Monthly Archives: January 2011

Koch Bros Convention draws plenty of protesters

From LAT

The rich folks in Rancho Mirage were not amused by protesters that showed up to voice their distaste with the Koch Brothers Billionaire Caucus this weekend. To which I say: Too effin bad mutha fuckas! From Dave Dayden’s piece over at FDL:

Twenty-five protesters were arrested in Rancho Mirage, California today, at a protest in front of the Rancho Las Palmas resort, site of the “Billionaire’s Caucus,” an annual meeting put on by the Koch Brothers and other corporate entities and conservative movement operators.

Riverside Sheriff’s deputy Melissa Nieburger said that the sheriff’s department did have contacts with protest organizers, which included the California Courage Campaign, CREDO,,, the California Nurses Association, United Domestic Workers of America and the main sponsor, the good-government group Common Cause, prior to the event, and that they were aware that some protesters would seek to be arrested for trespassing. She would not guarantee that all 25 who were arrested were part of that coordinated operation. The police, who wore riot gear, batons and helmets, did put the arrested into plastic handcuffs. Nieburger described them as “passive restraints.” They were being processed at press time, and Nieburger would not say whether they would be released or would spend the night at the jail in Indio. Read the rest of this entry

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses – except in AZ

Emptywheel has a postup this morning that really chaps my ass. It’s about the new State bills in AZ that want to take citizenship away from babies born in the U.S. to parents who are not citizens. It’s the hate that the rightwing nutters have for anyone of color and specifically brown babies born to brown parents that aren’t citizens of our nation. First, let me quote Emma Lazarus, from the Statue of Liberty and how people were never questioned when they showed up on our shores: Read the rest of this entry

Federal Judge lets Blackwater case proceed.

How you liking that Erik Prince you disgusting bastard? Eric was still running this group of fucking killers and all around thugs back in 07.  From Jurist:

A judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina [official website] ruled Wednesday that a lawsuit against Blackwater [JURIST news archive], now known as Xe Services [corporate website], can proceed in state court. The suit revolves around a 2007 shooting incident [JURIST news report] in the Nisour Square area of Baghdad that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead. A subsequent FBI [official website] investigation revealed that 14 of the deaths were unjustified acts of excessive force [NYT report]. The lawsuit, the last remaining in relation to the shooting incident, was filed by the families of six victims. In his ruling, Judge Terrence Boyle said that nonresidents lack the right to sue in federal court for injuries sustained outside of the country, but that federal courts are obligated to remand such cases to the state level, where North Carolina law permits such suits. 

Foreign governments as well as US courts and agencies continue to scrutinize the role of private security contractors in conflicts abroad as incidents of violence and abuse have raised concerns that the firms operate largely outside of the law. In October, the Afghan government announced that it had disbanded eight private security companies [JURIST report] operating locally and confiscated their weapons pursuant to a decree from President Hamid Karzai [official profile]. In September, a judge in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website] declared a mistrial [JURIST report] in a murder case against two Blackwater defense contractors after the jury failed to reach a verdict following nine hours of deliberation. The defendants were charged with killing two unnamed men in Kabul and argued self-defense. In February, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced that it had launched an investigation [JURIST report] into Blackwater following allegations that the company bribed Iraqi officials with $1 million to allow them to continue operating in the country after the Nisour Square incident. Bribery of foreign officials is a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) [text, 15 USC § 78dd-1 text].

This is a civil suit, the last avenue left it seems. Some more background on this crime which I call murder: As the Jurist article states, the FBI investigated these murders and they called them..cough..unjustified shootings.. no shit, which I blogged about here. The DOJ did attempt to try the Blackwater murderers for these dead Iraqis but lo and behold a Federal Judge tossed out the case, which I blogged about here.

Lets not forget however, that the Obama Administration awarded Blackwater, now known as Xe Services new contracts in Afghanistan. These contracts were handed out as hearings were being held on smarmy contractors who were getting rich as shit at the taxpayer trough in our forever wars whilst wasting our cash, providing shitty services and goods and basically giving us squat for big bucks.

Ain’t that fucking great? Don’t you love the stench of friggin irony in the morning?

Bank of America not happy: judge blocks 8,900 NV foreclosures

Bet this news didn’t go down too well with the execs at BofA. With all the gnashing of teeth about robosigning and foreclosure fraud in the news, this recent story is important. From WaPo:

Bank of America is aggressively moving to appeal a Nevada county judge’s order halting more than 8,900 foreclosures.

In one of a growing number of foreclosure cases across the country in which judges are questioning whether notices and documents were improperly prepared, Nye County District Court Judge Robert Lane issued a preliminary injunction against BofA’s ReconTrust subsidiary, blocking it from proceeding with non-judicial foreclosures statewide until a Feb. 28 hearing.

The case involves a borrower, Suzanne A. North, who sued the bank on Jan. 11 arguing that ReconTrust filed foreclosure papers when it did not have the legal standing to do so.

Goodness, gracious! Since BofA bought CountryWide Financial, one of the nations most crooked mortgage companies, I am sure there are plenty of phony loans and phony foreclosures in the mix. Suzanne North uses the word FRAUD in her filing and brotha..I wouldn’t doubt you?

Read the rest of my post over at RJ’s new blog BofA666. I did the inaugural post. I am so giddy as I hate those Tarp-taking, bonus-lovin fuckers.

Jan 28 1986. Challenger Space Shuttle Disaster. A day that changed my life.

I was the PM for the GBU (Ground Base Unit) for the Gamma Ray Observatory or GRO. being built at Fairchild Space Systems in Frederick MD. Shortly before lunch that day, around 11:30, the Challenger launched. We had it on the intercom at work, Houston Control Center, like we always did. We really didn’t pay much attention, as launches had become ‘old hat’. Suddenly, it became quiet in the offices and we all realized something had gone horribly wrong. The intercom was shut down and we ran to the tv’s and radios to find out what had happened. We were horrified. Grown men begain crying, hell I was crying.

No one who worked in aerospace was ever the same again. Our lives changed forever. The space program changed forever. The Challenger Disaster changed the course of space flight forever and in many ways, it changed it for the good. Safety was never taken for granted again. Manufacturing Sub-contractors were  held to tighter controls and check and balances were put into place and not just signed off anymore.

Because lives were lost due to something so damn fucking simple failing…too many precious live were lost in a second, in the blink of an eye. And thousands if not millions of lives like mine were changed in that second as well.

The Space program was put on hold for what seemed like forever but was really three years. By thanksgiving of that year, the layoffs started taking place. I was layed off right before Christmas and moved back to California with my young son. It was a blessing as his health was alway bad on the east coast, he was an asthmatic and the damp weather was horrible for his condition.

I never again worked in aerospace, a job I loved so much. I never again held I job I loved as much as I loved that one. I never again held a job that was as interesting, as fun, as eye opening and ground breaking as that one.

So today, I think about where I would be if that space craft had made it’s journey. I had been slated for a big promotion. The space program had been set to move all launches to Vandenberg AFB on the coast of Central California and I was going to be part of that. I had lived there and graduated high school there. I had been so excited about the promotion and move.

I wonder how different my life would be…then I smile and sigh…and move on to something else to do with my time to take my mind off the ‘what if’…