Monday, December 3, 2018

Vote Now! The 2018 Miserable Crank Awards: Day One

It's time for the 9th annual Miserable Crank awards, where we determine the worst events of the year!

The categories are:

    Worst Government Decision
    Worst Technological Advance
    Worst Sports Event
    Worst Embarrassment
    Worst Business Decision
    Worst Popular Trend
    Worst Incident
    Worst Entertainment
    Worst Person
    Worst Inconvenience

Simply vote for one candidate in each category over the next three days. Then, you can vote again for any one event as the "Worst Thing About 2018" on day four. On that day, you can vote for the same candidate as you had in the past or a different one; it's up to you. Whichever one wins the overall vote wins the Worst Event, and whoever the runner-up is in that category wins that category instead. I retain a little bit of judgement and discretion on this one, however, since not all of the candidates are appropriate.

(The second day of voting is for Business, Popular Trends, and Incidents. The third day of voting is for Entertainment, Person, and Inconvenience.)

Voting will end on Friday, December 14th. The results will be posted the following week.

"S***hole Countries"
During a cabinet meeting, when President Donald Trump was going about his usual business of pontificating over the important issues of the day, he lamented the fact that only "shithole countries" wanted to come to America, and why couldn't nice nations like Norway and other not-brown nations get more people to come over here. The language leaked out and caused a bit of a firestorm, although it caused very little surprise.

Election for Georgia Governor
There's always a few elections that are super close and take days, if not weeks, to resolve, and this year was no exception. While races in Arizona, California, and Florida got counted and recounted, the Governor's race in Georgia merits special mention. Complications abound, from the purging of voter rolls prior to the election, to the Republican candidate not  recusing himself as Secretary of State, to the usual amount of Southern Electoral Trickery (TM). Ultimately, GOP congressman Brian Kemp won, which caused a bit of a firestorm, although it caused very little surprise.

Making good on one of his campaign promises, Donald Trump enacted tariffs on a variety of industrial goods, namely steel. While nearly all economists agree that tariffs are a poor tool to use, filled with unintended but perfectly predictable consequences, the administration proceeded anyway. The subsequent closure of several GM plants late in the year (cars use, you know, a lot of steel) caused a bit of a firestorm, although it caused very little surprise.

Military Parade
Early this year, Donald Trump declared that he would like a military parade. Parades in and of themselves aren't new or particularly controversial, although they are usually done when there is some sort of, uh, reason. While the parade was ultimately shelved--it was scheduled for Veteran's Day this year, one of the few shockingly on-point aspects of the entire debacle--it led to an unnecessary amount of logistical bandwidth. 

Summit with Kim Jong Un
Trump, looking for a foreign policy win, declared that he was going to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. The meeting, which took place in Singapore, was in some ways a qualified diplomatic success, but was quickly overshadowed by the border family separation crisis (and, like, a dozen other things) and ultimately the President couldn't capitalize off of it. 

Elon Musk
Elon Musk keeps on Muskin'. After he publicly made comments about taking his company Tesla private, the Security and Exchange Commission got involved since that's, you know, kind of illegal. As such, he was forced to pay, along with the Tesla corporation, $20 million each, and step down as its chairman (although he remains CEO).

Nazis On Twitter
The internet has always been a bastion of free speech, but for a lot of sectors of today's climate it's not always easy to navigate. So it was with popular social media site Twitter, which saw a rise in publicly self-identified Nazis using the platform to spread their views. Twitter tried to hedge their bets, leaning on their commitment to open dialogue while picking off the worst offenders via a violation of the terms of use. This pleased pretty much no one and it solved virtually nothing.

Google Walkout
Silicon Valley has a bit of a reputation problem, and Google is the flagship of both the modern technological boom and said problems. When internal issues concerning sexual harassment in the workplace apparently went unresolved, employees staged a protest. While it remains to be seen whether this will have any effect, the culture of the industry is unlikely to change anytime soon.

Amazon Picks An HQ or Two
For the past year or so, Amazon has been tantalizingly dangling a sweet treat for many cities to snatch--the building of a new HQ, which includes thousands of high-paying, high-quality jobs. Many cities across America submitted groveling bids, while many decried the inevitable disruption in culture and rent prices. Ultimately, the split the baby and picked two areas well in need of economic development--New York and Washington, DC, because apparently Amazon feels like dumping money down a black hole.

Confused by the new privacy regulations regarding online commerce enacted by the EU? Join the club! While the changes are relatively minor for most major companies, it did press a lot of smaller companies out of the way and--most importantly--required most people to check another box in a popup terms and conditions window that they didn't read.

Serena Williams Tantrum
Serena Williams was attempting a victory at this year's US Open, but was struggling against rising star Naomi Osaka. When she was fined for a coaching violation, this quickly descended into a racket abuse violation and then a verbal abuse violation, costing her the game. She then claimed this was due to the official treating her different because she is a woman, despite the fact that the dozens of other contestants were also women and somehow were fine-free by the end.

People love mascots, right? Well, maybe. But the reaction to the Philadelphia Flyers new mascot--an abomination named Gritty--was swift and judgmental. A city known more for hurling batteries at Santa Claus and murder than cutesy mascots for their street-criminal-level hockey team, the mixed reaction kind of swung all the way around to the city embracing him as an icon of non-Philly resistance. The rest of us just think he's a Duplo Muppet.

The Crown Jewel
A highly-touted WWE match held in Saudi Arabia, the pay-per-view match was gross all around. Noting that pretty much nothing in Saudi Arabia isn't tainted by some sort of slavery, critics added on the recent murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the return of disgraced former wrestler Hulk Hogan, and a lackluster performance of the Universal Title bout, and many stars (including John Cena) bailed, and it was a (profitable) mess all around.

The World Cup tournament was held in Russia this year. Controversy spread before the contest even begun, with a mix of teams that failed to make the bracket (the US) and many long-time nations locked out due to, well, playing like shit (Hi, Brazil and Germany!), it was all capped off by the usual nonsense that comes from Moscow.

Abuse At The US Women's Gymnastic Team
In a climate of #MeToo, accusations outside of the board room and Hollywood started to get more attention. For over 30 years, Larry Nassar, a medical coordinator for the official Olympic gymnastics organization, routinely sexually assaulted over 150 individuals in various capacities. Stories came to light over his conduct, explaining why he abruptly quit about a year and a half ago.

The Nobel Prize In Literature
One wouldn't think there were too many scandals in the Nobel committee for Literature, but you would be wrong. This year there was no prize awarded--not due to the quality of the work this past year, and not due to any scandals involving any candidates, but because too many of the committee members had to resign due to sexual allegations. While they're award two prizes next year, it's still pretty gross.

Stormy Daniels
Pornographic actress Stormy Daniels (I've, uh, never heard of her) made waves this year by publicly discussing her affair with President Donald Trump (well, insomuch as an affair can happen with Trump). Revealing lurid details about their encounter, she ostensibly broke the terms of her non-disclosure agreement while setting up a whirlwind of defamation lawsuits and other legal maneuvers.

Hawaii Gets (False) Bombed
Want to know how to get people to panic? Send out an official text to the residents of Hawaii that a missile is incoming. The alert was mistakenly sent early this year, to which Hawaiians resigned themselves for the thirty-eight entire minutes before the mistake was corrected.

YouTube personality Tana Mongeau (look her up) was denied the designation of "Featured Creator" at VidCon, a California convention for YouTube and other content creators. IN response, she decided to hold her own TanaCon in the same city at the same time as an alternative...except she didn't do the things necessary to, you know, hold a convention. Except take the money, of course. Long lines were left outside in the hot sun and many of her pre-teen fans were sunburned to the point of medical attention. Security wasn't hired. And while she promised 20,000 people would show, a maximum of 5000 did--at a venue that wouldn't hold a fraction of that.  

HUD Gets Furnished
Former presidential candidate and current Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson recently came under fire for lavish spending for his department, including spending over $160,000 in furniture and other home decor (including a $31,000 dining set). For the record, the official limit for redecorating before approval is needed is around $5,000.

[Voting is now closed.]

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