Welcome to the inaugural 2012 Excuses of the Year Awards, in recognition of the San Andreas Fault lines running through the justifications of our favorite national newsmakers!

What better time to launch a contest with special emphasis on whose bullshit is the most moist than in an election year? We know already that two of our “Shame Candidates” will get extra attention in the coming weeks — as will, apparently, some of their supporters. Even late-comers like Al Gore, with his high-flying, high-brow, and just plain high “altitude defense” of Obama’s limp dick showing at the Denver presidential debate last week, makes the cut here — no excuse goes unconsidered. So stay tuned for these other nominees while I go ahead and bypass the whole contest by giving top honors to…

Of course our first champ is former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period! Yesterday Sandusky was officially banned from spending eternity in Hell by the Devil himself when he accused his judge of rushing his trial, his victims of conspiring against him, and the rest of the planet of making money off of his being a monster in time for Halloween.

You read that right, folks: the day before Sandusky was sentenced to 30-60 years in prison for luring small boys into a game of “Tickle the Old Man’s Penis,” his lawyer actually released an audio statement from his jail cell wherein he claims to be the victim. He’s confident, Sandusky says, that “we” will continue to protest his innocence, and in a particularly glaring sign of soft-headed delusion (plus a fascinating window into inhuman levels of denial), he refers to the very crimes for which he was convicted as “disgusting acts.”

Now THAT’s the mark of a winner. Our winner! I can’t imagine anyone topping this one between now and the end of the year, but I’ll be on the look out.

By the way, Sandusky’s lawyers said they’d appeal his case because they weren’t given enough time to prepare his defense. Ha! That this P.O.S. himself would wind up at the mercy of an excuse is funny and fitting.