Archive for March 4, 2008

Ben Bernanke gave a speech this morning at the Independent Community Bankers of America Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida on “Reducing Preventable Mortgage Foreclosures”.  Several of his comments during the speech were simply dodging the truth and depth of our problem. The Feds January rates cuts didn’t help so what does Bernanke say about that.

“Even with some relief efforts under way by industry and government, foreclosures and late payments on home mortgages are likely to rise “for a while longer,” Bernanke warned”.

For a while longer indeed. How long? 2 months, 4 months?  Would it not benefit all concerned to have truthful, accurate information? The ARM’s (adjustable rate mortgages) that Bernanke is referring to are scheduled to peak in March and continue well into the spring/early summer of 09.

In my opinion the US media is doing a terrible job reporting the bigger picture. When you consider that 232 major lending operation have imploded due to the bursting of the US housing bubble. Want to have this mess put in layman terms. Watch the video below Sub-Prime Mortgage Blues, it’s brilliant.
The Department of Homeland Security has selected the University of Rhode Island and Northeastern University to lead a research program on explosives detection, the federal agency announced on its Web site in a Feb. 26 news release.

In an additional development apparently unconnected to the announcement of the new research center, URI evacuated two of its buildings Monday afternoon after campus police were informed of an apparent bomb threat, the Providence Journal reported on its Web site Monday. The buildings were reopened after a state fire marshal bomb squad conducted a search of the areas, the Journal reported.

The URI team of the Center of Excellence for Explosives Detection, Mitigation and Response will be led by Jimmie Oxley, a professor of chemistry and an “internationally renowned expert in explosives,” according to a Feb. 26 statement released by URI.

Of primary concern to her team, Oxley told The Herald, will be improving detection of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.

IEDs have been used since World War II, but the type employed by insurgents in Iraq today presents new challenges. As the U.S. military improved its detection of military-grade explosives, insurgents began to use homemade devices which the military doesn’t know much about, Oxley said.

Her team is investigating ways to improve several high-tech methods of detecting IEDs – including infrared sensors, devices that detect polymers commonly found in explosives, and ion mobility spectrometers, which are currently used in airports to screen carry-on baggage. She said she hopes to see her work employed in the near future and noted that DHS is “funding things quickly to solve problems as soon as possible.”

Oxley’s team, which will include about 50 URI students, will also work to improve transportation security through improved baggage screening and liquid explosive detection.

DHS will grant the university up to $2 million a year for four to six years. Established in 2002 to coordinate national security efforts against terrorism, the federal agency granted $44 million for fiscal year 2009 to universities around the country for research, according to, a Web site maintained by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and other federal agencies.

Along with the URI-Northeastern collaboration, the agency established four other “centers of excellence” which will explore various aspects of national security, including border security, maritime and port security, natural disasters and emergency management security and transportation security, according to the DHS news release.

According to the URI press release, Oxley has extensive experience with explosives and has worked with several law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, the Federal Aviation Administration and the British and Israeli governments.

  The Real News visits a flea market and a church  in Austin to find out how people plan to vote. What I find most interesting is people interviewed at the flea market spoke of change as their deciding factor.

As for the church; Yeah right, Christian belief is important? It didn’t do much for this country the last go around. God help America, God knows we need him now worse that ever. Thanks Dubya!

 ABC News

US billionaire investor Warren Buffett says he believes his country’s economy is already in recession.

In the latest bad news on the US economy, figures show construction spending in January suffered its biggest fall in 14 years.

Mr Buffett says falling house values and rising unemployment have put millions of Americans into a precarious financial position.

Asked in an interview with the CNBC business television network whether he thought the economy was in a recession, Buffett responded: “I think it’s clear. What isn’t clear, is how far it goes.”

“I see what’s going on in terms of the wealth of Americans and how they feel about their houses, I see purchasing power decline, obviously when someone forecloses on a home, the purchasing power of that family is not going to be very much. I see unemployment increasing a little bit,” Mr Buffett said.

“On balance most people’s situation, certainly their net worth, has been heading south now for a considerable period of time,” he added.

 Here is an interview with Buffett on CNBC.

 I find it curious that the Federal Reserve has gone into the movie business. For you consideration.

Source: Rogue Government 

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta this past January released a video on crisis preparedness. The timing of such a video being released is suspicious considering the prospect of bank failures and an inflationary collapse of the U.S. monetary system loom large. The U.S. Dollar is at all-time lows and many top economists are predicting that we are entering a very deep recession if not a depression. Although the video focuses in on a potential disaster like a terrorist attack or a weather related event, a financial disaster easily fits into the scope of this video. The focus of the video is on how the Federal Reserve can immediately bring cash back into an area affected by a disaster. During a financial calamity, this will be a key concern because physical forms of money will reign supreme. Runs on the banks occurred frequently at the start of the Great Depression and they could happen here on a frequent basis if things get worse. The Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke even made the prediction that we could soon see bank failures, so this is a concern not just coming from various economists and pundits but also from the top of this criminal banking system.

Below is taken from the press release issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Watch The Video Here

In the aftermath of a disaster, banks play a vital role, distributing cash to their customers and ensuring that their customers are able to meet the financial needs of their families and their businesses. Drawing on the experience of bankers who have weathered crisis situations, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta developed Crisis Preparedness: Reconnecting the Financial Lifeline, a DVD designed to assist bankers with their institutions’ emergency preparedness efforts. Each section of the DVD profiles a facet of crisis preparedness, from preparing and testing a plan to caring for employees to providing cash to customers to working with banks and first responders. The DVD features interviews with bankers and Atlanta Fed staff. The examples featured in the DVD emphasize the need for crisis preparedness and practical steps institutions can take to be prepared. The DVD includes supplemental in-depth interviews with these featured bankers. Continue reading

By Jocelyn Kaiser
ScienceNOW Daily News

A group of universities today unveiled its answer to public concerns about drug company payments to biomedical researchers: a manual to help schools navigate these conflicts of interest in clinical research. Although there have been other reports released on this topic, this one contains more detailed guidance as well as some new hard-hitting recommendations.In 2004, revelations of unreported financial conflicts of interest in the intramural program at the U.S. National Institutes of Health prompted a ban on industry consulting by NIH scientists. Hoping to stop Congress from imposing such drastic measures in academia, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Association of American Universities (AAU) have now produced a guidebook for universities on how to handle conflicts of interest in clinical research, which might arise, for example, when a researcher consults for a company whose drug she wants to test. Penned by a 21-member committee of deans and others at major research institutions around the United States, the roughly 80-page report* elaborates on recommendations the two groups released in 2001 and 2002.

The advice is more detailed and more pointed than in the past. For example, the report gives schools a 2-year deadline for implementing a conflict-of-interest policy and provides a model of what one might look like. (A recent study found that 62% of medical schools surveyed still don’t have such a policy; see Science, 15 February, p. 889). It also includes 10 case studies of real situations to help schools manage various conflicts that might arise, such as a researcher who invented a medical device and wants to help a company test it in people.

In addition, AAMC and AAU now recommend that researchers report all industry payments to their institution–not just those above a $10,000 or 5% equity threshold set by the government for NIH grantees. The reason for this “major change” is that interest from the public and Congress “is so keen right now,” says AAMC Senior Vice President David Korn. He notes that a half-dozen states have passed laws requiring that all payments from drug companies to physicians be made public, and Senator Charles Grassley (R–IA) has introduced similar federal legislation. The proposed legislation would mandate such reporting; the guidebook’s recommendations are voluntary, and schools need not follow them.

Reporting all drug company payments “is certainly a positive step, because even small gifts can distort one’s objectivity,” says conflict-of-interest expert Sheldon Krimsky of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. He calls the AAMC-AAU report “a serious effort” but notes that it has some limitations. For instance, it doesn’t say that conflict-of-interest decisions should be made public.

Bio-Lab in Athens Creates Concern – WNEG TV 

Kathy Prescott and Grady Thrasher of AthensFAQ discuss NBAF on News Channel 32 WNEG-TV.

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