The older I get, the more I'm convinced that the key to happiness is starting every day, if you can, with a clean slate. But it should certainly be done before the start of every new year. This task is particularly easy for me this year since forgetfulness seems to come along with the Bora Bora breeze here.
So here is my list of things from 2005 that I'd love to forget -- that, indeed, we'd all be better off never having cross our minds again:
Bill Frist, video diagnostician. Bill Frist, stock market genius. Bill Frist.
That drivers will soon have to take out a second mortgage before filling up at the gas pump.
Bill O'Reilly's enemies list. That HuffPo wasn't on it (we'll try harder next year).
That the president thought Harriet Miers was the most qualified candidate for the Supreme Court
That Harriet Miers thought George Bush was the most brilliant man she ever met.
The passage of the morally bankrupt bankruptcy bill.
That the New York Times held off running the NSA spying story for over a year.
Being Bobby Brown: "Hell to the no!"
The note President Bush passed Condoleezza Rice asking if it was okay to take a bathroom break during a UN Security Council meeting.
The missing $9 billion the U.S.-led occupation government in Iraq can't account for.
Jeff Gannon, White House correspondent -- aka Jeff Guckert, hotmilitarystud.com.
That there is a debate about whether waterboarding is actually torture.
Judy Miller, Bob Woodward, Viveca Novak: The Three Media Stooges of Plamegate
The Fred Durst sex tape.
That 493 U.S. soldiers have died since Dick Cheney declared the insurgency was in its "last throes."
That Dick "5 deferments" Cheney was willing to go toe-to-toe with John "5 years as a POW" McCain over the issue of torture.
Jean Schmidt taking to the House floor and implying that Jack Murtha was a "coward."
That voters could have gone to the polls in 2004 knowing that Bush was spying on Americans, that a key White House aide was charged with felonies, and that the initial reasons for invading Iraq were bogus -- but didn't, thanks to the timidity of the mainstream media.
Tom Cruise vs. Brooke Shields
Tom Cruise vs. Matt Lauer
Tom Cruise vs. Oprah's couch
That, in a 60s flashback, the Pentagon is once again spying on the activities of anti-war activists.
Hillary Clinton's shameless attempts to rebrand herself as a red state friendly Democrat -- including her decision to sign on as a co-sponsor of an anti-flag burning bill.
Hillary's visit to Iraq where when she opined that suicide bombers are "an indication" of the "failure" of the insurgency, and that much of Iraq was "functioning quite well"
Hillary taking on "Grand Theft Auto."
Intelligent Design vs. Evolution.
That Phil Cooney, an oil-industry-lobbyist-turned-White House official, did extensive rewrites on government reports to make is sound as if global warming weren't really that big a problem.
Duke Cunningham's two defense contractor-provided 19th century French commodes.
That Paul Wolfowitz, one of the key architects of the war, has been successfully repackaged as the warm and fuzzy poverty-fighting president of the World Bank.
That thanks to Bush budget cuts, one in five military families need food stamps, or Women, Infants and Children program aid to get by.
That China has become the second largest holder of U.S. debt.
That Democrats chose the insipid "Together, America Can Do Better" as their new slogan. And that they actually paid a messaging team to come up with it.
Drilling for oil in ANWR (I've been desperately trying to forget this one since 2001, but the White House just won't let me).
That Bush waited five days before visiting the Gulf following Katrina. And that once he got there, he joked about his hard-partying days, congratulated Mike Brown on doing a "heck of a job," and promised to rebuild Trent Lott's house.
Brownie's resume -- especially his stint as commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association.
That About 40 percent of Mississippi's National Guard and 35 percent of Louisiana's -- a combined total of roughly 6,000 troops -- were unable to help out after the storm because they were in Iraq.
That the first round of Katrina cleanup and reconstruction contracts went to that old gang from Baghdad: Halliburton, Bechtel, Fluor, and the Shaw Group.
The Post-Katrina Quote Hall of Shame:
"I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of levees" -- G. W. Bush
"Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?" -- Tom DeLay to young evacuees in the Astrodome
"This is working very well for them." -- Former First Lady Barbara Bush on Katrina evacuees
"If you'll look at my lovely FEMA attire you'll really vomit. I am a fashion god." -- Mike Brown in an email sent in the immediate aftermath of Katrina
Click here to read Part Two.