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Dec 23, 2008

Events in 2009 that will matter.

January 20
Getting Real
After the pomp of the inauguration and his first State of the Union, Barack Obama will spend 2009 becoming human, as he directly confronts the many first-tier priorities and national emergencies before him and, for the first time, they get to push back.


February 12
All Abe All The Time
In a lovely coincidence, the year America gets its first black president will be the Year of Lincoln, whose 200th birthday is on February 12. (The fact that he shares this birthday bicentennial with Charles Darwin should not be lost in the year-long hoopla.)


March 9
Barbie’s Passage
A birthday of less moment than personal angst for boomers, Barbie turns 50 on March 9, the date Mattel launched her in 1959. Other than some meditations on mortality from writers of a certain age, we may expect a few hurtful comments from Bratz.


March 31
Rights of Spring
Congress will address the question of whether health care is a fundamental American right this spring. The State Children’s Health Insurance Program ends on March 31, and Barack Obama has only the first 90 days of his term to send a Medicare funding bill to Congress. Expect fireworks.


The Big Docket
Among the cases it must resolve by June, the Supreme Court will decide whether there is a “good faith exception” for warrantless searches, whether free speech covers public monuments and whether the FCC can legally ban the “F” word on television.


July 17
Six and Counting
The new Harry Potter film—Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince—will be out in July, just in time to save Warner Bros.’s bottom line (presumably the reason it was held over from November 2008). Will Deathly Hallows save 2010?


Things Unseen
In November, NASA plans to launch WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer), which will photograph far more of our night sky than we have ever seen before. Also in 2009, thanks to Japanese neuroscientists who have developed the technology to project thoughts onto a computer monitor, we should be able to see our dreams.


December 7 – 18
Time to Step up
Negotiators will meet in Copenhagen in December with the challenge of replacing the Kyoto Protocol, set to expire in 2012. Barack Obama already has committed the U.S. to aggressively fighting global warming, but he will have to deliver before the negotiations start if they are to have any chance of success.

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