Friday, March 11, 2011

Town buried in ash as volcano erupts in Russia's Kamchatka

PREVIEW:JMC Live 3/11/11 JAPAN Earthquake/Tsunami

Earth's Axis MOVED 10 INCHES & Japan's Coast MOVED 2.4 METERS!

USGS Dr. Dave Applegate says the Japan earthquake ruptured a 180 mile long by 50 mile wide section of the Earth's crust.

Scientists from the United States Geological Service answered questions from the public this afternoon, with some startling revelations made.

* The first tsunami wave in Samoa was reportedly one foot tall, but the seventh wave was much larger, indicating coastal areas shoudl remain on tsunami advisory well after the first wave hits, even if that wave appears small.

* 100+ aftershocks have rated 5.0 magnitude or more in Japan since the initial shake.

* Earth's axis has reportedly shifted ten inches as a result of the quake, and Japan's coast is said to have permanently shifted 2.4 metres.

82 Percent Of U.S Schools Could Be Labeled "Failing"

AP) – 2 days ago

The number of schools labeled as "failing" under the nation's No Child Left Behind Act could skyrocket dramatically this year, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday.

The Department of Education estimates the percentage of schools not meeting yearly targets for their students' proficiency in in math and reading could jump from 37 to 82 percent as states raise standards in attempts to satisfy the law's mandates.

The 2002 law requires states to set targets aimed at having all students proficient in math and reading by 2014, a standard now viewed as wildly unrealistic.

"No Child Left Behind is broken and we need to fix it now," Duncan said in a statement. "This law has created a thousand ways for schools to fail and very few ways to help them succeed."

Duncan presented the figures at a House education and work force committee hearing, in urging lawmakers to rewrite the Bush-era act. Both Republicans and Democrats agree the law needs to be reformed, though they disagree on issues revolving around the federal role of education and how to turn around failing schools.

A surge in schools not meeting annual growth targets could have various implications. The most severe consequences — interventions that could include closure or replacing staff — would be reserved for those schools where students have been failing to improve for several consecutive years.

Duncan said the law has done well in shining a light on achievement gaps among minority and low-income students, as well as those who are still learning English or have disabilities. But he said the law is loose on goals and narrow on how schools achieve them.

"We should get out of the business of labeling schools as failures and create a new law that is fair and flexible, and focused on the schools and students most at risk," Duncan said.

Russ Whitehurst, director of the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institute, said some states and districts have dug themselves into a hole by expected greater gains in the final years.

"The reality is coming home that you can't essentially demonstrate very little progress for ten years and then expect all of your progress to occur in the last two or three years," Whitehurst said.

He said some states believed improvement would accelerate as students advanced, creating a "snowball effect," while others put off the heavy lifting to avoid the consequences.

Daria Hall, Education Trust's K-12 policy director, said it was also important to distinguish between schools that don't meet the annual growth benchmark for one year, versus those who have failed to do so for two consecutive years and are labeled as being "in need of improvement."

Both distinctions could mean vastly different outcomes in terms of how many schools are subject to which interventions. The Department of Education was not able to provide data breaking down how many of the 82 percent would be failing to meet yearly goals for one year, versus consecutive years.

Hall said there are many ways states can meet their annual achievement benchmarks, and questioned whether the 82 percent figure took them all into consideration. Amy Wilkins, Education Trust's vice president for government affairs and communications, also noted that schools which are struggling are given various options — contesting Duncan's assessment that the law is tight on means and loose on goals.

Read More From The Associated Press

Lawsuit To Remove "In God We Trust" From U.S Currency Rejected By Supreme Court

(03-07) 17:12 PST WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court turned aside a challenge to "In God We Trust" on the nation's coins and currency Monday, refusing to consider a Sacramento man's claim that the national motto is a government endorsement of religion.

Michael Newdow, an atheist, has filed numerous lawsuits against government-sponsored religious invocations, including the words "under God" that were added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco agreed with him in 2002 that the phrase was religiously motivated and that it sent a message to nonbelievers that they were outsiders. But the Supreme Court dismissed the suit in 2007, saying Newdow lacked standing to represent the interests of his daughter, an elementary school student, because the child's mother had custody of her.

Newdow refiled the suit on behalf of a local parent. But in a 2-1 decision in October, a different appeals court panel said "under God" was a historic, nonreligious recognition of the faith of the nation's founders in a higher power as the source of all rights. Newdow has appealed to the Supreme Court.

In the currency case, Newdow argued that the inscription of the motto on money makes him an unwilling bearer of a religious message. He was turned down in October by the same appeals court panel that ruled against him in the pledge case.

Judge Carlos Bea wrote that the court recognized in a 1970 ruling that the motto has a "patriotic or ceremonial character" and "has no theological or ritualistic impact." The Obama administration and the conservative Pacific Justice Institute had opposed the lawsuit.

The Supreme Court denied review Monday without comment. Newdow said he was disappointed but would refile the suit elsewhere.

The Youth Are Listening Campaign

The Youth Are Listening Campaign from Von Won on Vimeo

30,000 Bibles Detained by Malaysian Gov't, Claim Christian Leaders

Christian leaders in Malaysia are sounding off against the government’s latest detention of imported scriptures, reporting that some 30,000 were recently being held.


The Christian Federation of Malaysia – which comprises the nation’s largest ecumenical, Evangelical, and Roman Catholic Christian bodies – announced Thursday that it is “greatly disillusioned, fed-up and angered by the repeated detention of Bibles written in our national language, Bahasa Malaysia.”

“Since March 2009, all attempts to import the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia, i.e. the Alkitab, whether through Port Klang or the Port of Kuching, have been thwarted,” the umbrella organization stated, suggesting that the detentions are linked to the widely-publicized 2009 row over the translation of “God” in Bibles and other Christian publications.

In Malaysia, Christian publications were not allowed to use the word “Allah” to refer to God. The government contends the word “Allah” is exclusively for Islam and that the use of “Allah” in Christian publications could confuse Muslims and make Christian ideas more appealing to them.

Church officials, however, argue that Allah is not exclusive to Islam because it is an Arabic word that existed before the religion. They say "Allah" has been used for centuries to mean "God" in Malay.

On Dec. 31, 2009, two years after a lawsuit was filed against the government over its “Allah” ban, a Supreme Court judge agreed with members of the Malaysian Church, declaring that the word “Allah” is not exclusive to Islam and that the government’s Home Ministry is “not empowered” to ban non-Muslims from using the word.

Read More at Christian Post

U,S Govt Handouts Make Up For One-Third Of U.S Wages

Published: Tuesday, 8 Mar 2011
Government payouts—including Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance—make up more than a third of total wages and salaries of the U.S. population, a record figure that will only increase if action isn’t taken before the majority of Baby Boomers enter retirement.

Even as the economy has recovered, social welfare benefits make up 35 percent of wages and salaries this year, up from 21 percent in 2000 and 10 percent in 1960, according to TrimTabs Investment Research using Bureau of Economic Analysis data.

“The U.S. economy has become alarmingly dependent on government stimulus,” said Madeline Schnapp, director of Macroeconomic Research at TrimTabs, in a note to clients. “Consumption supported by wages and salaries is a much stronger foundation for economic growth than consumption based on social welfare benefits.”

The economist gives the country two stark choices. In order to get welfare back to its pre-recession ratio of 26 percent of pay, “either wages and salaries would have to increase $2.3 trillion, or 35 percent, to $8.8 trillion, or social welfare benefits would have to decline $500 billion, or 23 percent, to $1.7 trillion,” she said.

Last month, the Republican-led House of Representatives passed a $61 billion federal spending cut, but Senate Democratic leaders and the White House made it clear that had no chance of becoming law. Short-term resolutions passed have averted a government shutdown that could have occurred this month, as Vice President Biden leads negotiations with Republican leaders on some sort of long-term compromise.

“You’ve got to cut back government spending and the Republicans will run on this platform leading up to next year’s election,” said Joe Terranova, Chief Market Strategist for Virtus Investment Partners and a “Fast Money” trader.

Terranova noted some sort of opt out for social security or even raising the retirement age.

But the country may not be ready for these tough choices, even though economists like Schnapp say something will have to be done to avoid a significant economic crisis.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released last week showed that less than a quarter of Americans supported making cuts to Social Security or Medicare in order to reign in the mounting budget deficit.

Those poll numbers may be skewed by a demographic shift the likes of which the nation has never seen. Only this year has the first round of baby boomers begun collecting Medicare benefits—and here comes 78 million more.

Social welfare benefits have increased by $514 billion over the last two years, according to TrimTabs figures, in part because of measures implemented to fight the financial crisis. Government spending normally takes on a larger part of the spending pie during economic calamities but how can the country change this make-up with the root of the crisis (housing) still on shaky ground, benchmark interest rates already cut to zero, and a demographic shift that calls for an increase in subsidies?

Read More From CNBC

Iowa reps pass bill limiting collective bargaining

The Associated Press
Friday, March 11, 2011; 3:41 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Iowa House approved a bill Friday limiting public workers' collective bargaining rights and requiring them to pay more for their health insurance.

But while similar legislation reducing the power of unions has passed in states like Ohio and Wisconsin, it is unlikely to become law in Iowa. Democrats who control the Senate there have said they won't allow debate on the bill backed by Republican Gov. Terry Branstad.

Republicans who control the House insisted the measure was needed to help address a state budget shortfall estimated at between $500 million and $700 million.

"The state can no longer afford, and the taxpayers can no longer support, health care insurance which does not require the employee to at least contribute something to their own health care coverage," Rep. Ron Jorgensen, R-Sioux City, said in a statement after the vote.


But Democrats say the bill is a political attack on the public employee unions that traditionally support their party.

"Like Wisconsin, Republicans in Iowa will stop at nothing to take away rights from police officers, firefighters, state troopers, teachers, correction officers and other hard-working Iowans," said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-Des Moines.

READ MORE at Washington POST

Extreme Super Moon Could Cause Chaos

Mar 1, 2011; 7:54 AM ET

Coming up later this month (March 19 to be exact) the moon will make its closest approach to Earth (called lunar perigee) in 18 years. A new or full moon at 90% or greater of its closest perigee to Earth has been named a "SuperMoon" by astrologer Richard Nolle. This term has been recently picked up by astronomers. An extreme "SuperMoon" is when the moon is full or new as well as at its 100% greater mean perigee (closest) distance to earth. By this definition, last month's full moon, this month's and next month's will all be extreme "SuperMoons".

Please visit Richard's website by clicking here.

I have read several "new age" forecasts that go something like this: "Extreme SuperMoon this month (March 2011) will bring strong earthquakes and storms and/or unusual climate patterns." Google the term 'extreme SuperMoon March 2011' and see for yourself what comes up. The validity of these types of forecasts can be debated ad nauseum.

There were SuperMoons in 1955, 1974, 1992 and 2005. These years had their share of extreme weather and other natural events. Is the Super Moon and these natural occurences a coincidence? Some would say yes; some would say no. I'm not here to pick sides and say I'm a believer or non-believer in subjects like this, but as a scientist I know enough to ask questions and try to find answers.

We obviously know that there are scientific laws that say the moon affects the Earth (i.e. tides). There are also less proven theories that propose that the moon affects the Earth in other ways (i.e. abnormal behavior during a full moon). Can the Super (full) Moon contribute to extreme weather and other natural phenomenon?

AccuWeather Facebook fanpage member Daniel Vogler adds, "The last extreme super moon occurred was on January 10th, 2005, right around the time of the 9.0 Indonesia earthquake. That extreme super moon was a new moon. So be forewarned. Something BIG could happen on or around this date. (+/- 3 Days is my guess)"

So what can we expect this time? Earthquakes? Volcanic eruptions? I guess we can only wait and see.

Read More From Astronomy Blog at


An 8.9 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Northeast Japan spawned a ferocious tsunami that's caused massive destruction; flattening whole cities, starting raging fires, and killing hundreds. Nearly 88,000 people are reported displaced, according to the official Kyodo news agency.

We've gathered some videos that show the scope of the disaster, and you can also see The Atlantic's collection of photos of the quake.

Footage of the tsunami quickly enveloping the city of Sendai, Japan. Officials say 200 to 300 bodies have been found in this city.

READ & WATCH more at Yahoo

Earth crust rupture 150 miles long, 50 miles wide...

US says Japan earthquake left billions in damage

WASHINGTON (AP) — A massive earthquake that struck off the coast of Japan Friday was the strongest quake in the area in nearly 1,200 years.

David Applegate, a senior science adviser for earthquake and geologic hazards for the U.S. Geological Survey, said the 8.9-magnitude quake ruptured a patch of the earth's crust 150 miles long and 50 miles across.

He said the earthquake, which also spawned a massive tsunami that hit Japan before racing across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States, likely caused tens of billions of dollars in structural damage in Japan.

Laura K. Furgione, deputy director for the National Weather Service, said the tsunami first hit Hawaii early Friday morning. An 8.1-foot wave destroyed piers and docks in Crescent City, Calif., later Friday.

3/11/11 - BREAKING News First Tsunami Waves Hit California

Live Timeline Of President Obama's News Conference

12:30 p.m. – President Barack Obama took the stage and addressed the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Obama said there is a U.S. aircraft carrier in Japan and others on their way. They are working to account for all military personnel stationed there. U.S. embassy personnel in Tokyo have moved to another location, he said.

2:34 p.m. - Obama talked about the "added burden" of rising gas prices.

On oil: “Keep all options on the table when it comes to any supply disruptions.”

12:37 p.m. - Obama said gas prices affect everyone – from businesses to families. He said lost production in Libya has tightened supply, but the global community can withstand supply disruptions like this.

Obama continued by saying we are prepared to tap strategic petroleum reserve if needed, but we are more capable of facing shortages – we use 7 percent less oil than in 2005 because we are adapting and our economy is more efficient.

12:39 p.m.
- Obama said that in December Democrats and Republicans came together to pass a payroll tax cut that is helping the economy and creating jobs. He said "it should help to act as a cushion" to the rising gas prices. He said the tax cut should total about $1,000 a year for most Americans.

12:40 p.m. - Obama said the U.S. needs to continue the domestic production of oil and gas – said it reached highest level last year in seven years. He used that figure to rebut GOP claims his administration is not doing enough in terms of domestic production.

12:41 p.m. - Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) tweeted this message to the president 12 hours ago: "Mr.Pres: pls don't tell us tomorrow we'll rely on OPEC to make up oil shortfalls;we're blessed w/rich US sources.Long term solution? Tap 'em."

Without acknowledging her question, Obama just said that is not a long term solution.

12:44 p.m. - NBC's Chuck Todd started with a question on Libya. He asked Obama if he is prepared to use any means necessary to get Col. Gadhafi to leave.

Obama responded to Todd's question: "…across the board we are slowly tightening the noose…"

12:48 p.m. – Obama said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet with the opposition in Libya in the next several days. He said he thought it was important to assign a representative who's specific role is to interact with the opposition, adding that the administration "moved about as swiftly as any international coalition has moved as far as sanctions."

The president reinforced all options are on the table in coordination with the international coalition.

12:49 p.m.
- NBC Todd's follow-up: Are you concerned Gadhafi with more firepower will win this standoff with the rebels? Obama: "I am concerned, absolutely."

12:50 p.m.
– Mimi Hall of USA Today asked Obama about the three week Continuing Resolution in Congress and about Gadhafi leaving.

On Libya Obama said when it comes to U.S. military actions, you need to balance costs and benefits. He said the desired outcome is that Gadhafi steps down.

12:52 p.m. - @wolfblitzercnn: Obama says he's assigning a US official to stay in "close consultation" with #Libya opposition.

12:57 p.m. – On the current budget standoff on 2011 budget, Obama said he is in close contact with leaders of both parties of Congress.

He said both sides need to compromise on "prudent" cuts somewhere between what both parties have put forward. "It shouldn't be that complicated," he said.

Obama said there may be one more short-term extension, but repeated his mantra that we can't run the budget based on short term extensions. He said there are certain things the House GOP will put forward that he won't be able to accept – he used Pell Grants as example, but said "we've got to live within our means."

He also took issue with riders attached to the budget passed by the House GOP. He said he prefers not using the budget to sneak things in to promote a political agenda.

12:59 p.m. - ABC's Jake Tapper said he can't recall a time when the U.S. ever had to rush assistance to a nuclear power plant in another country. How serious is this? And a follow up question about Pentagon's treatment of Patrick Manning connected to WikiLeaks.

1:01 p.m. - Chip Reid of CBS cited an interview of Ghadafi's son where he said they will crush resistance – asked: can the U.S. stand by and watch?

1:03 p.m.
- Obama said U.S. has an obligation to prevent something like the Balkans and Rwanda genocides of the 90's. He said we have to look at what happens on a case by case basis.

He said Gadhafi's family will be held accountable for any atrocities they commit.

1:05 p.m. – CBS's Reid follows up on whether Clapper made a mistake in testimony yesterday on Gadhafi's capability and likelihood to prevail.

"He was making a hard headed" assessment about capability, he "wasn't stating policy," Obama said.

But Obama was quick to point out policy is set by him as president. Obama said Gadhafi is on wrong side of history.

1:05 p.m.
- Zachary Goldfarb with The Washington Post asked a question about tapping SPR (U.S. strategic petroleum oil reserves): What targets do we need to hit to get to that point, gas prices etc.?

President Obama said he won't answer that... Gets into historical rhetoric about the issue.

1:07 p.m.
– A little over 30 minutes into presser – so far Obama's answered questions from five reporters, two print reporters and three television reporters. It's interesting he hasn't called on the wire reporters – they are usually the first ones to be called on.

1:09 p.m. - Continuing on gas prices, Obama said the American people feel this pretty acutely… money out of my pocket so to speak. He said some of the steps the U.S. is taking are making a difference. He added that the administration will try to do everything they can not only to stabilize the market… if there's price gouging they're going to go after that. If they see disruptions or shifts that are so disconcerting to people than they'll consider tapping the SPR.

1:11 p.m. - In response to Goldfarb's second question about economic growth – Obama said economic growth continues on a positive track… seen the unemployment rate drop a full point.

"So overall I'm positive about the fact that we're moving slowly but surely into positive job growth" over the next several months. He said he's still concerned about the housing market.

1:15 p.m. - Obama said on economy overall that the last jobs report showed growth in the private industry as strong. He said there were some lost jobs in state and local government (teachers, policeman, firefighters laid off) and that it's very important when we think about budget to understand our long term debt and deficits are not caused by having Head Start teachers in the classroom... it's caused by Medicare costs instead.

He said budget cutters shouldn't be going after things like funding for Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

1:18 p.m. - Obama called on a foreign journalist for the 6th question. He asked what message is in his discussions with leaders in the Middle East.

Obama said the U.S. believes in peaceful protests and use of violence in response that.

Also he said it is in the interest of the region to reform itself so that each person's talents can be harnessed. He said each country is different, but this process can be a great opportunity for the region to see more economic growth.

1:19 p.m. - Obama took a question – after he said he had answered his last question – from an Asahi reporter (Japanese newspaper) – asked for his personal response to the tragedy and if the U.S. is ready to provide assistance. President said yes and that the U.S. will immediately help with lift capacity... said he's "heartbroken."

1:21 p.m.
- Obama called on seven reporters in 48 minutes (including his opening statement).

Read More From CNN Live Blog

New Law Targets Faith Healers

Oregon's House of Representatives has passed a bill that would remove legal protections for parents who rely on faith healing to care for their sick children.The move comes in the wake of several high-profile cases involving the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon City. Members of the church rely on prayer and anointing the sick with oil instead of traditional medical care.Most recently, the state took temporary custody of an infant girl suffering from a serious eye condition. Officials said the daughter of Timothy and Rebecca Wyland had developed a huge mass covering her eye and was at the risk of going blind. The baby recovered and the state has since allowed the girl to return home.Other cases, however, ended in death. Neal Beagley, 16, died of bladder complications in 2008. After his death, a medical examiner ruled that he could have lived if his family had taken him to a doctor. Beagley's parents were eventually convicted of criminally negligent homicide.That same year, 15-month-old Ava Worthington died of pneumonia and a blood infection, according to an autopsy. Her parents, who said they never called a doctor because they didn't believe doctors could help, were found not guilty of manslaughter.The bill passed on Thursday is sponsored by Democratic Rep. Carolyn Tomei. It would stop parents from using faith healing as a defense in murder cases."When you visit the graveyard and see all those children's names, it's time to say enough is enough," Tomei said.The measure was approved on a 59-0 vote. It now goes to the state Senate for approval.

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"Sexual Tention Quiz" Given To HS Students Has Many Parents In Uproar

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - A link to the entire quiz is just below this article

A psychology quiz laced with sexual innuendo was given to a high school class for a grade.

The assignment titled "The Sexual Tension Quiz" was given by teacher Frank Rozanski in his advanced placement psychology class at Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens.

One parent couldn't believe what she was reading when her child brought the assignment home.
Link To Sexual Tention Quiz

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Ohio Govenor John Kasich Delivering First State Address

Gov. John R. Kasich delivered his first State of the State address before a joint session of the Ohio General Assembly on Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New Law Allows San Diego Police To Ticket Homeless For "Illegal Lodging"

Thursday Feb 10, 7:19 pm ET

SAN DIEGO -- Early Tuesday, a federal judge handed down a modification on the state of lodging for homeless in San Diego. Until the modification on the 2007 lawsuit against the San Diego Police Department, police were not able to ticket homeless for just being homeless. Illegal lodging is now a ticketable offense if a person is caught sleeping on the streets if there is an open bed available in one of the shelters in the area from 9 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.

The original 2007 lawsuit, brought on the behalf of nine homeless individuals, declared it unconstitutional to bring charges against a person for sleeping in a public space if there is no space available in the homeless shelters in the San Diego area. Currently, there is not an adequate amount of beds to house the estimated 4,600 homeless in the city limits of San Diego. The current modification is "clear strategic plan" to end homelessness in San Diego, according to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.

San Diego Assistant Police Chief Boyd Long said in a press conference under the new modification that there would be five beds available at three of the San Diego Shelters -- City of Refuge, The Rescue Mission, and Rachel's Woman's Center. This makes the nightly beginning total 15 available beds for the 4,600 homeless living on San Diego's streets. City officials have reported the number to be much less at around 1,000.

Goldsmith stated in a press conference that the modification on illegal lodging will "be good for downtown, the tax payers and the homeless," in San Diego. City Councilman Kevin Faulconer stated at the press conference "We want to give people the help and services they need." Not everyone agrees.

Kelly McCuthison who has been homeless for six months disagrees. "You can't force me to go to a shelter just because you feel that it is what I need. Have you seen one of those places? They are filthy and full of disease. Plus I will not ever be able afford the fines;" McCuthison said. Others are no to concerned due to the lack of adequate beds available.

"I am not too worried about it. In order to get a ticket, there has to be an open bed in a shelter. There is hardly ever an open bed," Dr. Teresa Smith of Dreams of Change, a non-profit organization that provides a safe parking lot for homeless living in their vehicles, said. The only way San Diego Police can issue a misdemeanor ticket for illegal lodging is if there are beds available and the individual turns down the bed.

San Diego is considering placement for a homeless shelter in the downtown area that would supply 220 additional beds. There is some concern that San Diego Police will ticket the homeless without providing alternatives to their situation. Currently, the San Diego Police department is implementing training for their department on how to properly asses the homeless situation and provide services for the portion of the homeless who are unaware of available services.

Read More From Yahoo News

Tsunami Hits Hawaii, And Tsuami Warnings Issued For Entire U.S West Coast

People along the coasts of Hawaii and the West Coast held their breath as a tsunami raced across the Pacific at 500 mph threatening to strike with waves as high as 9 feet high, but what arrived did little more than soak the beaches and cause traffic jams.

They breathed a sigh of relief as the tsunami turned out to do little more than delight surfers along the California coast and irritate thousands who rushed to higher ground.

The 8.9 magnitude earthquake that rattled Japan today triggered a tsunami that sped across the Pacific Ocean at a velocity that matched that of a commercial jetliner.

Tsunami warning sirens went off from Hawaii to Alaska and Oregon. Evacuations jammed roads and prompted fistfights at gas stations, and the federal government prepared to deploy emergency relief teams.

In the end, the tsunami drenches the coastlines, but caused little damage.

Officials did not regret their warnings and calls for evacuations.

"We called this right. This evacuation was necessary," said geophysicist Gerard Fryer in Hawaii. "There's absolutely no question, this was the right thing to do."

The tsunami has claimed hundreds of lives in Japan, and with the devastation of the 2004 tsunami still fresh when 230,000 people died, officials were not taking chances.

The tsunami reached Hawaii around 3:30 a.m. local time. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says Kauai was the first island hit early by the wave, which quickly swept through the Hawaiian Island chain. There were no immediate reports of serious damage.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey the first wave to hit was not as large as experts anticipated, but bigger ones were expected to follow.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie ordered the evacuation of coastal areas. Through the night, residents waited on lines to buy gas, bottled water, canned food and generators.

At least tens of thousands of people were evacuated and there were reports of fighting at gas stations as people fuel up their cars to move inland in Hawaii.

Read More From ABC News

U.S Troops React To Japan Quake & Tsunami

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan -- A massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck northeast Japan on Friday, shaking buildings across the country, setting dozens of fires in the Tokyo region, and prompting a tsunami warning from New Zealand to the west coast of the United States.
Aftershocks continued to strike the Tokyo area for hours, in what is being called the largest earthquake since a 9.0-magnitude quake struck the Banda Aceh area of Indonesia on Dec. 26, 2004, causing a massive tsunami that killed about 250,000 people in 14 countries.
U.S. military commands across the Pacific were scrambling to locate their people and put out information.
“We’ve issued instructions to our pierside ships in Yokosuka to stand by their lines to be prepared to quickly adjust them as necessary to prevent damage during any resulting tsunami,” said 7th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Jeff Davis.
The Japanese Meteorological Agency has issued a two meter (six feet) tsunami warning for the Yokosuka area with Sagami Bay and Muira peninsula issued a three meter (nearly 10 feet) major tsunami warning. This area is expected to see the tsunami from 8:30 to 9 p.m. Personnel are advised to remain in their on base-residence. Off-base residence should follow the local area evacuation orders. At Misawa Air Base, the Commander Task Force 72 Patrol and Reconnaissance headquarters has been evacuated, Davis added.
Misawa personnel are all accounted for, according to a 6:30 p.m. update.
“At the region level, we have no reports of injuries or major damage at any Navy facility,” said Cmdr. Ron Steiner, spokesman for Commander Naval Forces Japan.
The command, however, released this statement at around 6 p.m. on its Facebook page:
“All U.S. Navy personnel, civilian employees, contractors and Japanese workers are requested to contact their respective commands and inform them of their personal status and whereabouts. If phone lines are busy please continue to find any means available to make your status known however your own safety is the first priority.”
The Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka website is warning anyone in low-lying areas potentially affected by a tsunami to move to higher ground.

“The early reports we have are that all U.S. personnel are accounted for,” said Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell, at NATO meetings in Brussels with Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
The quake struck at 2:46 p.m. and was followed by five powerful aftershocks within about an hour, the strongest measuring 7.1. The U.S. Geological Survey upgraded the strength of the first quake to a magnitude 8.9, while Japan’s meteorological agency measured it at 8.4.
The quake struck at a depth of 6 miles, about 80 miles off the eastern coast, the agency said. The area is 240 miles northeast of Tokyo.

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