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December 29, 2008

Worst Stories of 2007, One Year Later


At the end of 2007, I wrote two columns examining the top stories of 2007. One looked at the worst stories of 2007, and the other listed the best. Revisiting these columns a year later is a worthy exercise that can tell us a lot about our politics and our world – and, importantly, about our individual and collective minds. This week we will take a look at some of the worst stories of 2007, reserving the best stories for next week.


Some behavior seems too stubborn to change, even when its madness is pointed out year after year. The 10th worst story of 2007, for instance, was the politically correct symbolism of the University of Illinois’ ditching of its mascot, Chief Illiniwek, despite the fact that four-fifths of Native Americans approve of the use of Indian names in sports. But academia managed to outdo itself this year, with the worst story coming out of Carleton University, where the Students’ Association voted to drop fundraising for a cystic fibrosis charity because the disease primarily affects white men, and thus is not “inclusive” enough.


Another of the 10 worst stories of 2007 was Al Gore’s Live Earth concert, the environmental costs of which, ironically, were the equivalent of cutting down 100,000 trees. But these costs might be fine after all, because in 2008 things were very much pointing in a direction that renders the quasi-religious cause of Gore and Hollywood somewhat unwarranted. For one, this past year was cold – very cold. So cold that even the global warmists were forced to revise their theory by claiming that we will see a cold period before global warming kicks in (but it’s still coming, for serious!). Unfortunately for them, hordes of scientists are increasingly coming out against the theory of global warming, pulverizing any suggestion of a consensus on the issue.


I don’t claim to know the answer, but I do know that global warming, as advanced by the Gore types, is not a certainty. And I know that there is even much less evidence that global warming, if it is occurring, is caused by human behavior, and by behavior that could be reversed through suffocating government regulation.


The subprime mortgage crisis was another top story in 2007. We were worried – at the time – that the government might bail out some of the “victims” who were themselves the cause of the crisis. Little did we know that by the end of 2008, the government will have been bailing out everyone from banks to unions for amounts totaling in the 13 digits.


And finally, the worst story of 2007 was that of the Democrats taking the U.S. Congress under the leadership of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. We gave the Senate to a man who declared the Iraq War to be “lost” just as our troops were building the victory we have today. We gave the House to a woman who, in one of her first acts, appointed as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee a congressman who did not know whether Al Qaeda was a Sunni or Shiite organization.


Yet they promised the “most ethical Congress in history.” Of course, the scandals soon started spilling out. And the exchange of political favors through earmarks and other tools moved ahead at full steam. And they have since treated none of the ethical violators as badly as they have treated Sen. Joe Lieberman, who was involved with no scandal but chose to act on his conscience and endorse a Republican for public office.


No wonder congressional approval ratings are in the single digits. If these congressmen were the worst story in 2007 and not much better in 2008, one can only wonder what will come out of a Democratic Congress in 2009, under a president that is one of their own.

© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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