First of all, a heartfelt thank you to the steady readers of this posting. The thanks go double to all of you who have taken the time to write a comment about what I've had to say. I've agreed with many, disagreed with some, especially about Israel. But I appreciate the fact that most have been honest and express true feelings.
Last year, I set down some hopes for this year. Some of them actually came true -- such as electing a president and Congress who will actually have the good of the nation at heart. I know, I know, it's early, but at least Barack Obama and the Democrats are talking a good game.
We also may get smaller, more efficient cars and $45-a-barrel oil actually costs less than that now. The Arabs still think they can push Israel into the sea, and the Palestinians, especially those in Gaza, are still willing to die for that forlorn hope.
Finally, those in the mortgage industry are not being punished, as I hoped they would. The government is giving billions to those who didn't care or messed up. Those who kept up with their payments, no matter how difficult that was to have become and how much sacrifice that would take, are left to their own devices. No good deed goes unpunished, I guess.
So, how about next year.
Hope one: President Barack Obama is as good as his word and all the Democrats in the House and Senate, plus a few Republicans who love their country more than their party, will get together and start to clean up the economic and political mess left them by Bush-Cheney and the do-nothing administration.
Hope two: The rest of the world will forget the last eight years and remember that the U.S. has stood for what is good. We can again be a force for right and justice. The America Firsters were wrong in 1917, 1940 and are wrong now. We need to be the moral compass of the world...the United Nations certainly isn't doing it.
Hope three: That this nearly-trillion-dollar shot in the arm we are giving the economy spurs some improvement and fast. Those who saved for their retirement found that much of their savings has gone away because of the flight from the equity markets. The Roosevelt maxim that "We have nothing to fear but fear itself," is as true now as it was during the Great Depression. If credit is loosened, people will begin to buy again. If the investors who run the markets stop being afraid of this or that or the other, maybe some of the people who saved their whole lives to be able to enjoy their retirement will be able to do that, rather than have to choose between food and medicine.
Hope four: People start to realize that Thomas Jefferson was right: you cannot have a functioning democracy without a strong, free press. The right-wing ideologues who inhabit the radio and Fox News Channel are not a free, fair press.
We have allowed big business to take over the news business. The Tribune Co., with real estate mogul Sam Zell at the helm, is down at the head and sinking fast. While Sam Zell's losing a fortune is him getting his just desserts, taking some of the nation's, and the region's, premiere news sources down with him is dangerous.
Ditto to the Journal-Register Co., a group who thought their house of cards would never blow over. Well, it has. While the New Haven Register, Middletown Press and Register-Citizen papers limp along, newspapers in New Britain, Bristol and a number of weeklies have but days to live. Sucking down longtime nameplates like the Hamden Chronicle, West Haven News, Branford Review, Clinton Recorder and others down as it sinks is indefensible.
Look, news is special, it's important and where you get it is important. You can't count on bloggers who don't know the difference between fact and rumor for news. News must come from sources like The New Haven Independent, where each story is vetted by an editor. Facts must be checked, fairness analyzed and importance determined. Weak as they are, the New Haven Register, Connecticut Post, Hartford Courant and New London Day are important.
Hope five: And thanks for staying with it this long. We need to expect more from our leaders locally. Is the mayor doing the job for New Haven and not pandering to what he feels is his base? Is the Board of Aldermen fulfilling its mandate as an independent check and balance on the mayor and the administration? Is the school board doing its job, not pandering to the loudest voices? Are those who pay the taxes being heard and fairly represented and not being bled dry? Ask yourselves these questions. If the answer is yes, then fine. If not, then do something about it. Attend meetings. Don't be afraid of being called an "ist". Talk up. Run for office.
Again, thanks for reading. Let's hope that this year is not as bad as predicted so that those of us who have worked hard and done the right things can start enjoying the fruits of our labor and those who have not can find the way, through education, to begin.
Happy new year to all.
Until next time in the new year...