|Political and Economic News of 2007
The Politics eZine - Newsmakers
An Explosive End to 2007
1. 2007 ended with a blast with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto
On the day she was killed, opposition leader Benazir Bhutto planned to give two U.S. legislators a dossier accusing the Pakistani government and intelligence service of rigging upcoming elections, an aide said Tuesday.
Senator Latif Khosa of Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples party, said Bhutto planned to meet Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Representative Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island on Thursday evening, a few hours after the rally where she was killed.
She was preparing to give the Americans a 160-page report listing alleged "pre-poll rigging" by the government of President Pervez Musharraf and the military-run Inter-services Intelligence Service or ISI, Khosa said.
Bhutto was killed when an assassin approached her, fired three shots at her and then blew himself up using homemade explosives.
2. Changing of the White House Guard?
An African-American president? A female president? Those scenarios are all possibilities in the New Politics of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidates who are giving their respective demographics hope for wholesale changes in the whitest of White Houses. Oprah famously backed Obama and Hillary says she wants to make the government more cost effective and transparent. The two candidates want to shake up the United States, and they also inadvertently want to change how politicians get noticed by the public. The Republicans have had a wild ride in the media in 2007 (especially with Internet darling Ron Paul and the war in Iraq) but the Democrats bring potential new blood to the presidency, making them one of the most written-about entities in the media and blogosphere.
3. Burma Monks Protest:
The protests in Burma brought shaved-headed red-clad monks on to the streets to rail against the government’s decision to raise the price of fuel. But it was the confrontation between baton-wielding police and monks that turned the world’s attention to the tiny country, giving newscasts visually-arrested fodder. Close to 15 people died in the violence and more than 3,000 were jailed. Sadly, the arrests haven’t ended, but the media have already turned their cameras on to more important topics (like jailbirds and neglected children).
4. Why Many Newspapers Included “Shocking” in their Pun-Heavy Headlines:
It started with “Don’t Tase me, bro” and ended with two unfortunate deaths as a result of Taser attacks. Whether it was a University of Florida student or a Polish immigrant at Vancouver International Airport, the news sparking the Taser controversy was in the crosshairs this year. The deaths resulting from Tasers sparked civil rights movements, demands for their moratorium and new fears that those that serve and protect are doing the complete opposite.
5. The Best Inspiration for Crude Comedians:
Thank you, Senator Larry Craig. You gave comedians and Saturday Night Live enough inspiration to last them a decade. On June 11, 2007, the senior Senator from Idaho was arrested for “lewd conduct.” Translation? Soliciting sex in a men’s restroom. He tapped his foot next to an undercover officer’s foot in a bathroom stall, which is the universal sign for “Let’s get it on!” Right? Craig maintained his innocence, and offered the world a quote that will go down in history: “I have a wide stance when going to the bathroom.”
6. Why You Won’t See Grown Men Reading Children’s Books Anymore:
Harry Potter waved his wand goodbye with the July 21 release of the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was smart marketing — the book sold a record 8.3 million copies within 24 hours. J.K. Rowling wasn’t done with making 2007 the year o’ the kid magician: months later, she revealed that the wizard Dumbledore is gay. Not sure if Rowling is crying out for attention or whether she’s just bored now.
7. A Good Time to Steer Clear of Television:
When the Writers Guild of America went on strike in November, couch potatoes knew their prime-time buffet was soon going to run out of entrees. Episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, House, The Office, Family Guy and other fan faves were shelved in favour of reruns or painfully lame reality shows. The WGA and Hollywood big-wigs are still trying to hammer out a deal, and it looks like the TV blackout could extend well into 2008. Time to flick off the tube and head to the Web, where rulers of the roost like Joost are trying to attract a new audience.
8. Toxic Toy Recalls Shake Chinese Markets:
“Sorry honey, but I can’t buy you that Barbie or Elmo or Easy Bake Oven. They’re all made with toxic lead from China". OK, maybe those aren't the exact words you would use with your kid, but you get the point. This year will likely go down as the Year of Recalls and the blame is squarely on corporations and Chinese manufacturers who allowed 20 million dangerous toys to enter the U.S. market. Moms and Dads everywhere were for forced to steal toys back from their kids: "There are plenty of these made-in-China recalls," says Dad. "What’s a recall?" asks little Katie. "Well, it’s what happens when loose regulations allow manufacturers to bring defective products to market, with the hope of increasing the bottom line of a major U.S. business while shirking their corporate responsibilities," says Dad.
9. Best Story for Warmongering Invade-niks Bored of Iraq:
In 2007, the Bush administration continually accused of Iran of harbouring weapons of somewhat massive destruction. But a report from the National Intelligence Estimate said Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Then another report said it was started back up in 2004. Meanwhile, an Iranian MP said the country never had a nuclear program. Confused yet? Wait, it's not over: Iran recently received nuclear fuel from Russia solely for its Bushehr power plant. No matter what Iran does to prove its innocence, many people believe the country is hiding something, while others say the U.S. is still hunting for a new enemy in 2008, and Iran could be the next focal point for the Department of Defense. That is, unless a peacenik diplomatic President takes control of the White House. Is that editorializing?
10. Clearest Sign Canada Isn’t Much Different Than the U.S.:
When the Canadian loonie reached parity with the U.S. dollar, frothy-mouthed Canucks border-shopped until their jaws dropped. It was big news not just for Canada and the economics of selling U.S. goods up north, but also for the U.S. dollar. Some people warn the weak dollar is a sign that a major recession is near, but until those dire predictions come true, Canadian consumers will continue to grin widely and no longer endure scathing criticism about its currency being worth as much as Monopoly money.
11. Jimmy Carter called President Bush the "worst President ever."
And by the very nature of that statement, that would have to include... Jimmy Carter. "Worst President ever" by Jimmy Carter. That can't be good--like having your drug intervention hosted by Lindsay Lohan.
12. David Petreaus, the Surgin' General said Iraq looks more and more like America every day.
Apparently they want us out of there too. Claims the government is paralyzed by petty partisan squabbling, so maybe they are getting the hang of a western style democracy.
13. Hillary Clinton asked the public to help pick her official campaign song.
Here's some additional suggestions. The Theme from Shaft. Its Too Late Baby. Devil with a Blue Dress. She's Cold as Ice. The Bitch is Back.
14. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad demonstrated the concept of free speech in America.
Both he and Bush at the UN on the same day. Think of it: a religious fanatic who sponsors secret prisons and has antagonized the whole world and an Iranian, both addressing the General Assembly.
15. Rudy Giuliani tried to espouse traditional family values on the campaign trail.
And the fact that he's had three wives just means he's extra traditional. The Christian Coalition threatened to form a third party if Rudy Giuliani becomes the Republican nominee. Wonder what they'll call it? Too bad "the Taliban" is already taken.
16. Karl Rove and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales both resigned.
I'm thinking the only reason he kept supporting Gonzales is because "Attorney General" and "Alberto Gonzales" both start with AG, and it was the only way he could remember who was filling the position. Like a mnemonic device. Karl Rove: proof positive that the Devil and the Pillsbury Dough Boy had more than a passing acquaintance.
17. Mitt Romney's tried to run a perfect campaign.
Looks like he's been dipped in a polyurethane bath. Flip-flopped so much he's in danger of triggering a Stage Four John Kerry Alert. His campaign ads should close with "I'm Mitt Romney, and I both approve and disapprove of this ad."
18. Paris Hilton was offered community service, but the community declined.
Q. What's the difference between Paris Hilton and Scooter Libby? A. 23 days.
19. Scooter Libby Fined
Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff Scooter Libby was fined a quarter million dollars which was paid for by the Scooter Libby Defense Fund, which you and I know as Halliburton. His 30-month sentence was then commuted by President Bush, who apparently is not just the Decider, he's also the Commuter.
20. Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig isn't gay and didn't quit.
He may be homosexual, but he is so not gay. Like a Rorschach blot of not gay. Said he was entrapped. Cop must have worn some fetching footwear. Italian design, really shiny and the laces were perfect. Should have gone with the Restless Leg Syndrome defense.