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Monday, March 7, 2011

SCIENCE FIGHT Alien Life Claim Sparks Controversy UPDATE: Alien Life Found on Meteorite Claims NASA Scientist

Alien Life Claim Sparks Controversy

March 7, 2011

A NASA scientist claims he has discovered extraterrestrial life in a fringe journal. Science bloggers aren't so convinced.
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Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com

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BY STEVEN SPARKMAN

You're watching multisource science news analysis from Newsy

It’s time for a science fight! A paper published Friday in the Journal of Cosmology claims to have conclusive evidence of extraterrestrial life. PopSci discusses the reaction to the paper.

“Did a NASA scientist find fossilized alien microbes embedded in a 146-year-old meteorite? As this claim emerged over the weekend, the answer from the scientific community so far appears to be something between ‘Um, what?’ and ‘No.’ ”

Richard Hoover, the NASA astrobiologist who wrote the paper, collected samples of a rare type of meteor, cracked them open, and examined them with an electron microscope.

He found loads of unusual microscopic structures in the meteor. Hoover argued the structures looked a lot like bacteria and weren’t from contamination. From that, he concluded these structures were proof of extraterrestrial life. (Images: Journal of Cosmology)

Many commenters wondered why the paper was published in an obscure journal, rather than Science or Nature. NASA backed away from the paper, questioning its “peer reviewed” status in a statement at SpaceRef.

“While we value the free exchange of ideas, data, and information as part of scientific and technical inquiry, NASA cannot stand behind or support a scientific claim unless it has been peer-reviewed or thoroughly examined by other qualified experts. … NASA also was unaware of the recent submission of the paper to the Journal of Cosmology or of the paper's subsequent publication.”

But the JOC responded by circulating an email, published by MSNBC science writer Alan Boyle.

The Journal contends:

“It is a matter of public record that the organization which publishes science magazine have engaged in illegal anti-competitive practices designed to harm the Journal of Cosmology. The continuing success of JOC poses a competitive threat to their business model. We should not be surprised their 'hand puppets' are complaining that JOC published this article, and not them.”

The journal also claims to have invited over 5,000 scientists to review the paper and post their comments. They touted their openness in a press release.

“No other paper in the history of science has undergone such a thorough analysis, and no other scientific journal in the history of science has made such a profoundly important paper available to the scientific community, for comment, before it is published.”

But the article so far includes none of the more thorough critiques from the science blogs.
READ MORE

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Dr. Riccardo Guerrero / Journal of Cosmology
A photograph taken through a scanning electron microscope of a CI1 meteorite is similar in size and overall structure to the giant bacterium Titanospirillum velox, an organism found here on planet Earth, a NASA scientist said.
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Exclusive: NASA Scientist Claims Evidence of Alien Life on Meteorite

By Garrett Tenney
 March 05, 2011
FoxNews.com

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We are not alone in the universe -- and alien life forms may have a lot more in common with life on Earth than we had previously thought.
That's the stunning conclusion one NASA scientist has come to, releasing his groundbreaking revelations in a new study in the March edition of the Journal of Cosmology.
Dr. Richard B. Hoover, an astrobiologist with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, has traveled to remote areas in Antarctica, Siberia, and Alaska, amongst others, for over ten years now, collecting and studying meteorites. He gave FoxNews.com early access to the out-of-this-world research, published late Friday evening in the March edition of the Journal of Cosmology. In it, Hoover describes the latest findings in his study of an extremely rare class of meteorites, called CI1 carbonaceous chondrites -- only nine such meteorites are known to exist on Earth.
Though it may be hard to swallow, Hoover is convinced that his findings reveal fossil evidence of bacterial life within such meteorites, the remains of living organisms from their parent bodies -- comets, moons and other astral bodies. By extension, the findings suggest we are not alone in the universe, he said.
“I interpret it as indicating that life is more broadly distributed than restricted strictly to the planet earth,” Hoover told FoxNews.com. “This field of study has just barely been touched -- because quite frankly, a great many scientist would say that this is impossible.”
In what he calls “a very simple process,” Dr. Hoover fractured the meteorite stones under a sterile environment before examining the freshly broken surface with the standard tools of the scientist: a scanning-electron microscope and a field emission electron-scanning microscope, which allowed him to search the stone’s surface for evidence of fossilized remains.
He found the fossilized remains of micro-organisms not so different from ordinary ones found underfoot -- here on earth, that is.
“The exciting thing is that they are in many cases recognizable and can be associated very closely with the generic species here on earth,” Hoover told FoxNews.com. But not all of them. “There are some that are just very strange and don’t look like anything that I’ve been able to identify, and I’ve shown them to many other experts that have also come up stumped.”
Other scientists tell FoxNews.com the implications of this research are shocking, describing the findings variously as profound, very important and extraordinary. But Dr. David Marais, an astrobiologist with NASA’s AMES Research Center, says he’s very cautious about jumping onto the bandwagon.
These kinds of claims have been made before, he noted -- and found to be false.
“It’s an extraordinary claim, and thus I’ll need extraordinary evidence,” Marais said.
Knowing that the study will be controversial, the journal invited members of the scientific community to analyze the results and to write critical commentaries ahead of time. Though none are online yet, those comments will be posted alongside the article, said Dr. Rudy Schild, a scientist with the Harvard-Smithsonian's Center for Astrophysics and the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Cosmology.
"Given the controversial nature of his discovery, we have invited 100 experts and have issued a general invitation to over 5,000 scientists from the scientific community to review the paper and to offer their critical analysis," Schild wrote in an editor's note along with the article. "No other paper in the history of science has undergone such a thorough vetting, and never before in the history of science has the scientific community been given the opportunity to critically analyze an important research paper before it is published, he wrote."
Dr. Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, said there is a lot of hesitancy to believe such proclamations. If true, the implications would be far-reaching throughout the fields of science and astronomy, the suggestions and possibilities stunning.
“Maybe life was seeded on earth -- it developed on comets for example, and just landed here when these things were hitting the very early Earth,” Shostak speculated. “It would suggest, well, life didn’t really begin on the Earth, it began as the solar system was forming.”
Hesitancy to believe new claims is something common and necessary to the field of science, Hoover said.
“A lot of times it takes a long time before scientists start changing their mind as to what is valid and what is not. I’m sure there will be many many scientists that will be very skeptical and that’s OK.”
Until Hoover’s research can be independently verified, Marais said, the findings should be considered “a potential signature of life.” Scientists, he said, will now take the research to the next level of scrutiny, which includes an independent confirmation of the results by another lab, before the findings can be classified “a confirmed signature of life.”

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Governor Nixon Raiding Budget of Everyone Else's Agency for Personal Travel May Soon be Over

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Governor might be prevented from charging travel to other agencies

Monday, March 7, 2011
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BY Jordan Shapiro
www.columbiamissourian.com

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Nixon would no longer be able to charge his travel expenses to other state agencies under new bill language presented to the House Budget Committee on Monday.
Since elected, the governor has billed about $400,000 in air transportation to other departments. The presented language would prohibit this practice for statewide elected officials.
The bill language appears on every state appropriation bill except for the Department of Public Safety, which provides security for the governor.
House Budget Chair, Rep. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, presented the changes to the committee as part of his budget bills.
"We wanted to give clear legislative intent that the governor is not to be raiding everyone else's budget for his personal travel," Silvey said.
Scott Holste, the governor's spokesman, said, "It is very early in the budget process and we don't have any additional comments at this time."
Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, agreed with the proposed changes.
"This amendment is sensible," Kelly said.
Kelly also criticized some members of the legislature over the matter.
"I don't support all the political rhetoric about it... There has been a lot of political manipulation of that (the governor's travel)," Kelly said.
Silvey said he understands the need for the governor to travel and has included $500,000 in his office budget for that purpose.
The proposed bill language comes as the governor's office released information last week regarding his air travel expenses and an ongoing battle with Silvey for travel information. Silvey said he noticed shortly after the governor took office there was a small amount of money being spent on travel.
"In fact, when we would ask questions about it, I asked the governor's chief of staff specifically if that was enough money to cover travel and the only answer I would ever receive is, 'That is all we are requesting,'" Silvey said.
After investigating, Silvey discovered the travel was being paid for by other state agencies and not the governor's office.
"They were doing it around our backs, behind our backs not telling anyone about it," Silvey said.
Early in the legislative session House Democrat and Republican leadership said they were going to stop the governor's practice of billing other agencies for his travel. Last week the House unanimously passed an amendment requiring the governor to submit details of his travel to the Missouri Accountability Portal.


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Phil Collins Officially Retiring Music Biz: Against All Odds - Live Aid 1985 MUSIC VIDEO

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Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com

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Phil Collins Calls it Quits

March 7, 2011
Phil Collins announces he's officially done with the music biz - but the media questions whether he's actually quitting.

BY BRICE SANDER
Anchor: Austin Kim
You're watching entertainment news analysis from Newsy.


One of music’s greats is calling it quits. Phil Collins announced he’s officially retiring from the music biz to magazine FHM. People Magazine got a sneak peek at the interview, where Collins says-

"I don't really belong to that world and I don't think anyone's going to miss me...I'm much happier just to write myself out of the script entirely."

With more than four decades of entertaining under his belt, Collins’ comment that no one’s going to miss him has a lot of people scratching their heads, including the Fox and Friends crew.

CLAYTON MORRIS: “Who will sing ‘Groovy Kind of Love?’”
ALISYN CAMEROTA: “Dave will. Dave will. Dave knows every word to this.”
MORRIS: “We were all just singing it in the break for some reason. Thank god there is no tape of that.”
DAVE BRIGGS: “I love Phil Collins, man. I will miss him.”


A blogger for andPop.com says
, if Collins worked any other job, he would’ve already hung up the towel.

“...being 60 years old and all, I think it’s a good time to retire. I’m sure he’s built up a nice little nest egg to live on, so really, I don’t feel too bad for the guy. It’s time to relax, buddy, you’ve earned it.”

But should we trust Collins? This isn’t the first time he’s announced his retirement, and he’s taken almost as many “farewell tours” as Cher. As a writer for the Telegraph points out, we should read between the lines of Collins’ decision to announce his retirement via FHM.

“Frankly, an interview with a glossy men’s magazine that was presumably carried out a couple of months ago seems a strange way for a superstar to bow out from the world stage. Besides, in today’s veteran-oriented musical landscape, surely the only point of announcing retirement is to facilitate a comeback?”
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Phil Collins - Against All Odds - Live Aid 1985
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Hawaii Kilauea Volcano Erupts Lava Spewed 80 Feet into Air 'Significant changes' occur

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'Significant changes' occur as Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupts

Mar 07, 2011
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By Michael Winter, USA TODAY

Hawaii's active Kilauea volcano has continued to erupt today after a "historic weekend" in which one of its notable craters collapsed, a new fissure opened up and lava spewed up to 80 feet in the air.

 The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has set up a new webcam to keep an eye on Kilauea's newest gash, one of the weekend's "significant changes," which is 1.4 miles long.
Here's a photo gallery.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (on the Big Island) has closed the Chain of Craters Road, all east rift zone and coastal trails and the Kulanaokuaiki campground until further notice.
Vulcanologists say the latest activity is part of a larger eruption that began in 1983.

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Amtrak Police Chief Bars TSA From Security Operations Illegal Searches: Amtrak vs TSA

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TSA at the Savannah train station screening passengers as they get off the train. Why in the world would passengers getting off a train need to be screened? What security threat do they pose? 
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TRAINS exclusive: Amtrak police chief bars Transportation Security Administration from some security operations

By Don Phillips
Published: March 3, 2011
WASHINGTON — In late February, the Transportation Security Administration took over the Amtrak station in Savannah, Ga., and thoroughly searched every person who entered. None of the passengers got into trouble, but the TSA certainly did — big time.

Amtrak Police Chief John O’Connor said he first thought a blog posting about the incident was a joke. When he discovered that the TSA’s VIPR team did at least some of what the blog said, he was livid. He ordered the VIPR teams off Amtrak property, at least until a firm agreement can be drawn up to prevent the TSA from taking actions that the chief said were illegal and clearly contrary to Amtrak policy.

“When I saw it, I didn’t believe it was real,” O’Connor said. When it developed that the posting on an anti-TSA blog was not a joke, “I hit the ceiling.”

O’Connor said the TSA VIPR teams have no right to do more than what Amtrak police do occasionally, which has produced few if any protests and which O’Connor said is clearly within the law and the Constitution. More than a thousand times, Amtrak teams (sometimes including VIPR) have performed security screenings at Amtrak stations. These screenings are only occasional and random, and inspect the bags of only about one in 10 passengers. There is no wanding of passengers and no sterile area. O’Connor said the TSA violated every one of these rules.

A posting in late February to the Transportation Security Administration’s blog, which serves as a public relations tool of the TSA, tried to explain why TSA agents took over the Amtrak station in Savannah. But O’Connor said the “facts” as posted on the TSA blog were incorrect. He said the blog indicated that Amtrak had approved of the operation, but it had not. He called the TSA’s posting on blog.tsa.gov “inaccurate and insensitive.” As of the time this story was filed, the same posting remained on the blog.

A TSA spokesman said he could not elaborate on the blog posting.

O’Connor said he must take some of the blame because he did not more carefully observe what the VIPR teams were doing. He said the TSA had apologized repeatedly to him, but they must agree to firm restrictions before he will consider allowing them back on Amtrak property.

The search was first revealed on the blog gizmodo.com.
However, that blog got it at least half wrong. The TSA did not, as the blog said, funnel people who arrived by train into the station for a search. Instead, the TSA took over the station and posted notes outside saying that anyone who entered would be “subject to mandatory screening.” Those who know the Savannah station realize that it generally is not necessary for anyone arriving or departing by train to go into the station. It is much easier to park the car or be dropped off near the platform.

Therefore, why was the TSA searching only anyone entering the station? It might even be easier to explain why they might have searched everyone. For instance, such questions as, did they have a tip someone was carrying a small atomic bomb? In the end, it is not even possible to discern a reason for what they actually did. Why search only people unfortunate enough to need to enter the station – people who needed to buy tickets, an elderly person who was dropped off and needed a place to sit while waiting, a mom whose infant badly needed a diaper change?

The group involved is TSA’s VIPR operation, which deals with surface transportation. VIPR is short for “visible intermodal protection and response.” It turns out that VIPR has been far more active than imagined. Teams have searched bus passengers all over the country, have done similar things at train stations, and have even blocked traffic on bridges to search trucks and cars. That even included the busy Chesapeake Bay Bridge near Washington.

The VIPR teams were rolled out on Dec. 12, 2005, then promptly pulled back two days later when it turned out that no one had informed numerous local governments. It was a fiasco. Several local jurisdictions said they had no interest and opted out, including the Washington Metro system. But teams, moving slowly, have apparently re-infiltrated surface transportation facilities. Unlike the TSA at airports, these teams have access to firepower. Although the TSA is not allowed to carry weapons, some armed Federal Air Marshals have been switched to ground duty.

One major unanswered question is: why? What purpose is being served other than to justify employment? You will certainly hear more about this in Trains.

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US Government Largest Monthly Deficit Ever February 2011 $ 223 billion

Glen Perkins delivers copies of the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget to the Senate Budget Committee hearing room in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011. President Barack Obama will send Congress a $3.7 trillion budget that would reduce deficits by $1.1 trillion over a decade, setting up a battle with Republicans who have already deemed the plan insufficient to reduce federal debt. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
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Government posts biggest monthly deficit ever


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The federal government posted its largest monthly deficit in history in February at $223 billion, according to preliminary numbers the Congressional Budget Office released Monday morning.
That figure tops last February’s record of $220.9 billion, and marks the 29th straight month the government has run in the red — a modern record. The last time the federal government posted even a monthly surplus was September 2008, just before the financial collapse.
Last month’s federal deficit is nearly four times as large as the spending cuts House Republicans have passed in their spending bill, and is more than 30 times the size of Senate Democrats’ opening bid of $6 billion.
Senators are slated to vote this week on those two proposals — both of which are expected to fail — and then all sides will go back to the negotiating table to try to work out a final deal.


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Mardi Gras 2011 St Louis Police Arrest 83 UPDATED

83 people arrested or cited at St. Louis Mardi Gras celebration

Monday, March 7, 2011

ST. LOUIS • The numbers are in, and police say they arrested or cited 83 people at this year's Mardi Gras celebration.
Of those, 67 were minors who got caught with alcohol, according to St. Louis police, who released totals today.
The numbers are down a bit from last year, when police issued 99 total charges and 48 minors were caught with alcohol.
This year's numbers broken down:
• Minors caught with alcohol: 67
• Peace disturbance: 6
• Assault: 4
• Urinating in public: 4
• Resisting arrest: 3
• Assault on a law enforcement officer: 2 (In these cases, police said two people who were resisting arrest ended up hitting an officer. No officer was seriously hurt.)
• Interfering with an arrest: 1
• Bartering/trading: 1 (In this case, a woman gave her identification card to someone who is underage.)
• Exposing person: 1
• Purse snatching: 1 (Police say the victim didn't report the purse gone until about an hour later. That hurt the investigation, police said. Police don't have any suspects.)
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Police Make 60 Arrest on Various Charges During Mardi Gras 2011


Thousands filled the streets of the Soulard neighborhood Saturday for the 32nd annual Mardi Gras celebration in St. Louis. The cold damp weather did not seem to put a damper on anyone's good spirits.
 

The annual Mardi Gras parade at eleven o'clock drew the first crowds. Revelers called out for beads tossed from the seventy floats that made up the parade. Fancy hats..some selling for just five dollars , masks and elaborate makeup and beaded costumes could be seen throughout the crowds.

Music could be heard as visitors walked or danced through the historic neighborhood that was the city's early working man's suburb. Bands performed on outdoor stages. The celebration is organized by Mardi Gras Inc. Spokesman Mack Bradley said the event is expected to bring twenty million dollars to the local economy.


St. Louis police report 60 arrests or citations as of 7:30 pm Saturday night. Forty-eight were for underage possession of alcohol. Two police officers were assaulted while trying to arrest an underage drinker. St. Louis city police spokesman Capt. Sam Dotson said their injuries were minor.



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Four Rivers All Conference Boys Basketball Selections Announced

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Four Rivers-First Team
Ryan Cooper-Owensville
Marco Romano and Ryan Jones-Pacific
Eli Fleer, Eric Engelbrecht and Lance Gerlemann-New Haven
Cody Wideman-St. Clair
Jake Schannuth-Hermann
Jake Harlan-St. James
Patrick Moody-Sullivan
Ryan Coons-Union

Honorable Mention
Drew Tucker and Jack Mueller-St. James
Connor Crosby-Owensville
Ethan Kirchhofer and Philip Wright-Hermann
Austin Peirick and Ryan Menke-New Haven
Derrick Moore-Pacific,
Justin Biermann and Uriah Heady-Sullivan
Brandon Ford-Union

Player of the year: Ryan Cooper-Owensville
Best Sixth Man: Josh Moore-Pacific
Coach of the Year: Ray Steinhoff-New Haven






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ObamaCare Waivers Climbs to 1,040 Healthcare Reform Law Not Working Yet

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Number of healthcare reform law waivers climbs above 1,000

By Jason Millman - 03/06/11
thehill.com
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The number of temporary healthcare reform waivers granted by the Obama administration to organizations climbed to more than 1,000, according to new numbers disclosed by the Department of Health and Human Services.

HHS posted 126 new waivers on Friday, bringing the total to 1,040 organizations that have been granted a one-year exemption from a new coverage requirement included in the healthcare reform law enacted almost a year ago. Waivers have become a hot-button issue for Republicans, eager to expose any vulnerabilities in the reform law.

In order to avoid disruption in the insurance market, the healthcare overhaul gives HHS the power to grant waivers to firms that cannot meet new annual coverage limits in 2011. The waivers have typically been granted to so-called "mini-med" plans that offer limited annual coverage — as low as $2,000 — that would fall short of meeting the new annual coverage floor of $750,000 in 2011.

"We don't want to take away people's health insurance before they have some realistic other choices,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in an interview with The Hill earlier this year.

Republican lawmakers have seized on the waivers as proof that the law they want to see repealed is flawed, and they have accused the administration of giving them waivers as gifts to union allies. The administration has rejected both claims as Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have asked HHS for in-depth details about every waiver decision and request.


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OIL Gold SILVER All UP Rising Violence in Middle East Driving Prices Higher, Stocks and Currencies Lower

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Oil, Gold, and Silver Prices Up as Saudi Arabia Faces Unrest

Kurt Nimmo
Infowars.com
Mrch 7, 2011
Oil market speculators used the escalating conflict in Libya as an excuse to jack up crude prices to $106 per barrel today. Crude oil prices rose on news opposition forces and soldiers loyal to Moammar Gadhafi clashed near some of the country’s key energy infrastructure.

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Benchmark crude for April delivery was up $2.25 to $106.67 a barrel by early afternoon in Europe. The price increase is the highest since September 2008, according to the Associated Press. In London, Brent crude for April delivery was up $1.80 to $117.77 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
Asian stocks and currencies also fell on news of rising violence in the Middle East. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 1.1 percent to 137.83 as of 3:32 p.m. in Tokyo, led by a 1.8 percent drop in Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average.
Oil prices were on a steady rise prior to the engineered revolutions in North Africa. Traders were convinced that demand for oil was set to rise by around 2 percent in 2011. Industry experts and Wall Street speculators predicted a gradual move to $120 and even $150 per barrel oil prices.
Gold and silver prices also spiked on Monday. Gold for April delivery was adding $15.80 to $1,444.40 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, according to The Street.
After rising 4.2% Friday, spot silver traded up a further 2% or 66 cents to $36.33 a troy ounce today, driven by higher oil prices due to political unrest in Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East, the Wall Street Journal reports.
In December, Lindsey Williams predicted the price of oil would skyrocket to between $150 and $200 a barrel this year. Williams served as a pastor on the Alaskan pipeline and has insider sources within the oil industry.
On March 1, Williams told Alex Jones the uprisings in the Middle East are engineered by the global elite and will soon spread to Saudi Arabia.
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Protests are planned in the oil kingdom and the government has promised to dispatch 10,000 troops to put down any dissent. The demonstrations were initially planned for Friday – the Muslim day of worship when demonstrations are traditionally held – but organizers of demonstrations have decided to take to the streets today, March 7, according to Forex News. On Saturday, Saudi Arabia announced it would not allow any demonstrations or sit-in protests in the country.
A member of Saudi Arabia’s royal family, Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, said on February 17 the kingdom may see protests unless King Abdullah introduces reforms, according to BBC Arabic TV. Abdullah announced plans to spend about 110 billion riyals ($29 billion) on programs aimed at boosting housing, education and social welfare.
In response to the prospect of demonstrations in Saudi Arabia and the growing conflict in Libya, Dubai’s shares retreated for a third day on Monday. “Investors are shunning assets in the region as the political turmoil, which started in Tunisia more than two months ago, expanded to Oman, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya and Iran,” reports Bloomberg.

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Biflation, Economic Smokescreen, Government Ponzi Scheme of Leading Indicators

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Economy Hit with the Ultimate Smokescreen: Biflation

Eric Blair
Infowars.com
March 7, 20111
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You can tell when a Ponzi scheme is approaching its collapse by the number of increased smoke and mirrors needed to cover up the counterfeit foundation of the scheme.

The U.S. government, who already grossly disfigures the real numbers for GDP, unemployment and inflation, is constantly having to twist reality to keep their scheme afloat.
The government recently reported that unemployment numbers reached the lowest point in nearly two years at 8.9%, “sparking optimism” in the establishment media.  Many analysts point to two months in a row of “job growth” as evidence that the U.S. is well on its way to recovery and it should be good news for job seekers.
Try telling that to a random unemployed commenter who responded to the news with the following:
All lies. Why not just up the ante and say the unemployment rate is 5%? The last job I applied for had 440 applicants, many of whom had Phd’s, for the whopping non-living wage figure of 35K.
Even if jobs are added, the question begs–what kind, and how much per hour? $8?
We all know the inherent problems with the official unemployment number, as it never tells the full story. But assuming hiring has gotten better, these lower wage jobs will surely affect consumer spending in the near and long term.  Additionally, John Challenger, an executive with an outplacement firm, claimed his optimism is tempered because, ”Certainly the specter of rising gas prices could impact employers’ staffing decisions over the next six months.”
Which brings us to the phony number in the theater to hide the Ponzi scheme that I want to focus on: inflation. The 12-month inflation rate as of January 2011, was 1.6% according to the official Consumer Price Index, or only 1% when you remove food and energy.  The report stated:
Over the last 12 months, the food index has risen 1.8 percent with the food at home index up 2.1 percent; both 12-month changes are the highest since 2009. The energy index has increased 7.3 percent over the last 12 months, with the gasoline index up 13.4 percent.
The gasoline index is indeed an eye-popping number.  Too bad it’s not accurate.  According to a recently released report by the American Petroleum Institute (PDF) gas prices are up about 25% on average over the last 12 months, and a whopping 105.7% in just over two years (since December 29, 2008 lows).  And these numbers scarcely reflect recent jumps in oil prices due to turmoil in Libya and the Middle East, which has already caused the Obama Administration to consider tapping the nation’s strategic oil reserves.
For all the news lately about looming food inflation with commodities skyrocketing, the Consumer Price Index for the past twelve months seems somewhat accurate.  In other words, the commodity speculation is only now starting to impact food prices in a major way.  The CPI release pointed out that “The index for food at home posted its largest increase in over two years with all six major grocery store food group indexes rising,” and January’s food at home index has already increased 0.7 percent.

All of these real increases to the cost of living for average people are balanced out with used housing, cars, and washing machines that are declining in price to create a palatable inflation official number.  This phenomenon is called biflation.  First introduced by Dr. F. Osborne Brown, biflation is where inflation and deflation occur simultaneously in the economy.  It is an effective tool to confuse the public and give pundits the intellectual case for spinning the numbers in either direction.
During biflation, there’s a rise in prices of commodity-based assets like food and energy (inflation) and a simultaneous fall (deflation) in the price of debt-based assets like homes, cars, and appliances.  The free-market concept is that the price of all assets are based on the demand for them versus the amount of money in circulation to buy them.  In other words, their sales are utterly dependent on banks for credit, which is in turn dependent on the job market.
Wikipedia clearly describes the process of biflation as follows:
With biflation on the one hand, the economy is fueled by an over-abundance of money injected into the economy by central banks. Since most essential commodity-based assets (food, energy, clothing) remain in high demand, the price for them rises due to the increased volume of money chasing them. The increasing costs to purchase these essential assets is the price-inflationary arm of biflation.
With biflation on the other hand, the economy is tempered by increasing unemployment and decreasing purchasing power. As a result, a greater amount of money is directed toward buying essential items and directed away from buying non-essential items. Debt-based assets (mega-houses, high-end automobiles and other typically debt based assets) become less essential and increasingly fall into lower demand. As a result, the prices for them fall due to the decreased volume of money chasing them. The decreasing costs to purchase these non-essential assets is the price-deflationary arm of biflation.
This biflationary period will likely continue, as money will continue to be printed to cover bank losses and government debt, while hardships will likely continue to mount for the average consumer.  Although the deflationary debt-based products seem like necessities in our modern world, their demand elasticity is far greater than that of food and energy, meaning they should not be equally weighed to determine the struggle of middle-and-lower class households.

So don’t be fooled; biflation is being used as a smokescreen to keep the public from becoming alarmed about rapidly rising food and energy prices. Those who recognize the severity of the problem would be wise to prepare for massive inflation of human necessity today before the problem gets even worse.


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VIDEO FROM THE PAST!!!

Friday, 6 Nov 2009 - The dollar will get "utterly destroyed" and become "virtually worthless", said Damon Vickers, chief investment officer of Nine Points Capital Partners. Due to the huge wage disparities between the United States and emerging markets like China, Vickers said that may resolve itself in some type of a global currency crisis.

"If the global currency crisis unfolds, then inevitably you get an alignment of a global world
government. A new global currency and a new world order, so we may be moving towards that," he said.
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Questions Remain About Calling Off Nevada Mine Rescue UPDATE: Man Trapped In Mine Left To Die, rescue effort risks too great


Devin Westenskow, 28, of Evanston, Wyo. fell 190 feet into an abandoned Nevada mine and died Friday. Westenskow worked at a geothermal drilling operation in Nevada and had gone exploring Wednesday.
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Questions Remain About Calling Off Nevada Mine Rescue

A father of five plunges deep into an abandoned mine shaft. Nearly 200 feet down, video images show he is injured but still breathing, trapped by debris.
The century-old shaft, though, is extremely unstable, its walls crumbling. As one rescuer tries to descend to reach the man, he is hit by a large rock, which splits his hard-hat. Other efforts yield more falling rocks and clear evidence: This is going to be a dangerous mission — maybe too dangerous.
The scenario unfolded underneath Nevada last week, when rescue teams were told to stand down in their bid to reach 28-year-old Devin Westenskow, even as they had evidence he was still alive.
But the ethical questions are more universal: How do you balance the desire to save a human being in peril with the equally important priority of keeping emergency workers safe and alive to rescue another day?
"You're playing God in a sense," said Rob McGee, secretary-treasurer of the United States Mine Rescue Association.
McGee said he can't recall a mine rescue operation that was halted while someone was still alive. But, he noted, a rescue gone awry compounds such a tragedy, adding another layer of grief. Only officials on the ground can know how best to proceed, he said.
"Whoever made the call in Nevada I'm sure they're hearing it from both ends because there's always someone who's saying, 'No, don't give up,'" McGee said.
Indeed, family members of Westenskow praised rescuers for their efforts and, in a joint statement, said they understood when told early Friday of the decision to call off the rescue effort.
"It was extremely difficult for all of those involved with the rescue attempt. We all sat there in shock and disbelief trying to process the terrible news," said a family statement released Sunday by Ronald Schrempp, an uncle of the victim's mother. "Family members offered prayers and said their good-byes to Devin. We asked for the angels to be with him. It was the hardest thing ever to leave Devin on that mountain in the mine shaft."
Such understanding wasn't unanimous, however. As news reports of the trapped man gained national attention, newspaper readers and others online reacted with a mix of comment that included strong opinion that no one should be abandoned in such a situation.
Corey Schuman, owner of Gold Rush Expeditions, a Salt Lake City-based company that locates and files claims on abandoned mines, questioned the decision to stop while Westenskow was still alive.
"I have no doubt we could have pulled him out without a problem," he said Sunday. "It's really not too dangerous. It's a lack of experience that causes problems. Nobody really trains for this and goes into abandoned mines. I have been down shafts 200 or 300 feet and it's not a problem."
J. Davitt McAteer, who directed the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration in the Clinton administration, said that mine rescues may be subject to such intense second guessing, in part because they are followed closely by the public and media, and tactics in solving the crisis come down to a judgment call.
"There are no rules for mine rescues. Each situation is different and each mine-rescue decision has to be made by people on the ground," McAteer said. "The decision has to be made on a judgment that they won't put the rescuers at risk, and it's a balancing act that they have to decide."
Since 1869, 151 rescuers have died in 39 mine accidents in the U.S. with 17 of those fatalities occurring in three accidents since 2000, according to statistics compiled by McGee's organization, based in Uniontown, Pa. The most recent involved three rescuers killed by a collapse at Utah's Crandall Canyon coal mine in August 2007, in a grim case that also involved fierce debate over whether additional lives should have been risked to save the trapped miners.
Of course, such life or death decisions aren't confined to mining accidents. Firefighters and other first responders on the scene of crises face choices on, for example, whether to rescue people in burning buildings.
Steve Frady, a former fire chief in the historic mining town of Virginia City, noted that "people get emotionally tied into these situations, whether they are friends or relatives of victims or onlookers who don't understand the risks simply because they have not been involved in emergency situations ... It's easy to try to second guess what's going on from the outside."
Top officials with the Pershing and Lander county sheriff's departments were closely involved in the rescue effort, and did not offer comment to The Associated Press on details of the rescue effort, including whether one person, or a team, made the final decision to halt the operation. Also assisting on the scene were personnel from Newmont Mining Corp., the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and the Nevada departments of public safety and minerals.
Schrempp told The Associated Press that the family was told that rescuers were able to get within about 50 feet of Westenskow before they had to pull back early Friday, due to the hazards.
Westenskow, of Evanston, Wyo., had children ranging in age from 1 to 9, and was divorced but engaged to be married, his family said. He was an avid hunter and snowmobiler who loved the outdoors. He worked at a geothermal drilling operation in Nevada; he was with two friends exploring Wednesday during his off-hours when he fell 180 feet into the open shaft.
"He was a quiet guy. A hard worker," Schrempp said. "He loved to explore the outback of Nevada and Wyoming."
About 50,000 abandoned mine shafts and openings have been identified as the most hazardous in Nevada, but the shaft where he fell wasn't among them, BLM officials said. Authorities say they plan to permanently seal the shaft with Westenskow's body entombed in it.
"The family feels that if Jesus Christ was buried in a tomb, it's good enough for Devin," his grandmother, Lois Westenskow, said.

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Rescuers Abandon Man Trapped In Mine

March 5, 2011
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A priest has given last rites to a man who fell into a Nevada mine shaft so deep and treacherous that rescuers have abandoned efforts to reach him, officials say.
The man was still alive but they said any rescue attempt would pose too great a risk to people trying to descend into the pit.
A video camera determined the man was still breathing after plunging 190 feet into the shaft on Wednesday in Jersey Valley, northeast of Reno.
"The mine is so unstable that walls were crumbling and rocks were hitting rescuers on the head when they tried to reach him," JoLynn Worley, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, told The Associated Press. "They're people who will make every effort to save someone, but they really can't get to him. It would endanger the lives of rescuers."
The name of the 28-year-old man from Battle Mountain wasn't immediately released.
The video camera showed the man was breathing but not moving and had suffered serious head injuries. Images taken Thursday night revealed he had been moving his hands.
Authorities intended to keep monitoring the mine shaft until the man stopped breathing, Worley said.
"I know some of his family members were out there," she said.
The man was working in the area with a geothermal drilling crew and visited the shaft with two friends during off-hours.
The shaft is among 10 such openings in the Murphy Mine Complex in Pershing County that originally was mined around 1895 and was last worked in 1945, Worley said.
From 265,000 to 310,000 abandoned mine shafts and openings are scattered across Nevada, she said, and federal and state agencies have an ongoing advertising campaign urging the public to stay away because of the danger.
About 50,000 abandoned mine shafts have been identified as the most hazardous, but the shaft where the man fell wasn't among them, Worley said.

. Click Here to Read More.

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Ameren Missouri Mailing Energy Reports to Customers

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Ameren Missouri energy reports in the mail
Mar 7, 2011
www.ksdk.com
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By Kasey Joyce

St. Louis (KSDK) -- Starting today, Ameren Missouri customers will start receiving personalized energy reports.


Ameren Missouri is sending out two different kinds of reports-- personal reports sent to your home and business reports sent to your small or midsize business. On the report, you'll see there's a breakdown of how much you spent on a daily, monthly and yearly basis. The report compares your spending to last year and shows you where you could save.


If you flip the report over, there are detailed ways you can save money by doing a couple simple things around the house.


The back of the report details four simple steps to make money by saving on energy:


1. You can get discounts on tune-ups for your heat pump or A/C and as much as $850 to replace it all together.


2. You can get a $35 rebate by recycling your old refrigerator or freezer.


3. There are $25-50 mail-in rebates available on new energy star appliances


4. There are also instant rebates on energy star compact florescent light bulbs at 250 locations in Missouri.


There's even an online store where you can buy CFL bulbs and have them shipped to your home for free. For more on how and where to save, visit actonenergy.org.

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Ignorant Sen. Jim Lembke, R-St. Louis Statements Not Based on Any Facts

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Missouri Senate postpones decision on renewing extended unemployment benefits

Thursday, March 3, 2011
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JEFFERSON CITY — Concern about the national debt led the Missouri Senate to put off discussion Thursday on a bill that would continue the state's extended unemployment benefits.
That means Missouri will miss a deadline to renew an expiring state law that allows the federal government to reimburse the state for the cost of extended unemployment benefits. However, the expiring state law has a three-week grace period, so the state can keep sending checks until April 2 to people who are out of work.
People receive extended unemployment benefits if they have been jobless for more than 79 weeks. The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations has said about 13,000 Missouri residents might lose their benefits if the renewal bill is not passed by April 2. The extended jobless benefits offer people an additional 20 weeks of aid.
If the bill is passed after April 2, the state could pay people their benefits retroactively, but that would make the process more complicated for the state.
Senators are scheduled to take their standard mid-session weeklong break starting March 21.
They debated the bill Tuesday and Wednesday, but critics said taking the federal money would increase the national debt.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Dempsey said Thursday that the Senate might consider the bill again before the April 2 deadline. Dempsey, R-St. Charles, said Republicans want to encourage the federal government to spend less, but because the federal money already has been designated to pay for unemployment benefits, there would be no savings if Missouri refused to accept the funds.
"It's not dead at this point," he said. "The disagreement we're having is if our not extending the unemployment benefits has any impact on actually cutting the budget."
Sen. Jim Lembke, R-St. Louis, has led the opposition to the bill. At one point Wednesday to prevent a vote on the measure, he read from a book about how America might be in decline because of increased federal spending.
Lembke told reporters Thursday that he will oppose the bill every time it is debated to send a message that the federal government should cut spending.
"What I'm trying to do is lead an effort in the Missouri Senate for politicians, for once, to do the right thing and to live within their means," he said.
Lembke said it does not matter that the money already has been designated for unemployment benefits.
"I believe we should do the principled thing," he said. "Whatever those bozos in Washington, D.C., decide to do, they'll be responsible to the taxpayers that elected them."
Lembke has also argued that cutting off unemployment benefits after 79 weeks would motivate people to find work. Lembke said he had personally never been unemployed, but he said people who are out of work could get two or three low-paying jobs to pay their bills instead of receiving taxpayer-funded aid.
The Republican-controlled House voted overwhelmingly to approve the unemployment legislation early last month. Supporters said people who are unemployed desperately need the extended jobless benefits.

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Nothing this man says is backed up by any facts...It's his opinion...and we all know what they say about opinions!!!
I do not collect unemployment benefits nor any government money what-so-ever...I have no dog in the fight...I just dislike Ignorant Know-it-All Politicians!!! Standing up to the Feds on the Backs of the Unemployed, what a Jerk!!!


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Veterans Give Proper Burial to Homeless Vets Jefferson County Missouri

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Jefferson County veterans give proper burial to homeless

BY LEAH THORSEN   
St. Louis Post-Dispatch 
Monday, March 7, 2011
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HILLSBORO • When his fellow Navy sailors perished during the Korean War, Carl Norton sang "Eternal Father, Strong to Save" for the burials at sea that were sometimes necessary.
He was a chaplain's assistant then, charged with helping arrange the music for those funerals.
Norton is 84 now. He's a retired pastor who lives in rural Hillsboro.
And he still sings that song, known as the Navy Hymn, at burials. The veterans he sings for these days were homeless in life, their bodies unclaimed in death.
He's a member of the Korean War Veterans Association chapter in Jefferson County. About 20 men from that chapter have attended each of the more than 80 services held at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as part of the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program.
The program is in its 10th year and makes sure that homeless veterans get a proper military burial and are not interred in unmarked graves.
The program was born in St. Louis and has spread across the country, burying more than 900 homeless veterans in the last decade, according to the Dignity Memorial, a provider of funeral, cremation and cemetery services.
Dignity Memorial pays to prepare, clothe and transport the body, buys the casket and coordinates the funeral service. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides the opening and closing of the grave site, a grave liner, a headstone or marker and burial in a national cemetery.
"We feel like they deserve that honor," Norton said.
Today, he and the other veterans in his chapter will be the ones honored when the Jefferson County Council pays tribute to the group with a proclamation in appreciation of its work.
"When you have a group that steps up to the plate and provides that for these veterans, that's phenomenal," said Jefferson County Executive Ken Waller.
He expects about 100 people to attend a ceremony in the group's honor at 1:30 p.m. at the County Administration Building in Hillsboro.
Bill Branson, a retired major general in the Army Reserve who lives in rural Hillsboro, helped start the program. Without it, homeless vets would end up in a pauper's grave lacking even a headstone, a prospect that Branson and his fellow veterans couldn't stomach.
The only requirement for homeless veterans to receive the burial service is that they were honorably discharged.
Families of these dead veterans seldom attend the burials. Most of the time, the veterans who do the burials know next to nothing about the man they're laying to rest.
The Korean War veterans are the only local group that provides burials for homeless veterans at Jefferson Barracks, said Jeff Barnes, the cemetery's director,
"They do a tremendous job," Barnes said.
Each service lasts about 20 minutes. The Korean veterans are pallbearers. There's always an honor guard and a bugler to play taps. Sometimes, there's a bagpiper.

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