Columnist Kathleen Parker said it best:
Summing up, let me just say that I reject, repudiate, renounce, denounce, dismiss and utterly regret 2008.
Better late than never, I suppose. Having taken a few days break away from the blogosphere over the holidays, I have continued this weekend, hoping my muse will return happy and foretelling more blessings in 2009 than we got in 2008.
With, perhaps, the exception of Barack Obama’s election, ending the eight-year long spiral down toward hitting rock bottom with the international community on our imperialistic foreign policy, it has by all accounts been the most dismal year news-wise in recent memory. Time’s top 10, with the exception of the top two, wasn’t even close in my book. Instead, here’s what I consider to be the top stories of the last year, in order:
- Economic turmoil — From Lehman Brothers, AIG, Morgan Stanley, to the auto industry’s near collapse to the stock market’s latest trend downward, this story was so huge it could have been broken into three separate stories within the list. From the standpoint of the banks, it’s frustrating that they received all that cash and refused to tell the public how the money was being used. I write about that here. What’s more, we have no guarantee the auto industry will handle the situation any better or will institute the barebones, leadership changes needed to right the industry and make it more sustainable for the long haul. As for stocks, the numbers speak for themselves. A quick glance at the 1-year graph at the bottom of this page will show the Dow Jones has slipped from a 52-week high of 13,136.69 to a low of 7,449.38. When folks start mentioning the Great Depression in the same sentence as 2008, you know it’s time to say, “Good Riddance.”
- Obama’s election — The Sacramento Bee led its post-Election Day paper with the headline: “Change has come to America,” on the heels of the election of the first black (more accurately, mixed) president in our history. But the president-elect scarce had time to revel in the victory before he had to get busy appointing members to his cabinet and preparing his administration to be able to hit the ground running come Jan. 20. And we barely had time to consider what his election means to the social conscious of the country before residents were again labored with the bad news of the auto industries failure, Gaza and other troubling news. Of course, the election could help improve our shredded PR around the world and help to further make this union a more perfect one. Obama’s Speech on Race in Philadelphia, though in context, was a refutation of Jeremiah Wright’s more bombastic comments against America, should and no doubt will be studied in school’s as one of the greatest speeches delivered in this century or any other. And for a brief little while, the president-elect helped us think about a kind of hope that had all but been snuffed out since the Civil Rights movement. His ability to inspire and communicate good ideas, coupled with folks’ general disdain for the current administration and its policies were enough to win the election. Now, it’s time to see what he’s truly made of in the face of a recession, two wars and the conflict in Gaza.
- Disaster in Myanmar — About 150,000 dead and 95 percent of all buildings in the affected area were destroyed.
- China earthquake — More than 85,000 dead in the massive earthquake hitting southwest China’s Sichuan province.
- Russian forces in Georgia — In a modern version of what could be a rebirth of Russia’s more imperialistic and communist tendencies, after Georgia launched a smaller attack of South Ossetia, Russia then pushed into Georgian territory before an agreement was eventually reached.
- An aging Castro releases power to his brother, Raul.
- Oil prices go up an up and up after a hurricane strikes Gulf Coast, then through the late fall and early winter, they take a dip.
- Mumbia shootings
- Pirates hijack cargo ships off the coast of Africa
- The Rod Blagojevich scandal (obviously still unresolved)