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I'm ending the year with more questions

Date: 12/28/2009

By G. Michael Dobbs, Managing Editor

There are quite a few things that came up in 2009 that I simply didn't understand. They included:

  • During the presidential election, poll after poll indicated a majority of the American people wanted significant health insurance reform. Quite a number of people actually wanted the option of a government run single payer program.

    Months later, everyone seems to be sick of the health insurance debate and some recent polls now show that many folks are willing to keep whatever they have regardless of increasing costs.

    Of course, this shift comes after dithering among some gutless members of Congress clearly determined to continue the status quo and endless propaganda from the right wing media machine.

    Is our political will that weak or are the insurance companies that strong?

  • Why am I supposed to be keeping up with the Kardashians? E!, the cable channel that is home for the dysfunctional family, describes the show on its Web site as "A tempest of siblings, business and fame engulf Olympic decathlete Bruce Jenner and paparazzi fave Kim Kardashian as their huge Hollywood families collide" a sentence that makes little sense.

    Am I supposed to feel sympathy for them or just laugh at them? I don't know.

  • Are the major news organizations run by former tabloid reporters? Now I certainly like junk stories and gossip as well as the next person to serve as the comic relief for real news, but after the "balloon boy" incident this year, it's apparent the major news organizations don't know the difference between real news and fluff.

    Yet, their news judgment is considered superior to someone like me because I have a regional audience and they have a national one at least that's what one reader anonymously told me when I dared to question the wisdom of the national electronic media gatekeepers. Well, I know a story like "balloon boy" doesn't deserve to be a lead story.

  • Do people believe all of the silliness they put on Facebook won't come back to bite them on their backside? And are my Facebook friends really my friends? Would they invite me over to dinner?

  • Just how stupid can one man be? Tiger Woods is perhaps the most financially successful athlete in history and the single person who is keeping the sport of golf relevant for many people. Analysts are now talking seriously about how this could permanently damage the sport.

    So why is Woods willing to risk everything because of his ego and libido? The guy must be dumber than a bag of hammers or have the most towering ego known to man to think that one of his many girlfriends wouldn't drop a dime on him.

  • Why are Australians the preferred pitchmen for infomercials? Seriously, are their accents scientifically designed to make us buy?

  • Why do futurists keep predicting the death of paper-based media when it's clear people can't afford an electronic reader such as a Kindle?

    Let's face it, until you have a device cheap enough that you can forget on a bus or have your kid drop into the toilet, people might continue to see the advantages that old-fashioned books, newspapers and magazines offer.

    These are the same folks that like to ignore the fact that, in areas such as ours the high rates of poverty, prevent people from having computers in their homes, blunting the market penetration of Web-based media. And they also conveniently forget there are places in the country that don't have access to high speed Internet connections.

  • Do men truly believe that if they use any of a legion of spray-on scents, women will climb over each other in order to be with them? Is Axe somehow supposed to overcome a receding hairline, a bulging belly, poor choice in clothing and personality flaws?

  • Why is sitting in a boat on a lake with my friend Dave fishing and smoking cigars one of the most relaxing things in the world to do?

What I love about being a journalist is that I'm allowed by my trade to be ignorant and ask a bunch of questions. God willing, I'll have another year to ask more.

Happy New Year everyone.

This column represents the opinions of its author. Send your comments online to or to 280 N. Main St.,East Longmeadow, Mass. 01028.