The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
Table of Contents     1980   1981   1982   1983   1984   1985   1986   1988   1989
Gorbachev and Reagan sign the INF Treaty

1/13 -- The U.S. Supreme Court upholds a California law that requires employers to provide up to four months of unpaid leave to pregnant women.

1/29 -- The Tower Commission report says that members of the Reagan administration deceived Congress with regard to the Iran-Contra deals.

2/26 -- The Tower Commission issues its report on the role of the National Security Council in the secret sale of military equipment to Iran, and faults President Reagan for not being more informed about the NSC's activities.

3/4 -- In a nationally televised address, President Reagan accepts full responsibility for the Iran-Contra affair.

3/6 -- The English Channel ferry Herald of Free Enterprise departs from Zeebrugge, Belgium with its loading doors open and capsizes, killing 192.

3/19 -- Evangelist Jim Bakker resigns as head of the PTL Club following revelations of sexual encounters with church secretary Jessica Hahn.

3/20 -- The FDA approves AZT, a drug made by Burroughs Welcome and used for treating AIDS.

3/31 -- A New Jersey superior court judge hands down an historic ruling which awards custody of "Baby M" to the biological father instead of the surrogate mother.

4/12 -- Texaco makes the largest bankruptcy filing in history.

5/4 -- The U.S. Supreme Court rules that Rotary clubs must admit women.

5/7 -- Gary Hart suspends his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination following news stories that revealed his apparently adulterous association with model Donna Rice.

5/17 -- An Iraqi fighter plane fires two Exocet missiles into the USS Stark, on patrol in the Persian Gulf; 37 American seamen are killed.

6/11 -- British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is assured a third five-year term after the Conservatives win a comfortable majority of seats in the House of Commons.

6/16 -- Bernhard Goetz, the "Subway Vigilante," is acquitted on charges directly related to his shooting of four black youths in 1984; he is found guilty of carrying an unlicensed weapon and sentenced to six months in prison.

7/1 -- President Reagan nominates conservative jurist Robert Bork to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell. In October, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote 9 to 5 against the nominaton, and then the entire Senate will vote against it.

7/4 -- A French court finds Klaus Barbie, Gestapo chief in Lyons during World War II, guilty of war crimes and sentences him to life imprisonment.

7/7 -- Colonel Oliver North begins his week-long, nationally televised testimony before the congressional committee investigating the Iran-Contra affair.

8/1 -- Shiites c lash with other Muslims on a pilgrimage to Mecca; Saudi Arabian police open fire, and 400 people are killed.

8/16 -- A Northwest Airlines jetliner crashes on a Detroit boulevard; 153 people are killed.

8/24 -- Marine Sergeant Clayton Lonetree is convicting of spying for the Soviet Union while serving as a guard at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

8/25 -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches its high for the year at 2722.42.

9/16 -- Nations meeting in Montreal agree on steps to protect the environment, including a gradual ban on chlorofluorocarbons that deplete the ozone layer.

10/1 -- An earthquake registering 6.1 on the Richter scale strikes Los Angeles, killing 6.

10/3 -- President Reagan and Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney sign a free trade agreement.

10/13 -- Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez receives the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the violence in Central America.

10/19 -- The Dow Jones average plunges 508 points, the biggest one-day decline in history. NYSE volume exceeds 604 million shares. Stock portfolios lost an estimated $500 billion.

10/24 -- The AFL-CIO executive council votes to allow the Teamsters, expelled in 1957, to rejoin.

10/29 -- President Reagan nominates Douglas Ginsberg for the U.S. Supreme Court; less than two weeks later Ginsburg asks Reagan to withdraw the nomination after it is revealed that he smoked marijuana in the Sixties. Reagan then nominates Anthony Kennedy, who is approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

11/18 -- The congressional committee investigating Iran-Contra issues its final report, which places responsibility for the scandal on President Reagan.

11/21 -- About 1,000 Cubans held in a federal detention center in Louisiana riot when hews breaks that the U.S. and Cuba had reached an agreement on the return of some 2,600 Cubans who had arrived in the U.S. during the 1980 Mariel boatlift.

11/28 -- In Wappingers Fall, NY, Tawana Brawley claims six white men kidnapped and raped her. A grand jury investigations determines she manufactured the story in order to escape punishment for leaving home.

11/29 -- North Korean terrorists are responsible for an explosion that sends a Korean Air jetliner into the sea off Burma, killing all 115 aboard.

12/8 -- President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev sign the historic INF Treaty in Washington, D.C., which calls for the systematic destruction of existing intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

12/16 -- Former Reagan aide Michael Deaver is found guilty of three counts of perjury, committed during congressional hearings into charges that as a lobbyist Deaver used his White House influence in favor if his clients.

12/16 -- In Sicily, a Mafia trial ends with 338 of the 452 defendants sentenced to prison.

12/18 -- Convicted of insider trading, arbitrageur Ivan Boesky is sentenced to three years imprisonment and a $100 million fine.

12/20 -- A Filipino ferry collides with a tanker off Mindoro Island; at least 1,500 people perish.

12/31 -- Colombia releases Medellin cartel leader Jorge Luis Ochoa despite U.S. protests.

This year...In July, Oliver North testifies before a congressional committee, claiming his actions in the Iran-Contra dealings were approved by his superiors; National Security Council adviser Adm. John J. Poindexter claims he authorized the diversion of profits from the Iran arms sale to the Contras.....Red China accuses the Dalai Lama of stirring up unrest in Tibet, where demonstrations against Chinese rule occur.....Zulu Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, head of the 1.7 million-strong Inkatha, instigates a civil war against South Africa's African National Congress.....In December, unrest among Palestinians in the occupied territories leads to a widespread intifada during which 300 Arabs will be killed.....The U.S. trade deficit climbs to a record $16.5 billion in July.....Chrysler acquires American Motors for $1.2 billion..... U.S. spending on health care rises to $500 billion, up nearly 10% from 1986.....Political scientist Allan Bloom writes the controversial The Closing of the American Mind; Scott Turow's Presumed Innocent is published, as is Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities.....Environmentalists fear a "greenhouse effect" will result from the burning of 80,000 square miles of Amazon rainforest by Brazilian landowners.....U.S. microwave sales reach a record 12.6 million units.