The world learned a lot about the United States in 2006, just as the USA learned a great deal about the world, and Californians learned how little control Californians have regarding the federal decision making process regulating their lives.
In 2006 the population of the United States crossed the 300 million mark. California the most populous state, recognizes a population of more than 37 million, gaining 462,000 new residents in 2006. Of course these numbers only reflect legal citizens, as undocumented immigrants are hard to count. Population statistics also ignore the number of people in California as tourists or visiting on business.
For the most part, life in Southern California was a profile on the status quo in 2006. We had fires, corruption, great whether, good surf, petty politics, immigrant bashing, religious posturing, over development, under representation, and a whole lot of time sitting in traffic to think about all the time we spend sitting in traffic.
2006 gave everybody plenty of time to contemplate the lies Americans tell themselves in the name of freedom and democracy. The Bush Administration undaunted by Democrats gaining control of both the house and senate, is looking for a fight in Iran while loosing one in Iraq. As of 12/25/06, 802 US fatalities were claimed in Iraq in 2006, 73 were Californians. All totaled with almost 3000 American dead, and at least 22,000 wounded, 2006 will close with 25,000 Americans dead or wounded.
If those numbers are not grim enough, keep reading. All told, some 60,000 Iraqis have been killed since the "liberation" of their country began on March 20, 2003.
Occupation without pretense is the best way to describe Operation Iraqi Freedom, and whatever Neo-cons are calling their efforts in Afghanistan these days. Iraq is worse off than the the end of 2005 started the year. Civil war and ethnic cleansing will be the legacy of George W. Bush adventures in warmongering. In debt, generations deep, and despised by the world for reckless arrogance, George's war is one for world history books.
2006 will also be remembered as the year Brian Bilbray, a carpetbagging congressman turned lobbyist, turned congressman, voted to put oil rigs of the coast of San Diego. Passed by the still Republican held House and Senate, HR 4761: the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act actively encourages the exploration. Development, and production activities for mineral resources on the outer Continental shelf, and other purposes.
Thankfully 2006, will also be the remembered as the year Brian Bilbray, rescued Encinitas from the treacherous Christy Guerin, and her shameless pandering by putting her to work as a lobbyist's lobbyist.
Speaking of Dark transitions, 2006 also carries the ethical stain, as the year China's Yangtze River dolphin was declared extinct.
Living way beyond our means, at the expense of the environment, has always been the dark side of the The United States of North America, and Californians, hopefully things are trending for the better, at least here in the Golden State.
In 2006, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, showed a hint of green when he signed the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), a top priority of the environmental community and possibly the most important environmental measure to be enacted in Sacramento, ever. AB 32 requires California to implement measures to reduce greenhouse gas emission levels to 1990 levels by 2020, equaling a 25% reduction over projected levels
Schwarzenegger also signed SB 1368, a companion to AB 32, which prohibits California-based utilities from buying out-of-state electricity that does not meet California's greenhouse gas emission standards. As well as establishing much needed marine reserves in the Channel Islands, despite opposition by commercial and sport fishing interests, and funded the state's marine reserve program.
Also in 2006 the Governator Upheld the "roadless rule" to prevent new logging roads from being built in national forests, despite pressure from the Bush administration.
If you're the praying type, I suggest asking your deity to grant California a green 2007. If you're not faith based, I suggest you role up your sleeves and get busy, there is a lot of cleaning up to.