2015 - T²
Thursday December 31, 2015
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I've never really understood the fascination with year-end, best-of, remember-when columns and stories. I've always thought it was bad enough to have had to live through the year once without having to be reminded of all the things that caught our national attention on the cusp of the new year.
Having written that, though, here we are on December 31 pen in hand, practicing how to most efficiently write 2016 in the upper right hand corner of our checks starting tomorrow.
The thing about the top stories of the year, is - like movies being considered for Academy Awards - those we have seen last tend to have the most impact.
Another thing is, it is unlikely that a cable news network will break into regular chatter for the breaking news that "Rich Galen stopped at every single stop sign on his way to work this morning." Not so much that it has never happened, as it simply isn't news. "Rich Galen roughed up by Alexandria police while disputing stop sign violation, shouting 'Don't you know who I am?'" Now, that would be news.
It would especially be news if they really did know who I was.
It also depends on where you are. The Kinston, NC newspaper reminds us that one of the top stories of January 2015 was "A loud 'boom' was heard from La Grange to Sandy Bottom in Lenoir County; no cause could be found to explain it."
Your area of interest has an impact. Sports fans look for the biggest sports story of 2015: Tom Brady and Deflate Gate? The AP puts that second behind: "American Pharoah becomes horse racing's first Triple Crown winner in 37 years."
Here in Our Nation's Capital it might be a tie between the Redskins winning the NFL East and the National's right fielder, Bryce Harper, being choked in the dugout, on TV, during a game by their closer, Jonathan Papelbon.
If you are a techno-geek, it might have been, as USA Today believes, the advent of self-driving cars. If you are in finance, you might agree with the Associated Press that the two top financial stories of 2015 were "China's sharp [economic] slowdown followed by the plunge in energy prices."
I think in the huge body of news stories produced over the past 12 months the two starting with a "T" have lapped the field: Terror and Trump.
Ok, ok, that might be redundant, but you know what I mean.
As we look toward New Years Eve celebrations tonight at least three U.S. cities are taking extraordinary precautions against organized violence: New York, D.C. and Los Angeles. In Europe, Belgium has cancelled New Years celebrations altogether.
CNN reports that Turkish police have announced the arrest of two people with possible ISIS connections on suspicion of planning a bombing attack in Turkey's capital on New Year's Eve."
Paris was ground zero for terror attacks in 2015. The attacks on the magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Kosher Deli last January led off the year. That was followed by the attacks across Paris 11 months later in November where 89 people were killed at a concert along with scores of others in cafes and other locations.
In the U.S. any idea that we had ISIS, as President Obama claimed, was "contained" were dispelled when a husband and wife opened fire on a party taking place in a government building in San Bernardino, California
The second "T" is for Donald Trump the bad-boy New York developer who has proven political geniuses like me wrong just about every time we've opened our mouths since he announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for President in mid-June.
Trump still leads in the national polling, but is in a tug-of-war with Ted Cruz in Iowa and appears to be in a race with Marco Rubio and Chris Christie in New Hampshire.
It is entirely possible that if Trump loses in both Iowa and New Hampshire, his political star will quickly dim. It is just as possible that he sweeps the big three in February - Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina and sails on to the GOP nomination.
Like him or not, Donald Trump is one of the major stories of 2015 and might well repeat for the title in 2016.
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to just about everything in the column. You can read the various lists and decide for yourself.
Also a Mullfoto from our local grocery store of a fruit that was actually scary.
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