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Barack Obama was elected the 44th president, and first African-American president, of the United States, receiving 365 electoral votes in an election that saw perhaps the highest turnout among registered voters in a century. “If there’s anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible,” Obama told supporters, “tonight is your answer.” “The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly,” said John McCain in a teary-eyed concession speech. “What an awesome night for you,” President Bush said to Obama. “His choice, basically, is whether he is going to be Uncle Sam… or Uncle Tom,” said Ralph Nader, who received roughly 1 percent of the popular vote.New York TimesNew York TimesWashington PostNew York TimesNew York TimesBreitbartDallas Morning NewsIndependent Political ReportDemocrats added to their majorities in both houses of Congress, while Senate races in Minnesota, Georgia, and Alaska remained undecided.New York TimesCalifornia,Florida, and Arizona passed propositions banning same-sex marriage,New York TimesArkansas passed a measure preventing unmarried couples from adopting children,New York Timesand San Francisco voters rejected Measure R, which called for the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant to be renamed the George W. Bush Sewage Plant.Associated PressThe Treasury Department announced plans to buy $40 billion worth of AIG stock, bringing to $150 billion the amount the government has lent to or invested in the insurance company;U.S. Provides More Aid to Big InsurerGeneral Motors warned that it would run out of cash early next year without a merger or a government bail-out;We’ll go bust without bail-out of merger, says General Motorsunemployment rates reached their highest level in 14 years;Jobless Rate at 14-year High After October Lossesand sales at major retailers declined sharply, increasing expectations of the worst holiday shopping season in decades.Retailers Report Sales CollapseFormer Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta was named the head of Obama’s transition team, former Clinton political director and House Democratic caucus chairman Rahm Emanuel accepted an offer to become Obama’s chief of staff, and it was reported that top Obama aide Robert Gibbs would be named White House Press Secretary.Washington PostWashington PostPolitico“Itâ??s important that everybody understands that this is not going to happen overnight,” said Gibbs about reversing the damage done by the Bush Administration. “There has to be a realistic expectation of what can happen and how quickly.” “We’re in deep trouble,” said Georgia Representative John Lewis.New York TimesNew York Times
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev warned Obama against continuing Bush’s plans for missile-defense systems in Eastern Europe and threatened to move short-range missiles into the Baltic near Poland and “to neutralize, when necessary” American installations there, but Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi insisted, “I don’t see problems for Medvedev to establish good relations with Obama who is also handsome, young, and suntanned.”Washington PostReutersSouth African singer and longtime anti-apartheid activist Miriam Makeba, known as “Mama Africa,” died at 76.New York TimesChina announced a $585 billion economic-stimulus plan,New York TimesAmerican officials revealed that since 2004 the U.S. military has conducted around a dozen previously undisclosed attacks in Syria, Pakistan, and other countries on the authority of a classified order signed by Donald Rumsfeld,.New York Timesand a series of blasts in northern Baghdad killed 28 people.New York TimesU.S. missiles fired into a village in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan killed at least ten people,New York Timesthe Iraqi government continued to press for a firm withdrawal date for U.S. troops before signing a status-of-forces agreement,Washington Postand Iran’s parliament voted to impeach Interior Minister Ali Kordan after it was discovered that he had lied about receiving a Ph.D. from Oxford University. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared the impeachment illegal, adding, “I do not care for a torn-up piece of paper.”CNN
The Secret Service revealed that a spike in death threats against the Obama family coincided with Sarah Palin’s attacks against Obama’s patriotism in the final weeks of the campaign, and McCain campaign insiders suggested that Palin lacked rudimentary understanding of civics and geography. “Those guys,” Palin said, “are jerks.”The TelegraphA study found that men who read “lad magazines” like Maxim and FHM are more likely than their peers to have body-image problems,Live ScienceDemocratic New Jersey councilman Steven Lipski was charged with assault after urinating off a balcony onto a crowd at a Grateful Dead tribute show in Washington, D.C.,New York Daily Newsand the United States attorney in Manhattan declined to press criminal charges against former New York governor Eliot Spitzer despite finding that “on multiple occasions, Mr. Spitzer arranged for women to travel from one state to another state to engage in prostitution.”New York TimesBritish researchers found that obesity may be socially contagious,The Guardiana council in London banned the placing of foster children in households with smokers,Reutersand 700 couples were married in a mass wedding in the Eurasian separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.EurasiaNetScientists in Japan produced clones of dead mice, a feat they say brings them closer to resurrecting extinct species,CNNand author Michael Crichton died.New York TimesSpanish authorities deported one of Osama bin Laden’s sons after denying his asylum application,New York Timesmonks brawled at Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where Christ was crucified and buried,CNNand Israel’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of the destruction of parts of an ancient Muslim cemetery, where some of Saladin’s warriors are buried, to make way for a new Frank Gehry-designed $250 million Museum of Tolerance.BBC
More from Christopher Beha:
From the February 2015 issue
From the Vault — February 7, 2014, 3:15 pm
Is it worth carrying on with the Olympic Games?
Estimated total calories members of Congress burned giving Bushâ€™s 2002 State of the Union standing ovations:
A fertility scientist named Panayiotis Zavos announced that he had created human-cow embryos that were theoretically viable, but denied that he planned to allow such a hybrid to be implanted in a womanâ€™s womb. â€śWe are not trying to create monsters,â€ť he said.
A statistician determined that the five most common first names among New York City taxi drivers are Md, Mohammad, Mohammed, Muhammad, and Mohamed.
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â€śI hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y.Â M.Â C.Â A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.â€ť