Barack Obama is now officially the 44th president of the United States. Which also means that George Bush is no longer the 43rd president of the United States, which means an end to eight years of severe reality-denial syndrome at the highest levels of the executive branch of the United States government. Barack Obama may or may not end up being a great president, but all indications are that it's really unlikely that he would be anywhere near as terrible as his predecessor.
Barack Obama has his work cut out for him by George Bush, with an economy in shambles, an overstretched military engaged in two countries with no clear goals, and a government filled with incompetent appointees based on political alignment rather than competency. For someone who has taken more than two whole years for vacation out of his eight-year tenure, George Bush has managed to do enough to leave an incredible mess for his successor. President Obama may have to sacrifice much of his own vacation time because of it.
As proof that the Bush administration has not been the worst possible presidential administration conceivable, following the news concerning Iran, there are in fact countries around the world that are quite appreciative of President Bush. His foreign policy has not been a complete disaster (although arguably still quite a disaster), as Israel and Kosovo appreciate the support that they got from the Bush administration. The president also has an 80% approval rating in Africa, thanks to increased economic aid and his perceived role in reducing conflict within the continent.
While opinions from Israel and Kosovo are not really much of a surprise, the high regard that much of Africa has for the Bush administration is very much one. Regardless of whether the high regards are justified or not, this should be a reminder to myself that no matter how hard the Bush administration has tried to (unintentionally) portray itself as a cartoon evil, they're still a group of human beings who are capable of doing at least some things right. Then again, Bush's self-congratulatory and denial-filled final press conference as president makes me wonder that it's not for the lack of trying that the Bush administration is not pure cartoon evil ...
It is now the year 2009, at least according to Coordinated Universal Time, the time against all other local time zones are measured against. The funny thing about Coordinated Universal Time, besides being abbreviated as UTC because of the French, is that even this is a compromise between an incredibly accurate clock and time keeping for practical use. Atomic clocks are the most accurate clocks of all, but a lot of us live according to the day-night cycle due to the Earth's rotation, and the Earth is slowing down by the tiniest bit every year because of tidal friction with the Moon. So leap seconds need to be added to Coordinated Universal Time every few years, and one was added right before the new year started.
The year 2009 is also the year that George W. Bush will no longer be president of the United States of America. This has got to be cause for a small celebration, although it would have been so much better if he didn't cause so much degradation in the United States' diplomatic and economic standing in the first place.
To those few who still think that the average Iraqi believes that the invasion by the United States has been a positive, the recent shoe throwing at President Bush by an Iraqi journalist and the large public support for him should be a vivid indicator that they may be wrong. In fact, I think President Bush actually deserves it with how terrible he has been in everything, not just because of the invasion of Iraq. That's just how bad I think he has been for the past eight years.
American journalists should have been more like the Iraqi journalist in question, throwing "shoes" at the president in the form of tough questions, especially in the early years. On the other hand, it's rather ironic how it's easier for a dissenting foreigner to get close enough to President Bush to throw an actual shoe, compared to how hard it is for dissenting Americans to get close enough to even just show him dissenting words.