Wednesday, September 7, 2005                                               The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity
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"You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you'll stop the terrorism." - Cindy Sheehan

P I C T U R E   O F  T H E  D A Y

Soir d'orage
©2005 Pierre-Paul Feyte



Bush to investigate handling of disaster without finger-pointing

The President says his inquiry will only be to determine "what went right and what went wrong"
Juanma Sarasola

Having repaired the breach in one of the main levees, workers under the orders of engineers yesterday began to pump out the waters that have been covering 80% of New Orleans. However, the residents and authorities alike know very well that what will be revealed will not be at all pleasant. "It'll be ugly and be another wakeup call for the nation," warned the Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin. He said it would take three weeks to pump out the water and another few weeks to clear away the rubble caused by the hurricane.

United States President George W. Bush announced that he would be leading the inquiry into the way the disaster caused by Katrina was handled. "What I intend to do is to lead an investigation to find out what went right and what went wrong, but the enquiry won't be pointing the finger at anyone. We want to make sure that we can respond properly if there's a WMD attack or another major storm."

Comment: That's funny - we seem to recall quite a bit of finger pointing on the part of the Bush administration. The Bush gang claimed that the lack of response was Democratic Louisiana governor Blanco's fault. Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff then claimed the government didn't know that Katrina could be so devastating. He also said that the National Guard took a long time to mobilize enough civilian soldiers to begin the relief efforts. Obviously, the only reason Bush said there will be no finger pointing from this point forward in an inquiry that he has decided to lead himself is that he does not want anyone pointing the finger at him again. Some major media outlets that had started to attack Bush at first now seem to be back in his corner.

Emergency teams continue to rescue people from their homes (in many cases from their apartments on the upper floors) and from the places used as some kind of shelter. "In some cases it's dead easy. They are sitting in front of their front doors clutching their bags. But some don't want to leave and we can't force them," said Joe Youdell, a member of the Kentucky Air National Guard. [...]

Comment: Today, New Orleans mayor Nagin has ordered officials to remove everyone from the devastated city.

Adding to the claims of racism on the part of the government are the stories of British tourists who were secretly smuggled out of the Superdome by the military:

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U.S. military smuggled white vacationers out of New Orleans Superdome squalor
BBC News
Sept. 6, 2005

Britons returning from New Orleans have described the horrifying conditions there.

They were among the thousands forced to seek refuge from the floods that engulfed the city following Hurricane Katrina.

Some 96 Britons still remain unaccounted for. [...]


Jenny Sachs, of Sheffield, told how soldiers had to smuggle her out of the Superdome in secret.

She was one of about 30 Britons who, realising they could not escape the city, had fled to the stadium for shelter.

"It has hit me more now I am at home, when you can have clean water, how bad it was," she said.

She said people had been raped and that others were beaten up.

"A guy was brought in who had seven stab wounds and was covered in blood."

The military told all non-US citizens to stay together for safety, Ms Sachs added.

They later told them they would be secretly smuggled out in groups of 10 under cover of darkness as it had become too dangerous for them to remain in the stadium, she told BBC News.

"When we were leaving, people were going 'Where are you going?' and giving us looks.

"But the military got us out, which we were all thankful for." [...]


Radio Merseyside presenter Mike Brocken, from Chester, was on holiday in New Orleans with his wife and teenage daughter when the hurricane hit.

The family stayed in the hotel for the first few days and then decided to move to the Superdome, as looting was becoming widespread in the city.

"The situation was becoming more and more dangerous all the time - it was horrific really and by Wednesday dinnertime our hotel had run out of diesel for its generator so everything was closing down.

"We were going to go inside the Superdome. I approached two members of the National Guard and they said to stay outside because they knew it was hell in there."

Mr Brocken said members of the National Guard took him and his family "under their wing" and saw that they were placed in the baseball stadium.

"Everyone talks about the National Guard in rather derogatory ways historically, but I've got to say that but for them, and one man in particular, I may well have lost my family." [...]

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American Herods & The Fallacy Of A Free Press
By Douglas Herman

Many writers and essayists on the Internet--that last bastion of a truly free press--have thoughtfully and passionately compared George W Bush to imperial leaders throughout history. Everyone from Richard Nixon to Adolf Hitler to Nicolo Machiavelli.

"This is a dangerous analogy," wrote Byron Williams in The Moral Cynicism of George Bush. "Tragedy, popularity, and bad intelligence combined to allow this president to consolidate his amoral agenda of power, selling it to the American people with overtly pious language."

Rather sympathetic, wouldn't you say? By contrast many essayists, like myself, wonder if something far more sinister hasn't been developing, for a much longer time, here in America. Ever since Eisenhower realized who wielded the REAL power behind the seats of power and spoke out, belatedly, in his farewell speech.

The recent essay "Informant Names JFK Jrs Assassins?" would have struck me as only another wacky Internet conspiracy theory if someone hadn't revealed the exact same thing to me several months earlier. Indeed my informant, a former intelligence insider, became the inspiration for the central character in my recent novel, the sinister protagonist, Jimmy Jeremiah. Assassination by aviation, was how the real-life Jeremiah explained it to me, removing troublesome but charismatic leaders who become problematic to the status quo.

If we Americans realize that those in power are never hindered by any feelings of conscience or guilt, if we realize that our rulers freely act in their own self interest, (unless forced to do so by popular outcry), that they conduct policy as insatiable predators would, we begin to see them with a new clarity. If we realize profits and personal agendas, not ethics, forever influence foreign and domestic policies, then we may finally see how everything seems to make sense in a senseless world.

Comment: For an insightful look into the system, read Laura Knight-Jadczyk's article Official Culture.

Thus the controlled demolition of a potential rival's plane--whether John F. Kennedy Jr. or Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone--makes perfect sense. Thus the controlled demolitions of sensitive buildings (Oklahoma City, World Trade Center, Building 7), or the controlled demolition of a country like Iraq, or the controlled demolition of the American media, not to mention the controlled elections in 2000 and 2004, all make perfect sense and have always made perfect sense.

Which makes the US media accomplices to an ongoing series of great crimes, stretching over fifty years. As Richard Salent, Former President of CBS News once admitted, "Our job is to give people not what they want, but what we decide they ought to have." Clearly controlled, wouldn't you say?

But this sort of cold-blooded criminality speaks less of Prince Machiavelli or the Borgias than the Biblical Herod family. The three generations of the Bush family parallel the uncanny rise to power of the Biblical Herods. Just as the Herods conducted ruthless policy--secret assassinations and public executions, religious plots, terrorism, manipulation of the economic system while seeming to embrace the religious leaders of their day--so too have our own American Herods.

And all of these crimes have been aided and abbetted by the American mainstream media for well over fifty years! Indeed, when has anyone heard or read anything about Patrick "Bulldog" Fitzgerald, in the American media? US Attorney Fitzgerald, pursuing corruption in high places, very likely will become the next "accidental" death, planned by the American Herods. The details of his death, and the predictable press reports, are all being worked out behind the scenes as I write this.

When we realize that the Biblical Herods wielded limited but absolute power backed by imperial Rome, we realize that the Bushes, Clintons, Johnsons and Nixons wield limited power within a framework of power brokers. Otherwise what stake do our American Herods have in the Middle East? Certainly not for the benefit of the average US citizen.

Likewise our "free press," never seems to ask the pertinent question of any crime: Who benefits? Who benefits when a Paul Wellstone or well-respected critic dies "accidentally?" Who benefits when a 47 story building falls mysteriously? And who benefits when a country is invaded? Who profits? Aside from cementing power within the ruling junta--our American Herods, whether Democratic or Republican--the select group of power brokers continue to reap obscene profits. Katrina being no exception; witness the spike in petroleum prices.

Ironic indeed that far more blame has been leveled by the complicit US media, against the US government, for slow response to a predicted natural disaster, than to the predicted un-natural debacle in Iraq. Thirty months later still no outrage from the embedded US media to a phony war draining the American treasury and the volunteer armed forces. Ironic that far more outrage is directed against armed looters in New Orleans than to well-connected cronies of our American Herods who receive billions for looting the US citizen in no-bid contracts.

The Biblical Herods, like their American predecessors, once wielded incredible power. Until one day they were swept away, swept away more completely than Katrina swept away Biloxi. And today the Herods are remembered as diabolical scoundrels, relegated to the dust bin of history.

Amateur historian and Rense essayist, Douglas Herman is the author of the recent novel, Guns of Dallas

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Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury on New Orleans: "Americans Are Being Brainwashed"

Mentality is "like that of the brown shirts that followed Hitler"
Steve Watson/Alex Jones
September 6 2005

Paul Craig Roberts has held a number of academic appointments and has contributed to numerous scholarly publications. He served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Regan administration.

Roberts followed up his commentary Impeach Bush Now, Before More Die with an interview on The Alex Jones show on Monday 5th September 2005. The former Assistant Secretary had noted of the New Orleans disaster "If terrorists had achieved this result, it would rank as the greatest terrorist success in history." and went on to spell out how the disaster was left to happen. He succeeded these comments on Monday by laying out the facts again and asserting that the Federal government has been criminally negligent and should be held up to accountability.

Mr Roberts believed that such comments would bring him much criticism from so called Patriots (the flag waving kind), yet he was surprised at the amount of people who agreed and even informed him that it was far worse then what he'd gone on record with.

Roberts reviewed the way in which the federal government had slashed funding for flood prevention schemes and pumped everything into the war in Iraq and the war on Terror. He also went on to admit that the military was turning on the people, treating them as subjects, overturning the Posse Comitatus Act.

Roberts agreed that FEMA has deliberately withheld aid, and cut emergency communication lines, and automatically made the crisis look worse in order to empower the image of a police state emerging to "save the day". He even insinuated that the shoot to kill policy was part of the overall operation in order get an awful precedence set to aid the military industrial complex takeover of America.

"The power of the Federal Government is now greater than at any time, it'll never go back and the Posse Comitatus Act has been eroding ever since it was passed in 1878..." Roberts asserted.

Roberts further commented "There is no excuse for this, we have never had in our history the federal government take a week to respond to a disaster...this is the first time ever that the help was not mobilized in advance. The proper procedure is that everything is mobilized and ready to go"

Mr Roberts commented that the American people are being "brainwashed" and no longer believe what the founding fathers said over and over, that your worst enemy is always your own government and never confuse Patriotism with support for the government. He asserted that the mentality is "like that of the brown shirts that followed Hitler" and that the government is deadly dangerous, "you can't let the military take over policing".

On the question of where this is all leading and what the government is gearing up for, Mr Roberts suggested that "It does look like there is a push coming from inside the bowels of the police authorities and it seems to be independent of whoever the President is or who or whatever party is in office. It just gets worse and it's hard to say that it's Bush doing it, he may not even know what's going on... it's enough for us to say that New Orleans demonstrated massive federal incompetence, if it were laid on private people would be tantamount to criminal negligence... some kind of accountability has to be exercised"

The private corporations own and run everything and are turning America into a third world police state, when questioned as to how we can stop this Mr Roberts stated:

"The longer it goes on it will be harder and harder to stop...It depends on how much resistance or what kind of resistance they meet, but I think one thing we can do is demand accountability for this failure, do not buy the Karl Rove lie that this was a failure of State and Local Government"

Roberts urged listeners to look at the Patriot Act, which suspends Habeas Corpus, where they can now suspend you indefinitely, a massive erosion of civil liberties. He was quick to point out though that we should not assign the government omnipotence, we can make people aware of the situation and try to explain illogical actions that have no reasonable explanation.

Comment: Indeed, the Patriot Act and the laws initially known as Patriot Act II have effectively turned the US into a police state. While a state of martial law does not exist, the laws themselves are in place. In fact, it may be that martial law will never be declared by the administration. It would be far more effective to manipulate the population into willingly relinquishing all their liberties instead of taking them away by force. A terrorist attack here, a crashed economy there, and a few carefully prepared pieces of propaganda fed to the people through a complicit media is all it would take. We note that in the aftermath of Katrina, the many in the media stood up alongside the people in demanding answers from Bush. When the media backed down, the people once again lost their voice. And with Katrina and the death of Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist capturing the headlines, no one even mentions the name "Cindy Sheehan" or questions the Iraq war anymore. In that respect, the Katrina debacle was a blessing for Bush. All eyes are now focused on his role in the relief efforts instead of his role in continuing to lead the nation in the occupation of Iraq.

Roberts read out an email from an emergency management official who said that the feds are involved in everything they do, everything has to be approved by the feds. FEMA sets the table, Mr Roberts suggested, every major agency in New Orleans has been federalized, the State and Local officials have no authority.

"They might screw up occasionally but why is it that NOTHING that was supposed to be done was done?" Roberts questioned.

"The whole problem is...failure, massive unacceptable failure, criminal negligence... it has caused the US it's largest and most strategic international Port through which 25% of all our oil and gas comes... look at the price of gasoline, this is a tremendous impact... I don't see how a recession can be avoided... We have lost our most influential port through what appears to be INTENTIONAL incompetence, it's very hard to understand"

Roberts went on to stress that this event is WORSE than 9/11 because it was announced days ahead of the event and contingency plans were intentionally ignored. The officials on the scene have said there was a complete stand down of the government and intentional incompetence. Furthermore they did nothing ON PURPOSE in order to provoke the resulting chaos and anarchy so they could say "look how out of control everything is - we have to have limits on freedom and troops on the streets."

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First Responders Warned Feds on Training
Associated Press
Tue Sep 6,12:11 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration was warned by congressional investigators this summer that some first responders were concerned that their training and equipment was tilting too much toward combatting terrorism rather than natural disasters.

It's too early to tell whether the shift affected the slow federal response to Hurricane Katrina. But it led some emergency personnel to raise red flags.

The emphasis changed once the Federal Emergency Management Agency lost its independence and joined the 22-agency Homeland Security Department in March 2003.

The mammoth department was created in 2002 as a response to the lack of coordination prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and its emphasis clearly is terrorism. Officials developed an "all hazards" policy that used the same training exercises and equipment to prepare for two distinct types of disasters: a terrorist attack and an event of nature.

The agency in the past four years awarded $11.3 billion to state and local governments to prepare and respond to a terrorist attack.

Congress' Government Accountability Office reported in July that of 39 first responder departments surveyed, 31 disagreed that the training and grant funds worked for all types of hazards.

"In addition, officials from four first responder departments went on to say that DHS required too much emphasis on terrorism-related activities in requests for equipment and training," the GAO said. [...]

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Daley 'shocked' as feds reject aid
Chicago Sun-Times
September 3, 2005

A visibly angry Mayor Daley said the city had offered emergency, medical and technical help to the federal government as early as Sunday to assist people in the areas stricken by Hurricane Katrina, but as of Friday, the only things the feds said they wanted was a single tank truck.

That truck, which the Federal Emergency Management Agency requested to support an Illinois-based medical team, was en route Friday.

"We are ready to provide more help than they have requested. We are just waiting for their call," said Daley, adding that he was "shocked" that no one seemed to want the help.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) said he would call for congressional hearings into the federal government's preparations and response.

"The response was achingly slow, and that, I think, is a view shared by Democrats, Republicans, wealthy and poor, black and white," the freshman senator said. "I have not met anybody who has watched this crisis evolve over the last several days who is not just furious at how poorly prepared we appeared to be."

Response 'baffling'

The South Side Democrat called FEMA's slow response "baffling."

"I don't understand how you could have a situation where you've got several days' notice of an enormous hurricane building in the Gulf Coast, you know that New Orleans is 6 feet below sea level. ... The notion that you don't have good plans in place just does not make sense," Obama said.

Obama said he expects his counterparts in Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama will call for congressional hearings, but he is ready if they do not. "It's heartbreaking and infuriating and, I think, is embarrassing to the American people.''

Daley said the city offered 36 members of the firefighters' technical rescue teams, eight emergency medical technicians, search-and-rescue equipment, more than 100 police officers as well as police vehicles and two boats, 29 clinical and 117 non-clinical health workers, a mobile clinic and eight trained personnel, 140 Streets and Sanitation workers and 29 trucks, plus other supplies. City personnel are willing to operate self-sufficiently and would not depend on local authorities for food, water, shelter and other supplies, he said.

Flanked at a Friday press conference by a who's who from city government, religious organizations and business, the mayor also announced formation of the Chicago Helps Fund for storm victims.

"I'm calling upon every resident of Chicago to donate what they can afford, whether it's 50 cents or 50 dollars," the mayor said.

People can make tax-deductible cash or check donations at any of Bank One's 330 Chicago area branches or by check at Chicago Helps, c/o Bank One, 38891 Eagle Way, Chicago 60678-1388. A phone line to take credit card donations will be set up. [...]

Comment: It appears that the federal government didn't need any help. They had all the manpower and equipment they needed - they just decided not to send it all down to the disaster areas until four days after the hurricane hit.

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Hurricane Expected to Cost Government Up to $100 Billion
The New York Times
September 6, 2005

WASHINGTON - The federal government's costs related to Hurricane Katrina could easily approach $100 billion, many times as much as for any other natural disaster or the $21 billion allocated for New York City after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"There is no question but that the costs of this are going to exceed the costs of New York City after 9/11 by a significant multiple," predicted Senator Judd Gregg, Republican of New Hampshire and chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

Administration officials said today that rescue and relief operations in Louisiana and Alabama are costing well over $500 million a day and are continuing to rise.

Less than four days after Congress approved $10.5 billion in emergency assistance, White House officials said they would be asking for an even bigger amount in the next day or two.

News agencies, quoting congressional officials, said President Bush is likely to ask for an additional $40 billion. But administration officials said that even their second request will itself be only a "stop gap" measure while officials try to make a comprehensive estimate.

Though it is still too early for specific estimates, the costs are all but certain to wreak havoc with Mr. Bush's plans to reduce the federal deficit and possibly his plans to further cut taxes.

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist hastily postponed plans to push for a vote on repealing the estate tax, a move that would benefit the wealthiest 1 percent of households but would cost more than $70 billion a year once fully implemented.

House and Senate leaders are also grappling with their pre-Katrina plan to propose $35 billion in spending cuts over the next five years for entitlement programs like Medicaid, student loans, food stamps and cash welfare payments to low-income families.

Those spending cuts could suddenly prove politically unpalatable to Mr. Bush and Republican lawmakers, who are trying to rebuff criticism that the federal government shortchanged the hurricane's poorest victims.

"Democrats think this is the worst possible time to be cutting taxes for those at the very top and cutting the social safety net of those at the very bottom," said Thomas S. Kahn, staff director for Democrats on the House Budget Committee.

Budget analysts said the magnitude and unique characteristics of Hurricane Katrina make it unlike any previous natural disaster. These are some of the extraordinary costs:

- Providing shelter for as many as 1 million people for months or even a year.

- Assuming a potentially high share of uninsured property losses that stem from flooding, which is not covered by private insurers.

- Providing education and health care to hundreds of thousands of people forced to live outside their home states. Medicaid, which pays for health care to very low-income people, is usually a cost shared by federal and state governments. But administration officials say they expect that the federal government will pick up the full bill for people who were evacuated and that eligibility standards will be relaxed.

"Katrina could easily become a milestone in the history of the federal budget," said Stanley Collender, a longtime Washington budget analyst. "Policies that never would have been considered before could now become standard."

Comment: The cost of the relief efforts is not the only effect Katrina may have on the economy. Oil and trade could also be affected - but no one in the mainstream media seems to be talking about the trade aspect.

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Katrina 'set to slow US economy'
Wednesday, 7 September 2005, 05:25 GMT

US growth is likely to slow in the remaining months of this year because of Hurricane Katrina's destruction, US Treasury Secretary John Snow says.

Mr Snow forecast that as much as 0.5% may be knocked off the US's annual gross domestic product (GDP).

The US, the world's largest economy, had been expected to grow by close to 3.5% this year.

However, that was before Katrina blew ashore, killing thousands and causing damages of close to $100bn (£55bn).

Oil production facilities in the Gulf of Mexico were hit hard and the subsequent surge in crude and petrol prices are likely to brake US growth, Mr Snow said.

"It would seem to make sense to think that we could see a loss of GDP growth rate in the quarters ahead of a half a percent or so," Mr Snow said late on Tuesday.

See-saw effect

The concern is that consumers will spend less in shops as they have to pay more for fuel and heating, while companies will either have to pass on their higher costs or let them eat into their profits, analysts said.

Mr Snow's comments were echoing an earlier report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

According to the economic think-tank, high world oil prices are here to stay and the price shocks pose a threat to key economies such as the US, UK and Germany.

Growth in the US might "somewhat more subdued" in the second half of 2005, the OECD said.

Despite the concerns, the US is well placed for growth and any slowdown should be short-lived.

Mr Snow said that he expected growth to pick up again in 2006, adding that the reconstruction and repair effort following Katrina would prove to be a powerful economic stimulus.

GDP growth in 2006 should get a boost of 0.5% from rebuilding, Mr Snow estimated.

Comment: The Congressional Budget Office presented a slightly different forecast...

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Hurricane Katrina to Increase Joblessness
AP Economics Writer
Sep 07 9:08 AM US/Eastern

WASHINGTON -- Hurricane Katrina will reduce employment by 400,000 people in coming months while trimming economic growth by as much as a full percentage point in the second half of this year, according to a Congressional Budget Office assessment obtained by The Associated Press.

The CBO report said that Katrina's impact was likely to be "significant but not overwhelming" to the overall U.S. economy, especially if energy production along the Gulf Coast returns to pre-hurricane levels quickly.

"Last week, it appeared that larger economic impacts might occur, but despite continued uncertainty, progress in opening refineries and restarting pipelines now makes those larger impacts less likely," CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin said in a letter to congressional leaders.

The CBO assessment was in line with the predicted impact of Katrina being made by many private forecasters, who have also cautioned that the effects could be much worse if rising energy prices cause consumers to cut back on their spending.

The CBO report said that it expected economic growth in the second half of the year would be reduced by between 0.5 percentage point and 1 percentage point. It put total job losses at around 400,000.

CBO, the nonpartisan agency that provides economic and budget advice to Congress, said before Katrina struck the expectations were that the economy would grow at an annual rate of between 3 percent and 4 percent in the second half of the year with employment growing by 150,000 to 200,000 workers per month.

Comment: At this point, it seems unlikely the US economy will be allowed to crash before the new bankruptcy laws take effect in October.

Then again, Mother Nature is gearing up for another round of storms...

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Ophelia threatens Florida

Tropical storm heads toward state's eastern coast
Wednesday, September 7, 2005; Posted: 5:35 a.m. EDT

Freshly named Tropical Storm Ophelia was moving slowly toward the northeastern Atlantic coast of Florida on Wednesday, forecasters said, threatening to drench the state with up to 8 inches of rain in some areas, possibly within 24 hours.

Ophelia intensified to a tropical storm early Wednesday, with maximum sustained winds of near 40 mph and higher gusts. As of 5 a.m. Wednesday, the storm's center was located about 105 miles east of Cape Canaveral, Florida. It was moving north-northwest at near 8 mph and was expected to continue in that direction, slow down and possibly strengthen slightly within the next 24 hours.

Tropical storm warnings are posted from Sebastian Inlet, Florida, northward to Flagler Beach, Florida, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said. The warning means tropical storm conditions, including winds of at least 39 mph, are expected in the area within the next 24 hours.

A tropical storm watch, meaning tropical storm conditions are possible within the next 36 hours, was in effect from north of Flagler Beach to Fernandina Beach, Florida, forecasters said.

Rainfall of 3 to 5 inches with isolated amounts of up to 8 inches are expected across portions of central and northern Florida and southeastern Georgia as a result of Ophelia. In addition, dangerous surf conditions and rip currents will be possible along the southeastern U.S. coast from the Carolinas southward to Florida.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Nate -- which initially was forecast to pose no threat to land -- is now on track to pass near or just south of Bermuda later this week, forecasters said Wednesday.

The Bermuda Weather Service has issued a tropical storm watch for the Atlantic island. Nate's maximum sustained winds were near 70 mph with higher gusts Wednesday -- just shy of hurricane force.

At 5 a.m. ET Wednesday, the center of the storm was located about 260 miles south-southwest of Bermuda. It was moving toward the northwest at about 2 mph, and was expected to turn toward the north or north-northeast later Wednesday and Thursday.

"On the forecast track, Nate is forecast to pass near or just south of Bermuda Thursday night or Friday morning," said the Miami-based National Hurricane Center.

The storm was expected to strengthen during the next 24 hours, and Nate could become a hurricane later Wednesday, forecasters said.

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Weather Modification Research and Technology Transfer Authorization Act of 2005 (Introduced in Senate)

S 517 IS

1st Session

S. 517

To establish the Weather Modification Operations and Research Board, and for other purposes.


March 3, 2005

Mrs. HUTCHISON introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation


To establish the Weather Modification Operations and Research Board, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the 'Weather Modification Research and Technology Transfer Authorization Act of 2005'.


It is the purpose of this Act to develop and implement a comprehensive and coordinated national weather modification policy and a national cooperative Federal and State program of weather modification research and development.


In this Act:

(1) BOARD- The term 'Board' means the Weather Modification Advisory and Research Board.

(2) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR- The term 'Executive Director' means the Executive Director of the Weather Modification Advisory and Research Board.

(3) RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT- The term 'research and development' means theoretical analysis, exploration, experimentation, and the extension of investigative findings and theories of scientific or technical nature into practical application for experimental and demonstration purposes, including the experimental production and testing of models, devices, equipment, materials, and processes.

(4) WEATHER MODIFICATION- The term 'weather modification' means changing or controlling, or attempting to change or control, by artificial methods the natural development of atmospheric cloud forms or precipitation forms which occur in the troposphere.


(a) IN GENERAL- There is established in the Department of Commerce the Weather Modification Advisory and Research Board.


(1) IN GENERAL- The Board shall consist of 11 members appointed by the Secretary of Commerce, of whom--

(A) at least 1 shall be a representative of the American Meteorological Society;

(B) at least 1 shall be a representative of the American Society of Civil Engineers;

(C) at least 1 shall be a representative of the National Academy of Sciences;

(D) at least 1 shall be a representative of the National Center for Atmospheric Research of the National Science Foundation;

(E) at least 2 shall be representatives of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce;

(F) at least 1 shall be a representative of institutions of higher education or research institutes; and

(G) at least 1 shall be a representative of a State that is currently supporting operational weather modification projects.

(2) TENURE- A member of the Board serves at the pleasure of the Secretary of Commerce.

(3) VACANCIES- Any vacancy on the Board shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

(b) ADVISORY COMMITTEES- The Board may establish advisory committees to advise the Board and to make recommendations to the Board concerning legislation, policies, administration, research, and other matters.

(c) INITIAL MEETING- Not later than 30 days after the date on which all members of the Board have been appointed, the Board shall hold its first meeting.

(d) MEETINGS- The Board shall meet at the call of the Chair.

(e) QUORUM- A majority of the members of the Board shall constitute a quorum, but a lesser number of members may hold hearings.

(f) CHAIR AND VICE CHAIR- The Board shall select a Chair and Vice Chair from among its members.


(a) PROMOTION OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT- In order to assist in expanding the theoretical and practical knowledge of weather modification, the Board shall promote and fund research and development, studies, and investigations with respect to--

(1) improved forecast and decision-making technologies for weather modification operations, including tailored computer workstations and software and new observation systems with remote sensors; and

(2) assessments and evaluations of the efficacy of weather modification, both purposeful (including cloud-seeding operations) and inadvertent (including downwind effects and anthropogenic effects).

(b) FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE- Unless the use of the money is restricted or subject to any limitations provided by law, the Board shall use amounts in the Weather Modification Research and Development Fund--

(1) to pay its expenses in the administration of this Act, and

(2) to provide for research and development with respect to weather modifications by grants to, or contracts or cooperative arrangements, with public or private agencies.

(c) REPORT- The Board shall submit to the Secretary biennially a report on its findings and research results.


(a) STUDIES, INVESTIGATIONS, AND HEARINGS- The Board may make any studies or investigations, obtain any information, and hold any hearings necessary or proper to administer or enforce this Act or any rules or orders issued under this Act.

(b) PERSONNEL- The Board may employ, as provided for in appropriations Acts, an Executive Director and other support staff necessary to perform duties and functions under this Act.

(c) COOPERATION WITH OTHER AGENCIES- The Board may cooperate with public or private agencies to promote the purposes of this Act.

(d) COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS- The Board may enter into cooperative agreements with the head of any department or agency of the United States, an appropriate official of any State or political subdivision of a State, or an appropriate official of any private or public agency or organization for conducting weather modification activities or cloud-seeding operations.

(e) CONDUCT AND CONTRACTS FOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT- The Executive Director, with the approval of the Board, may conduct and may contract for research and development activities relating to the purposes of this section.


The heads of the departments and agencies of the United States and the heads of any other public or private agencies and institutions that receive research funds from the United States shall, to the extent possible, give full support and cooperation to the Board and to initiate independent research and development programs that address weather modifications.


(a) IN GENERAL- There is established within the Treasury of the United States the Weather Modification Research and Development Fund, which shall consist of amounts appropriated pursuant to subsection (b) or received by the Board under subsection (c).

(b) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There is authorized to be appropriated to the Board for the purposes of carrying out the provisions of this Act $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2005 through 2014. Any sums appropriated under this subsection shall remain available, without fiscal year limitation, until expended.

(c) GIFTS- The Board may accept, use, and dispose of gifts or donations of services or property.


This Act shall take effect on October 1, 2005.

Comment: It seems the US government is quite interested in the weather and how to control it. Why might that be? Funny how this law is supposed to take effect one month after Katrina...

To read the original document, go here and do a keyword search for "517".

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How would Roberts, as chief justice, affect you?
By Editorial/Opinion
USA Today
Tue, 6 Sep 2005 15:55:02 -0700

A more than a little disturbing look at just who the new Chief Justice will almost certainly be. A man in favour of rolling back the progress in everything from the Right to Privacy to Women's Rights.

How would a Chief Justice Roberts affect the country? As the youngest chief justice since 1801, Roberts, 50, would be a potent influence on society for a generation or more.

By all accounts, John Roberts is the kind of guy you might want your daughter to bring home for dinner: brilliant, personable, possibly destined for greatness. Even the sternest father – if he's not too liberal – would probably grant nodding approval, as the Senate is likely to do in the next few weeks, seating Roberts on the Supreme Court.

The positive reaction to Roberts since President Bush first nominated him to the court in July undoubtedly contributed to Bush's decision to choose him Monday to succeed William H. Rehnquist, who died Saturday after nearly 19 years as chief justice.

But as impressive as Roberts has appeared, the most important question about him remains largely unanswered: How would a Chief Justice Roberts affect the country? As the youngest chief justice since 1801, Roberts, 50, would be a potent influence on society for a generation or more.

Would he, for instance, vote to reverse existing law on abortion or, more sweepingly, the right to privacy? His record suggests he might. Would he limit Congress' ability to protect the environment, public health and civil rights? That, too, is open to question.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will plumb for answers in hearings that may begin as early as Thursday, and it needn't linger long on basics. Roberts easily surpasses the threshold qualifications for justices.

By all accounts, he is a brilliant lawyer with a forceful intellect suited to the court. The American Bar Association calls him "well qualified."

Politically, he's conservative but not an outspoken ideologue, with little history of brash pronouncements. But which of the several sharply opposed conservative camps he falls into is in doubt, and the difference stands to affect every American.

Roberts' public record – inconclusive but provocative – raises questions whether he prefers limited government and cautious change, or whether he is an activist who would seek to overturn important Supreme Court precedents and legal protections:

Right to privacy. In memos written when he was in the Reagan administration, he disparaged the notion that there is a constitutional right to privacy. He wrote approvingly of the dissent in the landmark 1965 case that firmly established that right and overturned state laws against birth control. Reversing that decision would reopen the door to government meddling in the most private aspects of life, again criminalizing abortion, gay sex, even contraception.

Abortion. As deputy solicitor general for the first President Bush, he signed a government brief urging reversal of
Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that state laws banning abortion were unconstitutional. The court has since reaffirmed that decision.

Civil rights. Roberts argued for standards that would make it easier for school districts to evade desegregation orders. He also disparaged affirmative action – still sanctioned by the court in some circumstances – as "recruiting of inadequately prepared candidates" and argued that it is unconstitutional. That record raises questions about whether he would restrain the ability of Congress to help those victimized by discrimination.

Powers of Congress. Roberts parted company with the majority of conservative judges on his appeals court two years ago to take a swipe at the constitutional basis of the Endangered Species Act. The narrower interpretation he seemed to suggest could also limit the reach of federal laws regulating health, safety, civil rights, commerce and the workplace.

Freedom of speech. He argued that a federal law prohibiting flag burning did not violate the First Amendment, even after the Supreme Court had already declared a nearly identical state law unconstitutional.

Freedom of the press. Roberts wrote a memo challenging the 1964 Supreme Court decision New YorkTimes v. Sullivan, a cornerstone of the freedom to report aggressively on public officials. He suggested reverting to an earlier standard that gave officeholders greater ability to prevail in libel suits.

Church-state entanglement. He argued for lowering the wall between church and state and allowing officially led prayers at public school graduations. He criticized the Supreme Court's decision in another school prayer case as "indefensible."

Women's rights. Roberts ridiculed the notion that women are subject to workplace discrimination or entitled to constitutional protection. He also argued for narrowing the government's ability to enforce the ban on gender discrimination in education.

Roberts' defenders point out that most of his statements challenging the legal status quo were made while representing either the interests of a private client or the political commitments of an earlier administration. They might not represent his personal views – and many are more than 20 years old.

Both assertions are accurate. Less defensible is that the Bush administration has spurned Senate requests for records later in Roberts career. Senate questioning will have to fill in those blanks.

Much will be made at the hearings of the doctrine that Roberts should not be asked to say how he might rule in cases coming before the Supreme Court. But that should not deter senators from demanding to know how he views issues more generally and cases already decided – and the standards he would use to overturn settled law.

To suggest that the Senate should simply ignore the impact Roberts would have on constituents is to suggest that it stick its collective head in the sand.

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Bush Pledges Wide Search for Court Seat

Race, Sex and Hurricane Among Factors as President Seeks a Second Nominee
By Peter Baker and Jo Becker
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, September 7, 2005; A09

President Bush vowed yesterday to "take a good, long look" at a "wide open" list of candidates before deciding whom to nominate for a second open seat on the Supreme Court, as both sides girded for twin confirmation battles and recalibrated strategies after the dizzying events of recent days.

The casket of the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist was laid in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court, borne by a cast of pallbearers that included his former clerk and would-be successor, John G. Roberts Jr. Some influential Democrats signaled that Roberts's ascension increased their eagerness to press him on his record -- particularly on civil rights, which they said has taken on new salience in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

"What the American people have seen is this incredible disparity in which those people who had cars and money got out and those people who were impoverished died," Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) said in an interview . The question for Roberts, he said, is whether he stands for "a fairer, more just nation" or for "narrow, stingy interpretations of the law to frustrate progress."

Bush, who tapped Roberts on Monday to replace Rehnquist, suggested that he will take his time finding a new candidate for the seat of retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, which was originally supposed to go to the appellate judge. Aides said they expect no announcement this week as Washington focuses on the damage wrought by Hurricane Kristina.

At the same time, Bush playfully hinted he could choose his friend Alberto R. Gonzales, a prospect that reignited consternation among conservative groups skeptical of the attorney general's politics.

"The list is wide open, which should create some good speculation here in Washington," Bush told reporters after a Cabinet meeting, generating laughter. With a sly look, he added: "And make sure you notice when I said that, I looked right at Al Gonzales, who can really create speculation." [...]

Even if O'Connor is sitting on the court when its next term opens Oct. 3, her presence may not matter much. If she is not still there when decisions are written and issued months later, her vote would not count. In instances when that would leave a 4 to 4 tie, the cases might have to be reargued for her successor's benefit.

"The president ought to act expeditiously simply to fill the slot as quickly as possible," said Todd F. Gaziano, a scholar at the Heritage Foundation and former Jones clerk. [...]

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Blair calls for UN terror stand
Wednesday, 7 September 2005, 13:07 GMT

Tony Blair says he will urge world leaders attending next week's UN summit to strongly condemn all those who incite or encourage terrorism.

The prime minister, who is leading an EU team in trade talks with India, says the move is "long overdue".

Since the 7 July London bombings, Britain has sought to deport or bar the entry of a number of radical clerics.

In Delhi, Mr Blair said: "We have got to take a very strong stand on the part of the international community."

He added: "We condemn this, we condemn it utterly."

Terrorist financing

Speaking after an India-European Union summit, the prime minister's spokesman said Britain was seeking support for a draft resolution to commit countries to act against those within their territory who incite terrorism, not just those who commit it.

Mr Blair, on the second leg of his tour of Asia, will be among leaders attending next week's world summit to mark the 60th anniversary of the UN.

"It's time we sent out a clear ... message from the international community," Mr Blair said. "This is long overdue."

The EU and India pledged to boost anti-terrorism cooperation and crack down on terrorist financing and other money laundering at Wednesday's summit, the two sides said in a joint statement.

Positioning system

Mr Blair hailed the agreement as a "turning point" in relations between the two economic powers.

The "action plan" with India will point the way to greater co-operation between the EU and India, Mr Blair said.

The prime minister also saw a deal signed to involve India in the satellite navigation system called Galileo, which is a competitor to the United States' global positioning system.

The agreement was signed by G Madavan Nair, chief scientist of the Indian Space Research Organisation, and the EU's representative to India Francisco da Camara Gomes.

The system is intended to be working by 2008. It should be able to track everything from aircraft to cars through 30 satellites.

China is also involved in developing the system.

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"Saddam" has confessed, Iraqi president says
Toronto Star
Tue, 6 Sep 2005 23:57:21 -0700

Iraq's president said today that Saddam Hussein had confessed to killings and other "crimes" committed during his regime.

BAGHDAD – Iraq's president said today that Saddam Hussein had confessed to killings and other "crimes" committed during his regime.

President Jalal Talabani told Iraqi television that he had been informed by an investigating judge that "he was able to extract confessions from Saddam's mouth" about crimes "such as executions" which the ousted leader had personally ordered.

Talabani said that some of the confessions involved cases under investigation but he did not specify them. Saddam faces his first trial Oct. 19 for his alleged role in the massacre of Shiites in Dujail, a town north of Baghdad in 1982.

Saddam could face the death penalty if convicted in the Dujail case.

The Iraq Special Tribunal is also investigating Saddam's alleged role in other atrocities, including the 1988 gassing of thousands of Kurdish civilians in Halabja and the 1991 suppression of the Shiite rebellion in the south.

Iraqi authorities plan to try those cases separately. [...]

Comment: Saddam's body double could get the death penalty. Isn't US-style justice great?

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Top Palestinian military aide Arafat killed
September 7, 2005

GAZA CITY - The security chaos blighting the Gaza Strip claimed its highest-profile victim when local strongman Mussa Arafat, an advisor to Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas, was assassinated by militants.

Abbas led condemnation of the Popular Resistance Committees' killing of Arafat, a cousin of the late Yasser Arafat, which undermined calls for calm on the eve of Israel's departure from the territory after a 38-year occupation.

Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz meanwhile recommended that the departure of troops from Gaza be brought forward by three days to Monday after soldiers guarding empty Jewish settlements shot dead a Palestinian teenager.

Arafat, feared by many in Gaza for his brutal regime as head of national security, was shot 23 times by gunmen who had laid siege to his home in the south of the city before dawn.

After an hour-long gunfight between the assailants and his bodyguards, he was shot in front of his family and then dragged into the street where gunmen continued to pump bullets into his body.

His killers then fled, taking hostage his son, Manhal.

After paying a visit to the Arafat family home, Abbas convened a meeting of his national security council, which includes prime minister Ahmed Qorei and interior minister Nasr Yussef.

Yussef "decreed a state of alert among the security services and ordered a commission of inquiry to determine the circumstances of the killing," the interior ministry said after the meeting.

Mussa Arafat's death was a "serious escalation in the security situation that must not be allowed to pass in silence," it added.

Abbas said he was "determined to finish the investigation as quickly as possible to determine the circumstances of this crime, which will not hinder efforts to impose order and the rule of law".

Mussa Arafat had been sidelined by Abbas earlier this year, being demoted to the role of advisor, as the moderate Palestinian Authority president sought to make a clean break from his late predecessor who died in November.

Abbas, however, has been unable to reverse the security chaos which had taken hold, particularly in Gaza, under Yasser Arafat.

"This despicable act shows the deterioration (in security) and the state of violence which we find in Gaza," said French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, who was in Gaza for talks with Abbas.

The main militant factions, who often operate outside the law, have already vowed to defy the Palestinian Authority's demands to disarm after the departure of the last Israeli troops.

The Popular Resistance Committees is an umbrella organisation, many of whose members are former loyalists of Abbas's Fatah faction. It also includes ex-members of the radical Islamist group Hamas.

In a telephone call to AFP, the faction's spokesman, known only as Abu Abir, said Arafat had been "eliminated" by its armed wing, the Salaheddin Brigades.

The killing came just hours after a Palestinian teenager was shot dead late Tuesday during clashes between scores of stone-throwing youths and Israeli soldiers guarding settlements evacuated more than a fortnight ago.

The bloodshed was an urgent reminder of how easily relations between the Israelis and Palestinian could deteriorate, despite hopes that Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip could breathe new life into the peace process.

As top brass were reportedly calling for Israeli troops to be pulled out immediately, Mofaz told a cabinet meeting that the scheduled September 15 departure date should be brought forward by three days, a top official said.

"The Palestinians must prove their mettle, not indulge in celebrations too early and wait patiently for the Israeli army to transfer responsibility for the territory," Mofaz had told army radio earlier.

Youths set fire to a handful of tyres across the southern city of Khan Yunis before the teenager's funeral got underway on Wednesday.

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Update: Engine failure suspected in Indonesian air crash
Wed Sep 7, 3:48 AM ET

MEDAN, Indonesia - Investigators probing the crash of jetliner in northern Indonesia say engine failure could be to blame as authorities prepare to bury dozens of the 150 casualties in a mass grave.

Workers combing the wreckage of the Mandala Airlines Boeing 737-200 which crashed Monday in the northern city of Medan found a damaged fan blade, a fault that may indicate problems with the plane's fuel combustion process.

"We found that the fan blade engine was in a damaged condition visually. We also found that the three screw jack actuators came loose from a flap and the wing," Setio Raharjo, who heads a team of investigators from the National Transportation Safety Committee, told AFP.

However Reharjo said it was too early to reach a conclusion and warned that analysis of the 'black box' flight recorders would take time.

"No conclusion can be drawn yet. We are still conducting the investigation," Raharjo said. [...]

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Japan braces for round two with killer typhoon
September 7, 2005

TOKYO - Japan braced for another hit by a powerful typhoon that battered the southern island of Kyushu and parts of South Korea, leaving at least 17 people dead and several others missing.

Officials said 10 people were unaccounted for after Typhoon Nabi set off landslides, forcing the cancellation of more than 1,000 flights and disrupting Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's re-election campaign schedule.

Police said at least 98 people were injured, 20 of them seriously. In South Korea, five people were also reported missing.

"It was such a large amount of rain and lasted for such a long time. There was more damage than we expected," said a police spokesman in worst-hit Miyazaki prefecture, where eight died and more than 300 homes damaged.

"The major rivers in Miyazaki were about to burst. Had they done so, the damage would have been even greater," he said.

Nabi worked a slow path over the southern island of Kyushu, including Miyazaki, on Tuesday before heading onto the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

But on Wednesday it was shifting back northeast, threatening the northern island of Hokkaido which is rarely hit by typhoons.

Four days ahead of Sunday's general election, Koizumi took a break from campaigning to hold a meeting with disaster authorities to review preparations.

"We will make decisions as we look at the entire situation" of typhoon damages, the disaster management minister, Yoshitaka Murata, told reporters after meeting with Koizumi.

Rescue workers on Kyushu used long, metal rods to feel under piles of mud for any buried victims.

In the rural town of Tarumi, rescuers found the bodies of two elderly women in their 70s at a house that was engulfed by a landslide. Another dead woman had been found in the house Tuesday.

In western Yamaguchi prefecture, a landslide collapsed a section of a highway, burying three people who were inside two houses.

Residents of Hokkaido were warned of heavy rain, strong winds and high waves, with Nabi expected to hit the island by Thursday, the meteorological agency said.

The typhoon caused the cancellation of 136 domestic flights Wednesday, after a total of 894 flights were cancelled on Tuesday, according to public broadcaster NHK.

As of 1100 GMT, Nabi was above the sea 240 kilometers (150 miles) west of Oga peninsula in northern Akita prefecture, the meteorological agency said.

Packing winds of up to 90 kilometers (56 miles) per hour, Nabi was moving northeast at 50 kilometers (31 miles) per hour, it said.

Mainland Japan was struck by a record 10 typhoons last year. One of them, Tokage, was the deadliest in a quarter-century, killing 90 people.

In South Korea, an 18-year-old student was missing after heavy rains sent here car into a river, police said.

Floods also swept away a 70-year-old man and three other people went missing overnight in South Korea, Yonhap news agency reported.

About 1,000 people fled their homes in the South Korean city of Ulsan and nearby cities. The typhoon grounded 100 domestic and international flights.

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Scientists speculate on curious bulge near South Sister

It could be nothing, it could be a volcano in the making; geologists can do little more than keep tabs as part of the desert slowly rises
Monday, September 05, 2005

BEND -- A group of surveyors on a bare patch of land in Central Oregon usually signals another golf course or subdivision, but the crew working its way across Wickiup Plain west of Bend was measuring a force more powerful than even real estate: a volcano.

As it has for the past four years, the government team trekked this summer to the Sisters bulge, a swelling in the Earth's crust that covers 100 square miles, an area roughly two-thirds the size of Portland.

This year, recent eruptions at nearby Mount St. Helens have rekindled interest in the Sisters survey and its findings. And a U.S. Geological Survey report earlier this year found only basic monitoring at about half of the nation's most active volcanoes.

Oregon has four of the 18 most threatening volcanoes -- Mount Hood, Crater Lake, Newberry and South Sister. The USGS says monitoring is inadequate at all of them.

The bulge, on the other hand, gets an extensive array of poking and prodding to track its growth. It's centered about three miles southwest of South Sister, about 25 miles from Bend.

The results of the late August trip won't be ready for weeks, but scientists have reached some conclusions about the bulge from past monitoring: It probably began growing in 1997 and has been rising ever since at a rate of about 1.4 inches a year. It was first observed from space using a relatively new imaging technology known as radar interferometry that can measure changes in the Earth's surface. The likely cause of the bulge is a pool of magma that, according to Deschutes National Forest geologist Larry Chitwood, is equal in size to a lake 1 mile across and 65 feet deep. And this magma lake is rising 10 feet each year. The pooling magma is under tremendous pressure, and as it expands it deforms the Earth's surface above, causing the bulge.

Beyond that, the uplift could be anything from the birth of a new volcano -- a fourth Sister in the making -- to a routine and anticlimactic pooling of liquid rock, researchers say.

"The honest and shortest answer is, we don't know," said Dan Dzurisin, a USGS geologist. [...]

Comment: We also found the following article:

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Major earthquake exercise under way in Russian Far East
RIA Novosti
September 7, 2005 11:37

PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY - A major exercise conducted by Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry to practice dealing with a major earthquake is under way on the far-eastern Kamchatka Peninsula, a ministry spokesman said Wednesday.

According to the spokesman, an 8.8-magnitude earthquake will be forecast on the first day of the exercise, and an emergency commission will be set up to oversee the preparation of ministry personnel and equipment, as well as coordination between various agencies.

The active stage of the exercise will start Thursday, with Minister Sergei Shoigu expected to attend. Rescue and medical teams, army units, law enforcement agencies and public utility specialists are scheduled to conduct disaster relief operations after an earthquake and tsunami in the Avachinskaya Bay, the spokesman said.

The exercise will involve more than 200 rescuers, and 60 vehicles and aircraft, he added.

According to research conducted by the International Institute of Earthquake Prediction Theory and Mathematical Geophysics, there is at least a 30% probability of an earthquake with a 7.2-magnitude or higher in the area of Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands before mid-December.

The ministry's regional forces have been on alert since early August. The ministry has coordinated the delivery of additional supplies of medicines and medical equipment, and its far-eastern local departments in Kamchatka, the island of Sakhalin and the Koryak autonomous area are taking measures to reduce the potential damage and losses from an earthquake.

Comment: In looking at the map on the IRIS Seismic Monitor web site, it appears that the Kamchatka peninsula and the volcanic activity in Oregon may have something in common: both regions lie along the same fault line. The Indonesian tsunami, quakes near Taiwan and Japan, and recent earthquakes in Alaska and California (see below) all seem to lie along the same fault line.

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Flashback: Quake swarm rattles experts

Activity is near faults capable of unleashing massive temblors
Benjamin Spillman
The Desert Sun
September 2, 2005

Since Sunday a swarm of about 300 earthquakes has struck the Brawley Seismic Zone near the southern shore of the Salton Sea.Most of the quakes were too small for people to feel, but five were magnitude 4.0 or greater. The strongest was a magnitude 4.6 on Wednesday.

One of California's most active seismic zones of the 1970s is rumbling again, causing concern among scientists who study and residents who live in the fault-strewn desert region.

A series of earthquakes - the strongest with a magnitude of 5.1 on Thursday evening - are shaking near the southeast shore of the Salton Sea, about 86 miles from Palm Springs.

The earthquake swarm between the San Andreas and Imperial faults is turning heads among researchers in Pasadena. But they stopped short of saying the rumbling temblors are an indication of something greater on the way.

Donna Dearmore, 64, and a 61-year resident of Niland, says people there think the swarm could be significant.

"From what we hear this is supposed to be a good one," Dearmore said. "But we have heard that most of my life around here."

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Magnitude 5.6 Earthquake - NORTHERN ALASKA
2005 September 6 07:16:54 UTC

A moderate earthquake occurred at 07:16:54 (UTC) on Tuesday, September 6, 2005. The magnitude 5.6 event has been located in NORTHERN ALASKA. (This is a computer-generated message -- this event has not yet been reviewed by a seismologist.)

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Magnitude 6.1 - TAIWAN REGION
2005 September 6 01:16:04 UTC

A strong earthquake occurred at 01:16:04 (UTC) on Tuesday, September 6, 2005. The magnitude 6.1 event has been located in the TAIWAN REGION. The hypocentral depth was estimated to be 46 km (28 miles). (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)

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2005 September 6 11:00:49 UTC

A moderate earthquake occurred at 11:00:49 (UTC) on Tuesday, September 6, 2005. The magnitude 5.7 event has been located in the NIAS REGION, INDONESIA. (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)

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Man of Peace Dies:
Scientist Who Turned Back on A-bomb Project
by Ian Sample
The Guardian
Friday, September 2, 2005

Scientists yesterday paid tribute to Sir Joseph Rotblat, the nuclear physicist and Nobel peace prize winner who resigned from the Manhattan Project to become a campaigner for nuclear disarmament. He died peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday at his London home, aged 96.

Polish born, Rotblat started work on nuclear weapons at Liverpool University in 1939. He moved to Los Alamos, the US nuclear weapons laboratory and joined the Manhattan project, in the belief that a nuclear bomb was the only realistic deterrent against the Nazis who were also pursuing the bomb.

"In 1944, when I learned the Germans had given up the project, the whole rationale for my being there disappeared," Sir Joseph told the Guardian this year.

He became the only scientist to resign from the project and was accused by the US of being a spy.

On condition he severed all contact with other scientists on the Manhattan project, he returned to the UK to pursue medical physics at St Bartholomew's hospital in London.

Rotblat later co-founded the Pugwash conferences, a movement that worked behind the scenes, chiefly during the cold war, to discourage the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons. The group's efforts were acknowledged in 1995 when Sir Joseph and the Pugwash group won the Nobel peace prize.

"He's been an inspiration to people all over the world. He devoted his life to preventing the use, spread or existence of nuclear weapons," said Robert Hinde, chairman of Pugwash conferences in the UK and emeritus professor at Cambridge University.

The Pugwash conferences, set up after a meeting of scientists in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, invited scientists primarily from the US and the former USSR to discuss the implications of a nuclear war.

The group was the only bilateral link between the US and USSR at the time.

Rotblat remained an active campaigner until shortly before his death earlier this year, writing an open letter to President George Bush calling on him to show "courage" in implementing the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

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Parasites brainwash grasshoppers into death dive
Shaoni Bhattacharya news service
12:02 31 August 2005

A parasitic worm that makes the grasshopper it invades jump into water and commit suicide does so by chemically influencing its brain, a study of the insects' proteins reveal.

The parasitic Nematomorph hairworm (Spinochordodes tellinii) develops inside land-dwelling grasshoppers and crickets until the time comes for the worm to transform into an aquatic adult. Somehow mature hairworms brainwash their hosts into behaving in a way they never usually would – causing them to seek out and plunge into water.

Once in the water the mature hairworms – which are three to four times longer that their hosts when extended – emerge and swim away to find a mate, leaving their host dead or dying in the water. David Biron, one of the study team at IRD in Montpellier, France, notes that other parasites can also manipulate their hosts' behaviour: "'Enslaver' fungi make their insect hosts die perched in a position that favours the dispersal of spores by the wind, for example."

But the "mechanisms underlying this intriguing parasitic strategy remain poorly understood, generally", he says.

Now Biron and his colleagues have shown that the worm brainwashes the grasshopper by producing proteins which directly and indirectly affect the grasshopper's central nervous system.

To view a video of the parasite and grasshopper in action, which includes a brief interview, in French, with lead researcher Frederic Thomas, visit the Canal IRD website.

Selective manipulation

"It's a very novel study, because there are very, very few papers on how behaviour actually changes," says Shelley Adamo at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, an expert in insect behavioural physiology who is familiar with Biron's work.

"One of the reasons they are interesting is that parasites are often able to get in there and selectively manipulate behaviour," she told New Scientist. She says the eventual hope is that understanding how parasites manipulate their hosts' behaviour – by affecting the nervous and endocrine systems – might further the understanding of how human behaviour-systems link.

Biron and colleagues found that the adult worms – those ready to prime their hosts for a watery death – altered the central nervous system function of their hapless hosts by producing certain molecules mimicking the grasshoppers' own proteins.

Gravity response

And grasshoppers housing the parasitic worm expressed different proteins in their brains than uninfected grasshoppers. Some of these proteins were linked to neurotransmitter activities. Others included those linked to geotactic behaviour – the oriented movement of an organism in response to gravity.

The team used an approach called "proteomics" to study the hijacking of the grasshopper's behaviour. This technique analyses all the proteins expressed in a cell or tissue.

Biron and colleagues collected and analysed the proteins of grasshoppers (Meconema thalassinum) with and without parasitic hairworms before, during and after the grasshoppers' suicidal plunges into a swimming pool at night-time.

"This is a unique approach and a very exciting one," says Adamo. "This is the first time it's been used to address this issue."

Journal reference: Proceedings of the Royal Society B (DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2005.3213)

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Paul Hellyer Former Minister of National Defense to Address UFO Symposium on Disclosure and Planetary Directions
August 25, 2005

In an unprecidented move to address this critical issue, Mufon Canada and ZlandCommunications announce Mr. Paul Hellyer, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense under Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, will address the UFO/ET symposium at the University of Toronto's Convocation Hall on Sept. 25.

Toronto, Ontario -- Mufon Central Canada and ZlandCommunications are pleased to announce Mr. Paul Hellyer's participation in Exopolitics Toronto Symposium on UFO Disclosure and Planetary Directions at the University of Toronto's Convocation Hall Sunday Sept. 25.

The Symposium is open to the public.

Paul Hellyer has had a long and distinguished career with particular emphasis on national defense. He held a number of positions culminating in his appointment as Minister of Defense under Lester Pearson. He is a long standing opponent of the weaponization of space and is a supporter of the Space Preservation Treaty.

Mr. Hellyer will address the Symposium's theme: Why information concerning Extraterrestrial-related phenomena and government involvement with these issues is still being withheld from the public by specific western nations.

Some call this the UFO Cover-up. Others call it a truth embargo. In either case Mr. Hellyer's well documented and comprehensive perspectives on such topics as Free Trade, Globalization, the inequitable distribution of wealth, the failure of banking systems and the weaponization of space will affix a compelling urgency to the far-reaching global implications of UFO/ET disclosure.

Mr. Hellyer possesses a unique vantage point from which to share his insights and knowledge with journalists, academics and citizens on matters relating to the UFO/ET disclosure question.

By participating in the Toronto Exopolitics Symposium Mr. Hellyer joins a growing list of important government figures around the world willing to speak directly to this most controversial and profound issue. Canada can play a major role in the truth process, and Mr. Hellyer's involvement will increase the impact of the Symposium.

Journalists and other media representatives who wish to learn more about Paul Hellyer's participation are invited to contact the symposium's Media Director Victor Viggiani for pre-conference press interviews, press passes or questions.

Ticket Orders - Available On Line
Ordered on-line by visiting the symposium's web site: or by going directly to University of Toronto TIX web site at:

This venture is a co-production of MUFON CENTRAL CANADA and ZlandCommunications. The text of this release may be distributed freely.

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Garland's Oz slippers stolen
CBC Arts
Mon, 29 Aug 2005 20:04:53 EDT

A pair of ruby slippers worn by actor Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz is missing from a Grand Rapids, Minn., museum.

The police chief said the slippers -- insured for $1 million US -- were stolen late Saturday or early Sunday. Someone entered the museum through a window and broke into the small display case holding the slippers.

Children's Discovery Museum director John Kelsch said the slippers belong to a Los Angeles man who loaned them to the museum for several weeks this summer.

The children's museum houses the Judy Garland museum, which displayed the same pair of slippers last year. Garland was born in Grand Rapids in 1922.

Four pairs of ruby slippers worn by Garland in the movie are known to exist, including one pair on display at the Smithsonian Institution. Another pair sold at Christie's auction house in 2000 for $666,000 US.

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And Finally...

U.N. declares America officially "culture-free"
by Don Nash
Unknown News
Sept. 6, 2005

The United Nations High Commission for Culture in Our World has declared the United States of America to be a 'culture-free' zone. The U.N. commission has ruled that the designation be retroactive to January 20, 2001. Oh man, doesn't that just figure.

The U.N. High Commission is dead serious about their ruling. The commission has ordered that warning signs be posted 10 miles off shore from the American continent on both coasts. The signs read, "WARNING, CULTURE-FREE ZONE. ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!"

There were a number of considerations taken into account by the High Commission, with the first and foremost consideration being that George Bush named John Bolton to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was quoted as saying, "What are you going to do?" George Bush being the President of the United States was the commission's second consideration.

The High Commission's third consideration was explained by Head High Commissioner Sir Lord Waddoups Butters, who stated, "The Americans just do not work or play well with others, and therefore they are all simply crass and vulgar." Well, excuse me.

The High Commission's final consideration, which Annan described as "absolutely, irrevocably cinching the deal," was last week's obliteration of New Orleans. It was believed to be the last city in America where culture was created, nurtured, and appreciated by the community, without being perpetually subservient to the profit motive.

In the appendix to the Commission's final report to the General Assembly, there is to be found a 'compendium addendum' that lists, in descending order, just about all of the commission's reasons and examples for why they came to the conclusions that they did. Some of the commission's reasons were offered in an expanded format while some of the examples were "stand alone" with no remarks offered.

In complete disregard for the commission's "order of importance," here are some of their rather glaring reasons and examples:

Hilary Duff.

Paris Hilton.

Fox News, and especially Brit Hume.

The New York Times and David Brooks.

Toby Keith (the High Commission asked the question, "Who is your daddy?"

Gen. Richard Myers and moronic delusions of Muslim "caliphate."

The Bush administration policy of preemptive war.

George Bush's war on terror.

Dick Cheney and Halliburton graft.

Thomas Friedman, Judith Miller, and the New York Times, again.

Everybody doesn't Love Raymond.

The Boston Pops Symphony, with the High Commission pleading that Keith Lockhart should never attempt to conduct any Beethoven symphony, ever. Thomas Cadmus and the American Legion.

The United States House of Representatives.

Major League Baseball and Bob Costas. There was an additional addendum added by the High Commission that addressed steroids and baseball, with the commission concluding that all home run records following the record set by Roger Maris were null and void. The High Commission has sent their official remarks on the subject to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), with the Commission adding, "Why doesn't someone get a dimmer switch for Roberts' head?"

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

MTV and VH1. The High Commission made an extraordinary note of mentioning that MTV and VH1 have "caused more irreparable harm to the advance of culture than any other media outlet or so-called 'cultural' programming in world history."

Gwen Ifill and The Newshour with Jim Lehrer. The High Commission made note that "if Ifill weren't so busy sucking up, not making any waves, and worrying about whether she could pay for her new house if she lost her job, she just might get that edgy and gritty reporter's sense back and be the journalist that she was meant to be."

Mullah Pat Robertson. The High Commission made a special declaratory declaration that stated, "Robertson should stick to his religion irregardless of how heretical he is to his religion. Robertson does the teachings of Jesus Christ a world of disservice and the old reprobate does more harm with his hate-mongering pontifications than should legally be allowed."

ABC, CBS, and NBC. The High Commission made a special note that, "the network media outlets have not only failed the American people, but their callous pursuit of the lowest common intellectual denominator has set back human evolution at least five hundred years."

United States commercial excess and brazen exploitation of our world's resources," including Sponge Bob Square Pants and Senator Rick Santorum. The High Commission made a note that, "while Sponge Bob is a passable author, Rick Santorum should never be allowed to pick up a pen again during the course of his remaining life span."

Shock and awe, thermo-baric munitions, depleted uranium munitions, genocide both cultural and ethnic, mass murder, and collateral damage.

Donald Rumsfeld and Douglas Feith. The High Commission made the remark, "We're not finished with Rumsfeld or Feith, not by a long shot."

Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib Prison, Bagram Air Base, illegal detentions, wanton torture, ghost detainees, and Michelle Malkin. The Commission remarked, "No civilized or cultured society would allow, let alone condone and sanction, these barbaric facilities and heathen practices. Michelle Malkin is simply a spiteful woman and is almost as harsh as Ann Coulter."

The United Nations High Commission's report is 232 pages long and almost 93% of their report is contained in the 'compendium addendum'. Their report is one scathing indictment.

Americans shouldn't be too surprised by the U.N.'s determination that as a nation, the United States mostly just sucks. We Americans take an awfully lot of what our shared world has to offer, and we don't give back. Well, except for the Bush administration's policy of unilateral preemptive war. America does give that to the world. One shouldn't forget the illegal detentions and the Bush policy of torture. I'm certain that our world must be ever so grateful. I'm certain that the people of Iraq must surely be grateful. Why, we've given them wholesale slaughter and civil war in that "forced American version."

The American government à la the Bush administration takes that 'trailer trash' approach to foreign policy, and just about any other policy one may care to consider. The Bush administration panders to the extreme right slanting of the hyper-Evangelical Christian school of fascism and then makes the sorry attempt to sell their pseudo-intellectual nonsense as fact and established truth. The proof is in the failed workings of Bush's administration.

The Bush failure spans the American continent from east coast to "left" coast. The Iraq war is an abysmal failure. Bush's war on terror is an abysmal failure. The Bush environmental policies are an abysmal failure. Everything about Bush shrieks "abysmal failure."

Under the administration of the Bush gang of forty war criminals, the U.S. has been put into the uncomfortable position as our world's stand alone pariah, and now we are also under a U.N. declaration as a 'culture-free' zone. Hell, George, thanks. Thanks a lot.

One last point, the U.N. High Commission for Culture in Our World is a satiric metaphor. Their report doesn't exist, and there is no U.N. High Commission for Culture in Our World. But there is the administration of George W. Bush and that isn't satire at all.

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NEW! Signs Commentary Books are Now Available!

For the first time, the Signs Team's most popular and discerning essays have been compiled into book form and thematically organized.

These books contain hard hitting exposés into human nature, propaganda, psyop activities and insights into the world events that shape our future and our understanding of the world.

The six new books, available now at our bookstore, are entitled:

  • 911 Conspiracy
  • The Human Condition
  • The Media
  • Religion
  • The Work
  • U.S. Freedom

Read them today - before the book burning starts!

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