Monday, December 28, 2009

2009 Burn List

As far as you know, we have a friend who every year assembles personal do-dads, newspaper clippings, photos, letters, etc. and ceremonially burns them over the remnants of his Christmas tree on December 31. In the spirit of the New Year, it is a cathartic chance to start afresh, free from the burdens of the previous year and to start fresh anew. Around here, we have plenty to throw onto our virtual fire:

* G-20: Good grief. If there was one Pittsburgh-National-International story that we got sick of during the year it was the G-20 brouhaha. Even though it only lasted for a few days, we were stuck with, not only the barricades, the traffic restrictions, a dead downtown, security up the wazoo, police overreaction, and pseudo-anarchists with unfathomable rage towards pancakes, we got hammered with nausea inducing, feel good Pittsburgh stories from the media telling us how great we were and how awesome it is in Pittsburgh. Perhaps it's our deep seated Catholic guilt, our annoying Protestant work ethic, or our lingering zen-like stoicism, but frankly we got tired of it and we just wanted to get back to our regular lives.

* The Great Recession: Of course, even if we wanted to get back to our regular lives, we couldn't as about 10% of us had been laid off. We watched friends and relatives struggle with trying to find a job, barely holding on to the ones they had, applying and reapplying for unemployment, losing their houses, or going bankrupt. We'll admit that once or twice we tasted the cat's food, you know, just in case we were going to have to resort to eating it somewhere down the line. Hopefully the worst has past.

* The Health Care Debate: Nothing this year brought out the worst in the country than the idea that people probably shouldn't worry about going broke trying to live. It has been a debate that, in more civilized times, would have been about the costs of Federal Government intervention versus the benefits of providing long term cost controls to the Citizenry, but instead devolved into petty partisanship, name calling, lies, and assorted blubbering craziness (both real and feigned). At the (near) end of the rancorousness, we sadly saw some of the worst aspects of our system exposed and came to the realization that a lot of the people we put into higher office are not just douchebags, but ultra-mega douchebags.

* Local Politics: And at the local level, we had another year of Lilliputian politics in Pittsburgh involving an (effectively) uncontested Mayoral race, a County Executive intent on doing nothing that would jeopardize his run for higher office, local elected "leadership" that can barely find its own asshole with two hands and a flashlight, and the stinking suspicion that money and election contributions (rather than good policy) is what happens to be driving Pittsburgh Government. Perhaps it is too optimistic, but I would like a month to go by without a story about political indiscretions, rumors of bribery, grand jury investigations, or City Council Circus behavior.

* The Mon-Fayette Expressway: It's on my list of things to burn every year, but, as the folks in Harrisburg have lost the receipt, I can't even exchange it for something nicer or more useful.

Well, that's my burn list. Feel free to add more in the comments.

1 comment:

mds said...

As far as you know,

This bit made my day. Which suggests that I should just put 2010 on my 2009 burn list, to save time later.