As always, Alex Shrugged's opinions are his own. Other people's work are their own. I include them here for the sake of completeness and to provide a second method of access to the material for the TSP history segment.
* The Battle for Fallujah and the Start of ISIS -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged
* NATO expands to Russia's borders -- Contributed by Southpaw Ben
* Spirit and Opportunity Land on Mars -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged
* Notable Births -- See below.
* This Year in Film -- See below.
* This Year in Music -- See below.
* In Other News -- See below.
The Battle for Fallujah and the Start of ISISContributed by Alex Shrugged
Chris Kyle, the American Sniper, has been pulled from his SEALs unit to help out a new Polish anti-terrorist unit, the GROM. (GROM is an acronym that spells out "thunder" in Polish). They need a guide in Iraq that knows the needs of a special forces unit. Their mission is to find insurgents in Iraq. Yes, insurgents exist despite the best efforts to win their "hearts and minds". (Maybe midnight basketball would work!) The Fedayeen are Saddam Hussein supporters. The Shi'a radicals are trying to start a civil war, and the Sunni radicals in Fallujah are trying to do the same thing (along with Chechen rebels, believe it or not). Several Blackwater contractors have been burned to death, dragged through the streets and hung from a bridge in Fallujah. Another contractor has been decapitated by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (AH-boo moo-SOB awl zar-COW-we). His organization is called Monotheism and Jihad, but soon it is known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq. In a few years this organization will be called ISIS. Zarqawi's goals are somewhat different from Al-Qaeda. He hates Shi'a Muslims with a passion whereas Al-Qaeda is more easy-going. (Did I just say that?) He comes from a town in Jordon largely populated by Chechen refugees which may explain why there are so many Chechens in Fallujah now. US forces tried to take control of the city, but it became politically incorrect, so they let the new Iraqi government handle it. That was a mistake. Now it's time for round 2. A lot of people are going to die.        
NATO expands to Russia's bordersContributed by Southpaw Ben
On March 29, NATO made it's largest expansion ever, when it admitted Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. This expansion has caused relations with Russia to worsen, as they felt that the US had promised not to expand NATO following the fall of the USSR.
Spirit and Opportunity Land on MarsContributed by Alex Shrugged
With so many past failures on Mars missions, and budget cuts on the way, NASA wanted to make sure that this next mission was a winner. They had already sent a smaller rover, Pathfinder, on a very limited mission. Instead of using rockets to land the spacecraft they used airbags and bounced their way to a landing on Mars. Now NASA wants a larger mission with a bigger rover, but the extra weight means larger, tougher airbags for the bounce. The airbags might even burst. After a lot of worrying, they decide to send two rovers on separate flights, Spirit and Opportunity. In this way at least one of them will make it... probably. NASA hits the jackpot. On January 4th, Spirit lands on Mars in what appears to be a dry lake bed. It's 90 sol mission (that is, 90 Mars days) is to determine whether water once flowed across Mars. (It did.) A few weeks later Opportunity comes bouncing across Mars. By pure luck, it lands inside an impact crater. It has a similar 90 sol mission. Even though these missions have a set time for completion, they usually last much longer. In this case a LOT longer. Spirit will continue for the next 7 Earth years. Some time in the middle of that the rover will get caught in soft sand. It will continue it's mission but remain immobile. Opportunity's mission will continue for at least 13 more years. As of this writing it is still going. It is a rolling testament to good engineering.     
- Ronald Reagan (age 93, pneumonia): President of the United States. Headstone inscription: "I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph and that there is purpose and worth to each and every life." 
- Theo van Gogh (age 47, assassination): Film-maker and anti-Islamist columnist especially after 9-11. (He made a film entitled "Submission" revealing Islamic violence against women.--alexshrugged) 
- Rodney Dangerfield (age 82, complications after surgery): Comedian. Headstone inscription: "There goes the neighborhood." 
This Year in Film
- Shrek 2: The largest grossing animated film to date, but Shrek 3 will beat it. 
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban! 
- The Passion of the Christ: The final 12 hours of the life of Jesus. (A powerful film.--alexshrugged) 
- And...: The Incredibles, National Treasure, and Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. 
This Year in TV
- Janet Jackson has a wardrobe malfunction during the Superbowl halftime show: Aside from Jackson's partial nudity, Justin Timberlake sang "I'm gonna have you naked by the end of this song." (The FCC fined CBS $550,000, but the fine was overturned on appeal.) 
- The Apprentice (You're Fired!): Donald Trump assigns business tasks to contestants for the ultimate job interview as his new apprentice. 
- Extreme Makeover: Home Edition: Rebuilding the homes of people in need. 
This Year in MusicFYI, at this point in my life I am mostly listening to talk radio, so if you see something here, that makes no sense... well... fix it.--alexshrugged
This Year in Video GamesFYI, at this point in my life I am well past video games, so if you see something that makes no sense... well... fix it.--alexshrugged
- Half-Life 2: Last year the source code was stolen, so release was delayed until now. 
- Halo 2: The sequel to "Halo: Combat Evolved" which is also selling well this year. 
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: The highest selling game for the PlayStation 2 to date.