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2012: A Real Cliffhanger 

47 percent of you are going to love our year in review

Well, that was quite a year. Clint Eastwood yelled at a chair he mistook for the President of the United States. Arizona secretary of state Ken Bennett went looking for President Barack Obama's birth certificate. Joe the Plumber suggested we open fire on undocumented border-crossers. Jesse Kelly once again pretended to care about Southern Arizona. We've clipped stories all year long from the Associated Press to Australia's 9 News, so we can once again bring you our annual look back at the craziest, the wackiest and the dumbest moments of 2012.

SHE'S A LITTLE SHAKY ON HOW THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE WORKS

Holly Solomon of Mesa was so upset that Mitt Romney lost the presidential election that she ran over her husband in an SUV after he told her that he hadn't voted. He suffered critical injuries, according to The Associated Press.


STAND BACK! THIS GEEZER'S GONNA BLOW!

Border Patrol agents at the Interstate 19 checkpoint near Tubac detained 96-year-old former Arizona Gov. Raul Castro for more than 30 minutes in June heat. Castro's vehicle triggered a radiation sensor, likely the result of recent tests on his pacemaker. Anne Doan, Castro's driver, told the Nogales International: "I was embarrassed as I watched the governor being needlessly treated like a nuclear threat."


PUT HIM IN CHARGE OF GOP LATINO OUTREACH

While in Arizona for a state senator's campaign, Sam Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, demanded that the U.S. military start shooting illegal immigrants.

"Put border—put troops on the border; start shootin'. I bet that solves our illegal-immigration problem real quick," Wurzelbacher said at a campaign rally captured on video by Prescottenews.com. "It's not because I'm bloodthirsty; it's not because I want to kill illegal—illegal—immigrants. It's because I want my border secure; that's all it comes down to."


HEISENBERG DID IT!

A rash of stolen golf-cart batteries around Green Valley has police theorizing the thieves might be removing the sulfuric acid from the batteries and using it to cook meth.


WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PLAN?

A Pennsylvania man exposed himself inside the offices of the Bucks County Association for the Blind.


WITH A HEARTY HI-HO SILVER, HE'S AWAY

During his campaigns, failed Republican congressional candidate Jesse Kelly promised to live in Pima County and raise his children here. But days after losing his second bid for Congress, Kelly moved to Washington, D.C., taking a job as director of development at the lobbying group Citizens United.


WE CAN'T WAIT FOR THE DEBATES BETWEEN HER AND RICK PERRY

Politico inexplicably speculated that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer could be a 2016 presidential contender.


OH, THOSE SILLY AMERICANS; THEY THINK IT'S DANGEROUS TO RUN INTO SMUGGLER-METH HEADS WITH AK-47s

Explaining why visitors to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, which is on the Mexican border, must be accompanied by armed guards, Chief Ranger Matthew Vandzura said: "It's because of the perception that exposure to human- and narcotics-smugglers is a bad thing for the visiting public."


HER CUP RUNNETH OVER

Tucsonan Mayra Yvonne Torres, 23, pleaded guilty to trying to cross into Nogales, Sonora, with $4,200 in cash stuffed into her bra cups. Torres said a person she refused to identify promised $50 for every $1,000 she moved across. She told the Nogales International she suspected the cash came from "moviendo mojados," or moving illegal immigrants.


HE DOESN'T LOOK GOOD IN PLAID PANTS, ANYWAY

Frank McIntyre was suspended from the Golf Club at Vistoso after telling the Arizona Daily Star the Oro Valley course was a "goat ranch" that was burning up from too much heat and not enough water. Officials at the course said they had an absolute right to reprimand any member who behaved in a manner inconsistent with the club's best interests.


PLAID PANTS WOULD'VE DONE THE TRICK

The Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team fired broadcaster Daron Sutton after the TV talker got into a dispute with management over how he dressed. The bosses wanted Sutton to wear a polo shirt on the telecast, but he preferred a suit.


AS IF CALLING FOR A BOYCOTT WASN'T BAD ENOUGH

When U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva said he wouldn't accept deep cuts to Medicare and Social Security as part of a fiscal-cliff deal, CNBC host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera noted that the market had gone down during the course of their interview.

"As we're talking, the market is selling off once again," she told Grijalva. "Do you care that markets are selling off dramatically when it looks like you guys can't come to a deal?"


MAYBE NEXT, YOU SHOULD LEARN HOW TO COUNT VOTES

While trailing Grijalva by more than 24,000 votes in the days after the November election, Republican Gabriela Saucedo Mercer sent out a press release claiming she was behind by just 1,117 votes.

"This was my first 'rodeo,' but it will not be my last," Mercer said. "With such a tight race, and several thousand ballots yet to count, we are waiting until all the provisional and mail-in ballots are counted before we decide what we will do next."


WE'RE PRETTY SURE THEY DIDN'T WANT THAT EITHER, FRANK

State Sen. Frank Antenori said he lost the endorsement of the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce because of his blunt talk in a meeting.

"They don't like the truth," Antenori said. "I had a blunt discussion with them. I wasn't going to sit there ... and place my lips on their you-know-what. That's not why I was there."


CABLE MOVIE: NAPOLITANO AND THE GALS GET JIGGY

The chief of staff for the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment. UA graduate Suzanne Barr, a political appointee of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, allegedly asked a male subordinate about his anatomy during an office party, and supposedly called another subordinate from her Bogotá, Colombia, hotel room and offered to perform a sex act on him.

Barr, who denied the allegations, began working for Napolitano when the latter was Arizona's governor. When Napolitano became Homeland Security secretary, she brought Barr with her to Washington.


FEAR AND LOATHING IN SAN DIEGO

A report concluded that City Councilman Paul Cunningham got blasted on a business trip to San Diego and sexually harassed three female employees at a hotel bar. Even though he couldn't remember some of his offending conduct, the pol admitted wrongdoing and said he would enter alcohol treatment, and try to make amends with his co-workers.


NEAR, FAR, IN OUR MOTOR CAR ... OH WHAT A HAPPY TIME WE'LL SPEND

A suspected car thief led police in Phoenix on an hour-long, 100-mph chase before jumping from the Dodge Caliber, running down a dirt road and shooting himself in the head. Fox News aired the episode live as anchor Shepard Smith watched. "We really messed up," said a red-faced Smith. "We're all very sorry. That didn't belong on television."


THE GOP CONVENTION IN A NUTSHELL (ACCENT ON THE NUT)

Actor Clint Eastwood spent more than 10 minutes arguing with a chair that he said represented President Barack Obama, while introducing Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention.

"What do you want me to tell Romney?" Eastwood said to the empty chair. "I can't tell him to do that to himself."

Eastwood, whose remarks had not been screened by the Romney campaign, later told CNN that Romney thought his routine "was quite funny."


LIVE FREE OR DIE

Motorists on Interstate 19 near Sahuarita dodged a horse that was dashing back and forth across the highway, until a Department of Public Safety officer got the go-ahead to shoot and kill the animal. Some wild horses live in the desert nearby, and several of them had come into Sahuarita seeking food and water.


DOESN'T EVERYBODY CARRY A SAMURAI SWORD ON THE TROLLEY?

A man pulled out a samurai sword and used it to break up a fight among riders on the light-rail line in Phoenix.


WE KNOW HOW TO ATTRACT RIDERS: SAMURAI-SWORD FIGHTS!

Tucson's still-under-construction downtown-UA trolley won't have enough fare-paying riders to pay its bills. A study concluded that in its first year, the Sun Link Streetcar system will need $2.4 million from Tucson's general operating fund. The already-pretty-much-broke city will have to kick in another $3.7 million of taxpayer money by the fifth year.


THE BIGGER THE MOUTH, THE BETTER IT LOOKS CLOSED

Self-help spiritual warrior James Arthur Ray, convicted of negligent homicide in the deaths of three people in a 2009 Sedona sweat-lodge ceremony, continued to make money from prison, selling a 14-CD package promising everything from money, health, love and happiness, to thick hair and really good parking spots.


PIPE DREAMS

Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik was critical of state Sen. Al Melvin of SaddleBrooke after Melvin introduced legislation condemning the city's downtown-redevelopment efforts.

"How nice to receive your Concurrent Memorial," Kozachik wrote in an open letter. "Evidently, the heavy winter rains have been good for the poppy crop up in SaddleBrooke."


WE LOVE AL; HE GLOWS IN THE DARK

Melvin also proposed making Arizona the nuclear-waste capital of America. He said if the rest of the country sent its spent nuclear fuel rods to us, our state could rake in $100 million a year that could be earmarked for education.


DON'T FORGET A STOOL SAMPLE

Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett threatened to remove President Obama's name from the ballot unless he received confirmation from Hawaii that Obama's birth certificate was valid. Another option, said Bennett, would be to "ask all the candidates, including the president, to submit a certified copy of their birth certificate."


YOU NEVER KNOW

After Bennett said that he asked Hawaiian officials to turn over a copy of the president's birth certificate because more than 1,200 people had sent emails demanding an investigation, more than 15,000 people signed a petition demanding he look into whether Mitt Romney is secretly a unicorn.

"But what about Mitt Romney?" questioned the petition backers at leftaction.com. "What about the persistent rumors that Mitt Romney is, in fact, a unicorn? There has never been a conclusive DNA test proving that Mitt Romney is not a unicorn. We have never seen him without his hair—hair that could be covering up a horn."

Bennett refused to look into the unicorn allegations.


TURBANS FOR BORDER PATROL

At a debate among candidates running in the Congressional District 8 special election, Green Party candidate Charlie Manolakis addressed border security, saying: "I'd like to suggest instead of using horses around the border, we may use camels. They have more durability and less maintenance."


THEY EACH GOT ONE OF THOSE ITTY-BITTY BAGS OF PEANUTS

Concerned for the safety of three elephants at the Toronto Zoo, Bob Barker, the former host of The Price Is Right, spent $880,000 to load them onto a private cargo plane and fly them to a sanctuary in warm Southern California.

"Elephants love to tear up trees; they'll have all the trees they want to tear up," Barker said.


THIS HORNE BLOWS

FBI agents allege that Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne caused $1,000 in damage when he backed into a Range Rover in a Phoenix parking garage and left the scene. The G-men were following Horne at the time as part of their investigation into campaign-finance violations. The agents believe Horne was trying to conceal an affair with a co-worker who lived in a nearby housing complex.


OUTSIDE OF POLITICS, WOULDN'T WE CALL THIS MONEY-LAUNDERING?

Gov. Jan Brewer spent $2,462.75 from her political action committee to pay Amazon.com for 150 copies of her book, Scorpions for Breakfast. The book talks about her battles with Obama over illegal immigration. Brewer gives a book to everyone who donates at least $100 to her PAC.


NOT ONLY THAT; THE TRUFFLES WERE STALE

It cost Brewer $4,100, from private funds, to cancel her reservations at a Paris hotel after checking in with two aides—and discovering their rooms were too small, and there was construction outside. Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson said the Best Western Premier Opera Diamond didn't have the kind of amenities they needed for a high-level business trip.


SHARK-DROPPINGS GIVE A BETTER HUE

Starbucks announced it would stop using dried-bug extract to color its Frappuccinos and pastries.


HE WAS CITED FOR AN ILLEGAL LANE CHANGE

A pilot landed his small plane on the southbound lane of State Route 64, between Williams and the Grand Canyon. An Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman explained this "was not an emergency landing, simply a confused pilot who thought the highway was part of the airport."


THE BREAST OF THE STORY

A 27-year-old Phoenix woman was sentenced to a year in prison for faking cancer in order to raise money for a boob job. After telling people she didn't have insurance and needed a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction, Jami Lynn Toler raised $8,000, which she used to pay her plastic surgeon.


WE'VE CERTAINLY HEARD ENOUGH FROM HIM

Sen. John McCain held a press conference to complain that the Obama administration wasn't releasing enough information about an attack on a Benghazi diplomatic outpost—at the same time that he was missing a classified briefing on the Libyan incident. When a CNN producer later asked him why he missed the meeting, McCain snapped: "I have no comment about my schedule, and I'm not going to comment on how I spend my time to the media. ... I have the right as a senator to have no comment, and who the hell are you to tell me I can or not?"


DIDN'T SEE THIS COMING

Using the slogan, "You see the world, the world sees you," a Chinese company named its line of sunglasses after 20th-century-author and social-activist Helen Keller, who was blind.


THAT TAKES BALLS

When Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum questioned the wisdom of easing rules for women in combat, congressional hopeful and former Air Force combat pilot Martha McSally told Fox News: "When I heard this, I really just wanted to go kick him in the jimmy."


WELL, IT IS A BIG-BOX STORE

A Kansas couple were arrested after stealing K-Y Jelly from the shelves of a Walmart and having sex in view of other shoppers.


ALERT! THIS IS NOT SATIRE! THIS ACTUALLY FREAKING HAPPENED!

A Nogales family mounted a townwide hunt for their 120-pound African tortoise—named Big Boy—after it climbed their backyard fence and escaped. Fernando Sotomayor spent a week wondering if he'd ever see his pet again, even though he'd taken the precaution of printing his address on its shell.

Big Boy came home thanks to a neighbor who saw the creature walking down the street. Fearing Big Boy might get squashed in traffic, the woman somehow picked him up and carried him to her house. She called the family after finding one of the fliers the Sotomayors had distributed as part of their search.

The Nogales International reported that Fernando adopted his massive friend at a reptile show in Tucson in 2005. Such tortoises can live 150 years. Big Boy enjoys eating bananas, zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes and cantaloupes.


MAY FLIGHTS OF ANGELS SING THEE TO THY REST—WITH EXTRA PEPPERONI!

Tucson entrepreneurs Tyler and Zach Fenton opened a pizza shop in a vintage downtown building that once housed the Reilly Funeral Home.

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