1. The death of John Paul II while profound was not as earth shattering death of John Paul II while profound was not earth-shaking as some Catholics professed (his death was, after all, expected: he was a charismatic Pope with a friendly demeanor; he stressed conservative social values. I am not sure he will be called John Paul The Great simply because it is too early to tell and Ive frankly not been impressed by some of his ordained bishops. Perhaps a better biographer than George Weigel will tell us how these appointments occurred and in particular how Walter Cardinal Kasper happened, one who appeared to be diametrically opposed to the Popes social views. Weigel never got over his commission as the authorized biographer, is too cosmetically inclined to give us a better view. But tied with this was the election of Benedict XVI, like John Paul a first-rate philosopher and theologian who may well rein in the misguided reformers as he is likely to do with the seminaries.
(2) The issuance of 3,000 marriage licenses to same-sex couples by Oregons Multnomah county which serves notice that this issue will become even more important as the years roll on. (3) The signing of the $286.4 billion transportation bill by President Bush on top of a $333 billion projected deficit which must trigger a revolution of some sort within the GOP. (4) and this one will surprise you, the death of Johnny Carson who was the most finessed TV talk show host, following Jack Paar and Steve Allen. As the most accomplished purveyor of deft and even intellectual humor, Carson is supplanted by a genre of grunting, perspiring unfunny brutes: one I call The Jaw, Jay Leno and the other a nondescript non-judgmental inconsequential performer, Dave Letterman. The Carson vacancy should, I hope, provide a spotlight on where our culture is going, from deft satire to ugly, leering bromides. (5) the death of John Johnson, the first black billionaire and publisher, leading us to speculate where are the successors? (6) the salutary development of the filming of one of C. S. Lewiss masterworks preceded by Tolkiens. (7) The $1.6 billion kickbacks some companies paid to Saddam Hussein to obtain Iraqi oil which, I hope, will lead to more widespread deserved cynicism about the UN and either the administrative incompetence or worse of its general secretary who has romanced the mainstream media here, who evidently see him as an inheritor of our own civil rights tradition where in reality he is either an ultra-dexterous con man or a total scoundrel.