Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Happy New Year's From Not Another New England Sports Blog!
Well, here we are bidding farewell to 2013- some of us went from having a hard time believing that baseball or football season was already here to counting down as that ginormous crystal ball gets set to drop from Times Square.
As far as sports go, 2013 was a pretty good year. Obviously, the Red Sox won the World Series and the Bruins advanced to the Stanley Cup during a strike-shortened NHL season, only to collapse to the Blackhawks in a matter of seconds.
As far as domestic and international politics go, the year 2013 was one to forget. A landmark sporting event in the capital of my home state was targeted by Islamic terrorists, killing three people and injuring hundreds. In their haste to assign blame for the Boston Marathon bombings, a number of pundits almost gleefully accused the Tea Party or setting up IEDs at the Boston Marathon finish line before two Chechen brothers killed an MIT Campus Policeman in an ambush, carjacked a motorist and shot it out with Eastern Massachusetts law enforcement in the predawn hours in Watertown, MA. One brother was killed and the other was arrested after he was discovered hiding on a boat in somebody's backyard nearly a full day later.
Just the west on I-90, New York governor Mario Cuomo and his cohorts in the New York State Assembly crammed through the SAFE Act, a sort of Holy Grail for the gun control crowd that was written and passed so hastily that lawmakers forgot to exempt NY State law enforcement from its provisions. No doubt gun control groups like Mayors Against Illegal Guns will continue to tout the NY SAFE Act as 'common sense gun safety laws' [such as the theoretical prohibition of owning a 10-round magazine, later amended to allow ownership, but only loading no more than 7 rounds at a time- NANESB!]. States such as Connecticut, Maryland and Colorado also passed similar gun control measures, but lawmakers supportive of the new gun laws in Colorado have already paid a political price, with two state Senators being recalled in a first-of-its-kind campaign and a third resigning from office rather than face recall herself.
In October, President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid forced a government shutdown when the Democrats refused to entertain even the most tepid and watered down requests from the Republicans to delay the implementation of 0bamacare. Within weeks of the shutdown, there was the disastrous rollout of the healthcare.gov website and millions of Americans who previously had health insurance would have their policies cancelled because they no longer complied with 0bamacare regulations. Although the White House claims that the website is fixed, enrollment numbers are still well below even the most modest projections from HHS. Ironically, only a few weeks after the government shutdown, President Obama began a series of unilateral changes to his signature law- similar to what some GOP officials had asked for during the shutdown- that some experts pointed out were well beyond the constitutional authority granted a sitting President.
On the rails, the Bakken Oil boom appeared to be renewing the fortunes of New England-based railways until a runaway Montreal, Maine & Atlantic train wiped out the heart of the village of Lac Megantic, Quebec in July. At least 47 people were killed that night and the MM&A had to file for bankruptcy. The line is looking for a buyer and has yet to re-open.
2013 was also the end of shortline holding company Rail America after being purchased outright by Genesee & Wyoming, putting all of Rail America's considerable holdings under the GWI umbrella.
So all in all, 2013 was a pretty eventful year. but I'm not too sad to see it in the rearview. Here's hoping that I'll have far less to complain about in 2014.