2008: The Year in Review

This is the time of year when virtually every news organization presents its year-end review of events. What??¢â???¬â???¢s so tough about that? We all know what happened, and it??¢â???¬â???¢s pretty obvious what the big stories were. It??¢â???¬â???¢s much more challenging to write a year-end review for a year yet to come. And so??¢â???¬ ¦

As 2008 draws to a close, it??¢â???¬â???¢s time to look back at the biggest stories of the year, from politics to sports, from international relations to entertainment, from business to technology.

Of course, 2008 was an election year, and politics dominated the scene as never before. The surprisingly swift and successful bipartisan effort to amend the Constitution and allow a President to serve a third term in office brought us George W. Bush vs. Bill Clinton, but not before a bruising primary that pitted two Clintons against each other. Most observers feel that the unprecedented level of mudslinging between them damaged the eventual candidate beyond repair, even after Hillary joined the ticket as the Vice Presidential nominee. Al Gore??¢â???¬â???¢s attempt to provide an alternative was thwarted by a record-low showing in New Hampshire, where he received a total of three votes. Gore??¢â???¬â???¢s recount effort was viewed by many as petty and vindictive.

The general campaign began promisingly for the Clintons, as they apologized to the red state voters for their party??¢â???¬â???¢s previous characterizations of them as bigoted and stupid. Meanwhile, the Bush campaign was hobbled by the choice of brother Jeb as the Vice Presidential candidate and the controversial war in France. French Premiere Ahmahd al Zaqued??¢â???¬â???¢s defiance of United Nations resolutions led to the American-led invasion. Officials in Iraq volunteered to help supervise democratic elections in France.

As the campaign wore on, the Bush Brothers hit their stride just as the campaign aide scandal hit the Clintons, and the Bushes ended up winning by a surprisingly large margin. Most Democrats blamed the loss on the bigotry and stupidity of red state voters.

It was CBS News that, once again, dominated media stories in 2008. The ??¢â???¬?????60 Minutes??¢â???¬  broadcast which purported to show George and Jeb Bush practicing ballet moves in the Oval Office was discredited when the photos of the two brothers doing jet???? ©s in their tutus were proven to have been crudely doctored. Meanwhile, former CBS News anchorman Dan Rather completed his political metamorphosis when he joined Fox News Channel, replacing Bill O??¢â???¬â???¢Reilly, who left to devote more time to his popular interactive website,

In other entertainment news, Michael Moore??¢â???¬â???¢s George Bush is Satan grossed just over $150 million (nearly $140 million of that at two theaters, one in New York City and the other in Beverly Hills). And there was good news from the world of reality television, where on-camera deaths had fallen to 53, just under half the 2007 levels. Producers credited tighter safety standards for the improved showing.

In sports, the Boston Red Sox won their fifth straight World Series title, although the lack of Fenway Park sellouts during the playoffs showed that New Englanders might be getting blas???? © about championships. Parity in the NFL continued, as every team finished with a .500 record. The coin flips that decided playoff pairings took nearly two hours to complete, but were considered the most exciting competitions of the post season. In the NBA, the one-season experiment of placing metal cages around the courts was deemed a success and will continue indefinitely.

Other 2008 stories, big and small:

  • The newest one-dollar coin, honoring Gertrude V. Abernathy, the first woman to homestead land in the Oklahoma Territory, was pulled from circulation. Treasury officials immediately began their search for another obscure woman.
  • Cell phone sales continued to rocket with the additions of radar detectors, microwave ovens and satellite television. Attacks on cell phone users diminished with the introduction of laws requiring the use of the newly-introduced ??¢â???¬?????Cone of Silence??¢â???¬ .
  • The stock market closed at over 18,000 for the first time in history, with shares of mega-company Microsoft/Time-Warner/AOL/Wal-Mart/Trump leading the way.
  • The trial of actor Robert Blake dragged on. Most observers felt that defense lawyers erred in allowing O.J. Simpson to testify as a character witness
  • Federal laws regarding the mention of Christmas were tightened as all words starting with a ??¢â???¬?????k??¢â???¬  sound were banned during the holiday season, lest someone be even momentarily offended.

    Happy New Year. Have a great 2009!