Watching President Obama's press conference Friday prior to his departure from the White House to the warm sands of Hawaii provided more questions than answers.

But that's politics for you.

Just a few of the many questions for the soon-to-be former president include:

How can you support that you are leaving a "more prosperous and safe country" than the one you inherited from President Bush? Have you forgotten the many terrorist acts on American soil since you assumed office in January 2009?

Let’s review:

• Columbus, Ohio, Nov. 28, 2016. Abdul Razak Ali Artan, an ISIS-inspired Somali refugee, attempted to run over his fellow Ohio State University students on campus.

• New York/New Jersey, Sept. 17, 2016. Ahmad Khan Rahami from Afghanistan set off bombs in New York and New Jersey.

• St. Cloud, Minn., Sept. 17, 2016. Dahir Ahmed Adan of Somalia hacked people with a knife in a Minnesota mall.

• Orlando, Fla., June 12, 2016. Omar Mateen opened fire at a gay nightclub, killing 49 and injuring more than 50 others.

• San Bernardino, Calif., Dec. 14, 2015. Radical Islamists Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik shot and killed 14 people and injured 22 others at an office Christmas party.

• Chattanooga, Tenn., July 16, 2015. Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez shot and killed four Marines and one sailor at a U.S. military base.

• Brooklyn, N.Y., Dec. 20, 2014. Ismaayil Brinsley shot and killed two police officers.

• Boston, Mass., April 15, 2013. Tamerlan and Dhozkar Tsarnaev set off two bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others.

• Fort Hood, Texas, Nov. 5, 2009. Major Nidal Malik Hasan shot and killed 14 people on the military base. Hasan was in contact with al-Qaeda terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki prior to the attack and shouted "Allahu Akbar" as he fired upon the soldiers on the Fort Hood base. (Obama dismissed this attack as "workplace violence.”)

• Little Rock, Ark., June 1, 2009. Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad shot and killed Army Pvt. William Andrew Long and injured Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula at a military recruiting station.

These are just a few examples of how Obama has made America a "safer country."

Last Friday, the president said – with a straight face – "Almost every country on Earth sees America as stronger and more respected today than it was eight years ago."

His hubris knows no bounds.

As far as “prosperity” is concerned, well, Obama and his fellow 1-percenters are no doubt better off today.

The soon-to-be former president touted record-setting numbers in the stock market during his reign. “You can’t argue that we’re better off. We are,” Obama insisted. (I’m sure he is better off.)

Granted, with zero interest rate hikes throughout his two terms, one would expect the market numbers to increase dramatically, which they have. That’s a good way to make the stock market look better – at least on paper. Who really reaps those benefits, though?

Another point of interest conveniently overlooked by Obama at last week’s “presser” (a stupid term for a political/media get-together) was the number of people receiving food stamps in the U.S.

In the fall of 2008, when Obama was elected to his first term, there were approximately 31 million people receiving food stamps or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) assistance. At the end of Obama’s first term in 2012, there were approximately 48 million people receiving food stamps. Only a liberal community organizer would look at these stats and call it progress.

Obama also likes to talk about low unemployment during his reign. However, the numbers don’t mesh with reality.

One year ago, the administration said the unemployment rate was 5 percent, yet 45 million people received food stamps. The last time the unemployment rate was that low – in April 2008 – only 28 million people received food stamps, and the program cost less than half of what it does today.

During Obama’s reign, the nation saw 38 consecutive months with more than 46 million people on food stamps. That’s progress – but only from a liberal mindset.

Less than two months ago, Obama stated that he is “extremely proud of the fact that over eight years we have not had the kinds of scandals that have plagued other administrations."

Seriously?

Just for fun, let's take a closer look, shall we, at just a few of the “non-existent” scandals.

• Do you, Mr. President, recall Benghazi? The terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya resulted in four Americans dying needlessly on your watch. Afterward, your administration falsely blamed the terrorist attack on a video that had fewer viewers than “Car 54, Where Are You.” The Benghazi blood is on your administration’s hands and will be for all of time.

• Operation Fast and Furious and the subsequent death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

• Attorney General Eric Holder being found in contempt of Congress for stonewalling investigations into Operation Fast and Furious.

• The Environmental Protection Agency contaminated a Colorado river on your watch.

• Lois Lerner and the IRS scandals. Your administration acknowledged that TEA Party and conservative groups were targeted by the agency.

• Associated Press phone records and email records from Fox News reporter James Rosen were seized by your administration.

• Your administration conducted mass surveillance against American citizens without a warrant, as revealed by Edward Snowden.

• Your administration paid ransom to Iran for hostages.

• Your secretary of state's email scandal – and your FBI’s subsequent handling of same.

• The General Services Administration spent $823,000 at a Las Vegas "conference," and it became a shining example of government waste.

• The Secret Service prostitutes scandal in Colombia.

A scandal-free eight years? Not even close. And we didn't even touch on your failed Obamacare, dubious executive orders and an unprecedented number of pardons of convicted criminals. You gave away more “Get Out of Jail Free” cards than the Parker Brothers.

Oh, well, at this point, what difference does it make anyway? As you said last week before leaving for your birthplace, “Mele Kalikimaka.”

Happy 2017, too, especially from Jan. 21 onward.

* * *

A little seasonal good news

The winter solstice in this part of the world is 5:44 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21.

It’s about time.

For many years, I thought the word “solstice” came from the words “souls” and “ice,” as in “My soul is on ice.”

But that’s not quite right. In fact, it’s not even close.

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the word “solstice” comes from the Latin words for “sun” and “to stand still.”

“In the Northern Hemisphere as summer advances to winter, the points on the horizon where the sun rises and sets advance southward each day; the high point in the sun’s daily path across the sky, which occurs at local noon, also moves southward each day.

“At the winter solstice, the sun’s path has reached its southernmost position. The next day, the path will advance northward. However, a few days before and after the winter solstice, the change is so slight that the sun’s path seems to stay the same, or stand still. The sun is directly overhead at high noon on Winter Solstice at the latitude called the Tropic of Capricorn.”

What all this means is that beginning this week, the daylight hours will be increasing. That’s a good thing.

* * *

We celebrate Christmas this coming Sunday. It’s always a special time.

In fact, there seems to be a few more people saying “Merry Christmas” again this year. That, too, is a good thing.

We had our family Christmas gathering this weekend in Milford, with 17 of us there in person and many more there in spirit.

We ate, drank, laughed and reminisced, sharing memories from years gone by and looking toward future memories.

Photos – all 1,005 of them – from Meghan and Jeff’s recent wedding were a big hit. Reception photos taken at Western Hills Receptions seemed to focus on Couple No. 1 from Table 3. The wedding fotog really did have a little too much fun on that hot August night of 2016.

My thanks to younger sister Bridget and her family for welcoming everyone this Christmas season. It was a most enjoyable evening, where conversations had more to do with family and friends than politics (and corruption therein).

What a pleasant respite.

Merry Christmas, everyone. Thanks for reading. Your support through the years is always appreciated, and we look forward to working with you in 2017. Our best to you and yours.

Rory Ryan is publisher and owner of The Highland County Press.