louis berger group

“Let ‘er rip!” — actual adults who run cities

7 Awesome Buildings That Look Like They’re Designed by Kids

#7. The Fire-Breathing Dragon Bridge of Da Nang

Let’s say you’re a city looking to celebrate the 38th anniversary of the end of a brutal war. What would be the most sensible and dignified way of doing so? If you said, “Build a giant fucking bridge shaped like a dragon,” then congratulations! You share a mindset with the people of Da Nang, Vietnam. … The bridge supports six lanes of traffic, was designed by the Louis Berger Group, and oh, right – it sprays jets of fire.

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American Apathy

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By Rudolph Silva {AKA Political PAPI}

Why are American citizens so apathetic towards the military operations in Afghanistan? On a weekly basis, I read about two very disturbing facts of the war: 1) more GI’s are getting killed and 2) the widespread and overt corruption in the Afghan government, security forces and military.

Yesterday these two facts were front and center in the Sunday Times. The first article I read was about how the US was paying some guy who goes by the singular name “Arafat”, $1,000,000 USD per year to help keep the Taliban from attacking a work crew building a road in a fairly remote part of Afghanistan. It is speculated that he in turn gives some of the money to members of the Taliban to keep them away. It is also speculated that “Arafat” is responsible for staging some of the attacks on the crews himself, as a means of extorting more money out of the US contractors (Sounds like he took a page out of Abramhoff’s book, squeezing more money from your clients by inciting the exact problems you’re being paid to resolve). Naturally, this project has experienced cost overruns by the millions and has gone through numerous contractors who, in many cases simply sub-contract out the work to others who pay them for the contract. Everybody gets a piece of the pie.  Included in this list of pie takers is the Louis Berger Group, a private military contractor from New Jersey, who, just last year, paid out $69,000,000 as a settlement to the US Attorney for charges that the company overbilled the government millions of dollars on various construction projects dating back to 1995. It is considered to be the largest settlement ever by a private contractor accused of defrauding the US Government. Not surprisingly, the firm still continues to do work for the US.    

The next article, tragically, was the story of a Bay Area man who was killed in a firefight in Afghanistan. He was a 23-year-old medic who was killed trying to save the life of a fellow soldier. Army SPC Jameson Lynn Lindskog was one of SIX “Screaming Eagle” soldiers who died that day in the same firefight. Jameson was laid to rest on Sunday May 1st. Jameson was a graduate of the National Holistic Institute in Emeryville, California. But, after graduation, he could not find a job in his field. Instead, he enlisted in the Army. On that one horrible day twelve parents lost their children. It is hard to take pride in being American knowing of this tragedy. Especially since that tragedy exists in the face of utter corruption and greed, two symptoms that infect the Afghan war on every level and in every way.  Yet, the people of this country would rather cheer for the death of one man rather than march the streets calling for the end of the worst hypocrisy since Vietnam.