The inimitable Dave Barry has published his review of the year 2009. Here are a few highlights.
It was a year of Hope — at first in the sense of ‘I feel hopeful!’ and later in the sense of ‘I hope this year ends soon!’
It was also a year of Change, especially in Washington, where the tired old hacks of yesteryear finally yielded the reins of power to a group of fresh, young, idealistic, new-idea outsiders such as Nancy Pelosi. As a result Washington, rejecting `business as usual,’ finally stopped trying to solve every problem by throwing billions of taxpayer dollars at it and instead started trying to solve every problem by throwing trillions of taxpayer dollars at it.
To be sure, it was a year that saw plenty of bad news. But in almost every instance, there was offsetting good news:
BAD NEWS: The economy remained critically weak, with rising unemployment, a severely depressed real-estate market, the near-collapse of the domestic automobile industry and the steep decline of the dollar.
GOOD NEWS: Windows 7 sucked less than Vista.
BAD NEWS: The downward spiral of the newspaper industry continued, resulting in the firings of thousands of experienced reporters and an apparently permanent deterioration in the quality of American journalism.
GOOD NEWS: A lot more people were tweeting.
BAD NEWS: Ominous problems loomed abroad as — among other difficulties — the Afghanistan war went sour, and Iran threatened to plunge the Middle East and beyond into nuclear war.
GOOD NEWS: They finally got Roman Polanski.
In short, it was a year that we will be happy to put behind us. But before we do, let’s swallow our anti-nausea medication and take one last look back, starting with. . . .
The No. 1 item on the agenda is fixing the economy, so the new administration immediately sets about the daunting task of trying to nominate somebody — anybody — to a high-level government post who actually remembered to pay his or her taxes. Among those who forgot this pesky chore is Obama’s nominee for Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, who sheepishly admits that he failed to pay $35,000 in federal self-employment taxes. He says that the error was a result of his using TurboTax, which he also blames for his involvement in an eight-state spree of bank robberies. He is confirmed after the Obama administration explains that it inherited the U.S. Tax Code from the Bush administration.
Congress passes, without reading it, and without actually finishing writing it, a stimulus package totaling $787 billion. The money is immediately turned over to American taxpayers so they can use it to stimulate the economy.
No! What a crazy idea THAT would be! The money is to be doled out over the next decade or so by members of Congress on projects deemed vital by members of Congress, such as constructing buildings that will be named after members of Congress. This will stimulate the economy by creating millions of jobs, according to estimates provided by the Congressional Estimating Office’s Magical Estimating 8-Ball.
… the CEO of GM resigns under pressure from the White House, which notes that it inherited the automobile crisis from the Bush administration. GM is now essentially a subsidiary of the federal government, which promises to use its legendary business and marketing savvy to get the crippled auto giant back on its feet, starting with an exciting new lineup of cars such as the Chevrolet Consensus, a “green” car featuring a compressed-soybean chassis, the world’s first engine powered entirely by dew, and a 14,500-page owner’s manual, accompanied by nearly 6,000 pages of amendments.
New York is temporarily thrown into a panic when Air Force One flies low over Manhattan for a publicity photo shoot. Responding to widespread criticism, Gibbs notes that President Obama inherited Air Force One from the Bush administration.
David Souter announces that he is retiring from the Supreme Court because he is tired of getting noogies from Chief Justice Roberts. To replace Souter, President Obama nominates Sonia Sotomayor, setting off the traditional Washington performance of Konfirmation Kabuki, in which the Democrats portray the nominee as basically a cross between Abraham Lincoln and the Virgin Mary, and the Republicans portray her more as Ursula the Sea Witch with a law degree. Sotomayor will eventually be confirmed, but only after undergoing the traditional Senate Judiciary Committee hazing ritual, during which she must talk for four straight days without expressing an opinion.
On the economic front, California is caught on videotape attempting to shoplift 17,000 taxpayers from Nevada. General Motors files for bankruptcy and announces a new sales strategy under which it will go around at night leaving cars in people’s driveways, then sprinting away.
President Obama becomes embroiled in controversy when, commenting on the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. by Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley, he states that the police `acted stupidly.’ This comment angers many in the law-enforcement community, as the president discovers the next day when his motorcade is cited for more than 3,000 moving violations. To resolve the situation, the president invites both Gates and Crowley to the White House for a `beer summit,’ which is described later by White House spokesperson Gibbs as `very amicable’ except for some `minor tasering.’
President Obama, in the first serious test of his presidency, announces that he will send U.S. troops to rescue Democratic members of Congress pinned down in town hall meetings by constituents firing hostile questions concerning the administration’s health-care plan, which turns out not to be wildly popular outside of the immediate Capitol Hill area. The president dismisses concerns that his health-care agenda is in trouble, observing that `there’s something about August going into September where everybody in Washington gets all wee-weed up.’ White House spokesperson Gibbs explains that the ‘vast majority’ of the wee-wee was inherited from the Bush administration.
In international news, Iran shocks the world by revealing the existence of a previously secret uranium enrichment facility. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insists that the uranium will be used only for `parties.’ United Nations nuclear inspectors note, however, that `Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’ can be rearranged to spell `Had Jammed a Humanoid’ and `Hounded a Jihad Mamma.’
On a happier note for the White House, President Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize, narrowly edging out Beyoncé.
… the president, in a much-debated post-Thanksgiving decision, announces that he is sending U.S. troops into the electronics departments of 1,400 Best Buy stores to prevent Black Friday shoppers from killing each other over flat-screen TVs. Hours later the president withdraws the troops, calling the situation “hopeless.” Press Secretary Gibbs notes that the president inherited Black Friday from the Bush administration.
On the economic front, the nation’s unemployment rate remains stubbornly high as it becomes clear that the $787 billion stimulus package has created a total of only eight jobs, all in the field of highway-construction flagperson. Looking for solutions, the president hosts a White House “jobs summit” attended by political, business and labor leaders, as well as 23 Portuguese tourists who got lost while trying to visit the Washington Monument and somehow penetrated White House security. Meanwhile, in what is believed to be the largest Craigslist transaction ever, California sells San Diego to Mexico.
There’s much more at the link. Very funny, and highly recommended reading.