Feds Foil Plot by Former Contract Worker, Rajendrasinh Makwana, to Destroy all Data on Fannie Mae’s 4K Computer Servers Nationwide

The Justice Department said that it has foiled a plot by Rajendrasinh Makwana, a fired Fannie Mae contract worker in Maryland to destroy all the data on the mortgage company’s 4,000 computer servers nationwide. Great. Another reason for Fannie Mae to have grovelled for more money from the federal government.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 35-year-old Makwana, of Glen Allen, Va., is scheduled for arraignment Friday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on one count of computer intrusion. U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said that Makwana was fired on Oct. 24. On that day, the feds have alleged that Makwana programmed a computer with a malicious code that was set to spread throughout the Fannie Mae network and destroy all data this Saturday.

So, not only can’t Fannie Mae manage its books, it cannot manage its IT staff as well. Wow.

President Barack Obama Announces Creation of Task Force on the Middle Class, Signs Executive Orders Aimed at Strengthening Labor Unions

In a tremendous departure from the Bush Administration, President Barack Obama realizes that the middle class is the backbone of this society. On a day when the country’s gross domestic product suffered its worst slide in three decades, President Obama has ordered the creation of a task force on the middle class and signed executive orders aimed at strengthening labor unions.

“This isn’t just an economic concept,” Obama said of the 3.8% decline in the GDP in the last quarter of 2008. “This is a continuing disaster for America’s families.” “The recession is deepening, and the urgency of our economic crisis is growing,” Obama said in an address in the East Room of the White House, part of a series of addresses on the economy this week.

“Every day it seems there is another round of layoffs, and another round of families’ lives turned upside down.”In signing orders aimed at protecting access to federal contracts for companies with labor unions and informing workers of their rights to organize, the president said,

“I also believe that we have to reverse some of the policies” toward organized labor.”I don’t see organized labor as part of the problem,” Obama said. “To me, it’s part of the solution.” Citing record unemployment claims as well as the overall economic decline, he said, “This is a difficult moment. But I believe … if we act swiftly … it can be an American moment.”

Obama, describing what is happening in the nation’s economy as “the American dream in reverse,” also used this stage as a forum for promoting the $800-billion-plus economic stimulus plan that the House approved in the measure’s first vote this week. The Senate, expected to expand on the plan, will vote next.”They need us to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan,” Obama said, promising that it will create jobs “for years to come,” rebuild crumbling roads, renovate schools, double the nation’s capacity for alternative energy generation and “bring healthcare into the 21st century.” Source: LA Times

The Obama administration has started a new website — http://www.astrongmiddleclass.gov/ — that will keep track of the task force’s work.The administration has assigned it these goals: “Expanding education and lifelong training opportunities, improving work and family balance, restoring labor standards, including workplace safety, helping to protect middle-class and working-family incomes, protecting retirement security.”

Members will include the secretaries of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Commerce, as well as the directors of the National Economic Council, the Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council and the chair of the Council of Economic Advisors. The White House says it will hold its first meeting Feb. 27 in Philadelphia, focusing on “Green Jobs: A Pathway to a Strong Middle Class.”

So, some people may find President Obama’s policies a bother, but I can say one thing, he is the closest person we have as our president who truly understands the middle class. President Bush had no concept of what it means to struggle to make ends meet. I may not agree with all President Obama’s positions, but I will give him my full support because he is the embodiment of the middle class.

Want to Personalize your Cellphone? Go to ToneThis.com to Make Your Own Ringtones, Wallpaper

This isn’t something I would usually cover, but I saw this on CBS this morning and thought it was interesting, nonetheless. We are living in a troubled economic times, but a little free diversion will not hurt, as long as it is in moderation.

Want to make your own ringtones and wallpaper for your cellphone? Well, check out ToneThis.com. It is really well-rated on download.com, which is a CBS product. You can also use it to make things like videos and games, and just customize your cell phone. So this is for any other phone, basically, and it works on a PC instead of a Mac. Tonethis.com is software that you download for free but then you need to own the song, and then it sends it to you for free and then your phone as a text message, and you get the text message and click it, and download the song.

It is a very interesting concept and it’s free. So, if you want to have some fun with your ringtone on your cellphone, then this may very well work for you.

Exxon Mobil Shatters its Own Profit Record for a US Company, Raked in $45.2B For 2008

While millions of workers are losing their jobs and the country is experiencing the worst economic crisis in years, Exxon Mobil Corp., shattered its own profit record for an American company by raking in $45.2 billion in profits for 2008. With profits like that they could implement their own buyout plan of a sector of the faltering economy — automakers. Even as the company’s fourth-quarter earnings fell 33 percent from a year ago, Exxon has still made history. The previous record for annual profit was $40.6 billion, which the world’s largest publicly traded oil company set in ’07. Funny, didn’t Shell post its first loss in 10 years?

Of course, this wasn’t a surprise because of crude’s triple-digit price for much of 2008, peaking near an unheard of $150 a barrel in July. Since then, however, prices have fallen roughly 70 percent amid a deepening global economic crisis. In the fourth quarter alone crude tumbled 60 percent, prompting spending and job cuts in an industry that was reporting robust, often record, profits as recently as last summer.

Exxon said net income slid sharply to $7.8 billion, or $1.55 a share, in the October-December period. That compared with $11.7 billion, or $2.13 a share, in the same period a year ago, when Exxon set a U.S. record for quarterly profit. It has since topped that mark twice, first in last year’s second quarter and then with earnings of $14.83 billion in the third quarter. Boohoo!

Revenue in the most-recent quarter for Exxon fell 27 percent to $84.7 billion. Of course, Wall Street took this news with guarded optimism. Shares rose $1.26 to $78.26 in premarket trading.

To read more, CLICK HERE.

Congressional Black Caucus Lobbying President Obama to Pick John Thompson as Commerce Secy, Says Clinton Chose More Blacks For Cabinet Than Obama

The Congressional Black Caucus is trying to throw it’s virtually nonexistent weight around with President Barack Obama. Well, according to The Hill, is lobbying the president to pick African-American technology executive John Thompson to be his commerce secretary. Thompson is chairman and chief executive officer of Symantec Corp, the software security company best known for its Norton computer protection products. He is expected to step down in early April.

In a letter to Obama, the caucus members stressed that Thompson is the only African-American leading a major technology company. The letter, sent last week and obtained Thursday by The Hill, also lists the seven black Cabinet members chosen by President Clinton during his two terms. Obama has selected four African-Americans for Cabinet positions.

“We commend you for making diversity an important priority as you consider your Cabinet selections, in terms of race, perspectives, party and geography given past progress by other presidents in naming African-Americans to senior Cabinet posts,” said the letter, signed by 38 of the 41 members of the CBC. Source: The Hill

Boohoo. Barack Obama isn’t Bill Clinton. I just can’t stand this sense of entitlement that some of us seem to have. I personally don’t care with the racial background of a person is, as long as the best person gets the job. I suspect President Obama shares my view. The last time I checked the CBC was a joke and with little achievement to show for social and political issues confronting blacks in this country. If President Obama decides to pick this man for the Commerce Secretary position, it should be a decision made by he and his team, not the Congressional Black Caucus. This amounts to nothing more than strong-arming and trying to dictate to President Obama how to do his job. I have no doubt that Mr. Thompson is qualified for the position, but the decision should come from Barack Obama and not from the CBC and its sense of entitlement.

President Barack Obama Signs Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 Into Law

Photo: Ledbetter, behind President Obama, looks on as
he signs the law. Photo taken by Jason Reed of Reuters.

I don’t think Lilly Ledbetter ever thought she would go down in history as a pioneer. Much like Rosa Parks, Johnnie Carr, Madame C. J. Walker, and so many other great women. Today, President Barack Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.

Before putting his pen to the paper, Obama said: “Lilly Ledbetter did not set out to be a trailblazer or a household name. She was just a good hard worker who did her job — and she did it well — for nearly two decades before discovering that for years, she was paid less than her male colleagues for doing the very same work. Over the course of her career, she lost more than $200,000 in salary, and even more in pension and Social Security benefits — losses that she still feels today.

“Now, Lilly could have accepted her lot and moved on. She could have decided that it wasn’t worth the hassle and the harassment that would inevitably come with speaking up for what she deserved. But instead, she decided that there was a principle at stake, something worth fighting for. So she set out on a journey that would take more than 10 years, take her all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States, and lead to this day and this bill which will help others get the justice she was denied. …

“I intend to send a clear message: That making our economy work means making sure it works for everyone. That there are no second class citizens in our workplaces, and that it’s not just unfair and illegal — it’s bad for business — to pay someone less because of their gender, or their age, race, ethnicity, religion or disability.” Source: USA Today

This is a great moment for true equality for women in the workplace. I would venture to say that every woman out there can identify with Lilly Ledbetter. This law was long overdue and I salute President Obama for his actions today. Women are not second class citizens. We are much more than we get credit for. As a woman, a mother and a wife, I am immensely grateful that this has been signed into law.

Mark Meeks, Wife Jennifer Dallas-Meeks & Two Children Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide

Well, here we go again. Another murder-suicide. According to the Columbus Dispatch, police suspect a murder-suicide in the deaths of a couple and their two small children. The cops have not released the names, but Mike Meeks said that they are his brother, Mark Meeks, 51; his brother’s wife, Jennifer Dallas-Meeks, 40; and their children, Abby, 8, and Jimmy, 5. The bodies were found in a ranch home owned by the couple at 918 Beechwood Rd.

Whitehall police refused to say last night how the four died or whether a weapon was found. “It has the markings of a murder-suicide,” Sgt. Daniel Kelso said without elaborating. “This is not a high-crime area.”

Relatives of the couple called police a little before 2 p.m. requesting that officers check on the family’s well-being, Kelso said. Police found the four bodies upon arrival. Neighbor Stephanie Grunkemeyer, 37, said she saw Mark Meeks shoveling his driveway about 11 a.m. yesterday.

“They were really good people. I’m shocked,” she said. “The kids were just the cutest. They’d come play in our yard — they always wanted to play — and we’d color the same coloring book a million times.”

Mark Meeks worked as a service manager for a car dealership and Dallas-Meeks was a stay-at-home mom who sold candles from home, said Mike Meeks, 49, of Columbus. “He was just a good family guy,” Meeks said of his brother. “Mark was just the kind of guy who never met a stranger, and he could sell ice to the Eskimos.” Source: Columbus Dispatch

A neighbor said that the father had recently lost his job and was rehired three weeks ago. Investigators have said that this may have been a factor in the deaths. This news comes one day after police in Wilmington, Ca., found the bodies of Ervin and Ana Lupoe and their five children. Lupoe was in debt and had recently been fired from his job. This is a really sad turn of events and I suspect that we will hear more murder-suicides in the news as the economy continues to deteriorate. This is a selfish way to go, but sometimes one comes to a breaking point of irrationality where there seems to be no hope. There is hope, no matter how dark and treacherous the path forward seems to be.

I am appalled that this case has flown under the radar. This was not broadcast in the mainstream media as the murder-suicide of the Lupoe family in California. It would be equally shameful if this is a deliberate move on their part to keep this out of the daily news. If that is the case, I can only conclude that this action was racially motivated. The outcry should be the same. Mr. Meeks, for what is worth, committed a selfish and heinous act. Yes, no matter how dark it may seem, neither Mr. Meeks nor Mr. Lupoe had the right to take the lives of their wives and children.

Jason Caffey, Former NBA Player, Has Been Ordered Arrested by Atlanta Judge for Failure to Pay Over $200K in Child Support Payments

Why won’t some of these rich, questionable in some cases, people do right by their kids? Atlanta Superior Court Judge Cynthia D. Wright has ordered the arrest of former NBA player Jason Caffey, who’s accused of failing to pay thousands in child support.

In October, a judge in Alabama rejected a bankruptcy case filed by Caffey, clearing the way for him to be sued for child support. Fulton County issued an arrest warrant Tuesday over Caffey’s failure to obey a court order that he pay more than $200,000 in child support and legal fees to Lorunda Brown and her attorney. Well, I guess they have now gotten his attention. Brown’s attorney, Randy Kessler said Brown is the mother of Caffey’s 6-year-old son. Ms. Brown is reportedly one of eight women and her child is one of ten children fathered by Caffey.

Caffey played nine years in the NBA for the Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks. A fool and his money are soon parted. He lived the high life and the spigot has been turned off. So now he chooses to ignore his obligations as a parent by trying to sneak it through in a bankruptcy petition. Psst, Jason. You forgot one itty bitty deal. Child support payments do not go away by filing for bankruptcy. You can be arrested for your actions. Yoohoo. The cops are looking for you. The long arm of the law has finally caught up with you, scumbag.

Liberia Under Attack From Armyworms, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Declares a State of Emergency

It seems like the continent of Africa just can’t catch a break. The Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has declared a state of emergency in response to a plague of crop-destroying armyworms. The bugs are among the world’s most destructive agricultural pests. Liberia isn’t the only country faced with this mounting problem. Farmers in Kenya and Tanzania have also suffered outbreaks in recent years. Something drastic needs to be done and quickly. The last time Liberia was attacked on such a large scale was in the late 1970s. The losses this time around could cause serious food shortages. The country is already heavily dependent on imported rice to feed its 3.5 million citizens. The government says it cannot cope with the scale of the outbreak and has called in the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to help. To make matters worse, the worms are now spreading to neighbouring Guinea and towards Sierra Leone. The best weapon that can be used against the pest is to spray crops with chemical insecticides.

What exactly are armyworms?

The menace known as the “African armyworm” is in fact a caterpillar. During the rainy season, the insects emerge in sudden swarms and rapidly devour crops such as maize, sorghum, millet, rice and sugar cane. The pest gets its name from its habit of “marching” in large numbers into crop fields. Like locusts, armyworms appear in huge numbers, ravage farms, and then move on once fields are barren. They also cause disease, as their faeces enters rivers and streams can contaminate drinking water supplies.

Where did they come from?

The armyworms are the larvae of nocturnal moths, of the species Spodoptera exempta. During the rainy seasons, the moths spread and begin laying eggs in grasses and food crops. Each female lays between 500 and 1,000 eggs in her 10-day lifetime. The moths are capable of long-distance migration – more than 100km (60 miles) per night – allowing the swarms to spread rapidly.

Once hatched, the larvae migrate through grasslands in snake-like colonies. On reaching crop fields, they begin feasting. At full size (5cm – 2in) the caterpillars can lay waste to whole farms within days. They then simply move on to the next available target. Source: BBC News UK

A more radical approach to prevention of the spread of armyworms is a virus known as NPV, which is being investigated by researchers from the UK, Canada and Tanzania. According to BBC News, the naturally occurring virus is specifically lethal to army worms, but it appears too late in most years to prevent them causing serious crop damage. Scientists hope to study and harness the virus, to create an effective pest control technique. The last thing Africa needs is another country in the throes of massive food shortage.

Juan Williams Baselessly Attacks First Lady Michelle Obama, Claiming "Her Instinct is to Start with this ‘Blame America’ … Stuff"

I know that Bill O’Reilly just can’t stand the fact that Barack and Michelle Obama are in the White House, but I could not believe that Juan Williams has sunk to a new low. What happen to the choking up after Barack Obama was inaugurated as our next president? What a hypocrite. I don’t watch Faux News very much, but I decided to check out “The O’Reilly Factor,” on Monday. Boy was I steamed. Well, Juan Williams baselessly attacked First Lady Obama claiming that “her instinct is to start with this ‘blame America’ … stuff.” He further asserted that Michelle Obama’s “instinct” is to “blame America” or be “the victim,” and said she has “this Stokely Carmichael-in-a-designer-dress thing going.” What a load of crap! Williams also said that she could be a “liability” or an “albatross” for President Barack Obama. Williams previously claimed Michelle Obama sometimes uses “this kind of militant anger.” Wait, haven’t we been through this questioning of her patriotism before and it proved baseless? Juan Williams is a good old “Uncle Tom” for Faux News. I don’t know who lied and told Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity that they are the moral compasses of the United States.

To read the entire commentary from Media Matters, CLICK HERE.