Ronald Reagan Centennial- Air Traffic Controllers’ Strike

It was in recongition of this that the Congress passed a law forbidding strikes by government employees against the public safety. Let me read the solemn oath taken by each of these employees, a sworn affidavit, when they accepted their jobs: “I am not participating in any strike against the Government of the United States or any agency thereof, and I will not so participate while an employee of the Government of the United States or any agency thereof.”

It is for this reason that I must tell those who fail to report for duty this morning they are in violation of the law, and if they do not report for work within 48 hours, they have forfeited their jobs and will be terminated.

Ronald Reagan’s first year as president continued to be eventful. On August 3, 1981, federal air traffic controllers went on strike. They were seeking better working conditions, better pay and a 32-hour workweek. However, by the union declaring a strike, they were violating a law that banned strikes by government unions. Ronald Reagan declared the PATCO strike a “peril to national safety” and ordered them back to work under the terms of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947. Only 1,300 of the nearly 13,000 controllers returned to work. Reagan held a press conference in the White House Rose Garden, where he stated that if the air traffic controllers “do not report for work within 48 hours, they have forfeited their jobs and will be terminated.”

Even though members of President Reagan’s cabinet were worried about political backlash, Reagan fired 11,345 striking air traffic controllers who had ignored his order to return to work, busting the PATCO union. He banned them from federal service for life. According to Charles Craver, a labor law professor at George Washington University Law School, the move gave Americans a new view of Reagan, who “sent a message to the private employer community that it would be all right to go up against the unions”.

The FAA then had to hire and train enough air traffic controllers to replace those that had been fired. This was challenging because it normally took 3 years to train a new controller. The fired controllers were initially replaced with nonparticipating controllers, supervisors, staff personnel, some nonrated personnel, and in some cases by controllers transferred temporarily from other facilities. Some military controllers were also used until replacements could be trained. The FAA had initially claimed that staffing levels would be restored within two years; however, it would take closer to ten years before the overall staffing levels returned to normal. PATCO was decertified on October 22, 1981. Some former striking controllers were allowed to reapply after 1986 and were rehired; they and their replacements are now represented by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, which was organized in 1987 and had no connection with PATCO.

The lifetime ban that President Reagan placed on the striking air traffic controllers was rescinded by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

Here are Ronald Reagan’s Remarks and Question and Answer Session held on August 3, 1981.

Daily Trivia – 2/28/11

Question: What brand of sneakers did Run_DMC wear in the music video for “It’s Tricky”?

Last Question: What game show featuring “physical challenges” debuted on Nickelodeon in 1986?

Answer: Double Dare

Double Dare, the children’s game show that aired on Nickelodeon, was hosted by Marc Summers. Two teams of two kids each competed for cash and prizes. Summers typically explained the rules of the game as follows:

“I’m going to ask you a question, and if you don’t know the answer, or think the other team hasn’t got a clue, you can dare them to answer it for double the dollars. But be careful, because they can always double dare you back for four times the amount, and then you’ll either have to answer the question or take the physical challenge.”

The team with the highest score at the end of round two went on to the final challenge of the game, the obstacle course. Regardless of the outcome, both teams kept the money they had obtained, with $100 as the house minimum.

There were also spinoffs of the show, such as Super Sloppy Double Dare, and Family Double Dare. Double Dare ended its run in 1993.

Here is the Double Dare obstacle course:

And here is a physical Challenge from Family Double Dare:

Music Video of the Week – George Harrison

This week’s selection is in honor of what would be George Harrison’s 68th birthday – “Got My Mind Set on You”:

This 1987 song was a number 1 hit for Harrison. Not only was this the last US number one hit by Harrison, but of any from the other Ex-Beatles in the US.

Sadly, George Harrison died of cancer on November 29, 2001.

Daily Trivia – 2/25/11

Question: What game show featuring “physical challenges” debuted on Nickelodeon in 1986?

Last Question: What Don Johnson song reached #5 on the charts?

Answer: “Heartbeat”

“Heartbeat” was released by the Miami Vice star in 1986. It became an international hit, peaking at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100, and charting highly in many European countries. It was also ranked at #90 on the list of the 100 Worst Songs Ever by Matthew Wilkening of AOL Radio, who commented, “Fame must have messed with [Johnson’s] head, because Ol’ Crockett really thought he could pull this off.”

Daily Trivia – 2/24/11

Question: What Don Johnson song reached #5 on the charts?

Last Question: In Can’t Buy Me Love, what were “Ronald” and “Cindy” riding on as the closing credits role?

Answer: A lawn mower

Can’t Buy Me Love starred pre-McDreamy Patrick Dempsey as Ronald, and Amanda Peterson as Cindy. We all know that Patrick Dempsey has had a very successful career, and continues to have one. Amanda Peterson went on to make a couple of other movies that weren’t too successful. She stopped acting after 1995’s Windrunner.

Here is the movie trailer for Can’t Buy Me Love:

Daily Trivia – 2/23/11

Question: In Can’t Buy Me Love, what were “Ronald” and “Cindy” riding on as the closing credits role?

Last Question: What caped African-American superhero regularly appeared on Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids?

Answer: The Brown Hornet

The Brown Hornet was a show-within-a-show on Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. The Brown Hornet appeared on the show from 1979-1984. It was Fat Albert and the gang’s favorite show. Whenever it was coming on, they would drop whatever they were doing, and go racing to the TV. The show was about a confident and daring, space-age African-American superhero who patrolled intergalactic space with his trusty assistant Stinger and robotic sidekick Tweeterbell, to search out and fight evildoers. Episodes ended with Brown Hornet facing some perilous cliffhanger he would be forced to overcome at the beginning of the next episode (which normally took him about two seconds). The Brown Hornet would always solve a dilemma that Fat Albert and the gang were going through. They would have to solve their dilemma in the same type of way.

“The Disgusting Professor Scribbler”

“Space Racket”

MIRACLE!! *Repost*

“Eleven seconds, you’ve got ten seconds, the countdown going on right now! Morrow, up to Silk. Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles? YES!”

That was Al Michaels making one of the most famous calls in the history of sports for the greatest upset victory in the history of sports 31 years ago today, as the United States defeated the Soviet Union in the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York.

The Soviet Union team was considered to be the best hockey team in the world. They had won every gold medal in hockey since 1956 with the exception of one year. That one year was in 1960 which the United States won. Ironically, Herb Brooks, the 1980 U.S. Hockey coach, was the last player cut from that 1960 team. Brooks sat at home with his father as that team won the gold. That night, his father said to him that it “looks like Coach Riley cut the right guy”. Herb Brooks was already a self-driven person, but this served as further motivation.

Today the Olympic hockey teams are allowed to be professional players, but in 1980, the Olympians needed to be amateurs. Although the Soviets were classed as amateurs, they were given fake jobs provided by their government which allowed them to play professionally in a well-developed league with world class training facilities. They had some of the best players in the world on their team.

Meanwhile, Herb Brooks conducted tryouts in the summer of 1979. 9 players from the University of Minnesota (of which Herb Brooks was the coach) made the team as well as 4 players from rival college team Boston University. Since most of the players were rivals, they did not get along at first. But Brooks gave them a common enemy – himself – to make them get along and play as a team. Anybody who has gone through boot camp/basic training in the military can understand this pshychology. He was very hard on the players, and showed no mercy. It obviously worked.

During exhibition play leading up to the Olympics, the Soviet team went 5-3-1 against NHL teams. A year earlier, the Soviet team beat the NHL All-Stars 6-0. The last exhibition game before the Olympics, the Soviets destroyed the U.S. Olympic team 10-3. This may have been a blessing in disguise as it may have contributed to the Soviets underestimating the U.S. team 2 weeks later.

In the first game of the tournament, the U.S. tied a favored Sweden team 2-2. The U.S. actually tied Sweden with 27 seconds left in the game when they pulled goalie Jim Craig for an extra attacker. The tie was followed by a great 7-3 win over Czechoslovakia, which was considered to be the second best team after the Soviets. They then went on to win three more games in a row – Norway 5-1, Romania 7-2, and West Germany 4-2 to go 4-0-1 and advance to the medal round along with Sweden.

In the other bracket, the Soviets ran through their competition: Japan 16-0, the Netherlands 17-4, Poland 8-1, Finland 4-2, and Canada 6-4. They advanced to the medal round along with Finland.

The game between the U.S. and Soviets was scheduled for 5:00 PM on February 22. The U.S. tried to get it scheduled for 8:00 PM for American television. But, the Soviets refused as this would have been a 4:00 AM start for Russian viewers. ABC decided to broadcast the game on tape delay for prime time.

Before the game, Herb Brooks prepared the following statement for his players readit to them:
“You were born to be a player. You were meant to be here. This moment is yours.”

The Soviets scored first when Vladimir Krutov deflected a slap shot by Aleksei Kasatonov past Jim Craig. Then Buzz Schneider scored for the U.S. to tie the game. But, the Soviets jumped back in front with a goal by Sergei Makarov. Then goalie Jim Craig had the game of his life. He stopped many Soviet shots before the U.S. had another shot on goal. Towards the end of the first period, Dave Christian fired a slap shot on goal from 100 feet away. The Soviet goalie saved the shot but misplayed the rebound, which bounced out about 20 feet in front of him. The Russian defensemen, Pervukhin and Bilyaletdinov, quit playing and watched the clock tick off the last few seconds. Tretiak started to move out of goal. Mark Johnson sliced between the two defensemen, found the loose puck and fired it past a diving
Tretiak to tie the score with one second left in the period. The Soviet team played the final second of the period with just three players on the ice, as the rest of the team had gone to their locker room for the first intermission. The first period ended with the game tied 2-2.

The Soviet coach, Viktor Tikhonov, replaced Tretiak with backup goaltender Vladimir Myshkin to begin the second period, which shocked players on both teams. Tikhonov later called the decision “the biggest mistake of my career”. The Soviets dominated the period, and outshot the U.S. 12-2, but were only able to score once – on a power play. The Soviets led at the end of the second period 3-2.

In the third period, the U.S. tied the game just as a power play was ending. Later, Mark Pavelich passed to US captain Mike Eruzione, who was left undefended in the high slot. Eruzione, who had just come into the game, fired a shot past Myshkin, who was screened by Pervukhin. This goal gave the US a 4 3 lead, its first of the game, with exactly 10 minutes left.

With time winding down, the Soviets attacked relentlessly. There was even a shot that went off the goal post. As the minutes wound down, Brooks kept repeating “Play your game. Play your game.” Instead of playing defensively, the U.S. continued to play offense, and even took a few more shots on goal. With 33 seconds left, Jim Craig kicked away a slap shot Then another shot was put on goal with 20 seconds left. There was a mad scramble for the puck, and the U.S. was finally able to clear it with 7 seconds left.

As his team ran all over the ice in celebration, Herb Brooks sprinted back to the locker room, locked himself inside a toilet stall, and cried.

The Miracle Continues

In 1980, the medal round was a round-robin, not a single elimination tournament like it is today. Under Olympic rules at the time, the group game with Sweden was counted along with the medal round games versus the Soviet Union and Finland so it was mathematically possible for the US to finish anywhere from 1st to 4th.

The U.S. team needed to win their game against Finland in order to win the gold. They were trailing Finland 2-1 in the third period. They came back and won the game 4-2, which gave them the gold medal.

At the time, the players ascended a podium to receive their medals and then lined up on the ice for the playing of the national anthem, as the podium was only meant to accommodate one person. Only the team captains remained on the podium for the duration. After the completion of the anthem, Eruzione motioned for his teammates to join him on the podium. Today, the podiums are large enough to accommodate all of the players.

The victory bolstered many American citizens’ feelings of national pride, which had been severely strained during the 1970s. President Jimmy Carter had just announced that the United States was going to boycott the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the country was faced with a major recession and the Iran hostage crisis. So, America was in desperate need of something to celebrate. The match against the Soviets popularized the “U-S-A! U-S-A!” chant, which has been used by American supporters at many international sports competitions since 1980.

Daily Trivia – 2/22/11

Question: What caped African-American superhero regularly appeared on Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids?

Last Question: In Footloose, who played the preacher’s daughter, “Ariel”?

Answer: Lori Singer

Before playing Ariel, daughter of Reverend Shaw Moore, in Footloose, Lori Singer had also starred as Julie Miller in the television show Fame. Beastmaster and V star, Marc Singer is her brother, and director Bryan Singer is her cousin. Lori has not appeared in too many other movies, but she is also a Juilliard-trained cellist. She plays the cello in Short Cuts, Fame, and also in Sarabande, a 1997 short film by Atom Egoyan that is part of the Inspired by Bach series, which also features cellist Yo-Yo Ma. She performed as soloist at Carnegie Hall in January 2008, premiering a hymn written by Karl Jenkins in memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. Lori Singer does have an official web site, where she also posts a blog.

Hits of 1983 – Horrible and Great

On March 13, 2009, Stuck in the 80s released their Horrible Hits of 1982 Podcast (Episode 159). Here is their list:

10. Mickey – Toni Basil
9. She Works Hard for the Money – Donna Summer
8. You and I – Eddie Rabbitt and Crystal Gayle
7. Mr. Roboto – Styx
6. Tell Her About It – Billy Joel
5. Never Gonna Let You Go – Sergio Mendes
4. Making Love Out of Nothing At All – Air Supply
3. What About Me – Moving Pictures
2. Puttin’ On the Ritz – Taco
1. The Girl Is Mine – Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney

You can see the top 100 hits from Billboard that year.

Here is my top 5 (or worst 5) of Horrible songs from that year:

5. Let’s Dance – David Bowie

Even though I love ’80s Music, I definitely prefer David Bowie’s ’70s music. No, David Bowie, I don’t want to dance! I’d much rather be Major Tom a “Space Oddity“! “Let’s Dance” is bad enough as it is. What makes it worse is that it is an “earworm” song. In other words, it gets stuck in your head. As I write this, I have not heard the song in years. But, just mentioning the title gave me earwormage (is that a even a word?) big time!
Well, that’s why I start with the ‘Horrible’ list, and end with the ‘Great’ list.

4. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) – Eurythmics

Yes, this was the Eurythmics breakthrough hit, but I’m not a big Eurythmics fan. This song just drones on and on. Instead of ‘Sweet Dreams’, this song was more like a recurring nightmare when it came out. It was always on the radio and on MTV.
I do like the Eurythmics “Missionary Man” a lot. But, I just can’t take this song or “Here Comes the Rain Again“.

3. True – Spandau Ballet

Ah, Ah-Ah-ah. AAAAAAARRRGGGHHHH!!! I can’t stomach this song. It is too boring, and it high on some kind of wuss factor. I’ll have to admit that it was funny seeing Steve Buscemi singing this song at the end of The Wedding Singer:

Unfortunately, since the song was included in the movie, it was also included on the movie’s soundtrack. Why didn’t they leave this song off, and put on “Do You Believe In Love”?

2. Every Breath You Take – Police

I like The Police a lot. But, this song is one of my least favorites, and one of the most overrated songs of all time. I remember listening to the American Top 40 countdown of the top songs of the whole year, and this was number 1!! Really?!? “Synchronicity II” was my favorite song on the Synchronicity album by far – even though I don’t understand the lyrics too much.

1. The Girl Is Mine – Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney

Two of the greatest music artists of all time took the biggest dump on the biggest album of all time! Uggh, this song makes me want to rip my ears off and rip all the skin off my face! The doggon song bites the big one! Especially when they start yapping in the song. This song should be taken off of all copies of Thriller, and be replaced by “Say, Say, Say”.

Here is my top songs from that year:
Runners up:
10. You and I – Eddie Rabbitt and Crystal Gayle: These legends made a song that was perfect for a wedding
9. Little Red Corvette – Prince: Probably my favorite Prince song. Not as overplayed as “1999”
8. Truly – Lionel Richie – My favorite Lionel Richie ballad
7. Africa – Toto: Great song by Toto. I love the music, and the lead singer Bobby Kimball has an incredible voice.
6. Mr. Roboto – Styx: A lot of people make fun of Styx because of this song, and how it made them more theatrical. But, there’s nothing wrong with having a little fun with music. There have been worse concept albums than Kilroy Was Here.

And Jeffster did a great cover of this in the TV show Chuck:

5. Photograph – Def Leppard

A great song by one of my favorite bands. Although Def Leppard had a couple of good albums before Pyromania (On Through the Night and High and Dry), “Photograph” became their first hit, and helped spur on the success of Pyromania. The video showed a lot of photos of Marilyn Monroe, so people incorrectly thought the song was about her. This is still a great song. Def Leppard has stood the test of time for over 30 years now.

4. Solitaire – Laura Branigan

Laura Branigan’s “Gloria” and “How Am I Suppose to Live Without You” were overplayed. But I think this song was way better than both of them. It rocks, and Branigan had a great voice. It sounds like she put a lot of passion into this song. This song also launched songwriter Diane Warren’s career.

3. Hungry Like the Wolf – Duran Duran

This song got a lot of people into Duran Duran. The exposure on MTV didn’t hurt either. I liked it when it came out because the video reminded me of Raiders of the Lost Ark. But, even without the video, the song itself is really good.

2. Down Under – Men At Work

This song was a breakthrough for Men At Work, and basically introduced the U.S. to Australia and vegemite sandwiches. This is a fun song, and Colin Haye has a great unique voice. The band had a great string of hits. Will they get back together already?!

1. Separate Ways – Journey

Silly video aside, this song rocks. As soon as you hear Jonathan Cain’s keyboard, you know what song is playing. It has a lot of energy and gets you pumped. After Journey had a very long hiatus, they went on tour with a new lead singer – Steve Augeri. Of course I went, and this was the song they came out playing first. What a way to come back! While I need to turn some songs off as soon as I hear them, I have to listen to this one all the way through when it comes on.

Here is the Live version with Steve Augeri:

Daily Trivia – 2/18/11

Question: In Footloose, who played the preacher’s daughter, “Ariel”?

Last Question: Who earned Oscar nominations for Working Girl and Gorillas in the Mist in the same year?

Answer: Sigourney Weaver

Sigourney Weaver not only is known for her iconic role of Ellen Ripley in the Alien movie franchise, but she also was nominated for 2 Academy Awards in the same year – 1988. She was nominated for Best Actress as controversial hermit Dian Fossey – a crusading, heroic, mountain-gorilla, anthropology expert in the Rwandan rain forest in director Michael Apted’s biopic Gorillas in the Mist. She lost to Jodie Foster who won for her role in The Accused.
Weaver was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role as brokerage firm executive Katharine Parker in Working Girl. Co-star, Joan Cusack, was also nominated in the same category. The both lost to Geena Davis from The Accidental Tourist.

Most recently, Weaver reunited with Aliens director James Cameron for his 2009 movie Avatar. Ivan Reitman has confirmed that Weaver will reprise her role as Dana Barrett in the rumored third Ghostbusters movie due for release in 2012.