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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 154387 times)
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« Reply #4575 on: Jul 18th, 2011, 07:33am »

Gorgeous photo! Thanks Phil! grin

Bitsie is doing very well. She's almost back to her annoying little self.

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« Reply #4576 on: Jul 18th, 2011, 07:37am »

New York Times

July 17, 2011
Coming Together to Fight for a Troubled Veteran
By ERICA GOODE

OKEMOS, Mich. — When the standoff began on a humid August night, it seemed destined to become one more case of a returned soldier pulled down by a war he could not leave behind.

Staff Sgt. Brad Eifert circled through the woods behind his house here, holding a .45-caliber pistol. The police were out there somewhere and, one way or the other, he was ready to die.

He raised the gun to his head and then lowered it. Then he fired nine rounds.

“They’re going to take me down, they’re going to finish me off, so,” he remembers thinking, “finish me off.”

Leaving his weapon, he ran into the driveway, shouting, “Shoot me! Shoot me! Shoot me!” The police officers subdued him with a Taser and arrested him. A few hours later, he sat in a cell at the Ingham County Jail, charged with five counts of assault with intent to murder the officers, each carrying a potential life sentence.

In daring the police to kill him, Mr. Eifert, who had served in Iraq and was working as an Army recruiter, joined an increasing number of deployed veterans who, after returning home, plunge into a downward spiral, propelled by post-traumatic stress disorder or other emotional problems.

Their descent is chronicled in suicide attempts or destructive actions that bring them into conflict with the law — drunken driving, bar fights, domestic violence and, in extreme instances, armed confrontations with the police of the kind that are known as “suicide by cop.”

Such stories often end in death or prison, the veteran in either case lost to the abyss.

But something different happened in Mr. Eifert’s case. Headed for disaster, he was spared through a novel court program and an unusual coming together of a group of individuals — including a compassionate judge, a flexible prosecutor, a tenacious lawyer and an amenable police officer — who made exceptions and negotiated compromises to help him.

If he takes advantage of the chance to recover his life, he is likely to avoid incarceration and receive the care he needs to move forward.

How this came about — it evolved over more than seven months, during which Mr. Eifert remained in jail — says much about what is required to pull a psychically wounded soldier back to safety and raises questions about the limitations of the systems in place to deal with troubled veterans, whose trespasses can in many cases be traced to a lack of adequate help earlier on.

Some officials believe that war trauma should not qualify veterans for special treatment in the criminal justice system, especially in cases where public safety is endangered. “P.T.S.D. is not a get out of jail free card,” said a prosecutor in a Missouri case involving a veteran who had a faceoff with the police.

Yet a growing number of legal and law enforcement experts argue that when a veteran’s criminal actions appear to stem from the stresses of war, a better solution than traditional prosecution and punishment is called for. The society that trained them and sent them into harm’s way, they say, bears some responsibility for their rehabilitation. And they point to other exceptions in the legal system like diversion programs for drug offenders and the mentally ill.

“I don’t interpret it as excusing behavior, but as addressing what the behavior is,” said Judge Robert T. Russell Jr. of Buffalo City Court, who founded the first special court for veterans there in 2008. It can provide an alternative to punishment, mandating treatment and close supervision and holding them to strict requirements.

“The benefit is, you increase public safety, you don’t have a person reoffending and, hopefully, that person can become functioning and not suffer the invisible wounds of war,” Judge Russell said.

Mr. Eifert, 36, was fortunate that, just months before, his county had become one of 80 jurisdictions around the country that have adopted the veterans court model. But the resolution of his case took more than that.

The judge had to take an interest in his case and accept him in the court, which did not normally hear serious cases involving the use of a firearm.

The prosecutor had to ultimately decide that Mr. Eifert’s emotional difficulties warranted leniency.

The police officer, who, although he had feared for his life during the standoff — “This is probably not going to end well,” he remembers thinking — had to agree to drop the charges of assault with intent to murder.

A judge advocate general officer at Fort Knox, Ky., where the Army’s recruiting command is based, had to argue to reverse the discharge under other than honorable conditions set in motion by the Army after his arrest, which would have deprived him of most of his military benefits, including the services of the Department of Veterans Affairs. A lawyer, Frank Reynolds, had to work to put all the pieces together.

“The justice system is a system of black and white, and most cases of warriors are gray,” said Jeff Murphy, a retired lieutenant and crisis team intervention coordinator for the Chicago Police Department who conducts training on dealing with veterans. Mr. Eifert’s case, he said, offered a template of how to resolve such situations. “You need champions that understand the dynamics of the stresses that military veterans are experiencing,” he said, adding, “And if everybody doesn’t agree, it falls apart.”

A War That Lingered

Even as he returned home from Iraq to Fort Carson, Colo., in 2006, his uniform covered with medals, Mr. Eifert knew something was wrong. The finely honed aggression that had carried him through deployments as an infantry gunner and a truck commander during two of the war’s most violent years was still very much alive inside him.

He was irritated by bad drivers: “You’re so used to being king of the road, to having people get out of the way,” he said.

He was irritated by the seeming obliviousness of the people around him. “None of these people are thinking about people over there sweating and bleeding and struggling right now,” he would think in a store or on the street.

Mr. Eifert wanted to go back into combat, but the Army had other plans, sending him to Michigan as a recruiter. At a mental health screening, he told an Army psychiatrist that he was drinking too much, having panic attacks, waking up from nightmares — his house exploding, his hand being blown off.

“It’s normal,” he said she told him. “You’ll get over it.”

But as he moved through his life — divorcing his first wife, taking up his new job at the Great Lakes Recruiting Battalion, marrying a woman with three children he had met through eHarmony — the volatile emotions stayed with him. He won honors as a recruiter, but he continued drinking, sometimes as much as a fifth of Jack Daniel’s a day.

He was haunted by memories: friends being killed; the day he shot up a house filled with women and children, killing many of them; another when he watched a truck full of military contractors burn and did nothing to save them.

He no longer believed in the war or in his recruiting job. “Everybody I put in I know is going to get deployed,” he kept thinking, “and I have to look their parents in the face and be like, ‘It’s not that bad, look at me, I’m great after two deployments. Your son will be fine.’ ”

An operation for a shoulder injury did not heal properly and added to Mr. Eifert’s depression. In February 2010, he put a gun to his head in his garage, and after seeking help the next day went to the Veterans Affairs hospital in Ann Arbor. But he was released after a four-hour evaluation with prescriptions for psychiatric medication and counseling. A few months later, he made a second suicide attempt.

“I just felt totally hopeless in every situation in my life,” he recalled, “like I had no control over anything, I couldn’t do anything. I was just living, you know, like floating.”

The day of the standoff, Aug. 9, 2010, started badly. Mr. Eifert did not sleep well. He got a Facebook message from his brother, a soldier stationed in Afghanistan, saying that the base there had been hit by truck bombs. He had a minor argument with his father-in-law, a man he respected greatly.

In the afternoon, he went to his grandparents’ house in nearby Mason and sat on the patio, smoking cigarettes and drinking. When his grandmother asked him what was wrong, he told her that he felt like a failure and that he hated his life.

“And we cried, she cried, and she held me,” he said.

He called his commanding officers and told them he needed help. “I’m tired of drinking, I’m tired of feeling hopeless, I’m tired of feeling depressed, I’m tired of feeling angry,” he said he told them. “I’m tired of my life.”

A first sergeant and a captain from the recruiting command met him at his grandparents’ house, and said they would drive him to a hospital in two cars, the sergeant driving his. An Army document filed in the case said that, during a stop at a 7-Eleven along the way, Mr. Eifert became “belligerent,” demanding his car keys. When they refused, Mr. Eifert shoved the sergeant, ripped the first sergeant stripes off his chest, grabbed the keys and drove off, the document said.

Mr. Eifert said the officers had agreed to let him stop at his house to say goodbye to his wife and then reneged. To him, it seemed “another handshake and a smile, just a false promise.”

At 4:45 p.m. that day, his wife, Michelle, got a text from him, saying “You don’t need me.” When he came home, he was drunk and unreachable.

“He just kept repeating: ‘They lied to me. They lied to me. They’re coming after me,’ ” she said.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/18/us/18vets.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #4577 on: Jul 18th, 2011, 07:40am »

LA Times

Scotland Yard chief resigns in tabloid scandal

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Paul Stephenson says he is stepping down because of continued criticism and speculation over links between British police and Rupert Murdoch's news empire.

By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
5:00 PM PDT, July 17, 2011
Reporting from London


The head of Scotland Yard resigned amid a phone-hacking scandal that has reached into the highest levels of public life in Britain, a shocking turn of events that came hours after the arrest of one of media baron Rupert Murdoch's most trusted deputies.

Paul Stephenson on Sunday night said he was stepping down as commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, as Scotland Yard is formally known, because of continued criticism and speculation over links between senior police officials and Murdoch's media empire.

Stephenson's announcement came hours after Rebekah Brooks, the former chief of Murdoch's British operations, was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept private voicemail messages and on corruption charges stemming from bribes allegedly paid to police officers by journalists in exchange for information.

The two surprising developments are certain to focus greater attention on Murdoch's scheduled appearance Tuesday before a parliamentary committee to answer questions on the allegations of large-scale cellphone hacking by the News of the World, a now-defunct tabloid owned by his media conglomerate News Corp.

The scandal has reached far beyond the media to envelop the police, who have been accused of conducting a halfhearted investigation into the hacking allegations in order to preserve a good relationship with the press, and high-ranking politicians, who have also been criticized for maintaining too-cozy ties with the media, Murdoch's newspapers in particular.

Public confidence in key institutions of British society — the police, politicians and the press — has now been badly shaken.

Stephenson acknowledged that Scotland Yard's initial inquiry of allegations of phone hacking by the News of the World several years ago was inadequate, though he said he could only rely on the word of his subordinates that the investigation had been thorough and successful.

He said he was unaware of the existence of about 11,000 pages of evidence seized from a private investigator hired by the News of the World — papers that showed the tabloid may have ordered the hacking of the cellphones of nearly 4,000 people, including celebrities, politicians and crime victims.

Stephenson also rejected allegations of impropriety over Scotland Yard's decision to hire a former executive editor of the News of the World as a part-time public-relations consultant in 2009, at a time when the police were being pressed to renew their investigation into the hacking allegations. That editor, Neil Wallis, has since been arrested in connection with the scandal, raising questions about Stephenson's judgment.

"As commissioner, I carry ultimate responsibility for the position we find ourselves in. With hindsight, I wish we had judged some matters involved in this affair differently. I didn't and that's that," he said in a prepared statement.

The hacking allegations are now the subject of a massive new investigation by Scotland Yard headed by officers who were not involved in the original effort. Stephenson said the new inquiry would give the police "the opportunity to right the wrong done to victims."

He said it was important for him to step down now to allow the appointment of a new commissioner in good time before London hosts the Summer Olympics in 2012, which will require a mammoth security operation.

Stephenson brushed aside another controversy over his acceptance of a free stay at a spa connected to Wallis.

"My integrity is completely intact. I may wish we had done some things differently, but I will not lose any sleep over my personal integrity," he said emphatically.

Earlier Sunday, Brooks became the highest-ranking executive in Murdoch's media empire to be arrested in connection with the scandal. After being questioned, she was released on bail early Monday, British news reports said.

Until her resignation Friday, Brooks was head of News International, News Corp.'s British subsidiary, and one of Murdoch's closest confidants. She served as editor of the News of the World from 2000 to 2003. In 2002, the paper is believed to have hacked into the cellphone of a kidnapped 13-year-old girl who was later found slain.

Last week, both Stephenson and Brooks were called to appear at the same parliamentary committee hearing as Murdoch to give evidence. Stephenson is still expected to attend Tuesday; Brooks' participation has now been thrown into doubt.

For Murdoch, the challenge Tuesday will be to strike the right note of humility and contrition, to answer questions as truthfully as he can while protecting his company's interests, and to remember that his audience extends far beyond the handful of lawmakers before him to millions of television viewers worldwide.

Analysts said it was the media mogul's only hope for salvaging a reputation so badly battered that a man once powerful enough to make British lawmakers come running finds himself being peremptorily summoned by them instead.

"Sackcloth and ashes from now on" is how Brian Cathcart, a journalism professor and member of a campaign demanding full accountability over the scandal, described the attitude Murdoch must adopt to keep public opinion here from further hardening against him.

Over the weekend, News International took out full-page advertisements in several British newspapers apologizing for the "serious wrongdoing" at the News of the World and promising the company's "full cooperation" with police.

Paul Connew, a former deputy editor of the News of the World and now a public-relations consultant, expects Murdoch to maintain a sorrowful tone at the committee hearing.

"My hunch would be that Rupert would want to make an opening statement when it comes to his turn and make a public apology," Connew said.

"The more candid he is, the more chance … the damage control could be pretty successful," Connew said.

Murdoch, News Corp.'s chairman, will almost certainly deny any personal knowledge of phone hacking at the News of the World. Since the tabloid represented only a minuscule part of his media empire, his denials will seem plausible, analysts say.

It will be considerably more difficult for his son, James, and Brooks to claim ignorance, as they have until now.

The younger Murdoch, chairman of News International, authorized an out-of-court payment of more than $1 million to a hacking victim in 2008, which critics say looks far more like hush money than compensation for an invasion of privacy. James Murdoch maintains that he was not given a full picture by his staff of what was happening at the News of the World when he approved the payout.

Although most parliamentary committee hearings are dull, technical affairs that attract little outside interest, Tuesday's session, which will be broadcast live, is almost certain to draw a global audience.

Patrick Dunleavy, a political analyst at the London School of Economics, said the quality of the questioning by the committee is likely to vary widely. Some lawmakers may relish an opportunity to vent their spleen against a media kingpin before whose power they once trembled; others may ask strong first questions but flail at follow-up ones.

Many of the committee members "are going to be completely out of their depth," Dunleavy said. "It's not like Congress where congressional committees are used to having masses of cameras and masses of people hanging on every word.

"It's probably going to be the globally most watched select committee event ever in the entire history of the U.K. Parliament."


http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-britain-murdoch-20110718,0,917643.story

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« Reply #4578 on: Jul 18th, 2011, 07:45am »

Wired Danger Room

Meet the ‘Keyzer Soze’ of Global Phone-Tracking
By Spencer Ackerman
July 18, 2011 | 7:00 am
Categories: Crime and Homeland Security


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Chances are you’ve never heard of TruePosition. If you’re an AT&T or T-Mobile customer, though, TruePosition may have heard of you. When you’re in danger, the company can tell the cops where you are, all without you knowing. And now, it’s starting to let governments around the world in on the search.

The Pennsylvania company, a holding of the Liberty Media giant that owns Sirius XM and the Atlanta Braves, provides location technology to those soon-to-be-merged carriers, so police, firefighters and medics can know where you’re at in an emergency. In the U.S., it locates over 60 million 911 calls annually. But very quietly, over the last four years, TruePosition has moved into the homeland security business — worldwide.

Around the world, TruePosition markets something it calls “location intelligence,” or LOCINT, to intelligence and law enforcement agencies. As a homeland security tool, it’s enticing. Imagine an “invisible barrier around sensitive sites like critical infrastructure,” such as oil refineries or power plants, TruePosition’s director of marketing, Brian Varano, tells Danger Room. The barrier contains a list of known phones belonging to people who work there, allowing them to pass freely through the covered radius. “If any phone enters that is not on the authorized list, [authorities] are immediately notified.”

TruePosition calls that “geofencing.” As a company white paper explains, its location tech “collects, analyzes, stores and displays real-time and historical wireless events and locations of targeted mobile users.”

It can also work other ways: pinging authorities when a phone used by a suspected terrorist or criminal enters an airport terminal, bus station or other potential target. And it works just as well in monitoring the locations of phones the suspect’s phone calls — and who they call and text, and so on.

For the past four years, TruePosition has quietly taken that tracking technology global. In the U.S., Varano says, TruePosition sells to mobile carriers — though it’s cagey about whether the U.S. government uses its products. But abroad, it sells to governments, which it won’t name. Ever since it came out with LOCINT in 2008, he says, “Ministries of Defense and Interior from around the world began beating down our door.”

That’s got some surveillance experts and mobile activists worried. Keeping suspected terrorists away from nuclear power plants and discovering their networks of contacts is well and good. But in the hands of foreign governments — not all of whom respect human rights — TruePosition tech can just as easily identify and monitor networks of dissidents.

For a company that can do so much to find out where a mobile user is, few outside of the surveillance industry know much about TruePosition. That’s a deliberate strategy on the company’s part, to keep a “low profile from jump,” Varano says. It grants few interviews — a little-noticed Fox News story from 2009 is a rare exception — and discloses little about its foreign clients. Several surveillance experts contacted for this story were unfamiliar with the company.

The result, says Christopher Soghoian, a graduate fellow at Indiana University’s Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, is to make TruePosition the most important global geolocation company you’ve never heard of. “It’s like that line about Keyser Soze from The Usual Suspects — the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist,” Soghoian says. “They’ve done the same thing. Staying entirely below the radar.”

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/

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« Reply #4579 on: Jul 18th, 2011, 07:49am »

Reuters

Ratings agencies rattle cages in U.S., Europe

By Walter Brandimarte
NEW YORK | Sun Jul 17, 2011 11:58am EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The credit ratings agencies are again angering governments, but this time they are taking on the big fish of the world economy.

From Washington to Brussels, Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch have added to the intense pressure on governments trying to deal with crushing sovereign debt.

Their warnings about the precarious finances of the world's top economies have also roiled investors more accustomed to seeing emerging market countries take the brunt of criticism.

Tension hit new highs on both sides of the Atlantic last week as Moody's and Standard & Poor's threatened to downgrade the United States' prized "triple-A" rating.

A few days earlier, Moody's slashed ratings in Ireland and Portugal to "junk" status, triggering an outcry from European officials.

"These opinions, they continue to give them in such a way that it worsens the crisis," Ewald Nowotny, a member of the European Central governing council, said on Tuesday, referring to the agencies. He said markets could live without them.

Now that the agencies are focusing their fire on the rich world, U.S. and European officials -- long proponents of seeing indebted nations "take their medicine" -- are crying foul.

Their complaints carry a strong sense of deja-vu.

In 1998, when Moody's pushed Brazil deeper into "junk" rating territory, the country's finance ministry called the decision a "mistake" that showed the agency needed to invest more in sovereign risk analysis.

In a sign of the turnaround of the fortunes of many emerging economies, 11 years later in its New York headquarters Moody's received a much friendlier Brazilian finance minister, Guido Mantega, to hand him Brazil's much-awaited "investment-grade" status.

The question now is whether the agencies will be able to withstand much stronger political pressures while the debt crisis rages in developed countries.

In Europe and the United States, policymakers have already promised tougher regulations for the agencies after they failed to spot the housing bubble in the middle of the last decade. and stand accused of contributing to it by giving generous ratings to subprime mortgage bonds.

Rating agencies came under fire from holders of subprime-related securities because raters are paid by the firms issuing the securities. Investors argued that kind of "economic incentive" blurred the analysis.

Sovereign nations, by contrast, do not shell out any money for their ratings.

That has not lessened the political anger. On Wednesday, U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich said: "No nation, agency or organization has the authority to dictate terms to the United States government. Moody's and its compatriot S&P were a direct cause of the near collapse of the economy of the United States."

EUROPEAN RATING AGENCY

In Europe, where the agencies poured cold water on a plan for Greece to extend debt maturities and avoid a default, sentiment is even worse. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso accused them of having an anti-European bias.

Barroso and other policymakers want the creation of an European rating agency which, they argue, would be better equipped to analyze euro zone issues. That argument overlooks the fact that Fitch is majority-owned by a French company.

The intensity of Europe's reaction to the latest sovereign downgrades is proportional to the power that ratings agencies retain over financial markets -- a clout that even the ratings agencies suggest is exaggerated.

In a recent special report about proposed regulation changes, Moody's said the agencies should not be seen as "gatekeepers in the financial markets" and their ratings should not be used as substitutes for disclosure by issuers.

WRONG TIMING

Some say policy makers may have a point when they criticize the timing of the downgrades by ratings agencies.

Their failure to anticipate the severe deterioration of sovereign credit was an issue in emerging market debt crises in the past, said Claudio Loser, a former Western hemisphere director for the International Monetary Fund.

"My experience with the rating agencies in Latin America during the debt crisis of the 1980s and 1990s is that they were a destabilizing factor," said Loser, now president of the Centennial Latin America consulting firm.

"They did not warn the markets when they should have and they did actually create more noise when it was not the appropriate thing to do."

Loser believes policymakers will force the agencies to "adjust significantly," and that they will emerge stronger from this crisis.

(Reporting by Walter Brandimarte; Editing by David Gaffen, Jennifer Ablan and Maureen Bavdek)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/17/us-usa-debt-ratingsagencies-idUSTRE76G1H220110717

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« Reply #4580 on: Jul 18th, 2011, 07:54am »

Science Daily

NASA's Dawn Spacecraft Enters Orbit Around Asteroid Vesta
ScienceDaily (July 18, 2011)

NASA's Dawn spacecraft on July 16, 2011 became the first probe ever to enter orbit around an object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.



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NASA's Dawn spacecraft, illustrated in this artist's concept, is propelled by ion engines.
(Credit: NASA/JPL)



Dawn will study the asteroid, named Vesta, for a year before departing for a second destination, a dwarf planet named Ceres, in July 2012. Observations will provide unprecedented data to help scientists understand the earliest chapter of our solar system. The data also will help pave the way for future human space missions.

"Today, we celebrate an incredible exploration milestone as a spacecraft enters orbit around an object in the main asteroid belt for the first time," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "Dawn's study of the asteroid Vesta marks a major scientific accomplishment and also points the way to the future destinations where people will travel in the coming years. President Obama has directed NASA to send astronauts to an asteroid by 2025, and Dawn is gathering crucial data that will inform that mission."

The spacecraft relayed information to confirm it entered Vesta's orbit, but the precise time this milestone occurred is unknown at this time. The time of Dawn's capture depended on Vesta's mass and gravity, which only has been estimated until now. The asteroid's mass determines the strength of its gravitational pull. If Vesta is more massive, its gravity is stronger, meaning it pulled Dawn into orbit sooner. If the asteroid is less massive, its gravity is weaker and it would have taken the spacecraft longer to achieve orbit. With Dawn now in orbit, the science team can take more accurate measurements of Vesta's gravity and gather more accurate timeline information.

Dawn, which launched in September 2007, is on track to become the first spacecraft to orbit two solar system destinations beyond Earth. The mission to Vesta and Ceres is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., for the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Dawn is a project of the directorate's Discovery Program, which is managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

The University of California, Los Angeles, is responsible for the overall Dawn mission science. Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., designed and built the spacecraft. The German Aerospace Center, the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, the Italian Space Agency and the Italian National Astrophysical Institute are part of the mission's team. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

For information about the Dawn mission, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/dawn and http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110718001803.htm

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« Reply #4581 on: Jul 18th, 2011, 08:01am »

Geek Tyrant

Joe Johnston Talks more about JURASSIC PARK 4
17 July 2011
by Venkman

It looks like Jurassic Park 4 is actually going to end up happening. Captain America director Joe Johnston has been talking about it for awhile now, but I don't think anyone took it seriously until news broke that producer Steven Spielberg was working on cracking the story for the film with screenwriter Mark Protosevich (I Am Legend and a story credit on Thor). Johnson has offered up a few more little details on this fourth Jurassic Park film and confirms that the film is being discussed.

"We are in discussions about Jurassic Park 4. The most important thing I can tell you is that it starts a new trilogy that will go off in a different direction — a completely different direction that is very exciting, and different from anything we’ve seen. It starts with the history of the first trilogy, but it spins it off in a completely different direction. That’s all I can tell you."

This isn't much different from a previous interview he gave earlier in the year when he said,

"Well, there is going to be a Jurassic Park IV. And it's going to be unlike anything you've seen. It breaks away from the first three—it's essentially the beginning of the second Jurassic Park trilogy. It's going to be done in a completely different way. That's pretty much all I can tell you."

So Jurassic Park 4 is going to be different from anything we've seen, and it will go in a completely different direction than the previously released films. I'm really interested to see what it is they are planning. At this point we can only speculate about where they are going to take the franchise, but it doesn't sound like they will be taking the story back to the island. Maybe the dinosaurs have gone mainstream? Maybe they've multiplied and are taking over the world. Perhaps it will be a post-apocalyptic film with dinosaurs, and the humans are in a situation where they are forced to survive in this dino ridden world.

Where do you think they plan on taking the story for this new Jurassic Park trilogy?

http://geektyrant.com/news/2011/7/17/joe-johnston-talks-more-about-jurassic-park-4.html

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« Reply #4582 on: Jul 18th, 2011, 09:15am »

Happy Birthday!

Just think; if these guys are successful, someday, maybe you can take years OFF instead of ADDING!! grin


Cornell Team Builds Space-Time Invisibility Cloak

First Demonstration of Time Cloaking


Physicists have created a "hole in time" using the temporal equivalent of an invisibility cloak.


kfc 07/14/2011

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Invisibility cloaks are the result of physicists' newfound ability to distort electromagnetic fields in extreme ways. The idea is steer light around a volume of space so that anything inside this region is essentially invisible.

The effect has generated huge interest. The first invisibility cloaks worked only at microwave frequencies but in only a few years, physicists have found ways to create cloaks that work for visible light, for sound and for ocean waves. They've even designed illusion cloaks that can make one object look like another.

Today, Moti Fridman and buddies, at Cornell University in Ithaca, go a step further. These guys have designed and built a cloak that hides events in time.

Time cloaking is possible because of a kind of duality between space and time in electromagnetic theory. In particular, the diffraction of a beam of light in space is mathematically equivalent to the temporal propagation of light through a dispersive medium. In other words, diffraction and dispersion are symmetric in spacetime.

That immediately leads to an interesting idea. Just as its easy to make a lens that focuses light in space using diffraction, so it is possible to use dispersion to make a lens that focuses in time.

Such a time-lens can be made using an electro-optic modulator, for example, and has a variety of familiar properties. "This time-lens can, for example, magnify or compress in time," say Fridman and co.

This magnifying and compressing in time is important.
The trick to building a temporal cloak is to place two time-lenses in series and then send a beam of light through them. The first compresses the light in time while the second decompresses it again.

But this leaves a gap. For short period, there is a kind of hole in time in which any event is unrecorded.

So to an observer, the light coming out of the second time-lens appears undistorted, as if no event has occurred.
In effect, the space between the two lenses is a kind of spatio-temporal cloak that deletes changes that occur in short periods of time.

The device has some limitations. The Cornell time cloak lasts only for 110 nanoseconds--that's not long. And Fridman and co say the best it can achieve will be 120 microseconds.
But it's early days yet. Given the rapid development of spatial cloaks, it'd be a brave man who'd bet on this being the last word.

Fridman and pals have clearly made themselves an interesting toy but they modestly refrain from speculating about the applications for their time cloak.

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/26992/
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« Reply #4583 on: Jul 18th, 2011, 12:31pm »

Ted Roe on the "Church of Mabus"-radio show (mimefromhell's aka Jeffery Pritchett's show). All about his work with NARCAP concerning investigating UFO-incidents, their corporation with the government of Chile and about shamanism.

http://paranormalradionetwork.org/2011/07/16/the-church-of-mabus-ted-roe-narcap-the-shaman-and-the-ocean-of-consciousness.aspx
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« Reply #4584 on: Jul 18th, 2011, 7:19pm »

Thank you Swamprat. grin

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« Reply #4585 on: Jul 18th, 2011, 7:20pm »

on Jul 18th, 2011, 12:31pm, philliman wrote:
Ted Roe on the "Church of Mabus"-radio show (mimefromhell's aka Jeffery Pritchett's show). All about his work with NARCAP concerning investigating UFO-incidents, their corporation with the government of Chile and about shamanism.

http://paranormalradionetwork.org/2011/07/16/the-church-of-mabus-ted-roe-narcap-the-shaman-and-the-ocean-of-consciousness.aspx


Thanks Phil.

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« Reply #4586 on: Jul 19th, 2011, 07:28am »

New York Times

July 18, 2011
Marijuana May Be Studied for Combat Disorder
By DAN FROSCH

DENVER — For years now, some veterans groups and marijuana advocates have argued that the therapeutic benefits of the drug can help soothe the psychological wounds of battle. But with only anecdotal evidence as support, their claims have yet to gain widespread acceptance in medical circles.

Now, however, researchers are seeking federal approval for what is believed to be the first study to examine the effects of marijuana on veterans with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder.

The proposal, from the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies in Santa Cruz, Calif., and a researcher at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, would look at the potential benefits of cannabis by examining 50 combat veterans who suffer from the condition and have not responded to other treatment.

“With so many veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is a widely accepted need for a new treatment of PTSD,” said Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of the psychedelic studies group. “These are people whom we put in harm’s way, and we have a moral obligation to help them.”

In April, the Food and Drug Administration said it was satisfied that safety concerns over the study had been addressed by Mr. Doblin and Dr. Sue Sisley, an assistant professor of psychiatry and internal medicine at Arizona, according to a letter from the drug administration provided by Mr. Doblin.

But the letter also noted that the project could not go forward until the researchers identified where they would get their marijuana. And that cannot happen, Mr. Doblin said, until the project is approved by a scientific review panel from the Department of Health and Human Services, which includes representatives from an assortment of federal health agencies.

If the proposal is approved, Mr. Doblin said, the researchers will use marijuana grown by the University of Mississippi under a contract with the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It is the only marijuana permitted to be used in federally approved studies.

A Health and Human Services spokeswoman said the proposal was still under review. “The production and distribution of marijuana for clinical research is carefully restricted under a number of federal laws and international commitments,” the spokeswoman, Tara Broido, said in an e-mail. “Study proposals are reviewed for scientific quality and the likelihood that they will yield data on meaningful benefits.”

An institutional review board must also approve the study, as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration, Mr. Doblin said.

Getting final approval from the federal government could prove difficult, Mr. Doblin and Dr. Sisley conceded. They said it was far more challenging to get authorization for a study that examines the benefits of an illegal drug than its risks.

“We really believe science should supersede politics,” Dr. Sisley said. “This illness needs to be treated in a multidisciplinary way. Drugs like Zoloft and Paxil have proven entirely inadequate. And there’s anecdotal evidence from vets that cannabis can provide systematic relief.”

Medical marijuana is legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia. But only New Mexico and Delaware specifically list post-traumatic stress disorder as a qualifying condition for treatment, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington-based group that supports legal regulation of the drug.

Currently, nearly a third of the 4,982 patients approved for medical marijuana in New Mexico suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, more than any other condition, according to the state’s health department. It is unclear how many are veterans.

One recent Army veteran from Texas who fought in Iraq for 18 months beginning in 2006, said he used marijuana three times a day in lieu of the painkillers and antidepressants he was prescribed after returning home. He asked that his name not be used because Texas does not allow medical marijuana.

The veteran, who said he had been shot in the leg and suffered numerous head injuries from explosions while deployed as a Humvee gunner, said marijuana helped quiet his physical and psychological pain, while not causing the weight loss and sleep deprivation brought on by his prescription medications.

“I have seen it with my own eyes,” he said. “It works for a lot of the guys coming home.”

If the study is approved, veterans who participate would be observed on an outpatient basis over three months, Mr. Doblin said. During two four-week increments, they would be given up to 1.8 grams of marijuana a day to treat anxiety, depression, nightmares and other symptoms brought on by PTSD. Researchers would also observe the veterans for periods when they are not permitted to use marijuana.

In addition to a placebo, researchers plan to use four marijuana strains in the study, each containing different levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a primary component of the drug. One of the strains will also contain cannabidiol (CBD), another ingredient thought to have an anti-anxiety effect.

Mr. Doblin said the veterans would be allowed to use the marijuana at their own discretion. Half will be instructed to smoke the drug, while the other half will inhale it through a vaporizer.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/19/us/19pot.html?_r=1&ref=us

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« Reply #4587 on: Jul 19th, 2011, 07:34am »

Washington Post

U.S.-India nuclear deal drifts dangerously
By Simon Denyer and Rama Lakshmi
Published: July 15

NEW DELHI — The U.S.-India nuclear deal, hailed as the centerpiece of a new partnership between the world’s two most populous democracies, has drifted dangerously since it was signed in 2008, analysts and former negotiators from both countries say.

The risk is that other countries, particularly Russia and France, might benefit from all the hard work that the United States put into the deal.

The landmark agreement was supposed to allow the sale of nuclear reactors and fuel to India, even though the country has nuclear weapons but has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Advocates of the deal said it would bring tens of billions of dollars in business to the United States and create thousands of jobs, while also cementing a new partnership between the two nations to counter China’s rise.

The deal, symbolic of the new alliance, is not in any political danger. But U.S. companies have not sold any reactors or equipment to India. American nuclear-fuel firms, which face no legal or policy hurdles, also have not begun selling to India.

Waning enthusiasm

The agreement, personally propelled by President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, overcame enormous opposition from the nonproliferation lobby in the United States and from some Indians, who said the conditions attached to the deal undermined their country’s sovereignty. But once the ink was dry and the hard work of implementation began, the momentum stalled.

India’s enthusiasm for nuclear power has been dented by the nuclear disaster in Japan and by problems in finding available land to build reactors. Meanwhile, onerous conditions imposed by the Indian Parliament on suppliers of nuclear equipment have tilted the playing field away from private-sector U.S. companies in favor of state-owned companies from Russia and France, analysts say.

“You can see a possible outcome where the U.S. has expended most of the diplomatic capital but companies in other countries are the main beneficiaries,” said Richard Fontaine of the Center for a New American Security in Washington.

As Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visits India this week, the deal’s supporters hope she can reignite India’s enthusiasm to clear the remaining hurdles.

“The Obama administration has done everything it can to implement the agreement,” said R. Nicholas Burns, who was an undersecretary of state in the previous administration and spent three years negotiating the deal. “The problem, from my perspective, is on the Indian side. We haven’t seen the same degree of political commitment to follow it through.”

Singh put his government’s survival on the line to pass the deal. But in a country scarred by the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster, which claimed more than 15,000 lives, he was powerless to prevent the passage last year of a law that would make suppliers of nuclear equipment liable for massive claims in the event of a nuclear accident during the reactor’s lifetime.

That raises the risk of doing business in India to levels that U.S. private-sector companies and their insurers cannot accept but that state-backed companies in Russia and France, with the much deeper pockets of their respective governments, might be able to live with. And it puts India far out of step with other countries, which hold plant operators solely liable.

Despite India’s intention to join an international treaty that would restrict liability claims on suppliers, U.S. companies and their insurers are worried that Indian law would still take precedent, and American corporate officials are adamant that the law needs to be changed before they can do business here. The question is whether Singh, who is on the defensive over corruption charges against the government, can amend that legislation.

So while General Electric and U.S.-based, Japanese-owned Westinghouse Electric sit on the sidelines, France’s Areva and Russia’s Rosatom are moving ahead in inking deals to build reactors in India.

“The American things are moving slow,” said Anil Kakodkar, a former chairman of India’s Atomic Energy Commission and a key negotiator of the nuclear agreement. “But it is not India’s fault. We have done everything we are supposed to do.”

A lopsided relationship

In a sense, the stalling of the nuclear deal is indicative of a broader problem in the U.S.-India relationship, Burns and other U.S. analysts said, with Washington making most of the concessions and India seeming less engaged.

President Obama has wooed India assiduously, even supporting its bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. But there was enormous disappointment in Washington when India did not shortlist any U.S. companies when deciding on a major overhaul of its fleet of fighter planes this year, a deal worth billions of dollars that could have heralded a new era of defense cooperation.

With its economy and its demand for energy growing rapidly, India wants to raise its nuclear power generating capacity from the current 5,000 megawatts a year to more than 60,000 megawatts by 2032.

But there is a growing sense that this target might be overly ambitious.

In sites set aside for U.S. and French reactors, farmers have refused to sell their land. To allay the fears, Singh ordered in April a safety review of all existing reactors, increased compensation money for farmland and pledged to create an autonomous atomic regulatory board to oversee the plants.

Even so, about 250 farmers stormed out of a recent meeting with officials called to discuss compensation for land meant for U.S. reactors in Mithi Virdi, in western India.

“It is fertile land, and they don’t want to part with it,” said Krishna Kant, an anti-nuclear campaigner in the area.“Now, when I go to the villages to meet people, they say, ‘Look what has happened in a rich country like Japan.’ ”

Complications abound

There are other hurdles, too. New Delhi has not given an assurance to Washington that Indian private companies will not re-transfer American nuclear technology and information to others, a requirement under U.S. law.

And before India can buy American and French reactors, New Delhi has to sign a nuclear cooperation deal with Japan. Those reactors use Japanese parts and technology, which cannot be supplied until Japan changes its law to allow nuclear trade with India.

The situation became more complicated last month when the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which has about four dozen members, voted at a meeting in The Hague to bar access to sensitive uranium enrichment and reprocessing technology, which can be used to make atomic bombs, to countries that have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In 2008, the group gave an exemption to India, but the decision last month was seen in New Delhi as a sign that it was still not trusted.

Kakodkar called the latest NSG decision a “betrayal” and a huge setback to nuclear commerce.

“The world needs to understand our sensitivities,” Kakodkar said. “We cannot be made a pariah all over again.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia-pacific/us-india-nuclear-deal-drifts-dangerously/2011/07/07/gIQAJTbeGI_story.html

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« Reply #4588 on: Jul 19th, 2011, 07:38am »

Wired

July 19, 1961: Fasten Your Seatbelts, By Love Possessed Will Begin Shortly
By Angela Watercutter
July 19, 2011 | 7:00 am
Categories: 20th century, Culture, Transportation


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1961: Trans World Airlines becomes the first airline to offer regular in-flight movies, launching a form of entertainment that has become a mainstay of air travel.

The first film shown, on a flight from New York to Los Angeles 50 years ago today, was By Love Possessed starring Lana Turner. The screening was in the first-class cabin only and was the result of a eureka! moment by the technology’s mastermind, David Flexer.

Flexer, a film buff who owned a small chain of movie houses, was on a transcontinental flight in 1956 when he, as he realized — and recounted to Life magazine — “Air travel is the most advanced form of transportation and the most boring.”

Prior to Flexer’s realization there had a been a few rudimentary in-flight movie screenings. In 1921, for example, attendees at a Chicago fair were treated a flight over the city in a small plane while watching a promotional film for the town. But no airline regularly offered the service.

Flexer decided to see if he could bring his business to the sky. First, he had to overcome some technical problems. He had to find a way to put full films onto single reels that wouldn’t have to be switched. He also needed to build a projector that could withstand the rigors of turbulence and be light enough to mount on a plane.

His engineers told him it simply wasn’t doable.

But after three years of development and $1 million of his own money, Flexer’s team developed a horizontal design that projected large 16mm reels, weighed less than 100 pounds and was sky-ready. Flexer’s new company, Inflight Motion Pictures, then went looking for an in-flight partner.

The airlines weren’t Initially interested in Flexer’s wares. But then TWA, which at the time was looking to increase its profile, agreed to give Inflight a shot. Flexer and his team took a Boeing 707, fitted it with their equipment and spent the early part of 1961 flying around and fixing bugs.

In July of that year TWA began offering films to first class passengers. The response was extraordinary, and soon flyers were paying huge fees to get into first class to catch the show. Before long, in-flight movies were everywhere.

In-your-seat entertainment, of course, went on to become a staple of air travel. And today it is more often than not coupled with in-flight satellite radio as well as video on demand and even wireless internet.

But the next time you send one of those “I’m on a plane!” tweets, just remember the big dream of David Flexer.

http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2011/07/0719twa-inflight-movies/

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« Reply #4589 on: Jul 19th, 2011, 07:42am »

Reuters

Special report: Banks continue robo-signing

By Scot J. Paltrow
NEW YORK/IMMOKALEE, Florida
Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:00pm EDT

NEW YORK/IMMOKALEE, Florida (Reuters) - America's leading mortgage lenders vowed in March to end the dubious foreclosure practices that caused a bruising scandal last year.

But a Reuters investigation finds that many are still taking the same shortcuts they promised to shun, from sketchy paperwork to the use of "robo-signers."

In its effort to seize the two-bedroom ranch house of 87-year-old Margery Gunter in this down-on-its-luck Florida town, OneWest Bank recently filed a court document that appears riddled with discrepancies. Mrs. Gunter, who has lived in the house for 40 years and gets around with the aid of a walker, stopped paying her loan back in 2009, her lawyer concedes. To foreclose, the bank submitted to the Collier County clerk's office on March 3 a "mortgage assignment," a document essential to proving who owns a mortgage once the original lender sells it off.

But OneWest's paperwork is problematic. Among the snags: state law permits lenders to file to foreclose only if they already legally own a mortgage. Yet the key document establishing ownership wasn't signed and officially recorded until months after OneWest filed to foreclose on Mrs. Gunter. OneWest declined to comment on the case.

Reuters has found that some of the biggest U.S. banks and other "loan servicers" continue to file questionable foreclosure documents with courts and county clerks. They are using tactics that late last year triggered an outcry, multiple investigations and temporary moratoriums on foreclosures.

In recent months, servicers have filed thousands of documents that appear to have been fabricated or improperly altered, or have sworn to false facts.

Reuters also identified at least six "robo-signers," individuals who in recent months have each signed thousands of mortgage assignments -- legal documents which pinpoint ownership of a property. These same individuals have been identified -- in depositions, court testimony or court rulings -- as previously having signed vast numbers of foreclosure documents that they never read or checked.

Among them: Christina Carter, an employee of Ocwen Loan Servicing of West Palm Beach, Florida, a "sub-servicer" which handles routine mortgage tasks for banks. Her signature -- just two "C"s -- has appeared on thousands of mortgage assignments and other documents this year.

In a case involving a foreclosure by HSBC Bank USA, a New York state court judge this month called Carter a "known robo-signer" and said he'd found multiple variations of her two-letter signature on documents, raising questions about whether others were using her name. That and other red flags prompted the judge to take the extraordinary step of threatening to sanction HSBC's chief executive officer.

In a phone interview, Carter acknowledged signing large numbers of mortgage assignments this year, but said they all were legally done. To her knowledge, she added, no one else used her name.

'CUTTING CORNERS'

One of the industry's top representatives admits that the federal settlements haven't put a stop to questionable practices.

Some loan servicers "continue to cut corners," said David Stevens, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association. Nearly all borrowers facing foreclosure are delinquent, he said, but "the real question is whether the servicer complied with all legal requirements." The loss of a home is "the most critical time in a family's life," and if foreclosure paperwork is faulty homeowners should contest it. "Families should be using every opportunity they can to protect their rights."

Federal bank regulators signed settlements in March with 14 loan servicers -- banks and other companies that perform tasks for mortgage investors such as collecting payments from homeowners and when necessary, filing to foreclose. The 14 firms promised further internal investigations, remediation for some who were harmed and a halt to the filing of false documents. All such behavior had stopped by the end of 2010, they said.

Of these companies, Reuters has found at least five that in recent months have filed foreclosure documents of questionable validity: OneWest, Bank of America, HSBC Bank USA, Wells Fargo and GMAC Mortgage.

So have half a dozen large servicers that weren't party to the agreements, including Ocwen Financial Corp and units of Credit Suisse Group AG.

Spokesmen for the banks and servicers named in this article said that they halted any wrongdoing after disclosures last autumn of robo-signing led them to revise their practices, and they denied filing false documents since then.

In general, they said their foreclosure cases were legitimate, but for a small number of exceptions, and that criticism by defense lawyers and judges of some types of documentation is based on misinterpretation of the law.

The persistence of the paperwork mess poses a dilemma for American policymakers and society at large.

The vast majority of homeowners in foreclosure are in fact delinquent on their mortgage payments. Many bankers and judges view the issue as a technicality. Regardless of legal niceties, they say, people should pay up or lose the collateral on the loans -- their houses and condos.

Increasingly, though, courts are holding that the trusts suing to foreclose don't actually own the mortgages. Judges have ruled that foreclosing based on flawed or missing evidence violates longstanding laws meant to protect all Americans' property rights.

In a landmark decision in January, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court overturned a foreclosure because of a lack of proper documentation.

"The holder of an assigned mortgage needs to take care to ensure that his legal paperwork is in order," wrote Justice Robert Cordry in a concurring opinion. "Although there was no apparent actual unfairness here to the (homeowners), that is not the point. Foreclosure is a powerful act with significant consequences, and Massachusetts law has always required that it proceed strictly in accord with the statutes that govern it."

(U.S. Bank National Association, trustee, vs. Antonio Ibanez, 458 Mass. 637.)

A THOUSAND QUESTIONS

Reuters reviewed records of individual county clerk offices in five states -- Florida, Massachusetts, New York, and North and South Carolina -- with searchable online databases. Reuters also examined hundreds of documents from court case files, some obtained online and others provided by attorneys.

The searches found more than 1,000 mortgage assignments that for multiple reasons appear questionable: promissory notes missing required endorsements or bearing faulty ones; and "complaints" (the legal documents that launch foreclosure suits) that appear to contain multiple incorrect facts.

These are practices that the 14 banks and other loan servicers said had occurred only on a small scale and were halted more than six months ago.

The settlements included the four largest banks in the United States -- Bank of America Corp, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase & Co, and Citigroup Inc. The other parties were lending units of Ally Financial Inc, HSBC Holdings PLC, MetLife Inc, PNC Financial Services Group Inc, SunTrust Banks Inc, U.S. Bancorp, Aurora Bank, EverBank, OneWest Bank and Sovereign Bank.

The pacts were struck with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the main regulator of national banks, as well as with the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of Thrift Supervision.

Some state and federal officials have called the settlements weak. Authorities are still working out financial penalties to be imposed on the 14 firms. The banks didn't admit or deny wrongdoing, and many of the practices banned were previously illegal anyway, such as filing false affidavits and making false notarizations. And regulators left it to the banks to oversee their own internal investigations.

The OCC confirmed it has received complaints that questionable practices continue. But spokesman Bryan Hubbard said the settlements "are intended to address many of the root causes of improper foreclosure actions," thus preventing future harm.

WAVE OF FORECLOSURES

The collapse of the housing boom in late 2006 led to a wave of foreclosures. Federal Reserve data show that some 4.5 percent of U.S. mortgages are in foreclosure. In 2010, 2.5 million foreclosures were initiated, with a similar number expected this year.

In the housing boom, lenders created millions of new mortgages, packaged them into pools, and securitized them rapidly for sale to investors in so-called mortgage-securities trusts.

The agreements setting up the trusts, called "pooling and servicing agreements," require that key documents, properly executed and endorsed, be turned over immediately for each mortgage when a trust is established. The two most important ones are a promissory note and mortgage assignment.

A mortgage really has two parts. One is the actual mortgage (in some states called a "deed of trust"). Its purpose is to pledge the home as collateral for the loan. To transfer ownership of this collateral pledge, the seller must issue a document called a mortgage assignment. The other is the promissory note, which is the loan agreement itself. The homeowner signs it, promising to pay principal and interest.

The Reuters examination turned up thousands of instances --more than 2,000 in Florida alone -- involving recently filed mortgage assignments which ostensibly transferred mortgages to these trusts years after they were formed.

more after the jump
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/18/us-foreclosure-banks-idUSTRE76H5XX20110718

Crystal
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