Every January 1st, the L.A. Times has a tradition of posting a list of their wishes, many which coincide with my own. Most never get fulfilled, some get partially granted, and others come true.
Here are a few samples from this year’s “over-optimistic” wishes and hopes. Last year, five of their 27 dreams came true. This time the Times includes wishes for:
The almost unimaginably tragic deaths of 20 elementary school children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut — at the hands of an emotionally disturbed young man armed with an arsenal of weapons — to finally prove the catalyst for action rather than just words when it comes to meaningful gun control legislation.
The IRS and the Federal Election Commission to put a stop to special-interest groups making a mockery of campaign finance laws by collecting and spending huge donations anonymously through PACs disguised as charities.
The U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Proposition 8 once and for all, eliminating the ban on same-sex marriage in California. While they’re at it, the justices should do away with the section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that denies federal benefits to same-sex couples who are legally wed in their home states.
Further progress in extricating U.S. military forces from Afghanistan, so that the U.S. and its allies can transfer responsibility for security to Afghan forces even earlier than the projected 2014 deadline.
The Supreme Court to reaffirm the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires states with a history of racial discrimination to clear changes in their election procedures with the Justice Department or a federal court.
Congress to hammer out a plan to overhaul the nation’s dysfunctional immigration system that would provide a path to citizenship for the 11 million people who are already here illegally and also provide for enforcement of immigration laws at the workplace and along the border.
Congress to treat problems as problems, rather than opportunities to push the nation to the brink. Enough with the “fiscal cliff” and debt-ceiling crises. How about some genuine commitment to solving problems?
An end to congressional threats to defund Planned Parenthood.
More at the link.
Today’s guest post by the one, the only, Will Durst:
ODE 2 2012
And so we bid a not- so- fond farewell to the bow of another large unwieldy year as it sinks slowly over the horizon wobbling unsteadily towards the graveyard of memory. And cheers erupt from we folks on shore waving the double- handed “L for loser” sign above our heads. “So long. See ya. Don’t let the door slam you in the butt on the way out. And if you got any brothers or sisters, don’t give them this address.”
Normally there’s some small sense of nostalgia for a departing annum. An iota of regret for the calendar discarded. Not this one. Getting through the past 12 months was like navigating a Black Diamond ski run in roller skates with the wheels rusted shut. While wearing a crib. It was an oil soaked pelican of years. The Year of Living Stupidly. Had the same connection to constructive change that Vladimir Putin has to the editorial board of Crochet Monthly. The Chinese need a new Zodiac sign: Year of the Flatulent Weasel.
But in the interest of keeping this particular piece of puffery positive it might be best if we confine our remarks to reflecting on the good that emerged from 2012.
Okay. Well, that was quick. Wait- got one: at least the presidential election is over. Of course people are already running for 2016, so we got that to look forward to. Which is real similar to looking forward to having five- year twins playing in the back seat of a cross- country drive with a new set of drums and an unlimited supply of metallic sticks. And tambourines. Tons of tambourines. For four years.
You’d think even your average run- of- the- mill politician would possess the simple common human decency to wait till the current President was re- inaugurated, but nooo. These early birds are intent on stockpiling worms. You know what they say: Early money is like yeast. And very early money is like baking soda. And extremely early money is an egg wash brushed delicately across a pan full of hot cross buns.
When you think about it, the only thing that really went right with 2012 was we misread the Mayan Calendar. Everything else is either worse than we found it or the same. Middle East a mess? Check. Crazy people with guns? Check. Weather getting weird? Check. Congress unable to accomplish any sort of worthwhile task, including differentiating between their gluteus maximus and yellow paint? Double check.
Face it. These days, simple survival has become the goal. Continuing existence is the new victory dance. And then for a half a second you ruminate on how good we got it here. What kind of state the rest of the world is in. And most of our problems just kind of fade away, don’t they?
Sure, with great potential comes great responsibility. But it’s an exciting time. 15 years ago, the only people with GPS units were NASA. Now we got them in our cars and phones. We’re also in the middle of a cheeseburger renaissance and pretty good coffee is available almost everywhere. Not half bad perks. So, what do you say? Shall we give another a year a shot? But just 365 this time around. Don’t know about you but that extra day this year kicked my butt.
5 time Emmy- nominee Will Durst’s new e- book “Elect to Laugh!” published by Hyperink, now available at Redroom.com, Amazon or any fine virtual book retailer near you. And don’t forget the Twentieth Annual Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show. Through Jan 1. 6 comics. 2,000 laughs. Details at willdurst.com or Facebook.
George Skelton has a column in the L.A. Times today in which he leads with, “Gov. Jerry Brown should resolve to…”, “Here’s a resolutions list for legislators…”, “…for voters”, etc. He made two points that resonated with me:
Resolutions for journalists:
• Focus less on the scratching and clawing of candidates and more on the substance of their policy proposals, if any. Less handicapping of horse races and more probing of program plans.
•Declare a moratorium on the overused words “historic,” “crisis” and “reform.” Especially the last. Every crackpot idea is not a reform. Not all motion is progress.
That resolution is sure to be quickly broken.
Focusing on the substance of candidates’ policy proposals has been an oft-posted topic-slash-wish of mine. The news [sic] media loves the horse race, but doesn’t spend nearly enough time discussing in much depth what the candidates’ positions are. For example, as I mentioned here, I’ve heard more than a few liberals say they’re throwing their support to Ron Paul because of his anti-war, pro-drug legalization talk, which makes me think they must be unaware of the rest of his platform due to the lack of coverage. Maybe they haven’t bothered to do any research of their own, because why would a liberal support an anti-choice, anti-1964 Civil Rights Act presidential hopeful?
As for the word “reform”… well, I’ve written about that before, too. Just because some politician wants to change existing law, that doesn’t necessarily mean “reform”. In fact, the GOP often wants to move backwards, not forwards. Many are dying to turn back the clock, repeal a few real reforms, and put this country in reverse until they revert to a time when “equal rights” meant white men were “more equal” than anyone else.
“Not all motion is progress.” Bingo.
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