The Late Movies: 20 Years of Presidential Victory and Concession Speeches

Last night, Americans watched as Barack Obama won his second term as president. Watching that speech, I was reminded that we see both victory speeches and concession speeches every four years. And, you guessed it, YouTube has lots of them. Tonight, let's go back twenty years to Bill Clinton's first (surprisingly brief!) acceptance speech, then roll through all the rest.

Clinton - 1992

Live from Little Rock. Everyone looks so young here, especially Al Gore. My favorite part? The crowd's chants of "Hillary" around the five-minute mark. Also interesting: George H.W. Bush's concession (starts in the middle of the clip).

Clinton - 1996

Again from Little Rock. After a lengthy speech from Gore, Clinton is only introduced at the very end of this clip; if you want to see Clinton's speech without the Gore context, check the next two segments. Overall, Clinton's speech is vastly longer and more detailed than his 1992 address. He repeatedly hammers on central themes including faith, the economy, education, and the environment. See also: Dole's concession.

The second section is below. An applause break for Bob Dole happens around the nine-minute mark, and a shout-out to Jack Kemp. Close to the end of this clip: "We have work to do to give all of our children the gift of an education. To make sure every eight-year-old can read, every twelve-year-old can log on to the Internet, and yes, every single eighteen-year-old in this country willing to work for it can have a college education." I am glad to know that getting net access for tweens was such a high presidential priority!

And here's the conclusion:

Bush - 2000

As we all remember, the 2000 election involved a lengthy recount in Florida, so there were no traditional victory or concession speeches on election night. 36 days later, Al Gore conceded, then an hour later, Bush declared victory in Austin, Texas:

Bush - 2004

Cheney does a nice introduction, then Bush hams it up a bit: "Laura's the love of my life. [Crowd hoots and cheers.] Well, I'm glad you love her too!" Also: Kerry's concession.

Obama - 2008

This was the most emotional one for me, and apparently for all the people in the crowd. This still makes me tear up, especially the shots of the hopeful onlookers. Seeing Jesse Jackson cry is particularly powerful. Also: McCain's concession.

Obama - 2012

Any candidate playing Stevie Wonder as intro music gets my vote. Note: there's somebody in the crowd taking pictures with an iPad like a dork. Sign of the times, I guess. Also: Romney's concession. Another interesting tidbit is Romney's 2008 Republican primary concession in which he says that universal private health care is his first priority.

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Employees at Antarctica's McMurdo Station Are Throwing a Party for Pride Month
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Employees at Antarctica's McMurdo Station are gearing up to celebrate Pride month in one of the world's harshest environments. On Saturday, June 9, the station will host what Hannah Valian, who deals with the center's recycling efforts, calls "one of the larger parties ever thrown" at the station.

McMurdo Station is an Antarctic research facility owned and operated by the United States. The station is more sparsely populated during Antarctica's colder autumn and winter seasons (which run from March to September), but employees tell us there's still a decent-sized LGBTQ scene to celebrate this June.

About 10 of the 133 people currently at McMurdo identify as LGBTQ, says Rachel Bowens-Rubin, a station laboratory assistant. Valian said the idea for a Pride celebration came up in May at one of the station's regular LGBTQ socials.

"Everyone got really excited about it," she tells Mental Floss via email. "So we ran with it."

Ten individuals are wearing coats while holding a rainbow-colored Pride flag. They are standing in snow with mountains in the distance.
"I hope when people see this photo they'll be reminded that LGBTQ people aren't limited to a place, a culture, or a climate," McMurdo's Evan Townsend tells Mental Floss. "We are important and valuable members of every community, even at the bottom of the world."
Courtesy of Shawn Waldron

Despite reports that this is the continent's first Pride party, none of the event's organizers are convinced this is the first Pride celebration Antarctica has seen. Sous chef Zach Morgan tells us he's been attending LGBTQ socials at McMurdo since 2009.

"The notion is certainly not new here," he says.

To Evan Townsend, a steward at the station, this weekend's Pride event is less a milestone and more a reflection of the history of queer acceptance in Antarctica.

"If anything," Townsend says, "recognition belongs to those who came to Antarctica as open members of the LGBTQ community during much less welcoming times in the recent past."

This week, though, McMurdo's employees only had positive things to say about the station's acceptance of LGBTQ people.

"I have always felt like a valued member of the community here," Morgan tells us in an email. "Most people I've met here have been open and supportive. I've never felt the need to hide myself here, and that's one of the reasons I love working here."

Saturday's celebration will feature a dance floor, photo booth, lip sync battles, live music, and a short skit explaining the history of Pride, Valian says.

"At the very least, I hope the attention our Pride celebration has garnered has inspired someone to go out and explore the world, even if they might feel different or afraid they might not fit in," Morgan says. "'Cause even on the most inhospitable place on Earth, there's still people who will love and respect you no matter who you are."

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New Nap Pods—Complete with Alarm Clocks and Netflix—Set for A Trial Run at Airports This Summer
Courtesy of Airpod
Courtesy of Airpod

Sleepy travelers in Europe can soon be on the lookout for Airpods, self-contained capsules designed to help passengers relax in privacy.

For 15 euros per hour (roughly $18), travelers can charge their phones, store their luggage, and, yes, nap on a chair that reclines into a bed. The Airpods are also equipped with television screens and free streaming on Netflix, Travel + Leisure reports.

To keep things clean between uses, each Airpod uses LED lights to disinfect the space and a scent machine to manage any unfortunate odors.

The company's two Slovenian founders, Mihael Meolic and Grega Mrgole, expect to conduct a trial run of the service by placing 10 pods in EU airports late this summer. By early 2019, they expect to have 100 Airpods installed in airports around the world, though the company hasn't yet announced which EU airports will receive the first Airpods.

The company eventually plans to introduce an element of cryptocurrency to its service. Once 1000 Airpods are installed (which the company expects to happen by late 2019), customers can opt in to a "Partnership Program." With this program, participants can become sponsors of one specific Airpod unit and earn up to 80 percent of the profits it generates each month. The company's cryptocurrency—called an APOD token—is already on sale through the Airpod website.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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