2009 Precap


Many news organizations close the year by reviewing major events, but - other than Obama's victory - most news in '08 was too depressing to recap. Here, instead, is a precap of major developments in 2009.

JAN 19: President Bush issues a pardon for outgoing First Dog Barney Bush. Democrats insist Barney must be "held fully accountable" for his Nov. 6 attack on a Reuters reporter.

JAN. 20: Barack Obama holds his 87th and final news conference as president-elect, assuring the nation, "George Bush remains president for the next 14 minutes, and America has only one president at a time. Make that 13 minutes."

JAN. 24: Keeping a campaign promise, President Obama announces the withdrawal of his first troop from Iraq. The troop is identified as Private Randy Miller of San Diego.

FEB. 1: Superbowl XLIII is played in Tampa, with Private Randy Miller firing the cannon on the Buccaneers' pirate ship, which, due to strained relations with Somalia has been reclassified as a yacht.

FEB. 6: Vice President Joe Biden takes the oath of office, explaining that his 2009 rail pass was somehow delayed in the mail, and that he has been "stranded" at his Delaware home since early January.

FEB. 8: In an e-mail to supporters, Obama campaign chief David Plouffe requests donations for the nation's first President-Elect Library, to be built in Springfield, Ill. The facility will house historical documents and YouTube recordings from the entire Obama transition process.

FEB. 11: Executives of the Big Three airlines appear before Congress, seeking a $65 billion bailout. They are asked to raise their hands if they paid extra fees to check baggage for the flight to Washington.

FEB. 15: Private Randy Miller is redeployed to Afghanistan.

MAR. 4: Dick and Lynne Cheney relocate to Uruguay, which, according to Cheney, "offers clean air, great hunting, and a favorable extradition policy."

APR. 6: As the baseball season opens, sports and media tycoon Sam Zell announces a Joint Operating Agreement creating a new team known as The Chicago Cubs-Times-Sox-Tribune.

APR. 12: Gov. Sarah Palin conducts Alaska's annual Easter Bunny pardoning, then presides over the stewing of four-dozen losers.

APR. 29: Louisiana Gov. Piyush "Bobby" Jindal becomes the first announced candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Jindal pledges an "innovative four-year campaign" that will include aggressive use of the Internet; many small, private donations, and basketball games before all primaries.

MAY 4: Executives of the Big Three railroads tell Congress they need a $145 billion bailout. They are asked to raise their hands if they happened to see Vice President Biden on the ride to Washington.

MAY 27: Secretaries of State Hillary and Bill Clinton brief reporters about their fact-finding trip to Switzerland. The couple then departs for diplomatic meetings in the Cayman Islands.

JUNE 10: Explaining that he has been unable to get a refund on his annual rail pass, Vice President Biden discloses that he will delay his move to the official vice presidential residence until Jan. 2010.

JUNE 19: Fox announces that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will host the new series "Are You Dumber Than a Third Grader?" According to a network spokesperson, Mrs. Palin felt the earlier Fox series had "set the bar too high" by using fifth graders.

JUNE 19: NBC announces that beginning in 2014 Jay Leno will host a nightly show at 8 p.m.; in 2018 he will host the noon hour; and beginning in 2051, Leno will officially replace Willard Scott on the Today show, reporting on the birthdays of fellow centenarians.

JULY 4: In his holiday YouTube message to the nation, President Obama declares that he hopes to begin redeploying U.S. troops from Pakistan to India by early fall.

JULY 13: During a tight game, Chicago manager Lou Piniella phones the bullpen but discovers that the call is answered in Manila where, it turns out, pitching coaches earn $4.30 an hour.

AUG. 4: President Obama quietly celebrates his 48th birthday at New York's Madison Square Garden. An overflow crowd watches on Jumbo-Tron screens in Central Park.

AUG. 12: Executives of the Big Three bicycle-makers appeal to Congress for a $250 billion bailout.

AUG. 23: Television host Sarah Palin becomes the second declared candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. She challenges Bobby Jindal to a debate on her Fox program, with questions from a blue-ribbon panel of third graders.

SEPT. 7: With Americans taking to the highways over the Labor Day Weekend, gas prices drop to their lowest level in four months: $1.89 per quart.

OCT. 14: Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar learns she has an early challenger for her seat, with the launch of a campaign by comedian Carrot Top.

OCT. 26: Vice President Biden's Commission on Commuting completes its six-month investigation and issues a 450-page report. Among the recommendations: refunds should be allowed for holders of annual rail passes.

NOV. 3: Executives of the Big Three U.S. Printing and Engraving Divisions warn Congress they will need a $750 billion bailout to continue manufacturing U.S. currency. They are asked to raise their hands if they know how many zeros there are in a quadrillion.

NOV. 27: In order to avoid violence on Black Friday, nail files and tweezers are confiscated at malls, and shoppers are required to remove their shoes before entering Wal-Mart.

DEC. 8: The annual White House holiday card is posted on Facebook.

DEC. 31: In an interview with the Huffington Post, President Obama says he hopes to "jump start" the economy in 2010 by giving all Americans earning less than $250,000 a year personal bailouts of $1 billion.

© Peter Funt. This column first appeared in The Boston Globe.

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