Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Year that Was 2006, part 1

I’m sitting here on the morning of Christmas Eve in a coffee shop in downtown Indianapolis, listening to my favorite mp3 play list. I would rather listen to Christmas carols, but I didn’t get the chance to upload any.

Anyway, I’m browsing back through all my Over Coffee columns and blog entries this past year. It struck me that at the end of this coming June, the first decade of the new millennium will be three-quarters over. It seems like only recently that I was writing about the coming Y2K bug and advising people not to worry about it.

It wasn’t that long ago, it seems, that I had entered the ongoing debate over which year began the new millennium, 2000 or 2001. I’m sticking with 2001.

But getting back to the current year, which is now about to come to an end, it started out as most years do in Indiana, with inane proposals being bandied about the General Assembly and the governor trying to push his favorite projects through.

In January, one senator wanted to use ISTEP test scores as an evaluation tool for teachers. Give me a break; teachers cannot control a student’s success. They can only provide the guidance and the information needed to succeed. It’s up to the students to put it to good use.

One of the governor’s proposals, which eventually went down to defeat, was to increase the state cigarette tax as an incentive to smokers to quit. That was a good idea. But, like most good ideas that filter into the General Assembly, they get marred down in politics.

Also at the beginning of the year, I wrote columns condemning a Senate measure to support the Indiana House in its effort to start each session with a public prayer. If our legislators can’t find anything better to debate than that, they should probably just stay home.

February started off with news that the low-fat diet that has been around for decades is probably not all that healthy after all. That was good news for low-carbohydrate supporters like me. On a related topic, the General Assembly introduced a bill that would force schools to start serving healthier lunches.

In March, I wrote about the uproar in the Muslim nations about a Danish newspaper’s publishing of a cartoon that lampooned the Prophet Mohammad. It was just one more reason why religious intolerance, no matter what religion, is detrimental to mankind, not to mention cartoonists.

And March was when Indiana finally entered the twentieth century (Yes, I said twentieth) with regard to its timekeeping. All of the state for the first time in decades sprang ahead an hour to join the rest of the nation in observing daylight saving time. And the world didn’t come to an end.

April was filled with columns about a lawsuit that would force a change in the way Indiana funds education, more about religious intolerance, Bush’s right-wing agenda, and eating gopher.

In May I wrote about making English the official language of the U.S. It already is the official language of Indiana, but in some places it’s hard to tell.

And in June I wrote about how doctors wanted to put an extra tax on soft drinks because of the sugar content. It was, and is, a good idea. I also complained more about Pres. Bush and about how the Midwest is overdue for a big earthquake.

Well my coffee cup is dry and I see I’m already way over 500 words into my recap of 2006, so I’ll continue this retrospective next week, and next year. It’s time to click the send button on this one.

To all those who occasionally read this column in the newspaper or in my blog, I wish you a very happy New Year.

No comments: