“It’s impossible to predict what stories will dominate the news in the new year except that we know that the 2016 Presidential Election will rank near the top of the list. But we can look back at the history-making developments that made headlines in 2015,” according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.
Arguably, extremist Islamist terrorists controlled the news cycles throughout the year, Weber said. “ISIS [the Islamist State in Iraq and Syria] emerged as the principal threat in 2015 despite early arguments that they were Johnny-come-latelies. The established dealers in death, Al- Qaeda, the Taliban, Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram, remain active. But they seem to have been overshadowed by ISIS, particularly after the two terrorist attacks in Paris and the tragic and deadly assault on their 14 innocent victims in San Bernardino, CA just before Christmas. The California attack also left 21 people injured.”
We had our share of home grown mass murder in 2015 as well, the AMAC chief noted. He cited the shooting that left 10 dead at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, OR in October and the deplorable killing of nine innocent worshipers at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC in June. “These were horrific events and it was unseemly, at best, that there were those who were too quick to politicize the tragic nature of these crimes.”
There was good news in the year just ended, including the fall visit of Pope Francis to Washington DC, New York City and Philadelphia. “In fact, there was at least one miracle attributed to the Pope after his visit. Francis kissed an ailing infant on the forehead in Philadelphia. The 15 month old baby girl had a brain tumor that doctors said was fatal. But several weeks after the Pope’s visit, tests showed that the tumor was virtually invisible. The baby would live,” Weber reported
Meanwhile, on the political front, Congress actually got things done. According to NPR, “it is fair to say that the widely held assumption that Congress gets nothing done doesn’t exactly fit this year. There was an uptick in bipartisan activity in this Republican-controlled Congress in 2015.”
Finally, Weber included on the good-news side of his 2015 headline list, “the fact that AMAC made significant progress in its quest for a Congressional focus on Social Security as an issue of great importance not only to the association’s 50 and over membership, but to the nation as a whole. We continued to pitch our Social Security Guarantee plan and found that we were gaining traction at a quickening pace among lawmakers. We’re proud of the fact that we have put Social Security on the Congressional agenda. The bipartisan welcome we received on Capitol Hill in 2015 encourages us as we continue to pursue a viable solution to the short-term and long-term problems faced by the fund.”
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