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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fed Mulls Stimulus if Outlook Worsens 'Appreciably'

ECONOMY, FEDERAL RESERVE, FED MINUTES, FED MEETING, US FEDERAL RESERVE, BEN BERNANKE, US ECONOMY, BERNANKE, FED NEW, FEDERAL RESERVE STATEMENT, FEDERAL RESERVE MINUTES, FOMC, FOMC MEETING, FOMC MINUTES, FOMC MEETING MINUTES

Reuters

| 31 Aug 2010 | 02:31 PM ET

The outlook for the U.S. economy would have to deteriorate "appreciably" to spur fresh support from the Federal Reserve, minutes of the central bank's last policy meeting released on Tuesday said.


"The committee would need to consider steps it could take to provide additional policy stimulus if the outlook were to weaken appreciably further," the Fed said in minutes of its August 10 policy session.

At that meeting, officials agreed to reinvest maturing mortgage-related securities in longer-term U.S. government debt to hold the Fed's balance steady at about $2 trillion and keep in place supports for the stumbling economic recovery.

While the minutes showed the current preference was to buy Treasury debt, officials left the door open to other options.

"While reinvesting in Treasury securities was seen as preferable given current market conditions, reinvesting in MBS (mortgage-backed securities) might become desirable if conditions were to change," the minutes said.

The Fed stopped buying MBS and mortgage-agency debt at the end of March after it had accumulated about $1.4 trillion worth. It also bought $300 billion in longer-term Treasury securities as part of a program to spur recovery.

The buying spree came after the U.S. central bank had chopped benchmark borrowing costs to near zero in December 2008, leading policy-makers to cast about for additional ways to stimulate the economy.

Financial markets were little changed after the release of the minutes, with the dollar holding earlier declines against the Japanese yen and the euro, and with prices for U.S. Treasury easing slightly.

Oil prices continued to decline sharply; crude futures for October delivery ended Tuesday trade $2.78, or 3.72 percent, lower at $71.92 a barrel.

URL: http://www.cnbc.com/id/38936514/

© 2010 CNBC.com

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Whatever happened to our rights to redress grievances with our elected officials? This is sad!

  

Bruce Shore To Plead Guilty To Sending 'Harassing Email' To Jim Bunning's Office


First Posted: 08-24-10 01:13 PM   |   Updated: 08-24-10 04:25 PM

Bruce Shore, the unemployed Philadelphia man indicted for sending "harassing email" to Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), intends to plead guilty to the felony charge after pleading not guilty in May.



"I wish to plead guilty to the offense charged, to consent to the disposition of the case in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in which I reside," said Shore in an Aug. 12 federal court filing. His case has been transferred from Kentucky to Pennsylvania.

Shore sent Bunning's office several emails in February after the senator blocked a bill to reauthorize extended unemployment benefits. "I was livid. I was just livid," Shore, 51, told HuffPost in May. "I'm on unemployment, so it affects me."

Shore said at that time that he had no idea what, exactly, he'd written that had resulted in the felony charge. The Feb. 26 grand jury indictment merely said he "did utilize a telecommunications device, that is a computer, whether or not communication ensued, without disclosing his identity and with the intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, and harass any person who received the communication."

The Kentucky public defender representing Shore told HuffPost in May that he had not yet seen the government's evidence. The lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Neither did Shore, who faces up to two years in prison and a $250,000 maximum fine.
Shore had shared one email with HuffPost. "If I do NOT get my check next week I WILL HAVE NO FOOD AND WILL BE ON THE STREET," said the letter. "IF THIS POLITICAL GRANDSTANDING DOES NOT END TODAY - WE WILL COME TO YOUR OFFICES AND MAKE OUR POINT. YOU ARE PLAYING A LIFE AND DEATH GAME HERE."

Shore pretended in the letter that his first name was "Brad" and that he lived in Louisville. He told HuffPost he has no record of other emails sent via the contact page on Bunning's site, but that FBI agents had printouts of those messages when they visited him at his mother's house in March.

Bunning's office did not comment on the case but said it forwarded several threats to the U.S. Capitol Police as a matter of course. Bunning's office is not involved in the prosecution.

It's not Shore's first brush with the law: He was released from prison in the 1990s after being convicted for serial burglary as the Clyde part of what the Philadelphia Daily News called a Bonnie & Clyde team. He has since gone to school and even distinguished himself academically. "I'm walking around in my head: jail for email, jail for email," he said. "To think you turn your life around, you don't do anything wrong after you make a mistake when you were younger..."

Link to Article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/24/bruce-shore-to-plead-guil_n_692625.html

Economy Caught in Depression, Not Recession: Rosenberg



Positive gross domestic product readings and other mildly hopeful signs are masking an ugly truth: The US economy is in a 1930s-style Depression, Gluskin Sheff economist David Rosenberg said Tuesday.

Writing in his daily briefing to investors, Rosenberg said the Great Depression also had its high points, with a series of positive GDP reports and sharp stock market gains.

Bread Lines of the Great Depression!

But then as now, those signs of recovery were unsustainable and only provided a false sense of stability, said Rosenberg.

Rosenberg calls current economic conditions "a depression, and not just some garden-variety recession," and notes that any good news both during the initial 1929-33 recession and the one that began in 2008 triggered "euphoric response."

"Such is human nature and nobody can be blamed for trying to be optimistic; however, in the money management business, we have a fiduciary responsibility to be as realistic as possible about the outlook for the economy and the market at all times," he said.

The 1929-33 recession saw six quarterly bounces in GDP with an average gain of 8 percent, sending the stock market to a 50 percent rally in early 1930 as investors thought the worst had passed.

"False premise," Rosenberg said. "And guess what? We may well be reliving history here. If you're keeping score, we have recorded four quarterly advances in real GDP, and the average is only 3%."

Rosenberg's warning comes as a slew of major analysts—Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan among them—have slashed GDP projections for 2010 to the 1.5 to 2 percent range.

Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans said in a speech Tuesday that the risk of a double-dip recession has escalated. He said government programs to help distressed homeowners have been ineffective and aren't helping the pivotal housing sector recover.

The dour outlooks come on the same day that the National Association of Realtors said home sales reached a 15-year low in June, dousing hopes that the industry had reached a bottoming point.

Rosenberg points out that the "overall economic malaise" has come despite aggressive efforts by the Federal Reserve to stimulate the economy through rate cuts. The central bank itself has scaled back its economic projections, has held steady on its balance sheet, and could be announcing another round of quantitative easing measures at its Jackson Hole summit this week.

"How's that for a reality check," Rosenberg said. "It's not too late, by the way, to shift course if you have stayed long this market."
 
URL: http://www.cnbc.com/id/38831550/


© 2010 CNBC.com

Sunday, August 22, 2010

 

 

Fears May Be Overblown as Iran Reactor Comes Online


By Tony Karon Saturday, Aug. 21, 2010

Iranian technicians walk outside the building that houses the Bushehr nuclear power plant's reactor, in the Iranian port town of Bushehr.
Behrouz Mehri / AFP / Getty Images

Despite the media hysteria over a supposed drumbeat for war with Iran, the White House is not unduly worried by the news that Russia will, on Saturday, begin loading enriched uranium into Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor. While former Bush Ambassador to the UN and Fox News favorite John Bolton breathlessly warned Monday that Israel has just five days within which to bomb the reactor — after which an air strike would risk killing many thousands of civilians from a radiation leak — the Obama Administration has been more sanguine on the Bushehr news.

To Administration critics, the move to bring Iran's atomic energy plant online makes clear that Iran is not nearly as isolated by sanctions as Washington would like. But that misses the point, since Bushehr is actually exempt from those sanctions because it represents no nuclear weapons threat. And the Administration is moving to tamp down the hysteria being fomented by the likes of Bolton, reportedly making clear to the Israelis that the minimum time frame Iran would need to build a nuclear weapon, after declaring their intent by kicking out inspectors, is one year — plenty of time in which to take dramatic action. (See the world's worst nuclear disasters.)
 
Instead of prompting confrontation, the move to bring Bushehr online will be used by the Administration to argue that it demonstrates Western readiness to accept a Iranian nuclear energy program without uranium enrichment. The uranium that will power the Bushehr reactor is imported from Russia, while the reactor's spent fuel — from which Iran could hypothetically extract plutonium if it had the technology to do so, and if it weren't under the scrutiny of IAEA inspectors — will be removed from Iran by the Russians. And the fact that Bushehr will produce electricity with Russian-supplied uranium, says White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, "underscores that Iran does not need its own enrichment capability if its intentions, as it states, are for a peaceful nuclear program."

In other words, the U.S. believes that Iran's determination to enrich its own uranium calls into question its stated motives; like other Western powers, Washington fears that the enrichment activities, some of them initially conducted in secret, could service a clandestine bomb program. But that's not how the Iranians see it. For them, the fact that Russia says it will finally fuel the reactor after some 14 years of dragging its feet on the project is only proof that, as Mohammad Ahmadian, head of Iran's Nuclear Power Plants Production and Development Company, indelicately put it, "Western countries cannot be trusted." Tehran believes the Russians used Bushehr for political leverage to press Iran to comply with 
Western demands, and see the project as an object lesson in why they can't allow their nuclear program to be dependent for reactor fuel on the kindness of strangers. (See pictures of terror in Tehran.)

Iran has always insisted on its right, as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to enrich uranium for energy purposes, and maintained that its purposes are peaceful. But enrichment does put bomb-making capability closer within reach for Tehran, and Iran has been ordered by the UN Security Council to suspend its enrichment until all issues of disclosure and transparency raised by the IAEA can be resolved. Iran, however, has made clear it is planning to expand its enrichment capacity (although Western intelligence believes it has encountered technical problems).
Bushehr coming online, then, is unlikely to alter the standoff over Iran's nuclear efforts either way. Sanctions adopted by the Security Council and a raft of new measures imposed by the U.S. and Europe aimed at stopping third countries trading with Iran have certainly had some impact in Iran, but most analysts still believe economic pressure is unlikely to change Iran's calculations. Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi this week warned that the sanctions are actually strengthening the hand of the hardline Republican Guard Corps because of their central role in sanctions-busting economic networks, and by creating an external excuse for economic hardship.

The improbability of sanctions breaking the stalemate has led to a flurry of media speculation over the possibility of Israel bombing Iran's nuclear facilities as early as next spring if the U.S. — as most expect — is reluctant to do so. Such speculation, however, tends to be based mostly on the apocalyptic rhetoric of Israeli politicians who frequently invoke Holocaust imagery in referring to Iran's enrichment activities, rather than on the more sober assessments of its security establishment. Whereas Netanyahu likes to tell Western audiences that Iran is led by an irrational "messianic cult", that view is not shared by Israeli military and intelligence analysts, according to Yossi Alpher, a Mossad veteran and former adviser to Israel's Defense Minister, Ehud Barak. Alpher argues that in light of the potentially catastrophic consequences, Israel would only take military action if Iran was in a position to launch a nuclear attack on the Jewish State in an "extremely short" time frame — and that a strike could set back the Iranian program for a significant period of time. (See the top 10 Ahmadinejad-isms.)

And the fact is Iran is nowhere close to the ability to attack Israel with nuclear weapons. The U.S. intelligence consensus holds that while Iran is developing the infrastructure necessary to create a bomb and also doing theoretical research on bomb design, it is not currently developing nuclear weapons nor has it made the decision to do so. Its goal is generally viewed as "breakout" capacity, i.e. the ability to build a bomb relatively quickly if it chose to do so — and even that capacity still appears to be some way off.

In explaining the peril they see in the Iranian program, Israeli leaders tend to accept that even an Iran armed with nuclear weapons is unlikely to initiate a nuclear exchange that would be suicidal for Tehran given the size of Israel's own nuclear deterrent. Instead, they warn that an Iranian bomb's primary impact would be to end Israel's strategic dominance in the regional balance of power, which would in turn embolden Israel's insurgent neighbors such as Hamas and Hizballah. Right now, the war talk may be designed primarily to stiffen the spine of Western policy makers on sanctions and diplomacy, by invoking an alternative too ghastly to contemplate.

Both sides know that rather than imminent military action, the next phase of the Iran standoff is likely to be a renewed round of talks with Iran. The U.S. and its allies hope to use the leverage of sanctions to persuade Iran to back down, while Iran will look to make smaller concessions, especially in areas where they have upped the ante, such as enriching uranium to 20%, which takes them a lot closer to the technological capacity to create bomb-grade materiel. For each side, the long game remains shaping the diplomatic compromise to their own liking.

Very Interesting Prophecy from a Religious Standpoint?

 
 
 
World War 3: Nuclear Attacks on New York City,
and on Rome and Vatican City


Please understand that my writings about the future are speculative eschatology,
based on study and interpretation, not based on knowledge that is absolute or certain.


2011: In the year 2011, as a reaction to the Warning and the Miracle, there will be an upheaval among the Arab/Muslim nations of the Middle East and northern Africa. Extremists will fight against moderates, and the extremists will win. There will be uprisings, coups, and outright war. Arabs will fight against Arabs, Muslims will fight against Muslims. This will begin and end in the year 2011, over the course of only a few weeks or months (beginning after the Warning on Good Friday of 2011). At the end, the extremists will have won in each of the Arab/Muslim nations. If they cannot win through uprisings and coups, then the other extremist nations will attack in open warfare. They will not permit any Arab/Muslim nations in the Middle East and northern Africa to be moderate or democratic or friendly to the West.

2011: These Arab/Muslim extremists will consolidate their power within each of these nations. The leader of Iran and the leader of Iraq, at that time, will have the most power, control, and influence over the other Arab/Muslim nations in the Middle East and northern Africa. They will form one group of nations, led by Iran and Iraq. Then they will begin to threaten the West.

2011: Later that same year, I think that the extremists will strike New York City with a nuclear bomb.

The explosion occurs in mid to late 2011. This bomb will be an actual nuclear bomb, not merely 'dirty bomb.' It will not be sent by a missile. The city will not be totally destroyed, but the effects of the explosion will be devastating. The radioactive fall-out will devastate the surrounding area, particularly New Jersey. The bomb will be sent by the group of Arab/Muslim nations formed earlier that year, led by Iran and Iraq. This nuclear attack marks the start of World War 3. Iran is already close to obtaining enough highly enriched uranium for a bomb (now, in early 2010)

2011/2012: After the upheaval that brings the extremists to power, and after the attack on NYC, the Arab/Muslim nations of the Middle East and northern Africa, led by Iran and Iraq, threaten, attack, and begin to invade Europe.

2012: They capture the Pope (Cardinal Arinze/Pope Pius XIII) in Italy, in 2012, after he had fled the Vatican. They blind his eyes, bind him, and imprison him in Iraq, where he will die. Subsequently, the extremist forces capture Rome and Vatican City. They burn many of the churches of Rome. They burn or otherwise destroy some of the buildings of Vatican City.

2013: The Allies recapture Rome. It will be hailed as a great victory and will be called a turning point in the war. But the victory will soon turn into utter defeat and the turning point is to the favor of the Arab/Muslim extremist forces.

July of 2013: The extremist forces, because they could not hold or recapture Rome, attack the city with a nuclear missile, causing great destruction in Rome and destroying Vatican City. The true Pope and a prominent antipope are both in Rome at the time, and they are both killed.

July of 2013 to 2018/2019: The Arab forces are unstoppable. They have nuclear weapons and the will to use them. The Allies have nuclear weapons, but not the will to use them. Some nations capitulate without a fight. The Arabs conquer all of Europe, parts of other areas (Eastern Europe and Scandinavia), and the northern part of Africa. They can be stopped at or above the Equator in Africa. But they cannot be stopped in Europe or elsewhere. The Arab forces will win World War 3, and they will conquer and occupy a vast territory.

Many Other Predictions

I have many other predictions for the time period of the 2010's and the subsequent decades and centuries. (See my web site CatholicPlanet.com for more information.) Be assured that the world will not end anytime soon. Also, the Antichrist is not in the world today, nor will he arrive any time soon. Do not listen to anyone who claims that the Antichrist is in the world today. The Antichrist's reign will be from 2430 to 2437 A.D. And Jesus Christ will not return until the year 2437 A.D. When Jesus returns, Mary will return with him. Do not believe anyone who claims that Jesus is returning before the year 2437 A.D.

The Media

Do not trust or believe what the news and entertainment media claim about myself and my predictions, nor about the teachings of the Catholic Church in general. At best, they present distorted and inaccurate reports on Catholicism. At worst, they do much harm to the Faith, and they mislead very many persons. The media will surely reject and ridicule all of these predictions of future events. They will also distort and sensationalize. If you are listening to me on the topic of the future and the faith, do not listen to the media on the same topic.

The Tribulation

The sufferings described in the book of Revelation are often called 'the Tribulation.' But what most people do not understand is that the Tribulation is divided into two parts. The first part is from 2011 to 2040 A.D. Then there is a respite from the sufferings and a time of relative holiness and peace. Gradually the world slips back into greater and greater sinfulness. The second part of the tribulation occurs in the early 25th century, during and subsequent to the reign of the Antichrist (2430/2431 to 2437 A.D.). After the reign of the Antichrist ends, Jesus the true Christ returns. And yet even that time is still not the end of the world.

Islam

Let me be clear that the Muslims who participate in the atrocities of World War 3 (and of the small war that precedes it in 2011) are not representative of all Muslims. Their extremist leaders are not devout practicing Muslims, but they only use Islam as an excuse for their crimes and as a way to influence large numbers of people. Christians and Jews should not persecute Muslims for following Islam. (Remember that there have been extremists within the Christian and Jewish faiths as well.) Any human person who devoutly follows Christianity, or Judaism, or Islam, with the true and sincere intention of pleasing God, certainly does please Almighty God. We should allow devout Muslims to practice their faith without interference, even during times when some who claim to be Muslim are persecuting Christians and Jews severely. In this way, we will show the truth and sincerity of our devotion to God.

Sources

I myself have never received any private revelation of any kind. My predictions are based only on my interpretation of the Bible and a few other sources. There are a number of sources that indicate New York City will be struck with a nuclear bomb.

1. Private Revelation

Maria Esperanza of Betania used to plead with people to 'pray for the people of New York and Rome.' I believe that she singled out these two cities to pray for because she knew that each would be struck with a nuclear bomb during World War 3.

Also, at La Salette, the Virgin Mary described three great cities being destroyed by fire falling from the heavens. Her words described an event during the second part of the tribulation (in the 25th century A.D.). But the first part of the tribulation is, to a some extent, a mirror image of the second part, so these words also apply to the destruction of New York (in 2011), and Rome with Vatican City (in 2013).

In this rare instance, I have made limited use of a few of the predictions of Nostradamus. “The sky will burn at five and forty degrees. Fire approaches the New City. Immediately a huge scattered flame leaps up, when they want to have proof of the Normans.” (Century VI, Quatrain XCVII). The State of New York is between 40 and 45 degrees latitude and New York City is its most prominent city. The fire that burns the sky is a nuclear explosion.

“The garden of the World near the New City, in the road of the hollow mountains. It will be seized and plunged in the tank, forced to drink water poisoned with sulphur.” (Century X, Quatrain XLIX). The fall-out from the nuclear explosion will fall on New Jersey, the Garden State. The phrase “poisoned with sulfur” refers to nuclear fallout. The road of the hollow mountains refers to tunnels from New York City to New Jersey. The hollow mountains are the skyscrapers of New York City. [Erika Cheetham, The Final Prophecies of Nostradamus, p. 297, 424.]

2. Scripture

In the book of the prophet Daniel, the ram with two horns, signifying the leaders of Media (Iraq) and Persia (Iran), attacks first to the West (the U.S.), then to the North (Europe), and finally to the South (Africa). It is clear from my understanding of the timeline of these events that this attack on New York City will occur in mid to late 2011.

It is clear from the Book of Revelation that, during the first part of the tribulation (2011 to 2040), nuclear weapons will be used. For example, the Sixth Seal (World War 4) is described in this way: “And the stars from the heavens fell upon the earth, as the fig tree casts its green figs when it is shaken by a great wind.” (Rev. 6:13). This image of something like stars falling to the earth is a fitting description of nuclear weapons being used in an all-out nuclear war (World War 4). But some nuclear weapons are used during World War 3.

The destruction of Vatican City is referred to in Sacred Scripture: “Awake, O spear, against my shepherd and against the man that clings to me, says the Lord of hosts. Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered. And I will turn my hand to the little ones.” (Zech 13:7).

In this passage, the spear is a nuclear missile. Unlike the attack on New York City (a nuclear bomb delivered without a missile), by this time, the Arab forces have been able to put a nuclear bomb into a missile. The date of July in 2013 comes partly from the chapter and verse numbers. Zechariah 13:7 indicates the year 2013 and the 7th month, July.

The shepherd refers, in level of meaning, to the place where the Shepherd of the Church resides, Vatican City, which will be struck by the nuclear missile. It also refers, in another level of meaning, to the Papacy. Since Pope Peter the Roman was captured in 2012, blinded, and imprisoned in Iraq (where he will die), this passage does not refer to him. It refers to his successor, who is killed by the nuclear missile sent against Rome and Vatican City. The text refers both to 'my shepherd' and to 'the man that clings to me.' Therefore, another man will be killed in this same nuclear attack, at Vatican City or Rome, who is also a leader within the Catholic Christian faith (perhaps a Patriarch of the East living in exile in Rome or in Vatican City).

3. Common Sense about the Attack on New York City

It is well known that, for some time, Iran has been trying to obtain nuclear weapons. North Korea, Pakistan, and India were able to obtain nuclear weapons, even though these are less developed and less wealthy nations. Therefore, it is not out of reach for Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. Iran has long been cited as a major state sponsor of terrorism. Most recently, in early 2010, it has become clear that they are even closer to purifying enough uranium for a bomb.

Eventually, an Arab/Muslim nation, hostile to the U.S. and the West, will obtain a nuclear bomb (by building one or buying one). It is clearly not out of the financial and technological reach of Iran and similar nations to obtain or build a nuclear bomb. Currently, it is generally believed that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, and that, within a short time, they will be able to build a small number of nuclear weapons.

The Arab/Muslim extremists hate the U.S., and they especially hate New York City. They have already attacked New York city twice. If they had a nuclear weapons, do you think that they would use it anywhere else except New York City? For some reason, which I cannot fathom, NYC is their target of choice.

Conclusion

There are many more related events that occur in this same time frame, but I cannot fit them all into one article. Read my books and articles about the future for more information. Be careful who you listen to, for there are many false claimed private revelations in the world today.


by Ronald L. Conte Jr.
November 10, 2005
last updated April 10, 2010

http://www.catholicplanet.com/future/nuclear-attacks.htm 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Jobs Outlook Isn't Just Bad, It May Be Getting Worse !!




An anticipated gradual gain in US employment has turned into a surprising deterioration, and that has economists worried about the increasing threat to the economic recovery.


Thursday's weekly jobless claims report was just the latest but perhaps most definitive sign yet that if the economy is to recover, it will do without participation from the labor market.

Instead, the continued trend of businesses doing more with less likely will hold as jittery employers remain reluctant to start bringing workers back on board.

"We've had increases (in jobless claims) the last couple of weeks, when most of us thought they would be decreasing. The number of people claiming benefits is now disturbingly high," says David Resler, senior economist at Nomura Securities in New York. "For those who doubted it will be a long, drawn-out period, they can't doubt it anymore."

New filings for unemployment claims breached the psychologically important 500,000 level in the past week, an increase of 12,000 from the previous week's revised number of 488,000.

That came despite data that the private sector actually has been creating jobs. The monthly Labor Department report for July showed 71,000 private jobs were created even as total nonfarm payrolls fell 131,000.

The trend is confounding economists, who say the net job creation in the private sector ought to start having some effect on the weekly number.

The latter figure is significant in that it is the rawest measure of the jobs picture. While the monthly number entails a series of computations based on the government's birth-death model, determinations of who is actually looking for a job and who is discouraged, and a host of other arcane measuring tools, the weekly number is a simple census of how many people filed new claims for unemployment insurance.

"There's got to be an awful lot of job-churning going on if we can have positive private sector employment growth for seven months out of the year and this (weekly claims) thing is drifting up," says Kurt Karl, chief US economist at Swiss Re in New York. "Businesses have got to be laying off a lot of people and hiring a lot of people, and the net is slightly positive."

One of the most vexing problems for policy makers has been what to do about the long-term unemployed.

Claimants under the Emergency Unemployment Compensation provision—who have exhausted their state benefits—surged 260,105 to 4,753,456 for the week ended July 31 (the data lags the weekly claims by two weeks). While that represents a weekly increase of 0.5 percent, the total is 60.5 percent higher than the 2009 figure of 2,961,457.

Congress in July agreed to extend the program until Nov. 30, over objections of some members regarding how to pay for the benefits as well as whether they discouraged recipients from seeking work. The EUC program was created in June 2008 to address the burgeoning unemployment problem when the national rate stood at 5.5 percent; it is now at 9.5 percent.

Economists weren't sure how much of a long-range impact the benefits extension will have.

"Before the programs lapsed, (claims) were on a gentle downward trend. My assumption would have been that we would have stayed on a downward trend. But we may be seeing an interruption of that," Resler says. "For the time being we have to conclude that we are definitely seeing a higher level of claims in recent weeks because people who had lost their benefits are now reclaiming them and we just don't know how much of an impact that is."

Besides the sharp drop in government payrolls and the dynamics of the benefits program, small business remains a major concern.

Recent surveys have shown waning confidence among small business leaders, who believe the general uncertainty of the economic environment combined with higher costs of government health insurance weigh against the costs of hiring new employees.

"The revenue of private held companies has been going down, and if you combine that with the regulatory environment, it makes for poor prospects for these businesses to start hiring people," says Brian Hamilton, CEO of Sageworks, a Raleigh, N.C.-based financial analysis firm. "People just don't feel good. I haven't seen anything like this in 20 years."

The multiplicity of factors lining up against the labor market is sure to stoke up talk about a double-dip in the economy, or at the very least little chance of meaningful gains for quite some time.

"It's not good, it just isn't, particularly when you piece it together with all of the other data we're getting," says Paul Ashworth, senior economist at Capital Economics in Toronto. "This isn't just rising claims and nothing else is going on. We're seeing activity rates going down, we're seeing confidence weaken—a lot of not very encouraging signs."

URL: http://www.cnbc.com/id/38772375/

© 2010 CNBC.com

Weekly Jobless Claims Post Surprise Jump, Hit 500,000 !!




ECONOMY, JOBLESS CLAIMS, EMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT, CONTINUING CLAIMS
Reuters
| 19 Aug 2010 | 09:05 AM ET

New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly climbed to a nine-month high last week, yet another setback to the frail economic recovery.


Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 500,000 in the week ended August 14, the highest since mid-November, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast claims slipping to 476,000 from the previously reported 484,000 the prior week, which was revised up to 488,000 in Thursday's report.

A Labor Department official said there was nothing unusual in the state level data. The data covered the survey week for the government's closely watched employment report for August, scheduled for release early next month.

"There are some technical factors out there and the seasonal factors seem to be pushing it up a little bit. But given the trend of claims it looks like the economy ran into a wall in August," said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-MitsubishI UFJ in New York.

A 9.5 percent unemployment rate and weak housing market are hobbling the economy's recovery from its most brutal recession since the Great Depression.

The economy's poor health has handed President Barack Obama a tough challenge and put at risk the Democratic Party's majorities in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in November's mid-term elections.

Obama's approval ratings have tumbled to the mid- to lower 40 percent range and Congress' ratings are hovering at about 20 percent.

The four-week average of new jobless claims, considered a better measure of underlying labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 8,000 to 482,500, the highest since early December.

Claims for unemployment benefits have been stuck at lofty levels for much of this year, which many economists say points to unemployment staying uncomfortably high for some time.

Claims have not come close to the 400,000 level that most analysts generally view as the dividing line between payrolls growth and contraction. Payrolls grew in the first five months of this year, partly due to hiring for the decennial census, and have declined in both June and July.

The economy grew at a 2.4 percent annualized rate in the second quarter, much slower than the 3.7 percent pace in the first three months of the year.

However, recent trade and business inventory data have indicated a much more sluggish pace. According to a preliminary Reuters survey, the government could lower the second-quarter growth estimate to a rate of about 1.4 percent when it publishes its first revision next Friday.

The number of people still receiving jobless benefits after an initial week of aid fell 13,000 to 4.48 million in the week ended Aug. 7 from an upwardly revised 4.49 million the prior week. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast so-called continuing claims rising to 4.50 million from a previously reported 4.45 million.

"The drop in continued claims is an encouraging sign," said Robert Dye, senior economist at PNC Financial Services in Pittsburgh.

"When you take the life signs on the labor market, it's not all bad news, but it's not where we would like," he added.

The insured unemployment rate, which measures the percentage of the insured labor force that is jobless, was unchanged at 3.5 percent during that period.

The number of people on emergency benefits increased 260,105 to 4.75 million in the week ended July 31.

URL: http://www.cnbc.com/id/38768328/

© 2010 CNBC.com

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

GAMBLING -VS- EDUCATION ???

Dear Unemployed & Indentured Educated Class:

http://ultrinsic.com/

I have had a chance to visit this site, and I personally do not endorse the actions prescribed by this web site.  When I attended college, I earned my grades the old fashioned way by studying the text books, taking the exams and earning my grade without any gambling incentive this site offers.

Our very fragile indentured educated class cannot afford to get bilked out of more money than they already have been by the greatest scam of all, The Student Lending Crisis.  Ultrinsic's should be ashamed about their actions to scam students out of their hard earned money on a "chance" to win something.

As Florida State Leader for the Support Group for the Indentured Educated Class (USA), our group fully condemns the actions of this web site to scam our poor indentured students out of money they need to buy food, pay rent, pay utilities and other essential needs including baby food.

Shame on you Ultrinsic!

If any students feel bilked out of money by this web site, please visit our group's page and join us and provide your comments on our page.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/112557738795128?ref=ts#!/group.php?gid=278716756621&v=wall&ref=ts


Gambling is a very serious academic offense and is not needed in a college academic setting!  Most colleges I know would not support the deceptive actions of this web site.

UPDATED Information Shooting at College Campus in Texas




McKINNEY, TX - The Collin County Community College campus in McKinney is on lockdown this
morning after at least one shooting incident.



Sister station KTVT in Dallas reports students at the college were alerted about the shooting just after 8 a.m. when the campus was placed on lockdown. No injuries have been reported from the campus.

At some point a man allegedly pulled up at the nearby police department in a pickup truck loaded with ammunition and began shooting. Police returned fire and it is believed the suspect was shot and killed behind the police station.

There are reports that there is another shooter still on the loose, but that has not been confirmed.

We have a crew en route to McKinney and will have a live report on First News at Noon.
Find this article at:
http://www.kxii.com/news/headlines/100889869.html


 Check the box to include the list of links referenced in the article.
Copyright © 2002-2010 - Gray Television Group, Inc.






UPDATE:

Police station shooting puts Texas university on lockdown

WASHINGTON — A police station shooting Tuesday forced a college in Texas to be put on lockdown, but the university authorities said the shooter was dead and no students or staff had been injured.
"Shots were fired at the McKinney Police Department near the Central Park Campus, 2200 W. University Drive, in McKinney shortly after 9:00 am (1400 GMT) today," a statement on the Collin College website said.

A report by local television station CBS 11 News said a man allegedly rolled up at the police station in the central Texas city in a pick-up truck loaded with ammunition and began shooting.

Police returned fire and the suspect was thought to have been shot and killed behind the building, the report said, adding that there were unconfirmed reports of a second shooter on the loose.

"The campus was put on lockdown immediately, and students were notified through the college's emergency alert system. It has been confirmed that the shooter is dead," the college website statement said.

"No students, faculty or staff were injured. Police are still on the scene and the campus is on lockdown until further notice."

CBS 11 News said its reporters on a helicopter witnessed that the pick-up truck had apparently caught fire during the incident and that fire engines were stationed nearby.
 
Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Education stocks fall on buzz ahead of GAO report

Tue, Aug 3 2010
By Fareha Khan

BANGALORE (Reuters) - Shares of U.S. education companies fell Tuesday on reports that the United States Government Accountability Office said some for-profit colleges encouraged fraudulent practices with regard to student recruitment.

BMO Capital Markets analyst Jeffrey Silber, who has seen the not-yet-public report, wrote in a note to clients that the GAO investigation found 15 for-profit schools making deceptive statements, like providing misleading information about program duration, costs and potential salaries.

The GAO report is expected to be publicly available later Tuesday.

Sterne, Agee & Leach analyst Arvind Bhatia said the report will have an impact on these companies' bottom-line, at least in the next 6 months to 12 months.

"This puts pressure on Congress to actually do something, and also increases the risk of litigation for the for-profit companies," Bhatia said.

The S&P 1500 education services sub industry index was down 3 percent in afternoon trade, with bellwether Apollo Group (APOL.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), down 4 percent at $45.30 on Nasdaq.

Shares of Corinthian Colleges Inc (COCO.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) were trading down 4 percent at $8.89, Career Education Corp (CECO.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) down 4 percent at $23.88, both on Nasdaq, and DeVry Inc's (DV.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) shares were trading down 3 percent at $52.96 on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Fareha Khan and Bijoy Koyitty in Bangalore; Editing by Anthony Kurian)

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

'Significant' Chance of Recession Next 2 Years: SF Fed

'Significant' Chance of Recession Next 2 Years: SF Fed

FEDERAL RESERVE, RECESSION, ECONOMY,
Reuters
| 09 Aug 2010 | 04:50 PM ET

There is a "significant" chance the U.S. economy will slip back into recession in the next two years although a reversal is unlikely in the next few months, researchers at the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank said on Monday.


The probability of another recession over the next 18 to 24 months is higher than that of expansion, researchers said in the latest issue of the regional Fed bank's Economic Letter.

Concern has risen in recent months that the United States might be headed for a 'double-dip' recession as measures of consumer spending and confidence have dropped and private company hiring has fallen short of expectations.

The soft economic data will be top of mind tomorrow when members of the Fed's monetary policy-setting committee meet. Recent comments from Fed officials signal strong disagreement over whether the Fed — the U.S. central bank — should move to offer further support to the economy than it already has.

The researchers — Travis Berge, a graduate student at the University of California, Davis, and Oscar Jorda, a professor there as well as a visiting scholar at the San Francisco Fed — used leading economic indicators to try to predict the possibility of a renewed economic downturn.

The experiment yielded vastly different results, depending on which indicators were used. But overall, they said, the numbers "indicate that the macroeconomic outlook is likely to deteriorate progressively starting sometime next summer."

"Of course, economic policy can strongly influence the outcome," the researchers said. "The policies that are adopted today could play a decisive role in shaping the pace of growth."

URL: http://www.cnbc.com/id/38630185/

© 2010 CNBC.com

More Families Struggling With College Costs, New Study Finds

   

More Families Struggling With College Costs, New Study Finds


Getty Images

Now that my two kids are in college, my family has to reevaluate our spending. For instance, we have eliminated away-from-home vacations to help pay for college expenses. Also, a larger share of college costs is coming from our current income, rather than our savings, as my kids take on extra jobs to help cover expenses. They also took out student loans for the first time this year.

Obviously, my family is not alone in facing the steep costs of college educations. Indeed, colleges are pricing themselves out of the market for a fast-growing proportion of families, says a new Gallup and Sallie Mae survey of 1,624 students and parents. Some 63% of families surveyed last spring said they eliminated schools at some point during the college selection process because they simply cost too much, up from 56% the previous year. And three-fourths were reducing personal spending to meet college bills, which rose an average 17% over the previous year among those surveyed.

Parents are clearly willing to delay their kids’ launch from the nest in order to help. A surprising 43% of families said their student lived at home during the latest academic year, to reduce costs. (This was the first time the question was asked.)

Soaring community-college enrollments are another sign of these pressures. More families are having their college-age kids fulfill basic-education requirements at relatively inexpensive two-year colleges near home, then transfer onto campus to finish their junior and senior years. Other students are speeding through four-year colleges in three years. Still others are borrowing more; borrowing covers 46% of college costs, up from 42%, the Sallie Mae study says.

Also, enrolling a child in college seems to be at least partly a year-to-year financial gamble for most families, who aren’t entirely sure how they will pay for it. Only one-fourth of those surveyed said they had a plan to pay for their child’s entire college education before allowing them to enroll.

Still, there is no sign that families are lowering the value they place on a college education. Even though students in this survey started their freshman year after the recession had hit, about 83% of families still say college is a worthwhile investment in the future, about the same as in past years, Sallie Mae says.

Readers, what sacrifices are you making to cover the rising cost of a college education? Do you believe colleges and universities are pricing themselves out of the market? If so, what alternatives do you see families turning to in your locale? If not, how are families you know covering the cost?

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Fed Is Set to Downgrade Outlook for US



Financial Times
| 09 Aug 2010 | 09:32 AM ET

The Federal Reserve is set to downgrade its assessment of US economic prospects when it meets on Tuesday to discuss ways to reboot the flagging recovery.


Faced with weak economic data and rising fears of a double-dip recession, the Federal Open Market Committee is likely to ensure its policy is not constraining growth and to use its statement to signal greater concern about the economy. It is, however, unlikely to agree big new steps to boost growth.

Smaller measures to help the economy could initially take the form of a decision to reinvest proceeds from maturing mortgage-backed securities held by the US central bank, thereby preventing the Fed’s balance sheet from shrinking naturally.

Investors will also examine closely any changes to the pledge made by the FOMC in June to “employ its policy tools as necessary to promote economic recovery and price stability”, which could be hardened if policymakers choose to signal the potential for more aggressive move to boost the economy in the future.

But even if that happens, most economists believe that it would take several more months of poor data for the Fed to actually begin a new round of asset purchases on the scale of those carried out during the recession.

In congressional testimony last month, Ben Bernanke noted “unusual uncertainty” in the economic outlook and in a speech last week the Fed chairman warned of a “considerable way to go” before the US achieves a full recovery.

Although Fed policymakers still believe the basic trajectory of the economy remains one of moderate expansion, there may be more attention given to heightened dangers of a sharp slowdown.

“The FOMC will have to tone down its assessment of the economy in view of recent weak indicators on real growth, real consumption spending and employment,” said Brian Bethune and Nigel Gault, economists at Global Insight.

The latest poor reading came in Friday’s monthly employment report, which showed the US private sector creating only 71,000 jobs in July – not enough to keep up with population growth, let alone bring down the unemployment rate.

That followed news a week earlier that growth in US gross domestic product slowed from an annualized rate of 3.7 percent in the first quarter to 2.4 percent in the second quarter.

“Given how low inflation already is, and given the potential for the recovery to falter, we expect Fed officials will highlight downside risks and signal a bias to ease in the FOMC statement,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief economist at MF Global.

There is little, if any, doubt that the FOMC will maintain interest rates at their current low target range of 0-0.25 percent.

URL: http://www.cnbc.com/id/38623480/

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Morici: Friday's Jobs Report—Outlook Darkens for Economy, Obama

                                                                         CNBC.com
                                                           | 04 Aug 2010 | 09:40 AM ET
 
 

Friday, forecasters expect the Labor Department to report the economy shed 70 thousand jobs in July and unemployment rose to 9.6 percent.

Economists expect the private sector created about 100 thousand jobs but government employment fell 170 thousand, as more temporary census jobs disappeared.

Thirteen months into recovery from a deep recession, this is disappointing. The economy must add 13 million private sector jobs by the end of 2013 to bring unemployment down to 6 percent. President Obama's policies are not creating conditions for businesses to hire those 320,000 workers each month, net of layoffs.

Dr. Peter Morici, Professor Robert H. Smith School of Business



Net of inventory adjustments, the economy demand for goods and services is growing at only 1.3 percent a year.

In the second quarter, consumer spending; investment in new structures, equipment and software; and government purchases added 4.1 percent to demand-but as imports grew much more rapidly than exports, the trade deficit tapped off 2.8 percent.
The difference, 1.3 percent, is annual growth in demand for U.S.-made goods and services. That has been the pace since recovery began in July 2009.

Businesses can accommodate up to 2 percent growth in demand by improving productivity and not adding workers. Unless the rapid growth in imports can be curbed, the U.S. economy is headed for very slow growth and rising unemployment. (Read more: Private Sector Adds 42,000 Jobs in July; Layoffs Slow)  

LINK: http://www.cnbc.com/id/38553436/

Washington is not helping.

The massive permanent expansion in federal spending and regulatory oversight built into President Obama's budget is discouraging private hiring by raising fears of higher taxes and regulation. Simply, higher taxes discourage purchases of non-essentials and high-line durable goods, like better appliances, more appointed automobiles and higher-quality homes, and higher taxes and tougher regulation increase incentives to offshore production to locations where those burdens are less.

Prior to the crisis in 2007, President Bush spent 19.6 percent of GDP and the deficit was $161 billion in 2007; whereas two years into the economic recovery in 2011, President Obama's budget projects outlays at 25.1 percent of GDP and a $1.3 trillion deficit in 2011.

All that spending will require higher taxes, and raising taxes on families earning $250,000 simply won't be enough finance it. And, higher rates for those families will raise taxes on half the income earned by proprietorships—those small and medium sized businesses will invest less to create jobs.

Much of the $787 stimulus money was squandered on pet projects that created few jobs. For example, grants to build green buildings displace other planned construction and don't increase the amount of commercial space rented or built over the next several years.

The biggest banks received more than $2 trillion in TARP and Federal Reserve assistance to clean up their balance sheets and recapitalize securities trading, while the 8000 regional banks got little assistance and remain burdened by toxic real estate loans. Consequently, more than 230 regional banks have failed, and small and medium sized businesses cannot get credit to expand.

In addition to credit, businesses need more customers to create jobs, and the trade deficit-in particular, imports of oil and the imbalance with China-cut a huge hole in demand for U.S. goods and services. 

Without addressing oil and China, other efforts to create jobs are futile.


The president's moratorium on deep water drilling, though popular with environmental fundamentalists, kills jobs two ways-directly, by laying off workers in the oil and gas industry and indirectly, by sending too many consumer dollars abroad that could be spent here.

Detroit has the technology to build much more efficient gasoline-powered vehicles now, and a shift in national policy to rapidly build these would reduce oil imports and create many jobs.

China's undervalued currency that makes its products artificially cheap and deceivingly competitive on U.S. store shelves, but its promise of new flexibility on the yuan has not translated into meaningful revaluation.

If President Obama wants to fix the federal deficit and create jobs, perhaps he should dust off George Bush's 2007 budget and spend a lot less, get serious about better using and developing more conventional fossil fuels, and finally fixing trade with China.

Credit to CNBC: http://www.cnbc.com/id/38555476/print/1/displaymode/1098/

Peter Morici is a professor at the Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, and former Chief Economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission. 






TIER 5: Senator Stabenow Introduces Bill to Help The 99ers

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) introduced a bill Wednesday that would provide extra weeks of benefits to people who've reached the end of their unemployment insurance lifelines. The measure would provide 20 extra weeks of unemployment benefits and extend a tax credit for businesses that hire workers who've been unemployed for 60 days or longer.

"Across our state, more than 35,000 people who have lost their jobs have also exhausted their unemployment insurance benefits," said Stabenow in a statement "I know that these men and women want to work and have been trying their best to find jobs in this difficult economy."

Through June and much of July, the Senate was locked in an epic struggle just to reauthorize existing benefits for people who've been out of work for longer than six months. Many Republican senators suggested that the extended benefits, which in some states provided up to 99 weeks of help, discourage people from looking for work and make the recession worse.

A study by the San Francisco Federal Reserve found that the extended benefits "have not been important factors in the increase in the duration of unemployment or in the elevated unemployment rate."
In a strong economy, state governments provide layoff victims 26 weeks of benefits. In normal recessions, states and the federal government partner to provide an additional 20 weeks. To fight the worst recession since the Great Depression, Congress in 2008 and 2009 passed several measures to provide up to 53 additional weeks of federally-funded benefits, broken into four "tiers." The Labor Department estimates that 1.4 Million people have exhausted all available tiers.

The National Employment Law Project applauded Stabenow's bill. "NELP commends Senator Stabenow and her co-sponsors of the Americans Want to Work Act both for being champions of those hardest hit by the recession, but also for keeping the focus on the most important thing -- getting those who have exhausted their benefits back to work," said NELP's Judy Conti in a statement to HuffPost. "We need to support these workers and their families both in their efforts to stay afloat while unemployed through no fault of their own, but equally importantly, in their efforts to find work and rebuild their lives after the devastation of such prolonged unemployment."

The "99ers" have clamored for a Tier 5 via grassroots online organizing. Stabenow's bill would provide 20 weeks of additional benefits in states where the unemployment rate is above 7.5 percent. It's not clear whether the bill would impact the deficit or if it's "paid for," in budget parlance. The text of the bill is not yet available.

It's also not clear when or how the bill could pass the Senate, which adjourns for its August recess this week. Republicans have insisted that domestic spending bills be paid for, but this week they nevertheless attempted to filibuster a bill to provide aid to states that would have reduced the deficit by $1 billion. And a few Democrats have said they do not support giving the unemployed additional weeks of benefits.
But a refusal to help the unemployed contrasts sharply with willingness to help the rich. "We've got people on the [Senate] floor now saying they believe there's sufficient capability to eliminate the estate tax, to give billionaires very large tax cuts," Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) told HuffPost. "A country that can do that coming through the deep recession that we've had ought to be able to help those who are chronically out of work, even beyond the 99 weeks."

Stabenow's bill is cosponsored by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

Ryan Grim Contributed Reporting.


ARTICLE CREDITED TO HUFFINGTON POST : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/05/tier-5-sen-stabenow-intro_n_671550.html?view=print

SPECIAL REPORT!: Feds now admits to storing naked body images from full body X-ray scanners

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

(NaturalNews) A few months ago, I first wrote about the TSA's naked body scanners and how it could allow Big Brother to view and store pictures of your naked body (plus the naked bodies of your children, too). At that time, my story was met with a reaction of derision from a few people outside the usual NaturalNews readership who said my story was nothing but "paranoia" and that the government had promised it would never record or store full body scan images. The very equipment used to view the body scans was incapable of storing those images, we were told. (These loons apparently think governments never lie...)

Well, as much as I hate to say, "I told ya so," it turns out I was right (and so was Alex Jones and others who spoke out against the TSA's naked body scanners). As reported today by Declan McCullagh from CNET, "The U.S. Marshals Service admitted this week that it had surreptitiously saved tens of thousands of images recorded with a millimeter wave system at the security checkpoint of a single Florida courthouse." (http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-2...)

That same story points to a recently released document (http://epic.org/privacy/airtravel/b...) proving that the TSA actually requires its equipment to be able to record and store naked body images. This, despite the fact that the TSA publicly stated, "scanned images cannot be stored or recorded." It turns out they were flat-out lying.

So now we have an admission by the TSA that their equipment is, in fact, capable of storing these naked body images. On top of that, we have an admission that federal agents used that same technology to scan tens of thousands of people while secretly saving those images, too.

More naked body scanners coming to U.S. airports

Just two weeks ago, by the way, Big Sis Janet Napolitano announced that these full body scanners would be installed in nearly every major U.S. airport. So get ready have your private parts scanned and recorded by TSA agents, because that's what could be coming soon to an airport near you.

Another fascinating twist in this story concerns the current location of the more than 35,000 naked body scan images stored on the machine used at a federal courthouse. The machine was apparently returned to the manufacturer. This means the company that makes the full body scanners now reportedly possesses 35,000+ pictures showing the nude bodies of American citizens whose images were scanned and recorded without their knowledge!

"TSA is not being straightforward with the public about the capabilities of these devices," said Electronic Privacy Information Center executive director Marc Rotenberg (in the CNET story). "This is the Department of Homeland Security subjecting every U.S. traveler to an intrusive search that can be recorded without any suspicion -- I think it's outrageous."

Balancing security with privacy

Now, certainly we probably need some level of security in our airports. I'm not disagreeing with that premise. There are some bad people in the world who will try to do ugly things in order to prove a point. But magnetometers (metal detector) work just fine, and even a pat-down is less intrusive than a naked image body scanner. Personally, I would much rather submit to a pat-down than a naked body scan.

The more important issue here is that our own government has been lying to us about all this. They said these machines could not record images, and now we find out they could record all along. This worsens the privacy violations by adding a level of deceit. Now how can we trust that other full body scanners aren't also recording images?

The truth is, we can't.

And besides, as I suggested before, there's one really good way to make sure we're safe in the air. I call it "Armed Airlines." We should have the choice of an airline where everybody is armed. You have to pack a firearm and a concealed carry license (or a police badge or military ID) just to board the plane. No terrorist or troublemaker in his right mind would dare pull anything on that flight -- not with 250 other passengers armed, too.

I would gladly join that flight, and I'd sleep like a baby. Why? Because it would be the safest airplane in the sky. I also know quite a few airline pilots who would gladly pilot those flights, and they'd have their own firearms on the flight control deck, too.

Because right now, what we really have is a nation of disarmed airlines where nobody can carry firearms except Federal Air Marshals. They're good guys, but there just aren't enough of them to go around. I'd like to see "Armed Airlines" flying. And besides, Armed Airlines would be the only flights guaranteed not to have screaming babies sitting right behind you.NaturalNews Article to Harmful Body Scanners