Day By Day

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Top Tens

It's that time of year again -- everyone is doing it's top ten list, except me of course. I simply report, you decide.

The AP released its list of the top ten stories of the year.

1. VIRGINIA TECH KILLINGS: Seung-Hui Cho, 23, who had avoided court-ordered mental health treatment despite a history of psychiatric problems, killed two fellow students in a dormitory on April 16, detoured to mail a hate-filled video of himself to NBC News, then shot dead 30 students and professors in a classroom building before killing himself. It was the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

2. MORTGAGE CRISIS: A record-setting wave of mortgage foreclosures, coupled with a steep slump in the housing market, buffeted financial markets, caused multibillion-dollar losses at major banks and investment firms, and became an issue in the presidential campaign.

3. IRAQ WAR: The “surge” that sent more U.S. troops to Iraq was credited with helping reduce the overall level of violence. But thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of U.S. personnel were killed nonetheless during the year, and Iraqi political leaders struggled to make meaningful progress toward national reconciliation.

4. OIL PRICES: Oil prices soared to record highs, at one point reaching nearly $100 a barrel. The high prices, which burdened motorists and owners of oil-heated homes, nudged Congress to pass an energy bill that ordered an increase in motor vehicles’ fuel efficiency.

5. CHINESE EXPORTS: An array of Chinese exports were recalled, ranging from toys with lead paint to defective tires to tainted toothpaste and food. Despite the high-profile problems, America’s trade deficit with China was running at record-high levels.

6. GLOBAL WARMING: Warnings about the consequences of global warming gained intensity with new reports from scientific panels and a Nobel Prize to Al Gore for his environmental crusading that included the film “An Inconvenient Truth.” Across the U.S., many state governments sought to cap emissions blamed for global warming.

7. BRIDGE COLLAPSE: An Interstate 35 bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis collapsed during the evening rush hour on Aug. 1, killing 13 people and injuring about 100. The disaster fueled concern about possible structural flaws in other bridges nationwide.

8. PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: In a yearlong drama with shifting subplots, large fields in both major parties battled for support ahead of the caucuses and primaries that will decide the 2008 presidential nominees. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama led among the Democrats; some polls showed five Republicans with double-digit support.

9. IMMIGRATION DEBATE: A compromise immigration plan, backed by President Bush and Democratic leaders, collapsed in Congress due to Republican opposition. The plan would have enabled millions of illegal immigrants to move toward citizenship, while also bolstering border security. The issues remained alive in the presidential campaign.

10. IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM: Worried that the ultimate goal is a nuclear arsenal, the United States and other countries pressed Iran to halt uranium enrichment. Iran said it never had a weapons program. A U.S. intelligence report concluded there was such an effort, but it stopped in 2003.

Read it here.

Don Surber offers an alternative list with a different political slant.

1. VICTORY IN IRAQ. Led by the Man of the Year for 2007 — General David Petraeus — American forces tamped down al-Qaeda and got the various tribes of Iraq to work together to restore law and order in a chaotic nation. Civil war was averted. Iran was kept at bay. The more successful the soldiers were, the less interest the press showed. Victory is not an option, eh.

2. DEMOCRATIC MELTDOWN IN CONGRESS. Republicans blew it in 2006. Voters gave control of Congress back to Democrats, who had an outdated agenda (a booming economy had already raised the real minimum wage 3 bucks higher than the federal one). Promises of reform (”drain the swamp”) were abandoned as Democrats wasted the year with dead-end investigations of the administration and countless votes on Iraq, all of which they lost. Perhaps in 2008, some attempts at compromise will be made.

3. THE RESILIENT ECONOMY. Neither rising gasoline prices, falling home prices, defaulted subprime loans nor a dollar now worth a loon will stay the economy from making its appointed rounds of low unemployment, low inflation and steady economic growth.

4. THE RISE AND FALL OF GLOBAL WARMING. Al Gore’s film received an Oscar and it was all downhill from there. Revelations that he used 12 times the electricity of mortal man at just one of his three homes showed that even Gore knows the world is in no eminent danger. Even “The Daily Show” mocks it.

5. THE POLITICAL BREAKDOWN OF HILLARY CLINTON. She employed the same playbook that won in 1992 in 2007. That might work if there were no Fox News, no Internet, no 9/11 and no liver spots on Bill.

6. THE PERPETUAL FLOATING PRESIDENTIAL CRAPS GAME. “American Idol” is decided quicker. But this is more entertaining. The race does provide a glimpse into how trivial the problems of Americans are. In 40 years we’ve gone from malnourished poor kids to obese ones. Politics have have become academic, and we all know that academic battles are so fierce because the stakes are so small.

7. THE RISE OF PETROCRACY. Why is it that ever place on Earth with an abundance of oil has to be run by an authoritarian and corrupt government?

8. IMMIGRATION. Americans like legal immigration, hate illegal. Most of Washington does not understand the difference.

9. THE REST OF THE AXIS OF EVIL. North Korea may have abandoned its nuclear ambitions. Iran? Who knows. Russia has nukes and has joined the axis. I thought Condoleezza Rice was an expert on Russia.

10. THE RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL ALLIES. Nations that were pissed at us over Iraq elected pro-American prime ministers or presidents, most recently South Korea. The leader of the new pro-American, pro-George Walker Bush movement is L’Americain, Nicolas Sarkozy. For all our faults, we remain the world’s last best hope.

Read it here.

Like I said, I report, you decide, which of these makes more sense -- the left-wing view of the MSM or Surber's right of center perspective.