Associated Press/Photo by Stuart Ramson


News of the Year

Issue: "News of the Year," Jan. 2, 2010

Bernard Madoff, the perpetrator of perhaps the largest investment fraud in Wall Street history scammed even his own sister out of $3 million-along with robbing America's rich and decimating the charities whose endowments he handled. After confessing his years-long Ponzi scheme to his family, Bernie Madoff was arrested, pleaded guilty to 11 federal offenses and, in June, was sentenced to 150 years in prison. Madoff, who was once worth $126 million, now lives austerely at a North Carolina federal prison. According to court papers, he eats pizza cooked by a child molester, sleeps in the lower bunk in a cell he shares with a 21-year-old druggie, and spends his time with a former Colombo crime boss and a spy for Israel.

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George Tiller

On May 31, George Tiller, America's most notorious late-term abortionist, was volunteering as an usher at his Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kan., when Scott Roeder shot him in the head and killed him. Although Roeder argues that the murder was justified to protect unborn children, pro-life organizations-some of whom had protested outside of Tiller's clinics for years-immediately issued statements decrying the bloodshed. A jury had just acquitted Tiller of 19 counts of performing illegal late-term abortions, but he was still under investigation by the state's health board and would have lost his license if convicted. A month after Tiller's death, his abortion center permanently closed after more than 30 years of operation-a moment Operation Rescue President Troy Newman called "bittersweet."


In one year-from November 2008 to November 2009-the unemployment rate leapt from 6.8 percent to 10.0 percent, despite the Obama administration's predictions that unemployment would peak at 8 percent in 2009. There are now 15.4 million unemployed-up from 7.5 million unemployed when the recession began in December 2007. In the third quarter of 2009, employers laid off 277,924 workers and in the past three months, the economy has bled an average of 135,000 jobs in payroll losses per month. Has the stimulus package delivered? Not on its promise to create or save 4 million jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that since February of 2009, Americans have lost 3.5 million jobs.


A hidden camera and a tight halter top is all it took to expose corruption and revoke funding for America's largest neighborhood-based antipoverty group, ACORN. In September, 25-year-old James O'Keefe and 20-year-old Hannah Giles posed as a pimp and a prostitute. Using a hidden camera they visited ACORN offices and collected footage of employees offering to help the couple cover up an underage prostitution ring and advising Giles to bill herself as a "performance artist" to skirt IRS rules. When O'Keefe and Giles released the videos, ACORN insisted by turns that the footage was doctored, that it violated wiretap laws, that it caused the employees undue emotional distress, and that the couple had visited ACORN offices for months before getting the footage they wanted. But Congress passed a law blocking HUD funds to ACORN, and the IRS announced that it would no longer work with ACORN to provide publicly funded tax preparation; the U.S. Census Bureau severed ties as well. Federal funds received by ACORN since 1994: approximately $53 million.


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