Historical Political Events for November 4

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Year Event
1646 Massachusetts Bay Colony, having come to America for religious freedom, make heresy -- as they define it -- punishable by death {pdf}.
1939 The Neutrality Act of 1939 repeals the arms embargo (Neutrality Act of August 31, 1935) and authorizes 'cash and carry' exports of arms and munitions to belligerent powers. [which, of course, is the opposite of what the bill title suggests -- a lesson we all should learn in our study of congressional activities]
1979 The Iranian hostage crisis began as militants stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Although some of the hostages were freed several weeks later, for 52 others, it was the start of 444 days in captivity.
1992 "Runaway and Homeless Youth Act" {pdf} becomes law. This act, along with others of this ilk, with annual appropriations of a couple of $billion, provides income, resources, and offices for a horde of government and contractor employees and apparently causes little harm to the youth that have elected not to live with their parents.
1995 Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a Jewish right-wing extremist opposing the peace process. The assassination occurred at a peace rally in Tel-Aviv. Shimon Peres stepped in as the acting prime minister.
2004 Today's Example of a Most Interesting Government Purchase: HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced today that HHS has awarded a contract for $877,500,000 to VaxGen, Inc. to manufacture and deliver 75 million doses of a new anthrax vaccine. The full supply of the vaccine will be added to the Strategic National Stockpile and would be used to protect the public against a terrorist attack in which anthrax spores were released. [But don't get in a rush to get infected with anthrax -- this may take a long while and cost several more $billions!]
2008 Barack Obama Is Elected President: In an election that is historic on many levels, Democratic senator Barack Obama wins the presidential election against Sen. John McCain, taking 338 electoral votes to McCain's 161.
2008 Federal Reserve announces that it will purchase up to $100 billion in the direct obligations of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBs); it will purchase up to $500 billion in mortgage-backed securities from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae.
and . . .
Quote of
the Day
The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can "throw the rascals out" at any election without leading to any profound or extreme shifts in policy.
    — Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope
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