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Saturday, December 28, 2019
Dave Barry's Year in Review: Well, that was something
It was an extremely eventful year.
We are using “eventful” in the sense of “bad.”
It was a year so eventful that every time another asteroid whizzed past the Earth, barely avoiding a collision that would have destroyed human civilization, we were not 100% certain it was good news.
We could not keep up with all the eventfulness. The epicenter of the year’s eventfulness was, of course, Washington, an endlessly erupting scandal volcano, belching out dense, swirling smoke-plumes of spin, rumor, innuendo, misdirection and lies emitted by both sides.
Meanwhile, from out beyond the Beltway, the actual American people warily watched the perpetual tantrum that was supposed to be their government. And more and more their reaction, whatever side they considered themselves to be on, was: Nah.
Can we say anything good about 2019? Was there any positive news, a silver lining, a reason to feel hopeful about the future — to believe that we, as Americans, can recognize our common interests, overcome our differences and work together to build a better tomorrow, for ourselves, for our children and for the world?
Anyway, before we shove 2019 down the garbage disposal of history, let’s take one look back and remind ourselves why we want to forget this train wreck of a year, starting with ...
... which begins with the federal government once again in the throes (whatever a “throe” is) of a partial shutdown, which threatens to seriously disrupt the lives of all Americans who receive paychecks from the federal government. At issue is the situation at the Mexican border, which either is or is not a crisis depending on which cable news network you prefer. President Donald Trump wants a high concrete wall, but at the moment there is only enough money for a sternly worded south-facing billboard.
Finally the president and Congress reach a temporary budget agreement that will not address the border situation but will enable them to resume spending insane amounts of money that the nation does not have until such time as they are able to reach a permanent budget agreement enabling them to continue spending insane amounts of money that the nation does not have, this being the primary function of our federal leadership.
Meanwhile in the Robert Mueller investigation, which feels like it began during the French and Indian War, a grand jury indicts longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone on a number of charges, including that he threatened to kidnap another witness’s therapy dog, Bianca (really).
Abroad, Britain is in turmoil over Brexit, which is a very important thing we should all endeavor to learn about.
In sports, the Los Angeles Rams win the National Football Conference championship game after the referees, on a critical play, fail to notice when a Rams defensive back attacks a New Orleans Saints receiver with a chainsaw.
Responding to the ensuing outrage, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he will “conduct a thorough review of league policy regarding power tools,” adding that “New England is scheduled to win the Super Bowl anyway.”
In other sports news, the Clemson football team defeats Alabama to win the national championship and is rewarded with an invite to the White House for a classy shindig. “I served them massive amounts of Fast Food (I paid), over 1000 hamberders,” tweets the president, who by his own admission has a genius-level IQ.
From somewhere beyond our solar system hostile aliens are monitoring all this and concluding that they need not waste energy exterminating humanity, as we’re doing fine on our own.
Speaking of hostile, in...
...Trump, despite suffering from bone spurs, goes to Vietnam for a second summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. After a one-on-one closed-room meeting, the two leaders agree via hand gestures that next time they should definitely bring interpreters.
In domestic politics, Virginia is rocked by a series of scandals involving elected Democratic state officials, originating with the publication of a 1984 photo from Gov. Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook page showing a man in blackface. Northam initially says he is “deeply sorry” for appearing in the photo; the next day, however, he calls a press conference to declare that he does not believe he is in the photo, although he does recall one time that he WAS in blackface, that being when he entered a dance contest dressed as Michael Jackson and did the moonwalk. Northam further asserts that he won the contest, and at the request of a reporter appears to be on the verge of demonstrating to the press corps that he can still moonwalk, only to be stopped by his wife. We are not making any of this up.
As pressure builds on Northam to resign, Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax prepares to succeed him, only to become embroiled in a scandal of his own when he is accused of sexual assault. The third person in line is Attorney General Mark Herring, who, several days after calling on Northam to resign for wearing blackface, issues a statement admitting that as a college student HE wore blackface when he went to a party as rapper Kurtis Blow. We are still not making this up.
At this point Virginia’s political leaders realize that if they keep moving down the chain of succession they’re going to wind up with a Labrador retriever as governor, or, worse, a Republican. And just like that the Great Virginia Scandals of 2019 go “poof.”
Abroad, Brexit continues to be a very important thing with many significant developments.
In sports, the New England Patriots, led by 63-year-old Tom Brady, defeat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in a Super Bowl featuring one touchdown and 14 punts. During the national anthem, TV cameras clearly capture Patriots coach Bill Belichick pouring liquid from a bottle labeled “SEDATIVES” into the Rams’ Gatorade, but the NFL referee crew fails to notice. Asked about this after the game, Commissioner Roger Goodell says, “To be honest, I was watching Netflix.”
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