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On February 5, 2023 I will celebrate my 70th birthday. Yay! As I do every year during this birthday month, I run a campaign to raise money to support my work here at Behind The Black. I do not run ads. My only support comes from my readers, which leaves me utterly free to speak my mind openly about space, culture, and politics. Please consider supporting me in this work by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:


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Boeing moving headquarters from Chicago to DC

Rearranging deck chairs on the Titantic: Boeing today announced that it is moving its headquarters from Chicago to Washington, DC, so as to place its corporate executives closer to key federal officials.

Boeing is a major defense contractor, and the move will put executives close to Pentagon leaders. Rival defense contractors including General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman are already based in the D.C. area. Company executives would also be near the Federal Aviation Administration, which certifies Boeing passenger and cargo planes.

Gee, for more than a half century Boeing was based entirely in Seattle, and somehow got lots of federal contracts and built great airplanes and spacecraft. It moved to Chicago in 2001 to be more centrally located, but instead put its top managers distant from its actual manufacturing and design headquarters. The result has not been very cheerful.

Now Boeing is moving even farther from Seattle, just so its executives can hobnob with politicians, go to fancy cocktail parties, and figure out easier who to pay off with political donations. Who cares if the actual design and manufacturing work continues to be shoddy and poorly supervised? What really counts is getting contracts to build bad stuff that either doesn’t work or is delivered late and overbudget for our corrupt federal government.

As proof, see this other story today: Starliner’s protective window cover falls off during capsule move to VAB.

From CBS space reporter Bill Harwood:

During the rollover to pad 41, as the Starliner neared the Vehicle Assembly Building, a protective window cover somehow fell off the capsule and tumbled to the road.

You can see video of this absurdity at the link. As this was not actually part of the capsule but a protective cover, it appears no damage to Starliner occurred. That it occurred at all however once again tells us of the serious quality control problems at the company.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • George C.

    Also important for when military customers from other nations visit to be near the people that approve and congress that helps finance.

  • V-Man

    At this stage, any astronaut willing to ride Starliner to orbit should be taken off the flight roster for suspected insanity. :D

  • Steve Richter

    OT: the pro FAA delay gang on space twitter now say super heavy will make a considerable amount more noise than SpaceX estimated in its PEA filing. The noise even gets louder as the rocket clears the tower, so sound and blast barriers are not able to mitigate the noise.

  • Diane Wilson

    V-Man, that was the literal definition of Catch-22. You had to be insane to fly those missions. But if you asked to be taken off the missions, you were sane, and then you had to fly them.

  • HMCS(FMF) ret

    Good luck to Boeing… they’ll need it. Anything less than a successful mission and they’ll be looked at as a second rate aerospace company.

  • wayne

    “What It Was Like To Live At Versailles”

  • James Street

    The story in Seattle is that prior to Boeing’s purchase of McDonnell Douglas in 1997 Boeing was a well-run manufacturing company, and MD was a dying company run by political bureaucrats. For some reason after Boeing purchased MD the MD executives took over all the top positions at Boeing and the culture changed for the worse.

  • James Street:

    I did contract work for Boeing during that time, and can confirm that people were mystified that the weaker company subsumed the stronger.

    Boeing’s flight East is not good. They want to be close to the center of power of a dead empire. I once wanted to work for Boeing; but working with them cured me of the desire.

  • pawn


    What you mention seems to happen a lot. It seems the politically adept people have a will to power and that culture eventually dominates. It is probably something to do with human nature.

    This is why it is so interesting for me to watch an “unstoppable” techie insert himself in to a politically charged corporate culture. I wish him all the luck but history isn’t kind to these efforts.

  • superdestroyer

    Being in Seattle puts the execs in the wrong time zone for doing business with DC. Maybe the execs did not like having to be at work at 6:00 AM for a 9:00 AM conference call on the east coast.

    Also, Boeing have manufacturing in places like South Carolina. Also, it have parts suppliers all over the world.

  • Dan

    Boeing HQ moved to Chicago because Obama was elected. Clearly pandering.

  • Jay

    Growing up in the Northwest, all of us engineering students wanted to get a job with Boeing, especially during the time of the 777. Then we would hear stories of layoffs and how they shut down the Spokane plant a couple years after Speaker Tom Foley was defeated in ’94. People complained about the HQ moving to Chicago. The unions had an uproar about moving some of the manufacturing to South Carolina, a right to work state. There was the shenanigans over the next generation air-tanker project as well.
    There were the problems with the 787 and the 737-Max. There was special tax deals with the state of Washington and Boeing that were finally removed last year. Now the HQ is going to D.C., I guess it was expensive to fly to there or fly the D.C. flunkies to Chicago all the time. Kind of a new low.
    Boeing is now a shadow of what it use to be in my opinion.

  • John

    If it ain’t Boeing, I ain’t going – NOT anymore.

    It just goes to show that welfare, corporate or otherwise, is ultimately not good for the recipient.

  • whirlwinder

    Boeing moved its bean-counting executives from Seattle to Chicago to isolate them so that Engineering executives could proceed with manufacturing aircraft. Let the bean-counters go to Wash DC. Gives the folks in Seattle more leeway to build aircraft.

  • James Street

    For documentation here is an article in The Atlantic about Boeing’s purchase of McDonnell Douglas.

    The Long-Forgotten Flight That Sent Boeing Off Course

  • Ray Van Dune

    Scuttlebutt has it that prior to the “acquisition” of MD, Boeing was widely perceived to be evolving world class systems design methods. But Boeing honcho Phil Condit figured MD’s git ‘er done cowboy approach would be faster and save money, so Boeing adopted many of MD’s core systems and methods. Recall that MD was the company that put three astronauts in a capsule full of electronic circuitry and pure oxygen…

  • Jeff Wright

    Meanwhile Airbus is expanding in Mobile Alabama. Come to Alabama, Elon. There is a massive stainless steel plant not far from Mobile…shipyards….

  • Dana Peck

    A retired Boeing facility manager told me, years ago, they planned to relocate HQ because of the developing North Korean missile threat. I thought he was kidding.

  • Steven Carleton

    Yeah, see the Import-Export bank – it’s mostly subsidies for foreign Boeing sales. But Airbus does it too.

  • Steven Carleton

    McDonnell-Douglas over-expanded in the eighties – too many acquisitions. And then the capital required to certify the MD-11 drove it into the ground. Boeing picked up the good bits and now we have a lack of competition and a gigantic corporate sugar-daddy for ex-politicians and retired military officers.

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