Top 10 News Stories of 2009

Here are my (highly partisan) picks for the top news stories of 2009.  If you have other suggestions, let me know.
  1. Barack Obama Inauguration.  Barack Obama sworn in as the coutry's 44th president, in an inauguration ceremony watched by the world.  Immediately appoints his primary rival, Hilary Clinton, to be the country's new Secretary of State.
  2. Economic crisis/recession.  Jobless rate continued to hover at 10%.  Many Americans forced to abandon their homes to foreclosure as rash loans made during the housing boom came back to haunt them.  Obama passed massive federal stimulus/bailout program to create jobs and keep big businesses (especially banks, brokerages and automobile manufacturers) from declaring bankruptcy and plunging the country into fiscal chaos.  "Cash for clunkers" programs launched to stimulate the purchase of U.S. cars.  Widespread outrage as AIG executives collected big cash bonuses anyway.
  3. Health care reform. In one of the most uncivilized examples of civil discourse ever, Obama tried to coax Americans and Republicans alike to embrace universal health care.  The debate was punctuated by angry town hall meetings, ignorance ("Keep your government hands off my Medicare!"), misinformation ("'Death panels' will decide who lives and dies!"), partisan politics (during a Presidential address to the joint houses of Congress, one congressman actually shouted "You lie!"), and lots of lobbying by pharmaceutical firms ... but at this time it appears that at least some form of reform will pass.
  4. Swine flu (a.k.a. H1N1).  After some initial panic (including school closings all over the U.S.), researchers finally gathered enough data to conclude that H1N1 was not actually that much more deadly then seasonal flu, allowing folks to relax (and schools to significantly loosen their criteria for quarantine). Eventually a vaccine was produced, but not until many folks contracted - and mostly survived - this new strain of flu.
  5. Supreme Court appointment.  Sonia Sotomayor confirmed as first Hispanic and 3rd female justice in Supreme Court history. 'Bout time.
  6. Iraq/Afghanistan.  As the conflict in Iraq gradually began to calm down, violence in Afghanistan continued to escalate, finally convincing Obama of the necessity of sending in 30K additional troops ... though he did  promise that he would be able to begin withdrawing them in July 2011.
  7. Large Hadron Collider Goes Online. The Large Hadron Collider was fired up and did not, as some had feared, cause a rupture in the space-time continuum.
  8. EU Elects a President.  Europe chose its first president, Belgian Premier Herman Van Rompuy. Although he's a minor figure on the world stage, the very idea of a "president of Europe" was a milestone. Europe also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall - the event that signified the end of the Cold War and made it possible for the European Union to swell to 27 member states by taking in 10 former communist countries.
  9. Anti-Governmetn Protests in Iran.  In Iran, sweeping anti-government protests received international coverage but were eventually suppressed by the country's military police.
  10. Drug War in Mexico.  In Mexico, the government continued to fight an increasingly bloody war against the big drug cartels. Murders, kidnappings, and other atrocities became daily occurrences in some regions of the country, such as the town of Juarex on the Texas border.

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