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I am now in the third week of my annual February birthday fund-raising drive. The first two weeks were good, but not record-setting.


There are still two weeks left in this campaign however. If you have been a regular reader and a fan of my work and have not yet donated or subscribed, please consider doing so. I take no ads, I keep the website clean from pop-ups and annoying demands (most of the time). Thus, I depend entirely on my readers to support me. Though this means I am sacrificing some income, it also means that I remain entirely independent from outside pressure. By depending solely on donations and subscriptions from my readers, no one can threaten me with censorship. You don't like what I write, you can simply go elsewhere.


You can support me either by giving a one-time contribution or a regular subscription. There are five ways of doing so:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


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Former Blue Origin engineer sues the company for wrongful termination

A former Blue Origin engineer, Craig Stoker, has filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming it fired him because he had reported unsafe conditions caused largely because the company’s then CEO, Bob Smith, interfered with operations and insisted these unsafe conditions be hidden.

According to the complaint, Blue Origin’s contract with ULA requires the company to communicate issues that could impact rocket engine delivery one year in advance; Stoker wanted to tell ULA the engines would likely be delayed. [Ed. Delays that ended up actually happening.]

But Smith had allegedly instructed Stoker not to share these production and delivery issues with ULA.

Ultimately, after an internal investigation, Blue Origin HR concluded that Smith did not create a hostile work environment, nor violate any company policies. Stoker objected to this conclusion; the complaint says that Stoker later learned that no one from the engine program was interviewed as part of the investigation.

The complaint also notes that

Smith’s behavior caused employees “to frequently violate safety procedures and processes in order to meet unreasonable deadlines.” Smith would “explode” when issues would arise, generating a hostile work environment, the complaint says. Stoker sent a follow-up email to the two VPs — Linda Cova, VP of the engines business unit, and Mary Plunkett, senior VP of human resources — that included a formal complaint against Smith.

According to the complaint, Smith then “spearheaded” Stoker’s termination because of his refusal to sweep the safety issues under the rug.

If the accusations of this lawsuit prove true, it provides another piece of strong evidence explaining why Blue Origin went from a productive company to an utter failure after Bob Smith took over in 2017.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News

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