2005


 
   
Christmas morning
Uncle Mike helping Dylan open up his presents
 
August 27
Ed Casey and me at the annual Jimmy Buffett concert in Philadelphia
  September vacation at LBI. My brother in law Dave and myself catching a few waves  

 

Sports History
..Philadelphia Phillies (MBL) ..88-74 ..
..Philadelphia Flyers (NHL) ..No Season ...
..Philadelphia Eagles (NFL) ..6-10 ...
..Philadelphia 76ers (NBA) ..43-39 ...
..Philadelphia Wings (MLL) ..6-10 ....
..Philadelphia Phantoms (AHL Hockey) ..48-25-3-4 ..Calder Cup Champions
..Philadelphia Soul (Arena Football) ..6-10
..Penn State (College Football) ..11-1 ..Big Ten Champions
...North Carolina (College Basketball) ..(growing up I was a huge Tar Heel fan) ..11-1 ..Big Ten Champions
..Salisbury University (my college) .. ..National Champions - .Woman's Field Hockey
.Men's Lacrosse

..Conference Champions -
Woman's Field Hockey
Football
Men's Soccer
Men's Cross Country
Women's Cross Country
Women's Lacrosse
Softball
Men's Lacrosse
Women's Lacrosse
Softball


What Happened This Year?

In January, millions of Iraqis voted in their country's first free election in 50 years. Insurgents had threatened to disrupt the process and, though they killed 28 people and wounded 71 others in a dozen attacks, 98 percent of polling centers opened successfully. Voter turnout was higher than expected, though many minority Sunnis chose not to participate. The newly elected Iraqi National Assembly went on to draft a permanent constitution for the country and, in April, elected an interim prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, and president, Jalal Talabani. Though the success of the elections started the year off on a bright note in Iraq, the coming months saw continued attacks on the U.S. military and Iraqi security forces and civilians by the terrorist group al-Qaida in Iraq, under the leadership of Abu Masab al-Zarqawi. In May, U.S. forces launched Operation Matador, an effort to disrupt the flow of insurgent supplies and recruits across the Syrian border into western Iraq. They were successful in pushing insurgents back to the Syrian border, but once there, most disappeared before they could be killed. Nearly 750 American troops died in the 11 months after the elections, bringing the total number of U.S. military deaths in the conflict to almost 2,200 by December 31. As the end of the year approached, the American public's support for both the war and President George W. Bush seemed to be on the decline. At the same time, renewed concern about alleged civil rights abuses in Iraq began to surface worldwide. In November, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), a traditionally hawkish former Marine and Vietnam veteran who initially supported the war in Iraq, stunned many across the country when he demanded the withdrawal of U.S. troops. In response to increased criticism of the war, Bush spent much of December speaking about progress he saw in Iraq and advocating staying in the region. His position was boosted by the success of elections held on December 15 for Iraq's first full-term government. Turnout was enormous, even in heavily Sunni areas that had largely boycotted January's election, though the achievement was marred somewhat by Sunni post-election protests.

In March, several current and former Major League Baseball (MLB) players were subpoenaed to testify in front of Congress about the use of steroids in the sport. While Mark McGwire, the former St. Louis Cardinals slugger who broke Roger Maris' single-season home-run record in 1998, refused to answer questions about his actions, fellow stars Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro both vehemently denied that they had ever used the drugs. Despite his denial, Palmeiro was suspended by the MLB for 10 days on August 1 after testing positive for steroids. Jose Canseco, who published a tell-all book earlier in the year in which he accused all three of using steroids, also testified, telling the congressional committee that taking steroids in baseball was "as acceptable in the 80s and mid-to-late 90s as a cup of coffee." In the aftermath of the hearings, Congress pressured MLB to adopt a stricter steroids policy, which they did after winning players' union approval on November 16. The new rules mandated a 50-game suspension after a first offense and a 100-game suspension for a second. Third offenses would result in a lifetime ban from the sport.

Catholics around the world mourned the loss of Pope John Paul II, who died on April 2 after a bout with the flu. John Paul II was the most widely traveled pope in history, making more than 100 foreign trips. His papacy was marked by his efforts to end communism and to build bridges with people of other faiths, as well as his strict adherence to conservative church doctrine. The pontiff, who survived assassination attempts in 1981 and 1982, had suffered from Parkinson's disease since the early 1990s. His funeral was said to be the biggest in history. John Paul II was succeeded by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI. Benedict XVI began the process to beatify John Paul II in May 2005.

Fishermen in northern Thailand caught a catfish the size of a grizzly bear in the Mekong River on May 1. The Mekong giant catfish, which was believed to be the largest freshwater fish ever found, was almost nine feet long and weighed more than 640 pounds. That particular species of fish is listed as a critically endangered species and faces an extreme threat of extinction in the wild. Local authorities attempted to keep the fish alive so they could release it after it had been stripped of eggs to use in a captive-breeding program, but the fish did not survive and was eaten by villagers. The giant catfish is prized in Thailand, where many believe eating it brings good luck.

One of the biggest mysteries in American history was solved on May 31 when the family of former assistant FBI director W. Mark Felt announced that Felt was "Deep Throat," the secret source who helped unravel the Watergate scandal. The admission took even legendary Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who had promised to keep their source's identity a secret until his death, by surprise. Although many, including President Nixon himself, had speculated Felt might be the source, Felt had consistently denied his involvement. The Washington Post won a 1973 Pulitzer Prize in public service for the Watergate coverage that Felt facilitated.

In early July, a series of "Live 8" concerts in 11 countries around the world were staged to help raise awareness of global poverty. Organizers--led by Sir Bob Geldof, who also organized the 1985 Live Aid concerts- purposely scheduled the concert days before the annual G8 summit in an effort to increase political pressure on G8 nations to address issues facing the extremely poor around the world. Live 8 claims that an estimated 3 billion people watched 1,000 musicians perform in 11 shows, which were broadcast on 182 television networks and by 2,000 radio stations. Unlike Live Aid, which helped raise an estimated £79 million to fight poverty, Live 8 was specifically not billed as a fundraiser-Geldof's slogan was "We don't want your money, we want your voice." Perhaps in part because of the spotlight brought to such issues by Live 8, the G8 subsequently voted to cancel the debt of 18 of the world's poorest nations, make AIDS drugs more accessible and double levels of annual aid to Africa, to $50 billion by 2010.

On the morning of July 7, bombs were detonated in three crowded London subways and one bus during the peak of the city's rush hour. The synchronized suicide bombings, which were thought to be the work of al-Qaida, killed 56 people including the bombers and injured another 700. It was the largest attack on Great Britain since World War II. Two weeks later, a second set of attacks, also targeting the city's transit system, were attempted but failed when the explosives only partially detonated. The four men alleged to be responsible for the failed attacks were arrested in late July.

Legendary American cyclist Lance Armstrong won a record-setting seventh consecutive Tour de France on July 24 and retired from the sport. Just nine years earlier in 1996, Armstrong had been diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer and given less than a 50 percent chance of survival. After undergoing several surgeries to remove one of his testicles and cancerous tissue from his brain, Armstrong returned to racing and within three years had won his first Tour de France, inspiring fans and cancer patients around the world. After announcing his retirement, Armstrong continued his work with the Lance Armstrong Foundation, raising funds to help people living with cancer. Later in the year, he announced his engagement to rock star Sheryl Crow.

Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast on August 29, causing massive damage to New Orleans and along the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama, as well as other parts of Louisiana. The storm brought sustained winds of 145 miles per hour, which cut power lines and destroyed homes, even turning cars into projectile missiles. Katrina caused record storm surges all along the Mississippi Gulf Coast which overwhelmed the levees that protected New Orleans, located at six feet below sea level. Eighty percent of the city was flooded up to the rooftops of many homes and small buildings and an estimated 1,300 people died because of the storm, which is believed to have caused up to $150 billion in damages. The federal government and President George W. Bush were roundly criticized for what was perceived as their slow response to the disaster. The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) resigned amid the ensuing controversy. Katrina was just one of four major hurricanes to make landfall in the U.S. during the 2005 hurricane season, which was described as "unprecedented" by meteorologists. The season, which ran several days past its official November 30 end date, saw new records set for most hurricanes (13), most hurricanes over Category 3 (7) and most named storms (26). Many scientists believed that global warming was responsible for the development of the more powerful storms.

In July, Supreme Court justice and frequent swing vote Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman ever to serve on that body, submitted her resignation after 24 years of service. Her decision sparked dismay among pro-choice groups who worried that President Bush would choose a replacement likely to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a woman's right to an abortion. O'Connor, though conservative, had helped block efforts to reverse the landmark ruling. The choice of O'Connor's successor was delayed when U.S. Chief Justice William Rehnquist died on September 3 after a battle with thyroid cancer. Rehnquist had served on the Supreme Court since 1972 and had been chief justice since 1986. In his 30 years on the court, he applied a narrow interpretation of the Constitution and was one of only two dissenters in Roe v. Wade. He was replaced by former D.C. circuit judge John Roberts, who had once served him as a clerk. At year's end, Samuel Alito, President Bush's second choice to replace O'Connor was awaiting a Congressional confirmation hearing. Harriet Miers, Bush's initial choice, withdrew her nomination after facing stiff opposition from both sides of the aisle.

On September 25, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) officially disarmed in front of independent weapons inspectors. Automatic weapons, ammunition, missiles and explosives were among the arms found in the IRA's cache, which the head weapons inspector described as "enormous." Disarmament was a crucial element of the historic 1998 Good Friday peace accords and the IRA's previous refusal to give up its weapons had stalled the peace process for nearly six years. Government and paramilitary groups on both sides hoped the disarmament would finally bring an end to violence in the region, even as IRA splinter groups threatened continued attacks.

In the fall, the extraordinarily lethal H5N1 virus, also known as avian or "bird" flu, spread suddenly from Asia to Europe. In Asia, over the previous eight years, the virus had been responsible for 68 human fatalities, as well as the deaths of more than 140 million birds, a portion of which were intentionally destroyed in an effort to contain it. The European debut of the flu, which is much more deadly than the common "seasonal" form that kills about 36,000 Americans annually, sparked concerns that if the virus were to mutate to a form communicable between humans, a devastating pandemic would result. Scientists estimate that as many as 150 million people could die in a few months. As 2005 came to a close, nations around the world, in concert with the World Health Organization, scrambled to assemble viable disaster and containment plans and amass stockpiles of antiviral drugs. At year's end, the flu had only been spread to humans who came into close contact with chicken blood, bodily fluid or droppings.

Suicide bombers attacked three restaurants on the Indonesian island of Bali on October 1, killing 22 people including themselves and injuring more than 100. The attacks took place just less than two weeks shy of the third anniversary of the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings, which claimed the lives of 202 people on the mainly Hindu island. The regional militant Islamist group Jemaah Islamiah, which has been linked to al-Qaida, was thought to be responsible for both attacks, as well as the bombing of a Marriott hotel in Jakarta in 2003 and the Australian embassy to Indonesia in 2004.

A massive 7.6-magnitude earthquake devastated the mountainous Kashmir border region between India and Pakistan on October 8, killing an estimated 80,000 people, injuring 70,000 more and leaving more than 3 million homeless and without food and basic supplies. The casualties included at least 17,000 children. The disaster brought a temporary cessation of hostilities between enemies India and Pakistan, who worked together in rescue and relief efforts in the days after the quake. Damages, though still being calculated at year's end, were expected to exceed $5 billion. Relief efforts were hampered by roads blocked by landslides and the onset of the area's harsh winter. It was feared that tens of thousands more would perish from exposure and cold-related illnesses as winter progressed.

On October 24, President Bush nominated economist Ben Bernanke to succeed Alan Greenspan as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board when his term expires on January 31, 2006. The legendary Greenspan served as the Fed's chairman for 18 years and his steady hand has been credited with helping the country to maintain a growing economy, low inflation and low unemployment for much of his tenure. In his last year as chairman, Greenspan led the Fed in raising rates 150 basis points in an effort to fend off inflation. Bernanke's appointment was welcomed by Wall Street and he was speedily confirmed by the Senate.

American civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks died on October 25 at 92 years old. Nearly 50 years earlier, Parks had famously refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus and in doing so catalyzed the American civil rights movement. Parks' act of civil disobedience inspired blacks in Montgomery to boycott the city's buses for more than a year and to successfully challenge the Jim Crow laws that confined them to second-class status in the city. The struggle helped turn Montgomery preacher Martin Luther King Jr. into a national civil rights icon. In her final years, Parks was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.

Disaffected youths, primarily of French Muslim descent, began 20 nights of civil unrest in the suburbs of Paris, France, on October 27. The riots were triggered when two teenagers were electrocuted in a poor area of a suburb east of Paris after allegedly climbing a fence to hide in an electric substation from a routine police-identification check. The boys purportedly believed they were being chased and although it was unclear at year's end whether police were at fault, the incident was a tipping point for many young urban poor frustrated by years of high unemployment, racial and religious discrimination and police harassment. The riots, which began in Clichy-sous-Bois, quickly spread to more than 274 communes or towns. One person was killed and 126 police and fire personnel were injured in the unrest, in which nearly 9,000 cars and at least two buildings were set ablaze. Property damage was estimated at _200 million.

On October 28, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, was indicted on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements in connection with an investigation into the so-called Plame affair. In July 2003, conservative pundit Robert Novak "outed" Valerie Plame Wilson as an undercover CIA agent in his Washington Post column. It was then alleged that Plame's identity had been leaked to Novak and other reporters by White House staff, possibly endangering her and other CIA operatives and sources, in retaliation for actions taken by her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson. In 2002, Wilson was asked by the CIA to investigate claims that Iraq was attempting to buy uranium from Niger for use in nuclear weapons. After finding these claims to be inaccurate and reporting this information back to the CIA, Wilson was angered by President George W. Bush's inclusion of the flawed intelligence in his 2003 State of the Union address as part of his case for war with Iraq. On July 6, 2003, Wilson voiced his frustration in an op-ed piece published in The New York Times; it is in response to this editorial that Plame's identity was allegedly leaked to Novak, who revealed it in his column just eight days later. Though the knowing disclosure of an undercover CIA operative's identity is a federal crime, it remained to be seen at year's end whether or not White House officials knew of Plame's covert status. Seven other journalists, in addition to Novak, were made aware of Plame's identity. One of them, Judith Miller, spent 85 days in prison for refusing to name her administration source. As the year drew to a close, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the leak was ongoing.

Suicide bombers killed 56 people and injured almost 100 more in attacks on three hotels in Amman, Jordan, on November 9. Most of the victims were Jordanian. The terrorist group al-Qaida in Iraq, led by Jordanian Abu Masab al-Zarqawi, claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying they were made in retaliation for Jordan's support for the United States and other Western nations. Jordanian officials confirmed that the three male bombers, as well as a fourth female would-be bomber whose explosives did not detonate properly, were Iraqi. Jordan is the United States' major Arab ally in the Middle East. In the aftermath of the attacks on his country, Jordan's ruler King Abdullah II reported that his people were united in their condemnation of the attacks and their desire to see the perpetrators brought to justice, vowing "these acts will not make us.retreat from our role in fighting terror in all its forms."

Angela Merkel became the first female chancellor of Germany in late November after working out a power-sharing agreement with outgoing chancellor Gerhard Schroder's Social Democratic Party. With only partial support from the electorate, Merkel took over at a challenging point in Germany's history, facing an economy in the doldrums and over 10 percent unemployment. Her election seemed part of a worldwide trend of increased female representation in government-on November 8, Liberians elected Africa's first woman president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Johnson-Sirleaf became one of 30 new female heads of state to emerge since 1990. In Iraq, a new constitution ensured women would take leadership roles in the country's development by mandating that they fill at least 25 percent of seats in its new parliament, a quota shared by the Afghan parliament and those of 49 other countries. In Rwanda, which held the record for female representation as the year ended, women comprised 49 percent of the lower legislative house.