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  1. #1
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    new History .com

    A startling piece of revisionist history from History.com.

    Ronald Reagan fires 11,359 air-traffic controllers
    On August 5, 1981, President Ronald Reagan begins firing 11,359 air-traffic controllers striking in violation of his order for them to return to work. The executive action, regarded as extreme by many, significantly slowed air travel for months.

    Two days earlier, on August 3, almost 13,000 air-traffic controllers went on strike after negotiations with the federal government to raise their pay and shorten their workweek proved fruitless. The controllers complained of difficult working conditions and a lack of recognition of the pressures they face. Across the country, some 7,000 flights were canceled. The same day, President Reagan called the strike illegal and threatened to fire any controller who had not returned to work within 48 hours. Robert Poli, president of the Professional Air-Traffic Controllers Association (PATCO), was found in contempt by a federal judge and ordered to pay $1,000 a day in fines.

    On August 5, an angry President Reagan carried out his threat, and the federal government began firing the 11,359 air-traffic controllers who had not returned to work. In addition, he declared a lifetime ban on the rehiring of the strikers by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). On August 17, the FAA began accepting applications for new air-traffic controllers, and on October 22 the Federal Labor Relations Authority decertified PATCO.
    The author is not identified specifically, just one of the History.com editors.

    No mention of the legal basis for the firings, and no understanding of the impact of Reagan's action.

    I mention it here because I had a different opinion of History.com until seeing this, posted on Facebook this morning.
    • “Weakness is refusing to take responsibility for your own actions, weakness is pointing your finger at someone else in a time of crisis." — Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, blaming Trump.
    • "We hold these truths to be self evident. All men and women created by the, you know, you know, the thing." —Joe Biden, explaining the Creator.
    • "The way I see it, there's always, c'mon, there's always money. It's there." —Elizabeth Warren, explaining socialism.
    • “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all.... We really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.” —Saikat Chakrabarti, then AOC's Chief of Staff.
    • "We have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them." —CNN's Don Lemon, showing how to stop demonizing people.


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    Legalities and even politics aside, was air travel better before or after this event? I think most of us would agree that it was more pleasant before. Why? Well, it could be that an industry that doesn't have to think much about the well-being of its workers soon discovers it also doesn't have to worry much about the comfort and well-being of its customers, either.
    No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. This offer VALID in 35 34 33 32 31 26 20 17 15 14 13 ALL 50 states.

    The new 13 original states to stand up for freedom: CA, CT, IA, MA, DE, MN, NH, NY, RI, VT, ME, MD, NJ (plus DC).

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
    Legalities and even politics aside, was air travel better before or after this event? I think most of us would agree that it was more pleasant before. Why? Well, it could be that an industry that doesn't have to think much about the well-being of its workers soon discovers it also doesn't have to worry much about the comfort and well-being of its customers, either.
    I don't have my dates lined up (no Googling here, yet), but as I recall air travel in those wonderful days was price-controlled, which allowed for pretty comfortable rides for those who could afford it. Eastern in its heyday was first class, and people wore their Sunday best to fly.

    I forget the name of the guy and his airline that managed to pierce the price control barrier, or when it was, but it was a very big deal, and air travel hasn't been the same since.

    The History.com agitprop piece somehow neglected to mention that it was illegal for the air traffic controllers to strike. But we had grown accustomed to illegal strikes. Teachers did it all the time, and amnesty was their #1 demand.

    Everyone expected the pattern to apply here, despite Reagan's stern warnings otherwise. I for one fully expected business as usual.

    When PATCO called Reagan's bluff, or so they thought, people were shocked, and swaggering Big Labor was set back on its heels. Someone at a press conference asked Reagan why he fired them all, and he replied, I quote from memory, "Fire them? As far as I'm concerned, they just quit."

    We were treated for may months with stories of pathos about the fired controllers settling for new careers and so on. Maybe they became coders. We were told we would entering a dangerous era of ill-managed air traffic.

    But business leaders took from it that they would be backed up by standing firm, and so they did. Again, I don't have charts and hyperlinks in front of me, but I bet you will see from that point a markedly more steep decline of private union membership.

    The air traffic controller's union was decertified, and the History.com scholar leaves you to think it was because Reagan was mad. Without understanding that the strike was illegal, the author gives you no alternative explanation.

    Reagan's firing the air traffic controllers was much more important that you could know for reading this cheap shot piece at History.com.

    If the writer had been honest he could have made a broader point of considerable import in the history of labor relations. As it is, it's a sophomoric shot at Reagan.
    • “Weakness is refusing to take responsibility for your own actions, weakness is pointing your finger at someone else in a time of crisis." — Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, blaming Trump.
    • "We hold these truths to be self evident. All men and women created by the, you know, you know, the thing." —Joe Biden, explaining the Creator.
    • "The way I see it, there's always, c'mon, there's always money. It's there." —Elizabeth Warren, explaining socialism.
    • “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all.... We really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.” —Saikat Chakrabarti, then AOC's Chief of Staff.
    • "We have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them." —CNN's Don Lemon, showing how to stop demonizing people.


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    The decline in pleasure in traveling by air didn't have anything to do with Reagan. Deregulation dropped fares, opened markets, and allowed airlines to enlarge their number of destinations.

    All that meant that people who would have normally driven or even taken a train or bus were able to fly. More people flying meant more people acting like jerks, dressing like clowns, and eating like pigs. More demand meant more cost-cutting to maintain low fares which meant less plush accommodations, bad food, and fewer attendants.

    That's why flights are crowded, loud, and icky.
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    The decline in pleasure in traveling by air didn't have anything to do with Reagan. Deregulation dropped fares, opened markets, and allowed airlines to enlarge their number of destinations.

    All that meant that people who would have normally driven or even taken a train or bus were able to fly. More people flying meant more people acting like jerks, dressing like clowns, and eating like pigs. More demand meant more cost-cutting to maintain low fares which meant less plush accommodations, bad food, and fewer attendants.

    That's why flights are crowded, loud, and icky.
    Not really. We flew round-trip to Brussels from DC in 1973 for $224 each. Nice big, reclining seats you could actually sleep in. Good luck finding a comparable fare in 2020 dollars, and at that, you'll be packed in like a sardine.
    No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. This offer VALID in 35 34 33 32 31 26 20 17 15 14 13 ALL 50 states.

    The new 13 original states to stand up for freedom: CA, CT, IA, MA, DE, MN, NH, NY, RI, VT, ME, MD, NJ (plus DC).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Newman View Post
    I forget the name of the guy and his airline that managed to pierce the price control barrier, or when it was, but it was a very big deal, and air travel hasn't been the same since.
    Freddie Laker! That's the guy. Sheesh. I'm turning into my late father-in-law. I may be romanticizing his story, but I remember how sensational his no-frills idea was, flying mostly to Britain, as I recall.



    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    The decline in pleasure in traveling by air didn't have anything to do with Reagan. Deregulation dropped fares, opened markets, and allowed airlines to enlarge their number of destinations.

    All that meant that people who would have normally driven or even taken a train or bus were able to fly. More people flying meant more people acting like jerks, dressing like clowns, and eating like pigs. More demand meant more cost-cutting to maintain low fares which meant less plush accommodations, bad food, and fewer attendants.

    That's why flights are crowded, loud, and icky.
    And maybe Freddie Laker was a product of the deregulation thing, which was a Jimmy Carter thing. (Jimmy did a very few very good things. Ending price controls was one, appointing Paul Volcker was another.) I guess so. His idea would never fly before that. OK, sorry about that one.

    The best years were after dereg and before 9-11, when you could run into the airport like OJ Simpson, pay bus fare, and race to the gate for the NY-DC shuttle. Smoking in the back, in those days.
    • “Weakness is refusing to take responsibility for your own actions, weakness is pointing your finger at someone else in a time of crisis." — Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, blaming Trump.
    • "We hold these truths to be self evident. All men and women created by the, you know, you know, the thing." —Joe Biden, explaining the Creator.
    • "The way I see it, there's always, c'mon, there's always money. It's there." —Elizabeth Warren, explaining socialism.
    • “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all.... We really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.” —Saikat Chakrabarti, then AOC's Chief of Staff.
    • "We have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them." —CNN's Don Lemon, showing how to stop demonizing people.


  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
    Not really. We flew round-trip to Brussels from DC in 1973 for $224 each. Nice big, reclining seats you could actually sleep in. Good luck finding a comparable fare in 2020 dollars, and at that, you'll be packed in like a sardine.
    A dollar in 1973 would cost about $6.05 today. so a $224 fare would be about $1,355 today. Actually today's prices are pretty competitive. Less than $500.

    • “Weakness is refusing to take responsibility for your own actions, weakness is pointing your finger at someone else in a time of crisis." — Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, blaming Trump.
    • "We hold these truths to be self evident. All men and women created by the, you know, you know, the thing." —Joe Biden, explaining the Creator.
    • "The way I see it, there's always, c'mon, there's always money. It's there." —Elizabeth Warren, explaining socialism.
    • “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all.... We really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.” —Saikat Chakrabarti, then AOC's Chief of Staff.
    • "We have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them." —CNN's Don Lemon, showing how to stop demonizing people.


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  10. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newman View Post
    Freddie Laker! That's the guy. Sheesh. I'm turning into my late father-in-law. I may be romanticizing his story, but I remember how sensational his no-frills idea was, flying mostly to Britain, as I recall.

    And maybe Freddie Laker was a product of the deregulation thing, which was a Jimmy Carter thing. (Jimmy did a very few very good things. Ending price controls was one, appointing Paul Volcker was another.) I guess so. His idea would never fly before that. OK, sorry about that one.

    The best years were after dereg and before 9-11, when you could run into the airport like OJ Simpson, pay bus fare, and race to the gate for the NY-DC shuttle. Smoking in the back, in those days.
    It also depended on the carrier. Some specialized in luxe and some were more utilitarian though still pretty nice by contemporary standards.

    Service has declined even in first class now which is why so many celebs and pols prefer to fly private.
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    It also depended on the carrier. Some specialized in luxe and some were more utilitarian though still pretty nice by contemporary standards.

    Service has declined even in first class now which is why so many celebs and pols prefer to fly private.
    Heck, G-snap, even I would rather drive than take a bus.

    I don't know nothing about berthin' no 1st class, that's for sure. I think I've flown first class once, on stand-by.
    • “Weakness is refusing to take responsibility for your own actions, weakness is pointing your finger at someone else in a time of crisis." — Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, blaming Trump.
    • "We hold these truths to be self evident. All men and women created by the, you know, you know, the thing." —Joe Biden, explaining the Creator.
    • "The way I see it, there's always, c'mon, there's always money. It's there." —Elizabeth Warren, explaining socialism.
    • “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all.... We really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.” —Saikat Chakrabarti, then AOC's Chief of Staff.
    • "We have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them." —CNN's Don Lemon, showing how to stop demonizing people.


  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newman View Post
    Heck, G-snap, even I would rather drive than take a bus.

    I don't know nothing about berthin' no 1st class, that's for sure. I think I've flown first class once, on stand-by.
    International First Class on Emirates or even British Air is like having your own apartment.
    If it pays, it stays

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