Presenting the 2008 off-guard awards for the worst, the lamest, and the most insane and idiotic moments of a year that seemed like it would never end
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Wow. What a year.
Sarah Palin ran for vice president. Joe the Plumber got his 15 minutes. Gavin Newsom made out with Sarah Silverman. Eliot Spitzer seemed to be the only one in New York with any money left to spend. Dana Rohrabacher dressed in drag to go to prison. And O.J. Simpson finally managed to get convicted of something.... It was a year for the ages. And it's finally, finally over.
HEY, GIVE THE POOR WOMAN A BREAK YOU CAN'T SEE FRANCE FROM ALASKA
Sarah Palin took a call from a Canadian radio comedian posing as French Prime Minister Nicholas Sarkozy and remained on the line, convinced she was talking to a foreign leader, for several minutes as the comedian told her his wife was hot in bed and that he loved the Hustler smut film Who's Nailin' Paylin?.
FROM ALASKA, YOU CAN SEE RUSSIA, AND RUSSIA'S COLD, AND IF IT ISN'T IT WOULD STILL LOOK COLD, SO WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL?
Palin said the "jury's still out" on global warming and that even if the climate was changing, she didn't know what was causing it.
KILLING YOUR WIFE IS NOTHING, BUT DON'T YOU DARE STEAL FOOTBALL CARDS
O.J. Simpson faced more than 30 years in jail for stealing some sports memorabilia he said belonged to him.
AND FOR A FEW WEEKS, THE ENTIRE STATE OF WORLD DISCOURSE GOT A LITTLE BIT SMARTER
Ann Coulter broke her jaw and had her mouth wired shut.
WHAT IS THE VALUE OF HUMAN LIFE COMPARED TO A $99 FLAT-SCREEN?
A temporary worker in a Long Island, N.Y., Wal-Mart died when bargain-crazy crowds smashed through the store's front door.
AND HE STILL GOT MORE VOTES THAN MCCAIN
Absentee ballots in an upstate New York county listed "Barack Osama" as a presidential candidate.
SEE, IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHAT THE MEANING OF "YOU BETCHA" IS
The Alaska legislature concluded that Sarah Palin had violated ethics laws when she tried to have her ex brother-in-law fired from the state police. Palin immediately announced that she had been cleared of any wrongdoing.
AND THIS WAS THE GUY WHO RAN THE ECONOMY ALL THOSE YEARS?
Former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan admitted there was a "flaw" in his free-market approach to economic policy, but said he wasn't sure exactly what went wrong.
GREAT MOMENTS IN PUBLIC POLICY
A Treasury Department spokesperson announced that the agency had set $700 billion as the amount for the financial bailout because "we just wanted to choose a really large number."
THEY SAVED VILLAGES THAT WAY IN VIETNAM, TOO, BUT YOU MANAGED TO DUCK THAT WAR, SO YOU WOULDN'T UNDERSTAND
George W. Bush addressed the massive federal bailout of the banking system by saying, "I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system."
WHY THE RICH ARE DIFFERENT FROM YOU AND ME
John McCain admitted he didn't know how many houses he owned.
PROOF POSITIVE OF THE VALUE OF A YALE EDUCATION
President Bush, addressing the state of the economy, announced that "if money isn't loosened up, this sucker could go down."
WHOOPS, GUESS THAT ONE ISN'T WORKING OUT SO WELL, EH?
Levi Johnston, who impregnated Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol, described himself as a "fucking redneck" who didn't want kids.
THE CASE FOR A FEDERAL BAILOUT, #422
P. Diddy announced that the economy and the cost of fuel had forced him to give up private jet travel.
ENTIRELY APPROPRIATE FOR A MAN WHO'S AN ASSHOLE
A book by Cliff Schecter reported that McCain had called his wife, Cindy, a "cunt."
WELL, THEY'RE A LOT MORE POLITE ABOUT THESE THINGS DOWN IN BRAZIL
A Brazilian former exotic dancer said she'd had an affair 50 years ago with John McCain, whom she called "my coconut desert."
BUT DON'T WORRY, HILLARY, BARACK LIKES YOU FINE
Samantha Power, an advisor to Obama, called Hillary Clinton "a monster."
THAT'S RIGHT THE ONE WHO KICKED YOUR ASS. THAT ONE.
In a presidential debate, McCain referred to Obama as "that one."
SUCH HIGH PRAISE FROM SUCH A WONDERFUL MAN
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich referred to Obama as "that motherfucker."
NATURALLY SHE LIVES IN ALASKA, AND YOU CAN SEE ENERGY FROM THERE
McCain said that Palin "knows more about energy than probably anyone in the United States."
FORTUNATELY, HE NEVER GOT TO THE OVAL OFFICE, SO SOME OF US MAY ESCAPE CUSTODY
In a speech, McCain referred to Americans as "my fellow prisoners."
AS LONG AS THEY SIP IT SLOWLY, SO AS NOT TO BURN THEIR ITTY-BITTY MOUTHS
McCain proclaimed that "we should be able to deliver bottled hot water to dehydrated babies."
NEVER MIND GRAN TORINO, THE WRESTLER, AND MILK THE OSCAR GOES TO . . .
A TV station in Germany reported that the East German secret police had made private porno movies in the early 1980s with titles like Private Werner's Big Surprise and Fucking for the Fatherland.
WHERE IS PRIVATE WERNER WHEN YOU NEED HIM?
Eliot Spitzer, the crusading governor of New York, had to resign after a federal sting operation found he had spent more than $80,000 on high-end prostitutes from the Emperor's Club. On an FBI wiretap, a prostitute named Kristen, after an assignation with Spitzer, told her boss she'd heard that the governor would "ask you do to do things that, like, you might not think were safe" but that "I have a way of dealing with that. I'd be like, listen dude, do you really want the sex?"
NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE, YOU BETCHA
Palin gave a speech on the economy while TV cameras captured a farmer beheading turkeys and draining the blood from their carcasses.
ANOTHER HERO FROM MCCAIN'S STRAIGHT TALK EXPRESS
Joseph Wurzelbacher rose to fame as Joe the Plumber after he confronted Obama and said that the Democrat would force him to pay higher taxes. It later turned out that Joe wasn't a licensed plumber, owed $1,182 in back taxes, and didn't make anywhere near enough money to be affected by Obama's tax plans.
CROSS DRESSING, GRASSY KNOLL VARIETY
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R., Orange County) dressed in drag and pretended to be a human-rights worker named "Diana" to sneak into a state prison and badger Sirhan Sirhan, whom the congressman believed was part of a vast Arab conspiracy to kill Robert Kennedy.
IT'S FINE TO BLAST THE QUEERS, JUST DON'T GO BADMOUTHING AMERICA
Barack Obama, who was stung by criticism that his former pastor criticized America, chose for his inaugural convocation a pastor who says homosexuality is a sin.
LET'S SEE. 90,000 CIVILIAN DEATHS, THE RISE OF AL QAEDA, WATER, FUEL, AND ELECTRICITY SHORTAGES, GANGS OF ARMED THUGS IN THE STREETS ... CAN'T IMAGINE WHAT THIS DUDE WAS UPSET ABOUT
An Iraqi journalist who threw two shoes at Bush was beaten badly by security guards; Bush later said he "didn't know what the guy's beef was."
WHY HE WOULD COVER UP THAT BEAUTIFUL HAIR, WE'LL NEVER KNOW
Mayor Gavin Newsom wore a cowboy hat and rode a horse for a photo shoot at his wedding.
PERHAPS MS. SILVERMAN CAN GET HIM TO PUT HIS HANDS AROUND THE CITY BUDGET, TOO
Newsom groped comedian Sarah Silverman on stage at a Democratic National Convention party after she said she wanted to "sexually discipline" him.
FIRE IN THE HOLE
An unknown arsonist with an unknown motive set more than half a dozen portable toilets on fire in San Francisco.
THIS, FROM A MAN WHO WROTE THE BOOK ON POLITICAL SLEAZE IN CALIFORNIA
Former Mayor Willie Brown complained about progressives using techniques from "Tammany Hall or Richard Daly's Chicago" to take over the local Democratic Party.
HEY, SOMEBODY'S GOT TO CHANNEL MR. MAGOO
Witnesses reported seeing Carole Migden talking on her cell phone and reading while rapidly changing lanes at 80 mph on the freeway shortly before she crashed into another car. One caller to the state police asked officers to "please get out here, she's scary."
NOW THAT WE KNOW WHO'S REALLY IN CHARGE AT CITY HALL, WE CAN STOP WASTING OUR TIME WITH THE ELECTED OFFICIALS
Newsom's press secretary said that reporters wondering about the mayor's position on public power should ask Pacific Gas and Electric Co. consultant Eric Jaye.
MY GOD, YOU WOULDN'T WANT ANY HUNGRY PEOPLE TO ACTUALLY EAT THE MAYOR'S FOOD
Newsom spent more than $50,000 in city money protecting his slow-food victory garden near City Hall from homeless people.
I'M HAPPY TO WORK WITH YOU, AS LONG AS I DON'T HAVE TO TELL YOU ANYTHING AND YOU DON'T ASK ANY QUESTIONS
Newsom appeared before the Board of Supervisors to discuss his budget cuts, but didn't actually hand out the budget proposal. Press aides handled that job two hours later.
SINCE THAT APPROACH HAS WORKED SO WELL WITH RAPE VICTIMS
Sam Singer, a $400-per-hour flak for the San Francisco Zoo, sought to blame the victims of a tiger attack by saying that they were drunk and asking for it.
WE'LL GET THOSE BUGGERS AND THEIR LITTLE DOGS, TOO
California officials threatened to bombard the Bay Area by spraying hazardous moth pheromones from helicopters to eradicate an agricultural pest that has probably been around for decades and will almost certainly survive the assault anyway.
YOUR RATEPAYER DOLLARS AT WORK
PG&E spent $10 million to fight a public power proposal.
THE CROWDS CHEERED A DRAMATIC EVENT AS THE OLYMPIC SPIRIT OF INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION CAME TO ONE OF THE WORLD'S GREAT CITIES . . . OH WAIT, THAT MUST HAVE BEEN SOMEWHERE ELSE
Newsom decided to avoid protests by keeping the route of the Olympic torch relay secret.
ANOTHER SIGN OF POLITICAL BRILLIANCE FROM THE MAN WHO WOULD BE GOVERNOR
Newsom tried to mess with the supervisors by having voters support his Community Justice Center, which the voters then rejected.
WHEN THERE ARE NO PROBLEMS LEFT FOR THE WORLD'S GREAT RELIGIONS TO SPEND MONEY ON
The San Francisco Catholic archbishop helped convince Mormon leaders to join him in pouring millions of dollars into defeating same-sex marriage.