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How Boeing Lost Its Bearings

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Engineers were all too happy to share such views with executives, which made for plenty of awkward encounters in the still-smallish city that was Seattle in the ’90s. It was, top brass felt, an undue amount of contact for executives of a modern, diversified corporation.

One of the most successful engineering cultures of all time was quickly giving way to the McDonnell mind-set. Another McDonnell executive had recently been elevated to chief financial officer. (“A further indication of who in the hell was controlling this company,” a union leader told me.) That, in turn, contributed to the company’s extraordinary decision to move its headquarters to Chicago, where it strangely remains—in the historical capital of printing, Pullman cars, and meatpacking—to this day.

If Andrew Carnegie’s advice—“Put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch that basket”—had guided Boeing before, these decisions accomplished roughly the opposite. The company would put its eggs in three baskets: military in St. Louis. Space in Long Beach. Passenger jets in Seattle. And it would watch that basket from Chicago. Never mind that the majority of its revenues and real estate were and are in basket three. Or that Boeing’s managers would now have the added challenge of flying all this blind—or by instrument, as it were—relying on remote readouts of the situation in Chicago instead of eyeballing it directly (as good pilots are incidentally trained to do). The goal was to change Boeing’s culture.

And in that, Condit and Stonecipher clearly succeeded. In the next four years, Boeing’s detail-oriented, conservative culture became embroiled in a series of scandals. Its rocket division was found to be in possession of 25,000 pages of stolen Lockheed Martin documents. Its CFO (ex-McDonnell) was caught violating government procurement laws and went to jail. With ethics now front and center, Condit was forced out and replaced with Stonecipher, who promptly affirmed: “When people say I changed the culture of Boeing, that was the intent, so that it’s run like a business rather than a great engineering firm.” A General Electric alum, he built a virtual replica of GE’s famed Crotonville leadership center for Boeing managers to cycle through. And when Stonecipher had his own career-ending scandal (an affair with an employee), it was another GE alum—James McNerney—who came in from the outside to replace him.

As the aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia recently told me, “You had this weird combination of a distant building with a few hundred people in it and a non-engineer with no technical skills whatsoever at the helm.” Even that might have worked—had the commercial-jet business stayed in the hands of an experienced engineer steeped in STEM disciplines. Instead McNerney installed an M.B.A. with a varied background in sales, marketing, and supply-chain management. Said Aboulafia, “We were like, ‘What?’’’

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Oakland, CA
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New York, NY

City Of Dallas Shuts Down Business Of Man Who Called Cops Over 100 Times In 20 Months To Deal With Criminals Near His Car Wash

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Let's talk about nuisance abatement laws. These are laws cities can use to shut down businesses that appear to draw more than their fair share of the criminal element.

If you're a fan of asset forfeiture, you'll love nuisance laws. By abdicating their law enforcement responsibilities, cities can have their lower cost cake and eat your property too. It's win-win for cities, who love to use laws like this to effectively seize property from citizens who have the misfortune to operate legitimate businesses in high crime areas.

Here's how it works in Dallas, Texas. The city says business owners must pay for their own security devices and personnel to keep their businesses free of criminals. No business will be compensated for these additional costs. All cops need to do is throw a couple of placards at the business and the city takes it from there. Criminal activity in the area is now the responsibility of businesses in the area. Can't get criminals to get off your property? Too bad. It's the city's property now.

The Dallas police chief has a new tool in her arsenal to force home and business owners to address crime on or near their properties: shame.

On Wednesday, the Dallas City Council passed a "nuisance abatement" ordinance allowing Police Chief U. Renee Hall to identify properties that tolerate criminal activity and try to get the owners to address it.

The new ordinance allows city officials to slap a sign on properties identified as sites of "habitual criminal activity."

The first efforts involve shaming the business owners for things they likely cannot control. This isn't the only step taken, though. The placards are the beginning. If the city feels the business owner isn't doing enough to control crime in the area (surely that's a law enforcement job?), it can shut the business down and keep fining it for anything and everything it can think of until the business owner is insolvent and has to sell the property.

A South Dallas car wash owner has been fighting the city on and off for most of three decades over its application of nuisance laws. The city has already shut down Dale Davenport's car wash. City council members claim Davenport is to blame for the crime that surrounds his business. It also claims he's done next to nothing to solve a problem he didn't create.

Davenport fought back. He demanded the city turn over 911 call records linked to his business in order to show the problem isn't his, but the Dallas Police Department's. After several months of being stonewalled, he has finally obtained the documents he needs to show the city it's not doing all it can to combat crime. Jim Schutze of the Dallas Observer has been following this fight for years and has the details.

After a two-year tooth-and-nail battle with the city, Davenport’s lawyer, Warren Norred, recently forced City Hall to cough up the official record of 911 calls Davenport has been making all along, begging police to come to his place of business.

It's not just a few calls scattered over several months. Davenport called the cops constantly, asking them to come deal with the criminal element that seemed to feel it could just hang out at his place of business. The city says crime is Davenport's fault. The record(s) [PDF] show this is a failure of city agencies, most notably the Dallas PD.

On and on the 911 reports go for 414 single-spaced pages... And that covers only 20 months from 1/5/18 to 9/25/19. Dale Davenport and his father, Freddy Davenport, have been calling the cops to their property for 27 years.

Davenport is suing the city and the hundreds of pages of 911 calls are vital to his litigation. The city wants to take his property, claiming he hasn't fulfilled his obligations as a citizen and business owner. 414 pages of 911 calls says otherwise. Davenport (and his father before him) have been pleading for the city to clean up a crime-infested area filled with drug houses and the criminal element drawn to this area by the (apparently) unchecked drug trade.

The PD's newly-formed Nuisance Abatement Team doesn't appear to have made any impact here, other than posting placards on businesses it believes aren't doing enough to fight the crime the Dallas PD should be fighting. Paying taxes should entitle you to city services, but only thing Dallas wants to give Davenport in exchange for his involuntary contributions is all the blame for the crime that surrounds him.

Fourteen years ago, a state committee investigation [PDF] found Dallas' nuisance laws had been abused severely and regularly.

Sworn testimony before the house committee described specific cases of misuse of the statute by city officials such as:

• Targeting of a few, select businesses in high-crime areas, while ignoring more serious crimes occurring on surrounding properties;
• Directing businesses to hire certain security personnel with the clear suggestion that hiring these select individuals would diminish the city's threatened enforcement of nuisance abatement;
• Parking a large number of police cars in the parking lot of a business owner as a retaliatory act toward that owner, who had challenged the city's nuisance action against him and had testified in court on behalf of an individual who was acquitted of charges for resisting arrest while on the business' property;
• Using calls to police requesting assistance by the business as marks against that business in the city's criteria for evidence of nuisance abatement violations;
• Directing a hotel property owner to run criminal history checks on all guests, which is a possible violation of the guests' civil rights and could potentially subject the business to legal liability; and
• Sanctioning a local car wash owner because marihuana was found in the pants pocket of a person working on the property. It was suggested by the city legal department that the owner needed to conduct random pat-down searches of persons working on the property on a regular basis -- an act prohibited by law even for law enforcement officers.

To sum up:

[T]he committees are gravely concerned that the problems stemming from Dallas' use of the nuisance laws are the result of a unique and incorrect interpretation of those laws by city officials -- wrongly taking the laws to mean that fighting crime is no longer the city's responsibility but has instead now become primarily the responsibility of private citizens and businesses; and that private citizens can be held strictly liable for crimes that take place on or near their property even when they are not involved in that crime, have taken affirmative steps to prevent the crime, are themselves victims of that crime, and have reported the crime, requesting the assistance of law enforcement agencies. Furthermore, the body of evidence available to the committees also strongly suggests that the city uses the nuisance laws to intimidate, promote cronyism, and inappropriately use law enforcement personnel, specifically uniformed police and code enforcement officers, to deliver not-too-subtle messages of coercion and retaliation to legitimate businesses and property owners who refuse to submit to such tactics.

It's 2020. Nothing has changed. The city continues to shrug off its responsibilities and put private business owners in the impossible position of clearing out nearby crime without relying on the law enforcement services the city is supposed to provide to taxpayers. I guess the city believes it's only obligation to business owners like Davenport is to staff 911 call centers. Other than that, they're on their own until the city shuts them down.

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3 days ago
Oakland, CA
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3 days ago
Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm

What are those grids of glass in the sidewalk and why are they purple?


All over the city you can see glass squares and circles in big grid patterns covering a few feet of sidewalk. Sometimes the glass is clear, but often it’s a purple hue.

What are they?

They're vault lights, which are essentially skylights for below ground. The little glass pieces are projecting sunlight down into subterranean spaces.

While the top of the glass is flat, so it doesn't trip anyone, underneath the glass can take a variety of shapes. Some are shaped into prism forms that diffuse and bend the light so it reaches the inner areas of underground spaces.

This is originally from a 1914 "Metal Building Materials" catalog, displaying "Berger&squot;s Raydiant Sidewalk Lights."
This illustration appeared in a 1914 "Metal Building Materials" catalog, displaying "Berger's Raydiant Sidewalk Lights." (Collection of Ian Macky /

Across the country, vault lights are used to illuminate a variety of iconic and interesting projects.

Vault lights were used to light some of New York City's first subway stations and were placed in the ground of the opulent passenger concourse in the city's original Pennsylvania Station. In that now destroyed icon, natural light would pour through the buildings arched glass canopy and would then spill down into the lower levels of the station through hundreds of vault lights in the ground.

The passenger concourse at the original Pennsylvania Station in New York City, built in 1910. The floor is covered in vault lighting.
The passenger concourse at the original Pennsylvania Station in New York City, built in 1910. The ground is mostly made up of pieces of glass that provide vault lighting. (Library of Congress)

In 1862, parts of Sacramento were raised as much as 14 feet to protect against flooding. (That year, California's newly elected governor, Leland Stanford, was brought to his inauguration in a rowboat.) In some places, instead of lifting the building, they simply built over the first floor. Which means below the sidewalk it's now possible to walk between abandoned storefronts, bathed in the purple glow of vault lights. Similar projects have taken place in cities across the country.

Old sidewalk prisms, many of which have broken. (Britta Gustafson/flickr)

In San Francisco, vault lights are mostly used to illuminate sub-sidewalk basements — ie. basements that extend under the sidewalk. Often, these are used as extra storage or work space.

Beneath a vault light inside a sub-sidewalk basement.
Beneath a vault light inside a sub-sidewalk basement. (Jessica Placzek/KQED)

Why is the glass colored?

Glass is made of silica, which can be found in sand. Often, though, sand will have other elements in it too. In order to clarify and stabilize the glass from these other elements, chemists could use manganese dioxide. When vault lights were first installed, much of the glass was clear. But when the manganese is exposed to UV rays for long periods of time, it photo-oxidizes and turns purple or pinkish. Hence, the reason so much of the glass is now purple.

This process can take decades. So when you see colored glass, it’s either really old or someone dyed it to mimic the old glass.

Where were vault lights first used?

This kind of technology was first used on ships as deck lights.

“It's long been the traditional way of lighting the interior of ships. While kerosene lamps were sometimes used, the smoke could make interior spaces uncomfortable. And candles could become a fire hazard on wooden ships,” says Diane Cooper, a museum technician at the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park.

The purple six-sided pointed prism has a flat bottom that would have been flush with the deck of a ship. The rectangular deck light has a series of "ribs" that run the length of the prism.
The purple six-sided pointed prism has a flat bottom that would have been flush with the deck of a ship. The rectangular deck light has a series of "ribs" that run the length of the prism. (Courtesy of San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, photographed by Chris Wilhite)

The prisms inlaid into the deck were intended to direct light both down and up. The daylight comes down to light potential sleeping areas where sailors might forget about a candle. And if a fire breaks out below, the prisms would glow with warning for the sailors above.

“If you had coal in your hold, you’d need to be able to see that there’s light down there,” says Cooper.

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16 days ago
And the guy that invented them used the money he earned to fight slavery!
Oakland, CA
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19 days ago
Beautiful glass
Bend, Oregon
18 days ago
These were historically used on sailing ships as well. You can even find them on boats built up to maybe the 1980s (and perhaps beyond):

This Is What Racism Sounds Like in the Banking Industry

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Jimmy Kennedy earned $13 million during his nine-year career as a player in the National Football League. He was the kind of person most banks would be happy to have as a client.

But when Mr. Kennedy tried to become a “private client” at JPMorgan Chase, an elite designation that would earn him travel discounts, exclusive event invitations and better deals on loans, he kept getting the runaround.

At first, he didn’t understand why. Then, last fall, he showed up at his local JPMorgan branch in Arizona, and an employee offered an explanation.

“You’re bigger than the average person, period. And you’re also an African-American,” the employee, Charles Belton, who is black, told Mr. Kennedy. “We’re in Arizona. I don’t have to tell you about what the demographics are in Arizona. They don’t see people like you a lot.” Mr. Kennedy recorded the conversation and shared it with The New York Times.

It’s no secret that racism has been baked into the American banking system. There are few black executives in the upper echelons of most financial institutions. Leading banks have recently paid restitution to black employees for isolating them from white peers, placing them in the poorest branches and cutting them off from career opportunities. Black customers are sometimes profiled, viewed with suspicion just for entering a bank and questioned over the most basic transactions.

This year, researchers for the National Bureau of Economic Research found that black mortgage borrowers were charged higher interest rates than white borrowers and were denied mortgages that would have been approved for white applicants.

Banks, including JPMorgan, say they are committed to eradicating the legacy of racism. And they insist that any lingering side effects simply reflect stubborn socioeconomic imbalances in society as a whole, not racial bias among their employees.

What recently transpired inside a cluster of JPMorgan branches in the Phoenix area suggests that is not true.

Mr. Kennedy was told he was essentially too black. His financial adviser, Ricardo Peters, complained that he, too, was a victim of racial discrimination. What makes their cases extraordinary is not that the two men say they faced discrimination. It is that they recorded their interactions with bank employees, preserving a record of what white executives otherwise might have dismissed as figments of the aggrieved parties’ imaginations.

Patricia Wexler, a JPMorgan spokeswoman, defended the bank’s overall treatment of Mr. Peters and Mr. Kennedy. She said that the bank hadn’t been aware of all of the audio recordings and that “in light of some new information brought to us by The New York Times,” the company put one of its executive directors on administrative leave while the bank investigates his conduct.

The Back of the Branch

Mr. Peters started his career at JPMorgan as a salesman in the bank’s credit cards division. After about eight years in various roles, he was promoted to a financial adviser position in Phoenix in 2016. His job was to help bank customers prudently invest their money.

Mr. Peters had won numerous performance awards at the bank, but things soon started going wrong for him.

He was working in a JPMorgan branch in the affluent Sun City West area of Phoenix. He sought a promotion to become a private client adviser, a job that would have let him work with wealthier and more lucrative clients.

The promotion never came. Instead, Mr. Peters was moved out of an office at the heart of the branch where he worked with other financial advisers and was relegated to a windowless room in the back.

In April 2017, one of his bosses, Frank Venniro, told Mr. Peters that another manager had accused him of taking customers’ files home at night, a violation of the bank’s code of conduct. Mr. Peters denied it, and Mr. Venniro accepted that he was telling the truth, according to a recording of the conversation. But, he added, Mr. Peters needed to be more cognizant of how his colleagues perceived him.

Mr. Peters was left with the impression that his managers, who were white, were predisposed to view him suspiciously. Could he prove it? No. What happened next was clearer.

Mr. Peters complained to Mr. Venniro that another financial adviser was trying to steal a prospective client: a woman who had just received a $372,000 wrongful death settlement after her son died. She was black.

Mr. Venniro told Mr. Peters that there was no point in his intervening in the dispute, because the woman was not a worthwhile client. “You’ve got somebody who’s coming from Section 8, never had a nickel to spend, and now she’s got $400,000,” Mr. Venniro said, referring to the federal program that provides vouchers to help with housing costs and whose title is sometimes used as a racial slur. “What do you think’s going to happen with that money? It’s gone.”

“But I thought that’s why we get involved,” Mr. Peters protested.

Mr. Venniro said no. “You’re not investing a dime for this lady,” he said. He knew from experience that she would quickly burn through the money. “It happens every single time.”

When Mr. Peters tried to argue, Mr. Venniro interjected. “This is not money she respects,” he said. “She didn’t earn it.”

Mr. Venniro declined to comment.

Ms. Wexler, the bank spokeswoman, said that Mr. Venniro was put on leave after inquiries from The Times and that he resigned last Thursday. “Our employee used extraordinarily bad judgment and was wrong to suggest we couldn’t help a customer,” she said. She said Mr. Venniro knew the client was in subsidized housing but didn’t know her race.

Marching Orders

In February 2018, Mr. Peters was transferred from the Sun City West branch to a JPMorgan branch in a less wealthy neighborhood. He perceived it as another example of managers, including Mr. Venniro, mistreating him because he was black.

One day, Mr. Peters met Mr. Kennedy, then 38. Mr. Kennedy had played for five N.F.L. teams as a defensive tackle. In 2011, he had joined the New York Giants — a homecoming that, The Times wrote at the time, was notable because of his impoverished childhood in Yonkers, N.Y. That season, Mr. Kennedy and the Giants won the Super Bowl.

Mr. Kennedy retired and later moved to Phoenix. JPMorgan bankers had been courting his business, but he hadn’t liked the financial advisers the bank had proposed to manage his investments. Then he met Mr. Peters. “The chemistry was just so real because he knew exactly what I needed to do,” Mr. Kennedy said in an interview.

In the summer of 2018, Mr. Kennedy gradually moved $800,000 to the bank. Mr. Peters and a colleague promised he would get “private client” status, which was reserved for accounts with more than $250,000.

Landing a wealthy client like Mr. Kennedy was a big win for Mr. Peters, but he was anxious about being targeted by his superiors. On Aug. 24, he filed a formal complaint with the bank. He said he had alerted Mr. Venniro “that I feel that I am being treated differently because of my race and color of my skin” and that Mr. Venniro had suggested that the solution was for him to work in the less-wealthy branch.

Less than two weeks later, JPMorgan agreed to pay $24 million to end a class-action lawsuit brought by other black employees who said the company had discriminated against them — in some cases by isolating them from colleagues and dumping them in poorer branches.

On Oct. 5, Mr. Venniro took Mr. Peters to a meeting room and said he was being fired. Mr. Venniro said he didn’t know why. “I’m just given marching orders,” Mr. Venniro told him, according to a recording of the conversation.

Mr. Peters filed a discrimination claim with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the civil rights division of the Arizona attorney general’s office, accusing JPMorgan of racial discrimination. JPMorgan denied that and said Mr. Peters was fired for improperly assigning credit for a new client to an employee who managers didn’t think deserved it.

“We stand by our decision to terminate Peters,” Ms. Wexler, the spokeswoman, said. “The facts are indisputable.”

Mr. Peters disputed the facts. He said that he had given credit to the correct employee. He said the bank was using a mundane internal dispute as an excuse to fire him. He has since started his own investment advisory firm in Arizona.

‘If This Dude Gets Upset’

Mr. Peters’s termination left Mr. Kennedy in the lurch. A number of his transactions were frozen or not carried out. In one case, $92,000 of Mr. Kennedy’s money that was supposed to go into a new investment product ended up in a holding account, inaccessible to Mr. Kennedy. (Ms. Wexler said the problems were caused by administrative errors.)

JPMorgan assigned him a new financial adviser, Mr. Belton. He struck Mr. Kennedy as inexperienced. He was black, and Mr. Kennedy felt that was the only reason they’d been paired. Mr. Kennedy said he began recording their conversations so he could get feedback from other people about Mr. Belton’s financial recommendations.

Mr. Kennedy had been under the impression that he had been granted the coveted “private client” status that Mr. Peters had promised. When Mr. Kennedy learned that was not the case, he complained to Mr. Belton — and then to Mr. Venniro.

Mr. Belton warned Mr. Kennedy not to talk to Mr. Venniro again. In two secretly recorded conversations in October last year, he asked Mr. Kennedy to think about the impression he left on people at the bank. He pointed out that Mr. Kennedy was a big black man in Arizona. And he said that Mr. Venniro had been afraid to tell Mr. Kennedy that his application to become a private client had been deleted when Mr. Peters was fired.

A few days later, Mr. Kennedy went back to the branch, and the conversation returned to the question of why the bank refused to grant Mr. Kennedy the status and perks of being a private client.

Mr. Belton said that bank employees were scared of dealing with him and that therefore Mr. Kennedy would be better off interacting only with Mr. Belton.

“They’re not going to say this, but I don’t have the same level of intimidation that they have — you know what I’m saying? — not only being a former athlete but also being two black men,” Mr. Belton said. Referring to Mr. Venniro, he added, “You sit in front of him, you’re like three times his size — you feel what I’m saying? — he already probably has his perception of how these interactions could go.”

Moments later, he said: “We’ve seen people that are not of your stature get irate, and it’s like, ‘Well, if this dude gets upset, like what’s going to happen to me?’”

Mr. Kennedy asked if Mr. Belton was saying that Mr. Venniro was racist. “I don’t think any person at that level is dumb enough for it to be that blatant,” Mr. Belton replied. “I don’t have any reason to believe blatantly that he’s that way. You feel what I’m saying? Now, whether there’s some covert action? To be honest? I always err on the side of thinking that. You know, people that are not us probably have some form of prejudice toward us.”

Mr. Kennedy pulled most of his money out of JPMorgan and filed a grievance with an industry watchdog, and in June the bank sent him a letter trying to put an end to his complaining.

“You stated that Mr. Belton informed you that our firm was prejudiced against you and intimidated by you because of your race,” the letter said. “We found no evidence to substantiate your allegations.”

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41 days ago
Oakland, CA
41 days ago
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42 days ago
All horrifying, nothing surprising
Washington, District of Columbia

Tentacles vs. talons: Octopus battles bald eagle in video shot off B.C. coast

Octopus versus eagle

John Ilett and his colleagues were working at a fish farm off the coast of northern Vancouver Island this week when they spotted a bald eagle in the death grip of an octopus and filmed the unfolding drama.

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41 days ago
Oakland, CA
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prime89: hetaces: mysterious-pigeon: THIS. I wish I could be as eloquent as this person....





THIS. I wish I could be as eloquent as this person. Because this is how you make a difference.

for everyone in the notes asking: this was @raindovemodel​ (who is no longer active on tumblr, they’re active on instagram where this was posted but i wont link it because tumblr would hide this in the notes)

Rain (any pronouns) is a genderfluid model & posts a lot about how their ability to “pass” as either a man or a woman influences them, and shows off the absurdity of double standards such as mens vs womens olympic uniforms and societal treatment based on perceived gender

They’re also incredibly patient with transphobes and other bigots, and much more so than most of us can manage and I think it’s amazing that they put up with what people say & do

That was a hella amazing de-escalation. I could only dream of being so patient.

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46 days ago
Oakland, CA
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