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1.   17DEC10 Arab Spring/Occupy movement  
 This actually started in late 2010 when Mohamed Bouazizi set himself afire to protest the corruption and unfair
treatment in Tunisia. This would be the spark that set the fires of protest in Egypt. Soon after, when folks in
Libya, Yemen and Syria saw what protests, rallies and marches could do to galvanize public opinion they also
took to the streets. When Americans saw the news reports and heard the Tweets of the brave marchers in the
middle east it inspired the Occupy movement, starting in Zucotti Park on Wall Street in New York City. From there
it has spread all around the world and is still growing in these final days of 2011.

   The world is smaller and so instantly inter-connected with Twitter and other benefits of the internet. It reminds
me so much of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, when that country was inter-connected with fax
machines so that the populace could instantly communicate with each other unhindered by state control. They all
knew the same thing at the same time. The people in the middle east suddenly have all the benefits of internet
access and they all know the same thing at the same time. I believe we are on the eve of an amazing worldwide
democratization because of the internet that may be greater than anything that has come before.

2.   8JAN11  Gabrielle Giffords Shooting in Tucson AZ.
 This tragic event did more to make conservative propagandists tone down and dial back the hateful rhetoric
than anything in recent memory. A new era of civility has been ushered in on the floor of the House and the
Senate. It was easier for a severely mentally ill guy to buy a
gun and ammo than to get treatment for his illness. Rep. Giffords’ district was targeted for action with ominous
rifle sights.  Some one had shot out the glass door to her office and it wasn’t a stretch to imagine that this nutbag
heard the angry rhetoric and saw it on tv and was influenced by it. This was the turning point that eventually led
to the implosion of Sarah Palin’s political career.

3.    11MAR11  Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster
  This effectively killed the proposed nuclear powerplant in Fresno County. We all know there’s earthquake
faultlines all up and down our central valley. Why in the world would we jeopardize the most productive, money-
making Ag industry in the world to force a Nuclear powerplant here when there are safer options? Solar, wind
and Hydrogen fuel cells are just waiting to be built.  

1MAY11  Bin Laden killed
   The guy that got Bin Laden and Ghadaffi is one tough cookie. The right constantly trying to paint him as a
wimp is totally wrong! Obama reminds me of the Jimmy Stewart character in the Man who shot Liberty Valance:
Steady, dependable and driven by a plain sense of justice.

5.     9MAY11 Arnold and Maria divorce
Then, a few months later we find out Arnold had secretly fathered a child with his housekeeper and had been
hiding this secret the entire time he was governor! I'm sorry, but I wrote a song back in '04 that said, "Gray Davis
was a decent man, he was run out of office, it was all a sham." I really thought Arnold's candidacy was kind of
bogus.  And,...  it has just come to light in the last few days that TMZ is reporting Maria is having second
thoughts about going through with the divorce?! Oh the level of scandalous drama! Their will never be another
Arnold and Maria.


21JUL11 - Three people swept over Vernal Falls in Yosemite
  This story just grabbed and shook me to the core. Jaw-droppingly tragic. My main purpose in life is to stay alive
and I must have been lucky over the years considering some of the stupid things I’ve done. But, this is proof that
you do indeed need some luck to stay alive in this world and survive till old age. So sad that these kids lost their
lives in a tragic accident because they did not heed the warning signs and got into the river to cool off. But,
because of the heavy volume of water it just got away from them so quickly. The Falls as all the water features in
Yosemite were raging from one of the wettest seasons we’ve had in many years. The overwhelming abundance
of water provided a grand harvest of agricultural value but it also made for tragedies as many people drowned
this past year in our rivers, lakes and streams.

7.    10JUL11 Bill McEwen column  “Ag prospers but Valley’s crop of social ills persists”
    and 29SEP11  “3 Supervisors look out for ag only”  My favorite writer at the Bee speaks the truth about Ag
issues, which is really hard to do in the most prosperous ag area in the entire world. And if you are high visibility
and effective they will lie in wait for you and try to harm you in some way because that’s what some of them do.
So, it takes a lot of courage to stand up to them. 5.9 BILLION dollars of ag production this last year in Fresno
County alone and they have the gall to cry poor. With their wacky statements like, “Man-made drought” and our
county is a “Dustbowl” they have proved a disregard for the truth in order to gain political traction. Quote from
Bill: "The word is out: Farming is one of the most lucrative enterprises in the world". But, you'll never hear
anything like that from the Republican spin machine in our area.
(I would have put a link to the story at the Fresno Bee, but it’s gone. Lucky thing I still cut out my favorite articles and save those
scraps of paper.)

8.   20OCT11 Gaddafi killed  
 It’s been a bad year for Tyrannical Dictators, WHOOHOO!!! Like I said, the guy that got Bin Laden and Gaddafi
is one tough cookie. You don’t mess with the mohan. I look forward to a future where more dictators are
deposed. The future's so bright I gotta wear shades.

9.   5NOV11 “Poverty Stalks Lowell Neighborhood”  By Kurtis Alexander
 I have tried to figure out why conservative propagandists so hate the Census that is taken every ten years. This
is why. It reveals where the poorest of the poor live, and if you know exactly where they live you can funnel
resources to that area to relieve the suffering. They can’t accept anything or anybody that can relieve suffering
caused by poverty except trickle-down economics or charity.  They are constantly trying to prove that people are
poor because they’re bad. And, they need all those poor people because they are their prey for their flim-flam
man, lying advertising, payday loan sharks and other scam businesses that prey on poor people.

10.   24DEC11  Payroll Tax Cut standoff between Obama and Tea Party House members
    Dozens of Tea Party congressmen and women were elected in 2010 and swore to go back there and “burn
the place down”.  Well, they did and this is what we got. The country got to see what inflexible ideologues can do
when you give them this kind  of power: They put their own selfish interests above the common good of the
people. Obama, just like with Bin Laden and
Gaddafi just steadily pursued what he believed to be right and beat those Tea Partiers at their own game. They
blinked and there is now, I think a split in the Republican Party. They have managed to make Obama look like
someone who wants to cut taxes for the good of the workin' man & woman and the Tea Party as being against
Occupy Fresno Courthouse Park 10DEC11
MY TOP TEN OF ELEVEN     My Top News stories of 2011   Dale Stewart