Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Top 10 news stories of 2005

Lists. People love them lists. Top 100 of this; top 50 of that. The top 100 list of top 100 lists.
I found 2005 to be a tragic year in the news. So much pain and grief caused by Mother Nature and Big Brother government.
I wrote my list of the top 10 news stories two weeks ago prior to see the AP’s version. We will differ but only in the lineup, probably not much in the content.
My top 10 news stories stars with number one and then everything else pales in comparison.
Obviously, Hurricane Katrina and the destruction of New Orleans are heads-and-shoulders above it all. Nothing comes close. It was an immense tragedy when it happened and it will continue to be a major story in 2006 as the recovery goes painfully slow and stumbling. The aftermath and the horrid federal government response could manufacture itself into a shift in public sentiment away from the incompetent GOP-controlled response and sentiments towards how government should operate. Such could be the major story of 2006 if the Democrats can get their act together enough to wrest control of either the House of Senate.
I follow Katrina at 1b with Hurricane Rita and its response because the public and government overcorrected Katrina mistakes and we saw that no one can evacuate a major American city, notably Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast without causing panic and gridlock.
At 1c, comes the economic effects of Katrina, most notably seen in skyrocketing oil prices that lapped over the shoreline of $3 per gallon for gasoline into the car tank. People wailed, people screamed and people hollered, but those people still paid for the privilege of driving. And the rich got a whole lot richer.
My 2-10 stories are:
2) The death of Pope John Paul II – The world just stopped for a week or so.
3) The ongoing war in Iraq and the Iraqis trying to vote on a constitution and parliament – Good for them. Just don’t use Florida as a guideline.
4) The slow, tragic death of Teri Schiavo – All that is wrong in America in terms of treating the terminally ill, government interference in private matters and conservatives willing to use the court to be judicial activists for THEIR causes (while smearing opponents for doing the same thing) was played out for a month in ... Florida.
5) Supreme Court changes – Out with Sandra Day O’Connor, goodbye to Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who ides and hello to his replacement, John Roberts. OConnor still sits as Samuel Alito awaits a contentious confirmation process. So what else is new?
6) Terrorist bombings in London – The foggy night in Londontown is smoke from the underground after bombs killed many and scared everyone … worse than Jack the Ripper.
7) Plamegate – When will those in power ever learn? Tell the stinking truth when before a grand jury. You are never THAT smart? Could this be the end of Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and others? And when will someone realize that Dick Cheney is at the center of most problems in Washington??
8) War protesting lives! - As embodied by a California mother named Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war sentiment in this country awoke like a phoenix and often burned hotter than Phoenix, Arizona.
9) Steroids in baseball – Under oath, it seemed as if everyone hedged all their statements before Congress, which got fed up with all the bluffing and issued a threat – do something substantial or else we will screw you up royally! As a result, the minimum penalty for first-time abuse is a 50-game suspension, and a much stronger anti-drug message is sent.
10) Michael Jackson acquitted – Like the O.J. Simpson trial, acquittal is not the same as “not guilty,” at least in the public’s mind. And like the O.J. trial, this proceeding fascinated all Americans and spoke volumes about our continued love of celebrity and how much we like to see those in high places fall like rocks.
For the record, here are 2005’s top 10 stories, as voted by Associated Press members:
) HURRICANES: Katrina killed more than 1,300 people in five states and set off flooding that submerged 80 percent of New Orleans. Hurricanes Wilma and Rita also inflicted severe damage.
2) PAPAL TRANSITION: John Paul II died, and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany became the new pope.
3) IRAQ: News from Iraq ranged from devastating suicide bombings to the voting for new leaders.
4). SUPREME COURT: Justice Sandra Day O’Connor retired and Chief Justice William Rehnquist died, giving the court two vacancies. Judge John Roberts was confirmed to succeed Justice Rehnquist, and Harriet Miers withdrew after her nomination to replace Justice O’Connor faced resistance. The next choice, Judge Samuel Alito, faces confirmation hearings in January.
5) OIL PRICES: Crude oil prices hit an all-time peak of almost $71 a barrel in August.
6) LONDON BOMBINGS: Attacks killed 56 people on July 7.
7) ASIAN QUAKE: A massive earthquake near the Pakistan-India border killed more than 87,000 people.
8) TERRI SCHIAVO: The husband of brain-damaged Terri Schiavo struggled and finally succeeded in getting clearance to remove the feeding tube that had kept her alive for 15 years.
9) CIA LEAK: Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, Lewis Libby, was indicted.
10) PRESIDENT BUSH’S STRUGGLES: Multiple factors, including public doubts about Iraq, a flawed response to Hurricane Katrina and a failed Supreme Court nomination.

Here’s hoping 2006 brings peace and better times. But, as usual, the news will be topped with strife and trouble. Should be interesting. Blog you later.

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