Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Well, 2009 is gone and I suspect that most of us are happy to bid it a fond "Good Riddance!" Here's hoping that 2010 is an improvement.

We've seen some hopeful signs in the past year. Economists and politicians tell us that the economy has turned a corner and is back on the upswing. I take that with a grain of salt, especially when I hear the unemployment numbers and remember that I myself am now contributing to that statistic. As I review my investment portfolio, however, I can't deny that the values of my various retirement investments have generally pulled out of their year-long nosedive and seem to be trending gradually upward again; an admittedly promising sign.

The United States, not to mention the rest of the world, was finally relieved of the poisonous and inept Bush administration, which was replaced by the much more promising and seemingly well-meaning Obama administration.

The H1N1 pandemic proved to be far less deadly than it might have been. Governments, working with the pharmaceutical suppliers, were able to immunize those at highest risk with impressive speed.

While the total failure of the participating nations at the Copenhagen Summit to agree on any sort of strategy to deal with global warming may be disappointing to many, at least they didn't commit the world to an ineffective plan, as Gwynne Dyer has pointed out in his writings. Doing nothing is still better than doing the wrong thing. As a Canadian, I feel compelled to add that I'm dismayed at Canada's lack of vision and leadership on this crucial global issue.

The world continues to face serious challenges. The billions spent by the developed nations in order to prop up their largest corporations have plunged these economies into debt that may take generations to repay. The countless dollars and lives wasted in the needless and ineffectual wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan have done nothing to quash the threat of terrorism, as evidenced by the attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day. Global warming remains possibly the biggest threat to the well-being of the world today, with no solution in sight.

All is not darkness and despair, however. We've seen glimmers of hope. What we need now are leaders with the vision to place the interests of the common good before narrow, short-term self-interest presiding over citizens willing to do the same. Here's hoping it begins in 2010.

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