The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
Table of Contents     1980   1981   1982   1983   1985   1986   1987   1988   1989

1/1 -- The court-ordered reorganization of AT&T into seven independent regional telephone companies takes place.

1/3 -- Captured U.S. navy pilot Robert Goodman is released by Syria following a personal appeal by the Rev. Jesse Jackson to Syrian President al-Assad.

1/17 -- The U.S, Supreme Court rules 5-4 that it is legal to record television broadcasts with a videocassette recorder.

1/17 -- the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights votes to discontinue quotas, claiming such racial preferences are another form of discrimination.

1/19 -- The U.S. lifts economic sanctions which it had placed on Poland following the imposition of martial law in that country in December 1981.

1/25 -- Jesse Jackson hurts his chances of winning the Democratic presidential nomination by referring to New York City as "Hymietown" during a breakfast with a Washington Post reporter.

2/9 -- Soviet leader Yuri Andropov, 69, dies after 15 months as general secretary and is replaced by Konstantin Chernenko.

2/11 -- The 40-month old war between Iran and Iraq escalates as Iran launches a major offensive; 500,000 troops are engaged in battle.

3/13 -- After winning primaries in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, Democratic presidential contender Gary Hart wins six Super Tuesday contests.

3/20 -- A Soviet tanker hits mine off the coast of Nicaragua, and it is discovered that the CIA had assisted rebels in mining the country's harbors.

3/30 -- Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous premieres and becomes one of the most popular television programs of the decade.

4/1 -- Soul singer Marvin Gaye is shot to death during an altercation with his father.

5/1 -- President Reagan concludes a 6-day visit to China during which the two nations formalize agreements on cultural exchange and economic development.

5.10 -- The federal government promises $4.5 billion in loan guarantees after the biggest run on an American bank since the Great Depressions threatens to sink the Continental Illinois Bank. The Federal Deposit Insurance Co. will take 80% of the bank's stock and buy up $4.5 billion in bad loans.

6/18 -- Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA album reaches the Billboard Top Ten, where it will remain for 84 weeks.

6/30 -- After 16 years in office, Canada's Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau resigns.

7/5 -- India's Prime Minister Indira Gandhi sends in troops to oust Sikh extremists from the Golden Temple at Amritsar; between 600-1,200 people are slain in the takeover.

7/12 -- Democratic nominee for president Walter Mondale selects Geraldine Ferraro, New York representative, as his running mate. Ferraro becomes the first woman to be placed on a presidential ticket.

7/18 -- Oliver Huberty, an unemployed security guard, enters a McDonald's in San Ysidro, CA and opens fire with a rifle, shotgun and pistol, killing 20 and wounding 16 before he is killed by police sharpshooters.

7/23 -- Israel's parliamentary elections result in the Labor party, headed by Shimon Peres, winning 44 seats in the Knesset while Prime Minister's Yitzhak Shamir's Likud party wins 41 seats. The Knesset will vote September 14 for a coalition government in which Peres and then Shamir will serve as prime minister.

7/28 -- The Summer Olympics, boycotted by the Soviet Union, open in Los Angeles.

7/30 -- Prince's album Purple Rain becomes the number one album in the nation, and will continue to be for the next six months.

8/22 -- Ronald Reagan is nominated by Republicans at their convention in Dallas, Texas.

8/25 -- American literary great Truman Capote, author of In Cold Blood, is found dead in Los Angeles.

9/2 -- A typhoon packing winds of up to 137 mph sweeps over the southern Philippines, killing more than 1,300 people. It is called the worst storm of the century.

9/16 -- Miami Vice premieres on NBC.

9/20 -- The Cosby Show debuts on NBC.

10/2 -- Robert W. Miller becomes the first FBI agent in history to be charged with espionage; in 1986 he will be sentenced to two concurrent life sentences plus 50 years for spying for the Soviet Union. Three Soviet cosmonauts conclude a record 237-day stay in space.

10/12 -- IRA terrorists target British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher by planting a bomb in Brighton's Grand Hotel. Thatcher is unharmed, but five others are slain.

10/15 -- According to the Associated Press, Nicaraguan rebels possess a CIA-prepared manual on how to blackmail civilians and kidnap government officials.

10/26 -- A baboon's heart is transplanted into a 12-day-old infant named Baby Fae, who will survive for 20 days.

10/31 -- India's prime minister, Indira Gandhi, is assassinated by two Sikh bodyguards in retaliation for her decision to launch an assault on protesters who had barricaded themselves inside the Golden Temple, the holiest of Sikh shrines. The slain leader is succeeded by her son Rajiv.

11/6 -- Ronald Reagan, 73, is elected for a second term as president, defeating Democrat Walter Mondale with a record 525 electoral votes. Republicans lose two Senate seats and gain 14 in the House.

12/3 -- In Bhopal, India a gas leak at a Union Carbide plant kills over 3,000 people.

12/4 -- Attorney Brian Mulroney, 45, leads Canada's Progressive Conservatives to victory in parliamentary elections in which his party wins 211 of 282 House of Commons seats.

12/19 -- Great Britain guarantees the return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, when its 99-year lease on the territory expires.

12/20 -- Bell Laboratories announces the creation of a one-megabit random access memory chip able to store four times more information than anything previously available.

12/21 -- Three gunmen seize two Merrill Lynch Canada couriers in Montreal and make off with over $51 million in securities.

12/22 -- Bernhard Goetz, the "Subway Vigilante," shoots four black youths he claims accosted him on the New York subway.

This year...U.S., French and Italian peacekeeping forces leave Lebanon in the spring while Syrian forces continue to occupy the Bekaa Valley and the Israelis hold southern Lebanon.....Speedboats from a CIA vessel mine Nicaraguan harbors to prevent Cuban and Soviet arms shipments from entering that country; a Soviet freighter is damaged and the World Court denounces the action.....U.S. economic growth increases at a rate of 6.8%, the highest since 1951......The Soviet economy grows by 2.6%, the lowest rate since World War II.....The U.S. inflation rate of 3.7% is the lowest since 1967....The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development reports that as many as 300,000 Americans are homeless.....Red China and the Soviet Union sign a $1.2 billion trade agreement in February.....Standard Oil acquires Gulf Oil in a $13.3 billion merger and changes its name to Chevron.....The British government sells Jaguar Motors to private investors.....British Telecom shares go on sale as Britain privatizes its telephone service.....Japan also ends government ownership of telephone service.....The Los Angeles Olympic Games attracts 7,800 athletes from 140 nations even though 14 Soviet Bloc countries are boycotting the games; American athletes win 174 gold medals.....Trivial Pursuit enjoys sales of $777 million.....The average cost of a U.S. single-family home reaches six figures for the first time.....300,000 Ethiopians die as drought worsens the famine in sub-Saharan Africa.....The Reagan administration stops U.S. funding of international birth control programs.