1. It’s Tuesday, December 29, 2015.

2. Hope you had a merry Christmas, a happy Boxing Day (for the British, Canadian and Australians among you) and a good first few days of Kwanzaa. We’re only two days away from New Year’s Eve and less than three from 2016.

3. I was hoping we could go a whole winter without any white precipitation. Alas, here in New York’s northern suburbs, we’re looking as some grey-white slushy stuff on the ground this morning, and it’s still dripping something. The good news is it’s not ice – it’s still too warm for that, and will have a minimal impact on activities by this afternoon.

4. One thing we should be grateful for is that the first presidential votes are still a month away. It was 2008 that Iowa and New Hampshire decided to try to one up each other by having their contests right around New Year’s. The holidays should be downtime for everyone, including voters considering their presidential choice. Yes, Trump is belching away, but he probably has nothing else to do – can you imagine the warmth and loving that goes into a Trump family Christmas?

5. The New York Times is celebrating the apparent defeat of the Islamic State in Ramadi by Iraqi forces. And, to be fair, anytime the Daesh (a better term than ISIS or ISIL, since these people don’t like it) lose, it’s a victory for the human race.

But while an editorial cautiously trumpets the success of the American strategy in Ramadi, a news story on the NYT home page reminds us of how daunting this region of the world is. The story tells of the re-emergence of al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. It was, after all, al-Qaeda that attacked us on Sept. 11, 2001, with the protection of the Taliban.

Of course, the fact al-Qaeda isn’t finished off is a subsidiary outcome from the idiocy of the Iraq War. But if President Obama, who’s had to try to undo the damage done by that war, doesn’t dwell publicly on the frustration, neither should we. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that the administration’s policy in the region will continue to make progress, without the commitment of a massive U.S. military force, and that his successor won’t be one of these jump-up-and-down cowboys anxious to show how tough they are.


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