--Cannabis Capitulator. When she blocked implementation of Arizona's new medical marijuana law last May, Gov. Jan Brewer, a self-proclaimed champion of the 10th Amendment, blamed the Justice Department, claiming she was afraid, despite assurances from the state's U.S. attorney, that regulators overseeing dispensaries would face federal prosecution. Seven months later, Brewer, who opposed the ballot initiative that legalized the medical use of marijuana, finally admitted she was determined to thwart the will of Arizona's voters, asking a federal judge to overturn the policy they had approved.
--Super Zero. Last summer, Congress, which had shown no signs of fiscal restraint even though it had several committees dedicated to spending, decided the solution was another committee: the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. The "supercommittee" was supposed to relieve Congress of responsibility for making hard budgetary decisions. And even if it failed, it would succeed, because then spending cuts would kick in "automatically" (assuming Congress let them), insulating legislators from blame. Washington's best minds still are trying to figure out how it all fell apart.
--Gun Play. This one is technically from the very end of 2010, but it happened after my review of last year: A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit in which Lee Paige, a former employee of the Drug Enforcement Administration, claimed officials at the agency had made him a "target of jokes, derision, ridicule, and disparaging comments," ruining his career as an undercover agent and motivational speaker, by releasing an embarrassing video of him that was widely viewed online. In the video, which shows Paige discussing firearm safety with a group of Florida schoolchildren, he proclaims, "I'm the only one in this room professional enough ... to carry this Glock 40" -- right before shooting himself in the foot.
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