Sunday, August 1, 2010

Events of 1980

Thirty years ago, in 1980, I was 35 years old, in the third year of my five-year marriage to a charming creature of the female persuasion. We lived in the Los Angeles area. She was a systems analyst at Lockheed and I was an independent computer contractor. Between disagreements, we argued a lot.

The following events took place in 1980.

Jan 1 -- The Federal minimum wage was raised to $3.10 per hour.

Jan 2 -- President Carter delayed the arms treaty ratification in response to USSR military action in Afghanistan.

Jan 7 -- President Carter signed a loan guarantee act to prevent Chrysler from falling into bankruptcy.

Jan 9 -- Saudi Arabia beheaded 63 people for their participation in a raid on a mosque.

Jan 11 -- Honda announced it would build Japan's first U.S. automobile assembly plant in Ohio.

Jan 16 -- Paul McCartney of the Beatles was arrested in Tokyo for marijuana possession.

Jan 20 -- President Carter announced the U.S. boycott of the Summer Olympics in Moscow.

Jan 21 -- George H. W. Bush defeated Ronald Reagan in the Iowa Presidential Election Caucus.

Jan 21 -- Gold peaked at $875 per ounce. It would fall below $500 in less than two months.

Jan 23 -- President Carter made his State of the Union address, pledging to defend U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf, using military force if necessary.

Jan 24 -- In reaction to the USSR invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. announced the sale of military equipment, including weapons, to China.

Jan 25 -- Paul McCartney was released from jail in Japan and deported.

Jan 28 -- Six U.S. diplomats who had avoided being taken hostage at their embassy by Iranian militants in Tehran were flown out of Iran with the help of Canadian diplomats.

Feb 2 -- A prison riot in New Mexico left 33 inmates dead.

Feb 8 -- President Carter re-introduced draft registration for compulsory military service.

Feb 18 -- Pierre Trudeau's Liberal Party won Canada's elections.

Feb 22 -- The U.S. hockey team upset the Soviets in the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY, and went on to win the gold medal.

Feb 22 -- Following a major uprising, Afghanistan declared martial law.

Feb 23 -- An explosion on an oil tanker off Greece caused a 37-million gallon spill.

Feb 26 -- Republican Ronald Reagan beat George H.W. Bush and Democrat Jimmy Carter beat Ted Kennedy in the New Hampshire primary for president.

Mar 2 -- Snow fell in Florida.

Mar 12 -- In Chicago, John Wayne Gacy was found guilty of the murders of 33 men and boys, found buried in his basement. The following day, he was sentenced to death. He was executed in 1994.

Mar 14 -- President Carter signed an Executive Order imposing government credit controls to reduce inflation, causing credit usage to plunge and the GDP to fall to the steepest quarterly drop in 50 years.

Mar 27 -- Mount St. Helens in Washington, dormant for 123 years, erupted with steam and ash. A crater formed at the summit and the north portion began to bulge.

Mar 27 -- An oil platform floating in the North Sea capsized, killing 123 workers.

Mar 31 -- In Burma, 200 demonstrators were shot to death by police.

Apr 7 -- During the hostage crisis, President Carter ordered all Iranian diplomats expelled from the USA and initiated economic sanctions against Iran.

Apr 11 -- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued regulations prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace.

Apr 14 -- At the Academy Awards, KRAMER VS. KRAMER won best picture, Dustin Hoffman won best actor and Sally Field won best actress for her role in NORMA RAE, uttering the immortal words, "you like me… you really, really like me" in her acceptance speech.

Apr 21 -- Rosie Ruiz was the first woman to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon. She was disqualified when it was discovered she had entered the race about a mile from the finish line.

Apr 24 -- An American assault team, U.S. Delta Forces, attempted to rescue the embassy hostages in Iran but it failed when a plane collided with a helicopter, killing 8 U.S. servicemen.

Apr 30 -- Terrorists seized the Iranian Embassy in London. It was later learned that Iraq had trained and armed the militants in order to embarrass Iraq.

Apr 30 -- When Queen Juliana abdicated her throne, Beatrix Wihelmina Armgard was crowned Queen of the Netherlands.

Mar 6 -- At Stanford University in California, officials announced a successful collision of matter and anti-matter in their new $78 million accelerator.

May 9 -- In Tampa Bay, 35 motorists were killed when a freighter rammed a bridge, causing a 1,400-foot section of the bridge to collapse.

May 14 -- President Carter inaugurated the Department of Health and Human Services.

May 17 -- Riots in a black section of Miami claimed 18 lives.

May 18 -- Mount St. Helens erupted three times in 24 hours, leaving 57 people dead or missing.

May 20 -- In Jamaica, a fire in a nursing home killed 153 elderly women.

May 21 -- The first woman to graduate from a U.S. service academy accepted her degree and commission from the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut.

May 24 -- Iran rejected a judgment by the World Court in The Hague to release the U.S. hostages.

Mar 27 -- An uprising in South Korea ended with some 2,000 people killed.

May 29 -- Larry Bird beat out Magic Johnson as Rookie of the Year in professional basketball.

Jun 1 -- CNN, Ted Turner's Cable News Network made its debut.

Jun 20 -- Lake Powell, on the Utah-Arizona border, behind the Glen Canyon Dam, completed its fill after 17 years.

Jun 22 -- the USSR announced a partial withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

Jul 9 -- In Brazil, seven people died in a stadium stampede to see the Pope.

Jul 17 -- In Detroit, Ronald Reagan won the Republican presidential nomination.

Jul 18 -- India became the eighth country to successfully launch a satellite to orbit the Earth.

Jul 19 -- The Summer Olympic Games began in Moscow, with many nations, including the USA, boycotting because of the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan.

Jul 26 -- A failed assassination attempt on the Syrian President compelled Syrian security forces to kill hundreds of Islamist inmates at a prison.

Jul 30 -- The Israeli Knesset passed a law affirming all of Jerusalem as the capitol of the Jewish state.

Aug 2 -- In Italy, a Fascist bomb killed 85 people at a train station.

Aug 5 -- Hurricane Allen slammed into Haiti, killing more than 200 people.

Aug 14 -- President Carter was nominated for a second term at the Democratic national convention in New York City.

Aug 26 -- In California, all of Santa Cruz Valley was placed under quarantine because of the Mediterranean fruit fly invasion.

Aug 27 -- In Napa County, California, a gold deposit valued at $630 million was discovered near Lake Berryessa.

Sep 3 -- It was revealed that government officials had been aware for almost 20 years that nuclear waste containers dumped off the California coast were damaged and leaking.

Sep 12 -- In San Francisco, 20 tons of Colombian marijuana were found on two vessels, including Franklin D. Roosevelt's historical yacht. Sacks of weed were labeled "Crippled Children's Society of America."

Sep 22 -- Under Saddam Hussein, Iraq invaded Iran following a dispute over a waterway. The war would last for eight years.

Sep 23 -- Proctor & Gambol recalled Rely Tampons, which were linked to toxic shock syndrome.

Sep 24 -- It was revealed that the U.S. Air Force Reserve had been making weekly air drops of nuclear waste off the California coast in 1952-1967.

Oct 10 -- In Algeria, some 4,500 people died in two earthquakes.

Oct 23 -- The California Supreme Court upheld the state's death penalty.

Oct 30 -- U.S. Senator Harrison Williams (D-NJ) was indicted for accepting bribes in a sting operation, and later convicted.

Nov 4 -- Ronald Reagan was elected the fortieth president of the USA.

Nov 4 -- Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton lost his re-election bid for governor.

Nov 7 -- Steve McQueen died in Mexico at age 50.

Nov 19 -- CBS TV banned a Calvin Klein jean ad featuring Brooke Shields.

Nov 21 -- The TV show DALLAS episode titled "who shot J.R." was viewed by 83 million viewers.

Nov 21 -- In Las Vegas, 87 people died in a fire at the MGM Grand Hotel.

Nov 23 -- In southern Italy, some 2,600 were killed in a series of earthquakes.

Dec 1 -- IBM delivered its first prototype PC to Microsoft, selected to create the operating system, to be called MS-DOS.

Dec 8 -- John Lennon of the Beatles was shot and killed outside his NYC apartment building by a delusional schizophrenic. "Imagine all the people living life in peace."

Dec 11 -- The Massachusetts Secretary of State banned the sale of Apple Computer stock, arguing that the $22 per share was too high.

Dec 12 -- Apple Computer stock went public, with 4.6 million shares at $22 per share. It closed at $29 per share.

Dec 21 -- Iran requested $24 billion to free the 417 U.S. hostages.

Dec 31 -- The top two songs of 1980 were "Call Me" (Blondie) and "Another Brick in the Wall" (Pink Floyd).

All in all, 1980 was just another brick in the wall. It wasn’t perfect, but it never is on the Planet of Wounded Souls.

Quote for the Day -- “Government doesn't solve problems -- it subsidizes them." Ronald Reagan

Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where the more things change, the more they stay the same. His blogs appear on several websites, including

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