As 2010 draws to a close, its time to reflect upon the joys and sorrows of the past twelve months. It's also time to think about the truly weird things that we witnessed. Here's our top ten list.
Senate leaders decided to scrap a 1,900-page omnibus spending bill that contained $8 billion in home state spending projects – otherwise known as earmarks, pet projects, or "pork." Government spending and the deficit became an issue in the midterm election, and lawmakers are keenly aware of voter anger about large, catch-all bills that are quickly passed. The following senators have been ranked by the monetary value of earmarks they backed, whether alone or with others, in the now-scuttled omnibus spending bill. The earmark process became more transparent with the 2006 Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, which required creation of a database of all government spending. The watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense used the database to compile this ranking. Sen. Tom Coburn (R) of Oklahoma, who co-sponsored the legislation, also has a list of the disclosed earmarks in the omnibus bill on his website. *This is the amount requested both alone and with other members of Congress.
Any booklover on your list will appreciate the classic, timeless gift of a book. For lists of the best nonfiction, fiction, and children’s book titles recommended by the Monitor, click on the links above. But if your gifts have gotten so predictable that you no longer need to wrap them, you might want to try giving one of these more unusual non-book gifts for booklovers.
The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners must decide if Rahm Emanuel qualifies as a resident and can run to succeed Mayor Richard M. Daley. A three-day hearing on the topic yielded all sorts of questions and answers. Here's a sampling of those both for and against his run.
Even middling years can yield marvelous movies. Despite all the frazzled franchises and star-studded misfires of 2010, there were still wonders to behold –historical dramas of the finest intelligence, animation of great wit and delicacy, documentaries that brought out the human drama behind the headlines, and small, independent movies that showcased the emerging artists of tomorrow. If you haven't yet seen any or all of my top 10, listed here alphabetically, I envy what awaits you.
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America.
The announcement Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's class of 2011 will fill some important gaps in its roster, most notably heavy metal pioneer Alice Cooper, R&B singer Darlene Love, and all-around swell guy Neil Diamond. But there are still some notable gaps in the Hall of Fame's alumni. Here are the top five biggest omissions by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Six men were accused in the International Criminal Court Wednesday of crimes against humanity for their role in the ethnic violence that tore apart Kenya following the December 2007 presidential election. Simmering tensions between Kenya's ethnic groups – the Kikuyu majority and Kalenjin and Luo minorities – erupted after incumbent President Mwai Kibaki, a Kikuyu, was declared the winner amid accusations of election fraud. The men below are suspected of helping to incite the violence that left more than 1,000 Kenyans dead.
Under normal circumstances, the chairman of the Republican National Committee is unknown to most Americans. He – and it’s always been a “he” – raises money, oversees party operations, and appears from time to time on Sunday talk shows. Michael Steele, the current GOP chair, has blown that model out of the water – to the chagrin of many Republicans. His two-year tenure has featured one misstep after another. Now that he has decided to run for reelection next month, following big Republican gains in the fall midterms, his list of stumbles will come back to the fore.
Luxury cars face recalls more often than their top-of-the-line engineering would suggest. Here are the 10 most expensive cars available for sale, according to Kelley Blue Book. Of the 10, six have been recalled at least once in the past decade. Can you guess the four that have never been recalled?
December 14th is National Monkey Day, making it the perfect day to contemplate our simian relatives. And what better way to do so than by ranking them in a top 10 list? Broadly speaking, there are two types of monkeys. Old World monkeys are native to Africa and Asia, and include familiar species such as the langur, the macaque, and the baboon. New World Monkeys, which are native to Central and South America, include marmosets, capuchins, and wooly monkeys. New World monkeys are thought to have evolved from Old World monkeys after migrating from Africa to South America on a raft of vegetation during the Oligocene period, some 23 million to 34 million years ago. But whatever. We know that you're here to find out what the best kind of monkey is. Click through our top 10 list to find out.
The best thing about annual literary prizes is the way they alert us to authors and books we otherwise might have missed. The Man Asian Literary Prize ($30,000 awarded to the author of the best novel by an Asian author written in or translated into English) is no exception. The 2010 Man Asian Literary Prize will be awarded in March. The longlist for the award – announced this week – features the writers below.
No education issue has received more attention in recent years – but with less apparent progress – than the achievement gaps for minority and low-income students. The Center on Education Policy released a study Tuesday that looks at trends in all 50 states. Despite a few bright spots, the picture is bleak. Here are a few of the study’s major findings:
Looking for that just-right holiday present? A photo book is one of those gifts that keeps on giving. It can be enjoyed over and again for years to come and never really goes out of style. Here are three particularly good picks recommended by our Monitor staff photographers from among the 2010 releases .
Geminid meteor shower activities mean a late, cold night for viewers. But meteor showers are one of space's most spectacular shows for skywatchers.
Jets coach Sal Alosi is being investigated by the NFL for tripping a Dolphins player trying to cover a punt return Sunday. That got us to thinking about other recent examples of poor sportsmanship, including Jets coach Sal Alosi.
Winter weather has arrived. Blizzards in Minneapolis, subfreezing temperatures in Buffalo, N.Y., and cold weather spreading into places like Atlanta. With the rush of arctic-type conditions, how much will it cost this winter to stay warm? Here are six cold facts on staying warm.
The Heisman Trophy was awarded Saturday night to Auburn QB Cam Newton, as the most outstanding college football player in 2010. But a Heisman is not a guarantee of success in the NFL. Some of the 74 winners since 1935 didn't make the transition, some didn't live up to their potential due to injury. With help from heisman.com and nfl.com, we compiled a list of Heisman winners who went on to have the most success on the professional gridiron.
Most Americans don’t have a rainy day fund, haven’t saved enough for retirement, and aren’t prepared to fund their children’s college education, according to a 2009 survey from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. How can we prevent future generations from making the same mistakes? Teach kids about money. The US Department of Education has teamed up with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and National Credit Union Administration to promote financial literacy in schools across the country. Parents have a role, too. Here are nine do’s and don’ts to get your children started
More known for using hurtful signs to picket funerals of US soldiers who have died in the Middle East, Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, whose congregation is mostly related, has vowed to picket the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards on Saturday in Raleigh, N.C.
College application deadlines are looming for millions of high school seniors, and younger students are already thinking ahead. The Monitor checked in with counselors and admissions officers to get their take on some of the most common mistakes students make when preparing for and applying to college.
Classified diplomatic cables. Sensitive military documents. Lists of vulnerable sites to US interests. WikiLeaks is serious business. But humor is one way the public sifts through the meaning of news. Or at least a way to distract ourselves from looking at those same 12 photos of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over and over again. Here's a look at the lighter side of WikiLeaks.
In an effort nicknamed "Operation Payback," a loose association of hackers called "Anonymous" has been targeting the websites of companies and organizations that have cut ties with WikiLeaks by overwhelming their sites with traffic, prompting them to shut down. Twitter and Facebook have blocked accounts for Anonymous, citing the illegality of their attacks as a terms-of-service violation. WikiLeaks' Facebook and Twitter accounts remain up and running. “Of course, Anonymous is expected to keep creating new accounts as quickly as Facebook and Twitter squash them; it’s a bit like Whack-a-Mole or doing battle with a hydra, in that sense,” said social media news website Mashable. "Fighting Anonymous is a task we wouldn’t wish on anyone." Below are some of the most notable attacks.
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America.
The 30 years that have passed since John Lennon's death have done little to diminish him as one of the most respected musicians of the 20th century. As a member of one of the most successful and influential songwriting teams of all time, he changed the face of popular music. Lennon was a mad experimenter, a avant-garde visionary who not only responded to the tenor of his day, but set it. He was also a master of wide appeal, able to temper his unorthodox impulses with approachability. Many of his innovations are now essential components of pop music. Here are six of his most influential songs: