Bush legacy already tarnishes new year

by Ogi Overman

Bush legacy already tarnishes new year

I don’t make a habit of doing a typical year-end wish/ prediction/resolution list. Somewhere along the way I must’ve realized how trite, contrived and formulaic they are. But, then again, they do serve a purpose, if only to look back the following year and see how far you missed it.

If memory serves — and with increasing frequency, it doesn’t — I think the last time I did one was at the end of 2004, and that one was so dark and depressing that I’ve been afraid to do another one since. Remember, the pain of Bush’s inconceivable reelection was still fresh; he was prancing around, sneering about how he was going to spend his newly earned “political capital.” (So how’d that work out for you, Duh?) Plus, I was watching an alternative weekly that I’d sunk a boatload of money into go down in flames, and I was powerless to do anything but forestall the inevitable. So, as you can imagine, it was not exactly a rosy, uplifting list. But that was then, this is now. The Bushcheneyrove cabal has been overthrown in a bloodless coup, I seem to have landed on my feet, and a new day has dawned in America. I absolutely can’t wait to usher in the new year, if for no other reason that it means it’s that much closer to the Duh family’s move to Dallas, Texas (as if I needed another reason to hate the Dallas Cowboys) and President Obama’s history-making inauguration. So, let’s get a running start into 2009 with a combo list of things I’d like to see happen tempered by things that will probably happen. • My heart tells me that the massive Obama stimulus package will begin to pull the economy out of its death spiral, but my gut tells me that our problems go much deeper. Job creation is only the beginning; until the good ol’ US of A begins to actually manufacture things again, we’re only treading water. As Tom Friedman points out, creativity and innovation, particularly in all things green, will determine who leads the 21 st century and who falls by the wayside. • Of all the public works projects sure to be launched, the one I’d love to see most is a coast-to-coast high-speed rail system, interlocking every destination from Chattanooga to Wabash. We’ll see how much influence Joe Biden, an unabashed lover of railroads, has on the president by how far up the priority list this winds up.

• I foresee a dramatic embryonic stem-cell breakthrough now that federal funds will be freed up for research. Tissue regeneration for almostall organs and the nervous system, including the myelin sheath aroundnerve endings, will be commonplace within a decade. Of course, researchcould’ve been eight years further along, but… well, let’s not even gothere. • Secretaryof State Hillary will embark on a worldwide trek to restore ourcredibility and moral authority in the international community.Diplomacy and statesmanship will again take precedence over hubris andarrogance in the way foreign affairs are conducted. Also, unlike hispredecessor, by being able to pronounce the name of that dude in Iran,President Obama will defuse that volatile situation. • I’d like to see Obama rethink his position on sending more troops into Afghanistan.Yes, we have a moral obligation to help rebuild that nation, but armedoccupation is not the way to go about it. Teaching them how to grow andexport something besides poppies might help engender some trust. • I predict the New YorkYankees’ latest spending spree in which they acquired Mark Teixeira, CCSabathia and AJ Burnett will propel them all the way to third in the ALEast. Oh wait, that’s where they finished this year. Since 2000Steinbrenner has spent well over a billion dollars on payroll (notcounting this latest binge) and has exactly zero World Series titles toshow for it. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the Red Sox havetwo World Series rings in that span.

• I truly hope that Bernard Madoff, the ex-NASDAQ chief who chiseledover $50 billion from investors, including one who committed suicidetwo days before Christmas, will go before a hanging judge and get life.I predict, however, that he’ll be out in five to seven. •Speaking of life, if I had two wishes, the second would be that theInternational Criminal Court in the Hague would bring charges againstBush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rove and try them for war crimes, treason,breaking Geneva Convention rules and crimes against humanity. It won’thappen, I know, but the specter of imprisonment that would make AbuGhraib look like a day at the beach should at least haunt them for theremainder of their days. • If I had one wish it would be that my wifecould walk again. Just a few steps. If Gore had won … well, again,let’s not go there.

Ogi may be reached at and seen on “Triad Today” hosted by Jim Longworth on ABC 45 at 6:30 a.m. Fridays and on WMYV 48 at 10 p.m.