Thursday, April 13, 2017

History: The Year is 1983

I've uploaded year 1983 to the TSP Wiki...

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 Soviets Shoot Down Korean Airlines Flight 007 -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged

* xxx -- Contributed by Southpaw Ben

* The Beirut Bombings and Alex Shrugged's Bombing -- 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 Soviets Shoot Down Korean Airlines Flight 007

Contributed by Alex Shrugged
It's a passenger liner, for Heaven's sake. Why would they do such a thing? Well... it wandered into their air space at a time when reports that a US spy plane was in the area. The Soviets didn't think a passenger liner would be swanning around out there. Airliners should know where they are going, and that there are sensitive Soviet installations in the area. The pilots first noticed that something was wrong when the missile hit. (The Soviets said they fired several warning shots. Yeah. Maybe.) It took 10 minutes for them to crash. No survivors. US Congressman Larry McDonald was on board. He was also President of the John Birch Society. Whether you liked him or not, every red-blooded American is royally torqued off now. Thus begins a series of unfortunate events that leads us very close to a nuclear war. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK. What went wrong? At that time there was no GPS system. To navigate, the airlines used a rudimentary autopilot system that depended on radio beacons and computer-calculated dead reckoning (that is, deduced reckoning by knowing the speed, direction and initial starting point). The autopilot could correct the course (within limits) using the radio beacons along the way, but for some unknown reason the autopilot was not in the correct mode. They were miles and miles off course and this error went unnoticed until BAM: catastrophic decompression and into the drink. Three weeks later a malfunctioning Soviet Early Warning system declared that the USA had launched all its nuclear missiles at Russia. It's a retaliation for Flight 007! Or its a mistake. A Lt. Colonel stopped the counter launch. He looked carefully at the data and decided it was a mistake... thank God. Yep. The life and death of millions lay in the hands of a Lt. Colonel that day. I'm not sure a General would have done any better. President Reagan called for the declassification of the GPS system after this incident. It's closing the barn door after the horses have left, but there will be other horses. [4] [5]


Contributed by Southpaw Ben
My Take by Southpaw Ben

The Beirut Bombings and Alex Shrugged's Bombing

Contributed by Alex Shrugged
Beirut, Lebanon was once called the Paris of the Middle East, but no more. Women carrying Gucci handbags push their shopping carts through the market, but when a holdup man threatens the cashier, out come the .45s. These ladies know how to use them, but it's time for the rich to be moving on. The government has failed. It was set up years ago as a power-sharing measure to balance the various religious and ethnic groups. Unfortunately, there was no thought given to changes in demographics or the changing situation. The PLO moved in and they didn't want to move out. After some border problems with Israel, Israeli troops invaded Lebanon, and gave the PLO the boot. Israel tried its hand at nation-building by supporting the Christian leadership. That effort failed, so Israel has agreed to pull out, but before the agreement is made, a van packed with 2,000 pounds of explosives crashes into the lobby of the US embassy and explodes. Thus, as Israel pulls out it looks as if it is running away with its tail between its legs. The lesson learned should have been: Don't show fear, and watch out for vehicles carrying a ton and a half of explosives. This lesson seems to have been missed. At 6:22 in the morning, a truck filled with 21,000 pounds of TNT rams through the concertina wire, the chain-linked fence, the guard shack and into the lobby of the Marine barracks. By this time one guard has managed to chamber a round. It's too late. The 4-story structure is lifted off of its foundation by the force of the blast. 241 are killed, many without ever waking up. [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The USA said they were neutral, but the best bet for stability in Lebanon was to support the Christian leadership. That looked a lot like NOT supporting the Muslims. The USA (and also Israel) could have made that work with Bachir Gemayel as the Christian leader, but once he was assassinated, that was all she wrote. After the embassy bombing the Marines should have been on a war footing, but they were following peacetime rules of engagement: No round in the chamber, no shooting unless ordered. After the bombing, the White House dithered. In the end, the battleship New Jersey lobbed a few shells at the surrounding hills, declared victory and left... at least that was how it seemed. Frankly, I think the USA should have picked a side without apology, or not become involved at all. Please note that Alex Shrugged's synagogue was firebombed by a Lebanese Muslim supporter because of this war. (Yes. In Orange County, California... right smack dab in the middle of Republican Disneyland!) Just so you know. I'm still torqued off about it.

Notable Births

  • -- In Sports: Aaron Peirsol (Olympic swimmer), Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers).
  • -- In TV: Mila Kunis (Meg Griffin on Family Guy) [7]
  • -- In Movies: Jonah Hill (Moneyball), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spiderman), Felicity Jones (Star Wars: Rogue One) and more and more. [7]
  • -- In Music: Carrie Underwood, and Michelle Branch.
  • -- In More Music: Amy Winehouse (died 2011, age 27 of alcohol poisoning) I liked her song "Rehab" (2006). She pointed out that rehab would not teach her anything that she couldn't learn elsewhere. True enough. She tried rehab 2 years later. It helped, but then it didn't. It was worth a try. More than one, actually, but she only got one.--alexshrugged. [7] [8]

This Year in Film

  • Return of the Jedi: "Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny."--Yoda. [9]
  • Trading Places: Eddie Murphy is made a stock broker on a one dollar bet. (I loved it.--alexshrugged) [9]
  • WarGames: Matthew Broderick uses a hobby computer to launch a nuclear attack. (I laughed my backside off.--alexshrugged) [9]
  • Risky Business: Tom Cruise in his underwear. [9]
  • Yentl: Barbra Streisand disguises herself as a young Jewish scholar. (A Jewish must see, but with a dumb ending.--alexshrugged) [9]

This Year in TV

  • The Day After: A Midwest family struggles to survive after a nuclear attack. (This TV movie made me want to build a bunker.--alexshrugged) [10]
  • Star Search: A talent show hosted by Ed McMahon. Notable contestants: Adam Sandler, Dennis Miller, Drew Carey, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, Usher, AND NONE OF THESE FUTURE STARS WON! [10]
  • The A-Team: "If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire... the A-Team.". [10]
  • Mama's Family: Spin-off of skit characters from the Carrol Burnett Show. "Magic moments between a man and a woman are spiritual and ought not to be screwed with." [10]
  • Webster: A young black boy is adopted by a rich white family. (As I recall it was funny and adorable.--alexshrugged) [10]
  • Reading Rainbow: PBS show hosted by LeVar Burton. Celebrities read children's books. [10]

This Year in Music

  • Karma Chameleon (You Come and Go): Culture Club. Boy George begins by explaining that he is a man. (Good start.--alexshrugged) [11] [12]
  • Billie Jean (is not my lover): Michael Jackson. The first music video by a black artist to get regular play on MTV. [11] [13]
  • Flashdance...What a Feeling: Irene Cara from the movie Flashdance. [11] [14]
  • Compact discs are on sale: In 2015 dollars the players cost over $1600 and the discs run $33 to $36. The trend is for classic music buffs to buy them. [11] [15]

This Year in Video Games

  • And the award goes to...: Jetpac from Ultimate Play and Tron from Disney Interactive. [16]
  • Spy Hunter is released from Bally Midway: A car racing shoot'em up game. (I liked it.--alexshrugged) [16]
  • Nintendo recalls its Famicom system for a motherboard replacement: This is the future NES system we all know and love. [17]
  • The video game economic bubble bursts: Also known as "Atari shock." Sales will drop from $3.2 billion to $0.1 billion over the next 3 years. (Atari's lack of quality control on games forces buyers turn away from home systems.--alexshrugged) [16]

In Other News

NOTE: 1983 has a lot of moving parts...
First the fun stuff...
  • The Internet is born: ARPANET has switched to TCP/IP as its network protocol. (But what about Al Gore?--alexshrugged) [18] [19]
  • The Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet is released for the IBM PC: Visicalc is already on the Apple II and TRS-80. [18]
  • Space Shuttle Challenger launches: Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space. [18]
  • McDonald's introduces the McNugget: The Union is saved. [18]
  • A young man falls in love with Haiti: He will become the driving force to eradicate tuberculosis, and AIDS across the world. His name is Paul Edward Farmer. [20]

And the chaotic stuff
(March 23)
  • SDI (otherwise known as "Star Wars") is proposed: The Soviet Union is in a panic, but the US Congress considers it ridiculous that a missile could be used to shoot down another missile. [18]
(April 18)
  • The US embassy in Beirut, Lebanon is bombed: [18]
(April 26)
  • Little Samantha Smith is invited to the Soviet Union: She wrote a letter asking why the Soviets are trying to blow up the world. Andropov invites her to the Soviet Union to see the peace-loving communists. (Cue the media circus.--alexshrugged) [18]
(May 17)
  • Israel agrees to withdraw from Lebanon: (Yeah. That whole episode was a goat-rope.--alexshrugged) [21]
(September 1)
  • Korean Air Lines Flight 007 is shot down by the Soviets: It wandered into Soviet airspace. All 269 on board were killed. President Reagan orders GPS to be declassified. (Clearly this was a navigational issue.--alexshrugged) [18]
(September 26)
  • A malfunction in the Soviet early warning system reports the launch of US missiles: Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov averts a worldwide nuclear war by recognizing it as a false alarm. [18]
(October 19)
  • Grenada is taken over in a communist coup: 600 American medical students are in danger. (Fear of another Iranian hostage crisis drives the US to invade Grenada.--alexshrugged) [18] [22]
(October 23)
  • The US Marine barracks in Beirut is bombed: 241 U.S. servicemen are killed. They also hit the French Army barracks killing 58 French paratroopers and 6 Lebanese civilians. [18]
(October 25)
  • The US invasion of Grenada begins: .
(November 7)
  • Soviets officials misinterpret a NATO exercise as a nuclear 1st strike: It will be the last nuclear scare of the Cold War. [18]

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