The only air traffic controller working at Ronald Reagan National Airport last night seems to have fallen asleep on duty. It couldn't have happened at a better named airport.
On a hot September day in 1981, about half a million of us marched on Washington to protest Reagan's firing of striking air traffic controllers. It was a loud, heartfelt, satisfying demonstration which didn't do a damned bit of good. The striking PATCO workers remained fired. Some years later, just to rub salt into the wound, the Republicans renamed the local airport after Reagan.
Under the PATCO contract, needless to say, there wouldn't have been just one controller on duty — but going back to those primitive days would mean having two greedy public employees sucking at our wallets. The modern solution , of course, is technological — a mechanical elbow that attaches to the air traffic controller's chair and jabs him in the ribs every two or three minutes.