiring federal agencies to post public data online. On Dec. 8 the govt. of Guinea announces the arrests of 60 people for an assassination plot against junta leader Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara. On Dec. 8 the U.S. Supreme Court releases its first four decisions of the term, marking the debut of Sonia Sotomayor, who becomes the first on the court to use the term "undocumented immigrant" intead of the usual "illegal alien" in Mohawk Industries v. Carpenter (#08-678). On Dec. 8 the New York Times pub. a story about the proposed Ground Zero Mosque in Lower Manhattan 600 ft. from Ground Zero; it takes at least 6 mo. for a firestorm of controversy to build after work by heroic blogger Pamela Geller (1958-). On Dec. 8 the CBS-TV daytime soap opera As the World Turns (begun Apr. 2, 1956 airs its last episode, with Helen Wagner, who said "Good morning, dear" in episode 1 saying "Goodbye, dear"; meanwhile ABC-TV's "All My Children" moves from New York City to Los Angeles, Calif. to cut costs. On Dec. 8 CERN's Large Hadron Collider sets a record for highest energies of subatomic particles smashed, which allegedly are beamed via a radar facility in Ramfjordmoen, Norway intothe ionisphere, causing the Norway Spiral, which lights up the Norwegian sky; the Nov. 2010 WikiLeaks dump reveals that Pres. Obama is sent to 2012 ALICE Bunker because of it. On Dec. 9 violent protests by student separatists in Hyderabad, India in Andhra Pradesh, India are shut down by police, after which the govt. caves and agrees to set up a new state. On Dec. 9 British chancellor of the exchequer Alistair Darling announces a whopping 50% tax on bonuses made by U.K. bankers with 2008 bailout funds. On Dec. 9 a 1983 proposal to audit the Federal Reserve by Ron Paul (R-Tex.) is voted on in the U.S. House. On Dec. 9 three British Muslims are found guilty of conspire to murder civilians in a "deadly terrorist attack" on passenger aircraft, incl. Adam Khatib (1986-), Nabeel Hussain, and Shamin Uddin, who were working for a terrorist cell run from Pakistan by Abdullah Ahmed Ali, whose wife Cossor Ali (1981-) writes in her diary is desperate to kill himself for his cause in order to achieve the highest level of Islamic martyrdom and receive 72 virgins in paradise. On Dec. 9 Umar Farooq, Waqar Hussain Khan, Ahmed Minni, Ramy Zamzam, and Aman Yemer, five Muslim men from Alexandria, Va. ages 18-24 who vanished in late Nov. from their homes and arrived in Karachi on Dec. 1 are arrested in Sargodha, Pakistan for possible jihadist ties and seeking terrorist training with the Islamic terrorist orgs. Jaish-e-Muhammad and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba); some of them left farewell videos; both groups rejected their applications; on Feb. 2 they claim that they have been tortured in custody, then after facing life in prison in Pakistan on terrorism charges suddenly claim that they didn't really intend to attack anybody and aren't really jihadists; on June 24, 2010 they are sentenced to 10 years and $823 fines for conspiring against the state, plus 5 years for helping to finance a militant org. On Dec. 9 a report by Human Rights Watch on Brazil is pub., saying that police in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo shot and killed more than 11K suspects since 2003, and frequently carry out extrajudicial executions; meanwhile they are slated to host the 2016 Olympic Games. On Dec. 9 the Washington Post reports that the U.S. Transportation Security Admin. (TSA) accidentally pub. online its secret 93-page operating manual for screening passengers and baggage, complete with photos of govt. officials. On Dec. 9 the govt. of India announces that it's considering forming the new state of Telangana ("land of the Telugu people") in Andhra Pradesh in EC India; on Dec. 23 it tables its own motion (until ?). On Dec. 9 a mysterious Pyramid UFO appears over Moscow's Red Square. On Dec. 10 Pres. Obama delivers his Nobel Acceptance Speech in Oslo nine days after pledging 30K more troops for Afghanistan, incl. the soundbytes "Compared to some of the giants of history who have received this prize... my accomplishments are slight", and "I, like any head of state reserve the right to act unilaterally if necessary to defend my nation", countering objections about being a war president and not being up to par with past recipients with "we can't be guided by their example alone", defending "just wars", with the soundbyte "We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth: We will not eradicate violent conflicts in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations, acting individually or in concert will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified"; he then snubs the Norwegians by cancelling many of the usual events, incl. lunch with the king, pissing them off. On Dec. 10 U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gives a press briefing, admitting to finally dropping the public health care option. On Dec. 10 Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erodan gives an interview to Egyptian journalist Fahmi Huwaidi, saying that if Israel violates Turkish airspace to do recon on Iran, it "will receive a response equal to that of an earthquake". On Dec. 10 the U.S. House by 221-202 approves a $447B spending bill filled with $3.9B in earmarks for 5,224 pet projects; on Dec. 13 the U.S. Senate approves it by 57-35. On Dec. 10 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releases estimates that H1N1 swine flu has sicked 50M, hospitalized 200K, and killed 10K in the U.S. between Apr. and mid-Nov., equal to an entire winter flu season; previous estimates claimed 22M sickened and 4K killed - my hand shakes so when I'm around you? On Dec. 10 a Pew Forum on Religion and Life Poll finds that elements of Eastern faiths and New Age thinking have been adopted by 65% of U.S. adults, with many Protestants and Catholics getting into syncretism. On Dec. 11 Pope Benedict XVI meets with Irish church leaders and issues a statement that he shares the "outrage, betrayal and shame" felt by the Irish people over the govt. report detailing Church coverup of widespread sexual abuse of children for 30 years, and promising to write a pastoral letter to the Irish people, the first-ever about sexual abuse of children by clergy. On Dec. 11 U.S. secy. of state Hillary Clinton warns Latin Am. countries that getting too close to Iran is "a really bad idea" that could have consequences, saying the U.S. is well aware that Iran has stepped up diplomatic activities with Venezuela and Bolivia, and adding that Iran is "the major supporter, promoter and exporter of terrorism in the world today". On Dec. 11 Muntader al-Zaidi, who became a celeb when he threw his shoes at Pres. Bush a year ago, has a shoe thrown at him by journalist Khayat, who says "Here's another shoe for you". On Dec. 11 oil cos. from China, Russia, Malayasia, Angola, and Europe beat out U.S. cos. for Iraqi oil exploration and development contracts, getting only one out of 10. On Dec. 11 Libyan-born Abu Yahya al-Libi (1963-), likely successor of Osama bin Laden is reported killed by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan; too bad, later reports ID the man killed as Saleh al-Somali. On Dec. 12 the govt. of Uganda bans female genital mutilation, with a sentence of 10 years to life. On Dec. 12 Houston, Tex. elects its first openly gay mayor, Annise Danette Parker (1956-) (until ?). On Dec. 12 (night) dozens of Islamic militants storm a jail in S Philippines, freeing 31 inmates. On Dec. 13 Syria and Iran sign a mutual defense agreement, meaning that if Israel attacks Iran's nuclear facilities they will get in a war with Syria. On Dec. 13 Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi is hit in the face with a statue at a rally in Milan, bringing back memories of the "Years of Lead" in the 1960s-80s. On Dec. 13 Pres. Obama appears on 60 Minutes on CBS-TV, saying "I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of, you know, fatcat bankers on Wall Street"; on Dec. 14 he meets with Wall St. bank heads in person, asking them to loan more to small businesses and approve more mortgage refinancing deals, although he has little power over them. On Dec. 13 Islamic Hizbul Islam militants in Afgoye, Somalia (20 mi. SW of Mogadishu) stone to death Mohamed Abukar Ibraham (b. 1961) for adultery, forcing his fellow villagers to watch, then shoot a man they claim is a murderer, after which a battle with rivals kills three; the woman involved gets 100 lashes. On Dec. 13 a 17-nation Conference on Harassment of Women in the Arab World in Cairo, Egypt ends with grumbling but no action about Muslim-inspired attempts to drive women out of public spaces. On Dec. 14 the U.S. House by 223-202 passes a sweeping financial regulatory reform bill designed to prevent a repeat of the 2008 economic meltdown by creating a new consumer watchdog agency and new regulations on everything from credit cards to executive compensation - is this called Socialism? On Dec. 14 Pakistan refuses to crack down on the #1 Taliban warrior in Afghnistan Siraj Haqqani, saying that he's a spy for them in North Waziristan. On Dec. 14 al-Qaida #2 man Ayman al-Zawahri posts an Internet message accusing Pres. Obama of deceiving the Arab world and failing to advance Middle East peace, uttering the soundbyte that real struggle is "a war between Muslims and infidels", calling on all Muslims to join the jihad against the U.S., the West, and Israel. On Dec. 14 a BBC-TV interview with former British PM Tony Blair is broadcast, in which he admits that he would have supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq even if he had known they didn't possess WMDs, saying "It was the notion of him [Saddam Hussein] as a threat to the region, the fact of how that region was going to change whilst he was there", causing calls for him to be prosecuted as a war criminal; USAF Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper (1941-) claims that Iraq sent its WMDs to Syria in the weeks before the 2003 invasion, which is later backed up by satellite photos of a 200 sq. km area near Masyaf in NW Syria? On Dec. 14 the London Times pub. a secret document exposing that Iran was working on testing a nuclear bomb "neutron initiator" as far back as 2007, although Iran claimed to have suspended its nuke program in 2003; on Dec. 21 Imadinnajacket is interviewed by Diane Sawyer on "ABC World News", and he calls the document "a repetitive and tasteless joke", strongly denying that Iran wants the nuke, and saying that if the U.S. wants to impose sanctions "Then go and do it", adding "We don't welcome confrontation, but we don't surrender to bullying either"; on Dec. 28 former CIA counterterrorism official Philip Giraldi says that the document was forged, probably by the Israelis or Brits, blaming Rupert Murdoch for allowing the disinfo. to be disseminated by his chain. On Dec. 14 after hearing arguments from the Obama admin., the U.S. Supreme Court lets stand a lower court ruling that declared torture an ordinary expected consequence of military detention, and introducing a new precedent that anyone who is declared a "suspected enemy combatant" by the U.S. pres. of his designates is no longer a "person" with human rights or legal standing; the U.S. War Crimes Act of 1996 still makes torture a federal crime. On Dec. 14 a confidential U.S. diplomatic cable says that Iran has assassinated 180 Iraqi pilots who flew sorties against it during the Iran-Iraq War; revealed by WikiLeaks in Nov. 2010. On Dec. 15 a suicide car bomber in the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul near the home of former Afghan vice-pres. Ahmad Zia Massoud and the pro-West Heetal Hotel (owned by the son of former pres. Burhanuddin Rabbani) kills eight and wounds 40; Massoud's brother Ahmad Shah Massoud was an anti-Taliban fighter killed on Sept. 9, 2001 by al-Qaida. On Dec. 15 Pres. Obama hosts a last-minute meeting with Senate Dems. over the stalled health care reform bill, telling them that they are "on the precipice of an achievement that's eluded congresses and presidents for generations"; after the meeting, Dem. Nat. Committee chmn. Howard Dean says "The best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill and go back to the House... You have the vast majority of Americans want the choices, they want real choices. They don't have them in this bill. This is not health care reform"; after mucho arm-twisting, on Dec. 21 the Senate votes 60-40 on straight party lines, followed on Dec. 24 (first Xmas Eve session since 1895) by a 60-39 vote, requiring it to be sent to the House to reconcile the two versions; on Dec. 21 (1 a.m.) U.S. Sen. (R-Okla.) (2005-) Thomas Allen "Tom" Coburn (1948-) gives a speech in the Senate, exposing the backroom arm-twisting and sweet money deals made to get the bill passed, saying "This process is not legislation, this process is corruption"; meanwhile the Shanghai Daily announces that China will not fund U.S. deficits. On Dec. 15 Afghan Pres. Hamid Karzai gives a speech at an anti-corruption in Kabul, where he tries to defend corrupt Kabul mayor Abdul Ahad Sahibi, calling for his charges to be overturned, showing that the corruption goes to the top and can never be ended, just an act put on to keep U.S. money flowing in? On Dec. 15 the Obama admin. announces its decision to house Guantanamo Bay POWs in the Thomson Correctional Center in Thomson in NW Ill. On Dec. 15 the U.S. Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act (CIRASAP) is introduced in the U.S. House of Reps, with 87 co-sponsors led by Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Joe Baca (D.-Calif.), meeting instant death after Dems. balk at amnesty for 12M+ Mexican immigrants and the fact that Mexico's basic problems will generate new waves; they totally ignore TLW's Megamerge Dissolution Solution, as usual. On Dec. 15 (night) after a challenge from Centrepoint, a British homeless youth support org., British Prince William spends a night on the streets of London to understand the plight of the homeless - I'm cool like that? On Dec. 15 the Obama admin.'s Dept. of Homeland Security issues a fact sheet, touting the "Secure Flight" program and how it's protecting Americans from terrorists by pre-screening suspects. On Dec. 16 the U.S. House by 217-212 passes a $154B jobs bill funding more cops and firefighters, along with worker training; the Senate won't vote on it until next year. On Dec. 16 Iran tests the upgraded Sejil 2 missile, with a 1.2K-mi. range capable of hitting Israel and Europe, while dissing attempts to impose sanctions by cutting off gasoline supplies, since they have many more suppliers available. On Dec. 16 the Pakistan Supreme Court strikes down the Nat. Reconciliation Ordinance political amnesty law and orders corruption cases reinstated against pro-Western pres. Asif Ali Zardari and thousands of other politicans, throwing a monkey wrench into the govt.'s fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban; chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, who was removed in 2007 by Pervez Mushrraf heads a special new monitoring unit to make sure the cases are pursued; it's really a plot by the military to remove the civilian govt. and establish a military dictatorship? - Muslims never forgive and always keep score and get even? On Dec. 16 the British Supreme Court upholds a ruling that Jewish schools can't racially discriminate against students for having non-Jewish mothers, with the soundbyte "There can in future be no Jewish faith schools which give preference to children because they are Jewish according to Jewish religious law and belief." On Dec. 16 Yemeni security forces backed by (U.S.?) warplanes kill up to 30 al-Qaida militants in the S province of Abyan, and foil a planned series of suicide bombings. On Dec. 16 Mexican drug cartel "Boss of Bosses" Don Arturo Beltran Leyva (b. 1951) is killed along with five bodyguards by Mexican govt. forces, becoming a big V for the Felipe Calderon admin.; too bad, on Dec. 21 his gang kills the mother, brother, sister, and aunt of Mexican Marine Melquisedet Angulo, who died after taking part in the raid. On Dec. 16 the U.S. FTC sues chip maker Intel for anti-trust violations. On Dec. 16 Pres. Obama gives an interview to ABC-TV's Charles Gibson, playing his best card of claiming that if his health care reform program doesn't pass, the federal govt. will go bankrupt. On Dec. 16 two senior U.N. officials claim that the #2 U.S. U.N. official in Afghanistan Peter W. Galbraith tried to get the White House to help him replace Afghan Pres. Hamid Karzai in Sept. when the election fraud was being exposed, and that Karzai got pissed-off after hearing about it, causing Galbraith to be expelled and fired; the #1 official Richard C. Holbrooke also clashes with Karzai over the election, but never got caught mentioning replacing him. On Dec. 16 Pres. Obama signs Executive Order - Amending Executive Order 12425, reversing restrictions placed on INTERPOL on U.S. soil in 1983 by Pres. Reagan, placing it beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement agencies incl. the FBI, and making it immune to Freedom of Info. Act (FOIA) requests. On Dec. 16 human rights group Iraq Body Count lists the civilian death toll in Iraq for 2009 at 4,497, lowest since the 2003 invasion; the 2008 toll was 9,226. On Dec. 17 on Pres. Obama's orders, the U.S. launches cruise missile attacks on suspected al-Qaida sites in Yemen, killing 120, showing that he's serious about bringing al-Qaida down wherever they hide. On Dec. 17 the U.S. House of Reps launches an investigation into U.S. funding of the Taliban by U.S. military contractors who are paying them protection money to not attack their convoys. On Dec. 17 U.S. officials admit that Iraqi militants have been using the $26 SkyGrabber software program to intercept live video feeds from U.S. Predator drones, but claim they've fixed the problem with encryption. On Dec. 17 U.S. drones kill 16 in North Waziristan, indicating an escalation to take up the slack caused by the Pakistan military. On Dec. 17 a mob of 1K Muslims storm a Roman Catholic church near Jakarta, Indonesia in order to prevent its construction from being finished. On Dec. 18 the famous 16-ft.-long 90 lb. "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign over the entrance to Auschwitz is stolen; five common thieves are later arrested, and are traced to a militant Swedish Nazi group that wanted to sell it and use the funds to fight Islamization of Europe - it did say free, right? On Dec. 18 the U.S. announces plans to send six Yemenis from Guantanamo Bay prison back to Yemen; 97 of the 210 GB POWs are from Yemen. On Dec. 18 (dawn) Iranian forces sneak into Iraq and occupy a well in the East Maysan Oil Field; after an uproar, they withdraw. On Dec. 18 the U.S. govt. charges three alleged al-Qaida assocs., Oumar Issa, Harouna Toure, and Idriss Abdelrahman in New York City with conspiring to engage in narcoterrorism. On Dec. 18 the DC Marriage Equality and Religious liberty same-sex marriage law for Washington, D.C. is signed in a church during a blizard that blankets the NE U.S. On Dec. 19 the EU opens its borders to 10M Serbs, Montenegrins, and Macedonians, ending 20 years of demanding visas. On Dec. 19 the Iranian govt. acknowledges that three protesters were beaten to death by their jailers, blaming it on low-level grunts not the brass. On Dec. 19 Pres. Obama signs the Brownback Native Am. Apology Resolution apologizing to the Cherokees and all Native Am. tribes for past wrongs, sponsored by U.S. Sen. (R-Kan.) (1996-2011) Samuel Dale "Sam" Brownback (1956-). On Dec. 19 the Vatican declares a copyright on the figure of the pope - so it was about money all along? On Dec. 20 police clash with Maoist demonstrators in Katmandu, Nepal, arresting 70. On Dec. 20 a plane loaded with North Korean weapons is impounded in Bangkok; it is thought to have been heading for Iran. On Dec. 21 Cambodia signs 14 funding deals worth $850M with China; on Dec. 19 they deported 20 ethnic Chinese asylum seekers. On Dec. 21 elections for the gov. body of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt are won by the old guard, ending reform attempts. On Dec. 21 former Bush admin. adviser Howard A. Schmidt is named Pres. Obama's cyberczar (adviser on cybersecurity policy); in May Obama declared U.S. digital networks a "strategic national asset" and called their protection a "national security priority". On Dec. 21 blonde-blue white Diane Sawyer (1945-) (known for her loving eyes and manner - what Marilyn Monroe might have become if she lived?) debuts as anchor of ABC-TV's World News Tonight after Charles Gibson retired on Dec. 18. On Dec. 21 Mexico City legalizes same-sex marriages incl. adoptions by same-sex couples, becoming the 2nd major Latin Am. city after Buenos Aires in Nov.; they approved same-sex civil unions in 2007. On Dec. 21 the Franken Amendment to the 2010 U.S. Defense Appropriations Bill is signed into law, authorizing contracts with defense cos. that "restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court" to be withheld. On Dec. 21 a letter from former U.S. pres. Jimmy Carter to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in New York City is pub., asking the Jewish community for forgiveness for any stigma he may have caused Israel for placing the burden of peacemaking on it, comparing its settlement policies to apartheid, and blaming the pro-Israel lobby for warping U.S. foreign policy. On Dec. 21 the Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll sees Pres. Obama's disapproval rating at 46%, the first time over 42%; 55% of voters oppose Obama's health care legislation. On Dec. 21 police in SW Houston, Tex. find an AT-4 shoulder-mounted rocket launcher in the apt. of Nabilaye I. Yansane along with Muslim jihadist writings, but decline to file charges, claiming no ties were found to terrorism and there was no threat found. On Dec. 22 a suicide bomber detonates at the gate of the Pakistan Press Club in Peshawar, killing three. On Dec. 22 Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov tells the press that Russia and the U.S. are on the verge of "a radical and unprecedented reduction in strategic offensive weapons"; the 1991 START I treaty, which was set to expire on Dec. 5 was extended while working on a new agreement. On Dec. 22 the FBI releases its Dossier on Michael Jackson, which incl. details of his er, little pedophile problem. On Dec. 22 after mucho internat. publicity and pressure and a 5-year court battle, Am. father David Goldman is granted custody of his 9-y.-o. son Sean Goldman by the Brazilian Supreme Court after his wife stole him away to Brazil then died, causing his well-connected Brazilian maternal relatives to abuse the court system to slow it down; on Aug. 8, 2014 Pres. Obama signs the U.S. Sean and David Goldman Internat. Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act. On Dec. 22 after voting against the stimulus, health care reform, energy bill, equal pay for women, etc., moderate new U.S. Rep. Parker Griffith (1942-) of Ala. switches from the Dem. to Repub. Party; he is known for the soundbyte "We have nothing to fear from radical Islam... if we are strong on our own beliefs... I think America's greatest enemy is America and its materialism." On Dec. 22 (night) Am. Airlines Flight 331 en route from Miami overshoots the runway in Kingston, Jamaica and skids to the edge of the Caribbean Sea, injuring 40+. On Dec. 23 the U.N. Security Council imposes sanctions on Eritrea for giving aid to Islamic insurgents in Somalia. On Dec. 23 bombs targeted at Iraqi Christians and Shiites kill at least seven and wound three dozen during Shiite celebrations of Ashura. On Dec. 23 Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Aswat reports that Osama bin Laden's 17-y.-o. daughter Eman escaped from her gaurds in Iran and fled to the Saudi embassy in Tehran about 1 mo. ago. On Dec. 23 Islamic Al-Shabaab militants from Somalia seize five islands near the coast of Kenya, and set up Sharia. On Dec. 24 (early morning) an air strike in SE Yemen by Yemeni forces against an alleged al-Qaida hideout kills 30, incl. leader Nasser al-Wahayshi, his deputy Saeed al-Shehri, and possibly Ft. Hood-connected Anwar al-Awlaki; since al-Awlaki is a U.S. citizen, Pres. Obama gave personal authorization for the attack first; too bad, he survives. On Dec. 24 Russian pres. Dmitry Medvedev announces on TV that Russia is working on a new generation of nuclear missiles to keep up with the Amerikanskies. On Dec. 24 the U.S. Senate votes to raise the govt. debt ceiling to $12.4T. On Dec. 24 Pope Benedict XVI is attacked by mentally unstable Susanna Maiolo in St. Peter's Basilica, causing him to fall to the floor, then get back up unhurt; she tried the same thing a year earlier but was stopped by guards; on Jan. 13 he meets with her, and she apologizes and he forgives her. On Dec. 24 a suicide car bomber in Kandahar, Afghanistan kill eight Afghan civilians. On Dec. 24 as Shiite Muslims prepare to celebrate Ashura on Dec. 28, five attacks in and around Baghdad and Karbala in Iraq kill 27 and wound 100+, incl. Iraqi Brig. Gen. Talib Khalil; too bad, since Ashura falls near Christmas, Christians who happen to live around them are treated like merde, and are afraid to celebrate Christmas. On Dec. 24 (dawn) the MV Catalyn B Ferry collides with the 369-ton Anathalia fishing vessel vessel and sinks in Manila Bay, killing 24 of 73. On Dec. 24 an Iranian court sentences prominent reformist Abdollah Ramezanzadeh to six years in prison for post-election protests; meanwhile Iran simmers with disaffected people and the Imadinnajacket regime is at a crossroads? On Dec. 24 the U.K. grants Aso Mohammed Ibrahim (1978-) asylum despite a hit-run murder of 12-y.-o. Amy Houston in Nov. 2003 after his attys. talk the court into giving him the right to a "family life". On Dec. 24 Korean-Am. Christian missionary Robert Park (1981-) crosses into North Korea carrying a letter to Kim Jong Il calling attention to his tens of thousands of political prisoners; he is arrested, becoming another one, then is freed on Feb. 6, 2010 - he'll file the letter on the pile? On Dec. 24 Jamaican-born radical Muslim cleric Sheik Abdullah el-Faisal, who had been jailed in Britain for 9 years for soliciting the murder of Jews and Hindus and deported in 2007 enters Kenya from Tanzania despite being on an internat. watch list, and it takes until Jan. 4 to catch the mistake. On Dec. 24 Polish disc jockey Jakub Rene Kosik (1982-) begins receiving death threats for a YouTube video called Mekka, which he uploaded in tribute to Muslim culture - now he knows what Muslim culture really is? On Dec. 24 the Ft. Jackson Five, five Muslim soldiers at Ft. Jackson, S.C. are arrested for attempting to poison the food supply; it takes until mid-Feb. for it to be made public. On Dec. 25 China's #1 dissident Liu Xiaobo (1956-) is sentenced to 11 years of hard time for "inciting subversion to state power" - the U.S. should free him in a commando raid? On Dec. 25 the Great U.S. Blizzard of 2009 in the C U.S. kills at least 18 and causes a state of emergency to be declared in S.D., Tex., and Okla. On Dec. 25 Pope Benedict XVI delivers his 2009 Xmas Messsage in St. Peter's Square, urging "acceptance and welcome" of immigrants fleeing poverty and intolerance. Merry Christmas from Hate-filled Allah's Fruit of the Boom, You Yankee Infidel Dogs? On Dec. 25 (eight years after Shoe Bomber Richard Reid's failed aircraft bombing attempt) the Obama family spends Xmas in Hawaii in a $4K a night rental house; meanwhile al-Qaida says Merry Xmas to Great Satan as Nigerian "Christmas Burning Man", "Xmas Underwear Bomber", "Panty Bomber", "Condom Bomber" "Balls Bomber" (son of banking exec. Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, who turned him into the U.S. embassy in Nigeria on Nov. 19 for his "extreme religious views", saying that his nickname is "Islamic scholar", causing him to be put on the 400K-name Terrorist Watchlist not the 3.4K-name No-Fly List or 14K-name Selectee List, and who was allowed to board despite having no luggage and paying for the ticket in cash) Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (1986-) (who was allowed to board despite being on the U.S. govt. watch list) attempts to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 (Airbus A330) (278 on board) in Detroit after it arrived from Amsterdam with Shoe Bomber explosive PETN hidden in a condom in his underwear; luckily it's a dud and sets him on fire instead, and after passengers put out the fires and tackle him, he survives, and Allah's paradise will have to wait; after being questioned for 50 min. by the FBI, he is suddenly Mirandized and clams up, then allegedly opens back up in early Feb. after the FBI flies his relatives to the U.S. to urge him to cooperate; on Dec. 26 it is revealed that he was sent on his mission by al-Qaida in Yemen, where he was living from Aug.-early Dec., and whose 200-300 agents are training dozens more to blow up Western jets, causing Yemeni foreign minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi to tell the BBC that Yemen wants to defeat al-Qaida but is hampered by a lack of U.S. support; airport regs. are immediately modified to prohibit passengers from getting out of their seats for 1 hour before landing, although the govt. does no ideological testing of Muslims before letting them board to screen-out those who are radicalized, and it was thanks to the passengers getting out of their seats that the plane was saved, incl. hero (movie producer) Jasper Schuringa; on Dec. 27 U.S. homeland security secy. Janet Napolitano stinks herself up by claiming that the system "worked really very, very smoothly", and on Dec. 28 after an outcry admits that it failed miserably, while Pres. Obama after three days of silence finally addresses the press on Dec. 28 after al-Qaida in Yemen claims responsibility for the attack on a Web site, saying that terrorists "must know that the U.S. will do more than strengthen our defenses, we will continue to use every element of our national power to disrupt, to dismantle and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us", and will pursue them in "Yemen or Somalia or anywhere else"; too bad, Obama calls Mutallab an "isolated terrorist" despite all the links to al-Qaida; on Dec. 29 Obama speaks at the Hawaii Marine Corps Base in Kaneohe Bay, and calls the affair "a systemic failure" that is "totally unacceptable", adding "There was a mix of human and systemic failures that contributed to this potential catastrophic breach of security"; two of the al-Qaida leaders in Yemen behind the plot were released from Guantanamo Bay prison in 2007; U.S. intel agencies stopped the U.S. State Dept. from revoking his U.S. visa; Mutallab had earlier attempted to board the plane sans passport with a mysterious Indian Man in a nice suit who tried to talk the counter agent into it, who was witnessed by passenger Kurt Haskell, who claims a coverup; another PETN underwear bomber Abdullah Hasan Tali al-Asiri from Yemen tried to assassinate Saudi prince Mohammed bin Nayef in Aug.; the Obama admin. decides to try him in federal court and offer him a plea bargain in exchange for telling what he knows about al-Qaida operations in Yemen, and he is indicted on six counts on Jan. 6, the indictment never using the word "terrorism", and pleads not guilty; Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam starts full body scanning for all people travelling to the U.S. within three weeks, followed by Nigeria; neither Pres. Obama nor U.S. Nat. Counterterrorism Center dir. Michael Leitner interrupt their Xmas vacations after the bomber incident; on Jan. 24 an alleged audio message from Osama bin Laden claims responsibility, with the phrase "Peace be upon those who follow guidance" at the beginning and end indicating a possible new attack in the works, but Pres. Obama says that his false claiming of responsibility proves his weakness; meanwhile conspiracy theorists call the whole incident a hoax by the U.S. govt. to give it mojo to invade Yemen et al.; on Aug. 31 a Rasmussen Poll is pub. indicating that 58% believe that Mutallab should be waterboarded to get more info. out of him, and 71% would like to see the crime investigated by military rather than civilian authorities; Internet postings by Mutallab incl. "My jihad fantasy... Muslims will win and rule the world"; he is the 4th pres. of a London student Islamic society (Univ. College London) to face terrorist charges in the last three years; in Jan. it is revealed that a July report by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security contains the soundbyte "Not all known or reasonably suspected terrorists are prohibited from boarding an aircraft, or are subject to additional security screening prior to boarding an aircraft"; on Jan. 7 it is revealed that Nigeria had full body scanners installed at U.S. expense in 2007, and they didn't catch Mutallab; the 84-page Pentagon Report on the Ft. Hood Massacre completely ignores the Islamic jihadist angle; meanwhile in Feb. the Fiqh Council of North America declares body scanners un-Islamic, and on Feb. 22 Pope Benedict XVI utters the soundbyte "In every action, it is above all essential to protect and value the human person in their integrity"; five U.S. Army soldiers at Ft. Hood in Va. are arrested for a plot to poison the base food supply, but they are later cleared, although four are discharged for petty crimes - Nigerian email scam jokes here? On Dec. 26 protesters in C Tehran in Imam Hossein Square et al. are attacked by police, incl. the Rev. Guard and paramilitary Basijis; protests continue until ?; meanwhile the Islamic Repub. of Iran stink it up with increasing violence, arresting 1K in massive protests on Dec. 28, the holy day of Ashura, which is also the 7th day after the death of Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri, when his death is being mourned, killing some protesters, incl. Ali-Habibi Mousavi, a nephew of former PM Mir Houssein Mousavi on Dec. 27, making them more determined to bring the regime down, shouting "This is the month of blood, Yazid will fall", referring to Ayatollah Khamenei as the new Yazid, the killer of Hussein's son Ali, whose death is lamented on Ashura; meanwhile the govt. calls the protests a foreign-backed "masquerade". On Dec. 26 Iranian foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki says that Iran might be willing to swap enriched uranium for nuclear fuel with the West, but only on Turkish soil. On Dec. 26 the Israeli army kills three suspected Palestinian Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades terrorists in Nablus, plus three more near the Erez crossing, causing Britain to send £50M in aid to Palestine. On Dec. 26 Muslims attack Christian worshippers during prayers in Kalar Kahar Town, Pakistan 75 mi. from Islamabad, injuring 65; meanwhile two Pakistani Christians, Imran Masih (1989-) and Khushi Mashi (1985-) are shot with AK-47s by Muslims at their wedding after refusing to convert to Islam, but survive. On Dec. 26 German defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg says that the West should abandon hopes of creating a democracy in Afghanistan because its backward Sharia-loving Muslims are unsuited to it, and the country's govt. has to incl. the Taliban. On Dec. 26 the Pakistan govt. restricts the activities of Americans, limiting them to Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Internat. Airport. On Dec. 27 another Nigerian on the same Amsterdam-Detroit Airbus 330 flight causes a bomb scare when he locks himself in the restroom; after being arrested, he is released by the FBI after they determine that he was just airsick. On Dec. 27 the first case of highly drug-resistant TB in the U.S. since the 1970s is announced, Peruvian immigrant Oswaldo Juarez (1980-), who came to "learn English". On Dec. 27 Gaza Freedom March of 1K internat. activists from 42 countries organized by U.S. activist group Code Pink sets out by bus from Cairo to Rafah on the Gaza border; too bad, Egyptian authorities stop and mistreat them. On Dec. 27 the govt. of Iran begins posting photos of protesters on the Internet in the hope that informants will finger them. On Dec. 27 the Lebanese TV channel Al-Quds features children holding guns and being taught the glories of Islamic martyrdom, with storyteller Abu Saleh uttering the soundbyte "There is not a single Palestinian village or city whose people do not know how to use a gun. Why? Because they have suckled this with their mother's milk." On Dec. 27-29 the Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention in Toronto attracts 6.5K-17K Muslims, who cheer after a speaker says that Allah destroyed the Soviet Union for invading Afghanistan, and might do the same thing to the U.S. On Dec. 28 U.S.-led troops are accused of dragging innocent children from their beds and shooting them during a Dec. 27 night raid in Ghazi Khan villege in Kunar, E Afghanistan that killed 10, causing "Death to America" protests in Kabul and Jalalabad; NATO spokesmen initially call the victims insurgents until Afghan govt. investigators ID them as civilians, incl. eight children ages 11-17. On Dec. 28 Yemen announces that it arrested 29 suspected al-Qaida members in response to the Underwear Bomber incident. On Dec. 28 a suicide bomber in a Shiite Muslim procession in Karachi, Pakistan kills 30 and wounds dozen, causing the Shiite Ashura marchers to get violent and throw stones at the security forces for failing to prevent it. On Dec. 28 Christian girl Sarah Edmond Youhanna is kidnapped by an Islamic group at the U. of Mosul in Iraq as a warning to all Christians to leave Iraq. On Dec. 28 Jose Maria Di Bello and Alex Freyre of Argentina become the first gays to wed in Latin Am., in Tierra del Fuego. On Dec. 29 Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Egyptian pres. Hosni Mubarak, causing hopes of movement in the Middle East peace process. On Dec. 29 Russian PM Vladimir Putin threatens that Russia will go ahead with a new class of advanced offensive missiles if the U.S. continues to develop a defensive missile shield - and even if it doesn't, right, Tsar Vladimir? On Dec. 29 Pres. Obama begins a sweeping classified document secrecy overhaul, saying that "no information may remain classified indefinitely", and ordering govt. agencies to try to make more info. public; this includes the sensitive Pres. Daily Briefs? On Dec. 29 an Afghan soldier turns jihadist at a military base in Badghis Province in W Afghanistan, killing one U.S. soldier and wounding two Italian soldiers with an explosives-laden vest. On Dec. 30 (10 a.m.) suicide bombers strike Anbar Province in W Afghanistan, ambushing local leaders and killing 24 and wounding 58; meanwhile ordanian-born Taliban double agent suicide bomber (a physician) Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi (b. 1973) (born in the same town of Zarqa, Jordan as Iraq al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi) is permitted to enter the U.S. Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost Province in E Afghanistan sans body search, killing seven CIA employees, five Canadians, and one Jordanian intel officer, Sharif Ali bin Zeid (Zaid), becoming the deadliest attack on U.S. intelligence personnel in the war, exposing the CIA fighting a dirty war on the Afghan border alongside its Jordanian allies?; his Turkish wife Defne Bayrak tells the AP that his hatred of the U.S. motivated him, and that the jihad must go on; he leaves a recording bragging on how he capitalized on the "stupidity" of Jordanian and U.S. intel officials, plus a posth. message calling on Muslims to wage jihad and become martyrs like him; CIA base chief Jessica Matthews, who only spent 3 mo. in Afghanistan or served in a war zone is a misguided result of affirmative action at the CIA?; he was paid by the Taliban? On Dec. 30 U.S. House Repub. leaders led by John Boehner of Ohio ask Pres. Obama to halt releases from Guantanamo, citing the news that one or more released detainees were linked to the Xmas Underwear Bomber; meanwhile Obama summons U.S. intel chiefs to a meeting next week at the White House to discuss how to prevent a repeat of Xmas Underwear Bomber, and U.S. homeland security secy. Janet Napolitano announces that she will send senior officials to meet with airport execs around the world to discuss how to screen passengers on U.S.-bound flights. On Dec. 30 it is revealed that India is preparing for a possible 2-front war with China and Pakistan. On Dec. 30 Kosovan-born ethnic Albanian Muslim gunman Ibrahim Shkupolli (b. 1966) kills five in a shopping mall in Helsinki, Finland incl. his ex-girlfriend, then kills himself. On Dec. 30 Islamic insurgents kidnap two French journalists, along with their driver and translator in Kapisa Province 75 mi. NE of Kabul. On Dec. 30 the U.S. govt. gives $3.8B more cash to GMAC Financial Services to help it survive huge loses in its home mortgage unit. On Dec. 30 a white 1992 Dodge mystery van sans license plans in Time Square on Broadway between 41st and 42nd Sts. causes a security scare, causing it to be blocked off from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; it contained the contents of a peddler's stand. On Dec. 30 the Afghan govt. accuses U.S.-led troops of killing innocent children in Ghazi Khan village in Narang district in E Kunar Province during a night raid that killed 10, causing anti-U.S. demonstrations in Kabul and Jalalabad, with chants of "Death to America"; the U.S. responds that they were part of an Afghan terror cell manufacturing IEDs, and that they killed nine who who were shooting at them from several bldgs. On Dec. 31 (2:00 a.m.) Pakistan commandos raid a private clinic in Wana in South Waziristan, killing four foreign militants and a woman. On Dec. 31 U.S. federal judge Ricardo M. Urbina dismisses charges against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in 2007, saying that the govt. improperly used their statements. On Dec. 31 U.S. Nat. Intel dir. Dennis C. Blair sends a letter to the 16-agency intel community saying that he will "commend those who did their jobs well and hold accountable those who did not"; meanwhile Obama's deputy nat. security adviser (since 2009) John O. Brennan (1954-) is granted a special ethics waiver by the White House to conduct a review of the intel and screening breakdown on the Xmas Underwear Bomber. On Dec. 31 China denounces a U.S. trade ruling on steel pipes by the Internat. Trade Commission that subsidized Chinese imports harm U.S. steel pipe manufacturers; between 2006 and 2008 they quadrupled from $681M to $2.8B. On Dec. 31 the high court of Malaysia rules that the Roman Catholic newspaper "The Herald" has the right to use the word Allah for God; on Jan. 6 it suspends the ruling pending appeal as the govt. claims only Muslims should be able to use it, and on Jan. 7 the Metro Tabernacle Christian church in Kuala Lumpur is fire-bombed, followed by several others; on Jan. 6 the High Court in Bombay rules that Islam can be criticized, but not "maliciously". On Dec. 31 Montana becomes the 3rd U.S. state to allow assisted suicide. On Dec. 31 U2 ends the year and the decade with $123M for its 360 Tour of sports stadiums in 16 cities, the only music act to top $100M; Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band comes in #2 at $95M, Elton John and Billy Joel's joint tour comes in #3 at $88M, and Britney Spears' Circus Tour comes in #4 with $83M. On Dec. 31 the Dow Jones Industrial Avg. closes at 10428.05 (down 120.46), up 18.8% for the year and down 9% for the decade; Standard & Poor's closes at 1115.10 (down 11.32), up 23.5% for the year. On Dec. 3-Jan. 3 mudslides in Brazil kill 76+. On Dec. 31 (night) there is a rare Blue Moon. In Dec. claiming the need to push through financial measures to save the sagging economy, Jordanian king Abdullah II dismisses his PM and replaces him with a palace aide, then dissolves parliament and postpones legislative elections for a year. In Dec. 2009 the Pakistan Five, five of members of the large Dar al-Hijrah Mosque located in Falls Church, Va. near Washington, D.C. (home of imam Anwar al-Awlaki) are captured in Pakistan while attempting to join an Islamic terrorist group. In Dec. France confirms the discovery of the richest oil deposit in W Europe (40B barrels), which runs under the Eiffel Tower. In Dec. oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp. buys natural gas giant XTO Energy Inc. for $30B in stock. In Dec. Russia's first Sapsan (Russ. "peregrine falcon") high-speed train begins operation between St. Petersburg and Moscow; it is built by the Siemens Co. of the U.S. In Dec. U.S. employers unexpectedly cut 85K jobs, leaving the employment rate at 10%. In Dec. Chinese-made Zhu Zhu Pets are the rage in the U.S. for Christmas toys, despite containing antimony. In Dec. the Combating Terrorism Center of West Point pub. Deadly Vanguards: A Study of al-Qaida's Violence Against Muslims, revealing that only 15% of all victims of al-Qaida attacks from 2004-8 were Westerners, and that more Muslims than Westerners were killed. In Dec. the first remains of a house in the ancient town of Nazareth from the time of Jesus Christ are discovered. In Dec. the White House Christmas Tree, designed by Simon Doonan of Barney's New York features an ornament with the face of Mao Zedong, and another with the transvestite char. Hedda Lettuce; Pres. Obama doesn't regularly attend church in his first year, and skips it on Xmas also. In Dec. Polish police announce the foiling of an al-Qaida plot to bomb the Euro 2012 Football Tournament. In Dec. after talks with Dutch sports car maker Spyker fall through, GM announces plans to close down operations at Saab. In Dec. residents of Colo. Springs, Colo. erect a sign reading "Welcome to Obamaville" visible from the main highway. In Dec. the 1.5K San Francisco Sea Lions of Pier 39 suddenly vanish; the first began leaving the day after Thanksgiving. In late Dec. the three top Wall St. banks, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley decide to award $49.5B in year-end bonuses, causing a public outcry; they received a total of $45B in cash under TARP. In late Dec. the Obama admin. announces that it is overturning the Bush admin. policy of automatically arresting immigrants claiming to be fleeing torture or persecution, allowing them to freely live in the U.S. while their applications for permanent asylum are being considered - the Xmas Underwear Bomber did it wrong? In Dec. former lingerie model Angie Sanselmente Valencia is exposed as running one of the world's largest drug rings; a warrant for her arrest is issued in Feb. The U.S. Congress removes longtime budget restrictions preventing officials of Washington, D.C. from implementing a medical marijuana intiative approved by voters in 1998. The U.S. begins building the $400M Iron Dome System for Israel to protect Israeli towns from Palestinian rockets coming from the Gaza Strip (finished 2010). The Rand Corp. pub. a U.S. Army-funded Study on Civil Unrest that recommends an internal U.S. police force to combat unrest, causing 20K troops to be deployed in the continental U.S. in 2011. The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies gives the U.S. govt. a report showing that Iran's greatest vulnerability is inability to refine oil into gasoline, causing them to fold them into the sanctions, with good effect; too bad, Iran begins building facilities to turn natural gas into methane and convert vehicles to run on it. Saudi Sheikh Saleh Al-Fawzan issues a fatwa permitting an employee to kill his co-worker for not praying to Allah. The synthetic drug Mephedrone (AKA meow or miaow) becomes the #4 street drug in the U.K. behind marijuana, cocaine, and ecstasy; it is not made illegal in the U.K. until Apr. 16, 2010, and the U.S. until ?. Ben & Jerry's renames its popular Chubby Hubby flavor to Hubby Hubby to commemorate gay rights. Tasmania launches its first bank for women. After pressure by pro-Palestinian activists, Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass. becomes the first U.S. univ. to divest itself from mutual funds tied to Israel. GPal is founded on Nov. 3 as a competitor to near-monopoly PayPal. Bitcoin is founded as a purely digital currency. The term Muffin top to describe flabby flesh spilling over the waistline of pants is coined in Australia. The first annual Brooklyn Folk Festival in N.Y. is held. Sports: On Feb. 15 the 2009 (51st) Daytona 500 is won by Matthew Roy "Matt" Kenseth (1972-), becoming the first #17 car since Darrell Waltrip in 1989 to win. On May 2 the the indoor practice facility of the Dallas Cowboys in Irving, Tex. collapses in high winds, causing 12 to be hospitalized and permanently paralyzing scouting asst. Rich Behm (1975-). On May 24 (Sun.) the 2009 (93rd) Indianapolis 500 is won by Helio Castroneves (1975-) of Brazil (3rd win). On May 30-June 12 the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals see the Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Detroit Red Wings 4-3, making Pittsburgh the only city to win the Super Bowl and Stanley Cup in the same year; Pittsburgh becomes the 2nd team after the 1971 Montreal Canadiens to win after losing the first two games on the road; MVP is 6'3" Penguins center Evgeni (Yevgeni) Vladimirovich "Geno" Malkin (1986-), who becomes the first Russian-born and Asian-born MVP. On June 4-14 the 2009 NBA Finals sees the Los Angeles Lakers (coach Phil Jackson) defeat the Orlando Magic (coach Stan Van Gundy) by 4-1: MVP is Kobe Bryant of the Lakers. On Nov. 27 (2:25 a.m.) Am. golf superstar Tiger Woods (1975-) crashes his Cadillac Escalde SUV into a fire hydrant outside his Fla. home, then locks himself up in his house until Nov. 29, when he admits reponsibility, with the soundbyte "I'm human and I'm not perfect", after which he admits "transgressions" regarding allegations of extramarital affairs, after which at least 12 all-white mostly blonde babes come out of the woodwork to claim affairs with him, incl. high-priced hookers, giving his untarnished image mucho grass between the toes, causing his endorsement career to tank, with Gatorade being the first, dropping its Tiger Woods drink, although it claims it already decided to, followed on Dec. 12 by Accenture Pic, on Dec. 18 by Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer, and on Dec. 31 by AT&T; shareholders in cos. that sponsored him lose a total of $12B; after his Swedish-born white blonde-blue wife (since 2004) Elin Maria Pernilla Nordegren (1980-) leaves him, he announces his retirement from golfing until he gets his life back together; she demands half of his $600M wealth plus custody of their two children; meanwhile on Dec. 16 he is voted top athlete of the decade by the AP, with 64 tournament wins incl. 12 majors and 56 PGA Tour wins. Architecture: On Mar. 29 $850M City Field in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, N.Y. opens as the home of the NL New York Mets, replacing Shea Stadium (opened 1964). On May 27 AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex. opens as the home of the NFL Dallas Cowboys. 1,811-ft. Chaotianmen Bridge in Chongqing, China opens, becoming the world's longest steel arch bridge (until ?). The Crooked House in Sopot, Poland is based on the works of Polish artist Jan Marcin Szancer and Swedish artist Per Dahlberg. The 2,265-seat Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Calif., designed by Frank Owen Gehry opens on Oct. 23. The $700M U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq opens on 104 acres of land, with 21 bldgs. and 15-ft. thick walls to protect the staff of 5.5K, becoming the largest diplomatic facility on Earth, 10x larger than the next largest, the U.S. embassy in Beijing. The Flight 93 Nat. Memorial is begun on Nov. 8 in Stonycreek Township, Penn. (2 mi. N of Shanksville and 60 mi. SE of Pittsburgh) to honor the 40 victim-heroes of Flight 93 on 9/11. Nobel Prizes: Peace: Barack Hussein Obama II (1961-) (U.S.); Literature: Herta Muller (Müller) (1953-) (Germany); Physics: Sir Charles Kuen Kao (1933-) (U.K.) (optical fibers), and Willard Sterling Boyle (1924-) (U.S.) and George Elwood Smith (1930-) (U.S.) (CCDs); Chem.: Venkatraman Ramakrishnan (1952-) (U.K.), Thomas Arthur Steitz (1940-) (U.S.), and Ada E. Yonath (1939-) (Israel) (first Israeli woman) [structure and function of the ribosome]; Med.: Elizabeth Helen Blackburn (1948-), Jack William Szostak (1952-), and Carolyn Widney "Carol" Greider (1961-) [telomerase]; Econ.: Elinor "Lin" Ostrom (1933-2012) (U.S.) (first woman) and Oliver Eaton Williamson (1932-) (U.S.) [economic governance, esp. the commons]. Sports: On Apr. 12 Angela "the Duck" Cabrera (1969-) becomes the first Argentine to win the Masters golf tournament. On May 2 (Sat.) 50-1 gelding Mine That Bird stages one of the most shocking upsets in the 135th Kentucky Derby on a muddy track, winning by 6-3/4 lengths, the largest winning margin in 63 years (Assault in 1946, who won by 8 lenghts); on May 16 Rachel Alexandra (2006-) (sired by Birdstone) (who won the Kentucky Oaks on May 1) becomes the first filly to win the Preakness since 1924, with Mine That Bird coming in 2nd by a length; on June 6 11-1 Summer Bird, another horse sired by Birdstone wins the 141st Belmont Stakes by 2-3/4 lengths, with Mine That Bird coming in 3rd; jockey Calvin Borel (1947-), who rode the winners in the first two races on different horses (a first) is thwarted in his bid to win an unprecedented personal Triple Crown. On July 19 Thomas Sturges "Tom" Watson (1949-) misses an 8-ft. par putt at the British Open, losing his chance to become the oldest major champion in history as Stewart Clink clinks it into the cup to win. On July 28 after winning the 400m freestyle on July 26, Paul Biedermann (1986-) of Germany defeats Michael Phelps in the 200m freestyle final at the world championships (his first defeat since 2005), wearing the Arena X all-polyurethane swimsuit, while Phelps has to stick with his Speedo LZR Racer due to contractual obligations, throwing the sport into a tizzy, as the Arena X-Glide suit will not be banned until next year. On Aug. 16 at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Usain "Lightning" Bolt (1986-) of Jamaica shatters the 100m world record from 9.76 to 9.58 sec., becoming the largest margin of improvement since the start of electronic timing. On Aug. 16 one of the greatest upsets in golf history sees South Korean golfer Y.E. Yang (1972-) defeat Tiger Wins to wood, er, Tiger Woods to win the U.S. PGA title, becoming the first Asian-born player to win a major; Woods had not lost any tournament in nine years and was leading by two shots going into the final round. On Sept. 13 Belgian wildcard Kim Clijsters (1983-), who left the game two years ago to start a family then returned to tennis a month ago wins the U.S. Open, defeating Serena Williams, who blows up at the end and threatens a judge, drawing a $10.5K fine and other disciplinary action; her 3rd tournament since returning, she wins her 2nd U.S. Open title and becomes the first unseeded player and wildcard to win, and first mother since Evonne Goolagong in 1980; on Sept. 14 Juan Martin del Potro (1988-) of Argentina upsets Swiss maestro Roger Federer to win the men's U.S. Open title. On July 23 lefty Mark Alan Buehrle (1979-), #56 of the Chicago White Sox pitches a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays (5-0) at U.S. Cellular Field; on July 28 he strikes out a record 45 consecutive batters; on June 14 he hit his first ML homer off Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Braden Looper. Architecture: In Sept. $1B Cowboy Stadium in Dallas, Tex. opens as the home of the NFL Dallas Cowboys. On ? the 682-ft. (208m) Great Beijing Wheel opens, becoming the world's tallest Ferris wheel (until ?), with passengers able to view the Great Wall of China on clear sunny days - about three seconds a year? The 274m 77-story twin-tower $450M City of Capitals in Moscow is finished, becoming the tallest bldg. in Europe (until ?) - the Russian WTC? The $30M 92.5K sq. ft. Grand Mosque of Marseille is built, with a light that shines during prayers instead of a loud broadcast; Marseille has 200K Muslims. Inventions: In Feb. researchers at the U. of Calif. San Diego (UCSD) demonstrate their Einstein Robot, which incl. the ability to smile. On Apr. 27 IBM announces the Question Answering (QA) system, which they plan to put in a human vs. computer test on TV's "Jeopardy!". In Apr. the Hitachi Ltd. Wooo H001 Cell Phone has a 3-D mode, but is too cumbersome and isn't marketed in the U.S. On June 19 Manchester U. physicist Andre Geim announces the invention of Graphene, the thinnest and strongest known material in the Universe, one atom thick, made of pure carbon; it has the potential of beating silicon as the fastest material for computer chips. In June Bing.com search engine is launched by Microsoft to compete with Google. On July 8 Google announces that it is developing the Chrome Operating System in direct competition to Microsoft's bug-filled Windows Operating System for netbooks. On Oct. 22 Microsoft launches Windows 7, hoping to win back millions of pissed-off customers who bought their cruddy Vista Operating System. On Oct. 29 Samsung Electronics Co. displays their 10.1" color electronic paper (e-paper) device, which they plan to produce in 1-2 years. In Oct. the first genetically-engineered "Holy Grail of the plant breeding world" blue roses hit the market in Japan at $22 apiece, 10x the usual price. On Nov. 17 NEC Electronics Corp. and Soundpower Corp. announce a new type of vibration-driven remote control that doesn't require a battery and can be used with home electric appliances, generating electricity from the vibration caused by pressing the button. On Dec. 8 a Plain Paper Battery coated with carbon nanotubes and dipped in lithium electrolyte solution that reduces battery weight by 20% is described by Liangbing Hu. On Dec. 15 the twin-engine widebody 186-ft.-long Boeing 787 Dreamliner makes its first flight two years behind schedule. becoming Boeing's most fuel-efficient airliner by making use of carbon composite materials in the airframe, designed to be 20% more fuel efficient than the Boeing 767 that it replaces. On Dec. 24 the first 1-Molecule Transistor is announced in Nature by researchers from Yale U. and Gwangju Inst. of Science and Tech. in South Korea. In Dec. the 5-pasenger BYD E6 electric car from China is introduced, going 250 mi. on a single charge. In Dec. UCSD prof. Ricardo Dominguez announces the Transborder Immigrant Tool, a cell phone app to help illegal immigrants from Mexico find the best locations for food, water, and groups to help them sneak into the U.S. In Dec. MIT develops a new wheel for bicycles that captures the kinetic energy released when it brakes and saves it for when the rider needs a boost. Cloud computing begins to threaten software giant Microsoft et al. by providing software as a service rather than a product, with leaders incl. Google. Ares (Assembling Reconfigurable Endoluminal Surgical System by Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Italy is swallowed by the patient in 15 separate parts, after which it self-assembles inside the body and helps surgeons carry out procedures. Blue Brain is built by Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland, attempting to duplicate the brain in silicon. The Eigenharp, an new electronic combo sitar-bassoon is marketed by Eigenlabs in Devon, England. Israel fields the Guardium unmanned ground vehicle, an armored golf cart. Nepalese science student Milan Karki (1991-) invents a solar panel made of human hair; a £23 panel produces 9V at 18W, 4x cheaper than current panels. Jeremy O'Brien, Jonathan Matthews, Alberto Politi et al. of the U. of Bristol build a siicon chip that implements the 1994 Peter Shor algorithm to crack the RSA algorithm, making the govt. and all computer users nervous. The USAF RQ-170 Sentinel is a stealth reconnaisance jet aircraft flying wing, AKA the Beast of Kandahar. The Ceramtek Wonder Battery, built in Salt Lake City, Utah crams 20-40 KWH of energy into a refrigerator-sized package, promising to revolutionize the world and end dependence on an energy grid. The DEKA Arm (AKA Luke after Luke Skywalker of "Star Wars") is developed with funds from the Pentagon. HP Labs announces a project to build the Central Nervous System for the Earth (CeNSE) as part of the emerging Internet of Things. Frank Guenter et al. of Boston U., Harvard U. and MIT develop the first thought-to-speech translator. The ErockIT electric pedal-assisted bicycle from Germany attains speeds of 50 mph. Tire manufacturer Yokohama begins marketing Super E-spec Tires, made with orange oil instead of rubber to save on petroleum. The Nao humanoid robot can surf the Web. British scientist Jon Spratley develops a "telepathic microchip" allowing paraplegics to control computers. Softkinetic and Optima of Belgium invent 3-D Gesture Recognition, allowing TVs and videogames to be controlled by a wiggle of the fingers. The hydrogen-powered Riversimple Car is leased at $315 a mo.; the first vehicles go into production in 2013. Nephelios, a solar-powered blimp is built by high school engineering students in France. Hiroshi Ishiguro of Japan creates a robot twin called Geminoid HI-1, which incl. his personal idiosyncrasies such as tapping its toes and fidgeting. The Bloodhound SSC supersonic car is developed, containing a rocket, a jet engine, and a V-12 gasoline engine; it will try to break the 1600 km/h (1000 mph) land speed barrier in 2011. Julie Sodem et al. of the U. of Ulster invent a Formula Three car made out of cashew nut cells and other recycled materials, which runs on bio-disel and has a top speed of 130 mph. Toyota develops the Brain-Machine Interface, allowing a person to control a wheelchair with his mind; an emergency stop is effected by puffing one's cheeks. The first slime mold biological robot (AKA Plasmobot) is built in Britain. Victor Gura of UCLA invents a portable kidney dialysis machine. Rickard Hederstierna (1982-) invents the Cocoon, a glass cooker that grows a meatlike material for food out of packets containing muscle cells, oxygen and other nutrients. The Rear Projection Urinal is invented by a pub in Melbourne, Australia. The Toyota Flowers, developed from the cherry sage plant and gardenia absorb harmful atmospheric gases and create water vapor on the grounds of their Prius plant in Toyota City, Japan. The YikeBike looks like a bar seat but can be turned into a "mini penny-farthing" that goes 10 mph. Russia announces that it is designing a nuclear ship to fly humans to Mars, and that the design will be ready by 2010, after which it will take nine years and 17B rubles ($600M) to build it. Coca Colla, containing cocaine is manufactured in Bolivia, becoming a hit in the region, but running afoul of internat. drug laws; it has a red-white label like Coca-Cola, and is marketed as an energy drink. Science: On Feb. 3 BioEssays pub. an article by Nick Lane, William Martin et al. of the Univ. College London, rejecting J.B.S. Haldane's 1929 "Primordial Soup Theory for the Origin of Life" in favor of origin in deep-sea hydrothermal vents, powered by hot gases incl. hydrogen, CO2, nitrogen, and hydrogen sulfide. On Feb. 24 the NASA's $280M Orbiting Carbon Laboratory designed to detect worldwide carbon emissions plunges into the coean after launch from Vandenberg AFB in Calif. when the nose cone fails to come off, weighting it down. On Feb. 27 NASA launches the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter (LRO), which will look for places where water might be found by astronauts; meanwhile on Oct. 9 the $600M Centaur Lunar Impactor smashes into the Moon at 5.6K mph in a frozen crater believed to contain ice, and on Nov. 13 NASA announces the discovery of a large lunar ice field at the S pole. On Mar. 5 NASA launches the Kepler spacecraft, which will orbit the Sun, becoming the first "planetary census taker", looking for "pale blue dots" (Carl Sagan), planets that could support life in constellations Cygnus and Lyra. On Mar. 8 Pres. Obama overturns Pres. George W. Bush's 8-year ban on stem cell research, limiting scientists to cells culled from fertility clinic embryos that otherwise would be thrown away on Apr. 17. On Mar. 17 the Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite is launched by the European Space Agency; in 2011 it becomes the first satellite to detect an earthquake from space, the Mar. 11, 2011 Tohoku Earthquake. On Apr. 4 the 3-year Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) is pub. in the Am. Heart Journal, finding no evidence for divine intervention but detecting a possible proof for the power of negative thinking, with patients who were prayed for and knew it experiencing a higher rate of postsurgical heart arrhythmias (59% vs. 52%). On Apr. 5 the journal Motivation and Emotion pub. an article claiming that those who smile in their high school yearbook photos had a 5x lower divorce rate than those who frowned, not counting ever-smiley Hollywood celebs. On Apr. 10 researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center announce that TB4 (Tymosin Beta-4) encourages growth and repair of heart cells if injected after a heart attack. On Apr. 14 the United Arab Emirates claims the world's first cloned camel, the Arab version of Dolly the Sheep, a 1-humped female called Injaz born on Apr. 8 after five years of work. On Apr. 21 Swiss and French scientists from the European Southern Observatory in Chile led by Michel Mayor announce the most Earth-sized and temperate planet yet found beyond the Solar System, #4 orbiting Gliese 581, a dim red star 21 l.y. away, becoming the first of 340+ planets discovered since 1995 that might be able to support life. On May 4 Jeff Kepner (1951-) of Augusta, Ga. undergoes the first-ever double hand transplant, asking for them to be removed in 2016 after the prove nonfunctional; on May 5 Connie Big Gulp, er, Connie Culp (1962-) (whose lowdown hubby shot off her face with a shotgun, then botches his own suicide and gets a lousy seven years for attempted murder) bravely steps forward in Cleveland, Ohio to show the results of the first U.S. face transplant (last year), by the Cleveland Clinic, uttering the soundbyte "I got me my nose" - transplant his face to his ass and vice-versa, what an ass? On May 21 Science Daily reports that so-called "junk DNA" isn't junk but performs vital functions, using genes called transposons to regroup the DNA at key phases in the lifecycle. On May 22 PLoS Genetics announces that HIF-1 (hypoxia-inducible factor 1), which helps survive by turning on when oxygen levels are low plays a role in human cancer, explaining why dietary restriction lengthens lifespan. On May 27 in an article in Nature, scientists in Japan led by Erika Sasaki announce the creation of the first genetically-modified "transgenic" monkeys that can pass their new genetic attributes to their offspring, producing baby marmosets Kei and Kou, whose skin glows green under UV light, causing concerns to be raised of it being used on humans - the answer to race, make everybody into pastel glow in the dark colors? On May 28 a team at the U. of New South Wales in Australia announces that they have used stem cells to help grow contact lenses for corneal patients. On June 9 the journal Genetic pub. a breakthrough by a team of scientists in Germany, Russia, and Sweden of locating the set of genetic regions responsible for animal tameness. On June 16 Nature Materials mag. announces that scientists at NYU have created a method to precisely bind nano and micrometer-sized particles together into large-scale structures after overcoming the problem of uncontrollable sticking. On June 19 German scientists announce official approval for Ununbium as chemical element #112; it was first announced in 1996. On June 19 researchers at the Montreal Neurological Inst. announce in Science the capturing of the protein translation mechanism underlying long-term memory formation. On June 19 Evolutionary Ecology mag. pub. the discovery of the first plant that feigns sickness to avoid insect attacks, Caladium steudneriifolium, found in the forests of S Ecuador. U. of Ga. researcher Jason Locklin et al. develop a method of growing molecular wire brushes that conduct electricity, becoming a first step toward developing biological fuel cells for pacemakers, cochlear implants, and prosthetic limbs. On June 24 the Proceedings of the Royal Society B in Britain reports that warmer environments cause faster microevolution in mammals; until now the effect was only shown for plants and ectothermic marine animals. On June 26 Nature pub. research by the Carnegie Inst. in Md. showing that adult rather than embryonic stem cells can be used to treat muscular disorders. On June 27 Nature Biotchnology pub. an article by Australian scientists Jennifer MacDiarmid and Himanshu Brahmbhatt that they have achieved a 100% survival in mice with human cancer cells using a new "trojan horse" therapy. In June students at Cambridge U. create the seven E. chromi strains of Escherichia colia, one in each color of the rainbow using BioBricks, pioneering synthetic biology; MIT later creates a Registry of Standard Biological Parts for them. In June Yale U. physicist Leonardo DiCarlo et al. make the first solid-state quantum processor, which uses quantum entanglement. In June satellite data reveals that the Earth's temp has dropped by 0.74F since former U.S. vice-pres. Al Gore released "An Inconvenient Truth" in 2006, indicating that the Earth's fever has broken? On July 7 English scientists in Newcastle claim to have created the first human sperm in the lab using stem cells; men are doomed to obsolescence? On July 8 U. of Adelaide and Cambridge U. scientists announce a way of genetically modifying crops to allow them to grow in salty water, promising more food for hungry nations. On July 8 the NASA Cassini spacecraft obtains the first direct evidence of liquid methane lakes on Titan. On July 13 Nature Photonics pub. the discovery by a team at Yale U. of a repulsive force of light, which along with the attractive force can be used as mechanical switches on IC chips; the force is caused by two beams out of phase with each other, and is at right angles to the beams; "The light force is intriguing because it works in the opposite way as charged objects. Opposite charges attract each other, whereas out-of-phase light beams repel each other." (Wolfram Pernice) On July 16 Human Mutation pub. a study by scientists in Montreal, Canada that find a difference between the DNA of blood and tissue cells, shaking up the scientific world. On July 20 Australian amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley alerts NASA to the presence of a new scar on Jupiter's atmosphere on July 19, caused by an unseen object hitting it, which turns out to be a Titanic-sized asteroid - Bernie Madoff's gigabuck loot capsule? On July 23 Taylor Perron et al. of UCB pub. an article in Nature that theoretically predicts the topographic wavelength of ridges and valleys, and explains whey they tend to be evenly spaced despite the underlying soil type. On July 23 the the first panda cub is born using frozen sperm, at Wolong Giant Panda Research Center in Sichuan, China; the mother is You You. On July 26 Nature pub. an article describing the Multiplex Automated Genome Engineering Method, which allows multiple genes to be edited in parallel. In July researchers at Northwestern U. report the first successful growing of mature human eggs in the lab. On July 26 Green Pea Galaxies that form stars 10x faster than the Milky Way despite being 10x smaller and 100x less massive are discovered by amateur astronomers. In July Nature pub. a report by Chinese scientists of the first use of induced pluripotent stem cells to clone mice from adult mouse skin cells. The July issue of the FASEB Journal reports the discovery of why bats live longer than closely rleated animals such as mice, namely, proper protein folding. In July Shihui Han et al. of Beijing U. pub. an article in the Journal of Neuroscience reporting research that shows that brains respond less strongly to the pain of strangers whose ethnicity is different compared to strangers of one's own race. In July opthalmologist John Marshall of King's College, London announces a new technique called Retinal Regeneration Therapy to reverse the onset of macular degeneration (AMD) using a laser to clean debris from Bruch's membrance behind the retina. In July Yizhi Jane Tao et al. of Rice U. pub. an article in the Proceedings of the Nat. Academy of Sciences reporting that they have described the atomic structure of the protein shell carrying the genetic code of hepatitis E (HEV). In July scientists at Oxford U. announce in Nature Physics the creation of transparent aluminium by using a powerful soft X-ray laser; the same material was made-up for the 1986 film "Star Trek IV". In July Moshe Shoham of the Technion Inst. in Israel develops the first micro robot that can crawl through the human body on micro legs. In July an article in Biogeosciences reports that satellite image studies reveal that the Sahara has been slowly regreening between 1982-2002. On Aug. 10 researchers at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern U. announce that schizophrenia is caused by a deficiency in the brain protein kalirin, causing a traffic jam in the frontal cortex. On Aug. 6 an article in Nature announces that the genetic structure of the HIV-1 virus has finally been decoded. On Aug. 10 scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley Nat. Lab of the U.S. Energy Dept. announce a new high-throughput protein pipeline that determines protein structure in days rather than years. On Aug. 12 astronomers announce the discovery of WASP-17, a planet that orbits a star 1K l.y. from Earth in a direction backward compared to the rotation of the host star, becoming the first ever. On Aug. 12 the Journal of Biological Engineering pub. an article describing the use of bacteria to build a computer that can solve the Hamilton Path Problem by Todd Eckdahl et al. at Mo. Western State U. On Aug. 17 Joel Smoller of the U. of Mich. and Blake Temple of the U. of Calif. pub. the Big Wave Theory as an alternative to Dark Energy to explain the apparent expansion of the U as caused by an expanding wave in spacetime. On Aug. 17 Vladimir Shalaev et al. of Purdue U. announce the Spaser, the tinest laser ever made. On Aug. 24 Andrew Elefanty, Ed Stanley et al. at Monash U. pub. an article in Nature Methods describing how they have modified stem cells into ErythRED cells, which glow red when they become red blood cells. In Aug. 26 Shoukhrat Mitalipov et al. of the Ore. Health and Sciences U. in Portland announce that they have produced monkeys with DNA from two mothers, raising legal questions for human use. In Aug. Tom Ran and Ehud Shapiro of the Weizmann Inst. in Israel develop a DNA computer that can answer yes-no questions. In Aug. astronomers discover an interplanetary smash-up around young star HD 172555, where an object the size of Earth's Moon slams into a planet the size of Mercury. In Aug. NASA scientists discover glysine in comet Wild 2 (pr. vilt), becoming the first amino acid found in a comet. In Aug. Jay Shendure and Sarah Ng of the U. of Wash. discover the genetic cause of Miller Syndrome, which causes facial malformations et al. On Sept. 3 scientists at the Gladstone Inst. of Cardiovascular Disease pub. an article in Nature tracing the evolution of the 4-chambered human heart to a common genetic factor with turtles and other reptiles. NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) deploys spiderbots inside Mount St. Helens, becoming the first network of volcano sensors that can automatically communicate with each other and with satellites without using a base station. On Sept. 3 an article by Jonathan Morris et al. of the Helholtz Centre for Materials and Energy in Berling pub. a paper claiming experimental proof for magnetic monopoles. On Sept. 16 Laboratoire d'Astrophysique in Marseille, France announces the discovery of the first rocky world beyond the Solar System, CoRoT-7b. On Sept. 24 a report in Current Biology announces that researchers can tell what number of dots a person has seen by analyzing brain activity; another report in Neuron announces that they can reconstruct images from recorded neural activity. On Sept. 30 EMBO Molecular Medicine reports that old human muscle can be maintained and repaired by stem cells to restore youthful vigor. On Sept. 30 Nature pub. an article by Hong Sheng Zhao of the U. of St. Andrews in the U.K. reporting that measurements don't support the theory of dark matter. In Sept. the RV 144 AIDS vaccine is found to work on 30% of 16K volunteers from Thailand, becoming the first vaccine that works, although scientists don't know how. In Sept. scientists from Cal Tech report results from NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) (launched Aug. 25, 1997) that cosmic ray concentrations in 2009 are 19% higher than at any time in the last 50 years. On Oct. 2 Tim White of UCLA et al. announce in Nature the discovery of Ardipithecus ramidus AKA Ardi, a female skeleton dated at 4.4M years ago, about 4 ft. tall and 110 lbs., who can stand on two legs and swing through trees with opposable big toes, being 1M years earlier than Lucy and hence our mother, also the mother of chimps, finally ending the debate of whether humans are descended from chimpanzees? On Oct. 3 Anne Verbiscer of the U. of Va. et al. pub. an article in Nature announcing the discovery by of a new nearly invisible ring around Saturn. On Oct. 9 (4:30 a.m. ET) NASA crashes the LCROSS (Lunar Crater Observing and Sensing Satellite) into the Moon at 5.6K mph to blast a huge hole in search of hidden water, creating a 30-mi.-high plume observable from Earth with a 10-in. telescope; too bad, no plume was seen. On Oct. 10 scientists at Columbia U. announce in the Proceedings of the Nat. Academy of Sciences that they have created the first complex anatomically-sized bone from human adult stem cells, part of a human jaw bone. On Oct. 14 a study is pub. in Nature by Joseph Ecker of the Salk Inst. announcing the mapping of the first complete human epigenome, the first layer of genetic control. On Oct. 27 (8 a.m.) the prototype $450M NASA Ares I-X (Space Shuttle replacement), designed for the Constellation program that will return astronauts to the Moon by 2020 is launched less than one week after a blue-ribbon panel released its final report bringing the future of the human spaceflight program into question, and recommending that it be privatized; a large dent near the base is found on the rocket after it splashes into the Atlantic Ocean. In Oct. Geophysical Research Letters reveals that a vertical hole on the Moon has been discovered that's as big as a city block and as deep as a modest skyscraper. On Nov. 13 the Darwin Was Wrong Conference in Costa Mesa, Calif. presents evidence and arguments blasting Charles Darwin and Darwinian Evolutionary theory, calling him a great writer but not a great scientist, and claiming that the famous Lucy skeleton is really a human. On Nov. 20 Washington U. in St. Louis, Mo. announces the decoding of the corn (maize) genome. On Nov. 26 the New Journal of Physics describes a new plama disinfection device which works even on the hospital superbug MRSA. In Nov. Sasha Kashlinky et al. of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Md. announce that they believe that something big beyond the visible edge of the Universe exists that is causing 1K galaxy cluters to stream toward it at high speed. In Nov. NASA scientists reproduce uracil in the lab, becoming the first key component of RNA reproduced. Constantinos Daskalakis of MIT pub. a doctoral thesis in game theory that is a breakthrough on Nash equilibrium, proving that it belongs to the subset of NP called PPAD-complete (introduced in 1994 by Christos Papadimitriou), which is NP-complete with an equilibrium that always exists, becoming the biggest breakthrough in 10 years. On Dec. 2 the U. Bio-Medico of Rome announces a new brain-controlled bionic hand, which works successfully on patient Pierpaolo Petruzziello. On Dec. 14, 2009 the NASA Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) is launched from Vanderberg AFB, going on to perform an all-sky astronomical survey in Earth orbit that help discover the first Y Dward and Earth trojan asteroid before being placed into hibernation in Feb. 2011. On Dec. 16 Nature Genetics pub. research from the Babraham Inst. revealing that genes work together by huddling in clusters in the nucleus. On Dec. 16 British researchers Michael Stratton et al. of the Wellcome Trust announce the decoding of the genomes of lung and skin cancers; lung cancer DNA has more than 23K errors, with every 15 cigarettes causing one error; skin cancer (melanoma) has more than 30K errors. On Dec. 16 researchers announce the finding of the first known burial shroud from the time of Jesus in the 1st cent. C.E. in Jerusalem; the dude has leprosy and TB; its simple weave doesn't jive with the Shroud of Turin's complex design. On Dec. 17 Nature describes 4-Dim. Microscopy, developed at Caltech, allowing photons to be filmed with electrons. The ABCA13 Gene is discovered to be partially inactive in patients with severe psychological conditions incl. schizophrenia by an internat. team of scientists led by Edinburgh U. The World Digital Library Project is started by Tadahiro Kuroda et al. of Tokyo U. to attempt to preserve the contents of digital media in semiconductor memory chips that will last 1K years, vs. 10 years for CD-ROMs. George Ellis from the U. of Cape Town and Tony Rothman of Princeton U. propose a new Quantum Block Universe Model in which the past crystallizes out of the future, in which "The arrow of time arises simply because the future does not yet exist." Wasp-18b, a "hot Jupiter" planet orbiting the star Wasp-18 330 l.y. from Earth upends the physicists' understanding of celestial mechanics because it orbits so close that it should have been consumed by the star in less than 1M years. Human Genome Sciences of Rockville, Md. successfully tests the Lupus drug Benlysta. Nonfiction: Hamed Abdel-Samad (1972-), My Farewell from Heaven (autobio.); calls for an "Islam Light" version in Europe sans Sharia, jihad, gender apartheid, proselytism, and the "entitlement mentality, dissing the German govt. for appeasing Islam, and predicting Islam's collapse, pissing-off Egyptian imams, who issue a death fatwa on him. Peter Ackroyd (1949-), Venice: Pure City. Sam Adams, Understanding and Surviving Martial Law: How to Survive and even Prosper During the Coming Police State; conservatives fear what Obama's regime might come to. Liaquat Ahamed (1952-), Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World (Pulitzer Prize); from WWI to the Great Depression. Buzz Aldrin (1930-), Magnificent Desolation (autobio.). Ali A. Allawi, The Crisis of Islamic Civilization; why Christian-style Reformation won't work for Islam since it would take too long. Jonathan Ames (1964-), The Double Life Is Twice As Good: Essays and Fiction. Andy Andrews, The Noticer: A Story of Perspective About Life's Greatest Challenges; goes from homeless to bestselling author. Thomas G. Andrews, Killing for Coal: America's Deadliest Labor War; the 1913-14 S Colo. coal strike. Julia Angwin, Stealing My Space: The Battle to Control the Most Popular Website in America (Mar. 17); Rupert Murdoch's $600M purchase of MySpace.com from founders Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson. Shari Arison (1947-), Birth: When the Spiritual and Material Come Together; Israel's richest woman says "The old world is collapsing" and a new one arriving in which "the spiritual and material come together". Paul Armentano, Steve Fox, and Mason Tvert, Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? Karen Armstrong (1944-), The Case for God; "We are talking far too much about God these days." Reza Aslan (1972-), How to Win a Cosmic War War: God, Globalization and the End of the War on Terror; Islamic terrorists are really just misunderstood and will become lambs after being drawn into the Obama, er, political process? Seyran Ates (1963-), Islam Needs a Sexual Revolution; Turkish-born Kurdish writer in Germany disses Islam's horrible subjection of women. Peter H. Aykroyd, A History of Ghosts: The True Story of Seances, Mediums, Ghosts, and Ghostbusters; father of Dan Aykroyd of "Ghostbusters" fame. Sharlene Azam, Oral Sex is the New Midnight Kiss; white Canadian suburban girls ages 11-up are casual hos? Robert Baer (1952-), Sleeping With the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude (July 15); former CIA officer tells how the center of the global economy is a "kingdom built on thievery, one that nurtures terrorism, destroys any possibility of a middle class based on property rights, and promotes slavery and prostitution", while sitting on one-quarter of the world's oil reserves and enjoying the full support and protection of the U.S. govt.; "An invasion and a revolution might be the only things that can save the industrial West from a prolonged, wrenching depression". 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. Allen Barra, Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee. Diana Butler Bass, A People's History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story; Jesus was really a "religious revolutionary" who led a People's Crusade of "humility, hospitality, and love". Bruce Bawer (1956-), Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom; how the PC leftist establishment is silencing critics of Islam. Alan Beattie, False Economy: A Surprising Economic History of the World. Cari Beauchamp, Joseph P. Kennedy Presents His Hollywood Years. Glenn Beck, Common Sense; bestseller attacking liberal control of Washington, D.C. C. Fred Bergsten, Charles Freeman, Nicholas Lardy and Derek Mitchell, China's Rise: Challenges and Opportunities. Mary Frances Berry (1938-), And Justice for All: The United States Commission on Civil Rights and the Struggle for Freedom in America. Harold Bloom (1930-), The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism (Nov. 24). Max Blumenthal (1977-), Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party; channels Erich Fromm, claiming that a "culture of personal crisis" defines the Am. "radical right". Philipp Freiherr von Boeslager et al., Valkyrie: The Story of the Plot to Kill Hitler, by its Last Member (May 12). John R. Bradley, Saudi Arabia Exposed: Inside a Kingdom in Crisis; why the Saudi pop. hates the U.S. even though so many of its elite get their education there. Taylor Branch, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President (Sept. 29). Ian Bremmer (1969-), The Fat Tail: The Power of Political Knowledge for Strategic Investing. Lily Burana, I Love a Man in Uniform: A Memoir of Love, War and Other Battles. James MacGregor Burns (1918-2014), Packing the Court: The Rise of Judicial Power and the Coming Crisis of the Supreme Court; "full of memorable details about the byzantine nominations and political peculiarities of famous and obscure justices during the past two centuries", arguing for term limits for Supreme Court justices. Thomas Cahill (1940-), A Saint on Death Row: The Story of Dominique Green (Mar.); his losing fight to save the dude, who was executed on Oct. 26, 2004 after 12 years on death row. Christopher Caldwell, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West (July 28); in a West filled with history ignoramuses, his observations that the horrible Muslims are setting up shop in Europe and how that could lead to a different Europe go unheeded? Thanassis Cambanis, A Privilege to Die: Inside Hezbollah's Legions and Their Endless War With Israel (Sept.). Philip Caputo (1941-), Crossers; the Mexican borderlands of N.M. and Ariz. Peter Carlin, Paul McCartney: A Life. Richard Carrier (1969-), Not the Impossible Faith: Why Christianity Didn't Need a Miracle to Succeed (Feb. 10). Jimmy Carter (1924-), We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: A Plan That Will Work; the 2-state solution is the only way? Rev. Cary Cash, A Table in the Presence: The Dramatic Account of How a U.S. Marine Battalion Experienced God's Presence Amidst the Chaos of the War in Iraq. Juanita Castro (1933-), Fidel and Raul, My Brothers: The Secret History; how Fidel's and Raul Castro's sister broke with them and began cooperating with the CIA before going into exile in 1964. Ron Charles, Charles Dickens, Defender of Civilization. Zev Chafets, Cooperstown Confidential: Heroes, Rogues and the Inside Story of the Baseball Hall of Fame; built on a foundation of deceit? Henrik Raeder Clausen, The Bloody Truth About Cyprus (Mar.). Andrei Codrescu (1946-), The Posthuman Dada Guide: Tzara and Lenin Play Chess. Len Colodny (1938-) and Tom Schachtman, The Forty Years War: The Rise and Fall of the Neocons, from Nixon to Obama; the role of German-born Fritz G.A. Kramer (1908-2003), mentor of Henry Kissinger and Alexander Haig. Joseph Contreras, In the Shadow of the Giant: The Americanization of Modern Mexico; Monterrey, Mexico and drug violence. Jerome Robert Corsi (1946-), Why Israel Can't Wait: The Coming War Between Israel and Iran; America for Sale: Fighting the New World Order, Surving a Global Depression, and Preserving USA Sovereignty - covers all the bases? Ann Coulter (1961-), Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America. Harvey Gallagher Cox Jr. (1929-), The Future of Faith. Dave Cullen, Columbine. William Dalrymple (1965-), Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India. John Darwin (1948-), The Empire Project: The Rise and Fall of the British World-System, 1830-1970 (Oct. 30). Nonie Darwish (1949-), Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law. Richard Dawkins (1941-), The Greatest Show on Earth; his own theory of evolution. David Denby, Snark: It's Mean, It's Personal, and It's Ruining Our Conversation. Adrian Desmond and James Moore, Darwin's Sacred Cause: How a Hatred of Slavery Shaped Darwin's Views on Human Evolution; ever since his voyage on the Beagle, Darwin set out to prove that all humans are one species? Colin Dickey, Cranioklepty: Grave Robbing and the Search for Genius. Huw Dixon (1958-), Surfing Economics: Essays for the Inquiring Economist (Dec. 4). Wendy Dobson, Gravity Shift: How Asia's New Economic Powerhouses Will Shape the 21st Century; the rise of China and India. Wendy Doniger, The Hindus: An Alternative History. Dinesh D'Souza (1961-), Life After Death: The Evidence. Stephen Dubner (1963-) and Steve Levitt (1967-), SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance; eat more kangaroo instead of beef to save on CO2 emissions?; global warming can be solved by pumping CO2 to the stratosphere through an 18-mi. hose?; pisses-off global warming scientists with alleged oversimplifications. Tony Dungy (1955-) (with Nathan Whitaker), Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance; he retires after the 2008-9 season. Martin Edmond, The Supply Party. Robert Morse Edsel (1956-), The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History (Sept.); filmed in 2014 by George Clooney. Elizabeth Edwards (1949-2010), Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities (autobio.). Timothy Egan, The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America; the 1910 Northwestern Fire. Barbara Ehrenrich (1941-), Bright-Sided; the positive thinking industry. Bart D. Ehrman (1955-), Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them) (Feb. 28); believing that the Bible is infallible is not a condition for being a Christian? Pepe Escobar, Obama Does Globalistan (Jan. 20). Ali Eteraz, Children of Dust: A Memoir of Pakistan (autobio.) (Oct. 13). Steve Farber and Harlan Abrahams, On the List: Fixing America's Failing Organ Transplant System. Craig Ferguson, American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot (Sept. 22). David Finkel, The Good Soldiers; the 2007 troop surge in Iraq and the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Div. AKA the Rangers; followed by "Thank You for Your Service" (2013). Charles Bracelon Flood, 1864: Lincoln at the Gates of History; one of a spate of books pub. for the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth. Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals; turns Natalie Portman from a vegetarian into a vegan activist. Burton W. Folsom Jr., New Deal or Raw Deal? How FDR's Economic Legacy Has Damaged America (Nov. 17). William R. Fortschen, One Second After; bestseller about electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) and how they can cripple the U.S. Barbara Frale, The Shroud of Jesus Nazarene; claims to find the words "Jesus of Nazareth" in Greek on the Shroud of Turin, proving it's not a fake else it would have included "Son of God" or "Christ". Sarah Garland, Gangs in Garden City: How Immigration, Segregation, and Youth Violence Are Changing America's Suburbs; Latino gangs, incl. Mara Salvatrucha in Nassau County, Long Island, N.Y. P. David Gaubatz and Paul Sperry, Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America; the sinister Council on Am.-Islamic Relations (CAIR). George F. Gilder (1939-), The Israel Test (July 22); how support of Israel is the test for supporters of civilization, scientific-technological progress, freedom, etc. vs. barbarism, and that anti-Semitism is fueled by simple jealousy of Jewish success and prosperity. Newt Gingrich (1943-) and Jackie Gingrich Cushman, Gingrich Family's 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours; dream big, work hard, learn every day, enjoy life, be true to yourself. Mark Girouard (1931-), Elizabethan Architecture: Its Rise and Fall, 1540-1640. Malcolm Gladwell (1963-), What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures. Charles Glass (1951-), Americans in Paris: Life and Death under the Nazi Occupation, 1940-1944. Jamie Glazov (1966-), United in Hate: The Left's Romance with Tyranny and Terror; the left's romance with militant Islam is a continuation of their love affair with Stalin? Ariel Glucklich, Dying for Heaven: Holy Pleasure and Suicide Bombers: Why the Best Qualities of Religion Are Also Its Most Dangerous; they don't do it out of hatred but out of devotion. Bernard Goldberg, A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media (Jan. 26); accuses the media of liberal bias. Daniel Goldhagen (1959-), Worse than War: Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity (Oct. 6). Gordon Goldstein, Lessons in Disaster; hawkish Vietnam War-era U.S. nat. security adviser McGeorge Bundy. Adam Gopnik (1956-), Angels and Ages: A Short Book about Darwin, Lincoln and Modern Life; because they were both born in 1809, duh? Charles Goyette, The Dollar Meltdown. Robert Greene (1959-) and 50 Cent (1975-), The 50th Law. Steven Macon Greer (1955-), Contact: Countdown to Transformation. David Singh Grewal, Network Power: The Social Dynamics of Globalization; how globalization is changing cultures. David Ray Griffin, Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?; did he die of kidney failure in Tora Bora on Dec. 13, 2001? Stanislav Grof (1931-), LSD: Doorway to the Numinous: The Groundbreaking Psychedelic Research into Realms of the Human Unconscious. Ian Halperin, Unmasked: The Final Years of Michael Jackson (July 14); in Dec. 2008 author allegedly predicted that Jackson only had 6 mo. to live; his planned concert series at London's 02 Arena in July would have killed him anyway? David Boyce Hamilton, Cultural Economics and Theory (Oct. 22); a collection of his articles on institutional economics which stress the interaction of culture and technology in economic evolution. Victor Davis Hanson (1953-), How the Obama Administration Threatens Our National Security (Dec. 1); how Obama's is turning the U.S. from defender of the post-WWI order into an agent of global change, questioning everything that makes it strong. Rick Hanson and J. Richard Mendius, Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom (Nov. 1). Mark Harris, Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the New Hollywood. Thom Hartmann (1951-), Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture. Andrew Harvey (1952-), The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism. Elisabeth Hasselbeck (1977-), The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide; Susan Hasset sues her for copyright infringement. Lesley Hazleton (1945-), After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split. Chris Hedges (1956-), Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (July 14); The U.S. is splitting into a literate minority and non-literate majority; "Those captive to images cast ballots based on how candidates make them feel. They vote for a slogan, a smile, perceived sincerity, and attractiveness, along with the carefully crafted personal narrative of the candidate. It is style and story, not content and fact, that inform mass politics"; "At no period in American history has our democracy been in such peril or the possibility of totalitarianism as real. Our way of life is over. Our profligate consumption is finished. Our children will never have the standard of living we had. This is the bleak future. This is reality." Mark Helprin (1947-), Digital Barbarism: A Writer's Manifesto. Jennifer Love Hewitt (1979-), The Day I Shot Cupid (autobio.); talks about "vajazzling" her "vajayjay" with Swarovski crystal. Esther Hicks (1948-) and Jerry Hicks, Vortex: Where the Law of Attraction Assembles All Cooperative Relationships. Charles Higham (1931-2012), In and Out of Hollywood: A Biographer's Memoir (autobio.). Lane Ryo Hirabayashi, Japanese American Resettlement Through the Lens; photos by Hikaru "Carl" Iwasaki. Peter Hitchens (1951-), The Broken Compass: How British Politics Lost Its Way. David E. Hoffman, The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy (Pulitzer Prize). Harold Holzer (ed.), The Lincoln Anthology: Great Writers on His Life and Legacy from 1860 to Now; debunks Lincoln myths. Thomas Horn, Apollyon Rising: The Lost Symbol Found and the Final Mystery of the Great Seal Revealed (Nov. 24); claims the clues are hidden in the occult symbolism of Washington, D.C. and the Vatican, and claims that the Jewish Messiah is predicted in the Zohar to appear in late 2012. Nick Hornby (1957-), Shakespeare Wrote for Money. David Joel Horowitz (1939-), A Cracking of the Heart (autobio.); his parent's grief at him going from leftist like them to rightist; Barack Obama's Rules for Revolution: The Alinsky Model; how Obama is trying to transform Am. society wholesale a la Chicago 1960s Jewish radical Saul Alinsky (1909-72), whose community social org. will lead not to salvation but chaos. Barney Hoskyns, Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits. Human Rights Watch, New Castro, Same Cuba; how Fidel Castro's brother Raul is just as abusive of human rights. Tristram Hunt (1974-), The Frock-Coated Communist: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels. Martin Indyk (1951-), Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East (Jan. 6). Lynne Isbell, The Fruit, the Tree and the Serpent; claims that primates evolved keen vision to avoid snakes. Jonathan Israel (1946-), A Revolution of the Mind: Radical Enlightenment and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Democracy. Martin Jacques, When China Rules the World: The Rise of the Middle Kingdom and the End of the Western World; how the era of U.S. world economic hegemony is ending, and China is getting "willy-nilly drawn" into becoming its replacement as a "reluctant player"; claims that China is a civilization not nation state, and that Communism, a contemporary version of Confucianism was the West's last gasp at worldwide Westernization; doesn't grasp that for China to rule the world it must first have a revolution overthrowing its age-old belief that it is the center of the world, so that leaving its boundaries won't be like going into barbarian Hell? Emmanuel Jal and Megan Lloyd Davies, War Child: A Child Soldier's Story; "There was peace in Sudan for the first three years of my life, but I cannot remember it." Harold James, The Creation and Destruction of Value; how globalization is disintegrating old political parties. Haynes Johnson (1931-) and Dan Balz, The Battle for America 2008: The Story of an Extraordinary Election. Haynes Johnson (1931-) and Harry Katz, Herblock: The Life and Work of the Great Political Cartoonist; Herbert Lawrence Block (1909-2001), who coined the term "McCarthyism" in 1950. Malalai Joya (1978-) and Derrick O'Keefe, A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice. William Kamkwamba (1987-) and Bryan Mealer, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope; Kamkwamba builds windmills from junk to make "electric wind", becoming a Third World hero. Jeff Kass, Columbine: A True Crime Story, A Victim, the Killers, and a Nation's Search for Answers. Marc Kaufman, Confessions of an Alien Hunter: A Scientist's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Robin D.G. Kelley (1962-), Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original. Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy Sr. (1932-2009), True Compass: A Memoir (posth.) (Sept. 14); first memoir by a Kennedy family member; admits to sleeping with 1K+ women and paying $10M+ in hush money, but that part is cut out? John Kessel (1950-) and James Patrick Kelly (1951-), The Secret History of Science Fiction. Ronald Kessler (1943-), In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect (Aug. 4); pisses-off the Secret Service by exposing their hard times in trying to protect presidents and their families; claims that JFK had secret trysts with Marilyn Monroe in a loft above the 5th story office of his brother RFK at the Justice Dept., as well in New York City hotels - that will be zero extra dollars, wanna change your flight? Rashid Khalidi (1948-), Sowing Crisis: The Cold War and American Dominance in the Middle East; attacks U.S. policies during the Cold War, claiming that although they were formulated to oppose the Soviets, they "consistently undermined democracy and exacerbated tensions in the Middle East"; "It may seem hard to believe today, but for decades the United States was in fact a major patron, indeed in some respects the major patron, of earlier incarnations" of radical militant Islam in order to help them win; "The Cold War was over, but its tragic sequels, its toxic debris, and its unexploded mines conti M.A. Khan, Islamic Jihad: A Legacy of Forced Conversion, Imperialism, and Slavery (Jan. 26); why 9/11 was no fluke, and Islam is the West's greatest threat. Tracy Kidder (1945-), Strength in What Remains; a Rwandan refugee rises to doctor. Richard Kim and Betsy Reed (eds.), Going Rouge: Sarah Palin - An American Nightmare; satire of her book "Going Rogue". Jytte Klausen, The Cartoons That Shook the World (Sept.); Yale U. Press chickens out and removes the 12 cartoons, causing criticism. Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes, and Alexander Vassiliev, Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America (May 26); based on opened KGB archives, reveals the extent of KGB spying in the U.S., incl. Alger Hiss, I.F. Stone, and clears Robert Oppenheimer. Aaron Klein, The Late Great State of Israel: How Enemies Within and Without Threaten the Jewish Nation's Survival. Jon Krakauer (1954-), Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman. Jeremy Kuzmarov, The Myth of the Addicted Army: Vietnam and the Modern War. Lisa Lampanelli (1961-), Chocolate, Please: My Adventures in Food, Fat, and Freaks (autobio.). Carlotta Walls LaNier (with Lisa Frazier), A Mighty Long Way: Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School. Matthew Latimer, Speech-less: Tales of a White House Survivor (Sept. 22); conservative with Washington, D.C. experience tells why they will survive the Obama era; claims that Pres. G.W. Bush was not dumb but smart. Jonah Lehrer (1981-), How We Decide. Carol Leifer (1956-), When You Lie About Your Age, the Terrorists Win (Mar. 10). Mark R. Levin, Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto (Mar. 24). Shawn Levy, Paul Newman: A Life; Newman's Luck. Michael Lewis (1960-), Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood. Hal Lindsey, Everlasting Hatred: The Roots of Jihad. James Lovelock (1919-), The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning: Enjoy It While You Can. Margaret MacMillan, Dangerous Games: The Uses and Abuses of History; how she just figured out that history is written by writers with govt. or institutional biases. Eric Maddox (with David Seay), Mission: Black List #1; the U.S. SSgt. who tracked down Saddam Hussein via bodyguard Muhammad Ibrahim. Thomas Maier, Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love. Eric Maisel (1947-), The Atheist's Way: Living Well Without Gods. Alia Malek, A Country Called Amreeka: Arab Roots, American Stories (Oct. 6); the lives of a dozen Arab-Ams. from 1948 to 2000. Michelle Malkin (1970-), Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies (July 27); "What I have done is to help shatter completely the myths of hope and change in the new politics in Washington by scouring every nook and cranny, every inch of this administration, and showing how in a very short span of six months they have betrayed every principle and every promise that they have made by installing these influence peddlers, power brokers and very wealthy people." Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall; Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell. Jo Marchant, Decoding the Heavens: A 2,000-Year-Old Computer and the Century-Long Search to Discover Its Secret; the Antikythera Mechanism. of 80 B.C.E. Paule Marshall (1929-), Triangular Road: A Memoir. Gerald Martin, Gabriel Garcia Marquez: A Life. Johsh McDowell and Dave Sterrett, O God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah's Spirituality. Virginia McKenna (1931-), The Life in My Years (autobio.). Cindy Meston and David Buss, Why Women Have Sex; interviews with 1,006 women yield 237 different reasons. Stephen C. Meyer, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design; DNA shows evidence of intelligent design? Ben Mezrich, The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal (July 14). Dominique Moisi (1946-), The Geopolitics of Emotion: How Cultures of Fear, Humiliation, and Hope Are Reshaping the World (May 5); reply to Samuel Huntington's "The Clash of Civilizations", adding you know what to cultural, social and economic factors as breeding political conflict. Patricia Monaghan (1946-2012), The Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines (2 vols.). Thomas Moore (1940-), Writing in the Sand: Jesus and the Soul of the Gospels (May). Edmund Sears Morgan (1916-2013), American Heroes: Profiles of Men and Women Who Shaped Early America (last book). Benny Morris (1948-), One State, Two States; the 2-state solution won't work, neither will the 1-state solution, but maybe a 3-state solution of a Palestinian confederation with Jordan will? Dick Morris (1948-) and Eileen McGann, Catastrophe: How Obama, Congress, and the Special Interests are Transforming a Slump into a Crash, Freedom into Socialism, and a Disaster into a Catastrophe, and How to Fight Back (June 23); Repub. who used to counsel Pres. Clinton them turned against him and Hillary predicts disaster for Obama too. Dambisa Moyo (1969-), Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is Another Way for Africa (Mar. 17); NYT bestseller; calls development aid "the single worst decision of modern developmental politics" that encourages corruption, kleptocracy, and aid dependency, creating a vicious downward spiral, with the soundbyte that easy money from other govts. "allows the state to abdicate its responsibilities toward its people", lobbying for micro-financing to build a country from the bottom-up; on May 28, 2013 world's richest man Bill Gates gives an interview to the Sydney Morning Herald, calling her "evil". Mildred Muhammad, Scared Silent; 2nd wife of Beltway Sniper John Allen Muhammad (Williams), who says he was a sgt. in the 84th Army Engineer Co. in the 1991 Gulf War, and suffers from Gulf War Ilness, turning him into a Muslim jihadist mass murderer - instead of reading the Quran? Moorthy S. Muthuswamy, Defeating Political Islam: The New Cold War; shows that the "war on terror" is a sham because there is no benign Islam that was hijacked by extremists, and it all comes from the 7th cent. Quran. Andrew P. Napolitano (1950-), Dred Scott's Revenge: A Legal History of Race and Freedom in America (Apr.). Vali Reza Nasr (1960-), Forces of Fortune: The Rise of the Muslim Middle Class and What It Will Mean for Our World (Sept. 15); a new Arab middle class will counter extremism? Christiane Northrup, The Secret Pleasures of Menopause Playbook. John Julius Norwich (1929-) (ed.), The Great Cities in History (Nov. 2). Gianluigi Nuzzi, Vatican Ltd. (Vaticano Spa); corruption in the Vatican, incl. Mafia connections, bribery, and money laundering. Mark Obmascik, Halfway to Heaven: My White-Knuckled - and Knuckle-Headed - Quest for the Rocky Mountain High; climbing all 54 of Colorado's fourteeners. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (1986-), Influence; the people who influenced them, not the drugs. Suze Orman (1951-), Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan. Marie Osmond (1959-), Might As Well Laugh About It Now (autobio.). Michael Jason Overstreet, 71 Days: The Media Assault on Obama (Feb. 23). Trevor Paglen, Blank Spots on the Map: The Dark Geography of the Pentagon's Secret World. Elaine Paige (1948-), Memories (autobio.). Sarah Palin (1964-), Going Rogue: An American Life (autobio.) (Nov. 17); bestseller (300K on day #1) describing her Christian faith and conservative views; a nun taught her how to write the letter E, and it "seemed a naked letter to me so I was determined to reinvent it"; "I love meat. I eat pork chops, thick bacon burgers, and the seared fatty edges of a medium-well-done steak. But I especially like moose and caribous. I always remind people from outside our state that there's plenty of room for all Alaska's animals - right next to the mashed potatoes." Ron Paul (1935-), End the Fed (Sept. 21); calls for the Federal Reserve System to be abolished. Carlota Perez (1939-), Technological Revolutions and Techno-Economic Paradigms. Tom Peters (1942-) Re-imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age. Mackenzie Phillips (1959-) and Hilary Liftin, High On Arrival: A Memoir (autobio.) (Sept.); her struggles with drug addiction; claims that her daddy John Phillips of the Mommas and the Poppas had a long-term incestuous relationship with her, and that when she turned 18 Mick Jagger did her. Robert Pinsky (1940-), Thousands of Broadways: Dreams and Nightmares of the American Small Town. Francis Pike, Empires at War: A Short History of Modern Asia Since World War II. Michael Collins Piper (1960-), The New Babylon: Those Who Reign Supreme; the Rothschilds. Norman Podhoretz (1930-), Why Are Jews Liberals? (Sept. 8); Barack Obama is the "stealth candidate for the anti-Israel left"? S.L. Price, Heart of the Game: Life, Death and Mercy in Minor League Baseball. Allis Radosh and Ronald Radosh, A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel; despite advice pro and con from his advisers, Truman wanted to recognize Israel because he believed it fulfilled Biblical prophecy? Michael S. Radu (1947-2009), Islam in Europe (World of Islam) (Sept. 15). Raghuram Rajan (1963-), Cycle-Proof Regulation (Apr. 8); proposes a global regulatory system to avoid boom-bust cycles. Joshua Cooper Ramo (1968-), The Age of the Unthinkable: Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us and What We Can Do About It (NYT bestseller); applies chaos theory to foreign policy. David Reynolds, Waking the Giant: America in the Age of Jackson; the Panic of 1819. Nayef Al-Rodhan, Sustainable History and the Dignity of Man: A Philosophy of History and Civilisational Triumph. Jean Rhodes and Shawn Boburg, Becoming Manny: Inside the Life of Baseball's Most Enigmatic Slugger (Mar. 10); Manny Ramirez (1972-). Joel Richardson, The Islamic Antichrist: The Shocking Truth About the Real Nature of the Beast; more on the Antichrist-Mahdi connection. Thomas E. Ricks, The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008. Thomas E. Ricks (1955-), The Gamble: Gen. David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008 (Feb. 10). Tom Ridge (1945-), America Under Siege... and How We Can Be Safe Again; how he was pushed to raise the security alert before the 2004 pres. election to help Bush's reelection, then resigned on Nov. 30, 2004 over it. Jennifer Ring, Stolen Bases: Why American Girls Don't Play Baseball. Andrew Roberts (1963-), Masters and Commanders: How Four Titans Won the War in the West, 1941-1945; The Art of War: Great Commanders of the Ancient and Medieval World (2 vols.). Sir Ken Robinson (1950-), The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything (Jan.). Jim Rogers (1942-), A Gift to My Children: A Father's Lessons for Life and Investing (Apr. 28). John Ross (1938-2011), El Monstruo: Dread and Redemption in Mexico City. John F. Ross, War on the Run: The Epic Story of Robert Rogers and the Conquest of America's First Frontier. Benjamin Roth, The Great Depression: A Diary; ed. James Leddbetter and Daniel B. Roth. Murray Newton Rothbard (1926-95), Economic Controversies (posth.). Acharya S (D.M. Murdock) (1961-2015), Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection; The Gospel According to Acharya S. Amin Saikal (1950-), The Rise and Fall of the Shah: Iran - From Autocracy to Religious Rule. Kamal Saleem, Blood of Lambs (Apr.); Muslim Brotherhood member tells why he quit. Joel Samberg, Grandpa Had a Long One: Personal Notes on the Life, Career, and Legacy of Benny Bell [1906-99]; by his grandson. Shlomo Sand (1946-), The Invention of the Jewish People (Oct. 19); internat. bestseller causes a firestorm of controversy with its claims that there never was a Jewish "nation-race", that many Jews are really descendants of converted Arabs, Berbers, Khazars, etc., and that Zionists have created the myth for "racist thinking"; "The ideal project for solving the century-long conflict... would be the creation of a democratic binational state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River" - great idea if they would all give up not Judaism but Islam? Martha A. Sandweiss, Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line; Am. West explorer Clarence King (b. 1842), a white man who chooses to pass as black so he can marry a black woman. William A. Schabas (1950-), Genocide in International Law: The Crime of Crimes (2nd ed.) (Apr. 13); claims that the only real genocides in recent history were the Armenians, Jews, Gypsies, and Rwandans, denying that Stalin qualifies, or even the Slav-Soviet massacres by the Nazis, differentiating genocide from mere ethnic cleansing. Suzanne Schwalb, Tweet Nothings: The Lighter Side of Twitter (Dec. 1). Joan Schenkar, The Talented Miss Highsmith; "Ripley" novelist; Patricia Highsmith (1921-95). Amartya Sen (1933-), The Idea of Justice. Maria Shriver (1955-), A Women's Nation Changes Everything. Paul Schneider, Bonnie and Clyde: The Lives Behind the Legend (Mar. 31); pub. on the 75th anniv. of the May 23, 1934 ambush near Gibsland, La. Lars Schoultz, That Infernal Little Cuban Republic: The United States and the Cuban Revolution. R.A. Scotti, Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa; the 1911 heist. Nicolai Sennels, Among Criminal Muslims: A Psychologist's Experience from Copenhagen; concludes that Muslims can't be assimilated into Danish or any Western society. Peter Singer (1946-), The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty. Robert Slater, Soros: The World's Most Influential Investor. Mark Sloan, Birth Day: A Pediatrician Explores the Science, the History, and the Wonder of Childbirth. Grant F. Smith, Spy Trade: How Israel's Lobby Undermines America's Economy (Nov. 1); clandestine espionage conducted by the Israelis have cost the U.S. economy $71B? Sam Solomon and E Al Maqdisi, Modern Day Trojan Horse: Al-Hijra, the Islamic Doctrine of Immigration, Accepting Freedom or Imposing Islam? (Jan. 29); the 1400-y.-o. Islamic doctrine of hijra and how Western govts. play into their hands. Steven Solomon, Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization. Thomas Sowell (1930-), The Housing Boom and Bust. Candy Spelling (1945-), Stories from Candyland (autobio.). Tori Spelling (1973-), Mommywood (Mar. 11). Robert Spencer (1962-), The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran; finally Western thinkers are taking it on instead of the Bible. Ralph Stanley (1927-) and Eddie Dean, Man of Constant Sorrow (autobio.) (Oct. 15). Paul Starobin, After America: Narratives for the Next Global Age; promotes multicultural globalism for the world's only superpower because the Am. Century is almost kaput. Leslie Morgan Steiner, Crazy Love: A Memoir. Victor J. Stenger (1935-), Quantum Gods: Creation, Chaos and the Search for Cosmic Consciousness; The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason (Sept. 22); claims that religion will fade away within generations under the light of you know what. Chris Stewart and Ted Stewart, Seven Miracles That Saved America (Oct. 14); Abe Lincoln's prayer saved the Union at Gettysburg? Mark Steyn (1959-), (1959-), Lights Out: Islam, Free Speech and the Twilight of the West; the looming threat of Islamic takeover of the West with help from misguided Western govts. T.J. Stiles, The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt (Apr. 21) (Pulitzer Prize). Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III (1951-), Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters (autobio.). Wafa Sultan (1958-), The God Who Hates: The Courageous Woman Who Inflamed the Muslim World Speaks Out Against the Evils of Islam (Oct. 13); "The trouble with Islam is deeply rooted in its teachings. Islam is not only a religion. Islam is also a political ideology that preaches violence and applies its agenda by force"; "No one can be a true Muslim and a true American simultaneously. Islam is both a religion and a state, and to be a true Muslim you must believe in Islam as both religion and state. A true Muslim does not acknowledge the U.S. Constitution, and his willingness to live under that constitution is, as far as he is concerned, nothing more than an unavoidable step on the way to the constitution's replacement by Islamic Sharia law." Cass R. Sunstein (1954-), Going to Extremes: How Like Minds Unite and Divide; On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe, Them, What Can Be Done (Sept.); advocates laws to gag Internet bloggers. Graham Swift (1949-), Making an Elephant: Writing from Within. Stephan Talty, The Illustrious Dead: The Terrifying Story of How Typhus Killed Napoleon's Greatest Army. Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013), Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World; reverses her earlier belief in global warming. Baylis Thomas, The Dark Side of Zionism: The Quest for Security through Dominance (Feb. 16); paints the Jews as the bad guys and the Arabs as the good guys. Keith Thomas (1933-), The Ends of Life: Roads to Fulfilment in Early Modern England; some Ford Lectures from back in 2000 when he retired. Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton (with Erin Torneo), Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption; black Ronald Cotton is unjustly jailed for rape for 11 years, after which his white accuser Jennifer gives, er, becomes his friend. Colm Toibin (1955-), Brooklyn; an Irish woman leaves her fragile mother behind in the early 1950s to live in Dodgerland. James Tooley, The Beautiful Tree; the lack of primary education in India. Norah Vincent, Voluntary Madness: My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin; the lezzie who posed as a man goes to the nuthouse. Richard Vinen, Thatcher's Britain. Nicholas Wade, The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures; are humans programmed for religious belief because it conferred an evolutionary advantage? Rembert George Weakland (1927-), A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church: Memoirs of a Catholic Archbishop (June); former Roman Catholic archbishop of Milwaukee, Wisc. (1977-2002) admits that he's gay; he stepped down in May 2002 after the Church paid $450K to Marquette U. theology student Paul Marcoux to settle a sexual assault suit. Barry Werth, Banquet at Delmonico's: Great Minds, the Gilded Age, and the Triumph of Evolution in America; British philosopher Hebert Spencer, founder of Social Darwinism is greeted as a hero in the U.S. in 1882. Cornel West (1953-) Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud: A Memoir; "When arrested, threatened, or persecuted, I give myself permission to be full of righteous indignation and moral outrage but I try to never allow righteous indignation to degenerate into bitter revenge, or let moral outrage become hateful anger.. I retain a painful smile on my face even as I respond to the undeniable hurt with intense ethical energy." Stuart Wilde (1946-), Grace, Gaia and the End of Days; "Grace is a golden light seen coming from the inner spiritual world that is data-driven and laced with trillions of bytes of fractal information that offers you hope, good fortune and protection." William Julius Wilson (1935-), More Than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City. Debra Winger (1955-), Undiscovered (autobio.); why she walked away from Hollyweird for 12 years to raise two sons with hubby Arliss Howard. Richard Wolffe, Renegade: The Making of a President; Barack Obama's rise to the White House. Gordon S. Wood, Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 (Oct. 28). Frosty Wooldridge, America on the Brink: The Next Added 100 Million Americans; 100M more people in the U.S. by 2035? Evan Wright, Hella Nation: Looking for Happy Meals in Kandahar, Rocking the Side Pipe, Wingnut's War Against the Gap, and Other Adventures With the Totally Lost Tribes of America. Robert Wright (1957-), The Evolution of God; how the Bible God starts out in the pits at 1 Sam. 15:3 ordering the slaughter of the Amalekite tribe, then improves. William Yenner et al., American Guru: A Story of Love, Betrayal and Healing (Aug. 11); former students of Am. guru Andrew Cohen (1955-) speak out about his faults incl. pressuring students to give him large sums of money. Irfan Yusuf (1969-), Once Were Radicals: My Years As A Teenage Islamo-Fascist. Zhao Ziyang (1919-2005), Memoirs (posth.); admits that the May 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown and June 3 massacre were illegal, and claims that at the time he openly sympathized with the students. Phil Zuckerman, Faith No More: How and Why People Reject Religion. Art: Robert Delaney (1951-), With (steel sculpture). Music: 311, Uplifter (album #9) (June 2) (#3 in the U.S.); incl. Hey You, It's Alright. 3OH!3, Don't Trust Me. AC/DC, Backtracks (box set) (Nov. 10). a-ha, Foot of the Mountain (album #9) (last album) (June 19) (#5 in the U.K.); they disband in 2010; incl. Foot of the Mountain, Nothing Is Keeping You Here, Shadowside. Lily Allen (1985-), It's Not Me, It's You (album #2) (Feb. 9) (#5 in the U.S., #1 in the U.K.); incl. Not Fair, The Fear, 22, Back to the Start, Fuck You (orginal title "Guess Who Batman"). Tori Amos (1963-), Abnormally Attracted to Sin (album #10) (May 18) (#9 in the U.S., #20 in the U.K.); incl. Welcome to England, 500 Miles; Midwinter Graces (album #11) (Nov. 11) (#66 in the U.S.). Skunk Anansie, Smashes and Trashes (album #4) (Sept. 14). David Archuleta (1990-), Christmas from the Heart (album #2) (Oct. 13). India.Arie (1975-), Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics (album #4) (Feb. 10) (#3 in the U.S.) (325K copies); incl. Therapy, Chocolate High (w/Musiq Soulchild). Buju Banton (1973-), Rasta Got Soul (album #9) (Apr. 21); incl. Magic City; gets a Grammy nomination, which is protested by gay-lez groups because of his war with them. Beatallica, Masterful Mystery Tour (album #2) (Aug. 4); incl. Masterful Mystery Tour, Hero of the Day Tripper, Fuel on the Hill; Winter Plunderband (EP) (Nov. 17). Dierks Bentley (1975-), Feel That Fire (album #4) (Feb. 3); incl. Feel That Fire, Sideways, I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes. Justin Bieber (1994-), One Time (debut) (May 18); My World (album) (debut) (Nov. 17) (#5 in the U.S., #4 in the U.K.); incl. Love Me, Favorite Girl. The Notorious Big (1972-97), Notorious Soundtrack (album) (Jan. 13) (#4 in the U.S.). Mary J. Blige (1971-), Stronger With Each Tear (album #9) (Dec. 18) (#2 in the U.S., #33 in the U.K.); incl. The One, Each Tear (w/Jay Sean), We Got Hood Love (w/Trey Songz), Stronger, I Am. Third Eye Blind, Ursa Major (album #4) (Aug. 18) (#3 in the U.S.); first on their own Mega Collider label; incl. Sharp Knife. Butterfly Boucher (1979-), Scary Fragile (album #2) (June 2); incl. A Bitter Song, For the Love of Love. Susan Boyle (1961-), I Dreamed a Dream (album) (debut) (Nov. 24); sells 9M copies, incl. a record 700K sold in week #1. The Bravery, Stir the Blood (album #3) (Dec. 1); incl. Slow Poison. Backstreet Boys, This Is Us (album #7) (Sept. 30) (#9 in the U.S., #39 in the U.K.) (first group since Sade to have their first seven albums reach the Billboard top-10); incl. Straight Through My Heart. New Boyz, You're a Jerk. The Bravery, The Sun and the Moon (album #2) (May 22) (#24 in the U.S.); incl. Time Won't Let Me Go, Believe. Buckcherry, Live & Loud 2009 (album) (Sept. 29). Colbie Caillat (1985-), Breakthrough (album #2) (Aug. 25) (#1 in the U.S.); incl. Fallin' for You, I Never Told You. Mariah Carey (1970-), Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel (album); incl. Obsessed (put-down of rapper Eminem). Cascada, Evacuate the Dancefloor (album #3) (July 6); incl. Evacuate the Dancefloor, Fever, Dangerous. Neko Case (1970-), Middle Cyclone (album #5) (Mar. 3); incl. People Got a Lotta Nerve. 50 Cent (1975-), Before I Self Destruct (album #4) (Nov. 9) (#5 in the U.S., #22 in the U.K.); incl. Baby by Me, Do You Think About Me. Metal Church, This Present Wasteland (album #9) (last album) (Sept. 23); features Rick Van Zandt on guitar; incl. Company of Sorrow, Breathe Again. Owl City, Ocean Eyes (album #2) (#8 in the U.S., #7 in the U.K.); incl. Fireflies. Kelly Clarkson (1982-), All I Ever Wanted (album #4) (Mar. 6) (#1 in the U.S., #3 in the U.K.); incl. My Life Would Suck Without You, I Do Not Hook Up, Already Gone, All I Ever Wanted. Biffy Clyro, Only Revolutions (album #5) (Nov. 9) (#3 in the U.K.); named after the novel by Mark Z. Danielewski; incl. Mountains, The Golden Rule, The Captain, Many of Horror, Bubbles, God and Satan. Cheryl Cole (1983-), 3 Words (album) (debut) (Oct. 23); incl. 3 Words, Fight for This Love, Parachute. Elvis Costello (1954-), Secret, Profane, Sugarcane (album) (June 9). Creed, Full Circle (album #4) (Oct. 27) (#2 in the U.S.); incl. Overcome, Rain, A Thousand Faces. Death Cab for Cutie, The Open Door EP (album) (Mar. 31). Miley Cyrus (1992-), The Time of Our Lives (EP) (#2 in the U.S., #17 in the U.K.); incl. Party in the U.S.A. (#2 in the U.S.), When I Look at You. Dawes, North Hills (album) (debut) (Aug. 18); from North Hills, Los Angeles, Calif., incl. Taylor Goldsmith (1985-), Griffin Goldsmith (1991-), Wylie Gelbert (1988-), and Tay Strathairn (1981-); incl. When My Time Comes. Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown (album #8) (May 15) (#1 in the U.S. and U.K.) (3.5M copies); incl. Know Your Enemy (#28 in the U.S., #21 in the U.K.), 21 Guns (#22 in the U.S., #36 in the U.K.); Last Night on Earth: Live in Tokyo (album) (May 28). Mos Def (1973-), The Ecstatic (album #4) (June 9) (#9 in the U.S.); incl. Life in Marvelous Times, Quiet Dog Bite Hard, Casa Bey, Supermagic, History (w/Talib Kweli). Snoop Dogg (1971-), Malce n Wonderland (#10) (Dec. 8) (#23 in the U.S.). I Fight Dragons, Cool Is Just A Number (album) (debut) (Feb. 6); Nintendo Game Boy/NES band from Chicago, Ill., incl. Brian Mazzaferri, Hari Rao, Laura Green, Packy Lundholm, Chad Van Dahm, and Bill Prokowpow; incl. Heads Up, Hearts Down, Money, No One Likes Superman Anymore, The Faster the Treadmill. Duran Duran, Live at Hammersmith 82! (album) (Sept. 21); recorded on Nov. 16, 1982. The Enemy, Music for the People (album #2) (Apr. 27) (#2 in the U.K.); incl. No Time for Tears, Sing When You're in Love, Be Somebody. Eminem (1972-), We Made You. Eminem (1972-), Dr. Dre (1965-), and 50 Cent (1975-), Crack a Bottle. Enya (1961-), The Very Best of Enya (album) (Nov. 23). Epica, The Classical Conspiracy (first live album) (May 8); Design Your Universe (album #4) (Oct. 16); incl. Design Your Universe, Unleashed. Escala, Escala (album) (debut) (May 25); female string quartet discovered by Simon Cowell. Europe, Last Look at Eden (album #8) (Sept.); incl. Last Look at Eden. Jackie Evancho (2000-), Prelude to a Dream (album) (debut) (Nov. 15). Eve (1978-), Flirt (album #4). Franz Ferdinand, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand (album #3) (Jan. 26) (#9 in the U.S., #2 in the U.K.); incl. Ulysses, No You Girls, Can't Stop Feeling, What She Came For; Blood: Franz Ferdinand (album) (June 1). Elysian Fields, The Afterlife (album #5). Ella Fitzgerald (1917-96), Twelve Nights in Hollywood (4 CD boxed set) (posth.); 76 songs sung at the Crescendo jazz club in LA in 1961-2. Foreigner, Can't Slow Down (album #9) (last in 1994) (Oct. 2). The Fray, The Fray (album #2) (Feb. 3) (#1 in the U.S., #8 in the U.K.); incl. You Found Me (#7 in the U.S., #35 in the U.K.), Never Say Never (#32 in the U.S., #87 in the U.K.); The Fray: Live from SoHo (album) (Apr. 7); Christmas EP (album) (Dec. 22). Nelly Furtado (1978-), Mi Plan (album #4) (Sept. 11); incl. Manos al Aire. Lady Gaga (1986-), The Fame Monster (album #2) (Nov. 19); incl. Bad Romance, Telephone (with Beyonce). Melody Gardot (1985-), Live from SoHo (album) (Mar. 24); My One and Only Thrill (album #3) (Apr. 29); incl. Who Will Comfort Me, Baby I'm a Fool, Over the Rainbow. Indigo Girls, Poseidon and the Bitter Bug (album #11) (Mar. 24). Lamb of God, Wrath (album #6) (Feb. 23) (#2 in the U.S.) (200K copies); incl. Contractor, Set to Fail. Selena Gomez (1992-) and the Scene, Kiss & Tell (album) (debut) (Sept. 29) (#9 in the U.S., #12 in the U.K.) (800K copies); from Hollywood, Calif., incl. Selena Marie Gomez (1992-), Ethan Roberts (guitar), Joey Clement (bass), Dane Forrest (keyboards), and Greg Garman (drums); incl. Falling Down (#82 in the U.S.), Naturally (#29 in the U.S.). Jay Greenberg (1991-), Skyline Dances: A Terpsichorean Couplet; Neon Refracted (ballet). P.J. Harvey (1969-) and John Parish, A Woman A Man Walked By (album #9) (Mar. 27) (#80 in the U.S., #25 in the U.K.). Men Without Hats, No Hats Beyond This Point (album #6) (last album) (last album in 1991) (Nov. 25). The Heavy, The House That Dirt Built (album #2) (Oct. 13); incl. How Do You Like Me Now?, Oh No! Not You Again!, Sixteen, No Time. Uriah Heep, Celebration (album #22) (Oct. 26). Levon Helm (1940-), Electric Dirt (album #5) (June 30); awarded first-ever Grammy for Best Americana Album. Hoobastank, Fornever (album #4) (Jan. 27) (#26 in the U.S.); incl. My Turn. Whitney Houston (1963-2012), I Look to You (album) (Aug. 31); incl. I Look to You. David Ippolito, Resolution (The Torture Song). Bon Iver, Blood Bank (EP) (Jan. 20) (#16 in the U.S.); incl. Blood Bank. Michael Jackson (1958-2009), This Is It (double album) (Oct. 26); sells 4M copies in the first five weeks. Pearl Jam, Backspacer (album #9) (Sept. 20) (#1 in the U.S., #9 in the U.K.); incl. The Fixer (#56 in the U.S., #93 in the U.K.). Jay-Z (1969-), The Blueprint 3 (album #11) (Sept. 8); his 11th #1 U.S. album, beating Elvis Presley's record; incl. D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune), Empire State of Mind (w/Alicia Keys), Run This Town (w/Rihanna and Kanye West), On To the Next One (w/Swizz Beatz). We Were Promised Jetpacks, These Four Walls (album) (debut); from Edinburgh, Scotland, incl. Adam Thompson, Michael Palmer, Sean Smith, and Darren Lackie; incl. Quiet Little Voices, It's Thunder and It's Lightning, Roll Up Your Sleeves, and Ships With Holes Will Sink. Jonas Brothers, Music from the 3D Concert Experience (album) (Feb. 24) (#3 in the U.S.); Lines, Vines and Trying Times (album #4) (June 16) (#1 in the U.S., #9 in the U.K.); incl. Paranoid, Fly with Me. Norah Jones (1979-), The Fall (album #4) (Nov. 17) (#3 in the U.S., #24 in the U.K.); incl. Chasing Pirates, Young Blood. Journey, Journey: Live in Manila (album) (Mar. 14). R. Kelly (1967-), Untitled (album #9) (Nov. 30) (#4 in the U.S.); incl. Number One (w/Keri Hilson), Echo, Religious. Ke$ha (Kesha Rose Sebert) (1987-), Tik Tok (debut) (Aug.); female single record 610K downloads in a single week. Alicia Keys (1981-), The Element of Freedom (album #4) (Dec. 11) (#2 in the U.S., #1 in the U.K.) (4M copies); incl. Doesn't Mean Anything, Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart (w/Beyonce), Put It in a Love Song, Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down, Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready), Wait Til You See My Smile. The Black Keys et al., Blackroc (album) (Nov. 27) (#176 in the U.S.); in collaboration with several hip hop and R&B artists; incl. Ain't Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo) (w/Mos Def and Jim Jones). The Killers, Live from the Royal Albert Hall (album) (Nov 9). K'naan (1978-), Troubadour (album #3) (Feb. 24); incl. Wavin' Flag, I Come Prepared. Adam Lambert (1982-), For Your Entertainment (album) (debut) (Nov. 23). Annie Lennox (1954-), The Annie Lennox Collection (album) (Feb. 17). Leona Lewis (1985-), Echo (album #2) (Nov. 9) (#13 in the U.S., #1 in the U.K.) (2.6M copies); incl. Happy, I Got You. The Flaming Lips, Embryonic (album #12) (double album) (Oct. 13); incl. See the Leaves, Embryonic; The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and Whtie Dwarfs with Henry Rollins and the Peaches Doing the Dark Side of the Moon (album #13) (Dec. 22); cover of the 1973 Pink Floyd album. LMFAO, Party Rock (album) (debut) (July 7) (#33 in the U.S.); from LA, incl. Redfoo (Stefan Kendal Gordy) (1975-) and SkyBlu (Skyler Husten Gordy) (1986-), son and grandson of Berry Gordy; incl. I'm in Miami Bitch (Trick), Shots (w/Lil Jon), Yes, Get Crazy. Lindsay Lohan (1986-), Spirit in the Dark (album #3); incl. Playground. Demi Lovato (1992-), Here We Go Again (album #2) (July 21); incl. Here We Go Again. Florence + The Machine, Lungs (album) (debut) (July 6); from England, incl. Florence Leontine Mary Welch (1986-); incl. Kiss with a Fist, Dog Days Are Over, Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up), Drumming Song, You've Got the Love. Mae, Morning (EP) (Apr. 19); Afternoon (EP) (Sept. 24). Iron Maiden, Flight 666 - The Original Soundtrack (album) (May 22). Marilyn Manson, The High End of Low (album #7) (May 25); incl. We're from America, Arma-Goddamn-Motherfuckin-Geddon, Running to the Edge of the World. John Mayer (1977-), Battle Studies (album #4) (Nov. 17) (#1 in the U.S., #35 in the U.K.); incl. Who Says, Heartbreak Warfare, Half of My Heart, Perfectly Lonely. Paul McCartney (1942-), Good Evening New York City (double album) (Nov. 17). Megadeth, Endgame (album #12) (Sept. 9) (#9 in the U.S., #24 in the U.K.)); first with Chris Broderick; last with James LoMenzo, who is replaced in 2010 by Dave Ellefson; incl. Head Crusher, The Right to Go Insane. Metric, Fantasies (album #4) (#76 in the U.S, #6 in Canada); incl. Help I'm Alive, Sick Muse, Gold Guns Girls, Gimme Sympathy. Mika (1983-), Songs for Sorrow (June 8) (album); incl. Blue Eyes; The Boy Who Knew Too Much (album #3) (Sept. 21); incl. We Are Golden, Blame It on the Girls. Millionaires, Just Got Paid, Let's Get Laid (EP) (June 23); incl. Just Got Paid, Let's Get Laid. Arctic Monkeys, Humbug (album #3) (Aug. 19) (#15 in the U.S., #1 in the U.K.); incl. Crying Lightning, Cornerstone, My Propeller. Van Morrison (1945-), Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl (album) (Feb. 9). Modest Mouse, No One's First, and You're Next (EP) (Aug. 4); incl. Satellite Skin, Autumn Beds, Perpetual Motion Machine. Puddle of Mudd, Volume 4: Songs in the Key of Love & Hate (album #4) (Dec. 8) (#95 in the U.S.); incl. Spaceship, Stoned, Keep It Together. Mumford and Sons, Sigh No More (album) (debut) (Oct. 5); from England, incl. Marcus Mumford (vocals), "Country" Winton Marshall (vocals), Ben Lovett (keyboard), Ted Dwane (bass); incl. Little Lion Man, The Cave, Roll Away Your Stone, White Blank Page. Twisted Nixon, Mister Sick Money Man. Blue October, Approaching Normal (album #5) (Mar. 24); incl. Dirt Room, Say It, Should Be Loved, Jump Rope. Orianthi, Believe (album) (Oct. 26). Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies) (album #5) (June 3) (7.5M copies); incl. Imma Be, Alive, Meet Me Halfway. Phantogram, Eyelid Movies (album) (debut) (Sept. 14); from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., incl. Sarah Bartel (vocals, keyboards) and Josh Carter (vocals, guitar); incl. When I'm Small, Mouthful of Diamonds, and Running from the Cops. Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (album #4) (May 25); incl. 1901 (Feb. 23) (used in Cadillac commercials), Lisztomania. Pitbull (1981-), Rebelution (album #4) (Sept. 1); incl. Krazy (w/Lil Jon) (#30 in the U.S.), I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) (#2 in the U.S.), Hotel Room Service (#8 in the U.S.), Shut It Down (w/Akon) (#42 in the U.S.), Can't Stop Me Now (w/The New Royales). Placebo, Battle for the Sun (album #6) (June 8); incl. For What It's Worth, The Never-Ending Why, Ashtray Heart, Bright Lights. Iggy Pop (1947-), Preliminaires (Préliminaires) (album) (May 25); inspired by Michel Houllebecq's novel "La Possibilite d'une Ile" (The Possibility of an Island); incl. Les Feuilles Mortes. Raveonettes, In and Out of Control (album #4) (Oct. 6); incl. Last Dance, Suicide, Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed). Lionel Richie (1949-), Just Go (album #9) (Mar. 13); incl. Just Go (w/Akon). Rihanna (1988-), Rated R (album #4) (Nov. 20) (#4 in the U.S., #9 in the U.K.); incl. Russian Roulette, Hard (w/Young Jeezy), Rude Boy, Rockstar 101, Te Amo. Asher Roth (1985-), Asleep in the Bread Aisle (album) (debut) (Apr. 20); I Love College (most annoying pop song of the year?), Be By Myself, She Don't Wanna Man, Lark On My Go-Kart. Eddi Reader (1959-), The Songs of Robert Burns Deluxe Edition (album #9); Love is the Way (album #10). Maxwell (1973-), Black Summer's Night (album) (July 6); incl. Help Somebody; Pretty Wings. Reba McEntire (1955-), Keep On Loving You (album #29) (Aug. 18); incl. Strange, Consider Me Gone. Depeche Mode, Sounds of the Universe (album #12) (Apr. 20); incl. Wrong, Peace, Fragile Tension/Hole to Feed. Maximo Park, Quicken the Heart (album #3) (May 11) (#6 in the U.K.); incl. Wraithlike, The Kids Are Sick Again, Questing, Not Coasting. Silversun Pickups, Swoon (album #2) (Apr. 14). Iggy Pop (1947-), Preliminaires (Préliminaires) (album) (June 2); "Definitely the weirdest record of the punk godfather's career" (Rolling Stone); incl. Nice to Be Dead. Manic Street Preachers, Album #9 Journal for Plague Lovers (album #9) (May 18) (#3 in the U.K.); features lyrics by disappeared (since Feb. 1, 1995) Richey Edwards; incl. Peeled Apples. Queensryche, American Soldier (album #10) (Mar. 31) (#25 in the U.S.) Red, Innocence & Instinct (album #2) (Feb. 10) (#15 in the U.S.); incl. Fight Inside, Never Be the Same, Death of Me. The All-American Rejects, Gives You Hell: The Remixes (EP) (Feb. 3); Soundcheck Vol. 2 (EP) (Feb. 10); The Wind Blows: The Remixes (EP) (June 2); Rhapsody Originals (EP) (June 2); I Wanna: The Remixes (EP) (Aug. 11). R.E.M., Live at the Olympia (album) (Oct. 27); recorded in Dublin, Ireland on June 30-July 5, 2007. My Chemical Romance, The Black Parade: The B-Sides (EP) (Feb. 3); Venganza! (album) (Apr. 10). Busta Rhymes (1972-), Back on My B.S. (album #8) (May 19) (#5 in the U.S.); incl. Arab Money, Hustler's Anthem '09 (w/T-Pain), Respect My Conglomerate, World Go Round. John Rich (1974-), Shuttin' Detroit Down; "They're living it up on Wall Street in that New York City town/ But in the real world, they're shuttin' Detroit down". Rihanna (1988-), Rated R (album #4) (Nov. 20); sells 3M copies; incl. Rude Boy, Russian Roulette, Te Amo. Guns N'Roses, Chinese Democracy (album) (Nov. 23); released after a hermit-like (since 1993) hiatus by Axl Rose, who ends up firing his mgr. Merck Mercuriadis for claiming his creative juices had dried up; the album costs $13M, and all original group members besides him are gone. La Roux, La Roux (album) (debut) (June 29); incl. In for the Kill (Mar. 16), Bulletproof. Shakira (1977-), She Wolf (Loba) (album #6) (Oct. 9); incl. Did It Again, Give It Up to Me. Harper Simon (1972-), Harper Simon (album) (debut) (Oct. 13); son of Paul Simon (1941-). Slayer, World Painted Blood (album #11) (Nov. 3) (#12 in the U.S., #41 in the U.K.); incl. Hate Worldwide, World Painted Blood, Psychopathy Red. Fatboy Slim (1963-) and David Byrne (1952-), Here Lies Love (album) (Apr. 6); about Imelda Marcos. Black Label Society, Skullage (album) (Apr. 21). Collective Soul, Collective Soul (Rabbit) (album #8) (Aug. 25) (#24 in the U.S.); back with Atlantic Records; incl. Staring Down, Welcome All Again, You. LCD Soundsystem, 45:33 Remixes (album) (Sept. 14). Jordin Sparks (1989-), Battlefield (album #2) (July 17); incl. Battlefield, S.O.S. (Let the Music Play). Regina Spektor (1980-), Far (album #5) (June 22); incl. Laughing With. Cobra Starship, Hot Mess (album #3) (Aug. 11) (#4 in the U.S.); incl. Hot Mess, Good Girls Go Bad (w/Leighton Meester). Al Stewart (1945-), Uncorked (Live with David Nachmanoff (album). Joss Stone (1987-), Colour Me Free! (album #4) (Oct. 20) (#10 in the U.S., #75 in the U.K.); incl. Free Me. Stratovarius, Polaris (album #12) (May 15). Testament, Live at Eindhoven '87 (album) (Apr. 14). Therion, The Miskolc Experience (double album) (June). Timbaland (1971-), Shock Value II (album #3) (Dec. 4) (#36 in the U.S., #25 in the U.K.). Train, Save Me, San Francisco (album #5) (Oct. 27) (#3 in the U.S., #33 in the U.K.); incl. Save Me, San Francisco, Hey, Soul Sister, If It's Love, Marry Me. Cheap Trick, The Latest (album #16) (June 23). The Fall of Troy, In the Unlikely Event (album #4) (last album) (Oct. 6); incl. Panic Attack!, Dirty Pillow Talk, Nature vs. Nurture. Jethro Tull, Jack in the Green: Live in Germany 1970-1993 (album). U2, No Line on the Horizon (album #12) (Feb. 27) (#1 in the U.S. and U.K.) (5M copies); cover photo by Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto; incl. Get On Your Boots, Magnificent, I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight, White as Snow. Usher (1978-), Monster (album #6). Nouvelle Vague, 3 (album #3) (June 16); incl. Blister in the Sun. The Veronicas, Revenge Is Sweeter Tour (album) (Sept. 1). Lil Wayne (1982-), The Rebirth (album #7); incl. Prom Queen. Sydney Wayser (1986-), The Colorful (album #2) (Apr. 22). Weezer, Raditude (album #7) (Nov. 3) (#7 in the U.S.); incl. (If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To, I'm Your Daddy. Westlife, Where We Are (album #10) (Nov. 27) (#2 in the U.K.); incl. What About Now. Great White, Rising (album #11) (Mar. 13); incl. I Don't Mind. The Whitest Boy Alive, Rules (album #2) (Mar. 30); incl. 1517. Wilco, Wilco (The Album) (album #7) (June 30); incl. One Wing, Sonny Feeling, You and I (with Feist). will.i.am (1975-), It's a New Day; celebration of Pres. Obama's election; video features Kevin Bacon; "No, Martin wasn't dreaming for nothing/ And Lincoln didn't change it for nothing/ And children weren't crying for nothing." Wisin and Yandel, La Revolucion (album #7). Yello, Touch Yello (album #13) (Oct. 2); incl. The Expert. Frank Zappa (1940-93), Lumpy Money (album) (Jan. 23). Kim Zolciak (1978-), Tardy for the Party (Sept. 11); talentless blonde "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" bimbo is backed by billionaire "Big Poppa", rumored to be Stefan Lemperle or Joe Francis. Movies: Hollywood resurrects 1950s 3-D movies with all-new technology, but it's expensive? Roland Emmerich's 2012 (Nov. 13) (Columbia Pictures) stars John Cusack and Amanda Peet in a silly Mayan end of the world exploitation flick with good SFX; Danny Glover plays U.S. Pres. Thomas Winslow, er, Wilson; after a threat of violence by Muslims, a scene showing Mecca being destroyed is switched to Rome; after North Korea declares 2012 (100th anniv. of the birth of Kim Il-sung) as "the year for opening the grand gates to becoming a rising superpower", it bans the film; does $769.7M box office on a $200M budget. Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani's Ajami (May 22) tells five stories about the Muslim-Christian community in Tel Aviv. R.W. Goodwin's Alien Trespass (Apr. 3) is a parody of 1950s sci-fi B movies starring Eric McCormack and Robert Patrick. Phil Traill's All About Steve (Sept. 4) (20th Cent. Fox) stars Sandra Bullock as crossword puzzle writer Mary Horowitz, and Bradley Cooper as her blind date Steve Miller, whom she creates a crossword puzzle about while chasing him around the country; "If you love someone, set him free; if you have to stalk him, he probably wasn't yours in the first place"; earns Bullock a Razzie to go with her Oscar for "The Blind Side". Mira Nair's Amelia (Oct. 23) stars Hilary Swank as Amelia Earhart, Ewan McGregor as Gene Vidal, Richard Gere as Amelia's hubby George Putnam, and Mia Waskikowska as Elinor Smith. Cherien Dabis' Amreeka (June 17) is about the troubles faced by a Palestinian immigrant family in Ill. Ron Howard's Angels and Demons (May 15), based on the Dan Brown novel stars Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon again, along with Ewan McGregor as the Camerlengo, Ayelet Zurer as Vittoria Vetra, and Stellan Skarsgard as Cmdr. Richter; grosses $485.9M worldwide. Lars von Trier's Antichrist (May 20) stars Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a therapist and his wife whose infant falls out of the nursery window while they're doing the wild thing, then flee to their cabin in the woods called Eden, where they become Adam and Eve and begin destroying each other. James Cameron's Avatar (Dec. 18) is a 3-D sci-fi flick about the moon Pandora and its Na'vi pop. who get in a war with Earth in the 23rd cent., with Sam Worthington starring as paralyzed Marine vet Jake Skully, who inhabits a 10-ft.-tall blue alien avatar; Paul R. Frommer (1944-) invents the Na'vi language for the film; too bad, it costs $300M to make (most expensive in history to date) and $200M to market, and only takes in $73M at the U.S. box office in the first weekend, plus $159.2M overseas ($232.2M), benefiting from the $3-$5 extra added to each ticket for the 3-D fun, and coming in #1 for the year at $759.563M. Todd Graff's Bandslam (High School Rock) (Aug. 6) (Summit Entertainment) (original titles "Will", "Rock On") stars Vanessa Hudgens, Lisa Kudrow, Gaelan Connell, and Aly Michalka, teenies who share a love of music; does $12.2M box office on a $20M budget. John Lee Hancock's The Blind Side (Nov. 20), based on the book by Michael Hancock stars Sandra Bullock as Leigh Ann Tuohy, who takes big black homeless Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) and molds him into a pro football offensive left tackle and 2009 first round NFL draft pick for the Baltimore Ravens; grosses $256M in the U.S. (#8). Pedro Almodovar's Broken Embraces (Los Abrazos Rotos) (Mar. 18) stars Lluis Homar as blind writer Mateo Blanco AKA Harry Caine, who lives in the past with dead wife Lena (Penelope Cruz). Antoine Fuqua's Brooklyn's Finest (Jan. 16) (Thunder Road Pictures) Overture Films) stars Richard Gere as Officer Edward "Eddie" Dugan, Don Cheadle as Det. Clarence "Tanglo" Butler, and Ethan Hawke as Det. Salvatore "Sal" Procida, who take on bad guys Casanova "Caz" Phillips (Wesley Snipes); Shannon Kane plays Gere's ho Chantal; does $36.4M box office on a $17M budget. Larry Charles' Bruno (July 10) stars Sacha Baron Cohen as a flamboyantly gay Austrian fashionista. Jim Sheridan's Brothers (Dec. 4) stars Tobey Maguire as Capt. Sam Cahill, who gets PTSD in Afghanistan and returns to brother Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal) and wife Grace (Natalie Portman). Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story (Oct. 2) goes after Wall Street, the mortgage crisis, and the U.S. govt. bailouts; proposes Ohio rep. Marcy Kaptur and Elizabeth Warren for the 2016 U.S. Dem. pres. ticket; the U.S. debut is at the AFL-CIO convention. Yilmaz Erdogan's A Cheerful Life (Neseli Hayat) (Dec. 25) is the first modern Xmas movie made for audiences in Turkey. Stephen Frears' Cheri (Feb. 10), set in 1920s Paris stars Michelle Pfeiffer as Lea de Lonval, a courtesan hired by Madame Peloux (Kathy Bates) to educate young aristocrat Cheri (Rupert Friend) in sensual pleasures, until he becomes too attached to her. Phil Lord's and Christopher Miller's Cloud with a Chance of Meatballs (Seot. 18) is a computer-animated film based on the 1978 children's book by Judi Barrett; grosses $124.87M. Anne Fontaine's Coco Before Chanel (Apr. 22) stars Audrey Tautou as Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel. Sophie Barthes' Cold Souls (Jan. 17) stars Paul Giamatti as an actor performing a monologue from Anton Chekhov's play "Uncle Vanya"; critics call it a "Being Paul Giamatti". Louie Psihoyos' The Cove (Apr. 25) is a documentary about a group of activists exposing dophin abuse in a cove near Taijii, Japan; features Rick O'Barry of "Flipper" fame. Scott Cooper's Crazy Heart (Dec. 6), based on the 1987 Thomas Cobb novel stars Jeff Bridges as down-and-out country music songwriter Bad Blake, who hooks up with young journalist Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Uwe Boll's Darfur (Nov. 6) stars Billy Zane, Noah Danby, and David O'Hara as journalists who get freaked out by the atrocities. Michael Spierig's and Peter Spierig's Daybreakers (Sept. 11), about a plague turning the Earth's pop. into vampires in the year 2019 stars Ethan Hawke as vampire hamatologist Edward Dalton, who tries to create a blood substitute before the human remnant runs out, while the latter, led by ex-vampire Elvis (Willem Dafoe) has a cure in the wings; Sam Neill plays Hawke's boss Edward Dalton of pharmaceutical co. Bromley Marks. Sherry Horman's Desert Flower (Sept. 24), based on the novel by Waris Darie stars Liya Kebede as a Somalian nomad who was circumcised as an infant and fled Africa to London to become a supermodel. Neill Blomkamp's District 9 (Aug. 14), produced by Peter Jackson in a reality show format is about an extraterrestrial race of 6-ft.-tall catfood-loving "prawns" forced to live for decades as illegal aliens in South Africa in an apartheid-style militarized slum by the evil Multinat. United (MNU) Corp., which makes the mistake of trying to evict them, causing Peters Sellers lookalike MNU rep Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley) to get in the middle and cross-over. Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell (Mar. 15) stars Alison Lohman as LA bank loan officer Christine Brown, who refuses to extend the mortgage of elderly gypsy Sylvia Ganush (Lorna Raver), causing her to go down on her knees to beg, only to be shamed when security is called, vowing revenge by placing a death curse on her; does $91M box office on a $30M budget. Mike Judge's Extract (Sept. 4) stars Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, and Kristen Wiig in a comedy about a manufacturing plant. Dito Montiel's Fighting (Apr. 24) stars Channing Tatum as Shawn MacArthur, who is introduced to the underworld of bare-knuckle brawling by sleazy promoter Harvey Boarden (Terrence Howard). Jonah Tulis' The Flying Scissors stars Keong Sim as Bruce Wong, Devin Ratray as The Rock, Amy Stevens as Kerry O'Malley, Matthew Arkin as Alan Page, and Joseph Stalin as himself. Wyatt McDill's Four Boxes stars Justin Kirk as Trevor Grainger, Terryn Westbrook as Amber Croft, and Sam Rosen as Rob Rankus, avg. joes who run Go Time Liquidators on eBay, and stumble onto Fourboxes.tv, a secret WEbcam into the apt. of weird guy Havoc. Jimmy Nickerson's From Mexico With Love stars Steven Bauer as washed-up trainer Billy Jenks, who takes self-destructive boxer Hector Villa (Kuno Becker) under his wing to the big fight night. Judd Apatow's Funny People (July 31) stars Adam Sandler as comic George Simmons, who contracts terminal leukemia and takes novice comedian Ira Wright (Seth Rogen) under his wing. Hoyt Yeaman's G-Force (July 24), a 3-D animated Disney flick about a guinea pig special force squad does $32.3M on opening weekend, eclipsing Harry Potter. Todd Phillips' The Hangover (June 5) (Legendary Pictures) (Warner Bros.) stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis as Phil Wenneck, Stu Price, and Alan Garner, three buddies who lose their groom Doug (Justin Bartha) in Las Vegas before the wedding; Mike Tyson appears as himself, and when the movie does well financially and Tiger Woods gets in his big troubles, they suggest him for the sequel; grosses $277M in the U.S. and $467.5M worldwide on a $35M budget (#6). David Yates' Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (July 6) (Heyday Films) (Warner Bros.), #6 in the series based on the 2005 J.K. Rowling novels thrills true believers and bores everybody else; #3 for the year (grosses $302M U.S. and $934.4M worldwide on a $250M budget). Ken Kwapis' He's Just Not That Into You (Feb. 6) stars Ginnifer Goodwin as Gigi Haim, Jennifer Aniston as Beth Bartlett, and Jennifer Connelly as Janine Gunders. John Hamburg's I Love You, Man (Mar. 20) stars Paul Rudd as lonely Peter Klaven, who goes on a series of man-dates to find a best man for his wedding with Zooey (Rashida Jones), ending up with Sydney Fife (Jason Segel), which backfires with Zooey. Glenn Ficarra's and John Requa's I Love You Phillip Morris (Jan. 18), based on the true story by Steve McVicker stars Jim Carrey as gay con artist Steven Jay Russell, who escapes from jail 4x to be reunited with his gay bud Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor); gets too gross and alienates audience?; does $20.7M box office on a $10M budget. Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (May 22) is about a weird travelling theater co., incl. Johny Depp, Heath Ledger, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell, who all play Tony; Christopher Plummer plays Dr. Parnassus, whose deals with the Devil make him desperate to save his daughter Valentine (Lily Cole). Steven Soderbergh's The Informant (Oct. 9), based on the book by Kurt Eichenwald stars Matt Damon as Archer Daniels Midland agribiz whistleblower Mark E. Whitacre (1957-), Melanie Lynskey as his wife Ginger, and Scott Bakula as Brian Shepard. Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (Aug. 21) (Universal) (2 hours 32 min.) (title taken from a 1978 Enzo Castellari film), the ultimate Jewish fantasy flick (anti-Schindler's List?) about a group of Jewish-Am. Nazi assassins in WWII who stop the Nazis and the Holocaust after starting their own bloody Holocaust of Germans and killing Hitler and his entire high command stars Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine, and Austrian actor Christoph Waltz (1956-) as SS Col. Hans Landa "the Jew Hunter", who wins an Oscar for best supporting actor, the first acting Oscar for a Tarantino film and 2nd for playing a Nazi after Kate Winslet in "The Reader" (2008); does $321M box office on a $75M budget; garners eight Oscar nods; the inane lack of security for Hitler and his high command ruins the believability?; too bad, the so-called heroes are portrayed as sinking as low or lower than the Nazis in order to beat them, taking any moral high ground away?; proof that Hollyweird is run by Jews who are as savage and bloodthirsty as Nazis?; the Jews and Muslims are Siamese twins, so how did everybody else get in the middle?; why don't they follow with similar flicks for George Washington, Robert E. Lee, Mussolini, Stalin, Pol Pot, or is there no fun in it for da Jews? Tom Tykwer's The International (Feb. 12) (Relativity Media) (Columbia Pictures) stars Clive Owen as Interpol agent Louis Salinger, who with DA Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts) tries to expose Luxembourg-based bank IBBC's role in an internat. arms dealing ring; does $60M box office on a $50M budget. Armando Iannucci's In the Loop (Jan. 22) stars Peter Capaldi and Tom Hollander as a British intrnat. development chief, and James Gandolfini as a U.S. gen. in a satire about attempts to stop an Iraq-type war in the Middle East. Robert Gardner's Inside Islam: What A Billion Muslims Really Think (June 3) is a documentary pushing the PC "Islam Is A Religion of Peace" view, with Dalia Mogahed, John Esposito, and Madeline Algright. Ricky Gervais' The Invention of Lying (Sept. 25), narrated by Patrick Stewart is about a world where nobody has ever lied until Mark (Gervais) starts it to get the girl of his dreams Jennifer Garner. Clint Eastwood's Invictus (Dec. 11), named after the 1888 William Ernest Henley poem stars Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela, who tries to unite South Africa by winning the 1995 Rugby World Cup with players Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon) et al. Nancy Meyers' It's Complicated (Dec. 25) stars Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, and Alec Baldwin in a silly Xmas chick flick. Karyn Kusama's Jennifer's Body (Sept. 18) stars Megan Fox as Jennifer Check, a cheerleader suffering from demonic possession. Derrick Borte's The Joneses (Sept. 13) is about a team of stealth marketers, incl. Demi Moore and David Duchovny. Nora Ephron's Julie & Julia (Aug. 7) (Columbia Pictures), based on the book by Julie Powell stars Meryl Streep as "bon appetit" Am. French chef Julia Child, and Amy Adams as govt. secy. Julie Powell, who decides to cook all 524 of her recipes in 365 days and blog about it; Stanley Tucci plays Julia's hubby Paul, and Chris Messina plays Julie's hubby Eric; does $129.5M box office on a $40M budget. Alex Proyas' Knowing (Mar. 20), based on an idea by novelist Ryne Douglas Pearson stars Rose Byrne/Lara Robinson as Lucinda Embry-Wayland, who is visited by ETs in 1959 and puts a sheet of numbers in her school's time capsule, which is opened in 2009 by fellow student Caleb Koestler (Chandler Canterbury), whose father Jonathan "John" Koestler (Nicolas Cage) is an MIT astrophysics prof.; the numbers turn out to be dates of major disasters, the last one of which is "EE" (everyone else), after which a solar flare wipes out all life on Earth right before some ETs arrive in spaceships to rescue a lucky few. Joel Hopkins' Last Chance Harvey (Jan. 16) stars Dustin Hoffman as jingle writer Harvey Shine, who is booted out of his daughter's wedding in London, and hooks up with lonely statistician Kate Walker (Emma Thompson). Michael Hoffman's The Last Station (Dec. 23) (Sony Pictures), based on the 1990 novel by Jay Parini stars Christopher Plummer as Count Leo Tolstoy in his last year (1910), and Helen Mirren as his wife Sofya, who fights Tolstoyan leader Vladmir Chertkov (Paul Giamatti) for the right to keep his copyrights; James McAvoy plays Tolstoy's new secy. Valentin Bulgakov; does $13.5M box office on an $18M budget. Samuel Maoz's Lebanon (Sept.), based on Maoz's experience in the 1982 Israeli-Lebanese War portrays an Israeli tank crew and their illegal use of phosphorus grenades. Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones (Dec. 11) (DreamWorks), based on the 2002 Alice Sebold novel stars Saoirse Ronan as 14-y.-o. Susie Salmon, who was raped and murdered then watches her family from heaven; does 93.6M box office on a $65M budget. Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail (Feb. 20) stars Perry as gum-flapping Southern grandma Madea Simmons, who goes to jail and meets a bunch of characters. Grant Heslov's The Men Who Stare at Goats (Nov. 6), Heslov's dir. debut based on a 2005 story by journalist Jon Ronson about the secret U.S. Army First Earth Battalion in the 1970s-80s who believed in the paranormal stars George Clooney as Lyn Cassady, Stephen Lang as brig. gen. Dean Hopgood, and Ewan McGregor as journalist Bob Wilton. Rob Letterman's and Conrad Vernon's Monsters vs. Aliens (Mar. 27) is an animated flick starring the voices of Reese Witherspoon, Rain Wilson, and Stephen Colbert; grosses $198M in the U.S. (#11). Duncan Jones' Moon (Jan. 23) stars Sam Rockwell as astronaut Sam Bell, who mans a helium-3 mining site on the far side of the Moon, and discovers he's being cloned to avoid paying him; Kevin Spacey plays the voice of GERTY the robot; Jones' dir. debut; does $9.7M box office on a $5M budget. Nick Cassavetes' My Sister's Keeper (June 26), based on the 2004 Jodi Picoult novel stars Abigail Breslin as Andromeda "Anna" Fitzgerald, who sues her parents Sara and Brian (Cameron Diaz and Jason Patric) to stop them from using her to keep their leukemia-stricken daughter Kate (Sofia Vassilieva) remain alive. Jonas Elmer's New in Town (Jan. 30) (Gold Circle Films) stars Renee Zellweger as consultant Lucy Hill, who tries to save a blue-collar plant in freezing you-betchya New Ulm, Minn. while courting union rep Ted Mitchell (Harry Connick Jr.); Siobhan Fallon Hogan plays Lucy's friend Blanche Gunderson; J.K. Simmons plays Stu Kopenhafer. does $29M box office on a $8M budget. Rob Marshall's Nine (Dec. 18), a musical based on Federico Fellini's "8-1/2" stars Daniel Day-Lewis as famous film dir. Gido Contini, Marion Cotillard as his wife, Sophia Loren as his mother, Penelope Cruz as his mistress, Nicole Kidman as his muse, and Judi Dench as his producer. Bahman Ghobadi's No One Knows About Persian Cats (May 14) is about Iranian rockers Hamed Behdad and Ashkan Kooshanejad, who have to go underground to form a rock band. Sam Taylor Wood's Nowhere Boy (Dec. 25), based on the memoir by Julia Baird is about the teenie years of Beatle John Lennon, played by Aaron Johnson, and his aunt Mimi Smith, played by Kristin Scott Thomas; Thomas Sangster plays Paul McCartney. Walt Becker's Old Dogs (Nov. 25) (Walt Disney Pictures) stars Robin Williams and John Travolta as sports marketers Dan Rayburn and Charlie Reed, and Kelly Preston as Dan's ex Vicki, who reveals that she bore him twins Zach (Conner Rayburn) and Emily (Ella Bleu Travolta); the last film appearance of Bernie Mac; dedicated to him and John Travolta's son Jett, who died in Jan.; Bryan Adams writes and sings the theme song "You've Been a Friend to Me"; does $97M box office on a $35M budget. Oren Peli's Paranormal was made for $15K, and grosses $62.5M in 1 mo., then ? after the Halloween weekend. Steve Carr's Paul Blart: Mall Cop (Jan. 16) stars Kevin James; grosses $146M. Jacques Audiard's A Prophet (Une Prophete) (May 16) is about young Arab Malik El Djebena (Tahar Rahim), who is sent to a French prison for six years with 50 francs, a cigarette and some old sneakers, and becomes a mafia kingpin; "You should leave this place a bit more intelligent than you were before". Lee Daniels' Precious (Jan. 16), based on the 1996 novel "Push" by Sapphire about obese black teenie Calireece "Precious" Jones, who is raped and gets pregnant by her father twice and has a psycho mother does $6M box office in its opening weekend despite a $10K budget. Ron Clements and John Musker's The Princess and the Frog (Dec. 11) set in Jazz Age New Orleans features Disney's first black princess Tiana; a "symbolic reparation" for the 1946 animation-plus-live-action hit "Song of the South" - they should have just refilmed that? Rebecca Miller's The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (July 10) stars Robin Wright, whose much older hubby Herb (Alan Arkin) moves to a retirement community, causing her to slide into a nervous breakdown. Anne Fletcher's The Proposal (June 1) (Touchstone Pictures) (Mandeville Films) (Walt Disney Studios) stars Sandra Bullock as bossy Canadian-born New York book editor Margaret Tate, who is pushed by the INS into marrying her secy. Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) to keep from being deported to Canada, finding out that he's as rich as the Kennedys out in Sitka, Alaska, and falling in luuuv; Mary Steenburgen plays Andrew's mother Grace Paxton, Craig T. Nelson plays his father Joe Paxton, and Betty White plays his grandma Annie; grosses $164M U.S. and $317.4M worldwide on a $40M budget (#16). Michael Mann's Public Enemies (July 1), based on the book "Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI in 1933-34" stars Johnny Depp as John Dillinger. Harry "Doc" Kloor and Dan St. Pierre's Quantum Quest: A Cassino Space Odyssey (Sept.), an animated flick about the NASA/JPL Cassini Huygens mission to Saturn stars the voices of Scientologist John Travolta, Christian Slater et al. John Hillcoat's The Road (Oct.), based on the 2006 Cormac McCarthy novel stars Viggo Mortenson as the Father, Kodi Smit-McPhee as the Son, Charlize Theron as the Wife, and Guy Pearce as the Veteran, who try to survive in the apocalyptic remains of cannibal-filled Appalachia. Juan Jose Campanella's The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos) (Aug. 13) stars Ricardo Darin as Benjamin Esposito, who tries to solve the rape-murder of a young woman in Buenos Aires in June 1974. Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes (Dec. 25) stars Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson, who is given a more human treatment than previous flicks, and more like Arthur Conan Doyle intended; grosses $209M in the U.S.(#10). Jonas Pate's Shrink (Feb. 9) stars Kevin Spacey as pshrink-to-the-stars Henry Carter, LA's top celeb, who turns into a pothead; starts a trend with him getting saved by pot, starting with "American Beauty" (1999)? Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island (Oct. 2), based on the 2003 Dennis Lehane novel stars Leonardo DiCaprio as U.S. marshal Edward "Teddy" Daniels, who investigates the Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane on Shutter Island in Boston Harbor in 1954, loses his partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), and ends up trapped by sinister head pshrink Dr. John Cawley (Ben Kingsley); "Which is better, to live as a monster, or die as a good man?" Joe Wright's The Soloist (Apr. 24), based on the 2007 book "Musicophilia" by Oliver Sacks and the LA Steve Lopez 60 Minutes Segment stars Robert Downey Jr. as Los Angeles reporter Steve Lopez, who discovers gifted black schizo musician and Juilliard dropout Nathaniel Anthony Ayers (Jamie Foxx) playing on skid row, and helps him. Brian Koppelman's and David Levien's Solitary Man (Sept.) (Millennium Films) stars Michael Douglas as 54-y.-o. car dealer Ben Kalmen, who goes on a binge of sexual affairs and spins down with daughter Susan (Jenna Fischer) and wife Nancy (Susan Sarandon), hooking up with student Allyson (Imogen Poots); Danny DeVito plays his college friend Jimmy Marino; does $15M box office on a $5M budget. Oliver Stone's South of the Border is a documentary about Venezuelan pres. Hugo Chavez. J.J. Abrams' Star Trek (May 8), an attempt to revive the series by rewinding to the early Starfleet days stars Chris Pine as Capt. Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, Simon Pegg as Scotty, Karl Urban as Dr. Bones McCoy, John Cho as Lt. Hikaru Sulu, Zoe Saldana as Lt. Nyota Uhura, Anton Yelchin as Pavel Chekov, Bruce Greenwood as Christopher Pike, Ben Cross as Sarek, and Eric Bana as Nero; Leonard Nimoy appears as Old Spock, while Young Spock gets it on with Uhura in a horrible twisted time-travel travesty that makes fans of the original series gag?; earns $76.5M in its opening weekend, with glowing reviews saying that they've revived the 40-y.-o. series after all; grosses $257.7M in the U.S. (#7); next year Leonard Nimoy announces his retirement from Spock roles and Star Trek conventions - Trekkie sacrilege or Trekker salvation? Kevin Macdonald's State of Play (Apr. 17) stars Russell Crowe as newspaper reporter Cal McAffrey, who looks into a conspiracy involving Rep. Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck) and Della Frye (Rachel McAdams). Cyrus Nowrasteh's The Stoning of Soraya M. (June 26), based on the 1994 novel by Freidoune Sahebjam is about a woman stoned in 1986 Iran after being framed by her hubby for adultery so he could marry a younger babe; shows the horror of stoning. Jonathan Mostow's Surrogates (Sept. 25), based on the 2005-6 comic book series stars Bruce Willias as FBI agent Tom Greer, who lives in a world of humanoid remote control vehicles; grosses $122.4M on an $80M budget. Jonah Tulis' The Superagent is a TV movie starring Matt Servitto as Steve Blank, Eddie Hargitay as Neil, and Devin Ratray as the announcer. Pierre Morel's Taken (Jan. 30) stars Liam Neeson as a former spy Brian Mills, whose daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) is kidnapped in Paris by Albanian sex slave traders, and who uses his super spy skills to rescue her, despite being over the hill; grosses $145M. Tony Scott's The Taking of Pelham 123 (June 12), a remake of the 1974 Joseph Sargent classic based on the 1973 John Godey novel stars John Travolta as criminal mastermind Ryder, who holds a New York City subway train hostage for big bucks, and Denzel Washington as subway dispatcher Walter Garber, who duels with him; grosses $65M in the U.S. Aleksa Gajic's Technotise: Edit & I (Sept. 28) is a Serbian animated film based on Gajic's graphic novel set in 2074 Belgrade about female psych student Edit Stefanovic, who keeps failing the same univ. exam, and has a chip implanted in her body to help, only to see it try to take her over. McG's Terminator Salvation (May 21), set in the year 2018 stars Christian Bale as John Connor, Bryce Dallas Howard as Kate Connor, Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese, Sam Worthington as mystery man Marcus Wright, and Moon Bloodgood as Blair Williams. Kenny Ortega's This Is It (Oct. 28) wastes no time in exploting the death of "Thriller" superstar Michael Jackson and his planned 50-concert sold-out This Is It Tour at the O2 Arena in London from July 2009-Mar. 2010, featuring half-Greek Australian guitarist Orianthii Pangaris. Rajikumar Hirani's Three Idiots (Dec. 25) is a Bollywood megahit, raking in 1B rupees in its opening weekend. Robert Schwentke's The Time Traveller's Wife (Aug. 14), based on the Audrey Niffenegger novel stars Eric Bana as Chicago librarian Henre DeTample, who has a gene allowing him to time travel, jeopardizing his relationship with his wife Clare Abshire (Rachel McAdams). Michael Bay's Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen (June 24); stars Shia LeBeouf as Sam Witwicky, Megan Fox as Mikaela Banes, and Josh Duham as Maj. William Lennox; #2 U.S. box office for the year at $402M. Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Nov. 16) (Temple Hill Entertainment) (Summit Entertainment) continues the series based on the Stephenie Meyer novels, starring Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan, who turns 18, and Robert Pattinson as her chilly no-fun ever-17 vampire beau Edward Cullen; does $709.7M box office worldwide and $293.8M in the U.S. (#4) on a $50M budget. Jason Reitman's Up in the Air (Sept. 5) (DreamWorks Pictures) (Paramount Pictures) stars suave, well-dressed George Clooney as Ryan Bingham, an expert on termination assistance, who is about to earn 10M frequent flyer miles with Am. Airlines, Vera Farmiga as his ae Alex Goran, and Anna Kendrick as his ambitious young asst. Natalie Keener; does $166.8M box office on a $25M budget. Gregor Jordan's Unthinkable (Nov. 9) stars Samuel L. Jackson as CIA spook Henry Herald "H" Humphries, and Carrie-Ann Moss as Agent Helen Brody, who work over captured Muslim convert Yousef AKA Steven Arthur Younger (Michael Sheen) to make him divulge the location of three nukes he has put in major U.S. cities to force the U.S. to pull all troops out of the Muslim World; lame speculations of the Constitutionality of torture of this mass murderer ring hollow? Pete Docter's Up (May 29) is a computer-animated film by Pixar, featuring the voice of Ed Asner as elderly widower Carl Fredericksen, who flies to South Am. in a floating house suspended on helium balloons with young Wilderness Explorer stowaway Russell (Jordan Nagai); grosses $277M in the U.S.(#5) and $723M worldwide. Jason Reitman's Up in the Air (Dec. 25) stars George Clooney as corporate downsizing expert Ryan Bingham, whose job and 10M frequent flyer miles are threatened by video conferencing expert Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick), whom he falls for. Marco Bellocchio's Vincere ("To Win") (May 20) is about Mussolini's 1st wife (1914-5) Ida Dalser (1880-1937) (played by Giovanna Mezzogiorno) and their son Benito Albino Mussolini (1915-42); Filippo Timi plays Mussolini, who marries another woman during WWI, treats them both like merde, and gets them locked up in insane asylums for life, trying to cover up his relationship with them. Zack Snyder's Watchmen (Mar. 6), based on the 1987 graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons set in a parallel Earth in 1985 filled with superheroes stars Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhattan, Carla Gugino as Silk Spectre, Malin Akerman as Silk Spectre II, Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach, Matthew Goode as Ozymandias, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the Comedian, and Patrick Wilson as Nite Owl II; does $185M box office on a $130M budget. Woody Allen's Whatever Works (Apr. 22) stars Evan Rachel Wood as a Southerner who marries Manhattan Scrooge Larry David. Spike Jones' Where the Wild Things Are (Oct. 16) is based on the Maurice Sendak children's book about Max (Max Records) in a forest of wild creatures who make him their king. Drew Barrymore's Whip It (Oct. 2), about a roller derby league in Austin, Tex. stars Ellen Page as Bliss Cavendar AKA Babe Ruthless, who escapes the beauty pageant plans of her mother Brooke Cavendar (Marcia Gay Harden); also stars Barrymore as Smashley Simpson, Juliette Lewis as Iron Maven, and Kristen Wiig as Maggie Mayhem. Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon (Das Weisse Band: Eine Deutsche Kindergeschichte) (May 21) is about a small village in N Germany before WWI where abused children made to wear white sleeve ribbons after being suspected of sexual thoughts or masturbation form a guerrilla group to fight back with ritual punishment, and are interrupted by the assassination in Sarajevo, after which we're supposed to see the parallels. Farid Haerinejad and Mohammad Reza Kazemi's Women in Shroud is a documentary about Iranian lawyers and activists working against the death penalty, esp. for women. Shirin Neshat's Women Without Men is set in 1953 Iran during the U.S.-engineered coup of Mohammed Mossadegh. Jean-Marc Vallee's The Young Victoria (Mar. 6) (GK Films) (Momentum Pictures) stars Emily Blunt as Queen Victoria, and Rupert Friend as Prince Albert, featuring authentic costumes and sets; Jim Broadbent plays William IV; Paul Bettany plays Lord Melbourne; Michael Maloney plays Sir Robert Peel; Mark Strong plays Sir John Conroy; Miranda Richardson plays the Duchess of Kent; Thomas Kretschmann plays Leopold I of Belgium; does $27.4M box office on a $35M budget. Ruben Fleischer's Zombieland (Oct. 2) updates zombie flicks, starring Jesse Eisenberg as Austin, Tex. college student Columbus (his preferred destination), Woody Harrelson as Twinkie-loving Tallahassee, who likes to paint "3" on the sides of his vehicles, Emma Stone as Wichita, Abigail Breslin as Little Rock, and Amber Heard as 406; Bill Murray makes a cameo appearance as a non-zombie playing a zombie; Derek Graf plays Clown Zombie; "Rule #1: Cardio; Rule #2: Double Tap; Rule #7: Travel Light"; "Time to nut up or shut up"; grosses $60.8M in 17 days and $102.4M box office on a $23.6M budget to become the #1-grossing zombie film in the U.S. (until ?); "It's been two months since Patient Zero took a bite of a contaminated burger at a Gus 'n' Gulp, just two months and I might just be the last non-cannibal freak in the country." James L. Frachon's Zombieland () ("the other Zombieland") stars Brad Dourif and Arly Jover in a funeral home horror flick. Plays: Richard Bean (1956-), England People Very Nice (Royal Nat. Theatre, London) (Feb.); four waves of immigrants in Bethnal Green. Caryl Churchill (1938-), Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza (Royal Court Theatre, London) (Feb. 10). Zayd Dohrn (1977-), Sick; a Manhattan family goes to extremes to shield themselves from pollution; by the 4-y.-o. kid who lived with Weather Underground leaders Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn in Morningside Heights. Stephan Elliott (1964-) and Allan Scott (1940-), Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (musical) (Palace Theatre, West End, London) (Mar 10); based on the 1994 film about two drag queens and a transgender women who contract to perform a drag show at a resort in Alice Springs; stars Jason Donovan as Mitzi/Tick, Tony Sheldon as Bernadette, and Oliver Thornton as Adam/Felicia; on Mar. 20, 2011 it opens at the Palace Theatre in New York, starring Will Swenson as Mitzi/Tick, Tony Sheldon as Bernadette, and Nick Adams as Adam/Felicia. Margarita Espada, Who Killed Marcelo Lucero? (Stony Brook U.); an Ecuadorian immigrant to Long Island is attacked and killed by an anti-Hispanic teenie group. Will Ferrell (1967-), You're Welcome America. A Final Night with George W Bush (comedy) (Cort Theater, New York) (Feb. 5); on Mar. 14 it is broadcast live on HBO cable channel. Pam Gems (1925-), Winterlove (Drill Hall, London); Despatches (Drill Hall, London). Dan Gordon, Irena's Vow (Walter Kerr Theatre, New York) (Mar. 29); about WWII Polish nurse Irene (Irena) Gut (1918-2003), who saved 12 Jews. Adrian Grant, Thriller Live (musical revue) (Lyric Theatre, West End, London) (Jan. 21) (3.3K+ perf.); six actors play singer Michael Jackson. Teddy Hayes (1951-), Obama On My Mind (musical comedy); a flop; incl. the Oink Scene. Tina Howe (1937-), Chasing Manet. Michael Jacobs, Impressionism (Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, New York) (Feb. 28); stars Jeremy Irons and Joan Allen. Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, Next to Normal (musical) (Pulitzer Prize). Sarah Ruhl (1974-), In the Next Room (The Vibrator Play) (Lyceum Theater, New York) (Oct. 22); her Broadway debut. Joanna Murray-Smith (1962-), Rockabye (Melbourne) (Aug.). Joe Sutton, Complicit (Old Vic Theatre, London) (Jan. 7); stars Richard Dreyfuss as journalist Am. Ben Kritzer, Elizabeth McGovern as his wife Judith, and David Suchet as his defense lawyer Roger Cowan. Robert Wilson (1941-), Sonnets (Berlin). Poetry: Rae Armantrout (1947-), Versed (Pulitzer Prize). Thomas Michael Disch (1940-2008), Winter Journey (posth.). Rita Dove (1952-), Sonata Mulattica. Mary Oliver (1935-), Evidence. Katha Pollitt (1949-), The Mind-Body Problem (June 9). Peter Dale Scott (1929-), Mosaic Orpheus. George Starbuck (1931-96), The Works: Poems Selected from Five Decades (posth.); ed. Kathryn Starbuck and Elizabeth Meese. Wislawa Szymborska (1923-2012), Here. J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973), The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun (posth.) (May). Charles Wright (1935-), Sestets. Novels: Peter Ackroyd (1949-), The Canterbury Tales: A Retelling. Monica Ali (1967-), In the Kitchen (Apr.). Niccolo Ammaniti, As God Commands. Alaa al Aswany, Chicago; Egyptian grad students at the U. of Ill. live under surveillance by Hosni Mubarak's secret police. Margaret Atwood (1939-), The Year of the Flood; sequel to "Oryx and Crake" (2003); God's Gardeners, survivors of the Waterless Flood caused by the evil corporations. Gwenaelle Aubry (1971-), Person (Personne); about her father who suffered from manic depression and left a diary. Paolo Bacigalupi (1972-), The Windup Girl (Sept.) (first novel); 23rd cent. Thailand is plagued by global warming, megacorporations pushing GMO "genehacked" food, and biotechnology. Clive Barker (1952-), Third Book of the Art. Nevada Barr, 13-1/2; Tulane U. prof. Polly Deschamps, Richard and Dylan Raines. Frederick Barthelme (1943-), Waveland. Greg Bear (1951-), Marisposa; sequel to "Quantico" (2005). Steve Berry (1955-), The Paris Vendetta; Cotton Malone #5. Maeve Binchy (1940-), Heart and Soul; a Dublin health center for heart patients. Chris Bohjalian, Secrets of Eden. T. Coraghessan Boyle (1948-), The Women. Anita Brookner (1928-), Strangers. Dan Brown (1964-), The Lost Symbol (Sept. 15); original title "The Solomon Key"; Robert Langdon and noetic scientist Dr. Katherine Solomon chase Freemason secrets in Washington, D.C. and bad guy Mal'akh; causes millions of people to Google "Apotheosis of Washington". James Lee Burke (1936-), In the Valley of Ancient Rain Gods. Robert Olen Butler (1945-), Hell (Sept.). David Caute (1936-), Marechera and the Colonel. Stephen L. Carter, Jericho's Fall; Rebecca DeForde does a pre-obit for cancer-stricken Jericho Ainsley. Mary Higgins Clark (1927-), Just Take My Heart. Paulo Coelho (1947-), The Winner Stands Alone; the "superclass" who stink up the Cannes Film Festival. Suzanne Collins (1962-), Catching Fire (Sept.); #2 in the Hunger Games Trilogy. Michael Connelly, The Scarecrow; Jack McEvoy. Myles J. Connor Jr. and Jenny Siler, The Art of the Heist: Confessions of a Master Art Thief, Rock-and-Roller, and Prodigal Son. Intervention (Aug. 4). Bernard Cornwell, Agincourt; the big battle on St. Crispins Day, Oct. 25, 1415. Michael Crichton (1942-2008), Pirate Latitudes (Nov. 24) (posth.). James Crosbie, Ashanti Gold (June); Colin Grant. Michael Crummey (1965-), Galore; a "One Hundred Years of Solitude" set in Newfoundland? Sandra Dallas, Prayers for Sale. Diane Mott Davidson (1949-), Fatally Flaky; Goldy Schultz #15. Jude Deveraux (1947-), Lavender Morning; Days of Gold; first in the Edilean Series. Cory Doctorow (1971-), Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (first novel); first novel released under a Creative Commons license. Leonard Downie Jr. (1942-), The Rules of the Game (first novel) (Jan. 13); retired Washington Post exec ed. (1981-2008) dabbles in fiction about Washington, D.C. with Sarah Page of the Washington Capital during the admin. of U.S. Pres. Susan Cameron. Dominick Dunne (1926-2009), Too Much Money (Dec.) (posth.). James Ellroy (1948-), Blood's a Rover; #3 in the American Underworld Trilogy. William R. Fortschen, One Second After; a high-alt. nuke causes an EMP disabling all electrical devices worldwide, causing global catastrophe. Tim Gautreaux (1947-), The Missing. Miriam Gershow, The Local News (first novel); Lydia Pasternak tell about her disappeared brother. Matthew Glass, Ultimatum; the future of the U.S. and China fighting over global warming. Mary Catherine Gordon (1949-), Reading Jesus. Joe Gores (1931-), Spade & Archer: The Prequel to Dashiell Hammet's The Maltese Falcon. Seth Grahame-Smith (1976-), Pride and Prejudice and Zombies; NYT bestseller mixing Jane Austen's classic 1813 novel with zombies; filmed in 2016. Philippa Gregory (1954-), The White Queen; about Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV; #1 in the Cousin's War Series. John Grisham (1955-), The Associate. Lauren Groff (1978-), Delicate Edible Birds (short stories). Paul Harding, Tinkers (first novel) (Pulitzer Prize); George on his deathbed in Mass. channels his dead tinker mystic epileptic minister father Howard. Everette Lynn Harris (1955-2009), Basketball Jones. Steven F. Havill, The Fourth Time is Murder. Philip Hensher, The Northern Clemency; two families in Sheffield, England. John Irving (1942-), Last Night in Twisted River. Marlon James, The Book of Night Women; Leo of the ancient Mograns, who possess bodies via sex. Sally Jenkins and John Stauffner, The State of Jones: The Small Southern County That Seceded from the Confederacy; Jones County Miss. Denis Johnson (1949-), Nobody Move. Shelton Johnson, Gloryland (first novel); U.S. Civil War buffalo soldier Elijah Yancy. Stephanie Kallos, Sing them Home. Leslie Kohler, Sins of the Border (first novel). Joan Lehmann, Heaven Below (first novel). Brad Leithauser (1953-), The Art Student's War. Jeffrey Lent, After You're Gone; 50-something Henry Dorn loses his wife Olivia and son Robert to a car crash in Finger Lakes, N.Y., and hooks up with Lydia Pearce in 1922 Amsterdam. Jonathan Lethem (1964-), Chronic City; Chase Insteadman in Manhattan is engaged to stranded astronaut Janice Trumbull; Perkus Tooth. James Lever, Me Cheeta: My Life in Hollywood; fictional autobio. of Tarzan's chimp Cheeta. Elinor Lipman (1950-), The Family Man; gay atty. Henry Archer retires early because his daddy died young . Penelope Lively (1933-), Family Album. Attica Locke, Black Water Rising (first novel); atty. Jay Porter. Shahriar Mandanipout, Censoring an Iranian Love Story; predicts the street death of Neda Agha-Soltan in Tehran?; "The girl does not know that in precisely seven minutes and seven seconds, at the height of the clash between the students, the police, and the members of the Party of God, in the chaos of attacks and escapes, she will be knocked into with great force, she will fall back, her head will hit against a cement edge, and her sad Oriental eyes will forever close." David Marusek, Mind Over Ship (Jan. 20). Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin; about Philippe Petit's 1974 tightrope walk between the Twin Towers in NYC. Colleen McCullough (1937-), The Independence of Miss Mary Bennett; sequel to Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" focusing on Elizabeth's unattractive tone-deaf sister. Anne Michaels, The Winter Vault. Christian Moerk, Darling Jim; Dublin postman Niall Cleary. Nicholas Mosley (1923-), God's Hazard. Herta Muller (1953-), Atemschaukel; German Romanians put in work camps after WWII by the Soviets. Nami Mun, Miles from Nowhere; 13-y.-o. Joon lives on the streets of 1980s New York City. Ralph Nader (1934-), Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! (Sept. 22); twists Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" to make the Warren Buffet types into altruists. Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo, From Nairobi to Shenzhen (first novel); half-brother of Barack Obama, who has lived in S China for the last seven years cashes in. Robert Olmstead, Far Bright Star; the hunting of Pancho Villa. James Patterson (1947-), I, Alex Cross. Matthew Pearl, The Last Dickens; Charles Dickens' son Frank, supt. in the Bengal Mounted Police. Ralph Peters (1952-), The War After Armageddon; life after Iran nukes Israel and the U.S. Jayne Anne Phillips (1952-), Lark & Termite. Gary R. Prisk, Digger Dogface Brownjob Grunt (Oct. 1); Vietnam War novel. Danny Scheinemann, Random Acts of Heroic Love (first novel); Leo Deakin must bury his Greek babe Eleni, while Moritz Daniecki and his son Fischel deal with Kristallnacht. Anis Shivani, Anatolia and Other Stories (Oct.). John Shors, Dragon House; Iris Rhodes fulfills her Vietnam War vet father's wish to found a home in Ho Chi Minh City for Vietnamese street children. Nicholas Sparks (1965-), The Last Song (Sept.). Danielle Steel (1947-), One Day at a Time; Matters of the Heart; Southern Lights. Chuck Palahniuk (1962-), Pygmy; a 13-y.-o terrorist moves in with a white middle-class family posing as an exchange student, with a plan to incite racial hatred in the U.S. by building an A-bomb for his Nat. Science Fair project. Robert Brown Parker (1932-2010), Chasing the Bear: A Young Spenser Novel; Spenser #37; The Professional; Spenser #38; Night and Day; Jesse Stone #8; Split Image; Jesse Stone #9; Brimstone; Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch #3. George Pelecanos, The Way Home; "Bad" Chris Flynn. Arthur Phillips (1969-), The Song is You; Julian Donahue and Cait O'Dwyer . Jodi Picoult (1966-), Handle With Care. Sharon Potts, In Their Blood (first novel); college Jeremy Strobe backpacks in Europe. Spencer Quinn, Dog On It; K-9 school dropout Chet. Kim Stanley Robinson (1952-), Galileo's Dream (Aug. 6). Joel C. Rosenberg (1967-), Inside the Revolution: How the Followers of Jihad, Jefferson and Jesus Are Battling to Dominate the Middle East and Transform the World. J.K. Rowling (1965-), The Tales of Beedle the Bard; the book that Hermione Granger was bequeath ed by Albus Dumbledore. Richard Russo (1949-), That Old Cape Magic. Jose Saramago (1922-2010), Cain; at the launch of his book in Lisbon, he calls the Bible a "handbook of bad morals". Lisa See, Shanghai Girls; sisters Pearl and May Chin in 1937 Shanghai, the Paris of Asia. Jane Smiley (1949-), The Georges and the Jewels. Patrick Somerville, The Cradle (first novel); Marissa and Matt are expecting in July 1997. Scott Spencer (1945-), A Ship Made of Paper. Brad Thor (1969-), The Apostle. Colm Toibin (1955-), Brooklyn. Lisa Tucker, The Promised World. Barry Unsworth (1930-2012), Land of Marvels. Carrie Vaughn (1973-), Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand (Feb.); Kitty Raises Hell (Mar.); Kitty Norville #5, #6. Abraham Verghese (1955-), Cutting for Stone (first novel); autobio. novel about identical twins Shiva and Marion Praise Stone; on Pres. Obama's summer 2011 reading list. Rebecca Wells (1952-), The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder. Elie Wiesel (1928-), A Mad Desire to Dance; Polish Jew Doriel Waldman survives the Holocaust by hiding in a barn with his father. Dirk Wittenborn and Mike Walsh, Pharmakon. Robin Yassin-Kassab, The Road from Damascus. Births: Deaths: Portuguese's world's oldest person (since Nov. 26, 2008) Maria de Jesus dos Santos (b. 1893) on Jan. 2 near Tomar. Am. basketball player Hank Dezonie (b. 1922) on Jan. 2. Am. "Commissioner James Gordon in Batman" actor Pat Hingle (b. 1924) on Jan. 3 in Carolina Beach, N.C. (cancer). English economist Sir Alan Arthur Walters (b. 1926) on Jan. 3 (Parkinson's). Spanish world's oldest living person (since Jan. 2) Manuela Fernandez Fojaco (b. 1895) on Jan. 6. Canadian-born Am. Roman Catholic priest (advisor of George W. Bush) Richard John Neuhaus (b. 1936) on Jan. 8 in New York City (cancer). French dir. Claude Berri (b. 1934) on Jan. 12 in Paris. Am. journalist Allen Zwerdling (b. 1922) on Jan. 12 in Rosendale, N.Y. Am. "The Bobby-Soxer" novelist Hortense Calisher (b. 1911) on Jan. 13 in Manhattan, N.Y. Am. "Edward I Longshanks in Braveheart" actor Patrick McGoohan (b. 1928) on Jan. 13 in Santa Monica, Calif. Am. poet W.D. Snodgrass (b. 1926) on Jan. 13 in Madison County, N.Y. (lung cancer). Mexican "Mr. Roarke in Fantasy Island", "Khan Noonien Singh in Star Trek" actor Ricardo Montalban (b. 1920) on Jan. 14 in Los Angeles, Calif. Am. "Helga" artist Andrew Wyeth (b. 1917) on Jan. 16 in Chadds Ford, Penn. Am. historian Robert B. Asprey (b. 1923) on Jan. 26. Am. novelist John Updike (b. 1932) on Jan. 26. Am. Habitat for Humanity founder Millard Fuller (b. 1935) on Feb. 3. Am. "Capt. Edward Parmalee in Laredo", "Granny Goose potato chips" actor Philip Carey (b. 1925) on Feb. 6 in New York City (lung cancer). Am. "The Law and Mr. Jones" actor James Whitmore (b. 1921) on Feb. 6 in Malibu, Calif. (lung cancer). Dutch physician Willem Johan Kolff (b. 1911) on Feb. 11 in Newtown Square, Penn. Irish playwright Hugh Leonard (b. 1926) on Feb. 12 in Dalkey. Am. publisher Alfred A. Knopf Jr. (b. 1918) on Feb. 14. Am. inventor John S. Kanzius (b. 1944) on Feb. 18 in Fort Meyers, Fla. (cancer). Am. "Private Benjamin" dir. Howard Zieff (b. 1927) on Feb. 22 in Los Angeles, Calif. Am. "Riverworld" novelist Philip Jose Farmer (b. 1918) on Feb. 25 in Peoria, Ill. Am. basketball player-announcer Norm Van Lier (b. 1947) on Feb. 26 in Chicago, Ill. Am. radio personality Paul Harvey (b. 1918) on Feb. 28 in Phoenix, Ariz. Am. actor Sydney Earle Chaplin (b. 1926) on Mar. 3 in Rancho Mirage, Calif.; 3rd son of Charles Chaplin and 2nd wife Lita Grey. Am. "To Kill a Mockingbird" screenwriter-playwright Horton Foote (b. 1916) on Mar. 4 in Hartford, Conn. Canadian "Mrs. Hockey" Colleen Howe (b. 1933) on Mar. 6 in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. (Pick's Disease). French writer Pierre Bourgeade (b. 1927) on Mar. 12 in Loches. Am. "The Runner Stumbles" playwright Milan Stitt (b. 1941) on Mar. 12 in New York City. Am. "Malcolm" novelist James Purdy (b. 1914) on Mar. 13 in Englewood, N.J. Am. "Bad Day at Black Rock" screenwriter (creator of Mr. Magoo) Millard Kaufman (b. 1917) on Mar. 14 in Los Angeles, Calif. (heart failure). Am. ML baseball player-coach-mgr. Whitey Lockman (b. 1926) on Mar. 17 in Scottsdale, Ariz. Am. Steppenwolf and Blues Image musician Kent Henry (b. 1948) on Mar. 18 in Portland, Ore. English actress Natasha Richardson (b. 1963) on Mar. 18 in New York City (subdural hematoma from skiing accident on Mont Tremblant in Quebec on Mar. 16. Am. political scientist Jeremy R. Azrael (b. 1935) on Mar. 19 in Sherman Oaks, Calif. (lymphoma). Am. historian John Hope Franklin (b. 1915) on Mar. 25 in Durham, N.C. Romanian-born Am. writer Michael S. Radu (b. 1947) on Mar. 25. Am. country singer Dan Seals (b. 1948) on Mar. 25 in Nashville, Tenn. (mantle cell lymphoma). Canadian skier Shane McConkey (b. 1969) on Mar. 26 in Italy; killed parachuting off a cliff in the Dolomite Mts. French "Lawrence of Arabia", "Doctor Zhivago" composer-conductor Maurice Jarre (b. 1924) on Mar. 29 in Los Angeles, Calif. Am. photographer Helen Levitt (b. 1913) on Mar. 29 in New York City. Am. "Velda in Kiss Me Deadly" actress Maxine Cooper (b. 1924) on Apr. 4 in Los Angeles, Calif. English mathematician I.J. Good (b. 1916) on Apr. 5 in Radford, Va. Am. Dungeons & Dragons game designer Dave Arneson (b. 1947) on Apr. 7 in Saint Paul, Minn. Am. porno star Marilyn Chambers (b. 1952) on Apr. 12 in Santa Clarita, Calif. (heart disease). Am. baseball pitcher Mark "the Bird" Fidrych (b. 1954) on Apr. 13 in Northborough, Mass.; dies after his clothes become entangled in the power takeoff shaft of a 10-wheeled dump truck at his home. Am. "The Blue Max" novelist Jack D. Hunter (b. 1921) on Apr. 13 in St. Augustine, Fla. French novelist Maurice Druon (b. 1918) on Apr. 14 in Paris. English "Crash", "Empire of the Sun" novelist J.G. Ballard (b. 1930) on Apr. 19 in London. Am. "Mr. Koreander in The Neverending Story" actor Thomas Hill (b. 1927) on Apr. 20 in Bloomington, Ind. English UFO writer John Michell (b. 1933) on Apr. 24 in Stock-Abbott, Dorset. Am. actress Bea Arthur (b. 1922) on Apr. 25 in Los Angeles, Calif. Am. country singer Vern Gosdin (b. 1934) on Apr. 28 in Nashville, Tenn. (stroke). English Pluto-naming celeb Venetia Burney (b. 1918) on Apr. 30 in Barnstead. Am. "The Women's Room" novelist-writer Marilyn French (b. 1929) on May 2 in Manhattan, N.Y. (heart failure). Am. actor-dir.-producer-chef Dom DeLuise (b. 1933) on May 4 in Los Angeles, Calif. Am. basketball coach Chuck Daly (b. 1930) on May 9 in Jupiter, Fla. (pancreatic cancer). Libyan al-Qaida member Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi (b. 1963) on May 10 in prison (suicide) (murder?). Am. actor Frank Aletter (b. 1926) on May 13 in Tarzana, Calif. Am. basketball player-musician Wayman Tisdale (b. 1964) on May 15 in Tulsa, Okla. Am. historian David Herbert Donald (b. 1920) on May 17 in Boston, Mass. (heart failure). Am. biochemist Robert F. Furchgott (b. 1916) on May 19 in Seattle, Wash.; 1998 Nobel Med. Prize. South Korean pres. #16 (2003-8) Roh Moo-hyun (b. 1946) on May 23 in Yangsan (suicide by leaping from cliff); leaves a note describing his agony over corruption allegations. British economist Sir Clive Granger (b. 1934) on May 27 in La Jolla, Calif.; 2003 Nobel Econ. Prize. English actor Terence Joseph Alexander (b. 1923) on May 28. Guinea-Bissau pres. #1 (1974-80) Louis Cabral (b. 1931) on May 30 in Torres Vedras, Portugal. Sudanese pres. (1969-85) Jaafar an-Nimeiry (b. 1930) on May 30 in Khartoum. Am. historian Ernest Richard May (b. 1928) on June 1 in Cambridge, Mass. (cancer). Am. "Kung Fu", "Kill Bill" actor David Carradine (b. 1936) on June 3 in Bangkok, Thailand (suicide). French immunologist Jean Dausset (b. 1916) on June 6 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain; 1980 Nobel Medicine Prize. Gabonese pres. #2 (1967-2009) Omar Bongo (b. 1935) on June 8 in Barcelona, Spain (intestinal cancer). German-British political scientist Ralf Dahrendorf, Baron Dahrendorf (b. 1929) on June 17 in Cologne, Germany (cancer). Am. "Love of Life", "The Secret Storm" radio-TV announcer Ken Roberts (b. 1910) on June 19 in New York City. Am. "Heeere's Johnny" celeb Ed McMahon (b. 1923) on June 23 in Los Angeles, Calif. Am. "Jill Munroe in Charlie's Angels" actress Farrah Fawcett (b. 1947) on June 25 in Santa Monica, Calif. (cancer); dies before she can marry longtime beau Ryan O'Neal. Am. superstar entertainer ("the King of Pop") Michael Jackson (b. 1958) on June 25 in Los Angeles, Calif. (heart attack from OD); weighs 112 lbs. at death; sold 750M records; leaves three children, Prince Michael Jackson I (1997-), Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson (1998-), and Prince "Blanket" Michael Jackson II (2002-); news of his death rivals the death of JFK for shock value, causing Google, Twitter et al. to crash or bog down; his doctor later reveals that he had been suffering from lupus; a drug stash incl. the fatal anesthetic Propofol is found in his closet; at his funeral Stevie Wonder sings "Never Dream You'd Leave Me in the Summer"; on June 24, 2010 his brother Jermaine Jackson says that if Michael had converted to Islam it might have saved his life; a bust of an Egyptian woman from earlier than 1000 B.C.E. that has been on display at Chicago's Field Museum since 1988 attracts attention as a dead ringer for him - he dies too young after taking too many prescription drugs, like Elvis? Am. "The Seeds" singer Sky Saxon (b. 1937) on June 25 in Austin, Tex. Am. "My Little Margie" actress Gale Storm (b. 1922) on June 27 in Danville, Calif. Am. OxiClean, Orange Glo pitchman Billy Mays (b. 1958) on June 28 in Tampa, Fla.; found dead in his home after a plane he lands in blows out its front tires, and he tells a TV station that some objects "hit me on the head, but I got a hard head". Am. "Wade Gustafson in Fargo' actor-singer Harve Presnell (b. 1933) on June 30 in Santa Monica, Calif. Nicaraguan boxer Alexis Arguello (b. 1952) on July 1 in Managua (suicide?). Am. "Gen. Omar Bradley in Patton", "Lt. Mike Stone in The Streets of San Francisco" actor Karl Malden (b. 1912) on July 1 in Brentwood, Los Angeles, Calif. Am. "The Mothman Prophecies" writer John Keel (b. 1930) on July 3 in New York City. Am. actess Brenda Joyce (b. 1917) on July 4 in Santa Monica, Calif. Am. football QB Steve McNair (b. 1973) on July 4 in Nashville, Tenn. (shot dead by a woman in his condo, who shoots herself). U.S. defense secy. #8 (1961-8) Robert Strange McNamara (b. 1916) on July 6 in Washington, D.C. English conductor Sir Edward Downes (b. 1924) on July 10 in Switzerland (assisted suicide along with his wife). Am. Civil War historian Kenneth Milton Stampp (b. 1912) on July 10. Am. CBS Evening News anchorman (1962-81) Walter Cronkite (b. 1916) on July 17 at 7:42 p.m. in Manhattan, N.Y.; dies right before the 40th anniv. of the Apollo 11 launch he moderated. Polish anti-Marxist philosopher Leszek Kolakowski (b. 1927) on July 17 in Oxford, England: "We learn history not in order to know how to behave or how to succeed, but to know who we are." British world's oldest man Henry Allingham (b. 1896) on July 18 in Ovingdean, East Sussex. Am. "Angela's Ashes" writer Frank McCourt (b. 1930) on July 19 in Manhattan, N.Y. Scottish "Peter and Gordon" singer Gordon Waller (b. 1945) on July 17 in Norwich, Conn. Am. psychologist Mark Rosenzweig (b. 1922) on July 20 in Berkeley, Calif. (renal failure). Am. New Riders of the Purple Sage country rock musician John Dawson (b. 1945) on July 21 ini San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (stomach cancer). Am. novelist Everett Lynn Harris (b. 1955) on July 23 in Los Angeles, Calif. Am. economist Stanley Lebergott (b. 1918) on July 24 in Middletown, Conn. English novelist Stanley Middleton (b. 1919) on July 25 (cancer). British last WWI vet Harry Patch (d. 1898) on July 25 in Wells, Somerset. Am. poet Turner Cassity (b. 1929) on July 26 in Atlanta, Ga. Philippine pres. #11 (1986-92) Corazon Aquino (b. 1933) on Aug. 1 in Makati (colon cancer). Am. first African-Am. supermodel Naomi Sims (b. 1948) on Aug. 1 in Newark, N.J. (breast cancer). Palestinian ex-terrorist politician-writer Shafiq al-Hout (b. 1932) on Aug. 2 in Beirut, Lebanon (cancer). Am. "On the Waterfront" screenwriter Budd Schulberg (b. 1914) on Aug. 5 in Westhampton, N.Y. Am. "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", "Home Alone" dir. John Hughes (b. 1950) on Aug. 6 in New York City (heart attack). Am. lobbyist Anne Wexler (b. 1921) on Aug. 7 (cancer); first woman to own a lobbying firm (1981). Am. celeb Eunice Kennedy Shriver (b. 1921) on Aug. 11 in Hyannis, Mass. Am. guitar maker Les Paul (b. 1915) on Aug. 13 in White Plains, N.Y. Canadian hockey hall-of-fame player Ted Kennedy (b. 1925) on Aug. 14 in Port Colborne, Ont.; first NHL player to win the Stanley Cup 5x. South Korean pres. (1998-2003) ("the Nelson Mandela of Asia") Kim Dae-jung (b. 1925) on Aug. 18 in Seoul (heart failure from multiple organ dysfunction syndrome); 2000 Nobel Peace Prize. Ukrainian-born Am. economist Rose Friedman (b. 1910) on Aug. 18 in Davis, Calif. Am. TV producer ("60 Minutes" creator) Don Hewitt (b. 1922) on Aug. 19 in Bridgehampton, N.Y. (pancreatic cancer). Am. pastor Rev. Charles E. Blair (b. 1921) on Aug. 20 in Denver, Colo. (7:20 p.m.) Austrian Olympic skier Toni Sailer (b. 1935) on Aug. 24 in Innsbruck (laryngeal cancer). Am. Coors kidnapper Joseph Corbett Jr. (b. 1928) on Aug. 24 in Denver, Colo. (suicide). U.S. Sen. (D-Mass.) (1962-2009) Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy (b. 1932) on Aug. 25 in Hyannis Port, Mass. (brain cancer); buried in Arlington Nat. Cemetery close to his brothers JFK and RFK; only Jean Kennedy Smith (1928-) is left from the original Kennedy family; his Portuguese water dog Splash (1997-2010) dies on Dec. 24, 2010. Am. writer-journalist Dominick Dunne (b. 1925) on Aug. 26 in Manhattan, N.Y.; known for covering the O.J. Simpson murder trial in 1995 and kidnap-robbery trial in 2008. English novelist-newspaper columnist Keith Waterhouse (b. 1929) on Sept. 4 in London. Danish nuclear physicist Aage Niels Bohr (b. 1922) on Sept. 8 in Copenhagen; 1975 Nobel Physics Prize. Am. world's oldest person (since Jan. 2) Gertrude Baines (b. 1894) on Sept. 11 in Los Angeles, Calif. Am. "The Basketball Diaries" poet-musician Jim Carroll (b. 1949) on Sept. 11 in Manhattan, N.Y. (heart attack). Am. agronomist Norman Borlaug (b. 1914) on Sept. 12 in Dallas, Tex.; 1970 Nobel Peace Prize. Am. "Det. Adam Flint in Naked City" actor Paul Burke (b. 1926) on Sept. 13 in Palm Springs, Calif. (cancer). Am. "Dirty Dancing", "Ghost" actor Patrick Swayze (b. 1952) on Sept. 14 in Los Angeles, Calif. (pancreatic cancer): "Nobody puts Baby in a corner." Am. child psychiatrist Leon Eisenberg (b. 1922) on Sept. 15 in Cambridge, Mass. (prostate cancer). Am. "Peter, Paul and Mary" singer Mary Travers (b. 1936) on Sept. 16 in Danbury, Conn. (leukemia). Am. hall-of-fame bowler Dick Hoover (b. 1929) on Sept. 17 in Brunswock, Ohio. Am. "Godfather of Neoconservatism" writer-journalist Irving Kristol (b. 1920) on Sept. 18 in Falls Church, Va. Am. "Ferrante & Teicher" pianist Arthur Ferrante (b. 1921) on Sept. 19 in Long Boat Key, Fla.; dies at age 88, one year for each piano key; released 150 albums selling 88M copies. Am. "The Lone Ranger" actor John Hart (b. 1917) on Sept. 20 in Playas de Rosarito, Baja Calif., Mexico. Am. actor-dir. Robert Ginty (b. 1948) on Sept. 21 in Los Angeles, Calif. (cancer). Am. actor Edward Albert (b. 1951) on Sept. 22 in Malibu, Calif. (lung cancer); dies 18 mo. after his father Eddie Albert. Am. writer-journalist William Lewis Safire (b. 1929) on Sept. 27 in Rockville, Md. Soviet cosmonaut Pavel Popovich (b. 1930) on Sept. 29 in Gurzuf, Crimea, Ukraine. German publisher Reinhard Mohn (b. 1921) on Oct. 3 in Steinhagen. Argentine singer ("Voice of the Voiceless Ones") Mercedes Sosa (b. 1935) on Oct. 4 in Buenos Aires (kidney disease). Ukrainian-born Am. mathematician Israel Gelfand (b. 1913) on Oct. 5 in New Brunswick, N.J. Am. actress Pamela Blake (b. 1915) on Oct. 6 in Las Vegas, Nev. Am. photographer Irving Penn (b. 1917) on Oct. 7 in Manhattan, N.Y. Am. "Blue Cheer" rocker Dickie Peterson (b. 1946) on Oct. 12 in Erklenz, Germany (cancer). Am. activist Tex. judge William Wayne Justice (b. 1920) on Oct. 13 in Austin, Tex. Am. aeronautical engineer Richard Travis Whitcomb (b. 1921) on Oct. 13 in Newport News, Va. Am. "Mayella Violet Ewell in To Kill a Mockingbird" actress Collin Wilcox (b. 1935) on Oct. 14 in Highlands, N.C. (brain cancer). Am. record co. exec Alan Wendell Livingston (b. 1917) on Mar. 13 in Beverly Hills, Calif. Am. New Age leader Elizabeth Clare Prophet (b. 1939) on Oct. 15 in Bozeman, Mont. (Alzheimer's). Am. economist John R. Meyer (b. 1927) on Oct. 20. German-born English "The Slits" vocalist Ari Up (b. 1962) on Oct. 20 in Los Angeles, Calif. Am. Sonic Drive-In founder Troy Smith (b. 1922) on Oct. 26 in Oklahoma City, Okla. (Alzheimer's). French anthropologist-ethnologist ("Father of Modern Anthropology") Claude Levi-Strauss (b. 1908) on Oct. 30 in Paris. Spanish novelist Francisco Ayala (b. 1906) on Nov. 3 in Madrid; last survivor of the Generation of 1927. Soviet physicist Vitaly Ginzburg (b. 1916) on Nov. 8 in Moscow; 2003 Nobel Physics Prize. English "The Equalizer" actor Edward Woodward (b. 1930) on Nov. 16 in Truro, Cornwall. Am. world's oldest living person Olivia Patrick "Pat" Thomas (b. 1895) on Nov. 16 in Buffalo, N.Y. Irish-born British actor Richard Todd (b. 1919) on Dec. 3 in Bourne, Lincolnshire (cancer). Irish folk singer Liam Clancy (b. 1935) on Dec. 4 in Cork. Am. economist Arthur Goldberger (b. 1930) on Dec. 11. Am. economist Paul Samuelson (b. 1915) on Dec. 13 in Belmont, Mass.; 1970 Nobel Econ. Prize (first American): "To prove that Wall Street is an early omen of movements still to come in GNP, commentators quote economic studies alleging that market downturns predicted four out of the last five recessions. That is an understatement. Wall Street indexes predicted nine out of the last five recessions! And its mistakes were beauties"; "A growing nation is the greatest ponzi game ever contrived." Am. televangelist Oral Roberts (b. 1918) on Dec. 15 in Newport Beach, Calif. Russian economist and PM (1992) Yegor Gaidar (b. 1956) on Dec. 16 in Moscow (pulmonary edema). Am. "The Song of Bernadette" actress Jennifer Jones (b. 1919) on Dec. 17 in Malibu, Calif. English gay Marxist film critic Robin Wood (b. 1931) on Dec. 18 in Toronto, Ont., Canada. Iranian dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri (b. 1922) on Dec. 19 in Qum; his funeral is attended by thousands of anti-govt. protesters wearing green and shouting "death to the dictator". Am. Big Brother and the Holding Co. rock musician James Gurley (b. 1939) on Dec. 20 in Palm Desert, Calif. (heart attack). Am. "Sin City" actress-singer Brittany Murphy (b. 1977) on Dec. 20 in Los Angeles, Calif. (cardiac arrest); on May 23, 2010 her British screenwriter husband Simon Monjack is found dead in his Los Angeles home of natural causes; in 2013 her father claims that the U.S. govt. murdered her. Am. biochemist Edwin G. Krebs (b. 1918) on Dec. 21 in Seattle, Wash.; 1992 Nobel Med. Prize. Am. "New York Review of Books" illustrator David Levine (b. 1926) on Dec. 29 in New York City. Am. folk musician Fred Gerlach (b. 1925) on Dec. 31 in San Diego, Calif. Am. Beltway Sniper John Allen Muhammad (b. 1960) on Nov. 10 in Greensville Correctional Center, Greensville County, Va. (executed).