TheDC’s top ten stories of 2011

Another year has gone by, and at America’s fastest-growing (and fairest) online news organization, we’ve brought you every amusing, aggravating and heart-thumping minute of it.

We’ve identified the ten most memorable stories from 2011, out of the thousands of pieces The Daily Caller published this year. It wasn’t an easy task, but we carved out some honorable mentions for the borderline judgment calls.

If your favorite Daily Caller moment didn’t make the cut, just let us know in the comment section below.

First, the honorable mentions:

HONORABLE MENTION: Nearly one in five Obamacare waivers went to businesses in Nancy Pelosi’s district

In April, the Obama administration approved 204 waivers exempting businesses from the restrictions and requirements of  Obamacare. And lo and behold, 38 of them went to restaurants, nightclubs, day spas and hotels in the swanky California congressional district represented by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Shocked. We were shocked. But the D.C. press corps didn’t seem to care, the White House played the nothing-to-see-here-let’s-all-move-along card, and a follow-up waiver for the AARP soon emerged. But in the face of consistent outrage from conservatives, what passed for “transparency” rapidly deteriorated into comic theatre.

It later emerged that the health care reform law never gave the Department of Health and Human Services the authority to issue the waivers in the first place. Ultimately, a Government Accountability Office report doomed the waiver program, which got the axe in June — a move that the Obama administration quietly buried in a Friday evening press statement.

HONORABLE MENTION: These “patriotic” one-percenters like higher taxes but refuse to pay more to the government

“I’m here arguing in favor of higher taxes on the wealthy,” a member of Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength told TheDC on Nov. 16 at the Capitol. “I’m one of the wealthiest one percent … we should be paying more of our fair share.”

Then our reporter whipped out her iPad. “Now is your chance,” she said. “I have the Department of the Treasury right here — the donate page. Would you like to donate a few thousand dollars?”

Over and over, the “patriotic millionaires” passed on the opportunity to put their money where their mouths were. Higher taxes, it seems, are for thee — not for me.

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HONORABLE MENTION: The Horse Soldiers of 9/11

If you haven’t seen this six minute mini-documentary, you’ve cheated your arms out of a few good goosebumps. War reporter Alex Quade took Daily Caller readers inside the stories of the fearless Special Operations Forces who rode horses into combat after the 9/11 terror attacks — something no American soldiers had done in nearly a century. Their secret mission: embed themselves with the warring tribal factions of northern Afghanistan and secure that crucial territory during the War on Terror’s earliest and most chaotic weeks.

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HONORABLE MENTION: A U.S. ambassador in the Middle East tells the truth about Syria

It’s generally considered bad form for ambassadors to bad-mouth the leaders of the countries in which they serve. But not every country is, like Syria, massacring its citizen protesters. In an exclusive Daily Caller interview that left CNN’s Candy Crowley practically speechless — although she did offer a firm atta-boy — U.S. ambassador to Syria Robert Ford said Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad was, in a word, evil.

Ford expressed outrage at “what’s happening under [Assad’s] authority in terms of people being tortured to death, people being shot who are unarmed and no one being held accountable for it … because I see no accountability, I can only assume that on some level that he accepts it if not encourages it. To me that would be evil.”

The full interview had Ford telling TheDC that Assad’s days in power are numbered. “I don’t think the regime is going to come crashing down tomorrow or next week,” he said. But “time is not on the side of the regime.”

NEXT: The MSNBC lunatic, the congressional boss from hell, and the fleecing of the State Department