Archive for October, 2010

How homeowners are fighting back and winning to prevent foreclosure

Newscast Media — Below are guidelines recommended to homeowners facing foreclosure should follow to empower them in order to file a suit against your lender.

(i) Look at your Truth in Lending statement and your note. Almost everyone will have a principal and interest on the note, that is different from the principal and interest on the Truth in Lending statement.

(ii) Run an amortization on both of them. The amount that you would overpay when you run the Truth and Lending statement may amount to tens of thousands of dollars as compared to what the actual numbers are on the note. (e.g $45,000)

(iii) After running the calculations, take that as a fraud claim, because in a fraud claim you do not file for the amount you have been defrauded of, but the actual amount you would have been defrauded of, had their plan come to fruition. However, you don’t sue for $45K. You sue for triple.($45,000 X 3 = $135,000

(iv) Also look at the lender fees. The lender is only allowed to charge the borrower those fees the borrower would have to pay if they purchased the house in cash, and those fees, the lender must pay to a third party vendor. But at closing, they didn’t provide you with any documentation to show you that the fees were (a) Proper (b) Allowed by law (c) That the services provided by the vendor were necessary (d) That the amounts charged were reasonable (e) Neither did he show you his disbursement, to show you that he didn’t take an unauthorized markup on the amounts charged. If they can’t produce these documents, then the transaction was bogus. It was a fraud, and the bank can’t foreclose on you.

(v) Ask them to show you the Original Note. Because these mortgages have been sold over and over again, it is almost impossible for the party foreclosing on you to produce the original note. Most mortgages also have MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration System) as the beneficiary which has already been ruled by courts as fraudulent.

(1) U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Linda Riegle has ruled that the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) could not represent lenders seeking to foreclose on delinquent homeowners already in bankruptcy unless it could produce the actual loan note. This goes to the heart of how home lending has evolved over the past two decades, with a loan rarely staying on the books of the originator but often being sold several times to other institutions or investment groups. As a result, producing a loan document is far more complex than opening a drawer in a filing cabinet.

(2)A California judge made this ruling about MERS: “Since no evidence of MERS’ ownership of the underlying note has been offered, and other courts have concluded that MERS does not own the underlying notes, this court is convinced that MERS had no interest it could transfer to Citibank. Since MERS did not own the underlying note, it could not transfer the beneficial interest of the Deed of Trust to another. Any attempt to transfer the beneficial interest of a trust deed without ownership of the underlying note is VOID under California law.”

In other words, since MERS didn’t own the underlying note, it couldn’t transfer the beneficial interest of the Deed of Trust to Citibank. In this decision the court found that MERS was acting “only as a nominee,” under the Deed of Trust, and that there was no evidence of the note being transferred.

The judge’s opinion in this case also said that “several courts have acknowledged that MERS is not the owner of the underlying note and therefore could not transfer the note, the beneficial interest in the deed of trust, or foreclose on the property secured by the deed”, citing cases of: In Re Vargas, California Bankruptcy Court; Landmark v. Kesler, Kansas decision as to lack of authority of MERS; LaSalle Bank v. Lamy, a New York case; and In Re Foreclosure Cases, the “Boyko” decision from Ohio Federal Court.

And the court concluded by stating:

“Since the claimant, Citibank, has not established that it is the owner of the promissory note secured by the trust deed, Citibank is unable to assert a claim for payment in this case.”

What the courts in California said is that MERS can’t foreclose and CITIBANK can’t collect.

Mortgage Crime:
ice Legal :

2 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - October 29, 2010 at 11:03 pm

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Rand Paul leads Jack Conway by 53 percent to 41 percent

Jack Conway and Rand Paul

Newscast Media — According to Rasmussen’s latest poll, Rand Paul still holds a comfortable lead and is ahead by 12 points. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the state, taken Wednesday night, shows Paul with 53 percent support to Conway’s 41 percent Two percent prefer some other candidate in the race, and four percent are undecided.

After narrowing somewhat last week, the race moved back to where it’s been for most of the year. As a result, it’s moving back from Leans Republican to Solid Republican in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Senate Balance of Power rankings. In 12 surveys prior to last week, Paul had led by seven to 15 points each time, earning 46 percent to 59 percent of the vote. Conway, Kentucky’s current attorney general, picked up 34 percent to 42percent support in those same surveys.

The candidates held their final debate on Monday night, and Democrats are now trying to capitalize on a violent incident outside the debate involving a Paul supporter and an liberal activist. Former President Clinton is scheduled go come to the state on Monday to campaign for Conway.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 9:20 pm

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Sarah Palin signals that she could run for office in 2012

Sarah Palin

Newscast Media — Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has hinted that she could run for the presidency in 2012 if there was no other Republican candidate she felt she could do the job.

“If there’s nobody else to do it, then of course I would believe that we should do this,” Mrs Palin said in an interview with US celebrity news show Entertainment Tonight, filmed at her home in Wasilla, Alaska.

Palin continued to say, “For me it’s going to entail a discussion with my family, a real close look at the lay of the land.”

Mrs Palin added that it was still “too early for anybody to get up there declaring what their intentions are.” But her comments came after a recent quip that “We can see 2012 from our house,” and the delivery of a speech in Iowa where the first caucuses for the race are held.

November 3, the day after the US midterm elections is unofficially regarded as the start of the 2012 race and potential candidates will soon begin courting donors and testing messages.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - October 28, 2010 at 10:29 pm

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Carly Fiorina bounces back

Carly Fiorina

Newscast Media LAGUNA WOODS – Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, the Republican Senate candidate is back on the campaign trail and is scheduled to appear in the Laguna Woods Village retirement community Thursday afternoon. Fiorina will speak at a rally hosted by the Republican Club of Laguna Woods at Clubhouse 3, 23822 Avenida Sevilla, from 3:30 to 4:40 p.m.

The Orange County appearance is one of two stops in California during Fiorina’s first day back on the campaign trail after being hospitalized Tuesday. Fiorina suffered an infection that stemmed from reconstructive surgery following a bout with breast cancer.

Fiorina’s Twitter feed read Tuesday: “Carly is thankful 4 all the prayers & encouragement received today. She’s anxious 2 get back on the campaign trail and looking fwd 2 victory.”

The event is free and open to the public. Nonresidents of the retirement community must bring the Republican Club’s event flier with their name, driver’s license number, license plate number and vehicle information to enter the gated community.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 8:50 pm

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Bank of America hit with class action foreclosure lawsuit

Bank of America class action suit

Newscast Media — Bank of America has been hit with a class action on behalf of homeowners seeking damages for alleged disregard of foreclosure process rules. The suit, filed Wednesday in federal court in Newark, N.J., accuses Bank of America and two subsidiaries, LaSalle Bank and BAC Home Loans Servicing, of “an undisciplined rush to seize homes” through “pervasive and willful disregard of knowledge, facts and statutes.”

Bank of America has filed foreclosure proceedings on many mortgages in New Jersey without holding the necessary rights as the mortgagee or assignee at the time of foreclosure, the suit says.

“Many thousands of foreclosures are plainly void under statute and settled New Jersey case law. Many borrowers never obtain statutorily required notices, and many foreclosure suits are filed entirely based in inaccurate recitations concerning ownership of the mortgage, the note, or the assignment,” the suit says.

The putative class in the suit, Beals v. Bank of America, N.A., 10-cv-05427, consists of all named defendants in pending New Jersey foreclosure actions initiated by Bank of America or its affiliates. The complaint includes counts of common-law fraud, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing and violations of the New Jersey Fair Foreclosure Act and Consumer Fraud Act. The plaintiffs cite a recent, well-publicized admission by a Bank of America official in a Massachusetts foreclosure case that she signed thousands of foreclosure complaints without reviewing them.

They also say the fact that the bank and its affiliates, by imposing a moratorium on foreclosures from Oct. 8 to Oct. 18 while reviewing their procedures, “have admitted that in all of their foreclosure cases, they, as a moving party, prosecute their claims with a complete disregard of whether or not they have met their burden.”

The plaintiffs claim they are entitled to compensation for emotional distress, damage to their credit scores and time lost from work for attorney meetings and foreclosure proceedings.

They also seek punitive damages and attorney fees as well as declaratory and injunctive relief dismissing the foreclosures of class members, with prejudice, declaring the mortgages and promissory notes of class members void and unenforceable` and rescinding or reforming the mortgages and promissory notes to conform to plaintiffs’ reasonable expectations.

The suit was brought by Lawrence Friscia, head of a Newark firm that counsels distressed homeowners, and his associate, Jonathan Minkove, who say they’ve found that Bank of America regularly negotiates binding agreements to modify mortgage terms and then fails to honor the terms.

The seven named plaintiffs are all New Jersey residents in danger of foreclosure, among them Jose Grullon of Passaic, N.J., whose binding arbitration agreement ending his foreclosure was ignored by Bank of America, and Tanya Beals of Roselle, N.J., who received a mortgage modification but was nonetheless found in default by Bank of America when she made mortgage payments at her new, reduced rate.

“There’s a difference in the fact pattern [among individual cases] but there’s pattern and a practice of blatant disregard for process,” says Minkove. “Any lawyer who’s worth his salt will tell you process matters.”

And when judges call them to case management conferences in their foreclosure cases, outside counsel for Bank of America regularly fail to show up, says Friscia. Worse still, New Jersey’s judges don’t seem to be bothered by such behavior, he says.

“There’s a shocking deference given to Bank of America on the part of the judicial system,” Friscia says.

In the firm’s negotiations on behalf of homeowners, the bank doesn’t bargain in ood faith, says Minkove. For example, the legal department will tell them to speak to the loss mitigation department, which will order them to send in send in documentation. They comply, but bank officials “regularly say they never received it. Therefore, part of what prompted us to action is [the realization that] this is a systemic problem. The left hand doesn’t speak to the right hand,” Minkove says.

A Bank of America spokesman in New York, T.J. Crawford, referred a reporter’s inquiry about the suit to other spokespersons in California, who did not respond to telephone and e-mail messages.

The case has been assigned to District Judge Katharine Sweeney Hayden.

Charles Toutant
New Jersey Law Journal


56 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - October 27, 2010 at 10:22 pm

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Jesse Jackson speaks out against NPR’s firing of Juan Williams

Rev. Jesse Jackson

Newscast Media — On Wednesday, Juan Williams discovered an ally in Rev. Jesse Jackson who compared NPR’s firing of Williams to the Agriculture Department’s firing of Shirley Sherrod.

“NPR was wrong because they did not afford him freedom of speech,” Jackson said. “They did it in a way that was unfair. The context was he was arguing with Bill O’Reilly, saying why he should not be so virulently anti-Muslim. It reminded me so much of the case with Shirley Sherrod. They jumped so quick.”

Jackson continued to say, “They’ve martyred Juan, taking him to another level both with his resources and his authority as a journalist.”

Jackson suggested that NPR’s decision seized on his comments about Muslims as “a pretext” that was primarily motivated by ideology.

“I think that some of this predisposition towards Fox was the reason for the gotcha,” Jackson said. “If they did not want his point of view, they should have said, ‘When your contract is over, you do not fit into our scheme of things.’ And then (he’d) go gracefully and with dignity. But to fire him in that way, and then to suggest he should see a psychiatrist, it was beneath the character and reputation of NPR.”

Williams is now at FOX after being offered a $2 million deal by the network.

1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 8:25 pm

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Latin American leaders not impressed with California marijuana vote


Newscast Media — As the November 2 election date gets closer, several leaders in Latin American nations who are waging war on the production and sale of marijuana have criticized the planned vote to legalize marijuana in the US state of California.

The November 2 ballot was one of the main topics as Juan Manuel Santos, the Colombian president, hosted the leaders of Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and Costa Rica on Tuesday.

“It is confusing for our people to see that while we lost lives and we invest vast resources in the drug war, in the consumerist countries they promote proposals like the California referendum to legalize the production, the sale and the consumption of marijuana,” Santos said.

“I ask myself if the eighth economy of the world, that promotes successfully around the world its technology, its films and its good wine, is going to allow then the export of marijuana to its attractive market?”

Santos said that if Californians approve the so-called Proposition 19, then efforts that have been undertaken with Washington’s support to tackle the drugs trade would have to be reviewed.

The measure would legalize recreational marijuana use and allow adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana.

Residents could cultivate marijuana gardens up to 2.3 square meters on private property. City and county governments would decide whether to allow and tax sales of the drug.

Mexican president Felipe Calderon is unimpressed with Prop 19 and has described the measure as a “terrible inconsistency” in US drug policy.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 7:13 pm

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United Nations embarks on mission to eradicate polio from Africa

Polio vaccinations

Newscast Media –The United Nations has embarked on a mission to eradicate polio from the African continent and has hired nearly 300,000 health workers to reach 72 million children as part of a bid to drive polio out of the continent. Vaccinators will go door-to-door in 15 countries to deliver two drops of oral polio vaccine to every child under the age of five in areas considered to be at highest risk of polio, a highly infectious and sometimes fatal disease that spreads from person to person.

The United Nation claims that the virus could infect virtually everyone who is not yet immune through vaccination, and there is no cure. African leaders have demonstrated unprecedented cooperation and commitment to carry out synchronized immunization activities following the spread of polio from Nigeria to 24 countries in West and Central Africa, as well as in the Horn of Africa.

However, eradication of polio is not complete in Africa, as evidenced by recent residual transmissions in Liberia, a less common type being imported into Mali, and a case in Uganda, which had been polio-free for more than one year.

“In Africa, we are seeing the essential government support that can make the difference between success and failure,” said Luis G. Sambo, African Regional Director for the UN World Health Organization (WHO). “But much more remains to be done to fill the gaps if we are to protect the stunning gains made this year.”

Together with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Rotary International and the Governments of Japan and Germany, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is helping to fund the $43 million synchronized activities.

According to Gianfranco Rotigliano, UNICEF’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa, the continent is on the cusp of an exciting possibility.

“Political leaders across Africa answered the challenge posed by this dreadful disease and the results are before us,” he said. “We need to continue efforts to vaccinate and put the needs of children in Africa first.”

The anti-polio drive kicked off in Côte d’Ivoire today, with similar campaigns being launched on Thursday in Benin, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Immunization activities will begin in Angola and Chad on 29 October, and in Sudan on 1 November.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
US Agency for International Development (USAID)
Rotary International and the Governments of Japan and Germany
United Nations Internation Children’s and Education Fund (UNICEF)

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - October 26, 2010 at 10:17 pm

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Latest Rasmussen poll shows Gov. Rick Perry with solid lead

Gov. Rick Perry

Newscast Media — He has never lost an election. He has successfully painted his opponents as Washington insiders and used his power of persuasion to brand himself as a political outsider. His name is Gov. Rick Perry, and according to Rasmussen’s latest poll, he continues to maintain a solid lead. Perry polled beyond the 50 percent mark just two weeks ago, when he lead former Houston mayor by double digits polling in at 53 percent to White’s 42 percent.

Now only less than a week from November 2, Perry’s numbers are still solid with 51 percent of the vote, while White attracts 43 percent.

Perry however, is not taking any chances and continues to campaign vigorously. This Thursday the governor will be holding The Tenth Amendment Town Hall hosted by the Texas Conservative Coalition and Empower Texans. It will be a forum to explore solutions both to restoring the constitutional rights of the State of Texas and its people, and to rolling back the growing power and influence of the federal government.

The Town Hall will feature stirring keynote addresses from Judge Andrew Napolitano (author, Fox News contributor, and host of FREEDOMWATCH), Governor Rick Perry, and Attorney General Greg Abbott. Other participants will include conservative state legislators.

For some strange reason, Bill White seldom publicizes his appearances so it is difficult for his supporters to keep track of events held by the former mayor. One would think that since White lacks name recognition, he would bring awareness to the general public his events, but he seems to be satisfied with the way his
campaign is running.

Perry, who is seeking an unprecedented third full-term as governor, has led the race in each of 10 previous surveys dating back to early February. In all the polling, Perry’s support has stayed near the 50 percent mark, ranging from a low of 47 percent to a high of 53 percent. White’s support has been between 38 percent and 44 percent of the vote.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 8:57 pm

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Iran’s Bushehr nuclear plant begins fueling

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Bushehr nuclear plant

Newscast Media — Built with the help of the Russian government, Iran’s Bushehr nuclear plant has began loading fuel into the core of its first nuclear power plant in the southwestern city of Bushehr, officials have said.

A senior nulcear official said on Tuesday, “Nearly 160 fuel rods have been placed into the core of the reactor, which will be the energy production stage and a key stage for its operation”.

The vice president of the nuclear program Ali Akbar Salehi said on state television that it will take “one or two months to reach a 40 or 50 per cent nominal power”.

The 1,000-MW Bushehr plant was built with the help of Russia, who will operate the facility by supplying its nuclear fuel and taking away the nuclear waste. Iran has been subject to four rounds of UN sanctions because of the program.

“Political pressures like sanctions will not impede our progress and will not keep our nation from exercising its inalienable right to the peaceful use of nuclear technology,” Ramin Mehmanparast, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, said in a news conference in the Iranian capital.

Iran expects the plant to finally begin generating energy by early next year.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 7:28 pm

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George Clooney Exposes Bill Maher’s Blatant Dislike for Conservatives

Newscast Media — In this interview with George Clooney, Bill Maher tries to get the actor to agree that conservatives have no empathy. Clooney surprisingly defends conservatives about the issue, leaving Maher speechless.

Clooney gives examples of conservative politicians who have been willing to work with him to resolve the Sudan-Dafur crisis and says that it is in fact conservatives as opposed to liberals who are more willing to tackle the Dafur issue.

2 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - October 25, 2010 at 11:10 pm

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Strikes and riots in France cost the nation $567 million daily

French riots

Newscast Media — The riots and strikes that are sweeping France, are costing the national economy up to $567 million each day, the French finance minister said Monday, as workers continued to block oil refineries and trash incinerators to protest a plan to raise the retirement age to 62.

Rotting piles of garbage — approximately 9,000 tonnes of it — are becoming a health hazard in the Mediterranean city of Marseille, which has been hit hard on land and at sea. Striking dockers at France’s largest port are intermittently blocking ships trying to unload fuel there.

Among the industries on strike are 12 refineries in France which have been shut down for nearly two weeks. Although the government has forced some of them to make stocked fuel available, at least one in four gas stations in France has run dry.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy was steadfast amid the growing pressure, determined to reform the retirement system to ensure funds for future generations as life expectancy increases and the nation’s debt soars.

“We must be aware that in a world without borders we can’t have a French exception … that exists nowhere else,” said lawmaker Pierre Mehaignerie, of Sarkozy’s UMP party.

Strikers were clearly counting on derailing the measure before it is signed into law after this week’s final voting.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 10:34 pm

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Barack Obama’s supporters turn against him

Newscast Media — Some may wonder why Barack Obama’s supporters have turned against him and why the Democratic party has become so unpopular. The answers lie within the promises Obama made when he ran for president. He ran under the banner of hope, but his supporters feel they were given false hope.

In Texas, former mayor Bill White distanced himself from Obama because he didn’t want Gov. Rick Perry to tie him to the Obama Administration policies.

Obama himself admitted that he had become a liability to the Democratic party. Obama is reported to have conceded during one lunch last week as he met with Democrats by saying, “You may not even want me to come to your district.” Obama also doesn’t think his administration is being enough credit for handling the economic crisis. He said, “But here’s the reason: we’ve gone through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. No other depression comes close. When people have gone through that much trauma, people have every right to be scared, to be angry, to be frustrated. And I don’t expect the American people to be satisfied when we’re only half of the way back.”

Polls now suggest that Republicans lead on the generic ballot question – which party’s candidates will you support for the House of Representatives – by an average of 49 to 42 per cent. In no previous election cycle since the Gallup organization started asking the question in 1942 have Republicans led by more than 4 per cent. Now in Gallup’s “low turnout” likely voter model they lead by 17. Republicans seem very likely to win more – perhaps many more – than the 39 seats they need for a majority in the House and might, if they get lucky, win the 10 seats they need for a majority in the Senate. Even White House spokesman Robert Gibbs admitted that they could lose the House of Representative to the Republicans due to voters’ frustration about the economy.

Mr. Gibbs told NBC’s Meet the Press, “There is no doubt there are enough seats at play that could cause Republicans to gain control, there is no doubt about that.”

Should a shift like that occur, it would be difficult for Barack Obama to push through his agenda. Dick Morris takes it a step further. He contends that the GOP will win both the House and the Senate. Writing for the Hill Dick Morris said, “When Republicans are winning issues like education, healthcare and Social Security – normally solidly Democratic issues – a sweep of unimaginable proportions is in the offing.”

If Dick Morris is right, then we will be seeing a repeat of what happened during the Clinton administration in 1994 when the Republicans swept both the House and the Senate to the surprise of the nation. With the Tea Party movement energized, there is no telling what could happen come November.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 9:57 pm

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NASA finds abundance of water on the moon

Lunar exploration by NASA

Newscast Media — NASA scientists recently discovered large amounts of water ice as the agency explored the moon using India’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. Scientists have detected ice deposits near the moon’s north pole. NASA’s Mini-SAR instrument, a lightweight, Synthetic Aperture Radar, found more than 40 small craters with water ice. The craters range in size from 1 to 9 miles (2 to15 km) in diameter. Although the total amount of ice depends on its thickness in each crater, it’s estimated there could be at least 1.3 trillion pounds (600 million metric tons) of water ice.

The Mini-SAR has imaged many of the permanently shadowed regions that exist at both poles of the Moons. These dark areas are extremely cold and it has been hypothesized that volatile material, including water ice, could be present in quantity here. The main science object of the Mini-SAR experiment is to map and characterize any deposits that exist.

The estimated amount of water ice potentially present is comparable to the quantity estimated solely from the previous mission of Lunar Prospector’s neutron data (several hundred million metric tons.) The variation in the estimates between Mini-SAR and the Lunar Prospector’s neutron spectrometer is due to the fact that it only measures to depths of about one-half meter, so it would underestimate the total quantity of water ice present. At least some of the polar ice is mixed with lunar soil and thus, invisible to our radar.

“The emerging picture from the multiple measurements and resulting data of the instruments on lunar missions indicates that water creation, migration, deposition and retention are occurring on the moon,” said Paul Spudis, principal investigator of the Mini-SAR experiment at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston.

“The new discoveries show the moon is an even more interesting and attractive scientific, exploration and operational destination than people had previously thought.”

“After analyzing the data, our science team determined a strong indication of water ice, a finding which will give future missions a new target to further explore and exploit,” said Jason Crusan, program executive for the Mini-RF Program for NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate in Washington.

Source: NASA

1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - October 22, 2010 at 9:06 pm

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George Bush’s Decision Points goes viral on the Web

Newscast Media — Bypassing the traditional means of promoting a book, former president George W. Bush is taking advantage of social media and is making his soon-to-be released book “Decision Points” go viral.

“I wanted to give readers a glimpse at the presidency from my perspective,” Bush said in the three-minute clip, which was posted earlier this month by and publisher Crown Books. The book publisher’s promotional site for the book also links to the former president’s Facebook page and a Twitter feed.

Some of the topics include his reasons for entering politics, the difficulty of the decision he made to run for president, and some of his early Oval Office choices, including his controversial policy on stem-cell research.

Bush said that the book opens with his retelling of his decision to stop drinking at age 40 and the role “faith” played in that decision. Later chapters will focus on the “horrors and heroism” of Sept. 11, 2001; the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina; the decision to wage wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the financial crisis facing America when Barack Obama took office.

“I reflect on what I got right, what I got wrong, and what I’d do differently if I had the chance,” the former president said in the video.

Bush will sit down with TODAY’s Matt Lauer for a prime-time special airing Nov. 8 and will appear live on TODAY Nov. 10.

Decision Points which will be released Nov. 9, will have a print run of 1.5 million copies — the same number given six years ago for Bill Clinton’s “My Life.”

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 7:53 pm

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Taiwanese woman to marry self due to lack of eligible mates

Chen Wei-yih

Newscast Media — The single Taiwanese woman named Chen Wei-yih has posed for a set of photos in a white wedding dress, enlisted a wedding planner and rented a banquet hall for a marriage celebration with over two dozen of her closest friends and family. The 30-year-old office worker from Taipei will hold the reception next month.

This solo wedding will go against Asian wedding tradition in which a bride and groom are expected to be present at the ceremony. Chen Wei-yih is simply celebrating her independence by marrying herself, because she says she can’t seem to find an eligible man who suits her fancy.

“Age 30 is a prime period for me, my work and experience are in good shape, but I haven’t found a partner, so what can I do?”

Only two fifths of women surveyed earlier this year by the education ministry said they imagined married people could live better than singles, local media said.

“I was just hoping that more people would love themselves,” said Miss Chen, who will go on a solo honeymoon to Australia.

She said her mother had insisted on a groom at first but later jumped aboard the solo marriage plan.

However, according to Taiwanese law, Miss Chen cannot officially register a marriage to herself, so if she finds a man later she will wed again.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 6:26 pm

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Public will soon have access to Dead Sea Scrolls online

Dead Sea Scrolls

Newscast Media — On Tuesday, Google and the IAA (Israel Antiquities Authority) announced from Jerusalem that they will release the Dead Sea Scrolls online.

“Putting the Dead Sea Scrolls online is the ultimate way to share the scrolls with the public and the scholarly world,” said Pnina Shor, project manager on behalf of the IAA.

The collection of documents consists of about 30,000 fragments of the scrolls, which are approximately 2,000 years old. There are 900 religious manuscripts found throughout the scroll fragments and they stretch as far as 30 feet. The parchment and papyrus scrolls now sit in temperature-controlled rooms at the Israel Museum. Only trained workers are allowed to handle the fragile artifacts. The Dead Sea Scrolls include the oldest written record of the Old Testament ever found. Written between the second century B.C. and the first century A.D., they are 800-1,000 years older than previously-known manuscripts.

The purpose of the online project, Shor explained, is to widen the access of the scrolls.

“By putting them online, we will enable people from all over the world by the click of a button to sit on their couches and go through them, read through them,” Shor said.

Using technology developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, the IAA will image the fragments to be posted. Information along with the images including transcriptions, translations, commentaries and bibliography will be posted by Google-Israel.

“We are establishing a milestone connection between progress and the past to preserve this unique heritage for future generations,” said Shuka Dorfman, general director of the IAA, according to

“At the end of a comprehensive and profound examination, we have succeeded in recruiting the best minds and technological means to preserve this unrivaled cultural heritage treasure which belongs to all of us, so that the public with a click of the mouse will be able to freely access history in its fullest glamour,” Dorfman added.

The First stages of the project will be available online, and completed within the next five years.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 4:15 pm

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Ousted NPR journalist Juan Williams stands by his words

Bill O'Reilly and Juan Williams

Newscast Media — Last night word got out that NPR had let Juan Williams go for aying this week on Fox News that he gets “nervous” and “worried” around Muslims on airplanes.

Responding to his firing today on Fox News, Williams stood by his original comments. He said he was trying to tell host Bill O’Reilly that Americans have “to make sure we don’t have any outbreak of bigotry” but that there’s a reality you cannot ignore that 9/11 was connected to Islamic radicalism:

WILLIAMS: Wednesday afternoon, I got a message on my cell phone
from Ellen Weiss who is the head of news at NPR asking me to call.
When I called back, she said, “What did you say, what did you mean
to say?” And I said, “I said what I meant to say” which is that it’s
an honest experience that went on in an airport and I see
people who are in Muslim garb who identify themselves as first
and foremost as Muslims, I do a double take. I have a moment
of anxiety or fear given what happened on 9/11. That’s just a
reality. And she went on to say, “Well that crosses the line.” And I
said, “What line is that?”

And she went on to somehow suggest that I had made a bigoted
statement. And I said “that’s not a bigoted statement. In fact, in the
course of this conversation with O’Reilly, I said that we have as
Americans an obligation to protect constitutional rights of everyone
in the country and to make sure we don’t have any outbreak of
bigotry but that there’s a reality. You cannot ignore what happened
on 9/11 and you cannot ignore the connection to Islamic radicalism
and you can’t ignore the fact that what has been recently said in
court with regard to this is the first drop of blood in a Muslim war on

Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of Fox News announced that Fox News has re-signed Juan Williams to an expanded role with the network in a multi-year deal. Williams will host The O’Reilly Factor on Friday night and will appear with Bill O’Reilly on the show Thursday night.

In making the announcement, Ailes said, “Juan has been a staunch defender of liberal viewpoints since his tenure began at Fox News in 1997. He’s an honest man whose freedom of speech is protected by Fox News on a daily basis.”

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - October 21, 2010 at 11:07 pm

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Millions of Californians participate in earthquake drill – Drop Cover Hold On

Newscast Media –Millions of Californian residents today will dive to the ground, climb under desks or other cover, and hold on tight to practice the so-called “Drop, Cover, Hold On” quake response mantra.

“The Great California ShakeOut” is an annual event to keep people aware of the ever-present danger of the Big One, which seismologists warn could kill hundreds, if not thousands of people.

“While the potential earthquake hazards you will experience depend upon your location, everywhere in California is considered at high risk compared to the rest of the country,” drill’s organizers have said.

“We believe that California can become much more prepared for earthquakes — and be ready to recover quickly.”

What to do:

Official rescue teams who have been dispatched to the scene of earthquakes and other disasters around the world continue to advocate use of the internationally recognized “Drop, Cover and Hold On” protocol to protect lives during earthquakes:

* DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
* Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
* HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

If there isn’t a table or desk near you, drop to the ground in an inside corner of the
building and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms. Do not try to run
to another room just to get under a table.

What NOT to do:

DO NOT get in a doorway! An early earthquake image of California is a collapsed adobe home with the door frame as the only standing part. From this came our belief that a doorway is the safest place to be during an earthquake. In modern houses and buildings, doorways are no safer, and they do not protect you from flying or falling objects. Get under a table instead!

DO NOT run outside! Trying to run in an earthquake is dangerous, as the ground is
moving and you can easily fall or be injured by debris or glass. Running outside is especially dangerous, as glass, bricks, or other building components may be falling. You are much safer to stay inside and get under a table.

DO NOT believe the so-called “triangle of life”! In recent years, an e-mail has circulated which has recommends potentially life threatening actions , and the source has been discredited by leading experts.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 9:42 pm

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French police face-off with protestors and activists

French police

Newscast Media BORDEAUX, France — More protestors continue to flood the streets of France in protest over plans by the government to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62. Thousands of students took to the streets of the southwestern city of Bordeaux, carrying banners such as: “We would have burnt this reform but there’s no petrol left.”

Protestors and activists blocked access to Marseille airport for several hours before being cleared by police, causing tailbacks of several kilometres. Troops have also been sent in to clear trash from the streets of the Mediterranean port where collectors are on strike.

“By taking the French economy, businesses and daily life hostage, you will destroy jobs,” Nicholas Sarkozy, the French president, said on Thursday. He also accused trade union leaders of undermining France’s fragile economic recovery.

“We can’t be the only country in the world where, when there’s a reform, a minority wants to block everyone else. That’s not possible. That’s not democracy,” said Sarkozy.

Bernard Thibault, the head of the CGT union, said that faced with government “intransigence”, there was “no reason to stop these protests” and “we recommend further action from next week”.

“We have to continue with the most massive actions possible,” he told local radio.

Unions are to meet on Thursday to decide on holding further mass rallies, possibly on Tuesday, a week after the last main protest.

More than a million people took to the streets then, the sixth day of action since September, to protest against the unpopular plan to raise minimum retirement from 60 to 62 and full pension payments from 65 to 67.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 8:39 pm

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