They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker

2009's Muckiest: Our Top Ten Most Popular Stories Of The Year


10. Imaginary Muslim Hijackers Thwarted

A NASA diver by the name of Tedd Petruna fabricates a story of a heroic fight against porno-watching hijackers on an Atlanta airport runway, in the process spawning his very own Twitter hashtag. Petruna was crowned an American Hero by right-wing bloggers.

9. Family Values Pol Cops To Intern Sex

Republican Tennessee state senator Paul Stanley, who sponsored a bill to block adoptions for gay couples, reportedly admits to having sex with a 22-year-old intern, and to taking nude pictures of the woman, after the intern's boyfriend tried to blackmail Stanley.

8. Praying For Obama To Die

Fundamentalist pastor Steven Anderson, who preaches out of a storefront church in Phoenix, confirms that he prayed for President Obama to die just one day before one of his parishioners famously brought an assault rifle and a pistol to an Obama event. "I don't obey Barack Obama. And I'd like Barack Obama to melt like a snail tonight," Anderson says, while denying in an interview that he advocates vigilantism.

7. Birthermercial Debuts

The Birther movement bypasses the national media filter with this informercial running in seven states. For just $30, viewers are promised a "got a birth certificate?" bumper sticker.

6. Jindal Spins Katrina Tale

After Bobby Jindal delivers the GOP response to Obama's address to Congress, the Louisiana governor's office tries to spin its way out of Jindal's factually challenged story, which put him at the center of an inspiring rescue during Hurricane Katrina. Politico assists.

5. 'Hot Mike' Duvall Resigns

"I am deeply saddened that my inappropriate comments have become a major distraction for my colleagues in the Assembly," says Mike Duvall, the conservative California state rep who was caught on a hot mic bragging of sex with two different women.

4. Obama The Witch Doctor

A prominent Florida neurosurgeon and avid tea-partier guffaws as he forwards a racist image of President Obama as a scantily clad witch doctor. It warns of ObamaCare, spelled with a hammer and sickle.

3. American Police Force Comes To Hardin

The private security company -- which was later revealed to be a complete fraud -- inks a deal with Hardin, Montana, to take over the impoverished town's empty jail, stirring up the fears of the Black Helicopter crowd. APF's Web site offered services including harbor patrol threat interdiction, cheating spouse investigations, polygraph testing, and weapons sales including "Nuclear/Biological/Chemical (WMD)."

2. 'She Wears Little Eye-Patch Underwear'

54-year-old Mike Duvall sits in the California assembly and boasts to a colleague about his sexual conquests as he is unknowingly recorded by a microphone. Naturally, the married father of two had been active in the fight against gay marriage and scored top marks from a family values group.

And, the number one TPMmuckraker post of the year is ...

1. Jindal Admits Katrina Story Is Bogus

Responding to Obama's February speech to Congress, Jindal claims on national television that he helped thwart a government bureaucrat who was delaying a rescue mission during Hurricane Katrina. A few days later, his office admits that Jindal didn't play the role he said he did.