Saturday, January 15, 2011

Big Events of 2010

Before the new year gets any older, it's time for my comments on the 5 most important events of 2010. Most of them happened in the United States. Some are political; some are natural. Needless to say, other things happened, and not everyone will agree with my choices. Here's the list, not necessarily in order of importance or chronology.
1. Earthquake in Haiti.
2. Oil spill in Gulf of Mexico.
3. "Health Care" law reform.
4. Supreme Court decision giving allowing unlimited corporate spending in federal elections.
5. Recall of a half billion eggs suspected of salmonella contamination.

My list does not include actors who abuse their partners or go to rehab, engagements in royal families, professional sports, Michael Jackson (who seems to continue to live in the news), the ongoing story of the economy, jobs and real estate, and other natural disasters.

The Haiti earthquake stunned many Americans. Maybe it's because Haiti is near the US. An earthquake like that could hit one of our cities. Many people sent money and people to help with the disaster. Unfortunately, the most recent report I heard said that only about a third of Port-au-Prince has been rebuilt, and a huge number of people continue to survive with little help. Where did all the donated money go?

The oil spill severely damaged the gulf. Lots of money and manpower went there to help. The last news I heard was that shoreline habitat is still oil soaked, but some beaches apparently are cleaned up. Where did BP go? We will live with the consequences of this for a long time. Forget about "drill, baby, drill."

The "health care" law, in my opinion, really isn't about health or care. It's about medical services and money. I support it because it offers increased access and provisions about freedom from pre-existing conditions. Like some others, I question the requirement that everyone have "health" (medical) insurance, and I don't know why the people who want to repeal this provision connect it with repeal of pre-existing condition provisions. I don't think this law is socialism any more than universal public education or local police and fire protection are. In any case, this is a major change for Americans.

The Supreme Court decision about funding elections can change the way people are elected. Corporations can pour money in to elect people who support their positions, with little or no concern for the good of the people. I see this as government by corporations and not by the people. We have already seen that legislators will give their support to the causes that help them get re-elected. It's dangerous for democratic processes.

Why do I think the egg recall is big? I didn't list all the automobile recalls. This recall is about people's need for food that won't sicken or kill them. Factory egg production provides eggs and other foods on a huge scale. Since this event, the government has passed new food safety legislation. I also believe that the Food and Drug Administration needs to have enough inspectors to do their jobs related to this.

I hope that 2011 will give us good news.