2010 is ending the way it began with millions of Americans still looking for work. 9.8 percent of the total U.S. workforce, to be exact, still find themselves unemployed. But in between January and December there have been some success stories: Congress overhauled health care which will provide health insurance to millions of Americans; sweeping financial and regulatory reform was also passed in July; the U.S military’s ban on gays serving openly in the military has ended; the New Orleans Saints stunned the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV to win their first championship in franchise history; and Tiger has come out of the woods (so to speak) and returned to the golf course.
2010 was also a year of apologies and mea culpas; from President Obama taking responsibility for not acting swiftly enough in responding to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to Gen Stanley McChrystal for speaking badly about White House officials to Tom Vilsack, the U.S. Agriculture Secretary in jumping the gun in the firing of Shirley Sherrod.
This was also a year of sad goodbyes: from the passing of Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia who died on June 28, 2010 after serving 51 years in the U.S. Senate, longer than anyone else in history to Justice John Paul Stevens’ decision to step down from the U.S. Supreme Court after 35 distinguished years on the nation’s highest court. Conan O’Brien left the Tonight Show in a huff (but with plenty of money) after his time slot was being compromised to make room for Jay Leno. CNN television host Larry King, meanwhile, signed off for the final time after 25 years; and NBC sitcom sensation Steve Carell announced he will be leaving ``The Office ‘’after seven seasons.
There were also some noteworthy revelations during the year: Christine O’Donnell, the Delaware Republican, informed us she’s not a witch, Lebron James informed the nation on ESPN that he’s taking his talents to South Florida; and Julian Assange, the Australian rebel, dumped a whole bucket full of classified military documents about the U.S. involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on the World Wide Web, causing a great deal of alarm within the White House.
In order to refresh your memory on some of the more newsworthy stories of 2010, I compiled a number of quotes by prominent newsmakers over the past year.
January 5, 2010
``We dodged a bullet, but just barely’’
-Barack Obama tells his national security team that his intelligence team failed to ``connect the dots’’ given they had sufficient information to uncover the terror plot to bring down a commercial jetliner on Christmas Day/
January 11, 2010
``It’s time for me to talk about the past and to confirm what people have suspected.’’
-In a statement sent to The Associated Press, Mark McGwire admits he used steroids when he broke baseball’s home run record in 1998.
January 12, 2010
“Everybody is just totally; totally freaked out and shaken ...The sky is just gray with dust.”
-Henry Bahn, a United States Department of Agriculture official’s first-hand account of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti, one of the worst to hit the region in more than 200 years.
January 12, 2010
``I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program…But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction.’’
Tonight Show” host Conan O’Brien announcing in a released statement that he will not continue on with the NBC program and its move to a 12:05 a.m. time slot.
January 19, 2010
``This Senate seat belongs to no one person, to no political party. This is the people’s seat.’’
-Republican Scott Brown after his upset victory over Attorney General Martha Coakley in a special election to fill the late Edward M. Kennedy’s U.S. Senate seat.
January 20, 2010
``We can’t get this halfway right or three-quarters of the way right’’
-Arthur Sulzberger Jr. The New York Times chairman and publisher announcing that beginning in January, 2011, the newspaper will begin charging frequent users for access to its Web site.
January 25, 2010
``I’d rather be a really good one-term President than a mediocre two-term President’’
-President Barack Obama in an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer.
January 27, 2010
``Let me show it to you now. I happen to have one right here. That’s what it looks like. Very thin.’’
-Apple CEO Steve Jobs debuts the much-anticipated Apple tablet, known as the iPad.
February 9, 2010
``I wrote down hope and change just in case I forgot.’’
-White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs after showing members of the press the scribbled writing on his hand in an obvious attempt to poke fun at Sarah Palin being caught on camera with a crib sheet on her left palm at the Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.
February 14, 2010
``If you look like me, you may be ejected from Southwest Air’’
- Actor-director Kevin Smith twittering about being ejected from a commercial plane from Oakland to Burbank, Calif., because the pilot determined he was too big to fit properly into a single seat.
March 1, 2010
``Those responsible should take the brave decision and sign a letter of resignation. If they can't, we will help them."
-Russia President Dmitri Medvedev in a televised interview, addressing Russia’s miserable performance at the Vancouver Olympics after turning in their worst performance ever, finishing in sixth place with a total of 15 medals, only three of which were gold.
March 16, 2010
``After a long and necessary time away from the game, I feel like I’m ready to start my season at Augusta.’’
-After more than four months of seclusion, Tiger Woods announces he will return to competitive golf at the Master’s tournament beginning April 8th at Augusta National in Georgia.
March 21, 2010
``This is the Civil Rights Act of the 21st century.’’
Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina reacting to the 219-212 House vote that gave final approval on the overhaul of the health bill that will provide medical coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans.
April 9, 2010
``I shall retire from regular active service as an Associate Justice, under the provisions of 28 D.S.C. § 371(b), effective the next day after the Court rises for the summer recess this year.’’
-Justice John Paul Stevens, announcing his retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court effective June 29, 2010, after 35 years on the bench, making him the third longest serving justice in the Court’s history.
April 12, 2010
``I think the Vatican-They’ve got more to talk about than the Beatles’’
-Ringo Starr responding to the editorial published in the Vatican newspaper “L'Osservatore Romano, forgiving the Beatles over their previous Satanic messages and praising the band on the 40th anniversary of their breakup, calling them a ``precious jewel.’’
April 29, 2010
``The home was wrecked already; I was not the home wrecker.’’
-Rielle Hunter, mistress to former Democratic candidate John Edwards, speaking on the Oprah Winfrey Show in her first televised interview since Edwards admitted to having an affair with her two years ago and being the father of her two-year old child.
May 1, 2010
``I am glad that the only person whose ratings fell more than mine last year is here tonight. Great to see you, Jay.’’-
-President Obama ribbing Jay Leno at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner
May 27, 2010
``In case you’re wondering who’s responsible, I take responsibility’’
-President Barack Obama during a nationally televised press conference in which he admits he was wrong the way his team took too long to measure the size of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and for failing to push BP sooner to provide images of the leak.
June 1, 2010
``I was in the gutter at that moment’’
-Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, tells Oprah Winfrey about being caught on video in a drunken stupor asking for $724,000 in exchange for introducing an undercover reporter to Prince Andrew.
June 7, 2010
``We can’t just sit here and hope for the best’’
-British Prime Minister David Cameron announcing even further budget cuts (beyond the previously announced $9 billion) if the government hopes to avoid having to pay $102 billion in debt interest by 2015.
June 8, 2010
``In this fall, this is very tough, in this fall I'm going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat.’’
-Cleveland Cavaliers' free agent Lebron James revealing to Jim Gray on ESPN that he plans to sign with the Miami Heat for the 2010-2011 season and join other NBA sensations Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade.
June 20, 2010
``I think we can all conclude that Tony Hayward is not going to have a second career in p.r. consulting’’
-White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, reacting to pictures of the BP CEO sailing on his yacht; only to cancel a speaking engagement a few days later, citing a ``heavy workload
June 22, 2010
'How'd I get screwed into going to this dinner?"
Words spoken by Gen. Stanley McChrystal in an exclusive interview published by Rolling Stone Magazine, just one of many unflattering words spoken by the four-star general, including disparaging remarks about Vice President Joe Biden and other administration officials that got him into hot water with the White House and led to his resignation of his command in Afghanistan.
June 28, 2010
``I just thought it was time for my character to go…It doesn’t certainly mean the end of the show.’’
Steve Carell confirming to E!News that he’s leaving the popular NBC sitcom, `The Office’’ after seven seasons.
July 6, 2010
``Are you serious.?’’
A question Lindsay Lohan posed to her attorney, Shawn Chapman Holley, after a judge sentenced the 24 year-old actress to 90 days in jail for violating her probation stemming from a 2007 drunk driving charge.
July 18, 2010
``Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate,"
In a tweet, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin coins a new word ``refudiate’’ to urge Muslims to abandon plans to build an Islamic Center near the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. Once learning ``refudiate’’ wasn’t a word-Palin deleted the tweet and replaced it with ``Pls reject it in interest of healing.’’
July 21, 2010
``This was my decision and it was made in haste.’’
-Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary, apologizing for jumping to conclusions in firing Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod before realizing that a video posted on a conservative Web Site in which Sherrod appeared to have made a racist statement was in fact taken out of context.
September 24, 2010
``This is America. I don’t want a tomato picked by an American, then sliced by a Guatemalan and served by a Venezuelan in a spa where a Chilean gives me a Brazilian.’’
-Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert testifying before a House Judiciary subcommittee about the plight of undocumented farm workers.
November 1, 2010
``We would not be here today if the federal government had done their job... We are not their enemy — we are part of the United States of America.”
-Arizona Governor Jan Brewer tells reporters after a federal appeals court hearing in a suit filed against the Grand Canyon State by the U.S. Justice Department who claimed its new immigration policy was unconstitutional and would interfere with federal jurisdiction.
November 3, 2010
``And -- and that's something that -- now, I'm not recommending for every future president that they take a shellacking like I did last night.’’
-President Barack Obama at a White House press briefing a day after the midterm elections in which his party lost its majority in the House of Representatives, acknowledges he has lost his once strong connection with the American voters and will need to compromise with Republicans if he hopes to keep the government functioning.
December 2, 2010
``I am not searching for a job. I am begging for one’’
-Felicia Robbins, an unemployed juvenile justice worker from Pensacola, Fla and mother of five who has been living in a homeless shelter and preparing to use the last of her money, about $500, to move into an unfurnished rental home. Robbins was only one of an estimated two million Americans whose benefits has been exhausted after 99 weeks, leaving her without any financial support unless Congress extends unemployment insurance.
December 16, 2010
``When I started 25 years ago at a little studio in Washington, D.C., I never thought it would ever last this long or come to this. ‘’
-Talk show host Larry King delivering his final thoughts before signing off for good after a 25-year run with CNN.
December 18, 2010
``We righted a wrong...Today we’ve done justice.”
Words spoken by Senator Joseph I. Lieberman after the Senate successfully struck down a 17-year old ban on gays serving openly in the military.
December 21, 2010
``Already we see that we have changed governance, we have certainly changed many political figures within governments, we have caused new law reform efforts, we have caused police investigations into the abuses we expose, UN investigations, investigations here in the UK especially in relation to our revelation of the circumstances of the deaths of 109,000 people in Iraq.’’
-Julian Assange in answering a face-to face question from the BBC's John Humphrys about what he thinks Wikileaks has achieved.
December 22, 2010