- Signs of the Times Archive for Mon, 13 Aug 2007 -

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SOTT Focus
Signs Economic Commentary for 13 August 2007

Donald Hunt
Signs of the Times
2007-08-13 06:31:00

Despite a small rise in the stock market last week, the volatility, including a sharp drop on Thursday, still has everyone on edge. There were several reasons for this. First, the maintenance of stock prices at anything resembling their recent levels required a staggering infusion of "liquidity" (in other words, newly created money) by the world's central banks, $213.6 billion on Thursday and Friday by the European Central Bank, $62 billion by the U.S. Fed). Second, that infusion of liquidity included an unprecedented departure by the U.S. Federal Reserve. This time they actually bought CDO's (collateralized debt obligations). Usually they buy short term Federal Reserve obligations. This implies that no one else would accept these CDO's.

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Best of the Web
God Bless You Cindy Sheehan

Les Visible
Smoking Mirrors
2007-08-13 13:20:00

You were just another American mother who lost her son in the war. I suppose at first there was nothing but grief and loss. From what we hear, your son was a fine person; maybe he had become a man already and maybe not but he was man enough to go to war. Something died in you the day you learned that he was gone. He didn't tell you he was going. He didn't like Bush and he thought the war was wrong but he felt it was his duty to go. This is what you said about him afterwards

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Obstructing the War on Iran

Dr. Elias Akleh
Arab Media Internet Network
2007-08-13 13:05:00

Many military officials, political analysts, and strategy study groups anticipated the war against Iran to be launched at the beginning of 2007, sometime between mid January and late April, when weather conditions would be ideal for aerial sorties and naval invasion. The signs were apparent with the heavy naval traffic in the Arabian Gulf, and the number of the conducted war games on both sides.

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U.S. News
Airlines sue FBI, CIA over Sept. 11

Larry Neumeister
2007-08-07 16:31:00

Airlines and aviation-related companies sued the CIA and the FBI on Tuesday, asking a federal court to let them interview investigators who can tell whether the aviation industry was to blame for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks or whether it had acted reasonably.

The separate lawsuits in U.S. District Court in Manhattan asked a judge to order the government to let the aviation companies gather the information as part of their defense against lawsuits brought by victims or families of victims of the 2001 attacks.

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Armed With Checkbooks and Excuses, First Casualties of Va. Fees Go to Court

Jonathan Mummolo
Washington Post
2007-08-12 11:59:00

The labor pains were coming, so Jessica Hodges got going. The 26-year-old bank teller from Burke sped toward Inova Fairfax Hospital, but before she got there, the law got her -- 57 mph in a 35 zone. Reckless driving.

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Truth about Tillman... Murder's not 'Friendly Fire'

RJ Eskow
The Huffington Post
2007-08-13 08:08:00

Once again, the Administration is pulling the old magician's trick of misdirection, this time in the Pat Tillman case. And once again, the press is falling for it. Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Myers focused on "what they knew and when" -- to borrow the Watergate phrase -- rather than the core issue at the heart of the Pat Tillman matter, which is this:

Pat Tillman was almost certainly murdered, and fratricide is not "friendly fire."

Pat Tillman

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More lies from bush: US would kill Bin Laden in Pakistan

2007-08-13 07:54:00

President George Bush insisted yesterday that the US would kill Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders believed to be hiding in Pakistan if it had "actionable intelligence". He refused to say whether he would first seek permission for an attack from Pakistan's president.


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Flashback: Giuliani has connection with accused pedophile priest

Shaun Sutner
Telegram News
2007-07-23 19:08:00

Republican presidential candidate Rudolph W. Giuliani has close ties to a Catholic priest accused of sexually molesting boys and who also was the lawyer for a now-closed Whitinsville counseling house for troubled priests that has been described as the center of a pedophile sex ring.

Monsignor Alan J. Placa, who works for Mr. Giuliani's consulting firm, Giuliani Partners, was legal adviser in the 1980s to the House of Affirmation, where priests accused of sexual abuse were sent for psychotherapy and other counseling services. The center closed in 1987 amid a financial scandal.

Monsignor Placa, who while an active priest arranged the annulment of Mr. Giuliani's first marriage, baptized his two children and officiated at the funeral of his mother, is a childhood friend of Mr. Giuliani and they both attended Manhattanville College.

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Adolph Rudy! What everyone should know about Giuliani that New Yorkers already do

Rocky Mountain Chronicle
2007-08-13 06:46:00

When Rudolph Giuliani awoke on the morning of September 11, 2001, his political career was in the toilet. Nearing the end of his second term as mayor of New York City, a tenure marred by conflict and personal scandal, his approval rating was in the dismal 30th percentile, and he was term-limited from running again. He dropped out of a 2000 Senate race against Hillary Rodham Clinton after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Besides, no New York City mayor had gone on to higher office since 1868. Newsweek referred to pre-9/11 Rudy as "unpopular" and "irrelevant."

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Stir over priest's 'anti-Semitic remarks'

BBC News
2007-08-13 11:43:00

The BBC's Adam Easton reports on the growing row over alleged anti-Semitic remarks made by the controversial head of a religious radio station in Poland.

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Bucking convention, French first lady snubs Bush invite

Emma Charlton
2007-08-13 03:08:00

Cecilia Sarkozy's decision to bow out of a picnic with the president of the United States this weekend is the latest proof of the French first lady's unpredictable, even rebellious take on her new role.

President Nicolas Sarkozy travelled alone to meet George W. Bush and his family at their Atlantic holiday home after Cecilia -- staying just an hour away at a US lakeside resort -- bowed out due to a throat ailment.

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Around the World
Enough African troops to keep peace in Darfur: African Union

2007-08-13 02:43:00

African nations have committed enough troops to keep the peace in Darfur so there is no need to involve peacekeepers from outside the continent, the African Union Commission chairman said Sunday.

"After the commitments we have received (from African countries), we will not have to resort to non-African forces," Alpha Oumar Konare said after a meeting with Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir.

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Brazilian ministers claim 'victory' in war on illegal loggers

Tom Phillips
The Guardian
2007-08-13 02:54:00

The destruction of the world's largest rainforest last year fell to its lowest rate in nearly two decades, according to figures announced by the Brazilian government.

Between August 2005 and July 2006, around 5,400 square miles of Amazon forest were felled - a 25% reduction on the previous 12 months, government officials said. Initial figures for the 2006-2007 period, compiled with the use of satellite images, predicted a further reduction to under 4,000 square miles.

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South Africa blames UK for Zimbabwe crisis

Chris McGreal
The Guardian
2007-08-13 02:43:00

South Africa has blamed Britain for the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe by accusing the UK of leading a campaign to "strangle" the beleaguered African state's economy and saying it has a "death wish" against a negotiated settlement that might leave Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF in power.

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Libya stalling on disposal of uranium: report

2007-08-13 02:43:00

Libya is stalling on a 2003 pledge to dispose of its uranium, with nearly 200 barrels of the material still in its hands, The Daily Telegraph reported on Monday.

Citing unnamed sources close to the situation, the newspaper said that the uranium is in the form of yellow cake ore and is being stored at a military base in the town of Sabha.

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Big Brother
Senator wants Social Security cards revamped in to biometric police state card

Seanna Adcox
2007-08-08 00:16:00

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday he will introduce legislation to replace all paper Social Security cards with plastic biometric cards that can't be duplicated, so employers can be certain of the legal status of their workers.

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Flashback: National ID: Biometrics Pinned to Social Security Cards

Ryan Singel
2007-05-15 16:58:00

The Social Security card faces its first major upgrade in 70 years under two immigration-reform proposals slated for debate this week that would add biometric information to the card and finally complete its slow metamorphosis into a national ID.

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Not So Fast: E-Z Pass Data Used To Catch Cheaters

2007-08-11 00:06:00

There's some potentially troubling and telling news for all you motorists out there who may be taking the Turnpike for the worst crime in marriage: cheating on your significant other.

E-ZPass and other electronic toll collection systems are emerging as a powerful means of proving infidelity. That's because when your spouse doesn't know where you've been, E-ZPass does.

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Chicago no mercy speed traps and the road to police state

2007-08-12 23:50:00

Police in Chicago, Illinois suburbs are citing terrorism as a reason for "no mercy" speed traps where every motorist stopped by police -- other than fellow police officers -- receives a traffic citation. A Chicago Sun-Times analysis found that a total of thirty towns had a policy where more than 90 percent of drivers stopped must be ticketed.

"There's a lot of people who come in and out, and with all this terrorism and everything else that's going on, we have zero tolerance," North Chicago Police Sergeant Sal Cecala told the Sun-Times. "There's no breaks for the officers to give."

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Axis of Evil
Murderers' deals: U.S. and Israel close gap on defence aid payouts

Dan Williams
Reuters africa
2007-08-12 07:36:00

JERUSALEM - The United States has yielded to some Israeli demands on how new U.S. military aid will be paid out, ending a brief dispute over the issue, an Israeli official involved in the talks said on Sunday.

With an eye on an ascendant Iran, Washington announced a defence package for its allies in the region on July 30 including stepping up aid to Israel -- which now receives $2.4 billion a year -- by 25 percent, for a total of $30 billion over the next decade.

Comment: US taxpayer money instead of being available for education, health, infrastructure, catastrophe due to weather changes, etc, is being "lend" to Israel to wage more wars and murder more Palestinians.

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Italy Probe Unearths Huge Iraq Arms Deal

Charles J. Hanley and Ariel David
The Huffington Post
2007-08-12 15:28:00

PERUGIA, Italy - In a hidden corner of Rome's busy Fiumicino Airport, police dug quietly through a traveler's checked baggage, looking for smuggled drugs. What they found instead was a catalog of weapons, a clue to something bigger.

Their discovery led anti-Mafia investigators down a monthslong trail of telephone and e-mail intercepts, into the midst of a huge black-market transaction, as Iraqi and Italian partners haggled over shipping more than 100,000 Russian-made automatic weapons into the bloodbath of Iraq.

As the secretive, $40 million deal neared completion, Italian authorities moved in, making arrests and breaking it up. But key questions remain unanswered.

For one thing, The Associated Press has learned that Iraqi government officials were involved in the deal, apparently without the knowledge of the U.S. Baghdad command _ a departure from the usual pattern of U.S.-overseen arms purchases.

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Middle East Madness
US mounts major Iraq assault

Jay Deshmukh
2007-08-13 12:36:00

US troops in Iraq launched a major assault against Al-Qaeda-linked militants and alleged Iranian-aided extremist groups on Monday as a Sunni leader accused Iran of plotting genocide against his people.

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US surge in Iraq likely to fail, says UK committee

2007-08-13 12:28:00

The US "surge" of troops in Iraq is likely to fail, a British parliamentary committee said as it delivered a critical report on London's foreign policy in the Middle East.

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Bush to bolster Iraq troop surge as Democrat's opposition withers

Tim Reid
Times of London
2007-08-13 12:26:00

President Bush plans to continue his Iraq troop surge well into next year after a string of positive reports left Democrats increasingly powerless to end the war.

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Four British soldiers killed in Basra. U.S. intelligence says British "defeated" in south.

Julie Hyland
World Socialist Web Site
2007-08-13 11:44:00

The deaths of four British soldiers in just three days in Basra have caused questioning over the UK's military role in Iraq.

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Mahmoud Abbas' war against the Palestinian people

Ali Abunimah
The Electronic Intifada
2007-08-10 08:28:00

"Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was apparently more delighted by the banquet prepared for him by the wife of Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat than he was with meeting President Mahmoud Abbas in Jericho the day before yesterday," the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir reported on its website on 8 August, citing Israel's Channel 10 television station.

©Omar Rashidi/MaanImages/POOL/PPO
Sabotaging Palestine behind closed doors: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas meets with the Council of Ministers in the West Bank city of Ramallah, 4 July 2007

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Palestine: a policy of deliberate blindness

Régis Debray
Le Monde Diplomatique
2007-08-13 07:21:00

Last year President Jacques Chirac asked Régis Debray to study the situation in the Middle East. On 15 January 2007 Debray sent the French authorities the following document on Palestine. It is an important key to understanding a long policy drift whose results are now obvious.

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The Loan Gunmen
Hedge funds braced for more pain

Anuj Gangahar and Kate Burgess
Financial Times
2007-08-12 16:13:00

The much-heralded financial rocket scientists responsible for the explosion in complex mathematical trading strategies are bracing themselves for fresh pain after what one team of analysts called "the perfect storm" last week.

Quantitative strategists, or "quants" as they are known, attempt to profit from pricing inefficiencies identified through mathematical models. These send buy and sell signals on small variations in price between different securities.

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ECB Injects Additional $65.3B

Emma Vandore
2007-08-13 15:58:00

The European Central Bank led a third day of emergency lending to banks on Monday, but reduced the scale of its intervention amid signs that rattled credit markets are steadying.

The ECB injected 47.67 billion euros ($65.3 billion) into money markets, less than the 61 billion euros ($83.6 billion) of additional liquidity it released on Friday and the nearly 95 billion euros ($130 billion) it injected on Thursday.

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Stock Market Brushfire; Will there be a run on the banks?

Mike Whitney
Information Clearing House
2007-08-13 12:15:00

On Friday, the Dow Jone's clawed its way back from a 200 point deficit to a mere 31 point loss after the Federal Reserve injected $38 billion into the banking system. The Fed had already pumped $24 billion into the system a day earlier after the Dow plummeted 387 points. That brings the Fed's total commitment to a whopping $62 billion.

By some estimates, $326.3 billion has now been added to the G-7 Nations' intra-banking system to prevent a breakdown. That amount will rise considerably in the weeks ahead as the situation continues to deteriorate. Some readers may remember that on Tuesday, August 7, the Fed announced that it was NOT planning to bail out the market.

My, how quickly things change.

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Bernanke Was Wrong: Subprime Contagion Is Spreading

Bob Ivry
2007-08-10 10:30:00

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke was wrong.

So were U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Merrill Lynch & Co. Chief Executive Officer Stanley O'Neal.

The subprime mortgage industry's problems were contained, they all said. It turns out that the turmoil was contagious.

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Low-Risk Borrowers Now Feel Crunch in US

Nancy Trejos
Washington Post
2007-08-09 23:43:00

Nicholas Schor and Liza Losada-Schor were ready and willing to spend up to $850,000 on a house in Maryland. That was a month ago, when the rate on their mortgage would have been as low as 6.25 percent.

But a sudden shift in the mortgage market means that the couple -- he's a psychiatrist, she's a clinical nurse psychotherapist -- now face a rate of more than 7 percent, reducing their buying power even though they have solid credit. That's because in the past few days, rates on loans for more than $417,000, known as jumbo loans, have shot up.

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The Living Planet
Quake, 7.2 magnitude, reported near Vanuatu - USGS

2007-08-13 15:55:00

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake was recorded 46 km east of Santo in the South Pacific island archipelago of Vanuatu, the U.S. Geological Survey reported on Monday.

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Flashback: Thomas Gold: The science maverick who challenged establishment thinking - and quite often turned out to be right

Anthony Tucker
The Guardian
2004-06-24 10:02:00

Professor Thomas "Tommy" Gold, who has died aged 84, was the initiator, the pragmatist and the persuader among the trio of young Cambridge scientists who turned cosmology upside down in the 1950s by proposing their controversial and comforting "steady state" hypothesis of the universe. This held centre stage for several years, with Fred Hoyle as its underpinning cosmological philosopher, Hermann Bondi in mathematical support, and Tommy Gold as its extrovert propagandist.

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Heretical Thoughts about Science and Society

Freeman Dyson
The Edge
2007-08-13 09:04:00

1. The Need for Heretics

In the modern world, science and society often interact in a perverse way. We live in a technological society, and technology causes political problems. The politicians and the public expect science to provide answers to the problems. Scientific experts are paid and encouraged to provide answers. The public does not have much use for a scientist who says, "Sorry, but we don't know". The public prefers to listen to scientists who give confident answers to questions and make confident predictions of what will happen as a result of human activities. So it happens that the experts who talk publicly about politically contentious questions tend to speak more clearly than they think. They make confident predictions about the future, and end up believing their own predictions. Their predictions become dogmas which they do not question. The public is led to believe that the fashionable scientific dogmas are true, and it may sometimes happen that they are wrong. That is why heretics who question the dogmas are needed.

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500 evacuated as Indonesian volcano spews lava

2007-08-12 00:12:00

More than 500 people have been evacuated from the slopes of Mount Karangetang, which has been spewing lava and hotclouds on the northern Indonesian island of Siau.

The conditions have forced authorities to raise the area's alert status, with a total of 151 families or 564 people being evacuated from three villages on the slopes of the 1,784-metre volcano.

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Are the Bees Dying off Because They're Too Busy?

Susan Kuchinskas
AlterNet - East Bay News
2007-08-11 18:49:00

Are bees dying because factory farms are "overworking" them? California bee farmers who let their hives take it easy find their colonies are thriving.
©Jamie Soja
Leah Fortin's rooftop hive.

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Health & Wellness
The Hidden Dangers of Cell Phone Radiation

Sue Kovach
LE Magazine August 2007
2007-08-13 16:37:00

Every day, we're swimming in a sea of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) produced by electrical appliances, power lines, wiring in buildings, and a slew of other technologies that are part of modern life. From the dishwasher and microwave oven in the kitchen and the clock radio next to your bed, to the cellular phone you hold to your ear - sometimes for hours each day - exposure to EMR is growing and becoming a serious health threat.

But there's a huge public health crisis looming from one particular threat: EMR from cellular phones - both the radiation from the handsets and from the tower-based antennas carrying the signals - which studies have linked to development of brain tumors, genetic damage, and other exposure-related conditions.1-9 Yet the government and a well-funded cell phone industry media machine continue to mislead the unwary public about the dangers of a product used by billions of people. Most recently, a Danish epidemiological study announced to great fanfare the inaccurate conclusion that cell phone use is completely safe.10

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Bali bird flu deaths spark tourism fears

Kate Benson and Mark Forbes in Jakarta
Sydney Morning Herald
2007-08-13 12:26:00

AUSTRALIAN health officials are on alert after a deadly outbreak of bird flu on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali.

The finding is another blow to Indonesia's tourism industry, still struggling to recover from the 2002 and 2005 Bali bombings.

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Science & Technology
Indians predated Newton 'discovery' by 250 years

2007-08-13 15:58:00

A little known school of scholars in southwest India discovered one of the founding principles of modern mathematics hundreds of years before Newton according to new research.

Dr George Gheverghese Joseph from The University of Manchester says the 'Kerala School' identified the 'infinite series'- one of the basic components of calculus - in about 1350.

The discovery is currently - and wrongly - attributed in books to Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibnitz at the end of the seventeenth centuries.

The team from the Universities of Manchester and Exeter reveal the Kerala School also discovered what amounted to the Pi series and used it to calculate Pi correct to 9, 10 and later 17 decimal places.

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Phoenix Adjusts Course Successfully For Journey To Mars

Space Daily
2007-08-12 12:48:00

PASADENA - Lander to make the first and largest of six course corrections planned during the spacecraft's flight from Earth to Mars. Phoenix left Earth Aug. 4, bound for a challenging touchdown on May 25, 2008, at a site farther north than any previous Mars landing. It will robotically dig to underground ice and run laboratory tests assessing whether the site could ever have been hospitable to microbial life.
Key activities in the next few weeks will include checkouts of science instruments, radar and the communication system that will be used during and after the landing.

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China Plans To Survey 'Every Inch' Of Moon

Space Daily - AFP
2007-08-13 12:33:00

China plans to survey all of the moon's surface before eventually bringing bits of the planet back to Earth, state media reported Friday.

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Damage to Endeavour appears less serious

Space Daily - AFP
2007-08-12 12:23:00

Damage to the US space shuttle Endeavour's protective thermal shield caused by a piece of debris during launch appears to be less serious than previously believed, a NASA official said.
This photo from NASA, shows the underside of the Space Shuttle Endeavour 10 August 2007 from the International Space Station during a back flip and careful survey by crewmembers onboard the orbital outpost. Experts at NASA were analyzing the pictures that showed the apparent three square inch (19 square centimeter) gouge (white spot on lower left) on shuttle's heat shield. A piece of ice that struck the shuttle shortly after Wednesday's liftoff is believed to have caused the gouge near the hatch of one of the shuttle's landing gears, mission manager John Shannon said.

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NASA May Repair Shuttle, Extends Station Mission Three Days

Space Daily - AFP
2007-08-12 12:18:00

NASA engineers were conducting simulation tests Sunday to see if the Endeavour's damaged heat shield needs repair, as astronauts prepared for the second spacewalk of the space mission that has been extended by three days.

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MIT creates 3-D images of living cell

2007-08-13 07:07:00

A new imaging technique developed at MIT has allowed scientists to create the first 3D images of a living cell, using a method similar to the X-ray CT scans doctors use to see inside the body.

©Michael Feld laboratory, MIT
Images of a cervical cancer cell taken using a new imaging technique developed at MIT. Figures a and b show 3D images of the cell. The green structures represent the nucleolus. The nucleus, not visible in these images, surrounds the nucleolus. The red areas are unidentified cell organelles. Figures c through h show the 2D images from which the 3D images were generated. In these images, each color represents a different range of refractive index

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Our Haunted Planet

No new articles.

Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
UK: Fine threat over T-shirt slogan

2007-08-13 16:00:00

A man spotted wearing a T-shirt bearing an "offensive" slogan in a city centre has been warned he risks an £80 fine if he is caught again.

Forklift driver David Pratt was told by street wardens in Peterborough he could cause offence or incite violence.

The slogan on the garment read: "Don't piss me off! I am running out of places to hide the bodies."

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Woman Finds "GOD" in Eggplant

2007-08-12 15:47:00

A Delaware County woman says an eggplant has reminded her that God can be found anywhere, and anytime.

Felicia Teske of Boothwyn says she was preparing fried eggplant for dinner Sunday evening and noticed that the seeds in one slice seemed to spell out the word "GOD".


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Fred, Fred, Fred: Thompson's Challenge Has a Name

Monica Hesse
Washington Post
2007-08-13 12:12:00

In the swampy soup of hopefuls for the 2008 presidential election, there is a man with a funny name. (No, not that one.)

We're thinking of the one named Fred (Thompson).

Say it out loud. Do it. Fred. Fred. In the South, Fray-ud.


It has the tonal quality of something being dropped on the floor, something heavy and damp-ish.

Waterlogged paper towel.


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Twist of fate

2007-08-11 00:26:00

A father posed for a publicity picture in a desperate attempt to find the daughter he has not seen for ten years unaware she was just a few yards behind him.

©Suffolk Free Press
Stunning fluke - long-lost daughter Lisa (circled) was passing with her mother and daughter just at the moment her father, Londoner Michael Dick, posed for our picture with other daughters Samantha (right) and Shannon.

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Haiti UFO Video Hoax Exposed!

2007-08-12 19:03:00

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