Sunday, December 31, 2006

Year in Review

Politics: Democrats given control of Congress because of Iraq, vowed to raise the minimum wage. Nimble and graceful Barack Obama became the Democtrats' Fred Astaire, adored because of, well, perhaps the way he wears his hat, the way he sips his tea. And the way he isn't Hillary.

Social Justice: This year's civil-rights outrage was "soaring" and "record" gasoline prices, a violation of American's inalienable right to pay for a gallon no more than they paid 25 years ago. By December the price of a gallon, adjusted for inflation, was 83 cents lower than in 1981. Although no one had complained, the human-rights director for the provocatively named city of St. Paul, Minn., had a HAPPY EASTER sign removed from city hall.

Environment: Two U.S. explorers went to the North Pole to study how global warming threatens polar bears. They had planned to go last year, but were forced to delay Project Thin Ice because of unusually heavy snow and ice. The "emerging hurricane problem," which, after Katrina, The New York Times identified as a consequence of global warming, did not emerge. The unusually tranquil Atlantic hurricane season was explained as a consequence of...global warming affecting the Pacific.

Government: The Florida woman who wounded with a shot-gun the alligator that entered her house and attacked her golden retriever was given a warning citation for hunting without a permit. Compassionate social democracy: The Danish government continued to pay prostitutes to service the disabled. Ancient Greece pioneered philosophy and democracy. Modern Greece this year gave the world a new wrinkle in creative accounting: It became 25 percent richer after its GDP was revised to account for such booming service industries as prostitution and money laundering.

Transitions: Lillian Gertrude Asplund was 5 when her father smiled and said, "Go ahead, we will get into one of the other boats." He did not. Lillian never married, and retired early to take care of her mother, who never recovered from losing her husband. Lillian, the last American survivor of the Titanic, was 99.

-Adapted from George Will's The Last Word-Newsweek 12-18-06

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