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2005, the year in review

These are the stories and events that I see were important in 2005. By all means correct me in the comments section if you think I missed something.

The biggest news story of the year was the death of John Paul II and the election of Cardinal Ratzinger to Pope. JPII was perhaps the greatest of the recent leaders of the Catholic church. He was one of the key defenders of Vatican II, while maintaining Church tradition. His leadership of oppressed Catholics behind the Soviet Bloc and his travels across the world, including Israel and Cuba added to his greatness. JPII was the third longest serving Pope in the history of the church.

Cardinal Ratzinger was the “enforcer” for JPII and his election to Pope was no surprise, but it was a disappointment to all the non-Catholics who desperately wanted an atheist Pope.

Among other important stories of the year were from natural disasters. The aftermath of the Tsunami in Southeast Asia, the Katrina hurricane and the destruction of New Orleans, and the earthquake in Kashmir and Pakistan were the disasters. These natural occurrences weren’t the real news, the real news was how these events were handled. In Pakistan, American soldiers led rescue efforts that saved thousands of people’s lives. After the Tsunami the American Navy was key in rescue and relief efforts. The world poured money into Southeast Asia to help, and the UN decided to keep a lot of that money for itself. The American response to Katrina has been criticized for its ineffectiveness. However, the more information that is released the more it is clear that people died in New Orleans not because of lack of government response, but because of misplaced stubbornness. Death estimates immediately after Katrina hit were in the 10,000 range,the actual death toll was less than 1000, many were residents drown with their cars still in the garage.

Among man-made problems, the terrorist attack on London ranks high on my list. This needs to be balanced with some good news, the historic Iraq vote. Of course, the Iraq vote has been followed up by escalating violence over its results.

Terry Schiavo was denied food and water until she died. This was done by the courts despite the condemnation of the action by the Florida State Legislature, the Florida Governor, and the U.S. legislature. “Checks and balances,” heh. An autopsy revealed Schiavo had large portions of her frontal lobe destroyed, but it did show undamaged areas as well. In my mind it is the first step in legalising euthanasia for mentally handicapped people who also have damaged brains and reduced EEG readings. It was also a major confrontation between the Judiciary and the other two branches of government, and the Judiciary won.

This article on innovative ideas is a must read. Must important in my mind of the great new ideas of 2005 was the adoption of restaurant models for maintaining customer base through community by the retail market. Supermarkets have gone from places you go only to buy stuff into places to spend free time. Just walk around a Walmart and notice the droves of teenagers that go there at night just to hang out.

Podcasting and Blogging continue to grow in the new media as people live out their dreams of being in radio thanks to new technology.

The big science story of the year had nothing to do with science and everything to do with the defeat in court of “Intelligent Design.” You think the ACLU could have spent all that money giving to victims of Katrina or in donating to researchers trying to find the cure for cancer or AIDs or something. I wanted to write more about the ID case but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I don’t really care about the science behind ID, I do care that the courts stepped on the rights of the voters in that district to keep local control over their curriculum. I don’t a school district suggesting a book on ID is a violation of the establishment clause in the U.S. Constitution.

The death of Justice William Rehnquist was another important story, as one of the longest unchanged courts in history has now been “refreshed” a bit. Rehnquist was a great man, and it’s certain no one will be able to fill his shoes for a long time.

In fact, this year has been a series of great and long serving leaders dying or retiring. William Rehnquist led the Supreme Court for decades. JPII was the 3rd longest serving Pope and one of the greatest. Another one is the coming retirement of Alan Greenspan, perhaps the most succesful fed chairmen ever.

Other notable deaths:

Peter Jennings (TV Journalist)
Don Adams (“Get Smart” star and former Marine)
Johnny Carson (TV Personality)
Johnnie Cochran (Lawyer Personality)
William Westmoreland (Military General, Vietnam War)
Rosa Parks (Civil Rights Activist)
Richard Pryor (Comedian)
James Doohan (Actor and wounded WWII veteran)
Arthur Miller (“Death of a Salesmen” and “The Crucible” playwright)
Anne Bancroft (Actress and wife of Mel Brooks)
Judith Rossner (Author of “Looking for Mr. Goodbar”)
Simon Wiesenthal (Nazi Hunter)
Jack Anderson (Columnist and Nixon agitator)
Pat Morita (Actor “Karate Kid”)

Notable Movie:

Batman Begins
Four Brothers
Chronicles of Narnia
Cinderella Man
The Excorcism of Emily Rose
The Producers
King Kong
Brokeback Mountain

I can’t name ten, and I saw a lot of movies this year.



One Response

  1. And let’s not forget Eason Jordan. He’s not hurricane or papal level, but definitely one of the stories that delineated the MSM and the blogosphere.

    Re JPII, I was a smart-ass J-school student when John Paul I died; right about when Star Wars was also a new phenomenon. When the new Pope took his place and honored his predecessor by taking the same name we smart-assed J-schoolers referred to him as Pope J2P2.

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