20) China hosts the Olympics: The ChiComs held the Olympics and although most of the event has already gone down the memory hole, the massive opening ceremony, Michael Phelps winning eight gold medals, the filthy air, and the rampant Chinese cheating in gymnastics won't soon be forgotten.
19) Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar: Had 130,000 people died in a natural disaster in the U.S., it would have been the story of the year times ten. But, since it happened in Myanmar, it barely makes the list. That might seem unfair, but that's the way of the world.
18) Ted Stevens Indicted: In a less scandal-prone year, having the longest serving Republican senator being indicted on seven counts would have been a huge story. As is, the crooked old codger almost got re-elected.
17) Bernard Madoff pulls off the biggest scam in history: Charles Ponzi and the guy who wrote the first Nigerian spam email are going to have to move over because Bernard Madoff's 50 billion dollar flim-flam topped 'em both.
16) The Eliot Spitzer call girl scandal: Ahem,
There once was a mayor named Spitzer
He met a prostitute and he kissed her
Then the press started to flay
His job went away
While the publicity made her money hand over tryster
15) The Mumbai terrorist attacks: Terrorists launched coordinated attacks all across Mumbai, including at the Taj Mahal. During the attacks, which lasted for more than three days, 170 people were killed. It actually sounds like something you'd see at the movies, except there was no Indian Chuck Norris to swoop in and save the day.
14) Rod Blagojevich peddles Obama's Senate seat: The governor of Illinois was engaged in various illegal shenanigans including shaking down a children's hospital and peddling the barely used Senate seat of our current President-elect. Now, everyone wants to know how much Obama and his staff knew, whether Blago's appointee is going to be seated, and how long Blago will be in office before he's removed or thrown in jail. It's political soap opera at its finest.
13) Prop 8 passes in Cali: After losing Prop 8 in California, gay supporters of the bill went on a rampage and proved that they're actually much less tolerant of differing opinions than the Christians they're always lecturing about tolerance.
12) The Jena 6: If you needed a pre-Obama indication of how amazingly non-racist this country is, the over-the-top outrage over 6 black thugs being threatened with jail time for brutally beating a white kid should do it. If this is the best example of a racist incident anyone can come up with, we can officially declare America as free of significant racial prejudice.
11) Obama defeats Hillary: The battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton was so long, so brutal, and so epic that it should have featured Hillary Clinton screaming, "From Hell's heart, I stab at thee," -- Wrath of Khan style -- as she dispensed some final scathing press release.
10) Iran continues to pursue nukes: There has been a lot of discussion about how close Iran is to nuclear weapons, but what's not up for debate is that diplomacy has thus far failed to dissuade them. Unless something changes, it looks like we're headed towards a choice between military strikes on Iran or a half-dozen unstable states run by dictators and religious fanatics developing nuclear weapons to protect themselves from Persian ambition.
9) Russia's experiment with democracy ends: Vladimir Putin was replaced as President of Russia by his hand puppet, Dmitri Medvedev, while he runs the country as Prime Minister. Thus ended Russia's experiment with democracy and officially began the tenure of Vladimir Putin, dictator-for-life.
8) The John Edwards affair: The Silky Pony shocked Americans by cheating on his cancer stricken wife....with a woman.
7) Russia invades Georgia: Russia invaded Georgia -- and they got away with it, too. It looks like the evil empire is back in business after taking a little break.
6) The Big 3 Bailout: After the banks got their bailout, next up to plate were the Big 3 car companies, which demanded billions just to make it until next year. Happily, the Republicans blocked the bailout in the Senate, but President Bush gave them enough money to hold out until Obama can pay off the union's support of his campaign with tens and perhaps even hundreds of billions of dollars next year.
5) John McCain selects Sarah Palin as his running mate: John McCain's selection of conservatism's new sweetheart, Sarah Palin, was just about the only thing worth cheering during his presidential campaign. At the start of the year, few Americans knew she existed. But by the end of the year, the moose killer, hockey mom thriller had turned into the biggest rock star in the Republican Party.
4) The Oil Price Yo-Yo: Oil prices surged to over $4 a gallon and people blamed Big Oil for jacking up the price. Then, after the global financial crisis, a drop in demand drove gas below $2 gallon which caused people to finally realize that supply and demand were primarily responsible for the price jump -- just kidding. Next time gas goes up, everyone will blame the oil companies again.
3) The Turnaround in Iraq: You can tell that we're winning in Iraq because the same liberal media that lovingly covered every terrorist attack in sickening detail and brought on "expert" after "expert" to declare that victory was impossible is now doing their best to studiously ignore everything that's going on there.
2) Barack Obama wins the presidency: America's first black President has been elected and soon, Americans are hoping to find out what he wants to do and whether or not he's qualified for the job.
1) The Bailout Crisis: Shockingly, it turned out that people with no money weren't as good a risk for expensive home loans as Barney Frank and Chris Dodd thought. After housing prices dropped, people who shouldn't have been given loans in the first place couldn't pay their mortgages, the economy tanked, the government spent trillions to shore up Fannie, Freddie Mac, and the banks. Now the government is using this crisis as an excuse to get an ownership stake in whole industries. This was the deathblow for John McCain's presidential campaign, led to a global financial crisis, could lead to a long-term economic slump, and has the potential to permanently damage our economy.