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Ring Out the Old Straight Poop, Ring In the New 

A gathering of news and headline makers from the previous week.

Monday, Dec. 19

Flameout: Newt Gingrich's lead among Republicans evaporates; Gallup now has him in virtual tie with Mitt Romney ... With friends like these: Website that promotes adultery endorses Gingrich, puts up billboard of him with caption: "Faithful Republican, Unfaithful Husband ... The Daily Gaffe: Texas Gov. Rick Perry, fading fast in GOP presidential race, describes defunct Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il as "Kim Jong the Second." Wonder what happened to Kim Jong the First? ... No deal: With Department of Justice antitrust enforcers looking over its shoulder, AT&T drops plan to take over T-Mobile USA ... Syria agrees to allow Arab League to send in monitors as violence rages on; UN says at least 5,000 killed since protests started in March ... Stand by votre homme: Anne Sinclair, wife of sex scandal-plagued Dominique Strauss-Kahn, voted Woman of the Year in France.

Tuesday, Dec. 20

Gingrinchy: House Republicans reject plan to extend payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance two months ... Gingrich says he opposes extension, rips Romney for not taking stand on issue ... She's such a tease: Sarah Palin says "it's not too late" for her to jump into presidential race again ... No mincing words: On campaign trail Iowan Tom Sorenson grabs Gingrich's sleeve in grocery store, calls him a "f##king a$$hole," later tells reporters Gingrich "represents everything that's bad about politics" ... Should've minced some words: Eva Hoeke, editor of Jackie magazine, resigns after referring to Rihanna as "niggabitch" in tweet; Rihanna responds, "F##k You." Please, ladies, please!

Wednesday, Dec. 21

Merry Christmas: European Central Bank agrees to lend $640 billion to bail out European banks squeezed by financial crisis ... And a Hacky New Year: US Chamber of Commerce reveals Chinese hackers broke into its computers, might have accessed data for years before hack was discovered in 2010 ... Pro-Democrat American Bridge super-PAC buys NewtGingrich.com domain name, sets it to redirect visitors to sites about Freddie Mac, Tiffany's, Greek cruises, etc. ... Tsk, tsk: Bank of America agrees to pay $335 million to settle claims that Countrywide Financial, which it bought out, discriminated against minority home buyers ... Silent night, bloody night: Group representing anti-government protesters in Syria calls on UN to investigate "horrific massacres," claims 250 killed in one province ... Beats the hell out of a dorm room: Ekaterina Rybolovleva, 22, daughter of Russian billionaire, pays $88 million for 10-room condo on NYC's Central Park West, plans to spend time there while attending college in US.

Thursday, Dec. 22

UnGrinched: House Republicans back down at last minute, agree to extend payroll tax cut and unemployment for two months ... Backpedaling: Vice President Joe Biden says Taliban "isn't our enemy"; US State Department frantically scrambles to explain that he meant it's "not necessarily our enemy" if it decides to play nice ... Oops, our bad: US admits it was partly to blame for errant air strike that killed 24 Pakistani troops last month ... Quel faux pas! French government ordering 30,000 women to have breast implants made from low-grade silicone removed ... Not his year: Kris Humphries of NY Nets, best known for 72-hour marriage to Kim Kardashian, voted most disliked player in NBA; LeBron James of Miami Heat is Number Two.

Friday, Dec. 23

Christmas sweets: President Obama signs two-month extension of payroll tax cut, calls it "some good news just in the nick of time" ... A little less white, please: Heavy snow and high winds hit West, stranding drivers in western New Mexico, which is a hell of a place to be stranded. Meanwhile Central Oregon anticipates typical gray Christmas ... Non-starters: Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry fail to submit enough signatures to qualify for Virginia's Republican primary - a major screw-up for Gingrich, whose polls show leading in state ... Meanwhile, Steven Colbert's PAC offers to pay for South Carolina primary if state GOP will name it "The Colbert Super PAC South Carolina Republican Primary" ... Cruel shoes: Cops in Tukwila, Wash., use pepper spray to break up mob of 2,000 scrambling to buy latest edition of Air Jordans at $180 a pair.

Saturday, Dec. 24

Home before Christmas: Last US combat troops to leave Iraq arrive at Fort Hood, TX ... Spirits of the season: Anonymous donor leaves check for $10,000 in Salvation Army kettle in affluent Menlo Park, CA; others drop $2,000 diamond rings into kettles in Miami and Kansas City, KS ... We haven't seen the last of that comb-over yet: Donald Trump announces he's quitting Republican Party and registering as unaffiliated because he's disgusted with GOP and wants to keep option of running as independent ... Ever think they just make this shit up as they go along? Transportation Security Administration agent in Vegas confiscates cupcake from woman, says frosting violates rule against taking gels on board.

Sunday, Dec. 25

Peace and goodwill: Radical Muslim terrorists attack Catholic church in Nigeria, kill at least 35 ... Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, acting leader of Yemen, calls for truce after government troops kill nine demonstrators ... Pope Benedict XVI prays for peace in Myanmar, Syria and other parts of Middle East ... Feeling the heat: Miami Heat crushes Dallas Mavericks in first game of shortened NBA season; NBA Commissioner David Stern booed by fans ... Ho-hum, another White House "scandal": White House announces that, contrary to Web gossip, presidential dog Bo was not, repeat not, flown back from Hawaii for photo op in Washington with Obama.

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