Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 2


The lovely actress Patricia Neal died from lung cancer on August 8th at her home in Massachusetts. She had starred in one of my favorite films, "The Day the Earth Stood Still, and won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her 1964 performance in "Hud." She was 84 years old.

On August 18th the last U.S. combat troops in Iraq crossed the boarder into Kuwait, leaving an advisory force of 50,000 soldiers.
The President would announce the end of combat operations (Operation Iraqi Freedom) when addressing the nation on August 30th. The remaining troops are scheduled to leave Iraq by the end of 2011. Many worry they will be replaced by private contractors.

Thus ends (hopefully) one of the most tragic and shameful chapters in the history of the United States foreign policy.


On the 11th of September, the 9th anniversary of the attacks on the Twin Towers, stage, film, and television actor Kevin McCarthy died of pneumonia. He was a prolific actor but was probably best known for appearing in the 1956 Sci Fi classic, "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (based on a true story, I'm told). He was 96 years old.

On September 16 the U.S. Census Bureau released information claiming the poverty rate had hit a 15 year high (thanks President Bush! Yes, I said Bush, not Obama. Bush got us into this mess, and Obama's trying to get us out... I think). The percentages of Americans living below the poverty line, or $10,830 for an individual and $22,050 for a family of four, reached a 15-year high in 2009, stating that over 44 million of our citizens were considered living in poverty. That would be about 1/7th of the total population.

The next day the President appointed Elizabeth Warren special adviser to oversee the development of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This was a strategic move on Obama's part, needing to appoint her due to pressure from his progressive base, while circumventing the Senate confirmation process for the time being, as the Senate Republicans would surely oppose her confirmation as the actual head of the agency because Elizabeth Warren is not a right-wing tool who can be bought like most of the other finance officials they are used to working with, and who are already ensconced within the President's financial team of advisors.
Here's Funny or Die's Presidential Reunion starring Will Farrell, Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Jim Carrey, and some others, discussing the CFPB:

On September 28th, the movie director Arthur Penn passed away. He was responsible for such classic films as, "The Miracle Worker ," "Bonnie and Clyde," "Alice's Restaurant," "Little Big Man," "The Missouri Breaks, and "Penn & Teller Get Killed." He died of congestive heart failure one day after his 88th birthday.

On September 29th the star of such films as "Houdini," "The Vikings," "The Defiant Ones," "Some Like It Hot," "Operation Petticoat," "Spartacus," "Captain Newman, M.D.," "Sex and the Single Girl," "The Great Race," "The Boston Strangler," and "Lobster Man From Mars," husband to Janet Leigh and father to Jamie Lee Curtis... Tony Curtis died of cardiac arrest in his home in Nevada. He was 85.


My lovely case manger and I would have our last Tuesday breakfast at McDonalds together before she went corporate, on October 12th.

That very day, while Erin and I were munching down on McGriddles, the first of 33 miners in Chile was rescued after spending 68 days trapped underground. The rest of the miners were brought to the surface within the next 24 hours.

On the 19th, I taught young Erin how to vote in the upcoming election while we had our last Tuesday breakfast together. I cooked.

On that day, while Erin and I were enjoying our delicious egg and cheese burritos, a one-day strike over the French government's pension reform plan turned into widespread protests, gas shortages, blockaded roads, closed schools, and violence in France. President Sarkozy and his government were proposing raising the legal minimum requirement age from 60 to 62, which resulted in the demonstrations of millions of French citizens.

Americans need to take a lesson from our French friends, and stop being sheepeople.

And "Happy Days," Mr. C, Tom Bosley died of heart failure on this day as well. He was 83 years old.

Busy day.

On October 22nd the International Space Station broke the record for maintaining the longest continuous human occupation in space. 3,641 days.

And Erin gave me a Starbucks muffin for my birthday on October 27th. Tasty.


After the midterm elections of November 4th, the Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives, and gained seats in the Senate, but not the majority.

On November 17th, with the help of the Large Hadron Collider, those researchers at the CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research, I don't know why that turns into CERN. Europeans, what can I say?) trapped 38 antihydrogen atoms for a sixth of a second, which was the first time humans have trapped antimatter.

Monkeys have been doing it for centuries.

On the 23rd North Korea attacked the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong with artillery, killing two civilians and two marines. This was the first time North Korea had fired on a civilian target since the suspension of the Korean War in 1953, and would escalate tensions between the two countries who are technically still at war. Now the United States is an ally of South Korea. You may remember that little skirmish we had in the 1950s called The Korean War. If these two don't begin to behave themselves we might find ourselves in a similar situation, but this time with a nuclear power. Oh my!

On the 24th, former House Majority Leader Tom Delay, finally, finally, was convicted of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering involving corporate campaign contributions. It only took, what, five years? He faces a possible sentence of 99 years, and it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

On November 28th, Wikileaks released its collection of 250,000 American diplomatic cables that got everybody so upset:

Leslie Nielson died the same day:


Director Blake Edwards died on the 15th of December:

On that day President Obama announced that the United States would support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This would create a new controversy the right wing-nuts could make up, claiming that Obama was a secret Indian who would "cash in" on giving back significant amounts of land, including parts of Manhattan, back to the Indians. In my mind that may not be such a bad thing, but the problem for our right wing friends is that UN resolutions are none binding, that means they have no force of law.

Sorry righties. Keep looking for Barack's birth certificate.

Sadly December 16th was my lovely case manager's last day here at the Las Americas:

Two days later, on the 18th, the Senate voted to repeal the Clinton era policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," that forbade openly gay men and women from serving in the military.

Four days later, on the 22nd, my late mother's birthday, President Obama signed that repeal into law. As it happened, the Senate had been taking some serious uppers that day and passed the New START Treaty for the reduction of nuclear missiles that was agreed upon last March, AND, a health bill for the first responders of the 9/11 attack in New York. It was like passing a kidney stone the size of cat for the Republicans, but hell, Obama had given their corporate masters an extension of their tax breaks earlier, further increasing the federal deficit by about 407 billion dollars we don't have, so they couldn't complain too much.. could they?

Oh yes they could.

And that was part of the year 2010. May we hope for "Interesting Times" in 2011. Happy New Year my friends. Peace.

And one more clip from Rachel. According to her viewers, the best thing she did throughout the year:

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