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Happytown toasts and roasts 2013

Looking back at the best and worst newsy moments of the year

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We’d be remiss if we didn’t raise a glass to “For the People” power attorney and super-donor John Morgan. This year, Morgan raised the profile and the coffers of the state’s nascent medical marijuana campaign – something nobody would have believed could even be considered in Florida as recently as a year ago – to the degree that it’s currently on track to be a ballot measure next fall. Maybe Morgan gets a different kind of shot, dude.

Speaking of different shots, SeaWorld shot itself in the face this year when it reacted so poorly to the documentary Blackfish. So lost in the decades of bottom-lining for shareholders, splashing children and sweat-shopping plush toys was the company’s brass that it had no idea what hit it after CNN made the movie go wide, broadcast-style. “Damn activists and their lies,” was about as much as SeaWorld could muster while science laughed in its face. In this case, the orcas get the spoils; the theme park gets the hangover.

But the best hangover – and even a sympathetic shot – goes to Republican Naples Congressman Trey Radel, a self-confessed alcoholic (because that’s better than saying what he really is) who leans toward entitled “hip-hop conservatism” when not scoring eightballs in Washington, D.C., cocaine stings. On his own, Radel was this year’s punchline and sacrificial lamb, earning the ire of most Republicans who are now attempting to disappear him from Congress while he hides out in rehab. But what Radel really came to represent – beyond the hypocrisy of his support for drug-testing welfare mothers – was the inequity in criminal drug charges between the haves and the have-nots. That’s something we can
drink to.

Looks like we just did. Happy New Year.

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