Government Shutdown Ends
After ginning up an unnecessary crisis that shuttered government, furloughed nearly 1 million workers and put the United State's full faith and credit in jeopardy, the Republican party blinked, passing a short-term budget extension and raising the debt ceiling in exchange for, well, nothing.
U.S. Greenhouse Emissions Sink
The shift to natural gas instead of coal to power plants has driven America's greenhouse emissions to an 18-year low – and now 12 percent below the peak year of 2007.
Record 58 Percent Favor Legal Pot
The surge in support for regulated cannabis continued as nearly six in 10 Americans backed legal weed in an October Gallup poll.
Court Approves Same-Sex Marriage in New Jersey
Rebuffing marriage equality opponent Governor Chris Christie, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the state must extend marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In one of his final days as Newark Mayor, Senator-Elect Cory Booker presided over many of the state's first gay weddings.
Federal Deficit Plummets
A combination of higher tax revenues, a rebounding economy and GOP-enforced austerity measures slashed the federal deficit by more than one-third – a decrease of $409 billion from 2012. The deficit now stands at 4.1 percent of GDP, or less than the average under President Reagan.
Gay Marriage Performed Inside Supreme Court
One-upping the liberal Justice Ginsburg, retired Reagan appointee Sandra Day O'Connor officiated a same-sex marriage inside the Supreme Court itself. "It was everything you'd expect it to be: elegant, charming, very moving," one of the newlyweds said. "She really was wonderful."
California Expands Abortion Access
Countering the national trend, California stepped up to expand abortion access, with a new law allowing midwives, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to perform low-risk, first-trimester procedures.