We take you away from the finger-pointing championship in Washington to report on other ferocious blizzards of blame occurring elsewhere:
1 Why did Greece's economy go into a free fall? Blame the
2 When people hold a brainstorming session to decide who is at fault, it's called blamestorming.
3 According to ancient tradition, two goats were sacrificed during the Jewish Day of Atonement. One was slain in the community, while the other received all the sins of the people on its back and was driven out into the wilderness. That second animal got a special name in a biblical translation in the 16th century: It was called the scapegoat.
4 Musical titles often include the phrase "Blame It on …" Among those being blamed: the Bossa Nova, the Boom Boom, the Boogie, Bad Luck, Gravity, Waylon, Cain, Bush, Obama, Texas, the Fish, the Girls, the Love of Rock 'n' Roll, the Changes, the Trains, the Tetons, the Mistletoe, the Night, the Rain, the Sun, the Weatherman, My Youth, Your Heart and Me.
5 Researchers at Stanford and the University of Michigan, studying the annual reports of various publicly held companies from 1975 to 1995, found that self-blame came with a bonus: Firms that attributed their problems to their own actions rather than to external factors ultimately performed better on the stock market.
6 Some of America's great military leaders were willing to accept blame. After Gen. Robert E. Lee's defeat at Gettysburg in 1863, he declared, "It's all my fault," even though he had reason to blame several subordinates. Before Gen. Dwight Eisenhower led the successful D-Day invasion in 1944, he wrote a statement just in case of failure and put it in his wallet. "If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt," he wrote, "it is mine alone."
7 In July 1840, some inhabitants of the remote North Atlantic island of St. Kilda were excited to catch a rare penguinlike bird that hadn't been seen there for many years. Unfortunately for the Great Auk, its capture coincided with a particularly violent storm. The hunters, cowering inside their rudimentary lodging with their new pet, got to thinking that this strange bird might be more than they first assumed. In the end, the superstitious lot blamed the storm on the bird, which was declared a witch and stoned to death. And that was the last time the now-extinct Great Auk was ever seen in the British Isles.
8 The expression "pass the buck" comes from the way poker players once kept track of who was supposed to deal: They passed around a knife with a handle made from the antler of a deer. If a player wanted to skip his turn to deal, he passed the buck. President Harry Truman made a related phrase famous when he put a sign on his desk saying, "The buck stops here," meaning that everything was ultimately his responsibility. (Bonus trivia: The other side of Truman's sign had the less memorable phrase "I'm From Missouri.")
9 Who's to blame for the Great Chicago Fire? For many decades, the "person of interest" wasn't a person at all — it was
10 Steve Bartman — not to blame. Simple as that.
Mark Jacob is a deputy metro editor at the Tribune; Stephan Benzkofer is the newspaper's weekend editor.