Assessing 2007

The seventh year of the new millennium is almost over. Like always, the Associated Press news writers have ranked the top ten stories for the year. Here they are, spiced up with a little Salyards sarcasm!

1. Seung-Hui Cho, age 23 killed 32 students and professors at Virginia Tech University. Of course, his handgun is to blame.

2. Bad, sub-prime mortgage loans caused large losses for banks and resulted in record foreclosures in the housing market. Apparently, gullible homebuyers didn’t read the hundreds of pages in the loan documents that the federal government had previously put in there to protect them, so we need more regulations and more documents for the next time that ignorant consumers and stupid bankers meet again.

3. The Iraq War continued, but with reduced violence in the later part of the year due to the “surge” of American troops and their deal making with rival forces. There may be light at the end of the tunnel here if the Democrats don’t raise the white flags after the next election.

4. Oil prices climbed to within pennies of $100 a barrel. Historically high gasoline prices were supposed to put pressure on consumer budgets, but Christmas shopping sales broke records in December. I’m not worried. If we use enough corn to make ethanol we can just buy our food from the Chinese!

5. Despite scares about lead and other tainted Chinese products, the US trade deficit with China ran at high levels again this year. What’s a little lead when you’re saving money!

6. Global Warming continued to be a “hot topic” as Al Gore won a Nobel Prize for his environmental activities, including his film, “An Inconvenient Truth.” Meanwhile, December’s heavy and frequent snows finally induced me to purchase a new snow blower. It was the environmentally sensitive thing for me to do. After all, even with this new pollution-emitting blower, my carbon footprint is still a lot less than Al Gore’s.

7. A bridge on I-35W collapsed during rush hour in downtown Minneapolis, focusing attention to the condition of the nation’s infrastructure. It was a miracle that only 13 people died, as the bridge fell nearly sixty feet into the Mississippi river. While Louisiana politicians wring their hands, Minnesotans will have their new bridge constructed before the end of 2008.

8. The beginning of the 2008 Presidential Campaign is now almost a year old. Most Americans are nearly ready to throw up, but we haven’t been able to determine if our queasy stomachs are do to the character of the candidates or the continuous nightly newscasts from Iowa.

9. The debate over illegal immigration continued in 2007, but there is little evidence that anything will change in the near future. There are too many votes at stake on both sides of the issue and besides; I can’t do without my Mexican landscaper.

10. Iran’s Nuclear Program got a lot of publicity this year. I’m not worried; the Israelis have a lot more to worry about than I do, and they have the military might to take care of this problem when necessary.

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