When you’re looking for the bright side of bad news, you can turn to comic-writer Dave Barry, whose latest column in the Miami-Herald sums up 2009 in a way that makes you wonder how we ever made it to the New Year. The obvious target was the economy and the struggles of the mortgage industry. Here are some snippets:
  • "BAD NEWS: The economy remained critically weak, with rising unemployment, a severely depressed real-estate market, the near-collapse of the domestic automobile industry and the steep decline of the dollar. GOOD NEWS: Windows 7 sucked less than Vista."
  • "An angry nation learns that the giant insurance company AIG, which received $170 billion in taxpayer bailouts and posted a $61 billion loss, is paying executive bonuses totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. This news shocks and outrages President Obama and members of Congress, who happen to be the very people who passed the legislation that authorized both the bailouts and the bonuses, but of course they did that during a crisis and thus had no time to find out what the hell they were voting for."
  • "[L]eaders of the world's powers, looking for a way out of the worsening world economic crisis, gather in London for the G-20 summit, which ends abruptly in a violent argument over the bill for the welcoming dinner. A short while later, in what many economists see as a troubling development, the International Monetary Fund moves into a refrigerator carton."
  • "On the economic front, California is caught on videotape attempting to shoplift 17,000 taxpayers from Nevada."
  • "On the international-finance front, leaders of the world's economic powers gather for the G-20 summit meeting in Pittsburgh, where, in a rare display of unity, they vote unanimously to fire whoever is responsible for selecting their meeting sites."
  • "In a troubling economic development, the U.S. dollar, for the first time in history, falls below the lentil."
  • "On the economic front, the nation's unemployment rate remains stubbornly high as it becomes clear that the $787 billion stimulus package has created a total of only eight jobs, all in the field of highway-construction flagperson. Looking for solutions, the president hosts a White House ``jobs summit'' attended by political, business and labor leaders, as well as 23 Portuguese tourists who got lost while trying to visit the Washington Monument and somehow penetrated White House security. Meanwhile, in what is believed to be the largest Craigslist transaction ever, California sells San Diego to Mexico."
Hopefully 2010 will suck less than 2009. Happy New Year. Write to Jon Prior.