BEHIND THE NEWS: Hope when the sky is falling

December 18, 2008 1:00:37 PM PST
Sheesh I hate sounding like Chicken Little, but it does seem as if so many things are falling apart. There's the economy and plants closing and people losing their jobs and the dearth of folks shopping.

We have budgets in the red and new taxes thru the roof. Haircuts and sodas, movies and subways .... all will cost more.

Barack Obama says he'll end the war in Iraq, but oh yeah by the way, now the military says no way it can be done in 16 months. By then the war will have been waged for seven years.

Pakistan and India, each with nukes, could go to war. The new Secretary of State might be able to negotiate the scary flap, but now we learn rich Indians (as well as rich people in various Arab countries) have given her husband's foundation millions of dollars in donations. A slight potential conflict of interest, and by slight I mean enormous. Will Hillary Clinton have to recuse herself from negotiating in this most important hotspot? Did anyone really vet all this before she was nominated?

And then there is the Middle East. Every outgoing American President suddenly tries to win a Nobel Peace Prize in the last months of his term by attempting to forge a settlement between Palestinians and Israelis. Some get closer than others. Pres. Bush is apparently among the others. Its good Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is visiting the White House this month. You'd want to get out of the region too after Hamas declared today that the six month ceasefire with Israel is over. Tensions have been percolating for a while.

All of which doesn't mean that the glass isn't also half full. There are always problems that overwhelm. But that means we have great opportunities to solve them. My children today took the money they would otherwise gotten in the form of their main Hanukah/Christmas presents, and donated it to children who otherwise would have an empty or lacking holiday gift bag. They did it, with some cajoling by their overbearing father, but they did it. Their call. And that alone gives me hope.

And then I went to a winter assembly at my daughter's school. And, although I'm a big hum-bug when it comes to the holidays, I cried at the end. Like I always do.

That too gives me hope.

We will have the latest on the world's hotspots, the economy, and perhaps also on some

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Jeff Smith (in for Lee Goldberg) with the winter storm heading here, and Marvell Scott (in for Scott Clark) with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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