History will likely record 2010 as the year Americans finally comprehended Obama math: 7.6 percent unemployment plus $787 billion stimulus equals 9.8 percent unemployment. Or, to express it in different mathematical terms, minus-63 seats in the House and minus-6 in the Senate.
But, being a glass-half-full kind of guy, I'll prefer to remember 2010 as the year governments around the world struck out in creative new directions in use of taxpayer dollars. Nothing symbolized the innovative capacity of the state like the way local governments in Great Britain used money from an $805 million program to help the elderly and the disabled, buying them lap dances from strippers and flying them to Amsterdam for visits with hookers.
Other great moments in governance and politics during 2010:
THE NEWEST FRONT IN THE WAR ON DRUGS: The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse gave $1.44 million in federal funds to a project estimating the number of gay hookers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Not that the study is just about dry statistics: "Formative ethnography will be used to describe the settings, venues and overall social milieu in which male sex work is being situated,'' says the abstract for the project grant.
THAT'S GROUCHO MARX, NOT KARL: The German Communist Party gave away pens to school children -- that, when clicked, lit up with porn pictures. We were tricked by a crafty capitalist merchant, the party explained when newspapers got wind of the story. Read my full op-ed salute to American politics in 2010 in Tuesday's Miami Herald.