Man Facing 15 Year Jail Term for Ripping Off NASA, Endangering Shuttle Crew

Article written: 13 Nov , 2008
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
by

[/caption]Oh dear. This is a tough lesson in “don’t sell NASA defective goods!”

It would appear that even NASA suffers from common infliction of shoddy contractors. Have you ever hired a plumber to find the leaking got worse? Have you hired a landscaping company who accidentally ripped up your prize hydrangeas? Have you purchased a passive flight releasable attachment mechanism interface plate only to find it had been damaged just before you attached it to your spaceship? Well, you’ve probably hired a dodgy plumber (possibly called Joe) or an unreliable gardener at some point, but these contractor problems pale into insignificance when compared with the life-or-death products sub-contractors produce for the US space agency.

It would appear that one such contractor, a 60 year old man from a space manufacturing company near Houston, attempted to pass a small, yet critical, part for NASA to fly on board Endeavour back in March this year. Unfortunately it was defective, possibly endangering the crew of the shuttle, and now he’s in for the high-jump after attempting a cover-up…

Richard Harmon from Cornerstone Machining Inc., near Houston, TX, was indicted yesterday by a grand jury, charged with fraud involving space vehicle parts and for making a false statement to NASA personnel. According to the charges, Harmon attempted to cover up damage to a part used to secure payloads inside the cargo bay of the shuttle. The damage occurred during the manufacturing process of the impressively named ‘passive flight releasable attachment mechanism interface plate,’ so to cover his mistake, Harmon is accused of welding the piece. His action had weakened the plate by up to 40%.

To make matters worse, Hermon is then accused of falsifying certificates stating that the product had been manufactured to the high standard required by NASA. The local US Attorney’s office said:

The part was designed to secure cargo to the payload bay of the Endeavour during a flight to the International Space Station in March 2008. According to the indictment, the part, called a passive flight releasable attachment mechanism interface plate, was damaged during the manufacturing process. Harmon is alleged to have covered up the damage by causing it to be welded without informing Spacehab. Harmon is accused of delivering the part to Spacehab without disclosing the damage and falsely certifying the materials and processes used in machining the part complied with the requirements of applicable drawings.”

So what is this passive flight releasable attachment mechanism interface plate anyway? As a subcontractor to Spacehab (one of NASA’s suppliers), Cornerstone Machining Inc. prepares parts for use on missions such as space shuttle launches. The plate has an important function; it secures cargo in place during shuttle flights. Should this part fail, cargo may become loose inside the shuttle, endangering the crew, possibly having disastrous consequences for the mission. It was very fortunate that a pre-flight inspection turned up the fault.

Had NASA not discovered the damage and used the damaged part as planned, it could have cracked open during flight, allowed cargo to come loose and, possibly, resulted in the loss of the spacecraft and personnel aboard,” said Tim Johnson, acting U.S. attorney in Houston.

Although Harmon has not pleaded to the charges, it’s not looking good. If he is convicted for fraud and for making false statements, ultimately putting the shuttle and US astronauts at risk, he faces a huge $500,000 fine and 15 years in jail.

So the moral of the story is: don’t mess with government agencies, let alone NASA

Sources: Chicago Sun-Times, Houston Hair Balls


53 Responses

  1. Yael Dragwyla says

    Helen — You’re right. Funny Ian’s comment wasn’t, just ignorant. Ian, you ought to be ashamed of yourself — what if you were put through what Joe was, just because the press needed somebody to attack on Obama’s behalf and had already decided Oama had won well before the election. Colin — whoever *are* you talking to, concerning what? Looks like the barbarians are loose among us once again. These matters aside, it’s a very good thing that that bad job by Mr. Harmon got caught when it was. Otherwise we might have lost yet another spacecraft, along with all aboard. I hope that man ends up on the inside of a federal cooler for a good long time, both as a deterrant to other conscienceless rip-off artists and to keep Harmon out of circulation and unable to do any more harm until well past retirement age.

  2. Helen Martin says

    I thought that I was reading science. Why is Joe considered to be a dodgy plumber? What evidence do you have? NONE!

    Obama went to Joe’s house. Joe did not seek out Obama — BUT — Joe got investigated by the media, Obama’s allies, because Obama spoke the truth that Obama believes. Obama got caught saying “spread the wealth around.” That is socialism and communism. That is not capitalism. That is why I voted against Obama – because I am a capitalist not a socialist. Obama won and we believe that the will of the people has spoken. However, the election is over. Do not speak rudely against Joe, a man with a serious question who got persecuted by the press and the democrats. He does not deserve your ridicule. He did or said nothing to deserve your rude comment in this article.

  3. Bill says

    I wonder how much the part cost NASA and how much the part cost to make and how much this guy saved by welding instead of remaking the part. Did this guy supply a lot of parts to NASA? They better check them all!

  4. Doc Rabbitt says

    as soon as I read the Joe the plummer “joke” I quit reading and will avoid reading anything by Ian O’Neill from now on. I want to learn new space stuff, not read more left wing smear campaigning.

  5. Mikel says

    Right on target, people. Ian, you should be ashamed of yourself.

    But if I know my left-wingers, he won’t be.

  6. jamie says

    Communism and Capitalism are just experiments in how to run a planet (got the astronomy angle in there :))
    Some years ago after the fall of the Soviet system an old poor Russian lady was interviewed by the press and said “Lenin was wrong about Communism but right about Capitalism!)
    History has shown that Communism has not worked and now shown that unbridled Capitalism has not worked either.
    Maybe we should take the best parts from both and try something new. That would be free education and health care with the freedom to create wealth. Oddly enough it looks like China is going down that road now.
    P.S. I’m a plumber!

  7. middenrat says

    Richard Harmon is just the sort of ‘Joe’ we’re going to need a little later in the Diaspora. His mission-saving improvisation skills are what will propel us to the stars.

  8. s0l says

    Lol looks like some people still won’t see what’s right in their face…

    “Maybe we should take the best parts from both and try something new. ”

    Ying Yang anyone? Equiblirium?

    Capitalism sucks, communism sucks. One promotes utter and absolute selfishness along with corruption and hijacking of democratic institutions, the other, whilst theorically attractive in a unifying, solidarity-promoting way, has never been implemented on this planet. Sovietism isn’t communism.

    The only real communist experiment took place during the spanish 1936 war and it worked. But then the US, UK, France, USSR and Hitler all helped fascist Franco squash the leader-less and party-less republicans. Only Mexico officialy supported the Republic.

    I really can’t believe some of you felt insulted by a minor joke such as that one…it’s called irony and it’s healthy.

  9. Joe says

    Helen,

    Republicans LOST. Get over it.

    And as far as the B.S. socialism crap:
    Republicans apparently don’t want:
    Police Forces – a socialist institution.
    Public Schools – a socialist institution.
    Public Roadways – a socialist institution.
    Public Libraries – a socialist institution.
    Social Security – a socialist institution.
    The U.S. Military – – a socialist institution.

    When it comes to discussions of capitalism and socialism, right-wingers need to go back to school. I’m surprised right-wingers even read this Science website – after all; republicans are the party of “creationism”. Ever stop to think that educated people have just had it up to here with this right-wing creationism crap and the republican party’s continual attack on science?

  10. Alphonso says

    ‘Course the peice was about space – the wefare of the shuttle as well as those on it were put at risk from some (allegedly) shoddy practice.
    if not spotted, shuttle goes belly up (burns up, or – – you get the picture), people dead.

    if you had a dodgy contractor working on your house/car/burglar alarm you’d be a little hacked off if the job’s not done right.
    now imagine you’ve got billions of dollars & several lives at stake for a space mission.

    Think about it.

    (Note I didn’t mention the ‘O’ rings – doh!!)

  11. Sci-Fi Si says

    Anyone fancy talking about science?

  12. Dave says

    O rings… I can’t believe us… we slam this guy with 15 years for a faulty part, and let the faulty o ring people just feeling bad about it… we gotta get some perspective on accountability!!! Oh, gee it just occurred to me… now I get it, this joe guy was just small potatoes, not rich enough didn’t give a bunch of pay-olla to the Politburo… how dumb of me , punish the little but enriching the powerful… it’s the American way!

  13. Mek says

    Ahahaha what the hell? A tiny joke about this Joe person and you all get bent out of shape ? Jesus…

    Good article Ian, ignore the silly folks. Also, I’m not American, who is Joe?

  14. And how do we know if it could possibly have happened that the part was correctly delivered and damaged between delivery and use and thus “repaired” by someone in the assembly team?

    What stuck out to me, (I have, in the past, worked as a technician in aerospace), is that the piece passed goods inwards inspection. Now, for those of you who do not know these things, Goods Inwards is the absolute model of inspection. These people take their work seriously and I feel sure that they would have spotted the “flaw” before it even arrived “on the shelf”.

    So we need to remember why we have a legal system that says innocent until PROVEN guilty. I for one am not convinced of his guilt fro reading this report.

    As for blowing off about a plumber? Get a life.

  15. Maxwell says

    Joes been my plumber for six years, and was recently working on a drainage problem in my house. So I called him from work to let him know I’d be late.
    Unfortunately no one told my three year old papillion, molly…

    Personally I find the whole dust up about Joe to be kinda silly. Whats more alarming is how people ignored a reasonable question to attack the man delivering it.
    Republican plant or not, what happened to him in the public eye was the kind of bad business we shouldn’t accept.

    As for corrput contractors, it does happen. Its a shame to think someone would try to screw something as important as NASA and endanger thousands of lives (crew + those living near the launch area) for money.

    This is the kind of heartless bastard that should be locked in the pillory, not a guy who simply asked a politician about his tax promises.

  16. Member

    Now I’ve worked out a secret formula for getting my articles read!

    A couple of days ago I write about an educational experiment that will enrich science in the classroom by sending a biology payload to the ISS. What happens? A few hundred hits and someone complaining that the ISS should be used for something useful (plus a mini debate with Jorge, thanks Jorge!).

    Then I write about a shoddy contractor (and yes, from the source material he has been accused of being shoddy and will, most likely, go to jail – I was very careful not to say he had already been proven guilty, ‘cuz he hasn’t). I make a mildly funny remark about the only plumber I knew most people would recognise. And *BOOM* approaching 40 comments and nearly 2000 hits. (And I did this without even thinking.)

    OK, to answer some concerns:
    1) I’m British, I’ve just moved to the US (and this site is based in Canada). I use British humour, which I make no apologies for.
    2) I have obviously poked right into the heart of some raw tensions still seething after the elections. Woops.
    3) I am neither “right”, “left”, communist, socialist, or Marxist. I couldn’t vote this time around, but I’ll be sure to let you know when I make up my mind.
    4) Wasn’t it the Republicans who threw “Joe the plumber” into the limelight? Wasn’t it McCain and Palin who used Joe as a desperate ploy to discredit Obama’s tax initiatives? I am pretty sure the Republican press has become rather upset about the election loss and have begun representing the whole “Joe the Plumber” thing in a different light.
    5) How do I know Joe is shoddy? I don’t, I’m simply relating this article to the popular media and their views on the whole “no licence” debacle (whether that is even accurate as Joe didn’t need a licence, debatable at best).
    6) Although this is a space blog, occasionally politics crops up (yes, really). As this is a blog, I am actually allowed (believe it or not) to speak my opinions… and I’m allowed to be funny (or at least try to be).
    7) I’m not ashamed of myself. Well, no more than I should be on a day-to-day basis!
    8 ) I have the amazing freedom to blog on this wonderful site. Occasionally I might get it wrong, but I’ll never be unduly unfair or offensive. Regardless of your politics, an off-the-cuff remark (whether it is seen as pro-Obama or anti-McCain) such as this is pretty tame compared with what’s been said these past few weeks.

    It’s a shame so many of you have seen fit to make personal attacks at me (and no, I didn’t make a personal attack on Joe, I don’t know the guy – “Joe the Plumber” has become synonymous with the media as being “dodgy”). A few comments have been removed because of the limited nature of their vocabulary.

    Well, I’ll leave it at that. As I’m quickly learning, getting involved in a political debate in the US is like being thrown into a pit of lions that haven’t been fed for weeks. No matter how knowledgeable you are, you’ll never change anyone’s mind. So, open the flood gates again, I’m sure I’ve just ignited some more anti-socialist/anti-Obama/anti-me remarks.

    Cheers, Ian ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. Hunnter says

    See, THIS is why i hate politics-tards, always screwing stuff up and going off topic, go the hell elsewhere with your crap.
    Also, who the hell is this Joe twat and why does he have any relation to Obama?
    This jokes been around for god knows how long now. (UK by the way, not US)

    Back to the article, what was this guy thinking?
    Did he think he would get away with something like that?
    This stuff gets backtracked like crazy if there is something wrong.
    Don’t mess with space!
    15 years, while harsh, is probably the right way to go, he put a lot of lives in danger.

  18. Michael says

    “Have you ever hired a plumber to find the leaking got worse?”

    Have you ever written something to be read in public without checking for mistakes? Idiot.

  19. Member

    That’s a shame Michael. Just for the record, I am just one contributor to the Universe Today. Fraser has maintained this site for a decade and worked very hard to bring space news to the web for free. Why my opinions in the comment section of one of my articles should have any bearing on whether you read UT or not is mystifying.

    I’m not worried about politics, I’m not overly concerned with business (so long as I generate readers for UT) – as I’ve said, I don’t favour one political party over another. I have my views on who has the best policies insofar as space exploration is concerned, but I keep those opinions on my own space science blog.

    This notion that politics has nothing to do with space exploration amazes me. The vast majority of UT news is not political, our team tries to pull together the best space science news possible. Why the overreaction when something vaguely political is mentioned? Should I really be chastised for making an off-the-cuff, lighthearted comment?

  20. Member

    @dollhopf:-

    one of the best O’Neill articles ever

    Lol, thank you. Was supposed to be a comment, turned into a novel ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    @David R.:-

    I think I need some Hendrix right now! Thank goodness I didn’t relate the article to “Bob the Builder”, now that would have been a HUGE mistake. Bob is known for his excellent “can do” attitude ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Bob says, “Can we fix it? Yes we can!” (as BHC and S.E.Cycloid have already mentioned, Bob’s slogan sounds pretty familiar…)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_the_Builder

  21. Huygens says

    People should know better than to try to rip off the biggest criminal institution around, the US Government.

    They can’t do much, but they will sure as heck be on your behind if you try to screw them over.

  22. Rick says

    Ian, I have enjoyed the many pieces you have written and have no doubt that I will continue to enjoy more of them in the future. However, my advice would be to avoid with a passion any temptation to interject political jokes, innuendos, etc. into your articles since they only detract from the otherwise good work you do. Joe the Plumber has done nothing wrong โ€“ yet, regrettably your “joke” falsely implies that his name is automatically synonymous with shoddy work. Own up to your mistake and stick to the science. I look forward to more good science reporting from you – devoid of politics, of course.

  23. ccpetersen says

    Who the hell are you people, anyway? You read an entire article about a criminal and all you can do is strain over the gnat that is a joke about Joe? Such whining!

    This article isn’t about Joe the Plumber, so, as the right wing told the rest of us after Bush stole the election in 2000, get over it, already!

    Try a little reading comprehension sometime. It works wonders to open up dingy, closed minds.

    For what it’s worth, MY plumber is also named Joe and he thought the whole thing was pretty damned funny.

    Not all of us march in lockstep with right-wing thinking and some of us even know how to laugh at a political joke.

  24. Rick says

    Whining – balony. I already said the article was good. Glad the criminal has been caught and hopefully will be gettihng his due.

    Why should Joe (or anyone else for that matter) be slandered? So you can have a good laugh? The article could just as easily commented about shoddy plumbers (who give all plumbers a bad name) without mentioning “Joe” or hinting about “Joe”. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that the interjection of “Joe” was done as a slap in the face to those who might look favorably on “Joe” and what he stood for.

    I come to universetoday.com for science and science related reporting. Science which is devoid of one’s political persuasion whether it be Democrat, Republican, Communist, Socialist, Capitalist, Monarchist or whatever politics one wishes to interject into a discussion which somehow should be above such polical musings. Too bad so many of the comments to the various science articles fail to measure up to the value of the topic being reported. If you want political jokes, take ti somewhere else. Keep universetoday.com above the politics.

  25. Mark H says

    My father-in-law was a quality control (QC) inspector during the Apollo program and he was very proud of his role. He had many stories about how engineers and suppliers would get upset when they were informed that their products did not pass inspection. Products were pass/fail and if they failed, they were returned or discarded, no big deal. My question here is the same as Chris’s – how did this thing pass inspection? I have a feeling that something is amiss – perhaps it passed inspection, only to be found out at the last minute that it should not have passed, otherwise why the big stink?

  26. BHC says

    If I recall correctly, the phrase ‘Joe the Plumber’ as well as ‘Bob the Builder’ have been around way before this current election.

    Same with ‘Joe Six-pack’, though originally, I was under the impression that the so called “six-pack” was the abdominal muscles, and thus “Joe” was a body builder.
    Nowadays, I’ve come to realize this aforementioned “six-pack” is actually a half dozen cans of beer and thus “Joe” is no longer a body builder, but a couch potato. potentially smoking a cigar and playing poker.
    But I digress, as my plumber is neither named Joe nor have a six-pack. He only likes wine.

    And yes, plumbers and other contractors can be very shady. caveat emptor.

  27. Feenixx says

    If no political comments had been made, I would have thought it was funny and never even thought of politics. I’ve known “Joe the Plumber” for decades as a metaphor for a tradesman who does sloppy work…. regardless of what the lengthy Wikipedia blurb says.

    This case…. I don’t know, it seems convoluted. There’s too little information to get even a hazy picture of what may haqve happened.

  28. S.E.Cycloid says

    Talking of “Bob the builder” here is an example link (there are many more out there) that will go some way to explain why the “Yes we can” slogan by Obama was amusing to many in the UK and the rest of Europe.

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=CZnYzD-LnSU

  29. BHC says

    SE Cycloid: ๐Ÿ™‚ that’s why i brought up Bob…

  30. RALF says

    Did anybody else get a chuckle out of NASA’s description of the suspect part as a “flight releasable attachment mechanism interface plate”? Around here we call that a latch…

  31. jerry says

    With very few exceptions, space is a socialized adventure. Space X, for example, is closing-in on where the socialized NASA effort was fifty years ago. NASA is flying rings around Saturn.

    If NASA used an unlicensed plumber to build spacestation plumbing with uncertified welds; it might be cheaper; but likely not as safe. When NASA pays the premium for certified parts but ends up with uncertified welds; someone, somewhere is criminally responsible.

  32. Hunnter says

    I am glad you mentioned that BHC, these phrases have been around for a very long time.

    Average Joe is another common one.
    Knock-off Nigel also comes to mind. Damn catchy ads.

    Also, thanks for the link Maxwell.

  33. Jay says

    This shouldn’t be a single sided argument. Reporting should be from both sides of the story…. Your story is single sided.
    You put this in your story “If he is convicted”. You clearly have convicted this person without a trial.

    I think the passion of your post may be powered by the tragic losses in the past. I understand but give the guy a chance to defend himself.

    Nasa did purchase from the guy. He can’t be a total screw up. Its not like they goto the space craft parts store to get these parts. They contract with these people. They chose him.

  34. dollhopf says

    Joe

    you wrote:

    “When it comes to discussions of capitalism and socialism, right-wingers need to go back to school. I’m surprised right-wingers even read this Science website – after all; republicans are the party of “creationism”. Ever stop to think that educated people have just had it up to here with this right-wing creationism crap and the republican party’s continual attack on science?”

    You know what? You contradict yourself. Because evolution cannot be planned. There will be no other proof of your alleged “imperfection” of the “right-wingers” than their factual extinction from the face of the earth. But you know what? In four or eight years everything will have changed again. That is not necessarilly so, but experience tells me that it will be.

    I give you a hint: enjoy your individual conformance with current political trend as long as you can und ride the wave as long as it is possible. Because CHANGE is a bitch. Today change loves you. Tomorrow you are abandoned.

  35. dollhopf says

    Ian O’Neill Says:
    November 14th, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    one of the best O’Neill articles ever

  36. dollhopf says

    “Group Process, Group Decision, Group Action” by Robert S. Baron

    I found it again a few days ago in the trash while cleaning up my personal library

    it explains so much of what is going on here. This is no recommentation, of course, because since then there was so many more literature about our f’ng daily (mis – whatever that might be)behaviour.

  37. Michael says

    Ian your right. I hope thats good enough for you because I’m droping universe today as of now. That was your goal right? Tip- I’d worry less about politics and more about business.

  38. David R. says

    Hey Ian, good article, good information.

    I seem to remember another Joe before the election…and he inspired a song that still sounds pretty good…Jimi Hendrix is just what this angry mob needs right about now.

  39. Freiddie says

    “getting involved in a political debate in the US is like being thrown into a pit of lions that haven’t been fed for weeks.”

    Absolutely. I love this quote. In addition, I’m proud that you stand by your words.

  40. Bill says

    Years ago I worked for a subcontractor on Apollo 11 and we were scared of the NASA Inspectors visiting our facility. They generally showed up in 3 piece suits with spit shine shoes and attache cases, and they went through every detail concerning the state of the project. They did not fool around with contractors and they were always dead serious. To bad NASA’s budget no longer can afford quality inspectors like we had back then and it was the main reason that NASA was successful in putting Americans on the moon on July 20, 1969.

  41. Hunnter says

    I think it is pretty damn hilarious that so many people are crying over the Joe The Plumber comment.

    “oh wah, i think i might remove UT from my bookmarks because of that one comment”
    What, are you guys 12 or something?
    Grow up. Seriously.

    As the common phrase goes, “And nothing of value was lost.”
    Enjoy finding another site. We will all be here loving UT =)

  42. James says

    Wow, you guys are a bunch of babies.

    Great article, Ian.

  43. Stefan says

    Hello Ian, I’m from Germany, so English isn’t my first language. It goes more like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yR0lWICH3rY
    But still I really like reading UT because of the simple and straight forward way of writting on this side. This makes it easy for me to understand. I didn’t get your choke, because I don’t know this Joe guy, but I understand, that it was ment as a choke, an opener, and I simply read the main part of the article. I don’t know, why people get so angry about it. I think they are just crazy, so keep on writting your very own style!

  44. Kevin S says

    Shoddy workmanship is the thrust here – and it was apparent during the election that Joe the Plumber stood for just that. Unlicensed, overstating his need for a loan or money, representing the bad risks that lenders underwrote, he smells like a bad risk.

    Spacecraft leave little room for fudge factors. If design, analysis, testing and certification indicates that a given part must withstand a loading of X, NASA is not likely to specify 2X when that could double the weight. A weld, yielding a reduction in strength of 40%, constitutes a SEVERE RISK.

    The shuttle is not like your pickup truck. A failure will likely be catastrophic onboard the shuttle, and it seems to me SIMPLE to avoid this sort of negligence.

    A 1/2 million dollar fine pales in comparison to the cost of a lost spacecraft, to make no mention of the lives put at risk. This guy is getting off lightly.

  45. Carl the Kiwi says

    Hi Ian – you must be rolling in the aisles reading all of this garbage from failed 8th graders, who are crying over your “joe the plumber” comment. He was very dodgy that guy, and to see him on fox news pitching a country and western album was too much.
    By the way did I mention how much I enjoy reading UT? I prefer to read the UT over space.com as the space.com website seems too crowded.
    By bringing this shoddy workmanship to the attention of “THE WORLD” as you might say, you may have helped prevent another Challenger/Columbia style incident. And absolutely no one would want to see another of those – not even our friend “Joe the Plumber”.
    P.S I am a member of the New Zealand Space Flight association. Have a look at our website if you have time. Unfortunately we dont have a guest book just yet.

  46. Stellare says

    How the space shuttle or space crafts are being built is highly relevant for this site. Security in space is also highly relevant. So your article is well within the scope and profile of UT.

    Take the comments, of all sorts, as a compliment. Silence is the killer. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I can’t see how your mildly ironic humor could ignite the ‘hate’. It must be the readers responsibility entirely, these reactions here.

    Your article is highly relevant and well written. That is all. ๐Ÿ™‚

  47. Phil says

    I wish people would keep their right wing garbage out of everything. You lost, now get over it…you know, like Gore did. Cry Babies. Is the world going to end now?

    Right wing presidents have ALWAYS taken money away from NASA. Every one of them. Pay attention to the world around you. During the Apollo missions, no astronaut wanted to interview with Nixon because he was destroying the program. Putting down the ax and standing there for the photo op. What a liar.
    NASA is groups of many people working together to accomplish a common goal. If that’s too social for you, go to the Congo and build your own little Republic. The taxes are incredibly low there. You don’t have to worry about green cards for the low paid servants.

    You wouldn’t stand for crap parts on the next plane you get on. RIGHT?
    This guy BROKE THE LAW, LIED, ENDAGERED PEOPLES LIVES AND A LOT OF TAX PAYERS DOLLARS! Should he have had a blowie for you to get upset about it?????
    This guy is a TRAITOR to this country. He should be treated as such. Someone this old knows better. He needs NASA to baby sit his work? WOW. This is where capitalist greed leads. Now people are defending him because he comes from a Republican company? How ignorant. They are traitors too. I hope this company doesnโ€™t build airline parts.

    Yes, get mad about. Cry and hiss. Then run away….far away. So no one has to deal with this Nazi crap anymore.

    When it comes to socialism /capitalism it’s amazing how ignorant people are. A Communist is a Capitalist who hates to Social matters. Those who cry commie are the ones who act like it.

    Everyone needs to quit being spoon fed by their propaganda machines and pay attention, research and learn on their own. Without someone else telling them how to feel and think. Scientists donโ€™t rely on the news or e-mails there mommy sends them. Gets the facts, think, research, prove then open the mouth. Why so many get it backwards?

    Stupidity shines when some acts as a criminal. Then someone writes about it and gives an analogy to explain it. The writer is treated like the criminal should and the criminal is ignored and even defended? Go get an education and learn on your own. This kind of attitude in people minds makes it seen as though Geobbels is still around.

    Thank God we have a President now that cares about the program.

  48. alandee says

    Phil Says: / Michael Says: / dollhopf Says: / Joe Says: / Helen Says : etc etc …

    Americans talking politics scare me.
    Try Australia’s compulsory voting system .. you’ll soon learn to be apathetic.

  49. Dregnaw says

    Great Job Ian!

    Conflict and controversy sales. If you want to make a lot of money and impression those around you in a Capitalist society you need these components in whatever you do. The Davinci Code sold because you have the religious side and the non religious (which the religious side would call, atheists, savages, etc.). This is just one of many examples.

    If’s funny how republicans can go around calling people terrorists because there name is not fitting into the standard of American society, but when Joe the plumber gets a little Saturday Night Live joke, the republicans go ballistic.

    This is the best thing that has ever happened to Joe the Plumber. The guys famous, yeah he gets ridiculed, but that keeps the flame alive. He should open his business while the flame is still hot. It is awesome advertising. I wonder how many people would be willing to finance his start up costs because he is so famous now.

    Good luck Ian keep using politics in your articles, and bye bye to the narrow minded readers that have left this site.

  50. Stephen Downie says

    Ian,

    Interesting article, thanks for writing. I also think people are taking themselves just a wee bit too seriously. It’s a quip folks, not the communist manifesto. Space geeks of the world unite!

  51. David S says

    BHC, a “six-pack” was always six cans of beer or soda. When referring to abs, they are saying they look like a six-pack of cans.

    I think the Joe the Plumber reference was right on. The guy doesn’t have a plumber’s licence and he didn’t pay his taxes! Not the kind of guy I want working on my pipes.

    Two more socialist things we enjoy are the US Mail and NASA!

    I’m sure Fraser could come here and tell us how nice it is to have socialized health care, because as a self employed person in the US, I don’t have any!

    I enjoyed the article Ian.

  52. David S says

    Bravo Phil! That was most succinct. Republicans are always worried about their liberties being taken away by Democrats, while their Republican elected officials do just that.

    Not only did Nixon try to dismantle NASA, he also took all the regulation away from the insurance companies, and helped make the mess that our health care system is. Oh and he started Amtrak because he always liked to play with trains…

    W did a lot of things people are mostly unaware of. Read the Patriot Act sometime. You can be arrested as a terrorist, and be locked up with no rights, if you are part of a peaceful demonstration. That’s removing your liberties and is unconstitutional!

    As Phil alluded to, people need to read more facts.

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