Will: What We Learned in 2010

Jonathan Ford / Corbis

Except for the ongoing saga of Brett Favre, the recidivist retirer who became the world’s first intergalactic bore, 2010 was more stimulating than the Obama administration’s stimulus has been. Although fueled by a $535 million stimulus loan, and blessed by a presidential visit in May, California’s Solyndra, Inc., which manufactures solar panels, announced in November that it was closing a factory and laying off workers. In another harbinger of our “green jobs” future, GE announced that it would shed 200 jobs by closing the last U.S. lightbulb factory: It makes old-fashioned incandescent bulbs, which become illegal in 2014, when Americans will buy the corkscrew fluorescent replacements from abroad. In another adventure in state capitalism, Washington, although chin-deep in red ink, has $7,500 for anyone willing to be bribed into buying a $41,000 Chevy Volt. The president branded Republicans “the party of ‘no,’?” for which the party thanked him because voters thanked it for echoing their pithy response to his agenda: “No!” The election of officers for the American Postal Workers Union was delayed because many members’ ballots were lost in the mail.

“I still can’t believe they took our yogurt,” said a staffer at Rawesome Foods in Venice, Calif., when crime-busting L.A. County officers with drawn guns descended on the health-food store in search of … unpasteurized dairy products. Elsewhere, TSA airport personnel exemplified government’s hands-on concern for our safety. In Quincy, Ill., police twice arrested a man who, by offering free rides to intoxicated persons, committed the crime of operating a taxi service without the government’s permission.

Liberals who call conservatives Neanderthals have a point, as do conservatives who respond that it takes one to know one: Scientists said that up to 4 percent of the human genome of modern non-Africans comes from that extinct species, with whom early humans, the rascals, mated. The Census Bureau found that, for the first time, there are more people in the primary marrying age (25 to 34) who have never been married than are married. The portion of adults who are married—52 percent, compared with 72.2 percent in 1960—is the lowest in history.

The president gave the Israelis and Palestinians 12 months to make peace, but regarding Afghanistan, 2014 became the new 2011. The commander in chief said the gulf oil spill “echoes 9/11,” and the Brevard County Manatees of the Florida State League said batting practice would be renamed “hitting rehearsal” to avoid the slang “BP.” The Packers Fan Hall of Fame enshrined the Green Bay man who sold his blood for $15 a pint to finance season tickets.

Severe winter weather elicited severe warnings, lest complacency rear its ugly head. An AP headline, COLD WEATHER DOESN’T DISPROVE GLOBAL WARMING: EXPERTS, echoed this from the Voice of America in 2009: METEOROLOGISTS: GLOBAL WARMING AND COLD WEATHER GO HAND-IN-HAND. Nevertheless, a new malady, “apocalypse fatigue,” was a sign of mental health as Congress lost interest in tinkering with the planet’s thermostat. PETA asked Punxsutawney, Pa., to use mechanical groundhogs. A London museum, advertising its exhibit about Britain at war, used a picture of Winston Churchill with an oddly twisted mouth: The health fascists had airbrushed away his cigar.

Just-published diaries of one of Mussolini’s mistresses reveal the Duce’s hurt feelings in 1938: “I’ve been a racist since 1921. I don’t know how they can think that I’m imitating Hitler.” In Ottawa, the sensitivity police in a children’s soccer league announced that any team attaining a five-goal lead would be declared to have lost, thereby sparing the feelings of those who were, if you will pardon the expression, losing.

Death came, as it must to all, to John Finn, 100, one of 15 sailors (“I had 28, 29 holes in me”) who received the Medal of Honor for heroism on Dec. 7, 1941. Bill Millin, 88, was the Scot who defied death 66 years ago on Normandy’s Sword Beach while piping such songs as “The Road to the Isles.” Jefferson Thomas, 67, was one of the students who integrated Little Rock’s Central High in 1957. The man who hit the most famous home run, Bobby Thomson, was 86. Sparky Anderson, 76, was a greater manager (the first to win the World Series in both leagues) than grammarian: “We try every way we can do to kill the game, but for some reason, nothing nobody does never hurts it.”

Pitchers and catchers report soon.

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