What happened during the last 25 years? Here are some topic suggestions, but you are not limited to these.
1994: 1. Lorena Bobbitt found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity for cutting off her husband’s penis; 2. Friends of Tonya Harding hammer Nancy Kerrigan’s knee in an attempt to disable her for the Olympic figure skating competition 3. Amazon.com is founded by a young entrepreneur named Jeff Bezos and Wordsmith.org by Anu Garg. 4. Nelson Mandela is elected President of South Africa. 5. Channel Tunnel opens connecting the UK with the European mainland. 6. Forrest Gump wins best picture and the lead character becomes a cultural icon. 7. Friends premiers on NBC.
1995: 1. O.J. Simpson trial; 2. First known act of extramarital oral sex in the Oval Office, administered by Monica Lewinsky to President Bill Clinton.
1996: 1. “Tickle Me Elmo” mania hits retail stores at Christmastime; 2. Unabomber Ted Kaczynski captured.
1997: 1. Tiger Woods becomes youngest ever Masters champion at 21; 2. Garry Kasparov loses chess tournament to IBM’s Big Blue computer; 3. Pathfinder is first rover to land on Mars; 4. Mike Tyson bites off Evander Holyfield’s ear during heavyweight boxing match; 5. Scientists unveil Dolly, the cloned sheep; 6. First Harry Potter book is published 7. Founding of Netflix.
1998: 1. Mark McGwire shatters Roger Maris’s single-season home run record of 61 with 70, is later found to have been on steroids; 2. Cal Ripken’s record streak of 2,632 consecutive major league baseball games played comes to an end after having broken Lou Gehrig’s previous record of 2,130 games; 3. Bill Clinton is impeached over Monica Lewinsky affair; 4. John Glenn returns to space at age 77; 5. Sex and the City debuts, a pioneer in television’s upcoming new age of TV series outside the major networks and less constrained by traditional censorship standards. 6. The term “dark energy” is coined to describe the mysterious force behind the accelerating expansion of the universe.
1999: 1. Britney Spears tops the charts with “Baby One More Time” at age 17; 2. Lance Armstrong wins his first of seven consecutive Tour de France races, is later found to have been on performance-enhancing drugs; 3. Vladimir Putin comes to power in Russia and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela 4. Y2K fear grips the world as software engineers race to avert disaster.
2000: 1. Bush vs. Gore contested election decided by only a few hundred votes in Florida with a recount of questioned paper ballots halted by the US Supreme Court, to which Bush’s father had appointed the deciding justices. 2. Dot com bubble bursts 3. Human genome is sequenced.
2001: 1. 9/11 and subsequent US invasion of Afghanistan; 2. Enron scandal and bankruptcy.
2002: Scandal breaks involving Catholic church cover-up of sex abuse by Boston area priests; resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law.
2003: Invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
2004: 1. Massachusetts becomes first state to legalize gay marriage 2. Abuses at Abu Ghraib prison revealed 3. George W. Bush wins re-election, defeating John Kerry. 4. The Boston Red Sox “reverse the curse”, winning the World Series for the first time in 86 years since selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees. 5. Founding of Facebook.
2005: 1. The IRA renounces violence; 2. Angela Merkel is elected the first female chancellor of Germany.
2006: Russian dissident and former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko poisoned with radioactive polonium in London.
2007: 1. Former PM Benazir Bhutto assassinated after returning to Pakistan from exile; 2. Nancy Pelosi becomes first female Speaker of the House; 3. Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby, is convicted of lying to the FBI in connection with his leak of the name of a covert CIA agent, Valerie Plame, to the FBI in retribution for a critical Op-Ed by her husband. 4. First iPhone.
2008: 1. Financial meltdown; 2. Obama elected President. 3. Michael Phelps wins a record eight gold medals in swimming at the Olympic Games in Beijing. 4. Creation of Bitcoin.
2009: 1. Captain “Sully” Sullenberger safely ditches a crippled airliner carrying 155 people into the Hudson River after a flock of geese get sucked into the engines following takeoff from LaGuardia. 2. Bernard Madoff pleads guilty to charges of perpetrating a giant Ponzi scheme costing investors tens of billions of dollars. 3. Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois is indicted for attempting to sell a vacant Senate seat to which he has the right to appoint someone. 4. President Obama signs a $787 billion stimulus package to combat the worst financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression. 5. An Al Qaeda operative on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit unsuccessfully attempts to detonate a non-metallic explosive device hidden in his underwear.
2010: 1. Obamacare becomes law. 2. An explosion aboard a BP oil rig kills 11 workers and spills 5 million barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico over 86 days before the gushing well is finally capped. 3. Juian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, is arrested in England on a Swedish sexual assault warrant, later seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy while out on bail. 4. Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is released from house arrest after 20 years, going on to become Prime Minister. 5. The Supreme Court rules in the Citizens United case that corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns.
2011: 1. a Navy SEAL team kills Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. 2. Kate Middleton marries Prince William. 3. European countries such as Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Spain teeter on the brink of default during the European debt crisis. 4. The Arab Spring erupts in the Middle East; Muammar Gaddafi ousted in Libya 5. US ends Space Shuttle program.
2012: 1. 14-year-old Pakistani women’s education activist Malala Yousafzai is shot in the head. She survives to win the Nobel Peace Prize and attend Oxford University. 2. President Obama wins reelection over Mitt Romney. 3. Terrorist attack on US consulate in Benghazi results in death of US ambassador and three others; Republicans begin two-year investigation into Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s role. 4. Discovery of the Higgs boson at the CERN particle accelerator in Switzerland.
2013: 1. Edward Snowden flees espionage charges in the US and is granted asylum in Russia. 2. The United Nations issues a comprehensive report on climate change determining that the Earth is warming and that human activity is the cause.
2014: 1. Russia invades eastern Ukraine and annexes the Crimea. 2. ISIS takes control of Mosul and other areas in Iraq and Syria. The US begins airstrikes. 3. Racial violence erupts in Ferguson, MO after a police shooting.
2015: 1. Iran signs nuclear non-proliferation agreement with the U.S and other major powers in return for relief from economic sanctions. 2. Paris climate Accord adopted by 195 nations. 3. Hillary Clinton erases some personal emails. 4. Donald Trump announces his candidacy for President, calling for a ban against all Muslims entering the United States and for a 2,000 mile war on our southern border to keep out the “rapists” being “sent” by Mexico. 5. Hamilton opens on Broadway and becomes a global phenomenon. 6. NASA announces the discovery of liquid water on Mars 7. Former Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn Jenner, comes out as transgender.
2016: 1. Discovery of gravitational waves fulfills key Einstein prediction. 2. Republicans refuse to even hold hearings on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee with 11 months left in his term. 3. The Chicago Cubs win the World Series for the first time in 108 years. 4. Candidate Trump’s son, son-in-law, and campaign manager meet in Trump Tower with Russian operatives to discuss “dirt” the Russians have offered on Hillary Clinton and economic sanctions the U.S has imposed leading to suspension by Russia of American adoptions of orphaned and abandoned Russian infants; 5. Candidate Trump publicly calls upon Russia to hack and release her emails. 6. Russia hacks and releases Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign emails and mounts a secret cyber campaign in favor of Donald Trump. 7. Donald Trump is elected President.
2017: 1. A white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA results in the vehicular homicide of a peaceful counter protester. President Trump says “There were very fine people on both sides.” 2. President Trump fires FBI Director James Comey over Russia investigation. Special Counsel’s Robert Mueller appointed. 3. President Trump announces pullout from Paris climate accord.
2018: 1. President Trump announces pullout from Iran nuclear accord. 2. Brett Kavanaugh, Trump nominee for the Supreme Court, declares repeatedly during his confirmation hearings that he likes beer. 3.The Democrats win back the House of Representatives. 4. President Trump shuts down the government to get his way on border wall funding.
2019: Government shutdown ends without significant wall funding. President Trump declares national emergency to build it anyway using executive powers in defiance of the lack of congressional appropriation. Court challenges ensue.