Headliners and Legends

Top Ten News Stories of 2010

by Mark Luedtke

1. Unemployment

For two years after the financial system meltdown in Sept. 2008, the official U.S. unemployment rate has hovered near 10 percent with the Nov. report claiming 9.8 percent nationally. “The Dayton Daily News” reports Dayton’s rate was 12.2 in October and Montgomery County’s was 10.9 percent. But the real situation is even worse. Shadowstats.com, which tracks economic statistics without government bias, reports the unemployment rate, accounting for long-term discouraged workers, is pushing 23 percent and rising. This issue is the driving force behind almost every other news story in 2010.

2. Tea Party

The federal government’s response to the financial crisis -the $800 billion TARP bailout- spawned the most powerful grass roots political movement since the 1960s at least: the tea parties. Every big spending bill Congress subsequently passed increased the number and anger of the tea partiers. Efforts by the mainstream media and Democrats to paint the tea party as racist largely failed for lack of evidence. The fight for the heart and soul of the tea parties continues as the Republican establishment works to co-opt them.

3. Obamacare

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi famously said of Obamacare, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it …” Then she, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama proceeded to ram it through Congress against the will of people using a parliamentary maneuver called reconciliation. But Nancy Pelosi was wrong. Since Obamacare passed in March, it, Democrats and Obama have all become more unpopular. One aspect of this story that will become big news in the 2012 presidential race is that Obamacare was modeled on Romneycare, which people in Massachusetts hate.

4. Gulf Oil Spill

On April 20, BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 and injuring 17. For months, oil leaked from the well into the Gulf, leading to hyperventilating predictions of environmental devastation. But once BP capped the well, it turned out the apocalyptic predictions were overblown because the ocean broke down most of the oil. President Obama took a popularity hit over this incident because government had no way to help, but he blocked efforts by others that might have helped. Obama continues to restrict oil drilling in parts of the Gulf since this disaster.

5. Republican Wave Election

The tea parties flexed their muscle in 2010 elections. They ousted a number of establishment Republicans in the primaries, then powered the Republicans to a 63-seat gain in the House and six in the Senate, five additional governorships and the most state legislative pick-ups in generations. Republicans swept Ohio state offices. Sarah Palin might have been the single biggest winner as the vast majority of candidates she endorsed won.

6. WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks has released three spectacular data dumps in 2010 that created a frenzy in Washington and sparked a cyberwar. The third release, documenting the bullying and corrupt nature of U.S. foreign policy and the petty selfishness of U.S. government officials, has prompted politicians and pundits to call for the assassination or prosecution of WikiLeaks founder, and driving force, Julian Assange as a terrorist.

7. TSA

After years of forcing airline passengers to remove their belts and shoes, the TSA finally pushed many Americans too far by forcing them and their children into an X-ray machine that doses them with potentially harmful radiation and takes a virtually nude picture of them or forcing them to suffer very invasive searches, which allow TSA officials to touch breasts and genitals. “Don’t touch my junk” has become the anti-TSA rallying cry. TSA installed the scanners in Dayton in December.

8. Perpetual War

Americans have been fighting and dying in Afghanistan so long now that war no longer makes big headlines, but more Americans were killed in Afghanistan in 2010 than any other year. U.S. Army Spc. James C. Robinson from Monroe was killed in Afghanistan on August 28. Americans continue to be killed in Iraq, despite President Obama’s claim our forces are no longer in combat there.

9. European Financial Crisis

The Greek government requested a bailout from the European Union in April. The Irish government was forced into a bailout in November. Portugal, Italy and Spain are next. Many predict the collapse of the euro and the EU from sovereign debt. U.S. government debt is in comparably dire straits.

10. Rescue of Chilean Minors

Amid news of the world’s economic problems and natural disasters in Haiti, Chile and elsewhere, one story captivated the world and uplifted the human spirit beyond all others: the rescue of 33 Chilean miners after 69 days of being trapped underground thanks to the ingenuity of American entrepreneurs.

11. Global Warming: the Story That Won’t Die, but Should

In February, the head of the premier climate research facility in the world and central figure in the climate-gate scandal, Dr. Phil Jones, admitted there has been no statistically significant warming of the planet since 1995. Despite that, the one world government crowd in Cancun just agreed to take $100 billion from rich countries to build a complex, unaccountable world bureaucracy ostensibly to fight global warming.

Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at contactus@daytoncitypaper.com.

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