Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ten Years ago Today July 31, 2012

July 31, 2012

It was ten years ago today I arrived at the corner of Buena Vista and 6th St at the Corona Civic Center.

Today, was my nephew, Judge Rodgers, daughter Amber’s, birthday, it was also the day Ocwen Federal Bank, as the service agent for Chase Manhattan was going to auction off to the highest bidder, my home of 26 years, which lay South, less than a mile to Crestview, then left three houses to 861 W. Crestview..

The home had become my stake in America. All I had read about property rights was in this 4 bedroom ranch style home in Corona California, that Carol, Scott and I moved into on Memorial Day 1976. I worked 30 miles West, for Sperry-Univac, as a systems analyst, and Carol worked with her friend, Thurza Rodgers, at NDC, a data processing service company in Orange County. They drove the 91 to 55 freeways to Sky Park Circle, daily.

Now, 26 years and a friendly divorce later, my path took me into the web of the predatory lender and service agents who had subtly invaded the mortgage refinance business. Ocwen was the service agent for Lehman Brothers when they owned my loan, and later Chase Manhattan bought  the paper.

Schemes designed to incur fees and extra charges turned these “service agents” into a sausage factory, where ethics and fair dealings was not as important as more fees and greasing the skids of foreclosure.

Now, one decade later, I have still not gotten into court, to have my charges of violations of law by the service agent, Ocwen which caused the loss of my home of twenty six years, and shortly after, the loss of my business, Residential Fire Sprinklers. 

For the last 10 years, the judge, the honorable Meredith Jury, has ruled that she does not have jurisdiction to hear my charges that Ocwen violated bankruptcy law. The appeals process has taken me to the Supreme Court, three times, and still no judicial hearing. My appeal now is to the 9th Cir Court of Appeals asking that court to enforce the lower court, the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel or BAP, to enforce its own precedential law, which states that I must be given a hearing. This is the thrust of this, my latest appeal to the Ninth Circuit, Ozenne v. Chase Manhattan et al, 11-60039.   

I never would have believed that this string of cascading failures in the home loan business, and for me, the resistance of one judge to grant me my day in court could take over a decade before my constitutional rights to redress are obeyed.

Some sort of good old boy, or other influence likely is at play when I consider that over 25 sets of judicial eyes have presumably read my complaint, and yet have failed to act. Seemingly going along to get along, with their fellow jurists. None, of course explained where my facts, or the law failed.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Girls Who Fly: 1965 Angel Derby Pilots Are Told Sexism Doesn't Exist

Number 48

Thursday, July 26, 2012 - 01:00 PM

This Overseas Press Club conference is a reminder of the unfortunately routine institutionalized gender oppression in American industry. Featuring deft pilots in the Angel Derby, an all-female air race from New York to the Bahamas, this panel's male moderator and reporters dole out condescension and hostility, but "the girls" hold steady despite the dismissive questioning. 
The moderator introduces each woman, injecting commentary and questions about their husbands, children, engagement rings, and “stockbroker” boyfriends to lukewarm applause; while reading June Douglas’ professionally impressive bio, though, the moderator can’t help but “correct” her claim that she left NASA because there weren’t enough opportunities for women.  “I’ve been to Cape Kennedy,” he says, “and half their staff down there are female!”
Ms. Douglas, the chief spokeswoman for the group, finally takes the podium to make a plea for commercial airlines to hire female co-pilots and flight engineers. She points out that men with fewer hours logged flying and the minimum qualifications are hired and even trained on the job by the airlines. She, by contrast, has been flying for 12 years and is a flight examiner, licensing prospective pilots, yet cannot be considered for a job. Women flew B-17 bombers during the war (in noncombat situations) and there are women in air traffic control towers across the nation.
Why not have women in the cockpit? Ms. Douglas addresses a few concerns of airlines and her male counterparts, among them, a female pilot "might shock the passengers," and pilots and co-pilots share hotel rooms so housing women would increase operating costs.
During the question period one reporter asks what is "the attraction" of wanting to be a pilot. The answer, not surprisingly, is pay. British Airlines had at least one female pilot, and in Russia there were numerous women flying planes. The moderator, "cracking wise" with a number of patronizing comments, asks if they're all "good swimmers" since part of the race takes place over water. Another reporter asks if the aviatrixes would "risk a poll of female passengers" on the question of female pilots, with the supposition that they would be "jealous." Another asks if there have been studies comparing accident rates between male and female drivers as well as pilots. With barely suppressed rage, one of the women points out that in both this race and the Powder Puff Derby (a trans-continental air race for women) they have never lost a pilot.
Attempting to lighten the tone of the proceedings, the moderator asks if they fly in flats, high heels, or silk stockings? When one says she flies barefoot he ripostes, "Any other weirdies?" He concludes by remarking that they'll all, no doubt, be wearing bikinis for the last leg of the trip and wishes them good luck, "whether you're winning or swimming."
The ambitions expressed in this press conference weren't attained for another eight years. As the magazine Airport Journals reported:
A permanent place for women in the cockpit of an airliner would not occur until 1973, when a regional carrier at the time, Frontier Airlines, hired Emily Howell. Just three weeks after she was hired, American Airlines hired Bonnie Tiburzi, and the airline cockpit door was stuck in the open position for women who were qualified.
This initial hiring did not lead to a flood of female applicants, though. The field of aviation still presents peculiar obstacles to women, the two most notable of which are the culture of flying, which has its roots in the military, and its cost. In a 2011 article titled Why Aren't There More Women Pilots, A. Pawlowski of CNN Travel explained:
When they do decide to pursue flying, one of the biggest obstacles to getting a job at a carrier is money. When going the civilian route, it can cost up to $100,000 in training to become an airline pilot, said Amy Laboda, a pilot and editor in chief of Aviation for Women magazine. An aspiring aviator can skip the big costs by learning how to fly in the military, and many pilots who take this route traditionally go on to work for commercial airlines. But there are still few female pilots in military ranks. Women make up less than 5 percent of the more than 14,000 pilots currently in the U.S. Air Force, for example, according to the Air Force Personnel Center.
That alternate route, civilian training, is also one in which women seem to start at a disadvantage. As Capt. Meryl Getline recalls in an article in  USA Today:
I found out the hard way that there weren't any women airline pilots — yet. I also found out first-hand about the discrimination I and any other prospective female pilots would face, starting with the registration clerk for the Private Pilot Ground School course I wanted to sign up for. The clerk laughed at me when I announced very seriously, "I'm going to be an airline pilot and I need to find out how to go about it, please."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," he said in complete disgust. "Everybody wants to fly 747's for Pan Am, and you think you're going to? Forget it — the airlines will never hire a woman — never." Nevertheless, I did sign up for it and was the only female in the class.
However, progress has been made, more than could have possibly envisioned by the reporters shown to such disadvantage in this recording. Perhaps the most significant recent breakthrough was made  in 2002 by American Airlines Capt. Esther Horn, who became the first female pilot for a large-scale commercial airline …to retire.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection.





Wednesday, July 25, 2012

United Nations panel recommends legalizing prostitution and drug use worldwide


A 150-page report issued by the United Nations-backed Global Commission on HIV and the Law says that nations around the world should legalize prostitution and "decriminalize the voluntary use of illegal injection drugs" to fight HIV, CNS News reported Monday.
Although the 15-member panel met in 2010, it is just now issuing its final report.
In that report, the commission recommends repealing all laws against “adult consensual sex work,” as well as clearly distinguishing in law and practice between sexual trafficking and prostitution.
Specifically, the panel wants to:
  1. “Decriminalise private and consensual adult sexual behaviours, including same-sex sexual acts and voluntary sex work.”
  2. “Reform approaches towards drug use. Rather than punishing people who use drugs but do no harm to others, governments must offer them access to elective HIV and health services, including harm reduction programmes and voluntary, evidence-based treatment for drug dependence.”
  3. “Work with the guardians of customary and religious law to promote traditions and religious practice that promote rights and acceptance of diversity and that protect privacy.”
According to the panel, laws against prostitution are considered "bad."
"But the law can also do grave harm to the bodies and spirits of people living with HIV," the report says. "It can perpetrate discrimination and isolate the people most vulnerable to HIV from the programmes that would help them to avoid or cope with the virus."
The report also says that by "dividing people into criminals and victims or sinful and innocent, the legal environment can destroy the social, political, and economic solidarity that is necessary to overcome this global epidemic."
In 2009, the U.N. Secretary General said he supports getting rid of all laws against prostitution.
CNS cited Dr. Janice Crouse, director of the Beverly LaHaye Institute at Concerned Women for America in Washington, D.C., who said the idea of legalizing prostitution worldwide is nothing new.
“They like to legitimize the whole industry that way so that it can be regulated and so that it can be considered a ‘legitimate option’ for women and give it more respectability. But, the sad fact is in every instance where prostitution has been legalized, illegal prostitution has flourished,” she told CNS.
“The pimps all want prostitution legalized; they like that. The sex traffickers want it legalized because they gain far more traction with their own illegal activities anytime that is the case – it’s happened in Germany, it happened in Amsterdam, it’s been shown over and over again.” she added.
“It’s fascinating to me the way they (the report’s authors) dance around to avoid addressing the issue of behavior and to avoid the issue of consequences of promiscuity,” Crouse said.
“This is an example; they don’t want anything that would suggest to anybody that they ought to curb their sexual behavior. They don’t want anything to curb anybody’s enjoyment of sexual activity without consequences and all of this is an attempt to mainstream behaviors and then deal with the consequences -- and that plan does not work.”
The study was funded in part by the governments of Canada, Australia, the United States (through USAID) and Norway. It was also partially funded by the Ford Foundation and George Soros' Open Society Foundations.
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Gliese 581g Tops List of 5 Potentially Habitable Exoplanets

Gliese 581g shot to the top of a list put out by researchers at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo’s Planetary Habitability Laboratory (PHL) after a new study marshaled support for its long-debated existence
Gliese 581This artist's conception shows the inner four planets of the Gliese 581 system and their host star. The large planet in the foreground is Gliese 581g, which is in the middle of the star's habitable zone and is only two to three times as massive as Earth. Some researchers aren't convinced Gliese 581g exists, however.Image: Lynette Cook
The controversial exoplanet Gliese 581g is the best candidate to host life beyond our own solar system, according to a new ranking of potentially habitable alien worlds.
Gliese 581g shot to the top of the list — which was published Thursday (July 19) by researchers at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo’s Planetary Habitability Laboratory (PHL) — after a new study marshaled support for its long-debated existence.
The exoplanet was discovered in September 2010, but other astronomers began casting doubt on its existence just weeks later. Now Gliese 581g's discoverers have rebutted their critics' charges in a new paper, and have done so effectively enough to get the PHL onboard.
Here's a brief rundown of the PHL's top five habitable alien planets:
Gliese 581g
This rocky world — if it does indeed exist — is just 20 light-years away from our solar system. It's likely two to three times as massive as Earth and zips around its parent star, the red dwarf Gliese 581, every 30 days or so. [Gallery: The Strangest Alien Planets]
This orbit places the planet squarely in the star's "habitable zone" — that just-right range of distances where liquid water, and perhaps life as we know it, could exist.
Gliese 581g has at least four, and possibly five, planetary neighbors. The team that spotted Gliese 581g also detected another planet, known as 581f, circling much farther away from the star. But scientists are still arguing about that world's existence, too.
Gliese 667Cc
Gliese 667Cc, which was discovered in February 2012 by the same core team that spotted Gliese 581g, orbits a red dwarf 22 light-years away, in the constellation Scorpius (The Scorpion).
The alien world is a so-called "super Earth" that's at least 4.5 times as massive as our planet, and it completes an orbit every 28 days. At least one other planet resides in the 667C system.
Gliese 667Cc's parent star is part of a triple-star system, so the planet's night sky would probably be a sight to behold.
Kepler-22b was spotted by NASA's planet-hunting Kepler space telescope, which has detected more than 2,300 potential exoplanets since its March 2009 launch. Only a small number have been confirmed so far, but the vast majority should end up being the real deal, researchers have said.
Kepler-22b, whose discovery was announced in December 2011, is a super Earth about 2.4 times as wide as our planet. If the greenhouse effect operates on Kepler-22b like it does on Earth, the alien world would have an average surface temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius), researchers have said.
The exoplanet is found about 600 light-years away, and it orbits a star very much like our own sun.
HD 85512b
HD 85512b is another super Earth, one that's thought to be about 3.6 times as massive as our planet. The alien world is found about 35 light-years from us, in the direction of the constellation Vela (The Sail).
Astronomers announced the discovery of HD 85512b — and about 50 other alien planets spotted by the HARPS spectrograph on a telescope in Chile — in September 2011. The planet's estimated average surface temperature is 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius).
Gliese 581d
This world, which is about seven times as massive as Earth, orbits a bit farther out than its planetary sibling Gliese 581g.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pair lifts off in lawn chair balloon flight

Jeff Barnard  /  AP
Iraqi adventurer Fareed Lafta, right, and Bend, Ore., gas station owner Kent Couch lift off Saturday from Couch's gas station in Bend, Ore., as they attempt to fly some 360 miles to Montana.
updated 24 minutes ago
An Oregon gas station owner and an Iraqi adventurer took flight Saturday aboard a pair of lawn chairs suspended from helium-filled party balloons in an attempt to fly across Oregon and Idaho and into Montana.
About 90 volunteers and several hundred onlookers counted down and then cheered as Kent Couch and Fareed Lafta lifted off from Couch's Shell gas station. The duo safely cleared a two-story motel, a coffee stand and a light post.
"The interesting thing is, anybody can do this," said Couch, the veteran of several lawn chair balloon flights. "They don't have to sit on the couch thinking, 'I should have done it.' They can do it."
Lafta, a mountain climber and sky diver, said he had shared Couch's childhood dream of floating like a cloud. He sent Couch an email two winters ago after reading accounts of Couch's earlier flights.
"I want to inspire Iraqis and say we need to defeat terrorists," Lafta said. "We don't need just an Army. We need ideology and to just have fun."
Volunteers filled 350 5-foot diameter red, white, blue and black balloons with helium and tied them to Couch's homemade tandem lawn chair rig. The balloons were arranged in bunches to represent the colors of the U.S. and Iraqi flags. An American flag flew from the bottom of the framework supporting the chairs.
Just before liftoff, they had to ask children in the crowd to return four balloons to provide extra lift.
The rig includes 800 pounds of ballast — red Kool-Aid in 40-gallon barrels. Besides a GPS, navigation gear, satellite phone, oxygen, two-way radios, eight cameras, and parachutes, they were carrying two Red Ryder BB rifles and a pair of blowguns to shoot out enough balloons to come to earth when the time is right.
"The landings are very tough," Couch said. "I don't think about the landings until I have to land. That's how I do it."
Expecting to float at 15,000-18,000 feet, where temperatures drop to near zero, they packed sleeping bags to stay warm.
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Electronic gear was powered by a solar panel. A flare gun was tied onto the framework for emergencies. They also carried the ashes of a family friend to spread over the high desert.
Lance Schliep, an appliance repairman, helped Couch with the latest design, made entirely from items bought at local hardware stores and junk from Couch's garage.
"It's about as redneck as you can get," Couch said.
Couch said their biggest challenge was finding enough helium to fill all the balloons. They sent as far as the Midwest for bottles. Each balloon that popped on inflation represented a $50 loss, but Couch would not divulge the total cost.
The two men hoped to fly through the night across the mountains of Idaho and touch down Sunday morning somewhere in southwestern Montana. They initially floated to the southeast after the 10:20 a.m. liftoff, but the flight website tracker showed them heading north-northeast, toward Spokane, Wash.
Image: Lafta and Couch lift off from Couch's Stop & Go Mini Mart in Bend, Oregon
Staff  /  Reuters
Fareed Lafta and Kent Couch (L) lift off from Couch's Stop & Go Mini Mart in Bend, Oregon, July 14, 2012. The two men, sitting in lawn chairs tied to a cluster of 350 helium-filled balloons lift-off in a bid to break the Guinness World Record for the longest two-man cluster balloon flight. REUTERS/Dan Cook (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY)
About five hours into the flight, the tracker showed they had gone about 30 miles before turning back to the south.
Thunderstorms broke over Bend, and the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch for eastern Oregon. It wasn't immediately clear if the weather affected the balloonists. A call to the chase team was not immediately returned.
The flight is a warm-up for plans to fly a tandem lawn chair balloon rig in Baghdad sometime in the future.
"My target is to inspire young people, especially in the Mideast," Lafta said. "I want to tell them, 'I didn't give up. Keep standing. Smile. This is the way to defeat terrorists.'"
Couch said receiving Lafta's email in the dead of winter, at a time he was bored, inspired him to go aloft again.
"I never really thought I would do it again," Couch said. "I thought I had had enough excitement.
"I started thinking, it sounds fun. It takes six months after you land for your brain to get over the fear and just the emotions."
They planned to fly over Iraq last year, but ran into problems getting permission from the government.
"I really enjoy being able to share the experience with somebody else," Couch said. "I could only tell people about the experience," until now.