THE AGE OF OBAMAAmerica in an Era of Deepening Diversity and Division, 2010-2013




2010





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China Rings in a New Year and a New Decade

January 1, 2010: The beginning of a new year and a new decade were celebrated in Hong Kong, China.

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Above: Hong Kong, China rings in 2010 and the second decade of the 21st century



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Alabama Wins a BCS National Title

January 7, 2010: Former Foley High School star, Julio Jones, helps Alabama cap off a perfect season and a BCS Championship.

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Above: Alabama's Julio Jones carries the ball against Texas

During the 2009 college football season, Alabama had a 14 and 0 season that ended with a BCS National title. Mark Ingram, an Alabama running back, won the Heisman Trophy, a first for Alabama. For two straight seasons, the Heisman Trophy was awarded to a player in the state of Alabama (Ingram 2009, Newton 2010). Moreover, for four straight seasons, the BCS national title resided in the state of Alabama (Alabama 2009, Auburn 2010, Alabama 2011, and Alabama 2012).



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Republican Scott Brown Wins Ted Kennedy Wins the Late Ted Kennedy's Senate Seat

January 19, 2010: In a special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat that had been held by Ted Kennedy, Republican Scott Brown upset the Democratic favorite. Brown's victory deprived the Democratic Party of its filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

Brown's victory was something of a political earthquake, and it seemed to suggest broad-based trouble for President Obama's party.

Brown took office in February 2010 and served out the remainder of what had been Senator Kennedy's term. In November 2012, however, Democrat Elizabeth Warren defeated Scott Brown. Warren took office in January 2013, the beginning of a six-year term in the Senate.

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Above: Scott Brown and supporters celebrate his upset victory in Massachusetts

Scott Brown Elected to the U.S. Senate



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A Baldwin County, Alabama Jihadist

January 27, 2010: American Jihadist (and Baldwin County native) Omar Hammami profiled by the New York Times Magazine.

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Above: Omar Hammami, former resident of Daphne, Alabama

As of 2012, Hammami (re-named Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki) was a Jihadist guerrilla for Al-Shabaab, an Islamist force fighting in Somalia's civil war. Hammami is under indictment from the United States government. Hammami is pictured above. The Flag of Somalia appears above him. Current TV has also produced a documentary about Hammami. In 2012, in the wake of rumors that he had been killed, Hammami released his memoirs online.

The Jihadist Next Door




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President Barack Obama Delivers the 2010 State of the Union Address

January 27, 2010: President Obama gave his State of the Union message to a joint-session of Congress.

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Above: President Obama delivers the State of the Union Address. Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi are seated behind President Obama.

Obama's 2010 State of the Union Address




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Super Bowl XLIV: The New Orleans Saints Defeat the Indianapolis Colts

February 7, 2010: WHO DAT?! New Orleans Saints won Super Bowl XLIV, defeating the Indianapolis Colts, 31 to 17.

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Above: New Orleans Saints runner Pierre Thomas lunges for the goal line; A New Orleans Saints defensive back returns an interception for a touchdown against the Colts.



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2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada

February 12, 2010: In the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver, Canada, the opening ceremony launched the games.

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Above: During the opening ceremony, a snowboarder leaps through the center Olympic ring

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Above: Snowboarder flies through the Olympic Rings; The Olympic Flame Cauldron for the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver; 2010 Winter Olympics logo

Coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony



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2010 Winter Olympics: Canada Defeats USA for a Gold Medal in Hockey

February 28, 2010: In a game that went to overtime, Canada men's team defeated the U.S. men's team, and in doing so, earned an Olympic Gold Medal.

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Above: Canadian hockey player celebrates; Canadian hockey team wearing Olympic Gold Medals

New York Times Coverage of the U.S.-Canada Hockey Game on February 28, 2010




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Tea Party Rage Against the Affordable Healthcare Bill

March 20, 2010: As the House of Representatives debated the Affordable Healthcare Bill (aka Obamacare), Tea Party protesters ratcheted up their rhetoric and actions in Washington, D.C. protests.

African-American congressmen reported that they were called racial slurs by Tea Party protesters, with one even being spat upon.

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Above: Tea Party protest signs (March 20, 2010) suggesting violence as a solution to Obamacare

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Above: Tea Party protesters amassed on Capitol Hill, March 20, 2010; Obama portrayed as a "Voo-Doo" doctor


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Above: President Obama portrayed as a foreign "undocumented worker," a prevalent claim in some rightwing circles that Obama was a foreigner ineligible for the presidency

New York Times: Black Lawmakers targeted by Tea Party Protesters

Salon.com: March 20, 2010 column on the Tea Party Protests

Huffingtonpost.com: Coverage of the March 20, 2010 Tea Party Protest




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The House of Representatives Passes the Affordable Healthcare Act of 2010

March 21, 2010: In the U.S. Congress, the House of Representatives passed the Senate-passed bill known as Obamacare.

Formally entitled the Affordable Healthcare Act of 2010, the bill passed the Democratically-controlled House chamber without any Republican votes. The bill passed in the House by a 219 to 212 vote.

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Above: Screen shot from C-Span showing the 219 to 212 vote total that passed Obamacare in the House of Representatives




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The Enactment of the Affordable Healthcare Act of 2010

March 23, 2010: President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Healthcare Act into law.

The ACA was landmark legislation designed to expand healthcare coverage to millions of uninsured Americans. In Congress, the law was passed exclusively without any Republican votes. The constitutionality of the law was challenged. On June 28, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law's constitutionality in a 5 to 4 decision. The 2010 Healthcare Act was one of the most significant pieces of social legislation since 1960s.




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Above: Obama signs the Affordable Healthcare Act into law; President Barack Obama's signature




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The 2010 U.S. Census

April 1, 2010: The U.S. Census Bureau conducted the 2010 Census. Per the Census, the population of the United States of America was 308,745,538 in 2010, a population increase of 9.7% since 2000. The population increase measured by the 2010 Census was the smallest since the 1940 Census.

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The 2010 Census: A Nation of Increasing Racial-Ethnic Diversity

April 1, 2010: The 2010 U.S. Census yielded data showing a nation of expanding racial and ethnic diversity. Per the 2010 Census, over one-in-three American residents (approximately 36%) was a person of color.

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The data for the constitutionally-mandated census was compiled by
early April in 2010. The maps and charts below reflect the compiled data from the census.

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The 2010 U.S. Census revealed an increasingly diverse American population, in terms of race and ethnicity. In 2010, the U.S. residential population numbered close to 309,000,000, with approximately 1 in 3 Americans being a member of one or more racial-ethnic minority groups. Among American residents under 18 years of age, over 45% were members of one or more minority groups. It is projected that, by 2050, the United States will be a minority-majority nation in that over half of all American residents will be a member of one or more current census-designated minority groups.

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Leavins American Demographics Wikispace

DemographicsAndAmerica.blogspot.com

Carsey Institute Report

Census Bureau Report: 2010 Race and Hispanic Origin

Census Bureau Report: 2010 Hispanic Population

Brookings Institution Report on Diversity and the U.S. Child Population, 2010

Brookings Institution, appendix to the above report

Pew Hispanic Center Report: Hispanic Population Growth



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Deepwater Horizon and the BP Oil Spill of 2010

April 20, 2010:

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Above: Deepwater Horizon burns in the wake of the lethal explosion of April 20, 2010



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President Barack Obama Fires General Stanley McChrystal, the American Military Commander in Afghanistan

June 23, 2010:

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Above: U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal; President Barack Obama

New York Times: Obama Fires McChrystal, June 23, 2010

"President Obama on Wednesday fired his top Afghanistan war commander after only a brief meeting in the Oval Office, replacing Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal with his boss and mentor, Gen. David H. Petraeus, and sending a clear signal that the current war strategy will continue despite setbacks and growing public doubts."

---New York Times, June 23, 2010



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Spain Defeats The Netherlands to Win the 2010 FIFA World Cup

July 11, 2010: In Johannesburg, South Africa, Spain won the World Cup Championship by defeating The Netherlands, 1 goal to 0.

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Above: Logo for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa; In the championship game, Spain scores a goal on The Netherlands

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Above: Spanish fans in Barcelona, Spain celebrate their World Cup championship

Reuters: Coverage of the 2010 World Cup Final Between Spain and The Netherlands



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The Enactment of Dodd-Frank

July 21, 2010: President Barack Obama signed Dodd-Frank into law, legislation increasing the regulation of Wall Street.


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Above: Obama signs Dodd-Frank into law



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Premiere of Season 4 of Mad Men

July 25, 2010:

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Above: Poster for the premiere of Season 4 of Mad Men




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An Obama Appointment to the United States Supreme Court

August 7, 2010: After being nominated by President Barack Obama, and after being confirmed by the United States Senate, Elena Kagan became an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court.

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Above: Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan

Elena Kagan became the fourth woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.




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Culture War: Tea Party Vengeance and the 2010 Congressional Elections

November 2010: Midterm Congressional Elections. The Republicans won the House of Representatives.

Riding the conservative "Tea Party" backlash against President Obama and the Democratic Party, the Republicans surged to take the majority in the House of Representatives. Though they picked up several seats in the U.S. Senate, the Republicans failed to attain a majority in that chamber. In January 2011, Representative John Boehner of Ohio became the Speaker of the House, replacing Nancy Pelosi. In the photo below left is a 2010 Tea Party protest against President Obama and his policies. Speaker John Boehner is pictured below right.


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Above: Tea Party protesters at left; Representative John Boehner of Ohio at right.



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Culture War: Gay Rights in the U.S. Military

December 22, 2010: President Barack Obama signed into law legislation ending the ban on gay people openly serving in the U.S. Armed Services. The legislation was passed by a Democratic-controlled lame duck Congress just a few days before the Republican Party took over the House of Representatives in January.

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Above: President Barack Obama signing legislation into law repealing "Don't ask; Don't tell."



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Time's 2010 Person of the Year: Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg

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2011





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Auburn Wins a College Football BCS National Title

January 10, 2011: Auburn capped off a perfect season to win the BCS National Championship.

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Above: Auburn quarterback Cam Newton poses with the BCS crystal football trophy; Auburn's BCS Championship honored on the cover of Sports Illustrated

During the 2010 college football season, Auburn's Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy, and led the Tigers to a perfect 14 and 0 season and a BCS National Championship with a January 2011 victory of the University of Oregon. In doing so, Cam Newton became the first African-American quarterback from a Southeastern Conference university to win the Heisman Trophy. Moreover, he became the first Southeastern Conference quarterback to win the Heisman, lead his team to a perfect season, and win national title. In many respects, the triumphs of Cam Newton and Auburn signaled an unprecedented dominance of Southeastern Conference football in general, with the SEC taking its fifth straight BCS title, and its second straight Heisman Trophy. In 2011, Alabama won another BCS title, making it the sixth straight for the SEC, and the third straight for the state of Alabama. In 2012, Alabama repeated as BCS champion, defeating Notre Dame.

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Above: Auburn offensive lineman Bart Eddins celebrates the Auburn BCS National Championship



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The Arab Spring: Egypt's Hosni Mubarak Steps Down

February 11, 2011: After holding power since the early 1980s, Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak resigned his office. Mubarak's resignation was a signature moment in the popular uprisings known as the Arab Spring.

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Above: Hosni Mubarak; Crowd in Tahrir Square in Cairo on February 11, 2011

CNN: Egypt's Hosni Mubarak Resigns



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China Acknowledged as the World's 2nd Largest Economy

February 14, 2011: China is acknowledged as the world's second largest economy behind the United States.


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Above: The skyline of Shanghai, China, a major city in the People's Republic of China

Wall Street Journal: China Has the World's 2nd Largest Economy

The Guardian: China Overtakes Japan and Becomes the World's #2 Economy



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Devastating Earthquake and Tsunami Hit Japan

March 11, 2011








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The Syrian Uprising Begins

March 15, 2011:

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Above: President of Syria Bashar al-Assad

March 15, 2011: Syria

Politico: Timeline of the Syrian Conflict Time: Three Years of War in Syria

"On March 15, 2011, Syrian protestors in the southern city of Deraa, inspired by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, stood against the regime of President Bashar Assad. The initial uprising was peaceful, but as the government cracked down with vicious force, some protestors retaliated. By July, the uprising became an armed insurgency, and eventually evolved into a sectarian-tinged civil war."

---Aryn Baker, Time, March 14, 2014


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The Premiere of Game of Thrones on HBO

April 17, 2011:

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IMBD.com: Game of Thrones CNN: Game of Thrones and American 21st Century Politics



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The Killing of Osama Bin Laden

May 1, 2011: President Barack Obama announced that a U.S. intelligence and military operation had found and killed Al Qeada leader, Osama Bin Laden.


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Above: President Obama and key advisors monitor the clandestine U.S. Special Forces operation in Pakistan where Bin Laden was found hiding. As of 2012, the killing of Osama Bin Laden was the greatest American success in its ten year war against radical Islamic terrorism.


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Above: Time cover commemorating the U.S, killing of Osama Bin Laden; The Osama Bin Laden Pakistan Hideout, May 3, 2010




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The First Republican Debate of 2012 Presidential Election Cycle

May 5, 2011: In Greenville, South Carolina, five declared Republican candidates debated, thus launching the 2012 Presidential Election. Though calendar year 2011 was not yet half over, the 2012 Presidential Election was underway.

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Above: Five Republicans debated on May 5, 2011: Ron Paul of Texas, Herman Cain of Georgia, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, and Gary Johnson of New Mexico



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Rahm Emanuel Became Mayor of Chicago

May 16, 2011:

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Above: Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel

Chicago Tribune: Rahm Emanuel Inaugurated as Mayor, May 16, 2011

"Rahm Emanuel took the oath of office today to become Chicago's 46th mayor.

The city's new mayor then laid out the challenges ahead: Improving schools, ending gun violence and downsizing a city government taxpayers can no longer afford. And he asked Chicagoans, the City Council and the business community to help him."

---Chicago Tribune, May 16, 2011



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Auburn's National Championship Football Team Honored at the White House

June 8, 2011: Having won the BCS National Championship in January, the Auburn University football team was honored by President Barack Obama at the White House.

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Above: President Obama is presented an honorary Auburn football jersey by the AU football team





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Alabama's Anti-Immigrant Law

June 9, 2011: Alabama's governor, Robert Bentley, signed HB 56, an anti-undocumented immigrant bill, into law.

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Along with Arizona, Alabama passed one of the nation's most severe state laws designed to identify and investigate immigrants (adults and children) who had entered the country illegally. HB 56 also contained numerous provisions to thwart the ability of such immigrants to obtain jobs and housing in Alabama.

The Alabama immigration law sparked widespread national interest, much of it being outrage. The 2011 Alabama immigration law reminded many people of the days in the 1950s and 1960s in which the state government of Alabama stood in stark opposition to the Civil Rights Movement.

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Echoes of the 1960s? In the photos above (from left to right), Birmingham Police (1963) use dogs to attack civil rights protesters; Governor George C. Wallace stands in a University of Alabama door in an attempt to block its integration; and in Selma, Alabama (1965), Alabama State Troopers attack civil rights marchers.




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The Second Republican Presidential Debate for the 2012 Election Cycle

June 13, 2011: Republican Presidential hopefuls debated in Manchester, New Hampshire over 6 months in advance of the New Hampshire Primary.

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Above: Republican presidential candidates from left to right: Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich of Georgia, Former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, and former business executive Herman Cain of Georgia.

Though a prior debate had been held on May 5, 2011 in South Carolina, the Republican field that debated a month later was more indicative of the GOP field that would compete in the early state contests in January 2012, those being the Iowa Caucus (January 3 2012), the New Hampshire Primary (January 10, 2012), and the South Carolina Primary (January 21, 2012).

At this juncture Governor Rick Perry of Texas had not yet joined the race. He would do so later in 2011.



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Hate Crime in Mississippi: The Murder of James Craig Anderson

June 26, 2011:






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The Presidential Election of 2012: The Quest for the Republican Nomination

August 13, 2011: Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, a rightwing Tea Party advocate, won the non-binding Ames, Iowa Straw Poll, a precursor of the Iowa Caucus to be held in January 2012.

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Above: Michele Bachmann featured on the cover of Newsweek August 2011; Bachmann and her husband campaigning

To an extent, the 2012 Presidential Election began in earnest during the summer of 2011, particularly with the Ames, Iowa Straw Poll.

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Mitt Romney began the election cycle as the presumed frontrunner, given that proven to be something of an effective candidate in 2008, ultimately a losing effort to Senator John McCain. To an extent, Romney was next in line to carry the Republican standard.

Romney, however, faced vigorous opposition from the others in the Republican field, particularly from Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry. Romney's path to the nomination would require vigorous fight along the way.



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Tim Cook, CEO of Apple

August 24, 2011: Tim Cook, Baldwin County, Alabama native and an alumnus of both Robertsdale High School and Auburn University, was named Chief Executive Officer of Apple, one of the world's foremost computer companies.

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Above: Tim Cook; the Modern Apple Computer Logo



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General David Petraeus Becomes Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

September 6, 2011:

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Above: David Petraeus taking the oath of office (Vice President Joe Biden administering) to become CIA Director

CIA.gov: David Petraeus Becomes CIA Director



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American Jihadist Anwar al-Awlaki Killed in Yemen by an American Drone

September 30, 2011:

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Above: Anwar al-Awlaki, American jihadist

New York Times: American Jihadist Anwar al-Awlaki Killed by U.S. Drone, September 30, 2011

CBS News: Anwar al-Awlaki Killed



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The Arab Spring: Muammar al-Gaddafi Killed

October 20, 2011:

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Above: Libyan Head of State Muammar al-Gaddafi; Muammar Gaddafi being captured



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Joe Paterno Won his 409th Game at Penn State

October 29, 2011:

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Above: AP photo of Penn State Head Football Coach Joe Paterno after winning his 409th game, October 29, 2011

ESPN: Penn State Defeats Illinois, October 29, 2011

"In bright white letters against a blue background, the electronic sign boards around Beaver Stadium took note of another milestone for Joe Paterno long after the stands had cleared.

'Congratulations Coach Paterno,' the signs read. 'Winningest Coach In Division I College Football.'

It took all 60 minutes on a snowy, sloppy Saturday in Happy Valley, but JoePa broke Eddie Robinson's record with victory No. 409 as No. 21 Penn State defeated Illinois 10-7."

---ESPN, October 29, 2011



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Shenzhou 8: China Conducts an Unmanned Docking of Two Spacecraft

November 1, 2011:

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NASAspaceflight.com: Shenzhou 8 Space.com: Shenzhou 8 mission photos



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The Penn State Child Abuse Scandal

November 5, 2011: In a crime and scandal of horrific magnitude, retired Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was indicted and arrested for sexually abusing children, with at least one of those crimes being committed in the Penn State football facility itself. In 2012, Jerry Sandusky was convicted for several of these crimes and sentenced to prison.

Two other Penn State officials, Athletic Director Tim Curley and University Administrator Gary Schultz, were indicted forperjury on the same day as Sandusky. The indictments against Curley and Schultz also involved their respective responses to reports that Sandusky had abused children, and thus failures to report were included in their indictments.

As of February 2013, Curley and Schultz had not yet been put on trial.

Legendary Head Football Coach Joe Paterno also became enmeshed in the scandal. Around 2001 or 2002, Paterno received a first hand report from graduate assistant Mike McQueary that he (McQueary) had witnessed Sandusky doing something inappropriate with a child in the Penn State football building. Paterno later reported the graduate assistant's account to Athletic Director Tim Curley.

On November 9, 2011, Penn State University fired Joe Paterno--the head coach since 1966 and the winner of over 400 college football games--on the grounds that he had made an inadequate response to the accusations about Sandusky's misconduct. On that same day, Penn State University President Graham Spanier had resigned his position.

Not long after being fired as Penn State's head football coach, Joe Paterno was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died on January 22, 2012.

After Paterno's death, a PSU-commissioned investigation by former FBI Director Louis Freeh indicated that Paterno might have encouraged his superiors to respond to the accusations against Sandusky in ways short of going to law enforcement. Paterno's exact role is still unclear.

Penn State University President Graham Spanier was later indicted for perjury and a host of other Sandusky-related charges (failure to report and so forth) in 2012, and like Gary Schultz and Tim Curley, had not yet faced trial as of this writing.

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Above: Jerry Sandusky; University Administrator Gary Schultz; Athletic Director Tim Curley

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Above: Penn State University President Graham Spanier, who was later indicted in 2012

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Above: Mike McQueary; Joe Paterno, 1926-2012

The Indictments against Sandusky, Schultz, and Curley The 2012 Indictment Against Graham Spanier

In many ways, the Jerry Sandusky-Penn State scandal shook the foundation of major college athletics in the United States, particularly in terms of what university officials might do in order to protect the reputation and athletic viability of a sports program. Prior to the Jerry Sandusky Scandal, Coach Joe Paterno enjoyed an almost sterling reputation as a successful coach who played by the NCAA rules, and insisted on high academic achievement among his football players. During the Joe Paterno era, Penn State football was noted for its high graduation rate.

After the scandal, however, Paterno was widely perceived to have protected his football program at the expense of the safety of children. As of this writing, Paterno's full role in the response to McQueary's accusations (against Sandusky) are still a bit unclear. Paterno's family insists that the former head coach was innocent.

Whatever Joe Paterno's exact role in the Sandusky matter, one can make a strong argument that the Jerry Sandusky-Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal is the biggest sports-related scandal in American history.

Most major college football scandals had usually involved things like recruiting violations, extra benefits to student athletes, academic impropriety, and/or violations of other NCAA-related rules. Some football programs, moreover, had scandals involving gambling, drugs, violence, sexual assault, and other crimes, but few had involved child abuse.

It is important to note that Jerry Sandusky was the only person accused of abusing children. The other university officials---namely Joe Paterno, Tim Curley, Gary Shultz, and Graham Spanier--were either indicted and/or dismissed on their respective roles in responding to accusations about Sandusky. Joe Paterno, it must be noted, was never indicted.



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The Self-Destruction of Rick Perry..."Oops"

November 9, 2011: During a televised debate with fellow Republican presidential candidates, Governor Rick Perry of Texas became confused and could not remember the third federal agency that he planned to eliminate should he become President of the United States. When he gave up trying to remember, he sheepishly muttered "oops." Though he had been considered a top-tier viable Republican candidate, the "oops" gaffe seemingly defined him, and his candidacy never recovered.

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Above: Governor Rick Perry of Texas



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The End of the Herman Cane Campaign

December 3, 2011: Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, a businessman from Georgia, dropped out the the presidential race in the wake of sexual harassment allegations. Cain exited the race month prior to the 2012 Iowa Caucus. During 2011, Cain generated a great deal of attention from among the conservative "Tea Party" activist base of the GOP.

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Above: Herman Cain announces his withdrawal from the GOP race



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The Presidential Election of 2012: The Quest for the Republican Nomination

December 10, 2011: Republicans presidential candidates debated prior to the Iowa Caucus.

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Above Left: Republican candidates, from left to right: Former U.S. senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Governor Rick Perry of Texas, former governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Representative Ron Paul of Texas, and Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. Not Pictured: John Huntsman of Utah. Above right: Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich argue a point



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President Obama in Iraq

December 14, 2011:






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The Last American Combat Troops Leave Iraq

December 18, 2011:

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Above: U.S. troops leave Iraq in December 2011

Reuters: U.S. Combat Troops Pull Out of Iraq

The New York Times: U.S. Troops Leave Iraq




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Time's 2011 Person of the Year: The Protester

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2012





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The 2012 Iowa Caucus: Razor-Thin Margin Between Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney

January 3, 2012: Mitt Romney appeared to win a razor-thin victory over Rick Santorum, but ultimately final tallies indicated a narrow Santorum victory. The results, in short, were ambiguous. The Republican race then moved to the New Hampshire Primary.

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Above: Rick Santorum and his supporters celebrating a strong showing in the Iowa Caucuses

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Above: Iowa county-by-county winners (Rick Santorum in green, Mitt Romney in orange, Ron Paul in gold, Rick Perry in blue) in the 2012 Republican Presidential Iowa Caucuses; Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania; Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney; Congressman Ron Paul of Texas

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Above: Iowa population density map per the 2010 Census



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The 2012 New Hampshire Primary: Mitt Romney Won a Decisive Victory

January 10, 2012: Mitt Romney of Massachusetts decisively won the New Hampshire Primary.

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Romney's New Hampshire victory confirmed his frontrunner status for the GOP nomination.

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Above: New Hampshire County-by-county winners (Mitt Romney counties in orange, Ron Paul counties in gold) in the 2012 Republican Presidential Primary, a contest won by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney with 39% of the vote, followed by Ron Paul with 22% of the vote, followed by former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman with 16% of the vote; Mitt Romney; Ron Paul; Jon Huntsman

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Above: New Hampshire population density map per the 2010 Census




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The 2012 South Carolina Primary: Newt Gingrich Wins, and Mitt Romney Stumbles

January 21, 2012: Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina Primary, thus denying Mitt Romney an easier path to the GOP nomination.

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Above: TV image showing Newt Gingrich as the winner of the 2012 GOP South Carolina Primary

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Above: County-by-county winners of the 2012 South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary (Newt Gingrich counties in purple, Mitt Romney counties in orange); Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, winner with 40% of the vote; Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, second place with 27% of the vote; Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, third place with 17% of the vote

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Above: South Carolina population density map, circa 2010




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Joe Paterno, 1926-2012

January 22, 2012:

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Above: Joe Paterno; Paterno in January 2006 after a victory in a bowl game

CNN: Joe Paterno dead at 85 Dave Zirin: Column on the Jerry Sandusky-Penn State Scandal



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Whitney Houston, 1963-2012

February 11, 2012: Singer and Actress Whitney Houston died of a drug overdose.

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Above: Whitney Houston, 1963-2012





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Culture War: The Killing of Trayvon Martin

February 26, 2012:

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Above: Trayvon Martin; George Zimmerman

CNN: Timeline of the Killing of Trayvon Martin



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Octavia Spencer, Academy Award Winner

February 26, 2012: Alabama native and Auburn University graduate, Octavia Spencer won the Oscar (Academy Award) for Best Supporting Actress in The Help, a movie about race relations in the post-WWII segregated South.

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Above: Octavia Spencer



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Culture War: Rush Limbaugh vs. Sandra Fluke

February 29, 2012:

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Above: Sandra Fluke; Rush Limbaugh



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Culture War: The Death of Andrew Breitbart

March 1, 2012: Conservative blogger and activist, Andrew Breitbart, died of a heart attack at the age of 43.

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Above: Andrew Breitbart, rightwing activist

Andrew Breitbart and Racism



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The Alabama GOP Primary: Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich Prevail Over Mitt Romney

March 13, 2012:

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Above: County-by-county winners in the 2012 Alabama Republican Presidential Primary (Santorum counties in green, Gingrich counties in purple, and Romney counties in orange), a contest narrowly won by former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum with 34% of the vote, followed by former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 29 percent, followed by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney with 28 percent; Wikipedia photo of Rick Santorum; Wikipedia photo of Newt Gingrich; Wikipedia photo of Mitt Romney

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Above: Alabama map with counties labeled; Alabama population density map per the 2010 U.S. Census





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Culture War in the Age of Obama: The Debut of Duck Dynasty, a TV reality show that ultimately became a conservative favorite

March 21, 2012: On the A&E Network,the TV reality show Duck Dynasty debuted. The show quickly became a hit in so-called Red State America, and in time, evolved into a cultural event serving as something of a backlash against the rapidly evolving, increasingly diverse, increasingly secular, and increasingly pluralistic society in the Age of Obama.

On the surface, Duck Dynasty is apolitical, the show being centered around the homespun daily life of a Louisiana family who own and operate a duck call business. Rather quickly, however, the Robertson family came to be seen by some as an oasis for traditional America. It did not take long before the Robertson clan became players in the larger American culture war. In December 2013, Robertson paterfamilias Phil Robertson was suspended by the A&E Network due to Robertson's incendiary comments, in a GQ interview, about gays. In the same interview, Robertson also claimed that, based on the African-Americans he had seen, Blacks were happy under Jim Crow racial segregation.

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Above: Two photos with the four major cast members of Duck Dynasty



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The Nationwide Premiere of The Hunger Games

March 23, 2012:

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Above: Movie Poster for The Hunger Games

IMDB.com: The Hunger Games Release Dates



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Premiere of Season 5 of Mad Men

March 25, 2012:

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Above: Poster for the premiere of Season 5 of Mad Men




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Culture War: Southern Baptist Religious Right Political Activist Richard Land, Race, and the Murder of Trayvon Martin

March 31, 2012:

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Above: Richard Land

National Journal: The Fall of Richard Land Christianity Today: Richard Land Loses His Radio Show



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Romney as the Presumptive Republican Presidential Nominee

April 3, 2012: Mitt Romney of Massachusetts emerged as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee for the presidency after defeating Rick Santorum in the Wisconsin and Maryland primaries. Though Romney was still a little bit short of the needed delegates to secure the GOP nomination, it was now clear that no other declared Republican candidate could overtake him.

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Above: Romney during an earlier Republican debate; Romney on the night of his Wisconsin and Maryland victories



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Junior Seau's suicide, CTE, and a Crisis in American Football

May 2, 2012: Former NFL linebacker Junior Seau committed suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. Later analysis of Seau's brain reveled that he suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a form of degenerative brain damage associated with repetitive sub-concussional trauma to the brain.

CTE, it is argued by some, is associated with confusion, depression, and dementia among those with the condition.

Seau was one of several former college and/or NFL players who had recently died by suicide or under irregular circumstances.

By the end of the 2012-2013 NFL season, the issue had been raised by multiple commentators as to whether or not American football is an unacceptably and inherently dangerous game. NBC Sports Commentator Bob Costas claimed just prior to Super Bowl XLVII in February 2013 that football, as currently constituted, "is fundamentally unsustainable."

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Above: Junior Seau, 1969-2012

"Are you ready for some football? First, however, are you ready for some autopsies?"--Conservative Columnist George Will, August 3, 2012

Degenerative Disease CTE Found in the Brains of 34 Former NFL Players George Will: Thoughts on CTE

"For all the drama, the excitement, the strategy, all the appealing things about football, the way football is currently played in the NFL is fundamentally unsustainable."---NBC Sports Commentator Bob Costas, on NBC's Meet the Press, prior to Super Bowl XLVII.

"After 18 people died playing football in 1905, even President Roosevelt, who loved war and gore generally, flinched and forced some rules changes. Today, however, the problem is not the rules; it is the fiction that football can be fixed and still resemble the game fans relish."
---Conservative Columnist George Will, August 3, 2012



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Victory for the French Socialist Party: Francois Hollande Elected President of France

6 Mai 2012: Victoire de la Gauche en la France!

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On May 6, 2012 French Socialist Party candidate, Francois Hollande, defeated the incumbent president, Nicolas Sarkozy, in round two of the 2012 French presidential election. Hollande's victory was a huge victory for the French political Left (la Gauche).

President-Elect Francois Hollande became the first Parti Socialiste (Socialist Party) candidate to become President since the Socialist, Francois Mitterand, left office in 1995.

Francois Mitterand won the elections of 1981 and 1988. In 1995, conservative Jacques Chirac won a 7 year term. In 2000, future presidential term lengths were changed from 7 years to 5 years. Chirac won re-election in 2002 and served until 2007. In 2007 conservative Nicolas Sarkozy was elected.

The logo for the Parti Socialiste is pictured above, next to the Flag of France. The photo above right shows a celebratory crowd in Paris at la Place de la Bastille, the site of the 1789 "Storming of the Bastille" during the French Revolution. La Place de la Bastille is a traditional celebratory spot for the French Left, in large part because many consider the French Revolution to be the dawn of the worldwide political Left. As such, La Place de la Bastille symbolized the birth of the Left (La Gauche).

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Vladimir Putin Returns as Russia's President

May 7, 2012:

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Above: President of Russia Vladimir Putin who began a third term in office on May 7, 2012

New York Times: Putin Returns as Russia's President



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Culture War: President Obama Voices his Support for the Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage

May 9, 2012:





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America's Changing Demographics

May 17, 2012: The United States Census Bureau announced that American infants, by mid-2011, were Minority-Majority.

In an historical milestone, the U.S. Census Bureau, for the first time, measured that, among American infants in mid-2011,Non-Hispanic Whites were a slight minority. In turn, Non-Whites (babies who were members of racial-ethnic minority groups) made up a slight majority of American infants in mid-2011.

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Above: The 2011 American Community Survey indicated that the median age of American Hispanics was 27 years of age in 2011. In contrast, the median age of Non-Hispanic Whites was 42 years of age in 2011.

The median age measurement is particularly important when it comes to forecasting the future racial-ethnic composition of the United States. For example, the median age measurement of 27 indicates that Hispanics, as a population, tend to be much younger than Non-Hispanic Whites.

This 2011 median age numbers indicated that, in the next several years, Hispanics (as a percentage of their overall population) will have a relatively higher number of its female population in its prime child-bearing years.

A quick note: Women's child-bearing years run from about 15 to 44 years of age, a range of 30 years. The birth rates within that thiry-year range tend to vary dramatically, however. For example, 25 year old American women tend to have more babies than women who are 44 years of age.

While Non-Hispanic Whites will still easily be the largest component of the American population, fewer and fewer of its females (as a percentage of its population) will be in prime child-bearing years, as compared to prior years.

The 2011 median age for Non-Hispanic Whites shows that about half of the white population is over 42 years of age. This indicates that, among white women, a larger percentage are beyond their prime child-bearing years when compared to Hispanics.

Blacks and Asians, moreover, have lower median ages than Non-HIspanic Whites; therefore, minority groups in general will have, as a percentage of their respective populations, more women of child-bearing age than Non-Hispanic Whites.

Thus, it is likely that--in terms of births--the racial and ethnic diversification of America's infant and child population will continue for some time to come.

An American Minority-Majority among Infants



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President Barack Obama Announced DACA

June 15, 2012:




WhiteHouse.gov: President Barack Obama's Statement on DACA, June 15, 2012



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China's Manned Space Program: Shenzhou-9

June 16, 2012: China launched its fourth manned space expedition, Shenzhou-9.

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Above: Shenzhou-9 was manned by a crew of three, including China's first female astronaut, Liu Yang. This expedition was another milestone for China's space program in that Shenzhou-9 docked with a previously launched space station called Tiangong-1.

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Above: Shenzhou-9 manned docking with Tiangong-1

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Above: Space.com Diagram of Shenzhou-10 mission

Space.com: Shenzhou 9 Photos



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Former Penn State Assistant Football Coach Jerry Sandusky Convicted on Multiple Counts of Abusing Children

June 22, 2012:

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Above: Former Penn State Assistant Football Coach Jerry Sandusky

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Above: The late Joe Paterno, Penn State Head Football Coach, 1966-2011; Tim Curley, former Penn State Athletic Director; Gary Shultz, former Penn State University Administrator

Reuters: Timeline of the Jerry Sandusky Scandal and Case

ESPN: Jerry Sandusky Convicted, June 22, 2012



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The U.S. Supreme Court Upheld the Constitutionality of Obamacare

June 28, 2012: The United States Supreme Court, in a 5 to 4 decision, upheld the 2010 Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) as legal and constitutional.

In doing so, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the continuation of President Obama's landmark healthcare reform act.

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Above: The nine Justices of the United States Supreme Court

In the landmark decision on "Obamacare," Chief Justice John Roberts (pictured at left) voted with Justices Steven Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to uphold narrowly the landmark piece of legislation.

Four justices--Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Sam Alito--voted to strike down so-called Obamacare.

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Above: A supporter of Obamacare



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Mexican Politics: The PRI Wins the Presidency After a 12 Year Drought

July 1, 2012: Mexican Presidential Election

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Above: In a contest between Mexico's three major parties--the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), the Partido Accion Nacional (PAN), the Partido de la Revolucion Democratica (PRD)--Mexican voters cast ballots to select president for a six-year term.

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Above: AP photo of supporters of PRI presidential candidate Enrique Pina Nieto, July 1, 2012; PRI presidential candidate, Enrique Pina Nieto, emerged as the winner of the election.



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NCAA Hits Penn State Football Program with Severe Penalties

July 23, 2012:

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Above: Jerry Sandusky; Joe Paterno

SportingNews.com: NCAA Hands Down Severe Penalties on Penn State Football, July 23, 2012



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2012 Summer Olympics in London

July 27, 2012: In London, the opening ceremony to the 2013 Summer Olympic Games were held.

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Above: A moment in the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremonies held on July 27, 2012; Tower Bridge bearing Olympic Rings



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Curiosity Lands on Mars

August 6, 2012:




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NASA Fact Sheet on Mars Rover Curiosity

Time: Curiosity's Work on Mars NASA's JPL: Mars Rover Curiosity



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2012 Summer Olympics: Mexico Wins Gold in Soccer


August 11, 2012: London Olympics. Mexico defeated Brazil, 2-1, to win the gold medal in men's soccer. Mexico's triumph was a milestone moment in the history of Mexican soccer.

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Above: Mexico's players celebrate a goal. The photo below right shows the Mexican flag in the gold medal position at center. Brazil (silver medal) and South Korea (bronze medal) flank the Flag of Mexico.



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The Death of the First Man on the Moon

August 25, 2012: Retired American Astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first human being to walk on the Moon, died at the age of 82.

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Neil Armstrong, 1930-2012. In the photo above right, Neil Armstrong is shown on the surface of the Moon, July 20, 1969. Upon stepping onto the surface of the Moon, Armstrong stated, "That's one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind."



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The 2012 Republican National Convention

August 27-30, 2012: In Tampa, Florida the GOP held its national convention and nominated Mitt Romney and its presidential candidate and Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as its vice presidential candidate.

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The first day of the Republican Convention was delayed because of Hurricane Isaac impending arrival. In many respects the convention did not provide much of a boost for the Romney-Ryan ticket. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, for example, gave the keynote address, but in doing so, did not particularly heap praise upon Mitt Romney. Romney's acceptance speech on August 30th, in turn, seemingly did not resonate well with the general public.

Perhaps the most memorable moment of the 2012 convention was a speech given by actor Clint Eastwood, just prior to Romney giving his acceptance address. During his speech, Eastwood used an empty chair as a prop and pretended to be engaging in a conversation with President Obama.

While some liked it, most commentators found Eastwood's performance to be that of a rambling old man. In short, it probably did not help the Romney-Ryan ticket. At best, it overshadowed Romney's speech. At worst, it reinforced the image (fair or unfair) that the Republican Party was a party of angry and old white men.

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Above: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivers the GOP keynote speech; Clint Eastwood has imaginary conversation with President Obama

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Above: Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, the 2012 GOP Presidential Ticket



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The 2012 Democratic Convention

September 4-6, 2012: In Charlotte, North Carolina, the Democratic Party held its national convention and nominated Barack Obama as its presidential candidate and Joe Biden as its vice presidential candidate, a ticket identical to the one in 2008.

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Probably the most memorable speech of the 2012 Democratic Convention came from former President Bill Clinton on September 5th. In this speech, Clinton made a vigorous case of Obama's re-election. Commentators noted that Clinton had become Obama's best advocate, despite the fact that Mr. Clinton, in 2008, had campaigned against Obama when Hilary Clinton sought the Democratic presidential nomination. But in 2012 past political differences were put aside and the former Democratic president delivered a powerful speech on behalf of the incumbent Democratic president.

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Above left: Clinton addressed the 2012 Democratic Convention on September 5, 2012
Above right: Obama and Biden wave to the 2012 Democratic Convention

Like Romney's, Obama's 2012 own acceptance speech did not make much of a splash, but evidently did no damage. But overall, it appears that the Democrats had a more effective convention than did the Republicans. When the Democrats left Charlotte, the general election had begun in earnest.



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U.S. Diplomatic Personnel Killed in Benghazi, Libya

September 11, 2012:




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2012 Presidential Election: Romney and the 47%

September 17, 2012: Mother Jones Magazine, in its online website, published a secretly-made video of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney giving a fundraising speech to a private audience. Romney made the speech in Boca Raton, Florida on May 17, 2012. In the speech, Romney claimed that 47 percent of the American electorate were dependent on government, personally irresponsible, and destined to vote for President Obama. The contents of the speech did not become public until four months later.

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Mother Jones and Mitt Romney's 47 Percent Speech

The 47 Percent Speech by Mitt Romney, released about a month-and-a-half before the election, proved to be politically damaging to the Republican nominee by reinforcing the idea that Romney was out-of-touch and even hostile to nearly half of the American people. In the wake of the release of the video, Romney's poll numbers plunged. While Romney's numbers did recover somewhat, thanks to a strong performance in an October 3rd debate against President Obama, his recovery ultimately stalled (particularly after Hurricane Sandy hit the Mid-Atlantic States just days before the November 6th election) and proved insufficient to unseat the President.

Hence the question remains: Did Mitt Romney's 47 Percent Speech cost him the 2012 Presidential election? A definitive answer is elusive. First, to say that it "cost" Romney the election would suggest that the Republican nominee was poised to win. This is a big assumption, and much of the polling data suggests that Romney was in fact behind the President in mid-September.

But it is safe to say that Romney spent much of the second half of September trying to stop his political bleeding, crucial campaigning days that otherwise would not have been spent focusing on damage control. In short, at a minimum, Romney's Boca Raton speech incurred high opportunity costs for his campaign.

Perhaps as importantly, Romney's 47 Percent Speech seemingly damaged the Republican brand by making the GOP seem as if it disliked almost half of the American electorate. In the weeks following Romney's defeat, numerous Republican elected officials and operatives talked openly about the need for the GOP to broaden its appeal beyond white conservatives.

Towards the end of 2012 it was still unclear as to who made the video. Whoever the videographer was, the video itself ultimately came into the possession of James Carter IV, a grandson of Jimmy Carter, the former Democratic president (1977-1981). James Carter IV, a Democratic operative, ultimately gave the video to reporter David Corn of Mother Jones, a liberal opinion magazine. On September 17th, David Corn and Mother Jones posted the video, thus rocking the presidential campaign.

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Above: James Carter IV, Grandson of former President Jimmy Carter



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The First Obama-Romney Debate: A Clear Win for Romney

October 3, 2012: In the first televised debate between the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees, Mitt Romney won a clear victory over President Obama. In the days following the Denver, Colorado debate, Romney enjoyed a significant improvement in the opinion polls. For weeks, President Obama seemingly had been in the lead. Suddenly, that lead seemed to be in jeopardy.

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Above: Mitt Romney during the first debate with President Barack Obama. The first debate, held in Denver, Colorado, was clearly Romney's best performance, and Obama's worst.



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The Vice Presidential Debate: Joe Biden vs. Paul Ryan

October 11, 2012: The only debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan, the respective Democratic and Republican vice presidential nominees was a spirited affair with no definitive winner. But Vice President Joe Biden's vigorous performance probably boosted the morale of Obama's supporters and likely voters. Biden's performance also provided an example that President Obama could emulate in the remaining two presidential debates.

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Above: Vice President Joe Biden gestures dramatically during his debate against Republican Paul Ryan



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The Second Obama-Romney Debate: Obama Bounces Back

October 16, 2012: At Hofstra University in New York, President Obama and Governor Romney debated for a second time, this time in a "Town Hall" format. In this debate, Obama was much more aggressive, and much more effective. Post-debate polls indicated that the President prevailed. The interaction between Obama and Romney was very contentious, much more in the mold of the Biden-Ryan debate.

Candy Crowley of CNN, the debate moderator, undoubtedly damaged the perception of Romney's performance, when she declared a disputed claim by President Obama to be factually correct.

After the Hofstra debate, Romney's momentum (dubbed "Mittmentum") had seemingly slowed dramatically, or even stopped.

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American League Championship: The Detroit Tigers Complete Sweep of the New York Yankees

October 18, 2012:

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Above: Getty Images photo of a Detroit Tigers pitcher in action versus the New York Yankees in Game Four of the American League Championship Series, October 18, 2012; Getty Images photo of Detroit Tigers players celebrating their sweep of the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series, October 18, 2012

ESPN: Box Score of Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees, October 18, 2012



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George McGovern, 1922-2012

October 21, 2012: Former U.S. Senator (D-South Dakota) and 1972 Democratic Party Presidential Nominee George McGovern died.

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Above: George McGovern, 1922-2012

New York Times: George McGovern, 1922-2012







Boston.com: Historical Legacy of the McGovern-Fraser Commission




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The Third Obama-Romney Debate: Obama Performs well

October 22, 2012: The third and final debate between Obama and Romney was held in Boca Raton, Florida, the same city of Romney's now-infamous 47 Percent Speech.

Obama's best debate performance was probably at Boca Raton. The exchanges between the President and Governor Romney were not as heated, and neither candidate made any significant gaffes. But in terms of being on the top of his game, Obama turned in a strong performance. Seemingly, much of the damage incurred at the Denver debate had been repaired. Post-debate polls indicated that Obama clearly won the third debate.

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The 2012 National League Championship Series: The San Francisco Giants Defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 7

October 22, 2012:

ESPN: Box Score of Game 7 of the NLCS, San Francisco Giants vs. St. Louis Cardinals



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Hurricane Sandy began to move north

October 24, 2012: Tropical Storm Sandy became Hurricane Sandy just south of the island nation of Jamaica. Hurricane Sandy did damage in Jamaica, crossed Cuba, and headed for the east coast of the United States.

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Super-Storm Sandy Devastates the Atlantic Seaboard

October 28-29, 2012: Super-Storm Sandy struck the Atlantic Seaboard of the United States, with particularly devastating results in New Jersey and New York. Hurricane Sandy proved to be one of the costliest hurricanes in U.S. history.

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Above left: Flooding in New Jersey Above right: An historic cottage destroyed in New Jersey



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2012 World Series: The San Francisco Giants Defeated the Detroit Tigers

October 28, 2012

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Above: 2012 World Series Program

Baseball Almanac: The 2012 World Series



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Super-Storm Sandy and the 2012 Presidential Election

October 31, 2012: President Obama, on a visit to New Jersey in the wake of Super-Storm Sandy, consulted with Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Sandy hit the Atlantic Seaboard just eight days before Election Day. New Jersey was hit particularly hard, and Governor Chris Christie, despite being a staunch supporter of Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, welcomed President Obama's assistance, and praised the President's role in the federal relief response.

In short, Governor Christie's praise of President Obama helped provide the President much-valued positive press coverage in the closing week of the 2012 campaign. It is difficult to assess if it changed the dynamics of the race in a significant way, though some Republicans criticized Christie for being too friendly to the President.


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Above: Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey shakes hands with Democratic President Barack Obama



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The Penn State Child Abuse Scandal: Former PSU President Graham Spanier Indicted on Multiple Counts

November 1, 2012: Former Penn State President University President Graham Spanier was indicted for perjury, obstruction of justice, and other charges in matters related to the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal at Penn State.

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Above: Former Penn State President Graham Spanier

The Graham Spanier Indictment



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Conservative Punditry, a Misread Electorate, and The Great Disappointment of 2012


November 4, 2012: Appearing on Fox News, conservative pundit Dick Morris reiterated his oft-made prediction that Republican Mitt Romney would defeat Barack Obama in a landslide.

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One of the hallmark features of the 2012 Presidential Election was the tribal nature of political punditry and media. For many on the political right, a Romney victory had been repeatedly assured by many a commentator on Fox News and conservative talk radio, despite an abundance of polling data suggesting that Obama would either win, or at worst, lose by very small margin.

Many conservatives, however, dismissed these mainstream polls with claims that they were "skewed" and over-predicted voter turnout among non-whites.

Dick Morris, in particular, was especially vehement in his predictions of a Romney triumph. Morris had an odd history with the GOP. During the 1990s, Morris was actually a key adviser to President Clinton during his 1996 re-election effort. But after a sex scandal forced him from the Clinton campaign, Morris later denounced the Clintons, particularly Hillary Clinton. Morris later found a home at Fox News, and by 2012, was considered by many conservatives to be an expert at predicting elections, despite being well off-base in 2008.

Dick Morris's 2012 predictions were not even close. In the wake of the Obama-Biden victory, Dick Morris offered a mea culpa and an explanation. Part of his explanation is shown below:

"The key reason for my bum prediction is that I mistakenly believed that the 2008 surge in black, Latino, and young voter turnout would recede in 2012 to "normal" levels. Didn't happen. These high levels of minority and young voter participation are here to stay. And, with them, a permanent reshaping of our nation's politics."


---Dick Morris, in the Aftermath of the Obama-Biden 2012 Victory

Dick Morris: "Why I Was Wrong"



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The President and a Rock Legend

November 5, 2012: Rock legend Bruce Springsteen campaigned with President Obama in Wisconsin, a key swing state that Obama carried the next day.

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Above: The Commander-In-Chief (President Obama) and The Boss (Bruce Springsteen)



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Nate Silver and the 2012 Presidential Election

November 5-6, 2012: Statistician Nate Silver, founder of an online blog devoted to prognosticating elections, consistently forecasted in the latter weeks of the election that President Obama would prevail.

For Obama supporters, Nate Silver's website increasingly became a place of refuge. For some Republicans, however, Nate Silver somehow became a hated figure for forecasting an Obama victory.

In the end, Nate Silver got the last laugh. His last forecast (on the morning of the election) is shown below. In short, he correctly predicted the individual results of each of the 50 states in the Presidential Election.

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Above: Nate Silver's last electoral forecast got 50 out of 50 states right, along with the District of Columbia; Nate Silver



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Results of the 2012 Presidential Election

November 6, 2012: The 2012 Presidential Election per the Electoral Map

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Democratic nominee, President Barack Obama of Illinois, pictured at left
Republican nominee, Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, pictured at right

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President Obama won in a close re-election effort, carrying 51% of the popular vote. Romney carried 47%.

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In terms of electoral votes, Barack Obama won 332. Mitt Romney won 206. Of the 538 available electoral votes, 270 constituted a simple majority of the total electoral votes, and thus the minimal amount needed to win the presidency.

Blue, Red, Purple States in Presidential Elections, 1992-2012



What follows is a summary of notable events on Election Night, November 6-7, 2012.



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The Great Republican Disappointment of 2012...and the Continuation of the Culture War

November 6, 2012: Early in the evening of Election Night, Bill O'Reilly of Fox News made a stunning statement in which he argued that a potential Obama victory would be due to the government dependence of minority voters.

O'Reilly's comments about minorities and women wanting "stuff" were similar to the sentiments expressed by Mitt Romney in his 47 Percent Speech. A transcript of O'Reilly's is below:

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  • “It’s not a traditional America anymore. People want stuff. They want things. And who is going to give them things? President Obama. He knows it and he ran on it. Whereby twenty years ago President Obama would be roundly defeated by an establishment candidate like Mitt Romney. The white establishment is now the minority. The voters, many of them, feel like the economic system is stacked against them. And they want stuff. You’re going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama. And women will probably break President Obama’s way. People feel they are entitled to things. And which candidate between the two is going to give them things?“--Bill O'Reilly on Election Night, November 6, 2012

Politico.com article on O'Reilly's Comments

The New Republic: How the GOP Became the Party of White People




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The Networks Call the Election for Obama

November 6, 2012: A little after 11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, television networks began projecting that President Barack Obama had been re-elected as President of the United States of America, thus launching celebrations by supporters of the President.

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The projections by the major broadcast networks (NBC, CBS, ABC) and cable news (MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News) came in the wake of the projections that the President had won the crucial swing state of Ohio.



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Karl Rove's Fox News Meltdown

November 6, 2012: Minutes after the networks projected an Obama victory, Karl Rove (former campaign manager of George W. Bush and conservative activist) appeared on Fox News (a conservative news network) and demanding that Fox News delay its projection of Ohio.

What followed was a bit surreal. Rove insisted that the projections could be wrong. Eventually Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly, with microphone in hand, traveled to interview the election analysts at Fox News about their concurrence with the other networks. During the interview, the Fox analyst said they felt very confident that Ohio had been won by Obama. Ultimately, they were proven right. Obama won Ohio.

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To an extent, Karl Rove's borderline tantrum was of minor consequence. Fox News stuck by its projection, despite being a conservative Pro-Romney and Pro-Republican network. And ultimately, all of the news networks were proven correct in their individual assessments of the outcome of the election.

But the incident did provide insight into the confluence between a political operative and a conservative news network. The Karl Rove eruption, in the subsequent days, became something of a cultural meme. The Simpsons quickly subjected Mr. Rove to ridicule.

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Above: The Simpsons ridicule Karl Rove's election night meltdown



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Mitt Romney's Concession Speech

November 6-7, 2012: Mitt Romney conceded the election just before 1 a.m. eastern standard time, an hour or so after the networks called the election for Obama.

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Above: Mitt Romney conceding the election to President Barack Obama

Romney's take on why he lost the 2012 election



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Obama's Victory Celebration


November 6-7, 2012: Barack Obama re-elected as President of the United States of America, defeating Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts.

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In the early hours of November 7, 2012, President Obama and his family celebrated his re-election. The victory celebration took place in Chicago, Illinois. Earlier, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney conceded the election to President Obama.

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In the early morning hours of November 7, 2012, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with their families celebrated the victory in which the Obama-Biden ticket won over 300 electoral votes. The Romney-Ryan ticket won over 200 electoral votes, but fell short of the 270 electoral votes needed for victory.



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2012 Presidential Election: The Data

November 6, 2012: Exit Poll Data regarding the American electorate in 2008 and 2012

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Source: Pew Research Center

Young voters (18 to 29 year olds) voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012

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Source: Pew Research Center


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Brookings Institution Report on the Results of the 2012 Election




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The 2012 Presidential Election and America's Changing Demographics

November 6-7, 2012: Demographics and the 2012 American Electorate

The Changing American Electorate The New American Mainstream The Coming Minority-Majority Electorate?

Young Voters and the 2012 Election A Conservative View: Tribalism? The Coalition of the Ascendant

AP Story by Hope Yen: Black Voter Turnout Rate Exceeded Whites in 2012

NPR Article: Census Bureau Reports Black Voting Rate Exceeded Whites in 2012

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State Population Densities and the 2012 Presidential Election (The Romney States)


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Above: Slate.com graph Slate.com: The Decline of the White Electorate

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Above: NPR Graph by Matt Stiles


Report by the Pew Hispanic Center on Latino Voting


Census Bureau Report: Voting Rates by Race and Ethnicity in the 2012 Election, issued May 8, 2013

Gallup.com: Voting Percentages by Groups, 1952-2012

Gallup: Presidential Elections, 1952-2012, Voting by Groups

Gallup: The Gender Gap in the 2012 Presidential Election



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Anatomy of the 2012 Democratic Party Victory: Key Swing States Won by President Obama

November 6, 2012:


OHIO (18 Electoral Votes)
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Popular Vote Share in Ohio: Obama 50.67%, Romney 47.69%

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Above: Ohio map with major cities labeled

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Above: Ohio counties won by President Obama (those in blue) tended to be located in the major urban areas, particularly the Cleveland area along Lake Erie. See the population density map above right. Mitt Romney, in turn, won numerous counties (those in red) in rural areas of Ohio. See the population density map above right.


FLORIDA (29 Electoral Votes)
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Popular Vote Share in Florida: Obama 50.01%, Romney 49.13%

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Above: Florida map with significant cities designated


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Above: Florida counties won by President Obama (those in blue in the above left map) tended to be located in areas in or near Miami, Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg, and Tallahassee. Mitt Romney, in turn, carried many Florida rural areas (Romney counties colored red in the above left map), along with urban areas in or near Pensacola and Jacksonville.


VIRGINIA (13 Electoral Votes)
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Popular Vote Share in Virginia: Obama 51.16%, Romney 47.28%

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Above: Virginia map with significant cities labeled


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Above:


COLORADO (9 Electoral Votes)
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Popular Vote Share in Colorado: Obama 51.49%, Romney 46.13%

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Above: Colorado map with significant cities labeled

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Above:


Nevada (6 Electoral Votes)
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Popular Vote Share in Nevada: Obama 52.36%, Romney 45.68%


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Above:


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Above:





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Celebrity Businessman (and Subsequent 2016 GOP Presidential Nominee) Donald Trump's Twitter Postings on Election Day 2012

November 6-7, 2012


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Above: A series of Donald J. Trump Twitter postings on November 6-7, 2012, listed in reverse chronological order




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CIA Director David Petraeus Resigns Due to Sex Scandal


November 9, 2012:

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Above: Time coverage of the David Petraeus extramarital affair and resignation; General David Petraeus (while still a U.S. Army general) and his biographer Paula Broadwell

NBC News: CIA David Petraeus Resigns



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Enrique Pena Nieto Becomes President of Mexico

December 1, 2012: Enrique Pena Nieto assumed the Presidency of Mexico.

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Above: President of Mexico Enrique Pena Nieto

Associated Press: The Return of the PRI in Mexico, December 1, 2012

"Pena Nieto, who assumed office at a midnight ceremony at the National Palace, campaigned as the new face of the PRI, repentant and reconstructed after being voted out of the presidency in 2000.

Before his public swearing-in at mid-day, hundreds of opponents banged on tall, steel security barriers around Congress, threw stones, bottle rockets and firecrackers at police and yelled 'Mexico without PRI!' Police responded by spraying tear gas from a truck and used fire extinguishers to put out flames from cocktails. One group of protesters rammed and dented the barrier with a large truck before being driven off by police water cannons."

---Associated Press, December 1, 2012




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American Football in Crisis: Kansas City Chiefs Linebacker Jovan Belcher Kills Girlfriend and Himself in a Murder-Suicide

December 1, 2012:

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Above: Getty Images photo of Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher who killed his girlfriend and himself on December 1, 2012

ABC News: NFL Football Player Jovan Belcher Kills Girlfriend and Himself, December 1, 2012

CBS News: Jovan Belcher Had CTE

"An autopsy performed one year after Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher fatally shot his 22-year-old girlfriend and killed himself found signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the degenerative brain disease found in athletes and others with a history of repetitive brain injuries." ---CBS News, September 30, 2014




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Census Bureau Projections and the Future of American Diversity

December 12, 2012: The United States Census Bureau released population projections up to the year 2060. The Census Bureau claimed that the U.S. will reach minority-majority status for the entire population by 2043. In essence, this means that, by 2043, non-Hispanic whites will constitute less than 50 percent of the U.S. population, though they will remain the largest (a plurality) Census-designated racial-ethnic group. By 2060, non-Hispanic whites are projected to be about 43% of the population.

Conversely, by 2043, a combination of minorities (i.e. people of color) will make up a slight majority of the U.S. population.

The continued racial-ethnic diversification of America will continue from the bottom up, that is, from the younger end of the population. In May 2012, the Census Bureau announced estimates that the American infant population born from mid-2010 to mid-2011 was minority-majority. Around 2018-2019, the American child population (under-18) is projected to reach minority-majority status.

Census Projections A Minority-Majority in U.S. in 2043, per the Census Bureau An Emerging Plurality Nation

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Mass Murder at a Connecticut Elementary School

December 14, 2012: On a Friday morning at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, a 20 year old man used a military-style semi-automatic assault rifle in a shooting rampage within the school. He killed 20 first grade students and 6 adults who worked in the school. Prior to committing mass murder at the elementary school, he killed his mother at her home.

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Above left: Students evacuate from Sandy Hook Elementary School in the wake of the shootings on December 14, 2012.


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Above left: President Obama shedding tears while making an announcement about the Newtown murders.
Above right: Three of the young victims who were students at Sandy Hook Elementary



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Time's 2012 Person of the Year: President Barack H. Obama

December 19, 2012: Time Magazine announced President Barack Obama as its Person of the Year for 2012.

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"We are in the midst of historic cultural and demographic changes, and Obama is both the symbol and in some ways the architect of this new America." ---Richard Stengel, Time.
Time's 2012 Person of the Year Time: Obama as symbol and architect of a new America

Change during Obama's First Four Years





2013





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The 113th Congress: Twenty Women in the U.S. Senate

January 3, 2013: At the dawn of the 113th Congress of the United States, the U.S. Senate contained 20 Senators who were women.

In the 2012 Congressional Elections, eleven women won seats in the U.S. Senate. Five of the female senators were newly elected in the 2012 elections. In 2012, there were six women who were re-elected to the Senate.

Nine incumbent female U.S. Senators were not up for re-election in 2012; hence, their respective terms carried over into the 113th Congress.

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Above: Newly-elected Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; Mazie Hirono of Hawaii; Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota; Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin

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Above: Newly-elected Republican Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska

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Above: Re-Elected Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein, Maria Cantwell, and Amy Klobuchar

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Above: Re-Elected Democratic Senators Debbie Stabenow, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Claire McCaskill


The six re-elected female senators were Dianne Fienstein of California, Maria Cantwell of Washington, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, and Claire McCaskill of Missouri, all of these women being Democrats.

There were an additional nine female U.S. Senators who were not up for re-election in 2012. Six of these women were Democrats. Three were Republicans.

The six Democrats were Barbara Boxer of California, Patty Murray of Washington, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and Kay Hagan of North Carolina.

The three Republicans were Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.



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Operation Serval: France Intervenes in Mali to Combat an Islamist Insurgency

January 11, 2013:

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Above: Wikipedia map of the Northern Mali Conflict, circa January 2013; Wikipedia map of Mali

France24.com: A Year of French Military Intervention in Mali Economist.com: France Intervenes in Mali




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The Beginning of Barack Obama's Second Term

January 20, 2013: President Barack Obama began his second term at Noon, eastern standard time. Both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden took their respective oaths of office.


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Above: President Barack Obama sworn in for a second term by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts


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Above: Vice President Joe Biden sworn in for a second term by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor



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Barack Obama's Second Inaugural Address

January 21, 2013: In the first full day of his second term, President Barack Obama delivered his Inaugural Address.

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Above: President Barack H. Obama delivers his second Inaugural Address, an address calling national reconciliation and progressive change.

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Above: President and Mrs. Obama in the Inaugural Parade



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Premiere of The Americans on FX

January 30, 2013:

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TV Guide: The Americans



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United States Secretary of State John Kerry

February 1, 2013: John Kerry became United States Secretary of State, replacing Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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Above: Secretary of State John Kerry

Secretary of State John Kerry



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Super Bowl XLVII: Baltimore Ravens Defeat the San Francisco 49ers, 34 to 31

February 3, 2013:

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Above: Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice carries the ball against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana on February 3, 2013




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The Announcement of the Abdication of Pope Benedict XVI

February 11, 2013: In a moment that stunned much of the Catholic world, Pope Benedict XVI announced his abdication(resignation) of the papacy, effective February 28, 2013.

The Pope cited declining health and energy as the reasons for his decision to vacate the papacy. In doing so, he became the first Pope to abdicate (resign) since the early 1400s.

Generally, Popes remain in office until death.

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Above: Pope Benedict XVI announces his abdication of the office of Pope, the Bishopric of Rome, and the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church.

CNN: The Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI Timeline of the Papacy of Benedict XVI

The End of the Catholic Moment? A Broken Vatican? Latin America and Catholicism

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The 2013 State of the Union Message

February 12, 2013: President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union Message to a Joint Session of Congress, and a national television audience.

The 113th Congress was a divided Congress in terms of party control. The Republican Party held the majority in theHouse of Representatives. The Democratic Party held the majority in the Senate.


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Above: President Obama delivers his State of the Union Message. Behind the President is Vice President Joe Biden (at left) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (at right)



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The Abdication of Pope Benedict XVI

February 28, 2013: The abdication of Pope Benedict XVI became effective and official at 8pm in Rome, 2pm eastern standard time in the United States. The papal office, as such, became vacant.

Benedict XVI was the first pope to abdicate the papacy since Gregory XII did so in 1415, nearly 600 years prior.

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Above: Pope Benedict XVI on the day of his abdication, just before it took effect

Benedict XVI's Reign Officially Over Pew Research Center: The Global Catholic Population





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The Democratic Party: A Century of Progressive-Liberal Evolution and Ultimate Predominance, 1913-2013

March 4, 2013: The fourth day in March 2013 was the 100th Anniversary of the beginning of Woodrow Wilson's Presidency, along with the 80th anniversary of the inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt's 12 years in the White House.

From March 4, 1913 to March 4, 2013, the Democratic Party was, by and large, the preeminent major progressive-liberal party in the American political system.

The Democratic Intra-Party Civil War and the Slow Progressive-Liberal Triumph:

For most of these 100 years, however, the Democratic Party was not a purist and homogenous organization. To the contrary, when Woodrow Wilson became president in 1913, the Democratic Party was still a southern-based states' rights-oriented party. But in 1913, Woodrow Wilson was a moderate progressive, and with his ascendency to the White House, the Democratic Party began an evolution in a progressive-liberal direction.

The southern and largely conservative wing of the Democratic Party would continue to hold great influence in Congress and in state-level governments, however, until well into the 1960s. But the arc of the history of the Democratic Party was bent towards progressive-liberalism. In fact, a major theme of the story of the 20th century Democratic Party was the slow triumph of the progressive-liberal wing of the party over the southern conservative states' rights wing.

One could say that this long-standing struggle between the conservative and liberal wings of the Democratic Party was something of an intra-party civil war.

FDR

This evolution towards progressive-liberalism sped up during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945). Under FDR, the size and scope of the federal government expanded dramatically during the Great Depression and WWII years. Franklin Roosevelt also implemented an era of electoral dominance in winning re-election in 1936, 1940, and 1944.

The rise of FDR coincided with sweeping Democratic victories in the 1932 congressional elections, and thus the dawn of a national party re-alignment. For really the first time since 1860, the Democratic Party was, in essence, the nation's majority party.

In the 21 presidential elections from 1932 to 2012, the Democratic Party won 12, those being 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944, 1948, 1960, 1964, 1976, 1992, 1996, 2008, and 2012.

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Above: A line graph chronicling the respective popular vote totals for the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, 1932-2012


The Democratic Party and Congress:

From 1933 to 1995--with only a few exceptions--the Democratic Party was usually the majority party in both chambers of Congress. From the 1932 elections through the 1992 elections, the Democrats only lost both the House and Senate twice, in the 1946 and 1952 elections. In each of those cases, the GOP controlled all of Congress for two-year periods, 1947-1949 and 1953-1955.

In the House of Representatives, from 1955 to 1995, the Democratic Party held the majority for 40 consecutive years. But having said that, during those 40 years of rule, the intra-party civil war between the conservative and liberal wings of the party was often quite intense, particularly during the Kennedy-Johnson years.

It is worth noting, however, that during this era of Democratic control of the House, the GOP did win the Senate in the 1980, 1982, and 1984 elections. But prior to that, from January 1955 to January 1981, the Democrats controlled the Senate without interruption.

Democratic Presidents after FDR:

After Franklin Roosevelt (1933-1945), six other Democrats became president prior to March 4, 2013.

The first of the post-Roosevelt presidents, Harry S. Truman (1945-1953), inherited FDR's mantle, and presided over an active federal government for seven plus years at the dawn of the Cold War.

During the Kennedy and Johnson years (1961-1969), these two successive Democratic presidents firmly committed their administrations squarely on the side of civil rights for African-Americans, and in doing so, dealt a mortal blow to the culturally-conservative southern wing of the Democratic Party. In short, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson did much to move the Democratic Party in a progressive-liberal direction.

During the Kennedy-Johnson years, white southerners began to depart the Democratic Party in huge numbers. By the end of the 20th century and in the early 21st century, it was the Republican Party whose political base resided in Dixie. The party of Lincoln, ironically, had become a white southern party to a large extent by 2012.

Presidents Jimmy Carter (1977-1981) and Bill Clinton (1993-2001), both moderate-progressive former southern governors, took careful and moderate approaches to governing during their respective presidencies. But for all of their governing caution and nuance, each man broke a string of GOP presidential electoral victories, thus preserving the viability of the Democrats as a left-of-center national party capable of winning the White House.

With the ascendency of Barack Obama to the presidency (2009-Present), this long-running intra-party civil war in the Democratic Party had been won by the liberals.


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Above: Woodrow Wilson taking the presidential oath of office on March 4, 1913; Barack Obama taking the oath of office on January 20, 2013, nearly 100 years later

Due to the 20th Amendment, the beginning and ending dates for presidential terms were changed from March 4th to January 20th. FDR's first term was thus shortened a bit due to the new Constitutional Amendment, a term that ran from March 4, 1933 to January 20, 1937. FDR's second term began on January 20, 1937.

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Above: Presidents Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921), Franklin Roosevelt (1933-1945), Harry Truman (1945-1953)


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Above: Presidents John Kennedy (1961-1963), Lyndon Johnson (1963-1969), Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)


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Above: Presidents Bill Clinton (1993-2001), Barack Obama (2009-Present)

CBS News: GDP Growth Rates, Democratic Presidents vs. Republican Presidents---Truman Through Obama

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Above: CBS News chart showing U.S. GDP Growth by Presidential term, 1949-2013



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The Bull Market of 2013: The Dow Jones Industrial Average Closed at the Heretofore All-Time High of 14,253

March 5, 2013:

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Above: CNN chart showing the March 5, 2013 record-setting Dow closing of 14,253.77; President Barack Obama

CNN: Market Report for March 5, 2013

"The Dow climbed more than 125 points to close at a record high of 14,253.77, topping the prior record set in October 2007. Earlier, the blue chip index climbed to an intraday record of 14,286.37."

---CNN, March 5, 2013




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The Election of Pope Francis


March 13, 2013: At the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, the College of Cardinals elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina as Pope. Cardinal Bergoglio chose Francis as his regnal name; hence, Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis I.

Pope Francis I became the first Pope from the New World, and more specifically, Latin America.

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Above: White smoke emerges from a Sistine Chapel chimney, signifying the election of a new Pope.


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Above: Time cover of Pope Francis; Pope Francis I waving to the crowd in St. Peter's Square

Pope Francis I, The First Pontiff from Latin America



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Premiere of Season 6 of AMC's Mad Men

April 7, 2013:

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Above: Poster for the premiere of Season 6 of Mad Men



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The Boston Marathon Bombing

April 15, 2013: In Boston, Massachusetts, about 4 hours into the running of the annual Boston Marathon, two bombs detonated near the finish line, killing at least 3 and injuring over 100.

As of late in the evening of April 15th, it was not evident who was responsible for carrying out this attack.

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Above: One of the bomb blasts along the route of the 2013 Boston Marathon

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Above: Martin Richard, Age 8, was one of the fatalities in the Boston Marathon Bombing

The Boston Marathon and the Struggle for Equal Rights



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Explosion of a West, Texas Fertilizer Factory

April 17, 2013: In the small Texas town of West, a fertilizer factory exploded. The explosion destroyed the factory and did extensive damage to the town. Several people were killed. The exact cause was not known as of the 19th of April.

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Above: The explosion of the West, Texas fertilizer plant; a damaged building in the aftermath




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The Boston Marathon Bombing: The Hunt for the Terrorists

April 18, 2013: The FBI released video and video stills of two suspects in the Boston Marathon Bombing. Later in the evening, one of the suspects was killed by authorities. By the end of the 18th, the other suspect was still at-large in the Boston area.

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Above: Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26; Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19

At some juncture on the evening of April 18th, authorities closed in on two brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The brothers committed a car jacking, subsequently stealing money from the carjacking victim's bank account.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed at some point prior to the dawn on April 19th.

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Above: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police Officer Sean Collier, killed in the line of duty by one or more of the Boston Marathon bombers.



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The Boston Marathon Bombing: The Hunt for the Terrorists


April 19, 2013: After an intense search in the greater Boston area that lasted much of the day, authorities cornered, captured, and arrested Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, age 19, one of the two major suspects in the Boston Marathon Bombing.

The other major suspect was Tamerlan Tsarnaev, age 26, the older brother of Dzhokhar. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed hours earlier.

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Five Presidents Congregate at the George W. Bush Presidential Library Dedication

April 25, 2013: At the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library, the four surviving former Presidents and President Obama attended. The occasion allowed for the rare photo opportunity for the exclusive presidential club.

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Above: President Barack Obama, Former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter



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The Bull Market of 2013: The Dow Jones Industrial Average (The Dow) Closed Above 15,000

May 7, 2013: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record 15,056 at the end of the trading session, a first for the DOW, which heretofore had not ever closed above 15,000.

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Above: The Dow closed at 15,056 on May 7, 2013; Another Board showing the record-breaking trading session


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BBC: How the Dow Came Back



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Shenzhou-10: China's 5th Manned Space Mission

June 11, 2013: China launched its fifth manned mission into space, Shenzhou-10.

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Above: The launch of Shenzhou-10; Microgravity demonstration

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Above: Shenzhou-10 crew inside Tiangong-1 Space Station


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Above: A BBC diagram of the Shenzhou-10 mission

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Above: Shenzhou-10 Descent Module after a successful landing

BBC: Shenzhou 10 Space.com: Shenzhou 10 Mission Photos



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Natural Decline Among Non-Hispanic Whites, 2011-2012

June 13, 2013: The U.S. Census Bureau reported estimates of the American population. Surprisingly, the estimates included the claim that, among non-Hispanic whites, deaths exceeded births from mid-2011 to mid-2012, a phenomenon known as natural decline.

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Above: A U.S. News and World Report bar graph illustrating U.S. population change from mid-2011 to mid-2012. Note that among, non-Hispanic whites, deaths exceeded births.

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Above: A U.S. News and World Report graph illustrating the relative non-Hispanic white share of the population per age group. According to the article linked below, the American residential population under the age of two is majority-minority. In short, non-Hispanic whites make up less than 50% of children under the age of two.

U.S News and World Report on Census Data released on June 13, 2013

DemographicsAndAmerica.blogspot.com




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Voting Rights Act Supreme Court Decision

June 25, 2013:

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Above: Chief Justice John Roberts; Shelby County, Alabama in red

The U.S. Supreme Court Guts the 1965 Voting Rights Act



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DOMA and Prop 8 Supreme Court Decisions

June 26, 2013:

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Above: Associate Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, a nominee of Republican President Ronald Reagan


U.S. Supreme Court Overturned the "Defense of Marriage Act;" allows Prop 8 Decision to stand



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George Zimmerman Trial Verdict

July 13, 2013: In Seminole County, Florida, a six-person jury found George Zimmerman not-guilty of killing 17 year old Travon Martin. Zimmerman admittedly shot Travon Martin during an altercation in Sanford, Florida in February 2012. The jury found that Zimmerman's actions did not constitute either 2nd degree murder nor manslaughter.

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Above: Trayvon Martin; George Zimmerman

Column: The partisan responses to the Zimmerman trial verdict



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The City of Detroit Filed For Bankruptcy

July 18, 2013:



CNN: Detroit Files for Bankruptcy, July 18, 2013


New York Times: The City of Detroit Filed for Bankruptcy, July 18, 2013



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President Obama's Statement in the Wake of the Zimmerman Verdict

July 19, 2013:

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Above: President Barack Obama on July 19, 2013

President Obama's Comments

New York Times Editorial Supporting President Obama's Remarks



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The Syrian Civil War: The Assad Regime Carried Out a Poisonous Gas Attack

August 21, 2013:







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The Syrian Civil War: President Obama Calls for Congressional Authorization for Military Action Against Syria

August 31, 2013:

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Above: President Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden, called for U.S. military action against Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime, but under the condition that Congress provide authorization


President Obama's Statement on Syria, August 31, 2013

"Good afternoon, everybody. Ten days ago, the world watched in horror as men, women and children were massacred in Syria in the worst chemical weapons attack of the 21st century. Yesterday the United States presented a powerful case that the Syrian government was responsible for this attack on its own people.

Our intelligence shows the Assad regime and its forces preparing to use chemical weapons, launching rockets in the highly populated suburbs of Damascus, and acknowledging that a chemical weapons attack took place. And all of this corroborates what the world can plainly see -- hospitals overflowing with victims; terrible images of the dead. All told, well over 1,000 people were murdered. Several hundred of them were children -- young girls and boys gassed to death by their own government.

This attack is an assault on human dignity. It also presents a serious danger to our national security. It risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons. It endangers our friends and our partners along Syria’s borders, including Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. It could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons, or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm.

In a world with many dangers, this menace must be confronted.

Now, after careful deliberation, I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets. This would not be an open-ended intervention. We would not put boots on the ground. Instead, our action would be designed to be limited in duration and scope. But I'm confident we can hold the Assad regime accountable for their use of chemical weapons, deter this kind of behavior, and degrade their capacity to carry it out.

Our military has positioned assets in the region. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has informed me that we are prepared to strike whenever we choose. Moreover, the Chairman has indicated to me that our capacity to execute this mission is not time-sensitive; it will be effective tomorrow, or next week, or one month from now. And I'm prepared to give that order.

But having made my decision as Commander-in-Chief based on what I am convinced is our national security interests, I'm also mindful that I'm the President of the world's oldest constitutional democracy. I've long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. And that’s why I've made a second decision: I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people's representatives in Congress."

---President Barack Obama, August 31, 2013



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Battle over Obamacare: A Shutdown of the Federal Government

October 1, 2013:

October 1, 2013 as a signature day in the history of the Democratic and Republican Parties

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Above: Cover of The New Yorker, an illustration featuring Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senator Ted Cruz as ghouls.



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The American Culture War: Overpass Conservatives

October 12, 2012: In various parts of the United States, collections of conservatives participated in protests against President Obama, even calling for his impeachment.

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Above: Anti-Obama protesters in Daphne, Alabama call for the impeachment of the President. The photo was taken by a Baldwin County High School senior who happened to be driving by.






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The American Culture War: Anti-Obama Rally in Washington, D.C. during the government shutdown

October 13, 2013:

New York Daily News coverage of the Anti-Obama rally in Washington, D.C.

Demographics and America: Links to Coverage of the Anti-Obama Protest of October 13, 2013

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Above: Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas speaking to a Tea Party style crowd in Washington D.C.; Anti-Obama protesters


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Above: Anti-Obama protesters in front of the White House (Note the Confederate Flag raised alongside the U.S. flag and the Marine Corps flag; An Anti-Obama protester (Michael Ashmore of Hooks, Texas) carries a USMC flag and a Confederate flag

Susan Brooks of the Washington Post: "War by Other Means," and the Confederate Flag in Front of the White House

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Above: Bloomberg Businessweek cover in October 2013 (The writing on the front cover reads: "The Tea Party Won. Ted Cruz and his band of deadeners took the U.S. through the looking glass. Now crazy is the new normal."); Washington Post photo of Senator Ted Cruz at conservative rally, October 13, 2013




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Bipartisan Deal: The Re-Opening of the Government and the Raising of the Debt Limit---For a Few Months

October 16-17, 2013:

An Obama Victory

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Above: President Barack Obama



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The Boston Red Sox Win the 2013 World Series

October 30, 2013:

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Above: 2013 World Series Program, Boston Red Sox vs. St. Louis Cardinals

2013 World Series: Boston Red Sox vs. St. Louis Cardinals



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Rightwing Gunman Kills TSA Officer at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)


November 1, 2013: At Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), 23 year old Paul Anthony Ciancia allegedly shot and killed TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez, a murderous act evidently prompted by anti-government rightwing political sentiments. Other TSA employees were wounded as well.

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Above: Paul Anthony Ciancia, the alleged LAX Shooter; TSA Agent Gerardo Hernandez who was slain by the LAX Shooter

Summary of and Link to a Southern Poverty Law Center Article on Paul Ciancia's Political Views



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The American Culture War: Illinois Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

November 20, 2013: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (Democrat) signed a bill into law legalizing same-sex marriage in the State of Illinois.

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Above: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn celebrates just after signing into law a marriage equality bill for the State of Illinois

Marriage Equality Enacted in Illinois




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The Bull Market of 2013: The DOW Closed Above 16,000

November 21, 2013: For the first time ever, the Dow-Jones Industrial Average closed above 16,000.

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Above: Board showing the closing of the DOW above 16,000

FedPrimeRate.com: Dow History

NPR: The DOW Closes Over 16,000 For the First Time



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The Premiere of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

November 22, 2013:

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Above: Movie poster for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

IMDB.com: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Release Dates



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Six Month Agreement Reached With Iran Over Nuclear Development

November 23-24, 2013:

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Above: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry





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Pope Francis issues Evangelii Gaudium

November 26, 2013: In a Papal treatise entitled Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis denounced unrestrained capitalism.

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Vatican Announcement of Evangelii Gaudium

Evangelii Gaudium by Pope Francis


"While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules."

----Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium



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Culture War: Rush Limbaugh Denounces the Economic Ideas of Pope Francis


November 27, 2013: On his radio program the day before Thanksgiving, rightwing radio talker Rush Limbaugh blasted the economic ideas in Evangelii Gaudium, the Apostolic Exhortation written by Pope Francis. Limbaugh described the economic positions of Pope Francis as "pure Marxism."

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Above: Pope Francis; Rush Limbaugh

Coverage of Rush Limbaugh's Labeling of Pope Francis' Economic Ideas as "Pure Marxism"

“This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope.” ---Rush Limbaugh, Radio Show, November 27, 2013






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Greatest college football ending ever? Auburn Wins the the 2013 Iron Bowl on the Final Play of the Game

November 30, 2013: In a wild and rare conclusion to a college football game, Auburn defeated top-ranked Alabama by returning a missed field goal, as time expired, 108 yards for the winning touchdown. With the game tied at 28-28, and with one second left on the clock, Alabama attempted a game-winning 56 yard field goal. The Bama field goal attempt was a bit short and slightly wide to the right. Auburn defensive back Chris Davis caught the errant kick and returned the ball 108 yards for the winning touchdown.

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Above: Auburn's Chris Davis goes 108 yards for the winning field goal against Alabama in the 2013 Iron Bowl


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Above: Auburn fans celebrate their team's 34 to 28 win over top-ranked Alabama; Chris Davis, who scored Auburn's winning touchdown, celebrates the victory over the Crimson Tide

NBC News: Coverage of the 2013 Iron Bowl

The Sporting News: Coverage of the 2013 Iron Bowl

Sports Illustrated Recap of the 2013 Iron Bowl

Below is a transcript (from the New York Post) of the Auburn radio announcers Rod Bramblett and Stan White describing Chis Davis' winning touchdown run:

"WHITE: I guess if this thing comes up short he can field it and run it out …
BRAMBLETT: All right, here we go … [57] yarder … it’s got, no, does NOT have the leg … and Chris Davis takes it in the back of the end zone … he’ll run it out to the 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, FORTY!
FORTY-FIVE! FIFTY! FORTY-FIVE! THERE GOES DAVIS!
WHITE: OH MY GOD!!
BRAMBLETT: DAVIS IS GONNA RUN IT ALL THE WAY BACK!!!
WHITE: OH MY GOD!!!!
BRAMBLETT: AUBURN IS GONNA WIN THE FOOTBALL GAME! AUBURN IS GONNA WIN THE FOOTBALL GAME!! HE RAN THE MISSED FIELD GOAL BACK! HE RAN IT BACK
109 YARDS! THEY’RE NOT GONNA KEEP ’EM OFF THE FIELD TONIGHT! HOLY COW!!!!!"

-----Rod Bramblett and Stan White, Auburn University Radio Broadcasters


New York Times Column: Auburn Defeated a "Machine"

Football Brings Both Fame and Disgrace to the State of Alabama




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Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013



December 5, 2013: At 95 years of age, South Africa's Nelson Mandela died. Nelson Mandela fought against the white-supremacist Apartheid regime in South Africa, ultimately 27 years of imprisonment at the hands of the white-controlled South African government. He was released in 1990. He became President of South Africa in 1994, serving one term in office.


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Above: Nelson Mandela---Revolutionary and Statesman; Nelson Mandela walking free in 1990

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Above:The New Yorker cover tribute to Nelson Mandela

The American Right and Nelson Mandela



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Auburn Knocks Off Missouri to Win the SEC Championship

December 7, 2013: In a high-scoring contest, Auburn defeated Missouri 59 to 42 in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta, Georgia. Auburn running back Tre Mason ran for 304 yards in a record-breaking performance.

Auburn's 2013 SEC title was its third in ten years, having also won the 2004 and 2010 conference championships. In 2010, Auburn also won the BCS national championship. In early January 2014, Auburn played Florida State for the BCS title, a game in which FSU won in the waning seconds.

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Above: Auburn's Tre Mason carries the ball agains Missouri

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Above: Auburn players celebrate their 2013 SEC Championship; Auburn's Tre Mason and Nick Marshall

New York Times: Auburn Wins the SEC Championship



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The Nelson Mandela Funeral: President Barack Obama Shakes Hands with Cuban President Raul Castro

December 10, 2013:

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AP:



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Pope Francis Named Time's "Person of the Year"

December 11, 2013: Time Magazine named Pope Francis as "Person of the Year" for 2013.


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Above: Pope Francis on the cover of Time.


Time: Pope Francis is the 2013 "Person of the Year"

Time: The Choice of Pope Francis as "Person of the Year" for 2013




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The People's Republic of China Lands an Unmanned Vehicle on the Moon


December 14, 2013: The People's Republic of China successfully landed an unmanned vehicle on the surface of the moon, an historic first for China's rising space program.

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Above: CCTV coverage of the launch of the Chinese Long March 3B rocket carrying Chang'e and Jade Rabbit (the major components of the lunar landing machinery) to the moon; Lunar surface photo taken by the Chinese lunar vehicle.

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Above: Chinese Moon Rover Jade Rabbit departs Moon Lander Chang'e 3 and rolls on the surface of the moon; China's Moon Rover the Jade Rabbit on Moon's surface on December 15, 2013. Note the flag of the People's Republic of China visible on the vehicle.

Varied Coverage of China's Unmanned Moon Landing

AP Article Covering China's Unmanned Lunar Landing




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American Culture War: Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson's Suspension by the A&E Network

December 18-19, 2013: In the wake of Phil Robertson's interview in GQ, an interview in which the Duck Dynasty paterfamilias made incendiary comments about gays, the A&E Network suspended him indefinitely. The suspension sparked an immediate backlash by Duck Dynasty supporters, and quickly became a cause celebre among conservative culture warriors.

Robertson also made controversial comments, in the same GQ interview, about the experiences of African-Americans under Jim Crow racial segregation. He claimed, in short, that the Blacks he observed--during the age of Jim Crow--were happy and content.


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Above: Phil Robertson, paterfamilias of the Duck Dynasty clan; The four major cast members of Duck Dynasty

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I'm with the blacks, because we're white trash. We're going across the field.... They're singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

---Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty, quoted in GQ


Coverage of the Phil Robertson Suspension

Charles M. Blow of the New York Times: Phil Robertson's Erroneous Views of Southern History and Race Relations

"Robertson’s comments conjure the insidious mythology of historical Southern fiction, that of contented slave and benevolent master, of the oppressed and the oppressors gleefully abiding the oppression, happily accepting their wildly variant social stations. This mythology posits that there were two waves of ruination for Southern culture, the Civil War and the civil rights movement, that made blacks get upset and things go downhill."
---Charles M. Blow, The New York Times


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The Saga of African-American SEC Quarterbacks: Cam Newton Leads the Carolina Panthers to an NFL Division Title

December 29, 2013: Former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton led the Carolina Panthers to a hard-fought 21 to 20 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, a win that sealed the 2013 NFC South Division title for Newton and the Panthers. Overall, the Carolina Panthers finished with a regular season record of 12 wins and 4 losses.

Cam Newton's 2013 NFL success was a milestone achievement for African-American quarterbacks in the NFL who played college football in the once-segregated Southeastern Conference (i.e. the SEC). Simply put, Cam Newton was the first African-American quarterback from the SEC to win a national championship, win the Heisman Trophy, and lead an NFL team to an NFL division title and a berth in the NFL playoffs.

In certain respects, Cam Newton epitomized the full integration of African-American athletes into the fabric of the preeminent player position of the South's signature sport. True, African-American football players had broken the color barrier in SEC schools over 40 years prior to Cam Newton's success at Auburn. But at the quarterback position, SEC integration was slower.

Tennessee's Condredge Holloway achieved great success for the Vols from 1972 to 1974. Over 20 years later, another African-American Tennessee quarterback--Tee Martin--led the Volunteers to a BCS National Championship. Chris Leaks, an African-American quarterback for the University of Florida, did the same for the Gators by leading UF to a BCS national title in the 2006 season.

As important as the respective successes of Holloway, Martin, and Leaks were in the larger saga of African-American quarterbacks in the SEC, NFL grandeur eluded all three. In 2013, however, Cam Newton expanded the parameters of the legacy of Black quarterbacks from the Southeastern Conference. The once all-white athletic conference, over 40 years after the SEC's integration, had now produced a signal-caller for the post-season playoffs in the highest level of American football.

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Above: Former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers scrambles against the Atlanta Falcons; Newton drops back to pass against the Falcons

Article on Newton and Carolina's Triumph



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U.S. Census Bureau Population Projections

December 30, 2013: The United States Census Bureau released estimates indicating that the U.S. population grew slowly from mid-2012 to mid-2013, a rate of increase of 0.72%, a rate on par with Depression-era numbers.

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Above: U.S. Commerce Department illustration showing the Census Bureau's estimate of the U.S. population for January 1, 2014


Census Estimates of State Populations, as of Mid-2013



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The Bull Market of 2013: The Dow Closed Out 2013 With a Record High of 16,576

December 31, 2013: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 16,576, a heretofore all-time high--and the 52nd high for 2013.

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Above: Graph of the DJIA in 2013; President Barack Obama

The Dow ended 2013 closing at 16576

"The bulls are ready to celebrate! Wall Street closed out a banner year Tuesday with more record closing highs.


The Dow Jones industrial average ended at an all-time high for the 52nd time this year. The S&P 500 also ended at a record high. The Nasdaq settled at its highest level in 13 years."

---CNN, December 31, 2013






2014
Chronicle of 2014