Ten important things that happened in 2006
(2) The sleeping giant of nativism continued to awaken in Europe. It had already been stirring thanks to events such as the London and Madrid train bombings and the murder of Theo van Gogh, but the deranged Islamist response to the Danish Muhammad cartoons -- showing that Islamists expect even non-Muslim people in non-Muslim countries to obey Islamic taboos -- and the increasingly-violent intifadah in Paris seem to have forced the European masses to realize that they have a serious menace festering in their midst, even if most of the political establishment still refuses to address the problem.
(3) Saddam Hussein was tried and executed by his own former subjects. One can only hope that the oppressed people of Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc. are thinking about this and getting ideas of their own.
(4) North Korea's long-dreaded atom bomb test fizzled out at a pathetic half-kiloton, showing that this tinpot dictatorship can't handle a technology the US mastered 61 years ago. They didn't do so well testing ballistic missiles, either.
(5) In the US, conservatism's posture of moral superiority began to collapse in a welter of scandals, from Abramoff to Haggard to Gibson to Foley. Normal people are especially intolerant of corrupt and disgusting behavior when it comes from people who have been preaching stridently at them about God and morality and sin and so forth.
(6) Partly in reaction to (5), the American people handed Congress over to the Democrats, effectively halting the Christian Right's drive to install an anti-Roe majority on the Supreme Court.
(7) Gay marriage continued to be practiced in Massachusetts without doing any discernible harm to anything.
(8) Voters supported abortion rights everywhere in the country where they were on the ballot. South Dakota's draconian law was overturned 55%-45%, while parental-notification laws were rejected in several states. It's time for the Christian Right to recognize that on this particular issue, the debate is over. If an anti-abortion law can't win in South Dakota, it probably can't win anywhere.
(9) Voters also approved stem-cell research in Missouri, a fairly-conservative state, despite bitter opposition from the Christian Right.
(10) The US made it through another year without a major terrorist attack on our own soil.