While much of life is fluff, I care about hard news.
Plenty of news stories happened, but did not crack the top 10. The fires in Israel were tragic, but happened too late in the year to be fully digested. They may make the 2011 list depending on how the story plays out.
I left Helen Thomas and Rod Blagojevich off the list because Arab suicide bombers blowing themselves up and corrupt Illinois politicians are not news.
While there has been a flurry of very significant legislation in the last few days, all of that has been left off of the list because time is needed to see what actually emanates. All or none of the legislation could make the list in 2011. For example, repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell seems monumental, but it has not actually been implemented yet. By 2011, much of the legislation passed could be irrelevant, although I suspect it will be very significant.
With that, here are the Top 10 news stories of 2010.
I expanded the list to 11, because I felt that one more story deserved to make the list.
11) The return of Jerry Brown–He was California Governor in the 1970s and a legitimate presidential contender in the 1990s. In the 21st century he took what many considered to be a step down by becoming Mayor of Oakland. Yet then he became Attorney General of California, and several weeks ago won reelection to the Governor’s mansion that he lost three decades earlier. Not since another Californian Richard Nixon lost and come back has a political phoenix taken the political world by storm. Whatever one thinks of Governor Moonbeam, his resurrection is newsworthy. Now let’s hope he does not spell the death of California.
10) The Ted Stevens plane crash–Even Sarah Palin would admit that Ted Stevens was the lead Alaska story this year. Ted Stevens was Alaska. Without him, Alaska might not even be a state today. He was a Senator for over four decades. He was eventually brought up on corruption charges, but was vindicated upon exoneration. Years ago he survived a plane crash that killed his wife. Earlier this year, the greatest Alaska giant took a small aircraft, and tragedy struck. Senator Stevens was an octogenarian, and did not get to end his life peaceably. His death in the plane crash shook Alaska and Washington, DC.
9) The Charles Rangel Censure–Rangel also had a distinguished military career and over four decades in Congress representing Harlem in New York. Rangel also got accused of corruption, and in his case, the evidence was overwhelming. Supporters said it was sad that such a d lengthy career should end this way, while critics wondered why he was not in jail for tax evasion. He was formally censured on the house floor, but that was a slap on the wrist. He remains in Congress, and is physically healthy enough to stay for some time. He has a safe seat, and now will try and rehabilitate himself for his legacy.
8) North Korea implodes–North Korea under Kim Jong Ill has been vexing American and world leaders for almost two decades since he took over for his father Kim Il Sung. Kim Jong Ill has turned North Korea into a world nuclear power even as his people are dying of starvation. Yet this year North Korea has been more provocative than ever, firing missiles at South Korea and nearly triggering war. Yet we now know that the secretive regime is on its last legs. Kim Jong Ill is dying, and his youngest son, Kim Jong Un is being groomed for the leadership. Kim Jong Un is only 28, and it remains unclear why his two older brothers were bypassed. Saddam Hussein bypassed his older son because that man was considered unstable, where the younger brother was more rational and logical by bloodthirsty dictator standards. The fate of the world could hinge on what happens in North Korea next.
7) Saudi Arabia chooses Israel over Iran. Wikileaks memos revealed that Saudi Arabia privately was more threatened by Iran than Israel. Yet we did not need leaked memos to tell us this. Earlier in the year Saudi Arabia shocked the world by publicly giving Israel permission to use Saudi airspace to conduct military operations of necessary. This would be necessary for only one reason, an Israeli strike on Iran. Arab hatred in the Middle East by Wahhabists who gave the world Al Qaeda apparently is not solely about Israel. The Saudis know that while Israel has nuclear weapons, they have zero interest in using them. They also know that Armageddonijad absolutely will use them if he gets them. The Saudis know who the real threat to the world is.
6) Chris Christie–A 300 pound man is now a political heavyweight and the darling of the Republican party and conservatives everywhere. Chris Christie shocked socialist Jon Corzine in liberal New Jersey to become Governor. He is blunt, honest, and determined to turn the state around. He will even take on teachers’ unions. Videos of him smacking them around in town halls have become must see television on You-tube. While he insists he is not running for President, he has the potential to be a serious candidate down the line. He has gotten off to a phenomenal start. If he can deliver over the long term, he could be one of the great chief executives in American political history.
5) Tea Party Ascendancy–One day CNBC analyst Rick Santelli screamed on the trading floor that fed up Americans should revolt like 1776 and throw tea in the harbor to protest more taxation without representation. At that moment, the Tea Party as a movement was born. Initially it involved holding rallies containing thousands of people, many who were previously apolitical. Yet the Tea Party quickly matured. It then began fielding candidates. Some of them lost, but many of them won. The more the liberal media, the Pelosiraptor, and the Obama administration demonized the Tea Party as “astroturf,” the more this real decentralized grassroots movement pushed back. The Tea Party was a major reason the Republicans fired the Pelosiraptor and stopped the Obama congress. Michele Bachmann formed the Tea Party Caucus in congress, and CNN has just agreed to do a Tea Party Presidential Debate in 2011 and another one in 2012. Whether or not they get absorbed back into the Republican Party, their 2010 impact was major.
4) Wikileaks–Some will argue that the documents stolen by Private Bradley Manning, given to Julian Assange, and republished by the Jayson Blair Times and other outlets were not critical. Therefore, no harm, no foul. This is nonsense. This is the “Salahai” argument. As long as nobody dies, national security breaches don’t matter. Of course they do. American national security was compromised with the Wikileaks scandal. Those who find diplomacy to be a waste of time will not care, but those who put all of their faith in diplomacy know that American credibility has been severely compromised. Some say Julian Assange is a hero. Others want him put to death for treason. He is promising to release even more damaging documents in the future, and things will get ugly if he is not bluffing. Stay tuned.
3) The BP Oil Explosion–An explosion aboard an oil rig killed 11 roughnecks and became the worst environmental disaster in America since the Exxon Valdez tragedy a couple decades earlier. Yet that involved a drunken captain. This appears to have been an accident. Yet for 85 days, President Obama had no answers and was powerless to fix the problem. He brought in Retired Admiral Thad Allen to be National Incident Commander. Every day BP was trying new and innovative approaches to solve the oil spill, and it made for a fascinating education that could benefit us in the future. A 20 billion fund was set up to settle claims, with Ken Feinberg set up to administer it. What made the situation even more heart wrenching is that while we may find out what caused the explosion, we may not know how to prevent the next one. No amount of regulation can fully prevent tragic accidents.
2) The 2010 Elections–The 2008 Election bucked the center-right country and elected a president of the left who posed as a moderate. Disaffection with Barack Obama and the Pelosiraptor led to the biggest Republican tidal wave since 1994. It was a stunning rebuke of liberalism to the president, but very plainly understandable to those on the right. The left won an election, but did not effectively govern. America was less enamored with the right than they were disgusted with the left. Republicans also became more diverse than ever before, electing a pair of black Republicans to Congress, a Cuban to the Senate, an Indian woman Governor, and many other minority Republicans to power all over the country on every level of elective government. Marco Rubio and Colonel Allen West immediately became national stars.
1) The Chilean Mine Rescue–In a world that to some has been increasingly depressing, this was the ultimate feel good story. Not since Sully Sullenberger prevented a plane crash have people been so glued to such a positive outcome. 33 Chilean miners were trapped underground for 69 days. The President of Chile oversaw a dramatic rescue that required precision, luck, and worldwide help. One billion people watched the rescue on television over the course of two days. Nations all over sent help in the form of equipment, technology, and manpower. The second miner rescued pumped his fist in the air and began chanting the Chilean national anthem. We all cheered along. While it would be overstating things to say that the world was rescued that day, it was an important win for humankind. We were starving for good news, and those 33 miners inspired us with their courage and fortitude. The chips were down, and we all dug deep, put aside our conflicts, and came together for a common good. We were all Chileans, and global human beings.
Those are the Top 10 news stories of 2010.
As 2010 turns to 2011, I am as proud as ever to be an American.
As a blogger, all I do is occasionally report history.
As an American, I have the power to help make history.
We all do.