In 2007, came the revolution. Determined to end the war in Iraq and begin the reign of justice in America, Democrats took over Congress and acted on the principle "ready, fire, aim." They threatened to tell the Ottoman Empire (deceased 1922) that it should be ashamed of itself (about Armenian genocide) and raised the minimum wage to $5.85, which is worth less than the $5.15 minimum was worth when it was set in 1997. Onward and upward with compassionate liberalism: The Democrat controlled Senate flinched from making hedge fund multi-millionaires pay more than a 15 percent tax rate. At the year-end, there were more troops in Iraq than there were at the year's beginning. Although it was not yet possible to say the war was won, it was no longer possible to say the surge was not succeeding. The McClatchy Newspapers, with the media's flair for discerning lead linings on silver clouds, offered this headline: AS VIOLENCE FALLS IN IRAQ, CEMETERY WORKERS FEEL THE PINCH.
The King of Spain told the president of Venezuela to "shut up" and 51 percent of Venezuelans seconded the motion. Rudy Giuliani said, "I took a city that was known for pornography and licked it." Hillary Clinton accused Barack Obama of having been ambitious in kindergarten. Disraeli once said of Lord Russell: "If a traveler were informed that such a man was leader of the House of Commons, he may well begin to comprehend how the Egyptians worshipped an insect." Mike Huckabee became a leader among Republican presidential candidates.
In March, when a planned trek by two explorers to the North Pole, intended to dramatize global warming, was aborted because of temperatures 100 degrees below zero, an organizer of the consciousness-raising venture explained that the cancellation confirmed predictions of global warming because "one of the things we see with global warming is unpredictability." Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize that should have gone to nine-time Grammy winner Sheryl Crow, who proposed saving the planet by limiting—to one—"how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting." At the U.N. global-warming conference in Bali there was Carbon Footprint Envy—the airport did not have space to park all the private jets.
As Americans debated expanding government involvement in health care, Britain's National Health Service told Olive Beal she would have to wait 18 months to get her hearing aid. She is 108.
Thanks to federal supervision of K through 12 education, when a Johnson City, N.Y., parent complained that cheerleaders lead cheers for the boys' basketball team but not the girls', the U.S. Department of Education, citing Title IX's requirement of sexual equality in scholastic sports, demanded equal "promotional services." Two Los Angeles teachers were fired after a controversy that began when one had her class, during Black History Month, make a presentation about Emmett Till, the Chicago 14-year-old who was tortured and murdered in Mississippi in 1955 after his wolf whistle at a white woman. Some students and teachers charged that school officials said Till's whistle could be construed as sexual harassment. In an inexplicable (and probably temporary) spasm of good taste, public opinion sent Don Imus packing because he said on his radio program something no more tasteless than things he had been saying for years, to the delight of a large (and evidently fickle) public.
A Seattle day-care center banned Lego building blocks because the beastly children "were building their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys, assumptions that mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society." The center reinstated Legos but allowed the children to build only "public structures" dedicated to "collectivity and consensus." In other lingering reverberations of communism, scientists unearthed what they think are remains of two more of Czar Nicholas II's children murdered by Bolsheviks, who never played with Legos. A Cuban exile, former CIA operative and Bay of Pigs veteran announced plans to auction what he says is a lock of Che Guevara's hair taken from the corpse before burial in Bolivia.
When the Confederate monument in Montgomery, Ala., was desecrated, was that a "hate crime"? Saying he wanted to bring Alabama "into the 20th century"—the 21st would be a bridge too far?—a legislator, worried that "a shower head" might be illegal, moved to repeal the state's ban on the sale of sex toys. A mayor looked on the bright side of his city's high homicide rate: "It's not good for us but it also keeps the New Orleans brand out there." Lucky Belgium has been without a government since June.
In 2007, for the first time, two Hispanic surnames, Garcia and Rodriguez, were among America's 10 most common. Paul and Teri Fields of Michigan City, Ind., named their baby boy Wrigley.
Death, as it must to all, came to Paul Tibbets, 92. Eighty years ago, 12-year-old Paul flew with a barnstorming pilot who dropped Baby Ruth candy bars over a Florida racetrack. In 1945, Tibbets was pilot of the Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. "What about the shortstop Rizzuto," asked Casey Stengel long ago, "who got nothing but daughters but throws out the left-handed hitters in the double play." Phil Rizzuto, the oldest living Hall of Famer, was 89. Emma Faust Tillman, 114, of Hartford, Conn., had been the world's oldest person. She was born during the presidency of Benjamin Harrison. Robert Adler, 93, gave the modern world its most beloved invention. The TV remote, of course.