Wednesday, December 26, 2007

And to all a good year

Don't let anyone tell you that after you retire, you will search for things to keep you busy.

This year has flown by and next year doesn't look as if it will be any less busy, thank heaven.

From now until the second week in January, posts on this blog will be sporadic because of commitments to friends and family. Besides, with the New Haven Independent on vacation, I lose my most reliable source of news and fun.

So this would be a good time for Len's Lens on Next Year, my hopes for 2008.

First, of course, is that we elect a president and Congress that will work for the American people and not for the lobbyists. This bunch we have now is much too beholden to special interests.

Bush and Cheney are just too tied up with the oil industry, so $45 a barrel oil costs more than $90 a barrel. Gas prices go up on speculation of a problem with supply or a stormy weather forecast, but don't come down again until well after positive events.

We are as much to blame for letting them get away with it and also for continuing to purchase large, gas-guzzling cars because it makes us look good to our neighbors or feel good for ourselves. We say we are safer in big vehicles that can't get out of their own way. We purchase SUVs and then forget that we cheaped out on the all-wheel drive or even if we went for the AWD, it doesn't stop us any better.

So wish No. 2 is that we come to our senses and tell car manufacturers that we want smaller but safer cars (not mutually exclusive, as companies such as Subaru have proven. Subaru doesn't make cars like the Honda Pilot, the Toyota Tundra or the Nissan Bravada and, our course, the GM, Ford and Chrysler monsters.) We need to stop buying cars that are way, way too big.

Hope No. 3 (it's really top on the personal list) is that nations like Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the rest wake up one morning and realize there's room in this huge area for one small Jewish state that actually predated all the former British and French colonies by thousands of years. The borders of Iraq, TransJordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the rest were drawn up after World War I. The borders of Israel are in the Bible.

These Arabs and others in the region (you want a fight on your hands, call an Iranian an Arab) should also sit down with the Palestinians and tell them to grow up and realize that the Rolling Stones are right -- you can't always get what you want but if you play your cards right, you can get what you need. Israel wants nothing more than to be left alone and will give the Palestinians everything they need to live in peace and harmony. I will know that the Messiah is near when Palestinians go out and take the rockets away from the Hamasniks and tell them to knock it off.

I remember when Israelis were flocking to the Jericho casino before the Palestinians shot it up and spending big bucks, money that can help these people live in peace. Between 1948 and 1967, the West Bank was Jordanian territory and nobody was screaming for independence then.

Finally, I hope the Congress grows some guts and passes legislation that will hold to account those who lie and cheat and steal in the home-mortgage industry. I also hope that those who are talking about the American dream and how everybody should own their own homes would shut up. Home ownership is not for everyone. It's too bad, but in our system, some people are going to make out better than others.

I have been blessed with a great family and by finding a profession where I could have a whole lot of fun and still, in the end, earn a good living. It was pretty tight for a whole lot of years, but journalists are now able to make a living wage. I'm thankful about that.

On a personal note, a wish for those at my former newspaper in Westchester who are taking the next round of early retirement. Best of luck to you all. Spend a little time getting used to the idea and then get to work planning out the rest of your lives. There's plenty of work out there for those who want to continue working full-time. For the rest, I hope you settle in a well as I have. There is life after TJN.

Thank you to all loyal readers of Len's Lens. I hope you continue to read and enjoy in the new year.

Until next time...

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