EDITORIAL: Nobles and Knaves, the contest

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As 2008 comes to a close, it is time once again for our annual “Nobles and Knaves” contest, looking over the year at smart moves and stumbles profiled in our weekly editorial feature. You determine the winners and losers. Last Sunday, the Nobles nominees were listed. The nominees for Knave of the Year are listed below.

To vote for your favorite Noble and Knave for 2008, send an email to nobles@washingtontimes.com. All entries must be received by Dec. 30. On Jan. 2, we will publish the winners of the contest. For Knave of the year, select three of the following:

Sen. Hillary Clinton, for her tendency to color facts in her favor or just get them wrong. During the presidential race, Mrs. Clinton said she was under fire during a 1996 trip to Bosnia. However, media footage proved otherwise. Mrs. Clinton blamed the slip-up on sleep deprivation and recanted the statement.

Jim Gahan, for giving his teen son steroids In 2002, Mr. Gahan began injecting his naturally talented 13-year-old champion speedskating son, Corey, with steriods. Over time, Corey’s body bulked up and his times for races improved dramatically. But Corey became sick at times from having more than 20 times the normal amount of testosterone in his body. In 2006, he had to forfeit many of his titles after failing a drug test. Corey also had to end his career at age 18.

Judge Holly A. Hollenbeck, who forced a cancer patient out of his courtroom for wearing a knit cap to cover her bald head. Bev Williams of Richland, Wash., was in court to support her daughter who was facing a misdemeanor charge. Judge Hollenbeck asked everyone to remove their hats and when Mrs. Williams refused -because doing so would have revealed her hair loss due to chemotherapy - the judge ordered her to leave the courtroom.

Angela Hernandez of Chevy Chase, for betraying a couple who befriended her Miss Hernandez, age 20, knew Dr. Michael Spevak and his wife Anna Spevak through their foster daughter. The couple were known for providing counseling and support to others in the D.C. area. Miss Hernandez allegedly took her lover, Piero Fuentes Hernandez, with a male accomplice to the couple’s home - where they robbed and murdered the couple.

Eitan Gorlan and Dan Mirvish, who under their invented fake blogger “Martin Eisenstadt” disseminated false information to the media The two men used the fake blogger, a supposed senior fellow at the non-existent Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy. Specifically, the two men made up the story that a former John McCain adviser claimed Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said that Africa was` a country instead of a continent.

ACORN, the community organizing network, for collecting hundreds of false names, duplicate names and Disney characters during its voter drives. The FBI investigated the group for voter fraud in 11 states. ACORN lied about the number of voters registered, saying it was 1.3 million when it was really 450,000.

Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, for specious suggestions of “voter suppression.” Mrs. Townsend used her bad judgment and weak political skills to attack the Republicans pointing out ACORN’s voter-fraud problems. Despite ample evidence of ACORN’s involvement in fraudulent registration of voters, Mrs. Townsend insisted that Republicans were the ones trying to steal the election.

Trung Huan Nguyen, who pleaded guilty to impersonating a Navy admiral At a July 2007 ceremony in Falls Church, he took the stage to address a crowd of 100 Vietnamese Americans dressed as a rear admiral. He claimed to have been to Afghanistan and Iraq. Some members of the audience sensed something was wrong and contacted the authorities. Nguyen, who had been out of the military for 13 years, pleaded guilty, and was ordered to turn over medals and uniforms he was not entitled to wear.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, for peddling falsehoods in order to ram the bailout package through Congress. Mr. Reid fabricated stories to the media about a failing health insurer in October when the bailout was being debated in Congress. His public comments caused shares of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Prudential Financial Inc. and MetLife Inc. to plummet. Mr. Reid later admitted he had no knowledge of any company being on the verge of bankruptcy.

Rep. Alcee Hastings, Florida Democrat, for race bating A former federal judge who was removed for taking a $150,000 bribe, Mr. Hastings injected hate speech into the campaign by saying “If Sarah Palin isn’t enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you better pay attention. Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks.”

Comedian Sandra Bernhard, for her hateful, racist, foul-mouthed tirade against Gov. Sarah Palin. During an appearance at the D.C. Jewish Community Center, Miss Bernhard warned Mrs. Palin not to come into Manhattan lest she be gang raped by blacks. During her rant, Miss Bernhard compared Mrs. Palin to a kosher chicken she would tear apart.

Mayor Adrian Fenty for his questionable clothing choice in a taxpayer-funded D.C. tourism ad. Mr. Fenty launched a $ 2 million campaign to promote tourism in the District with Destination D.C. One picture shows the mayor in an astonishing display of bad judgment, wearing a shirt with the name of his parents’ store on it.

The Central Texas Detention Facility in San Antonio, which allowed a prisoner to escape and did not notice for a day. Esequiel Pena squeezed through a gap in a chain-link fence around the rooftop recreation yard, and slid down a fire-escape pole to freedom without the guards’ noticing. Mr. Pena, a convicted felon, escaped to hide in a local apartment complex. No one noticed for over a day. Federal marshals captured him by following a tip.

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