Addressing The Past 10 Years: The First Decade of The Millenium" />
The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

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Addressing The Past 10 Years: The First Decade of The Millenium

The Fourcast recounts the highlights in news, technology, celebrities, TV shows. health, trends sports and politics since the millenium.
It was a decade of tumultuos politics and news stories, like the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center; sports accomplishments,
like Michael Phelps, record-setting performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics; and technological advancements, like the explotion of
YouTube, Facebook and Twiiter.

As technology grew, news stories over the past decade became even more accessible across the world. Suddenly, catastrophes were on television mere minutes after they occurred; celebrity gossip was updated constantly, and no story went untold, whether covered in an online blog, on television, on Perez Hilton, or ABC Nightly News. The invention of Twitter even allowed underground journalism to flourish, as events could be communicated as they occurred.

Sept. 11, 2001, is marked by a series of coordinated suicide attacks by terrorist group al-Qaeda upon the United States. On that morning, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners, crashing two into the World Trade Center and one into the Pentagon, while the fourth was brought down in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. But while United Airlines Flight 93 was also hijacked, the bravery and courage of a young man, Todd Beamer, saved the lives of thousands by preventing the hijackers from crashing the plane into an official building, such as the White House. His last words, “Ready? Let’s roll!” became a future battle cry and inspired patriotism across America. 2,976 victims and 19 hijackers died in the attacks, which changed US policy for the decade, as Bush instated the Department of Homeland Security, launched a War on Terrorism, and enacted the USA Patriot Act, which increases the ability of law enforcement agencies to tap into private lines. These changes sparked the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, stirred controversy about privacy in the modern world, caused commercial airlines to tailspin, heightened security, and altered foreign and domestic policy.

After a 16-day scientific mission, the space shuttle Columbia, due to damage to the shuttle’s tiles and wings, did not make its final landing, instead disintegrating over Texas with its seven crew members inside. This 2003 disaster sparked fears of terrorism, sympathy for the crew’s families and doubt in NASA.

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In late August 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the southern part of the United States, flooding 80 percent of New Orleans and killing nearly 2,000 people. Katrina will be remembered as one of the five deadliest—and costliest—hurricanes in United States’ history.

In August 2006, schoolchildren were told that there were, in fact, only eight planets, after scientists took away the planetary status of the Solar System’s smallest member, Pluto.
The April 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech University became the deadliest peacetime shooting incident by a single gunman in United States’ history, when a student, Seung-Hui Cho, killed 32 of his classmates and teachers before killing himself.

The decade began with the global scare commonly referred to as Y2K. Due to a shortcoming in computing software, technology companies were afraid that their binary computer systems may confuse the upcoming year 2000 with 1900, resulting in the calculation of impossibilities and, in effect, a sort of technological apocalypse. In order to prepare for this apocalypse, Americans stocked their houses with endless amounts of canned goods and bottled water. Fortunately, computer companies focused their attention (and bank accounts) on finding and fixing any “Y2K bug” that may have existed in their software. In the end, the Y2K bug, as it was called, failed at its treacherous attempt to utterly baffle the world’s technology.

Meanwhile, however, the greenhouse effect was cooking the Earth alive in the next world-wide scare: “Global Warming.” As more people began to realize the threats of this devastating progression, a new slogan popped up everywhere in America: “Go Green.” Controversial in nature, the New York Times reported a scandal towards the end of the decade regarding a scientist’s “trick” to “hide” a decline in temperatures in his article recapping President Obama’s pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Quite suddenly, “green” became the new “black;” environmentalism became trendy. This decade saw the revival of the classic American Hippie, in ideology at least, as society strived for peace, love, and environmental awareness above all else.

Gay rights, after a long time on the backburner of American concern, also became a topic of great debate. As a result, within this past decade much progress was made concerning rainbow relationships, including the passing of the controversial Proposition 8 in California, the legalization of gay marriage in Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire, as well as the granting of partnership rights to gays in several other states.

However, amidst all of this, one chief, universal concern remained inside of every American: the need to be skinny. In decades before, the solution was generally simple—exercise and a healthy diet, but with this Americans were not appeased. In the ultimate search for the quick, effortless cure for obesity, the country experienced an explosion of what became known as “fad diets.” These diets ranged anywhere from the consumption of lollipops to leeches.

This past decade will most certainly be remembered for its influx of celebrity controversy and gossip. Dating back to 2002, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake’s breakup must be noted, for some regard this calamity the precedent to K-Fed, babies, and her Circus. Investigations of alleged sexual assault on Lakers’ star Kobe Bryant marred 2003, but he later regained his endorsements from Nike and Coca-Cola. Following in 2004, avid homemakers must have questioned their role model Martha Stewart as she was sentenced to five months in prison for lying to investigators about her sale of ImClone Systems stock. And as if that wasn’t shocking enough for the public, Pope John Paul II was granted an eternal rest in 2005, alongside Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston’s longtime love affair. Furthermore, as all this scandal persisted, Paris Hilton was caught somewhere in the melee for her boy-hopping and unlawful deeds, as was Ms. South Carolina for her response concerning the scarcity of maps, “US Americans,” and “the Iraq.” 2009, too, was quite a hit for “Octomom” and her now-famous doctor, heart wrenching Chris Brown-Rihanna rumors, and thriller Michael Jackson—may he rest in peace. Sports icon Tiger Woods, too, shares in the limelight with the recent scandal of his extramarital affairs. As a result, he will no longer receive the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest Congress gives to honor civilians for their contributions to society.

This decade, sports carried controversies and huge victories. At the Beijing Olympics, swimmer Michael Phelps won a record amount of eight gold medals, surpassing Mark Spitz’s record of seven gold medals in 1972. Simultaneously, one of the biggest controversies involved athletes using steroids to enhance their performances, especially in baseball. Ken Caminiti, who admitted to using steroids in 2002, was one of the first players to confess, thirty-eight players from the Major League Baseball (MLB) were implicated by the media for using steroids, and 28 players tested positive for their use and were suspended from playing. Apart from steroids, another topic of debate is that beginning in the 2012 London Olympics, there will no longer be softball or baseball competitions. This is especially disappointing for USA’s Olympic softball team after their loss to Japan in the Beijing Olympics.

In the National Football League (NFL), the New England Patriots swept the decade with most games won, followed by the Colts, who lagged just one game behind. The Patriots also won the most Super Bowls with three wins this decade, whereas the Pittsburgh Steelers won two Super Bowls. Other winners include the St. Louis Rams, the Baltimore Ravens, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Indianapolis Colts, and the New York Giants.

At the 2000 Summer Olympics in Australia, the United States came in first with 91 medals, with Russia and China lagging not far behind. At the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Germany won the most medals, with a count of 36, the United States came in close at second, and Norway at third. At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, the United States placed first with 103 medals, followed by Russia and China. The United States received second place in the Turin 2006 Winter Olympics, earning four less medals than Germany, and Canada came in at third. The 2008 Olympics were held in Beijing, and once again the United States came out on top, with 110 medals. China and Russia fell in close behind.

At the beginning of the decade, “2000” glasses and Razr scooters were all the rage. The most popular bags and accessories came from new designer, Vera Bradley, who includes different floral prints on her designs, as opposed to simple plaids and checks like Gucci and Burberry. As for fashion, the themes of this decade reverted to styles of the past. For example, Converse shoes, blazers, and skinny and low-rise jeans were on the rise, especially when paired with Ugg boots. However, loose and sagging clothes also became popular. New shorts this decade included Soffees and Nike athletic shorts, and other shoes that came out in this decade were Crocs and Sperry Top Siders. Graphic T-shirts, such as characters or quotes from TV shows, movies, and cartoons were sold in many stores, especially at Delia’s, a new store that opened branches in various malls. Juicy Couture, a new clothing store that became very popular for girls, introduced fitted sweat-suits, which came in almost every color.

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer
The Kite Runner by Kahled Hosseini
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Dark Knight
Harry Potter series
Pirates of the Caribbean
The Chronicles of Narnia
Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Star Wars I-III
Spider Man I-III
Quantum of Solace/Casino Royale
The Da Vinci Code
The Passion of the Christ

TV Shows
With the arrival of high-definition television (HDTV), digital video recorders (DVR), and Blu-ray discs, the quality of television has improved and expanded. Along with other technology, television has advanced. The rise of reality TV has changed not only pop culture but also the image of the celebrity. Celebrities now exist as people famous for being on TV. Some shows in themselves have been showcases of culture, like CSI. While having a culture of its own, CSI also showcases cultures of which are less known. Medical shows, including House, Scrubs, and Grey’s Anatomy have all risen in popularity this decade. Gossip Girl, on the other hand, has been a source of controversy over its explicit content. Science fiction had a revival in the form of the show Heroes, and dramatic shows from The Sopranos to Weeds to Mad Men began to reflect more varied subjects apart from the conventional familial strife. Through game and competition shows, TV has become more interactive, allowing people to involve themselves in a show’s outcome by voting for their favorite competitors. The surge of the Food Network also granted education in the culinary sphere to viewers worldwide.


The 2000 election of Republican George W. Bush against Democrat Al Gore was the closest election since 1876. Bush narrowly won the November 7 election, with 271 electoral votes to Gore’s 266, with the help from Florida’s highly-contested 25 electoral votes. Although Gore received 543,895 more individual votes than Bush, his petitions for recounts in Florida failed with the Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore, which ruled that Florida’s method of counting ballots was unconstitutional. The 2004 election of incumbent Republican George W. Bush over Democrat John Kerry was also a controversial one. Bush was declared victorious on November 3, one day after the election, when Kerry decided not to dispute Bush’s win in Ohio. The 2008 election of Democrat Barack Obama over Republican John McCain was a landmark election. For the first time, two sitting senators ran against each other, the Republican Party nominated a woman, Sarah Palin, for Vice President, an African American was elected President, and a Roman Catholic was elected Vice President. Voter turnout for the 2008 election was the highest in at least 40 years, according to the Washington Post, resulting in a sizable Electoral College victory for Obama.

The United States housing market correction and subprime mortgage crisis contributed to the 2008/2009 recession, the worst economic drop since the Depression where private consumption fell for the first time in nearly 20 years. Although by July 2009 many economists believed that the recession had ended, recent unemployment numbers continue to rise, recently topping 10 percent according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition to halting the preferred agenda of the Obama administration through the difficulty of the passage of the Health Care Bill in congress, political analysts believe that the effects of the recession will greatly affect the midterm elections and possibly even the Presidential elections in 2012, as well.

Iraq War
Operation Iraqi Freedom is an ongoing military campaign that began on March 20, 2003, entailing an invasion into Iraq by troops from the US and UK, due to Iraq’s alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction. Although President Bush announced the end of the war on May 1, 2003, and Saddam Hussein was found on Dec. 14, 2003, conflict in the area continued and the Bush Administration admitted to entering the war prematurely with inaccurate information. In October 2005, the first free elections were held in Iraq, and, in February 2009, President Obama announced an 18-month withdrawal window for “combat forces” with the goal of having troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011.

Operation Enduring Freedom was launched on Oct. 7, 2001 in response to the Sept. 11 attacks, with a stated aim to find Obama, bin Laden, and other al-Qaeda members, destroy the organization of al-Qaeda, and remove the Taliban regime. The initial attack removed the Taliban from power but, as a result of the focus placed on Iraq by the Bush Administration, the Taliban has since gained some strength while claiming to have severed ties with al-Qaeda. On Dec. 1 of this year, President Obama announced that an additional 30,000 troops were to be sent to Afghanistan for at least 18 months in order to eradicate al-Qaeda and the strengthening of the Afghani police and military force. In 2009, the media has switched from coverage of the Iraq War to major coverage of the Afghani War, as it now is the longest war ever fought by an all-volunteer force, and the second longest war fought by Americans, soon to overtake the length of the Vietnam War.

This decade has seen a leap for women in politics with Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin paving the way. In the fall of 2002, Pelosi became the first female to lead a major party in the US Congress when the Democratic Party elected her to be Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives. Before and during this time, she not only was responsible for the party’s legislative strategy in the House, but, since 1987, she also served California’s Eighth District as their representative. In January 2007, Pelosi became the first female Speaker of the US House of Representatives and the highest-ranking female politician in American history; she is also the first Italian-American and first Californian to serve as speaker.After serving as the First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001, Clinton became a US Senator for New York, the first time an American First Lady had run for public office and the first female Senator to represent the state. In the 2008 presidential race, Clinton won more primaries and delegates than any other female candidate in American history, narrowly losing the Democratic candidacy to Senator Barack Obama. She remains actively involved in the government as the first former First Lady to serve in a president’s cabinet as Obama’s Secretary of State, dealing with international security matters and foreign relations. Do you know the difference between a bulldog and a hockey mom? Sarah Palin does. Palin served as the Governor of Alaska from 2006 to her resignation in 2009 and, in the 2008 elections, was the first Alaskan candidate of either major party on a national ticket, the first female Vice-Presidential nominee of the Republican Party, and the second female Vice-Presidential candidate overall. Since the defeat of the McCain-Palin ticket in 2008, Palin has maintained her dominance on the national political scene with her new book Going Rogue: An American Life and high speculation that she may run for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2012.

Some influential changes of the decade occurred in the arena of technology, yet,the most prominent revolutions came from the internet. The search engine Google was developed by two students at Stanford in 1996, but did not really begin to grow and acquire other internet-based companies until 2001. The verb “google” became so common in everyday language that it was added to both the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006.

In February 2005, three former PayPal employees created the website YouTube, which has exploded. YouTube turned online video sharing into a global phenomenon, making it possible for anyone with internet connection to upload content that can be viewed around the world in just minutes. Seventy-nine million users viewed over 3 billion videos in January 2008 alone.

The dawn of social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter have launched a cultural revolution, forever changing the way that people interact with one another. Questions regarding privacy and the definition of a “friend” have also been debated. In 2005, MySpace was the networking site of choice, reportedly receiving more hits than Google, but in 2006, Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook opened up to the non-college community and quickly became the largest social networking site in the world. Founded in 2006, the micro-blogging service Twitter has recently gained prominence in the social networking sphere, but the extent to which its popularity will grow remains unknown.
Aside from the internet, the 2000s saw several major advancements in programs and gadgets, the biggest being the invention of iTunes and the iPod by Apple Inc. The first version of the iPod was launched on Oct. 23, 2001, and in following years the company produced several models, including the most recent, the iPhone. By 2009, over 220 million iPods had been sold worldwide, and music downloading via sites like iTunes had replaced CDs as the chief way to obtain music. Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Inc., was named CEO of the decade by Fortune Magazine in November 2009. But file-sharing over the internet also prompted the practice of illegal downloading via sites such as Kazaa and LimeWire.

Videogames through systems like Nintendo, PlayStation and Xbox also became popular. The profits of the videogame industry surpassed those of the movie industry in 2004.

Americans fell into a nation-wide frenzy when rumors of Anthrax disease being used as a weapon of biological warfare spread through the country. Worried that mail may be contaminated, the US Postal Service spent millions of dollars to install biohazard detection systems into its major postal distribution center.

After Anthrax was proven a hoax, a new scare hit the world that had not so much to do with people, but with cows. The first cow in the US infected with Mad Cow disease was discovered in 2003. Beef exports, mainly to Japan, came to a stand-still as cows in countries all over the world became sick. The epidemic came to an end in late 2006 when an American biotechnology company succeeded in producing a cow that lacked the gene needed for Mad Cow to thrive.

Around the same time, Avian Influenza (H5N1), comparable to the influenza pandemic of 1918, was spreading throughout flocks of birds, all the while evolving into a more potent form, capable of infecting humans. This pandemic posed a threat not only to public welfare, but also to economies and international trade and travel. Thus far, there have been a total of 262 deaths to H5N1, and most countries have access to a preventative vaccine.

Soon, however, fear of another flu pandemic plagued the nation. This one, instead of infecting birds, began in populations of pigs. It was because of this that it got its name—The Swine Flu (H1N1). White surgical masks and Latex gloves stocked up the stores as people prepared for this next pandemic, expected to wipe out vast populations. Fortunately, however, medical experts worked night and day until finally devising a vaccine.

The decade also saw the rise of a different kind of health issue, one that queried ideas of what constituted a human being, deemed Stem Cell research. Throughout the decade, this issue was deeply discussed and debated among people of all political stances and religious backgrounds.

Another related ethical conundrum instigated debate throughout the nation—Designer Babies. Beginning around 2000, with a lump sum of money, the option arose to tamper with a fetus’s genetic make-up. Was it okay to alter nature if you could be saving your child from a life-threatening disease? With opposing stances on the subject, a final resolution remains unknown.

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