Total Messages Loaded: 669
Post New Message

Bobby -:- Please help protect this board -:- Wed, Mar 01, 2006 at 06:11:29 (EST)

Bobby -:- Please notice the viruses. -:- Tues, Feb 28, 2006 at 17:38:04 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: Graduates Versus Oligarchs -:- Tues, Feb 28, 2006 at 14:23:51 (EST)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Paul Krugman: Graduates Versus Oligarchs -:- Tues, Feb 28, 2006 at 18:54:26 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: Paul Krugman: Graduates Versus Oligarchs -:- Wed, Mar 01, 2006 at 06:14:31 (EST)
___ Emma -:- Re: Paul Krugman: Graduates Versus Oligarchs -:- Wed, Mar 01, 2006 at 09:02:43 (EST)
____ Pete Weis -:- Cracks developing -:- Wed, Mar 01, 2006 at 09:25:55 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Shifting economy -:- Mon, Feb 27, 2006 at 20:57:03 (EST)
_
Emma -:- Re: Shifting economy -:- Tues, Feb 28, 2006 at 12:36:51 (EST)
_ Emma -:- Re: Shifting economy -:- Tues, Feb 28, 2006 at 12:33:58 (EST)

Emma -:- Strangers at the Door -:- Thurs, Feb 23, 2006 at 05:40:44 (EST)

Bobby -:- Bobby, please notice the virus -:- Thurs, Feb 23, 2006 at 04:09:44 (EST)

Emma -:- 'The Mensch Gap' -:- Wed, Feb 22, 2006 at 16:26:32 (EST)

Terri -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Tues, Feb 21, 2006 at 19:19:36 (EST)
_
Bobby -:- Viruses Above! -:- Wed, Mar 01, 2006 at 14:50:19 (EST)

Terri -:- Index Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Tues, Feb 21, 2006 at 19:18:52 (EST)

Terri -:- Investing -:- Tues, Feb 21, 2006 at 19:17:25 (EST)

Terri -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Tues, Feb 21, 2006 at 18:47:00 (EST)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Tues, Feb 21, 2006 at 18:44:05 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: The Mensch Gap -:- Tues, Feb 21, 2006 at 16:29:23 (EST)
_
Sid Baroni -:- Re: Paul Krugman: The Mensch Gap -:- Wed, Feb 22, 2006 at 07:10:12 (EST)
__ Bobby -:- Trolling -:- Wed, Feb 22, 2006 at 09:59:44 (EST)

Yann -:- True Costs of the Iraq War (J. Stiglitz) -:- Tues, Feb 21, 2006 at 03:16:45 (EST)

Emma -:- Report on Impact of Federal Benefits -:- Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 11:11:39 (EST)

Emma -:- At a Scientific Gathering -:- Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 11:00:42 (EST)

Emma -:- Superheroes Dive In -:- Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 10:59:08 (EST)

Emma -:- Recipe for a Family Brawl -:- Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 10:47:00 (EST)

Emma -:- Bush's Chat With Novelist Alarms -:- Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 10:43:55 (EST)

Emma -:- A B-Movie Becomes a Blockbuster -:- Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 10:35:47 (EST)

Emma -:- Digital Moves to Top-Tier Cameras -:- Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 10:35:06 (EST)

Emma -:- Quiet Bid to Reunite Haiti -:- Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 10:33:57 (EST)

Emma -:- It Rings, Sings, Downloads, Uploads -:- Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 10:33:00 (EST)

Emma -:- A Fountain of Innovation -:- Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 10:10:36 (EST)

Emma -:- A Lesson From Hamas -:- Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 10:09:52 (EST)

Emma -:- Planting Seeds of Private Health Care -:- Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 09:29:54 (EST)

Emma -:- Women's Health Studies Leave Questions -:- Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 09:17:57 (EST)

Emma -:- Good News From New Guinea -:- Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 07:09:39 (EST)

Emma -:- India, Oil and Nuclear Weapons -:- Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 07:08:20 (EST)

Emma -:- The God Genome -:- Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 11:05:22 (EST)

Emma -:- Love and Rage of an Irish Childhood -:- Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 11:01:57 (EST)

Emma -:- Women's Health Studies Leave Questions -:- Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 10:59:49 (EST)

Emma -:- So Who Is King of the Jews? -:- Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 10:55:34 (EST)

Emma -:- India, Oil and Nuclear Weapons -:- Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 10:51:30 (EST)

Emma -:- Mind Over Splatter -:- Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 10:47:36 (EST)

Emma -:- A Modern, Multicultural Makeover -:- Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 08:27:31 (EST)

Emma -:- Zadie Smith's Culture Warriors -:- Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 08:26:30 (EST)

Emma -:- Drug Plan's Start -:- Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 08:25:18 (EST)

Emma -:- Morocco's Past, Morocco's Future -:- Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 08:24:33 (EST)

Emma -:- Spectator's Role for China's Muslims -:- Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 08:23:47 (EST)

Emma -:- Determined Skater Makes History -:- Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 08:22:58 (EST)

Emma -:- Good News From New Guinea -:- Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 08:22:04 (EST)

Emma -:- Actions in U.N. Council -:- Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 09:46:28 (EST)

Emma -:- Chad's Oil Riches -:- Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 09:29:49 (EST)

Emma -:- Call for Free Speech in Public Letter -:- Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 09:27:15 (EST)

Emma -:- German Muslim Leader Speaks Peace -:- Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 09:03:30 (EST)

Emma -:- Iraq Power Shift Widens a Gulf -:- Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 09:01:16 (EST)
_
Mik -:- France warned about this -:- Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 19:43:05 (EST)

Emma -:- Migrations -:- Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 04:48:03 (EST)

Emma -:- Farewell, Condo Cash-Outs -:- Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 04:43:48 (EST)

Emma -:- The New England -:- Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 04:30:15 (EST)

Emma -:- Courtly Lust -:- Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 04:28:48 (EST)

Emma -:- Where Life Can Seem to Imitate -:- Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 04:26:54 (EST)

Emma -:- Munch Was More Than a Scream -:- Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 04:25:19 (EST)

Emma -:- In the Victorian Raj -:- Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 04:23:36 (EST)

Emma -:- The Rabbi vs. the Archbishop -:- Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 04:21:05 (EST)

Emma -:- Quiet Resolve of a German Anti-Nazi -:- Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 04:14:19 (EST)

Emma -:- Fuel Rule Change for Big S.U.V.'s -:- Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 04:11:49 (EST)

Emma -:- On the Menu for Breakfast: $1 Trillion -:- Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 07:07:03 (EST)

Emma -:- Outsourcing Is Climbing Skills Ladder -:- Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 07:04:26 (EST)

Emma -:- Price Gouging on Cancer Drugs? -:- Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 06:59:09 (EST)

Emma -:- China Seeking Auto Industry -:- Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 06:53:37 (EST)

Emma -:- Wal-Mart Chief Talks Tough -:- Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 06:00:38 (EST)
_
Mik -:- Walmart vs Costco -:- Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 00:59:16 (EST)

Emma -:- Kurosawa's Magical Tales of Art -:- Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 05:58:25 (EST)

Emma -:- In Deep Drought, at 104° -:- Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 05:56:56 (EST)

Emma -:- In Turin, Chocolate's the Champion -:- Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 05:54:07 (EST)

Emma -:- Westminster Result -:- Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 05:51:20 (EST)

Emma -:- Celebrity Freebies -:- Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 05:50:17 (EST)

Emma -:- A Deadly Vacuum -:- Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 05:48:58 (EST)

Emma -:- Journal Shut by Beijing Censors -:- Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 05:44:57 (EST)

Emma -:- China Shuts Down Influential Weekly -:- Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 05:42:51 (EST)

Emma -:- Glaciers Flow to Sea at a Faster Pace -:- Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 05:33:49 (EST)

Emma -:- Beijing Censors Taken to Task -:- Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 06:16:23 (EST)

Emma -:- France Télécom Plans to Cut 17,000 Jobs -:- Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 06:14:32 (EST)

Emma -:- Attention Avid Shoppers -:- Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 06:13:34 (EST)

Emma -:- Maybe You're Not What You Eat -:- Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 06:09:15 (EST)

Emma -:- 'Grease' Ignites a Culture War -:- Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 06:07:34 (EST)

Emma -:- School, Sleepovers, Red Carpet Dreams -:- Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 06:02:53 (EST)

Emma -:- Tax Cheating Has Gone Up -:- Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 06:01:34 (EST)

Emma -:- Livedoor Founder Is Charged -:- Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 05:57:46 (EST)

Emma -:- The Kiss of Life -:- Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 05:56:04 (EST)

Emma -:- Sympathetic Primate -:- Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 05:55:11 (EST)

Emma -:- Help Eagle Leave Endangered List -:- Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 05:53:21 (EST)

Emma -:- Investors Are Tilting Toward Windmills -:- Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 05:51:17 (EST)

Emma -:- Cancer Drug Shows Promise, at a Price -:- Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 05:49:49 (EST)

Emma -:- Psychotherapy Lets Bygones Be Bygones -:- Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 05:48:38 (EST)

Emma -:- New York in White -:- Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 05:47:27 (EST)

Terri -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Wed, Feb 15, 2006 at 20:22:32 (EST)

Terri -:- Index Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Wed, Feb 15, 2006 at 20:21:53 (EST)

Terri -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Wed, Feb 15, 2006 at 18:56:27 (EST)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Wed, Feb 15, 2006 at 18:51:39 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Another then vs now -:- Wed, Feb 15, 2006 at 09:05:20 (EST)
_
Emma -:- Re: Another then vs now -:- Wed, Feb 15, 2006 at 13:23:49 (EST)
_ Emma -:- Re: Another then vs now -:- Wed, Feb 15, 2006 at 13:18:00 (EST)
__ Terri -:- Re: Another then vs now -:- Wed, Feb 15, 2006 at 18:57:39 (EST)
___ Terri -:- Re: Another then vs now -:- Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 10:48:06 (EST)
____ Emma -:- Re: Another then vs now -:- Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 13:56:48 (EST)

Emma -:- Tilt -:- Tues, Feb 14, 2006 at 19:14:29 (EST)

Emma -:- Regarding Cervantes -:- Tues, Feb 14, 2006 at 19:13:44 (EST)

Emma -:- Tax Cuts, Foreign Debt and 'Dark Matter' -:- Tues, Feb 14, 2006 at 18:54:52 (EST)

Emma -:- Another Obstacle to the Asbestos Bill -:- Tues, Feb 14, 2006 at 05:53:14 (EST)

Emma -:- Windfall to Oil Companies -:- Tues, Feb 14, 2006 at 05:47:20 (EST)

Tony -:- PK on Al Franken -:- Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 18:51:40 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Inverted yield curve consequence -:- Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 10:38:57 (EST)
_
Emma -:- Re: Inverted yield curve consequence -:- Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 11:03:59 (EST)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Inverted yield curve consequence -:- Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 18:16:59 (EST)
___ Emma -:- Re: Inverted yield curve consequence -:- Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 19:40:53 (EST)
____ Terri -:- Re: Inverted yield curve consequence -:- Tues, Feb 14, 2006 at 11:44:48 (EST)

Emma -:- Bird Flu Spreads to European Union -:- Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 10:01:52 (EST)

Emma -:- A Back-Fence Dispute -:- Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 10:00:27 (EST)

Emma -:- Nowhere to Call Home -:- Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 09:38:21 (EST)

Emma -:- Delay to Get Trailers -:- Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 09:35:46 (EST)

Emma -:- Japan's Offensive Foreign Minister -:- Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 07:14:36 (EST)

Emma -:- Suggests Paintings Are Not Pollocks -:- Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 06:15:35 (EST)

Emma -:- A Drip by Any Other Name -:- Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 06:14:04 (EST)

Emma -:- 'Eco-Modern' Homes in Country Setting -:- Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 06:11:04 (EST)

Emma -:- New Medicaid Rules on Home Ownership -:- Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 06:09:57 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: Debt and Denial -:- Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 05:52:47 (EST)

BB -:- Treasury, today's column -:- Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 03:13:43 (EST)
_
David E.. -:- Re: Treasury, today's column -:- Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 18:46:28 (EST)
__ BBw -:- Re: Treasury, today's column -:- Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 19:39:40 (EST)
___ David E.. -:- More info: -:- Wed, Feb 15, 2006 at 16:55:05 (EST)
____ Emma -:- Re: More info: -:- Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 06:11:49 (EST)

Emma -:- Sculpture From the Earth -:- Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 10:32:01 (EST)

Emma -:- 'New Boy,' by Julian Houston -:- Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 09:26:49 (EST)

Emma -:- An Interview With Julian Houston -:- Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 09:26:04 (EST)

Emma -:- The Starling Chronicles -:- Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 07:57:47 (EST)

Emma -:- Tutor Program Offered by Law -:- Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 07:55:17 (EST)

Emma -:- Bolivia's Knot -:- Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 07:45:39 (EST)

Emma -:- The Trust Gap -:- Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 07:43:43 (EST)

Emma -:- Outside Agitator -:- Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 07:34:01 (EST)

Emma -:- The Prophet in the Tree -:- Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 07:26:41 (EST)

Emma -:- Drug, Danger Signals And the F.D.A. -:- Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 07:22:28 (EST)

Emma -:- A Surprising Warning on Stimulants -:- Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 07:16:23 (EST)

Emma -:- Capture the Flag -:- Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 07:15:14 (EST)

Emma -:- According to Webster -:- Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 07:09:53 (EST)

Patricia Chang -:- Current Economic Outlook -:- Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 02:25:14 (EST)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Current Economic Outlook -:- Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 17:06:25 (EST)

Emma -:- Iraq Data -:- Sat, Feb 11, 2006 at 09:22:48 (EST)

Emma -:- Work vs. Family, Complicated by Race -:- Sat, Feb 11, 2006 at 08:15:00 (EST)

Emma -:- For Arab-American Playwrights -:- Sat, Feb 11, 2006 at 08:09:03 (EST)

Emma -:- Ex-Gay Cowboys -:- Sat, Feb 11, 2006 at 07:55:49 (EST)

Emma -:- From God's Mouth to English -:- Sat, Feb 11, 2006 at 07:54:44 (EST)

Emma -:- He's Taking Aeschylus Hip-Hop -:- Sat, Feb 11, 2006 at 07:52:32 (EST)

Emma -:- The Grass Station -:- Sat, Feb 11, 2006 at 07:47:29 (EST)

Emma -:- No Aspirations to Cultural Commentary -:- Sat, Feb 11, 2006 at 07:04:28 (EST)

Emma -:- Manet and the Impressionists -:- Sat, Feb 11, 2006 at 06:32:45 (EST)

Emma -:- Survey of Spain, Architects' Playground -:- Sat, Feb 11, 2006 at 06:31:04 (EST)

Emma -:- Vivid Back Story for a Stella Legend -:- Sat, Feb 11, 2006 at 06:27:47 (EST)

Emma -:- Entry in the Big-Pickup Wars -:- Sat, Feb 11, 2006 at 06:25:29 (EST)

Emma -:- Tax Cuts Without Representation -:- Sat, Feb 11, 2006 at 05:37:19 (EST)

Emma -:- Sendak and Kushner -:- Fri, Feb 10, 2006 at 10:13:10 (EST)

Emma -:- Child's Opera According to Sendak -:- Fri, Feb 10, 2006 at 10:07:45 (EST)

Emma -:- Mecca Meeting -:- Fri, Feb 10, 2006 at 09:57:21 (EST)

Emma -:- Babar's Young Subjects Loyal -:- Fri, Feb 10, 2006 at 09:55:40 (EST)

Emma -:- Cheney Aide Testified Leak Was Ordered -:- Fri, Feb 10, 2006 at 09:52:46 (EST)

Emma -:- White House Knew of Levee's Failure -:- Fri, Feb 10, 2006 at 09:50:13 (EST)

Emma -:- Showing African Works -:- Fri, Feb 10, 2006 at 07:26:16 (EST)

Emma -:- Crossing a Line Drawn -:- Fri, Feb 10, 2006 at 07:25:11 (EST)

Emma -:- Beginning of a Brazilian Friendship -:- Fri, Feb 10, 2006 at 07:09:58 (EST)

Emma -:- Thinking About the Way We Eat - c -:- Fri, Feb 10, 2006 at 06:04:03 (EST)

Emma -:- Thinking About the Way We Eat - b -:- Fri, Feb 10, 2006 at 06:03:20 (EST)

Emma -:- Thinking About the Way We Eat - a -:- Fri, Feb 10, 2006 at 06:01:43 (EST)

Emma -:- One of Detroit's Last Strongholds -:- Fri, Feb 10, 2006 at 05:56:20 (EST)

Emma -:- Army Focuses on Recruitment of Latinos -:- Fri, Feb 10, 2006 at 05:54:24 (EST)

Emma -:- Falling Short of Prewar Performance -:- Fri, Feb 10, 2006 at 05:52:45 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: The Vanishing Future -:- Fri, Feb 10, 2006 at 05:24:40 (EST)

Johnny5 -:- Lending standards TOO LAX -:- Fri, Feb 10, 2006 at 04:00:22 (EST)

Emma -:- Lessons of Climatology Apply -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 18:24:26 (EST)

Emma -:- Truth? Fiction? Journalism? -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 14:25:00 (EST)
_
Mik -:- Re: Truth? Fiction? Journalism? -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 16:22:57 (EST)
__ Poyetas -:- Re: Truth? Fiction? Journalism? -:- Fri, Feb 10, 2006 at 11:17:00 (EST)
___ Mik -:- Re: Truth? Fiction? Journalism? -:- Sat, Feb 11, 2006 at 23:49:22 (EST)

Emma -:- Evangelical Leaders Join Global Warming -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 11:01:58 (EST)
_
Mik -:- Kiribati -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 16:37:28 (EST)

Emma -:- Unplugged $100 Laptop Computer -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 11:01:01 (EST)

Emma -:- The Ecological Indian -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 10:35:46 (EST)

Emma -:- Outskirts of the Welfare State -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 10:30:22 (EST)

Emma -:- America's Jewish Founding Father -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 09:54:44 (EST)

Emma -:- Forgetting Reinhold Niebuhr -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 09:51:29 (EST)

Emma -:- Guanlong Roamed China -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 09:35:41 (EST)

Emma -:- Prevailing Winds Are Free -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 09:34:38 (EST)
_
Mik -:- Re: Prevailing Winds Are Free -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 16:01:01 (EST)

Emma -:- Benefits Go the Way of Pensions -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 09:25:32 (EST)

Emma -:- Diabetic Brothers Beat Odds -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 07:25:24 (EST)

Emma -:- Annie Hall -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 07:17:45 (EST)

Emma -:- Sleeper -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 07:17:04 (EST)

Emma -:- The London of 'Match Point' -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 06:11:42 (EST)

Emma -:- Buy a Hybrid, and Save a Guzzler -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 06:09:53 (EST)

Emma -:- Dip in Cancer Deaths Is Reported -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 05:58:27 (EST)

Emma -:- As Teflon Troubles Pile Up -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 05:50:12 (EST)

Emma -:- Censoring Truth -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 05:42:21 (EST)

Emma -:- Chocolate That Flashes Its Passport -:- Thurs, Feb 09, 2006 at 05:28:51 (EST)

Emma -:- Worm-eating Warbler Singing -:- Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 19:24:29 (EST)

Emma -:- Worm-eating Warbler -:- Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 19:23:52 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Incompetency & another crisis -:- Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 14:35:40 (EST)

Emma -:- 'At Canaan's Edge' -:- Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 07:22:59 (EST)

Emma -:- The Reality of the Fantasy -:- Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 07:21:36 (EST)

Emma -:- A Lesson for the Birds -:- Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 06:59:23 (EST)

Emma -:- Downy Woodpecker and House Sparrow -:- Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 05:51:42 (EST)

Emma -:- The Parent Trap -:- Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 05:50:01 (EST)

Emma -:- Canada to Shield 5 Million Forest Acres -:- Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 05:46:34 (EST)

Emma -:- Blend the Gmail and Chat Features -:- Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 05:43:31 (EST)

Emma -:- Serving of Lean, Smoky Jazz -:- Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 05:42:08 (EST)

Emma -:- Storyteller in the Family -:- Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 05:39:05 (EST)

Emma -:- Sensing Missed Opportunities -:- Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 05:36:18 (EST)

Emma -:- Diet Won't Stop Cancer or Heart Disease -:- Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 05:34:54 (EST)

Emma -:- Word of God, as Shaped by Nature -:- Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 05:33:19 (EST)

Emma -:- Search for New Birds of Paradise -:- Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 05:32:24 (EST)

Emma -:- Mississippi's 'Heart Man' -:- Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 05:31:10 (EST)

Emma -:- Highly Evolved and Exquisitely Thirsty -:- Wed, Feb 08, 2006 at 05:29:52 (EST)

Emma -:- The Mysteries of Animal Colors -:- Tues, Feb 07, 2006 at 14:45:22 (EST)

Emma -:- A New Kind of Birdsong -:- Tues, Feb 07, 2006 at 14:40:43 (EST)

Emma -:- Saving a Species -:- Tues, Feb 07, 2006 at 14:39:44 (EST)

Emma -:- For Some Girls, the Problem With Math -:- Tues, Feb 07, 2006 at 14:37:33 (EST)

Emma -:- Hoping a Small Sample May Signal a Cure -:- Tues, Feb 07, 2006 at 14:35:36 (EST)

Emma -:- Light Saber to Tired Old Teaching -:- Tues, Feb 07, 2006 at 12:33:56 (EST)

Emma -:- 'Da Vinci Code' Film: It's Just Fiction -:- Tues, Feb 07, 2006 at 12:32:42 (EST)

Emma -:- Sleeping Pills Are Causing Worries -:- Tues, Feb 07, 2006 at 12:31:42 (EST)

Emma -:- Justice for Asbestos Victims -:- Tues, Feb 07, 2006 at 12:30:59 (EST)

Emma -:- Haiti's Orphan Democracy -:- Tues, Feb 07, 2006 at 12:30:23 (EST)

Emma -:- Rocky Start for Drug Benefit -:- Tues, Feb 07, 2006 at 07:08:15 (EST)

Emma -:- Holding Fast to a Policy of Tax Cutting -:- Tues, Feb 07, 2006 at 05:53:54 (EST)

Emma -:- A Trillion Little Pieces -:- Tues, Feb 07, 2006 at 05:52:11 (EST)

Jon Face -:- 'fair' tax -:- Mon, Feb 06, 2006 at 12:55:15 (EST)
_
Mik -:- Re: 'fair' tax -:- Tues, Feb 07, 2006 at 15:52:55 (EST)
_ Mik -:- Re: 'fair' tax -:- Mon, Feb 06, 2006 at 17:00:35 (EST)
__ Johnny5 -:- Mik make me understand - Im confused -:- Tues, Feb 07, 2006 at 01:07:08 (EST)
___ Mik -:- Re: Mik make me understand - Im confused -:- Tues, Feb 07, 2006 at 12:05:02 (EST)
___ Poyetas -:- Re: Mik make me understand - Im confused -:- Tues, Feb 07, 2006 at 10:49:01 (EST)
____ Poyetas -:- Re: Mik make me understand - Im confused -:- Tues, Feb 07, 2006 at 10:59:24 (EST)
_____ Mik -:- Re: Mik make me understand - Im confused -:- Tues, Feb 07, 2006 at 13:42:46 (EST)

Emma -:- Nine Short Scenes of Women in Crisis -:- Mon, Feb 06, 2006 at 09:36:33 (EST)

Emma -:- Consent of the Governed -:- Mon, Feb 06, 2006 at 09:32:29 (EST)

Emma -:- Nebraska's Nostalgia Trap -:- Mon, Feb 06, 2006 at 09:21:46 (EST)

Emma -:- Chicago, Upside Down -:- Mon, Feb 06, 2006 at 09:21:09 (EST)

Emma -:- Above It All in Colorado -:- Mon, Feb 06, 2006 at 09:20:16 (EST)

Emma -:- Kentucky's Underground Economy -:- Mon, Feb 06, 2006 at 09:19:04 (EST)

Emma -:- How Do You Say Shank in Mandarin? -:- Mon, Feb 06, 2006 at 09:11:30 (EST)

Emma -:- Uses for Glut of Small Logs -:- Mon, Feb 06, 2006 at 08:59:32 (EST)

Emma -:- Doctor Is in, but You Wish He Wasn't -:- Mon, Feb 06, 2006 at 08:52:05 (EST)

Emma -:- Oil Dependency Problem -:- Mon, Feb 06, 2006 at 07:16:33 (EST)

Emma -:- Rocky Start for Drug Benefit -:- Mon, Feb 06, 2006 at 07:15:21 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: The Effectiveness Thing -:- Mon, Feb 06, 2006 at 06:00:33 (EST)

Terri -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Sun, Feb 05, 2006 at 19:07:35 (EST)

Terri -:- Index Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Sun, Feb 05, 2006 at 19:06:39 (EST)

Emma -:- How to Get the Women's Movement Moving -:- Sun, Feb 05, 2006 at 09:22:08 (EST)

Emma -:- Architect of Judaism -:- Sun, Feb 05, 2006 at 07:14:11 (EST)

Emma -:- Overlooked French Knew How to Draw -:- Sun, Feb 05, 2006 at 07:11:25 (EST)

Emma -:- 'Jean-Jacques Rousseau': An Unruly Mind -:- Sun, Feb 05, 2006 at 06:58:31 (EST)

Emma -:- On the Trail of a Missing Caravaggio -:- Sun, Feb 05, 2006 at 06:55:29 (EST)

Emma -:- Tolerating Death in the Mines -:- Sun, Feb 05, 2006 at 06:48:58 (EST)

Emma -:- Do We Suffer From a Feminist Mystique? -:- Sun, Feb 05, 2006 at 06:26:11 (EST)

Emma -:- Growing Old in the 90's -:- Sun, Feb 05, 2006 at 06:22:36 (EST)

Emma -:- After 'The Feminine Mystique' -:- Sun, Feb 05, 2006 at 06:19:28 (EST)

Emma -:- Betty Friedan, Who Ignited Cause -:- Sun, Feb 05, 2006 at 06:12:59 (EST)

Emma -:- NASA Chief Backs Agency Openness -:- Sun, Feb 05, 2006 at 06:07:34 (EST)

Emma -:- Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence -:- Sun, Feb 05, 2006 at 06:06:54 (EST)

Emma -:- The Whirlwinds of Revolt -:- Sun, Feb 05, 2006 at 06:05:37 (EST)

Emma -:- Climbing the Mountain -:- Sun, Feb 05, 2006 at 06:04:54 (EST)

Emma -:- How the Dream Was Born -:- Sun, Feb 05, 2006 at 06:04:12 (EST)

Terri -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Sat, Feb 04, 2006 at 19:10:09 (EST)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Sat, Feb 04, 2006 at 19:09:33 (EST)

Emma -:- Broad Rise in Hiring Last Month -:- Sat, Feb 04, 2006 at 07:24:12 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman's Money Talks -:- Sat, Feb 04, 2006 at 07:07:41 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Housing market & jobs -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 18:57:09 (EST)
_
Johnny5 -:- Post Bubble Employment Scenario -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 23:56:14 (EST)

Emma -:- What Is a Living Wage? -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 15:49:34 (EST)

Jon Face -:- Minimum Wage Destroys Jobs -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 14:02:41 (EST)
_
Emma -:- Re: Minimum Wage Destroys Jobs -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 15:46:16 (EST)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Minimum Wage Destroys Jobs -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 19:21:43 (EST)
___ Johnny5 -:- Ravi Batra -:- Sat, Feb 04, 2006 at 16:00:05 (EST)
____ Poyetas -:- Re: Ravi Batra -:- Tues, Feb 07, 2006 at 06:47:34 (EST)
_____ Emma -:- Re: Ravi Batra -:- Tues, Feb 07, 2006 at 14:43:47 (EST)

Emma -:- The Dragons Have Settled In -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 11:42:31 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Government job numbers -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 11:29:08 (EST)

Emma -:- Drive for Global Markets Strains Brazil -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 10:50:36 (EST)

Emma -:- Mongols Go From Camels to Jeeps -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 10:48:13 (EST)

Emma -:- Makers See Brighter Year Ahead -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 10:46:55 (EST)

Emma -:- Women, Secret Hamas Strength -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 10:44:08 (EST)

Emma -:- When Trust in Doctors Erodes -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 10:38:04 (EST)

Emma -:- Sought For Military in War Zones -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 10:36:34 (EST)

Emma -:- For the Love of God -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 10:33:07 (EST)

Emma -:- No Help to Democracy in Haiti -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 10:32:26 (EST)

Emma -:- The Lopsided Bush Health Plan -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 06:59:18 (EST)

Emma -:- Ballerina in 'The Red Shoes' -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 05:56:20 (EST)

Emma -:- The Red Shoes -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 05:55:08 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: State of Delusion -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 05:54:22 (EST)

Johnny5 -:- The soul of capitalism -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 01:04:26 (EST)
_
Johnny5 -:- Part 2 - the children are our future -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 01:05:31 (EST)
__ Johnny5 -:- Part 3 - The future city -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 01:08:36 (EST)
___ Johnny5 -:- Part 4 - the beginning of the end -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 01:14:08 (EST)
____ Johnny5 -:- Part 5 - Bhagwati and rising tides -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 01:15:58 (EST)
_____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Part 5 - Bhagwati and rising tides -:- Fri, Feb 03, 2006 at 07:52:57 (EST)

Emma -:- On India's Roads -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 12:25:14 (EST)

Emma -:- All Roads Lead to Cities -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 12:24:25 (EST)
_
Mik -:- Re: All Roads Lead to Cities -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 15:16:16 (EST)

Emma -:- India, Status Comes With Four Wheels -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 12:20:02 (EST)

Emma -:- India Paves a Smoother Road -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 12:19:11 (EST)
_
Mik -:- Re: India Paves a Smoother Road -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 15:13:41 (EST)

Emma -:- Turning Asphalt to Gold -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 12:17:39 (EST)
_
Mik -:- thanks Emma -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 14:41:36 (EST)

Mik -:- Emma -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 11:48:02 (EST)

Emma -:- Flour, Eggs, Sugar, Chocolate -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 10:36:35 (EST)

Emma -:- Sushi at Masa Is a Zen Thing -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 10:35:23 (EST)

Emma -:- Foreign Mining in Ghana Approved -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 07:17:06 (EST)

Emma -:- Hidden Heart Disease Risk -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 07:15:31 (EST)

Emma -:- Celebrating Mozart -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 07:14:39 (EST)

Emma -:- Good to Eat Before It's Sweet -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 07:13:55 (EST)

Emma -:- In London, a 'Soldier's Tale' -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 07:12:33 (EST)

Emma -:- Inca Show Pits Yale Against Peru -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 07:10:11 (EST)

Emma -:- The Past Lingers in Changing Vietnam -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 07:08:42 (EST)

Emma -:- Seducing the Medical Profession -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 07:07:35 (EST)

Emma -:- The March of the Straw Soldiers -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 07:04:12 (EST)

Emma -:- A Young Doctor's Hardest Lesson -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 07:01:57 (EST)

Emma -:- Devoid of Content -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 07:00:37 (EST)

Emma -:- Budget Cutbacks -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 06:57:56 (EST)

Emma -:- Curry, Stirred in India -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 06:54:17 (EST)

Emma -:- A Taste of Ghana -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 06:52:47 (EST)

Emma -:- Japan Loves Its Little Villages -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 06:51:31 (EST)

Emma -:- Holding Loved One's Hand -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 06:05:44 (EST)

Emma -:- Black Family Trees -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 06:04:47 (EST)

Emma -:- China's Bold 'Swan,' Ready for Export -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 06:04:01 (EST)

Emma -:- Hope for a Bit of the Buffett Effect -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 09:08:37 (EST)

Emma -:- G.O.P. Reaps Harvest Planted in '82 -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 09:07:13 (EST)

Emma -:- Mistrust Funds -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 09:00:43 (EST)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Mistrust Funds -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 11:44:10 (EST)
__ Johnny5 -:- Even Vanguard -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 22:06:20 (EST)

Emma -:- John Rawls, Theorist on Justice -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 08:57:24 (EST)

Emma -:- Harper Lee, Gregarious for a Day -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 08:47:52 (EST)

Emma -:- How Bernanke Could Outshine Greenspan -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 07:14:44 (EST)
_
Pete Weis -:- There's only hope!!!! -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 08:26:15 (EST)

Emma -:- The State of Energy -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 06:58:44 (EST)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: The State of Energy -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 08:23:16 (EST)
__ Terri -:- Re: The State of Energy -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 09:49:23 (EST)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: The State of Energy -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 11:46:11 (EST)
____ Johnny5 -:- My Precious -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 21:42:26 (EST)
_____ Pete Weis -:- Re: My Precious -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 08:27:49 (EST)
______ Johnny5 -:- Hillary Quote -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 23:59:31 (EST)
_____ Johnny5 -:- FREE trade? All boats rising? -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 21:50:14 (EST)

Poyetas -:- On the rise of conservatism (cont'd) -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 06:11:28 (EST)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: On the rise of conservatism (cont'd) -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 08:11:54 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: On the rise of conservatism (cont'd) -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 09:15:32 (EST)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: On the rise of conservatism (cont'd) -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 11:51:55 (EST)
___ Poyetas -:- Re: On the rise of conservatism (cont'd) -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 11:49:58 (EST)
____ Pete Weis -:- Re: On the rise of conservatism (cont'd) -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 12:08:33 (EST)
_____ Terri -:- Re: On the rise of conservatism (cont'd) -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 13:34:53 (EST)
______ Poyetas -:- Re: On the rise of conservatism (cont'd) -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 11:22:50 (EST)
_______ Emma -:- Re: On the rise of conservatism (cont'd) -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 18:41:24 (EST)

Emma -:- Russia's Sweetheart Deal for Iran -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 05:59:45 (EST)

Emma -:- Reconstruction Revisited -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 05:57:31 (EST)

Emma -:- The Education of Abraham Lincoln -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 05:56:34 (EST)

Emma -:- Signs of Anxiety on School Efforts -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 05:54:52 (EST)

Emma -:- Vive la Welfare State! -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 05:53:10 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Who's right? -:- Tues, Jan 31, 2006 at 19:06:37 (EST)
_
Emma -:- Re: Who's right? -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 09:12:02 (EST)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Who's right? -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 12:33:59 (EST)
___ Pete Weis -:- Correction -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 12:36:24 (EST)

Emma -:- A New Kind of Care -:- Tues, Jan 31, 2006 at 12:03:55 (EST)

Emma -:- Struggling Back -:- Tues, Jan 31, 2006 at 12:02:42 (EST)

Emma -:- A Genius Finds Inspiration -:- Tues, Jan 31, 2006 at 10:26:49 (EST)

Emma -:- Exploring Mental Illness -:- Tues, Jan 31, 2006 at 10:26:08 (EST)

Emma -:- 'I Was Not A Political Person' -:- Tues, Jan 31, 2006 at 08:59:16 (EST)

Emma -:- The Way Forward for Turkey -:- Tues, Jan 31, 2006 at 08:58:21 (EST)

Emma -:- Budget to Hurt Poor People on Medicaid -:- Tues, Jan 31, 2006 at 08:55:38 (EST)

Emma -:- Jailing a Critic in Kurdistan -:- Tues, Jan 31, 2006 at 08:53:58 (EST)

Emma -:- Comedy, Character, Reflection -:- Tues, Jan 31, 2006 at 08:48:17 (EST)

Emma -:- Wasserstein's Women Try Holding On -:- Tues, Jan 31, 2006 at 08:44:10 (EST)

Emma -:- Masters of Chocolate Look Abroad -:- Tues, Jan 31, 2006 at 06:11:54 (EST)

Emma -:- Wendy Wasserstein -:- Tues, Jan 31, 2006 at 06:10:59 (EST)

Emma -:- An American Woman -:- Tues, Jan 31, 2006 at 06:10:06 (EST)

Emma -:- Feminism Ages, Uncertainty Still Wins -:- Tues, Jan 31, 2006 at 06:08:46 (EST)

Emma -:- Heffalump in Search of Herself -:- Tues, Jan 31, 2006 at 06:07:56 (EST)

Emma -:- Jailing a Critic in Kurdistan -:- Tues, Jan 31, 2006 at 05:59:02 (EST)

Johnny5 -:- 200 BILLION broadband scandal -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 19:36:32 (EST)

Johnny5 -:- Substantiate your RUBBISH comment please -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 17:01:02 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Re: Substantiate your RUBBISH comment please -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 18:56:40 (EST)
__ Johnny5 -:- Re: Substantiate your RUBBISH comment please -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 22:01:27 (EST)
___ Terri -:- Re: Substantiate your RUBBISH comment please -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 05:54:44 (EST)
____ Johnny5 -:- The TRUTH hurts -:- Thurs, Feb 02, 2006 at 23:57:07 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Executive Paywatch Database -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 12:35:48 (EST)
_
David E.. -:- La Times - -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 15:17:43 (EST)
__ Johnny5 -:- 100 million -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 17:17:42 (EST)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: La Times - -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 15:33:17 (EST)
___ Johnny5 -:- The chart does not lie -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 17:16:43 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Greenspan legacy? -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 11:38:44 (EST)
_
Johnny5 -:- New Rules, Same Game -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 17:23:40 (EST)
_ Pete Weis -:- Debt - then & now -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 11:41:16 (EST)
__ Johnny5 -:- 1000 words -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 17:11:48 (EST)

Mik -:- AFRICAN statistical agencies need to fix -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 11:12:53 (EST)
_
Emma -:- Re: AFRICAN statistical agencies need to fix -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 07:16:39 (EST)

Emma -:- The Shrinking Snows of Kilimanjaro -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 09:26:40 (EST)
_
Johnny5 -:- While bush silences scientists -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 19:20:10 (EST)

Emma -:- Climate Expert -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 09:25:14 (EST)

Emma -:- Mistrust Funds -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 09:21:39 (EST)

Emma -:- Street-Fighting Man -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 09:19:55 (EST)

Emma -:- Corporate Wealth Share Rises -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 09:18:01 (EST)

Emma -:- Unions Pay Dearly for Success -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 09:16:40 (EST)

Emma -:- Some Successful Models Ignored -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 09:12:40 (EST)

Emma -:- Imprint on Drug Bill -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 09:10:22 (EST)

Emma -:- An Exotic Tool for Espionage -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 09:09:16 (EST)

Emma -:- The Ambassador -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 07:21:53 (EST)

Emma -:- Ms. Monk's Master Class -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 05:59:53 (EST)

Emma -:- G.O.P. Reaps Harvest Planted in '82 -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 05:48:04 (EST)

Emma -:- Spies, Lies and Wiretaps -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 05:47:09 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: A False Balance -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 05:33:57 (EST)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Paul Krugman: A False Balance -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 09:27:34 (EST)
__ Poyetas -:- Re: Paul Krugman: A False Balance -:- Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 06:07:24 (EST)

Mik -:- South Africa a lesson to Palestine -:- Sun, Jan 29, 2006 at 13:58:19 (EST)
_
Emma -:- Interesting and important commentary -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 06:03:46 (EST)

Emma -:- Appreciating Brendel at 75 -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 09:44:10 (EST)

Emma -:- Students Score Well in Math -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 09:39:20 (EST)

Emma -:- Mittal Steel Makes Bid for a Rival -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 09:37:13 (EST)

Emma -:- Insulin in Inhaled Form -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 09:35:25 (EST)

Emma -:- From Paris, Revolution and Roses -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 06:52:22 (EST)

Emma -:- Gray Matter and Sexes -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 06:50:20 (EST)

Emma -:- Bad Dog Finds His Forte: Selling Books -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 06:45:44 (EST)

Emma -:- A Spanish Hero for Hire -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 06:44:26 (EST)

Emma -:- Spanish Adventurer -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 06:43:14 (EST)

Emma -:- Year of Strong (or Even Better) Growth -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 06:42:07 (EST)

Emma -:- Be More Like Gucci -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 06:40:52 (EST)

Emma -:- Benedict's First Encyclical -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 06:39:24 (EST)

Emma -:- Wagner Demystified, With a Human Face -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 06:33:46 (EST)

Emma -:- Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 06:28:05 (EST)

Emma -:- Sundance, Now a Study in Paradox -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 06:26:51 (EST)

Emma -:- Chinatowns, All Sojourners Can Feel Hua -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 06:25:43 (EST)

Terri -:- National Index Returns [Dollars] -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 05:56:43 (EST)

Terri -:- Index Returns [Domestic Currency] -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 05:52:37 (EST)

Terri -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 05:42:38 (EST)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 05:37:39 (EST)

Emma -:- Krugman's Money Talks: The V.H.A. -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 05:19:23 (EST)

Terri -:- Slow Growth, Fast Stocks -:- Fri, Jan 27, 2006 at 12:46:20 (EST)
_
Emma -:- Re: Slow Growth, Fast Stocks -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 07:55:19 (EST)
_ Johnny5 -:- Bank win, bondholders lose -:- Fri, Jan 27, 2006 at 15:08:12 (EST)
__ Terri -:- Re: Bank win, bondholders lose -:- Fri, Jan 27, 2006 at 19:43:50 (EST)

Pancho Villa -:- World on a String -:- Fri, Jan 27, 2006 at 11:46:53 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Re: World on a String -:- Fri, Jan 27, 2006 at 12:49:24 (EST)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: World on a String -:- Fri, Jan 27, 2006 at 20:20:11 (EST)
___ Emma -:- Re: World on a String -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 07:41:45 (EST)
____ Pete Weis -:- Re: World on a String -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 08:17:56 (EST)
_____ Emma -:- Re: World on a String -:- Sat, Jan 28, 2006 at 09:20:40 (EST)
______ Pete Weis -:- Being content -:- Sun, Jan 29, 2006 at 13:19:48 (EST)
_______ Johnny5 -:- Eternal Vigilence -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 01:02:15 (EST)
________ Johnny5 -:- The cost of freedom? -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 01:06:50 (EST)
_________ Terri -:- Re: The cost of freedom? -:- Mon, Jan 30, 2006 at 08:50:48 (EST)

Emma -:- New Orleans Blacks May Not Return -:- Fri, Jan 27, 2006 at 11:00:21 (EST)

Emma -:- Prognosis Is Mixed for Health Savings -:- Fri, Jan 27, 2006 at 09:48:27 (EST)

Emma -:- The Durable Czeslaw Milosz -:- Fri, Jan 27, 2006 at 07:22:04 (EST)

Emma -:- In the Mideast, a Giant Step Back -:- Fri, Jan 27, 2006 at 06:04:28 (EST)

Emma -:- Savings Accounts for Health Costs -:- Fri, Jan 27, 2006 at 06:03:11 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: Health Care Confidential -:- Fri, Jan 27, 2006 at 05:47:20 (EST)

Johnny5 -:- More corruption - more misallocation -:- Thurs, Jan 26, 2006 at 16:11:15 (EST)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: More corruption - more misallocation -:- Fri, Jan 27, 2006 at 07:47:03 (EST)

Emma -:- America's Shame in Montreal -:- Thurs, Jan 26, 2006 at 11:34:09 (EST)

Emma -:- Model Highlights Arctic's Vulnerability -:- Thurs, Jan 26, 2006 at 11:31:21 (EST)

Emma -:- Centrist Recasts Warming Debate -:- Thurs, Jan 26, 2006 at 11:29:19 (EST)

Emma -:- Fading as the Arctic Thaws -:- Thurs, Jan 26, 2006 at 11:28:27 (EST)

Emma -:- Antarctica, Warming -:- Thurs, Jan 26, 2006 at 11:27:16 (EST)

Emma -:- Warming in Austrian Alps -:- Thurs, Jan 26, 2006 at 11:26:25 (EST)

Emma -:- Global Warming Devastates Frogs -:- Thurs, Jan 26, 2006 at 11:25:45 (EST)

Emma -:- 'State of Fear': Not So Hot -:- Thurs, Jan 26, 2006 at 11:23:40 (EST)

Emma -:- Beware! Tree-Huggers Plot Evil -:- Thurs, Jan 26, 2006 at 11:22:43 (EST)

Emma -:- The Crux: To Worry or Not to Worry -:- Thurs, Jan 26, 2006 at 11:21:59 (EST)

Terri -:- Vanguard Fund Returns -:- Wed, Jan 25, 2006 at 19:22:49 (EST)

Terri -:- Sector Stock Indexes -:- Wed, Jan 25, 2006 at 19:18:16 (EST)

Emma -:- Mastering the Geometry of the Jungle -:- Wed, Jan 25, 2006 at 07:02:27 (EST)

Emma -:- United States Ranks 28th on Environment -:- Wed, Jan 25, 2006 at 05:55:15 (EST)
_
Poyetas -:- Re: United States Ranks 28th on Environment -:- Thurs, Jan 26, 2006 at 08:20:15 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: United States Ranks 28th on Environment -:- Thurs, Jan 26, 2006 at 11:20:49 (EST)
___ Terri -:- Re: United States Ranks 28th on Environment -:- Thurs, Jan 26, 2006 at 19:11:54 (EST)
____ Poyetas -:- Re: United States Ranks 28th on Environment -:- Fri, Jan 27, 2006 at 05:53:38 (EST)
_____ Emma -:- Re: United States Ranks 28th on Environment -:- Fri, Jan 27, 2006 at 07:26:54 (EST)
______ Terri -:- Re: United States Ranks 28th on Environment -:- Fri, Jan 27, 2006 at 10:14:30 (EST)
_______ poyetas -:- Re: United States Ranks 28th on Environment -:- Fri, Jan 27, 2006 at 10:35:44 (EST)
________ Emma -:- Re: United States Ranks 28th on Environment -:- Fri, Jan 27, 2006 at 10:59:01 (EST)

Emma -:- Trouble in Kenyan Paradise -:- Wed, Jan 25, 2006 at 05:53:27 (EST)

Emma -:- Film About Despair in South Africa -:- Wed, Jan 25, 2006 at 05:51:46 (EST)

Emma -:- Topic: Essays Are Useful. Discuss. -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 09:16:11 (EST)

Emma -:- The Gulf Between Us -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 09:13:52 (EST)

Emma -:- Labor Board's Critics See a Bias -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 08:46:08 (EST)

Emma -:- Doctors, Too, Ask: Is This Drug Right? -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 08:44:55 (EST)

Emma -:- Canadian Voters Oust Incumbent -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 08:41:45 (EST)

Emma -:- 'Rising Above the Gathering Storm' -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 08:40:45 (EST)

Poyetas -:- Same old story.... -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 07:46:52 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- The nasty truth -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 07:20:41 (EST)

Emma -:- A Country and a Continent -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 07:16:21 (EST)

Emma -:- An SAT Without Analogies Is Like: -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 07:13:30 (EST)

Emma -:- A New Port in Shanghai -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 07:10:48 (EST)

Emma -:- Foreign Film the New Endangered Species? -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 07:09:56 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- The gap & the dollar -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 07:00:16 (EST)
_
Johnny5 -:- When gubbment fails - Privatize -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 07:36:16 (EST)

Johnny5 -:- Swensen doesnt want you in hedge funds -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 06:58:11 (EST)

Emma -:- Day in the Sundance Rays -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 06:12:21 (EST)

Emma -:- Standing the Whole World on Its Ear -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 06:10:50 (EST)

Emma -:- Army Troglodytes in Spain -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 06:09:45 (EST)

Emma -:- Boarding-School Irish -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 06:05:32 (EST)

Emma -:- Tests That Confer Citizenship -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 05:58:47 (EST)

Emma -:- Trains and the Market for Them -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 05:52:02 (EST)

Emma -:- Parenting a Common Loon -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 05:50:18 (EST)

Emma -:- Iraq Rebuilding Badly Hobbled -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 05:45:40 (EST)

Emma -:- Judge Alito's Radical Views -:- Mon, Jan 23, 2006 at 16:50:58 (EST)

Johnny5 -:- For Mik - Bankers in Panama -:- Mon, Jan 23, 2006 at 15:06:19 (EST)
_
Johnny5 -:- Re: For Mik - Bankers in Panama -:- Mon, Jan 23, 2006 at 20:35:03 (EST)
__ Mik -:- Thanks for the posts -:- Tues, Jan 24, 2006 at 12:01:25 (EST)
___ Johnny5 -:- Livedoor executive had honor -:- Wed, Jan 25, 2006 at 00:57:32 (EST)
____ Johnny5 -:- Too funny! -:- Wed, Jan 25, 2006 at 01:12:27 (EST)

Emma -:- Women on the Verge -:- Mon, Jan 23, 2006 at 11:34:59 (EST)

Emma -:- Struggling Back -:- Mon, Jan 23, 2006 at 06:33:49 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: Iraq's Power Vacuum -:- Mon, Jan 23, 2006 at 05:58:04 (EST)

Emma -:- Bolivia's Leader -:- Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 06:57:15 (EST)

Emma -:- Scientist Rode a Wave of Korean Pride -:- Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 06:56:10 (EST)

Emma -:- Cheerleaders Pep Up Drug Sales -:- Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 06:30:12 (EST)

Emma -:- Founding Father -:- Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 06:24:22 (EST)

Emma -:- Road to 'Animal Farm,' Through Burma -:- Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 06:21:51 (EST)

Emma -:- Art and Architecture, Together Again -:- Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 06:18:36 (EST)

Emma -:- The Rose That Is a Thorn -:- Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 06:16:17 (EST)

Emma -:- Design Hothouse -:- Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 06:15:01 (EST)

Emma -:- Audiences Love a Minimalist 'Ring' Cycle -:- Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 06:11:42 (EST)

Emma -:- Vows of New Aid to the Poor -:- Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 06:03:38 (EST)

Emma -:- Chance for Japanese Cellphone Makers -:- Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 06:00:50 (EST)

Emma -:- Evolution Takes a Back Seat in U.S. -:- Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 05:59:57 (EST)

Emma -:- For Some Girls, the Problem With Math -:- Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 05:58:50 (EST)

Emma -:- Was the War Pointless? -:- Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 05:57:43 (EST)

Emma -:- Runners to Limit Their Water Intake -:- Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 05:52:57 (EST)

Emma -:- Crouching Tiger, Swimming Dragon -:- Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 05:51:20 (EST)
_
Johnny5 -:- How quickly things change -:- Mon, Jan 23, 2006 at 01:28:08 (EST)

Emma -:- The Zelig Among the Modernists -:- Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 05:49:55 (EST)

Emma -:- India's Economy Tracks the Monsoon -:- Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 05:47:34 (EST)

Mik -:- World Sugar Prices -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 14:07:05 (EST)

Emma -:- Little Saigon Exports Its Prosperity -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 10:22:52 (EST)

Emma -:- Darwin Wins Point in Rome -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 10:20:26 (EST)

Emma -:- Rocking the Boat in Japan -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 10:14:43 (EST)
_
Johnny5 -:- More proof of swensens lies -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 14:55:02 (EST)

Emma -:- Turning Asphalt to Gold -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 10:12:13 (EST)
_
Mik -:- Re: Turning Asphalt to Gold -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 13:11:13 (EST)
__ Mik -:- How China avoids this situation -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 13:32:36 (EST)
___ Johnny5 -:- Early repayment penalty -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 14:09:26 (EST)
____ Mik -:- YOU HAVE HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 14:53:19 (EST)
_____ Johnny5 -:- Billions for the Bankers - Debt for the People -:- Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 18:24:56 (EST)
___ Emma -:- Re: How China avoids this situation -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 13:58:45 (EST)
____ Mik -:- pssst Emma -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 14:10:47 (EST)
_____ Emma -:- Re: pssst Emma -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 18:18:32 (EST)

Emma -:- What to Make of Dance From Japan -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 10:10:51 (EST)

Emma -:- U.S. Cuts Duty on Cement From Mexico -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 10:09:16 (EST)

Emma -:- Medical Devices Are Hot -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 10:07:17 (EST)

Emma -:- A TV 'King' Pushes the Limits -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 09:58:14 (EST)

Emma -:- Medicare Woes Take High Toll -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 09:25:01 (EST)

Emma -:- Invest at Your Own Risk -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 09:23:24 (EST)
_
Johnny5 -:- Does Vangaurd have any bear funds? -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 14:37:33 (EST)

Emma -:- Better Diet in Poorer Neighborhoods -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 09:22:04 (EST)

Emma -:- Perils of India's Rise -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 09:20:36 (EST)

Mik -:- Canada Comments -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 07:15:26 (EST)

Johnny5 -:- Keating Five for Terri -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 07:00:11 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Re: Keating Five for Terri -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 09:51:13 (EST)

Emma -:- Drug Makers Get a Warning From the U.N. -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 17:48:43 (EST)
_
Mik -:- Re: Drug Makers Get a Warning From the U.N. -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 15:29:10 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: Drug Makers Get a Warning From the U.N. -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 16:01:43 (EST)
___ Mik -:- Jared Diamond -:- Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 20:45:20 (EST)

Emma -:- 'Wittgenstein's Poker' -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 13:08:28 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Unflappable American consumer? -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 10:37:40 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Re: Unflappable American consumer? -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 12:42:32 (EST)

Emma -:- Where the Zebra and the Wildebeest Roam -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 07:17:12 (EST)

Emma -:- Business-Cycle Theory -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 07:13:35 (EST)

Emma -:- El Presidente's New Clothes -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 05:49:17 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: The K Street Prescription -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 05:20:15 (EST)

Terri -:- Model Portfolio -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 05:10:25 (EST)
_
Johnny5 -:- Government Bonds? -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 07:38:15 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Investing -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 11:54:27 (EST)
___ Johnny5 -:- Govt Milking wokers with Bonds? -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 12:46:22 (EST)
____ Terri -:- Re: Govt Milking wokers with Bonds? -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 12:53:21 (EST)
_____ Terri -:- Re: Govt Milking wokers with Bonds? -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 13:39:22 (EST)

Johnny5 -:- Greenspan Worried about GSE -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 03:28:12 (EST)
_
David E.. -:- Re: Greenspan Worried about GSE -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 18:53:44 (EST)
__ Johnny5 -:- The big question -:- Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 17:58:57 (EST)
___ David E.. -:- Re: The big question -:- Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 23:51:07 (EST)
_ Terri -:- Re: Greenspan Worried about GSE -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 12:46:40 (EST)
__ Johnny5 -:- Fundamental Capitalist -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 17:22:41 (EST)
___ Terri -:- Re: Fundamental Capitalist -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 07:09:57 (EST)
____ Johnny5 -:- Andy Kessler -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 07:50:54 (EST)
_____ Terri -:- Re: Andy Kessler -:- Sat, Jan 21, 2006 at 09:47:17 (EST)

Emma -:- Freud and His Discontents -:- Thurs, Jan 19, 2006 at 07:01:09 (EST)

Emma -:- In Movies, Big Issues, for Now -:- Thurs, Jan 19, 2006 at 06:26:32 (EST)

Emma -:- No Frames, No Brushes -:- Thurs, Jan 19, 2006 at 06:24:47 (EST)

Emma -:- Crossing the Border -:- Thurs, Jan 19, 2006 at 06:23:10 (EST)

Emma -:- A New Old Way to Make Diesel -:- Thurs, Jan 19, 2006 at 06:22:11 (EST)

Emma -:- Scorched Earth -:- Thurs, Jan 19, 2006 at 06:20:22 (EST)

byron -:- corruption -:- Wed, Jan 18, 2006 at 22:03:35 (EST)
_
Mik -:- Re: corruption -:- Thurs, Jan 19, 2006 at 16:20:38 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: corruption -:- Thurs, Jan 19, 2006 at 16:57:48 (EST)
___ Emma -:- Re: corruption -:- Thurs, Jan 19, 2006 at 17:59:58 (EST)
____ Mik -:- Re: corruption -:- Thurs, Jan 19, 2006 at 21:46:59 (EST)
_____ Emma -:- Oh, Canada -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 05:12:38 (EST)
______ Poyetas -:- Re: Oh, Canada -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 08:35:11 (EST)
_______ Emma -:- Re: Oh, Canada -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 12:14:29 (EST)
________ Mik -:- Re: Oh, Canada -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 19:43:31 (EST)

Johnny5 -:- Iran more than politics -:- Wed, Jan 18, 2006 at 12:50:17 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Re: Iran more than politics -:- Wed, Jan 18, 2006 at 16:49:06 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: Iran more than politics -:- Wed, Jan 18, 2006 at 19:25:36 (EST)
___ Mik -:- Re: Iran more than politics -:- Thurs, Jan 19, 2006 at 16:06:24 (EST)
____ Emma -:- Re: Iran more than politics -:- Thurs, Jan 19, 2006 at 17:01:46 (EST)

Pancho Villa -:- I wish every day could be like christmas -:- Wed, Jan 18, 2006 at 12:01:22 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Re: I wish every day could be like christmas -:- Wed, Jan 18, 2006 at 16:34:01 (EST)
__ Pancho Villa -:- Re: I wish every day could be like christmas -:- Wed, Jan 18, 2006 at 16:50:48 (EST)
___ Emma -:- Re: I wish every day could be like christmas -:- Wed, Jan 18, 2006 at 18:36:59 (EST)
____ Pete Weis -:- We became exceptional post WW2 -:- Thurs, Jan 19, 2006 at 07:50:50 (EST)
_____ Emma -:- Re: We became exceptional post WW2 -:- Thurs, Jan 19, 2006 at 09:12:38 (EST)
______ Mik -:- Re: We became exceptional post WW2 -:- Thurs, Jan 19, 2006 at 15:53:47 (EST)
_______ Pete Weis -:- Re: We became exceptional post WW2 -:- Thurs, Jan 19, 2006 at 20:25:27 (EST)
________ Mik -:- Re: We became exceptional post WW2 -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 19:12:33 (EST)
________ Terri -:- Re: We became exceptional post WW2 -:- Fri, Jan 20, 2006 at 06:08:14 (EST)
_______ Emma -:- Re: We became exceptional post WW2 -:- Thurs, Jan 19, 2006 at 17:07:01 (EST)

Emma -:- Rumblings of a German Revival -:- Wed, Jan 18, 2006 at 09:18:18 (EST)

Emma -:- With Glaciers Atop Volcanoes, Iceland -:- Wed, Jan 18, 2006 at 09:17:15 (EST)

Emma -:- China, a Trade Superstar -:- Wed, Jan 18, 2006 at 09:14:57 (EST)

Emma -:- Ignoring Science on Clean Air -:- Wed, Jan 18, 2006 at 05:57:49 (EST)

Emma -:- Custom-Made Microbes, at Your Service -:- Wed, Jan 18, 2006 at 05:56:05 (EST)

Emma -:- Handling of Stroke Has Many Variables -:- Wed, Jan 18, 2006 at 05:55:18 (EST)

Emma -:- Leader Making Peace With Chile's Past -:- Tues, Jan 17, 2006 at 18:42:56 (EST)

Emma -:- Strange Song -:- Tues, Jan 17, 2006 at 18:40:17 (EST)

Emma -:- Paul Krugman: First, Do More Harm -:- Mon, Jan 16, 2006 at 09:18:46 (EST)

Emma -:- Globalizing King's Legacy -:- Mon, Jan 16, 2006 at 06:23:35 (EST)

Emma -:- Scarlet Tanager Feeding -:- Sun, Jan 15, 2006 at 07:07:42 (EST)

Emma -:- Scarlet Tanager Eating an Insect -:- Sun, Jan 15, 2006 at 07:06:22 (EST)

Emma -:- Is Anybody Necessary? -:- Sun, Jan 15, 2006 at 06:59:30 (EST)
_
Mik -:- Re: Is Anybody Necessary? -:- Thurs, Jan 19, 2006 at 15:25:11 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: Is Anybody Necessary? -:- Thurs, Jan 19, 2006 at 17:57:34 (EST)

Emma -:- Hard Decisions for New Orleans -:- Sun, Jan 15, 2006 at 06:56:34 (EST)
_
Mik -:- Re: Hard Decisions for New Orleans -:- Thurs, Jan 19, 2006 at 15:12:21 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: Hard Decisions for New Orleans -:- Thurs, Jan 19, 2006 at 17:04:03 (EST)

Emma -:- The Broken Promise of Nafta -:- Sun, Jan 15, 2006 at 06:54:42 (EST)

Emma -:- Opens 389,000 Acres in Alaska -:- Sun, Jan 15, 2006 at 06:52:23 (EST)

Emma -:- Water Buffalo? Swamps? This Is Japan? -:- Sun, Jan 15, 2006 at 06:49:13 (EST)

Emma -:- Even Law Firms Join the Trend -:- Sun, Jan 15, 2006 at 06:46:30 (EST)

Emma -:- Nilsson in Person: The Glory -:- Sun, Jan 15, 2006 at 06:45:00 (EST)

Emma -:- The New Megayachts -:- Sun, Jan 15, 2006 at 06:43:46 (EST)

Emma -:- Knack for Finding the Moment -:- Sun, Jan 15, 2006 at 06:41:09 (EST)

Emma -:- How the Dream Was Born -:- Sun, Jan 15, 2006 at 06:34:09 (EST)

Pancho Villa -:- “They will fluctuate.” -:- Sat, Jan 14, 2006 at 19:02:09 (EST)
_
Pete Weis -:- The three factors -:- Sun, Jan 15, 2006 at 11:42:54 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Investing -:- Thurs, Jan 19, 2006 at 09:03:11 (EST)

Emma -:- Norway Ushers Women Into Boardroom -:- Sat, Jan 14, 2006 at 07:06:54 (EST)

Emma -:- The Bread Is Famously Good -:- Sat, Jan 14, 2006 at 07:06:07 (EST)

Emma -:- Einstein's Cosmological Constant -:- Sat, Jan 14, 2006 at 06:40:35 (EST)

Emma -:- Lobbying to Sell Your House -:- Sat, Jan 14, 2006 at 06:25:03 (EST)

Emma -:- Brazil Is Awash in Energy -:- Sat, Jan 14, 2006 at 06:22:49 (EST)

Emma -:- Edge in Putting Information to Work -:- Sat, Jan 14, 2006 at 06:21:24 (EST)

Emma -:- Vindication for the Maligned Fiber Diet -:- Sat, Jan 14, 2006 at 06:19:38 (EST)

Emma -:- Rules: Families, Money and Risk -:- Sat, Jan 14, 2006 at 06:17:07 (EST)

Emma -:- Moral Consequences Of Material Progress -:- Sat, Jan 14, 2006 at 06:15:30 (EST)

Emma -:- The Need to Invest in Young Children -:- Sat, Jan 14, 2006 at 06:13:07 (EST)

Emma -:- Global Warming Devastates Frogs -:- Sat, Jan 14, 2006 at 06:11:29 (EST)

Emma -:- Toyota Shows Big Three How It's Done -:- Sat, Jan 14, 2006 at 06:03:05 (EST)

Emma -:- Weary After Scaling His Great Mountain -:- Sat, Jan 14, 2006 at 05:29:53 (EST)

Emma -:- America Gets a New Dream -:- Sat, Jan 14, 2006 at 05:28:47 (EST)

Emma -:- Energy Transforms How India Operates -:- Sat, Jan 14, 2006 at 05:26:15 (EST)

Emma -:- Stop Making Most Cameras That Use Film -:- Sat, Jan 14, 2006 at 05:24:37 (EST)

Emma -:- The Capitalist Manifesto -:- Sat, Jan 14, 2006 at 05:22:54 (EST)

Emma -:- Birgit Nilsson -:- Sat, Jan 14, 2006 at 05:17:23 (EST)

Emma -:- Strike Reflects Nationwide Pension Woes -:- Sun, Dec 25, 2005 at 03:42:36 (EST)


Post New Message


Powerforum Plus+
Paradise Web Enhancements
Copyright 1997,1998



Subject: Please help protect this board
From: Bobby
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Mar 01, 2006 at 06:11:29 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Please help protect this board from viruses and spam.

Subject: Please notice the viruses.
From: Bobby
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Feb 28, 2006 at 17:38:04 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Bobby, please help protect the board when your computer is working again.

Subject: Paul Krugman: Graduates Versus Oligarchs
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Feb 28, 2006 at 14:23:51 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2006/02/paul_krugman_gr.html February 27, 2006 Paul Krugman: Graduates Versus Oligarchs Edited by Mark Thoma Ben Bernanke's maiden Congressional testimony as chairman of the Federal Reserve was, everyone agrees, superb. ... But Mr. Bernanke did stumble at one point. Responding to a question ... about income inequality, he declared that 'the most important factor' in rising inequality 'is the rising skill premium, the increased return to education.' That's a fundamental misreading of what's happening.... What we're seeing isn't the rise of a fairly broad class of knowledge workers. Instead, we're seeing the rise of a narrow oligarchy: income and wealth are becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small, privileged elite. I think of Mr. Bernanke's position ... as the 80-20 fallacy. It's the notion that the winners in our increasingly unequal society are a fairly large group ... the 20 percent or so of American workers who have the skills to take advantage of new technology and globalization... The truth is quite different. Highly educated workers have done better than those with less education, but ... real earnings of college graduates actually fell more than 5 percent between 2000 and 2004. Over the longer stretch from 1975 to 2004 the average earnings of college graduates rose, but by less than 1 percent per year. So who are the winners from rising inequality? ... A new research paper by Ian Dew-Becker and Robert Gordon ... gives the details. Between 1972 and 2001 the wage and salary income of Americans at the 90th percentile of the income distribution rose only ... about 1 percent per year. So being in the top 10 percent of the income distribution, like being a college graduate, wasn't a ticket to big income gains. But income at the 99th percentile rose 87 percent; income at the 99.9th percentile rose 181 percent; and income at the 99.99th percentile rose 497 percent. No, that's not a misprint. Just to give you a sense of who we're talking about: ... the 99th percentile will correspond to an income of $402,306, and the 99.9th percentile to an income of $1,672,726. The ... 99.99th percentile [is] probably well over $6 million a year. ... The notion that it's all about returns to education suggests that nobody is to blame for rising inequality, that it's just a case of supply and demand at work. And it also suggests that the way to mitigate inequality is to improve our educational system — and better education is a value to which just about every politician in America pays at least lip service. The idea that we have a rising oligarchy is much more disturbing. It suggests that the growth of inequality may have as much to do with power relations as it does with market forces. Unfortunately, that's the real story. Should we be worried about the increasingly oligarchic nature of American society? Yes ... Both history and modern experience tell us that highly unequal societies also tend to be highly corrupt. There's an arrow of causation that runs from diverging income trends to Jack Abramoff ... And I'm with Alan Greenspan, who ... has repeatedly warned that growing inequality poses a threat to 'democratic society.' It may take some time before we muster the political will to counter that threat. But the first step toward doing something about inequality is to abandon the 80-20 fallacy. It's time to face up to the fact that rising inequality is driven by the giant income gains of a tiny elite, not the modest gains of college graduates.

Subject: Re: Paul Krugman: Graduates Versus Oligarchs
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Tues, Feb 28, 2006 at 18:54:26 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'But income at the 99th percentile rose 87 percent; income at the 99.9th percentile rose 181 percent; and income at the 99.99th percentile rose 497 percent. No, that's not a misprint. Just to give you a sense of who we're talking about: ... the 99th percentile will correspond to an income of $402,306, and the 99.9th percentile to an income of $1,672,726. The ... 99.99th percentile [is] probably well over $6 million a year. ...' This is the core reason why we are at economic risk. It's why the housing boom lacks fundamental support and will suffer a hard landing. It has been the unsustainable housing boom which has temporarily held this economy together in the absence of growing wealth among the bottom 90 %. In fact the 90 % bottom level has accumulated a record level of debt in an attempt to keep up. The late 20's and early 30's of the last century were the last time this extreme imbalance of wealth distribution occured. Ben Bernanke has spent a lot of time thinking about the Great Depression and why it occured. His conclusion has centered around mistakes by governmental agencies and legislative miscues. Certainly these factors had a hand in making things worse. But what if the real reason had been centered around the loss of wealth among the masses, massive build-up of personal debt and resulting drop in consumption? Imagine what happens if we get a relatively steep fall in housing - wouldn't this also have a negative affect on the stock markets since it would put a severe crimp in the economy? With both housing and stocks declining what happens to consumption in the absence of a job market which owes, in many regions, so much to the residential housing boom? Is this not a negative feedback loop? IMO, we will get the answers to these questions in the next few years and beyond. We have competing economic theories - which will prove to be right or, perhaps, we need to rewrite and revamp prevailing economic precepts. The coming years will be amazing!

Subject: Re: Paul Krugman: Graduates Versus Oligarchs
From: Emma
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Wed, Mar 01, 2006 at 06:14:31 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Nonetheless the housing boom has run through developed countries, and housing prices continue to be stable. I am just not finding a collapse evident in the economy, for all the problems.

Subject: Re: Paul Krugman: Graduates Versus Oligarchs
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Mar 01, 2006 at 09:02:43 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The bull market that began in October 2002 continues, and that is what we know as of this day. The Vanguard REIT index is up 9.9% so far this year. We can be cautious, but nonetheless we are in an international bull market for the present. The worry for me is long term interest rates, but so far they are benign. So, I am pleased as of this day :)

Subject: Cracks developing
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Mar 01, 2006 at 09:25:55 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'The investment boom has also taken up the slack left by consumers wrestling with record debt levels and a flat housing market.' We are begining to see cracks in housing in Australia which are begining to slow their economy. Luckily for Australians, the commodity (especially in metals) boom has helped the segment of their economy, based on resources, pick up much of the slack. It's interesting to note that 60% of Australia's GDP (according to this article) is dependent on household consumption while, in the US, some 75% of GDP is dependent on household consumption. From The Financial Times: Australian economic growth slower than expected SYDNEY (Reuters) - March 1, 2006 01:55 GMT Australia’s economy grew a slower-than-expected 0.5 percent in the final quarter of 2005 as a surge in business investment was partially offset by a downturn in the housing sector and a dismal trade performance. Government data on Wednesday showed gross domestic product (GDP) grew 2.7 percent from a year earlier, up from 2.5 percent in the third quarter. Yet growth was still some way below best estimates of the economy’s speed limit, arguing against the need for a restraining rise in interest rates. “It’s confirmation the economy stepped down several gears in the second half of 2005,” said Michael Blythe, chief economist at Commonwealth Bank. “It is hard to be too pessimistic for the outlook for 2006, but it is one of those indicators that says there is no hurry to do anything on rates.” Financial markets had looked for a rise of around 0.7 percent in fourth-quarter GDP, so the soft result dented the Australian dollar while boosting bond futures. The total value of all goods and services produced in Australia in 2005 stood at A$870 billion ($644 billion) in inflation-adjusted dollars. A decade ago it was A$608 billion. Australian Treasurer Peter Costello accentuated the positive by pointing to the strength of business investment which he said would boost production and economic growth this year. HEAVY LIFTING Business all but carried the economy last quarter, contributing 0.7 percentage point to GDP growth. High commodity prices, healthy profits and strong global demand have driven a boom in mining, resource and transport investment, such that business spending has averaged annual growth of 14 percent over the past three years. The surge in business investment promises to ease capacity constraints in the economy, support exports and restrain inflation. Exports could do with the help as, despite huge price gains in some of Australia’s biggest commodities, export volumes have consistently disappointed. Meanwhile, imports have stayed strong, particularly of capital goods. As a result, international trade lopped 0.5 percentage point off GDP growth last quarter. The investment boom has also taken up the slack left by consumers wrestling with record debt levels and a flat housing market. Residential investment fell last quarter, taking 0.2 percentage point from GDP. Meanwhile, household consumption, which accounts for about 60 percent of total GDP, rose 0.7 percent in the quarter, adding 0.4 percentage point to growth. The government also took up some of the slack as a hefty 2.7 percent jump in spending added 0.5 percentage point to growth. Australia’s government still boasts a healthy budget surplus, giving it scope to cut taxes again this year to support the consumer. “The weakness in the household sector of the economy has helped to contain core inflation despite rising energy and upstream prices,” said Andrew Hanlan, senior economist at Westpac. “I think while that situation persists, interest rates will certainly be on hold.” “Going forward, we think the export recovery and business investment will still be supportive of growth running around 3 percent annualised rather than that pronounced softness we saw in the second half of last year,” he concluded.

Subject: Shifting economy
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 27, 2006 at 20:57:03 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Consolidation and lay-offs hit mortgage industry By Julie Haviv Fri Feb 24, 3:19 PM ET A major transition is underway in the U.S. mortgage lending industry, with consolidations and lay-offs at the forefront as companies try to deal with waning demand for home loans. This shift is expected to pick up steam in 2006 if the housing market, as widely expected, cools off from its record-breaking five-year run. 'There are some very important signals emerging in that we have seen some pretty good companies go on the block for sale or have been sold recently, which is a clear sign that consolidation is seriously underway,' said Douglas Duncan, chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association, an industry trade group. Duncan said developments at two mid-sized 'good performing' companies may hint to a wider trend. Waterfield Mortgage Co. recently announced that it will sell its mortgage banking business and Irwin Financial Corp. (NYSE:IFC - news) said last month it hired JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM - news) to look at selling its conventional first mortgage unit, Irwin Mortgage. 'They just couldn't get the revenue per loan that the big guys were getting,' he said. Even the larger firms are poised for a downturn. Countrywide Financial Corp. (NYSE:CFC - news), the largest U.S. mortgage lender, recently announced it plans lay-offs for sometime this year, partly in response to lower profits on sales of mortgages. On its fourth-quarter earnings conference call in late January, the company's chief executive, Angelo Mozilo, said intense competition should force some smaller lenders out of the market. Employment in the real estate and mortgage industry peaked at 504,000 in October of last year but fell to 501,000 in December, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is a noteworthy shift, given that the sector has been gaining jobs over the past five years. Employment stood at 283,000 in March of 2001. Mortgage rates are expected to continue ratcheting upward from their historic lows, and that will limit lending and refinancing activity, putting more pressure on firms to find new efficiencies, said Duncan. A week ago, the average 30-year fixed loan reached 6.22 percent. But Duncan expects it to climb to 6.40 percent by the end of 2006, significantly higher than its 2005 low of 5.47 percent. VOLUME IS EBBING The U.S. housing market surged for five years, shattering sales and construction records and sending home prices up more than 55 percent on average nationwide. But now the market has taken on a 'survival-of-the-fittest' atmosphere, said Celia Chen, director of housing economics at Moody's Economy.com, a consulting firm. 'Mortgage lending is an opportunistic business and when business declines, the instinct is to consolidate to become more efficient, and that is what we are seeing,' said Chen. The MBA's seasonally adjusted refinancing index, which hit a record level near 10,000 in May of 2003, stood at 1,571.4 for the week ended February 17. While refinancing has been trending lower over the past few years, the drop in volume for home purchase loans has gained substantial momentum in only the past year. The MBA's seasonally adjusted purchase mortgage index-- considered a timely gauge on U.S. home sales -- stood at 408.7 last week, its lowest level since the week ended January 7, 2005, when the index hit 393.1. According to Duncan, lenders have been holding 'slowdown' meetings with their employees, a move he said historically coincides with a turn in employment. LENDERS LAST HURRAH? Mortgage lenders, however, are not ready to throw in the towel just yet and are actively seeking new ways to increase business volume, whether through new loan products or reaching out to untapped markets. 'We have worked hard over the past three years in developing a wide array of products -- all credit types, all documentation types, all amortization types and all combinations of first and second mortgages,' said Bob Walters, chief economist at Quicken Loans, an online mortgage lender. By diversifying its product line, Quicken Loans is able to serve the entire spectrum of clients, said Walters. 'The firms that are focused on one type or another will struggle as the market narrows,' he said.

Subject: Re: Shifting economy
From: Emma
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Tues, Feb 28, 2006 at 12:36:51 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Notice though the REIT index is up 9.9% this year, and long term interest rates continue nicely low. The international bull market in stocks continues. I am still fairly content.

Subject: Re: Shifting economy
From: Emma
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Tues, Feb 28, 2006 at 12:33:58 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thanks, Pete :) Bobby has been having computer problems.

Subject: Strangers at the Door
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Feb 23, 2006 at 05:40:44 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/23/opinion/23ervin.html?ex=1298350800&en=ef2eb3d5a1ebc9c8&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 23, 2006 Strangers at the Door By CLARK KENT ERVIN Washington WHO could have imagined that, in the post-9/11 world, the United States government would approve a deal giving control over six major American ports to a country with ties to terrorism? But this is exactly what the secretive Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has done. Since 1999, the ports of New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia and other cities have been operated by a British concern, P & O Ports, which has now been bought by Dubai Ports World, a company controlled by the government of the United Arab Emirates. Defenders of the deal are claiming that critics, including the Republican and Democratic leaderships in Congress, are acting reflexively out of some bias against Arabs. This is simply not true. While the United Arab Emirates is deemed by the Bush administration to be an ally in the war on terrorism, we should all have deep concerns about its links to terrorists. Two of the 9/11 hijackers were citizens of the emirates, and some of the money for the attacks came from there. It was one of only three countries in the world that recognized the Taliban regime. And Dubai was an important transshipment point for the smuggling network of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani scientist who supplied Libya, Iran and North Korea with equipment for making nuclear weapons. Most terrorism experts agree that the likeliest way for a weapon of mass destruction to be smuggled into our country would be through a port. After all, some 95 percent of all goods from abroad arrive in the United States by sea, and yet only about 6 percent of incoming cargo containers are inspected for security threats. It is true that at the ports run by the Dubai company, Customs officers would continue to do any inspection of cargo containers and the Coast Guard would remain 'in charge' of port security. But, again, very few cargo inspections are conducted. And the Coast Guard merely sets standards that ports are to follow and reviews their security plans. Meeting those standards each day is the job of the port operators: they are responsible for hiring security officers, guarding the cargo and overseeing its unloading. Probably few Americans knew until this week that major ports were operated by a foreign company. Now several members of Congress are introducing bills that would prohibit such ownership. While President Bush has threatened a veto, certainly it is reasonable to reconsider whether such strategic assets should be controlled by any foreign entity. The debate over the sale should also shed light on the mysterious workings of the Committee on Foreign Investment, an interagency body led by the secretary of the Treasury. Under current rules, the committee can approve deals in which foreign companies take over American properties with national security importance after just a 30-day review, and without the approval of the president. If the committee does not approve a sale within this period it can — or if the acquirer is a foreign government it must — take an additional 45 days to conduct an 'investigation,' after which it has to make a recommendation to the president, who then has 15 days to approve or reject the deal. While the president must inform Congress of his decision, it has no review power. In this instance, even though the acquirer was a foreign government, no investigation was conducted and the president was not informed. Obviously, the committee has a worrisome amount of power and the process is too rapid. At a minimum, the law should be changed to take away its power to decide matters with such a major bearing on national security on its own. And where a foreign power would be in control, the committee should thoroughly investigate and make a recommendation to the White House. Then, if the president approves the deal, Congress should have the ability to review and reverse it. If our nation's treaties and trade agreements are important enough to require Congressional approval, then surely ceding control of our most important strategic assets to a foreign power should as well — especially in the new age of terrorism. Clark Kent Ervin was the inspector general of the Homeland Security Department from 2003 to 2004.

Subject: Bobby, please notice the virus
From: Bobby
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Feb 23, 2006 at 04:09:44 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Bobby, please notice the virus filled program below. This is very dangerous.

Subject: 'The Mensch Gap'
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Feb 22, 2006 at 16:26:32 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2006/02/krugmans_money__3.html February 21, 2006 Paul Krugman responds to comments on his latest column, 'The Mensch Gap': Krugman's Money Talks: No Menschen in Washington, Commentary, NY Times: ... Ken Shemberg, Bowling Green, Ohio: As usual, I think you have it right. This administration couldn't admit a fault if they were caught red-handed on videotape. But, to be fair, is that really different from other presidents? Your example of Ike's D-Day letter was written before he became a president. Maybe Lincoln admitted faults — he liked to poke fun at himself — and maybe Kennedy admitted fault on the Bay of Pigs. But in reading presidential biographies, it's hard for me to dredge up a time when a president said, yep, I was wrong — on a major issue, anyway. Can you think of one? Grover Cleveland did admit to having an illegitimate daughter. But that was a bit different, wasn't it? Paul Krugman: Fair enough; full-blown apologies from politicians are rare. But I think there are two distinguishing features of this administration. First, they don't even make tacit admissions that they made mistakes. Both Reagan and Clinton changed course and brought in better people when it became clear that their policies weren't working; these guys never do. In particular, it's obvious to everyone that Rumsfeld and Chertoff are incompetent. But they're loyal, and Bush chose them, so they stay. The other is that they don't even admit to themselves that they've made mistakes, and learn nothing from experience. I'll write soon about how looming problems with Medicare Part D were ignored in the months after Katrina, when any normal administration would have wondered what other things it was unready for. Max Wieselthier, New York.: A quite beautiful exposition with one minor defect. The plural for mensch is menschen. Paul Krugman: Yes, I know. What do you take me and my parents for, untermenschen? But it's become an English word for all practical purposes. And if The History Channel can pronounce Field Marshal Rommel's first name 'Irwin', I can anglicize the plural of mensch. ...

Subject: National Index Returns [Dollars]
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Feb 21, 2006 at 19:19:36 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Dollars] 12/30/05 - 2/21/06 Australia 3.3 Canada 7.6 Denmark 3.0 France 6.9 Germany 9.2 Hong Kong 4.5 Japan -3.4 Netherlands 8.5 Norway 11.0 Sweden 5.8 Switzerland 5.8 UK 6.0

Subject: Viruses Above!
From: Bobby
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, Mar 01, 2006 at 14:50:19 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Please note set of viruses above. Please help

Subject: Index Returns [Domestic Currency]
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Feb 21, 2006 at 19:18:52 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Domestic Currency] 12/30/05 - 2/21/06 Australia 2.2 Canada 5.8 Denmark 1.7 France 5.5 Germany 7.8 Hong Kong 4.6 Japan -3.2 Netherlands 7.1 Norway 10.7 Sweden 4.1 Switzerland 4.8 UK 4.3

Subject: Investing
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Feb 21, 2006 at 19:17:25 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Notice how remarkably well the real estate investment trust index is holding. Also, the dollar continues to be strong but Latin American currencies, especially Brazil's, and with the exception of Chile's, are gaining in strength against the dollar.

Subject: Vanguard Fund Returns
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Feb 21, 2006 at 18:47:00 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship2.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsByName Vanguard Fund Returns 12/31/05 to 2/21/06 S&P Index is 3.0 Large Cap Growth Index is 1.9 Large Cap Value Index is 4.0 Mid Cap Index is 4.6 Small Cap Index is 7.3 Small Cap Value Index is 6.9 Europe Index is 6.8 Pacific Index is -0.4 Emerging Markets Index is 10.2 Energy is 9.1 Health Care is 1.7 Precious Metals is 14.7 REIT Index is 9.4 High Yield Corporate Bond Fund is 1.4 Long Term Corporate Bond Fund is -0.4

Subject: Sector Stock Indexes
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Feb 21, 2006 at 18:44:05 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship2.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsVIPERByName Sector Stock Indexes 12/31/05 - 2/21/06 Energy 7.2 Financials 2.7 Health Care 2.7 Info Tech 2.5 Materials 5.8 REITs 9.5 Telecoms 11.1 Utilities 3.2

Subject: Paul Krugman: The Mensch Gap
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Feb 21, 2006 at 16:29:23 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2006/02/paul_krugman_th_2.html February 20, 2006 Everybody makes mistakes. But not everyone can admit them. By Mark Thoma The Mensch Gap, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: 'Be a mensch,' my parents told me. Literally, a mensch is a person. But by implication, a mensch is an upstanding person who takes responsibility for his actions. ... Dick Cheney isn't a mensch. There have been many attempts to turn the shooting of Harry Whittington into a political metaphor, but the most characteristic moment was the final act — the Moscow show-trial moment in which the victim of Mr. Cheney's recklessness apologized for getting shot. Remember, Mr. Cheney, more than anyone else, misled us into the Iraq war. Then, when neither links to Al Qaeda nor W.M.D. materialized, he shifted the blame to the very intelligence agencies he bullied into inflating the threat. Donald Rumsfeld isn't a mensch. Before the Iraq war Mr. Rumsfeld muzzled commanders who warned that we were going in with too few troops, and sidelined State Department experts who warned that we needed a plan for the invasion's aftermath. But when the war went wrong, he began talking about 'unknown unknowns' and going to war with 'the army you have,' ducking responsibility for the failures of leadership that have turned the war into a stunning victory — for Iran. Michael Chertoff, the secretary of homeland security, isn't a mensch. Remember his excuse ... 'I remember on Tuesday morning,' ... 'picking up newspapers and I saw headlines, 'New Orleans Dodged the Bullet.' ' There were no such headlines, at least in major newspapers, and we now know that he received — and ignored — many warnings about the unfolding disaster. Michael Leavitt, the secretary of health and human services, isn't a mensch. He insists that the prescription drug plan's catastrophic start doesn't reflect poorly on his department, that 'no logical person' would have expected 'a transition happening that is so large without some problems.' In fact, Medicare's 1966 startup went very smoothly. ... I could go on. Officials in this administration never take responsibility ... it's always someone else's fault. Was it always like this? I don't want to romanticize our political history, but I don't think so. ... Dwight Eisenhower ... wrote a letter before D-Day accepting the blame if the landings failed. His modern equivalent would probably insist that the landings were a 'catastrophic success,' then ... blame ... their failure on the editorial page of The New York Times. Where have all the mensches gone? The character of the administration reflects the character of the man at its head. President Bush is definitely not a mensch; his inability to admit mistakes or take responsibility ... approaches the pathological. ... And as long as his appointees remain personally loyal, he defends their performance, no matter how incompetent. After all, to do otherwise would be to admit that he made a mistake in choosing them. ... But how did such people attain power in the first place? ... Whatever the reason ... it has horrifying consequences. You can't learn from mistakes if you won't admit making any mistakes, an observation that explains a lot about the policy disasters of recent years ... Above all, the anti-mensches now ruling America are destroying our moral standing. A recent National Journal report finds that we're continuing to hold many prisoners at Guantánamo even though the supposed evidence against them has been discredited. We're even holding at least eight prisoners who are no longer designated enemy combatants. Why? Well, releasing people you've imprisoned by mistake means admitting that you made a mistake. And that's something the people now running America never do.

Subject: Re: Paul Krugman: The Mensch Gap
From: Sid Baroni
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Feb 22, 2006 at 07:10:12 (EST)
Email Address: sidbaloney23@juno.com

Message:
Hey Paul: How about being a mensch and returning the Enron money?

Subject: Trolling
From: Bobby
To: Sid Baroni
Date Posted: Wed, Feb 22, 2006 at 09:59:44 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Bobby, we have a troll.

Subject: True Costs of the Iraq War (J. Stiglitz)
From: Yann
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Feb 21, 2006 at 03:16:45 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The True Costs of the Iraq War By Joseph E. Stiglitz (Feb.2006) (http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/stiglitz67) The most important things in life ­ like life itself ­ are priceless. But that doesn’t mean that issues involving the preservation of life (or a way of life), like defense, should not be subjected to cool, hard economic analysis. Shortly before the current Iraq war, when Bush administration economist Larry Lindsey suggested that the costs might range between $100 and $200 billion, other officials quickly demurred. For example, Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels put the number at $60 billion. It now appears that Lindsey’s numbers were a gross underestimate. Concerned that the Bush administration might be misleading everyone about the Iraq war’s costs, just as it had about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and connection with Al Qaida, I teamed up with Linda Bilmes, a budget expert at Harvard, to examine the issue. Even we, as opponents of the war, were staggered by what we found, with conservative to moderate estimates ranging from slightly less than a trillion dollars to more than $2 trillion. Our analysis starts with the $500 billion that the Congressional Budget Office openly talks about, which is still ten times higher than what the administration said the war would cost. Its estimate falls so far short because the reported numbers do not even include the full budgetary costs to the government. And the budgetary costs are but a fraction of the costs to the economy as a whole. For example, the Bush administration has been doing everything it can to hide the huge number of returning veterans who are severely wounded – 16,000 so far, including roughly 20% with serious brain and head injuries. So it is no surprise that its figure of $500 billion ignores the lifetime disability and healthcare costs that the government will have to pay for years to come. Nor does the administration want to face up to the military’s recruiting and retention problems. The result is large re-enlistment bonuses, improved benefits, and higher recruiting costs – up 20% just from 2003 to 2005. Moreover, the war is extremely wearing on equipment, some of which will have to be replaced. These budgetary costs (exclusive of interest) amount to $652 billion in our conservative estimate and $799 billion in our moderate estimate. Arguably, since the government has not reined in other expenditures or increased taxes, the expenditures have been debt financed, and the interest costs on this debt add another $98 billion (conservative) to $385 billion (moderate) to the budgetary costs. Of course, the brunt of the costs of injury and death is borne by soldiers and their families. But the military pays disability benefits that are markedly lower than the value of lost earnings. Similarly, payments for those who are killed amount to only $500,000, which is far less than standard estimates of the lifetime economic cost of a death, sometimes referred to as the statistical value of a life ($6.1 to $6.5 million). But the costs don’t stop there. The Bush administration once claimed that the Iraq war would be good for the economy, with one spokesperson even suggesting that it was the best way to ensure low oil prices. As in so many other ways, things have turned out differently: the oil companies are the big winners, while the American and global economies are losers. Being extremely conservative, we estimate the overall effect on the economy if only $5 or $10 of the increase is attributed to the war. At the same time, money spent on the war could have been spent elsewhere. We estimate that if a proportion of that money had been allocated to domestic investment in roads, schools, and research, the American economy would have been stimulated more in the short run, and its growth would have been enhanced in the long run. There are a number of other costs, some potentially quite large, although quantifying them is problematic. For instance, Americans pay some $300 billion annually for the “option value” of military preparedness – being able to fight wherever needed. That Americans are willing to pay this suggests that the option value exceeds the costs. But there is little doubt that the option value has been greatly impaired and will likely remain so for several years. In short, even our “moderate” estimate may significantly underestimate the cost of America’s involvement in Iraq. And our estimate does not include any of the costs implied by the enormous loss of life and property in Iraq itself. We do not attempt to explain whether the American people were deliberately misled regarding the war’s costs, or whether the Bush administration’s gross underestimate should be attributed to incompetence, as it vehemently argues is true in the case of weapons of mass destruction. Nor do we attempt to assess whether there were more cost-effective ways of waging the war. Recent evidence that deaths and injuries would have been greatly reduced had better body armor been provided to troops suggests how short-run frugality can lead to long-run costs. Certainly, when a war’s timing is a matter of choice, as in this case, inadequate preparation is even less justifiable. But such considerations appear to be beyond the Bush administration’s reckoning. Elaborate cost-benefit analyses of major projects have been standard practice in the defense department and elsewhere in government for almost a half-century. The Iraq war was an immense “project,” yet it now appears that the analysis of its benefits was greatly flawed and that of its costs virtually absent. One cannot help but wonder: were there alternative ways of spending a fraction of the war’s $1-$2 trillion in costs that would have better strengthened security, boosted prosperity, and promoted democracy? Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics, is Professor of Economics at Columbia University and was Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to President Clinton and Chief Economist and Senior Vice President at the World Bank. Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2006. www.project-syndicate.org

Subject: Report on Impact of Federal Benefits
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 11:11:39 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/18/national/18poverty.html?ex=1297918800&en=8460128cd4972f05&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 18, 2006 Report on Impact of Federal Benefits on Curbing Poverty Reignites a Debate By ERIK ECKHOLM A brief report this week from the Census Bureau, highlighting how welfare programs and tax credits affect incomes among the poor, has fanned the politically charged debate on poverty in the United States and how best to measure it, with conservatives offering praise and liberals saying it underplays the extent of deprivation. The report, 'The Effects of Government Taxes and Transfers on Income and Poverty: 2004,' found that when noncash benefits like food stamps and housing subsidies were considered, as well as tax credits given to low-income workers, the share of Americans living under the poverty line last year was 8.3 percent. This is well below the 12.7 percent of Americans that the government officially says lived below the poverty line in 2004, using the conventional methodology that only counts a family's cash income. Conservatives have long maintained that poverty levels are overstated, and the new report was hailed by Douglas Besharov, an expert on social policy at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research group in Washington, as a much needed corrective. Mr. Besharov issued a news release saying, 'The new data show that real progress against poverty has been made in the last 40 years.' But liberal scholars said the report presented a misleading and partial picture, highlighting uncounted resources available to many poor people but ignoring, on the other side, many new expenses and hardships they face in a changing economy. 'Yes, the E.I.T.C. means a family has more money, and that's good,' said Timothy Smeeding, an economist at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, referring to the Earned-Income Tax Credit, which can pay thousands of dollars to a low-income worker. 'But going to work can also mean high new expenses for travel and child care, for example, and these aren't included.' 'They've added in the extra benefits people get, but not the extra costs,' Mr. Smeeding said of the Census Bureau, adding that the report gave an overly optimistic figure of living conditions on the bottom. All sides agree that the current official methods for calculating incomes, and the poverty line itself, are outdated. Over the last decade, a host of technical studies by the National Academy of Sciences, academic scholars and the Census Bureau have analyzed incomes and needs under varying assumptions. In a news release this week, the bureau called the report 'part of an ongoing Census Bureau effort to understand economic well-being and poverty in America,' adding that the bureau 'has been working to streamline and simplify the many ways to consider the poverty rate.' Bureau officials did not respond to requests yesterday by telephone and e-mail for further comment on the report and its critics. For Mr. Besharov, a merit of the report was that it 'streamlined' the complex data offered by previous studies. 'This makes it a lot easier for people to look at the numbers and draw their own conclusions,' he said in an interview. Mr. Besharov said that if additional factors were to be included in income calculations, like the imputed rental savings for people who live together, the value of home equity and unreported public benefits, the share of Americans living below the poverty line would fall below 6 percent. 'I think the real story is that 40 years of benefits haven't eradicated poverty, but we've made some real progress,' Mr. Besharov said. But other scholars counter that many studies, which tried to paint a picture of needs and of uncounted benefits, have often placed more people below the poverty line rather than fewer. That line, many also say, is unrealistically low. The official poverty line was developed in 1960 and based on the simplest of calculations: the cost of feeding a family, multiplied by three. Since then, the original income cutoff has been adjusted for inflation but not for the radical changes in society and household expenses. But even as scholars and officials experiment with new data and seek new insights, most agree that the official methods for calculating incomes and the poverty line are unlikely to be changed. This is because eligibility for many major public programs, like food stamps and Medicaid, is tied to the official poverty rate, and any change would have wide repercussions. The official poverty line, from almost any viewpoint, represents a meager life at best. Currently a family of four including two adults and two children is declared poor with an annual income of $19,157 or less, regardless of location. The new Census Bureau report is online at www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/effect2004/effect2004.html .

Subject: At a Scientific Gathering
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 11:00:42 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/national/19science.html?ex=1298005200&en=e8808528f2df8156&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 19, 2006 At a Scientific Gathering, U.S. Policies Are Lamented By CORNELIA DEAN ST. LOUIS — David Baltimore, the Nobel Prize-winning biologist and president of the California Institute of Technology, is used to the Bush administration misrepresenting scientific findings to support its policy aims, he told an audience of fellow researchers Saturday. Each time it happens, he said, 'I shrug and say, 'What do you expect?' ' But then, Dr. Baltimore went on, he began to read about the administration's embrace of the theory of the unitary executive, the idea that the executive branch has the power or even the obligation to act without restraint from Congress. And he began to see in a new light widely reported episodes of government scientists being restricted in what they could say in public. 'It's no accident that we are seeing such an extensive suppression of scientific freedom,' he said. 'It's part of the theory of government now, and it's a theory we need to vociferously oppose.' Far from twisting science to suit its own goals, he said, the government should be 'the guardian of intellectual freedom.' Dr. Baltimore spoke at a session here at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Though it was organized too late for inclusion in the overall meeting catalogue, the session drew hundreds of scientists who crowded a large meeting room and applauded enthusiastically as speakers denounced administration policies they said threatened not just sound science but also the nation's research pre-eminence. The session was organized by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit organization that has been highly critical of the Bush administration. Not all of the speakers had harsh words for the administration. Rita R. Colwell, who headed the National Science Foundation, the government's leading financing organization for the physical sciences, from 1998 to 2004, said she had never experienced political pressure in that job. But, Dr. Colwell said, the free flow of scientific information is crucial for maintaining the nation's leadership in research. Threats to that, she said, are second only to terrorism as threats to the nation's security. Another speaker, Susan F. Wood, former director of the office of women's health at the Food and Drug Administration, said administration interference with the agency's scientific and regulatory processes had left morale there at a 'nadir.' Dr. Wood, who received a standing ovation from many in the audience, resigned in August to protest agency officials' unusual decision to overrule an expert panel and withhold marketing approval for Plan B, the so-called morning after pill, a form of emergency contraception. She said she feared that competent scientists would leave rather than remain at an agency where their work was ignored because 'social conservatives have extreme undue influence.' Later, in response to a question, she said that she might have consulted the agency's inspector general over the Plan B decision, but that inspectors general often had to be prodded by Congress before taking action. Democrats have little power in this Congress, she said, and Republicans who care about science have been 'remarkably silent.' Others in the audience said efforts to stifle researchers were attacks on more than science. 'Administrative legitimacy has been violated as much as scientific legitimacy,' said Sheila Jasanoff, an expert on science policy who teaches at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. 'You can't get the most solid possible basis for making a decision unless you have not just the most credible and legitimate form of science but also the most credible and legitimate administrative process.' Leslie Sussan, a lawyer with the Department of Health and Human Services who emphasized that she was speaking only for herself, drew applause when she said she saw the administration's science policies as 'an attack on the rule of law as a basis for self-government and democracy.'

Subject: Superheroes Dive In
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 10:59:08 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/20/arts/design/20marv.html?ex=1298091600&en=f07499cc0d5c031b&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 20, 2006 The Battle Outside Raging, Superheroes Dive In By GEORGE GENE GUSTINES Embedded reporters on the front lines of war. The search for weapons of mass destruction. An attack on civil liberties. Sounds like a job for ... Spider-Man? America's current real-world political issues will wind themselves into the lives of the heroes of Marvel Comics in 'Civil War,' a seven-issue limited monthly series set to begin in May. In the series, the beliefs of many well-known Marvel characters, including Captain America, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man and Spider-Man, will be challenged. Marvel will also publish a related series, beginning in June, that is to appear biweekly. Plans for that series, 'Civil War: Front Line,' are to be announced by the company on Saturday at the first New York Comic-Con, a consumer and business trade show. Joe Quesada, editor in chief of the Marvel Comics division of Marvel Entertainment, said the idea for 'Civil War' came out of one of the company's creative summits, which are used to assess the state of the heroes. 'Stagnation means death,' said Mr. Quesada, adding that Stan Lee, the creator of many of Marvel's characters, often advised piling problems onto heroes to keep them fresh. 'Civil War' provides problems in spades. The story opens with a reckless fight between a novice group of heroes (filming a reality television show) and a cadre of villains. The battle becomes quite literally explosive, killing some of the superheroes and many innocent bystanders. That crystallizes a government movement to register all super-powered beings as living weapons of mass destruction. The subsequent Registration Act will divide the heroes into two camps, one led by Captain America, the other by Iron Man. Along the way, Marvel will unveil its version of Guantánamo Bay, enemy combatants, embedded reporters and more. The question at the heart of the series is a fundamental one: 'Would you give up your civil liberties to feel safer in the world?' Comic books have a long history of reacting to or depicting the news. In 1940's comics, Hitler and Nazi soldiers often battled Marvel's Captain America and DC's Superman and the Justice Society. More recently, superheroes have wrestled with poverty in Africa and reacted to losses on Sept. 11. A forthcoming graphic novel will pit Batman against an Al Qaeda threat. As deeply entangled in current United States politics as the new Marvel series seem, 'Civil War' and the accompanying 'Front Line' series won't be written by Americans. Mark Millar, a popular comics writer who is Scottish and lives in Glasgow is writing 'Civil War'; Paul Jenkins, a British writer who lives in Atlanta and had a lengthy run on 'Spider-Man,' is writing 'Front Line.' In a telephone interview, Mr. Millar said the nature of the story — a crossover event with plot strands weaving through multiple Marvel titles — meant a lot of coordination with other writers to make sure events and characters lined up properly. Mr. Millar said the story would cause a 'seismic shift' in the Marvel heroes: 'Before the civil war, the Marvel universe was a certain way. After the civil war, the heroes are employed by the government.' But don't think that gives away the ending. 'Some people refuse to do it,' he said, 'and those guys are performing an illegal act by doing so.' Mr. Jenkins's 'Civil War: Front Line' will explore the ramifications of the events in the main series and more. 'I have absolute carte blanche to take on the political landscape as it exists in America and all around the world,' he said in a telephone interview. Mr. Jenkins will be telling some of his stories through the viewpoint of two embedded reporters. One works for a left-leaning newspaper, The Alternative. The other works for The Daily Bugle, whose fictional publisher, J. Jonah Jameson, Mr. Jenkins likened to Rupert Murdoch. Jameson has an agenda and pushes his embedded reporter to meet it. Mr. Jenkins will be doing some embedding of his own, using, in part, actual war letters and diaries, including 'The Diary of Anne Frank' to tell the parallel story of a frightened young mutant girl in Manhattan, and the World War I poem, 'Futility,' by Wilfred Owen, to chronicle the last moments of a hero's life. Are these stories getting too heavy for comics readers looking to shut out real-world tensions? Not really, say the Marvel writers. 'Civil War,' Mr. Millar said, will work on two levels: 'At the core, it's one half of the Marvel heroes vs. the other half.' But, he added: 'The political allegory is only for those that are politically aware. Kids are going to read it and just see a big superhero fight.'

Subject: Recipe for a Family Brawl
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 10:47:00 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/business/yourmoney/19frenzy.html?ex=1298005200&en=b22b538623829e83&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 19, 2006 Like Father, Like Son: Recipe for a Family Brawl By RICHARD SIKLOS THE word on Brent Redstone, who is suing his billionaire father, Sumner M. Redstone, in an attempt to dissolve the family business, is that he does not have the drive, the stuff, the mojo, that his dad does. Thus Brent's sister, Shari E. Redstone, has been given the nod as the future successor to their father, suzerain of the recently divided CBS Corporation and Viacom Inc. But in taking on his pugnacious pop — all three Redstones are lawyers by training, by the way — perhaps Brent is finally showing that he is a Redstone after all. The particulars of the younger Mr. Redstone's grievances, as outlined in a lawsuit filed last week, are at first blush more lurid than threatening to the family's sprawling media assets, which the Redstones control through their 11 percent equity stake and 71 percent voting interest in Viacom and CBS. Brent Redstone, who is 55, contends that he has been kicked off Viacom's board, shut out of decisions at National Amusements (the private family holding company that also runs a movie theater chain) and deprived of his fair share of the family's assets. He wants National Amusements dissolved so that he can take his one-sixth share of a fortune valued at $8 billion and go his way. His 82-year-old father, needless to say, is embarrassed by the public airing of laundry and allegations of self-dealing that his son has leveled. But, equally needless to say, he is not one to roll over easily. What makes Brent Redstone's lawsuit so fascinatingly meta — seeking the split of a company that has just split — is that he surely knows better than anyone with whom he is dealing. The Redstone follies and their Shakespearean subplots, of course, are nothing too unusual for media dynasties with graying patriarchs. The antics follow a series of similar intrigues that might lead you to believe that the era of the family media dynasty is under pressure, maybe even on the wane. A closer look at the field indicates that, actually, the opposite is true, especially if you look at both the privately held and publicly traded media groups. Hurt feelings and all-out feuding are a natural consequence of the generational transition of leadership occurring across the media industry, resulting from the proliferation and consolidation of media businesses in the latter part of the 20th century. Last year, Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert's elder son and potential successor (sort of), quit his executive role at the family-controlled News Corporation amid frustration that his father was undermining him. It turned out that Lachlan and his three siblings from Mr. Murdoch's first two marriages were also having a tense time with their dad over his desire to give an equal share of the family trust to his children from his third marriage. At Cablevision, which owns a lucrative cable television operation, some cable channels and New York City sports interests, tensions have emerged between the founder, Charles F. Dolan, and his son, James, whom he had made the company's chief executive. Investors and analysts have been scratching their heads over a series of strategy flip-flops: aborting a satellite venture, for instance, calling off plans to take the company's cable systems private and embracing a separate plan to pay out a special dividend. What these three examples have in common, of course, are various degrees of nepotism, dysfunction and a mandatory retirement age (for media moguls) of never. Then there is the whole father-son dynamic, but that's another story. (By the way, it's hard to talk about familial dysfunction gone wild without mentioning the collapse of the Adelphia Communications cable empire and the resulting prison terms for the founder, John Rigas, and his son Timothy — although what went on there was so scandalous that it belongs in a separate category, the one with WorldCom and Enron.) John L. Ward, professor of family enterprises at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, says that only about half of all family-led businesses make it to a next generation of ownership. But he added that he believed the rate of succession was higher among media companies, in part because the business is glamorous or is seen as performing a public service. 'In terms of family members, it's very easy for them to be attracted to the company,' he said. 'It's not like making widgets.' He also said that media dynasties, unlike other family businesses, tend to be more comfortable with sharing bad news and fielding criticism — because that, after all, is their business. In the case of businesses in which the family does not own clear control, the laws of entropy can come into play. That's what seems to be happening at Knight-Ridder, where the chief executive, Anthony P. Ridder, a great-grandson of one of the company's founders, is under pressure from outside shareholders to sell the company. Mr. Ridder controls only 1.9 percent of the company's votes, in contrast to top executives at the Washington Post Company, the McClatchy Company, The New York Times Company and the Belo Corporation, all of whom are descendants of founders whose position is secured against outside agitators via a controlling family trust. Clearly, though, there is no one-size-fits-all model for the multigenerational media dynasty. Some are publicly held, some private; some have professional managers, others chip-off-the-old-block leaders. A tipping point for the sale of several family-owned newspaper groups came in the 1980's, when some descendants who no longer had close ties to the business wanted to cash in their stock — perhaps most famously the Bingham family, which owned newspapers, TV and radio stations and much else in Louisville, Ky. Once you go beyond the biggest media groups based in the United States — Time Warner, the Walt Disney Company and NBC Universal (none of which have a family in control), as well as Mr. Redstone's and Mr. Murdoch's companies — there are actually plenty of examples of companies that have successfully made the generational transition so far. Perhaps the most notable example is Comcast, the nation's largest cable company, where the founder, Ralph J. Roberts, passed the baton to his son Brian L. Roberts. The Robertses and other media families have been criticized for using multiple-voting shares to keep a grip on companies while actually owning only a small part of the equity; Comcast says that stability of ownership has helped it outperform the market since it went public in 1972. At Cox Enterprises, the privately held media conglomerate based in Atlanta, the founder's grandson, James Cox Kennedy, holds the roles of chairman and chief executive. 'Knock on wood, we currently have no family squabbles,' Mr. Kennedy said in an interview last week. 'It may be simply the number of families we're dealing with,' he said, referring to the fact that the business is controlled by the two daughters of the company's founder. Advance Communications and the Hearst Corporation are also private, multi-generational media companies that appear relatively stable, Mr. Kennedy said. In Advance's case, various members of the Newhouse family have senior roles in the company, which counts cable, newspapers and Condé Nast among its interests. THE family setup at Hearst is almost the opposite, and it's worth remembering that the company is the creation of William Randolph Hearst, a mercurial mogul if ever there was one. He set up his trust in such a way that the company would be controlled by people outside the family, although his descendants would be involved. The trust expires with the death of the last relative who was alive when Mr. Hearst died, in 1951. That could take a while. Clearly, media moguls have their own views of what they want their legacy to be and the roles that they want their descendants to play. The only common thread is that, having worked so hard to gain power, they don't give up their companies any more easily. For instance, it is quite telling that control over Mr. Murdoch's empire currently resides in a Bermudan holding company overseen by eight trustees who are nominated by Mr. Murdoch and his four elder children. The names of companies that appoint these trustees on the various Murdochs' behalf? One is called Safeguard. The other, Secure.

Subject: Bush's Chat With Novelist Alarms
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 10:43:55 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/national/19warming.html?ex=1298005200&en=a7ab8a29e56cf4df&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 19, 2006 Bush's Chat With Novelist Alarms Environmentalists By MICHAEL JANOFSKY WASHINGTON — One of the perquisites of being president is the ability to have the author of a book you enjoyed pop into the White House for a chat. Over the years, a number of writers have visited President Bush, including Natan Sharansky, Bernard Lewis and John Lewis Gaddis. And while the meetings are usually private, they rarely ruffle feathers. Now, one has. In his new book about Mr. Bush, 'Rebel in Chief: Inside the Bold and Controversial Presidency of George W. Bush,' Fred Barnes recalls a visit to the White House last year by Michael Crichton, whose 2004 best-selling novel, 'State of Fear,' suggests that global warming is an unproven theory and an overstated threat. Mr. Barnes, who describes Mr. Bush as 'a dissenter on the theory of global warming,' writes that the president 'avidly read' the novel and met the author after Karl Rove, his chief political adviser, arranged it. He says Mr. Bush and his guest 'talked for an hour and were in near-total agreement.' 'The visit was not made public for fear of outraging environmentalists all the more,' he adds. And so it has, fueling a common perception among environmental groups that Mr. Crichton's dismissal of global warming, coupled with his popularity as a novelist and screenwriter, has undermined efforts to pass legislation intended to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, a gas that leading scientists say causes climate change. Mr. Crichton, whose views in 'State of Fear' helped him win the American Association of Petroleum Geologists' annual journalism award this month, has been a leading doubter of global warming and last September appeared before a Senate committee to argue that the supporting science was mixed, at best. 'This shows the president is more interested in science fiction than science,' Frank O'Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, said after learning of the White House meeting. Mr. O'Donnell's group monitors environmental policy. 'This administration has put no limit on global warming pollution and has consistently rebuffed any suggestion to do so,' he said. Not so, according to the White House, which said Mr. Barnes's book left a false impression of Mr. Bush's views on global warming. Michele St. Martin, a spokeswoman for the Council on Environmental Quality, a White House advisory agency, pointed to several speeches in which Mr. Bush had acknowledged the impact of global warming and the need to confront it, even if he questioned the degree to which humans contribute to it.

Subject: A B-Movie Becomes a Blockbuster
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 10:35:47 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/20/business/20carr.html?ex=1298091600&en=6258e3032814eb4c&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 20, 2006 A B-Movie Becomes a Blockbuster By David Carr HOLLYWOOD is filled with intrigue that has nothing to do with who will win the best-actor Oscar next month. The selection process that currently has the A-List lighting up BlackBerrys and cellphones is emanating from a grand jury in Los Angeles that is looking into secretive business conducted by Anthony Pellicano, a high-profile private investigator. The case, which could ultimately threaten the reputation and even the freedom of some of the entertainment industry's most prominent figures, also serves as a reminder that even though the studios are now just one more adjunct of large media companies, Hollywood has always been a wide-open town that lives by its own rules. If you put all the elements of the Pellicano story in a movie pitch, they would laugh you out of the bungalow. A Hollywood private detective with wise-guy connections, Mr. Pellicano cleans up messes for the powerful, engaging in pervasive surveillance along the way. A reporter, Anita M. Busch, who has written for both The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times, gets a little too close on a story about one of his clients, and he dispatches a small-time hood to blow up her car, according to a search warrant. The operative decides that the fireworks are too dicey and instead leaves behind a shattered windshield, a note that stays 'Stop' and a dead fish in a tin tray. (And a rose, don't forget about the rose.) It gets better. Federal authorities traced the attempt to terrorize the reporter back to Mr. Pellicano. On a November day in 2002, his office was raided, and in the safe investigators found $200,000, plastic explosives and two grenades. Eight days later, they go back and find the real dynamite: transcripts, tapes and computer files of phone conversations, many involving the most powerful people in the entertainment business. At this point, according to Marvin Rudnick, a former federal prosecutor and one of Ms. Busch's attorneys, 'the B-movie turns into a blockbuster.' ON Feb. 6, Mr. Pellicano and his cadre of alleged co-conspirators were indicted on 110 counts of racketeering and conspiracy. On Wednesday, Terry N. Christensen, a respected member of the Los Angeles bar, was indicted on wiretapping and conspiracy charges in connection with the divorce case of Kirk Kerkorian, the billionaire investor. At one time or another, Mr. Christensen has also represented Paramount Pictures, the Walt Disney Company, MGM/UA and Sony Pictures Entertainment. Many recognizable names have been questioned, among them Bert Fields, whose client list includes some of the city's better-known names, including Michael S. Ovitz, the once-powerful talent agent, and Brad Grey, now the chairman of Paramount. People who were in litigation against both men were subjected to background checks and wiretapping, according to the indictment, but neither has been implicated in any criminal activity. Still, with the indictment of Mr. Christensen, no one knows which way the marble will roll next. Mr. Rudnick said that far-reaching issues were being raised. 'When you look at these cases, you have to ask yourself, 'Is there a protection racket in Los Angeles?' ' he said. 'And I think you are seeing evidence that there is right now, that people are using extra-legal means to neutralize antagonists in legal proceedings. The integrity of the courts has been called into question.' There are legal implications beyond civil matters like divorce and business disputes. Mr. Pellicano has done work on behalf of law enforcement in the past, and those cases would be opened anew if it were found that he violated the law in the conduct of his business. And given that federal investigators are in receipt of an uncertain number of recorded conversations, all those being questioned have to answer knowing that they may face federal perjury charges if they are less than forthcoming. The last time there was even close to this kind of tension held in common in Los Angeles, Heidi Fleiss was under investigation for running a prostitution ring. Her black book contained many A-List names, but in the end none of the big boys ended up getting hurt. They may not be so lucky this time around. 'There is a great deal of schadenfreude going around among the lawyers who are not targets, I'm sure,' said Eric Weissmann, an entertainment lawyer, who has no knowledge of anyone's guilt or innocence. 'I think the problem is far more endemic than the lawyers or investigators. You have clients who want to win at all costs, and they are not necessarily interested in the Marquis of Queensbury rules of engagement. There is an enormous pressure to win.' If the case has legs, it could become a concern for the giant New York media companies that now own the movie business. While Time Warner, Viacom and Sony wrestle with balance sheets and the nuances of Sarbanes-Oxley, much of the old-school charm of Hollywood has stayed in place, with power brokers madly suing and swearing oaths against each other, all the while serially marrying and divorcing. Going back to the days of moguls like Mayer and Wasserman, Hollywood sprang up to escape the scrutiny of the government and corporate overseers. Now, what had been a sideshow threatens to pull back the blankets on an underbelly of the business that never went away, even after the studios became another item in corporate quarterly reports. A New York-based media executive who declined to comment on the record because his company had no involvement in the matter, said that the Christensen indictment 'makes you wonder about the scope of the investigation.' No one, not even a new generation of corporate overseers, has ever been able to teach Hollywood manners. As one of the executives in 'Indecent Exposure,' David McClintick's 1982 account of the Begelman scandal at Columbia, said, 'the new Hollywood is very much like the old Hollywood.'

Subject: Digital Moves to Top-Tier Cameras
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 10:35:06 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/20/technology/20camera.html?ex=1298091600&en=8ed81a12ac27c98e&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 20, 2006 Digital Moves to Top-Tier Cameras By IAN AUSTEN Like many serious amateur photographers, Chad Marek has a sense of brand loyalty that rivals the attachment of many sports fans to their home teams. But the reasons for his commitment have as much to do with practical matters as emotional pull. The 10 Konica Minolta digital and film cameras owned by Mr. Marek, a 35-year-old quality-control engineer who is also the president of a Chicago camera club, work only with lenses designed for that brand. Similarly, Mr. Marek's collection of about 33 Minolta lenses — he's lost count — will not fit any other make of camera. So Mr. Marek was more than a little concerned when Konica Minolta said last month that it was abandoning the photo business — both digital and film — and selling some of its camera technology to Sony. 'Minolta had a great name in photography — they were No. 3 in the market when I bought my first camera,' Mr. Marek said. 'I can't imagine being without it now.' Not all of the traditional leading camera makers have taken Konica Minolta's drastic step. Faced with brutal competition in the consumer market for compact digital cameras, several have turned to high-margin, digital single-lens reflex, or S.L.R., cameras, which feature interchangeable lenses, to maintain their profits. Those high margins have not escaped the notice of relative newcomers like Sony, Panasonic and Samsung. At the annual Photo Marketing Association International show next week in Orlando, Fla., all three are expected to further outline their plans to move into photography's top tier. When that occurs, the challenge for some of photography's most venerable brands may be simply to survive. 'Life used to be stable in the camera business,' said Ned Bunnell, director of marketing at Pentax Imaging. 'But if you look at what happened to the personal computer industry, I think it's logical to think that the same sort of consolidation would take place in the camera industry.' Sony has already risen to the No. 3 spot in digital camera sales in the United States, with 15.8 percent of the market, just behind Canon, at 17.2 percent, and Kodak, at 16.9 percent, according to Current Analysis, a research firm in Sterling, Va. And as the competition gets keener, life becomes fundamentally different for camera companies, which used to operate at a stately pace with new product cycles measured in years. Nikon's top-of-the-line F-series of cameras, for example, has been revamped only six times over nearly five decades. 'In the past, as a camera maker we were able to take it easy, watch what was happening,' said Makoto Kimura, the president of Nikon Imaging and a senior managing director of Nikon, its parent. 'Now we've had to revitalize ourselves.' In 1988, Sony introduced what is generally regarded as the first successful digital camera for consumers, the Mavica, which stored its photos on a standard diskette. While not breathtaking technology, the disks meant that the Mavica was the first camera that offered an easy way to transfer photos to computers. 'That was when we started to think that other players were beginning to look at the possibilities of digital photography,' Mr. Kimura said. With digital photography, Sony and other electronics makers immediately boasted advantages that offset their lack of optical experience. From its video camera business, Sony knew how to design and manufacture charge-coupled devices, or C.C.D.'s, the light-sensing chips that became film's most common digital replacement. Making the chips is beyond the financial or technical reach of most camera makers, several of which rely on Sony and other electronics companies as suppliers. The electronics companies' main advantage, however, was far less technical. The shift to digital photography meant that even relatively expensive cameras were increasingly purchased at electronics chains rather than specialty shops. The traditional camera makers were, by and large, left learning how to elbow their way onto shelves at Best Buy, Staples and Circuit City as well as adjusting their systems to meet the inventory and logistics demands of the national chains. 'I was with Sony for a number of years,' said Jeff R. Clark, the senior digital photography analyst at Current Analysis. 'Supply chain management was probably more important to that company than the products it made.' Eastman Kodak and Fuji Photo Film also have a good understanding of mass merchandisers from their film businesses. That helped Kodak, at least in the United States, become a major vendor of digital cameras and sometimes the market leader. But its sales are weighted toward lower-priced cameras, a factor somewhat offset by the cameras' ability to connect easily to home snapshot printers that use only profitable Kodak supplies. Perhaps inevitably, the number of competitors offset the higher-than-anticipated demand for digital cameras, pushing down prices and margins. New models with additional features appeared every few months rather than years apart. Canon, which is unique among camera companies in that it has extensive in-house chip-making ability through its office machine division, found a route to salvation. In 2003, it introduced the Digital Rebel, the first digital S.L.R. priced under $1,000 with a lens. The move was well timed. Many early digital camera buyers were returning for their second camera, and digital S.L.R.'s offered higher image quality, partly because of larger imaging chips. Digital S.L.R.'s were equally appealing to their makers and retailers. The incompatibility of lenses between brands and a lack of similar products from electronics makers has, so far at least, minimized price-cutting. Further adding to profits are the sales of even higher-margin accessory lenses and other add-ons that digital S.L.R.'s generate. Although Pentax cut the price of one digital S.L.R. this month to $600, from $800, the category has generally avoided the price free-fall that has plagued the compact camera market. According to Current Analysis, the average price of a Canon PowerShot S410 compact camera fell to $244 last month, from $346 a year earlier. But the successor to the Digital Rebel S.L.R., the Digital Rebel XT, still retails for just under $1,000. Nikon has similarly been able to maintain prices on its two S.L.R. cameras aimed mainly at consumers. Nikon said this month that its success with high-margin digital S.L.R. cameras helped account for a 26 percent increase in third-quarter sales, tripling its profits. And Canon ended 2005 with sales up 8.3 percent and a net revenue increase of 11.9 percent, performance it attributed largely to its digital S.L.R. cameras and photo printers. But Steve Hoffenberg, the director of consumer imaging research at Lyra Research in Newton, Mass., said that it was not just the high margins of S.L.R.'s that had drawn manufacturers' interest in the segment. The compact camera market, he said, is likely to be squeezed further as high-quality cameras are introduced into mobile phones and hand-held devices. He also expects the electronics companies to match their earlier digital imaging successes in the S.L.R. market. 'A new wave of technology has given the newcomers the upper hand,' Mr. Hoffenberg said. 'For the consumer electronics companies, digital photography has been all upside, while the photo industry was stuck in a slow evolution stage.' Some smaller camera makers appear to be looking for a truce. While neither Pentax nor Olympus has followed Konica Minolta's lead and retrenched to more profitable lines of business like medical imaging, both have allied themselves with electronics companies. Pentax is producing a Samsung-branded digital S.L.R. and supplying the Korean maker with its lenses. Olympus and Panasonic's parent company, Matsushita Electric, have similarly joined forces, although they have yet to unveil specific products. Those alliances, like Sony's deal with Konica Minolta, give electronics companies access to a full range of established lens systems and other accessories. James Neal, director of digital imaging products at Sony Electronics, said his company expected interchangeable lens cameras to maintain a strong position in the market. 'It is key for Sony to be in this market at this time,' Mr. Neal said. 'Consumers are really interested in moving up the ladder in terms of quality and performance to digital S.L.R.'s. If we just stopped at point-and-shoots, we would not have met all the needs of consumers.' Mr. Neal said Sony was counting on sales to owners of Minolta lenses. (Konica, a maker of film, photocopiers and mini photo labs, merged with Minolta about two years ago.) For customers like Mr. Marek, it may be a tough sell. While Sony has been skilled at making its cameras easy to use, particularly for newcomers, it has sometimes omitted features like optical viewfinders and tripod sockets, which serious photographers often view as essential. Similarly, Sony cameras use proprietary memory cards that are generally more expensive than industry standards such as Compact Flash. Mr. Marek is eager to see what Sony offers, but he is also wary. 'They're going to get my first look next time I buy a camera because of my investment in my current equipment,' Mr. Marek said. 'But if they don't meet my needs, I'll go elsewhere.'

Subject: Quiet Bid to Reunite Haiti
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 10:33:57 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/20/international/americas/20haiti.html?ex=1298091600&en=d1fd492763e93792&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 20, 2006 Préval's Silence Obscures Quiet Bid to Reunite Haiti By GINGER THOMPSON PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — President-elect René Préval, who rose to power as a champion of this country's poor masses, attended his first victory party among its elite. It was a Friday-night, garden-side, happy-hour kind of affair in a mansion near Pétionville, a mecca for this country's glitterati, with lots to drink, lots of laughter, and performances by popular Haitian musicians. But when the hostess invited Mr. Préval, a reluctant politician, to address the group, he introduced several carefully chosen backers to speak for him. Two were leaders of Fanmi Lavalas, the principal political party of the poor. Then he called two men whose designer clothes and light complexions marked them as sons of the upper classes. Reaching for one another across the gaping divides between class and skin color that have crippled this former slave colony for most of its 202-year history, the young men and Mr. Préval hugged, bringing a roaring ovation from the crowd, and a glimpse of the how Mr. Préval envisioned his second presidency. 'You see, everyone,' Mr. Préval said, beaming, as if he might finally get used to the spotlight, 'I am going to reconcile Haiti.' It was as close to making an acceptance speech as he has come since Thursday, when he was declared the winner of an election for president that had threatened to plunge this country, the most volatile in the hemisphere, back into crisis. Mr. Préval, a 63-year-old Belgian-educated agronomist who was president from 1996 to 2001, has not yet officially addressed the nation, and he has not yet granted interviews. But parties like the one on Friday showed Mr. Préval quietly at work on the glaring challenge of ending the devastating hostilities between the rich and the poor — starting with repairing some of the damage he had just done to that cause. Last week, he charged the authorities with fraud in elections whose credibility was considered crucial to strengthening Haiti's stumbling democracy. Now he, too, faces questions about the legitimacy of the back-room deal brokered by foreign diplomats that ended the possibility of a runoff and made him the victor. He has held a battery of private meetings and conversations with the same opponents whom he called enemies on national television last week. The angry protests that paralyzed cities across the country, forcing a defiant Provisional Electoral Council to bow to his demands last week, have raised questions here and around the world about whether Mr. Préval will be his own president, or a low-key copy of his old ally, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Mr. Aristide, the fiery slum priest who could command this country's poor masses as firmly as Moses did the Red Sea, was forced from power and into exile in South Africa two years ago by a violent uprising supported by the elite. But some contend that he continues, either directly or through the masses who remain loyal to him, to have influence over Mr. Préval. Pressure for Mr. Aristide's return has clearly begun building from South Africa, where President Thabo Mbeki suggested Sunday on public radio that Mr. Aristide might soon consult with Mr. Préval. 'I would imagine from everything that I've seen and heard that President Préval himself wouldn't want to oppose President Aristide's return to Haiti,' Mr. Mbeki said on SABC radio, Reuters reported. 'But I think it will be determined largely by an assessment by René Préval, and by President Aristide as to the timing of it, so that it doesn't produce unnecessary problems.' Problems are about all that is left of Haiti, a sinking ship of a nation where a majority of the 8.1 million people suffer the hemisphere's worst levels of poverty and corruption, while a tiny minority of them profit from it. Almost every chance for progress has been ruined by fighting among populist leaders from Haiti's urban slums and movers among the bourgeoisie. Several foreign diplomats acknowledged that the events of last week had fueled concerns in their nations' capitals that Mr. Préval would use the same burning barricades and threats of chaos that characterized Mr. Aristide's rule. They wondered how Mr. Préval would respond if the mobs that helped him win power demanded, in return, that he bring Mr. Aristide home. 'We made very clear to Mr. Préval that we see Aristide as a figure of the past, with no place in Haiti's future,' said one Western ambassador, who asked not to be identified because diplomacy on the issue is continuing. 'He told me: 'Don't worry, Mr. Ambassador. The last time Mr. Aristide returned to Haiti, he came with 50,000 American troops. I don't think he'll have access to that kind of force anymore.' ' The American ambassador to Haiti, Timothy M. Carney, who is serving as chargé d'affaires until a new ambassador arrives, reiterated comments by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. 'We believe we can work with Préval,' Mr. Carney said. 'Haitians clearly believe he is his own man,' he said of Mr. Préval, who, according to the final election results, won 51.1 percent of the votes compared with the 12 percent won by the nearest rival. 'I think what he's doing now is proving he has the force of character, by reaching out to the opposition, by beginning to move forward with no Aristide in sight.' Mr. Préval, political analysts said, may be the first leader in decades who can build a bridge between the haves and have-nots. Unlike Mr. Aristide, born a destitute orphan, Mr. Préval is the son of a former agriculture minister and was reared among the middle classes until his family fled the country under the dictatorship of François Duvalier. After that, he led a largely blue-collar life that instilled in him empathy for the poor. He was a waiter, messenger and factory worker in New York, and then owned a bakery in a poor neighborhood in Haiti and ran programs to help the poor. 'I haven't felt this much hope about Haiti in many years,' said Dumarsais Simeus, a Haitian-American businessman, a former candidate for president, and one of the few people at the party who agreed to be interviewed for attribution. 'I believe' Mr. Préval 'is going to dedicate himself to uniting this country.' But hope may be trampled by Haitian realities. The volume of the scathing comments from fractious political leaders has dropped since Mr. Préval was declared president. But their suspicions continue. The protests have ended, but the tens of thousands of people who participated in them remain restless, without work, and living in hovels next to open sewers. Killings and kidnappings have dropped from as many as six a day to almost none. But the gang members suspected of being responsible still control the capital's most populous slum, Cité Soleil. Mr. Préval has disclosed very little about his plans for building Haiti back into a nation. He has talked vaguely about disarming the gangs and strengthening the police. He has said he will seek increased investment from the United States and urge Haitian professionals abroad to bring their expertise home. He made the same promises at the start of his first term as president, said Jocelyn McCalla, of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights. While Mr. Préval is the only Haitian president in recent history to finish a full five-year-term, then peacefully hand over power, Mr. McCalla said he accomplished little else. Some political analysts said most of Mr. Préval's efforts in his last term were undermined by Mr. Aristide. Mr. McCalla said that seemed too easy an excuse, and that he wondered what made anyone so sure that things would be different this time. Though Mr. Préval gave little away on Friday, the scene alone — bankers boogieing with advocates for the poor — spoke volumes. 'A lot of black Haitian leaders in this country are very angry, and rightfully so, about the way they have been treated by the wealthy of this country,' said a political analyst at the party. 'Mr. Preval does not harbor that kind of anger. He is not criminal. He is not corrupt. And he is not going to allow class warfare.'

Subject: It Rings, Sings, Downloads, Uploads
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 10:33:00 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/20/technology/20cell.html?ex=1298091600&en=66209299b82326c1&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 20, 2006 It Rings, Sings, Downloads, Uploads. But Can You Stand It? By KEN BELSON Greg Harper is your classic gadget freak, with the latest cellphones and strong opinions about each of them. You would think that he'd be wildly enthusiastic about the new third-generation, or 3G, cellphones that play video and music. But instead, he seems less than impressed — a reaction that could spell trouble for Sprint, Verizon Wireless and other providers that have spent billions of dollars upgrading their networks to lure customers to their high-speed 3G systems. 'I'm no longer worrying about hot spots or being out of touch,' said Mr. Harper, a business consultant who carries a Motorola phone from Verizon for talking, a Sprint Pocket PC smart phone for e-mail and an iPod for music. 'The big problem is how hard it is to navigate the stuff,' he said. 'And they hit you with these extra charges, so you don't want to use it.' Mr. Harper's advanced phones enable him to watch TV segments, send e-mail messages and photos, download music and games, and search the Web about five times faster than with a standard cellphone. But the 3G service for his phones and laptop PC adds as much as $60 a month to each of his cellular plans. Figuring out how to use all the features on the handsets is also a chore. If the nation's biggest cellular carriers are not impressing early adopters like Mr. Harper, it may be years before ordinary consumers start signing up in sizable numbers for the new services, which were introduced about a year ago. American carriers combined have spent about $10 billion in the last three years to upgrade their networks. Verizon Wireless now offers 3G services in 181 markets, while Sprint expects to match Verizon's coverage in the coming months. Cingular uses a different 3G technology that is available in 52 cities. (T-Mobile, the fourth-largest carrier, plans to introduce 3G services next year.) With individual subscribers spending less on standard voice-only plans, the carriers are banking on consumers to move rapidly to more expensive 3G services and do more than talk on their handsets. But the experience of carriers that introduced 3G services in Japan, Korea and elsewhere is sobering. In those countries, it took years before phones and plans were cheap enough to entice consumers to use the new data features, and even longer before carriers saw any return on their investment. American carriers have not released separate figures for 3G cell subscribers. But industry analysts say there may be fewer than five million 3G phones in use, or less than 3 percent of the market, and only two million of those are connected to a 3G data plan. 'The biggest impediment is not pricing or technology, but consumer behavior,' said Charles S. Golvin, an analyst at Forrester Research. 'Most people still look at these things as phones.' To be sure, the amount that consumers spent on data services has nearly doubled in the past year, and revenue from those services now makes up nearly 10 percent of overall sales at the largest carriers. Last Wednesday, Sprint Nextel said that its customers had downloaded one million songs from its music site since it opened in October (some were promotional giveaways; others sold for $2.50 a song). Verizon said that in the fourth quarter, its customers sent 7.4 billion text messages and 135 million photos with their handsets. But thus far, the bulk of the data being swapped on phones — short messages, ring tones and photos — can be handled by the current generation of phones. Only about one-quarter of Verizon Wireless's handsets are even capable of providing 3G services, though the company is steadily adding more models to its lineup. The carriers are trying to keep prices for the new phones in line with other high-end handsets, lest they scare away customers. Verizon Wireless's LG 8100, which lets customers watch television clips, play games and listen to music, costs $150 after rebates. Verizon's 3G data service, called V Cast, which allows users to watch CNN, CBS News and MTV segments, among other programs, costs an additional $15 a month. Sprint has a $15-a-month plan that lets subscribers watch segments of ABC News and other programs, listen to a Sirius radio channel and roam the Web. For $20 or $25 a month on Sprint, users can watch extra programming from ESPN, Animal Planet and other channels that have been reformatted for the small screen. While watching video on cellphones may be novel, the experience is hardly overwhelming. As Mr. Harper and others have found out, downloading a video clip can often take as long as watching it. The program clips on V Cast are updated only a few times a day and often there are only a handful for each category, some of which are sports, news and entertainment. 'All the services are lacking,' Mr. Harper said. 'Verizon's V Cast is better than Sprint's, but it ain't there yet.' Cingular has introduced a more complete TV experience called MobiTV, which gives subscribers 25 channels of live television, including CNBC, Fox Sports and Discovery, on their phones for $9.99 a month in addition to their data and voice plans. Verizon also plans to introduce a similar type of video service created by Qualcomm called MediaFLO that will provide access to live television broadcasts. Still, for business users like Mr. Harper, few phones have all the functions he needs. Many business executives still buy devices like the Treo or the BlackBerry because their larger screens make it easier to read e-mail and open large attachments. Adding a 3G data plan makes sending and receiving those messages faster as well. One bright spot for the carriers is that many companies are starting to buy their broadband PC cards, which plug into laptops to enable them to connect wirelessly to a 3G network. Doris Mosblech, the network manager at Embarcadero Systems, which provides technology to shipping companies, is using PC cards from Sprint Nextel to let her company's workers access their e-mail with their laptops. The cards, priced at around $250 retail, can send data up to 10 times faster than older PC cards. With the new PC card, a user still needs to subscribe to a monthly 3G plan. 'As time has gone on, the applications we use require more broadband,' Ms. Mosblech said, referring to larger e-mail attachments, videoconferencing and Internet phones. 'The new cards felt almost like the speeds we get on our desktops.' In time, carriers may cut the prices for the cards and the PC data plans, which now cost between $40 and $80 a month. That was the pattern in other countries where 3G services were introduced. American carriers, while late to 3G, have also learned from what has succeeded and flopped overseas. Verizon and Sprint have relied heavily on Samsung and LG, two companies with experience making 3G handsets in South Korea. Other manufacturers have ironed out many of the kinks — like poor battery life and bulky size — that plagued the first 3G phones released in Japan in 2001. The carriers are also introducing flat-rate data plans; the Asian providers learned that consumers did not like having to pay by the piece for the data they sent. Still, though customers are upgrading their phones and plans in Japan, the amount that individual subscribers spend has declined, a trend that may make American carriers think twice about expecting any windfalls from their 3G networks.

Subject: A Fountain of Innovation
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 10:10:36 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/20/technology/20MIT.html?ex=1298091600&en=ab1d21bea42d6436&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 20, 2006 A Fountain of Innovation Gets a New Leader By TANIA RALLI CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The workspaces of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are jammed with ideas and projects, many of which will not hit the market for years, or even decades. Groups work on projects like robots with hands that can sense what they are touching, computers that can respond to human emotion and communal cars that stack together like shopping carts to save urban space. As Frank Moss, who was named last week as the new director of the lab, said: 'My job is to live in the future 20 years from today.' It will also be his job to keep persuading major companies to look upon the Media Lab, which was co-founded by Nicholas Negroponte, as an incubator for their future products and innovations. The Media Lab relies heavily on sponsors from corporate America to keep it running. And it must compete for the money with other universities — like Stanford, Carnegie Mellon and the California Institute of Technology — which have started similar research centers. The Media Lab has been tackling technological challenges — large and small, vital and fanciful — since the 1980's. Some of its innovations include digital ink, wearable computers and advanced prostheses. Thirty faculty members and 250 students work in a series of labs littered with robot parts, flat-screen monitors and bright plastic furniture. Mr. Moss, who is 56, expects that technology will change society more profoundly in the next 20 years than it has in the past 20, by easing the burden of aging and improving communication, health care and education. He is enticed, for example, by the concept of cellphones that silence themselves upon entering a theater, or phones that convey the urgency of a call from an elderly parent at an unusual time of day. As Mr. Moss assumes the directorship of the Media Lab, its chairman, Mr. Negroponte, is stepping down to focus on One Laptop per Child, a nonprofit organization he started last year to create and provide $100 laptop computers to children, especially in developing countries. Walter Bender, who has served as interim director of the Media Lab for the last five years, will join Mr. Negroponte as president for software and content development of the organization. Mr. Moss has spent most of his career building computer and software companies, including Stellar Computer and Bowstreet. He led Tivoli Systems from its founding in 1991 until its merger with I.B.M. in 1996. Most recently, he founded Infinity Pharmaceuticals, a company that combines technology with the sciences to seek new cancer treatments. A childhood fascination with the space program led Mr. Moss, who is a native of Baltimore, to Princeton University, where he received an undergraduate degree in aerospace and mechanical sciences. He went on to complete a Ph.D. at M.I.T. in aeronautics and astronautics in 1977. He got into computers at M.I.T., largely because at that time the space program had peaked. When Mr. Moss turned 50, he said, he re-evaluated his life's work. His three children, now 30, 24 and 16, thought he should give something back to humanity, he said. 'They were not particularly impressed by selling systems and network software,' he said. Mr. Moss is impressed with the way that his children and other young people use technology, and it has altered his view of where cutting-edge ingenuity originates. As the young population adapts technology to suit their needs, Mr. Moss said, 'that's going to be the source and the force of innovation, and that's going to come from the bottom up.' Almost 100 companies, including Motorola, Samsung and Toyota, currently support the lab with about $32 million in annual funding. Three years is generally the minimum sponsorship time, with annual financial commitments of between $200,000 and $750,000. The remaining financing — about 30 percent — comes from government agencies and private foundations. Before the dot-com bubble burst in early 2000, the lab had more than 120 sponsors and $40 million in annual financing. 'You need very smart people like Nicholas and Frank to manage the expectations of companies,' said Saul Griffith, a founding partner of the engineering design firm Squid Labs in Emeryville, Calif., who completed his Ph.D. at the Media Lab in 2004. 'The research there relies on long-term time scales.' Mr. Moss said that coming from a commercial background helped him to see things from the perspective of a company that might help finance the lab. 'When investments are made, companies want to know if it's going to impact their products,' he said. His biggest role at the Media Lab is to make that connection for the sponsors, he said.

Subject: A Lesson From Hamas
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 10:09:52 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/weekinreview/19glanz.html?ex=1298005200&en=63e612363a1407e2&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 19, 2006 A Lesson From Hamas: Read the Voting Law's Fine Print By JAMES GLANZ DEMOCRACY rests on the will of the majority. Or so the speeches say. But in reality, election systems are almost never designed to achieve majority rule alone. Like the famous checks and balances of the American system, they also try to give a wide range of groups a portion of power. But sometimes the framers of an election law can wildly miscalculate, allowing one faction to game the system and gain power far out of proportion to its share of the vote. That's what seems to have happened in Hamas's victory in the Palestinian territories, according to a new analysis by an American who advised the Palestinian Authority on the elections. It represents a cautionary tale for other new democracies, like Iraq's, whose systems are being designed with the help of outside experts. The reasons behind the overwhelming Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections go beyond a vote that was split among the numerous candidates backed by Fatah, the former ruling party, this new analysis shows. It strongly suggests that a quirk in the electoral law itself helped convert a slight margin in the popular vote into a landslide for the group. The analysis was performed by Jarrett Blanc, the American elections expert, who also has worked on elections in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Nepal. The lesson is that the way a new election law turns votes into representatives — the fine print of election laws — can have as much of an impact on who will be running a country as an occupying army. That observation has implications far beyond the Palestinian vote, particularly for countries like the United States and other Western nations that seek to promote new democracies. Iraq offers another example. There, a very complicated election law sought to concentrate the voting strength of Kurds who had become dispersed outside traditional Kurdish areas. But it didn't work. The effect, in fact, was to add about 10 seats to the total amassed by the victorious Shiite parties, Mr. Blanc said. Among the Palestinians, Mr. Blanc attributes Hamas's unanticipated landslide in part to an obscure balloting method called 'bloc voting,' which was used in local districts to promote candidates whose support was geographically concentrated. It was first used by the Palestinians in 1996, when Fatah was the pre-eminent political organization and bloc voting's skewing effect simply shut out much smaller parties. 'Election systems always seem arcane until the day after the election,' Mr. Blanc said in an interview. 'It's always difficult to get people interest in the details of the rules, but the rules matter tremendously.' 'In the case of Hamas,' he said, 'the consequences were revolutionary.' The perils of electoral law are well known to the small community that studies and monitors elections worldwide. A handbook published by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance in Stockholm notes that the systems chosen 'may have consequences that were unforeseen when they are introduced.' And in the country involved, the handbook says, such choices 'can have disastrous consequences for its democratic prospects.' The electoral system the Palestinians chose has seldom been used before on a national scale. In this election, half of the 132 members of Parliament were elected by a national vote on party lists, and half by direct voting for candidates in 16 districts. The number of seats available in each district varied according to population. Jerusalem had six, for example, and Jericho one. In multiseat districts, a voter could cast as many votes as there were seats at stake, in what is called a bloc vote. Bloc voting 'is not an especially fair system,' Mr. Blanc said. 'It has a kind of feeling of fairness because you're selecting your representatives in a very direct way.' Most commentary on the Hamas victory has emphasized that it played to the movement's strength because Hamas was the most disciplined party and offered fewer candidates than the previously dominant Fatah, which had internal rivalries and put forward long lists that split its voters. But Mr. Blanc's analysis found that vote-splitting was not the only way in which the system intensified the value of Hamas's organizational skills. Mr. Blanc, who works for an international democracy organization known simply as IFES (it used to be the International Foundation for Election Systems), illustrated what he meant by describing what could have happened if the system had been used in the 2004 Georgia Congressional elections. In those elections, with 13 seats up for grabs, 1.8 million votes were cast for Republicans, who won 7 seats, and 1.1 million for Democrats, who won 6. But if, instead of 13 one-seat races, the election had been decided by a statewide bloc vote, then even if both parties had offered lists of only 13 candidates apiece, Republicans could have swept all 13 races — assuming that enough supporters voted a straight ticket. Ghazi Hamad, a Hamas candidate who did not win, said in a telephone interview that his party won far more seats than it expected, but he attributed it mainly to voter dissatisfaction with Fatah. He did not give a direct answer to several questions on whether Hamas designed some electoral tactics to take advantage of the bloc vote. Khalil Shikaki, the respected Palestinian pollster, said that both Fatah and Hamas had an inkling of what the system would mean for their prospects. But when it came to playing the system, Mr. Shikaki said, 'Fatah, the leaderless, failed the test and Hamas did not.'

Subject: Planting Seeds of Private Health Care
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 09:29:54 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/20/international/americas/20canada.html?ex=1298091600&en=ca9e5e8f45cc8d4d&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 20, 2006 Ruling Has Canada Planting Seeds of Private Health Care By CLIFFORD KRAUSS TORONTO — The cracks are still small in Canada's vaunted public health insurance system, but several of its largest provinces are beginning to open the way for private health care eventually to take root around the country. Last week Quebec proposed to lift a ban on private health insurance for several elective surgical procedures, and announced that it would pay for such surgeries at private clinics when waiting times at public facilities were unreasonable. The proposal, by Premier Jean Charest, who called for 'a new era for health care in Quebec,' came in response to a Supreme Court decision last June that struck down a provincial law that banned private medical insurance and ordered the province to initiate a reform program within a year. The Supreme Court decision ruled that long waits for various medical procedures in the province had violated patients' 'life and personal security, inviolability and freedom,' and that prohibition of private health insurance was unconstitutional when the public health system did not deliver 'reasonable services.' The decision applied directly only to Quebec, but it has generated movement for private clinics and private insurance in several provinces where governments hope to forestall similar court decisions. Coincidentally, last week Premier Gordon Campbell of British Columbia asked in his Throne speech, the equivalent of a state of the province address, 'Does it really matter to patients where or how they obtain their surgical treatment if it is paid for with public funds?' It was a question that was almost unthinkable for a major politician to ask before last year's Supreme Court decision. Public health care insurance, where citizens go to their doctor or to the hospital for basic services paid for by taxpayers, has long been considered politically sacrosanct in Canada, and even central to the national identity. Mr. Campbell presented his vision for a new provincial health care system that would resemble those of most of Western Europe, where the government pays for essential treatment delivered in both public and private clinics and hospitals. Alberta's premier, Ralph Klein, recently expressed a similar goal, and his government is promising legislation to permit doctors to work simultaneously in private and public institutions and allow the building of private hospitals. Quebec, Canada's second most populous province, after Ontario, has not decided to go that far. Forced by the court to meet a one-year deadline for a plan to change the system, Mr. Charest proposed limited but important changes. He proposed that private insurance cover knee and hip replacements and cataract surgery. Publicly run hospitals would be allowed to subcontract to private clinics for such procedures when the hospitals were unable to deliver the services within six months. The plan is to be introduced in the provincial Legislature for passage before the summer. 'We're putting the private sector to work for the public,' Mr. Charest told reporters. 'We're taking a measured step in this direction.' Mr. Charest and the province's health minister, Philippe Couillard, called for an open debate, and they did not rule out more privatization in the future. Quebec already has about 50 private health clinics, far more than any other province, but doctors would remain forbidden to serve in both the private and public systems under the Charest plan. Antonia Maioni, a McGill University political scientist who specializes in health care, said Mr. Charest had to be careful about pushing too hard for privatization because he knew unions and other liberals would resist sweeping changes. 'They are trying to stay politically afloat,' Ms. Maioni said, noting Mr. Charest's low standing in opinion polls only a year or two before the next provincial elections. 'The winds of change are blowing, but they are not knocking everything over.' Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a Conservative elected last month, did not propose a sweeping overhaul of the system in the recent national campaign. But he did favor guaranteed waiting times for services. As a free-market Conservative, he is thought to favor the Supreme Court decision and will probably try to use it to encourage changes. The departing Liberal government opposed fundamental changes. But the new health minister, Tony Clement, is a proponent of experimentation and innovations to reduce waiting, modernize equipment and increase the supply of doctors.

Subject: Women's Health Studies Leave Questions
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 09:17:57 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/health/19health.html?ex=1298005200&en=a91e39f0cb8743b7&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 19, 2006 Women's Health Studies Leave Questions in Place of Certainty By DENISE GRADY So what do women do now? The results of two major studies over the past two weeks have questioned the value of two widely recommended measures: calcium pills and vitamin D to prevent broken bones, and low-fat diets to ward off heart disease and breast and colon cancer. Should women abandon hope, since it looks as if nothing works? Abandon guilt and assume diet makes no difference? Or muddle on with salad and supplements, just in case? The studies — part of the same government research project that in 2002 found hormone treatment for menopause did more harm than good — have confused women and prompted renewed examination of the regimens that many have been carefully following. Researchers find themselves parsing the results, and debating about how far the scientific rules can be stretched when it comes to measuring results and searching for evidence in smaller groups of patients within a large study. The researchers admit that the findings were an unexpected and puzzling challenge to firmly held, almost religious beliefs about nutrition and health. And though some experts said the results meant women should look for other ways to prevent heart disease, cancer and bone loss, the scientists who conducted the studies insisted that hints of benefit in parts of the data could not be ignored. 'We just didn't come out with as strong a finding as everyone expected,' said Dr. Marcia L. Stefanick, head of the study's steering committee. 'The results weren't clear enough, weren't black and white.' 'We're still debating amongst ourselves,' Dr. Stefanick said. The studies, which involved thousands of women and cost hundreds of millions of dollars, were the largest and most rigorous look ever at the effects of diets and supplements, and are unlikely to be repeated. News of the findings spread rapidly, and women interviewed in several cities were aware of them. Pouran Zamani-Hariri, 68, of Chicago, said she had been taking calcium and vitamin D every day for five years and planned to ask her doctor about the calcium study. But the results did not surprise her, Ms. Zamani-Hariri said, because despite taking the supplements, she has broken her shoulder and her leg within the last two years. 'Maybe it proves that it doesn't work,' she said. Kim Curtis, 39, a portfolio accountant from Winthrop, Mass., said she chose full-fat foods over reduced-fat products because she worried about sugars and preservatives being used to replace fat in processed food. 'The way things are, you're going to get cancer anyway,' Ms. Curtis said. But the researchers who conducted the study said their findings were not a signal to binge on bacon cheeseburgers. 'I was a little uncomfortable with some of the reactions,' said Dr. Jacques Rossouw, the project officer for the Women's Health Initiative, the program that has created the stir. It worries him, he said, that some people think the studies mean fat and calcium do not matter. 'It's not what we say, and I don't think it's what the papers say,' Dr. Rossouw said. 'For folks who are on a low-fat diet, by all means continue,' he added. 'If you're on a high-fat diet, certainly get it down. That's the message we would like to send.' As for calcium and vitamin D, he said, the recent study had 'enough hints' of benefit that women whose diets do not provide adequate amounts should take supplements. The studies were part of the health initiative, which started in the 1990's. The one on the low-fat diet, which included nearly 49,000 women ages 50 to 79, found that overall, after eight years, the diet had no effect on the rates of breast cancer, strokes, heart attacks or colon cancer. Similarly, the calcium study, which included more than 36,000 women, found that taking supplements for seven years did not prevent broken bones or colorectal cancer, but it did produce a 1 percent increase in bone density in the hip. Given the findings, then, how can researchers like Dr. Rossouw still recommend low-fat diets and supplements? The answer depends on how one interprets data. These studies included women who were treated and a control group that took placebos or, in the diet study, ate whatever they wanted. The researchers tracked their health, comparing the groups. According to standard rules based on probability, the difference in results between the groups has to be of a certain size to qualify as a genuine, or statistically significant, difference, and not something that could happen by chance. In the diet study, the difference in breast cancer rates was not statistically different. But Dr. Rossouw said it was so close — a 9 percent reduction in risk, whereas 10 percent would have been significant — that if the study had gone on longer, it might well have become significant. That was one of his main reasons for continuing to defend a low-fat diet. In addition, he said, the women who started out eating the most fat and then reduced their intake seemed to have the biggest reduction in risk. Dr. Larry Norton, a breast cancer expert at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, also said the reduction in breast cancer risk came too close to significance to ignore. 'Any minute now that study could turn positive,' Dr. Norton said. He added, 'It's a trend, a strong hint that something is happening and we need to follow these patients longer.' The patients are still being monitored. Dr. Norton is an author of a study in which a 50 percent reduction in dietary fat reduced the risk of cancer recurrence in women who had already had breast cancer. A participant in the government study, Connie Elsaesser, 76, of Cincinnati, said she had mostly given up butter and cut back on cheese and desserts. At times she had cravings, Ms. Elsaesser said, but she had no intention of resuming old eating habits. 'I've been brainwashed,' she said. The debate about the studies stems from findings in subgroups of patients, a kind of result considered questionable by many scientists. A basic rule in setting up experiments is that a study must be designed from the very beginning to look for certain effects in a certain type of patient. It is generally not considered legitimate for researchers to go back over the data afterward and slice it up into smaller groups — sometimes called data snooping — until they find a result they like. That result could be false because it arose from chance. In addition, if there is no statistically significant finding in the larger group, it is considered even worse to dig around in subgroups. 'Subgroup analyses can get you in trouble,' Dr. Norton said. 'They don't prove anything.' But, he added, effects found in subgroups can lead to further studies. In the calcium study, the researchers noticed intriguing differences in certain subgroups. The ones who took most of their calcium, 80 percent of the pills, had a 29 percent reduction in hip fractures. Women over 60 also had a reduction, 21 percent. Those findings persuaded Dr. Rossouw and Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel, the director of the health initiative and of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, to recommend supplements for women whose diets did not include enough calcium. 'I think those are fair health messages,' Dr. Nabel said. 'I don't think it's overstating the data or cheating.' But statisticians say that subgroup analyses are seductive and perilous, and that the danger is in believing too much. The health initiative investigators are cautious and conservative in their analyses, Dr. Rossouw said. They decide ahead of time on subgroups they plan to examine — women of different ages, women who did and did not follow their assigned treatment, women of different races — and give greater weight to those analyses than to ones they decide to do after the study is completed. But what does it mean when, as happened in this study, the subgroup analysis found that women in their 50's had more hip fractures if they took calcium and vitamin D? What does it mean if the women who were deficient in calcium were not helped by the supplements? The temptation, statisticians say, is to pick the subgroup analyses that support a favored hypothesis and disregard the ones that do not. 'The probability that you will see a spuriously positive effect gets very big very quickly,' said Dr. Susan Ellenberg, a former Food and Drug Administration official who is now a statistician at the University of Pennsylvania. The health initiative investigators say they are aware of the pitfalls. One way to decide whether to use a subset, Dr. Rossouw said, is 'the reality check.' He explained: 'For a person knowledgeable in this field and knowing what is likely to be plausible, what do you believe?' That, for example, is why the health initiative investigators emphasized their analysis of women who complied with their assigned treatment, be it placebos or calcium and vitamin D supplements. Donald Berry, a statistician at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, said he would not be so critical of the analysis of women who took most of their pills, although he was not overwhelmed by the effect. The annual rate of hip fractures in women who adhered to the regimen was 10 per 10,000, compared with 14 per 10,000 in women taking placebos. 'One thing that is absolutely clear,' Dr. Berry said. 'If there is a benefit, it's not great, no matter which subgroup we're talking about.' Dr. Ellenberg quoted another statistician, Richard Peto of Oxford University, who said of subgroups, 'You should always do them but you should never believe them.' Dr. Nabel acknowledged that statisticians often frowned on using subgroups, but, she said: 'Medicine is an art. You take the data you have in hand and do your best to interpret it for the individual sitting across the table from you.' These studies are not the last word from the health initiative. There will be more reports and analyses, many based on subgroups, Dr. Nabel said. Dr. Rossouw said, 'Probably 15 to 20 papers a year for the next 5 years would be a conservative estimate.'

Subject: Good News From New Guinea
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 07:09:39 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/opinion/19sun4.html?ex=1298005200&en=6f070ffaad111c0f&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 19, 2006 Good News From New Guinea By VERLYN KLINKENBORG No one, to my knowledge, keeps an index that measures just how bad the news is from day to day. But most of us can gauge its badness by the way good news makes us feel. A case in point is the article in this paper recently about a scientific expedition to the Foja Mountains of western New Guinea. During a monthlong field trip, biologists came upon new species of frogs, butterflies, birds, palms, and rhododendrons. That field trip, whose rigors few of us can imagine, was the subject of conversation in many places the evening the article appeared, including the restaurant in the West Village where I was having dinner with friends. There was an excitement, an exultation in the voices at the table as they talked about New Guinea. It sounded as though a new continent had been discovered, not a few species in remote forests halfway around the world. I noticed the same reaction during the rediscovery — contested, confirmed and now recontested — of the ivory-billed woodpecker, which was long believed to be extinct. The very thought that the bird had been heard in the Big Woods of Arkansas filled many people with hope and joy. But it also felt like the temporary lifting of some chronic biological melancholy, an oppression that bears a strange resemblance to the persistent numbness I associate with the nuclear standoff of the cold war. Call it biophilia if you will — E. O. Wilson's term for the connections we 'subconsciously seek with the rest of life.' What Mr. Wilson means by the word is something like a strong but latent undertow in humans, a 'richly structured and quite irrational' predisposition. What I'm hearing is more overt than that. It is something like a sigh of relief, a sigh that measures the bleakness of living in the midst of a mass extinction that we ourselves are causing. Nearly the whole of the scientific history of the West has been spent in a perverse balance between identifying species and destroying them. The emotions we feel about ravaging the biological richness and complexity of Earth are made possible only by an awareness of how many life-forms science has discovered. To suspect how rich we might be is to know how poor we are busy making ourselves. Most of us will never come in contact with more than a tiny fraction of the species on this planet. Most of us, in fact, know so little about the life-forms around us that the distinction between known and unknown species is nearly meaningless. Practically speaking, nearly all the species in New Guinea are unknown to most of us. We may know none of the names of these newly found creatures or their distinctive traits or the habitats where they live. And yet the thought of them exalts us. Part of the pleasure of reading about this expedition to the Foja Mountains is the pleasure we always derive from the thought of an undiscovered country, from imagining, for instance, those long-ago days when the middle of America was still an Amazon of grasses. It's tempting to say that what really moves us in the news of this expedition is simple possibility, the feeling that discovery is still alive, that the Earth has not been entirely trampled or paved. But that makes the value of these newly identified species — and of all others — merely symbolic. They become important to us for the feelings, the possibilities, they arouse. The hard part is remembering that all these species, discovered and undiscovered alike, are important in themselves. Their existence has no reference whatsoever to humans or their minds. The tragedy is that their survival depends on the interest we take in them. We will be identifying new species for many decades to come, although most of them will not be nearly as photogenic as the new honeyeater recently found in New Guinea. The test for us is the same as it has always been. It is not how many species we discover. It is how to protect them once we have found them and how to keep from destroying the species we do not know before we have a chance to find them.

Subject: India, Oil and Nuclear Weapons
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 20, 2006 at 07:08:20 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/opinion/19sun1.html?ex=1298005200&en=5ac389a3013a5615&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 19, 2006 India, Oil and Nuclear Weapons Exploding at the seams with building, investment and trade, India can hardly keep up with itself. Airplanes coming into Delhi and Mumbai routinely end up circling the airports for hours, wasting precious jet fuel, because there are not enough runways or airport gates. City streets originally built for two lanes of traffic are teeming with four and sometimes five lanes of cars, auto-rickshaws, mopeds, buses and trucks. This energy-guzzling congestion will only become worse as India continues producing fairly high-quality goods and services at lower and lower prices — from automobiles that cost only $2,500 to low-budget airline flights for $50. India's president, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, sounded exactly like President Bush when he told the Asiatic Society in Manila earlier this month that energy independence must be India's highest priority. 'We must be determined to achieve this within the next 25 years, that is, by the year 2030,' he said. Unfortunately, Mr. Kalam, like Mr. Bush, is far better at talking than at any real action to reduce energy consumption. In the new enclaves for India's emerging middle class and its rapidly rising nouveau riche, environmentally unsustainable, high-ceilinged houses feature air-conditioning systems that stay on year round. When President Bush makes his long-planned trip to India next month, he will be visiting a country that, like China, has begun to gear its international strategy to its energy needs. That is one of the biggest diplomatic challenges facing the United States, and right now the American strategy is askew. India desperately wants Mr. Bush to wring approval from Congress for a misbegotten pact in which America would help meet India's energy requirements through civilian nuclear cooperation. With its eye on the nuclear deal, India recently bowed to American pressure and cast its vote at the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer Iran's suspected nuclear program to the United Nations Security Council. That was a victory for Mr. Bush, and India did the right thing in helping to hold Iran accountable, but the deal it wants to make with the United States is a bad one. It would allow India to make an end run around the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty's basic bargain, which rewards countries willing to renounce nuclear weapons with the opportunity to import sensitive nuclear technology to help meet their energy needs. America has imposed nuclear export restrictions on India because India refuses to sign the nonproliferation treaty and it has tested a nuclear device that uses materials and technology diverted from its civilian nuclear program. In trying to give India a special exemption, Mr. Bush is threatening the nonproliferation treaty's carrot-and-stick approach, which for more than 35 years has dissuaded countries that are capable of building or buying nuclear arms from doing so, from South Korea to Turkey to Saudi Arabia. And if his hope is that the promise of nuclear technology from America will be enough to prod India to turn its back on Iran, that's a bad bet. Even as India was casting its vote on Iran's nuclear program, India's petroleum minister, Murli Deora, said his government would continue to pursue a multibillion-dollar gas pipeline deal with Tehran. There is no diplomatic quick fix in this energy-hungry world. Even if India shunned Iran, it would still have to turn to other petroleum suppliers that Washington wants to isolate, including Sudan and Venezuela. And the Iranian supplies would wind up going to other energy-hungry nations, tying them more closely to Tehran. If Mr. Bush wants to tackle this quandary seriously, he needs to begin by pushing for significant energy conservation steps in the United States, by far the world's largest energy consumer. That would do far more to weaken the stranglehold Iran and other energy-producing nations now exercise over world oil markets.

Subject: The God Genome
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 11:05:22 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/books/review/19wieseltier.html?ex=1298005200&en=9ecb4016f9ff8682&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 19, 2006 The God Genome By LEON WIESELTIER THE question of the place of science in human life is not a scientific question. It is a philosophical question. Scientism, the view that science can explain all human conditions and expressions, mental as well as physical, is a superstition, one of the dominant superstitions of our day; and it is not an insult to science to say so. For a sorry instance of present-day scientism, it would be hard to improve on Daniel C. Dennett's book. 'Breaking the Spell' is a work of considerable historical interest, because it is a merry anthology of contemporary superstitions. The orthodoxies of evolutionary psychology are all here, its tiresome way of roaming widely but never leaving its house, its legendary curiosity that somehow always discovers the same thing. The excited materialism of American society — I refer not to the American creed of shopping, according to which a person's qualities may be known by a person's brands, but more ominously to the adoption by American culture of biological, economic and technological ways of describing the purposes of human existence — abounds in Dennett's usefully uninhibited pages. And Dennett's book is also a document of the intellectual havoc of our infamous polarization, with its widespread and deeply damaging assumption that the most extreme statement of an idea is its most genuine statement. Dennett lives in a world in which you must believe in the grossest biologism or in the grossest theism, in a purely naturalistic understanding of religion or in intelligent design, in the omniscience of a white man with a long beard in 19th-century England or in the omniscience of a white man with a long beard in the sky. In his own opinion, Dennett is a hero. He is in the business of emancipation, and he reveres himself for it. 'By asking for an accounting of the pros and cons of religion, I risk getting poked in the nose or worse,' he declares, 'and yet I persist.' Giordano Bruno, with tenure at Tufts! He wonders whether religious people 'will have the intellectual honesty and courage to read this book through.' If you disagree with what Dennett says, it is because you fear what he says. Any opposition to his scientistic deflation of religion he triumphantly dismisses as 'protectionism.' But people who share Dennett's view of the world he calls 'brights.' Brights are not only intellectually better, they are also ethically better. Did you know that 'brights have the lowest divorce rate in the United States, and born-again Christians the highest'? Dennett's own 'sacred values' are 'democracy, justice, life, love and truth.' This rigs things nicely. If you refuse his 'impeccably hardheaded and rational ontology,' then your sacred values must be tyranny, injustice, death, hatred and falsehood. Dennett is the sort of rationalist who gives reason a bad name; and in a new era of American obscurantism, this is not helpful. Dennett flatters himself that he is Hume's heir. Hume began 'The Natural History of Religion,' a short incendiary work that was published in 1757, with this remark: 'As every enquiry which regards religion is of the utmost importance, there are two questions in particular which challenge our attention, to wit, that concerning its foundation in reason, and that concerning its origin in human nature.' These words serve as the epigraph to Dennett's introduction to his own conception of 'religion as a natural phenomenon.' 'Breaking the Spell' proposes to answer Hume's second question, not least as a way of circumventing Hume's first question. Unfortunately, Dennett gives a misleading impression of Hume's reflections on religion. He chooses not to reproduce the words that immediately follow those in which he has just basked: 'Happily, the first question, which is the most important, admits of the most obvious, at least, the clearest, solution. The whole frame of nature bespeaks an intelligent author; and no rational enquirer can, after serious reflection, suspend his belief a moment with regard to the primary principles of genuine Theism and Religion.' So was Hume not a bright? I do not mean to be pedantic. Hume deplored religion as a source of illusions and crimes, and renounced its consolations even as he was dying. His God was a very wan god. But his God was still a god; and so his theism is as true or false as any other theism. The truth of religion cannot be proved by showing that a skeptic was in his way a believer, or by any other appeal to authority. There is no intellectually honorable surrogate for rational argument. Dennett's misrepresentation of Hume (and his similar misrepresentation of William James and Thomas Nagel) is noteworthy, therefore, because it illustrates his complacent refusal to acknowledge the dense and vital relations between religion and reason, not only historically but also philosophically. For Dennett, thinking historically absolves one of thinking philosophically. Is the theistic account of the cosmos true or false? Dennett, amazingly, does not care. 'The goal of either proving or disproving God's existence,' he concludes, is 'not very important.' It is history, not philosophy, that will break religion's spell. The story of religion's development will extirpate it. 'In order to explain the hold that various religious ideas and practices have on people,' he writes, 'we need to understand the evolution of the human mind.' What follows is, in brief, Dennett's natural history of religion. It begins with the elementary assertion that 'everything that moves needs something like a mind, to keep it out of harm's way and help it find the good things.' To this end, there arose in very ancient times the evolutionary adaptation that one researcher has called a 'hyperactive agent detection device, or HADD.' This cognitive skill taught us, or a very early version of us, that we live in a world of other minds — and taught us too well, because it instilled 'the urge to treat things — especially frustrating things — as agents with beliefs and desires.' This urge is 'deeply rooted in human biology,' and it results in a 'fantasy-generation process' that left us 'finding agency wherever anything puzzles or frightens us.' Eventually this animism issued in deities, who were simply the 'agents who had access to all the strategic information' that we desperately lacked. 'But what good to us is the gods' knowledge if we can't get it from them?' So eventually shamans arose who told us what we wanted to hear from the gods, and did so by means of hypnosis. (Our notion of God is the product of this 'hypnotizability-enabler' in our brains, and it may even be that theism is owed to a 'gene for heightened hypnotizability,' which would be an acceptable version of a 'God gene.') To secure these primitive constructs and comforts against oblivion, ritual was invented; and they were further secured by 'acts of deceit' that propounded their 'systematic invulnerability to disproof.' Folk religions became organized religions. The 'trade secrets' of the shamans were transmitted to 'every priest and minister, every imam and rabbi.' Slowly and steadily, these 'trade secrets' were given the more comprehensive protection of 'belief in belief,' the idea that certain convictions are so significant that they must be insulated from the pressures of reason. 'The belief that belief in God is so important that it must not be subjected to the risks of disconfirmation or serious criticism,' Dennett instructs, 'has led the devout to 'save' their beliefs by making them incomprehensible even to themselves.' In sum, we were HADD. Here endeth the lesson. There are a number of things that must be said about this story. The first is that it is only a story. It is not based, in any strict sense, on empirical research. Dennett is 'extrapolating back to human prehistory with the aid of biological thinking,' nothing more. 'Breaking the Spell' is a fairy tale told by evolutionary biology. There is no scientific foundation for its scientistic narrative. Even Dennett admits as much: 'I am not at all claiming that this is what science has established about religion. . . . We don't yet know.' So all of Dennett's splashy allegiance to evidence and experiment and 'generating further testable hypotheses' notwithstanding, what he has written is just an extravagant speculation based upon his hope for what is the case, a pious account of his own atheistic longing. And why is Dennett so certain that the origins of a thing are the most illuminating features of a thing, or that a thing is forever as primitive as its origins? Has Dennett never seen a flower grow from the dust? Or is it the dust that he sees in a flower? 'Breaking the Spell' is a long, hectoring exercise in unexamined originalism. In perhaps the most flattening passage in the book, Dennett surmises that 'all our 'intrinsic' values started out as instrumental values,' and that this conviction about the primacy of the instrumental is a solemn requirement of science. He remarks that the question cui bono? — who benefits? — 'is even more central in evolutionary biology than in the law,' and so we must seek the biological utilities of what might otherwise seem like 'a gratuitous outlay.' An anxiety about the reality of nonbiological meanings troubles Dennett's every page. But it is very hard to envisage the biological utilities of such gratuitous outlays as 'The Embarkation for Cythera' and Fermat's theorem and the 'Missa Solemnis.' It will be plain that Dennett's approach to religion is contrived to evade religion's substance. He thinks that an inquiry into belief is made superfluous by an inquiry into the belief in belief. This is a very revealing mistake. You cannot disprove a belief unless you disprove its content. If you believe that you can disprove it any other way, by describing its origins or by describing its consequences, then you do not believe in reason. In this profound sense, Dennett does not believe in reason. He will be outraged to hear this, since he regards himself as a giant of rationalism. But the reason he imputes to the human creatures depicted in his book is merely a creaturely reason. Dennett's natural history does not deny reason, it animalizes reason. It portrays reason in service to natural selection, and as a product of natural selection. But if reason is a product of natural selection, then how much confidence can we have in a rational argument for natural selection? The power of reason is owed to the independence of reason, and to nothing else. (In this respect, rationalism is closer to mysticism than it is to materialism.) Evolutionary biology cannot invoke the power of reason even as it destroys it. Like many biological reductionists, Dennett is sure that he is not a biological reductionist. But the charge is proved as early as the fourth page of his book. Watch closely. 'Like other animals,' the confused passage begins, 'we have built-in desires to reproduce and to do pretty much whatever it takes to achieve this goal.' No confusion there, and no offense. It is incontrovertible that we are animals. The sentence continues: 'But we also have creeds, and the ability to transcend our genetic imperatives.' A sterling observation, and the beginning of humanism. And then more, in the same fine antideterministic vein: 'This fact does make us different.' Then suddenly there is this: 'But it is itself a biological fact, visible to natural science, and something that requires an explanation from natural science.' As the ancient rabbis used to say, have your ears heard what your mouth has spoken? Dennett does not see that he has taken his humanism back. Why is our independence from biology a fact of biology? And if it is a fact of biology, then we are not independent of biology. If our creeds are an expression of our animality, if they require an explanation from natural science, then we have not transcended our genetic imperatives. The human difference, in Dennett's telling, is a difference in degree, not a difference in kind — a doctrine that may quite plausibly be called biological reductionism. Dennett is unable to imagine a fact about us that is not a biological fact. His book is riddled with translations of emotions and ideas into evo-psychobabble. 'It is in the genetic interests of parents . . . to inform — not misinform — their young, so it is efficient (and relatively safe) to trust one's parents.' Grief for the death of a loved one is 'a major task of cognitive updating: revising all our habits of thought to fit a world with one less familiar intentional system in it.' 'Marriage rituals and taboos against adultery, clothing and hairstyles, breath fresheners and pornography and condoms and H.I.V. and all the rest' have their 'ancient but ongoing source' in the organism's need to thwart parasites. 'The phenomenon of romantic love' may be adequately understood by reference to 'the unruly marketplace of human mate-finding.' And finally, the general rule: 'Everything we value — from sugar and sex and money to music and love and religion — we value for reasons. Lying behind, and distinct from, our reasons are evolutionary reasons, free-floating rationales that have been endorsed by natural selection.' Never mind the merits of materialism as an analysis of the world. As an attitude to life, it represents a collapse of wisdom. So steer clear of 'we materialists' in your dark hours. They cannot fortify you, say, after the funeral of a familiar intentional system. BEFORE there were naturalist superstitions, there were supernaturalist superstitions. The crudities of religious myth are plentiful, and a sickening amount of savagery has been perpetrated in their name. Yet the excesses of naturalism cannot hide behind the excesses of supernaturalism. Or more to the point, the excesses of naturalism cannot live without the excesses of supernaturalism. Dennett actually prefers folk religion to intellectual religion, because it is nearer to the instinctual mire that enchants him. The move 'away from concrete anthropomorphism to ever more abstract and depersonalized concepts,' or the increasing philosophical sophistication of religion over the centuries, he views only as 'strategic belief-maintenance.' He cannot conceive of a thoughtful believer. He writes often, and with great indignation, of religion's strictures against doubts and criticisms, when in fact the religious traditions are replete with doubts and criticisms. Dennett is unacquainted with the distinction between fideism and faith. Like many of the fundamentalists whom he despises, he is a literalist in matters of religion. But why must we read literally in the realm of religion, when in so many other realms of human expression we read metaphorically, allegorically, symbolically, figuratively, analogically? We see kernels and husks everywhere. There are concepts in many of the fables of faith, philosophical propositions about the nature of the universe. They may be right or they may be wrong, but they are there. Dennett recognizes the uses of faith, but not its reasons. In the end, his repudiation of religion is a repudiation of philosophy, which is also an affair of belief in belief. What this shallow and self-congratulatory book establishes most conclusively is that there are many spells that need to be broken.

Subject: Love and Rage of an Irish Childhood
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 11:01:57 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/18/books/review/18eder.html February 18, 2006 The Love and Rage of an Irish Childhood By RICHARD EDER John McGahern writes with pastoral passion and a painter's eye about the fields, flowers, hedges, waters and gentle sweep of hill in County Leitrim. He was born there, and 30 years later he came back to live. Leitrim is relatively poor, and its stony inch or two of soil lies on clay. The stony poorness, though, is the condition for its unassuming beauty; saving it from both factory farming and the locust swarm of tourists. Stoniness and beauty. For half a century Mr. McGahern has grappled his novels and short stories into an unflinching hold upon two traditionally rooted aspects of Irish life and character: the lilt and the grunt. What has made the writer a master of contemporary Irish fiction, second only to William Trevor, is that his lilt is free of indulgence, his grunt is free of despair and neither would accomplish what it does without the other. The stony gets the edge in 'All Will Be Well,' a memoir Mr. McGahern has written in his 70's. The assurance of the title barely masks its white-knuckled grip on itself. There was much darkness along with a measure of light in the upbringing of the author and his younger siblings; he might well have called his book 'What We Came Through.' The darkness emanates through the writer's father, a sergeant in the Garda, or national police; the light, through his mother, a rural schoolteacher. I say 'through' rather than 'from.' Sgt. Francis McGahern, portrayed in vivid and often horrifying complexity, evidently stands for all that is closed in his country's spirit; and Susan McGahern, deeply devout, signifies what is spontaneous and open. 'All Will Be Well' is their son's memoir of a nation and not just a family. Sergeant McGahern was the commander of a four-man police barracks in Cootehall, a rural town on the Shannon River. In the early 1940's there was little order to keep; a bicycle stopped for having no light, a stray cow on the road. The sergeant's subordinates spent much of their duty time working their own gardens, while submitting reports on what they called 'patrols of the imagination.' Young John, precocious, was sometimes called on to help with the drafting. 'Paper never refuses ink, Sean,' one of these easygoing national guardians would counsel him. It was an ironic motto for a future writer so painstaking that he tore up his first novel, after a prominent publisher asked to see it, because he deemed it unsatisfactory. Sergeant McGahern was the opposite of easygoing. A former Irish Republican Army fighter who was eased into the Garda after the Irish state was set up, he prized his position, stomping into Sunday Mass, boots and buttons agleam, and taking his seat in front. Within, though, he was a conflicted mess, with business deals on the side and not so much painstaking as painsgiving; above all to his family. Mostly he was absent. While he lived in the barracks, his wife and children lived outside a village 20 miles away where she worked as a teacher. Francis would appear every few weeks, alternating rugged charm, a little work around the house and bullying harassment of Susan and the children. Absence, charm and violence: this was the man, in his son's telling, and it was the first, in a way, who did the most damage. When the children were still little, Susan fell ill with cancer: through the weeks of her dying, with her relatives attending her, Francis stayed away. Much later he would stay away from all but one of his daughters' weddings. He was unable to tolerate any situation that infringed on his tiny kingdom of control, Mr. McGahern suggests; and he would turn violent when it was threatened. With their mother dead, he was obliged to take the children into his barracks quarters. Calling them his 'troops' he worked them, grudged them their food and, between spasms of affability, beat them, sometimes so badly that his men threatened to report him. But when, at 16 or 17, John fought back, the father retreated in self-pity; still later, with the son's early literary success, he turned creepily fawning. Utterly opposite was Susan, the little boy's companion, protector and refuge, and a high-spirited beacon against her husband's erratic darkness. Their errands, their night walks, were magical and are magically recalled. She was passionately religious, and while she was alive the child emulated her faith. Simply, religion meant mother, so he was outraged when she promised that when she died they would someday be together in Heaven. 'Our Heaven was here,' Mr. McGahern writes, 'With her our world was without end.' But it ended. Is the contrast of father and mother too open and shut for a memoir? Perhaps. The urge to do justice, even over petty instances of the sergeant's cruelties and foolishness, does partly constrain the novelist's gift for imaginative sympathy and imaginative bleakness. A reckoning is not quite the same as a recollection. Yet it must be said that what the author wields is anger, not bitterness. The anger is against the fetid shadow that the sergeant cast upon his wife and children's inclination and talent for taking pleasure in their lives. And, beyond this, upon the pleasure that the rural Irish world all around them had to offer. Between his anger, Mr. McGahern writes of works, days, pathways and pastimes, and the musical wit and hard-pressed generosity of country neighbors; along with grudges, foibles and here and there a flash of danger.

Subject: Women's Health Studies Leave Questions
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 10:59:49 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/health/19health.html?ex=1298005200&en=a91e39f0cb8743b7&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 19, 2006 Women's Health Studies Leave Questions in Place of Certainty By DENISE GRADY So what do women do now? The results of two major studies over the past two weeks have questioned the value of two widely recommended measures: calcium pills and vitamin D to prevent broken bones, and low-fat diets to ward off heart disease and breast and colon cancer. Should women abandon hope, since it looks as if nothing works? Abandon guilt and assume diet makes no difference? Or muddle on with salad and supplements, just in case? The studies — part of the same government research project that in 2002 found hormone treatment for menopause did more harm than good — have confused women and prompted renewed examination of the regimens that many have been carefully following. Researchers find themselves parsing the results, and debating about how far the scientific rules can be stretched when it comes to measuring results and searching for evidence in smaller groups of patients within a large study. The researchers admit that the findings were an unexpected and puzzling challenge to firmly held, almost religious beliefs about nutrition and health. And though some experts said the results meant women should look for other ways to prevent heart disease, cancer and bone loss, the scientists who conducted the studies insisted that hints of benefit in parts of the data could not be ignored. 'We just didn't come out with as strong a finding as everyone expected,' said Dr. Marcia L. Stefanick, head of the study's steering committee. 'The results weren't clear enough, weren't black and white.' 'We're still debating amongst ourselves,' Dr. Stefanick said. The studies, which involved thousands of women and cost hundreds of millions of dollars, were the largest and most rigorous look ever at the effects of diets and supplements, and are unlikely to be repeated. News of the findings spread rapidly, and women interviewed in several cities were aware of them. Pouran Zamani-Hariri, 68, of Chicago, said she had been taking calcium and vitamin D every day for five years and planned to ask her doctor about the calcium study. But the results did not surprise her, Ms. Zamani-Hariri said, because despite taking the supplements, she has broken her shoulder and her leg within the last two years. 'Maybe it proves that it doesn't work,' she said. Kim Curtis, 39, a portfolio accountant from Winthrop, Mass., said she chose full-fat foods over reduced-fat products because she worried about sugars and preservatives being used to replace fat in processed food. 'The way things are, you're going to get cancer anyway,' Ms. Curtis said. But the researchers who conducted the study said their findings were not a signal to binge on bacon cheeseburgers. 'I was a little uncomfortable with some of the reactions,' said Dr. Jacques Rossouw, the project officer for the Women's Health Initiative, the program that has created the stir. It worries him, he said, that some people think the studies mean fat and calcium do not matter. 'It's not what we say, and I don't think it's what the papers say,' Dr. Rossouw said. 'For folks who are on a low-fat diet, by all means continue,' he added. 'If you're on a high-fat diet, certainly get it down. That's the message we would like to send.' As for calcium and vitamin D, he said, the recent study had 'enough hints' of benefit that women whose diets do not provide adequate amounts should take supplements. The studies were part of the health initiative, which started in the 1990's. The one on the low-fat diet, which included nearly 49,000 women ages 50 to 79, found that overall, after eight years, the diet had no effect on the rates of breast cancer, strokes, heart attacks or colon cancer. Similarly, the calcium study, which included more than 36,000 women, found that taking supplements for seven years did not prevent broken bones or colorectal cancer, but it did produce a 1 percent increase in bone density in the hip. Given the findings, then, how can researchers like Dr. Rossouw still recommend low-fat diets and supplements? The answer depends on how one interprets data. These studies included women who were treated and a control group that took placebos or, in the diet study, ate whatever they wanted. The researchers tracked their health, comparing the groups. According to standard rules based on probability, the difference in results between the groups has to be of a certain size to qualify as a genuine, or statistically significant, difference, and not something that could happen by chance. In the diet study, the difference in breast cancer rates was not statistically different. But Dr. Rossouw said it was so close — a 9 percent reduction in risk, whereas 10 percent would have been significant — that if the study had gone on longer, it might well have become significant. That was one of his main reasons for continuing to defend a low-fat diet. In addition, he said, the women who started out eating the most fat and then reduced their intake seemed to have the biggest reduction in risk. Dr. Larry Norton, a breast cancer expert at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, also said the reduction in breast cancer risk came too close to significance to ignore. 'Any minute now that study could turn positive,' Dr. Norton said. He added, 'It's a trend, a strong hint that something is happening and we need to follow these patients longer.' The patients are still being monitored. Dr. Norton is an author of a study in which a 50 percent reduction in dietary fat reduced the risk of cancer recurrence in women who had already had breast cancer. A participant in the government study, Connie Elsaesser, 76, of Cincinnati, said she had mostly given up butter and cut back on cheese and desserts. At times she had cravings, Ms. Elsaesser said, but she had no intention of resuming old eating habits. 'I've been brainwashed,' she said. The debate about the studies stems from findings in subgroups of patients, a kind of result considered questionable by many scientists. A basic rule in setting up experiments is that a study must be designed from the very beginning to look for certain effects in a certain type of patient. It is generally not considered legitimate for researchers to go back over the data afterward and slice it up into smaller groups — sometimes called data snooping — until they find a result they like. That result could be false because it arose from chance. In addition, if there is no statistically significant finding in the larger group, it is considered even worse to dig around in subgroups. 'Subgroup analyses can get you in trouble,' Dr. Norton said. 'They don't prove anything.' But, he added, effects found in subgroups can lead to further studies. In the calcium study, the researchers noticed intriguing differences in certain subgroups. The ones who took most of their calcium, 80 percent of the pills, had a 29 percent reduction in hip fractures. Women over 60 also had a reduction, 21 percent. Those findings persuaded Dr. Rossouw and Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel, the director of the health initiative and of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, to recommend supplements for women whose diets did not include enough calcium. 'I think those are fair health messages,' Dr. Nabel said. 'I don't think it's overstating the data or cheating.' But statisticians say that subgroup analyses are seductive and perilous, and that the danger is in believing too much. The health initiative investigators are cautious and conservative in their analyses, Dr. Rossouw said. They decide ahead of time on subgroups they plan to examine — women of different ages, women who did and did not follow their assigned treatment, women of different races — and give greater weight to those analyses than to ones they decide to do after the study is completed. But what does it mean when, as happened in this study, the subgroup analysis found that women in their 50's had more hip fractures if they took calcium and vitamin D? What does it mean if the women who were deficient in calcium were not helped by the supplements? The temptation, statisticians say, is to pick the subgroup analyses that support a favored hypothesis and disregard the ones that do not. 'The probability that you will see a spuriously positive effect gets very big very quickly,' said Dr. Susan Ellenberg, a former Food and Drug Administration official who is now a statistician at the University of Pennsylvania. The health initiative investigators say they are aware of the pitfalls. One way to decide whether to use a subset, Dr. Rossouw said, is 'the reality check.' He explained: 'For a person knowledgeable in this field and knowing what is likely to be plausible, what do you believe?' That, for example, is why the health initiative investigators emphasized their analysis of women who complied with their assigned treatment, be it placebos or calcium and vitamin D supplements. Donald Berry, a statistician at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, said he would not be so critical of the analysis of women who took most of their pills, although he was not overwhelmed by the effect. The annual rate of hip fractures in women who adhered to the regimen was 10 per 10,000, compared with 14 per 10,000 in women taking placebos. 'One thing that is absolutely clear,' Dr. Berry said. 'If there is a benefit, it's not great, no matter which subgroup we're talking about.' Dr. Ellenberg quoted another statistician, Richard Peto of Oxford University, who said of subgroups, 'You should always do them but you should never believe them.' Dr. Nabel acknowledged that statisticians often frowned on using subgroups, but, she said: 'Medicine is an art. You take the data you have in hand and do your best to interpret it for the individual sitting across the table from you.' These studies are not the last word from the health initiative. There will be more reports and analyses, many based on subgroups, Dr. Nabel said. Dr. Rossouw said, 'Probably 15 to 20 papers a year for the next 5 years would be a conservative estimate.'

Subject: So Who Is King of the Jews?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 10:55:34 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/27/books/review/27rosen.html?ex=1290747600&en=d4b9408c704f2597&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss November 27, 2005 So Who Is King of the Jews? By JONATHAN ROSEN When I was an undergraduate at Yale 20 years ago, Harold Bloom was the pre-eminent literary presence on campus, famous for 'The Anxiety of Influence' and 'A Map of Misreading,' but to me he was a Jewish hero, and not simply because he looked like Zero Mostel. Bloom had somehow dislodged T. S. Eliot from his dominant position in the syllabus and replaced him with Wallace Stevens, and though there was a fine literary argument for this that had to do with Milton and his Romantic heirs, as opposed to the metaphysical poets favored by Eliot, I always suspected it had to do with the fact that Eliot was an anti-Semite. Bloom taught a class called 'Counter-Normative Currents in Contemporary Jewish Literature,' which included moderns like Freud, Kafka and Babel but began with 'the Yahwist,' author of the oldest strand of the Hebrew Bible. Suddenly, being a Jewish writer wasn't just for post-Enlightenment Johnny-come-latelies, but an ancient birthright. This notion was given bolder expression in a lecture I heard Bloom deliver about how the New Testament was a 'weak misreading' of the Hebrew Bible. I never thought I would hear a professor publicly proclaim - at Yale, no less - the great, private Jewish gripe that in layman's terms might be expressed: Christianity stole our watch and has spent 2,000 years telling us what time it is. Bloom punningly referred to the New Testament in Hebrew as 'Brit haHalasha' ('weak covenant'), instead of 'Brit haHadasha' ('new covenant'). 'The Anxiety of Influence,' in tracing the way works of literature struggle with their predecessors, had already given criticism the thrill of a blood sport. Here were all the great Bloomian notions - 'misreading,' 'belatedness,' 'originality' - employed to unseat not merely T. S. Eliot but Christianity itself. Bloom's new book, 'Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine,' is a fearless, provocative meditation on the themes I found so exhilarating 20 years ago, although it turns out that Judaism is, for Bloom, as much a betrayal of Yahweh as Christianity is. Bloom is not a modest critic. If literary representations of God are all we have, then literary critics are the true prophets. Bloom, it turns out, is high priest of his own religion, a Yahwist sect of one. Bloom's Yahweh is the work of an author called the J writer by German 19th-century scholarship, but though Yahweh is a literary character, he is also, through a semi-mystical Bloomian maneuver, real. He is the 'man-God' who appears to Joshua with a drawn sword, the jealous, zealous, hungry, hands-on deity who makes Adam out of a mud pie, picnics with the elders on Mount Sinai, chooses Moses and then, with irrational outrage, tries to kill him as he travels back to Egypt. This God made the redactors of the Hebrew Bible so uncomfortable that he was gradually papered over, displaced by priestly sources and the Deuteronomist, and then finally done in by the rabbis of the Talmud, whom Bloom clearly admires, and in some ways even resembles, though he finds their recasting of God as the merciful, covenant-keeping Lord of monotheism a betrayal of the rough, irrefutable reality that Yahweh represents. None of this is to say that Bloom likes Yahweh, who he feels should be 'convicted for desertion.' But present or absent, Yahweh is for Bloom inescapable, like death. 'My Orthodox Judaic childhood,' Bloom writes, 'lingers in me as an awe of Yahweh.' (Bloom may be our most confessional critic. Could anyone imagine Lionel Trilling telling us, as Bloom does, that his mother trusted in the covenant with the Jewish God, though he cannot?) But before he gets to Yahweh, Bloom turns his attention to Jesus, to whom the first half of the book is devoted. The order is important. Bloom offers an excellent explanation of the radical difference between the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament. A key difference, Bloom notes, is that the Hebrew Bible ends with II Chronicles and the 'heartening exhortation to 'go up' to Jerusalem to rebuild Yahweh's Temple.' The reconfigured 'Old Testament' ends with the minor prophet Malachi prophesying the return of Elijah, a lead-in to the Gospel of Matthew. In 'Jesus and Yahweh,' Bloom reverses this revision: Yahweh, though older, isn't superseded, but given the last word. For Bloom, Jesus and Jesus Christ are two entirely unrelated figures, and Bloom spends the first half of the book exploring their incompatibility. Jesus is the Jew Yeshua about whom no verifiable facts are knowable. What we do know, aside from a few scraps from Josephus ('wonderful writer and non-stop liar'), is contained in unreliable works written 'almost entirely by Jews in flight from themselves, and desperate to ingratiate themselves with their Roman overlords and exploiters.' By this Bloom means the New Testament, which he also refers to as 'the Belated Testament.' Jesus Christ, as opposed to Jesus, is a later theological construct that owes a great deal to Hellenic thought. Christ, for Bloom, is a betrayal of Jesus the man, Yeshua, who clearly lived inside a Jewish world, trusted in the covenant with Yahweh, did not think the Law was death, and would be appalled at, or at least entirely baffled by, the religion created in his name. Jesus belongs on one side of the Judeo-Christian divide, Christ on the other. Bloom is persuasively aware that the Judeo-Christian tradition is a convenient myth that joins two deeply incompatible religions. Bloom's insistence on the unrecoverable details of the life of Jesus doesn't stop him from using his ear to locate in the gospels the elements that seem to him truest to the real Yeshua, that 'greatest of Jewish geniuses.' These are found particularly in the gospel of Mark, where Jesus' dark parables, his ambivalence toward his own apostles and toward those he would save, make him a literary, if not a literal, son of the enigmatic, mercurial Yahweh of the Hebrew Bible. In Bloom's account, Jesus, with his deep connection to the uncanny Yahweh, can seem like the last real Jew, rather than the first Christian. 'Jesus and Yahweh' is not a big book, but it is bursting with ideas and contradictions, discussions (and dismissals) of New Testament scholarship, accounts of Lurianac kabbalah, gnomic Nietzschean utterances and brilliant asides about the essence of American religion. It also contains several outrageous statements - like the insistence that 'Torah is Yahweh.' Throughout, Bloom writes as if all Western literature were his private Talmud, turning it and turning it to reveal hidden meaning, and taking the whole of it personally: the author of the gospel of John 'hates me and I respond in kind.' Bloom tells us this book is the fruit of the work he began when he wrote 'The Anxiety of Influence' (1973). That work originally contained a chapter on the New Testament that he excised, and so it in fact seems Bloom's own struggle with the New Testament was always lurking behind the arguments in 'The Anxiety of Influence' and was perhaps the seed of that theory, not its fruit. This makes a great deal of sense. Who really cares, in the end, that Stevens 'misread' Shelley in order to produce his own strong poetry? But the battle between the New Testament and the Hebrew Bible is a struggle over religious truth that goes to a core crisis in Western civilization, and in Bloom himself. It helps explain why, in Bloom's agonistic literary universe, literature, despite his genius for explaining it, can seem oddly irrelevant. It is religious truth that matters. Bloom calls himself a cultural Jew who does not 'trust' in the covenant, trust being for him the hallmark of the normative Jew. And yet what dominates this book isn't the figure of Jesus or Yahweh. It is the image of Bloom, filled with post-Holocaust anguish and outrage, awakened at 2 a.m. by nightmares of Yahweh. What ultimately gives this book its power and poignancy is the image of a 74-year-old Jew, crying out to a silent God who nevertheless 'won't go away.' What could be more normative than that?

Subject: India, Oil and Nuclear Weapons
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 10:51:30 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/opinion/19sun1.html?ex=1298005200&en=5ac389a3013a5615&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 19, 2006 India, Oil and Nuclear Weapons Exploding at the seams with building, investment and trade, India can hardly keep up with itself. Airplanes coming into Delhi and Mumbai routinely end up circling the airports for hours, wasting precious jet fuel, because there are not enough runways or airport gates. City streets originally built for two lanes of traffic are teeming with four and sometimes five lanes of cars, auto-rickshaws, mopeds, buses and trucks. This energy-guzzling congestion will only become worse as India continues producing fairly high-quality goods and services at lower and lower prices — from automobiles that cost only $2,500 to low-budget airline flights for $50. India's president, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, sounded exactly like President Bush when he told the Asiatic Society in Manila earlier this month that energy independence must be India's highest priority. 'We must be determined to achieve this within the next 25 years, that is, by the year 2030,' he said. Unfortunately, Mr. Kalam, like Mr. Bush, is far better at talking than at any real action to reduce energy consumption. In the new enclaves for India's emerging middle class and its rapidly rising nouveau riche, environmentally unsustainable, high-ceilinged houses feature air-conditioning systems that stay on year round. When President Bush makes his long-planned trip to India next month, he will be visiting a country that, like China, has begun to gear its international strategy to its energy needs. That is one of the biggest diplomatic challenges facing the United States, and right now the American strategy is askew. India desperately wants Mr. Bush to wring approval from Congress for a misbegotten pact in which America would help meet India's energy requirements through civilian nuclear cooperation. With its eye on the nuclear deal, India recently bowed to American pressure and cast its vote at the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer Iran's suspected nuclear program to the United Nations Security Council. That was a victory for Mr. Bush, and India did the right thing in helping to hold Iran accountable, but the deal it wants to make with the United States is a bad one. It would allow India to make an end run around the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty's basic bargain, which rewards countries willing to renounce nuclear weapons with the opportunity to import sensitive nuclear technology to help meet their energy needs. America has imposed nuclear export restrictions on India because India refuses to sign the nonproliferation treaty and it has tested a nuclear device that uses materials and technology diverted from its civilian nuclear program. In trying to give India a special exemption, Mr. Bush is threatening the nonproliferation treaty's carrot-and-stick approach, which for more than 35 years has dissuaded countries that are capable of building or buying nuclear arms from doing so, from South Korea to Turkey to Saudi Arabia. And if his hope is that the promise of nuclear technology from America will be enough to prod India to turn its back on Iran, that's a bad bet. Even as India was casting its vote on Iran's nuclear program, India's petroleum minister, Murli Deora, said his government would continue to pursue a multibillion-dollar gas pipeline deal with Tehran. There is no diplomatic quick fix in this energy-hungry world. Even if India shunned Iran, it would still have to turn to other petroleum suppliers that Washington wants to isolate, including Sudan and Venezuela. And the Iranian supplies would wind up going to other energy-hungry nations, tying them more closely to Tehran. If Mr. Bush wants to tackle this quandary seriously, he needs to begin by pushing for significant energy conservation steps in the United States, by far the world's largest energy consumer. That would do far more to weaken the stranglehold Iran and other energy-producing nations now exercise over world oil markets.

Subject: Mind Over Splatter
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 10:47:36 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/opinion/19foster.html?ex=1298005200&en=21f0d73f56374f1a&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 19, 2006 Mind Over Splatter By DON FOSTER Poughkeepsie, N.Y. LAST year, 24 paintings were unveiled as previously unknown works by Jackson Pollock. Authenticated by one of the world's most respected authorities on Pollock's work, the paintings were to go on exhibition this year, the 50th anniversary of the artist's death. But Richard Taylor, a physics professor retained by the Pollock-Krasner Foundation to subject six of the paintings to computer-assisted analysis, discovered that the paintings may well be fakes — at least, the drips lack Pollock's characteristic geometric pattern. The collection's owner disputes that this finding is conclusive. At the heart of the controversy lie critical questions about artistic meaning and value that have vexed literary scholars no less than art historians. Would the exposure of a hitherto successful forgery diminish Jackson Pollock's reputation as a unique creative genius, by demonstrating that his work is replicable? If Shakespeare were credited with a mediocre poem hitherto presumed to be written by a lesser light, would that change our opinion of Shakespeare? 'What matter who's speaking?' asked Michel Foucault, quoting Samuel Beckett. What matter whose painting? The implied answer — no matter at all — takes for granted that cultural artifacts are symptomatic of the society that produced them. The critic's job, then, is to assess the product on its own merits, quite apart from the artist's name or reputation. If 'Hamlet' had been written by Christopher Marlowe or Edward de Vere, not by William Shakespeare, would the text therefore be less great? Perhaps not, but we would think of it in a different way. If a previously authenticated Pollock painting was actually done by a disciple, or by Norman Rockwell, or by a monkey with a paintball gun, yet looks to be authentic Pollock, so what? The look-alike might be worth less at Sotheby's, but would it be worth less as art? At stake in such attributional debates is a question of methodology: how can experts tell the difference between the real thing and an imitation? If the qualitative judgment of Pollock or Shakespeare scholars differs from quantitative analysis of a computer-assisted study, whose verdict will carry the day? That Richard Taylor's analysis can inform us of patterns generated by Pollock much of the time provides no guarantee that Pollock reproduced those patterns all of the time. But if the Pollock canon includes a forgery, it may be that Taylor's analysis provides a more objective mode of analysis than aesthetic appreciation. I am well acquainted with the risks of over-reliance on quantitative techniques. In 1989 I published a book proposing that the 1612 poem 'A Funeral Elegy,' by 'W. S.,' might be Shakespeare's. Seven years later, the elegy made front-page news when computer-assisted analysis, along with the opinion of other Shakespeare scholars, tended to confirm that 'W. S.' was indeed Shakespeare. But in 2001, a French Shakespearean, Gilles Monsarrat, proposed that W. S. was in fact Shakespeare's junior colleague, John Ford. Computer-assisted analysis confirmed that this was probably right, and the title-page initials, wrong. In the art world, the problem of attribution is complicated by market value. Nobody made more money by including 'A Funeral Elegy' in editions of Shakespeare printed from 1997 to 2001. But if you have paid, say, a half-million for a Pollock painting and some physicist and his computer say that you were hoodwinked, the question of the work's value is not wholly aesthetic. Literary and art attribution is not just a game of pin the name on the donkey. A community of interested scholars must consider all available evidence, and come to a consensus. In the case of the Pollock canon, the jury is still out. It would be a mistake, in my opinion, to sell the disputed Pollock canvases at a discount without more evidence than computer-assisted analysis of drip patterns. Meanwhile, Jackson Pollock may be chuckling in his grave: if the object of Abstract Expressionist work is to embody the rebellious, the anarchic, the highly idiosyncratic — if we embrace Pollock's work for its anti-figurative aesthetic — may faux-Pollock not be quintessential Pollock? May not a Pollock forgery that passes for authentic be the best Pollock of all? Don Foster is a professor of English at Vassar College.

Subject: A Modern, Multicultural Makeover
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 08:27:31 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/13/books/13kaku.html?ex=1284264000&en=0c12f7eb552cad0c&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 13, 2005 A Modern, Multicultural Makeover for Forster's Bourgeois Edwardians By MICHIKO KAKUTANI The opening sentence of Zadie Smith's glorious new novel announces the book's provenance: 'One may as well begin with Jerome's e-mails to his father' - an echo, of course, of the opening sentence of E. M. Forster's 1910 novel, 'Howards End,' which began, 'One may as well begin with Helen's letters to her sister.' Although the plot of 'On Beauty' hews remarkably closely to 'Howards End,' Ms. Smith has managed the difficult feat of taking a famous and beloved classic and thoroughly reinventing it to make the story her own. She has taken a novel about Edwardian England - about class and the competing claims of idealism and money, about a country on the brink of the social upheavals of World War I - and used it as a launching pad for a thoroughly original tale about families and generational change, about race and multiculturalism in millennial America, about love and identity and the ways they are affected by the passage of time. After the weirdly sodden detour she took with her last novel, 'The Autograph Man' (2002), Ms. Smith has written a wonderfully engaging, wonderfully observed follow-up to her dazzling 2000 novel 'White Teeth' - a novel that put the then 24-year-old British writer on the international literary map and made her an instant star. A kind of bookend to that debut book, 'On Beauty' is also a big-city novel (set mainly in Boston instead of London), alive with the cacophony of urban life and animated by a vibrant sense of how people live and talk today - be they upper-middle-class academics, disenfranchised Haitian immigrants, aspirational hip-hop performers or preachy neoconservatives. Following the lead of both 'White Teeth' and 'Howards End,' this novel also pivots around the stories of two families with intertwined lives - families who represent very different ways of looking at the world. Not unlike the bohemian Schlegels in 'Howards End,' the English-born Howard Belsey and his African-American wife, Kiki, are multicultural liberals, whose view of the world is rooted in the political struggles of the 1960's and the academic zeitgeist of a would-be Ivy League college. Howard's rival - in the rarefied world of Rembrandt studies and in the larger world of cultural politics - is Monty Kipps, a right-wing Trinidadian professor and pundit whose old-fashioned materialism recalls that of Mr. Wilcox in 'Howards End.' Monty's enigmatic wife, Carlene, forms an unlikely spiritual bond with Kiki and upon her death leaves Kiki an expensive bequest that, like the bequest left by Mrs. Wilcox in 'Howards End,' will have all manner of unforeseen repercussions. In setting up these narrative echoes of 'Howards End,' Ms. Smith sometimes over-stage-manages her story, but these lapses are quickly steamrollered by her instinctive storytelling gifts, her uncanny ear for dialogue and her magical access to her characters' inner lives. As she demonstrated in 'White Teeth,' she possesses an ability to inhabit with equal ease the point of view of children, adolescents and the middle-aged, and in these pages she captures with pitch-perfect accuracy the street-smart banter of wanna-be rappers, the willfully pedantic language of academics and the marital shorthand of long-time couples. She gives the reader vivid portraits of the Belseys' three teenage children: the earnest, conscientious Jerome, who falls hopelessly in love with Monty's beautiful and promiscuous daughter; his awkward but headstrong sister, Zora, who befriends a talented rapper named Carl (who plays the 'Howards End' role of Leonard Bast in this novel); and their younger brother, Levi, who would like to disavow his middle-class roots and reinvent himself as an activist from the hood. Ms. Smith's portrayal of the Belsey children not only reveals the traits and mannerisms they share with their mother or father but also underscores the many ways in which they have rebelled against their parents, eluding familial history and forging identities of their own. She proves equally adept at delineating Howard and Kiki's three-decade marriage - a relationship founded on love and passion, but more recently foundering upon long-held resentments and frustrations and the simple fact that Howard and Kiki are no longer the people they were 30 years ago. Kiki, who has ballooned to 250 pounds, resents Howard for not accepting her as she is - 'I'm not going to be getting any thinner or any younger,' she angrily tells him - and for drawing her into an almost exclusively white world that often feels alien to her. 'I staked my whole life on you,' she says. 'And I have no idea any more why I did that.' Howard, on his part, has grown more and more dogmatic over the years. Intent on importing his strict academic aesthetics into his home, he has become judgmental about what sort of paintings can be hung on the walls, what sort of music can be played in his presence. Like so many Forster characters, he has always had difficulty connecting the poetry and the prose in his life, and these days he seems increasingly incapable of expressing his feelings - to Kiki, to his aged father or to his children. He has recently started a perilous relationship with Monty Kipps's teenage daughter, Victoria - the very girl who broke the heart of his son Jerome, and who is now pursuing Zora's handsome protégé, Carl. While such soap opera-ish developments may sound melodramatic and contrived in summary, Ms. Smith explicates the familial geometry of the Belsey clan with both sympathy and gently ironic humor. She shows us how this family has constructed its own mythology about itself, and how that mythology is shaken by the family's collision with the Kippses, sending each character into a re-examination of his or her life and the assumptions they have taken for granted for so long. 'On Beauty' opens out to provide the reader with a splashy, irreverent look at campus politics, political correctness and the ways different generations regard race and class, but its real focus is on personal relationships - what E. M. Forster regarded as 'the real life, forever and ever.' Like Forster, Ms. Smith possesses a captivating authorial voice - at once authoritative and nonchalant, and capacious enough to accommodate high moral seriousness, laid-back humor and virtually everything in between - and in these pages, she uses that voice to enormous effect, giving us that rare thing: a novel that is as affecting as it is entertaining, as provocative as it is humane.

Subject: Zadie Smith's Culture Warriors
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 08:26:30 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/18/books/review/18rich.html?ex=1284696000&en=36254e1e1bfd021c&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss September 18, 2005 Zadie Smith's Culture Warriors By FRANK RICH SOME fearless outside referee had to barge in and try to adjudicate the culture wars, so let us rejoice that it's Zadie Smith. She brings almost everything you want to the task: humor, brains, objectivity, equanimity, empathy, a pitch-perfect ear for smugness and cant, and then still more humor. Born in 1975 - safely past the 1960's, the birth of our blues - she's not much burdened by heavy dogmatic baggage of her own. Being from England, she is one wry remove from the ground zero of these battles, America. She can't reconcile the warring camps - no one can - but 'On Beauty' is that rare comic novel about the divisive cultural politics of the new century likely to amuse readers on the right as much as those on the left. (Not that they'll necessarily be laughing in the same places.) Yet Smith is up to more as well: she wants to rise above the fray even as she wallows in it, to hit a high note of idealism rather than sink into the general despair. How radical can you be? Blame it on her youth. Those who were enraptured by Smith's startling 2000 debut, 'White Teeth,' will find that 'On Beauty' is almost literally a return to form. Here again, we have a baggy, garrulous account of two contrasting, haplessly interconnected families in an urban setting teeming with ethnic, racial and economic diversity. This time the city is not Smith's native London but Boston, or, more specifically, the mythical outlying town of Wellington, home of a college of the same name. We are pointedly told that Wellington is not in the Ivy League, but you can herewith banish all thoughts of Brandeis and Tufts. The school's exasperating culture of entitlement, arrogance and raw ambition, as well as a character or two, will be recognizable to anyone with a passing acquaintance with Harvard, where Smith did time as a Radcliffe fellow after 'White Teeth' put her on America's map. (She is kind enough to spare us a Larry Summers clone, however.) Clearly her stay in our Cambridge, like her years as a student in the other Cambridge back home, was fruitful, especially in this case outside the classroom. You'd never guess she wasn't to the Adams House manner born. 'One may as well begin with Jerome's e-mails to his father' is the first sentence of the book, a blunt declaration of Smith's intention to pay homage to 'Howards End.' In E. M. Forster's masterpiece of pre-World War I England, the collision of two antithetical families is set off by the infatuation of the young, art-worshiping Helen Schlegel with a scion of the profoundly prosaic businessman Henry Wilcox. Smith baits her own narrative mousetrap by propelling Jerome, an altruistic teenage son of Howard Belsey, a left-wing Rembrandt scholar at Wellington, into a live-in internship in London with his father's archnemesis, a reactionary and thoroughly Anglicized Trinidadian scholar of Rembrandt and much else named Monty Kipps. Much as Forster's turn-of-the-20th-century heroine finds to her astonishment that she likes it when the Wilcoxes dismiss socialism, women's suffrage, art and literature as sheer nonsense, so Jerome Belsey discovers in the Kippses' household that he 'liked to listen to the exotic (to a Belsey) chatter of business and money and practical politics; to hear that Equality was a myth, and Multiculturalism a fatuous dream' and 'thrilled at the suggestion that Art was a gift from God, blessing only a handful of masters, and most Literature merely a veil for poorly reasoned left-wing ideologies.' What's more, Monty Kipps has a very hot daughter who doesn't necessarily abide by her famous father's publicly disseminated moral code. The many delicious complications that ensue, not to be divulged here, compound by the page once Monty Kipps, along with his wife, Carlene, and that daughter, Victoria, move to Wellington for a visiting professorship, thus allowing Kipps and Howard Belsey to square off in ideological and personal combat against the backdrop of the continuing fratricides of a liberal university and its only slightly less liberal environs. What keeps the political conflicts from becoming didactic and predictable is, for starters, the principal characters, the Belseys and Kippses themselves. Only one of them, Howard, is white, and even he's not an American-born white man but a refugee from working-class London (humble roots he has tried to escape as surely as Monty Kipps has distanced himself from his own island origins). Howard's Florida-born wife of 30 years, Kiki Simmonds Belsey, is African-American, and thus the three more-or-less college-age Belsey children are black, though not in all cases as black as they'd like to be. Among the novel's several contrapuntal subplots is the continuing effort of the Belsey and Kipps offspring alike to gain the friendship (platonic and not) of Carl Thomas, a Roxbury hip-hop wiz whom they worship as a fount of the 'street' authenticity denied them in the hopelessly bourgeois hood of Wellington. (As a plaything for the higher classes, Carl is to Wellington's aesthetes what the lowly clerk Leonard Bast was to the Londoners of 'Howards End.') Because Smith's antagonists are in their different ways outsiders of a sort in white America, even at an institution as ostentatiously all-embracing as Wellington, they allow us to view the wildly overplowed comic terrain of the university from a slightly askew angle. The boilerplate political battles that buffet the campus, whether over affirmative action or the grievances of the local Haitian community, are not as one-dimensional when both sides of the argument are taken by those who have more than a theoretical stake in the outcome. Here, as in 'White Teeth,' Smith further lightens the load by exulting in the multicultural stew of her milieu without turning it into course work in Multiculturalism. In her Wellington and Boston, as in her London, the racial melting pot is an established fact, to be savored and explored rather than mined for sociological morals. In 'On Beauty,' anyone who is still arguing over it all at this late date is a bit of a dolt, oh so last-century and a ripe target for farce. That's the case with both Howard Belsey and Monty Kipps, both nearing 60, both handicapped by their own ideological blinders. In life, neither of them connects much to anything, including their infinitely wiser if long-suffering wives, their precocious nearly grown kids and the art that is the platform for their careers as scholars. Howard's yearly seminar is a tendentious running argument against 'the redemptive humanity of what is commonly called 'Art,' ' in which Rembrandt is seen as 'neither a rule breaker nor an original' but as 'a merely competent artisan who painted whatever his wealthy patrons requested.' Howard's own taste runs to conceptual pieces too transgressive to be displayed in his own home. Monty, who announces his arrival at Wellington by arguing in the local paper for 'taking the 'liberal' out of the Liberal Arts,' reserves his greatest passion for punditry, not art, which he mainly seems to care about as a commodity. He is fond of boasting that he owns 'the largest collection of Haitian art in private hands outside of that unfortunate island.' Eventually one valuable piece in that collection, a Hyppolite painting of the voodoo goddess Erzulie treasured mainly by his wife, will become as symbolic a pawn in the two families' lives as the charismatic young interloper from Roxbury. Smith is merciless about both Howard and Monty, the fatuous postmodernist and the self-satisfied capitalist alike, and it's hard to say which is more ridiculous or reprehensible. Howard has become the kind of academic who 'could identify 30 different ideological trends in the social sciences, but did not really know what a software engineer was.' For him a rose has long since stopped being a rose but is instead 'an accumulation of cultural and biological constructions circulating around the mutually attracting binary poles of nature/artifice.' That he has 'almost no personal experience of pornography' would never stop him from contributing to 'a book denouncing it, edited by Steinem.' So highly developed are his left-wing P.C. sensibilities that in his zeal to smite Monty's challenges to them he becomes the campus's foremost crusader against free speech. But Monty is no less a hypocrite, a rigidly conservative Christian who preaches against homosexuality in public even as his best friend is a gay Baptist minister who delivered the benediction at President Reagan's inauguration. His own brand of pomposity, like Howard's, knows no bounds; he is 'a man constantly on the lookout for the camera he knew must be filming him' and has 'this way of torturing metaphor that the self-consciously conservative occasionally have.' Kiki Belsey in particular has his number: 'Often enough she spotted Monty, leaning against the wainscoting in one of his absurd 19th-century three-piece suits, with his timepiece on a chain, bombastically opinionated, and almost always eating.' Out of both curiosity and sympathy Kiki is soon driven to seek a friendship with Monty's elusive and mysterious wife, apotheosized by one and all from afar as 'the ideal 'stay-at-home' Christian Mom.' The warring academics can be insufferable, but the novel as a whole rarely sinks to their level, thanks to Smith's generous portrayal of the two families' often wounding private dramas. It's Kiki, a majestically overweight earth mother with a feminist's spine, who gives the book its biggest (but not sentimental) heart. A hospital administrator, not an academic, she is in Wellington but not of it, despite her long marriage to Howard. Along with the Belsey children - especially the ever-assertive daughter, Zora, a Wellington undergrad who emulates her father to a fault - she anchors the academic farce to a domestic reality beyond academe. As befits a farce, sex is no small part of that reality in 'On Beauty.' However funny some of the couplings, the human costs of the betrayals pump blood into what might otherwise be an etiolated campus satire. Even so, the satire is not to be sneezed at. Smith has her own droll takes on the familiar targets, whether she is dryly delineating the silken bureaucratic maneuvers of Howard's best friend, Dr. Erskine Jegede, Soyinka professor of African literature and assistant director of the black studies department, or describing faculty meetings at which the priority 'is to try to get a chair as near the exit as possible, so as to enable discreet departure halfway through.' Though Smith quite rightly puts greater faith in the students than the adults who have already mucked things up, she hardly gives them a free pass. These are kids all too visibly angling for the fast track to 'an internship at The New Yorker or in the Pentagon or in Clinton's Harlem offices or at French Vogue.' The vestigial preppies make a brief appearance too. In one set piece, Howard eviscerates the singers in a Wellington glee club (with their 'F. Scott Fitzgerald heritage haircuts' and voices redolent of 'Old Boston money') with such misanthropic precision that he almost (but not quite) makes you like him. Smith is after so much in 'On Beauty' that, as with 'White Teeth,' not quite all of it comes together at the end. And sometimes in the later pages the stage management is all too visible, as in a climactic scene in which a political demonstration in the Wellington streets brushes against a particularly tawdry extramarital assignation for diagrammatic effect. Nor does every character have the weight of the Belseys; they intermingle with some cartoons. In her failings as in her strengths, Smith often seems more reminiscent of the sprawling 19th-century comic novelists who preceded Forster than her idol himself. But that's not always the case. What finally makes 'On Beauty' affecting as well as comic is Smith's own earnest enactment of Forster's dictum to 'only connect' her passions with the prose of the world as she finds it. For all the petty politics, domestic battles and cheesy adulteries of 'On Beauty,' she never loses her own serious moral compass or forsakes her pursuit of the transcendent. By not taking sides in the Belsey-versus-Kipps debate, she wants to lift us to the higher view not dreamt of in their philosophies. It's too late for burnt-out cases like Howard and Monty, who are both far too jaded and cynical to see past the culture wars to the beauty of culture itself. But Smith and many of her other characters do, especially the young ones, even those who are for now held captive by their iPods. Not for nothing does 'On Beauty' progress from an enraptured account of an open-air performance of Mozart's Requiem early on to a radiant literary tour of the wonders of Hampstead Heath to the crowning image of a Rembrandt portrait being projected larger and larger in a lecture hall until the 'ever present human hint of yellow' becomes an enveloping balm, however temporary, for all wounds. Smith is roughly the same age as Forster at the time he published 'Howards End.' No one will confuse her voice with his, but her authorial presence is at the very least a channeling of the searching heroine of that novel. Margaret Schlegel, Forster wrote, was 'not beautiful, not supremely brilliant, but filled with something that took the place of both qualities - something best described as a profound vivacity, a continual and sincere response to all that she encountered in her path through life.' For all Zadie Smith's other talents, it is this quality that makes you want to follow her every step on that path.

Subject: Drug Plan's Start
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 08:25:18 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/politics/19older.html?ex=1298005200&en=2fbfba473151ca68&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 19, 2006 Drug Plan's Start May Imperil G.O.P.'s Grip on Older Voters By ROBIN TONER WASHINGTON — Older voters, a critical component of Republican Congressional victories for more than a decade, could end up being a major vulnerability for the party in this year's midterm elections, according to strategists in both parties. Paradoxically, one reason is the new Medicare drug benefit, which was intended to cement their loyalty. During next week's Congressional recess, Democrats are set to begin a major new campaign to highlight what Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, describes as 'this disastrous Republican Medicare prescription drug plan.' Democratic incumbents and challengers plan nearly 100 public forums around the country, armed with briefing books and talking points on a law that, party leaders assert, 'was written by and for big drug companies and H.M.O.'s, not American families.' Recognizing the widespread criticism of the new drug program, Republican senators met in a closed session with administration officials this week to discuss the rocky rollout of the plan and prepare for questions back home. But pollsters say the Republicans' difficulties with the over-60 vote go beyond the complicated drug benefit, which began Jan. 1. President Bush's failed effort to create private accounts in Social Security last year was also unpopular with many older Americans. That, in addition to confusion over the drug benefit, has 'taken the key swing vote that's been trending the Republicans' way and put it at risk for the next election,' said Glen Bolger, a Republican pollster. 'And what that means is Republicans are going to have to work extra hard.' Mr. Bolger added: 'It's no secret what the Democrats are going to do. It's what they always do — scare seniors.' Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, countered: 'We told them up front, the way you're designing this is going to be a disaster. If you go back to the debate, we said this is set up for failure.' Retirees loom large in midterm elections because they turn out in force at the polls, even in nonpresidential years; their numbers and influence are particularly strong in Congressional battlegrounds like Florida and Pennsylvania. For years, Democrats counted on the over-60 vote to regularly return their party to power on Capitol Hill — the party of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Social Security and Medicare, as Democrats were quick to remind retirees. But that changed in the 1990's, when that vote began tilting toward the Republicans. One reason for the change was demographics — the passing of the New Deal generation and its replacement with retirees whose political loyalties were formed in a more Republican era. But it also reflected Republican success in muting or neutralizing the longtime Democratic advantage as the more trustworthy party on Social Security and Medicare. The passage of the Medicare prescription drug law in 2003 was intended to be the crowning accomplishment of that strategy. Experts note that the retiree vote is hardly monolithic, nor is it motivated purely by what happens to programs for older Americans. 'It's not always economics that prevails,' said Susan A. MacManus, an expert on generational politics at the University of South Florida in Tampa. She noted that many retirees in her region are younger and more affluent, less dependent on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and more concerned about national security and moral issues. In fact, Democrats suffered one of their worst years among over-60 voters in the 1998 House vote, according to surveys of voters leaving the polls; some analysts attributed that to the Monica Lewinsky scandal that year, which they argued was particularly offensive to older voters. In more recent elections, older voters have been particularly responsive to Mr. Bush's national security and antiterrorism positions, said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster. But for now, the major battleground is the new Medicare benefit, a program potentially affecting 42 million older and disabled Americans that has been rolled out in a bitterly competitive political year. At stake is control of the House and Senate: Democrats could gain control of the House for the first time in 12 years if they make a net gain of 15 seats, a difficult challenge. They could regain control of the Senate by picking up six seats. Older voters will play a crucial role in some of the marquee races, including the Pennsylvania Senate race, between Republican Senator Rick Santorum and his Democratic challenger, State Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr. Among the fewer than three dozen House districts considered competitive, the over-60 vote will be critical in states like Florida and New Mexico. New Mexico's attorney general, Patricia Madrid, who is challenging Republican Representative Heather A. Wilson, was chosen to deliver the Democratic radio address on Saturday, focused on the Medicare drug benefit. Many Republicans say they still believe that the drug program, by this fall, will be a net political advantage with millions of retired voters. But they acknowledge problems, including low-income people who fell between the cracks in the transition; the difficulties reported by many pharmacists in determining eligibility; and the general struggle of millions of retirees faced with a choice among 40 or more private drug plans, with different rules, lists of covered drugs and premiums. Republicans have reacted angrily in recent days to what they assert is a blatant effort by Democrats to capitalize on the confusion. Representative Deborah Pryce of Ohio, chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, accused Democrats of trying 'to scare seniors away from signing up for this benefit.' Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and chairman of the Finance Committee, asserted that the Democrats' new public campaign was a strategy of 'inherent political hypocrisy and opportunism.' Democrats insist they are urging older voters to sign up for the program — the deadline for signing up without penalty is May 15 — even as they highlight its flaws. They are pushing legislation that would, among other things, extend the sign-up deadline, allow Medicare to negotiate prices directly with drug companies and impose new regulations on private drug plans. As the election approaches, increasingly anxious Congressional Republicans say the onus is on the Bush administration to make the program work. Representative Paul D. Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who played a crucial role in the drug law, said, 'By and large, people are satisfied, but there are a lot of people who are frustrated and confused, no two ways about that. The question is whether those people who are frustrated and confused are going to have their problems resolved in the next few months. The administration is really on the hook for smoothing out these problems.' Surveys show that older voters remain skeptical; a new nationwide poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health research group, found that retirees were almost twice as likely to say they viewed the benefit unfavorably (45 percent) as favorably (23 percent). Last month's New York Times/CBS News Poll found that most did not expect the law to lower drug costs over the next few years. In the 22nd Congressional District, in Florida, where State Senator Ron Klein, a Democrat, is challenging Representative E. Clay Shaw Jr., a Republican, Mr. Klein said the prescription drug issue was part of a general economic squeeze, including higher homeowners' insurance and gas prices, that retirees were feeling. 'Things have gotten pretty rough in the last couple years, and these Medicare prescription drug costs, on top of the other issues, are weighing pretty heavily on people with fixed incomes,' Mr. Klein said. 'Let's start thinking about the consumer side, instead of figuring out how to prop up the pharmaceutical and insurance industries.' Mr. Shaw, who came to Congress in 1981 and has proved one of the more durable political survivors, said he expected an expensive race, but a successful one. He said he had been giving seminars to help older Americans maneuver through the new drug benefit. 'It's complicated and confusing, no question, because it's new,' Mr. Shaw said. 'But I can tell you by November, those who have it will be delighted, and those who don't will be wanting to get into the program.'

Subject: Morocco's Past, Morocco's Future
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 08:24:33 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/18/opinion/18sat3.html?ex=1297918800&en=fa305adc6f382b50&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 18, 2006 Morocco's Past, Morocco's Future Moroccans will mark a half-century of independence next month, but they have spent those years under monarchs with unchecked power. The security forces of the former king, Hassan II, arrested, exiled, jailed, tortured or killed thousands of critics or perceived critics and sometimes their families as well. Repression softened in the 1990's. Hassan's son, Mohammed VI, who succeeded him in 1999, established a truth commission to investigate the crimes of his father and grandfather. It was the first such commission in the Arab world, but its achievements would be an impressive attempt to deal with the past anywhere. The commission's staff members inspected the former secret prisons and interviewed jailers to attempt to write the full story of what had happened. They took thousands of statements from victims in private, and a few told their stories in televised hearings. The commission also recommended major reforms to Morocco's Constitution to prevent future abuses, including an independent judiciary and oversight of the security apparatus. The commission's impact has been enormous. It has opened a debate throughout Morocco about the past and how to democratize the country, and people elsewhere who watched the hearings on Al Jazeera are now asking whether such things could happen in their nations. The king's support made the commission possible. He has provided an ample budget, allowing the commission to pay reparations and provide medical care for victims. He also made the crucial acknowledgment that the crimes uncovered were not aberrant acts of individuals, but state policy. He has endorsed the commission's recommendations. But the king's appetite for reforms may have limits. Significantly, the commission could never state the obvious: the monarchy was to blame for the abuses. With many perpetrators still active in the security services, the commission has also not recommended the prosecution of those responsible. Nor has the king issued a formal apology to victims, instead delegating that job to the prime minister. Indeed, human rights abuses continue in Morocco. The judiciary is still strictly controlled, the security forces still employ torture, and people still go to jail for writing and saying things deemed insulting to the monarchy. After terrorist bombs exploded in Casablanca in 2003, the government arrested thousands of people and passed new antiterror laws with alarmingly broad powers. A new bombing could provide the security service with an excuse to stop all reforms. Such abuses will continue until no one is above the law. As the country celebrates its half-century of independence, King Mohammed VI has the opportunity to make history by backing reforms that undermine his own power — but will bring Morocco into the modern world.

Subject: Spectator's Role for China's Muslims
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 08:23:47 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/weekinreview/19yardley.html?ex=1298005200&en=203962acae4e3ad9&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 19, 2006 A Spectator's Role for China's Muslims By JIM YARDLEY LINXIA, China RELIGION is often hidden in China, so the unabashed public display of Islam here in the city known as Little Mecca is particularly striking. Men have beards and wear white caps. Women wear head scarves. Minarets poke up from large mosques. A bookstore sells Korans and religious study guides in Arabic. These are reminders that with almost 21 million followers of Islam, China has roughly as many Muslims as Europe or even Iraq. But the openness of religion in this isolated region along the ancient Silk Road does not mean that China's Muslims are active participants in the protests and seminal debates roiling the larger Islamic world. In that world, they are almost invisible. A case in point is the outrage and violence over the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that last week continued to ripple through Islamic countries. Here in Linxia, which has more than 80 mosques, news of the cartoons spread quickly. The local religious affairs bureau also moved quickly. Local Muslims say officials visited imams and cautioned them against inciting followers. The same happened in 2003, when a few protests broke out over the American invasion of Iraq. The China Islamic Association, the quasi-governmental agency that regulates Islam, quickly intervened and shut down the protest. Not that most Chinese Muslims need any warning. With 1.3 billion people, China is so huge and Muslims constitute such a tiny minority that most Muslims intuitively learn to keep quiet. 'We can talk about these things among ourselves,' said a shopper at a Muslim bookstore. 'But China has a law. We are not allowed to speak out about these things that are upsetting the Muslim world.' The tight government regulation of religion, as well as restrictions on free speech, can even separate Muslims on the Chinese mainland from their peers in Hong Kong, where citizens enjoy far greater civil liberties. On Friday, Hong Kong Muslims held a protest against the cartoons. Human rights groups have long criticized the lack of religious freedom in China and highlighted the harsh treatment of underground Catholics, Tibetan Buddhists and Uighurs, the Muslim ethnic group in the western region of Xinjiang. Yet other Chinese Muslim groups that might be expected to support the Uighurs have rarely done so. Dru C. Gladney, a leading Western scholar on Chinese Muslims, said the country's 10 Muslim nationalities usually find common cause only when they feel an issue denigrates Islam, as was the case with the cartoons. Sometimes, disputes between different factions can end in violence. Mr. Gladney said the largest group, the Hui, regard some Uighurs as unpatriotic separatists who give other Chinese Muslims a bad name. The Hui, he said, have blended fairly well into society by placing pragmatism over religious zeal and adopting the low profile of an immigrant group living in a foreign land — despite their presence in China for more than 1,300 years. 'They don't tend to get too involved in international Islamic conflict,' said Mr. Gladney, a professor of Asian studies at the University of Hawaii. 'They don't want to be branded as radical Muslims.' Yet Chinese Muslims should not be considered completely housebroken by authoritarian rule. Since the seventh century, when Islam began arriving in China along trading routes, there have been periodic Muslim revolts. Under the Communist Party, Muslim rage, if mostly contained on international issues, has erupted over localized affronts. Large protests broke out in 1989. Muslims took to the streets to denounce a book that described minarets as phallic symbols and compared pilgrimages to Mecca with orgies. Government officials, who allowed the protests, quickly banned the book and even held a book burning. A few years ago, thousands of Muslims protested in various cities after a pig's head was nailed to the door of a mosque in Henan Province. And last year, riots erupted after Hui from all over central China rushed to the aid of a Muslim involved in a traffic dispute. At the Mayanzhuang Islamic school in Linxia, Ma Huiyun, 40, the director of studies, said the cartoons infuriated him and other local Muslims. 'But we have to cooperate with the government,' he said. 'They asked us to be calm. They said they would speak on our behalf and express our unhappiness.' Mr. Ma said Chinese Muslims want closer ties to the Islamic heartland in the Middle East. His school now has two computers to obtain news from the Middle East or about the Iraq war. This year, Mr. Ma made his first pilgrimage to Mecca, one of roughly 10,000 Chinese Muslims estimated to have taken part in the hajj. The government has begun hiring Chinese Muslims to work in Middle Eastern embassies and state-owned companies that do business in the region. But many Muslims here cite obstacles to developing relationships with Muslims in other countries, and as a result, the Chinese remain largely isolated. 'There is really not a lot of understanding about us in the outside world,' Mr. Ma said. Linxia, once known as Hezhou, has been a center of Islam for centuries and now has a climate of religious tolerance. But Muslims elsewhere in China face more restrictions. In Xinjiang, for example, Muslim schools are tightly monitored and are allowed only limited numbers of students. Many of the same societal problems that fueled protests by Islamic immigrants in Europe — discrimination, lower education levels, higher unemployment, a sense of cultural separation from the dominant majority — can be found in China, too. China's Muslim population is stable, but among upwardly mobile Chinese, Islam is not as popular as Buddhism or Christianity. The pressure to assimilate, too, has watered down Islam in many places; in cities, some people who call themselves Muslims abstain from eating pork but rarely attend mosque. Not so in Linxia. At the Muslim schools in the city, most of the students are young boys from poor families who may one day became imams. It will be their job to navigate the delicate task of being Muslim in China. 'Obviously, we're different from Muslims in other parts of the world,' said Ma Ruxiong, a teacher at the Nanguan Mosque, the city's oldest. 'We just can't go into the streets and protest. You have to have permission from the government. But there are other things we can do. We pray to Allah to protect all Muslims in the world.'

Subject: Determined Skater Makes History
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 08:22:58 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/sports/olympics/19speed.html?ex=1298005200&en=bc1eeccf3cf1d013&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 19, 2006 Determined Skater Makes History With Fierce Charge to the Gold By LYNN ZINSER TURIN, Italy — As Shani Davis took a final lap around the speedskating oval Saturday to celebrate his victory in the 1,000 meters, the first individual Olympic gold medal won by a black athlete in a Winter Games, an overwhelmingly Dutch crowd set aside color and nationalism to celebrate a spectacular performance. In the moments after the race, the only color Davis cared about was gold. 'I just think that it's cool to have a gold medal because so many people train hard and work hard all their lives and they don't have a gold medal, regardless of their color,' Davis said. 'Here I am, 23 years old, been skating for 17 years, ever since I was 6. 'It feels good to have a medal,' added Davis, who later donned a Chicago White Sox cap and hugged some of his competitors. 'Especially a gold one.' For Davis, who has clashed with his own federation during the season and his teammates this week, the gold has been a singular pursuit. He began as a child charging around a roller-skating rink until someone recognized his talent and pointed him toward the ice. Davis stood out as a rare African-American in a mostly white sport, supported by a single mother who helped bulldoze any barriers she sensed were in front of him. Davis is only the third black athlete to win a medal in a Winter Olympics. The figure skater Debi Thomas won a bronze in 1988, and the bobsled brakeman Vonetta Flowers won a gold with the driver Jill Bakken in 2002. Davis's victory came in speedskating's premier event. The 1,000 meters consists of 21 races between pairs of skaters, and the medals belong to the three with the fastest times. Davis's teammate and rival, Chad Hedrick, the gold medalist in the 5,000 meters, skated in the fourth group and watched as his time of 1 minute 9.45 seconds held up for an hour and a half. Fourteen groups came and went, and Hedrick still had a No. 1 by his name. But Davis stepped onto the ice and changed everything. He skated smoothly, jumping to a good early pace and never breaking stride. He was still charging hard around the final turn, finishing in 1:08.89, a time that seemed untouchable. The American Joey Cheek, the gold medalist in the 500 meters, skated in the next pair and came closest, in 1:09.16, to win the silver. The Dutch skaters Erben Wennemars and Jan Bos went last, with thousands of flag-waving, horn-blowing fans howling with every stride. But the best Wennemars could do was third place. Davis skated his warm-down laps without even turning to watch Wennemars and Bos finish. Davis's journey to this victory was complicated by at least two factors, his love of both long-track and short-track speedskating and his determination to carve his own path no matter whom he offended. He made the 2002 Olympics as an alternate in short track, but never competed. He kept the spot only after an arbitrator found no proof that United States short-track skaters Apolo Anton Ohno and Rusty Smith had allowed Davis to win a race at the Olympic trials. Davis tried again to qualify in both sports this year, but he failed to make the short-track team by a single place. He is engaged in a battle with U.S. Speedskating over sponsorship, which grew so heated the organization ended the contract that financed his training. The dispute began when Davis refused to remove the logo of his main sponsor, the Netherlands-based bank DSB, from the most prominent spot on his uniform and replace it with the logo of the federation's chief sponsor, Qwest. Cherie Davis, who raised Shani by herself in their hometown, Chicago, has also been outspoken in what she calls the persecution of her son. She has demanded all information about Shani be removed from the federation's Web site. There also appears to be tension between Cherie Davis and her son. A Dutch television documentary on speedskating filmed Davis as he prepared for Turin. In one scene, Cherie Davis chastised Shani for failing to make the short-track team, telling him, 'Someone's going to see what a loser you are.' But the path has always been the clearest for Davis in long-track skating. He won a world all-around championship last year, holds the world record in the 1,000 and seemed poised for Olympic stardom. His singularity, though, was brought into sharp relief here when he refused to skate in the team-pursuit event Wednesday, drawing criticism from his teammates. Davis said he wanted to save his strength for the individual events. Without him, the American team, including Hedrick, failed to qualify for the final. 'I'm not a team player,' Davis said Saturday. 'People do what's best for them. I had the opportunity to win the 1,000 meters, and I was focused on that.' Hedrick had been most critical of Davis for skipping the team pursuit, and that helped give this race a soap-opera atmosphere. Davis said his decision had drawn hate e-mail messages sent to his Web site, with people saying they hoped he would fall, 'using the n-word,' he said. But Davis did not fall or even flinch, and the soap opera did not hold up. Hedrick was sixth, far eclipsed by Davis. They will meet again in the 1,500 on Tuesday and in the 10,000 on Friday. Hedrick holds the world record in both events. After Davis won yesterday, Hedrick did not directly criticize him, but he was less than effusive. 'He had a great skate today,' Hedrick said. 'That's all I have to say.' Cheek, who said he would again donate his medal bonus from the United States Olympic Committee to the organization Right to Play, found himself playing peacemaker. 'This is an individual sport,' said Cheek, who was quick to congratulate Davis when the results were finalized. 'It can get pretty tense out here.' On Saturday, Davis channeled all that emotion onto the track. 'I'm just happy that the things that I've trained for, I was right about,' said Davis, refusing to engage in much discussion about his historic first. He will receive his gold medal Sunday night in Turin's Piazza Castello. 'It hasn't sunk in yet because I don't have the gold medal yet. Maybe when I see it, it will be real.'

Subject: Good News From New Guinea
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 19, 2006 at 08:22:04 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/opinion/19sun4.html?ex=1298005200&en=6f070ffaad111c0f&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 19, 2006 Good News From New Guinea By VERLYN KLINKENBORG No one, to my knowledge, keeps an index that measures just how bad the news is from day to day. But most of us can gauge its badness by the way good news makes us feel. A case in point is the article in this paper recently about a scientific expedition to the Foja Mountains of western New Guinea. During a monthlong field trip, biologists came upon new species of frogs, butterflies, birds, palms, and rhododendrons. That field trip, whose rigors few of us can imagine, was the subject of conversation in many places the evening the article appeared, including the restaurant in the West Village where I was having dinner with friends. There was an excitement, an exultation in the voices at the table as they talked about New Guinea. It sounded as though a new continent had been discovered, not a few species in remote forests halfway around the world. I noticed the same reaction during the rediscovery — contested, confirmed and now recontested — of the ivory-billed woodpecker, which was long believed to be extinct. The very thought that the bird had been heard in the Big Woods of Arkansas filled many people with hope and joy. But it also felt like the temporary lifting of some chronic biological melancholy, an oppression that bears a strange resemblance to the persistent numbness I associate with the nuclear standoff of the cold war. Call it biophilia if you will — E. O. Wilson's term for the connections we 'subconsciously seek with the rest of life.' What Mr. Wilson means by the word is something like a strong but latent undertow in humans, a 'richly structured and quite irrational' predisposition. What I'm hearing is more overt than that. It is something like a sigh of relief, a sigh that measures the bleakness of living in the midst of a mass extinction that we ourselves are causing. Nearly the whole of the scientific history of the West has been spent in a perverse balance between identifying species and destroying them. The emotions we feel about ravaging the biological richness and complexity of Earth are made possible only by an awareness of how many life-forms science has discovered. To suspect how rich we might be is to know how poor we are busy making ourselves. Most of us will never come in contact with more than a tiny fraction of the species on this planet. Most of us, in fact, know so little about the life-forms around us that the distinction between known and unknown species is nearly meaningless. Practically speaking, nearly all the species in New Guinea are unknown to most of us. We may know none of the names of these newly found creatures or their distinctive traits or the habitats where they live. And yet the thought of them exalts us. Part of the pleasure of reading about this expedition to the Foja Mountains is the pleasure we always derive from the thought of an undiscovered country, from imagining, for instance, those long-ago days when the middle of America was still an Amazon of grasses. It's tempting to say that what really moves us in the news of this expedition is simple possibility, the feeling that discovery is still alive, that the Earth has not been entirely trampled or paved. But that makes the value of these newly identified species — and of all others — merely symbolic. They become important to us for the feelings, the possibilities, they arouse. The hard part is remembering that all these species, discovered and undiscovered alike, are important in themselves. Their existence has no reference whatsoever to humans or their minds. The tragedy is that their survival depends on the interest we take in them. We will be identifying new species for many decades to come, although most of them will not be nearly as photogenic as the new honeyeater recently found in New Guinea. The test for us is the same as it has always been. It is not how many species we discover. It is how to protect them once we have found them and how to keep from destroying the species we do not know before we have a chance to find them.

Subject: Actions in U.N. Council
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 09:46:28 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/18/international/18nations.html?ex=1297918800&en=36078248b0371f20&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 18, 2006 U.S. Criticized for Actions in U.N. Council By WARREN HOGE UNITED NATIONS — Developing nations expressed anger on Friday at what they said was a United States-led effort to wrest power from them and give authority for bringing major change at the United Nations to the 15-member Security Council. Conflict burst into the open after John R. Bolton, the American ambassador to the United Nations, scheduled Security Council briefings on two volatile issues that many on the 191-member General Assembly believe are their responsibility and two United States congressmen wrote an accusatory letter to Ambassador Dumisani S. Kumalo of South Africa, head of the Group of 77, which represents 132 developing nations. Mr. Bolton, president of the Security Council this month, set meetings next week on what the United Nations has been doing about charges of sexual exploitation by peacekeepers and an audit on waste approaching $300 million in the peacekeeping purchasing department. The letter — from Representative Henry J. Hyde of Illinois, the Republican chairman of the Committee on International Relations, and Representative Tom Lantos of California, the top Democrat on the committee — took issue with an earlier complaint from Mr. Kumalo to Secretary General Kofi Annan. Mr. Kumalo said in a Feb. 6 letter that the Secretariat had bypassed the General Assembly by commissioning audits, suspending people under investigation and briefing reporters about it. The congressmen wrote, 'We are writing with regard to the outrageous attack you have launched on behalf of the Group of 77 against the United Nations Secretariat for its aggressive effort to shine a light on the corruption that has infected the United Nations procurement office.' The dispute comes while intense negotiations are going on to reach consensus on proposals to tighten management of the United Nations, and to produce a new Human Rights Council to replace the discredited Human Rights Commission. Mr. Bolton said he had no quarrel with the General Assembly taking up reform issues, but said he would not relinquish the Security Council's right to do the same. 'The United States believes in taking action and being effective, and we don't apologize to anybody for that,' he said.

Subject: Chad's Oil Riches
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 09:29:49 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/18/international/africa/18chad.html?ex=1297918800&en=f4ac939c344fcf93&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 18, 2006 Chad's Oil Riches, Meant for Poor, Are Diverted By LYDIA POLGREEN and CELIA W. DUGGER NDJAMENA, Chad — Students from the Institute of Mongo have everything they need to learn: desks, computers, professors, notebooks and inquisitive minds. The only thing missing is the school itself. Their country's newfound oil wealth is supposed to build it in their hometown, about 275 miles east of here, but after three years it is still not ready. So they study in borrowed classrooms here in the dusty capital. 'It's a long time we wait, but this is Chad,' said Abdelraman Choua, 22, a computer science major from Mongo. 'We are always waiting.' Such is reality under a World Bank-supported program that was supposed to harness this impoverished African nation's oil wealth for the benefit of its poorest citizens. A $4.2 billion oil pipeline has generated $399 million for Chad since mid-2004, but the spending of the money has been seriously marred by mismanagement, graft and, most recently, the government's decision that a hefty share can be used to fight a rebellion. And now the approach, once envisioned as a model for the development of other African countries, seems to be on the verge of collapse. In recent weeks, Chad seriously weakened a law that dedicated most of its oil revenue to reducing poverty and reneged on its deal with the World Bank. In response, the bank suspended all its loans to the country. What is happening in Chad, a Central African country twice the size of France, is an important test of the idea that international institutions like the World Bank can influence governments of poor countries to spend newly tapped riches on their people instead of using the money to further entrench themselves in power. The proposition is particularly challenging as oil prices surge, because now nations like Chad can attract investors who make few or no demands on how the profits are spent. High-level talks in Paris to resolve the crisis with Chad ended inconclusively this month, though World Bank officials still hope for a settlement that preserves the government's promise to use its oil money to build schools, clinics and roads rather than to support an army that has recently experienced a rash of defections among rebellious officers. As a rising tide of oil money flows to poor African countries in the coming years, the bank will have little choice but to grapple with its role. 'It's not clear at all how to get your hands around it,' said Paul D. Wolfowitz, who became president of the bank last summer. 'But I think to stand back and say the whole thing is a dirty business and we in the World Bank don't want to have anything to do with it is very shortsighted.' Africa is in the midst of an oil boom, with countries that have already struck oil aiming to double production by the end of the decade. Billions of dollars have been invested in new production capacity, much of it to feed a thirsty American market. The United States already gets about 18 percent of its oil from sub-Saharan Africa, a share that will rise in coming years and could outpace imports from the Persian Gulf, experts say. But the United States also faces fierce competition for Africa's oil from countries like China, Taiwan, India and Malaysia. From Angola to Nigeria, Gabon to Sudan, riches from oil have often ended up in the pockets of the ruling elite, inciting conflict over the spoils. In Congo, the off-again-on-again fight over a very similar issue, that vast country's mineral riches, has killed four million people, more than any conflict since World War II. Most died of disease and hunger as wars over diamond and copper mines raged. Chad has been ranked with Bangladesh at the world's two most corrupt countries by the corruption watchdog Transparency International. The hope that Chad would chart a more humane path fractured when its Parliament voted recently to soften the oil revenue law, allowing the money to be diverted. 'We have our backs against the wall,' said Hourmadji Moussa Doumgor, Chad's minister of communications, explaining that the nation was out of money and facing a rebellion from former soldiers seeking to overthrow President Idriss Déby. 'We have lived without oil in the past, and we are prepared to do it again to preserve our dignity. And there are other partners we can pursue.' That Chad's government faces a crisis is beyond doubt. Civil servants went on strike for weeks when their salaries were not paid for several months, and retired people have not received their benefits since 2004. The ailing Mr. Déby, president since 1990, is facing an armed rebellion in the east of the country. Some experts say he may believe that he needs money now to buy weapons and the loyalty of restive military officers. The crisis in Darfur, the region of neighboring Sudan that borders Chad, has also put enormous pressure on Chad, which is now host to 200,000 Sudanese refugees. Complicating matters, Chad and Sudan have accused each other of supporting rebels on each other's soil. Chad has demanded that the consortium led by Exxon Mobil that built the pipeline begin depositing the oil royalties directly in the country's central bank rather than an account designated in its agreement with the World Bank. Chadian officials said they were prepared to 'close the faucets' of the oil pipeline if no settlement was reached. Exxon, responding to written questions, said only that it hoped that the bank and Chad could address Chad's financial distress while preserving the poverty-reduction framework. The Exxon-led consortium was willing to build the 665-mile pipeline from landlocked Chad to the sea only with the World Bank's backing, said Rashad Kaldany, director of oil, gas and mining for the bank and its private investment agency, the International Finance Corporation. With Chad's history of civil war, ethnic strife and corruption, its oil lay untapped for decades because no one was willing to put capital at risk here. In 2000, the bank approved the project and lent Chad $37 million for its stake in the pipeline, while its finance agency lent the companies building the pipeline $100 million. Their support was conditioned on Chad's commitment to adopting a law requiring that most of the oil revenue go to poverty alleviation. The royalties were to be deposited in an offshore account, and an independent oversight committee was to vet, approve and monitor all spending. But once the oil revenues began to flow into the government's coffers in 2004, the model program quickly ran into trouble. 'This project could not survive contact with the reality of Chad,' said Gilbert Maoundonodji, who runs a Chadian nonprofit group that investigates petroleum spending in the country. 'It is the most corrupt country in the world.' The oversight group officially charged with monitoring the oil spending laid out a damning catalog of malfeasance and bungling last May, from overspending on office equipment to bungling or abandoning entire public works projects. In the town of Moïssala, a water tower was approved, and an advance of $360,000 paid to the builder. But when monitors checked its progress, they found no water tower, and no one in the local government had ever heard of the project. Many of the wells that were supposed to be dug in rural areas were still unfinished, while others were dug, but not deeply enough. The builders filled them with water from a cistern to try to fool the inspectors, said Thérèse Mekombe, vice president of the oversight panel. The group found that the Ministry of Higher Education had bought a computer for $5,300, a secretary's chair for $3,600 and scooters that should have cost $1,000 for triple the price. Companies that won contracts to make desks for schools used scrap wood, producing desks with bucked legs and tops. The Ministry of Health commissioned a clinic in the town of Bierre, but the builder abandoned the site with no explanation. The largest amount of money — $51 million through last year — has been devoted to public works, mainly roads. Of that, $48 million has been assigned to a partnership formed between a foreign construction company and a company led by President Déby's brother, Daoussa Déby, according to the oversight committee. Government officials say Daoussa Déby's company won contracts though competitive bidding and got so much of the work because few companies have the capacity to complete big projects. Asked about the propriety of a member of the president's family receiving so much money, Mr. Doumgor, the government spokesman, shrugged. 'This is universal,' he said. 'The ones who have the big fortune, all the money, are those in power. I don't say it's right, but it is the same in every country.' The panel's findings toughened the World Bank's reaction to Chad's insistence that it needed to change the law regulating how it spent the oil money, said Ali Khadr, the bank's director for Chad. The bank told Chadian officials it was willing to consider amendments to the law, but first wanted Chad to explain its deepening fiscal woes. 'They kept saying to us: 'No, no, no, there's no time for that. You're either with us or against us,' ' Mr. Khadr said. Members of the oversight committee and outside watchdog groups say the bank did not do enough to ensure that the monitors had adequate resources. Mr. Khadr disagreed. For its first three years, the bank and its International Finance Corporation provided $1.3 million to support the oversight committee's operations. The publication of its critical report was itself 'pretty good evidence that its capacity, if not ideal, is at least adequate,' he said. But Ms. Mekombe of the oversight committee said that even when the monitors documented problems, their recommendations were often ignored, while officials and companies cited as corrupt were never investigated by the government. 'All the work we have done, all the sacrifices we have made, sometimes I think it is all for nothing,' she said. Critics say the bank moved too hastily to move the project to completion before this unstable, corrupt and autocratically-governed country was ready for it. Though aware of the risks, bank managers said they felt that other investors with no stake in poverty reduction would eventually build the pipeline anyway. Mr. Kaldany, the bank's International Finance Corporation official, pointed out that another oil project just over the border in Sudan had been undertaken by a consortium led by China with no controls on how the government spends the money. Indeed, as oil prices have soared, even difficult-to-reach fields with low-quality oil like Chad's have become attractive to investors. And as flawed as the reality of Chad's experiment has been, even some of its fiercest critics say they are glad the World Bank is here. 'Without the World Bank, we would be in an even bigger disaster,' said Boukinebe Garka, a labor union leader. 'Someone else would have built the pipeline, and then we would be in the same situation as Angola or Sudan. At least now we have some control, even if it is not perfect or even very good. It is a start.'

Subject: Call for Free Speech in Public Letter
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 09:27:15 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/18/international/asia/18china.html?ex=1297918800&en=23906fefc61b67bc&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 18, 2006 Fired Editors of Chinese Journal Call for Free Speech in Public Letter By JIM YARDLEY LANZHOU, China — The controversy over news media censorship in China continued Friday as two editors who had been removed from a feisty weekly journal, Freezing Point, issued a public letter lashing out at propaganda officials and calling for free speech. Meanwhile on Friday, a group of prominent scholars and lawyers who had contributed articles to the journal wrote an open letter to President Hu Jintao, denouncing the crackdown against Freezing Point as a violation of the Chinese Constitution and of the promise made by top leaders for a consistent rule of law. The two broadsides came as intellectuals and some former party officials have sharply criticized the recent increase in censorship of the news media. Propaganda officials, who shut down Freezing Point last month, announced this week that the publication would restart March 1, but without the top two editors. In their public letter, which was released in Beijing, the two editors, Li Datong and Lu Yuegang, defended their stewardship of Freezing Point and made an ardent plea for freedom of expression, saying it was the role of the news media to investigate 'unfairness in the world.' 'What do the people want?' they wrote. 'The freedom of publication and expression granted by the Constitution.' As for the plan to resume publication of Freezing Point, the editors added: 'The newspaper run by the taxpayers' money is forced to publish the trash of the propaganda officials. This is a crime and an abuse of power.' Freezing Point is a supplement of the official China Youth Daily newspaper. In closing the supplement, propaganda officials singled out an essay by a Chinese historian, Yuan Weishi, that had blamed Chinese textbooks for whitewashing the savagery of the Boxer Rebellion, the violent movement against foreigners in China at the beginning of the 20th century. Mr. Li, one of the editors being removed, had said that the March 1 edition of the new Freezing Point would include an article criticizing Mr. Yuan's article. In Beijing on Friday, an official with the State Council Information Office, the government's public affairs division, said the public outcry against Mr. Yuan's essay had justified the 'reorganization' of Freezing Point. The official told Reuters that the essay was historically inaccurate and 'severely hurt the national feelings of the Chinese people, creating malicious social consequences.' But the 13 scholars who wrote the open letter to President Hu argued that the Chinese Constitution protected free speech, even speech the government deemed incorrect. 'There are those among us who don't fully agree with the views expressed in Yuan Weishi's article, but we firmly believe in protecting his right to publish the article, because Yuan's piece didn't violate the Constitution or break the law,' the scholars wrote. 'A basic tenet of freedom of speech includes the right to express 'incorrect views.' ' Among the signers of the letter were He Weifang, a leading constitutional scholar; Qin Hui, a history professor at Qinghua University; and Zhang Yihe, an author whose father was an intellectual purged during China's antirightist campaign in 1957. The letter also directly addressed President Hu's call for a 'harmonious society.' 'Your concerns about opening up freedom of discussion aren't completely unfounded,' the scholars wrote. 'However, we need to understand, a truly harmonious society is actually a society that appears to be rife with various conflicts.'

Subject: German Muslim Leader Speaks Peace
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 09:03:30 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/18/international/europe/18kohler.html?ex=1297918800&en=71cef79d1b175f5c&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 18, 2006 German Muslim Leader Speaks Peace to Provocation By MARK LANDLER COLOGNE, Germany AYYUB AXEL KÖHLER pads around his snug apartment here these days with three telephones that ring ceaselessly from sunrise until well after dark. What, the callers from the German news media want to know, does Mr. Köhler think of the cartoons published in a Danish newspaper lampooning the Prophet Muhammad? How should Germany's more than three million Muslims respond to this attempt at satire? 'One has to understand how much we love our prophet,' he said, sitting in a tidy living room furnished with Moorish antiques. 'Our prophet was a very mild man. He was not a terrorist.' Yet, Mr. Köhler says Muslims should not allow their anger to mutate into violence. 'I tell Muslims, 'Please don't be provoked,' ' he said. 'This is not a civilized way to protest blasphemy.' In case there is any misunderstanding, he added: 'I am in favor of press freedom. I know what it means to live in a society without it.' On that last point, certainly, there is no dispute. Mr. Köhler is not just the newly elected chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany. He is also a German who grew up in Communist East Germany, before fleeing to the West in the 1950's and converting to Islam. A plump 67-year-old who wears a paisley bow tie and a pair of Birkenstocks, Mr. Köhler is a supremely improbable choice to be a leading voice for Germany's predominantly Turkish Muslim population. He shares a last name with the German president, Horst Köhler, while his adopted Muslim name is the Arabic form of Job, the long-suffering Old Testament figure. He was baptized a Protestant, though he says religion played at most an episodic role in his life until he went from Axel to Ayyub. Little in Mr. Köhler's life has followed a predictable path, including his ascension to his current post, which he says he took only reluctantly following the retirement of his predecessor, a Saudi doctor. Mr. Köhler took office on Feb. 5, just as the firestorm over the cartoons ignited. The Muslim council's first impulse, he said, was to avoid getting into the dispute, so as not to stir up its members. When European diplomatic outposts in the Middle East came under a hail of rocks, Mr. Köhler realized he could not stay above the fray. He embarked on a media tour of Berlin and Hamburg, facing television cameras to preach a message of moderation. 'I wasn't prepared for this at all,' he said, shaking his head. 'It wasn't my goal in life to be a public figure.' At first, his goal was simply to survive. He was born in 1938 in Stettin, in what is now the Polish city of Szczecin, and his earliest memories are of bombing raids. In 1943, his family fled to a remote village south of Berlin, thinking it would be safer. Mr. Köhler's parents rarely went to church. His father, an architect, struggled with Christian tenets like the Holy Trinity. Childhood innocence ended for Mr. Köhler in May 1945, when Red Army troops marched into his village on their way to Berlin. He recalls a night of paralyzing terror, when the Russian soldiers rampaged through town, raping women. He and his mother hid with 30 others in a potato cellar. As soldiers stomped on the floorboards above them, one of the women delivered a baby. The others knelt and prayed that the soldiers would not hear its cries. Their prayers were answered, but by the baby's death. 'That is the religion I grew up with,' Mr. Köhler said, his voice catching. AFTER the trauma of the war, his family had to learn to live under the spiritual emptiness of Communism. In high school, Mr. Köhler said, he was asked by party functionaries to inform on his teacher. He and other students tipped off the man, who fled to West Germany. At that moment, Mr. Köhler decided he, too, would leave. After getting out of East Germany, Mr. Köhler bounced between refugee camps, finally landing uncomfortably in Baden-Württemberg, in the south, a parochial place with a bewilderingly thick Schwabish German accent. Mr. Köhler's world opened up, though, after he went to study geology at the University of Freiburg. There he fell in with a circle of Muslim students from Egypt and Iran. While they were not fervent, Mr. Köhler said, they piqued his curiosity. He bought a book with the title 'Religions of the World.' 'It was the deep humanity of these people that attracted me,' he said. 'For me, it was a process of gliding into Islam. It wasn't as though a light bulb suddenly went on over my head.' Mr. Köhler also met and married an Iranian woman, even moving to Tehran to teach there (the marriage ended in divorce). He said he did not convert to Islam because of his wife, though she was a factor. Back in Germany in 1973, Mr. Köhler joined the Institute for German Economics in Cologne, where he worked for the next 26 years. Among other things, he published a survey of Islamic economies, which he now dismisses with a grimace as a minor work. It did, however, arouse the interest of a young Turkish-German teacher, who became his second wife. Mr. Köhler also plunged into municipal politics and Muslim causes. He joined the Free Democratic Party, as well as an association that sought to unify Germany's disparate Islamic organizations to lobby the government on issues like teaching Islamic studies in public schools. Germany's Muslims are a fractious crowd, however, and the efforts to forge a united front failed. Today, Mr. Köhler's central council is the smaller of two Islamic umbrella groups. It is less Turkish and more Arab than its rival, the Islamic Council for Germany, which includes the largest Turkish group, the Islamic Community of Milli Gorus. Mr. Köhler's group once claimed to represent 800,000 Muslims, though experts say the true number is much smaller. He speaks of having links to between 400 and 500 mosques in Germany. UNLIKE his rivals, who tend to keep close political and cultural ties to Turkey or other countries, Mr. Köhler said his council seeks to foster a European brand of Islam, unfettered by nationalism or sectarianism. Mr. Köhler is a Sunni, but he said there were Shiites on his board. The German police keep Muslim groups under surveillance, and have banned some, including one led by Metin Kaplan, a Turkish militant who calls himself the caliph of Cologne and who was jailed for four years for the murder of a rival Muslim cleric. He has since been deported to Turkey. From his balcony in a middle-class neighborhood, Mr. Köhler can peer down at Mr. Kaplan's former house. The two men knew each other, and even now, Mr. Köhler defends him. 'He was just a nice old man,' he said. 'If there was no Kaplan, they would have had to invent him.' Mr. Köhler believes Germany's Muslims showed their true colors in the peaceful way they reacted to those provocative cartoons. Yet German officials, he said, are quick to brand Muslims as dangerous extremists. It is a politically popular tactic, and goes hand in hand with legal campaigns, like forbidding Muslim teachers to wear headscarves in schools. 'It is an old story in Germany,' Mr. Köhler said, showing his visitor to the door. 'We've always had problems with foreigners.'

Subject: Iraq Power Shift Widens a Gulf
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 09:01:16 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/18/international/middleeast/18sectarian.html?ex=1297918800&en=8aa1a4208dbc64b1&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 18, 2006 Iraq Power Shift Widens a Gulf Between Sects By SABRINA TAVERNISE BAGHDAD, Iraq — Not long after the Americans occupied Iraq, strange things began happening in the family of Fatin Abdel Sattar, a Sunni Arab. Her teenage son stopped giving his Sunni name in Shiite areas. Her sister's marriage fell apart as her Shiite husband turned his anger over old wounds on his Sunni spouse. 'We're concluding that it's better not to marry those from another sect,' Ms. Abdel Sattar said, 'to avoid problems in the future, to try to make our children's lives a little easier.' Of all of the changes that have swept Iraqi society since the American invasion almost three years ago, one of the quieter ones, yet also one of the most profound, has been the increased identification with one's own sect. In the poisonous new mix of violence, sectarian politics and lawlessness, families are turning inward to protect themselves. 'Since the state was dismantled in Iraq, institutions have disappeared and people have withdrawn into their clans and tribes,' Ayad Allawi, the former prime minister, said in a recent interview. The trend badly damaged the fortunes of Mr. Allawi's bloc of secular parties in the December elections for Parliament, as the vast majority of Iraq's 11.9 million voters cast ballots along sectarian and ethnic lines. As a result, tribal ties now bind more firmly. Social life has withdrawn from clubs to homes. Mixed marriages are more carefully considered. 'For a parent, the first question now is going to be: Sunni or Shiite?' said Shatha al-Quraishi, an Iraqi lawyer who specializes in family law. 'People are starting to talk about it. I can feel it. I can touch that something has changed.' At the same time, pent-up feelings that for years were kept hidden under Saddam Hussein's government are now bursting into full view, in some cases dividing families. Shiite husbands jailed under Mr. Hussein turn their anger on their Sunni wives. Children come home asking if they are Sunni or Shiite. Sectarian tensions in private lives are far from universal: Iraqis of different sects have mixed for decades and still do. But anecdotal evidence provided in interviews with lawyers, court clerks and social workers suggests that fault lines that have always existed are now becoming more distinct. An analysis provided by one family court in central Baghdad showed that mixed marriages were rare to begin with, making up 3 to 5 percent of all unions in late 2002. But by late 2005 they had virtually stopped: the court did not record any in December, and last month registered only 2 out of 742 marriages. 'For the coming 10 years you can record the biggest changes in the Iraqi community,' said Ansam Abayachi, a social researcher who works with Iraqi women and families. 'The Sunnis will be on one side, the Shia on the other, and there is no mixed family.' The changes have their roots in the recent upheaval in the order of Iraqi society. Shiites, long oppressed, swept national elections in January 2005 and are now in power for the first time since the formation of the state in the 1920's. Sunni Arabs, once the rulers, deeply resent that loss. Feelings have been further inflamed by the systematic killings of Shiites by suicide bombers and assassinations of Sunni Arabs by Shiites, some of them tied to the Shiiteled government. The violence has driven many families to seek safety by migrating to areas where their religious group predominates, reinforcing the sectarian tide. For hard-line Sunnis, Shiite power is a bitter pill. A recent conversation in a Baghdad gas station line illustrates the attitude. 'Those Shiites were servants,' one man told another, watching angrily as a third maneuvered in front, according to Ilham al-Jazaari, who was waiting nearby and overheard the exchange. 'They wiped our shoes. Now they are going in front of us.' There are the extreme cases. Reports have surfaced of hard-line tribes, particularly in the heavily Sunni areas of central and western Iraq, refusing to allow tribal members to marry Shiites. One mixed couple even had a series of threatening telephone calls demanding that they divorce or be killed. But most cases are subtler. Maisoon Muhammad, a counselor at the Center for Psychological Health in Iraq, said one of her patients, a Sunni woman, recently received a marriage proposal from a Shiite. One of the woman's aunts urged her to accept, but another forbade the union, saying she would refuse to greet a man she knew to be Shiite. 'We used to dismiss such stances,' Ms. Abayachi said. 'They were old-fashioned. They were not civilized. They were just holding to a tradition that was meaningless.' But attitudes are changing. Ms. Quraishi said a Shiite friend's family had recently rejected her fiancé, a Sunni. 'Before we would have said, 'Why?' ' she said. 'But now we accept these things.' The changes wrought by the invasion have helped to harden attitudes. Anmar Abed Khalaf, 24, a Shiite university student, was rejected several times by his girlfriend's Sunni father because of his sect. The man would perhaps not have taken such a hard line — he himself is married to a Shiite — if he had not been fired from his job of many years as a post office manager because of his membership in Mr. Hussein's Baath Party. American soldiers arrested a relative, prompting further anger against the new order. Mr. Abed Khalaf said he felt more resignation than anger over the rejection. 'I do not blame her father or her mother,' said Mr. Abed Khalaf, who lives in Dora, a violent mixed neighborhood in southern Baghdad that has been tormented by sectarian assassinations for more than a year. 'It is because of the situation.' It was Sunni bitterness that eroded the marriage of Khaloud Muhammad, 25, a Shiite whose father-in-law was from the Douri tribe of hard-line Sunni Arabs. 'I wasn't the one he wanted for his son,' said Ms. Muhammad, who was waiting with her mother to file divorce papers in a family court in central Baghdad last month. 'He threw words at me: 'I don't like Shia. We are unlucky that our son married you.' ' While some Iraqis pulled back, others became more self-assured in their own ethnic identities, no longer feeling the need to apologize for their Shiite last names, for example. Shortly after the American invasion, one of Ms. Abdel Sattar's brothers-in-law began expressing his identity as a Shiite. He joined a political party and struck up a friendship with another Shiite in-law. He had been imprisoned under Mr. Hussein for belonging to a political party, and he now began speaking about the scars on his face after living for years with his wife without mentioning them. But his newfound identity soured his marriage. When Sunni insurgents rebelled in Falluja in 2004, he began saying 'you Sunnis' when referring to his Sunni Arab family. Disagreements would erupt in front of the television at night over everything from promotions for the military to news about insurgent attacks. Still angry about the past, he began to blame all Sunnis, including his wife, for his suffering. 'It was like an eruption of a volcano, hidden inside for all those years,' Ms. Abdel Sattar said. 'Those who were oppressed before, they have a weakness inside themselves. They live with this history. They can't get rid of this feeling.' Ms. Abayachi, the social researcher, said she hoped that the violence could also unite Iraqis. At a conference for victims of violence, at which about 40 Iraqis of different sects spoke of injuries received before and after the invasion, she had a glimpse of that. 'I noticed that when all of those people released their suffering there was a little bit of cooperation,' she said. 'They were coming together with the common points.' Mr. Abed Khalaf, the student, says he finds fewer and fewer of those connections. Shiites are also becoming too sectarian, he said. New groups of guards with strong Shiite Islamist leanings now patrol his university campus. Last year they asked to see his identification when he was sitting with his girlfriend — an effort, he said, to humiliate him. 'It is their time,' he said, walking to the parking lot of the university. 'I don't know when it will be mine.'

Subject: France warned about this
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 19:43:05 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The French have a long history of colonisation. Although the US Administration says, this is not colonisation, much of the principles of interfering in the politics brings in many new problems that take a long way to work themsleves out. As you got involved, you are suppose to swtick it through. This is exactly why France wanted nothing to do with this crap, whether direct or indirect. But the French were right.

Subject: Migrations
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 04:48:03 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/08/books/review/08CAMEROT.html?ex=1140325200&en=a487710db642f169&ei=5070 June 8, 2003 Migrations By PETER CAMERON MY INVENTED COUNTRY A Nostalgic Journey Through Chile. By Isabel Allende. ISABEL ALLENDE was born not in Chile but in Lima, Peru, where she lived until she was 4. When her father, a secretary at the embassy, deserted the family -- he ''went out to buy cigarettes and never came back'' -- Allende's mother was forced to return to her native Santiago. Allende spent the next five years living in Chile, until she moved to Bolivia, where her stepfather, another diplomat, had been posted. After two years in Bolivia, the family moved to Lebanon. She spent three years in Beirut before the civil war of 1958 caused the family to scatter: Allende and her brothers returned to Chile, and her mother moved to Spain before joining her husband in Turkey. On her return to her grandfather's house in Santiago, Allende was ''the most miserable adolescent in the history of humankind,'' no doubt due to her peculiar ''childhood and adolescence . . . marked with journeys and farewells.'' For the most part, she would remain in Santiago for nearly another two decades, marrying, working as a journalist and having a family before circumstances forced her to leave once again. In 1975, two years after the brutal military coup that toppled the socialist government led by her father's cousin, Salvador Allende, she fled, sleepless and trembling with fear, to Venezuela, ''carrying a handful of Chilean soil from my garden.'' For more than a decade, Allende lived in Caracas, until the publication of her first novel, ''The House of the Spirits,'' and the dissolution of her first marriage freed her to begin a new life in California, where she remarried and has remained ever since. It isn't easy to piece together this timeline after reading ''My Invented Country: A Nostalgic Journey Through Chile,'' Allende's new memoir about her life within and without her native land. To make a coherent story of her experiences, a reader must sift and reorder fragments of information that are offered throughout the book, rather like shards of pottery murkily glimpsed at the bottom of a river, where a swift current constantly rearranges them. In many ways, given the tremendous amount of geographical, personal and political upset in her life, this disorder makes perfect sense. It is in Allende's novels -- many of them based upon her family's life and her own -- that coherence is achieved, for often it is only in novels, in art, where what has been irreparably sundered can be made whole. And so while this slim book may afford readers a truer and more intimate picture of Allende's life, it is a picture that seems both unnecessary and underrealized. Time and again, we learn that because an event, detail or story has already been told by her elsewhere, she will not tell it again. (''I won't expand on that here since I have already recounted it in the final chapters of my first novel and in my memoir 'Paula' ''; ''I won't repeat here the details of those years . . . because I have already told about them elsewhere''; ''I recounted her drama in the 'Stories of Eva Luna,' and I don't want to repeat it here.'') ''My Imaginary Country'' is full of holes that can be filled only by consulting the pertinent passages from Allende's earlier novels and memoirs. This can make frustrating reading for those who don't have her entire oeuvre in their heads or at their fingertips. Allende has no illusions about her haphazard scheme and its effect. ''This book is not intended to be a political or historical chronicle,'' she confesses, ''only a series of recollections.'' Elsewhere she reveals that ''I am writing this . . . without a plan.'' The book's random nature is reinforced by her casual, chatty tone, which is always charming and entertaining (although some of her humor can seem forced in translation; Allende writes in Spanish and is translated here by Margaret Sayers Peden). Her observations about how her initial estrangement and later exile from Chile have come to form her and influence her writing are interesting and sensitively expressed. ''Several times I have found it necessary to pull up stakes, sever all ties and leave everything behind.'' The first time she left Chile, as a child, she felt ''something tear inside me . . . an insurmountable sadness was crystallizing deep within me.'' ''The House of the Spirits,'' she tells us, ''was an attempt to recapture my lost country, to reunite my scattered family, to revive the dead and preserve their memories.'' These observations about the effects of history and memory on her writing are surrounded by more generic observations about Chile and Chileans. As a reporter, Allende is prone to generalizations (''Chileans are bad-humored''; ''Cubans are enchanting'') and exaggerations (Chile ''is the most Catholic country in the world -- more Catholic than Ireland, and certainly much more so than the Vatican''; ''We drank more tea than the entire population of Asia put together''). These remarks may be characteristically Chilean -- we make statements without any basis, but in a tone of such certainty that no one doubts us'' -- yet they don't help conjure a particularly vivid portrait of the country. The freshest and most specific images in this book all come directly from Allende's life. Some of the loveliest writing is about her maternal grandfather, a ''formidable man'' who ''gave me the gift of discipline and love for language.'' Clearly this autocratic and idiosyncratic man had a large and lasting influence on Allende, and the picture of him that she creates in these pages is full-bodied and affecting. He was a man who ''never believed in germs, for the same reason he didn't believe in ghosts: he'd never seen one,'' and who admired the young Isabel's desire to be strong and independent but was unable to foster or even condone such unfeminine characteristics. One of the most keenly felt holes in the book is made when she must leave him, when she flees Chile after Pinochet takes power. Reading along, I kept wondering: don't fiction writers trust themselves? Or why don't they? It seems to me that everything Allende attempts to relate in this memoir she has already eloquently expressed in her previous books. But, of course, what is expressed in fiction is often elliptical and nuanced, and therefore not to be trusted. So here are parts of her story on the nonfiction record, in an enticing yet frustrating book that will send many readers back to the source (or the sources) -- her novels.

Subject: Farewell, Condo Cash-Outs
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 04:43:48 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/17/business/17investors.html?ex=1297832400&en=e9888f1ada8cc72f&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 17, 2006 Farewell, Condo Cash-Outs By MOTOKO RICH When developers in Arlington, Va., threw a party 18 months ago to showcase plans for Clarendon 1021, a condominium development that had not yet been built, 3,600 prospective buyers stood in line just for the chance to book reservations to bid on the apartments. Now, less than a year after the building opened, speculators in this and other buildings are putting dozens of units on the market at the same time, causing asking prices and profits to slip. Of 23 investors who sold since Clarendon 1021 opened last summer, the three most recent sellers actually lost money, after paying all fees, and average profits in the building have declined since August, said Frank Borges LLosa,) owner of FranklyRealty.com. The Great Condo Gold Rush is fading from memory and the Great Sell-Off has begun. 'Money Down! Motivated Seller, Want More? Just Ask!' screamed an investor's online advertisement last week for a one-bedroom apartment in Clarendon 1021 that had never been lived in. 'I hate it when people say prices can never go down,' said Mr. LLosa, a resident of the building. 'The speculators make the profits more volatile.' Over the last few years, real estate speculators looking to make a quick gain also snapped up preconstruction condos in Chicago, Miami and San Diego. With prices rising by more than 20 percent a year, short-term buyers figured that by the time the condos were ready to occupy, they could sell them without ever moving in, clearing thousands of dollars in profits. But as more speculators look to cash out in recently hot condo markets around the country, some economists say they could put even more downward pressure on prices in those buildings where for-sale listings are swelling. In Miami, at the Jade Residences at Brickell Bay, more than 20 percent of the building's 352 units are on the market. In San Diego, about a third of the 96 units in the Alicante, a condominium that opened last fall, are listed for sale and sellers are already starting to cut asking prices. In Donald Trump's luxury condos at 120 Riverside Boulevard in Manhattan, owners of more than one-fifth of the building's 250 units are currently marketing their apartments. With so much inventory, said Ilan Bracha, a broker with Prudential Douglas Elliman in New York, 'the buyers are coming in, checking the best views and then they negotiate. This is the reality.' While investors made up only 9.5 percent of residential mortgages nationally in the 10 months through October, according to First American Corporation's LoanPerformance, a San Francisco mortgage data firm, the numbers are much higher in places like San Diego, where investors represented 13.5 percent of residential mortgages, and Miami, where they were 16 percent. Hans Nordby, research strategist at Property and Portfolio Research in Boston, said those numbers underreport the real level of speculation in those markets because many buyers disguise their intentions when they get their mortgages. As those speculators flood the market, he said, they will put pressure on other sellers to cut prices, too. 'A rising or sinking tide affects all boats,' Mr. Nordby said. Still, a sell-off in speculative condos is unlikely to start a widespread housing crash, because condos were more overbuilt than single-family homes during the recent boom, said Joseph Gyourko, professor of real estate and finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. But weakness in the condo market, he said, 'is a consistent indicator that the great boom has really ended.' For those buyers who had dreamed of quick riches, the change in the market has come as a sobering lesson. A little over a year ago, Shabana Qureshi, a 26-year-old engineer, put deposits down on two condos in Arlington. 'My friends were making hundreds of thousands of dollars off of properties,' Ms. Qureshi said. 'I just thought I'll take this risk now and not think about it too much, and once the time comes I can either sell it or use it depending on my needs.' She moved into a one-bedroom condo at Clarendon 1021 with hardwood floors, granite kitchen countertops and a heated pool on the roof. But having taken a pay cut with a new job, she can no longer afford the mortgage and maintenance fees, which are almost $3,000 a month. Last week, she put the condo, for which she paid $438,000, on the market for $470,000 and plans to move into the other condo she bought in Arlington. She is selling the Clarendon condo herself to save on the real estate commission. But even if she gets her asking price, she figures she will break even after closing costs. Having scrimped to buy at what she said she believed was the peak of the market, Ms. Qureshi said she regretted her investments. If she had to do it all over again, she said she would have spent more money on travel and a new car. 'I would have been more carefree and invested once I had a family,' she said. In the last few years, speculators were drawn to real estate because of double-digit appreciation. Nationally, median condo prices increased by nearly 13 percent, to $218,200, in 2005, according to the National Association of Realtors. But earlier this month, the group, which is based in Washington, forecast a slowdown in the rate of appreciation, saying that median home prices for all housing types — single family, townhouses, condominiums and co-ops — would rise by only 5 percent this year. Already, the rate of appreciation in some of the hottest markets for speculators has slowed. In San Diego, the median home price (the exact middle of all prices) rose at an annual rate of just 2.5 percent in January, compared with 20 percent a year earlier, according to DataQuick Information Systems, a research firm. Last week, in a sign of a broader slowdown in the housing market, Toll Brothers, the luxury home builder, said orders for new homes fell by nearly 30 percent in the three months ended Jan. 31. On Monday, KB Homes also said that orders were down significantly and that more buyers were canceling contracts. At the same time, developers are still building condos in Miami, New York and Chicago, so speculators trying to sell will also have to compete with new units coming on the market. The slowdown will affect all sellers, of course, but speculators may be more acutely affected if they were expecting speedy profits or are paying mortgage and maintenance costs on empty apartments. In some cases, even if they rent them out, the rents will not cover their costs. This is not the first time that condo markets have been influenced by investors. In the late 1980's, developers converted thousands of condo units in the Northeast and many of them were bought by speculators, said Karl E. Case, an economist at Wellesley College. Many of those investors, he said, ended up losing money when they sold in the early 1990's. 'It was ugly,' he said. More experienced investors take a philosophical view of what they see as inevitable setbacks. R. Dawn Stahl, a lawyer in San Diego who bought two apartments in the Alicante, is now trying to sell both of them. But in a city where there are about 6,200 condos for sale, up from about 3,100 this time last year, according to the San Diego Association of Realtors, it has been difficult to lure buyers. Ms. Stahl has yet to receive any offers, so she has already lowered her asking price on one of the listings from $650,000 to $599,000. She paid $499,000 for that two-bedroom apartment and said she believed she would make a small profit after paying commissions and capital gains taxes. But if she cannot sell within a few months, she will rent the apartments out instead. 'I knew that was a risk that I took,' Ms. Stahl said. But a reason that a speculative sell-off is not likely to lead to a bursting bubble is that unlike stocks, where investors can panic and sell large volumes in a matter of hours, owners of real estate will only slash prices so far. 'People resist and don't sell,' said Mr. Case. 'It tends to stabilize prices.' A year and a half ago, Erez Abkzer, who owns a window treatment business in New York, signed a contract for a one-bedroom condo facing the river in 120 Riverside for $850,000. 'The market was booming and I decided to jump on that wagon,' he said. He closed on the apartment last month and immediately listed it for $1.1 million. He said he would rent the apartment rather than lower his price. 'Otherwise it would all be in vain,' Mr. Abkzer said. 'I won't make money on it.' Some brokers say that speculators have unrealistic profit expectations. 'I think a lot of sellers are saying I should make X percent,' said Eve Thompson, an agent with Long & Foster in Fairfax, Va. 'But your chances of being able to do that are as good as going to Oracle and telling them you want more for your stock.' In Miami, where there appears to be a large overhang of investor properties, sellers are still making profits, said Ron Shuffield, president of Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realtors. But with the inventory of available condos having jumped from about 5,400 listings at the end of December 2004 to about 12,750 now, he said, asking prices have come down in the last three or four months. Mr. Shuffield said he was confident that there would eventually be takers for most of those condos because of the influx of buyers from Latin America and Europe as well as baby boomers from the Northeast. But some real estate watchers say there is evidence that demand is starting to slacken in Miami. According to Michael Y. Cannon, managing director of Integra Realty Resources-South Florida, a market analyst, the volume of sales of existing condos declined by 9.6 percent in South Florida between 2004 and 2005. For now, the bumper crop of properties is a boon to buyers. In San Diego, Tom Hinks, a 21-year-old who is looking to buy a condo downtown, has realized he can take his time. His approach might scare some sellers. Since Mr. Hinks started looking four months ago, he has viewed 30 condos. 'I've actually liked quite a few of them,' he said. 'But every day it seems like the prices are starting to trim down so I don't want to pay too much.'

Subject: The New England
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 04:30:15 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9901E4DF1E31F933A05757C0A9669C8B63&n=Top/Features/Books/Book Reviews April 30, 2000 The New England By ANTHONY QUINN WHITE TEETH By Zadie Smith Zadie Smith's debut novel is, like the London it portrays, a restless hybrid of voices, tones and textures. Hopscotching through several continents and 150 years of history, ''White Teeth'' encompasses a teeming family saga, a sly inquiry into race and identity and a tender-hearted satire on religious antagonism and cultural bemusement. One might be inclined to assume that Smith, who began writing the book when still a Cambridge undergraduate, has bitten off more than she can chew; one might even feel a little huffy that one so young (she is 24) has aimed so high. Is it open season on Henry James's baggy monster? Yet aside from a rather wobbly final quarter, Smith holds it all together with a raucous energy and confidence that couldn't be a fluke. ''White Teeth'' begins as the story of an Englishman, Archie Jones, and his accidental friendship with Samad Iqbal, a Bengali Muslim from Bangladesh. The two men met in 1945 when they were part of a tank crew inching through Europe in the final days of World War II. They missed out on the action, and over the next three decades have continued to do much the same. Archie is something of a sad sack, a dull but decent fellow who tied for 13th in a bicycle race in the 1948 Olympic Games; he has failed at many things, including marriage (he got the Hoover in the divorce settlement) and a suicide attempt that begins the novel. Samad, in spite of looking like Omar Sharif, is now a downtrodden waiter in a West End curry house, and is obsessed by the history of his great-grandfather, Mangal Pande, who allegedly fired the first shot of the Indian Mutiny in 1857 (and missed). By the mid-1970's Archie has married again, this time to a six-foot Jamaican teenager named Clara, a beauty in spite of lacking her top row of teeth; they have a daughter, Irie, who will become the steady center of the narrative. Samad has opted for an arranged marriage with a Bengali, the fiery Alsana, though whatever grief he's endured from his helpmeet is nothing compared with the trials of raising his two sons, Magid and Millat. Both families, the Joneses and the Iqbals, make their home in the tatty but vibrant suburb of Willesden in northwest London, a melting pot of race and color that is maintained by and large at an amiable simmer. Archie's prosaic bloke-in-the-pub outlook could be seen as representative: ''He kind of felt people should just live together, you know, in peace and harmony or something.'' Samad, on the other hand, values difference and craves debate. At a school governors' meeting, for example, he questions the Christian relevance of the Harvest Festival: ''Where in the Bible does it say, 'For thou must steal foodstuffs from thy parents' cupboards and bring them into school assembly, and thou shalt force thy mother to bake a loaf of bread in the shape of a fish?' These are pagan ideals! Tell me where does it say, 'Thou shalt take a box of frozen fish fingers to an aged crone who lives in Wembley?' '' This conflation of the high and the low -- biblical morality juxtaposed with the mundane details of domesticity -- is key to Smith's frisky and irreverent comic attack. At one point Samad is doubtful about disclosing a secret to his friend Zinat, who protests her trustworthiness: ''Samad! My mouth is like the grave! Whatever is told to me dies with me.'' But the passage goes on to point out: ''Whatever was told to Zinat invariably lit up the telephone network, rebounded off aerials, radio waves and satellites along the way, picked up finally by advanced alien civilizations as it bounced through the atmosphere of planets far removed from this one.'' Here it's the ancient solemnity of an oath bumping up against modern technology that strikes off comic sparks. This juxtaposition is related to the larger way in which the novel plays with the gap between expectation and reality, most vigorously dramatized in Samad's offspring, the ''first descendants of the great ocean-crossing experiment.'' Samad demands too much of his twin sons, Magid and Millat, and pays a calamitous price. He packs Magid back home to be educated, but the son returns eight years later with a pukka English accent and a serene atheism. As for Millat, he begins as a superstud and troublemaker, graduates to mobster machismo -- his touchstones are ''The Godfather'' and ''Goodfellas'' -- before pledging himself to the militant fundamentalist Keepers of the Eternal and Victorious Islamic Nation, or KEVIN (they're aware they have ''an acronym problem''), and demonstrating against Salman Rushdie in 1989. The last reference is partly ironic. The dust jacket of ''White Teeth'' boasts a blurb (an ''astonishingly assured debut'') from none other than Rushdie himself, and reviews in the British press were quick to identify Smith's rollicking verbal pyrotechnics as a not too distant relative of Rushdie's own. One of the book's historical set pieces, recounting the simultaneous occurrence of Clara's grandmother giving birth and the Jamaican earthquake of 1907, has a whiff of Rushdiesque playfulness about it. But the younger writer has no reason to linger in her elder's shadow. While there are consonances between the two, Smith's style is lighter and less fantastical; what's more, there is a quality, a spirit, in her novel that is not to be found in Rushdie's work, and it might be called humility. There is something provisional and undogmatic about the way ''White Teeth'' confronts large themes -- migration, cultural identity -- and knows to stop short of haranguing the reader. Smith thickens the cross-cultural stew by introducing a third family into the narrative. Irie and Millat are befriended by the white, middle-class Chalfens, who typify a distinctive strain of North London liberal trendiness. Marcus Chalfen is a university lecturer and scientist who's developing a controversial experiment in rodent genetics called FutureMouse. Joyce, his wife, is an earnest horticulturalist who tells Irie and Millat that they look ''very exotic'' and asks them where they come from ''originally.'' '' 'Oh,' said Millat, putting on what he called a bud-bud-ding-ding accent. 'You are meaning where from am I originally.' ''Joyce looked confused. 'Yes, originally.' '' 'Whitechapel,' said Millat, pulling out a fag. 'Via the Royal London Hospital and the 207 bus.' '' Joyce proceeds to adopt the wayward Millat as her pet cause, inviting him to live chez Chalfen and paying for his analysis; she's too complacent to notice that her eldest son, Joshua, is an animal-rights renegade who's plotting violent retribution on his pioneering father. This underscores one of the book's most salient conflicts -- the need to belong versus the renouncing of patrimony -- which Smith attempts to spell out in a grand finale, a fortuitous meeting of parents and children at Marcus's FutureMouse exhibition on New Year's Eve 1992. By this point the novel has squandered a little of the good will it has been so stylishly accumulating, and one wishes that a firmer editorial hand had steered it away from its overeager braiding of plot lines. (A flashback to the mystery of Archie's wartime test of character is at once pat and faintly ridiculous.) The focus becomes fuzzy, and the writing, hitherto so confident, suddenly feels labored and scrappy. But perhaps this overreaching is a natural consequence of Smith's ambition. ''White Teeth'' is so unlike the kind of comic novel currently in vogue among young British women -- the girl-about-town Bridget Jones wannabe -- that its very willingness to look beyond the stock in trade of boyfriends and weight problems is a mark of distinction. Smith's real talent emerges not just in her voice but in her ear, which enables her to inhabit characters of different generations, races and mind-sets. Whether it's her notation of Archie's blokish colloquialisms (''Blimey!'' ''I should cocoa''), Clara's Anglo-Jamaican patois ('''Sno prob-lem. If you wan' help: jus' arks farrit''), the banter of two ancient Jamaican grouches or of second-generation Bengali teenagers, the mongrel texture of metropolitan life rises vividly from the page. There is more than virtuosity at work here. Smith likes her characters, and while she is alert to their shortcomings and blind spots, her generosity toward them never flags. That is why ''White Teeth,'' for all its tensions, is a peculiarly sunny novel. Its crowdedness, its tangle of competing voices and viewpoints, betoken a society struggling toward accommodation, tolerance, perhaps even fellowship, and a time in which miscegenation is no longer the exception but the norm: ''It is only this late in the day that you can walk into a playground and find Isaac Leung by the fish pond, Danny Rahman in the football cage, Quang O'Rourke bouncing a basketball and Irie Jones humming a tune. Children with first and last names on a direct collision course.'' There are reasons, so late in the day, to be cheerful, and this eloquent, wit-struck book is not least among them.

Subject: Courtly Lust
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 04:28:48 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9903E5D7153AF931A35751C1A9679C8B63 December 2, 2001 Courtly Lust By JANICE P. NIMURA THE TALE OF GENJI By Murasaki Shikibu. Translated by Royall Tyler. A THOUSAND years ago, during Japan's Heian period, a lady of the imperial court wrote a prose narrative that was nothing like the Chinese-influenced histories and poetry her contemporaries read. It was something new: an imaginative re-creation of human entanglements meant to feel more real than reality itself -- a novel, as we define it today. But it is impossible to contain ''The Tale of Genji'' in the word ''novel.'' The princes and consorts and monks and maids that Murasaki Shikibu described may have been imaginary, but their preoccupations and the trappings of their privileged lives were taken directly from her daily life. ''Genji,'' for centuries of Japanese readers as well as decades of Western ones, is Heian Japan, a lost world as strange to the citizens of modern Japan as modern Japan is to most Westerners. The novel centers on the (largely amatory) exploits of Genji, the ''Shining Prince,'' an illegitimate son of the emperor whose staggering physical beauty and artistic prowess are such that even his enemies are moved by them. Despite his aesthetic perfections, Genji is no paragon -- he is by turns a rake, a sulk, a sentimentalist, a cad -- but he never forgets a single one of the women (or men) he romances, and he savors their various virtues with almost religious devotion. Between his affairs, the narrative contains a wealth of Heian detail: the court's elaborate hierarchy, its calendar of rituals and festivals, its cultivation of painting and music and poetry. Courtiers in 11th-century Japan referred to their world as ''above the clouds,'' and indeed those closer to the earth -- whether peasants or provincial governors -- were invisible to them. Relieved of concern for material well-being, these aristocrats created a society in which beauty was the only currency. Since men and women rarely glimpsed one another's faces, aesthetic value depended on nuance alone: the tints of layered sleeves peeking from beneath a screen, the spray of seasonal blossoms attached to an intricately folded letter, the elegant allusions to nature and love in a poem. Action was far less important than mood, and the most important mood was summed up in the Japanese word aware: a heightened poignancy, an exalted yet melancholy sense of the transience of beauty. ''Genji'' requires the reader to enter that mood. It is not easy to convey to a modern audience. Anyone who dares attempt a translation of ''Genji'' must be as much a cultural interpreter as a linguist. Until recently, English-speaking readers had a choice of two guides: Arthur Waley, who published the first translation of ''Genji'' in the 1920's and 30's, and Edward Seidensticker, who delivered the second in 1976. ''Since there is probably no such thing as a perfect translation of a complex literary work,'' Seidensticker wrote, ''the more translations, one would think, the better.'' If there was any doubt in the truth of that statement, Royall Tyler has now dispelled it. As the third of our guides, he has produced a translation that is the perfect complement to the other two, and the most painstakingly detailed of the three. Waley and Seidensticker chose very different approaches to the herculean task of translating ''Genji.'' Waley was a brilliant Renaissance man and Bloomsbury contemporary who taught himself Chinese and Japanese but never actually visited Asia. He was among the first to translate its literature for general readers, and was more concerned with conveying the spirit than the letter of the original. ''So much is inevitably lost in translating Oriental literature,'' he is reported to have said, ''that one must give a great deal in return.'' Much of what he gave, though delightful to read, is more ornate than what Murasaki Shikibu actually wrote. ''When translating prose dialogue one ought to make the characters say things that people talking English could conceivably say,'' Waley insisted, and though this is a commendable argument for translation as literature in its own right, it ignores the fact that people who speak in English today have almost nothing in common with the people speaking in ''The Tale of Genji.'' Seidensticker, emeritus professor of Japanese at Columbia University and a noted translator of modern Japanese fiction, returned to the original and found a drier, more ironic narrative voice, and a vision of Genji's world that felt less like a fairyland than Waley's. He stuck closer to the text, conveying its sparseness as well as its stateliness and flashes of wry humor. Compare the first line of ''Genji'' in the translations of Waley and then Seidensticker: ''At the Court of an Emperor (he lived it matters not when) there was among the many gentlewomen of the Wardrobe and Chamber one, who though she was not of very high rank was favored far beyond all the rest.'' ''In a certain reign there was a lady not of the first rank whom the emperor loved more than any of the others.'' Tyler, an American recently retired from the Australian National University, navigates a course between his predecessors. His translation is less baroque than Waley's, less brisk than Seidensticker's, and often better than either: ''In a certain reign (whose can it have been?) someone of no very great rank, among all His Majesty's Consorts and Intimates, enjoyed exceptional favor.'' At its best, Tyler's ''Genji'' manages to combine crispness of language with a rigorous faithfulness to the classical Japanese. But this rigor can sometimes stand in the way of clarity. Heian courtiers did not address one another by name -- that would have been insultingly direct. In the text, characters are identified by titles (which change over time), elaborate honorifics or even the verb forms they use. This is a nightmare for translators, and Tyler takes the purist approach. Though the helpful character lists he includes at the beginning of each chapter mention the traditional sobriquets by which characters have become known to readers (and which Waley and Seidensticker used throughout), these names never appear in Tyler's translation. The result is an obliqueness that, while wonderfully evocative of the original, can be difficult to follow. There are nearly 800 31-syllable waka poems in ''Genji,'' another impossible challenge. Heian poetry is so rich in allusive wordplay that much of it is simply untranslatable. Waley ran the poems right into the text, and Seidensticker set them off as couplets; neither strategy was entirely faithful to the original, though Seidensticker's was perhaps more effective. Tyler's solution is to present each as a single sentence broken into two lines, and he makes his task even more difficult by preserving the 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic pattern of waka. His choice places technical accuracy above lyrical impact -- the poems end up wordier than the originals, which were more telegraphic in the sentiments they conveyed. Here, for example, is Tyler's version of Genji's poem to a lady who has eluded him, leaving her robe behind: ''Underneath this tree, where the molting cicada shed her empty shell, / my longing still goes to her, for all I knew her to be.'' And here is Seidensticker's: ''Beneath a tree, a locust's empty shell. / Sadly I muse upon the shell of a lady.'' Though the success of Tyler's strategy here is debatable, his interpretation of the poems (as well as the many obscurities in the text) is by far the most thorough and complete. This new edition is copiously footnoted, allowing us to appreciate puns and images Murasaki's readers would have recognized immediately. BECAUSE of its layers of cultural, political and literary complexity (not to mention its length), the decision to read ''The Tale of Genji'' requires a subsequent decision about which guide to choose. To encounter Waley's lush prose is to forget you are reading a translation -- or even a non-Western text. He conveyed the essence of aware perhaps more vividly than his successors, but detached the tale from its setting, letting it float somewhere in a misty world of long ago and far away. Seidensticker allowed his readers a clearer, more laconic view of Murasaki's world; you still forget you are reading a translation, but not that you are in Heian Japan. Both Waley and Seidensticker had a vision of the work as a whole that informed every sentence, and in some cases fidelity to the text was sacrificed to the translator's own style. Tyler never lets his style get in the way of his service to the original -- more than the others, you can feel the translator at work on every page. As guides, Waley is the most entertaining, Seidensticker the most unobtrusive, and Tyler the most instructive. His ''Genji'' is an enormous achievement.

Subject: Where Life Can Seem to Imitate
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 04:26:54 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/17/arts/design/17sugi.html?ex=1297832400&en=98d8cd4e77497447&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 17, 2006 A World Where Life Can Seem to Imitate an Imitation By HOLLAND COTTER Washington — Hiroshi Sugimoto, the celebrated Japanese-born photographer, designed the installation for his own retrospective at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden here, and it is inspired. The first half of the show is light, cool and stylishly sparse. The second half seems dusky and cushioned, as if it were set in a temple or a spacecraft, with pictures shining like windows in the dark. After seeing the show, I dug up some old snapshots and spread them out on my desk at home. They are pictures I took some years ago of the imperial Shinto shrine at Ise in Japan. Architecturally, the main shrine is all exterior; everyday visitors can't go inside. And that exterior is plain, almost blank. It didn't feel to me like a setting for ardent religious emotion. It felt like a swept-clean place to think about the world as it is, with its storms, and pets, and lunatic history. Yet a potent object is hidden inside: a mirror. It is the emblem of the sun goddess, whose shrine this is: a polished surface reflecting light. You cannot see it, but the idea of it is enough. It fires your imagination; it makes Ise a power-place in your mind. The Hirshhorn show reminded me of all of this. After I saw it, light, time, paradox and Japan were on my mind. Mr. Sugimoto was born in Tokyo in 1948, but he has spent most of his life in the United States. He came to America in the early 1970's, right out of college, studied art for a while in California, then settled in New York City, where he lives. In the United States, he supported himself as a dealer in ancient and medieval Japanese art, and he developed an abiding interest in Zen Buddhism. He looked at the new art around him, particularly at Minimalism and Conceptualism, and began making art of his own. The Washington exhibition, organized by Kerry Brougher, director of art at the Hirshhorn, and David Elliott, director of the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, begins with early photographs, from 1976. They're startling. In one, a polar bear stands on a snow field, eyeing a dead seal. In another, hyenas and vultures on an African plain tear into the carcass of an antelope, very 'Wild Kingdom.' But, in fact, these pictures aren't shot from nature. They are of dioramas in the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, but with all traces of their museum setting left out. Right away we learn something about Mr. Sugimoto's art. It is often witty, and it is always theatrical. And, like most theater, it is highly stylized. Artificiality is its reality. Paradox and indirection are its forms of truth-telling. The diorama photos fit that description, as do the pictures in the 'Portraits' series (1999). All the sitters in the series are celebrities, but most are dead celebrities — Napoleon, Lenin, Henry VIII — so these can't be called portraits from life. Or can they? They may not be accurate depictions of the people themselves, but they are accurate depictions of depictions of those people, namely the sculptural portraits found in Madame Tussaud's wax museums. Part of the fun of these pictures is seeing artificialities pile up: Mr. Sugimoto's portrait of Henry VIII is a portrait of a Tussaud wax portrait, which is based on a painted portrait by Holbein. Also fun is the way the photographer treats historical pooh-bahs as found objects, Duchampian ready-mades. Reproductions of them are as good as the originals — better even, because they exist, while the pooh-bahs have turned to dust. He also uses photography to give new readings of icons. His 'Architecture' pictures (1997-2002) are portraits of Modernist monuments, from Le Corbusier's Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut to the Chrysler Building. The aggressive tradition they belong to is identified with clarity and permanence, but Mr. Sugimoto presents the buildings in a muzzy soft-focus. They look at once evanescent and veiled, as if they had secrets to hide. It is this kind of conceptual play that gives the first half of the show its air of wry, deadpan wit. But that mood changes. In 1975, the artist started photographing the interiors of old American movie theaters, picture palaces. The results are engaging as documents of vanishing artifacts. But they also ask questions about the relationship of photography and time. For each picture, Mr. Sumitomo pointed his camera at the screen and left the shutter open for the length of whatever movie was playing. The camera recorded the film not in readable images, but as soft white glow that seems to emanate from the screen. Time's passage is distilled to a radiant abstraction. It is possible to see the influence of Minimalism — Donald Judd boxes filled with light — or of Conceptualism's interest in immateriality and change. But at least as important is the influence of Buddhism, which in Japan has close links to Shinto. For the series titled 'Sea of Buddha' (1995), Mr. Sugimoto photographed the hundreds of near-identical Buddhist sculptures of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, which fill the temple named Sanjusangen-do in Kyoto. He shot the sculptures as they appear in the temple, arranged in massed rows, like a choir. At the Hirshhorn he displays the pictures as a long horizontal scroll of edge-to-edge prints stretching down a dark, tunnel-like space. The visual effect, of perfection in sameness, is both calming and stimulating, like a chant. This installation leads to the show's largest gallery, also dark, devoted to Mr. Sugimoto's 'Seascapes' (1980-92). A dozen of these reductive pictures of water and sky, shot at different places around the world, from the South Pacific to the Baltic Sea, line a single curving wall. Composed of paired horizontal bands of equal width, they look from a distance like abstract paintings, or windows onto lunar landscapes, but up close reveal the amazingly varied textures of the oceans' surfaces. What's most striking, though, is the symphonic whole Mr. Sugimoto has created from these pictures. On the far right he has hung one in which the bands of sea and sky are emphatically contrasted. Then, in each succeeding picture moving leftward, the contrasts decrease; the horizon line blurs until land and sea dissolve into an explosion of light, like the sun flashing off a mirror. Apparently, the Mori Art Museum version of the show pushed the contemplative aspects of Mr. Sugimoto's art even further by including documentary pictures of a Shinto shrine that he designed and built, on commission, in Japan in 2002. His shrine replaced one that had fallen into disrepair. Its design acknowledges the Ise model but is even more abstract. It adds something entirely original: a staircase made of melted optical glass, a material used to make camera lenses.

Subject: Munch Was More Than a Scream
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 04:25:19 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/17/arts/design/17munc.html?ex=1297832400&en=239ef1c0350b872e&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 17, 2006 Munch Was More Than a Scream By GRACE GLUECK EDVARD MUNCH'S vision of modern angst, 'The Scream,' has been much in the news lately. The trial of six suspects in the theft of one version from an Oslo museum began this week; the painting has not been recovered. The image of 'The Scream' has been so widely embraced and reproduced that if you hear the name Munch 'The Scream' comes instantly to mind, and vice versa. Yet Munch (1863-1944) regarded 'The Scream' as an aberration, one that cast the shadow of insanity on a body of art that he intended to address more universal aspects of human experience. 'Edvard Munch: The Modern Life of the Soul,' an affecting full-scale retrospective that opens Sunday at the Museum of Modern Art, presents this broader view. The first survey of the Norwegian painter in an American museum in almost 30 years, it was organized by Kynaston McShine, chief curator at large of the Modern. Its more than 130 oils and works on paper cover Munch's entire career, from 1880 to 1944. It also includes a large selection of the prints — many of them ingeniously adapted from his oils — that played an important role in his art. 'Mermaid,' not seen publicly until 2003, is among the paintings. Munch's first decorative work, this sexy 3-by-11-foot canvas was commissioned in 1896 by the Norwegian industrialist and collector Axel Heiberg for his home. Taking a Symbolist approach to a traditional Nordic theme, Munch depicted a voluptuous mermaid emerging from a moonlit sea, her fin wrapped around the moon's reflection. Not real but somehow not quite a figment, she almost certainly relates to the moonlight strolls Munch took on the beach with his first lover. 'The Scream,' although not the focus of the show, is not neglected. Two 1895 lithographs of the image, one with watercolor, are on view. An ectoplasmic being stands on a bridge against a lurid setting sun, hands to ears, mouth open to emit a horrendous howl. Its genesis, Munch wrote, was during a walk across a bridge in Kristiania (now Oslo) with two friends. He felt a 'tinge of melancholy' as the sun set. He stopped, leaned against the railing while his friends walked on, and saw 'the flaming clouds that hung like blood and a sword' over the water and the city. Shivering with fright, he 'felt a loud, unending scream piercing nature.' It took several false starts before this became the trenchant visual expression of Munch's feeling, the product of his own anxiety and depression at the time. When he finally made the image we know today, he noted faintly on the probable first version (1893) that 'it could only have been painted by a madman.' But it strikes such a universal chord that it has become something of a conduit between the artist's soul-searching work and pop culture, evolving over the years into a symbol that these days appears even on refrigerator magnets and inflatable dolls. And yet, for all its roots in Symbolism, the turn-of-the-century European movement that sought to replace naturalism with the imagery of fantasy, dream and psychic experience, 'The Scream' apparently had little to do with what Munch saw as the real thrust of his art. That took in such existential matters as birth, love, loss, emotional turmoil, the search for one's identity and the inevitable decline into death. In these paintings Munch struggled to render his own emotional and psychological traumas, including the deaths of his mother and older sister, as well as his doomed first real love affair, into universal images that resonated with the outside world. By so doing, he said, he hoped to 'understand the meaning of life' and to help others gain similar insights. More in line with his main themes are paintings like 'Madonna' (1894-95), a powerfully erotic image of a nude seductress that conveys the artist's conflation of love and death, and a lithograph of the same subject whose lurid border depicts spermatozoa and a distorted fetus. 'Madonna' is part of the cycle of paintings that Munch eventually named the 'Frieze of Life,' first exhibited under that rubric at the Berlin Secession of 1902. It encompassed what he saw as 'the modern life of the soul.' A vital part of the exhibition is the extraordinary range of self-portraits Munch made, from youth to near death. He variously depicts himself as a searching, skeptical young man; a dandy and cosmopolitan; a dejected lover; a denizen of hell; Jesus on the Cross above a leering crowd; and a restless night wanderer in his own home. Finally, in the touching 'Between the Clock and the Bed' (1940-2), he is a brave figure who stands in his bedroom, his studio behind him, a symbolic clock without hands to the left, as he resolutely confronts the certainty of his end. Although his native Kristiania was a distance from the aesthetic ferment of the great European cities, Munch didn't remain a provincial for long. His local training inclined him toward Norwegian naturalism, but around 1884 he connected with Kristiania's bohemian set and began to form new attitudes. The next year, an affair with Milly Thaulow, the wife of a cousin of one of his art teachers, inflamed his love life but ended badly, an event that burned deeply into Munch's turbulent psyche. As with every other emotional event in his life, his troubles with women became a rich source of material. 'It would kill me were my loneliness taken away from me,' he wrote later to another lover, who sought more togetherness. Her spirit, he went on to tell her, was 'totally undeveloped.' Finding naturalism too limited an artistic approach, Munch shared this observation in an 1885 letter to a writer friend: 'Perhaps some other painter can depict chamber pots under a bed better than I can. But put a sensitive, suffering young girl into the bed, a girl consumptively beautiful with a blue-white skin turning yellow in the blue shadows — and her hands! Can you imagine them? Yes that would be a real accomplishment.' He produced a number of variations — in oils and graphic art — on this theme, haunting evocations of the dying days of his older sister, Sophie, felled at age 15 by tuberculosis, which had earlier killed their mother. In one of six versions on canvas, 'The Sick Child' (1896), Sophie is depicted propped against a pillow, her head turned toward a female figure who sits beside her, head bowed, holding her hand. Sophie's thin yellow face has a feverish radiance; her expression already seems otherworldly. An accompanying lithograph, made the same year in fervid tones of red and yellow, shows only Sophie's head and shoulders and is even more shattering. Here death has taken a firm grip on her features; her sunken eye, grimly set mouth and neglected hair against a background of disorderly cross-hatching show that the battle is all but lost. The work gives ample evidence of Munch's mastery of printmaking, which he probably learned during time spent in Paris and Berlin in the 1890's and early 1900's. Fortunately, there are many more examples on view. A whole gallery in the Modern's exhibition is devoted to Munch's prints, important among them fresh interpretations of his 'Frieze' themes. And 25 more prints, lent by the Modern, are on display at Scandinavia House in an exhibition organized by Deborah Wye, chief curator of prints and illustrated books at the Modern. Among the masterpieces at Scandinavia House is 'Ashes II' (1899), a lithograph with watercolor additions adapted from a painting of 1894 that may be seen at the Modern. It depicts the end of a love affair, with the man in despair and the woman indifferent. The title 'Ashes' refers to the burned-out log that runs along the picture's edge, signifying the death of love. Also at Scandinavia House are two marvelous woodcuts, their themes now appearing only in print form. (The painting from which they were taken was lost in a shipwreck in 1901.) Each is titled 'Two People: The Lonely Ones' (1899-1917). In the subtle coloration for which Munch was noted, they depict a man and a woman on the beach, standing near each other but with just enough separation to indicate their essential alienation. To make his woodcuts, Munch invented a simplified process of jigsawing each compositional element of the printing block, inking each in the desired color, then fitting them back together and running the reconfigured puzzle through the press just once. This cut out the cumbersome process of using separate woodblocks for each color, which had necessitated putting the print through the press several times. By the early 1900's, Munch was on his way to international success. He was finished with his 'Frieze of Life' cycle, which now included the important (to him) 'Metabolism' (1899), an earthy Adam and Eve-like depiction that shows a nude couple divided by a barren tree whose roots feed off a corpse. Its theme, he said, was the powerful constructive forces of life, but its murkiness is un-Munchian. His work at this point began to take a more traditional turn, including portraits of friends and patrons and landscapes, whose naturalism was inflected by symbolic elements. But it is those haunting, penetrating 'Frieze of Life' works that, by reaching deep into normally buried feelings, give Munch his greatness.

Subject: In the Victorian Raj
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 04:23:36 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/17/books/17book.html?ex=1297832400&en=999fc475b0d5b78c&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 17, 2006 In the Victorian Raj, Some Took Their Gin With Integrity By WILLIAM GRIMES In the palmy days when the sun never set on the British Empire, India was, in Disraeli's famous phrase, the jewel in the crown. Its vast territory, encompassing modern India, Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh, was home to more than 300 million people, speaking hundreds of languages and dialects, divided by caste and religion and separated into a profusion of princely states. What they all had in common, in the Victorian era, was Britain, their imperial ruler. And Britain, in practice, meant the Indian Civil Service, the 800 or so government employees who kept the jewel polished. In 'The Ruling Caste,' David Gilmour takes a close look at this band of emissaries and the administrative machinery that made it possible for so few to rule so many. It is, in a way, a spinoff, or a series of outtakes, from 'Curzon,' his biography of India's most famous viceroy. It is also his opportunity to challenge the picture of the British administrators in India as the boorish, gin-swilling clubmen described by E. M. Forster in 'A Passage to India.' Mr. Gilmour concedes that the British ruled by force, not consent. At the same time, the civilians, as members of the Indian Civil Service were known, took a high-minded view of their mission. The duty of the British was, they believed, to rule firmly but fairly, to improve living conditions wherever they were posted and to maintain high standards of integrity. It is a measure of their success that both India and Pakistan adopted the British model for their own civil services after independence. The fact of British rule was an abomination, in other words, but the organizational structure was beyond criticism. Service in India, despite hardships, offered young men the prospect of adventure, a generous salary and pension and the chance, while still in their 20's, to govern large chunks of territory and change the lives of untold thousands of Indians. Indian service was part job, part calling, and it seemed to act as a magnet for certain families. Some sent their sons in generational waves. The Stracheys, for example, sent 13 family members from four generations. Until the mid-19th century, civil servants were trained, if that's the word, at Haileybury College, which was created in the early 1800's to ensure that recruits, selected by the directors of the East India Company, knew at least something about the country they were preparing to rule. A nepotistic old-boy's network quickly developed. Some graduates were outstanding, but others resembled the indolent, curry-loving Jos Sedley in 'Vanity Fair.' In 1853, open examinations produced a new breed, the 'competition wallahs.' Mostly middle class, and often the sons of clergymen, they resembled the Peace Corps volunteers of the 1960's, afire with a sense of imperial mission, further heated, toward the end of the century, by the works of Rudyard Kipling. 'They liked the thought of riding around the countryside dispensing justice under a banyan tree,' Mr. Gilmour writes. But where? The top-scoring candidates opted for Bengal, the Punjab or the Northwestern Provinces, the fast track for ambitious civil servants. Low scorers wound up in backwaters like Madras or Bombay. Wherever the competition wallahs went, they encountered the contempt of the old Haileybury crowd. Even one of their own, Lepel Griffin, complained, 'They neither ride, nor shoot, nor dance nor play cricket, and prefer the companionship of their books to the attraction of Indian society.' Freshmen civilians, known as griffins, usually aspired to be one of the 240 district officers, the princelings of the Indian Civil Service. Justice under the banyan tree was just part of the job description. In his districts, with an average area of 4,430 square miles and a population of perhaps a million, a district officer combined the functions of judge, tax assessor, census taker, police chief, game warden, public-works czar, diplomat and social director. He was expected to be incorruptible, impartial and incapable of accepting an 'illegal gratification.' The challenges facing the district officers provide some of Mr. Gilmour's most entertaining pages. The government took a tolerant view of local customs. One raja, for example, was allowed to take a new wife each year at an annual festival, but another, who wanted to carry on the family tradition of human sacrifice for his coronation, required discreet intervention. The district officer persuaded him to pretend to kill the victim, who then pretended to die. The niceties of social protocol in Victorian India could be alarmingly complex, for both ruler and ruled. Indian maharajas jealously guarded their privileges. One of the most effective methods of bringing a troublesome ally into line was to reduce the number of guns firing a salute. The British, for their part, lived according to 'The Warrant of Precedence,' a government publication that assigned rank with extraordinary precision. A civilian in India for 18 years had equal status with a lieutenant colonel, for example, but was 18 places above a major or a civilian who had been in the country for only 12 years. Mr. Gilmour is a stylish and engaging writer, but about half of 'The Ruling Caste' delves into matters of interest only to a specialist, like the difference between privilege leave, special leave, leave on medical certificate and furlough. Entire chapters, for the general reader, descend into a bureaucratic morass, enlivened here and there by a bright anecdote. The intricate machinery of government has its fascinations, but the pace picks up when Mr. Gilmour turns to the Kiplingesque tales of shrewd civilians waging diplomatic war with profligate, sometimes insane, Indian potentates or roaming the wild frontier in the name of British civilization. Some left behind canals and railroads. Others wrote treatises on Indian poetry or religion. Mr. Gilmour does make the case that the civilians, however tarnished their cause in modern eyes, deserve better than they get in 'A Passage to India.'

Subject: The Rabbi vs. the Archbishop
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 04:21:05 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/18/international/europe/18rabbi.html?ex=1297918800&en=1c445b2ac4b0bcaf&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 18, 2006 Mideast Dispute: The Rabbi vs. the Archbishop By ALAN COWELL LONDON — At a time of heightened religious tensions across Europe, Britain's chief rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks, assailed the Church of England on Friday for supporting divestiture from companies whose products support Israeli policies in Gaza and the West Bank. Sir Jonathan said the move 'will have the most adverse repercussions on a situation over which it has enormous influence, namely Jewish-Christian relations in Britain.' The unusually sharp protest by Sir Jonathan, in an article in the weekly Jewish Chronicle, followed a vote this month by the Church of England's synod to 'disinvest from companies profiting from the illegal occupation, such as Caterpillar Inc., until they change their policies.' Caterpillar bulldozers have been shown on British television demolishing Palestinian homes. The Church of England has a reported $4.25 million stake in the company. The synod resolution was not binding, but the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans, was one of those who supported it. Since then, the archbishop has sought to avert confrontation with leaders of Britain's 300,000 Jews, saying in a letter to Sir Jonathan, published on the church's Web site (www.cofe.anglican.org) that 'much distress has been caused, especially to our Jewish friends and neighbors here and elsewhere. This distress is a cause of deep regret.' He insisted the significance of the synod vote was 'emphatically not to commend a boycott, or to question the legitimacy of the State of Israel and its rights to self-defense; least of all is it to endorse any kind of violence or terror against Israel and its people, or to compromise our commitment to oppose any form of anti-Semitism at home or abroad.' In response, the rabbi noted events in the Middle East and Britain that Jews found troubling. 'The Jewish community in Britain has contributed immensely to national life, yet after 350 years we still feel at risk,' he wrote in The Jewish Chronicle. 'The vote of the synod of the Church of England to 'heed' a call to disinvestment from certain companies associated with Israel was ill judged, even on its own terms. The immediate result will be to reduce the church's ability to act as a force for peace between Israel and the Palestinians for as long as the decision remains in force.' The issue is likely to be discussed again in May by the church's Ethical Investment Advisory Group, which has opposed divestiture in the past.

Subject: Quiet Resolve of a German Anti-Nazi
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 04:14:19 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://movies2.nytimes.com/2006/02/17/movies/17soph.html?ex=1297832400&en=d98005396e863865&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 17, 2006 The Quiet Resolve of a German Anti-Nazi Martyr By STEPHEN HOLDEN 'Sophie Scholl: The Final Days' conveys what it must have been like to be a young, smart, idealistic dissenter in Nazi Germany, where no dissent was tolerated. This gripping true story, directed in a cool, semi-documentary style by the German filmmaker Marc Rothemund from a screenplay by Fred Breinersdorfer, challenges you to gauge your own courage and strength of character should you find yourself in similar circumstances. Would you risk your life the way Sophie Scholl (Julia Jentsch) and a tiny group of fellow students at Munich University did to spread antigovernment leaflets? How would you behave during the kind of relentless interrogations that Sophie endures? If sentenced to death for your activities, would you still consider your resistance to have been worth it? In a climate of national debate in the United States about the overriding of certain civil liberties to fight terrorism, the movie looks back on a worst possible scenario in which such liberties were taken away. It raises an unspoken question: could it happen here? Scholl, whose story has been told in at least two earlier German films (Michael Verhoeven's 'White Rose' and Percy Adlon's 'Five Last Days'), is regarded today in Germany as a national heroine. Much of the movie, an Oscar nominee this year for best foreign-language film, is based on documents and court transcripts hidden in East German archives until 1990. The movie follows the last six days of Sophie's life, after she and her brother Hans (Fabian Hinrichs) are arrested at Munich University in February 1943 for printing and distributing anti-Nazi leaflets. Their arrest takes place in a political climate of panic and denial after Germany's defeat at Stalingrad. News of the rout has begun to circulate, but the powers-that-be dig in their heels. The Scholl siblings belong to the White Rose, a tiny resistance movement at Munich University. The pamphlet they distribute in the university's empty halls, while classes are in session, declares that the war cannot be won and urges Germany to sue for peace. They naïvely hope to ignite a spontaneous student rebellion. But the Nazi attitude toward the reversal of Germany's fortunes on the battlefield is one of enraged denial. The shrill accusations leveled against Sophie and two of the other accused in the interrogation room and in court by the fulminating judge, Dr. Roland Freisler (André Hennicke), have a tone of desperate, hysterical fury. 'Sophie Scholl: The Final Days' pointedly steers away from unnecessary melodrama and sentimentality to deliver a crisp chronology of events told entirely from Sophie's perspective, with minimal back story. As the brother and sister race to distribute the leaflets, the movie refuses to underline the built-in suspense. Apprehended by an alert janitor just as they are blending into a milling crowd of students, they are hustled to Gestapo headquarters and interrogated separately. As Sophie undergoes the first grueling hours of minute cross-examination by Robert Mohr (Alexander Held), an icy, contemptuous criminologist with a mind Columbo might envy, she maintains a remarkable composure, insisting that she is apolitical and relating an elaborate cover story involving the transportation of laundry in the suitcase that carried the leaflets. Sophie wins the first round of this cat-and-mouse game and is about to be released when investigators searching her apartment turn up more incriminating evidence. Even after her story crumbles, Mohr, who has a son roughly Sophie's age, is not entirely unmoved by her arguments, and near the end of her confinement, he offers her an unacceptable deal to save her own life. At each turning point, Sophie, who is deeply religious, prays to God for help. On learning that Hans has confessed, she finally admits her complicity but continues trying to protect other members of the group, especially Christoph Probst (Florian Stetter), who is married with children. But eventually he is brought into custody. We meet Sophie's sympathetic cellmate, Else Gebel (Johanna Gastdorf), an avowed Communist, and Sophie's supportive parents, who cheer her on in a subdued, wrenching farewell. Ms. Jentsch's portrayal of Sophie is the more impressive for its complete lack of histrionics. Yes, Sophie is a heroine, but not one given to Joan of Arc-style theatrics. An optimistic, life-loving student with a boyfriend and a rich future ahead of her, she is the kind of decent, principled person we would all like to be.

Subject: Fuel Rule Change for Big S.U.V.'s
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 04:11:49 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/16/business/16fuel.html?ex=1281844800&en=2d06f1360e161046&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss August 16, 2005 Fuel Rule Change for Big S.U.V.'s Seen as Unlikely By DANNY HAKIM DETROIT - The Bush administration is expected to abandon a proposal to extend fuel economy regulations to include Hummer H2's and other huge sport utility vehicles, auto industry and other officials say. The proposal was among a number of potential strategies outlined by the administration in 2003 to overhaul mileage requirements for light trucks - sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks and minivans. It had been seen by industry officials as likely to be adopted. But the impact of the tougher requirements would have been borne almost solely by the increasingly troubled domestic auto industry, a concern for the administration. Its broad plan to overhaul the light-truck mileage rules would change the regulatory system from one using averaged mileage for an automaker's entire annual light-truck output to one that sets up five or six classes, determined by a vehicle's size. The rules, the first major rewriting of fuel economy standards since they were created in the 1970's, will be released late this month. They are sure to renew vigorous debate about the nation's dependence on foreign oil, a matter underlined by rapidly rising oil and gas prices. The administration plan is still being reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget, which has had a role in drafting the plan. Further revisions could be made, including on the question of extending the regulatory system to cover larger vehicles. Until the details are published, its potential effect on the nation's oil consumption will not be fully clear. And the volatility of oil prices could push consumers toward buying more efficient vehicles, a trend that may outstrip regulations in determining fuel consumption in years ahead. 'We have no comment on it until we're ready to release it,' said Rae Tyson, a spokesman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a branch of the Transportation Department. 'It's still a fluid process at this point. We look forward to significant fuel savings without sacrificing safety or doing harm to the American economy.' Because cars, S.U.V.'s and other light-duty vehicles account for 40 percent of the nation's oil use, changes in the regulatory system are always watched closely, more so in an era of increased concern over foreign oil imports, rising fuel prices and debate on the effects of global warming. The broad outline of the Bush plan is almost certain to meet objections from environmentalists and those hoping for an aggressive approach to curbing dependence on foreign oil. But domestic automakers are likely to see it as a victory, since the new plan will decrease advantages that some foreign automakers, like Honda, have in the current system because they do not make the heaviest trucks and S.U.V.'s. Roughly speaking, corporate average fuel economy regulations - known as C.A.F.E. standards in the industry - divide each automaker's annual new vehicle production into two categories: passenger cars and light-duty trucks. New cars must average 27.5 miles a gallon and light trucks 21.2 miles a gallon in 2005 models and 22.2 miles by 2007. The figures represent lab-generated mileage and overstate the numbers that can be achieved on the road. Rules for cars are not being changed. When the current two-category system was created in the 1970's, cars ruled the American road. Since then, automakers have developed new classes of vehicles that qualify as trucks, including S.U.V.'s, minivans and family-oriented pickup trucks with two rows of seats. As a result, not only is the number of vehicles on the road increasing, but the average new vehicle is getting lower mileage than it did two decades ago because so many more new vehicles are trucks. An increasing emphasis on horsepower is also a major factor. Larger sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks weighing more than 8,500 pounds when loaded, like many Hummers and Ford Excursions, have been exempt from the regulations. When the system was created, vehicles of that weight were generally used for commercial purposes, but now hundreds of thousands sold each year are intended for family use. Automakers have had powerful incentives to produce such vehicles because they are exempt from fuel regulations, have had rich profit margins, and many consumers can claim tax breaks for them. The administration had suggested including larger S.U.V.'s in fuel economy regulations in a first wave of proposals in December 2003, but domestic automakers objected that such a move would harm their fragile bottom lines. The decision not to include larger S.U.V.'s was a recent development, said people briefed on the deliberations, who declined to be identified before the plan is made public. There could still be revisions, and the plan's release will be followed by a public comment period and then a revised final rule, which must be published by next April to have an effect on 2008 models. Gasoline prices have become a powerful counterweight to regulatory benefits given the biggest gas guzzlers. Many automakers, seeing the weakness in sales of large S.U.V.'s this year - they have recovered only after heavy discounting - are re-emphasizing plans for smaller, lighter S.U.V.'s in the future. Under the Bush administration plan, about half a dozen size classes will be determined by the vehicle's length and width. Instead of an overall mileage requirement for the total fleet of light trucks a manufacturer sells in a model year, makers will have to meet some kind of target or average within each size class. As a result of the proliferating categories, it will probably become more difficult to predict fuel economy trends. 'It's an invitation to game the system and increase our oil dependence and the pollution that results,' said Dan Becker, a global warming strategist at the Sierra Club. 'The Bush administration is failing to use the most powerful weapon in its arsenal to save people money at the pump.' Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a lobbying group for General Motors, Toyota and several other producers, said: 'The one thing we haven't heard is what the values will be for the different categories, and that will really tell us what the system means. 'Once the proposal comes out, we will have to take a hard look at it and see what the benefits may be to improving fuel economy.' The administration has taken some steps to increase fuel regulations for light trucks, raising the mileage standard for trucks to 22.2 miles a gallon for 2007 models, from 20.7 miles a gallon in 2004 models. Environmentalists have argued that gains from that move were offset by credits given to automakers for making vehicles that can use ethanol, even though there are few gas stations that carry the required blend. Under the administration's plan, for 2008 to 2010 models automakers will have a choice of complying with the new size-based system or the current system, though a further increase beyond 22.2 miles a gallon is expected in the current system. After 2010, the current system will be eliminated.

Subject: On the Menu for Breakfast: $1 Trillion
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 07:07:03 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/16/business/16wall.html?ex=1297746000&en=5f9bc82ceb0fde74&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 16, 2006 On the Menu for Breakfast: $1 Trillion By LANDON THOMAS Jr. On an early morning in late January, Merrill Lynch's chief executive, E. Stanley O'Neal, met for a quiet breakfast with Laurence D. Fink, his counterpart at BlackRock, at the Three Guys diner, blocks away from Mr. O'Neal's Upper East Side home. On the menu was a potential sale of Merrill's fund assets for a large stake in Mr. Fink's firm, a fast-growing asset management company. As in all initial deal discussions, the two men took pains to be discreet, hence the uptown diner as opposed to a more expensive locale in Midtown Manhattan. But in this case the two executives had extra incentive to keep their talks under wraps. John J. Mack, the chief executive of Morgan Stanley was pursuing a similar transaction with Mr. Fink at the same time. It seemed a long shot at first. Mr. O'Neal, a cool, dispassionate man who does not frequently socialize with his Wall Street peers, did not have the personal bond with the more outgoing Mr. Fink that Mr. Mack enjoyed. But the logic of the transaction led to an immediate meeting of the minds. After leaving the diner that morning, Mr. O'Neal called Gregory J. Fleming, his top investment banking deputy, and told him, in effect, to get the deal done. Within days, the broad principles of an agreement had been hashed out: Merrill would get a nonmajority stake, 49.8 percent, in BlackRock; Mr. Fink would retain control over his company, and Merrill would secure two seats on BlackRock's board. Soon afterward, Morgan Stanley, which wanted a majority stake, walked away from the deal. Yesterday, Merrill and BlackRock made it official, unveiling a transaction that gives BlackRock a total of $1 trillion in assets under management, including the $539 billion that Merrill is bringing, and gives Merrill immediate access to a diverse and growing pool of assets to sell through its retail network of more than 15,000 brokers. The deal and the high-stakes competitive maneuverings behind it shed new light on the rapidly changing financial landscape on Wall Street. Bigger and broader are no longer better. Wall Street's success stories in recent years have been more focused on firms like Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and BlackRock — whose stock has doubled in the last year, rising 3.6 percent yesterday. The game has changed in ways that famed conglomerate builders like Sanford I. Weill of Citigroup and his former protégé, James Dimon at J. P. Morgan, might find unfamiliar. Expensive, bulky banking mergers are out; in vogue are creative transactions like Merrill's deal with BlackRock. Indeed, Merrill, a firm once known for its lumbering size and breadth, is transforming itself by shedding assets, not acquiring them. 'The benefits of being a global supermarket have not been realized,' said Richard Barrett, a former top financial institutions banker at Credit Suisse First Boston. 'And everyone in the corporate world has been sensitized to potential conflicts. Now people are seeking value in other ways.' The deal also underscores the extent to which well-run money managers like BlackRock have become the belles of today's deal-making ball. They are now wooed by large institutions that five years ago, when BlackRock went public, paid the company little mind. BlackRock now has a price-to-earnings ratio of 35, a multiple that Merrill and the larger banks can only dream about. It was this valuation that ultimately dissuaded Morgan Stanley from pursuing a deal. But in the wake of this deal — as well as a similar transaction between Citigroup and Legg Mason last year — there will be fewer partners in asset management for Morgan Stanley to pursue. To be sure, Merrill Lynch has been a buyer of smaller niche companies, and Mr. O'Neal said yesterday that the investment bank would look to acquisitions to bulk up its trading business. But none have compared to the BlackRock deal in size and aspiration. As both Mr. Fink and Mr. O'Neal took pains to say yesterday, this deal was just too good to pass up. BlackRock combines its institutional focus with Merrill's retail heft; the equity-based bent of Merrill's asset management division fits well with BlackRock's fixed-income orientation, and finally, Merrill's international exposure allows BlackRock to become more of the global firm it has long aspired to be. 'We both had a common vision,' said Mr. O'Neal, speaking from BlackRock's headquarters. 'We have wanted a publicly traded stock as an acquisition currency in the money management space. And I have talked about accelerating growth. This allows us to do both things.' For Mr. Fink, the deal gives him the ideal partner to pursue his larger ambitions. 'We look at this as a partnership,' said Mr. Fink. 'It's not as if Stan is selling and I am buying. We are going to start working on integration today.' With its 49.8 percent stake, Merrill moves ahead of PNC Financial Services, the Pittsburgh-based regional bank, as BlackRock's main institutional shareholder. PNC's $240 million investment in BlackRock has ballooned to $7.1 billion; it now owns 34 percent and keeps two seats on the board. James E. Rohr, chief executive of PNC, was understandably pleased with the deal. 'It was a win-win-win,' he said. 'You don't see that all the time.' Shares of PNC surged 3 percent yesterday, to $68.99. Merrill's shares rose 4 cents, to $75.20. Citigroup advised BlackRock on the transaction; Credit Suisse counseled PNC and Merrill relied on its in-house bankers. While Mr. O'Neal and Mr. Fleming will join the BlackRock board, Mr. O'Neal made it clear that Mr. Fink would be the captain of the ship. But Merrill Lynch will be more than just a large shareholder. Through its vast retail system it will have effective control of a large chunk of BlackRock's expanded asset base. Given its complexity, the transaction was put together quickly, helped by the close friendship that Mr. Fleming, who took BlackRock public at a price of $14, and Mr. Fink enjoy Mr. O'Neal, Mr. Fleming and Mr. Fink raised glasses of red wine in celebration on Monday at Sistina, the Midtown Italian restaurant that is a favorite of Mr. Fink's. Perhaps the happiest man of all was David H. Komansky, the former chief executive of Merrill and a BlackRock board member, who masterminded Merrill's $5.3 billion purchase of the London-based Mercury Asset Management in 1997. While Mr. Komansky was later criticized for paying too much, the international flavor that the deal brought to Merrill's fund unit was crucial in making the division attractive to Mr. Fink. 'We never would have had this opportunity if Dave had not done the deal with Mercury in 1997,' Mr. O'Neal said yesterday. And any hard feelings that may have lingered in the wake of the cost- cutting campaign that Mr. O'Neal applied to the firm soon after succeeding Mr. Komansky seemed to have disappeared in the glow of yesterday's deal. 'It's the old story,' Mr. Komansky said with a laugh. 'What goes around comes around. You can't afford to leave many enemies around. Stan is a smart guy. It will be fun working together again.'

Subject: Outsourcing Is Climbing Skills Ladder
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 07:04:26 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/16/business/16outsource.html?ex=1297746000&en=fa39a3608333d562&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 16, 2006 Outsourcing Is Climbing Skills Ladder By STEVE LOHR The globalization of work tends to start from the bottom up. The first jobs to be moved abroad are typically simple assembly tasks, followed by manufacturing, and later, skilled work like computer programming. At the end of this progression is the work done by scientists and engineers in research and development laboratories. A new study that will be presented today to the National Academies, the nation's leading advisory groups on science and technology, suggests that more and more research work at corporations will be sent to fast-growing economies with strong education systems, like China and India. In a survey of more than 200 multinational corporations on their research center decisions, 38 percent said they planned to 'change substantially' the worldwide distribution of their research and development work over the next three years — with the booming markets of China and India, and their world-class scientists, attracting the greatest increase in projects. Whether placing research centers in their home countries or overseas, the study said, companies often use similar criteria. The quality of scientists and engineers and their proximity to research centers are crucial. The study contended that lower labor costs in emerging markets are not the major reason for hiring researchers overseas, though they are a consideration. Tax incentives do not matter much, it said. Instead, the report found that multinational corporations were global shoppers for talent. The companies want to nurture close links with leading universities in emerging markets to work with professors and to hire promising graduates. 'The story comes through loud and clear in the data,' said Marie Thursby, an author of the study and a professor at Georgia Tech's college of management. 'You have to have an environment that fosters the development of a high-quality work force and productive collaboration between corporations and universities if America wants to maintain a competitive advantage in research and development.' The multinationals, representing 15 industries, were from the United States and Western Europe. The authors said there was no statistically significant difference between the American and European companies. Dow Chemical is one company that plans to invest heavily in new research and development centers in China and India. It is building a research center in Shanghai, which will employ 600 technical workers when it is completed next year. Dow is also finishing plans for a large installation in India, said William F. Banholzer, Dow's chief technology officer. Today, the company employs 5,700 scientists worldwide, about 4,000 of them in the United States and Canada, and most of the rest in Europe. But the moves overseas will alter that. 'There will be a major shift for us,' Mr. Banholzer said. The swift economic growth in China and India, he said, is part of the appeal because products and processes often have to be tailored for local conditions. The rising skill of the scientists abroad is another reason. 'There are so many smart people over there,' Mr. Banholzer said. 'There is no monopoly on brains, and none on education either.' Such views were echoed by other senior technology executives, whose companies are increasing their research employment abroad. 'We go with the flow, to find the best minds we can anywhere in the world,' said Nicholas M. Donofrio, executive vice president for technology and innovation at I.B.M., which first set up research labs in India and China in the 1990's. The company is announcing today that it is opening a software and services lab in Bangalore, India. At Hewlett-Packard, which opened an Indian lab in 2002 and is starting one in China, Richard H. Lampman, senior vice president for research, points to the spread of innovation around the world. 'If your company is going to be a global leader, you have to understand what's going on in the rest of the world,' he said. The globalization of research investment, industry executives and academics argued, need not harm the United States. In research, as in economics, they said, growth abroad does not mean stagnation at home — and typically the benefits outweigh the costs. Still, more companies in the survey said they planned to decrease research and development employment in the United States and Europe than planned to increase employment. In numerical terms, scientists and engineers in research labs represent a relatively small part of the national work force. Like the debate about offshore outsourcing in general, the trend, which may point to a loss of competitiveness, is more significant than the quantity of jobs involved. The American executives who are planning to send work abroad express concern about what they regard as an incipient erosion of scientific prowess in this country, pointing to the lagging math and science proficiency of American high school students and the reluctance of some college graduates to pursue careers in science and engineering. 'For a company, the reality is that we have a lot of options,' Mr. Banholzer of Dow Chemical said. 'But my personal worry is that an educated, innovative science and engineering work force is vital to the economy. If that slips, it is going to hurt the United States in the long run.' Some university administrators see the same trend. 'This is part of an incredible tectonic shift that is occurring,' said A. Richard Newton, dean of the college of engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, 'and we've got to think about this more profoundly than we have in the past. Berkeley and other leading American universities, he said, are now competing in a global market for talent. His strategy is to become an aggressive acquirer. He is trying to get Tsinghua University in Beijing and some leading technical universities in India to set up satellite schools linked to Berkeley. The university has 90 acres in Richmond, Calif., that he thinks would be an ideal site. 'I want to get them here, make Berkeley the intellectual hub of the planet, and they won't leave,' said Mr. Newton, who emigrated from Australia 25 years ago. The corporate research survey was financed by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which supports studies on innovation. It was designed and written by Ms. Thursby, who is also a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and her husband, Jerry Thursby, who is chairman of the economics department at Emory University in Atlanta.

Subject: Price Gouging on Cancer Drugs?
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 06:59:09 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/17/opinion/17fri3.html?ex=1297832400&en=b332a93782ffab90&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 17, 2006 Price Gouging on Cancer Drugs? The high price charged for Avastin, a drug that has proved moderately effective against colon cancer and is about to be used against breast and lung cancer, seems hard to justify on any ground other than maximum profit for its maker. The pricing scheme planned by Genentech and its majority owner, Roche, is a sign of how the rising cost of new life-extending drugs may affect American health care unless ways are found to mitigate the trend. As The Times reported on Wednesday, Genentech's pricing for Avastin will drive its cost to $8,800 a month for lung cancer and $7,700 a month for breast cancer, up from the $4,400 cost for colon cancer patients. The manufacturers go beyond the standard argument that high prices are needed to recoup research costs and add a new twist: the price reflects the value of this medicine to society. That is surely debatable. Avastin, while prized by oncologists as a genuine advance, extends the life of a typical patient with late-stage colon cancer by only five months. The drug will add several months to the lives of patients with late-stage breast and lung cancer, though individual patients may do better or worse. Those gains seem modest. This is not a miracle drug, bringing huge benefits to society. The high price seems to have been imposed mostly because the companies figured the market would bear it. Some patients are declining very high-priced drugs rather than making co-payments that can reach $1,000 or more a month. It is a judgment that each patient must make, based on how beneficial the drug is likely to be and how burdensome the cost is. A year of added life of reasonably good quality might be worth a lot to some patients. The main cost of such drugs, of course, is typically borne by insurance — Medicare for most of the elderly and private insurance for most others. Drug costs are still a relatively small part of the nation's health bill, but if extra-high prices become common, Congress may need to grant Medicare more power to push them down, and private plans will need to find ways to rein in the spending.

Subject: China Seeking Auto Industry
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 06:53:37 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/17/business/17auto.html?ex=1297832400&en=6a36d9f67c055851&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 17, 2006 China Seeking Auto Industry, Piece by Piece By KEITH BRADSHER CHONGQING, China — China is pursuing a novel way to catapult its automaking into a global force: buy one of the world's most sophisticated engine plants, take it apart, piece by piece, transport it halfway around the globe and put it back together again at home. In the latest sign of this country's manufacturing ambitions, a major Chinese company, hand-in-hand with the Communist Party, is bidding to buy from DaimlerChrysler and BMW a car engine plant in Brazil. Because the plant is so sophisticated, it is far more feasible for the Chinese carmaker, the Lifan Group, to go through such an effort to move it 8,300 miles, rather than to develop its own technology in this industrial hub in western China, the company's president said Thursday. If the purchase succeeds — and it is early in the process — China could leapfrog competitors like South Korea to catch up with Japan, Germany and the United States in selling some of the most fuel-efficient yet comfortable cars on the market, like the Honda Civic or the Toyota Corolla. The failure of China to develop its own version of sophisticated, reliable engines has been the biggest technical obstacle facing Chinese automakers as they modernize and prepare to export to the United States and Europe, Western auto executives and analysts said. Buying that technology from overseas would not only remove this obstacle but would also plant China's auto industry solidly in a position to produce roomy cars that can also get more than 30 miles to the gallon. The engine plant is one of the most famous and unusual in the auto industry. Built in southern Brazil in the late 1990's at a cost of $500 million by a 50-50 joint venture of Chrysler and BMW, the Campo Largo factory combines the latest American and German technology to produce the 1.6-liter, 16-valve Tritec engine. Lifan says it is the sole bidder for the factory and wants to bring it here to start producing engines in 2008. Though China's Communist Party is actively behind the effort, the bold moves are being driven by one of China's remarkable entrepreneurs: Yin Mingshan has become one of China's most successful and most politically connected corporate executives, with a hardscrabble upbringing that included spending 22 years of his earlier life in Communist labor camps and prison as punishment for his political dissent. Now the enormously wealthy and prominent president and principal owner of Lifan, Mr. Yin has his sights on exporting to Europe in 2008 and the American market in 2009. Trevor Hale, a DaimlerChrysler spokesman, and Marc Hassinger, a Bayerische Motoren Werke spokesman, each said separately that their companies were assessing their options for when their joint venture legal agreement expires at the end of next year, but that it was premature to provide details. The Tritec engine is one of the most technologically sophisticated and fuel-efficient car engines in the world, said Yale Zhang, an analyst in the Shanghai office of CSM Worldwide, a big auto consulting company based in the Detroit suburbs. Mr. Yin said he wanted to rebuild the factory on vacant land next door to his car assembly plant here. His goal is to understand the technology thoroughly so that he can supply engines not only for Lifan but also for other Chinese automakers. In an interview on Thursday in a glass-walled conference room overlooking his recently completed car assembly plant, Mr. Yin, 67, said that while Lifan would pay for the factory, the Chinese negotiating team is being led not by a Lifan official but by a senior Chinese Communist party official, Huang Zhendong. Mr. Huang, 65, is a member of the party's powerful Central Committee and led the party's Chongqing branch until December, when he became a senior member of the influential legal committee of the National People's Congress in Beijing. Mr. Yin's deputy, Yang Jong, Lifan's chief executive, has accompanied Mr. Huang on a visit to Brazil. 'Everyone knows you need government support — the government may provide land,' Mr. Yin said. Any attempt to buy a comparable factory in the United States might be blocked. But Mr. Yin said that Brazil did not have comparable restrictions on the export of high technology. Lifan, already one of the world's largest motorcycle manufacturers with sales in 112 countries, is about to start exporting its remarkably well-built, $9,700 midsize sedans to developing countries in Asia, the Mideast and the Caribbean. But several more years of work is needed before the company is ready to compete in industrialized countries, Mr. Yin said. 'Chairman Mao taught us: if you can win then fight the war, if you cannot win, then run away,' he said. 'I want to train my army in these smaller markets, and when we are ready, we will move on to bigger markets.' Accustomed to producing lightweight, fuel-sipping cars for cost-conscious Chinese families, Chinese automakers want to use that expertise as a competitive advantage around the world while oil prices stay high. Geely, a separate Chinese carmaker that surprised American and European manufacturers by announcing plans at Detroit's auto show last month to enter the American market in 2007, was emphasizing gas mileage even before oil prices surged in the last two years. When crude oil prices were much lower than they are today, Geely switched from an inexpensive electronic engine control and fuel injections system made by Denso of Japan to a more expensive but more fuel-efficient model made by Bosch of Germany, said Lawrence Ang, an executive director of Geely. Multinational automakers have struggled in China to keep up with the public's growing appetite for fuel-efficient models. Chinese carmakers like Chery and Geely captured a quarter of the Chinese market last year, up from less than 10 percent just two years earlier, said Michael Dunne, the president of Automotive Resources Asia, a consulting firm. 'Why the spurt? Small cars powered by gas-sipping engines that start at $4,000,' Mr. Dunne said. Raymond Bierzynski, the president of the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center of General Motors in Shanghai, said that gasoline costs were more important to consumers in China than elsewhere because these costs represent a higher share of the low household incomes in China. G.M. sells its Buick Excelle compact sedan with special, low-rolling-resistance tires in China, which it does not do in any other market and which increases gas mileage by up to 2 percent, he said. Chrysler and BMW began construction of the Campo Largo factory in April 1998, a month before Daimler-Benz began a takeover of Chrysler that it completed in November of that year. Heralded in the automotive press at the time as arguably the most advanced engine factory ever built, the factory had already become a corporate orphan by the time production began in September, 1999. The Brazilian auto market had entered a slump by then and Daimler already had ample engine manufacturing capacity of its own and was uncomfortable collaborating with its longtime German rival, BMW. BMW installs its half of the engines from the factory in its award-winning Mini Coopers. But it has already announced that future engines for these cars will come from a factory in France that is owned and operated by PSA Peugeot Citroën. Chrysler used to put the Brazilian-made engines in its Neon compact cars and the PT Cruiser. But it is now selling its half of the engines to Lifan and to Chery Automotive and a Chinese joint venture by Mazda. Mr. Yin and spokesmen from DaimlerChrysler and BMW declined to comment on the price under negotiation for the factory. Lifan made its debut into the car market just last month with the introduction of the Lifan 520 sedan, assembled in the company's sprawling new assembly plant here, where the conveyor belt is bright red and the giant clamps holding unfinished cars are bright yellow — the colors of China's flag. Lifan models itself on Honda, another motorcycle manufacturer that entered the car market, and shares Honda's emphasis on efficient, energy-saving designs. Lifan has also copied Honda's focus on quality. Huge characters of Mr. Yin's sayings adorn a Lifan motorcycle engine factory inside and out; an illuminated board over the assembly line reads: 'Whoever wrecks Lifan's brand, Lifan will wreck that person's rice bowl.' A test drive here of the Lifan 520 sedan showed it to have an impressively sturdy body with no rattles or wiggles even when traveling over very rough pavement — although this is no guarantee of long-term reliability. There is ample headroom in the front seats and even the rear seats for a 6-foot-4 occupant. The $9,700 price tag includes leather seats, dual air bags, a huge trunk and a DVD system with a video screen facing the front passenger — a combination that could cost twice as much in a comparably equipped midsize sedan in the United States. Wages of less than $100 a month have helped control the cost. The assembly plant is better organized than many Chinese factories, although it still maintains large inventories of parts and materials awaiting assembly, incurring interest charges to finance these supplies. Mr. Yin has no doubts that China can also compete with the United States. 'Americans work 5 days a week, we in China work 7 days,' he said. 'Americans work 8 hours a day, and we work 16 hours.'

Subject: Wal-Mart Chief Talks Tough
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 06:00:38 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/17/business/17walmart.html?ex=1297832400&en=dc278902067fb074&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 17, 2006 On Private Web Site, Wal-Mart Chief Talks Tough By STEVEN GREENHOUSE and MICHAEL BARBARO In a confidential, internal Web site for Wal-Mart's managers, the company's chief executive, H. Lee Scott Jr., seemed to have a rare, unscripted moment when one manager asked him why 'the largest company on the planet cannot offer some type of medical retirement benefits?' Mr. Scott first argues that the cost of such benefits would leave Wal-Mart at a competitive disadvantage but then, clearly annoyed, he suggests that the store manager is disloyal and should consider quitting. The Web site, which Mr. Scott uses to communicate his tough standards to thousands of far-flung managers, gives a rare glimpse into the concerns that are roiling Wal-Mart's retailing empire, from the company's sagging stock price to how it treats its workers. Judging by the managers' questions, Mr. Scott has an internal public relations challenge that in some ways mirrors the challenge he faces from outside critics. And while Mr. Scott's postings are usually written in a careful, even guarded manner, they can often be revealing — for example, showing a defensiveness and testiness with critics — that Mr. Scott normally keeps under wraps. Copies of Mr. Scott's postings covering two years were made available to The New York Times by Wal-Mart Watch, a group backed by unions and foundations that is pressing Wal-Mart to improve its wages and benefits. Wal-Mart Watch said it received the postings from a disgruntled manager. While the existence of the Web site and Mr. Scott's participation in it have been known, transcripts have never been made public before. The Web site has a folksy name — Lee's Garage, because Mr. Scott pumped gas at his father's Kansas service station while growing up. But its tone is at times biting. In his response to the store manager who asked about retiree health benefits, Mr. Scott wrote: 'Quite honestly, this environment isn't for everyone. There are people who would say, 'I'm sorry, but you should take the risk and take billions of dollars out of earnings and put this in retiree health benefits and let's see what happens to the company.' If you feel that way, then you as a manager should look for a company where you can do those kinds of things.' Mona Williams, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman, said Mr. Scott responded so sharply because of the manager's sarcastic tone. The question, she said, indicated the manager failed to understand how competitive retailing is and would not be able to convey that to his subordinates. 'At Wal-Mart, we communicate very candidly with one another,' she said. She added that Mr. Scott's tone did not deter employees from asking questions, noting that 2,147 questions have been asked since last April. Commenting on a labor union that is fighting Wal-Mart's expansion plans in New York City and elsewhere, Mr. Scott wrote in the Web site, 'that way its members' employers' — meaning many Wal-Mart competitors — 'can continue to charge extremely high prices for food and tolerate poor service.' Stung by the many news media reports about allegations of sex discrimination, off-the-clock work and child labor violations at Wal-Mart, Mr. Scott wrote, 'The press lives on things that are negative.' The Web site shows many sides of one of the nation's most powerful executives. He denounces managers who complain about the company or their subordinates. He frets about the success of his discount rival Target. He exhorts employees to act with integrity. He mocks General Motors for problems caused by its generous benefits. He rejects a manager's suggestion that Wal-Mart has created 'a culture of fear,' and he hails Wal-Mart's performance in responding to Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Scott has made some of these points before in public speeches, but in these confidential e-mail messages to managers, he delivers far blunter insights in much greater detail. In one posting, he urges managers to set an example by doing more to comply with the company's 10-foot rule, requiring employees to smile and ask 'Can I help you' when a shopper is less than 10 feet away. In his postings, Mr. Scott tries to strike a chummy, 'in the trenches' tone, reminding managers how frequently he visits stores — at least once a week — and pops into meetings unannounced 'to make sure there's not a filter keeping me from hearing what's really important.' But his responses often serve to remind managers of the gap between them and their chief executive, who earned more than $17 million last year, including stock options, who hops around the globe on Wal-Mart's fleet of jets and who lives in a gated community called Pinnacle. 'I recently had dinner with the prime minister of the U.K., Tony Blair, and his wife; my wife and I had a meeting with Prince Charles to talk about sustainability; and I met with Steve Case, the founder of AOL, and talked about health care,' Mr. Scott wrote in a two-week-old entry describing how he represents Wal-Mart around the world. Mr. Scott, 56, joined Wal-Mart in 1979 as its assistant trucking manager. Helped by his affable manner and his command of the company's vast distribution system, he was named chief executive in 2000. Throughout the dozens of postings, Mr. Scott shows deep concern about the many attacks and allegations that Wal-Mart skirts environmental and labor laws. He acknowledges that Wal-Mart used to have a greater tolerance for managers who cut corners, but his postings insist that Wal-Mart's new focus is on total compliance with the law. In a posting last June, he quoted the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., saying, 'The time is always right to do what is right.' Responding to a manager's question about attacks on Wal-Mart's image, Mr. Scott wrote in an April 2004 posting: 'Your value to Wal-Mart is outweighed by the damage you could do to our company when you do the wrong thing.' 'If you choose to do the wrong thing: if you choose to dispose of oil the wrong way, if you choose to take a shortcut on payroll, if you choose to take a shortcut on a raise for someone — you hurt this company,' he added. 'And it's not unlikely in today's environment that your shortcut is going to end up on the front page of the newspaper. It's not fair to the rest of us when you do that.' Lee's Garage was set up in January 2004, at Mr. Scott's suggestion, to improve communications with managers after a wave of particularly bad publicity, including a federal raid that rounded up 250 illegal immigrants who cleaned Wal-Mart stores and a class-action lawsuit charging sex discrimination, filed on behalf of 1.6 million current and former female employees. Ms. Williams of Wal-Mart said a public relations assistant screened the questions and Mr. Scott dictated responses to an aide. At first the site was accessible only to salaried managers. Last October, it became available to all 1.3 million employees in the United States. The questions posted on the Web site range from the self-interested (when will managers receive a raise?) to the competitive (will the merger of Sears and Kmart hurt Wal-Mart?) to the academic (is Wal-Mart technically a monopoly that could be broken up?). A recurring theme is the attacks on Wal-Mart's image and managers' worries that these attacks are undermining employee morale and the company's ability to grow. Asked if the negative publicity has slowed Wal-Mart's expansion, Mr. Scott responded: 'I think it probably has. You can't get letters that say, 'I read where you're doing this and therefore I'll never shop with you again,' and assume everyone who writes that is just some nut. Some of those are real people who don't know us and believe what they've read.' A manager of a Wal-Mart's store in Medford, N.Y., asked about Wal-Mart's repeated failure to gain zoning variances and other government permits to open its first store in New York City. 'We're going to have to be a lot more sophisticated about it than we have been,' he said, saying that Wal-Mart brings good jobs and great prices. 'But I think you'll see us get the stores.' Though Wal-Mart is three times larger than its next biggest retail rival, Mr. Scott appears to be preoccupied with competitors whose individual store sales are growing faster than Wal-Mart's — namely Target and Walgreens. Asked about Wal-Mart's stock price, which has fallen 11 percent in the last five years. Mr. Scott said: 'You cannot have Target or Walgreens beating you day after day after day.' Mr. Scott wrote that one reason Wal-Mart's same-store sales were growing more slowly than Target's was that Wal-Mart's customers earn less and have been squeezed worse by soaring fuel prices. 'Wal-Mart's focus has been on lower income and lower-middle income consumers,' he wrote. 'In the last four years or so, with the price of fuel being what it is, that customer has had the most difficult time. The upper-end customer got a tremendous number of tax breaks about four years ago. They have been doing very well in this economy.' He said having to pay $50 to gas up a car did not change anything for rich customers, but did for those who didn't earn a lot. 'It changes whether or not you go to the movie, whether or not you buy new sheets, whether or not you go out to eat.' At several points, Mr. Scott addressed criticisms that Wal-Mart health plan was too stingy toward its employees. He said that Wal-Mart's health plan 'stacks up very, very competitively' with other retailers. In a knock at companies that provide more generous benefits, Mr. Scott wrote: 'One of the things said about General Motors now is that General Motors is no longer an automotive company. General Motors is a benefit company that sells cars to fund those benefits.' In one posting, Mr. Scott talked about how proud he was about Wal-Mart's response to Hurricane Katrina, when it rushed urgent supplies to the Gulf Coast. 'The media coverage has been extremely positive and speaks to who we really are as individuals, and as a company.' When one manager asked how an associate — Wal-Mart's term for an employee — could become chief executive of the world's largest retailer, Mr. Scott wrote, 'The first thing you can do is make sure you treat your people well, and understand that your associates are what will make you a success.'

Subject: Walmart vs Costco
From: Mik
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Feb 18, 2006 at 00:59:16 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The Costco Challenge: An Alternative to Wal-Martization? (July 5, 2005) by Moira Herbst Critics believe that Wal-Mart should play the role General Motors played after World War II… [and] establish the post-world-war middle class that the country is so proud of. The facts are that retailing doesn’t perform that role in the economy. Retailing doesn’t perform that role in any country. —Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott, April 2005 To workers and union leaders, it is a familiar refrain. These days, the story goes, consumers demand low prices, meaning goods must be produced and sold cheaply — and retail wages must be kept as low as possible. Companies like Wal-Mart insist they’re feeling the squeeze and must pay workers poverty wages — even while netting $10.5 billion in annual profits and awarding millions to top executives. But there’s another company that is breaking the Wal-Mart mold: Costco Wholesale Corp., now the fifth-largest retailer in the U.S. While Wal-Mart pays an average of $9.68 an hour, the average hourly wage of employees of the Issaquah, Wash.-based warehouse club operator is $16. After three years a typical full-time Costco worker makes about $42,000, and the company foots 92% of its workers’ health insurance tab. How does Costco pull it off? How can a discount retail chain pay middle-class wages and still bring in over $880 million in net revenues? And, a cynic may ask, with Wal-Mart wages becoming the norm, why does it bother? A number of factors explain Costco’s success at building a retail chain both profitable and fair to its workers. But the basic formula is one the labor movement has been advocating for decades: a loyal, well-compensated workforce means a more efficient and productive one. The Union Difference Though only about 18% of Costco’s total workforce is unionized, union representation creates a ripple effect and helps determine labor standards in all stores. The Teamsters represent about 15,000 workers at 56 Costco stores in California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia. Workers are covered by West coast and East coast contracts, negotiated in February and April of last year. “The agreements lock in wage and benefits packages that are the highest in the grocery and [discount] retail industries,” said Rome Aloise, chief IBT negotiator for Costco and Secretary-Treasurer of Local 853 in San Leandro, Calif. Costco passes on similar compensation packages to its non-union workers; the contracts act as templates for other stores’ employee handbooks. “The union contracts raise the bar and set the standard for all employees,” explained Aloise. “Still, while the company extends wage and pay raises to non-union employees, only union members enjoy benefits like seniority-based promotions, a grievance procedure and minimum hours for part-time workers,” he added. The Payoff of Better Pay Strong union representation isn’t the only reason Costco jobs are so well compensated; the company itself has an unusually forward-looking corporate philosophy. Costco CEO Jim Senegal has said: “We pay much better than Wal-Mart. That’s not altruism. It’s good business.” Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti explained: “From day one, we’ve run the company with the philosophy that if we pay better than average, provide a salary people can live on, have a positive environment and good benefits, we’ll be able to hire better people, they’ll stay longer and be more efficient.” A 2004 Business Week study ran the numbers to test Costco’s business model against that of Wal-Mart. The study confirmed that Costco’s well-compensated employees are more productive. The study shows that Costco’s employees sell more: $795 of sales per square foot, versus only $516 at Sam’s Club, a division of Wal-Mart (which, like Costco, operates as a members-only warehouse club). Consequently Costco pulls in more revenue per employee; U.S. operating profit per hourly employee was $13,647 at Costco versus $11,039 at Sam’s Club. The study also revealed that Costco’s labor costs are actually lower than Wal-Mart’s as a percentage of sales. Its labor and overhead costs (classed as SG&A, or selling, general and administrative expenses) are 9.8% of revenues, compared to Wal-Mart’s 17%. By compensating its workers well, Costco also enjoys rates of turnover far below industry norms. Costco’s rate of turnover is one-third the industry average of 65% as estimated by the National Retail Foundation. Wal-Mart reports a turnover rate of about 50%. With such rates of employee retention, Costco’s savings are significant. “It costs $2,500 to $3,000 per worker to recruit, interview, test and train a new hire, even in retail,” said Eileen Appelbaum, Professor at Rutgers University’s School of Management and Labor Relations. “With Wal-Mart’s turnover rate that comes to an extra $1.5 to $2 million in costs each year.” Other analysts of the retail industry agree that happier, well-compensated workers help generate bigger profits. George Whalin, president of Retail Management Consultants in San Marcos, Calif., disagrees with many of Wal-Mart’s critics, but said: “There’s no doubt Wal-Mart and many other retailers could do a better job taking care of their employees. The best retailers do take care of their employees — Nordstrom’s, Costco, The Container store — with fair pay, good benefits and managers who care about people. You have fewer employee issues, less turnover and more productivity. It lessens costs to the company.” Still, Wall Street analysts intent on cutting up-front labor costs tend to frown upon Costco’s model. “Costco’s corporate philosophy is to put its customers first, then its employees, then its vendors and finally its shareholders. Shareholders get the short end of stick,” said Deutsche Bank analyst Bill Dreher. But Costco’s stock has quadrupled in the past ten years, and has in the past year inched closer to Wal-Mart’s per-share-price. In fiscal year 2004, Costco recorded record sales and earnings. While Wal-Mart continues to profit and expand, its stock has lost value — in recent months it is 16% off its 52-week high — as sales have been more sluggish as gas prices cause customers to cut back on driving to and from the store. The negative publicity around the company has also caused some damage. Of course, other factors besides low turnover and employee productivity are responsible for Costco’s efficiency. The company has a wealthier customer base than Wal-Mart’s; these customers buy higher-margin goods, purchase in bulk and have steadier spending habits. Costco also saves millions because it does not advertise. More Than Hot Air Besides the efficiency of its workforce, another reason Costco can afford to pay more is that it cuts the fat from executive paychecks. The overall corporate philosophy is that workers deserve a fair share of the profits they help generate — not just a pat on the back or a new job title like “associate.” For example, while CEOs at other major corporations average 531 times the pay of their lowest-paid employees, Sinegal takes only 10 times the pay of his typical employee. His annual salary is $350,000, compared to about $5.3 million awarded to Wal-Mart’s Lee Scott. After California Costco workers ratified their Teamster contract last March, CEO Jim Sinegal said Costco workers are “entitled to buy homes and live in reasonably nice neighborhoods and send their children to school.” That the company’s stated ideals match up with workers’ paychecks helps explain employee loyalty at Costco. Originally from El Salvador, 28-year-old Cesar Martinez has worked at a Redwood City, Calif. Costco for 10 years, serving as a Teamster shop steward for seven years. His pay is now up to $19.42 an hour, which he estimates brings him $43,000 per year. “There’s a feeling here that the company takes care of its employees and wants to share the profits. We feel compensated fairly,” Martinez said. “I’ve stuck with it so long because I like the job. And the salary is solid and we have a pension that gives me security into the future. That’s important to me,” he added. By contrast, some Wal-Mart employees experience the supposed care for “associates” as empty rhetoric. Forty-two-year-old Rosetta Brown, a Sam’s Club employee in Chicago, Ill., for example, stands back each morning when managers and associates gather for the Sam’s Club cheer. “I refuse to do it,” she said. “I don’t believe the company lives up to what they’re cheering for,” she said. Rosetta, mother to five children ranging in age from three to 25, does not feel well compensated at $11.34 per hour after five years. She is also suing Wal-Mart, parent company to Sam’s Club, for costs associated with a herniated disc she suffered when she said she was locked in while working the night shift. Twenty-seven-year-old Jason Mrkwa, who works as a frozen foods stocker in Independence, Kansas, also stands back when it’s cheer time at his store. But he insists he doesn’t hate Wal-Mart: “I’m not another disgruntled employee. I like my job. I just feel cheated with the pay I get.” He started at $7 per hour five years ago, and now makes just $8.53 per hour. Julie Molina, 38, has worked at Costco’s South San Francisco store for 19 years. “People stick around — most people in my store have been there ten years more. No one in retail makes as much as we do. Plus it’s a good working environment.” Molina attributes the positive working environment in large part to the Teamsters’ presence. “It works really well now. When problems arise management comes to the union for advice. But without the union I’m not sure what would take place. Would they treat us like Wal-Mart treats its workers? You hear horror stories,” she said. Of course Costco is not paradise — “On a local level, some managers don’t play fair — they might harass workers, fire them unreasonably or pattern bonuses unfairly. That’s where union representation is the real advantage,” explained Rome Aloise. Into the future, the question will be which model of employee compensation predominates in retail — the high road of Costco or the low road of Wal-Mart. “When companies like Wal-Mart are setting the standard, we have to ask: Do we want to live in a country where the largest employer pays below poverty-level wages, whose workers cannot afford health care?” says Paul Blank, chief spokesperson of Wake Up Wal-Mart, the United Food and Commercial Workers’ new campaign to change the company’s practices. “Or do we want Americans to enjoy a decent income and a sense of security in return for their work?” Costco v. Wal-Mart: How They Stack Up Global Workforce Wal-Mart: 1.6 million associates Costco: 113,000 employees U.S. Workforce Wal-Mart: 1.2 million Costco: 83,600 U.S. Union Members Wal-Mart: 0 Costco: 15,000 U.S. Stores Wal-Mart: 3,600 Costco: 336 Net Profits (2004) Wal-Mart: $10.5 billion Costco: $882 million CEO Salary Bonus (2004) Wal-Mart: $5.3 million Costco: $350,000 Average Pay Wal-Mart: $9.68/hour Costco: $16/hour Health Plan Costs Wal-Mart: Associates pay 34% of premiums deductible ($350-$1,000) Costco: Comprehensive; employees pay 5-8% of premiums Employees Covered By Company Health Insurance Wal-Mart: 48% Costco: 82% Employee Turnover (estimate) Wal-Mart: 50% Costco: 24% Sources: Wal-Mart, Costco, Business Week, Forbes.com

Subject: Kurosawa's Magical Tales of Art
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 05:58:25 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://movies2.nytimes.com/mem/movies/review.html?title1=&title2=AKIRA KUROSAWA'S DREAMS (MOVIE)&reviewer=VINCENT CANBY&pdate=19900824&v_id=1320&reviewer=VINCENT CANBY August 24, 1990 Kurosawa's Magical Tales of Art, Time and Death By VINCENT CANBY A solemn little boy comes out of his house one rainy morning to find the sun shining. His mother, practical and no-nonsense, looks up at the sky and says that foxes hold their wedding processions in such weather. ''They don't like to be seen by people,'' she says, and goes about her business. A solemn little boy comes out of his house one rainy morning to find the sun shining. His mother, practical and no-nonsense, looks up at the sky and says that foxes hold their wedding processions in such weather. ''They don't like to be seen by people,'' she says, and goes about her business. The casual remark is enough to send the boy into the forest, where the trees are as large and imposing as California redwoods. Even the ferns are taller than he is. The rain glistens within the shafts of sunlight. The boy moves with a certain amount of dread. This is forbidden territory. In a moment of pure screen enchantment, a strange wedding procession slowly comes into view, the priests in front, followed by the bridal pair, their attendants, their families, their friends and their retainers. They walk on two feet, like people, but that they are foxes is clear from the orangey whiskers on their otherwise rice-powder-white, masklike faces. The procession appears to be choreographed. The foxes march in unison to the hollow clicking sounds of ancient musical instruments. Every few steps their haughty manner becomes furtive when, as if on cue, they abruptly pause, cock their heads to the side, listen, and then move on. This is the sublime beginning of ''Sunshine Through the Rain,'' the first segment of the eight that compose ''Akira Kurosawa's Dreams,'' the grand new film by the 80-year-old Japanese master who, over a 40-year period, has given us ''Rashomon,'' ''Throne of Blood'' and ''Ran,'' among other classics. The film opens today at the 57th Street Playhouse. One might have expected ''Dreams'' to be a summing up, a coda. It isn't. It's something altogether new for Kurosawa, a collection of short, sometimes fragmentary films that are less like dreams than fairy tales of past, present and future. The magical and mysterious are mixed with the practical, funny and polemical. The movie is about many things, including the terrors of childhood, parents who are as olympian as gods, the seductive nature of death, nuclear annihilation, environmental pollution and, in a segment titled simply ''Crows,'' art. In this, the movie's least characteristic segment, Martin Scorsese, sporting a red beard and an unmistakable New York accent, appears as Vincent van Gogh, beady-eyed and intense, his head newly bandaged. Van Gogh explains the bandage to the young Japanese artist who has somehow managed to invade the world of van Gogh's paintings, entering just down-river from the bridge at Arles: ''Yesterday I was trying to do a self-portrait, but the ear kept getting in the way.'' ''Dreams'' is a willful work, being exactly the kind of film that Kurosawa wanted to make, with no apologies to anyone. Two of the segments may drive some people up the wall. ''Mount Fuji in Red'' is a kind a meta-science fiction visualization of the end of the world or, at least, of Japan. As the citizens of Tokyo panic, Mount Fuji is seen in the distance, silhouetted by the flames from the explosions of nuclear plants in the final stages of melt-down. ''But they told us nuclear plants were safe,'' someone wails. In ''Mount Fuji in Red,'' the nightmare of nuclear holocaust, expressed in psychological terms in Kurosawa's ''I Live in Fear'' (1955), is made manifest in images of cartoonlike bluntness. It may be no coincidence that Ishiro Honda, who has worked off and on as Kurosawa's assistant director since 1949, and is his assistant again on this film, is one of those responsible for such Japanese pop artifacts as ''Godzilla,'' ''Rodan'' and ''The Mysterians.'' ''The Weeping Demon'' segment is Kurosawa's picture of a Beckett-like world, one ravaged by environmental pollution. ''Flowers are crippled,'' someone says, looking at a dandelion six feet tall. Horned mutants roam the earth. In this last pecking order before the end, demons with two horns eat those with only one. ''Dreams'' is moving both for what is on the screen, and for the set of the mind that made it. Among other things, ''Dreams'' suggests in oblique fashion that the past does not exist. What we think of as the past is, rather, a romantic concept held by those too young to have any grasp on the meaning of age. In this astonishingly beautiful, often somber work, emotions experienced long ago do not reappear coated with the softening cobwebs of time. They may have been filed away but, once they are recalled, they are as vivid, sharp and terrifying as they were initially. Time neither eases the pain of old wounds nor hides the scars. For Kurosawa, the present is not haunted by the past. Instead, it's crowded by an accumulation of other present times that include the future. The job is keeping them in order, like unruly foxes. The foxes in ''Sunshine Through the Rain'' are not especially unruly, but their power is real and implacable. When the little boy returns home from the forest, he is met by his mother, who has run out of patience with him. She hands the boy a dagger, neatly sheathed within a bamboo scabbard, and tells him the foxes have left it for him. Since the boy has broken the law protecting the privacy of foxes, they expect him, as a boy of honor, to kill himself. The boy is bewildered. His mother sighs and says that if he can find the foxes again, he might persuade them to forgive him. In that case, he can come home. In the meantime, the door will be locked. The boy looks hopeful. ''But,'' his mother points out, ''they don't often forgive.'' A little boy is also the ''I'' figure, the dreamer, in another magical segment, ''The Peach Orchard,'' about the fury of some imperial spirits when a peach orchard is chopped down while in bloom. The boy explains that he tried to stop the destruction. Because they believe him, the spirits allow him to see the orchard as it once was. As these spirits, life-size dolls representing ancient emperors and the members of their courts, begin to sing, the air becomes thick with orangey-pink blossoms and the doll-figures turn into trees. The effect is exhilarating. In ''The Blizzard,'' a mountain climber is tempted to give in to his frozen exhaustion by a beautiful demon. ''Snow is warm,'' she tells him soothingly. ''Ice is hot.'' ''The Tunnel'' is about a guilt-ridden army officer who must persuade his troops, killed in battle, that they are indeed dead, and that nothing is to be gained by trying to hang onto life. The film's final episode, ''Village of the Watermills,'' features Chishu Ryu as a philosophical old fellow, the elder of an idyllic village where the air and water are clean, where villagers take no more from nature than they need, and where people live on so long that funerals are times of joy and celebration. The style is lyrical, the mood intended to be healing. ''Dreams'' is absolutely stunning to look at and listen to. It is, in fact, almost as much of a trip as people once thought ''Fantasia'' to be. More important, though, is that it's a work by a director who has continued to be vigorous and productive into an age at which most film makers are supposed to go silent. Movies are a young man's game. ''Dreams'' is a report from one of the last true frontiers of cinema.

Subject: In Deep Drought, at 104°
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 05:56:56 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/17/international/africa/17drought.html February 17, 2006 In Deep Drought, at 104°, Dozens of Africans Are Dying By MARC LACEY WAJIR, Kenya — Halima Muhammad is living through the worst drought to hit eastern Africa in decades. Yet when a large pool of fresh water appeared before her the other day in the middle of the scorching earth, this thirsty woman with eight thirsty children did something remarkable: She stayed put. The water, delivered twice a week in a tanker truck to remote settlements in the northeast, is not enough for her community of 6,000 people. Elders divvy it up, requiring suffering souls like her to wait in line for their names to be called before they can approach the pool and scoop out enough to fill a 20-liter jug. It looked like a mirage, so much water in the middle of the hot sand. And soon enough, it was gone, dried up, like all the land around. A sustained period with little or no rain and a lack of government planning for it are widely blamed for this humanitarian crisis, which is affecting a vast swath from Kenya across Ethiopia and Somalia to Djibouti. Dozens of people have died in the merciless heat since December, aid workers and hospital officials say, although the full death toll remains unclear. Already, animals are dying in huge numbers, their rotting carcasses littering the landscape and devastating the local economy. Aid workers estimate that 70 percent of the 260,000 cows in the Wajir district, near the border with Somalia, have died. Even camels drop in the sand. The relatively few wells are nowhere near the tiny patches of vegetation remaining for animals to feed on. So families are faced with the awful choice of allowing their animals, which are their life savings, to either starve to death or die of thirst. Aid organizations are working to prevent the nomadic people from suffering similar fates. Oxfam, which took reporters on a tour of the region this week, is making water deliveries to two dozen remote sites, providing at least some relief. But two 20-liter containers a week is nowhere enough for a family; the usual allotment in refugee camps is 15 liters daily per person. (A liter is slightly more than a quart.) Oxfam's initial deliveries were chaotic affairs, as residents rushed toward the water with their jugs in hand, desperate to get their share. But most people now are going along with the more organized approach. 'I don't know if I'll get any,' said Ms. Muhammad, looking frail as she stood toward the end of a long line. If no water remained when it was her turn, she said, she would ask her friends for some. They would share, she said, because next time they might be the ones who came up empty. Waiting idly for water to come is not the custom here. Women, whose job is collecting it, typically trek to faraway boreholes, where they load up their animals with plastic jugs and then head back home. But the animals are too weak for that now, the women say. The women are also too weak to make the journey, which is about 40 miles round trip, they say. 'Imagine that you are thirsty and you don't get water and you've left your children at home and they are starving,' said Ubai Made, who jumped the line in order to get just enough water for her infant daughter, who hung like a rag doll in her arms. Muhammad Daher, an Oxfam worker reading off the names, said it was difficult to get upset at the line-jumpers. Just then, another one appeared, an old woman who was walking slowly toward the pool. 'Hey!' he yelled, signaling for a community leader to intervene. 'Sometimes they sneak in if they are thirsty,' he said. 'But most of them wait under the trees.' Across the border in Somalia, the situation is equally dire. Families there are also surviving on two 20-liter jugs a week, which amounts to about three glasses of water daily per person, for drinking, cooking and washing. It is so clearly insufficient, especially given temperatures of up to 104 degrees, that some people have begun drinking their own urine to stay alive, aid workers say. 'People are not meeting their basic food and water needs,' said Aydrus S. Daar, a Kenyan who recently took part in an Oxfam-sponsored assessment of southern Somalia. 'The situation is bad.' Buying water from private vendors is not realistic, he said, because the price has soared from about 3 cents for a 20-liter jug in normal times to about $1, more than most people earn in a day. Desperate to relieve their thirst, those with the energy now walk the equivalent of two marathons to collect water, aid workers said, because nearby water sources are nothing more than cracked earth.

Subject: In Turin, Chocolate's the Champion
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 05:54:07 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/15/dining/15turin.html?ex=1297659600&en=473d9f0a7aeb5c25&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 15, 2006 In Turin, Chocolate's the Champion By CORBY KUMMER TURIN, Italy THE streets of Turin may be overflowing with Olympics visitors for a few weeks, but they always overflow with chocolate. Perhaps in no other place in the world, and certainly no other city in Europe, do so many pastry shops and chocolate-makers roast and blend their own cacao beans. The cafes of Turin, still the world's most sumptuous and beautiful, are famous for serving the city's own hot-chocolate-and-espresso drink called bicerin, a fabulous layered concoction served in glass cups. It's easy to stroll down the arcaded shopping streets and sample bars and fancifully shaped pralines wrapped in foil and colored papers with appealing Art Nouveau designs. But the chocolate par excellence — the one that says Turin to the rest of Italy — is the foil-wrapped mini-ingot called giandujotto. Biting into one isn't like eating any other kind of chocolate. The flavor of roasted hazelnuts comes through every bite, with the fruity high notes of fine Central American chocolate in the city's best. The depth of the hazelnuts balances the fruit of the chocolate, and anchors an experience that with the vinification of chocolate has become all too ethereal. The mysterious potency and semi-addictiveness of the combination is familiar to anyone who has smeared Nutella on bread or simply dipped a spoon into a jar of it. Gigi Padovani, a journalist for La Stampa of Turin and author of a brisk history, 'Nutella, un Mito Italiano' ('Nutella, an Italian Myth,' Rizzoli, 2004), calls the spread the 'good blob.' Nutella conquered the world soon after it was invented in Piedmont, the northwestern Italian region of which Turin is the capital, and went onto the market in 1964. But the combination of hazelnut and chocolate predated Nutella by a couple of centuries, and, like much brilliant inspiration, was born of necessity. By the late 18th century (about 150 years after Cortes had introduced chocolate to Spain in 1528) Turin was an international chocolate capital, thanks to trade relations between the ruling House of Savoy and the Spanish court. Turin's chocolate producers exported 750 pounds a day to Austria, Switzerland, Germany and France, according to Sandro Doglio's 'Il Dizionario di Gastronomia del Piemonte' ('The Dictionary of Piedmont Gastronomy,' Daumerie, 1995). Swiss chocolate-makers came to Turin to learn their trade. But supplies of chocolate from the New World became irregular during a naval blockade imposed by Napoleon in 1806 (the French then ruled Piedmont), and the city's chocolate-makers had to look to local products as surrogates. The world's sweetest, most prized hazelnuts grow in the misty hills of the Alta Langa, the southern region of Piedmont around Alba. Roasted and ground with chocolate, the nuts helped the chocolate-makers stretch a scarce import. Chocolate plus hazelnuts conquered the city, and the combination soon took definitive shape in the form we know it today, an ingot with a rounded belly, wrapped in foil. Chocolate-hazelnut paste is tricky to mold, so it was shaped by hand, and named for the hat worn by the puppet Gianduja, a gluttonous, bibulous character who was Turin's contribution to commedia dell'arte. The chocolate-maker Caffarel introduced the candy at the carnival of 1865, and gave it its name in 1867. Powdered milk became a part of the standard formula after Daniel Peter discovered the technique for milk chocolate in 1875 and made Nestlé's fortune. The creation and its creator are still in place — Caffarel bought the rights to use the Olympic symbol during the Winter Games here — and chocolate remains important both as a regional symbol and an employer. In recent history the carriage-trade chocolatier has been Peyrano, founded in 1915 Four years ago, the Peyrano family scandalized Turin's bon ton by merging with a Neapolitan family named Maione. (Turin and Naples, both historically subject to strong French culinary influence, in fact share Italy's most refined pastry and chocolate-making traditions, but the exuberant character of Naples could hardly be further removed from the restraint of Turin.) The box may have lost some of its cachet, but the giandujotti are still excellent, as a trip to the unchanged, and somewhat dusty, store proved during a visit in early February as the city was anticipating the start of the Olympics. Peyrano recently opened a tiny tasting room and shop in an arcade somewhat hidden in the city's historic center; during the Olympics it offers special tastings and rich hot chocolate, which the main store has never sold. Peyrano's 'giandujotto antica formula,' with bombé base and crinkly foil, has a higher proportion of hazelnuts than its 'giandujotto nuova formula,' which has cocoa butter added for easy machine molding and smooth wrapping. The old formula has a slight smokiness that Dr. Mariella Maione, in charge of marketing, says comes from the olive wood the company still uses to roast chocolate. The 'antica' provides a definitive taste, with a satisfying amount of grit and a lingering aftertaste of fruit and roasted nut. It also has no milk — the dividing point in the modern giandujotto competition. 'When people ask me the secret of our giandujotto,' said Dr. Maione, who moved from Naples to Turin when her father became part of the business, 'I tell them there's only one: Torino.' CURRENTLY, the local chocolate king is Guido Gobino, a relative upstart and the son of a chocolate-maker. Mr. Gobino keeps up with the times as both the city's and the country's chocolate-makers mostly have not. (In Piedmont only Domori, under the young and innovative Gianluca Franzoni, known as Mack, has entered the single-origin, sexily packaged international chocolate sweepstakes.) His shop, with a magical factory in the basement, is a city showplace. Mr. Gobino travels the world to sell his products: just before the Olympics, he was promoting his chocolate in Japan. He pays attention to the international single-origin chocolate craze, though he thinks the future will return to blends of beans as supplies of fine cacao grow short. Unlike the city's other chocolate-makers, he makes his own couverture for filled chocolates and high-quality bars, which requires the addition of cocoa butter and refining, in expensive machines, as chocolate for giandujotti does not. Besides giandujotti, his signature products include 'amarissimi,' disks of bitter chocolate mixed with ground cocoa nibs, and nubs of chocolate-coated ginger. In giandujotti, Mr. Gobino made his name with the milkless, mini-sized 'Tourinot,' which has probably the fruitiest flavors and the darkest-toasted nuts of any of the city's elite competitors. Gobino uses only Piedmont hazelnuts, the world's most expensive (almost all other industrial makers use Turkish hazelnuts); one of the five growers Mr. Gobino buys from is his father-in-law. Peyrano and Gobino chocolates are available online (at peyrano.com and Gobino from the New York-based www.gustiamo.com), but some giandujotti still require a trip to the city. Going to find one renowned version at Stratta, in Piazza San Carlo, the city's salon (and NBC headquarters for the Olympics), is practically like going into a museum. Stratta is an 'elegant wonderland' of sweets, as Fred Plotkin says in his book 'Italy for the Gourmet Traveler' (an updated version will be published in May by Kyle Cathie). Adriana Monzeglio, a member of the family that has owned Stratta since 1959, recently explained that the shop has had success with newfangled chocolates with flavors like truffle, pepper and ginger. But giandujotti still account for half of its sales. Its sugar-free giandujotti, lower in milk as well, are surprisingly focused and good. Gertosio, a pastry shop on Via Lagrange, Turin's gourmet row, makes what could be the city's best beginning taster's giandujotto. Gianni Gertosio, scion of a pastry-making family in Cuneo, near the heart of the hazelnut-growing area of Piedmont, decided in 1975 to make giandujotti almost on a dare, according to his son Massimo, who makes them now. Gertosio's giandujotti are decidedly sweet, with an indeterminate but agreeable blend of cacao beans and a strong and welcome flavor of medium-dark roasted hazelnuts. They're mouth-filling, fresh, and unchallenging but very satisfying. For anyone who grew up on Nutella, Gertosio giandujotti are the first stop on a glorious path to chocolate-hazelnut adulthood.

Subject: Westminster Result
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 05:51:20 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/15/sports/othersports/15dogs.html?ex=1297659600&en=901722b917857ad2&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 15, 2006 Westminster Result Feels Like an Upset, but Isn't By JOHN BRANCH An athletic yellow Labrador retriever named Buzz was freed from its pen yesterday afternoon, and smiling people quickly gathered around, as they do when Labs are loose. Buzz had been named the best Labrador at the 130th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. If the best-in-show award was opened to a public vote, as if this were the television show 'American Idol,' Buzz and other Labradors might routinely win the big prize. Labradors are the most popular breed in the country, according to the American Kennel Club. But Westminster, while an immensely popular event, is not a populist one. Before last night's competition at Madison Square Garden, a Labrador had never won best in show. Neither had the friendly golden retriever, the low-centered dachshund, the beagle of Snoopy fame or most of the other top 10 breeds. Westminster bills itself as America's Dog Show. But America's favorite dogs rarely, if ever, win. More than other breeds, terriers win. And last night, the champion was again a terrier, with a twist. A sturdy dog named Rufus (Ch. Rocky Top's Sundance Kid) — tan with a strong wedge-shaped white snout — became the first colored bull terrier to win Westminster. His cousins in the terrier group, including a white bull terrier in 1918, have taken top honors 43 other times. 'He's the cutest dog around,' the handler Kathryn Kirk said as dozens of photographers and glad-handers surrounded Rufus, a 5-year-old from Holmdel, N.J. For a time, this year's best-in-show event looked different, if not entirely like a popularity contest. Of the seven finalists, five breeds — the fan-favorite golden retriever, the firehouse mascot Dalmatian, the intimidating Rottweiler, the wiry Scottish deerhound and the stout colored bull terrier — had never won the biggest prize at Westminster. They joined the pug, a winner in 1981, and the well-fluffed Old English sheepdog, a champion twice before. James Reynolds, the best-in-show judge, playfully put the dogs through the paces, at one point approaching them and looking them each in the eyes. He crouched to greet the pug. The crowd, perhaps viewing familiarity in the breed as the most important trait, had pulled mostly for the golden retriever and was increasingly smitten with the Dalmatian and the sheepdog. When the crowd hushed and Reynolds made his pronouncement, it seemed almost like an upset, although it might have been the furthest thing from it. Selecting a terrier — even a variation that had never won — from the more than 2,500 dogs in 165 breeds that had entered the competition restored some semblance of tradition. 'The crowd never sways it,' said Barbara Bishop, one of Rufus's co-owners. 'A judge does what a judge wants to do. You could stand on your head and scream, and it wouldn't matter.' Kirk said she was most worried about the Dalmatian, Boomer (Ch. Merry Go Round Mach Ten), owned by Dick and Linda Stark. They also own Carlee, the German shorthaired pointer who won last year's best in show. The Starks became the first owners to win back-to-back best in shows with different dogs. Rufus, shorthaired with a strong, bullish build and a stoic presence, is the type of dog that the country will come to know, if not recognize and adore. But why a victory for the dog-next-door type is so rare at Westminster is a matter of debate in dog circles. There is a sense that in a show designed to find an extraordinary and memorable dog as best in show, most of the top breeds are just too, well, ordinary. Popular dogs tend to plod, not prance. They are more wash-and-wear than primp-and-preen. They catch Frisbees, take up too much room in bed, scratch their itches on the corners of walls and knock vases off end tables with their uncontrollable tail wagging. 'Look at the Labrador,' said Buzz's owner, Kathy Sneider, of Plymouth, Mass. 'It looks like the type of dog that would be in a children's book with the word 'dog' under it. It's your basic dog. And I think that hurts its chances.' She made that comment before watching the group victory by the golden retriever, the second most-popular breed among Americans but only a second-time selection in the sporting group. Of the top 10 breeds in popularity, only 2 — the seventh-ranked boxer and eighth-ranked poodle — have won more than once. Six of the top 10 breeds have never won. The reception for Andy (Ch. Chuckanut Party Favour O' Novel), the golden retriever, was telling. He is from Bellingham, Wash., and owned by Ken Matthews and Wayne Miller. Time and again, Andy elicited the evening's most raucous response. Matthews, showing the dog, was jolted by the reception. 'They are popular, but that was like thunder,' he said. 'It was like, 'Holy, moly.' ' Westminster officials are not overly concerned that their show is out of touch with the sensibilities of the millions said to be watching the event from home. More unsung dogs are winning. The past four winning breeds had arrived with just two previous best in shows at Westminster. But eight varieties of terriers have multiple Westminster victories — nine, if you combine the bull terrier's colored and white versions. 'Terriers handle this kind of environment very well,' said the show's chairman, Tom Bradley, who breeds Labrador retrievers. 'This is their ballpark, so to speak.' That leaves the most popular breeds fighting against that home-field advantage — an unusual spot to be in, considering they are the ones with the true advantage back home.

Subject: Celebrity Freebies
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 05:50:17 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/15/movies/redcarpet/15bags.html?ex=1297659600&en=11f06c4fc9670b2a&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 15, 2006 Celebrity Freebies: A Force Irresistible? By SHARON WAXMAN LOS ANGELES — Lash Fary, one of Hollywood's sultans of swag, remembers the first time he called a company and suggested that it pay him for the privilege of providing its products to celebrities, free. Executives were confused. 'The hard part was convincing companies, six and seven years ago, that they should give their products away to rich people and pay us for the privilege of doing so,' Mr. Fary said. He was speaking in the gifting lounge for the Grammy Awards, just one red-carpeted stretch beyond the stage at the Staples Center, where performers rehearsed, before being lavished with skin creams, fruit-infused vodka, a Gibson guitar and a $3,500 coupon for party planning. Today it's all different, Mr. Fary, 34, explained. Now companies vie for the opportunity to be included in what he calls his 'interactive gifting suite,' where they have a face-to-face opportunity to press their wares on the rich and famous, in the hope that the celebrity will be seen with their items and set a trend. Mr. Fary's fee for providing that opportunity: $20,000. For a more modest $6,000, he was willing to include a company's product in the gift baskets that went to presenters and performers in this year's Grammys (estimated value: $54,000). In this Hollywood awards season, the piles of free stuff being handed to celebrities — nominees, award presenters, performers and members of their entourages — is escalating, and the number of Mr. Fary's competitors is growing, too. Originally conceived at the Academy Awards in 1989 as a way to thank actors for presenting awards at the Oscars, the gift basket has in recent years outgrown its origins to become a marketing juggernaut in its own right, in some cases all but overtaking the events themselves. Even celebrities seem somewhat mystified by the trend. Gwyneth Paltrow, for instance, expressed surprise on the red carpet of the Golden Globes at having received a cruise to Antarctica and Tasmania in her gift basket. (Estimated value: $22,000.) The gift phenomenon may create some unexpected problems for the organizations that sponsor them. At a recent board meeting of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which presents the Golden Globes, members fretted about what to do with their extra gift bags, valued at $62,000 each. On the advice of its tax lawyer, the association decided that 'none of the leftover bags may be given to any member, board or otherwise, or his family,' according to the meeting notes. Lee Sheppard, a contributing editor to the tax journal Tax Notes, said that celebrities would do well to pay attention to the tax implications. 'Queen Latifah is not getting a gift; Queen Latifah is getting income,' Ms. Sheppard said, speaking hypothetically of the star. 'And the company is having a deduction for a form of advertising. Tax law does not recognize this as a gift.' Michael Harris, president of Paragon Business Management, who manages entertainment clients like the reality show star Jesse James, said, 'If it's a fee for service, if you get this when you show up to do something, there would be taxable exposure.' But the issue is complicated, he added, because of the varying values that might be placed on a gift. 'The I.R.S.'s appetite to enforce this type of transaction would depend on the perceived value,' Mr. Harris said. Mindful of the risks of losing the public focus on movies, the Oscars have so far been careful to resist adding a 'giveaway lounge' to the bonus of the basket at the awards. 'That's a rather unusual setup, and that's not the way we do it,' said Leslie Unger, spokeswoman for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which presents the awards. But the academy cannot stop Mr. Fary from delivering his own fabulous consolation prize to the Oscar losers in the main acting categories. Scheduled for delivery a day after the March 5 telecast, it will include a three-night stay at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, a coupon for Lasik eye surgery and a set of high-thread-count bed linens. (The academy does not permit companies to reveal their participation in the official gift basket until the end of the month, but it is similarly extravagant.) At other events the 'gifting experience,' as it is now called, becomes more lavish every year. At the Screen Actors Guild awards last month, winners and presenters went directly from their televised moment behind the podium to a retreat behind the stage. Don Cheadle, nominated as best supporting actor for 'Crash,' came backstage during the telecast to collect a pearl, multistrand bracelet from an exclusive Los Angeles boutique and a trip for five nights to a Bora Bora resort. While those companies may not have gotten any marketing bang from those gifts, a presenter, Terrence Howard, did allow his picture to be taken with a LeVian watch he had just received. 'For that company, that's a homerun,' said Karen Wood, the president of 'Backstage Creations,' who organized the SAG lounge and has helped fuel the phenomenon in the past five years. 'Celebrities are very discerning. If they like a product, it translates to the public as trendsetting. Buzz starts building around that type of interaction.' Maybe, or maybe not. For every success story of an actor posing with a watch, a dozen other companies see their products disappear into limousines, never to be glimpsed in public again. And in the case of the highest-priced items — the trip to Antarctica, the party planning offer — only 5 percent to 10 percent are ever redeemed by the celebrity, Ms. Wood and others in her line of work say. But whether or not the gifts actually generate buzz, nearly every award show now includes them as part of the event, making the first two months of the year a freebie bonanza for the anointed few. In addition to SAG, the Directors Guild of America, the Grammys, the Independent Spirit Awards and the Golden Globes all have their own luxury baskets worth tens of thousands of dollars. Companies at the Grammy gifting lounge said the steep fee for participation was worthwhile. 'We're a small company, so this is a significant investment for us,' Marla Allen, the wholesale distributor of Forticelle skin care, said, standing beside her display in the lounge. 'But this gives us exposure to cross into the retail market.' Across the tent, a marketing consultant was handing out guitars by Gibson, the well-known American company, at $3,000 an instrument. 'This is the first time they're giving guitars,' Mr. Fary said. 'Usually it's a duffel bag.' But Gibson didn't really have a choice, he explained; another company had contacted Mr. Fary offering to give guitars, and Gibson — which had priority as a partner in the Grammys' charity, MusiCares — matched the offer. Strumming a model designed by U2's guitarist, The Edge, the Gibson consultant Ron Maldonado reeled off his list of eligible giftees: Mariah Carey, Carlos Santana, Kelly Clarkson, Jamie Foxx. Also Teri Hatcher, Ellen DeGeneres and Leslie Moonves, co-president of Viacom. Teri Hatcher? 'If she sits on my lap she gets two,' he grinned.

Subject: A Deadly Vacuum
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 05:48:58 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/16/opinion/16thu1.html?ex=1297746000&en=3f52223e10c90bc4&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 16, 2006 A Deadly Vacuum In the Bush administration, there is no such thing as failure at the top. When something goes wrong because of bad leadership, punishment is meted out to the foot soldiers and middle management, while the people in charge remain unscathed. Now we'll see whether the rule holds true in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Yesterday an 11-member, all-Republican Congressional panel released a scathing report on the leadership failures before, during and after Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. This report, 520 pages in all, needs to be examined carefully for as many specific disaster-response lessons as possible. For example, more than four years after Sept. 11, many of the same communications issues that hampered operations at the World Trade Center — impeding the emergency responders' ability to talk to one another — still plagued Katrina rescue and relief missions. But right now one thing is clear. While there is no shortage of incompetent public officials involved in this tragedy, one stands out above the rest. That person is Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. According to the panel's report, Mr. Chertoff has 'primary responsibility for managing the national response to a catastrophic disaster,' yet he handled his decision-making responsibilities 'late, ineffectively, or not at all.' A FEMA official named Marty Bahamonde sent word back to Washington on the same day Katrina struck, saying the 17th Street Canal levee in New Orleans had been breached. This was not based on a rumor; he had seen it with his own eyes from a Coast Guard helicopter. FEMA public affairs officials sent Mr. Chertoff's chief of staff an e-mail note that night. The former FEMA director, Michael Brown, says he notified the White House at the same time. Yet the next day, President Bush said New Orleans had 'dodged the bullet,' while Mr. Chertoff flew to Atlanta for a briefing on avian flu. These are the people charged with protecting us and, failing that, rescuing us. This department was put together based on the belief that everyone would be safer with every facet of preparedness, protection and response under one umbrella. The first time this new system was tested, it failed. And it failed on Mr. Chertoff's watch. Now Mr. Chertoff and his opposite number inside the White House are proposing changes to FEMA, including a new professional response force. While this is a good idea in and of itself, big organizational solutions will not help if there is a leadership vacuum. It would be nice for the administration to finally send a message that if important people do a bad job, they go away. But the best tribute possible to the roughly 1,400 people who died along the Gulf Coast would be to help those still suffering in Mississippi and Louisiana, and those evacuees stranded hundreds of miles from home. Right now, almost six months after Katrina hit, families are being forced to leave hotels and are moving into shelters in Louisiana. If that is not a disaster, we do not know what is. This crisis isn't over, but officials aren't behaving as if they are on a crisis footing. There is no sense of urgency in the White House or in Congress to ensure that people get the help they need. Many people died. Many more can yet be saved.

Subject: Journal Shut by Beijing Censors
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 05:44:57 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/17/international/asia/17china.html?ex=1297832400&en=abf76529fd147560&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 17, 2006 Journal Shut by Beijing Censors Will Return By JIM YARDLEY LINXIA, China — A provocative news and opinion journal that was closed last month by Chinese censors will resume publication in March but without the editor and top investigative reporter who earned it a reputation for aggressive reporting, the editor confirmed Thursday. The decision to restart the journal, Freezing Point, a weekly supplement of the official China Youth Daily, was made as the secretive Propaganda Department faced increased criticism for its aggressive censorship of newspapers and the Internet. On Tuesday in Beijing, a dozen former high-level party officials and senior scholars released a letter that denounced the closing of Freezing Point and called for a 'free flow of ideas.' But if the rebirth of Freezing Point suggests that party censors have bowed to pressure, the sidelining of its top two journalists suggests that the publication will not be allowed to continue its combative style of journalism. Li Datong, the editor of Freezing Point, said that he and Lu Yuegang, the deputy editor and a well-known investigative reporter, had been told that the magazine would restart March 1 without them. The two were transferred to a research branch of the newspaper, Mr. Li said. He also predicted that a new, more compliant tone would be evident in the March 1 issue. He said that it would include criticism of Yuan Weishi, a professor at Zhongshan University who had written an article in Freezing Point that said Chinese textbooks soft-pedaled the mistakes of Qing Dynasty leaders in the late 19th century. Propaganda officials cited Mr. Yuan's article in their Jan. 24 order to close the journal, which had also published exposés of official corruption. At a regular Thursday briefing with foreign news organizations in Beijing, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Qin Gang, said that Mr. Yuan's article was the reason Freezing Point was being 'reorganized.' Mr. Li and other editors at Freezing Point plan to release a rebuttal on Friday, possibly in a letter to President Hu Jintao. 'Broadly speaking, this is an approach they've used before,' said Kenneth G. Lieberthal, who was a China specialist in the Clinton administration. 'You shut down a publication and move out of key positions the people that cause you the most concern. In the process, you send a shot across the bow to the remaining editorial staff. And then you reopen.' In recent years, the amount of information available in Chinese newspapers and on Web sites has soared, often leaving party censors scrambling to keep up. With most newspapers now required to meet their budgets with little or no government money, editors push for the sort of aggressive or titillating reporting that attracts readers. But in recent months, officials have sought to tighten censorship. In addition to the changes at Freezing Point, editors have been fired at three other publications known for muckraking. Microsoft and Google have been criticized for helping China to censor online content, while Yahoo has been accused of providing information that helped the government jail dissident writers. In Congressional hearings in Washington this week, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and Cisco Systems were rebuked for trampling on civil liberties in China. Mr. Lieberthal said the censorship by Chinese officials was a serious matter but did not necessarily mean that news organizations were facing a lasting chill. He said the Chinese media network was now so vast that censors could only 'massage' the system by choosing as their targets certain journalists and publications. In some cases, he said fired journalists turned up at other publications months later.

Subject: China Shuts Down Influential Weekly
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 05:42:51 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/25/international/asia/25china.html?ex=1295845200&en=b05ce7a15a1526e6&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss January 25, 2006 China Shuts Down Influential Weekly Newspaper in Crackdown on Media By JOSEPH KAHN BEIJING - China's Propaganda Department on Tuesday ordered the closing of Bing Dian, an influential weekly newspaper that often tackled touchy political and social subjects, as the authorities stepped up efforts to curb the spread of information and views the Communist Party considers unfavorable. The shutdown came the same day that Google announced that it would begin steering its Chinese users to www.google.cn, which will restrict access to content that China's media monitors consider problematic. President Hu Jintao has been tightening controls on expression as his leadership grapples with mounting internal challenges, including social unrest over corruption, pollution, unpaid wages and land seizures. Though the Chinese news media have never been permitted to criticize top leaders, television, newspapers and Web-based news sites, now mostly commercially driven, have often competed to break explosive news stories and discuss sensitive topics. But authorities under Mr. Hu have slowly but systematically purged editors who defy propaganda controls and have closed or reorganized publications that they believe have become too bold, making the news media more timid today than they were regarded as being in recent years. Bing Dian, or Freezing Point, published as a supplement to the influential newspaper China Youth Daily, was one of the few major news outlets that routinely printed in-depth investigative stories and broached delicate topics. The order to cease publication is effective immediately, the paper's longtime editor, Li Datong, said in a telephone interview. 'This is an intolerable step that has absolutely no basis in law and is in fact completely illegal,' he said. It cannot be appealed, he said. The authorities cited the publication of a lengthy study of Chinese middle-school textbooks as a reason for the order, Mr. Li said. The Jan. 11 article discussed what the author, Yuan Weishi, a Zhongshan University professor, referred to as official distortions of history to emphasize the humiliations China suffered at the hands of imperial powers. He criticized the textbooks' treatment of events like the Boxer Rebellion and the burning of the Summer Palace by British and French troops in 1860, which he said were partly the result of mistakes by then-flailing Qing Dynasty leaders. 'We are at a critical moment in our modernization and the key to the success of our development is understanding our system and mental model,' he wrote. 'I was shocked to see that few things had changed since the Cultural Revolution.' Mr. Li said the article, though provocative, was just an excuse for closing the paper. In August, a letter by Mr. Li led to a revolt at the China Youth Daily group after the paper's new party-appointed editor, Li Erliang, sought to impose a review system that graded the staff on factors including the reaction their work elicited from party leaders. The letter, which was posted on the Web, and the backlash resulted in the modification of the review system.

Subject: Glaciers Flow to Sea at a Faster Pace
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Feb 17, 2006 at 05:33:49 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/17/science/17climate.html?ex=1297832400&en=dfaa1274873ace01&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 17, 2006 Glaciers Flow to Sea at a Faster Pace, Study Says By ANDREW C. REVKIN The amount of ice flowing into the sea from large glaciers in southern Greenland has almost doubled in the last 10 years, possibly requiring scientists to increase estimates of how much the world's oceans could rise under the influence of global warming, according to a study being published today in the journal Science. The study said there was evidence that the rise in flows would soon spread to glaciers farther north in Greenland, which is covered with an ancient ice sheet nearly two miles thick in places, and which holds enough water to raise global sea levels 20 feet or more should it all flow into the ocean. The study compared various satellite measurements of the creeping ice in 1996, 2000 and 2005, and was done by researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and the University of Kansas. Glaciers are creeping rivers of ice that accelerate or slow and grow thicker or shrink depending on the interplay of a variety of conditions including rates of snowfall and temperature and whether water lubricates the interface between ice and the rock below. Sometimes the rate of movement in a particular glacier can change abruptly, but the speedup in Greenland has been detected simultaneously in many glaciers, said Eric J. Rignot, the study's author, who has extensively studied glacier flows at both ends of the earth. 'When you have this widespread behavior of the glaciers, where they all speed up, it's clearly a climate signal,' he said in an interview. 'The fact that this has been going on now over 10 years in southern Greenland suggests this is not a short-lived phenomenon.' Richard B. Alley, an expert on Greenland's ice at Pennsylvania State University who did not participate in the study, agreed that the speedup of glaciers in various places supported the idea that this was an important new trend and not some fluke. 'There's no way that the Jakobshavn Glacier on the west side can call up the Helheim on the other side of the ice sheet and say, 'Let's get going,' ' he said. A separate commentary published in Science by Julian A. Dowdeswell of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Britain noted that the rising flows could be a result of both the rapid deterioration of the miles of floating 'tongues' of ice where the glaciers enter the sea and an increase in water melting on the ice surface and percolating down through crevasses, where it can reduce friction with the underlying rock.

Subject: Beijing Censors Taken to Task
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 06:16:23 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/15/international/asia/15china.html?ex=1297659600&en=8faa0e59baded7b8&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 15, 2006 Beijing Censors Taken to Task in Party Circles By JOSEPH KAHN BEIJING — A dozen former Communist Party officials and senior scholars, including a onetime secretary to Mao, a party propaganda chief and the retired bosses of some of the country's most powerful newspapers, have denounced the recent closing of a prominent news journal, helping to fuel a growing backlash against censorship. A public letter issued by the prominent figures, dated Feb. 2 but circulated to journalists in Beijing on Tuesday, appeared to add momentum to a campaign by a few outspoken editors against micromanagement, personnel shuffles and an ever-expanding blacklist of banned topics imposed on China's newspapers, magazines, television stations and Web sites by the party's secretive Propaganda Department. The letter criticized the department's order on Jan. 24 to shut down Freezing Point, a popular journal of news and opinion, as an example of 'malignant management' and an 'abuse of power' that violates China's constitutional guarantee of free speech. The letter did not address Beijing's pressure on Web portals and search engines. That issue gained attention abroad after Microsoft and Google acknowledged helping the government filter information and Yahoo was accused of providing information from its e-mail accounts that was used to jail dissident writers. The issue will be the subject of Congressional hearings in Washington on Wednesday. In addition to shutting down Freezing Point, a weekly supplement to China Youth Daily, since late last year, officials responsible for managing the news media have replaced editors of three other publications that developed reputations for breaking news or exploring sensitive political and social issues. The interventions amounted to the most extensive exertion of press control since President Hu Jintao assumed power three years ago. But propaganda officials are also facing rare public challenges to their legal authority to take such actions, including a short strike and string of resignations at one newspaper and defiant open letters from two editors elsewhere who had been singled out for censure. Those protests have suggested that some people in China's increasingly market-driven media industry no longer fear the consequences of violating the party line. The authors of the letter predicted that the country would have difficulty countering the recent surge of social unrest in the countryside unless it allowed the news media more leeway to expose problems that lead to violent protests. 'At the turning point in our history from a totalitarian to a constitutional system, depriving the public of freedom of speech will bring disaster for our social and political transition and give rise to group confrontation and social unrest,' the letter said. 'Experience has proved that allowing a free flow of ideas can improve stability and alleviate social problems.' Some of the signers held high official posts during the 1980's, when the political environment in China was becoming more open. Although they have long since retired or been eased from power, a collective letter from respected elder statesmen can often help mobilize opinion within the ruling party. One of those people who signed the petition is Li Rui, Mao's secretary and biographer. Others include Hu Jiwei, a former editor of People's Daily, the party's leading official newspaper; Zhu Houze, who once ran the party's propaganda office; and Li Pu, a former deputy head of the New China News Agency, the main official press agency. Party officials and political experts say President Hu, who was groomed to take over China's top posts for more than a decade, has often attended closely to the opinions of the party's elder statesmen. Mr. Hu is widely thought to favor tighter media controls. Party officials said he referred approvingly to media management in Cuba and North Korea in a speech in late 2004. But he has also solicited support from more liberal elements. Last year Mr. Hu organized high-profile official ceremonies to mark the 90th anniversary of the birth of Hu Yaobang, the reform-oriented party leader who lost his posts in a power struggle and whose death in 1989 was the initial cause of the student-led democracy demonstrations that year. Some of the officials who signed the petition were close associates of Hu Yaobang. The reaction against the shutdown of Freezing Point was organized by its longtime editor, Li Datong, 53, a party member and senior official of the party-run China Youth Daily. Mr. Li broadcast news of the secret order on his personal blog moments after he received it and has since mobilized supporters to put pressure on the Propaganda Department to retract the decision. Under his stewardship, Freezing Point became one of the most consistently provocative journals of news and public opinion. It published investigative articles on sensitive topics like the party's version of historical events, nationalism and the party-run education system. Freezing Point ran opinion articles on politics in Taiwan and rural unrest in mainland China that caused a stir in media circles in recent months. The cause cited for closing Freezing Point was an opinion piece by a historian named Yuan Weishi. He argued that Chinese history textbooks tended to ignore mistakes and provocations by leaders of the Qing Dynasty that may have incited attacks by foreign powers in the late 19th century. Mr. Li often tussled with his bosses at China Youth Daily and officials at the Propaganda Department. But he has also cultivated support among the party elite. He often speaks supportively of President Hu and quotes extensively from the writings of Marx, who he says favored a robust free press. He has maintained that the Propaganda Department had overstepped its authority by ordering Freezing Point closed, and he filed a formal complaint to the party's disciplinary arm. 'The propaganda office is an illegal organization that has no power to shut down a publication,' Mr. Li said in an interview. 'Its power is informal, and it can only exercise it if people are afraid.' He added, 'I am not afraid.' Mr. Li scored an initial victory last week, when propaganda officials told China Youth Daily to draft a plan to revive Freezing Point, which had been formally closed for 'rectification,' Mr. Li and another editor at the newspaper said. Some media experts had predicted that the authorities would not allow Freezing Point to reopen, and the new order was treated as a signal that officials had misjudged the reaction to its closing. Shortly after the contretemps at China Youth Daily broke out, the former editor of another national publication attacked the bosses who had replaced him, saying they had exercised self-censorship in the face of pressure from propaganda officials. Chen Jieren, who lost his position last week as the editor of Public Interest Times, posted a letter online entitled 'Ridiculous Game, Despicable Intrigue.' The letter disputed his bosses' statement that he had been dismissed for 'bad management skills' and said he had a struggled constantly against senior officials for the right 'to report the truth with a conscience.' One recent issue of Public Interest Times mocked the poor quality of English translations on official government Web sites. In a separate incident earlier this year, a group of editors and reporters at the party-run Beijing News declined to report for work after the editor of the paper, known for breaking news stories on subjects the Propaganda Department has ruled off limits, was replaced. Many of the protesters have since resigned, reporters at the newspaper said. The resistance against censorship could signal a decisive shift in China's news media controls, already under assault from the proliferation of e-mail, text messaging, Web sites, blogs and other new forums for news and opinion that the authorities have struggled to bring under their supervision. Even most of the major party-run national publications in China, including China Youth Daily, no longer receive government subsidies and must depend mainly on income from circulation and advertising to survive. That means providing more news or features that people want to pay for, including exclusive stories and provocative views that go well beyond the propaganda fare carried by the New China News Agency or People's Daily. Few serious publications survive for long without subsidies if they do not have popular content, editors say. 'Every serious publication in China faces tough choices,' said Mr. Li of Freezing Point. 'You can publish stories people want to read and risk offending the censors. Or you can publish only stories that the party wants published and risk going out of business.'

Subject: France Télécom Plans to Cut 17,000 Jobs
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 06:14:32 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/14/business/worldbusiness/15telecom.web.html?ex=1297659600&en=1b0cf5d3abaa0b68&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 14, 2006 France Télécom Plans to Cut 17,000 Jobs By JAMES KANTER PARIS - France Télécom, the struggling telecommunications giant, said Tuesday it would cut 17,000 jobs, or about 8 percent of its work force, as it predicted a revolutionary shift to Internet telephony by the end of this year. 'What has changed is the pace of evolution,' said Didier Lombard, the chief executive of France Télécom, in a Webcast conference with analysts. He forecast that 40 percent of French fixed-line retail service would move to VoIP, or voice over Internet protocol, in 2006. Saying the company was 'in crisis mode,' Mr. Lombard said he would cut 23,000 positions and create 6,000 new ones. 'We have to hire young people to renew the work force,' he said, hoping to shift the former state monopoly to a technology-oriented culture. Some 10,000 other jobs within the company would be reshuffled, he added. Mr. Lombard said he would streamline management and give workers incentives to leave voluntarily in order to avoid forced layoffs. Analysts said Mr. Lombard's predictions on the explosion of Web-based telephony reflected an industry coming to grips with the Internet's power in telecommunications. The popularity of services like Free and Skype, Internet-based phone services, will shrink profit margins and require phone companies to become ever more nimble. 'We seem to have reached a tipping point in terms of perception,' said James Golob, co-head of telecommunications research at Goldman Sachs in London. VoIP appears to be growing 'a lot faster, radically faster, than one would have expected six months ago,' he said. Others said Mr. Lombard's bold predictions on Web-based calling looked overblown, and might be aimed at convincing anxious workers and politicians that layoffs are crucial. Lars Godell, an analyst at Forrester Research, said only about 7 percent of French households with high-speed Internet connections were using Web-based calling services as of May 2005. According to Forrester Research, only 33 percent of French households have high-speed service, a far smaller number of homes than Mr. Lombard was referring to. Mr. Godell predicted fewer than 30 percent of those high-speed users would be making VoIP calls this year. Mr. Godell said he was puzzled by Mr. Lombard's predictions. 'It would be a revolution it were to be true,' he said. Mr. Lombard, who was named chief executive a year ago after Thierry Breton left to become finance minister, faces tough competition in the mobile market, particularly in Britain, and declining revenues in France and Poland from other services. To face the challenge, Mr. Lombard said, he would focus on high-speed Internet services for homes and cellphones, systems linking devices within customers' homes, and providing customers with more entertainment and information. Amid the anxiety, the company announced an 89 percent rise in net income to 5.71 million euros, but the figure was skewed by the acquisition of the rest of Equant, a data network company, and the sale of 45 percent of the Pages Jaunes Group, a telephone directory company, in 2004 and 2005. Sales rose 6.2 percent to 49.04 billion euros, while core earnings, or the gross operating margin, rose 2.8 percent to 18.42 billion euros. Shares of France Télécom closed up 3 percent at 19.16 euros. France Télécom is the second-largest telecommunications company in Europe after Deutsche Telekom, and the world's second-largest provider of high-speed DSL Internet services after China Telecom.

Subject: Attention Avid Shoppers
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 06:13:34 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://travel2.nytimes.com/2006/02/15/travel/15tokyo.html?ex=1297659600&en=e5a5946894ca9bfe&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 15, 2006 Attention Avid Shoppers: A High-End Complex Opens Its Doors By MATTHEW RUSLING It is 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 11, the much anticipated opening day of Omotesando Hills, a sprawling, upscale Tokyo shopping development spanning the Harajuku and Aoyama neighborhoods and running along the historic tree-lined Omotesando Avenue, the Japanese equivalent of the Champs-Élysées. The event has drawn everyone from tourists to the fashion-obsessed, and on this crisp, sunny Saturday morning, the line outside stretches down the long block. Many shoppers have been here for three or more hours to get a look at the object of so much recent media attention. 'We saw this place on the news and are really looking forward to going in,' says Nozomi Onodera, 20, in a long, fur-lined white coat with a Louis Vuitton bag at her side. Rikiya Tsukada, 20, adds, 'We have been planning to come here for a week.' At 10:45 a.m. the doors open, and about 100 shoppers are let in. Directed by an event staff in hooded blue jackets shouting through red megaphones, the line starts moving, excitement building fast. Soon the entrance is throbbing with visitors, their knee-length boots and high heels clacking on granite floors amid a chorus of excited voices. Young women in black blazers and skirts greet visitors at the door with 'irashaimasei' ('welcome'). Immediately visible to the right is the French chocolatier shop Jean-Paul Hévin, to the left Dolce & Gabbana and straight ahead, Yves Saint Laurent. The place is teaming with visitors snapping photos with cellphones and digital cameras, and with shoppers flocking to the first few stores within reach. Once the crowd flows out into the corridors, there is finally room to walk. The place is designed in an upward slope. The halls, if stretched out of their zigzag shape, are the same length as the avenue outside. New Age music and sounds of waterfalls and birds are piped in, and what seems to be the shadows of trees graze the walls. The complex has six floors above ground and six below, with the shops located from the third underground floor to the third floor above ground; there are 38 apartments spread out over five floors on the east and west wings, and the three lowest levels are for parking). A look down over the railing reveals a widening staircase that runs through the center of the sublevels. Omotesando Hills is a world away from urban Japan's bargain-hunting culture, where hundred-yen stores (the Japanese equivalent of the dollar store) seem to occupy every corner of the world's most expensive city. Most of the 93 shops, cafes and restaurants here reflect Japan's re-emerging interest in the high end as it perhaps starts to pull out of a decade-long economic slump. The construction of Omotesando Hills, designed by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando and built at a cost of $330 million, has been marked by controversy. It sits on the site of the former Dojunkai Apartments, which were built in 1927 as part of the city's reconstruction after the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923. They later became home to several small galleries and boutiques; the buildings' Bauhaus-influenced facades were a scarce constant in Tokyo's ever-changing landscape. Some longtime residents have expressed disappointment with the imposing structure. But to an observer with no attachment to the neighborhood and unacquainted with the finer points of architecture that the facade is said to have transgressed, the interior is a welcome departure from the overt showiness of the shopping districts in Shibuya or Roppongi. Thoughts of controversy quickly melt away as even this somewhat jaded patron gets caught up in a whirlwind of brand names. Shoppers can find everything from Jimmy Choo, based in London, to Lupo, from Barcelona. There is even a Mercedes showroom, as well as a wine-tasting restaurant. At the Italian boutique Patrizia Pepe, saleswomen are wearing sandals and sporting the store's spring line. At Dan Genten, a Japanese leather goods store, a man's leather backpack goes for around $900. Contrary to Western stereotypes of incessantly bowing, starch-shirted Japanese businessmen, most shoppers and store employees here are cool and chic, urbane and brand-savvy. Catering to women in their late 20's to early 30's range, the dimly lighted Self Frame feels like a trendy New York night club. 'We are casual with a twist of attitude,' says the store director, Yasuko Osyuya, herself in her early 30's with hair colored a light brown and dressed in one of the store's signature looks: jeans hanging from the hips and a sharp white jacket over a black tank top. Today was also the first day for Beyes, a shop aimed at men in the 30 to 40 range, which started as a Web site. 'Our target is fashionable men who like fashionable things,' says the owner, Yoshihiro Hidaka, 31. Indeed, one can find everything from $100 neckties to the latest Sony laptops. Imaii Colore is a spa that specializes in hair coloring, and offers everything from massages to facials. The store is owned by Hideo Imai, founder of the Japan Hair Color Association, who says he regularly sends his stylists to the United States and Europe to learn the latest in coloring technology. For most here today, the reaction is positive. 'This place is much better to walk around than Roppongi Hills,' says Nami Saito, 28, with a cheerful smile, who adds that she would like to come again. But some are less than enthralled by the new development. 'My first impression was that it was just like Europe — meaning it has very few bathrooms,' says Kayoko Sato, 60, with a laugh. 'And there are a lot of expensive things that only hillzoku can afford,' referring to people who live in Roppongi Hills, an apartment complex for the wealthy. Still, most are welcoming Omotesando Hills as the newest addition to Tokyo's long list of hot spots. And while the main draw this opening day seems not so much the shopping as the overall spectacle, Omotesando Hills is certainly poised to top the list of Tokyo's most avid — and well-heeled — shoppers.

Subject: Maybe You're Not What You Eat
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 06:09:15 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/14/health/14fat.html?ex=1297573200&en=52a3d312902ba78c&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 14, 2006 Maybe You're Not What You Eat By GINA KOLATA In an early 19th-century best seller, a famous food writer offered a cure for obesity and chronic disease: a low-carbohydrate diet. The notion that what you eat shapes your medical fate has exerted a strong pull throughout history. And its appeal continues to this day, medical historians and researchers say. 'It's one of the great principles — no, more than principles, canons — of American culture to suggest that what you eat affects your health,' says James Morone, a professor of political science at Brown University. 'It's this idea that you control your own destiny and that it's never too late to reinvent yourself,' he said. 'Vice gets punished and virtue gets rewarded. If you eat or drink or inhale the wrong things you get sick. If not, you get healthy.' That very American canon, he and others say, may in part explain the criticism and disbelief that last week greeted a report that a low-fat diet might not prevent breast cancer, colon cancer or heart disease, after all. The report, from a huge federal study called the Women's Health Initiative, raises important questions about how much even the most highly motivated people can change their eating habits and whether the relatively small changes that they can make really have a substantial effect on health. The study, of nearly 49,000 women who were randomly assigned to follow a low-fat diet or not, found that the diet did not make a significant difference in development of the two cancers or heart disease. But there were limitations to the findings: the women assigned to the low-fat diet, despite extensive and expensive counseling, never reached their goal of eating 20 percent fat in the first year —only 31 percent of them got their dietary fat that low. And the study did not examine the effects of different types of fat — a fact that critics say is a weakness at a time when doctors are advising heart patients to reduce saturated fat in the diet, not overall fats. The researchers also found a slight suggestion that low fat might make a difference in breast cancer but the results were not statistically significant, meaning they may have occurred by chance. Still the study's results frustrate our primal urge to control our destinies by controlling what we put in our mouths. And when it comes to this urge, it is remarkable how history repeats itself. Over and over again, medical experts and self-styled medical experts have insisted that one diet or another can prevent disease, cure chronic illness and ensure health and longevity. And woe unto those who ignore such dietary precepts. For example, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, the French 19th-century food writer, insisted that the secret to good health was to avoid carbohydrates. Brillat-Savarin, a lawyer, also knew the response his advice would provoke. ' 'Oh Heavens!' all you readers of both sexes will cry out, 'oh Heavens above!' he wrote in his 1825 book, 'The Physiology of Taste.' 'But what a wretch the Professor is! Here in a single word he forbids us everything we must love, those little white rolls from Limet, and Achard's cakes and those cookies, and a hundred things made with flour and butter, with flour and sugar, with flour and sugar and eggs!' Brillat-Savarin continued, 'He doesn't even leave us potatoes or macaroni! Who would have thought this of a lover of good food who seemed so pleasant? ' 'What's this I hear?' I exclaim, putting on my severest face, which I do perhaps once a year. 'Very well then; eat! Get fat! Become ugly and thick, and asthmatic, finally die in your own melted grease.' The Frenchman's recipe for good health was only one of many to come. A decade later, the Rev. Sylvester Graham exhorted Americans to eat simple foods like grains and vegetables and to drink water. Beef and pork, salt and pepper, spices, tea and coffee, alcohol, he advised, all lead to gluttony. Bread should be unleavened, and made with bran to avoid the problem of yeast, which turns sugar into alcohol, he continued. It is also important, he said, to seek out fresh organic fruits and vegetables, grown in soil without fertilizers. The reward for living right, Graham promised, would be perfect health. A few decades later came Horace Fletcher, a wealthy American businessman who invented his diet in 1889. He was 40 and in despair: he was fat, his health was failing, he was always tired and he had indigestion. He felt, he said, like 'a thing fit but to be thrown on the scrap-heap.' But Fletcher found a method that, he wrote, saved his life: eat only when you are hungry; eat only those foods that your appetite is craving; stop when you are no longer hungry and, the dictum for which he was most famous, chew every morsel of food until there is no more taste to be extracted from it. Fletcher became known as the Great Masticator, and his followers recited and followed his instructions to chew their food 100 times a minute. Liquids, too, had to be chewed, he insisted. He promised that 'Fletcherizing,' as it became known, would turn 'a pitiable glutton into an intelligent epicurean.' Along with the endless chewing, Fletcher and his supporters also advocated a low-protein diet as a means to health and well-being. But by 1919, when Fletcher, 68, died of a heart attack, his diet plan was on its way out, supplanted by the next new thing: counting calories. Its champions were two Yale professors, Irving Fisher and Eugene Lyman Fisk, who wrote the best-selling book 'How to Live.' 'Constant vigilance is necessary, yet it is worthwhile when one considers the inconvenience as well as the menace of obesity,' Fisher and Fisk advised their readers. More recently, of course, the preferred diet, at least for cancer prevention, has been to eat foods low in fat. And that was what led to the Women's Health Initiative, a study financed by the National Institutes of Health comparing low fat to regular diets. Eight years later, the women who reduced dietary fat had the same rates of colon cancer, breast cancer and heart disease as those whose diets were unchanged. They also weighed about the same and had no difference in diabetes rates, or in levels of insulin or blood sugar. It made sense to try the low-fat diet for cancer prevention, said Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, the director of the Women's Health Initiative. 'In the mid- to late 1980's, there was a body of literature that was suggestive that diet might impact the incidence of breast cancer and colorectal cancer,' Dr. Nabel said. For example, studies found that women acquired a higher risk of those cancers if they moved to the United States from countries where incidence of the cancers was low and where diets were low in fat. And there were animal studies indicating that a high-fat diet could lead to more mammary cancer. But intriguing as those observations were, there was no direct, rigorous evidence that a low-fat diet was protective. The Women's Health Initiative study would be the first rigorous test to see if it was. The study investigators decided to follow heart disease rates, as well. 'Think of it,' said Dr. Joan McGowan, an osteoporosis expert who is also a project officer for the Women's Health Initiative. 'Here was a hypothesis that just a better diet could prevent breast cancer. How attractive was that?' In the meantime, the notion that fat was bad and that low-fat diets could protect against disease took hold, with scientists promoting it and much of the public believing it. And a low-fat food industry grew apace. In 2005, according to the NPD Group, which tracks food trends, 75 percent of Americans said they substituted a low-fat or no-fat food for a higher-fat one once a week or more. So last week, when the study's results, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that the low-fat diets had no effect, the study investigators braced themselves for attacks. Dr. Jacques Rossouw, the project officer for the Women's Health Initiative, said the researchers knew that some critics would say the women did not reduce the fat in their diets nearly enough. Perhaps a lower-fat diet would have offered some protection against cancer, Dr. Rossouw said. But, he said, 'what we achieved is probably what was achievable.' Other critics said that the study made a mistake in even aiming for 20 percent of calories as fat. Dietary fat should be even lower, they said, as low as 10 percent. But Dr. Rossouw said this was unrealistic, because try as they might, people are not able to change their eating habits that much. 'You can't do that,' he said. 'Forget it. It's impossible.' Critics now are telling the investigators that the study was useless because it focused on total fat in the diet, rather than on saturated fat, which raises cholesterol levels. If the women had focused instead on getting rid of fats like butter, had substituted fats like olive oil and had eaten more fruits and grains, then the study might have shown that the proper diet reduces heart disease risk, they claim. 'Lifestyle goes beyond a modest difference in saturated fat,' said Dr. Robert H. Eckel, president of the American Heart Association. Dr. Rossouw responded, 'They're telling us that we chose the wrong kind of fat and that we just didn't know.' But, he said: 'We're not stupid. We knew all that stuff.' The investigators, he said, had long debates about whether to ask the women to reduce total fat or just saturated fat. In the end, they decided to go with total fat because the study was primarily a cancer study and the cancer data were for total fat. If the women had reduced just their saturated fat, their dietary fat content would probably have been even higher, fueling the critics. And, he said, some animal data indicate that polyunsaturated fat may even increase cancer risk. 'We looked at all possible scenarios,' Dr. Rossouw said. But, he said, given the study's disappointing findings, he was not surprised by the critics' responses. Not everyone is attacking the study. Many scientists applaud its findings and say it is about time that some cherished dietary notions are put to a rigorous test. And some nonscientists are shocked by the reactions of the study's critics. 'Whatever is happening to evidence-based treatment?' Dr. Arthur Yeager, a retired dentist in Edison, N.J., wrote in an e-mail message. 'When the facts contravene conventional wisdom, go with the anecdotes?' The problem, some medical scientists said, is that many people — researchers included — get so wedded to their beliefs about diet and disease that they will not accept rigorous evidence that contradicts it. 'Now it's almost a political sort of thing,' said Dr. Jules Hirsch, physician in chief emeritus at Rockefeller University. 'We're all supposed to be lean and eat certain things.' And so the notion of a healthful diet, he said, has become more than just a question for scientific inquiry. 'It is woven into cultural notions of ourselves and our behavior,' he said. 'This is the burden you get going into a discussion, and this is why we get so shocked by this evidence.' The truth, said Dr. David Altshuler, an endocrinologist and geneticist at Massachusetts General Hospital, is that while the Western diet and lifestyle are clearly important risk factors for chronic disease, tweaking diet in one way or another — a bit less fat or a few more vegetables — may not, based on studies like the Women's Health Initiative, have major effects on health. 'We should limit strong advice to where randomized trials have proven a benefit of lifestyle modification,' Dr. Altshuler wrote in an e-mail message. Still, he said, he understands the appeal of dietary prescriptions. The promise of achieving better health through diet can be so alluring that even scientists and statisticians who know all about clinical trial data say they sometimes find themselves suspending disbelief when it comes to diet and disease. 'I fall for it, too,' says Brad Efron, a Stanford statistician. 'I really don't believe in the low-fat thing, but I find myself doing it anyway.'

Subject: 'Grease' Ignites a Culture War
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 06:07:34 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/11/national/11fulton.html?ex=1297314000&en=69f393f73f12ba55&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 11, 2006 In Small Town, 'Grease' Ignites a Culture War By DIANA JEAN SCHEMO FULTON, Mo. — When Wendy DeVore, the drama teacher at Fulton High here, staged the musical 'Grease,' about high school students in the 1950's, she carefully changed the script to avoid causing offense in this small town. She softened the language, substituting slang for profanity in places. Instead of smoking 'weed,' the teenagers duck out for a cigarette. She rated the production PG-13, advising parents it was not suitable for small children. But a month after the performances in November, three letters arrived on the desk of Mark Enderle, Fulton's superintendent of schools. Although the letters did not say so, the three writers were members of a small group linked by e-mail, all members of the same congregation, Callaway Christian Church. Each criticized the show, complaining that scenes of drinking, smoking and a couple kissing went too far, and glorified conduct that the community tries to discourage. One letter, from someone who had not seen the show but only heard about it, criticized 'immoral behavior veiled behind the excuse of acting out a play.' Dr. Enderle watched a video of the play, ultimately agreeing that 'Grease' was unsuitable for the high school, despite his having approved it beforehand, without looking at the script. Hoping to avoid similar complaints in the future, he decided to ban the scheduled spring play, 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller. 'That was me in my worst Joe McCarthy moment, to some,' Dr. Enderle said. He called 'The Crucible' 'a fine play,' but said he dropped it to keep the school from being 'mired in controversy' all spring. To many, the term 'culture war' evokes national battles over new frontiers in taste and decency, over violence in video games, or profanity in music or on television. But such battles are also fought in small corners of the country like Fulton, a conservative town of about 10,000, where it can take only a few objections about library books or high school plays to shift quietly the cultural borderlines of an entire community. The complaints here, which were never debated in a public forum, have spread a sense of uncertainty about the shifting terrain as parents, teachers and students have struggled to understand what happened. Among teenagers who were once thrilled to have worked on the production, 'Grease' became 'the play they'd rather not talk about,' said Teri Arms, their principal, who had also approved the play before it was presented. 'Grease' and 'The Crucible' are hardly unfamiliar; they are standard fare on the high school drama circuit, the second-most-frequently-performed musical and drama on school stages, according to the Educational Theater Association, a nonprofit group. The most performed now are 'Seussical' and 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.' But challenges to longstanding literary or artistic works are not unusual, said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of the American Library Association's office of intellectual freedom. Complaints generally are growing; in 2004, the last year for which figures are available, 547 books came under fire, an increase of nearly 20 percent over 2003, when 458 books were challenged. 'That a literary work is a classic does not protect it from being challenged, or even removed from a particular community,' Ms. Caldwell-Stone said. Fulton, about 90 miles west of St. Louis, is best known as the home of Westminster College, where Winston Churchill gave his Iron Curtain speech in 1946. Presidents since Harry S. Truman have spoken in Fulton, lending the town a more cosmopolitan image. Joseph Potter, an assistant professor of performing arts at William Woods University here, has staged dozens of shows for the community, including 'Grease,' and said he had never received a complaint. But politically and socially, Mr. Potter said, the town's core is conservative. The three complaints about 'Grease' reached Dr. Enderle within the same week. Mark Miller, a 26-year-old graduate student, said he was moved to complain after getting an e-mail message about the show from Terra Guittar, a member of his church. Her description of the pajama party scene offended him, he wrote, adding that one character should have worn a more modest nightgown. Mr. Miller did not see the play. 'It makes sense that you're not going to offend anyone by being on the conservative side, especially when you're dealing with students, who don't have the same power as a principal or a theater director,' he said. A tape of the dress rehearsal showed that while most of the girls in the scene wore pajamas or a granny gown, Rizzo, the play's bad girl, wore just a pajama top. After the other girls fell asleep, Rizzo slipped her jeans on to sneak out for a date. Ms. Guittar was so outraged by the drinking and kissing onstage that she walked out on the performance. She said she was not trying to inhibit artistic creativity. 'It was strictly a moral issue,' she said. 'They're under 18. They're not in Hollywood.' But other parents were happy with the play. Mimi Curtis, whose son John played the lead, said the principal and drama teacher went out of their way to respect parents' wishes, changing the script in response to her own objections to profanity. Ms. Curtis, who ran a concession stand during the play, saw all four performances. 'I didn't view it as raunchy,' she said, adding that children who watch television are 'hearing worse.' Dr. Enderle said he did not base his decision to cancel 'The Crucible,' which was first reported by The Fulton Sun, a daily, just on the three complaints and the video. He also asked 10 people he knew whether the play crossed a line. All but one, he recalled, said yes. 'To me, it's entirely a preventative maintenance issue,' Dr. Enderle explained. 'I can't do anything about what's already happened, but do I want to spend the spring saying, 'Yeah, we crossed the line again'?' Nevertheless, the superintendent said he was 'not 100 percent comfortable' with having canceled 'The Crucible.' The absence of public debate meant that students heard of the cancellation as a fait accompli from their principal, Ms. Arms, and Ms. DeVore, the drama teacher. Others learned 'The Crucible' was off limits through an internal school district newsletter. In it, Dr. Enderle said he dropped the play after seeing this summary on the Web: '17th century Salem woman accuses an ex-lover's wife of witchery in an adaptation of the Arthur Miller play.' Mr. Miller wrote 'The Crucible' in the 1950's, in response to the witch hunt of his own day, when Congress held hearings to purge Hollywood of suspected Communists, pressuring witnesses to expose others to prove their innocence. The affair is not acted out in the play, which focuses on how hysteria and fear devoured Salem, despite the lack of evidence. Dr. Enderle said Fulton High's students had largely accepted his decision and moved on. They are now rehearsing 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' as their spring drama. But in interviews here, students, who had already begun practicing for auditions of 'The Crucible,' expressed frustration and resignation, along with an overriding sense that there was no use fighting City Hall. 'It's over,' said Emily Swenson, 15, after auditioning for 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.' 'We can't do anything about it. We just have to obey.' Both the students and Ms. DeVore seemed unsure of why 'The Crucible,' which students study in 11th grade, was unacceptable. Jarryd Lapp, a junior who was a light technician on 'Grease,' said he was disappointed that 'The Crucible' was canceled. But he had a theory. 'The show itself is graphic,' he said. 'People get hung; there's death in it. It's not appropriate.' Ms. DeVore believes it was canceled because it portrays the Salem witch trials, 'a time in history that makes Christians look bad.' 'In a Bible Belt community,' she added, 'it makes people nervous.' The teacher and her students are now ruling out future productions they once considered for their entertainment value alone, like 'Little Shop of Horrors,' a musical that features a cannibalistic plant, which they had discussed doing next fall. Torii Davis, a junior, said that in her psychology class earlier that day, most students predicted that 'Little Shop of Horrors' would never pass the test. 'Audrey works in a flower shop,' Ms. Davis said. 'She has a boyfriend who beats her. That could be controversial.' Ms. DeVore went down a list of the most commonly performed musicals and dramas on high school stages, and ticked off the potentially offensive aspects. ' 'Bye Bye Birdie' has smoking and drinking. 'Oklahoma,' there's a scene where she's almost raped. 'Diary of Anne Frank,' would you take a 6-year-old?' the drama teacher asked. 'How am I supposed to know what's appropriate when I don't have any written guidelines, and it seems that what was appropriate yesterday isn't appropriate today?' Ms. DeVore asked. The teacher said she had been warned that because of the controversy, the school board might not renew her contract for next year. For the moment, Dr. Enderle acknowledged, the controversy has shrunk the boundaries of what is acceptable for the community. He added that 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' was 'not a totally vanilla play.' But asked if the high school might put on another Shakespeare classic about young people in love, 'Romeo and Juliet,' he hesitated. 'Given the historical context of the play,' the superintendent said, 'it would be difficult to say that's something we would not perform.'

Subject: School, Sleepovers, Red Carpet Dreams
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 06:02:53 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/12/fashion/sundaystyles/12ADDISON.html?ex=1297400400&en=0bd87ba26c663d75&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 12, 2006 School, Sleepovers, Red Carpet Dreams By JESSICA PRESSLER WHEN Addison Timlin was 8 years old, she persuaded her parents to take her to Manhattan from their home in Quakertown, Pa., for an audition for 'Annie.' Her parents did their best to make it a low-pressure event. 'They were like, 'Oh, we'll go to New York, we'll go shopping, we'll go see the Rockettes, and also you can do your audition,' ' said Addison, now 14, on a recent afternoon. 'But I was very serious about it. I was three feet tall, and I was, like, focused.' She got the part, and after a couple of years when she was in 'like literally every professional production of 'Annie' on the planet,' got an agent and a role in the Broadway production of 'Gypsy,' her mother decided to move with her four children to Manhattan so her youngest daughter could pursue her career. 'At that point, it was, like, O.K., this actually might work out,' said Jayne Timlin, who was by then divorced from Addison's father. The family lived off Addison's $70,000 Broadway salary until Jayne Timlin found a job as an assistant at a mortgage firm. Ms. Timlin is not, Addison said, 'a classic stage mom.' In fact she still seems slightly befuddled by the experience. 'There was no stopping her,' Ms. Timlin said, looking at Addison. Addison, whose small size (five feet) belies her large ambition, smiled at that. But the road has been bumpy. Her brother and sisters had a difficult time adjusting to the move. 'They would get, like, 'It's all your fault we're here and away from our friends and our dad,' ' she said. 'But now they love New York.' As Addison's 19-year-old sister, Breana, put it, 'We all know 'Tomorrow' by heart.' Shuttling among the Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan, acting classes, auditions and Lamaze classes, which she attends with her pregnant 21-year-old sister, Keely, Addison teeters between the relatively normal life of a teenager in New York City and the obligations and preoccupations of the almost famous. Her first feature film, 'Derailed,' in which she played Clive Owen's diabetic daughter, opened nationwide in December. Though in the movie she wore pigtails and pancake makeup to look younger, at the premiere she wore a strapless dress on loan from Betsey Johnson and had her hair and makeup professionally styled. At one point, she said, Jennifer Aniston, the film's star, wrapped an arm around her and, like a celebrity fairy godmother, told Addison she thought she would go very far, and to 'stay grounded.' 'She was sooo nice,' Addison said. 'The next day in the paper there was a gossip item that said, 'Jennifer Aniston and Clive Owen were out partying together' or something, and it had a picture of them holding hands. But it was a still from the movie. I was, like: 'Hello! They're acting!' ' As it is for most teenagers, fame is a fantasy. But for Addison it's also a possibility, and the current crop of celebrities are like the wise elders of the tribe. Even celebrity's casualties provide lessons. 'I read with her for 'Gypsy,' ' she said, watching Melanie Griffith onstage during the Golden Globes awards show. 'She was so weird.' On weekends Addison, who has highlights in her long brown hair and wears an armload of bangles, often has sleepovers with her friends Stephanie Branco, 15 (known as Feeni), and Julianna Rose Mauriello, 14. 'Every time Feeni sleeps over my house,' Addison said, 'we make this instant Thai food, and we eat that with chocolate milk. And then we make the comfiest bed, and then we just talk, like, about our future. And it's like, 'Oh, my God, our future.' ' 'That's, like, every weekend,' confirmed Stephanie one afternoon as she and Addison drank lattes at Starbucks. Stephanie is also a student at the Professional Performing Arts School but doesn't plan to work until she gets older. Addison calls her the 'Colombian Salma Hayek.' 'When I sleep at your house, we do the same thing,' Julianna said to Addison, sipping her eggnog latte. 'But we eat waffles.' Addison's world is peopled with working actors who, like her, straddle the line between tween and teenager, who aren't quite stars but aspire to a place in the firmament. Fifteen-year-old Andrea Bowen, who plays Teri Hatcher's daughter on 'Desperate Housewives,' is a good friend. Aleisha Allen, 14, who had a small part in 'School of Rock' and starred with Ice Cube in 'Are We There Yet?' is a classmate. Like Addison, they are in a sort of incubation period, waiting for the break that may or may not come, waiting to get older so that they can audition for bigger, juicier roles. A benefit Addison attended at the DKNY store on Madison Avenue in December was a who's who of the almost famous. 'There's the girl who played the mini Jennifer Lopez in 'Jersey Girl,' she is sooo cute,' Addison said. Bubbly and friendly, Addison is kind of a socialite, although in this world there is less air-kissing and more jumping up and down. 'Wouldn't it be so cool if Dakota Fanning walked in right now?' she whispered, before making a beeline for Liam Aiken, the broody 16-year-old star of the Lemony Snicket movie and the most famous person in the room. (Their relationship would later be documented on the Almost Famous version of the tabloids: the Internet Movie Database message boards. 'I hear Liam has a crush on Addison,' read a post). Hallie Kate Eisenberg, the ringleted pipsqueak of the Pepsi commercials and the sister of Jesse Eisenberg, who starred in 'The Squid and the Whale,' was among the semi-familiar faces. She will appear in 'How to Eat Fried Worms' in the spring, though she has other plans for her future. 'I really enjoy performing,' she said, 'but I want to be a doctor.' 'I've met so many kids like that,' Addison said after the event, and after the DKNY representative pressed a card into her hand telling her to call if she ever needed an outfit for an appearance. 'I feel like a lot of my friends who work now don't want to do it when they're older. Some of them are, like, 'This is fun now, but when I grow up I want to be a mom in New Jersey.' And I'm, like, 'That's weird.' For me, I know this is what I want to do. I've always felt like this is what I've wanted to do. Forever.' But it is a heady time for teenage actresses. On the one hand there are more working actors between 13 and 19 than ever before, and the most prominent — those like Lindsay Lohan, Hilary Duff and the Olsen twins — are bankable enough to open their own films. On the other hand being under-age has done nothing to shelter them from the public's often critical gaze. Julianna, who plays a 9-year-old girl in 'LazyTown,' a children's show on Nick Jr., has already seen her level of 'hotness' debated on the Internet Movie Database message boards. 'She's NOT HOT,' read one post. AT 4-foot-9 and less than 100 pounds, Julianna said the attention had freaked her out at first, but she had come to realize it was 'just the trade-off.' With sweet but steely resolve, she said, 'If you can't take it, then you aren't fit for being in show business.' Addison's parents have their own concerns. 'Addison looked about 20 last night,' her father, R. J. Timlin, a real estate agent in Bucks County, Pa., said over the phone the day after the premiere of 'Derailed.' Ms. Timlin said, 'I'm a little worried she'll grow up too fast.' Addison agrees. 'You do grow up fast in the business,' she said. 'When I left school to do 'Annie,' I was 9, and I came back like, 35. You spend a lot of time with adults.' She confided that a former boyfriend, Connor Paolo, had become disturbingly grown-up after playing the young Colin Farrell in 'Alexander.' 'He got sort of strangely serious and like, old,' she said. 'He would be, like, 'We should go out to dinner and talk about this.' I was, like: 'We're 14. Who our age goes out to dinner?' ' Young actors are famously, and necessarily, precocious. 'They talk like adults; it's a little alarming,' said Shirley Halperin, the entertainment editor of Teen People. 'I couldn't even sit down to dinner when I was that age.' But it is, after all, their preternatural maturity that makes them able to, well, focus. 'I have it all mapped out,' Addison said. 'I don't want to be a teeny-bopper type of actress. I don't want to do kids' movies, like 'Spy Kids' and 'Sleepover' and 'Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.' I would kill myself.' Addison does not yet have a publicist to shush her when she starts acting like a real teenager, but if the tabloid generation has taught her and her peers anything, it's how to position themselves in the market. They've seen that the right — or wrong — choices, in work and in life, can define a career. 'We talk about it a lot,' Ms. Timlin said. 'I say, like, 'Who do you want to be?' And she says, 'I want to be like Scarlett Johansson, because she's not out doing coke in the tabloids.' ' Addison said: 'I really believe that Lindsay Lohan, who I think is a really good actress, is in the position she is in because she is an idol to teenage girls. It's just too much pressure.' But the reality is, Addison would not choose death before Disney. During 'pilot season,' which lasts until the end of April, she will audition for a number of shows that cater to that audience. She would ('Of course!') take a role on a teen TV show or movie. She recently auditioned for the remake of 'Bridge to Terabithia,' and for 'My Friend Flicka.' Though Addison estimates she has been on hundreds of auditions and at this point feels like a hardened soul, that particular experience 'was sooo hard,' she said. 'I was so excited, and I went in and it went really well and then they ended up casting Alison Lohman, who is, like, 25. I was so disappointed. But when you lose it to a 25-year-old you can understand. They don't have to give you the tutor and the chaperone.' So for now she's planning on biding her time, taking acting classes, waiting for her sister's baby, and updating her MySpace.com profile to include pictures of people like 'my best friend' Jon Gordon, the president for production of Universal. In other words, staying grounded. 'I don't want to blow up just yet,' she said, 'although I sort of do.' Because fame, with all of its drawbacks, is still the holy grail. Back at Starbucks, as the caffeine starts to kick in, Addison and Stephanie acted out their red carpet dreams. 'O.K., I'm getting out of my limo,' Stephanie said. 'And I see Addison over on the red carpet being interviewed. And we look at each other and make eye contact, and because we've been away working on movies, on location, we haven't seen each other in such a long time. And so we run.' They shuffled toward each other. 'We're wearing really tight, tight dresses,' Addison explained. 'Oh, my god! I love you in your movie!' 'Oh, my god! I love you in your movie!' On the real-life red carpet, back at the premiere for 'Derailed,' one of the hordes of reporters waiting for Ms. Aniston to arrive asked Addison how she would handle being chased, the way her famous forebears are pursued through the streets by paparazzi. The younger actress smiled. 'Run, I guess.'

Subject: Tax Cheating Has Gone Up
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 06:01:34 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/15/business/15tax.html?ex=1297659600&en=2fc2c05f8aace5f8&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 15, 2006 Tax Cheating Has Gone Up, Two Federal Studies Find By DAVID CAY JOHNSTON Historically, when income tax rates fall, so does tax cheating. But that is not what happened after President Bush started cutting taxes five years ago. A new report by the Commerce Department found that Americans failed to report more than a trillion dollars in income on their 2003 tax returns. That was a 37 percent increase in unreported income from 2000. In a separate report, the Internal Revenue Service looked at both unreported income and improper deductions and concluded that Americans shortchanged the government by $345 billion in 2001 — an amount almost equal to the projected federal budget deficit for 2007. The report, released yesterday by the I.R.S. commissioner, Mark W. Everson, was the agency's first estimate in 15 years of the gap between what Americans owed in taxes and what they paid. The I.R.S. report concluded that proprietors of small businesses, investors and farmers cheated the most. Workers who had 99 percent of their wages reported to the government and taxes withheld from their paychecks were the least likely to cheat. Mr. Everson acknowledged that the estimate is probably low because the I.R.S. looked only at individuals and small unincorporated businesses. It has not revised its estimates of tax cheating by corporations, large estates and by firms that do not hire their workers directly but instead contract with an employee leasing firm. The ability of the I.R.S. to enforce the tax laws has steadily eroded in the last 17 years as its ranks of auditors have been trimmed by about a third, the tax code has become more complex and new laws have been enacted to protect taxpayer rights. In his proposed budget for 2007, Mr. Bush laid out a five-point plan to reduce the underpayment of taxes by $350 million a year, an amount equal to a tenth of a penny per dollar of the unpaid taxes. A more serious effort to reduce the tax gap appears unlikely, two senators said yesterday. Senator Charles E. Grassley, the Iowa Republican who is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee — which has held hearings on the issues of unpaid taxes, abusive tax shelters and criminal tax evasion — said it would take more than what Mr. Bush had proposed to make a meaningful dent. 'It's easy for politicians to stand on the soap box and criticize the tax gap,' Senator Grassley said, 'but I find it's pretty lonely when I need people to join me and get their hands dirty and try to solve these problems.' Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, the committee's ranking minority member, dismissed the Bush proposal as weak. 'The administration's budget plans won't take any real bite out of this unacceptable tax gap — it just nibbles at this crisis while the deficit grows,' Senator Baucus said. 'It's time for a comprehensive plan to go after scofflaws and tax cheats big and small, who are contributing to the deficit by not contributing their fair share,' he said. The Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing today on reducing the gap between taxes owed and taxes paid. The I.R.S. estimate was based on a detailed study of 46,000 individual income tax returns. Mr. Everson said that about 10 million people did not file returns, costing the government about $27 billion in revenue. Another 10 million had incomes so modest that they were not required to file. About 130 million returns were filed. Cheating on business income was 'a problem 50 times larger' than cheating by wage earners, Mr. Everson said. The biggest single revenue loss came from proprietors of unincorporated businesses, who typically file a Schedule C with their tax return, who shorted the government an estimated $68 billion in 2001. Cheating by partnerships, most of whose members are wealthy professionals or investors, was put at $22 billion, while cheating by landlords and those collecting royalties was estimated at $13 billion. In percentage terms, farmers cheated the most, the I.R.S. said, failing to pay the government $6 billion, or 72 percent of the taxes they should have.

Subject: Livedoor Founder Is Charged
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 05:57:46 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/14/business/worldbusiness/14livedoor.html?ex=1297573200&en=8ca94e18c2371e9c&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 14, 2006 Livedoor Founder Is Charged With Securities Violations By MARTIN FACKLER TOKYO — Takafumi Horie, the founder of an Internet company whose brash tactics challenged Japan's business establishment, was charged Monday with violating securities law by spreading false information to inflate a subsidiary's stock price. The formal filing of charges by Tokyo prosecutors marked the latest chapter in the downfall of Mr. Horie, 33, who seemed to personify the bare-knuckles, individualistic brand of capitalism that many here say Japan needs. In a statement on Monday, Tokyo prosecutors said they had charged Mr. Horie and three other former executives of his company, Livedoor, with inflating the sales and profit figures of a subsidiary, Livedoor Marketing, to push up its stock price. Prosecutors also said that Mr. Horie and the others had issued press releases containing false information about the subsidiary, which was called ValueClick Japan until Livedoor took it over two years ago. If found guilty, Mr. Horie faces up to five years in prison or a fine of five million yen ($42,300). 'The key to Livedoor's rapid growth was actually criminal activities that damaged the fairness of securities trading,' the statement said. 'This case is just the tip of the iceberg,' it continued. 'We will continue a thorough investigation to bring everything to light.' Though prosecutors did not elaborate Monday, the major Japanese news media, who are routinely briefed by prosecutors, said the authorities were preparing new charges against Mr. Horie for reportedly inflating the profits of the parent company, Livedoor, as well. Mr. Horie resigned as chief executive of Livedoor after his arrest on Jan. 23. Since then he has been in jail, insisting, during interrogations running as long as eight hours a day, that he was unaware of any wrongdoing and vowing to have his say in court, according to Japanese news media reports. He reportedly spends his free time in a tiny cell reading an encyclopedia. Since Tokyo prosecutors raided Livedoor's luxurious central Tokyo offices last month, Mr. Horie's business empire has started coming apart at the seams. Livedoor's share price has plunged 90 percent, to 61 yen (52 cents), since then, wiping out more than $5 billion in market value. Business partners have canceled alliances, employees have begun jumping ship and, according to media reports, Mr. Horie's girlfriend, a television star, has canceled plans to become engaged. The T-shirt-clad entrepreneur built the company over the last decade, turning a college project into one of Japan's most popular Internet portals and acquiring dozens of smaller Internet companies. Along the way, though, he stepped on many influential toes, especially last year, when he tried a hostile takeover of a powerful media company, Fuji Television. After the raid, some outraged followers posted messages on Mr. Horie's blog saying he was singled out for political reasons. Others expressed bitter disappointment for believing in a man now accused of criminal misdeeds.

Subject: The Kiss of Life
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 05:56:04 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/14/opinion/14foer.html?ex=1297573200&en=44bad46ce1783713&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 14, 2006 The Kiss of Life By JOSHUA FOER Washington SINCE it's Valentine's Day, let's dwell for a moment on the profoundly bizarre activity of kissing. Is there a more expressive gesture in the human repertoire? When parents kiss their children it means one thing, but when they kiss each other it means something entirely different. People will greet a total stranger with a kiss on the cheek, and then use an identical gesture to express their most intimate feelings to a lover. The mob kingpin gives the kiss of death, Catholics give the 'kiss of peace,' Jews kiss the Torah, nervous flyers kiss the ground, and the enraged sometimes demand that a kiss be applied to their hindquarters. Judas kissed Jesus, Madonna kissed Britney, a gambler kisses the dice for luck. Someone once even kissed a car for 54 hours straight. Taxonomists of the kiss have long labored to make sense of its many meanings. The Romans distinguished among the friendly oscula, the loving basia and the passionate suavia. The 17th-century polymath Martin von Kempe wrote a thousand-page encyclopedia of kissing that recognized 20 different varieties, including 'the kiss bestowed by superiors on inferiors' and 'the hypocritical kiss.' The German language has words for 30 different kinds of kisses, including nachküssen, which is defined as a kiss 'making up for kisses that have been omitted.' (The Germans are also said to have coined the inexplicable phrase 'A kiss without a beard is like an egg without salt.') How did a single act become a medium for so many messages? There are two possibilities: Either the kiss is a human universal, one of the constellation of innate traits, including language and laughter, that unites us as a species, or it is an invention, like fire or wearing clothes, an idea so good that it was bound to metastasize across the globe. Scientists have found evidence for both hypotheses. Other species engage in behavior that looks an awful lot like the smooch (though without its erotic overtones), which implies that kissing might be just as animalistic an impulse as it sometimes feels. Snails caress each other with their antennae, birds touch beaks, and many mammals lick each other's snouts. Chimpanzees even give platonic pecks on the lips. But only humans and our lascivious primate cousins the bonobos engage in full-fledged tongue-on-tongue tonsil-hockey. Even though all of this might suggest that kissing is in our genes, not all human cultures do it. Charles Darwin was one of the first to point this out. In his book 'The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals,' he noted that kissing 'is replaced in various parts of the world by the rubbing of noses.' Early explorers of the Arctic dubbed this the Eskimo kiss. (Actually, it turns out the Inuit were not merely rubbing noses, they were smelling each other's cheeks). All across Africa, the Pacific and the Americas, we find cultures that didn't know about mouth kissing until their first contact with European explorers. And the attraction was not always immediately apparent. Most considered the act of exchanging saliva revolting. Among the Lapps of northern Finland, both sexes would bathe together in a state of complete nudity, but kissing was regarded as beyond the pale. To this day, public kissing is still seen as indecent in many parts of the world. In 1990, the Beijing-based Workers' Daily advised its readers that 'the invasive Europeans brought the kissing custom to China, but it is regarded as a vulgar practice which is all too suggestive of cannibalism.' If kissing is not universal, then someone must have invented it. Vaughn Bryant, an anthropologist at Texas A&M, has traced the first recorded kiss back to India, somewhere around 1500 B.C., when early Vedic scriptures start to mention people 'sniffing' with their mouths, and later texts describe lovers 'setting mouth to mouth.' From there, he hypothesizes, the kiss spread westward when Alexander the Great conquered the Punjab in 326 B.C. The Romans were inveterate kissers, and along with Latin, the kiss became one of their chief exports. Not long after, early Christians invented the notion of the ritualistic 'holy kiss' and incorporated it into the Eucharist ceremony. According to some cultural historians, it is only within the last 800 years, with the advent of effective dentistry and the triumph over halitosis, that the lips were freed to become an erogenous zone. For Freud, kissing was a subconscious return to suckling at the mother's breast. Other commentators have noted that the lips bear a striking resemblance to the labia, and that women across the world go to great lengths to make their lips look bigger and redder than they really are to simulate the appearance of sexual arousal, like animals in heat. A few anthropologists have suggested that mouth kissing is a 'relic gesture,' with evolutionary origins in the mouth-to-mouth feeding that occurred between mother and baby in an age before Gerber and still takes place in a few parts of the world today. It can hardly be a coincidence, they note, that in several languages the word for kissing is synonymous with pre-mastication, or that 'sweet' is the epithet most commonly applied to kisses. But kissing may be more closely linked to our sense of smell than taste. Almost everyone has a distinct scent that is all one's own. Some people can even recognize their relatives in a dark room simply by their body odor (some relatives more than others). Kissing could have begun as a way of sniffing out who's who. From a whiff to a kiss was just a short trip across the face. Whatever its origins, kissing seems to be advantageous. A study conducted during the 1980's found that men who kiss their wives before leaving for work live longer, get into fewer car accidents, and have a higher income than married men who don't. So put down this newspaper and pucker up. It does a body good.

Subject: Sympathetic Primate
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 05:55:11 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/14/science/14obox.html February 14, 2006 There's Nothing Like a Sympathetic Primate By HENRY FOUNTAIN During a pregnancy, it's not unusual for the spouse to share some of the symptoms. Men have been known to experience nausea, headache, backache and, perhaps most common, weight gain. But humans aren't the only primates that can pack on the pounds when their mates are pregnant. A study of marmosets and cotton-top tamarins shows that males of these two squirrel-size monkey species gain weight, too. Male marmosets and tamarins are known for being good parents, said the study's lead author, Toni E. Ziegler of the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center at the University of Wisconsin. They are among about 10 percent of primate species considered biparental, with both sexes sharing the work. Earlier studies had shown that males of both species underwent hormonal changes when their mates were pregnant. The hormones involved were associated with paternal infant care, and Dr. Ziegler and colleagues at the center wondered whether they might affect the animals' bodies. 'That's why I went looking for a weight change,' Dr. Ziegler said. The study, published in Biology Letters, showed that male marmosets weighed up to 20 percent more at the end of their mates' five-month pregnancy; marmosets without pregnant partners gained no weight. Male tamarins were up to 8 percent heavier at the end of their mates' six-month pregnancy. In humans, sympathetic pregnancy symptoms are generally thought to be psychosomatic: emotions make a man raid the refrigerator. In the monkeys, however, Dr. Ziegler said, hormones are probably at work. 'If it is this hormone prolactin, which we suspect, it can actually change the metabolism of the monkey,' she said. In the study, the animals didn't eat more than they normally did. The hormonal changes are most likely set off when the male detects some chemical produced by the pregnant female, Dr. Ziegler said. 'We looked at their behavior very carefully,' she added. 'We didn't really see that they started spending more time together or any other activity that would perk the male's hormones.' Other studies will look at what the chemical cues might be. Among their other parenting chores, the males of both species spend much time carrying their offspring around. The young monkeys (there are usually two in a litter) hang on to their father's hair, usually around the neck. It's hard work, Dr. Ziegler said, 'so they may be beefing up because they are going to be expending so much energy.'

Subject: Help Eagle Leave Endangered List
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 05:53:21 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/14/politics/14eagle.html?ex=1297573200&en=9fb2d7672d3cb0a3&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 14, 2006 Steps Taken to Help Eagle Leave Endangered List By FELICITY BARRINGER The bald eagle, a national symbol of majesty from the country's earliest days, moved several steps closer on Monday to leaving the list of threatened or endangered species. The federal Fish and Wildlife Service announced a series of decisions toward declaring the bird's population safely restored, effectively jump-starting a process that stalled several years ago. An effort begun in 1999 to remove the eagle from the federal lists became bogged down in debates over whether two other laws protecting the bird would actually prove more onerous for developers and landowners than the Endangered Species Act, once that law was no longer applicable. The Fish and Wildlife Service on Monday issued new voluntary guidelines for ways to protect eagles' nests and feeding grounds, and it defined some regulatory terms that determine the protection of the eagles under existing laws, like the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. In doing so, the service signaled its willingness to finish the task of delisting the eagles. Environmental groups and agency officials held an unusual joint news conference by telephone to announce their progress. The chief of the Fish and Wildlife Service, H. Dale Hall, was joined by representatives of the National Wildlife Federation and Environmental Defense. All hailed the return of the eagle in the continental United States, where there were a total of 413 breeding pairs in 1963, according to Mr. Hall, and where there are 7,066 pairs today. Timothy Male, a senior ecologist with Environmental Defense, said his organization's poll of state wildlife agencies put the number of breeding pairs higher, at 9,100. 'There is no clearer victory in the history of the Endangered Species Act,' Mr. Male said. And Mr. Hall said the service was restarting the delisting process 'in light of the steadily increasing population that has exceeded recovery goals nationwide.' In recent years, Mr. Hall said, 'the service has been working to come up with a framework that will guide legal protections' for the birds. The chief environmental threat to the eagles, the pesticide DDT, which made the eagle's eggshells brittle and doomed generations of young birds before birth, was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency when it was new in 1972. Listed as endangered in most of the country in 1967 under a law that preceded the 1973 Endangered Species Act, the eagle has been afforded some kind of federal protection since 1918. What had been the concern of developers, which the new guidelines are designed to help address, was described by Christopher Galik, environmental policy analyst of the National Association of Homebuilders. 'The main idea for us was: when we're delisting something, it shouldn't result in a higher regulatory burden than before,' Mr. Galik said. The Endangered Species Act prohibits killing the birds, either directly or by interfering with their habitat: areas where they nested, bred and fed. It takes precedence over the older laws, like the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which prohibits activities that would 'disturb' the birds but does not specifically protect habitat. Once the bird is no longer protected by the Endangered Species Act, these other protections will come to the fore, along with the new voluntary guidelines and whatever protections are imposed by states or local communities. The Fish and Wildlife Service proposed that 'disturb' would be defined as activities that would disrupt the eagles' feeding and breeding or that would directly kill or injure the birds or cause them to abandon their nests. The bird's populations have recovered unevenly across the country, with the slowest recovery coming in the Southwest, which was the least hospitable area for the birds originally. Recovery has also been slow in Vermont despite aggressive recent efforts. But in the upper Northwest and the Southeast, the bird has thrived. Alaska and Canada, the fish and wildlife service estimates, have about 50,000 birds. The environmental representatives said that some of the protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act were crucial to restoring the bird's populations and warned that they would be blunted or eliminated in legislation under consideration in the House of Representatives. That legislation revises and narrows the current law's requirements for habitat protections. David P. Smith, the Interior Department's deputy assistant secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said yesterday that the fish and wildlife service 'is confident that existing protections both at the federal level and the state and local levels for habitat are sufficient.' Jamie Rappaport Clark, the executive vice president of the environmental group Defenders of Wildlife, who headed the Fish and Wildlife Service when delisting was first proposed in the Clinton administration, said Monday that she was 'pleased to see this process back on track.'

Subject: Investors Are Tilting Toward Windmills
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 05:51:17 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/15/business/15electric.html?ex=1297659600&en=793a83bb64e899cb&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 15, 2006 Investors Are Tilting Toward Windmills By CLAUDIA H. DEUTSCH It's hard to be in a business where you literally — as well as figuratively — are tilting at windmills. But that business may have just gotten its biggest tail wind yet. When President Bush called last month for more effort in alternative energies, a business that last year attracted only about $7 billion in investment nationwide, the 300 engineers and financiers at GE Energy Financial Services were already in the game. But that does not mean they were not happy that the White House acknowledged the sector. 'The president's speech changed zero for us; it was simply a recognition of what we already knew,' said David L. Calhoun, vice chairman of GE Infrastructure, the group that includes both turbine manufacture and energy financing. For now, wind energy is the only profit star in G.E.'s alternative energy galaxy, and both the finance and equipment sides of the company know they are gambling when it comes to solar and other fledgling technologies. Still, analysts applaud their decision to move on them. 'When you get the president talking about renewable energy, it has to be turning up the dial at G.E.,' said Deane M. Dray, an analyst at Goldman Sachs who has an outperform rating on General Electric shares. Certainly, it is getting attention from Energy Financial Services. The unit recently bought a wind farm in Germany and is installing new turbines there at a rapid pace. It has invested in solar energy farms in California and is in the end stage of negotiations for a large solar project in Europe. Indeed, renewable energy projects already account for $1 billion of the unit's $11 billion portfolio and are its fastest-growing niche. 'The renewables space has really heated up, and I hope it will account for 20 or 30 percent of our investments in five years,' J. Alex Urquhart, the unit's president, said. Today, alternative energy financing is barely a footnote in G.E.'s revenue stream. But the G.E. machine is gearing up for change. On Jan. 30 — a day before the president bemoaned the nation's 'addiction to oil' — Mr. Urquhart carved out a separate group to focus solely on renewable energy projects. Lorraine Bolsinger, who runs G.E.'s Ecomagination program, says she has begun to 'run the financial projects through our scorecard process' to see which ones she should include in her group of G.E.'s 'green' products. The pace is quickening in G.E.'s industrial camp, too. Energy equipment and related services, which accounted for about $42 billion of G.E.'s $149.7 billion in revenue last year, is G.E.'s largest industrial business. Alternative energy products like wind generators accounted for less than $6.3 billion of last year's sales. Four years ago, G.E. bought Enron's wind-turbine unit, and it is now a $2 billion business, heading rapidly toward $4 billion. In five years, G.E. expects that alternative energy products will account for more than a quarter of energy equipment revenue. If that happens, it will probably be a boon for Energy Financial Services, too. Last year, energy financing got plucked out of G.E.'s financial stable and placed under Mr. Calhoun's umbrella, along with the equipment makers. The financial team members say that working side by side with the technical equipment gurus is helping them pick and choose among potential investments. They get early alerts, they say, on which blade designs and composites make for the most efficient wind turbines, on whether solar energy is gaining momentum, or whether the technologies will have any resale or reuse value if a project does not work out or a borrower defaults. 'Only 60 percent of our projects involve G.E. technologies, but the global research center helps us decide which technologies to invest in,' said Kevin Walsh, managing director of Energy Financial's new renewable energy group. The potent mix of expertise is already paying off. Energy Financial, for instance, invested in a solar farm in California after G.E.'s industrial experts gave the project — which does not use G.E. equipment — a thumbs-up. The energy finance specialists are helping Mr. Calhoun evaluate the economic potential of a coal gasification project; if it proves viable, they will help promote and finance similar projects elsewhere. G.E. is not alone in backing renewables, of course. In November, Goldman Sachs committed to investing $1 billion in renewable energy, and it is already 'well on its way' to achieving that, according to Lucas van Praag, a Goldman spokesman. J. P. Morgan Chase, too, has said it will invest more than $250 million in wind-energy projects. And venture capitalists have for some time been investing in smaller renewable energy projects and technologies. Over all, says Michael T. Eckhart, president of the nonprofit American Council on Renewable Energy, the $7 billion invested in renewable energy projects last year should increase by 25 percent a year over the next few years. He and many others say they believe that, if the president's imprimatur results in new regulations or tax incentives, even more Wall Street money will be attracted to such projects. Wind power has been the leading alternative energy source in recent years. The costs of turbines have come down even as their reliability and efficiency have increased; G.E., Goldman, J. P. Morgan Chase and others are snapping up wind farms across the world. By contrast, persistent shortages of silica, needed to make solar panels, have kept the solar energy sector from taking off on a similar trajectory. And few Wall Street dollars are going to projects that involve wresting megawatts from agricultural waste, be it crops like corn or the switchgrass Mr. Bush mentioned. And there has been almost no interest, at least so far, in methane generated from manure. Industry supporters see President Bush's speech as sending a new signal that might favor some of the more exotic energy sources, though. 'Now that the president has put the power of the bully pulpit behind ethanol,' Mr. Eckhart said, 'a lot of conservative people who thought biofuels were silly will view them as a mainstream investment.' For now, investors say that the logistics of selecting sites for factories and transporting biofuels keep them from being economically competitive. 'George Bush said interesting things about potential opportunities in biomass, but we need a better understanding of any legislative or regulatory changes his comments might spur,' Mr. Van Praag of Goldman said. GE Energy Financial Services has taken a few tentative steps toward biomass. It has a longtime, if small, investment in plants that burn woodchips for fuel. It is seeking advice about potential biofuel investments from colleagues at Jenbacher, an Austrian company G.E. bought in 2003 that makes generators that run on the gases emitted from landfills. And Mr. Urquhart said he is 'going to keep calling our people in Washington, and see what kind of rule-making is evolving around the biofuel idea.' In the meantime, he is keeping his eye out for projects that might merit investment even without additional government incentives. Mr. Calhoun has his eyes on Mr. Urquhart's quest, in case it turns up something G.E. should buy or make. 'Alex helps us decide where to put our development dollars, and we help him evaluate where to invest,' Mr. Calhoun said. 'And if he finds a great biomass plant, we'd be delighted.'

Subject: Cancer Drug Shows Promise, at a Price
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 05:49:49 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/15/business/15drug.html?ex=1297659600&en=62aabaec5acffa8c&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 15, 2006 A Cancer Drug Shows Promise, at a Price That Many Can't Pay By ALEX BERENSON Doctors are excited about the prospect of Avastin, a drug already widely used for colon cancer, as a crucial new treatment for breast and lung cancer, too. But doctors are cringing at the price the maker, Genentech, plans to charge for it: about $100,000 a year. That price, about double the current level as a colon cancer treatment, would raise Avastin to an annual cost typically found only for medicines used to treat rare diseases that affect small numbers of patients. But Avastin, already a billion-dollar drug, has a potential patient pool of hundreds of thousands of people — which is why analysts predict its United States sales could grow nearly sevenfold to $7 billion by 2009. Doctors, though, warn that some cancer patients are already being priced out of the Avastin market. Even some patients with insurance are thinking hard before agreeing to treatment, doctors say, because out-of-pocket co-payments for the drug could easily run $10,000 to $20,000 a year. Until now, drug makers have typically defended high prices by noting the cost of developing new medicines. But executives at Genentech and its majority owner, Roche, are now using a separate argument — citing the inherent value of life-sustaining therapies. If society wants the benefits, they say, it must be ready to spend more for treatments like Avastin and another of the company's cancer drugs, Herceptin, which sells for $40,000 a year. 'As we look at Avastin and Herceptin pricing, right now the health economics hold up, and therefore I don't see any reason to be touching them,' said William M. Burns, the chief executive of Roche's pharmaceutical division and a member of Genentech's board. 'The pressure on society to use strong and good products is there.' Studies show that Avastin can prolong the lives of patients with late-stage breast and lung cancer by several months when the drug is combined with existing therapies. Genentech expects to seek federal approval later this year to sell it specifically for those diseases. But even now, doctors, who are free to prescribe the drug as they see fit, are using Avastin for some breast and lung cancer cases — and finding its cost beyond the means of some patients. 'Avastin is a superb drug, but its cost is already discouraging patients and doctors from using it,' said Dr. David Johnson, who heads the cancer unit at Vanderbilt University and is a former president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. 'I wish it were one-tenth the cost, and if it were I would be giving it to almost everybody.' With colon cancer, a year of Avastin treatment costs about $50,000. But the drug will be used at higher doses for lung and breast cancer, and Genentech does not plan to reduce the unit price, even though the additional cost of producing a higher dose is minimal. Roche executives described the pricing plans were described in a recent interview. Because Genentech is a leading developer of cancer therapies, some doctors also fear that the company's pricing plans for Avastin — around $8,800 a month — may encourage other companies to charge more for their own oncology drugs. That could potentially drive up the overall cost of cancer treatment to unsustainable levels, they say. Right now, one of the few cancer drugs with a higher monthly price than the level planned for Avastin is Erbitux. The drug, used for colon cancer, sells for $9,600 monthly, but is not as widely prescribed as Avastin and is typically used only as a last-resort treatment for a few months. Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, the president of product development of Genentech, which is based in South San Francisco, Calif., said that Genentech had set Avastin's price based on 'the value of innovation, and the value of new therapies.' Genentech, which had more than $6 billion in sales last year, has many programs to help patients afford its medicines, and last year contributed $21 million to charities that help patients with their insurance co-payments, she said. Genentech intends to file an application later this year with the Food and Drug Administration to expand the drug's label to include treatment for breast and lung cancer. While nothing stops doctors now from prescribing Avastin for those diseases, F.D.A. approval would let the company promote and advertise it for such treatments and make insurers more likely to pay for the treatments. For now, insurers are deciding case by case whether to cover Avastin for breast and lung cancer, and in many instances they are rejecting coverage or at least delaying decisions. 'Insurers may say, 'It's not approved for that indication, so we're not paying for it,' ' said Dr. Paul A. Bunn Jr., the director of the University of Colorado cancer center. In those cases, patients must sign a waiver agreeing to reimburse the hospital for the price of treatment if the insurer will not agree to do so. And some patients are afraid to sign the waivers, Dr. Bunn said. 'A couple of patients have refused to sign or take treatment.' So far, insurers are generally covering Avastin's use in colon cancer, and they say they will probably cover its F.D.A.-approved use with other cancers. Other medicines as expensive as Avastin are typically prescribed only for rare conditions affecting small numbers of patients, and their makers justify the costs as necessary for getting a return on their up-front investments in the drugs. A few medicines, like Ceredase, a treatment for Gaucher disease (pronounced go-SHAY) from the biotechnology company Genzyme, can cost as much as $500,000 a year for some patients. Gaucher disease is a rare metabolic disorder whose symptoms include anemia. Avastin is currently used mainly in cases of late-stage colon cancer, a disease that affects about 50,000 Americans annually. On average, those patients take the drug for 11 months and it extends their lives an average of 5 months, compared with other treatments. Genentech and Roche are also testing Avastin for use in earlier stages of colon cancer, lung and breast and cancer, which collectively are diagnosed in almost 500,000 Americans a year. Genentech and doctors hope that if the drug is used earlier in treatment it can extend lives much longer — although that would require patients' finding the means to pay for it longer, too. Earlier this week Roche stopped recruiting patients for one clinical trial that included Avastin, while researchers try to explain the deaths of several patients. But doctors generally view Avastin as one of the safest cancer treatments. About 200 clinical trials including Avastin are taking place worldwide. With Avastin's expanded use, analysts expect the drug's sales to soar to $7 billion in the United States alone by 2009, compared with $1.1 billion last year. Over the same period, Genentech's overall profits are forecast to triple, to $4 billion in 2009, as sales — $6.6 billion last year — climb to $18 billion. 'They are certainly blazing new ground with the price of the drug,' said Geoffrey C. Porges, an industry analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company. 'They're saying, we think this is fair value, at least on a relative basis.' Genentech has always been aggressive in pricing its therapies, Mr. Porges said. But insurers and government agencies have eventually accepted Genentech's terms, because its treatments, which include Herceptin, its current breast cancer treatment, have been shown to prolong life. When they were originally discovered, drugs like Avastin, which aim at the blood vessels that tumors use to grow, were expected to replace traditional chemotherapy, which directly fight tumor cells. Instead, the drugs have been found to work best when used in conjunction with chemotherapy. That has caused the overall cost of cancer treatment to soar, said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society. 'The financial resources are not limitless,' he said. 'There are tremendous pressures on the cost of cancer therapies today.' The high prices are especially discouraging for patients who have been told that the new drugs may have only marginal benefits for them. Ellis Minrath, who has pancreatic cancer, said he had chosen not to take Tarceva, a drug from Genentech that is approved for lung cancer and has shown promise in pancreatic cancer. He did so after learning that it would cost him about $1,000 a month in co-payments, even though he is covered by Medicare. 'If anybody came out and said, 'By God, this is the stuff. You want to get well, find a way to buy it,' that would be one thing,' said Mr. Minrath, who is 87. 'But that isn't the case. The forecast of how much it's going to do is not that wonderful.' But Dr. Desmond-Hellmann, the Genentech product development chief, said she would recommend that Mr. Minrath be treated with Tarceva. 'I don't think any patient should go without a Genentech drug for an inability to pay,' she said. 'If this is about money, that would disturb me.' The higher cost of using Avastin in breast and lung cancer, compared with colon cancer, is a result of cancer drugs' being priced on the basis of weight. In colon cancer, Genentech tested Avastin at a dose of 5 milligrams of the drug per kilogram — or 2.2 pounds — of the patient's body weight. But in lung and breast cancer, the company tested the drug at a dose of 10 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. Because the actual cost of producing Avastin is a fraction of what Genentech charges for it, some analysts and doctors had expected the company to lower Avastin's price per milligram for use in lung and breast cancer. Dr. Leonard Saltz, an oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, noted that Genentech had not tested the Avastin at the dose level for colon cancer in large-scale trials of lung and breast cancer. As a result, no one really knows whether the lower dose might turn out to be equally effective in lung and breast cancer, he said. Besides costing less, he said, a lower dose might have fewer side effects. 'There are no meaningful data to allow us to address that question,' he said. Dr. Desmond-Hellmann said that Genentech was assuming that some cancer doctors might, in fact, use Avastin at the lower dosage to treat breast and lung cancer. That is a reason the company does not want to lower Avastin's per-milligram price, she said, because doing so would cut too deeply into revenues if doctors do not prescribe the higher doses that were used in the breast and lung cancer trials. 'We don't actually know whether physicians will actually use Avastin as was used in the clinical trials,' she said. But Dr. Saltz and other doctors said that they would almost certainly stick to the higher Avastin dose that was tested in the clinical trials, for fear that a lower dose might not be as effective.

Subject: Psychotherapy Lets Bygones Be Bygones
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 05:48:38 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/14/health/psychology/14psyc.html?ex=1297573200&en=fbbdc8e354fbc8cd&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 14, 2006 More and More, Favored Psychotherapy Lets Bygones Be Bygones By ALIX SPIEGEL For most of the 20th century, therapists in America agreed on a single truth. To cure patients, it was necessary to explore and talk through the origins of their problems. In other words, they had to come to terms with the past to move forward in the present. Thousands of hours and countless dollars were spent in this pursuit. Therapists listened diligently as their patients recounted elaborate narratives of family dysfunction — the alcoholic father, the mother too absorbed in her own unhappiness to attend to her children's needs — certain that this process would ultimately produce relief. But returning to the past has fallen out of fashion among mental health professionals over the last 15 years. Research has convinced many therapists that understanding the past is not required for healing. Despite this profound change, the cliché of patients' exhaustively revisiting childhood horror stories remains. 'Average consumers who walk into psychotherapy expect to be discussing their childhood and blaming their parents for contemporary problems, but that's just not true any more,' said John C. Norcross, a psychology professor at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. Professor Norcross has surveyed American psychologists in an effort to figure out what is going on behind their closed doors. Over the last 20 years, he has documented a radical shift. Psychotherapeutic techniques like psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapy, which deal with emotional conflict and are based on the idea that the exploration of past trauma is critical to healing, have been totally eclipsed by cognitive behavioral approaches. That relatively new school holds that reviewing the past is not only unnecessary to healing, but can be counterproductive. Professor Norcross says he believes that cognitive behavioral therapy is the most widely practiced approach in America. The method, known as C.B.T., was introduced in the late 1960's by Dr. Aaron T. Beck. The underlying theory says it is not important for patients to return to the origins of their problems, but instead to correct their current 'cognitive distortions,' errors in perception that lead them to the conclusion that life is hopeless or that everyday activity is unmanageable. For example, when confronted with severely depressed patients, cognitive behavioral therapists will not ask about childhoods, but will work with them to identify the corrosive underlying assumptions that frame their psychic reality and lead them to feel bad about themselves. Then, systematically, patients learn to retrain their thinking. The therapy dwells exclusively in the present. Unlike traditional psychoanalytic or psychodynamic therapy, it does not typically require a long course of treatment, usually 10 to 15 sessions. When cognitive therapy was introduced, it met significant resistance to the notion that people could be cured without understanding the sources of the problems. Many therapists said that without working through the underlying problems change would be superficial and that the basic problems would simply express themselves in other ways. Cognitive advocates convinced colleagues by using a tool that had not been systematically used in mental health, randomized controlled clinical trials. Although randomized controlled trials are the gold standard of scientific research, for most of the 20th century such research was not used to test the effectiveness of psychotherapeutic methods, in part because psychoanalysis, at the time the most popular form of talk therapy, was actively hostile to empirical validation. When research was conducted, it was generally as surveys rather than as randomized studies. Cognitive behavioral researchers carried out hundreds of studies, and that research eventually convinced the two most important mental health gatekeepers — universities and insurance companies. Now the transformation is more or less complete. 'There's been a total changing of the guard in psychology and psychiatry departments,' said Dr. Drew Westen, a psychodynamically oriented therapist who teaches at Emory University. 'Virtually no psychodynamic faculty are ever hired anymore. I can name maybe two in the last 10 years.' Insurance companies likewise often prefer consumers to select cognitive behavioral therapists, rather than psychodynamically oriented practitioners. In the companies' view, scientific studies have shown that cognitive therapy can produce results in less than half the time of traditional therapies. But is it really the case that understanding the past is not necessary to healing? Could thousands of people have saved time and money by skipping over conversations about parents and cutting straight to retraining their thoughts and behaviors? Richard J. McNally, a professor of psychology at Harvard, said reviewing the past could be therapeutically important because it could help patients construct narratives of cause and effect. He pointed to cases of panic disorder. Many people have panic attacks, but a small percentage develop full-blown panic disorder, he said. Those who do not can usually find a rational explanation for their disturbing experience. 'They say, 'That's because I am about to take a midterm exam or I had too much coffee this morning,' explanations that de-catastrophize the bodily symptoms,' Professor McNally said. The rationalizations are effective, he said, even when the explanation is not correct. Merely asserting a logical sequence of cause and effect lets people feel that they have some control, that they are not victims of unexplained forces. In the same way, people who experience depression can benefit from an explanation for their feelings, an interpretation that allows them to feel that they are able, based on their understanding of the cause, to predict and control their emotions. This is a function of therapies that focus on the past, Professor McNally said. 'Detailed narratives about the past can be assumed under a larger rubric of trying to find meaning or trying to impose order, and thereby controlling one's world and experience,' he said. 'People say, 'At least I know why I'm unhappy in life.' ' New research suggests that psychodynamic therapy exploring the past can be as effective as cognitive work. In the last three years, psychodynamic therapists have started to subject their approach to same vigorous research as that used for cognitive therapy. The studies show similarly good results. The basic assertion that it is not absolutely necessary to review the past is now generally accepted. Even Professor Norcross, who says he regularly guides patients to the past when it is warranted, acknowledges that the data are not entirely solid. 'At the moment,' he said, 'there is no evidence that understanding the origins of your problems is necessary for effective psychotherapy. And there is some evidence that a preoccupation with the past can actually interfere with making changes in the present. 'Obsessive rumination about past events can trap patients in a self-defeating cycle from which they cannot extricate themselves. It can actually retard healing.'

Subject: New York in White
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 05:47:27 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/15/opinion/15wed4.html?ex=1297659600&en=3f9d1a8df3b38075&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 15, 2006 New York in White and, Briefly, in Repose By CAROLYN CURIEL A heavy snowfall visits the city in several stages. First it makes its entrance, grand and commanding, forcing every activity to pivot around its fall. The beauty of the falling snow last weekend was hypnotic. But it was outdone by the next stage, snowfall's end. Like a sumptuous feast finally put on a table, Phase 2 drew everyone to partake. On Sunday afternoon, legions of snow angels worked the plains of parks and yards, while future Olympians took to slopes that even bunnies might ordinarily have thought were too shallow. The snow's Phase 2 made even the most insular people more outgoing, as if in surveying the phenomenon, their happy gazes met those of others doing the same. Strangers freely helped the less limber or poorly shod over snowbanks and along icy walks. One woman patted my arm as I navigated a crosswalk. In her hand was my hat, which I had carelessly dropped in the street. 'You'll need this,' she said, smiling, before disappearing. The snow would not have been so delightful if it hadn't been so quickly cleaned. With almost preternatural efficiency, the city plowed and salted roads, and carted away the largest mounds of snow. It seemed that most walks in front of residences and businesses were actually shoveled clean as the city requires — within four hours after the end of a snowfall. There were some prominent exceptions, though, including the police station in Times Square, which was still snowbound during Monday morning's rush hour. Maybe the chore went unassigned in the rush to attend to other needs in a storm, or maybe the white pile was preserved for prolonged gaping from tourists. Now, alas, the city has entered the dreaded Phase 3, when the remaining snow looks like an uninvited guest. Its shrinking remains grow grayer and mushier as the temperature rises and our fascination evaporates. It is already taking its long, final leave, draining loudly at strained sewer grates — such an undignified ending for something that so recently fed a city's euphoria.

Subject: National Index Returns [Dollars]
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Feb 15, 2006 at 20:22:32 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Dollars] 12/30/05 - 2/15/06 Australia 3.0 Canada 4.4 Denmark 1.5 France 5.7 Germany 8.1 Hong Kong 3.5 Japan -0.4 Netherlands 6.9 Norway 6.0 Sweden 4.6 Switzerland 3.6 UK 4.8

Subject: Index Returns [Domestic Currency]
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Feb 15, 2006 at 20:21:53 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Domestic Currency] 12/30/05 - 2/15/06 Australia 1.8 Canada 3.1 Denmark 0.7 France 4.7 Germany 7.2 Hong Kong 3.6 Japan -0.8 Netherlands 6.0 Norway 7.0 Sweden 3.0 Switzerland 2.9 UK 3.1

Subject: Vanguard Fund Returns
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Feb 15, 2006 at 18:56:27 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship2.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsByName Vanguard Fund Returns 12/31/05 to 2/15/06 S&P Index is 2.8 Large Cap Growth Index is 1.9 Large Cap Value Index is 3.3 Mid Cap Index is 3.6 Small Cap Index is 6.8 Small Cap Value Index is 6.4 Europe Index is 5.6 Pacific Index is 0.9 Emerging Markets Index is 7.9 Energy is 3.8 Health Care is 2.2 Precious Metals is 8.8 REIT Index is 7.5 High Yield Corporate Bond Fund is 1.1 Long Term Corporate Bond Fund is -1.2

Subject: Sector Stock Indexes
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Feb 15, 2006 at 18:51:39 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship2.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsVIPERByName Sector Stock Indexes 12/31/05 - 2/15/06 Energy 2.3 Financials 2.7 Health Care 2.9 Info Tech 3.4 Materials 4.6 REITs 7.6 Telecoms 9.9 Utilities 1.1

Subject: Another then vs now
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Feb 15, 2006 at 09:05:20 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I personally experienced the housing boom/bust cycle of the 80's thru early 90's. Some of the readers of this board may have also. There are differences now - the late 80's and early 90's were still experiencing the job and wage boom of hightech, interest rates were still coming down off of record highs and energy was also dropping off of record highs. All of these factors helped to lessen the blow of the housing bust. Unfortunately, we are now seeing these factors headed in the opposite direction on top of a level of personal debt which is much greater than it was back in the 80's. So it's not hard to see why economists like Paul Krugman, Robert Shiller, Stephen Roach, and Nouriel Roubini are predicting real trouble ahead of us. The following is from a blog site which provides a list of NYT's articles from the 80's-90's which documented the last big housing bust: Home Prices Do Fall A Look At The Collapse Of The 1980's Real Estate Bubble Through The Eyes Of The New York Times by James Bednar Northern New Jersey Real Estate Bubble Blog http://nnjbubble.blogspot.com Introduction 'Home prices never go down' is a quote often heard spoken by real estate agents. It isn't true. Real estate bubbles do exist and they do burst. The after effects of a real estate bubble burst are felt for years afterwards. Thanks to the online search capability of the New York Times, I was able to compile a list of articles that appeared in the New York Times during the real estate bubble from 1981 to 1988 and then from the resultant crash, from 1989 onwards. All the readers that have seen the preliminary compilation gave the same remark, 'It's like deja-vu.' Indeed, it is. We've quickly forgotten the 80's bubble that swept over the Northeast, in particular the New York Metropolitan area. We've convinced ourselves that 'this time is different.' Unfortunately, all we've proven is that we lack the ability to learn from history and our mistakes. New Jersey Median Home Price I've included a graph of the median home price in Northern New Jersey over that covers the period immediately preceding the 80's bubble, the crash, and the 2000's real estate bubble. Refer back to this graph as you read through the articles below. I've cut select pieces from each article that illustrate the period and well as public sentiment during that time. I've included the author as well as link so you can read the entire article. 1981 - Slow After 70's Slump Your Money; Buying Houses As Investments May 23, 1981, Saturday By ALAN S. OSER (NYT); Financial Desk Late City Final Edition, Section 2, Page 30, Column 1, 947 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30717F73F5C0C708EDDAC0894D9484D81 ''DO you think we did the right thing?'' the nervous woman asked the supposed authority. She and her husband, already owners of a summer home in Southampton, L.I., had just contracted to buy a condominium there, purely as an investment. They had seen home prices in the Hamptons rise... New Jersey Housing; HOW 'CREATIVE FINANCING' WORKS August 2, 1981, Sunday By ELLEN RAND (NYT); New Jersey Weekly Desk Late City Final Edition, Section 11, Page 16, Column 3, 1717 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F60B14F83C5F0C718CDDA10894D9484D81 PERHAPS ''creative financing'' has always been a euphemism for techniques that, under ideal circumstances, might not have been necessary to put together a real-estate deal. Surely, most of the soc alled ''creative financing'' methods used in the residential market today have long been used in the more-sophisticated commercial realestate field.... CONDOMANIA: GOOD OR BAD? By REBECCA SCHLAM LUTTO Published: August 9, 1981 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9401E1DA143BF93AA3575BC0A967948260 ''CONDOMANIA!'' is the anguished cry of apartment renters in New Jersey and across the nation. They are referring to the increasingly accelerated pace of converting existing rental apartments to condominium or cooperative ownership. New Jersey Housing; SELLING YOUR HOME? TRY A RAFFLE By ELLEN RAND Published: October 11, 1981 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950CEFDD1339F932A25753C1A967948260 WE ALL know that these are tough times for many Americans, but the good old ''can do'' spirit has not vanished from the housing scene, as some recent news stories attest. As everyone must have heard by now, an enterprising Virginia couple, eager to sell their home, recently took matters into their own hands and raffled it off. RAFFLES A CHANCY THING FOR HOMEOWNERS By CHRISTOPHER WELLISZ Published: November 15, 1981 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E01EFDD1F39F936A25752C1A967948260 As the popularity of house raffles has increased, so has the vigilance of law enforcement agencies in states where they are prohibited. A woman in Alabama pleaded guilty last month to a charge of unlawful promotion of gambling after she had tried to raffle her $60,000 home. In Tenafly, N.J., a real estate broker threatened with prosecution under the state's gambling laws is seeking a court order that would allow her to give away her home in a contest. 1982 - Real Estate Buzz Begins EXPANDED REAL ESTATE SECTION IS PLANNED FOR SUNDAY TIMES March 17, 1982, Wednesday(NYT); Metropolitan Desk Late City Final Edition, Section D, Page 22, Column 1, 328 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA0813F8385F0C748DDDAA0894DA484D81 The New York Times will introduce an expanded and redesigned Real Estate section on Sunday, March 28. It will include added news and features for consumers along with continued coverage of commercial real estate. A.M. Rosenthal, executive editor of The Times, announced the change. He said new weekly columns... Talking Partnerships; SHARING A MORTGAGE ON A HOME By DIANE HENRY Published: May 16, 1982 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F01E3D81538F935A25756C0A964948260 YOU'VE found the house you want, but you cannot afford it. The down payment may be prohibitive, or perhaps the monthly payments are too high. Bankers, brokers, Congress and home builders are all working on new financing techiques to help you, and one idea gaining some interest around the country is shared ownership of a property: You find the house you want to live in and an investor helps you with the down payment, the monthly payments or both. In return, the investor gets tax benefits and a share of the appreciated value of the home at resale. HOBOKEN By ALFONSO A. NARVAEZ Published: August 1, 1982 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9504E2DD1339F932A3575BC0A964948260 HOBOKEN has for some time enjoyed a reputation - especially among those wishing to escape New York - as being a close-in, comparatively inexpensive alternative. But time and the unremitting pressures of the Manhattan real estate market have caused this city of 42,000 to take on some of the characteristics of its neighbor a cross the Hudson. Three- and four-room apartments, when available, rent for $500 and $600 a month with recently renovated units bringing up to $700 a month. A one-family brownstone that 10 years ago would have sold for $20,000 to $25,000 is now on the market for $120,000, down from last year's asking price of $135,000 - the drop a concession to the persistence of high interest rates. Condominiums, some of which have been carved out of old tenement buildings, have sold for from $35,000 to $100,000. Economic Scene; Slump's Effect On the Banks October 22, 1982, Friday By ROBERT A. BENNETT (NYT); Financial Desk Late City Final Edition, Section D, Page 2, Column 1, 900 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FB0D1EF93E5F0C718EDDA90994DA484D81 WHETHER one blames so-called Reaganomics, supply-side economics or monetarism, the country is feeling the effects of a classic recession, following an inflationary boom. As in past recessions, banks have not been spared the agonies, as was evident at this week's annual convention of the American Bankers Association in Atlanta.... Real Estate; Planned Units Arise In Jersey By ALAN S. OSER Published: December 10, 1982 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE1DF1F39F933A25751C1A964948260 Prices have been level for six to eight months, he said. But as soon as buyer demand picks up again, he predicted, they will rise rapidly. The reason is that suppliers have a limited inventory of housing products because of low demand over an extended period. Supply shortages will create sharp price increases, he said. TAXES ON PROPERTY ARE HEADING UP By DAVID W. DUNLAP Published: December 19, 1982 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E01E1DD1738F93AA25751C1A964948260 ''A lot of new houses have gone up and they're selling rapidly,'' he said. ''You can't touch anything new for less than $250,000.'' Although properties are supposed to be assessed at full value, as a practical matter they are not. If there is a flagrant difference between assessed and market values, a county tax board can order a municipality to revalue all property. Currently, several communities are going through such revaluations, which will be reflected in 1983 tax rates. In theory, if a property's value has doubled, and the town's budget remains constant, then the tax rate should be halved. North Caldwell is one community that is going through such a revaluation. The last time it did so was in 1971, and as Charles Schmitz, the tax assessor, said, ''I would hope that all properties have doubled since then. If a house was worth $100,000 then, I would assume that it would be at a minimum of $250,000 today. The average lot here, which is a half-acre, sells in excess of $80,000.'' 1983 - Real Estate Gains Limelight WHO GAINS WHEN HOUSING PROSPERS April 17, 1983, Sunday By N.R. KLEINFIELD (NYT); Financial Desk Late City Final Edition, Section 3, Page 1, Column 2, 3803 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FB0813F83D5C0C748DDDAD0894DB484D81 TALKING HOME VALUES; HOW TO GET A PROPER APPRAISAL By ANDREE BROOKS Published: May 8, 1983 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A01EED71238F93BA35756C0A965948260 ''They always think their home is special because they live there,'' said Normam Kailo, past president of the New Jersey Association of Realtors and owner of the Soldoveri Agency in Wayne, N.J. ''It's such a danger that even after 22 years in real estate I would not try to set a price on my own house. I would make sure someone else made the decision for me.'' HIGH COURT SETS FORCED-SALE RULES By GEORGE W. GOODMAN Published: July 3, 1983 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B07E3D81639F930A35754C0A965948260 THE EMPIRE AND EGO OF DONALD TRUMP By MARYLIN BENDER; MARILYN BENDER, A JOUNALIST AND AUTHOR, WRITES ON BUSINESS FROM NEW YORK. Published: August 7, 1983 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C05E7D91E39F934A3575BC0A965948260 He made his presence known on the island of Manhattan in the mid 70's, a brash Adonis from the outer boroughs bent on placing his imprint on the golden rock. Donald John Trump exhibited a flair for self-promotion, grandiose schemes - and, perhaps not surprisingly, for provoking fury along the way. Senior realty titans scoffed, believing that braggadocio was the sum and substance of the blond, blue-eyed, six-footer who wore maroon suits and matching loafers, frequented Elaine's and Regine's in the company of fashion models, and was not abashed to take his armed bodyguard-chauffeur into a meeting with an investment banker. STATE'S HOUSING GROWTH CITED By DONOVAN WILSON Published: October 23, 1983 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E04E4DC123BF930A15753C1A965948260 SPURRED largely by money from financial institutions in the state, New Jersey's residential real-estate activity has experienced a healthy growth in the last several years with the construction of condominiums and single-family homes. According to 1980 census figures, there were more than 50,000 condominium units in the state and more than 1.4 million single-family homes. Industry officials say those figures are rising. ABOUT REAL ESTATE; NEW COMPETING SKYLINE IS RISING AT MEADOWLANDS By ANTHONY DEPALMA Published: December 28, 1983 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0CE1D71538F93BA15751C1A965948260 From the crest of the Route 3 bridge over the Hackensack River in New Jersey, it is possible to see across the low-lying salt marshes of the Meadowlands to the steel skeletons of three office buildings, totaling 820,000 square feet of space, taking shape to form a new skyline. The three buildings, along with a fourth of similar size under construction a few miles east, provide striking evidence of the Meadowlands' rapid transformation into a major metropolitan office center that competes with Manhattan for major users of commercial space. 1984 - Prices Begin To Skyrocket NEW YORK AREA ECONOMY ON THE MEND AS '83 ENDS January 1, 1984, Sunday By DAMON STETSON (NYT); Metropolitan Desk Late City Final Edition, Section 1, Page 19, Column 1, 668 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA0810F9395C0C728CDDA80894DC484D81 The economy of the New York metropolitan area, after a ''shaky start'' in 1983, moved toward recovery from the recession at the end of the year, according to the the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment rose over the year, price increases were moderate, the purchasing power of worker earnings... THE ART OF NEGOTIATING WITHOUT TRAUMA By MICHAEL DECOURCY HINDS Published: January 15, 1984 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B01E2DB1138F936A25752C0A962948260 JUST about everybody feels out of control when they try to negotiate the price of a home. Brokers say that even financial wizards at Fortune 500 companies tug their hair, grit their teeth and show other signs of emotional stress when they get down to hard bargaining over the purchase or sale of their homes. RESALE-HOME PRICES: UP AND RISING By MICHAEL DECOURCY HINDS Published: January 22, 1984 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9405E7DF1F38F931A15752C0A962948260 A survey of the conventional homeowner housing market in New York City, Westchester County, Long Island, Connecticut and New Jersey indicates that 1983 was a strong sales year, with prices generally increasing. It also shows that expected stability in mortage-interest rates, coupled with a strong demand and a diminishing supply of listings, should cause prices to continue to increase this year. APARTMENTS: WHY PRICES ARE SO HIGH By MATTHEW L. WALD Published: January 29, 1984 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B00EEDA163BF93AA15752C0A962948260 Why are the prices of new apartments so high in Manhattan? What could justify such figures for sales and rentals? ''It's land, land, land,'' said Lewis Winnick, an analyst at the Ford Foundation. He explained that Manhattan property on which apartments can be developed is made scarce first by high demand and second by restrictive zoning, land use, rent regulation and other policies of the city. THE HOUSE THAT'S NOT YOUR HOME By ANDREE BROOKS Published: February 5, 1984 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B02E0DE143BF936A35751C0A962948260 Area suburbs report that many homeowners are buying second and third houses as investments and tax shelters. Among the factors encouraging this practice, they say, are lower interest rates, a rise in house prices, lenders' greater willingness to provide mortgages on houses not occupied by owners and a growing awareness of the tax benefits of such investments. CHOOSING THE RIGHT ADJUSTABLE MORTGAGE By MICHAEL DECOURCY HINDS Published: March 18, 1984 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F05E0D81339F93BA25750C0A962948260 BUYING A HOME WITH A FRIEND By ANDREE BROOKS Published: May 6, 1984 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DEEDD1038F935A35756C0A962948260 OVER the last two or three years a growing number of young, single people have chosen to buy a home in partnership with a friend. There is not necessarily a romantic involvement. The two simply decide to pool their resources to amass the necessary down payment or to qualify for financing at a time when property prices are so high. BROKERS PROCESSING MORTGAGES By ANDREE BROOKS Published: June 17, 1984 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9806EFD81639F934A25755C0A962948260 ''We are worried that the buyer is being steered into a mortgage program that is not necessarily the best for him,'' said E. Robert Levy, executive director and general counsel to the association. Borrowers are also in danger, he said, of being persuaded to finance more of the purchase amount than they might wish when the broker's mortgage-writing commission is based upon the size of the loan delivered. THE $100,000 HOUSE: GETTING SMALLER EVERY YEAR August 1, 1984, Wednesday By DAVID E. ROSENBAUM (NYT); National Desk Late City Final Edition, Section A, Page 8, Column 2, 1290 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F4081FFC3D5C0C728CDDA10894DC484D81 ..family house has been bobbing around the $100,000 mark or above for the first time. Which raises the question: What can you get in a house, new or old, for $100,000? Very little in New York or San Francisco until you get an hour or more from the city,... ABOUT REAL ESTATE; JERSEY PROJECT SELLS OUT IN A WEEKEND August 31, 1984, Friday By KIRK JOHNSON (NYT); Financial Desk Late City Final Edition, Section B, Page 7, Column 1, 821 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40915FA3B5C0C728FDDA10894DC484D81 Selling homes from a trailer, with no models to show would-be buyers and only empty ground for a view, is not the easiest of propositions. But in this area of central New Jersey, which has experienced a rapid influx of companies, the demand for new housing is strong enough ABOUT REAL ESTATE; INNOVATIVE MORTGAGES AT JERSEY PROJECT By KIRK JOHNSON Published: October 19, 1984 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F03EFDF1439F93AA25753C1A962948260 Creative financing has become so pervasive since the era of high interest rates began in the 1970's that innovative packages are now being used to originate even conventional fixed- rated mortgages. NEARBY URBAN AREAS DRAW HOME BUYERS By KIRK JOHNSON Published: December 16, 1984 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E01E6DA1338F935A25751C1A962948260 ''IN the 1960's, everything was suburbs - picket fences and two-car garages,'' said Carlos Alvarado, a slow smile crossing his face. ''Then everybody wanted Manhattan. Now it seems to be spreading into the areas adjacent to Manhattan. People want an urban life style again. It's almost like a fad.'' 1985 - Prices Rise, Affordability Questioned ADAPTING TO THE HIGH COST OF HOUSING By MICHAEL DECOURCY HINDS Published: February 3, 1985 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9406E2DB1739F930A35751C0A963948260 Affordable apartments in Manhattan are as rare as crocuses in winter and market rates, by definition, are beyond the means of nearly everybody. A recent Chemical Bank study estimates that only 12 percent of all households can afford a new average-priced ($200,000) one-bedroom condominium or co-op apartment - and only if they are willing to spend 45 percent of their $58,000 annual income on housing expenses. THE NATION; Boom in House Foreclosures February 24, 1985, Sunday By KATHERINE ROBERTS, CAROLINE RAND HERRON AND MICHAEL WRIGHT (NYT); Week in Review Desk Late City Final Edition, Section 4, Page 4, Column 2, 288 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FB0E16FE385D0C778EDDAB0894DD484D81 The only sure thing in the housing market is that sure things can lead to disaster. A few years back, many families stretched their budgets to buy houses at high interest rates, figuring that if times got tough, they could always sell and make a profit. But today, tens... MAKING IT BIG IN THE HIGH-STAKES WORLD OF MANHATTAN REAL-ESTATE BROKERS By MICHAEL BLUMSTEIN Published: May 2, 1985 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C04EFD6163BF931A35756C0A963948260 If neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night can stop mail carriers, then it would probably take nuclear war to keep Manhattan's real-estate brokers from completing their appointed rounds. There are certainly plenty of them. Manhattan now has 16,852 licensed real-estate brokers, salesmen and saleswomen, up from 13,138 in 1981, according to the New York Department of State, and they account for 42 percent of all the licensed real-estate brokers and sales personnel in New York City. In recent years, as prices and therefore commissions have soared, the payoffs have become impressive. Jersey Thrift Units 'Sound' May 17, 1985, Friday (NYT); Financial Desk Late City Final Edition, Section D, Page 5, Column 4, 210 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F10D11FB395F0C748DDDAC0894DD484D81 In New Jersey, where 24 small savings and loan associations have no insurance, state banking officials said yesterday that the institutions were ''extremely sound'' and in no danger of failing. The average ''ratio of net worth to deposits is 24 percent,'' said William Sievewright, chief examiner in the savings... NEW YORK HOME PRICES SURGE By PETER T. KILBORN, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES Published: May 24, 1985 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9900E0DD1639F937A15756C0A963948260 Home prices in New York City and its suburbs are rising faster than anywhere else in the nation, to the point where they now exceed those in many parts of the nation's customary pacesetter, California. And Allen J. Proctor, a regional economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said, ''I don't believe it's a bubble, a speculative bubble, like California was.'' MAKING THE MOST OF FAST-FALLING MORTGAGE RATES By MICHAEL DECOURCY HINDS Published: June 30, 1985 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9500E5D71E39F933A05755C0A963948260 THE bad news about the slowdown in the nation's economy has been good news for people shopping for home mortgages. Interest rates, responding to a reduced demand for credit and stable inflation, have fallen to levels not seen since the summer of 1980. Rates, however, have already started to edge upward because of some preliminary reports on the economy's improving outlook. In any event, lower monthly interest costs are making houses more affordable and allowing some people to buy larger ones than they had anticipated. Other borrowers are seeing payments for their adjustable-rate mortgages decline or they are taking advantage of the opportunity to refinance high-cost loans at today's lower rates. STUDY PREDICTS SUSTAINED GROWTH FOR NEW YORK REGION'S ECONOMY By THOMAS J. LUECK Published: August 12, 1985 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A07E5D61339F931A2575BC0A963948260 The economy of New York City and its suburbs, buoyed by a swift, five-year recovery, has entered a period of sustained growth that will be halted only if the region fails to provide enough new housing, according to an economic analysis released yesterday. The study concludes that the nation's largest urban area has fully recovered from its severe economic problems of the 1970's, when New York City came close to bankruptcy, hundreds of businesses closed and thousands of jobs were lost. WILL A SHORTAGE OF HOUSING CRIMP ECONOMIC GAINS? August 18, 1985, Sunday By ANTHONY DEPALMA (NYT); Week in Review Desk Late City Final Edition, Section 4, Page 20, Column 1, 940 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA0C10F6345C0C7B8DDDA10894DD484D81 DURING rush hour, most highways in the metropolitan area are jammed with cars and buses headed in both directions, vivid if frustrating proof of the local economy's recovery from the malaise of the 1970's and the continued dispersion of jobs from New York City. An analysis released last week... BUYER'S MARKET FORESEEN FOR CITY CONDOS AND CO-OPS By RICHARD D. LYONS Published: August 25, 1985 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9507E1DC173BF936A1575BC0A963948260 REAL-ESTATE experts are predicting a buyer's market for cooperative and condominium apartments in New York City over the next year, shaped by burgeoning new construction, worry over proposed changes in Federal tax law and jitters among owners that prices may already have risen so high that it is time to sell. ''Simply put, there are going to be a lot of new apartments coming on the market in the next year, and sellers are going to have to offer the sort of incentives that haven't been generally available in recent years,'' said Yale Robbins, the realty consultant and compiler of New York housing data who is president of the company bearing his name. TAX PLAN SLOWS SALES OF RESORT PROPERTY September 2, 1985, Monday By ROBERT LINDSEY, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (NYT); National Desk Late City Final Edition, Section 1, Page 9, Column 1, 1596 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20B1EFF3E5F0C718CDDA00894DD484D81 Uncertainties over President Reagan's proposed overhaul of the tax code are depressing prices and causing a slump in the sale of resort property over much of the nation this summer. From Kaanapali Beach here on the coast of Maui to ski resorts in northern Maine, developers and real estate... TALKING TWO FAMILIES; The Merits Of Condo Conversion By ANDREE BROOKS Published: September 29, 1985 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9906E4DF1239F93AA1575AC0A963948260 AROUND THE MARKET; High and Low Ends Firm In Vacation Condo Sales By GENE RONDINARO Published: October 6, 1985 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9900EFD71339F935A35753C1A963948260 Brokers at resort centers around the country report a slowing of sales this year from 1984, which they attribute in part to public uncertainty over the tax proposals. But this has has been somewhat offset by lower mortgage-interest rates and, in some cases, declining prices for resale and new recreational units at many resort areas. ''Sales are not at a standstill - I would say they are at a pony trot,'' said Ray Ellis, director of operational services and research for the condominium committee of the American and Hotel Association. NEW JERSEY OPINION; PLAYING THE GAME CALLED REAL ESTATE October 20, 1985, Sunday By REBECCA SCHLAM LUTTO; REBECCA SCHLAM LUTTO'S PLAYING PIECE IS OVER IN THE TEANECK PART OF THE BOARD. (NYT); New Jersey Weekly Desk Late City Final Edition, Section 11NJ, Page 22, Column 1, 700 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FB0D14FD355D0C738EDDA90994DD484D81 THE Real Estate Game has reached our town. Any number can play, but the minimum bid is $100,000. The playing pieces are suburban houses, and the owners need not move on the game board to enjoy playing. The game was all the rage in Washington and Los Angeles in... PUTTING THE HOMESTEAD DEEPER INTO HOCK November 24, 1985, Sunday By ROBERT A. BENNETT (NYT); Financial Desk Late City Final Edition, Section 3, Page 1, Column 2, 2759 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30E12F83A5C0C778EDDA80994DD484D81 TURN on the television. Open the junk mail. Sift through the brochures that come with the monthly bank statement. It's no secret: Home-equity loans are being promoted these days as the hottest product in consumer lending. The home-equity loan, of course, is the glossy name that the nation's marketers... HOUSE VALUES SURGE IN THE OLDER AREAS OF NORTHERN QUEENS By GENE RONDINARO Published: December 1, 1985 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9400EEDC1F38F932A35751C1A963948260 ''There has been a strong housing market here for some time but within the few years prices have gone through the roof,'' said Ted Metalios of Century 21/Metalios Real Estate in Jackson Heights. The agency, according to the Queens Board of Realtors, handles the majority of residential real-estate transactions in Jackson Heights and also brokers many of the sales in the nearby neighborhoods of Astoria, Woodside, Sunnyside, Long Island City, Corona and Elmhurst. 1986 - Manic Pace U.S. INQUIRY FINDS PATTERN OF FRAUD IN HOUSING LOANS By PHILIP SHENON, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES Published: January 21, 1986 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DE6D81130F932A15752C0A960948260 Federal investigators say they have uncovered a pattern of frauds against the Department of Housing and Urban Development involving falsified documents used to obtain tens of millions of dollars in Government-backed mortgages. More than a dozen real estate agents and mortgage industry officials have been indicted or convicted because of their involvement in such schemes in southern New Jersey. In the last year, similar swindles have been reported in Houston, Seattle and Milwaukee. HOME PRICES SOARING IN NEW YORK'S SUBURBS By THOMAS J. LUECK, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES Published: January 27, 1986 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DE5D6143DF934A15752C0A960948260 At a time when the nationwide boom in real estate is fading, economists say the suburbs of New York City may be emerging as the region with the strongest demand - and most rapidly rising prices - for housing in the country. Home prices in southern Connecticut, Westchester County and New Jersey and on Long Island are soaring. In many suburban communities, homes ranging from small two-bedroom bungalows to large, colonial estates have doubled in value over the last five years. ''As an investment, homes here are golden,'' said Joseph J. Bell, the Clerk of Morris County, N.J., where homes sold for an average price of $115,000 two years ago. As of last week, he calculated, the average was $172,515, about 50 percent higher. The economists say no one should expect home prices in the New York suburbs or elsewhere to continue rising at their current rates. With prices already beyond the reach of many potential buyers, and with the general rate of inflation below 5 percent, they say real-estate values have accelerated at a pace that cannot be sustained. OUT TOWNS; CASHING IN ON 'THE REAL ESTATE SCENARIO' IN JERSEY By MICHAEL WINERIP, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES Published: February 23, 1986 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DEEDE1539F930A15751C0A960948260 Murphy Realty is one of many area concerns offering free seminars. Companies can't get new salesmen fast enough: Murphy had 12 offices last year, has 22 now and projects 100 in five years. ''We have corporate executives coming in every minute,'' Mr. Abrams said. At the free seminar, hopefuls hear about a woman who sold $1 million worth of real estate during the weeks she was at M.I.T. - the Murphy Institute Training program. Frank Kovats, head of another real estate school, told them, ''For a relatively small investment in time and money, you can enter a career that will change your life.'' He said that he had seen many people pass up the opportunity and that they were kicking themselves in the pants right now SURGE IN BUILDING DRAINING LABOR POOL By RICHARD D. LYONS Published: March 30, 1986 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DE4D7173CF933A05750C0A960948260 THE surge in building sweeping New York is triggering the greatest demand for construction workers in almost two decades, straining the supply of the most highly skilled tradesmen and increasing the labor costs of some new homes, apartments and offices. IN WESTCHESTER AND CONNECTICUT; Old Barns Turned Into Luxury Homes By BETSY BROWN Published: April 27, 1986 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DE5DB103DF934A15757C0A960948260 OLD Westchester County barns have been going quickly in recent years as farmland becomes housing developments, but recently three old barns have appeared on the hillsides in North Salem and Lewisboro, looking as if they had always been there. IN NEW JERSEY; Slaughterhouse Blossoming Into Co-ops By ANTHONY DEPALMA Published: May 11, 1986 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DE4DB1639F932A25756C0A960948260 LOCATION, it is said with numbing regularity, is real estate's most important factor. Yet location can be what you make of it, and developers around New Jersey have shown they are willing to take a chance on what might appear to be an unpromising site in hopes of creating a successful project. THE FEW-FRILLS CONDOMINIUM June 23, 1986, Monday By THOMAS J. LUECK, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (NYT); Financial Desk Late City Final Edition, Section D, Page 1, Column 3, 1336 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F50715F7345D0C708EDDAF0894DE484D81 The largest builder of condominiums in the New York suburbs, Kevork Hovnanian, says his biggest sales problem is crowd control. ''We want to maintain public safety,'' he said the other day. Again and again, the Hovnanian condominiums have sold out within hours of being offered for sale. Hundreds of... ABOUT REAL ESTATE; HOUSING SET FOR NEWARK NEWS BUILDING By PHILIP S. GUTIS, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES Published: July 4, 1986 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DE7D81731F937A35754C0A960948260 ''Renaissance Towers is aptly named because it is further testimony to the rebirth, progress and accelerated development that is taking place in our city,'' said Mayor Sharpe James, who took office on Tuesday. ''But the towers are just the tip of the iceberg. I believe this renaissance will spread to our residential areas and neighborhood commercial strips.'' Even though the building is far from complete - indeed its offering plan has not yet been accepted by the New Jersey Attorney General - the 131 units in the condominium are sold out. Buyers have signed agreements and placed $2,500 deposits on the apartments, which range from a $59,000 studio to a $390,000 penthouse. PERSONAL FINANCE; A Summer House Without Uncle Sam By CAROLE GOULD; CAROLE GOULD WRITES ON BUSINESS AND FINANCE FROM NEW YORK. Published: August 3, 1986 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DE2DE1238F930A3575BC0A960948260 VACATIONERS in the market for a second home, as well as people who already own them, may want to rethink their plans for that seashore or mountainside cottage as a result of the tax revision proposals before Congress. Many rules concerning vacation homes are likely to be tightened, to the extent that, in the view of some tax advisers, it could make economic sense to act now to get under the current, more generous measures. If owners are contemplating selling, experts say, they should sell now to benefit from more generous capital gains treatment. Alternatively, would-be home-buyers might consider buying sooner than planned, to lock in more liberal tax breaks. REAL ESTATE, THE MAJOR OUTLAY; Refinancing Makes Sense For Many September 14, 1986, Sunday By H. J. MAIDENBERG (NYT); Personal Investing Supplement Desk Late City Final Edition, Section 12, Page 25, Column 1, 1508 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F5071EFB3C5D0C778DDDA00894DE484D81 NOT since the frenzied home-building years following World War II has there been so huge a volume of mortgage activity as in the past year. Forty years ago the source of the mortgage madness was the vast army of veterans taking advantage of low-cost Government financing; much of the... STATE TO ACT TO EASE MORTGAGE DELAYS By LEO H. CARNEY Published: October 5, 1986 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DE0D6163EF936A35753C1A960948260 Reacting to the heavy volume of complaints about long delays in processing mortgage applications, the state's Department of Banking will soon propose regulations to alleviate the problem. Soon after interest rates began to drop significantly six to eight months ago, mortgage lenders were beseiged with applications to refinance existing residential and commercial mortgages at lower rates and by applications for new loans. SUBURBIA PRICING OUT THE YOUNG By THOMAS J. KNUDSON, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES Published: October 6, 1986 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DE7D61F3FF935A35753C1A960948260 The economic forces that have brought prosperity and change to the suburbs around New York are also pushing out of the region a precious resource: its young people. In increasing numbers, people in their 20's and 30's, married and earning $30,000 or more a year, are leaving the area they grew up in because they cannot afford the housing. FOCUS: Investment; Japanese Plunge Into U.S. Realty By TIMOTHY EGAN Published: November 23, 1986 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DE1DB1130F930A15752C1A960948260 ONE of Japan's biggest exports these days is investment capital. In record numbers, Japanese banks and financial concerns are investing in the commercial real-estate market throughout the United States, focusing most recently on the West Coast. Mr. Shima of Coldwell Banker said the influx of capital should continue beyond the rise in exchange rates. ''Regardless of the yen-to-dollar ratio,'' he said, ''Japanese firms will continue to buy in this country for the simple reason that there is such an absolute scarcity of available property in Japan.'' NEWARK IS EVER RICHER IN REAL ESTATE, BUT STILL CASH POOR December 28, 1986, Sunday By ALFONSO A. NARVAEZ (NYT); Week in Review Desk Late City Final Edition, Section 4, Page 6, Column 1, 839 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F5071EFF3F5B0C7B8EDDAB0994DE484D81 WHEN he upset Kenneth A. Gibson last spring to become the chief elected official of New Jersey's largest city, Sharpe James recalled recently, ''I knew it would be the worst and the best of times to become Mayor.'' On one hand, there has been a resurgence of development interest... 1987 - Cracks Appear At The Top ECONOMIC GAINS FOUND SOFTER IN NEW YORK AREA January 11, 1987, Sunday By PHILIP S. GUTIS (NYT); Metropolitan Desk Late City Final Edition, Section 1, Page 29, Column 1, 691 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F4071FFF3F540C728DDDA80894DF484D81 Although the economy of the New York-New Jersey region continued to grow last year - adding 135,000 jobs -a report released last week said that several suburban counties were beginning to show some signs of decreased economic strength. Although the economy of the New York-New Jersey region continued... ABOUT REAL ESTATE; BUILDER SAYS THE ACTION IS NOW IN JERSEY SUBURBS By RICHARD D. LYONS Published: February 6, 1987 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE1DF123FF935A35751C0A961948260 For years conventional wisdom had it that the hub of the action was Manhattan if you wanted to be successful in metropolitan area real estate. Commercial properties in center city for sure, and residential as close as possible. But to hear Ara K. Hovnanian tell it, the far suburbs are the focus of today's action, including some in New Jersey. What Price Progress on the Hudson? By ANTHONY DEPALMA Published: February 22, 1987 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE3DB1E3AF931A15751C0A961948260 DRIVING within sight of the river's edge from the George Washington Bridge south to the marsh grass and reeds of Caven Point in Jersey City, it is possible, in less than an hour, to get a good measure of the rapid development under way along the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. IN JERSEY, A STRESS ON URBAN HOUSING By JOSEPH L. SULLIVAN Published: March 1, 1987 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE6DD1E3CF932A35750C0A961948260 BUILDING or rehabilitating housing in New Jersey's decaying urban neighborhoods is on everyone's mind as Governor Kean and the State Legislature try to design a housing program for the current legislative session. RETRAINING AND HOUSING CALLED KEYS TO GROWTH By THOMAS J. LUECK Published: March 5, 1987 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DEEDC123EF936A35750C0A961948260 The strongest expansion of the New York metropolitan region's economy since World War II will stop without significant improvements in job training and housing, according to two government reports released this week. ''After a decade of consistently good economic news, we are bumping up against the limits of our own growth,'' said Rosemary Scanlon, chief economist for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which yesterday released its annual analysis of the economy in New York City, its northern suburbs, Long Island, and eight counties in northern New Jersey. COST WOES IN HOUSING By ALAN FINDER Published: March 5, 1987 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE2D61E3EF936A35750C0A961948260 The question, raised initially by Mayor Koch in December 1985, has acquired a sense of urgency in recent months at City Hall: Can new, unsubsidized housing be built by private developers for middle-income New Yorkers? The Battle to Preserve a Jersey Utopia By ANTHONY DEPALMA Published: March 22, 1987 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE1D71F38F931A15750C0A961948260 IN their quest to preserve the remnants of Gustav Stickley's utopian community, the out-of-state developer and the home-grown preservationist are of a mind. They differ only in how to reach their goal, but that is a big difference. The developer, a red-haired firebrand named Jack C. Heller who travels in a limousine and breaks $100 bills in fast-food restaurants, intends to save the log house that served as home and refuge for Stickley, the designer and architect who is sometimes credited with founding the arts and crafts movement in America. MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION: A HOUSE IN THE COUNTRY By ERICA ABEEL; ERICA ABEEL IS A WRITER AND A PROFESSOR AT JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK. Published: April 19, 1987 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DEFDA1F30F93AA25757C0A961948260 Gulkin is among the growing number of middle- and upper-middle class Americans whose pursuit of happiness has led them to the purchase of a weekend retreat. For the obsession with having a country house is upon us. If every age has fads, foibles and conventions which reveal its collective psyche, one of ours is to acquire a second home in the mountains, in the woods or at the beach - in any rustic area, in fact, within three hours of the city. FLORIDA MARKET: BALLYHOO AND BARGAINS By MICHAEL DECOURCY HINDS Published: April 26, 1987 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE4D7173CF935A15757C0A961948260 COMMERCIALS for ''Mediterranean villas'' fill Florida's airwaves and the state's roadways are littered with billboards announcing such events as the grand opening of the 19th phase of the 34th suburban-style project on the left Marketing offensives aside, it is a buyer's market for the sprawling communities of second and retirement homes in South Florida. High-rise apartment buyers also have their pick, but there are fewer choices for those who want a single-family house that looks original, is apart from the crowd and is set in a natural landscape. Prices have been flat for several years and the market is awash with real estate. As a result, many sellers are willing to accept considerably less than their asking prices, according to market analysts. The best deals are on about 5,000 high-rise condominium units - primarily in Miami, but scattered around the beaches of both coasts - that have been sitting vacant for several years. And since there are so many expanding projects, developers are quite competitive and more than willing to negotiate; many will immediately offer to pay closing costs and travel expenses. CAMPERS WAIT DAYS ON A CONDO TRAIL SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES Published: April 26, 1987 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DEED9143FF935A15757C0A961948260 They began arriving 10 days ago, dozens of people on the condominium trail. In warm sun and then cold rain, they lived in a community of cars, campers and trucks, assuring themselves a chance to pay $175,000 and up for one of the 100 town houses that will become Society Hill. Huge Jersey Project Planned on Hudson June 4, 1987, Thursday By THOMAS J. LUECK (NYT); Metropolitan Desk Late City Final Edition, Section B, Page 1, Column 4, 804 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40710F93C5E0C778CDDAF0894DF484D81 In a project that reflects the growing importance of New Jersey's riverfront real estate, developers said yesterday that they planned to build a $900 million complex of offices, condominiums, stores and a marina along the Hudson River in Jersey City. In a project that reflects the growing importance... Home Buying Drops Sharply In the Suburbs By THOMAS J. LUECK, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES Published: July 27, 1987 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE0DA1731F934A15754C0A961948260 The surging market for homes in the suburbs of New York City has abruptly shifted gears. In many suburban communities, where real-estate prices have more than doubled since 1980, industry experts say there is a huge inventory of unsold homes, and a sudden paucity of buyers. In May, June and early July - normally the peak of the home-buying season - anxious sellers in much of the suburban region have been lowering their prices, sometimes repeatedly. ''The number of properties on the market is unbelievable,'' said Richard Palmer, regional vice president of the National Board of Realtors for New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. ''For the moment, the unsatiable demand for homes seems to be satisfied.'' About Real Estate; Hoboken By FLETCHER ROBERTS Published: August 14, 1987 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DEEDE153FF937A2575BC0A961948260 To witness the revitalization taking place in Hoboken, N.J., a visitor need not venture much beyond the PATH station at the southern end of the city. An area once noted for its unsavoriness because of the bars that catered to dockworkers in the waterfront's heyday has in recent years taken on a more genteel air, with sidewalk cafes, health clubs and even a takeout shop featuring food delicacies. Now this area is expecting a major lift from a $57 million mixed-use complex planned for the 1.3-acre site of a Shop-Rite supermarket, just a few steps from the PATH station. The complex will include 288 condominium units, underground parking and a ground-level shopping mall. The Windfall Profits in Insider Flips By MICHAEL DECOURCY HINDS Published: August 30, 1987 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE0DB153BF933A0575BC0A961948260 JAMES AND JOAN DRUKER purchased their Upper West Side apartment last April for $178,000. In June, they signed a sales contract to sell it at a $222,000 profit. Another couple, Eric and Carol Michaels, bought their Greenwich Village apartment in the early spring and sold it three months later, making $80,000. They are among the tenants in New York City who have purchased their apartments at discounted insider prices during a cooperative or condominium conversion and quickly resold, or flipped them. Beneficiaries of the conversion windfall include many tenants who did not buy apartments, but sold their options to purchase them at discount or took a generous buyout from the landlord. THE REGION: HOW SOME EXPERTS SEE THE LOCAL ECONOMY; Beyond the Boom: Where Do We Go From Here? October 4, 1987, Sunday By THOMAS J. LUECK (NYT); Week in Review Desk Late City Final Edition, Section 4, Page 24, Column 1, 2565 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40717FA345D0C778CDDA90994DF484D81 A REPORT by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey last week reaffirmed that the 10-year expansion of the metropolitan area's economy has continued this year, fueled by a sustained boom in construction and resulting in the lowest unemployment rate in nearly two decades. But the... The Aftermath for Housing and Offices By ANTHONY DEPALMA Published: October 25, 1987 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE2DA1431F936A15753C1A961948260 EVEN before stock prices tumbled on Wall Street last week, developers, investors and house buyers tried to assess just how closely the real estate market and the stock market were linked. Now they want to know if one can prosper without the other. The losses on Wall Street, and a possible continued loss of financial services jobs, left some commercial developers and investors scrambling to figure whether vacancy rates would rise and how that would affect plans for new office buildings. There also are worries that the cash-rich traders and others who have been able to pay extraordinary prices for new condominiums and gracious older houses in the suburbs might drop out of the market. If so, what happens to prices and how will that bear on new projects such as Battery Park City, which derives much of its style and reason for being from Wall Street? MARKET TURMOIL; Real Estate Market Remains Rattled October 30, 1987, Friday By LISA BELKIN (NYT); Financial Desk Late City Final Edition, Section D, Page 8, Column 1, 1195 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40712F9385C0C738FDDA90994DF484D81 The stock market plunge is taking a toll on the real estate industry, many buyers, sellers and agents agree. But there is little agreement as to whether the disruption is temporary or likely to be long-lasting. The stock market plunge is taking a toll on the real estate... Talking: Closings; Surviving Market's Turmoil By ANDREE BROOKS Published: November 1, 1987 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE2D81530F932A35752C1A961948260 THE recent turbulence in the stock market is causing many concerns for buyers who are poised to close on a home or an investment property. THE recent turbulence in the stock market is causing many concerns for buyers who are poised to close on a home or an investment property. What if the down payment, or part of it, was to have been raised through the sale of securities that are too diminished in value to cover the obligation? What if there is enough value left in the holdings, but, at current prices, no longer a desire to sell? 1988 - The Crash Begins Business Growth Is Slowing in New York January 6, 1988, Wednesday By THOMAS J. LUECK (NYT); Metropolitan Desk Late City Final Edition, Section B, Page 3, Column 1, 1055 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FB0715FB3A5D0C758CDDA80894D0484D81 Business expansion in the New York metropolitan region slowed last year, with its economy showing strain even before the stock market collapse on Oct. 19, according to a Government report released yesterday. Business expansion in the New York metropolitan region slowed last year, with its economy showing strain... New York Suburbs Spilling Westward By ANTHONY DEPALMA Published: February 14, 1988 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE4DB153FF937A25751C0A96E948260 Lured by out-of-date house prices and a twin set of superhighways, growing numbers of New York and New Jersey residents are settling into dozens of small northeastern Pennsylvania communities stretching from the old mill town of Easton to the heart of honeymoon land in the Pocono mountains. Sweetening the Deals in a Soft Market By MARK MCCAIN Published: February 21, 1988 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DEFDF143AF932A15751C0A96E948260 Taking a cue from anxious developers, Leonard D'Andrea stirred some flash into the strategy for selling his home in Stamford, Conn. Besides posting a competitive price on the two-bedroom condominium, he is offering to pay the buyer's $160-a-month maintenance fee for six months. ''The market is very, very soft right now,'' said Mr. D'Andrea, who began advertising his apartment without success last month. ''I saw the incentives that developers were offering and figured I needed to do something similar to compete against all their new product.'' A Dream Falls Flat: Fleeing Hoboken for the Suburbs March 7, 1988, Monday By DENA KLEIMAN, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (NYT); Metropolitan Desk Late City Final Edition, Section B, Page 1, Column 2, 1325 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FB0716FC3A5F0C748CDDAA0894D0484D81 Seton and Brian Beckwith bought a brownstone here seven years ago amid hopes that this old waterfront city, minutes from Wall Street and with spectacular views of New York, would be transformed into a new middle-class community. Seton and Brian Beckwith bought a brownstone here seven years ago... Construction Of Apartments In Manhattan Falls Sharply By ANTHONY DEPALMA Published: April 3, 1988 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE5D6143FF930A35757C0A96E948260 NO one expected them to last forever, those buoyant days when it seemed there was a construction crane on every corner of Manhattan and apartment buildings were rising as fast as land could be cleared. The slide is startling, with apartment starts going from as many as 20,000 in 1985 to only 1,400 last year, according to a survey by the Zeckendorf Company. The meager number of building permits filed with the city last year - 1,200 units, compared to 4,000 in 1986 and 9,900 in 1985 - shows that production will remain at low levels for several years. A Helping Hand in Buying a First Home By IVER PETERSON Published: April 24, 1988 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE3D9133AF937A15757C0A96E948260 AS home ownership continues to decline among young adults, a growing number of states, municipalities and private employers are developing programs intended to help first-time home buyers over a relatively new hurdle: the difficulty of accumulating down payment and closing costs and meeting tightened mortgage-qualifying rules. IN THE NEW YORK REGION; With Vacancies Rising, Watchword Is Caution By MARK MCCAIN Published: May 15, 1988 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DEFDA133AF936A25756C0A96E948260 A HAZE of caution has been hanging over the Manhattan office market ever since last October's stock market crash. And the forecast for the rest of the year looks - at best - partly sunny. It is hardly like the mid-70's, when desperate owners would grab any offer dangled in front of them. But the inventory of vacant floors continues to grow. Investment banks are trimming their space requirements, owners are trimming their profit projections and builders are trimming their visions of skyscrapers. Reassessments Hit Homeowners Hard By ANTHONY DEPALMA Published: May 15, 1988 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE6DA1631F936A25756C0A96E948260 NOT even in gentrifying Hoboken can Henry Wurtz imagine that his quirky little rowhouse - only 10 feet wide - is worth $212,200, the value recently put on it by a firm doing the city's new tax assessments. ''It's only a bowling lane, three stories high,'' said Mr. Wurtz, a 59-year-old nurse anesthetist who bought his house in the New Jersey community in 1980 for $47,000. He has gotten so worked up about the new assessment that he hung a sign outside his second-story window. It reads: $212,200 Narrowest House in Town Laughable!!! Buyers Call the Tune in Home Market By MARK MCCAIN Published: July 3, 1988 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE5D8173AF930A35754C0A96E948260 A YEAR ago Joseph Sorbera had big plans for a little piece of Staten Island. He would sell off seven new houses as fast as his construction crews could erect them. But today only one $665,000 house stands in his Hylan Avenue subdivision. And there are no takers. ''I'm sure we'll ultimately wind up with buyers, but right now the market is soft,'' said Mr. Sorbera, a builder based in Manhattan. ''We've become very cautious. We will only put up houses as they're sold, rather than building them on speculation, which was our initial strategy.'' New York Area Remains Costly Published: August 16, 1988 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DEED7173AF935A2575BC0A96E948260 Prices of single-family homes in New York and the surrounding area are among the highest in the country but are increasing at slower rates than those in Southern California. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median home price in the New York City area, including Long Island, southwestern Connecticut and northeastern New Jersey, rose 4.9 percent for the year ended June 30, to $191,900. Nationally, the median price rose 3.4 percent, to $88,900. In Bergen County, N.J., the average list price of a single-family home was $409,865 at the end of July, compared with $372,107 last year. Although prices remain high compared with those in other areas of the nation, there are more homes being offered on the market. Properties available through the Multiple Listing Service of Nassau County, for example, climbed to 8,844 last May from 4,537 a year earlier. IN THE NATION; Scarcity and High Cost Of Land Slow Housing By ALAN S. OSER Published: September 11, 1988 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE7DE153AF932A2575AC0A96E948260 BUILDERS across the country contend that the scarcity and high cost of land approved by local governments for new residential construction is the chief obstacle to producing the elusive new single-family house affordable to the younger American household. The problem is most acute on the East and West Coasts, where tougher and tougher zoning rules, anti-growth policies, slow building-approval processes and other obstructions impede the land development process. Environmental concerns also rule out development on land that might formerly have been used, lifting prices for the fewer remaining buildable lots. Battle Over Condo Conversions Heats Up By JEFFREY HOFF Published: September 18, 1988 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE2DD1E3FF93BA2575AC0A96E948260 WHILE New Jersey suffers from a severe shortage of low-cost housing, tens of thousands of tenants across the state face eviction because their apartments are being converted to condominiums or cooperatives. Mounting opposition to the evictions has generated fierce legislative and legal debates. A Year After the Crash, Climbing Back; Resilient Economy Puts Home Buyers Back into Market By ANTHONY DEPALMA Published: October 16, 1988 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE2DB113DF935A25753C1A96E948260 A YEAR after Wall Street quaked last Oct. 19, tumbling much of the real estate market with it, most residential properties have sprung back smartly. But those closest to the epicenter - houses and apartments destined for buyers with incomes earned from the financial markets - are still slithering around in a slough of weakness. When Wall Street trembled and the co-op market was stunned to a halt, Mr. Friend tried hard to salvage his deal. He lowered the price on his apartment by $35,000, listed it with 50 brokers and even offered a week's vacation in one of his hotels to the broker who sold it. He postponed the closing on the 79th Street apartment several times and, under the terms of the contract, paid the owner's $2,200 monthly mortgage and maintenance charges. Banks' Net At Record $5.9 Billion December 13, 1988, Tuesday By NATHANIEL C. NASH, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (NYT); Financial Desk Late City Final Edition, Section D, Page 1, Column 6, 904 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FB0711FC345E0C708DDDAB0994D0484D81 The nation's commercial banking industry reported a record $5.9 billion in third-quarter profits, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said today. But the agency's chairman warned that the volume of bad loans had increased and that bank involvement in leveraged buyouts should be carefully monitored. The nation's commercial banking... 1989 - The Market Turns Home Prices Increase 3.4% February 15, 1989, Wednesday REUTERS (NYT); Financial Desk Late City Final Edition, Section D, Page 20, Column 4, 229 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA0713FE3B590C768DDDAB0894D1484D81 Prices of existing homes rose 3.4 percent last year, but despite the moderate increase, many first-time buyers are being priced out of the market in some areas, a national real estate group said today. Prices of existing homes rose 3.4 percent last year, but despite the moderate increase,... Spring Sprouting Buds of Uncertainty By IVER PETERSON Published: March 19, 1989 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE1DF133FF93AA25750C0A96F948260 THIS spring, while some people let their fancy turn to thoughts of love, others will be worrying about the New York area housing market. The reason is simple: The tumultuous boom in house values of this decade's middle years has been followed by 18 months of slack prices and declining sales in the area, and the seasonal outlook speaks of opportunities for buyers, belt-tightening for sellers and uncertainties for all. Housing prices ran so far ahead of rises in income during the boom that some experts predict the slow market will persist for several years until wages catch up with wishes. Carefree Days of Turning Garbage Into Real Estate Are Over June 7, 1989, Wednesday (NYT); Editorial Desk Late Edition - Final, Section A, Page 26, Column 4, 413 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA0711F73F5D0C748CDDAF0894D1484D81 Bidding for Buyers in a Slow Market By IVER PETERSON Published: June 18, 1989 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE7DE113FF93BA25755C0A96F948260 STEVE JANOWIAK cut the price of his penthouse condominium in suburban Chicago twice over the two years he listed it with a broker but it still did not sell. Fred Uehlein's condominium development outside Worcester, Mass., had sold well until the New England market slumped following the stock market crash in October 1987, and he was left with a third of the units unsold. Market for Top Apartments Is Cooling By THOMAS J. LUECK Published: July 9, 1989 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DEFDC1F31F93AA35754C0A96F948260 TO many New York City renters, particularly those who endured the search for an apartment during the city's economic boom earlier in the 80's, it may seem as if Richard E. Hubner and Janet Aquino are talking about somewhere else. Both are moving to Manhattan - he from Boston and she from Philadelphia. Both braced themselves for a tortuous transition into the nation's most expensive rental market, expecting to settle for something smaller, dirtier, darker and far more costly than the homes they were leaving. And both have been pleasantly surprised. About Real Estate; Co-op Converters Start To Rent in Slowdown By ANDREE BROOKS Published: July 14, 1989 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE0DC1F3DF937A25754C0A96F948260 A growing number of cooperative and condominium converters in New Jersey have begun to rent rather than sell their swelling inventory of vacant units, reflecting the continued slowdown in residential sales that has especially affected that state's conversion market. The New York Area's Flat 'Move-Up' Market By THOMAS J. LUECK Published: August 6, 1989 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DEFD81039F935A3575BC0A96F948260 THE weak market for homes in New York City's suburbs, where demand and prices have soured, is creating headaches for everyone trying to sell their houses - and migraines for sellers at the middle and high ends of the spectrum - according to economists and real estate brokers. The shift conforms to a pattern that has emerged in the past after periods of surging prices: With many homes languishing on the market, buyers are reluctant to stretch their budgets and people who already own homes postpone moves to larger, newer or more fashionable residences. New York City's Housing Pace Slows By THOMAS J. LUECK Published: August 20, 1989 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE0D6153FF933A1575BC0A96F948260 The slowdown is most pronounced in construction of expensive condominiums. In 1985, work began on over 21,000 new homes, more than half of them in fashionable Manhattan condominium towers. Now, analysts say, construction rates have dropped to where work is beginning on fewer than 12,000 new homes a year, less than a third of them in Manhattan condominiums. After a Decade of Expansion, L.I. Economic Bubble Bursts August 24, 1989, Thursday By PHILIP S. GUTIS (NYT); Metropolitan Desk Late Edition - Final, Section A, Page 1, Column 2, 1420 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA0714FF395D0C778EDDA10894D1484D81 As the economy slows across the New York metropolitan region and much of the Northeast, economists say Long Island is on the leading edge of the downturn. After a decade of explosive growth, the Island's bubble has burst. As the economy slows across the New York metropolitan region... IN THE NATION; Demographics Hold Key To Home Appreciation By THOMAS J. LUECK Published: September 10, 1989 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE7DD123AF933A2575AC0A96F948260 ''There are never any guarantees that a housing investment will pay off,'' he said. ''Things go sideways, and even downwards for a while, and sometimes people get hurt.'' Like Mr. Pfister, experts across the nation now are reassessing the prospects for home value appreciation with a newfound sense of caution. Most continue to believe that home prices will continue to rise over the long term. But they point to factors already responsible for downturns in some markets, and that could spread to others. IN THE NEW YORK REGION; A Soft Market Is Chilling Apartment Construction By MARK MCCAIN Published: September 10, 1989 ''People haven't been shy about negotiating over the phone - to see how far they can whittle down the price before they even look at my apartment,'' said Mr. Ginsberg, who is asking $167,000 for a studio apartment on East 56th Street that he believes was worth more than $200,000 before the stock market crash of 1987. ''Nonserious shoppers are looking for the steal of century,'' he said. ''And unfortunately, some owners are panicking and selling their apartments for less than they're worth - which hurts all the rest of us.'' Whether the motivation is panic or simply realism, successful sellers today are often resigning themselves to break-even deals. And sellers who bought nondescript apartments at the peak of the bidding frenzy four years ago are looking at losses that sometimes exceed $50,000. Buyers have become choosy and cautious, amid fears that prices have not bottomed out yet. Deals are still being struck, but hot spots in the market are few. Working to Bolster Residential Sales By PENNY SINGER Published: September 10, 1989 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE0D81330F933A2575AC0A96F948260 ''The home-buying market needs new blood to remain healthy,'' she said. ''Sales have been flat across the tristate area.'' Doldrums Troubling Housing Developers By MARK MCCAIN Published: September 24, 1989 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE1DB163EF937A1575AC0A96F948260 WITH birch trees and rhododendrons spread across their lush lawns, seven new town houses at the Racquet Club on Long Island Sound look like the pride of loving homeowners. But a wasteland of mud ponds and hardpan that surrounds this manicured oasis in Centerville, L.I., offers evidence of big plans gone awry. Bulldozers gouged 20 acres out of an oak forest there, 75 miles east of Manhattan, to make way for more than 200 homes. But after spending more than $12 million on land, site work, roads, construction and advertising, the developers found no buyers. The seven model homes now sit locked and empty. In a Cooling Housing Market, Real Estate Auctions Are Hot December 3, 1989, Sunday By CHARLOTTE LIBOV (NYT); Connecticut Weekly Desk Late Edition - Final, Section 12CN, Page 1, Column 5, 1450 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA0715FD355F0C708CDDAB0994D1484D81 AUCTIONING off property, a sales method common in foreclosures, is being used more and more to market houses and condominiums in Connecticut as the demand for real estate continues to slacken. U.S. Seizes New Jersey Savings Bank December 9, 1989, Saturday AP (NYT); Financial Desk Late Edition - Final, Section 1, Page 33, Column 6, 778 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA0713FC3D580C7A8CDDAB0994D1484D81 Federal regulators seized New Jersey's largest savings association today after the institution recorded large losses from real estate ventures in New Jersey, Florida and Texas. Federal regulators seized New Jersey's largest savings association today after the institution recorded large losses from real estate ventures in New Jersey, Florida... NORTHEAST BANKS FACE HEAVY LOSSES ON PROBLEM LOANS December 15, 1989, Friday By MICHAEL QUINT (NYT); Financial Desk Late Edition - Final, Section A, Page 1, Column 6, 1812 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA0715FB3F5D0C768DDDAB0994D1484D81 Troubled real estate loans are causing heavy losses for bankers in the Northeast. Troubled real estate loans are causing heavy losses for bankers in the Northeast. With office vacancy rates reaching 25 to 30 percent in places like central New Jersey and Stamford, Conn., and with many condominium... Banks' Bad Real Estate Loans Spur Rising Worry of Failures December 29, 1989, Friday By NATHANIEL C. NASH, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (NYT); Financial Desk Late Edition - Final, Section A, Page 1, Column 1, 1582 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA071EFC3C5B0C7A8EDDAB0994D1484D81 Federal regulators and banking experts say they are increasingly concerned that mounting losses from troubled real estate loans could lead to a series of bank failures, straining the Federal insurance program that protects depositors' funds. Federal regulators and banking experts say they are increasingly concerned that mounting losses... 1990 - Bank Failures And Foreclosure Savings Agency Ordered to Sell Real Estate Fast January 4, 1990, Thursday By NATHANIEL C. NASH, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (NYT); Financial Desk Late Edition - Final, Section A, Page 1, Column 2, 1779 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30614FB385D0C778CDDA80894D8494D81 The new agency created to manage the huge savings and loan bailout was instructed today to sell the real estate it inherited from hundreds of insolvent institutions as quickly as possible. The directive from the Bush Administration raised concerns among bankers that the properties could be ''dumped'' in... Edgewater Sugar Factory Is Now a Rental Complex By ANDREE BROOKS Published: January 5, 1990 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE1DB1F38F936A35752C0A966958260 ''We felt that real estate values alongside the Hudson could only go up,'' Robert Gershon said. And since the buildings were occupied with industrial tenants whose rents supported the $850,000 purchase price, it seemed a good property to hold until a more profitable use might be found. It was still uncertain whether there would be a viable market for luxury housing in a community that formerly had such a strong industral image. ''So it became a wait-and-see purchase,'' Mr. Gershon said. By 1986 those doubts were gone. The development frenzy that hit the Northeast included the emerging neighborhoods of Edgewater. So the Gershons worked out an agreement with the town that allowed them to carve 40 residential units out of the complex's two main buildings (the second and smaller one to be dubbed Sweet'n Low). The apartment buildings were originally planned as a condominium. But even before construction began, Robert Gershon said, he and his brother were considering keeping some units as rentals in the hope of profiting from an increase in values. But in 1988, when demand for condominiums weakened, the brothers opted for a total rental complex. Mortgage Delinquencies Increasing By THOMAS J. LUECK Published: January 14, 1990 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE5DA163BF937A25752C0A966958260 THE slump in the New York region's real estate market, now in its third year, is increasing the financial strain on homeowners, would-be sellers and lenders alike as delinquent mortgage loans and foreclosures spread across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. More than 4 percent of the mortgage loans to individuals and families in New York City and its suburbs are now past due by at least two months, according to several studies. At those rates of delinquency, analysts say the region does not face anything close to the deep economic woes of Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and other states around the Southwest, where more than 20 percent of the mortgage loans are delinquent and over 20,000 foreclosed homes are being sold off by the Federal Government. Buyers Hang Back in Muddled Market By THOMAS J. LUECK Published: January 28, 1990 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE6D81430F93BA15752C0A966958260 A TWO-YEAR slump in property values has pushed down home prices in the New York region and mortgage interest rates also have fallen, but the reductions show little sign of attracting the huge numbers of buyers who were locked out of the region's giddy real estate market in the mid-80's. CONSUMER'S WORLD; In Today's Housing Market, Is It Better to Buy or Rent? February 10, 1990, Saturday By LEONARD SLOANE (NYT); Style Desk Late Edition - Final, Section 1, Page 50, Column 4, 923 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F3061EF7345C0C738DDDAB0894D8494D81 The decision to own or to rent a home has traditionally been based on three elements: cost, personal preference and investment. But the recent decline in house and apartment prices has made a such an investment less of a sure thing and has helped to convert many potential... Job Hoppers Take Losses On Housing By ANTHONY DEPALMA, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES Published: March 28, 1990 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE2DB153BF93BA15750C0A966958260 But now that fewer jobs are being created, demand has slackened throughout the region and brokers say prices have flattened or, in some instances, dropped as much as 30 percent. While that may be good news for potential buyers, a lack of optimism that values will rise soon prompts them to keep their price ranges conservative. Houses stay on the market months longer than before, and inventories of unsold homes have swelled. TALKING: Default Sales; Foreclosed Property Bargains By ANDREE BROOKS Published: April 15, 1990 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE6DE173CF936A25757C0A966958260 A GROWING number of residential properties are being offered at below-market prices by lenders who have foreclosed on defaulting homeowners and troubled developers. The Dime Savings Bank of New York, for example, has 600 foreclosed homes available, and other banks also have large stocks of seized houses that they want to sell quickly. Most of these foreclosed properties can be obtained for 60 percent to 90 percent of what similar houses and apartments would bring in today's market. Developers Offer a Garden to Sell the Kitchen Sink By THOMAS J. LUECK Published: May 4, 1990 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE4DE1031F937A35756C0A966958260 With huge inventories of unsold homes in the New York region and New England, home hunters this spring are being offered an array of offbeat incentives and promotions. Select the right house and the sellers will throw in the cost of commuting to Manhattan for a year, or a fully landscaped English garden, or a 1984 Mercedes-Benz or an all-expenses-paid vacation to Disney World. ''Price cutting is too commonplace,'' said one developer, Steve Maun. ''We are trying to be creative.'' With Condos on Their Hands, Builders Turn to Auctioneers By IVER PETERSON Published: May 17, 1990 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE6D6153BF934A25756C0A966958260 The bidding had reached $247,000, and Steven Good - natty as a banker, with a red rosebud boutonniere -raised his gavel and put a little more pitch into his patter. ''Do I hear forty-seven five, forty-seven five?'' he implored the crowd assembled last Saturday at the Meadowlands Hilton Ballroom in Secaucus, N.J. ''C'mon ladies and gentlemen, don't let your dream house get away from you, gimme-gimme-gimme forty-seven five.'' A few rows back, Meryl Stevens sat with her fiance, Richard Berk, crunching numbers. The three-story town house on the New Jersey bank of the Hudson had been listed at $565,000 last year, and here it was being auctioned off for less than half price. MARKET WATCH; Where's The Cash, Mr. Trump? June 17, 1990, Sunday By FLOYD NORRIS (NYT); Financial Desk Late Edition - Final, Section 3, Page 1, Column 1, 495 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30611FD3B550C748DDDAF0894D8494D81 Is Donald a deadbeat? Is Donald a deadbeat? Donald J. Trump's failure to come up with a measly $30 million to pay bondholders at Trump's Castle, which he bought five years ago on amazingly generous, less-than-no-money-down, credit terms, is far from the final chapter of the Trump saga.... Construction Fades as Boom Loses Its Vigor July 2, 1990, Monday By RICHARD LEVINE (NYT); Metropolitan Desk Late Edition - Final, Section B, Page 1, Column 5, 1465 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30612FE3F5B0C718CDDAE0894D8494D81 So many new towers are rising on the West Side of Manhattan that it is hard to believe the boom is over. But the construction workers who form lunchtime knots on the sidewalks and gather beneath the scaffolding know better. So many new towers are rising on the... Home Builders See Recession And Blame the Savings Crisis July 19, 1990, Thursday By IVER PETERSON (NYT); Financial Desk Late Edition - Final, Section A, Page 1, Column 1, 1903 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F3061FFE3B580C7A8DDDAE0894D8494D81 For the first time since the recession of the early 1980's, the rate of new housing construction has dropped for five consecutive months, providing further proof, home builders say, that the economic and regulatory fallout from the savings and loan crisis has pulled one of the country's biggest... A Market Slumps and Real-Estate Lawyers Scramble By ANTHONY DEPALMA Published: August 27, 1990 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE2D71430F934A1575BC0A966958260 When houses and apartments were selling in days or weeks during the mid-1980's, real-estate closings were the bread and butter of many law practices in the New York metropolitan region. Some lawyers conducted hundreds of closings a year, collecting from $750 to $1,000 for each one. But since the real-estate market was laid low and houses began to remain unsold for a year or more, that steady source of income has dried up, and many of those lawyers have had to reorganize the way they practice law. ECONOMISTS FAULT POPULATION FIGURE FOR NEW YORK CITY September 1, 1990, Saturday By RICHARD LEVINE (NYT); Metropolitan Desk Late Edition - Final, Section 1, Page 1, Column 1, 1096 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F3061FFB3B5D0C728CDDA00894D8494D81 Could a city that enjoyed its greatest economic boom since World War II, experienced a dizzying rise in housing prices, attracted the largest wave of immigration since the days of Ellis Island and seemed to grow more crowded in every conceivable way actually be smaller now than it... Profits Off By 15.9% At Banks September 7, 1990, Friday By ROBERT D. HERSHEY JR., SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (NYT); Financial Desk Late Edition - Final, Section D, Page 1, Column 3, 665 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30617FF3C590C748CDDA00894D8494D81 Mounting problems with real estate loans along much of the East Coast cut profits of the nation's commercial banks to $5.3 billion in the second quarter, 15.9 percent below those of the first three months of the year, the Government reported today. ''The quality of the banking industry's... Buyers Now Looking Just for a Home By THOMAS J. LUECK Published: September 9, 1990 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CEFDC153DF93AA3575AC0A966958260&sec=&pagewanted=1 Across the region, where a three-year slump has left thousands of houses and cooperative and condominium apartments languishing on the market, experts say the approach of buyers has changed radically from the go-go years of the 80's. Instead of expecting to sell at a profit after two or three years - as many homeowners did - buyers now expect to remain in their homes for five to 10 years or more. Residential Auctions More Popular By JAY ROMANO Published: October 7, 1990 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE2DB1F3CF934A35753C1A966958260 RESIDENTIAL real-estate auctions, traditionally perceived as the last resort of desperate developers, are fast becoming an acceptable, sometimes preferable sales strategy, real-estate experts say. In the midst of a real-estate slump that has left the state blanketed with for-sale signs, anxious sellers are more quickly turning to the auction block to lure cautious buyers to their properties. And according to auctioneers, real-estate agents, developers and the buyers themselves, the strategy is working better than anyone expected. Chemical Bank Cuts Its Dividend As Bad Real Estate Loans Sour October 12, 1990, Friday By MICHAEL QUINT (NYT); Financial Desk Late Edition - Final, Section A, Page 1, Column 1, 1030 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30612F93E550C718DDDA90994D8494D81 The Chemical Banking Corporation announced a sharp cut in its stock dividend yesterday and a loss for the third quarter, joining a growing list of large banking companies whose problems with real estate loans have led to reduced payments to shareholders. The Chemical Banking Corporation announced a sharp... Rentals Flourish as Home Sales Slow By SHAWN G. KENNEDY Published: November 11, 1990 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE2D71338F932A25752C1A966958260 IN the New York region's troubled home market, the rental alternative is becoming an increasingly attractive temporary haven for many would-be sellers and buyers. Among them are Samuel and Giedra Trocone, who see the should-we-sell-should-we-buy dilemma from both sides. Owners in New Jersey, the Troncones found, were lowering their prices every few weeks. But rather than viewing these reductions as a golden opportunity, the Troncones took them as a warning sign. Northeast Housing Slowdown Spreads Into Industry Recession December 16, 1990, Sunday By THOMAS J. LUECK (NYT); National Desk Late Edition - Final, Section 1, Page 1, Column 4, 1607 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30616F63D590C758DDDAB0994D8494D81 A prolonged slump in home sales that began in the New York and Boston areas soon after the stock market collapse of 1987 has expanded into a housing recession that engulfs much of the nation, according to economists and real estate executives. As always, the strength of home sales... 1991 - A False Glimmer Of Hope Morris County Sees Taxes Rise As Values Fall By ROBERT HANLEY, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES Published: January 7, 1991 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE0D61E3EF934A35752C0A967958260 After a 10-year boom in construction and property values, the taxable worth of real estate is dropping in Morris County, all but guaranteeing higher property taxes for homeowners. After soaring alongside the economy in the 1980's, Morris County's ratables -- the taxable value of its land and buildings and the foundation of its local budgets -- have declined by $2 billion to about $42 billion for the 1991 tax year, officials said. 'The 80's had them escalating so high that reality has set in,' Robert Natoli, the county treasurer, said of property values. Bud Struble, head of the County Board of Taxation, said, 'For the first time in memory, we're going the other way -- real value is coming down.' Real, or market, value is a critical part of assessed value. Redefining 'Affordability' for the 90's By THOMAS J. LUECK Published: January 20, 1991 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE1DE1131F933A15752C0A967958260 And for many homeowners, the gains in affordability are at best a mixed blessing. Millions who bought in the late 80's, believing their homes would prove to be lucrative investments, went further into debt for mortgage loans than has traditionally been considered prudent. Now, caught in a nationwide real estate slump and facing the propspect of selling for little more -- or even less -- than they paid, many are staying put, cutting back on other expenses and paying housing costs that are a heavy load. Personal Bankruptcies Mounting With the Trepidation Lessening January 21, 1991, Monday By NICK RAVO, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (NYT); Metropolitan Desk Late Edition - Final, Section B, Page 1, Column 2, 1474 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20610FB3C5D0C728EDDA80894D9494D81 Throughout most of the 1980's, Paul Bernier, like many people here, prospered. He owned a 20-year-old contracting business. He also owned a fairly modest $300,000 home in this wealthy Fairfield County town. In the last 18 months, though, Mr. Bernier's company has collapsed under the Northeast's falling real-estate market.... Bottom of the Housing Slump Is Seen in the New York Area By THOMAS J. LUECK Published: March 1, 1991 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE1DD103BF932A35750C0A967958260 The New York area's housing slump may have finally hit bottom, or come close to it. Jersey's 'Gold Coast' Losing Its Glitter By THOMAS J. LUECK Published: March 24, 1991 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE3D61438F937A15750C0A967958260 THE New Jersey shore of the Hudson River, which emerged in the mid-80's as a powerful new magnet for high-rise office development, is struggling with high vacancy rates, canceled projects and nagging doubts about the capacity of its roads, parking and public transportation. No area better symbolized the 80's real estate boom in the New York region. An 18-mile corridor of gritty piers, derelict warehouses and abandoned railroad yards, the New Jersey riverfront became a patchwork of huge development sites. It also became the focus of a feisty battle for New York City tenants and the centerpiece of an urban renaissance so sweeping that some began calling the area the 'Gold Coast' of New Jersey. After a Long Slump, Home Sales Rise By THOMAS J. LUECK Published: August 25, 1991 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE7D7103AF936A1575BC0A967958260 SALES of houses, co-ops and condominiums in the New York metropolitan area, still near the bottom of a slump that has been longer and deeper than any since before World War II, have improved steadily since the spring in what analysts say is the beginning of a slow recovery. For sellers, the long slump has given rise to a new calculus in housing finance. They may accept less than their house was worth in the recent past, but they pay less for whatever they are buying in replacement. Recovery In Housing Is Erratic September 2, 1991, Monday By THOMAS J. LUECK (NYT); Financial Desk Late Edition - Final, Section 1, Page 25, Column 6, 1414 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20616FC34540C718CDDA00894D9494D81 After five months of robust sales gains during the spring and early summer, the nation's housing markets have lapsed into a sluggish, uneven recovery. Still, prices are increasing gradually in most areas, while new construction is rising steadily. 'This is a very weak and spotty recovery,' said David Shulman,... Are Auctions Driving Housing Prices Down? By IVER PETERSON Published: October 6, 1991 LAST spring, as many housing developers despaired of hitting their price goals in an open market and began to auction off their apartments and town houses, some holdouts protested that the auctions would push the market lower and drag down prices on all properties. Auctioneers, eager to break into the New York area's rich market of overbuilt and undersold housing, insisted that a quick sale of most units in a troubled development, even if at a discount, would shore up the prices of the remaining apartments and houses and secure higher prices for them. Home Buyers Holding Off Despite Low Interest Rates By THOMAS J. LUECK Published: October 27, 1991 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE1D7153BF934A15753C1A967958260 DESPITE a steep decline in interest rates that has brought fixed 30-year mortgage loans to below 9 percent for the first time since 1977, home buyers are holding back across most of the nation in what experts say are stubborn fears that job cuts and other recessionary pressures will persist. Elsewhere in the nation, home sales have declined steadily at the very time that interest rates have dropped most sharply. In This Buyers' Market The Buyers Are Edgy By NICK RAVO Published: December 15, 1991 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE1DC103DF936A25751C1A967958260 Indeed, these are tense times for home buyers, brokers, builders and sellers. Sale prices in the Northeast, in defiance of the old 'it-can-only-go-up' axiom, have been falling for two years, making many shoppers and new home owners wonder about the real worth of real estate. 1992 - Reality Sets Back In The Shattered Vision of the Booming 90's By DAVID W. DUNLAP Published: March 8, 1992 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CEED9163CF93BA35750C0A964958260 As New York City's real-estate market enters its fourth year of distress, the absence of the Ninth Avenue projects, as well as dozens of others proposed in the last decade, is keenly felt. The virtual freeze in construction has cost millions of dollars in tax revenues and thousands of jobs, underscoring the city's dependence on development not only as a prime stimulator of its economy but also as a prop for its civic identity, as a place that ceaselessly, impatiently renews itself. An Uptick for Home Sales in the Region By NICK RAVO Published: June 7, 1992 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE0D6153BF934A35755C0A964958260 SPURRED by low interest rates and lower prices, the residential real estate market in the New York metropolitan region, which has been dramatically deflated by a three-year recession and rapidly changing demographics, appears, for the most part, to be taking a slight upward turn. Few real estate analysts, however, expect a sharp rise in sales volume for one-family homes, co-op apartments or condominiums anytime soon. Nor do they expect sale prices in the foreseeable future to return to the heights of the middle to late 80's. New Housing At Lowest Since '85 By NICK RAVO Published: August 30, 1992 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CEEDF1F3AF933A0575BC0A964958260 THE once frenetic pace of housing construction in New York City has slowed to a virtual halt over the last three years, impeded by the lingering recession, a dearth of Federal funds and a bureaucratic bog of rent and land-use regulations. Housing experts are unsure exactly how many new units are needed today. They contend, though, that despite attempts by the administrations of Mayors Edward I. Koch and David N. Dinkins to stimulate both construction and rehabilitation, vast numbers of affordable homes for low- and middle-income residents need to be built, particularly in the outer boroughs. Surge in Home Foreclosures and Evictions Shattering Families By NICK RAVO Published: November 15, 1992 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE1D81E3DF936A25752C1A964958260 The number of homes in foreclosure in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut has almost doubled since the middle of last year, rising to levels not seen in decades. The sudden surge in foreclosures, after a steady climb since the late 1980's, reflects the region's job losses, falling real-estate values and a growing backlog of cases that have clogged the courts, delaying some foreclosures for months and even years, lenders and lawyers say. Foreclosures on Rise While Prices Still Falter November 29, 1992, Sunday By ROBERT A. HAMILTON (NYT); Connecticut Weekly Desk Late Edition - Final, Section 13CN, Page 1, Column 5, 1556 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F1061FFD3C5C0C7A8EDDA80994DA494D81 WHILE most of the Connecticut economy languishes, one sector is thriving. Lawyers, auctioneers, real estate agents and others involved in foreclosures are doing a booming business. Four years ago, when real estate prices in Connecticut were at an all-time high, about 20 mortgages of every 1,000 were in foreclosure.... Foreclosures May Have Hit the Bottom By PENNY SINGER Published: December 13, 1992 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE5D9123BF930A25751C1A964958260 A critical factor in foreclosures, he said, is the large number of borrowers who bought high-priced houses in the 80's. 'The foreclosures reflect the mortgage policy of the mid-80's. They were allowed to liberally get large mortgages, but now the economic pressures for many, brought on by the recession -- such as loss of jobs, loss of income -- make it impossible for a lot of them to come up with their mortgage payments. That's the bad news. The good news is that the high level of foreclosures that we began seeing back in the first half of 1989 is finally leveling off.' 1993 - Hope For A Bottom Have Suburban Prices Hit the Bottom? By NICK RAVO Published: February 28, 1993 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CE7D9153CF93BA15751C0A965958260 THE market for one-family homes in the suburban New York metropolitan region, much of which has been in decline for the last five years, appears to have bottomed out in most areas, and, in some places, such as Northern New Jersey, a modest recovery seems to be under way. Real estate brokers attribute the trend to low mortgage interest rates, realistic prices set by sellers, the dearth of new construction and a small surge of first-time buyers who were priced out of the market in the mid-80's and frightened out in the late 80's and early 90's. 1994 - Disappointing Bounce Residential Real Estate Market Rebounds in New York Region By NICK RAVO Published: January 23, 1994 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9801E6DF1030F930A15752C0A962958260 After five years of slumping sales and plummeting prices, the residential real estate market in the New York region is starting to rebound, according to housing analysts. Though the recovery is not as robust as in other parts of the country, like the Southeast and the Rocky Mountain states, the precipitous slide that saw home values in the region plunge by double-digit rates in the late 1980's and early 1990's appears to be ending. 1995 - Uncertainty As The Bottom Is Hit For Suburban Homes, Modest Recovery By NICK RAVO Published: February 19, 1995 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE1DD1631F93AA25751C0A963958260 RECOVERY that was reserved in most areas and robust in some reigned over the residential real estate market in the New York suburbs last year. Home sales surged in much of Connecticut and Long Island and in Westchester and Rockland Counties and parts of Northern New Jersey -- but fell short of their mid-1980's peaks. Sale prices, in most places, were flat or rose only slightly, barely bouncing off the bottoms hit during the recession in the early 90's. New York Housing: Sellers Finally Sell By NICK RAVO Published: February 26, 1995 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE6DC153BF935A15751C0A963958260 OWNERS of residential real estate in New York City, particularly those with co-ops, may look back on 1994 as the year when it once again became possible to sell their homes -- even studios and one-bedroom apartments. It still wasn't easy, and the big profits of the 1980's remained only a memory, but the increased demand and stable prices were a substantial improvement over the early 1990's, when market activity slowed drastically and prices fell. In the Region/Connecticut; 'If You're Breathing' You Can Get a Home Mortgage By ELEANOR CHARLES Published: April 2, 1995 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE1DB123AF931A35757C0A963958260 For Home Buyers, Patience Has Paid Off By NICK RAVO Published: May 21, 1995 INTEREST rates are falling. Interest rates are falling. It's a mantra being intoned by almost every real estate broker, mortgage banker and potential home buyer these days. And unlike other industry slogans -- like 'now is a good time to buy' or 'prices are rising' -- this one is unarguable, at least for now. Spring Housing-Sales Climate Is Chilly By NICK RAVO Published: June 18, 1995 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE5D7153FF93BA25755C0A963958260 SPRING is the time of year when residential real estate markets often blossom. This spring, though, the market's climate in most of the New York metropolitan region has been cool. House closing figures -- which typically reflect contracts signed one to three months earlier -- have been below those of a year ago in most areas and sale prices have been somewhat lower for many types of houses. About Real Estate; Agents Say Home Sales Remain in the Doldrums By TRACIE ROZHON Published: July 28, 1995 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CEEDF1131F93BA15754C0A963958260 As the summer doldrums settle in, real estate agents across the metropolitan New York region are hoping for cooler weather -- and more sales. Among the reasons for the decline, she said, were that ' Wall Street bonuses were significantly lower and there were a lot of layoffs in industry here.' New listings of properties for sale are 'twice what's going off,' she said. COPING;Selling My Place. Naked Before the World. November 5, 1995, Sunday By ROBERT LIPSYTE (NYT); The City Weekly Desk Late Edition - Final, Section 13, Page 1, Column 3, 891 words http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30716F83C5D0C768CDDA80994DD494D81 THE real estate lady drove in from New Jersey with a box of cookies, a nice touch. She planned to put them near the front door so people would feel welcome to walk through my apartment as if they'd been invited to a party instead of an advertised Sunday... Today - Will this bubble end differently? Comments? Please join the discussion at http://nnjbubble.blogspot.com.

Subject: Re: Another then vs now
From: Emma
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Wed, Feb 15, 2006 at 13:23:49 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The guess is that we are a lot more flexible an economy than in 1981, and more than in 1991. So far, I find warnings all over but no sign that the economy is threatened in the near term by a real estate slowing or by debt, nor have I found such a problem abroad in most recent years.

Subject: Re: Another then vs now
From: Emma
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Wed, Feb 15, 2006 at 13:18:00 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Excellent file of articles. Thanks!

Subject: Re: Another then vs now
From: Terri
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Feb 15, 2006 at 18:57:39 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Notice the astonishing strength and stability of the Vanguard realestate investment trust index.

Subject: Re: Another then vs now
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 10:48:06 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The sense is that the real estate market will have a soft soft soft landing provided long term interest rates stay low as they have been and are likely to remain. I am quite optimistic the Federal Reserve has already set the stage for our protection.

Subject: Re: Another then vs now
From: Emma
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 13:56:48 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Notice, long term interest rates are fine, the dollar is stable, though I do not care about the value of the dollar all that much, the Vanguard REIT index is strong. Again, I too am reasonably bullish.

Subject: Tilt
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Feb 14, 2006 at 19:14:29 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/02/books/review/02FUENTET.html?ex=1383109200&en=afc4868fc40f2f80&ei=5007&partner=USERLAND November 2, 2003 Tilt By Carlos Fuentes DON QUIXOTE By Miguel de Cervantes. Translation by Edith Grossman. Introduction by Harold Bloom. In 2005, Don Quixote will be 400 years old. Most epic heroes are young, from Achilles to El Cid. It was part of the genius of Cervantes to put an old man in the saddle and send him off to relive the heroic tales of the past. But Don Quixote is not alone in his mad quest for chivalry. He is accompanied by his opposite in figure, speech and temperament: the round, earthy, plainspoken Sancho Panza. I stop right here, as the curtain goes up -- or the pages open -- to celebrate the great new translation of ''Don Quixote'' by Edith Grossman. Nothing harder for the traduttore, if he or she is not to be seen as the traditore, than to render a classic in contemporary idiom yet retain its sense of time and space. Up to now, my favorite ''Quixote'' translation has been that of Tobias Smollett, the 18th-century picaresque novelist, who rendered Cervantes in the style proper to Smollett and his own age. His ''Quixote'' reads much like ''Humphry Clinker,'' and this seems appropriate and, even, delightful. The family relationship is there. Edith Grossman delivers her ''Quixote'' in plain but plentiful contemporary English. The quality of her translation is evident in the opening line: ''Somewhere in La Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing.'' This ''Don Quixote'' can be read with the same ease as the latest Philip Roth and with much greater facility than any Hawthorne. Yet there is not a single moment in which, in forthright English, we are not reading a 17th-century novel. This is truly masterly: the contemporaneous and the original co-exist. Not, mind you, the ''old'' and the ''new.'' Grossman sees to it that these facile categories do not creep into her work. To make the classic contemporary: this is the achievement. And through it, Grossman can highlight Don Quixote's flight into heroic rhetoric with great comic effect and meaningful emphasis. If for many reasons ''Don Quixote'' is the first modern novel, it is pre-eminently because of the different languages spoken in it. Characters in classical literature all spoke the same language. Achilles understands Hector; Ulysses can even speak to Polyphemus. But Quixote and Sancho speak two different idioms. Why? Because the characters are engaged in what the Spanish critic Claudio Guillén calls ''a dialogue of genres.'' There has been some dispute about whether ''Quixote'' is indeed the first modern novel. Ian Watt gives primacy to the 18th-century English novel, which was responding to the rise of a middle-class, book-buying public. André Malraux thought of Madame de Lafayette's ''Princesse de Clèves'' as the first because it initiated inner exploration of character. But I believe that ''Don Quixote'' really inaugurates what we understand modern fiction to be -- a reflection of our presence in the world as problematic beings in an unending history, whose continuity depends on subjecting reality to the imagination. Cervantes does it, as all writers do, in a precise time and space. This is Spain in the decadent reign of Philip III, a country that has conquered and plundered and built a New World in the Americas and returns, exhausted, to its native village in La Mancha with nothing but the memory of past deeds. It is also the Spain of the Counter-Reformation, where the Renaissance enlightenment brought to the court of Charles V by the Erasmist scholars had long been buried under the severe vigilance of the Inquisition and the edicts of the Council of Trent. Cervantes knew his times. One of his novellas, ''El Celoso Extremeño'' (''The Jealous Old Man From Extremadura''), came under the censorship of the archbishop of Seville because two lovers ended up together in bed. Heeding the church warnings, Cervantes changed the finale. The couple, as in movies from the Hays Office era, sleep in separate beds. Cervantes was a disciple of a daring Spanish Erasmist, Juan López de Hoyos. If ''The Praise of Folly'' and its author are never mentioned in the vast libraries of ''Don Quixote,'' it is for good reason: it was too dangerous. Yet could not ''Don Quixote'' accept as its perfect subtitle ''The Praise of Folly''? ''Don Quixote'' has so many levels of significance that I can set foot on only a couple of them. The first is the dialogue of genres. Cervantes inaugurates the modern novel through the impurity, the mestizaje of all known genres. Often criticized for ignoring the requirements of the well-made novel (recognizable characters, expert plotting, linear narrative), Cervantes audaciously brings into his book, first and foremost, the dialogue between the epic (Don Quixote) and the picaresque (Sancho Panza). But then he introduces the tale within the tale, the Moorish, the pastoral, the Byzantine modes and, of course, the love story. The modern novel is born as both an encounter of genres and a refusal of purity. Out of this meeting, Cervantes proposes a new way of writing and reading whose starting point is uncertainty. In a world of dogmatic certitude, he introduces a universe where nothing is certain. The place is uncertain: ''Somewhere in La Mancha. . . .'' The authorship is uncertain. Who wrote ''Don Quixote''? One Cervantes, ''more versed in pain than in verse''? A gentleman called de Saavedra, mentioned in the novel with admiration for his love of freedom? (Cervantes's full name was Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.) Is the author the Moorish scribe Cide Hamete Benengeli, who discovers, by chance, an anonymous manuscript? Or is it the despicable Avellaneda, who writes an unauthorized sequel to ''Don Quixote'' (in real life, and in the novel)? Or could it be, if we follow this rich, fantastical path opened by Cervantes, that the author of ''Don Quixote'' is really Jorge Luis Borges, who wrote a tale called ''Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote''? If authorship is uncertain, so are names. ''Don Quixote'' is a veritable onomastic carnival. For beginners, Don Quixote is the heroic name that a minor hidalgo named Alonso Quixano gives himself in order to ride out as a knight errant. But is the name Quixano or Quixada or Quesada? And Quixote himself is dubbed, as he moves through the novel, the Knight of the Sad Face, or the Knight of the Lions, but when he goes into the pastoral mode, he becomes Quixotiz. And when he finally makes it to the castle of the cruel dukes, he is promptly dubbed Don Azote (Mr. Scourge), whereas the disguised Countess Trifaldi calls him Don Jigote, or Mr. Mincemeat Stew. Whoever enters Don Quixote's sphere changes names, furthering the uncertainty that brands this novel. The nameless horse becomes Rocinante; the magicians who haunt the Don are tongue-twisted beyond recognition by Sancho, whose wife can be Teresa, Juana or Mari Gutiérrez; Don Quixote's adversaries have to assume heroic names in order to be credible. And above all, Dulcinea, the knight's damsel, the epitome of gentility, is in all truth none other than the sweaty peasant girl Aldonza. Don Quixote wants to live the books he has read, Michel Foucault pointedly observed. This leads the book to an extraordinary inaugural event and to a heartbreaking conclusion. The event is that Don Quixote, in pursuit of the malevolent plagiarist Avellaneda, rides into Barcelona and there visits . . . a printing shop. And what is being printed there? The book that we are reading. ''Don Quixote de la Mancha.'' They know all about us! exclaims Sancho, even the most private conversations. Cervantes and his ingenious squire have just inaugurated, de facto, the era of Gutenberg, the democratic society of readers and writers. But then, the terrifyingly destructive, not evil but just plain and cruelly destructive, dukes invite the knight and his squire to their castle. And here the sadness of the book is brought to our hearts. For in the castle, Quixote's dreams are offered to him in reality. Where his wonderful imagination could turn an inn into a palace, here the palace is real. Where he could imagine scullery maids as highborn princesses, here the aristocratic women are real. Both real and cruel. Don Quixote is subjected to incessant mockery. Even Sancho, the levelheaded peasant, is lured into the political comedy of becoming governor of a nonexistent island. The illusion comes crashing down. Books are no longer the grand, imaginative truth that moved Don Quixote through perils without end. So the windmills were not giants. So the armies were only flocks of sheep. So reality is shabby, gray, unarmed. . . . What can Don Quixote do but return home, get into bed, recover his reason and peacefully die? The ''impossible dream'' is over. No wonder that Dostoyevsky, in his diary, calls ''Don Quixote'' ''the saddest book ever written.'' For it is, he adds, ''the story of disillusionment.'' That Edith Grossman has brought all these levels -- and many more -- to contemporary life is a major literary achievement. For to read ''Don Quixote,'' in an increasingly Manichaean world of simplistic Good versus Evil and inquisitorial dogmas, becomes one of the healthiest experiences a modern, democratic citizen can undertake.

Subject: Regarding Cervantes
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Feb 14, 2006 at 19:13:44 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/13/arts/13conn.html?ex=1276315200&en=39ab05ae1b5ea112&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss June 13, 2005 Regarding Cervantes, Multicultural Dreamer By EDWARD ROTHSTEIN Why was 'Don Quixote' originally written in Arabic? Or rather, why does Cervantes, who wrote the book in Spanish, claim that it was translated from the Arabic? Much is being said this year about 'Don Quixote,' in celebration of the 400th anniversary of its publication. And indeed, much has always been said about this extraordinary epic, narrating the misadventures of a half-mad hidalgo who seeks to re-establish the traditions of knight errantry. Faulkner reread it annually; Lionel Trilling said all prose fiction was a variation on its themes. But aside from its literary achievements, 'Don Quixote' sheds oblique light on an era when Spain's Islamic culture forcibly came to an end. Just consider Cervantes's playful account of the book's origins. One day in the Toledo marketplace, he writes, a young boy was trying to sell old notebooks and worn scraps of paper covered with Arabic script. Cervantes recounts how he acquired a book and then looked around for a Moor to translate it. 'It was not very difficult' to find such a Moor, he writes. In fact, he says, he could have even found a translator of Hebrew. The Arabic manuscript, the Moor tells him, is the 'History of Don Quixote de la Mancha, written by Cide Hamete Benengeli, an Arab historian.' Cervantes brings the Moor to the cloister of a church and commissions a translation. We know this is all a jest, as is the very name of the historian: 'Cide' is an honorific, 'Hamete' is a version of the Arab name Hamid, and 'Benengeli' means eggplant. But this eggplantish historian is no more a jest than anything else in the novel, whether it is Don Quixote tilting at windmills or Sancho Panza governing an island not surrounded by water. Benengeli is, apparently, just as earnest as Don Quixote, just as peculiar and just as important to understanding what this novel is about. At the time when Cervantes was writing this novel, nothing about this jest was possible. Neither an Arabic-speaking Moor nor a Hebrew-speaking Jew would have been readily found in the Toledo marketplace. And no Moor would have translated Arabic in the cloister of a church. The Jews had been expelled from Spain in 1492; only converts remained. Books in Arabic had been burned with all the ferocity that the priest applies to Don Quixote's library of chivalric narratives. And while the Muslims hadn't yet been expelled from Spain (that would happen in the years just after the first part of 'Don Quixote' was published), they too had to convert. So Spain was full of New Christians: converts from Islam (called moriscos) and Judaism (called conversos), some continuing to secretly practice their religion (like the Jewish marranos). One reason that pork became such a popular Spanish dish was that eating it was a way to publicly prove one was not following the dietary rules of Islam or Judaism. Eggplant, however, was associated with Muslim and Jewish tastes back when Toledo was home to a flourishing Jewish community. So Cervantes is up to a bit of mischief with these allusions. And they could not have been missed. L. P. Harvey's important new book, 'Muslims in Spain: 1500 to 1614' (University of Chicago Press), soberly recounts the ways in which Muslim culture and religion, which had been part of Spanish life for eight centuries, was forcibly suppressed, until Muslims were completely expelled from Spain, between 1609 and 1614. There was much trauma and bloodshed, much secrecy and much dissimulation. Don Quixote could hardly have wandered around La Mancha without coming upon traces of this trauma; Moors and moriscos were part of the landscape. 'A Moor she is in costume and in body,' is how one character is described, 'but in her soul she is thoroughly Christian.' And the Moors of Spain are almost catalogued: 'Tagarinos is the name given in Barbary to the Moors of Aragón, while those of Granada are called Mudéjares; but in the kingdom of Fez the Mudéjares are termed Elches.' In the novel's second part (published in 1615, after the Muslim expulsion), Sancho sees a Moorish shopkeeper from his hometown, in disguise. 'Who the devil would ever have known you, Ricote, in that clown suit you are wearing?' Sancho asks. 'Tell me, who has made a Frenchman out of you?' Ricote mentions Spain's forced exile of Muslims and its unavoidable sorrows: 'Wherever we may be it is for Spain that we weep; for, when all is said, we were born here and it is our native land.' Cervantes also had firsthand experience with such confrontations. In 1571, he fought at Lepanto, an epochal battle against the Turks and a major victory for the Christian West against Islam; he lost the use of his left arm. A few years later, returning to Spain, he was captured by Barbary pirates - Muslims who were themselves engaged in a kind of guerilla war against the Christian West - and was imprisoned for five years, surviving four escape attempts until finally, his freedom was ransomed. When Cervantes wrote 'Don Quixote' a quarter century later, this experience led to an extensive story about Moors and Christians involving kidnapping, conversion and betrayal. He wrote, though, not as warrior but as a philosopher. His empathy for the Moors is cautious but unmistakable. Recent scholarship suggests that Cervantes himself might have from a family of conversos; that could help explain why he was regularly denied the official appointments he sought. Other scholars have suggested that the novel itself is full of coded allusions to Judaism. There is no need, though, to accept that hypothesis to sense how, by the end, Spain's triumph turns ambiguous. All pieties inspire melancholy. Even Sancho is not to be fully trusted. He, too, easily dons the mantle of an Old Christian, at one point declaring that since he believes firmly in 'all that the holy Roman Catholic Church holds and believes,' and since he 'a mortal enemy of the Jews,' historians should treat him well. But Quixote rejects the notions of caste and of blood purity that characterized 16th-century Spain. Benengeli's manuscript is partly a ghost story about a lost world. Quixote is born of ideas latent in extinct, condemned texts, whether Arabic or chivalric. He has unswerving principles, but even they are inadequate to a world of disguise, enchantment, illusion and delusion. In her book 'The Ornament of the World,' the scholar María Rosa Menocal compares Quixote's mental universe with the world of the Toledo marketplace, with its conversos, marranos and moriscos: 'Who in this world ever says that he is what he seems to be? And who seems to be what he no doubt really is?' So Don Quixote's Spain, instead of displaying triumphant absolutism, is a world of shifting appearances. 'Don Quixote' is a resigned acknowledgment of a new kind of terrain that defined modernity: in it, very little is certain and much is lost. The book's power, though, also comes from Quixote's stubborn quest: he won't entirely let us accept that something else isn't possible.

Subject: Tax Cuts, Foreign Debt and 'Dark Matter'
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Feb 14, 2006 at 18:54:52 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
February 14, 2006 In response to comments on his latest column, Paul Krugman discusses tax cuts, Greenspan's ethical problems, trade deficits, and has some interesting comments on dark matter. He also gives Brad Setser a much deserved plug as the go to guy on the dark matter controversy. By Mark Thoma Krugman's Money Talks: Tax Cuts, Foreign Debt and 'Dark Matter', Commentary, NY Times: Readers respond to ... 'Debt and Denial' Andrew Levin, Hilo, Hawaii: The president's top economic advisor was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer about a week ago, and said that the middle class now pays a lower proportion of our income taxes than do people in the upper income brackets. .... Is this true, and if so, is this an appropriate way to judge the impact of the Bush tax cuts? Paul Krugman: The Bush administration has tried a lot of number games in an effort to pretend that its tax cuts favor the middle class. Rather than deal with all the hocus-pocus, keep your eye on the ball: The question is whether the Bush tax cuts make the after-tax distribution of income more or less equal. And the answer, without question, is that they increase inequality... The latest estimates from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center say that making the tax cuts permanent will increase the after-tax income of the top 0.1 percent of the population by 7.5 percent, which is more than three times the tax cut for families in the middle quintile... Jeffrey T. Atwood, Larchmont, N.Y.: Your column today ... managed to lay some responsibility on Alan Greenspan... It is probably not surprising that the Republicans, like many people in power, flaunt their rhetoric about accountability, taking ownership and responsibility, yet cannot apply these concepts to their own actions when it requires their accepting consequences or stopping the buck. Paul Krugman: Greenspan has two ethical problems here. One is small in the scale of things; it's very improper for him to be out there commenting on monetary policy for personal gain, when his successor is new to the office and needs to establish his own credibility. The larger point is that Greenspan cheered on the tax cuts and pooh-poohed talk of a housing bubble until he was on his way out, at which point he started lecturing us on the evils of deficits and warning of 'froth' in housing. ... Martin Berger, Yorktown Heights, N.Y.: ...[M]y question ... has to do with balance of payments... You seem to equate purchases of foreign goods with debt. What's the connection? I would agree that accumulation of foreign debt is certainly problematic, especially when added to our growing domestic debt. But I don't see the connection between foreign purchases and debt. Are all foreign purchases financed by foreign banks? Could you explain this clearly?... Paul Krugman: The balance of payments always balances. If we don't sell enough goods and services to pay for our imports, we have to sell I.O.U.’s. Now, these don't have to be bonds. We could be attracting foreign companies that want to establish U.S. subsidiaries, or we could be selling stocks. In fact, however, we're paying for the trade deficit by selling bonds. Paul Krugman: Finally, I thought I should let readers know about a genuinely interesting dispute regarding the U.S. debt position and the balance of payments: the 'dark matter' controversy. The starting point for this discussion is a curious fact. According to official measures, the United States is a big net debtor. That is, foreign assets in the U.S. are much bigger than U.S. assets abroad. But if you look at U.S. earnings on its overseas assets, they're still roughly as big as foreign earnings in the U.S. This has led some economists to argue that official debt statistics are wrong — that U.S. corporations have much bigger overseas assets than the numbers say. The proponents of this view say that these hidden assets are the 'dark matter' of international economics, and that the U.S. debt and balance of payments position is much better than the usual numbers suggest. Dark matter, along with some other ideas that might make the U.S. picture brighter, was the basis of a recent Business Week cover story asserting that the U.S. economy is much stronger than people think. Interesting stuff. But there's a problem. When you look closely at the earnings numbers, U.S. corporations overseas aren't earning especially high profits. The funny number, instead, is the profits of foreign companies operating in the United States, which seem very low. So as the people doing this now say, there seems to be 'dark antimatter,' not dark matter. (Note to physicists: yes, I know that's wrong — antimatter still has positive gravity. Whatever.) What's going on? Brad Setser is the go-to guy on this. He thinks that what we may be seeing is the effect of tax avoidance strategies that understate foreign profits in the U.S. and make them pop up somewhere else. If you're into these things, read his blog for the implications. The overall deficit numbers, he suggests, are correct, but the division between trade and investment account may be distorted. Interesting stuff. But the bottom line — that we're spending way beyond our means as the day of reckoning approaches — probably doesn't change.

Subject: Another Obstacle to the Asbestos Bill
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Feb 14, 2006 at 05:53:14 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/14/opinion/14tues3.html?ex=1297573200&en=0c61cab9305e9f9c&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 14, 2006 Another Obstacle to the Asbestos Bill The Democratic and Republican opponents of a plan to compensate the victims of asbestos-related diseases plan a procedural vote today to derail the bill. Senators who care about the plight of ill asbestos victims and their families will not lend their votes to this sham. For the moment, the only certain winner in this struggle to offer justice to asbestos victims is Washington's lobbying industry. It has raked in millions of dollars to deploy high-priced hired guns on both sides of the debate, including an unseemly array of ex-members of Congress and former Congressional staff members. The main impact of the lobbying frenzy has been to obscure the asbestos bill's merits, which are substantial. Co-sponsored by Senator Arlen Specter, the Republican who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Senator Patrick Leahy, the panel's ranking Democrat, the thoughtful compromise would create a $140 billion trust fund to pay awards to those sickened by asbestos-related diseases. That would remove the issue from a court system clogged with an overwhelming number of legal claims. Free medical screening would be available for workers exposed to asbestos but not yet sick. An unusual alliance of trial lawyers, manufacturers and insurance companies is trying to defeat the change, and the promise it holds for the hardest-hit victims of asbestos diseases. The alliance's vehicle at the moment is a technical maneuver requiring 60 votes to defeat. Its Senate backers — led by the Nevada duo of John Ensign, a Republican, and Harry Reid, the Democratic minority leader — contend that the fund would violate a budget spending cap approved by Congress. But they know full well that the asbestos trust fund would be financed by companies facing claims and by insurers. No federal spending would be involved. Should the fund run dry, claimants would have to return to court to seek compensation. The Senate should reject the maneuver by the bill's opponents and pass much-needed, long-delayed relief for asbestos victims.

Subject: Windfall to Oil Companies
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Feb 14, 2006 at 05:47:20 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/14/business/14oil.html?ex=1297573200&en=97dc4137a6add7c2&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 14, 2006 U.S. Royalty Plan to Give Windfall to Oil Companies By EDMUND L. ANDREWS WASHINGTON — The federal government is on the verge of one of the biggest giveaways of oil and gas in American history, worth an estimated $7 billion over five years. New projections, buried in the Interior Department's just-published budget plan, anticipate that the government will let companies pump about $65 billion worth of oil and natural gas from federal territory over the next five years without paying any royalties to the government. Based on the administration figures, the government will give up more than $7 billion in payments between now and 2011. The companies are expected to get the largess, known as royalty relief, even though the administration assumes that oil prices will remain above $50 a barrel throughout that period. Administration officials say that the benefits are dictated by laws and regulations that date back to 1996, when energy prices were relatively low and Congress wanted to encourage more exploration and drilling in the high-cost, high-risk deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. 'We need to remember the primary reason that incentives are given,' said Johnnie M. Burton, director of the federal Minerals Management Service. 'It's not to make more money, necessarily. It's to make more oil, more gas, because production of fuel for our nation is essential to our economy and essential to our people.' But what seemed like modest incentives 10 years ago have ballooned to levels that have alarmed even ardent supporters of the oil and gas industry, partly because of added sweeteners approved during the Clinton administration but also because of ambiguities in the law that energy companies have successfully exploited in court. Short of imposing new taxes on the industry, there may be little Congress can do to reverse its earlier giveaways. The new projections come at a moment when President Bush and Republican leaders are on the defensive about record-high energy prices, soaring profits at major oil companies and big cuts in domestic spending. Indeed, Mr. Bush and House Republicans are trying to kill a one-year, $5 billion windfall profits tax for oil companies that the Senate passed last fall. Moreover, the projected largess could be just the start. Last week, Kerr-McGee Exploration and Development, a major industry player, began a brash but utterly serious court challenge that could, if it succeeds, cost the government another $28 billion in royalties over the next five years. In what administration officials and industry executives alike view as a major test case, Kerr-McGee told the Interior Department last week that it planned to challenge one of the government's biggest limitations on royalty relief if it could not work out an acceptable deal in its favor. If Kerr-McGee is successful, administration projections indicate that about 80 percent of all oil and gas from federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico would be royalty-free. 'It's one of the greatest train robberies in the history of the world,' said Representative George Miller, a California Democrat who has fought royalty concessions on oil and gas for more than a decade. 'It's the gift that keeps on giving.' Republican lawmakers are also concerned about how the royalty relief program is working out. 'I don't think there is a single member of Congress who thinks you should get royalty relief at $70 a barrel' for oil, said Representative Richard W. Pombo, Republican of California and chairman of the House Resources Committee. 'It was Congress's intent,' Mr. Pombo said in an interview on Friday, 'that if oil was at $10 a barrel, there should be royalty relief so companies could have some kind of incentive to invest capital. But at $70 a barrel, don't expect royalty relief.' Tina Kreisher, a spokeswoman for the Interior Department, said Monday that the giveaways might turn out to be less than the basic forecasts indicate because of 'certain variables.' The government does not disclose how much individual companies benefit from the incentives, and most companies refuse to disclose either how much they pay in royalties or how much they are allowed to avoid. But the benefits are almost entirely for gas and oil produced in the Gulf of Mexico. The biggest producers include Shell, BP, Chevron and Exxon Mobil as well as smaller independent companies like Anadarko and Devon Energy. Executives at some companies, including Exxon Mobil, said they had already stopped claiming royalty relief because they knew market prices had exceeded the government's price triggers. About one-quarter of all oil and gas produced in the United States comes from federal lands and federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico. As it happens, oil and gas royalties to the government have climbed much more slowly than market prices over the last five years. The New York Times reported last month that one major reason for the lag appeared to be a widening gap between the average sales prices that companies are reporting to the government when paying royalties and average spot market prices on the open market. Industry executives and administration officials contend that the disparity mainly reflects different rules for defining sales prices. Administration officials also contend that the disparity is illusory, because the government's annual statistics are muddled up with big corrections from previous years. Both House and Senate lawmakers are now investigating the issue, as is the Government Accountability Office, Congress's watchdog arm. But the much bigger issue for the years ahead is royalty relief for deepwater drilling. The original law, known as the Deep Water Royalty Relief Act, had bipartisan support and was intended to promote exploration and production in deep waters of the outer continental shelf. At the time, oil and gas prices were comparatively low and few companies were interested in the high costs and high risks of drilling in water thousands of feet deep. The law authorized the Interior Department, which leases out tens of millions of acres in the Gulf of Mexico, to forgo its normal 12 percent royalty for much of the oil and gas produced in very deep waters. Because it take years to explore and then build the huge offshore platforms, most of the oil and gas from the new leases is just beginning to flow. The Minerals Management Service of the Interior Department, which oversees the leases and collects the royalties, estimates that the amount of royalty-free oil will quadruple by 2011, to 112 million barrels. The volume of royalty-free natural gas is expected to climb by almost half, to about 1.2 trillion cubic feet. Based on the government's assumptions about future prices — that oil will hover at about $50 a barrel and natural gas will average about $7 per thousand cubic feet — the total value of the free oil and gas over the next five years would be about $65 billion and the forgone royalties would total more than $7 billion. Administration officials say the issue is out of their hands, adding that they opposed provisions in last year's energy bill that added new royalty relief for deep drilling in shallow waters. 'We did not think we needed any more legislation, because we already have incentives, but we obviously did not prevail,' said Ms. Burton, director of the Minerals Management Service. But the Bush administration did not put up a big fight. It strongly supported the overall energy bill, and merely noted its opposition to additional royalty relief in its official statement on the bill. By contrast, the White House bluntly promised to veto the Senate's $60 billion tax cut bill because it contained a one-year tax of $5 billion on profits of major oil companies. The House and Senate have yet to agree on a final tax bill. The big issue going forward is whether companies should be exempted from paying royalties even when energy prices are at historic highs. In general, the Interior Department has always insisted that companies would not be entitled to royalty relief if market prices for oil and gas climbed above certain trigger points. Those trigger points — currently about $35 a barrel for oil and $4 per thousand cubic feet of natural gas — have been exceeded for the last several years and are likely to stay that way for the rest of the decade. So why is the amount of royalty-free gas and oil expected to double over the next five years? The biggest reason is that the Clinton administration, apparently worried about the continued lack of interest in new drilling, waived the price triggers for all leases awarded in 1998 and 1999. At the same time, many oil and gas companies contend that Congress never authorized the Interior Department to set price thresholds for any deepwater leases awarded between 1996 and 2000. The dispute has been simmering for months, with some industry executives warning the Bush administration that they would sue the government if it tried to demand royalties. Last week, the fight broke out into the open. The Interior Department announced that 41 oil companies had improperly claimed more than $500 million in royalty relief for 2004. Most of the companies agreed to pay up in January, but Kerr-McGee said it would fight the issue in court. The fight is not simply about one company. Interior officials said last week that Kerr-McGee presented itself in December as a 'test case' for the entire industry. It also offered a 'compromise,' but Interior officials rejected it and issued a formal order in January demanding that Kerr-McGee pay its back royalties. On Feb. 6, according to administration officials, Kerr-McGee formally notified the Minerals Management Service that it would challenge its order in court. Industry lawyers contend they have a strong case, because Congress never mentioned price thresholds when it authorized royalty relief for all deepwater leases awarded from 1996 through 2000. 'Congress offered those deepwater leases with royalty relief as an incentive,' said Jonathan Hunter, a lawyer in New Orleans who represented oil companies in a similar lawsuit two years ago that knocked out another major federal restriction on royalty relief. 'The M.M.S. only has the authority that Congress gives it,' Mr. Hunter said. 'The legislation said that royalty relief for these leases is automatic.' If that view prevails, the government said it would lose a total of nearly $35 billion in royalties to taxpayers by 2011 — about the same amount that Mr. Bush is proposing to cut from Medicare, Medicaid and child support enforcement programs over the same period.

Subject: PK on Al Franken
From: Tony
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 18:51:40 (EST)
Email Address: tonyressa@hotmail.com

Message:
Does anyone know what happened to the PK segments on the Al Franken show? Why did they end? PK on Al Franken

Subject: Inverted yield curve consequence
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 10:38:57 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The inverted yield curve is hurting profits for lenders since many lenders borrow short to lend long. This makes it more likely that lenders will tighten lending practices to reduce losses.

Subject: Re: Inverted yield curve consequence
From: Emma
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 11:03:59 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Hurting profits is not the same as taking losses, and financial service companies are highly profitable. There is not the slightest reason to expect a limit in loans to any other than the poorest credit risks, and here tightness is always needed. Stock prices are telling me there is no worry about financial service companies, the problem is excessive fees for lenders and especially savers and investors.

Subject: Re: Inverted yield curve consequence
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 18:16:59 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Emma. The following Forbes article from March of 2005 anticipated the possibility of an inverted yield curve (which has occured and has been in place for some time now) and talks about the profits gained by borrowing short by both investors and lenders with regard to the gap between higher long term rates and lower short term rates. When these rates invert the profits go away and so do the loans which depend on a positive yield curve. That Tricky Yield Curve James Grant, 03.14.05, 12:00 AM ET Will it continue to flatten? The Federal Reserve keeps pushing up short rates; bond bulls keep pushing down long yields. Trouble ahead. Borrowing short and lending long must be the second most lucrative industry in America, right behind printing dollar bills. A banker borrows short when he issues a 30-day certificate of deposit. He lends long when he writes a multiyear auto loan. Thrifts, mortgage REITs, hedge funds, finance companies and the federally sponsored mortgage behemoths all engage in this ancient gambit. Why wouldn't they? Short-term interest rates remain well below long-term rates. But the gulf between the two is closing--and therein lies the trouble. A year ago the short-term borrowing rate was 1%; today it's 2.5%. A year ago the five-year Treasury yield was 3.12%; today it's 3.78%. A year ago, in other words, there were 2.12 percentage points of daylight between the cost of an overnight loan and the yield on a five-year investment; today there's only 1.28 percentage points. The less daylight, the less profitable are the banking business and allied financial trades. Following is a speculation on who is at risk, and why. 'Yield curve' is the term to describe the alignment of interest rates over time. The most crowd-pleasing alignment is that of short rates set comfortably below long rates (the curve is 'positively sloped'). The least favorite is that of short rates higher than long rates (the curve is 'inverted'). Also undesirable: short rates approximating long rates (the curve is 'flat'). A flat or inverted curve stymies the business of lending and borrowing. It's ice on the wings of the U.S. financial economy. Just to look at the curve today, you wouldn't suppose there's anything wrong. What's wrong is the direction of change. The Federal Reserve is pushing up the funds rate while the market is pushing down rates on longer-dated fixed-income investments--Treasurys, corporates and mortgages. Mortgages present a particular problem. When interest rates get low enough, homeowners refinance: They pay down their loans at 100 cents on the dollar. The lender who paid, say, 105 cents on the dollar to buy his mortgages is immediately out of pocket one nickel per dollar of cost. Just as bad, he must redeploy his capital at the new, lower yields. Will the yield curve continue to flatten? The Fed has given no sign it intends to pull back from its campaign to restore the funds rate to something like 3.5% or 4%. And the yield pigs have given no sign that they intend to refrain from gulping down any and every piece of paper on offer. If I am right about the bond market, long-dated yields will sooner or later rise. Inflation or credit difficulties--or both--will push them up. And if they take off sooner rather than later, the curve may regain its former positive slope. 'If' is the operative word. We are dealing with probabilities and risks. In an economy as leveraged as this one, the risk of a flat or inverted curve commands our respect. A flat curve would likely flatten--among others--mortgage investors. Their funding costs would rise. And if at the same time mortgage rates fell, touching off another wave of refinancings, the investors' interest income would fall. I am a long-term bull on Annaly Mortgage Management

Subject: Re: Inverted yield curve consequence
From: Emma
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 19:40:53 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
James Grant is my favorite bear, and I always pay attention to him since he is always looking for deep discount investments and acting rather than forever waiting and not investing. So far I do not find the inverted yield curve a problem for financial company shares, however. I would be more troubled by rising long term interest rates, but not so far.

Subject: Re: Inverted yield curve consequence
From: Terri
To: Emma
Date Posted: Tues, Feb 14, 2006 at 11:44:48 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The point is we are in an international bull market since October 2002, and we should be pleased and take advantage of it through the end which will eventually come. I am defensively positioned having had several excellent years of investing, and hopeful and not worried personally in the least though I think we have terrible fiscal policy with this Administration.

Subject: Bird Flu Spreads to European Union
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 10:01:52 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/12/international/12cnd-flu.html?ex=1297400400&en=04a66db3b88f85ab&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 12, 2006 Bird Flu Spreads to European Union for First Time By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL The H5N1 bird flu virus has been detected in wild birds in Italy and Greece, the first time its presence has been detected in the European Union, European officials have announced. It was also detected in Bulgaria. 'The bird flu virus has arrived in Italy,' the Italian health minister, Francesco Storace, said Saturday at a news conference, announcing that 17 swans had been found dead in three southern regions: Calabria, Sicily and Puglia. The National Avian Influenza Lab in Padua confirmed H5N1 in five of the dead swans, and tests on others were continuing, Mr. Storace said. The arrival of bird flu in Western Europe has been predicted for months, since the virus has moved steadily from China to Russia to the Balkans and, in the last week, to West Africa. It is being carried by migrating birds, so all countries on their flight paths are vulnerable. 'In some ways we would have expected it earlier in Italy,' said Juan Lubroth, a senior veterinarian at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. The discovery of the Italian outbreak seemed to be a model of early detection, underlining how bird flu can be controlled in countries that have the money and the scientific resources to do it. Outbreaks in poor countries like Nigeria, Turkey and Iraq percolated for months before they were discovered, allowing the virus to spread widely to commercial chicken flocks and even to humans. While the H5N1 virus does not readily spread from human to human, scientists worry that it will mutate into a form that can, setting off a worldwide human pandemic. Only about 160 people have become infected with the disease, mostly through close contact with sick birds, and about half of them have died. Police officers near Messina, Sicily, found two dead swans on Thursday and performed rapid screening tests on them in the wild, with the results suggesting that the swans had a flu virus, according to ANSA, the official Italian news agency. Such simple tests are not specific enough to indicate a particular virus or strain, like H5N1. The carcasses were immediately sent to a veterinary institute in Palermo, the Sicilian capital, which sent samples to the laboratory in Padua, where the positive test results were returned Saturday. Following the tests, Mr. Storace prohibited all movement of live animals in the affected regions. There are no signs of infection in commercial poultry yet, he said. 'There is no immediate danger for our country,' Mauro Delogu, an Italian virologist at the University of Bolgona, told ANSA, 'because our system of surveillance is efficient and has not contaminated bird farms.' In Greece, health officials announced that three swans in the northern part of the country had tested positive for the virus. Hours later, European Union officials said that some swans in Bulgaria, near the Danube Delta, had also test positive. Dead swans have become an important sentinel because they are very susceptible to the flu virus and are so large that people notice when they die, Mr. Lubroth said. Swans in southern Italy do not normally migrate, he added, but their wetlands are along many bird migration routes. Last autumn, several European countries, including Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands, mandated that all commercial poultry be kept indoors, to prevent any contact with migrating birds. Greece also now requires that poultry be kept indoors and has banned the sale of live birds at street markets. Trying to calm public fears, the European Union's health commissioner, Markos Kyprianou, said: 'We should not be unduly surprised or alarmed if such cases are found in the European Union. 'What is important,' Mr. Kyprianou added, 'is that we have the framework in place to take the appropriate measures as soon as possible to contain it and prevent its spread to poultry, and that is what we are doing.' The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, Julie Gerberding, said she was not surprised that infected birds had been found in southern Europe. 'I view that as an expression of how birds fly,' she said. 'It's just like West Nile marching across the U.S.,' she added, referring to the disease transmitted by mosquitoes that feed on infected birds. 'You follow the flight patterns.' The variant strain of H5N1 found in Turkey and confirmed in Africa last week is identical to one found last year in dead migratory birds in a nature reserve in northern China, and later in Siberia. It is different from strains circulating among poultry in Southeast Asia and Indonesia. Two species of ducks, the northern pintail and the garganey, migrate in a southwesterly direction each fall from Siberia to Turkey and the Black Sea coast, and in some cases to central Africa, according to a recent article in New Scientist. Other species that share the same African wetlands migrate north in the spring, which raises the threat that the disease will be spread more widely around Western Europe later this year.

Subject: A Back-Fence Dispute
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 10:00:27 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/13/international/americas/13argentina.html February 13, 2006 A Back-Fence Dispute Crosses an International Border By LARRY ROHTER GUALEGUAYCHÚ, Argentina — For Argentines, few traditions are more treasured at this time of year than a relaxed beach vacation, preferably in neighboring Uruguay. But the residents of this border town are risking their countrymen's wrath by blocking highways to Uruguay to protest the construction of a pair of paper mills there that they say will pollute the river that forms the frontier between the countries. Just east of here, several dozen demonstrators, some playing cards, others sipping bitter maté tea from gourds or roasting sausages on grills, sat in the shade of a red cargo truck and a tractor that serve as a roadblock. 'No to the paper mills, yes to life,' proclaimed their bumper stickers and the banners they had hung from the truck. 'The Uruguayans have no right to poison a river that belongs to all of us on both sides,' said José Pouler, the owner of a pizzeria here. 'These projects are going to damage agriculture and kill off tourism, all for the benefit of a couple of foreign companies that don't care about the people of this region.' The paper mills — one owned by a Finnish-Swedish consortium, the other by a Spanish company — are being built on the riverbank in the Uruguayan town of Fray Bentos. They represent an investment of more than $1.9 billion, the largest in Uruguay's history, and are expected to produce more than 1.5 million tons of cellulose for export each year. The road blockages here began just before the new year, after the residents of this town of 80,000 expressed frustration that their complaints were being ignored in both capitals. They accuse Uruguay of violating a treaty that governs use of the river, and are irritated that their own president, Néstor Kirchner, has not been more energetic in opposing the projects. Initially, the protesters announced in advance where and when they would block highways and for how long, allowing vacationers to adjust their schedules. But the picketers have raised the ante, now acting without warning and not telling motorists how long the blockade will last. The environmental group Greenpeace has also led protests aboard boats in the middle of the river. But spokesmen for the paper companies say that the factories will meet the demanding environmental standards of the European Union and will employ technology that reduces pollution to a minimum. Some of the vacationers who have come long distances from the interior of Argentina, only to be turned back here or at two other border crossings north of here, have cursed the protesters and refused to take the pamphlets they are handing out. But the opponents of the paper mills show little sympathy for them. 'Our health and well-being are more important than their being able to spend their summer vacation on a beach in Uruguay,' said Daniel Frutos, a physician here. Luis Molivuevo, one of the boycott organizers, added, 'We've asked other Argentines not to spend their summer in Uruguay, but if they don't want to help, then we have to make our boycott obligatory.' Commerce among the four countries that make up South America's Mercosur customs union is also suffering, and that has led Uruguayan authorities to charge that the promise of free movement in the group's founding charter is being violated. Trucks from Chile carrying mill equipment were forced to turn back, and on both sides of the border, drivers of other vehicles laden with cargoes of perishable food and machinery have been camped out, sometimes for days and with little money for food, waiting for the roadblock to be lifted. Across the river, in sleepy Fray Bentos, sentiment is just as strong in favor of the projects. The town has been 'economically dead' since a meat processing plant closed more than 20 years ago, said Dani Bazán, a commercial photographer there who welcomes the 2,000 new jobs and the revival of business activity the mills will bring. 'It's not that we like the idea of the mills so much as that we welcome the jobs, and well-paying ones, at that,' said Sandra Caballero, a 35-year-old cook who is taking a course to become a solderer in hopes of getting a job at the plant owned by the Finnish-Swedish consortium. 'There will undoubtedly be some pollution, but we have faith that our government will be able to control emissions and punish the companies if they do something wrong.' For Uruguayans, the dispute has also become a matter of sovereignty and national pride. Their country was created 180 years ago as a buffer between Brazil and Argentina, and throughout their history they have often complained of being bullied and scorned by their much larger neighbors across the River Plate estuary, with whom they share a similar accent and culture. Uruguay has recently expressed dissatisfaction with its secondary role in the Mercosur trade group and with the conduct of its neighbors. The left-leaning government of Tabaré Vázquez, which took office in March 2005, as a result has recently expressed interest in negotiating a free trade agreement with the United States; if reached, it would surely be a death blow to Mercosur. Mr. Kirchner initially declared that stopping construction of the paper mills was 'a national cause.' But faced with the prospect of Uruguay's defection from Mercosur, he has toned down his language and sought to discourage the roadblocks, although the police have not intervened to halt them. Though the two presidents have recently talked by phone about the standoff, they seem reluctant to make concessions that may offend their supporters. A Uruguayan congressman has suggested Vatican mediation, an idea that the papal nuncio quickly quashed. Argentina is talking about taking the case to the World Court in The Hague, where a decision would come only after the plants were operating. In his most recent public declaration, Mr. Vázquez vowed that 'construction of the plants will not be halted.' As a way of criticizing the Argentines, he recalled the lyrics of an old tango, comparing their behavior to that of 'the man who beats his wife because he fears she may cheat on him four or five years from now.' 'That is exactly what is happening to us right now,' he said. 'They are inflicting real damage on us out of fear of some hypothetical damage we might cause them in the future.'

Subject: Nowhere to Call Home
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 09:38:21 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/13/opinion/13mon2.html?ex=1297486800&en=7b02804f535ec86d&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 13, 2006 Nowhere to Call Home The worst natural disaster in modern United States history has turned into our collective national shame. When the most powerful nation on earth cannot find long-term housing for its own hurricane victims in almost six months, there is no other word to describe it. Last Tuesday the government stopped paying for about 4,500 hotel rooms for storm evacuees. By March 1, all but a few people with extenuating circumstances will have to leave their hotels. So will those staying aboard cruise ships, many of whom are the police officers, firefighters and other government employees keeping the city from dying once and for all. Phasing out these stopgap accommodations is not, in itself, a problem. The problem is that many of the families being ejected have no homes to which they can return. The Federal Emergency Management Agency's answer was to provide trailers. It was a poor solution given that the emergency trailer parks tend to concentrate misery, but still better than nothing. Yet, as Jennifer Steinhauer and Eric Lipton reported in The Times last week, of the 21,000 trailers requested for New Orleans, only about 3,000 have been placed, set up and occupied. And the problem is larger than just New Orleans. Several other parishes are waiting for more than half of their trailers. FEMA says that it has the trailers ready to go, but that local governments won't approve sites and utility companies won't provide services. Struck once by an unforgiving hurricane, the victims now face a perfect storm of poor response: a federal government of terrible administrators and a locality that is legendary for political dysfunction. The federal government's inept handling of the aftermath mirrors its inept handling of the rescue and relief operations. And watching the outbreaks of pettiness among lawmakers in the Louisiana Legislature is enough to turn one's stomach. What is needed is work that solves the immediate problem and also contributes to the long-term solution. That means rehabilitating existing housing. FEMA is working on a pilot program to refurbish a 325-unit apartment complex. The agency says that the mayor's office has identified 20,000 apartments that could potentially be rehabilitated. Federal, state and local resources should be brought to bear in getting those homes fixed and reoccupied. Not next year, but right now. The same goes for the trailers.

Subject: Delay to Get Trailers
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 09:35:46 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/09/national/nationalspecial/09trailers.html?ex=1297141200&en=abfd5be4ec682212&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 9, 2006 Storm Victims Face Big Delay to Get Trailers By JENNIFER STEINHAUER and ERIC LIPTON SLIDELL, La. — Nearly six months after two hurricanes ripped apart communities across the Gulf Coast, tens of thousands of residents remain without trailers promised by the federal government for use as temporary shelter while they rebuild. Of the 135,000 requests for trailers that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has received from families, slightly more than half have been filled. The delays have left families holed up with relatives or stranded out of state, stalled local economies and infuriated state and local officials, who criticize how the program has been managed. Further, officials and residents complain about problems with quality, like poor plumbing and electrical shorts, with the trailers they have received. 'The trailer problem is an individual human tragedy,' said Reinhard J. Dearing, the chief administrative officer of Slidell, across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. Several city officials, including police officers, are still without trailers or just received them this week, and have been sleeping with friends or neighbors, and in one case, under a desk in a government office. On Monday, frustrated by the delays, four members of the St. Bernard Parish Council performed what they called a symbolic act, taking three trailers from a local stockpile of about 275 and delivering them to residents. 'If this happened with any other business, you would find another purveyor,' said Councilman Mark Madary, who represents a parish where 6,000 families are waiting for trailers and about 2,000 have received them. The problems in administering the $4 billion trailer program mirror those of other major recovery efforts undertaken since the hurricanes crippled the region, and appear to be a result of failures at all levels of government. Local officials, contractors and residents say that some of the delays seem to stem from the federal government's poor planning and its frustrating layers of subcontractors and bureaucracy. For example, trailers are often sent to two different holding areas before they are distributed, and sit collecting dust while families wait. 'It is so disheartening to see people living in houses with water pouring through the roof,' said James M. McGehee, the mayor of Bogalusa, a small Louisiana city near the Mississippi border. Across the state line, Mr. McGehee said, are 'acres and acres' of trailers in holding areas. For its part, FEMA criticized local governments for rejecting trailer sites in neighborhoods and engaging in protracted negotiations about where the trailers should go. Agency officials also said that private companies, including electric utilities, had contributed to the problem by being slow to provide services. 'Everything from parishes not willing to accept trailers at all, to local rules and ordinances that we don't have authority to override, or the delay in getting power hook-ups, all impact the pace of getting trailers on the ground and occupied,' said Nicol Andrews, a FEMA spokeswoman in Washington. 'The supply of trailers is not the issue; we have plenty of trailers.' FEMA, Ms. Andrews said, has about 19,000 trailers and mobile homes in staging areas, ready to go, but is waiting for Louisiana officials to decide where to put them. Federal and local officials say the vast scope of this disaster has rendered all tasks Herculean. 'I'm not going to make excuses, but this has been an unprecedented event, and we have never, never in the history of FEMA ever had to house this many people,' R. David Paulison, the acting FEMA director, said in Washington last week. 'So there are glitches along the way.' The trailer problem is most acute in Louisiana, where 60 percent of the 90,000 requests for manufactured housing have not been met. Of the 21,000 requests in Orleans Parish alone, only about 3,000 have been filled. By comparison, in Mississippi, federal officials say that of about 40,000 such requests, 34,560 have been met. FEMA officials in Louisiana say that at the rate they are going — installing about 500 units a day — it will most likely be an additional 100 days before they are close to reaching their goal. Residents who long to rebuild are impatient. Here in Slidell, where more than half the 10,000 homes are uninhabitable, Daryl Cleworth stood in his gutted house Monday afternoon, fiddling with some tools that seemed almost toylike compared with their task, and wondered when his several dozen calls to FEMA would result in a trailer. 'We'll take anything,' said Mr. Cleworth, who is living with his wife and baby in New Orleans while his three older children stay with his mother in Colorado. 'Just something to sleep in.' In the weeks after Hurricane Katrina blew through the Gulf Coast, FEMA signed contracts to buy about $2.5 billion in travel trailers and mobile homes from manufacturers and dealers across the country, in what was the single largest order in the history of the industry. With all of these pieces in place, FEMA officials predicted in September that they would soon be able to install perhaps as many as 30,000 housing units every two weeks, a goal the agency has never even approached. Already, the work completed so far is greater than any previous similar effort by FEMA. But the reality of the task along the Gulf Coast has proved far more complicated than FEMA officials expected. The goal from the start, particularly in Louisiana, was to find wide-open swaths of land where group sites, which have become known as FEMAvilles, could be set up. That was crucial because a large share of the homeless in Louisiana were renters who did not have their own property where FEMA could place a trailer. Even if they did, whole sections of New Orleans were still considered uninhabitable. The contractors sent teams of surveyors to identify possible sites for these new trailer communities. But as they began to negotiate the permits required, local authorities and landowners, one after another, started to turn them down. 'There is a very strong message: not in my backyard,' said Mark Misczak, who oversees the temporary housing effort for FEMA in Louisiana. Ronnie Hughes, the president of Ascension Parish south of Baton Rouge, where officials had considered a group site, said the parish instead decided to ban them. 'We are the fastest-growing parish in Louisiana prior to the hurricanes,' Mr. Hughes said. 'We don't have the infrastructure in place to support these cities.' To date, fewer than 5,000 of the 36,675 units of manufactured housing occupied in Louisiana are in group sites. Carl Goss, a subcontractor hired to install FEMA trailers, said he could install six a day but often installed only two, because the paperwork was wrong 65 percent of the time. The documents sometimes call for a unit that does not fit on the lot, Mr. Goss said. 'I'm real upset because I can't help people,' he said. Elected officials said they understood the complications. But FEMA, they added, has too many excuses. 'If you needed a classic example of how to make every mistake humanly possible and then throw more mistakes on top of that, that is what you have with this trailer program,' said Representative Gene Taylor, Democrat of Mississippi, a vocal critic of the program who lost his home in Bay St. Louis to Hurricane Katrina. With the cumulative costs of buying, installing and maintaining these units reaching $70,000 or more, and the months it is taking to finish the effort, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Louisiana, among others, says she wonders why FEMA put so much emphasis on manufactured housing in the first place. 'It's faster to fix apartment units that have gone down,' Ms. Blanco told a Senate committee last week. In fact, FEMA is now renovating an apartment complex in New Orleans, which Ms. Andrews, the agency spokeswoman, said was an acknowledgment of the inability to get enough trailers into the city. Shirley Harris, a 73-year-old Slidell resident, continues to live in a ramshackle house that was severely damaged by the storm. Ms. Harris said that FEMA had told her it could not install a trailer because she had electrical wires still hanging in front of her house. But looking across the street at a house with identical hanging wires and two FEMA trailers in the yard, she feels at a loss. 'I'd like to give up,' she said, beginning to cry. 'I just want to get away. But there is nowhere to go.'

Subject: Japan's Offensive Foreign Minister
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 07:14:36 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/13/opinion/13mon3.html?ex=1297486800&en=e70214f6699633cb&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 13, 2006 Japan's Offensive Foreign Minister People everywhere wish they could be proud of every bit of their countries' histories. But honest people understand that's impossible, and wise people appreciate the positive value of acknowledging and learning from painful truths about past misdeeds. Then there is Japan's new foreign minister, Taro Aso, who has been neither honest nor wise in the inflammatory statements he has been making about Japan's disastrous era of militarism, colonialism and war crimes that culminated in the Second World War. Besides offending neighboring countries that Japan needs as allies and trading partners, he is disserving the people he has been pandering to. World War II ended before most of today's Japanese were born. Yet public discourse in Japan and modern history lessons in its schools have never properly come to terms with the country's responsibility for such terrible events as the mass kidnapping and sexual enslavement of Korean young women, the biological warfare experiments carried out on Chinese cities and helpless prisoners of war, and the sadistic slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians in the city of Nanjing. That is why so many Asians have been angered by a string of appalling remarks Mr. Aso has made since being named foreign minister last fall. Two of the most recent were his suggestion that Japan's emperor ought to visit the militaristic Yasukuni Shrine, where 14 Japanese war criminals are among those honored, and his claim that Taiwan owes its high educational standards to enlightened Japanese policies during the 50-year occupation that began when Tokyo grabbed the island as war booty from China in 1895. Mr. Aso's later lame efforts to clarify his words left their effect unchanged. Mr. Aso has also been going out of his way to inflame Japan's already difficult relations with Beijing by characterizing China's long-term military buildup as a 'considerable threat' to Japan. China has no recent record of threatening Japan. As the rest of the world knows, it was the other way around. Mr. Aso's sense of diplomacy is as odd as his sense of history.

Subject: Suggests Paintings Are Not Pollocks
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 06:15:35 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/09/arts/design/09poll.html?ex=1297141200&en=c825ffd2608c77be&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 9, 2006 Computer Analysis Suggests Paintings Are Not Pollocks By RANDY KENNEDY A physicist who is broadly experienced in using computers to identify consistent patterns in the drip paintings of Jackson Pollock has determined that half a dozen small paintings recently discovered and claimed by their owner to be original Pollocks do not exhibit the same patterns. The finding, by Richard P. Taylor, a physics professor at the University of Oregon, does not prove that Pollock did not paint the works, among a cache of 24 paintings found in 2003 in Wainscott, N.Y., by Alex Matter, whose father, Herbert, and mother, Mercedes, were friends of Pollock. But it casts serious doubt on their authenticity, even as Alex Matter is planning for a major exhibition of the paintings this year. And the finding could deepen a dispute among a once-unified group of Pollock scholars who have disagreed publicly over the works' origins. In previous years Dr. Taylor examined 14 indisputably authentic Pollock paintings by using what is known as fractal geometry, or looking for patterns that recur on finer and finer magnifications, like those in snowflakes. He found that despite the seemingly chaotic nature of the drip paintings, they exhibited remarkably consistent fractal patterns, both in the fluidity of the paint and in the way Pollock applied it as he stalked around a canvas on the ground. But in a news article being published today in the British scientific journal Nature, he says that his examination last year of transparencies of 6 of the 24 paintings discovered by Mr. Matter showed 'significant differences' between their patterns and those of known Pollock works. Further, the analysis, commissioned by the New York foundation that represents Pollock's estate, showed that there were notable variations in the patterns among the six paintings. 'That's either due to one person who is extremely varied,' Dr. Taylor said in a telephone interview, 'or it's due to a number of different artists.' Dr. Taylor — who said he was not paid for his research, though the foundation did reimburse the university for its equipment and time — offered no final conclusions about the works' authenticity. But he said his finding put the onus on Mr. Matter to provide a plausible explanation for 'why the patterns are different and why they're varying.' 'Certainly my pattern analysis shouldn't be taken in isolation but should be integrated with all the known facts — including provenance, visual inspection and materials analysis,' he said. Yesterday, scholars associated with the effort to organize an exhibition of the newly found paintings said they did not feel Dr. Taylor's work yielded enough evidence to decide whether the paintings were real or not. Claude Cernuschi, a Pollock scholar and art historian at Boston College who is writing a chapter for a catalog to accompany the exhibition, said that more than 6 of the 24 paintings should have been examined. He added that simply because the six did not exhibit Pollock's signature patterns did not necessarily mean they were painted by someone else. 'Pollock's techniques was very experimental, and it could be that he started to test how the paint would behave rather than trying to make a bona-fide finished painting,' he said. Mr. Matter discovered the 24 paintings, along with 8 other drawings and pieces of ephemera thought to be by Pollock, among possessions that the elder Mr. Matter had left when he died in 1984. They were wrapped in brown paper inscribed in his father's handwriting, labeling the works as Pollocks painted in the late 1940's. After the paintings were discovered, Mr. Matter, with a Manhattan art dealer, Mark Borghi, sought the advice of Ellen G. Landau, the author of a well-regarded 1989 Pollock monograph and one of the world's most respected authorities on the artist's work. Dr. Landau, a professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, came to the conclusion that the works were authentic and agreed to help with scholarship for an exhibition this year, the 50th anniversary of Pollock's death. But after Dr. Landau's role in supporting the works was announced last spring, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, which had declined to enter into authentication disputes for almost a decade, became involved. It enlisted Eugene V. Thaw, a veteran art dealer, and Francis V. O'Connor, an art historian, who wrote the four-volume catalogue raisonné, or complete listing, of Pollock's work. Both Mr. Thaw and Dr. O'Connor said their initial opinion was that the paintings were not by Pollock and could in fact have been painted by more than one artist; one of Mr. Thaw's theories is that they were the creations of Mercedes Matter and her art students, trying to imitate Pollock's technique. Dr. O'Connor, Mr. Thaw and Dr. Landau had once worked as a team on the Pollock foundation's authentication board, examining and often discrediting paintings claimed to be originals. But the board disbanded in 1996 for reasons that remain unclear. And in the case of the newly discovered paintings, the sharp disagreement between Dr. Landau and her former colleagues has sometimes taken on personal overtones. 'I've spent nearly half my life working on Pollocks,' Mr. Thaw said last year, 'and if Ellen Landau's opinion prevails, people will happily buy them and they'll go into museums and books, but not the ones that I have anything to do with.' Dr. Landau, in a statement issued yesterday with Mr. Matter and Mr. Borghi, said: 'Authentication in art is never a single test. A range of eminent scholars have spent the last year actively engaged in examining these works from historical, stylistic, archival and other analytical vectors. This is a full, rich picture of these works, which will be presented in a full-scale catalog as soon as it is completed.' The statement also called fractal analysis a 'very new and contested field in art authentication' and criticized the foundation for not providing Dr. Taylor's analysis — which has been completed for several months — to Mr. Matter, saying that secrecy 'impeded a scholarly debate and consensus.' In a later e-mail message, Dr. Landau added that she did not feel comfortable commenting directly on Dr. Taylor's report because the Pollock foundation had not provided it to her. She said she was continuing her research into the paintings and into the artistic relationship between Pollock and Herbert Matter, which she said she had found to be 'nothing less than astonishing.' Dr. O'Connor said that he had chosen the six paintings to be examined by Dr. Taylor. Three were selected because they were paintings that Mr. Matter had widely publicized and shown at a Web site, www.pollockexhibit.com. The other three, Dr. O'Connor said, were chosen as representative of the various styles among the 24 paintings. Dr. O'Connor said in an interview that he did not exclude the possibility that some additional evidence — a letter from Pollock or a picture of him painting the works — could emerge to change his mind. But he said that Dr. Taylor's research had reinforced his initial doubts after examining the paintings. 'What I saw was that these works had very little connection if any with Pollock's oeuvre as we know it, and further, that they appeared to me to be painted by more than one artist,' he said. The foundation said it was withholding final opinions on the attribution of the newly discovered paintings until further research was done and scholars reached a consensus.

Subject: A Drip by Any Other Name
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 06:14:04 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/12/weekinreview/12kimmel.html?ex=1297400400&en=f7633b4372be63fb&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 12, 2006 A Drip by Any Other Name By MICHAEL KIMMELMAN HE died half a century ago, his earliest drip paintings closer to President Grover Cleveland's day than our own. But for die-hard skeptics, Jackson Pollock is still Jack the Dripper, American art's first media celebrity painting glorified doodles that anybody's kid could do. Last week, in Nature, the British science journal, a physicist reported he had tested fractal patterns in six paintings from 24 supposed Pollocks discovered in 2003 by Alex Matter, son of the artists Herbert and Mercedes Matter, who were Pollock's friends. The physicist found 'significant differences' with known Pollocks. It turns out anybody could have painted these six pictures — except maybe Pollock. Pollock historians, a contentious crew, are still hashing out whether the works look right: whether their materials, palette and touch make sense to the expert eye. Meanwhile, with prices for Pollock in the stratosphere, Sunday garage-sale shoppers finding dripped paint on an old canvas can't help dreaming they've won the Powerball lottery. Such would-be Pollocks aren't necessarily fakes. Many artists in the 1940's and 50's experimented with drips as private exercises. With the passage of time, some of the pictures may be innocently mistaken for originals. Few artists did more than experiment. Contrary to cliché, Pollock's technique remained so identifiably his own that any dripper automatically seemed to be faking a Pollock. Willem de Kooning inspired countless disciples — from Joan Mitchell and Robert Rauschenberg on — who found easy ways to tweak his freewheeling, slash-and-dash brushwork for their own purposes. But Pollock, the bald James Dean of art, became more influential. Artists of many stripes learned about using industrial materials, about chance, about performance (thanks to films and photographs that Hans Namuth shot of Pollock at work), and in general artists were inspired by his risk-taking. As the sculptor Richard Serra put it, Pollock was 'not playing the same game as Vermeer.' 'We evaluate artists by how much they are able to rid themselves of convention, to change history,' he said. 'Well, I don't know of anyone since Pollock who has altered the form or the language of painting as much as he did.' That doesn't matter to grumpy naysayers, for whom 1950's abstraction remains acceptable only in the form of those asteroid shapes and squiggly blobs on Formica kitchen countertops. But the curious truth is that while a few drips and splashes can imitate Pollock's touch (spawning the familiar cracks about toddlers' smears and housepainters' drop cloths and fueling authenticity disputes like the one over the smallish Matter pictures), it is nearly impossible to replicate the overall effect of the great big classic work: the full-scale complex rhythms and overlapping patterns, the all-over, depthless, balletic and irregular space he created. The more you attempt a full-blown Pollock, the less it will end up looking like one. Now fractal science helps prove the point. Ultimately, it turns out, Pollock may be actually harder to fake than Vermeer.

Subject: 'Eco-Modern' Homes in Country Setting
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 06:11:04 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/12/realestate/12wczo.html February 12, 2006 'Eco-Modern' Homes in Country Setting By LISA PREVOST BERLIN, Connecticut DAVID REVENAUGH is playing the role of developer, but he is really more of a philosopher at heart. Mr. Revenaugh, 55, who has worked as a carpenter, boat builder and yacht captain, has long been fascinated with the challenge of living well with less. As a boy, he was drawn to clubhouses. As an adult, he learned to appreciate the efficiency of ships' cabins. Settling into his first house, he was struck by the illogic in suburban living styles: the wasted space, the impractical building materials, the overwhelmed landscape. Now he is doing something about it. Mooreland Glen is Mr. Revenaugh's attempt to sell his passion for simplicity and practicality to a suburban population generally more stimulated by three-car garages and luxury bath suites. Billed as a 'green community' in this town's Kensington neighborhood, Mooreland Glen will meld modern design and environmentally sound technologies in 35 'high-performance, low-maintenance homes' on High Road amid natural plantings and walking paths. The green designation refers to both energy-efficiency and overall impact on the environment. The houses will be more airtight than traditional wood-frame homes because they use structural insulated panels, which block air leakage with rigid foam insulation. The housing design minimizes the need for fossil fuels by positioning each structure for maximal southern sun exposure, and installing highly efficient geothermal heat pumps, which essentially draw up the earth's natural thermal energy during cold weather, and pump hot air into the ground during the summer. 'I don't know of anything exactly like this anywhere: a modernist, green housing community set within the landscape,' said Bill Chaleff, of Chaleff & Rogers Architects, a Long-Island-based green building specialist who worked on the project. Fourteen so-called 'eco-modern' houses (what Mr. Revenaugh calls 'logical architecture') will be set on more than 10 acres of rolling pasture land bordered by the Mattabesset River. With an acknowledged nod to Marcel Breuer, the modernist architect, the flat-roofed homes will feature large expanses of glass, 10-foot ceilings and open living areas. At least 30 percent of the land will be designated as open space. In a second phase, 21 more homes will be spaced across a hill overlooking what is now a horse farm, just up the road. A six-acre portion of the 23-acre property will continue to be leased to the therapeutic riding school that now operates the farm. Both parcels were previously held in trust by descendants of the Moore family, whose prominence in Berlin dates to the 19th century. Nelson Augustus Moore, known professionally as N. A. Moore, was a landscape painter of the Hudson River School, as well as the inventor of the first daguerreotype photography studio. His more business-minded son, Ethelbert Allen Moore, rose to the chairmanship of Stanley Works, the tool and hardware maker in New Britain. Mr. Revenaugh's interest in the land arose from his marriage. HIs wife, Carlie Pease Revenaugh, a primatologist, is a Moore on her mother's side. In 2000, the couple purchased the 1820 Federal home where N. A. Moore grew up, just across the street from the pasture; by then the structure was being used as a two-family house and it was dilapidated. They planned to renovate the house and to move in with their son, Nathaniel, now 8. Next door is the stone house that N. A. Moore later designed and lived in. As the Revenaughs were re-establishing family ties to the land, however, the family trust was preparing to sell off the pasture as 10 building lots with curb cuts on High Road. 'This street is kind of a country oasis in the suburbs,' Mr. Revenaugh said. 'But the curb cuts would have forced the town to widen the road, and then bring in sidewalks and street lights, and that's the end of the country road.' He added, 'I saw it as an opportunity to do something really creative with the property.' If the pasture must be developed, Mr. Revenaugh decided, the housing ought to complement, not overtake, the landscape. He found the design expertise he needed in nearby New Haven, in the person of Dean Sakomoto, an architect and design instructor at Yale University. Using the profit from the sale of a beachfront family cottage in the town of Fairfield, Mr. Revenaugh hired both Mr. Sakomoto and another high-profile Yale instructor, Diane Balmori, a landscape designer, to draw up plans for a project that he could present as an alternative to the family trustees. The gamble paid off. After many heated discussions, Mr. Revenaugh sealed a deal on the land. Though the first phase of the project was announced in 2001, Mr. Revenaugh subsequently decided to hold off until he had secured the horse farm property as well. The negotiations dragged on until last year. Mr. Revenaugh used the time to test various 'green' building materials and technologies. His own home was a perfect laboratory. He pulled out walls and ceilings to open up the downstairs living spaces and reused the old timbers for kitchen cabinets. Then he replaced floors and counters with maintenance-free, long-lasting materials like Vermont slate, architectural concrete and bamboo. The exterior makeover included cement fiberboard clapboards and a wood trim look-alike made of PVC. What appears to be a slate roof is actually a composite engineered to last 100 years. 'The idea is to put something on once and not have to replace it,' Mr. Revenaugh said. 'Where I'm putting the money in the house is in the things that matter. It's not going bananas on bathroom suites that are 1,500 square feet.' Finally, he hired Mr. Chaleff, the green building specialist, to tweak Mr. Sakomoto's plans. The adjusted designs call for some houses with downstairs bedrooms and upstairs living areas totaling more than 3,000 square feet, and some slightly smaller, single-level homes. In addition to the structural insulated panels and geothermal heat pump systems, the houses will have roofs made of long-lasting copper or coated metal. The price point, starting in the upper $600,000's, is at the high end of the Berlin-area housing market. Scott Broder, owner of ERA Broder Group, the West Hartford agency representing the project, said the per-square-foot construction cost (roughly $210) is in line with traditional new construction. The target market, he said, is primarily couples who are 40 to 60 years old, with annual incomes of at least $150,000 and a like-mindedness about the benefits of low-impact building. 'Yes, the market for this style will be somewhat limited,' said Mr. Broder, who lives in a modern design home himself, 'but we believe it's out there.' The long delay in getting the project off the ground may have even helped in that regard. In the last year, Mr. Chaleff said, as prices for home heating fuels have soared, he has received a steady stream of calls from New York-area architects eager to learn how to integrate green technologies into their designs.

Subject: New Medicaid Rules on Home Ownership
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 06:09:57 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/12/realestate/12home.html February 12, 2006 New Medicaid Rules on Home Ownership By JAY ROMANO THE Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, signed by President Bush last Wednesday, makes significant changes in the rules regarding home ownership and its effect on eligibility for Medicaid, which is often used to pay for nursing-home care. Ronald Fatoullah, a lawyer in Great Neck, on Long Island, said that in determining an applicant's assets, the value of an individual's home was usually exempt. But under the new law, he said, a person with more than $500,000 in home equity is ineligible for nursing-home care under Medicaid. (Homes occupied by a spouse or a disabled or minor child are exempt. And the law allows states to increase the threshold to $750,000.) Mr. Fatoullah said that while the $500,000 limit on equity might seem reasonable for some parts of the country, it is not realistic for homeowners in the New York area. Indeed, he said, many of his clients are elderly individuals who bought their houses or apartments years ago and who now have equity far exceeding $500,000. And unless they do something to change their situation, he said, they could find themselves ineligible for Medicaid when they need it. Two other provisions of the new law, Mr. Fatoullah said, make Medicaid planning even more difficult. Previously, he said, a three-year look-back period was used to determine eligibility. Basically, this meant that while any asset transferred more than three years before applying for benefits would be ignored, assets transferred during that three-year period would result in a penalty. For example, Mr. Fatoullah said, in New York City, every $9,132 in assets transferred during the look-back period renders an individual ineligible for benefits for one month. So if a person transferred, say, $27,396 in assets one year before applying for Medicaid, that person would be ineligible for three months. But under the old law, such a transfer would have had no practical impact, since the ineligibility period would have begun on the first day of the month after the transfer and ended months before benefits were sought. Under the new law, Mr. Fatoullah said, the look-back period is increased to five years, and the ineligibility period starts when the person is in a nursing home and applies for benefits rather than shortly after the transfer was made. So, with that same $27,396 transfer in assets one year before applying for benefits, the three-month ineligibility begins with the application and can have the practical effect of losing three months of benefits. As a result, estate planners say, individuals — especially homeowners — need to plan carefully and early. Linnea Levine, a lawyer in Harrison, N.Y., said that homeowners, including those with more than $500,000 in equity, can use a life estate to protect the home while remaining eligible for Medicaid. With a life estate, Ms. Levine said, a person deeds a property to someone else while retaining the right to live in the home until death. With such a transfer, she said, Medicaid uses tables to determine the value of the asset being transferred. If a 75-year-old transfers title to a $600,000 home and retains a life estate, for example, Medicaid would value the transfer at $287,106. And though that amount would still be subject to the five-year look-back period, the $500,000 threshold would not apply. 'So early planning is essential,' Ms. Levine said. Ralph M. Engel, a Manhattan lawyer, said that another option for a homeowner with more than $500,000 in equity would be to take out a mortgage to reduce that equity. And what should one do with the proceeds of that mortgage? 'You could give it to your kids and hope you won't need Medicaid in the next five years,' he said. 'Or you could take a trip around the world.'

Subject: Paul Krugman: Debt and Denial
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 05:52:47 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://economistsview.typepad.com/ February 13, 2006 Paul Krugman is worried that Ben Bernanke has inherited a difficult set of economic conditions due to ballooning trade and budget deficits, housing bubble zones, and denial among economic agents creating these conditions. Because of this, Krugman is worried about a hard-landing outcome for the U.S. economy. I have more faith in the soft landing scenario than he does, but perhaps that's wishful thinking or denial on my part. In any case, this time I hope Krugman is wrong. By Mark Thoma Debt and Denial, Commentary, by Paul Krugman, NY Times: Last year America spent 57 percent more than it earned on world markets. That is, our imports were 57 percent larger than our exports. How did we manage to live so far beyond our means? By running up debts to Japan, China and Middle Eastern oil producers. ... Sometimes large-scale foreign borrowing makes sense. ... But this time our overseas borrowing isn't financing an investment boom: ... business investment is actually low by historical standards. Instead, we're using borrowed money to build houses, buy consumer goods and, of course, finance the federal budget deficit. In 2005 spending on home construction as a percentage of G.D.P. reached its highest level in more than 50 years. People who already own houses are treating them like A.T.M.'s, converting home equity into spending money: last year the personal savings rate fell below zero for the first time since 1933. And it's a sign of our degraded fiscal state that the Bush administration actually boasted about a 2005 budget deficit of more than $300 billion, because it was a bit lower than the 2004 deficit. It all sounds unsustainable. And it is. Some people insist that the U.S. economy has hidden savings that official statistics fail to capture. I won't go into the technical debate about these claims ... except to say that the more closely one looks at the facts, the less plausible the 'don't worry, be happy' hypothesis looks. Denial takes a more systematic form within the federal government... Last week Mr. Cheney announced that a newly created division within the Treasury Department would show that tax cuts increase, not reduce, federal revenue. That's the Bush-Cheney way: decide on your conclusions first, then demand that analysts produce evidence supporting those conclusions. But serious analysts know that America's borrowing binge is unsustainable. ... So how bad will it be? It depends on how the binge ends. If it tapers off gradually, the U.S. economy will be able to shift workers out of sectors that have benefited from the housing boom and ... into sectors that produce exports or replace imports. Given time, we could bring the trade deficit down and bring housing back to earth without a net loss in jobs. In practice, however, a 'soft landing' looks unlikely, because too many economic players have unrealistic expectations. This is true of international investors, who are still snapping up U.S. bonds ... seemingly oblivious both to the budget deficit and to the consensus view ... that the dollar will eventually have to fall 30 percent or more to eliminate the trade deficit. It's equally true of American home buyers. Most Americans live in regions where housing remains affordable. But ... most of the rise in housing values has taken place in a 'bubble zone' along the coasts, where housing prices have risen far more than the economic fundamentals warrant. ... houses in the bubble zone are overvalued by between 35 and 40 percent, creating trillions of dollars of illusory wealth. So it seems all too likely that America's borrowing binge will end with a bang, not a whimper, that spending will suddenly drop off as both the bond market and the housing market experience rude awakenings. If that happens, the economic consequences will be ugly. All in all, Alan Greenspan, who helped create this situation, can consider himself lucky that he's safely out of office, giving briefings to hedge fund managers at $250,000 a pop. And his successor may be in for a rough ride. Best wishes and good luck, Ben; you may need it.

Subject: Treasury, today's column
From: BB
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 03:13:43 (EST)
Email Address: wbikales@adb.org

Message:
Today's column refers to a new unit in Treasury that VP has announced will demonstrate that tax cuts lead to higher revenues. Anyone know the details -- what unit, what exactly did Cheney say? thanks, all BB

Subject: Re: Treasury, today's column
From: David E..
To: BB
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 18:46:28 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This might be Paul's source. It's interesting, the journalist couldn't find folks that were as sure as Cheney about revenue increases. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/10/AR2006021001855.html

Subject: Re: Treasury, today's column
From: BBw
To: David E..
Date Posted: Mon, Feb 13, 2006 at 19:39:40 (EST)
Email Address: wbikales@adb.org

Message:
Thanks very much. Yes, interesting, but not surprising, given the evidence of the last five years! The article also points out quite rightly that the CBO, among others, already uses dynamic analysis in its budget projections. Seems as though the purpose of the new unit is just as Paul says; produce propaganda for Bush's proposals.

Subject: More info:
From: David E..
To: BBw
Date Posted: Wed, Feb 15, 2006 at 16:55:05 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Jack Kemp's column this week has some more info. http://www.townhall.com/opinion/columns/jackkemp/2006/02/13/186330.html The supply sider's are pretty excited about this, but I am guessing that after 5 years tax cuts should be proving their worth. This is a good time to see exactly where we are on the Laffer curve. The CBO did a good job of analyzing Social security reform. Made it obvious that besides cutting benefits, that the reform would cause the defiticit to rise. This happened because the diversion to savings accounts dries up the funds needed to provide current SS benefits. It is a good exercise to go through, I am all for lowering taxes and getting increased revenues at the same time. The only catch is, are we at a sweet spot on the Laffer curve?

Subject: Re: More info:
From: Emma
To: David E..
Date Posted: Thurs, Feb 16, 2006 at 06:11:49 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thanks, but the only thing about the Laffer curve and Jack Kemp for that matter is that they have always been wrong.

Subject: Sculpture From the Earth
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 10:32:01 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/24/arts/design/24kimm.html?ex=1277265600&en=459c9977474bca45&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss June 24, 2005 Sculpture From the Earth, But Never Limited by It By MICHAEL KIMMELMAN WHEN Robert Smithson died at 35, in a plane crash in 1973, overseeing one of his earthworks, he gave the art world its own Buddy Holly. Who knows whether he now is, as the excellent touring retrospective freshly arrived at the Whitney advertises, the most influential postwar American artist. But he certainly fascinates a slew of young art worldlings. It would be heartening if this were attributable to some longing for a less money-besotted day, one that pressed art to go beyond the upholstered confines of institutions and commerce. The New York art scene of Smithson's time was grittier, angrier and more open to all sorts of splendid, hare-brained, homegrown schemes, of which Smithson had plenty. They helped to shove Minimalism, Conceptualism and Pop in various messy new directions. In an era of crabbed imagination and short-term profiteering, the sheer chutzpah of artists like Smithson is instructive. He was shrewd, caustic, competitive and ingenious. During a career that effectively lasted not even a decade, he anointed himself the spokesman -- and in the process made himself an inevitable target -- for a generation of fellow chest-thumping innovators and troublemakers who were about as amenable to herding as alley cats. Smithson's goal both for radical art and for himself depended on the dissemination of ideas via the printed page, through writings, photographs and film. Native touch, as this show demonstrates without actually diminishing him, was never his forte. The turning point came in the mid-60's when he proposed making art for an airport in Texas, involving mirrors, cameras and other things he imagined putting out in fields, to be seen from airplanes, opening up sculpture to vast scale, the outdoors and aerial views. A few years later came ''Spiral Jetty,'' 6,650 tons of black basalt and earth in the shape of a 1,500-foot-long coil or fiddlehead, projecting into the remote shallows of Rozel Point on the northeast shore of the Great Salt Lake in Utah, where the water is rose red from the brine shrimp and algae. There is a photograph of him in the show's catalog, young, pockmarked, bespectacled and shaggy, with sketchpad on lap, gazing raptly toward ''Jetty,'' as if into the great beyond, like one of Caspar David Friedrich's romantic loners on a misty mountaintop. For Smithson, the allusions in his work (he completed ''Jetty'' in 1970) were to lost worlds and imaginary cosmologies. He was as enamored of Borges and Blake as he was of horror movies and the dinosaur displays at the American Museum of Natural History. He read the science fiction of J.G. Ballard (he likened the red Salt Lake to a Martian sea), and he was inspired by geological formations and religious rituals (brought up Roman Catholic, he went through a phase of making religious art), of which pilgrimage was an aspect. The popular allure of ''Jetty'' was enhanced by Smithson's writings about it, part poetry, part hokum, and by the 16-millimeter color movie he shot of its construction: trucks and loaders lumbering like barosaurs across a prehistoric panorama to his narrative. Cunning and prescient, he grasped that in the modern age a sculpture in the middle of nowhere could have a life separate from itself, through reproductions and other simulacra, which is how most people would see the work. This gap between the real world and its translation into a gallery via photographs, maps or whatever became an abiding theme. The film of ''Spiral Jetty'' occupies a room in the exhibition. I stopped by to remind myself of the end of it, an aerial view when the sun, reflected in the lens of the movie camera, makes ''Jetty'' evaporate in an epiphany of light. It's treacly and compelling. To watch the film is also to be reminded how heavy machinery and raw materials made Smithson's hamfistedness more or less irrelevant, distancing him from the physical task of making sculpture, but paradoxically making that art more distinctly his own. ''Jetty'' (it's actually smaller than you might think from looking at pictures) acts as a kind of sign outdoors, pointing visitors to the surroundings -- moving attention from center to periphery, where there is not just nature to look at but also rusting cars and a decrepit pier. An ancient sea and industrial ruin, ''the site,'' as Smithson wrote, was ''evidence of a succession of man-made systems mired in abandoned hopes.'' His fascination was with the grandeur of such industrial decay, from which he came. He was born in New Jersey in 1938 and commuted as a teenager to classes at the Art Students League. (He never went to college.) New Jersey became the periphery of his universe, New York the center. One day in 1967, he hopped a bus from the big city to stroll around his hometown, Passaic, sporting a Kodak Instamatic and snapping highway abutments and drainage pipes. He published his deadpan travelog in Artforum as ''The Monuments of Passaic,'' opening up a world of artistic inquiry -- and introducing, with comedic élan, a fresh mythology -- to the dystopian sprawl across the Hudson River from Manhattan. ''I am convinced,'' he wrote, ''that the future is lost somewhere in the dumps of the nonhistorical past; it is in yesterday's newspapers, in the jejune advertisements of science fiction movies, in the false mirror of our rejected dreams. Time turns metaphors into things, and stacks them up in cold rooms, or places them in the celestial playgrounds of the suburbs.'' This was his rejoinder to the formal insularity of Minimalism, but it was also a way of reclaiming, as if through a back door, the quasi-spiritual ambitions of Abstract Expressionism. And it was more than that. Smithson carted slag and dirt from quarries and dumps back to New York to stack them in steel bins, which he called Non-sites, sculptural evidence of his eccentric archaeology, Minimalist in design, accompanied by maps and photographs -- the periphery literally brought to the center as visionary evidence of a kind of new Whitmanesque poetry. These clunky sculptures were both dumbly matter of fact and abstract. Their subject was vernacular America, but not transcribed from comic books into zippy Pop paintings. They were a different sort of Pop art. After the Non-sites came the ''Mirror Displacements,'' sometimes placed outside: more assemblages of dirt, sand, shells and salt, now piled to support mirrors (prop art) in geometric arrangements that multiplied and refracted the piles, dematerializing the materials. Like much of Smithson's work, the displacements were a good idea that did not automatically look great. That said, they have never looked better than they do at the Whitney, where they almost make Smithson into an elegant formalist and subtle colorist. The retrospective, organized by Eugenie Tsai, a Smithson expert, and in New York after much ballyhooed stops in Los Angeles and Dallas, consists mostly of drawings, photographs and films. Smithson didn't really make that many sculptures, not ones that could fit into a museum, anyway. This is the first full-scale overview of him in the country. His legacy endures in prospective plans and endless, indulgent prose. There is, consequently, a documentary aspect to much of the show. But it is compelling testimony to an exuberance cut drastically short. Some years ago, Ms. Tsai put together an eye-opening display of early work by Smithson at the Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University. Early work -- what Smithson did from his teenage days at the Art Students League, starting in 1955, until he had his breakthrough in 1964 -- is what's especially fascinating here, too. You see in a teenage woodcut the early mixing of text and image; in collages from the early 60's, the arrangement of shapes with a distinct center and periphery. Throughout these years are all manner of roiling obsessions, conveyed via homoerotic drawings and clippings from beefcake magazines, expressionistic religious paintings, and oddball sculptural contraptions that are attempts at Duchampian Pop. I was struck by an early collage of ''St. John in the Desert,'' a reproduction of a painting cut out of a book in which the Holy Spirit is transferred as if by magnetic attraction to the saint's upraised finger; the reproduction is surrounded by further clippings of diagrams from electrical manuals. ''I'm trying to achieve a sublime nausea by using the debris of science and making it superstitious,'' Smithson wrote. ''Religion is getting so rational that I moved into science because it seems to be the only thing left that's religious.'' There are also drawings of quarries whose scars can bring to mind stigmata (entropic landscapes as apocalypse), and cartoonish sketches of figures turned into trees, like the mythic Daphne, connecting the body to nature. All of these themes seem to be funneled into the first mature sculptures: mirrored steel boxes and gaudily painted metal wall reliefs: dizzy abstractions, like psychedelic Minimalism, sometimes with zigzag flashing lights (like the electric charge in the St. John). The mirrors call into play the rooms and the people in the rooms, who can disappear if they look for themselves in the mirrored boxes. Angled, these mirrors deflect direct sight, creating a visual sleight of hand, a kaleidoscopic universe of refracted space. Refraction, or maybe it is repression. If you look for it, you may detect a campy undercurrent to some of Smithson's work. It's hard not to read into his mature art a simmering stew of sexual and spiritual infatuations, boiled down to blunt, geometric forms. Call it ecstasy, or anger, in a box. Smithson's sculptures are allusive fragments of something larger, whether what's larger is a site in New Jersey or an emotion. One of the more eloquent rooms in the show contains black and white sculptures that he devised in the mid-60's, about the time of the airport project. These are crystalline shapes, repeated forms in series, from large to small, or vice versa, and they also include a kind of stepped sculpture, like an elongated staircase in sharply receding perspective, titled ''Pointless Vanishing Point.'' The work invites your movement across and around it, to see how space shifts. Like all of Smithson's sculpture, it orchestrates sight. And as I said, it is a fragment. That perspective goes on forever -- from site to mind, from something we can see to something we imagine.

Subject: 'New Boy,' by Julian Houston
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 09:26:49 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/12/books/review/12marler.html?ex=1297400400&en=f3dc92e70085fc18&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 12, 2006 'New Boy,' by Julian Houston By REGINA MARLER THE REV. JESSE JACKSON said of Joe Louis, 'He was our Samson; he was our David.' He was also, for African-Americans in the 1950's, their Icarus. Son of a sharecropper, Louis defended his heavyweight championship title for 12 years, but lost or gave away the millions he had earned, and ended up addicted to drugs and working as a greeter at Caesars Palace. As Rob Garrett, the hero of 'New Boy' sees it, Louis, through his 'ignorance and carelessness,' had been 'returned to slavery by the government.' 'Don't end up like Joe Louis,' Rob is told when he leaves Virginia to become the first black student at Draper, a Connecticut prep school. The specter of Louis's fate hangs over this debut novel, based on the author's own experience in the late 1950's, when he attended the Hotchkiss School, in Lakeville, Conn. Louis is the starkest of several cautionary figures Rob contemplates as he threads his way among hazards at Draper. The child of a dentist and a schoolteacher, Rob could have taken his place among the black bourgeoisie in his hometown, but wanted something less sure, something he couldn't yet envision: 'I was shedding like an overcoat the image of myself with which I had been raised, of the good colored boy brought up in a proper colored home to serve the needs of the race during its sojourn in captivity.' One hint that Julian Houston, who is now an associate justice of the Superior Court of Massachusetts, was an eyewitness to this period is his comfort with bygone terms — relics like 'colored' and 'Negro.' His dignified prose, like Rob's cautious formality, is a good match for a tie-wearing era. At Draper, Rob keeps to himself, studying hard. His boldest gesture is refusing to stereotype himself by joining the football team. While he encounters little racial opposition from his classmates, Rob is stunned to discover that the first friend he makes, an acne-stricken New Yorker named Vinnie Mazzerelli, is the target of a sustained ethnic attack, with insults escalating to ostracism. The school administration regards these incidents as character-building, and refuses to censure the well-connected student ringleaders. Rob's shrewd cousin, Gwen, a retired Harlem schoolteacher whose hobby is scanning television shows for Negroes (about one appearance a month), supports his staying at Draper, and argues that for Rob to get ahead, he will have to move 'beyond what's familiar': 'These youngsters in Harlem spending all of their time with each other. . . . They don't have any idea what it's like to talk to a white person as an equal, much less a white person sitting next to you at the dining room table.' But Harlem, too, is 'beyond what's familiar' to Rob. At Thanksgiving break, walking down 125th Street for the first time — exhilarated to float through a sea of dark faces — he meets a black Muslim and carries away a copy of Muhammad Speaks, with its photo of another charismatic stranger, Malcolm X. Here were colored men who had 'no interest in the integration of the races, which I had been brought up to believe was the ideal for every Negro.' By the Christmas break, when he takes the train home to Virginia, he is itching to join a new group forming among his childhood friends that promises direct political action: a sit-in at the segregated Woolworth lunch counter. As the author pointed out in a recent interview, time has blunted our memories of segregation. Teenage readers of 'New Boy' may have seen pictures of events like the Birmingham riots, but know little of the everyday experience of racial segregation: the paranoid attempt to keep color inside the lines. Rob has been raised 'to give whites a wide berth,' aware that even brushing against a white person on the sidewalk could bring violence. The most disturbing — and beautifully written — scene in this novel is not the sit-in that Rob's friends stage, but the potent vision of white reprisal that follows Rob's innocent dream of rebellion as his southbound train approaches Washington. Here, he will be expected to move to the colored car at the back of the train. He yearns to disobey, to keep his seat beside a sour white woman, but can picture too well the 'dark retribution' of the South: the body search and interrogation by some sweaty local sheriff and his men, his suitcase emptied into the train aisle. Crosscurrents in the civil rights movement are well represented in 'New Boy,' and Rob's quick transition between 'good colored boy' and fledgling activist makes sense (and, judging from the author's biography on the book jacket, are also part of Julian Houston's own story). This is history without sensationalism, in which small acts of resistance eventually change the rules.

Subject: An Interview With Julian Houston
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 09:26:04 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/12/books/12houston-interview.html February 12, 2006 An Interview With Julian Houston By JULIE JUST A judge with a long background in the civil rights movement, Julian Houston says he decided years ago that he would like to try writing fiction. But it wasn't until he began working with a teacher in the late 1990's that he started seriously writing. The result is 'New Boy,' a graceful and moving debut novel that the author hopes will help young readers understand what America was like in the days of segregation. It is based on his experiences in 1959 as one of the first black students to attend the Hotchkiss prep school in Connecticut — called Draper in the novel — and also contains vivid scenes of Harlem night clubs and street life. An edited version of an interview with Houston follows. Q. Many kids reading 'New Boy' may be surprised by what turns out to be the most brutal incident in the novel, after the sit-in at the Woolworth lunch counter — namely, the merciless hazing of the Italian-American boy in the prep school dorm. How much of that story was based on real life? A. Much of it was based on real life, although all of the scenes are fictional. The hazing (it was called 'baiting' in those days, as in bear-baiting) began soon after the school year opened and continued, without interruption, until the boy whom I call 'Vinnie' withdrew from school. As far as I could tell, there was no effort by the faculty or the administration to come to his aid. It was as though they felt the hazing was a character-building experience for him. I have no idea what happened to him, although I have tried to find him. He just disappeared. Q. Various figures have vivid cameos in the novel, particularly Joe Louis and two Nation of Islam followers, whom the narrator, Rob Garrett, encounters in Harlem. Were they also drawn from life to some extent? When you eventually met Malcolm X, what were your impressions of him? A. I never met Joe Louis, however, I have met several members of the Nation of Islam, both in Boston and New York, over the years, including Malcolm X. The descriptions of Malcolm's bodyguards are drawn from those encounters. I was 19 years old when I met Malcolm. We met in New York City at the television studio for WNET Channel 13 in the spring of 1964. Malcolm had recently broken away from Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam, and soon thereafter, he made a pilgrimage to Mecca and toured Africa. The trip led him to moderate some of his views about Islam and racial matters in this country. When we met, he had just returned to the United States and was waiting to be interviewed for a news program. I was in the studio waiting to be interviewed by the writer Fanny Hurst. I was dressed like a civil rights worker in the South, in a blue jean jacket and trousers, a blue workshirt and work boots. I went over to shake his hand and speak with him. He was gracious and warm, with a relaxed, boyish smile. He asked what I was doing in New York and I told him I was organizing rent strikes and working on school issues. He encouraged me and cautioned me to be careful. I felt very much in the presence of a great man. Q. Do you find that young readers are familiar with the history of segregation and the civil rights movement? Are they interested in hearing about it, or does it seem like ancient history to them? A. Most young people today, even those in the South, have only a superficial knowledge of the civil rights movement and segregation. I think those of us who were involved in the movement must bear the major responsibility for this. The Jewish community has done a very effective job of teaching young people about the Holocaust. On the other hand, we have been preoccupied with ideological disputes, vocabulary disputes, turf battles and celebrity worship, at the price of, among other things, laying the foundation for the younger generation to understand the significance of what we did. Beyond recalling the names of Dr. King and Mrs. Parks, most young people, black or white, can't tell you much about the civil rights movement and what it accomplished, which is not to say they are not interested in learning about it. One of the reasons I wrote 'New Boy' was to give young people a detailed picture of what it was like to live in a segregated community in the late 1950s. Q. Your description of the vitality of 125th Street in 1959 is particularly striking to read now, since Harlem in some ways seems to be in a historic resurgence. But of course, integration is a double-edged thing for black residents; did you foresee that early on? A. Black people have always had a certain ambivalence about whites, so it doesn't surprise me that they question the motives of whites who are moving into Harlem or investing there. I did not foresee, however, the rise of black nationalism that occurred at the end of the 1960's and continued for more than a decade, or the vehemence with which it took hold. Black nationalist and racially separatist ideas have always been articulated in the black community. In the early 20th century, Marcus Garvey and Booker T. Washington, the founder of Tuskegee Institute, were prominent advocates of racial separatism, but the dominant philosophy of black leaders in the 19th and 20th centuries, from Frederick Douglass to W.E.B. DuBois to Martin Luther King, has been to support racial integration. I saw the black community's embrace of black nationalism in the late 1960's as an expression of its rage at the assassination of Martin Luther King and its frustration with the slow pace of racial progress. I also saw it as self-defeating. Q. From the biography that appears on your book, fiction-writing appears to be something that came to you after many other vocations and accomplishments — how did it occur to you write about some of your experiences as fiction? A. My interest in writing fiction began more than twenty years ago, when I was first appointed as a judge in the Roxbury district of Boston. As I heard the daily list of cases assigned to me, I often felt that many held a story beyond those that were being presented in the courtroom and I wanted to try describe some of them in fiction. I studied fiction writing off and on, but it was not until I began to study privately with a teacher that I made an unqualified commitment to become a fiction writer. Like many writers of fiction, I often use my experiences in my work. As for 'New Boy,' my memories of what happened to Vinnie stayed with me like an aching tooth for more than forty years, until one day, seven years ago, my teacher said, 'Write me a story,' and I wrote the short story that became the basis for the novel. Q. Do you think the decision top black students have to make today, whether or not to attend private school, especially boarding school, still poses some of the same issues that Rob faces — survival in an alien environment? Or is it a completely different world for kids now, with different problems and different hierarchies? A. It's difficult for me to say. There have been improvements. Many boarding schools now have black faculty members and administrators. When I attended Hotchkiss, all of the teachers and administrators were white. And there is the obligatory observance of Martin Luther King Day and Black History Month. My sense is that those black students who are able to carve out an identity for themselves - as athletes or outstanding scholars, for example - fare better than those who don't. And the sense of alienation, of struggling to find a place for one's self 'on the slippery walls of the world,' as Rob Garrett puts it, is endemic to adolescence. But major issues of race and class remain unresolved in our society, so we should not be surprised that they continue to vex black youngsters., who often find themselves for the first time living next door to white children from families of extraordinary wealth and privilege.

Subject: The Starling Chronicles
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 07:57:47 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/12/nyregion/thecity/12bird.html February 12, 2006 The Starling Chronicles By LAURA SHAINE CUNNINGHAM Why is there a wild bird in my apartment? She fell, as a nestling, from the rain gutter on the roof of my country house. Since then, she has been dividing her time, as I do, between city and country — taking taxis while in town, going to meetings, theater. She has spent quality time in my apartment on East 80th Street, gazing at the street scene and listening to WQXR. She responds to both classical and jazz, is attentive to Jonathan Schwartz. At the start, there were two baby birds — the one we took to calling Raven Starling and her sibling, a creature that was smaller and weaker from the get-go. The ousted nestlings lay stranded on the grass, looking less like birds than glands, fleshy globs with a suggestion of gray lint over raw red flesh. The ugly little hatchlings had survived a three-story fall from a roof, and they had luck from the start; they fell at the feet of my 12-year-old daughter, Jasmine. 'Oh, look!' she cried. 'Baby birds!' Ugh, I thought. But I dutifully went online to figure out what to do with these creatures, then called a wildlife rehabilitation phone number that I found under 'Wild Baby Birds.' After listening to my description, the fatigued woman on the other end snapped: 'Sturnus vulgaris, a starling. Dog food on a chopstick, every hour.' I set the unappealing twosome on a warm hand towel in a basket in the bathroom. 'They'll be dead in the morning,' I thought, with some ambivalence. In the morning, one was dead, but Raven Starling was very much alive. 'One didn't make it,' Jasmine said, her voice reedy with grief. 'Let's hope for Ravvie.' Thus began the grueling all-day feedings. In the wild, starlings are insectivores, but they can live as omnivores if someone is willing to shop and mash commercial food for them. Ravvie demanded more and more of the recommended meal, which we adapted to cat food, Nine Lives mixed with Mott's natural apple sauce (no sugar for starlings, only corn syrup or fruit sweeteners), ground Tums (for calcium) and mashed hard-boiled egg yolk to meet her 'intense protein needs.' Why we were meeting this creature's intense protein needs was another matter. I did not give Raven Starling great odds. I believed that her daily meals were only staving off the inevitable. Every morning, I expected to find her dead in her basket, beak sealed forever. But when I walked into the bathroom on the fourth day, she stood up and spread her featherless wings, looking like a mini oviraptor escaped from Jurassic Park, demanding to be fed. I did not find the sight appealing, but I was impressed. 'She wants to live,' I realized. From that moment forth, I found the image of the bird, alone, opening her mouth without anyone to hear, unbearable. Which explains why I nearly died later that day, feeding her from her chopstick while navigating a turn off the West Side Highway into Greenwich Village, where a play of mine was in rehearsal. She later made it to several performances. With a drape over her head, Raven Starling knew to be still during performances, at least off Broadway. Raven Starling adapted to apartment life; she would even tolerate a car-sit for alternate-side-of-the street parking, or a quick run into the hot bagel place. Even an insectivore, I noted, was not immune to the charms of a warm sesame bagel. Our doorman, Manuel Gonzalez, welcomed Raven Starling. With doormanly discretion, he ignored her unattractive appearance and gave her courteous rides, often on his uniformed arm. In my apartment, two blocks from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she perched on a houseplant and looked out the window, studying the city pigeons and sparrows and the renovation of the Junior League building across the street. She splattered away, in a box in the powder room. What have I done? I wondered. I've brought the worst of the country; a fecal spray, a wild thing, into what was an oasis of urban civilization. But I did notice she seemed attentive when I turned on WQXR, the classical station, and she clutched a program from the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. I tried to ignore her odor, her cat-food-encrusted beak, and forced myself to share my daughter's deepening love. 'Oh, she's so cute.' But she wasn't cute. Her face was foreshortened, and with her tiny beady eyes, bright with ruthless appetite, and a jaw that compressed when her beak closed, which was rare, she looked like Andy Gump. I WENT to the Web site Starling Talk to check out the origins of starlings and discovered some surprising facts. The starling is a New York immigrant and, if not for Shakespeare, would never have entered our lives. In March 1890, a New York drug manufacturer named Eugene Schieffelin acted on his love for the playwright by vowing to release into Central Park all the songbirds mentioned in Shakespeare. Mr. Schieffelin loosed several species: thrushes, skylarks and starlings. Only the starlings survived. From the initial 100 birds released, flocks reproduced to the current hundreds of millions, making them among the nation's most abundant and ultimately most controversial birds. They are infamous as pests, accused of corroding buildings with their acid droppings, which is why the joy over their first observed roost, in the eaves of the American Museum of Natural History, quickly hardened into disgust. What did Shakespeare say regarding starlings that so inspired the 19th-century drug maker? It's a line in 'Henry IV, Part 1,' in which Hotspur threatens: 'The king forbade my tongue to speak of Mortimer. But I will find him when he is asleep. I'll have a starling shall be taught to speak nothing but Mortimer, and give it to him to keep his anger still in motion.' The birds, I learn, are mimics, known in Elizabethan times as 'the poor man's mynah.' Oddly, they are unlikely to repeat a single word; they require a rhythmic phrase. So Shakespeare is now regarded as having made a mistake. But one billion birds later, with Raven Starling as my constant companion, I live with the result of one man's infatuation with Shakespeare's silver-tongued reference to songbirds. 'She's making a mess,' I kept saying, but I also kept feeding her, and she grew, not gradually but suddenly, into a midsize blackish bird. 'Take a bath!' I ordered her, and she did, in a soup bowl filled with water in my formerly spotless city kitchen. By this point, the history of the starling had me in its talons. Starlings may be the champion bird 'talkers'; they can chorus in the wild by the thousands. Some experts have observed 'a murmuration,' as a flock of starlings is called, numbering a million or more. Yet starlings are as despised as they are loved. In September, it was reported that the federal government had killed 2.3 million starlings in 2004 as part of a campaign to get rid of what it described as 'nuisance animals.' Starling eliminators insist that the birds damage crops, soil buildings, even cause planes to crash, and have resorted to Roman candles, hot wires and a poison called Starlicide to discourage or destroy the birds. Is the killing justified? Starling supporters insist that it isn't, that the starling kills so many destructive insects; a murmuration should elicit a chorus of praise. Rachel Carson, the author of 'Silent Spring,' championed the starling: 'In spite of his remarkable success as a pioneer, the starling probably has fewer friends than almost any other creature that wears feathers. That fact, however, seems to be of very little importance to this cheerful bird with glossy plumage and stumpy tail.' The starling, she continued, 'hurries with jerky steps about the farms and gardens in the summer time, carrying more than 100 loads of destructive insects per day to his screaming offspring.' Another admirer was Mozart, who paid dearly for his pet starling, loved it and staged a funeral when it passed away, of unknown causes, at age 3. Some authorities think the starling's song became incorporated into Mozart's composition 'A Musical Joke.' RAVEN STARLING also began to sing, but would she really be independent someday? Could I release her, perhaps back into Central Park? No, I could not, I was told by Jackie Collins, who runs Starling Talk. An 'imprint' bird like mine, raised from infancy, can never join a starling murmuration. Starling Talk is filled with descriptions of confused imprint birds that have been found injured and emaciated and are unable to join in a flock. Although Raven Starling would one day speak better than a parrot, live to be 20 and play with a whiffle ball, she would have to stay forever among her adopted species — humans. By then I had ascended into the skies of a cyberculture of starling-keepers, and joined the Chirp Room, where visitors signed off with phrases like 'the whisper of wings' and quoted the famous line from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, 'You are responsible forever for what you have tamed.' I learned that there are thousands of starling-keepers, the beneficiaries of a legal loophole: Although keeping a native wild bird in your home is illegal, starlings are exempt because of their foreign origin. Meanwhile, Raven Starling grew prettier. As she matured, she displayed a certain etiquette, wiping her beak after each gooey bite. We shared toast. I played her Mozart's starling song. Now when I heard the deep chords of Mozart's 'Requiem,' and Raven Starling sang along, in full throat, I pondered why I had tried so hard to keep this bird alive. Was it simply to keep a promise to a child? Perhaps there was another reason. In my home, we are all foundlings. I was an orphaned child, and my little girl was left on a street in China. Was this why the fallen starling had to be rescued? Because in our family, abandonment is unthinkable? Whatever my motivation, I was not alone in my demented devotions. At 3 one morning I tried to predict what would become of the three of us by checking on the bird's Web site, Starling Talk. There, I learned about other baby starling 'parents' who were struggling with similar issues but also celebrating events such as 'Stormy's Fifth Birthday.' Tamed starlings were on display, rainbow-hued when loved and cleaned, aglow as they were videotaped: 'Plant a kiss on me, liverlips,' said a saveling named Techno. I admit, I had become attached to Ravvie. She flew to me at a whistle, and she groomed my tousled hair. She sat on my head when I played piano. I never thought that I could love an insectivore. Maybe it's possible that someone can love anything. How far would I go in catering to my insectivore? Could I be like those other starling people on the Web site, who order bags of dried bugs? There was a human murmuration on the Web, especially in the dead of night, composed of bird people like a man living in a city apartment with an adult male starling named Smarty who has learned to take sharp right turns. But winter would change everything. Winter was when the true trial of caring indoors for a wild bird would begin. Raven Starling would be forced for long periods into apartment life in the city. I have learned that if she walked for much longer on even carpeted city floors, she would develop a deformity, 'spraggle feet.' ONE dawn, I began to communicate with a woman upstate, who has four starlings and offered to adopt mine. And I begin to wonder, what is best, to maintain Raven Starling as a lone creature, becoming spraggle-footed, commuting to New York and riding elevators, or surrender her to another 'mother' who maintains three rooms in her home just for her birds? So it came to pass that one September Sunday, I found myself driving with my daughter and the bird, in her cage, strapped to the back car seat, to a town five hours north of New York that even on the warm golden day appeared flattened by the memory of blizzards. Fort Plain, just outside Canajoharie. The town is blanched and beaten, an entire town with freezer burn. Nearly all the factories that once sustained the area closed long ago. Yet it is here I was assured that a warm and loving home with other starlings awaited Raven Starling. Mary Ann, the 'adoptive mother' who is known on the Web as Little Feathers, was sitting on the stoop of a house with a peaked roof when we arrived. At 52, in T-shirt and jeans, with long, flowing hair, she had a fatigued, youthful quality. Inside her neat but crammed living room, there was a smell, not unpleasant but avian. I think it was the smell of warm feathers. Mary Ann has three children: an 11-year-old daughter and a boy and girl who are 12. The older girl was robust; her handsome twin brother, who has cerebral palsy, looked five years younger, thin and frail. Mary Ann also had a dozen avian 'babies.' Her voice quickened as she described the antics of George. 'He's just a baby. And Chirp, she was given to me. And Littlefeathers, he was the first. And Trouble, well, his name fits.' In addition to the starlings, there were three pigeons, four society finches, and, the pièce de résistance, a paralyzed sparrow presented in the palm of her hand. I could not help connecting the flightless bird to the child who sits so still on the couch. How could Mary Ann care for all these needful beings? I was on the brink of saying, 'We thank you, but I'll take the bird home.' Instead, we recited the chorus of open adoption: I asked and she agreed, 'You shall have visitation.' 'We can see her again,' I said, my voice climbing too high, as Jasmine and I drove back to the city. I knew we were thinking the same thought. Someone left my daughter somewhere almost 13 years ago. 'On Quon Dong Road,' her papers report. I recited the rationale that Raven Starling was better off with other birds, with an at-home mother who knew avian medicine and had an avian vet. I had no doubt that was all true, but my hands tightened on the steering wheel. 'We're never coming back,' my child said. We drove along, and then somewhere along the Thruway, above a vast pasture, we saw them, a murmuration of starlings, thousands of birds. Through the open car window, I heard, or more accurately felt, a familiar sound, more vibration or audible breeze than a true noise; the flutter of thousands of wings in unison, combined with a muted mass voice. Later at twilight in the city, walking through Central Park, my daughter and I caught sight of another flock, or was it the same one? This was the true murmuration, an entity unto itself, to which Raven Starling, had her fate not crossed with ours, would have belonged. I watched the birds dip, then rise and reverse again, an animate banner, starring the skies above the city. My daughter and I stared upward. We would never see a flock of birds again without noticing and remembering: We knew one in a billion.

Subject: Tutor Program Offered by Law
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 07:55:17 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/12/education/12tutor.html?ex=1297400400&en=6537558d6112b754&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 12, 2006 Tutor Program Offered by Law Is Going Unused By SUSAN SAULNY Four years after President Bush signed the landmark No Child Left Behind education law, vast numbers of students are not getting the tutoring that the law offers as one of its hallmarks. In the nation's largest school district, New York City, fewer than half of the 215,000 eligible students sought the free tutoring, according to figures from the city's Department of Education for the school year that ended in June 2005. In one area of the city, District 19 in eastern Brooklyn, about 3,700 students completed a tutoring program last year, even though more than 13,000 students qualified. Yet New York's participation rate is better than the national average: across the country, roughly two million public school students were eligible for free tutoring in the school year that ended in 2004, according to the most recent data from the Department of Education, yet only 226,000 — or nearly 12 percent — received help. In California in the last school year, 95,500 of 800,000 eligible students were tutored. In Maryland, just over a quarter of those who were eligible — 5,580 of 19,520 students — actually enrolled in the last school year. And in Louisiana, despite aggressive marketing by the state, only about 5,000 of 50,000 eligible students took part in the program last year. The No Child Left Behind law requires consistently failing schools that serve mostly poor children to offer their students a choice if they want it: a new school or tutoring from private companies or other groups, paid for with federal money — typically more than $1,800 a child in big cities. In the past the schools would have been under no obligation to use that Title I federal poverty grant to pay for outside tutoring. City and state education officials and tutoring company executives disagree on the reasons for the low participation and cast blame on each other. But they agree that the numbers show that states and school districts have not smoothed out the difficulties that have plagued the tutoring — known as the supplemental educational services program — from its start as a novel experiment in educational entrepreneurship: largely private tutoring paid for with federal money. Officials give multiple reasons for the problems: that the program is allotted too little federal money, is poorly advertised to parents, has too much complicated paperwork for signing up, and that it has not fully penetrated the most difficult neighborhoods, where there are high concentrations of poor, failing students. 'I think there's a real learning curve on this because it's so different from what has come before,' said Jane Hannaway, the director of the Education Policy Center at the Urban Institute, which is in the early stage of conducting studies on the tutoring program for the United States Department of Education. 'At this point, policy analysts are trying to figure out what's working well and what may not be working well and what needs to be changed,' Ms. Hannaway added. Because the initiative is but a few years old, and many districts are only now starting tutoring programs, experts say their effort to pinpoint the hurdles to the initiative's success is also suffering from a lack of data. Even for those students who are getting tutored, there has yet to be a scientific national study judging whether students in failing schools are receiving any academic benefit. And there is no consensus on how that progress should be judged. In addition, it is not entirely clear why so many students do not complete tutoring programs once they have enrolled. In New York City, 34,055 schoolchildren did not successfully complete the terms of their tutoring contracts last year after signing up. Most seemed to attend a few sessions and then never returned. Federal education officials point to the fact that the initiative is still relatively new in explaining the low enrollment numbers, and say that participation is growing every year. 'To some extent, when you offer something new to low-income parents or to any parent group, initially you're not going to have a surge signing up because they don't know what it is and the procedure to sign kids up is somewhat complicated,' said Nina Rees, an assistant deputy secretary at the Department of Education. To that end, the department has been advising states and school districts to use everything they can to reach parents, including letters, fliers and the Internet, and to make the description of programs as simple as possible. Still, Ms. Rees noted that 'this can be time consuming, and a lot of districts don't have the capacity to administer a program like this while administering all of the other grants they are charged with administering.' While tutoring is only one of the choices given to students under the law, switching to new schools is more difficult, so school districts have put the emphasis on tutoring. In failing districts, the law required the tutoring to come from outside groups on the theory that they could do a better job than the schools that were failing in the first place. But to address the tens of thousands of students who are not getting tutors, federal education officials are now allowing some failing districts to tutor their own students. New York was the third city to receive such a waiver in November, after Chicago and Boston. City education officials say they hope running their own program will open access to more students because districts tend to tutor students at a much lower cost per child, and the tutoring groups tend to be larger. The federal government calls the three city efforts pilot programs and says that based on their success they could be replicated in other cities. Students are not required to sign up for tutoring. The option is offered, but students' ability to participate depends on how well the services are advertised, how cooperative districts are in letting tutors into schools, whether the tutors can serve all those in need and whether districts have enough money to cover services for those who want them. The money comes from a percentage of federal Title I money that the districts must set aside for tutoring or the school transfers. But some districts say the money has been insufficient to keep up with demand. After No Child Left Behind became law, companies and other tutoring groups rushed to be part of the new industry. Eduventures, a market research firm for the education industry, estimated that the amount of money spent on supplemental educational services last year was $879 million and that the figure would grow to $1.3 billion by 2009. The providers range from large companies like Catapult Learning, Kaplan Inc. and the Princeton Review to smaller community and religions groups and nonprofit organizations. To participate and be reimbursed per child tutored, providers must first win the state's approval. Some tutoring companies blame the school districts and the federal government for the bulk of the problems. 'If this was Year 1 or 2, I'd cut the districts more slack in somehow explaining the lack of aggressive outreach,' said Steven Pines, executive director of the Education Industry Association, a trade group that represents businesses like textbook, testing and tutoring companies. Jeffrey Cohen, the president of Catapult Learning, one of the largest tutoring companies, said participation rates were low because many districts were just now embracing the program, and some still had complicated sign-up procedures. 'From a macro level, there needs to be more enforcement,' Mr. Cohen said. 'If I can identify for you a school district that has 40,000 eligible children and 245 approved, I draw the conclusion that there is something wrong with the implementation there. In states and districts that have opened their arms to the value of tutoring, you see strong programs and strong participation.' Many state and district officials complain that federal financing is insufficient to meet demand and say that federal officials were also slow in offering advice, contributing to the bumpy start. In Washington, D.C., for instance, about 24,563 students are eligible this year for tutoring. But only 3,025 students are being tutored, because that is all the district says it can afford. There is only one official to handle everything related to the tutoring for the entire district. 'We don't have enough money to accommodate the desire,' said Tamika N. Maultsby, a program coordinator for Washington schools. 'We are working tirelessly. But we definitely need staff. The kids are signing up. The desire is there. We just don't have the money.' Some educational groups believe that some tutoring companies shun students with learning and language difficulties because the companies are judged based in part on the progress their students make. Some of the latest available data gives a clear picture that some of the country's vulnerable students are among those not being served: in New York City, for instance, about 9,000 of approximately 22,000 children with disabilities who were eligible for tutoring enrolled for help last year. Among students with limited English, about half the 40,000 eligible were being tutored. Beth Swanson, the director of after-school and community school programs for the Chicago public schools, said of tutoring companies, 'Typically, we do see that providers opt not to serve those populations, and likely because they don't have the materials, expertise or resources to do so.' Many in the tutoring industry deny such charges and say that schools do not notify them in advance about which students might require special services, citing privacy concerns. In May, in another relaxation of the law that recognized that some disabled children might be contributing to a district's failure rate, the Education Department announced that states could apply for flexibility to allow greater numbers of students to take alternate tests to assess whether they were comprehending material at their own grade level. Despite the efforts to draw students to tutoring, some students and parents say they are not even aware that they may qualify and express confusion about the free program. 'I need help in a couple of subjects, and I'm interested in anything that would help me,' said Ninoska Valverde, a student at Junior High School 291 in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. 'It would be a great idea, but I didn't even know about it.'

Subject: Bolivia's Knot
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 07:45:39 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/12/international/americas/12bolivia.html?ex=1297400400&en=77ab92929ee6a341&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 12, 2006 Bolivia's Knot: No to Cocaine, but Yes to Coca By JUAN FORERO VILLA TUNARI, Bolivia — Just weeks ago, Bolivian Army troops swooped down on Seberino Marquina's farm and, one by one, ripped his coca bushes from the ground. 'The commander said, 'Cut this,' and they did,' Mr. Marquina, 54, said, waving his machete on his small piece of the Chapare, a coca-growing region the size of New Jersey in central Bolivia. But after President Evo Morales's inauguration on Jan. 22, the army conscripts assigned to eradicate coca leaves here as part of the United States-financed war on drugs instead spend their days lolling at isolated roadside bases, trying to keep cool under the blazing sun. 'We're waiting for orders from the president,' said Capt. César Cautín, the commander of a group of 60 soldiers. Mr. Marquina is also waiting, and hoping that the new president will let him add to the flourishing crop of coca plants on the other side of the creek that runs through his 24-acre farm. Just how likely that is remains surprisingly unclear. Mr. Morales, 46, an Aymara Indian who grew up in poverty in the highlands and became a coca grower in this verdant jungle region, has not yet provided many details on his coca policy, except to say that his government will 'depenalize' coca cultivation and show zero tolerance toward trafficking: in other words, 'yes to coca, no to cocaine.' He has long opposed American eradication efforts and championed the coca leaf, which without significant processing has no mind-altering effects and is chewed here to mitigate hunger and increase stamina. He has pledged to push the foreign governments to open their markets to the many legal products that can be made from coca, like soap, shampoo, toothpaste and flour. He also wants to open markets to coca tea, which is legal and popular in the Andes. All forms of coca, which has a mild stimulating effect, have been blacklisted by the United Nations since 1961. Mr. Morales has also said that 23,000 farmers in the Chapare could continue to plant coca on a third of an acre of their land, as permitted under a 2004 agreement with Carlos Mesa, then the president, that was never endorsed by Washington. He is waiting for the results of a study financed by the European Union to determine just how much coca Bolivians need for traditional, legal uses, before deciding whether coca cultivation could increase. However, to be able to maintain good international relations and attract investors, Mr. Morales must also find a way to reassure foreign governments and investors that Bolivia will control trafficking — particularly by neighbors like Brazil, which is, after the United States, the world's second-largest consumer of cocaine, and the United States, which spends up to $1 billion a year to battle cocaine in the Andes. As a start, Mr. Morales appointed Felipe Cáceres, a former mayor in the Chapare and a small-time coca farmer, to the new post of vice minister of coca, to, in essence, oversee the fight against trafficking, an appointment that Washington supported. The American government, which for several administrations has contended that only aggressive eradication and interdiction will control trafficking, scoffs at Mr. Morales's 'yes to coca, no to cocaine' stance. 'This idea that he's going to go after traffickers but letting the coca bloom is tough seeing as workable,' says a high-ranking Congressional aide in Washington who helps shape anti-drug policy, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to give statements. 'It's a naïve, pie-in-the-sky approach to let the flower bloom but interdict the bouquet.' American policy makers fear that the progress made against coca in Colombia — where cultivation has been significantly reduced — could be offset by a burst of cultivation in Bolivia, and an accompanying surge in smuggling. There are now an estimated 65,400 acres of coca being cultivated in Bolivia, nearly half of it grown legally for traditional uses. 'The $64,000 question with Morales is, Will all the problems drift south to Bolivia and will we have to start all over again?' the aide said. And American officials are deeply concerned that a central part of their expensive Andean campaign — eradication — has been suspended in Bolivia. The American ambassador, David N. Greenlee, is carrying out an understated policy of not publicly challenging the government, but he lamented the situation. 'There is no eradication, and at this moment, that's my concern,' he said recently before meeting with the new foreign minister, David Choquehuanca, who has called coca 'a sacred leaf.' Bolivia, which many in Washington see as a symbol of success in the war on drugs, was a pariah nation just 15 years ago, with 123,000 acres of coca under cultivation. In 1988, the country criminalized coca, and American-sponsored eradication began. Production fell to a low of 48,000 acres in 2000. Bolivia went from being the No. 2 producer of coca, shipping much of its cocaine to the United States, to a distant third after Colombia and Peru, with most of the drug headed to Brazil. The eradication of so lucrative a crop, however, had serious social and political repercussions for a desperately poor country where coca and cocaine had become a leading industry. With their losses rising into the hundreds of millions of dollars, Chapare's coca farmers, often led by Mr. Morales, protested, blocked roads and battled security forces, sometimes with fatal consequences. The unrest so weakened the central state that two presidents were forced to resign in the 20 months ending in June 2005. The Americans responded to Mr. Morales's increasing popularity by trying to marginalize him from politics and labeling him an ally of traffickers, though they offered little evidence. The efforts only raised his stock among Bolivians, and he won the election with more than 52 percent of the vote, the biggest victory since Bolivia emerged from dictatorship in 1982. Now, in deference to Mr. Morales, a president who has a 74 percent approval rating, some hardened Bolivian drug warriors are conceding that he must be given a chance. 'In his speeches, Evo Morales handles some variables that are very interesting,' said Gen. Luis Caballero, who until last month led a 1,500-man special Bolivian police antinarcotics team. 'I think it can work, if there is a coherent strategy.' And some drug policy specialists are calling for foreign governments and investors to consider Mr. Morales's plan, even if it is an uphill battle that goes against anti-drug sentiments ingrained in the West. 'If there's one thing the international community should do, if only out of deference because he won the election, is to take seriously his arguments that coca products have a place in the international commodities market,' said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, an independent policy group that says the war on drugs has been counterproductive. At a recent coca fair in La Paz, two dozen small Bolivian and Peruvian companies displayed coca-based products they said they hopeed would one day be accepted worldwide. Besides the soap, shampoo and toothpaste, there were digestive potions pitched as calcium and iron supplements, or, alternatively, a cure for balding or as a diet aid. And there was a light green flour, for making bread. 'One of our most important products is granola, fortified with coca,' said Marco Alarcón, in a dapper vest and tie, said of his four-year-old company, Caranavi. 'Right now, we are selling everything in Bolivia, but the hope is to sell in China.' A couple of booths over, Angélica Quisberth, 25, sold cookies and bread made with coca. 'What we want to show is that the coca leaf is not just for cocaine,' she said, 'but that you can do many things with it, and generate work.' In contrast to the Chapare, the epicenter of eradication efforts in Bolivia, coca grows legally in the vast Yungas region, where farmers plant on centuries-old terraces in the foothills of the Andes and sell their crop at the government-supervised market in La Paz, just to the south. On a recent trip through Yungas, where three-quarters of Bolivia's coca is raised, it was common to see farmers harvesting in droves, wearing long-sleeved shirts to protect them from the sun. Stripping the small, shiny leaves from a branch, Pasquale Quispe, 53, owner of a 7.4-acre farm, explained that she and other peasants saw coca in almost spiritual terms. 'Coca is our daily bread, what gives us work, what gives us our livelihood,' she said. 'In other countries, they say coca is drugs, but we don't use drugs. It's the gringos who use drugs.' But with so much coca being produced in Yungas, the authorities say they believe that much of it winds up as cocaine. On a narrow mountain pass shadowed by craggy peaks, Lt. Col. Julio Cruz and his police unit stop vehicles leaving Yungas, checking the 50-pound sacks of coca leaves and making sure they are headed to the legal market. On some days, 500 vehicles carrying more than 150,000 pounds of coca pass through the checkpoint, Colonel Cruz said. But after this checkpoint, the police say, they have no way to know how much is diverted for illegal purposes. 'The leaf comes out legally,' Colonel Cruz said. 'But once out, it goes to labs for cocaine. We cannot escort every truck to market.' Pacífico Olivares, 49, a regional leader of coca farmers, said farmers knew that coca was made into cocaine, but he added that they should not be to held responsible. 'What blame do we have when we don't make cocaine?' he said. 'They should chase down the people who make cocaine.'

Subject: The Trust Gap
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 07:43:43 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/12/opinion/12sun1.html?ex=1297400400&en=7557897fdc67af47&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 12, 2006 The Trust Gap We can't think of a president who has gone to the American people more often than George W. Bush has to ask them to forget about things like democracy, judicial process and the balance of powers — and just trust him. We also can't think of a president who has deserved that trust less. This has been a central flaw of Mr. Bush's presidency for a long time. But last week produced a flood of evidence that vividly drove home the point. DOMESTIC SPYING After 9/11, Mr. Bush authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on the conversations and e-mail of Americans and others in the United States without obtaining a warrant or allowing Congress or the courts to review the operation. Lawmakers from both parties have raised considerable doubt about the legality of this program, but Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made it clear last Monday at a Senate hearing that Mr. Bush hasn't the slightest intention of changing it. According to Mr. Gonzales, the administration can be relied upon to police itself and hold the line between national security and civil liberties on its own. Set aside the rather huge problem that our democracy doesn't work that way. It's not clear that this administration knows where the line is, much less that it is capable of defending it. Mr. Gonzales's own dedication to the truth is in considerable doubt. In sworn testimony at his confirmation hearing last year, he dismissed as 'hypothetical' a question about whether he believed the president had the authority to conduct warrantless surveillance. In fact, Mr. Gonzales knew Mr. Bush was doing just that, and had signed off on it as White House counsel. THE PRISON CAMPS It has been nearly two years since the Abu Ghraib scandal illuminated the violence, illegal detentions and other abuses at United States military prison camps. There have been Congressional hearings, court rulings imposing normal judicial procedures on the camps, and a law requiring prisoners to be treated humanely. Yet nothing has changed. Mr. Bush also made it clear that he intends to follow the new law on the treatment of prisoners when his internal moral compass tells him it is the right thing to do. On Thursday, Tim Golden of The Times reported that United States military authorities had taken to tying up and force-feeding the prisoners who had gone on hunger strikes by the dozens at Guantánamo Bay to protest being held without any semblance of justice. The article said administration officials were concerned that if a prisoner died, it could renew international criticism of Gitmo. They should be concerned. This is not some minor embarrassment. It is a lingering outrage that has undermined American credibility around the world. According to numerous news reports, the majority of the Gitmo detainees are neither members of Al Qaeda nor fighters captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan. The National Journal reported last week that many were handed over to the American forces for bounties by Pakistani and Afghan warlords. Others were just swept up. The military has charged only 10 prisoners with terrorism. Hearings for the rest were not held for three years and then were mostly sham proceedings. And yet the administration continues to claim that it can be trusted to run these prisons fairly, to decide in secret and on the president's whim who is to be jailed without charges, and to insist that Gitmo is filled with dangerous terrorists. THE WAR IN IRAQ One of Mr. Bush's biggest 'trust me' moments was when he told Americans that the United States had to invade Iraq because it possessed dangerous weapons and posed an immediate threat to America. The White House has blocked a Congressional investigation into whether it exaggerated the intelligence on Iraq, and continues to insist that the decision to invade was based on the consensus of American intelligence agencies. But the next edition of the journal Foreign Affairs includes an article by the man in charge of intelligence on Iraq until last year, Paul Pillar, who said the administration cherry-picked intelligence to support a decision to invade that had already been made. He said Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney made it clear what results they wanted and heeded only the analysts who produced them. Incredibly, Mr. Pillar said, the president never asked for an assessment on the consequences of invading Iraq until a year after the invasion. He said the intelligence community did that analysis on its own and forecast a deeply divided society ripe for civil war. When the administration did finally ask for an intelligence assessment, Mr. Pillar led the effort, which concluded in August 2004 that Iraq was on the brink of disaster. Officials then leaked his authorship to the columnist Robert Novak and to The Washington Times. The idea was that Mr. Pillar was not to be trusted because he dissented from the party line. Somehow, this sounds like a story we have heard before. • Like many other administrations before it, this one sometimes dissembles clumsily to avoid embarrassment. (We now know, for example, that the White House did not tell the truth about when it learned the levees in New Orleans had failed.) Spin-as-usual is one thing. Striking at the civil liberties, due process and balance of powers that are the heart of American democracy is another.

Subject: Outside Agitator
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 07:34:01 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A06E0D8133DF93AA35756C0A96F958260&fta=y May 9, 1999 Outside Agitator By JUDITH SHULEVITZ Betty Friedan Her Life. By Judith Hennessee. Betty Friedan And the Making of ''The Feminine Mystique'': The American Left, the Cold War, and Modern Feminism. By Daniel Horowitz. Biographers rarely come across a subject as acutely in need of their skills as Betty Friedan. Here's a woman whose first book (''The Feminine Mystique,'' 1963) and the political organization she co-founded in 1966 (the National Organization for Women) changed the world so comprehensively that it's hard to remember how much change was called for. Then she was eclipsed by the younger, sexier radicals who took over the women's movement. These days she's mostly written off as obsolete -- too bourgeois for left-wing feminists, too feminist for the family-values right and too kooky for everyone else. In her last big book, ''The Fountain of Age,'' she took the revolutionary ideas about human potential she once used to refute conventional notions about women and repackaged them for the elderly with all the finesse of a diet doctor coming out with a follow-up exercise program. But Friedan's feminism is not irrelevant. We just can't see it anymore. Women no longer suffer ''the problem that has no name,'' the house- and child-bound version of femininity promulgated by experts and internalized by women that Friedan called the feminine mystique. These days it is fully accepted that women will work, and somewhat accepted that their children, if women should choose to have them, will receive part-time mothering. Liberal feminism, with its goal of securing women's legal and political rights, will probably be the only global revolution of this century to make it to the next unreversed. When future generations go looking for its heroine, they'll surely choose Friedan. Thirty-six years after she skewered the wrongheadedness of psychologists and educators with thrilling intellectual derring-do, arguing not just for the greater happiness of women but for that of their husbands and children, there has yet to be published a feminist manifesto that's even in range of ''The Feminine Mystique'' -- that's half as smart or broadly humane. So why doesn't Friedan get more respect? Here is where biography comes in handy. Like many provocative thinkers, only more so, Friedan undercut the reception of her ideas by being impossibly abrasive. In ''Betty Friedan: Her Life,'' Judith Hennessee tells the story of a meeting held in Friedan's Washington hotel room to determine whether another organization for women was necessary (NOW had not yet been formed). One woman in attendance asked so many annoying questions and declared so many times that there were too many women's groups already that Friedan yelled at her, ''Who invited you?'' and then, ''This is my room and my liquor!'' and then, ''Get out! Get out!'' The woman refused to budge, and Friedan stormed into the bathroom to sulk. Once the women's movement had been launched, Friedan went into permanent diva mode, openly discriminating against NOW's lesbian members and treating the women who worked most closely with her as if they were her maids. That she would be drummed out of NOW's leadership four years after the organization was founded may have been inevitable. That the next wave of feminists would dismiss her ideas as insufficiently revolutionary and Friedan herself as little better than a neoconservative -- as Susan Faludi did in ''Backlash,'' for instance -- is just short of tragic. Neither Hennessee nor Daniel Horowitz is quite up to the challenge Friedan poses as a subject. ''Betty Friedan: Her Life'' is good on her personal life but too shallow and gossipy to convey the subtleties of her thinking. Horowitz's ''Betty Friedan: And the Making of 'The Feminine Mystique' ''is more intellectually ambitious, but so tendentious you want to throw it across the room. He wrote it, he says, because he discovered while going through Friedan's papers at Radcliffe that she was not just a suburban housewife who happened upon feminism out of frustration, as she has often implied. Before Friedan moved out of New York City with her husband in 1956, she was a labor journalist and community organizer. Horowitz argues that Friedan played up her unhappiness as a stay-at-home mother and played down her radical past because she felt threatened by McCarthyism -- a plausible if not damning thesis. Horowitz's account of Friedan's early years establishes several links between the Old Left of the 1940's and 1950's and the second-wave feminism of the 1960's. For example, some female members of the Popular Front, a loose coalition of left-wing groups with which Friedan was even more loosely associated, demanded as early as the 1940's that men share housework and the Government sponsor child care. But Horowitz's main objective appears to be to wag his finger at Friedan for the sin of not writing ''The Feminine Mystique'' as a member of the American left -- for hedging ''her discussion of a capitalist conspiracy,'' for failing to explain the feminine mystique ''as an example of false consciousness,'' for offering ''psychological insights'' rather than ''institutional solutions.'' This is simply obtuse. It is precisely because Friedan abandoned the vocabulary of Marxism for that of bourgeois psychology that she was able to dismantle the reigning discourse about women, a middlebrow blend of bowdlerized Freudianism and behaviorism, and sell her audience on a more expansive vision of female possibility. If she'd merely rehashed the theories of Friedrich Engels, no one would have paid the slightest attention. Perhaps the most interesting thing one learns from these books is that Friedan's exhortation to women to free themselves of their own crippling ideas of themselves emerged out of battles she fought, and only partly won, with herself. Born in 1921 in Peoria, Ill., Bettye Goldstein was a brainy girl in a Midwestern town, a Jew with a stereotypically big nose and bossy manner. She was the darling of her father, who grilled her at the dinner table about her political opinions, and the embarrassment of her beautiful, fashion-conscious mother. Betty blossomed at Smith, dropping the final ''e'' from her name and becoming the star of the psychology department and the editor in chief of the college newspaper. An assiduous student -- her senior thesis was published in an academic journal -- she was also an unusually aggressive editorial writer, taking on everything from Smith's secret societies to American intervention in World War II. Pacifism, in fact, was her first public exercise in principled unreasonableness: Friedan clung to it long after most other leftists had given theirs up, and didn't change her mind until the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Graduating in 1942 with highest honors, Betty enrolled in a Ph.D. program in psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, did as well as expected, and by March of her first year had won the most coveted fellowship in the field. What happened next is painful to read about: she declined the scholarship, dropped out of school and moved to New York City. In ''The Feminine Mystique,'' Friedan portrays this as the defining moment of her life, the identity crisis that led her indirectly to feminism. She was, she explains, dating a physicist who felt threatened by her success, and this made her fear that she might end up as the stereotypical female academic who turns into a shriveled old maid. Horowitz, of course, contends that Friedan's version of events soft-pedals the centrality of radicalism in her life. In his version, she left school and moved to New York because she wanted to fight for social justice. Horowitz also makes much of the decade that followed, during which Friedan worked first for Federated Press, a left-wing news service, and then for a union newspaper. Yet according to his own book, in a passage in an early draft of ''The Feminine Mystique'' that was later excised, Friedan was quite sour about the time she spent in the union movement. Comparing herself implicitly to the routinized employee in William H. Whyte's famous work, ''The Organization Man,'' she declared that throughout that period she had allowed ''the large organization'' to tell her what to write and think. Her disgust is understandable, considering she lost both of her jobs to men in circumstances that would probably be actionable under today's sex discrimination laws. Socialism may have let her down, but she had already opted for marriage and children anyway. Carl Friedan was a lively young theatrical director just back from the war when they met, handsome and funny if not her intellectual equal, and Betty Goldstein was determined not to miss out on having a family. It was a disastrous match. Hennessee gives the details: a letter from Carl to his parents making fun of his future bride's looks, a dinner party at which Carl flung a plate of fish against the wall and Betty calmly peeled it off and served it, physical fights in which Betty was punched or pushed down and Carl bashed in the head with a curtain rod. Perhaps the most liberating effect ''The Feminine Mystique'' had on Friedan personally is that it gave her, four years after it was published and she had become an international celebrity, the courage to end her marriage. One can see Friedan as the victim of lots of things: sexism, anti-Semitism, a general preference for the tall and willowy over the short and plump (the way the media anointed Gloria Steinem the heroine of the women's movement, literally shoving Friedan out of the picture, gives substance to this last theory). Certainly as the years progressed she began to regard herself through the lens of self-pity. Hennessee paints a grim portrait of the aging Friedan, a lonely, troubled woman who never mustered the focus to write another book as good as ''The Feminine Mystique,'' dissipating her energies instead by jetting around the world and generally playing the media goddess, insofar as the media would have her. She also seems to have descended into paranoia, consumed by strange theories about the Central Intelligence Agency and her rivalry with Steinem. But what was and remains refreshing about the author of ''The Feminine Mystique'' is that she doesn't blame others for women's plight. It is surprising to reread the book and realize that she almost never addresses the question of sexism. Friedan wants women to lead the lives they're capable of. She thinks they're entitled to jobs that fulfill them and marriages and families that give them love. She suspects that eliminating the sources of female frustration would make everyone's life more pleasant. Granted, she is talking about middle-class life, where pleasantness is a leading desideratum and women can get jobs worth leaving home for, not working-class life, where eliminating brutality may be the goal and women may have only the choice between holding a terrible job and raising children on a husband's meager wages. Friedan also decidedly underestimates the ferocity of the forces that would emerge to push women back into the home -- religious fundamentalism, in particular. But her faith that the will to better one's life can surmount many obstacles is not, I think, misplaced. For all her personal failings, Friedan's life and accomplishments are a testament to that optimism, a hopefulness that swept through society like a giant wind, rearranging as it went. She awaits a biographer who will do it, and her, justice.

Subject: The Prophet in the Tree
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 07:26:41 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C03EEDD1731F93AA25754C0A96E958260&fta=y July 19, 1998 The Prophet in the Tree By ZIA JAFFREY HULLABALOO IN THE GUAVA ORCHARD By Kiran Desai. A voice, and a huge imagination, leap from the pages of ''Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard,'' a dizzying Hindi film of a novel by the 27-year-old Kiran Desai, daughter of the fiction writer Anita Desai. Like mother, like daughter -- which is not to say that Kiran Desai hasn't charted a territory of her own, as indebted to Shakespeare or Virginia Woolf as to Salman Rushdie or her mother. The novel is slow to get into but soon catapults us into a world in which a young Indian man, Sanpath, has lost his mind, climbs a guava tree to escape from the world of men, and then finds himself worshiped by the people of his village, and even by the local monkeys, as a prophet. Indeed, his oracular pronouncements -- ''Is your jewelry still safely buried beneath the tulsi plant?'' -- owe their seeming brilliance to his having been a low-level civil servant. In his boredom at his job as a postal clerk, he has opened a letter or two and learned some of the secrets of the townspeople. But after a while, these insights cease to matter: muttering ambiguous phrases, Sanpath is indeed an idiot savant, descended from a long line of eccentrics, not the least of whom is a mother obsessed with food and intent on fanciful new dishes that no one has ever imagined: '' 'Cumin, quail, mustard seeds, pomelo rind,' she muttered as she cooked. 'Fennel, coriander, sour mango. . . . Colocasia leaves, custard apple, winter melon, bitter gourd.' '' Into this concoction, Desai drops her characters like juicy morsels: a father who makes an industry out of his son's lunacy -- setting up a tea stall for tourists and churning out posters, fliers and newspaper articles; a sister, who bites off the ear of an ice-cream boy to declare her passion for him; the boy himself, who plans to elope with his impassioned suitor, but almost gives in to a girl, as plump as a birthday cake, whom his family has arranged for him to marry. There is Sanpath's grandmother, whose dentures -- ''better that they are a little loose than a little tight'' -- end up glaring at her from a chocolate ice-cream cone. And some of India's police and military officers are intent on ridding the town of Sanpath's monkey bodyguards, who have taken to robbing shops and people of their liquor in drunken orgies much like those of their evolutionary betters. It's a parable, an allegory, a bitter-sweet reminder of the chaos of India -- its layers of history, religion, superstition, colonialism and fanaticism that have led to the death of three Gandhis. In the end, though, the author doesn't quite know what to do with her heady epic, which keeps unfolding with new levels of intensity and ineluctability. So she puts Sanpath to sleep as a guava, held in the palm of the leader of the monkeys, who lands not so quietly in a vat of broth, trapped and stewed by Sanpath's mother. There's a lot of excellent writing in these pages; Desai has a lovely ear for dialogue; the monkeys are beautifully evoked; all the female characters are against stereotype -- active in their desires -- but the ending is a disappointment. Desai manages to suspend disbelief for a while, but one comes to expect -- and her own clues suggest -- a widening sphere of lawlessness and violence, not a funneling toward more lunacy. She seems tied to a linear notion of plot -- to episodes. Had she broken free of this structure, she might have been able to evoke a more nuanced world, both comic and tragic. Still, Desai creates a whole tableau -- like a medieval tapestry in which all the people and animals start moving and speaking -- affectionately describing a village atmosphere and the familial relationships within it. Finally one remembers neither the plot nor the hand that created it, but the characters who might one day appear at your dinner table, halfway between life and fiction, with many more stories to tell.

Subject: Drug, Danger Signals And the F.D.A.
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 07:22:28 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/10/business/10drug.html?ex=1276056000&en=fdd014d6d1938784&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss June 10, 2005 Lucrative Drug, Danger Signals And the F.D.A. By GARDINER HARRIS AND ERIC KOLI Dozens had died and more than 100 patients had suffered serious heart problems by March 1998 after taking Propulsid, a popular medicine for heartburn. Infants, given the drug to treat acid reflux, seemed particularly at risk. Federal officials told Propulsid's manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, that the drug might have to be banned for children, or even withdrawn altogether. Instead, the government and the company negotiated new warnings for the drug's label -- though not nearly as tough as regulators had wanted. Propulsid had a good year anyway. Sales continued to surpass $1 billion. Johnson & Johnson continued to underwrite efforts that promoted Propulsid's use in children. A survey that year found that about 20 percent of babies in neonatal intensive care units were being given the drug. Two years later, as reports of heart injuries and deaths mounted, Johnson & Johnson continued defending the safety of Propulsid, but then pulled it from the market before a government hearing threatened to draw attention to the drug's long, largely hidden, record of trouble. That record, pieced together from newly obtained corporate and government documents, provides an in-depth view of a pharmaceutical company trying to save a lucrative drug in the face of growing evidence of harmful side effects. It is a story that has particular resonance now, as troubled arthritis painkillers -- Vioxx, Celebrex and Bextra -- have again focused attention on what critics say is the federal Food and Drug Administration's inability to monitor and regulate pharmaceuticals effectively once they are on the market. Documents from lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson show that the company did not conduct safety studies urged by federal regulators and their own consultants that could have revealed Propulsid's danger early on. The F.D.A., moreover, did not disclose company research that cast doubt on Propulsid's effectiveness against digestive disorders it was being used to treat, since the studies are considered trade secrets. Propulsid's history has striking parallels with the painkillers now at the center of controversy. Dozens of studies sponsored by Johnson & Johnson that might have warned doctors away were never published, just as the pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer failed to publish an early study of Celebrex that indicated a heart risk. And Johnson & Johnson was able to delay and soften some proposed label changes, just as Merck later did with Vioxx. An F.D.A. advisory panel concluded in February that the three painkillers increased the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In April, Pfizer, under pressure from the F.D.A., withdrew Bextra and placed severe warnings about heart risks on the label for Celebrex, a sister pill. That followed a decision in September by Merck to withdraw Vioxx after years of insisting that it was safe. Members of a federal advisory committee on those painkillers cited Propulsid as an example of how even the strongest warnings -- known as black box warnings -- do not stop physicians from prescribing a drug inappropriately. Dr. Alastair Wood, the chairman of the panel, said in an interview that label warnings of a drug's potentially lethal effects do not protect all patients. Eventually, Johnson & Johnson made five significant changes to Propulsid's warning label and sent five letters to doctors across the country. But Dr. Wood, an associate dean at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said, ''The case of Propulsid proves this: When people are falling off a cliff, you don't put up more signs; you put up a fence.'' Despite these public warnings about Propulsid, much of the conversation between the company and regulators remained private as the drug thrived. With evidence mounting that Propulsid could interfere with the heart's electrical system, government regulators became increasingly confrontational with Johnson & Johnson executives. But physicians were never made aware of the full depth of the agency's concerns. And even though Propulsid was never proved effective in children, the company helped finance programs that encouraged the drug's pediatric use, according to internal company documents. Johnson & Johnson agreed last year to pay up to $90 million to settle lawsuits that eventually involved claims that 300 people died and as many as 16,000 were injured from taking Propulsid. Many of the documents relating to Propulsid obtained by The New York Times were filed under seal in the lawsuits. The company declined repeated requests to make executives available to be interviewed for this article. In written responses, Johnson & Johnson defended the safety of Propulsid and said that the marketing of the pill was appropriate. The company said it removed the drug from the market because physicians continued to prescribe it inappropriately despite repeated attempts by the company to warn them against that. Jason Brodsky, an F.D.A. spokesman, said that the Propulsid case had been unique because doctors insisted on having access to the drug, despite its side effects, and because its label was unusually confusing. Although the F.D.A. has the power to declare a drug mislabeled and order it off the market, it has done so only once in the last 30 years. Short of that, any label change sought by the agency has to be negotiated with manufacturers, a process that sometimes takes more than a year. Testifying before Congress in March, Dr. Sandra Kweder, the F.D.A.'s deputy director of the office of new drugs, bemoaned such delays and said having the power to mandate label changes ''would be very helpful.'' Even without that power from Congress, the F.D.A. has recently made moves to disclose concerns about drugs' adverse effects before label negotiations with drug makers are complete. The government and Johnson & Johnson negotiated for five years before the company pulled Propulsid. By then, the federal government had reports of 80 heart-related deaths and 341 injuries among patients taking Propulsid. First Signs of Trouble The first signs of trouble emerged soon after Propulsid was approved in 1993 for the treatment of nighttime heartburn in adults. By January 1995, the F.D.A. received reports of 18 Propulsid patients who had developed serious heart arrhythmias; one patient, an infant, had died. At a private meeting that month, agency officials told Johnson & Johnson executives that the drug was causing life-threatening arrhythmias, according to F.D.A. minutes of the meeting. Company executives insisted that such problems occurred only in patients who took Propulsid with other drugs or who had heart problems. The company sent two letters to doctors and added warnings to the drug's label listing drugs that should not be used with Propulsid. But by July 1996, regulators had reports of 57 Propulsid patients, including seven children, who had developed serious arrhythmias or other heart problems. In August 1997, after the company told the F.D.A. that two more children taking the drug had died, a top agency official wrote to the company that Propulsid's growing number of cardiac problems among infants and children ''suggests that pediatric patients may be at greater risk for them.'' Johnson & Johnson had previously conducted pediatric studies of Propulsid that failed to demonstrate that the drug was effective. In January 1995, the F.D.A. told the company that without studies showing that the drug worked in children it would not receive approval for pediatric sales. Johnson & Johnson never applied for such approval and the label did not recommend it for use in children. But doctors are free to prescribe medicines beyond the confines of labels, and Propulsid became popular among pediatricians. By 1998, doctors were writing more than half a million prescriptions a year for children and infants, according to internal company estimates. The company has said that its cherry-flavored liquid Propulsid was developed for geriatric patients, but company documents show that as much as 90 percent of it went to children. Without approval for pediatric use, Johnson & Johnson could not directly promote Propulsid for children. But F.D.A. rules did allow the company to support educational efforts among doctors. A crucial player in that effort was Dr. Paul Hyman, a pediatric gastroenterologist who is now at the University of Kansas. Dr. Hyman said in an interview that he was the first doctor in the United States, in 1984, to treat a child experimentally with Propulsid. Dr. Hyman became a Propulsid proponent. Johnson & Johnson financed some of his work and put him on its Propulsid advisory board. When he edited a textbook about childhood digestive problems that recommended Propulsid, the company paid for the press run of 10,000 copies and distributed them to doctors. In December 1997, he also made a 15-minute presentation at a Johnson & Johnson seminar where 240 doctors were trained to speak to health care professionals about the drug. While Dr. Hyman acknowledged that Propulsid had some potentially dangerous side effects, he said they were rare. The drug was so safe, he said, that it could be used to treat ''happy spitters'' -- infants who frequently spit up but are not ill. ''I was fairly vocal about how silly the whole death thing was, and how it was one in a million,'' he said. Although the company said educational efforts were legal, Dr. Stephen B. Fredd, who oversaw Propulsid for the F.D.A., said that he had been unaware that Johnson & Johnson was supporting programs advocating the drug's use in infants. ''I had no idea they were doing anything in any way to support off-label use in pediatrics,'' said Dr. Fredd, former director of the F.D.A.'s gastrointestinal and coagulation drugs unit. Instead, he said, ''I wanted them to warn doctors that there were dangers in using the drug.'' Growing Concerns Reports of patients who died while taking Propulsid were recorded in stark language on federal forms. ''Pathologist reports that a three-month-old female died while on Propulsid therapy,'' reads a July 3, 1998, report on F.D.A. MedWatch, the agency's Web site for posting potential safety problems. Her parents reported that the child, who had undergone cardiac surgery, was sitting in her swing chair and was ''fussy'' at 7:50 a.m., the F.D.A. form says. ''When the parents rechecked her at 8 a.m., the infant was unresponsive,'' it reads. ''Attempts to revitalize her were futile.'' Three weeks later, the mother of an 11-week-old premature boy who had had stomach surgery and was taking Propulsid ''noticed her son not breathing,'' another report said. Attempts were made to revive him. He was declared dead at the hospital. Johnson & Johnson later concluded in both those cases that the patients had no risk factors that would have indicated not to use Propulsid. In a statement yesterday, Johnson & Johnson said analysis of the cases ''strongly suggests'' other factors may have contributed to the infants' deaths. As injuries mounted, concern inside Johnson & Johnson about side effects among the youngest patients was growing. Johnson & Johnson researchers and executives made plans to ban sales for premature infants in the United States, an action it had taken in some European countries, according to documents obtained by The Times. But there was internal debate. On March 16, 1998, a Johnson & Johnson regulatory affairs director, Gaetan Rouleau, sent an e-mail message to other executives saying that Propulsid could be used for premature babies and that further discussion of its use in them be delayed until after an F.D.A. meeting that month on the drug's safety. Dirk Reyn, a Johnson & Johnson executive, wrote back to support the decision to ban Propulsid for premature babies, saying, ''We do have cases and there is a scientific rationale for this.'' Mr. Rouleau, however, responded that if the company agreed to ban Propulsid in premature children, it might be forced to stop selling its cherry-flavored liquid form of the drug. Unless Johnson & Johnson could justify the use of Propulsid in premature babies, he wrote, ''We have very little to support the use of the suspension in children at this time.'' Ultimately, the drug was not banned for premature babies. In the March 1998 meeting between the F.D.A. and company representatives, regulators expressed increasing concern about Propulsid's risks. During a presentation, an F.D.A. official projected a slide that asked, ''Is it acceptable for your nighttime heartburn medicine (i.e., something for which you could take Tums) to have the potential to kill you?'' Johnson & Johnson's minutes of the meeting stated: ''In F.D.A.'s opinion, cisapride is only minimally efficacious therefore no safety risk is acceptable.'' In May 1998, the F.D.A. proposed major changes to the label, including adding a paragraph stating, ''Despite more than 20 clinical trials in pediatric patients, safety and effectiveness of cisapride (Propulsid) have not been demonstrated in pediatric patients for any indication.'' An internal company memo examined 15 of the proposed label changes and estimated that they would cost over $250 million a year in lost sales. Since federal regulators cannot order changes to labels, the F.D.A. and the company negotiated. In the end, 13 of the 15 major proposed changes were either scrapped or softened. Instead of mentioning the results of the 20 clinical trials, the F.D.A. agreed to simply state that ''safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.'' The label said some pediatric patients had been injured and others had died while taking Propulsid, ''although causality has not been established.'' Financing Questions Throughout the negotiations and label changes, the company kept up its support of doctors and patient groups that were promoting the drug as safe for use in children. During the late 1980's and the 1990's, for example, Johnson & Johnson said it gave $1 million to the American Pseudo-Obstruction and Hirschsprung's Disease Society. The society began as a support group for parents of children with rare digestive diseases for which Propulsid was a treatment. By 1996, with financing from Johnson & Johnson, the group's focus had shifted to common childhood acid reflux. Dr. Hyman was the chief medical adviser to the group, which helped to train speakers who, over three years, made presentations to 6,000 to 8,000 pediatric doctors and nurses about the treatment of reflux, recommending Propulsid, said the group's founder, Andrea Anastas. Ms. Anastas said the company had no influence over the group's activities. (Some details of the company's financial support of groups promoting Propulsid were reported in a 2003 documentary ''MAMA/M.A.M.A.,'' by Nonny de la Pe�a.) After the June 1998 label changes, the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition, a medical group for pediatric gastroenterologists, announced that it was going to study whether pediatricians should continue using Propulsid. Johnson & Johnson sent the group a confidential report conceding that placebo-controlled studies, many of them never published by the company, failed to show it was effective in treating children for reflux disease. The company, which had begun financing the group before the study was announced, eventually donated $450,000 to the society. The group report, released in May 1999, concluded that Propulsid ''has a place in pediatric therapeutics.'' Dr. Robert Shulman, a professor at the Baylor College of Medicine and the lead author of the report, said Johnson & Johnson's money had no influence on the group's conclusions, although he said that he regretted that its financial support was not disclosed in the paper. Asked how his group's recommendation squared with the company's admission that the drug had not been proved effective in infants and children, Dr. Shulman said his group understood acid reflux in children better. ''We treat these kids every day,'' he said. By January 2000, the F.D.A. had reports of 80 deaths and 341 serious heart problems in patients taking Propulsid. The agency scheduled a meeting to discuss its concerns with a panel of outside experts. This meeting, unlike the others at which Propulsid's safety record was discussed, would be public. Preparing for the hearing, Janice Bush, a Johnson & Johnson executive, wrote a note during what a company spokesman said was a ''brainstorming'' session: ''Do we want to stand in front of world and admit that we were never able to prove efficacy!'' The words ''never able'' were underlined. Three weeks before the scheduled hearing, Johnson & Johnson announced it would stop selling Propulsid in the United States. The hearing was canceled.

Subject: A Surprising Warning on Stimulants
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 07:16:23 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/12/opinion/12sun2.html?ex=1297400400&en=ab0d0568be163768&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 12, 2006 A Surprising Warning on Stimulants Last week's recommendation by a federal advisory panel that stimulants like Ritalin should carry a strong warning about their dangers was a brave effort to slow the drug promotion juggernaut that frequently drives use beyond reasonable bounds. The panel had simply been asked by the Food and Drug Administration to recommend research into possible cardiovascular risks from the drugs. But the panelists went further and urged regulators to require the strongest possible warning labels. To be sure, the decision was made by a narrow 8-to-7 majority of the panel, which heard only fragmentary data on known adverse effects. Actual proof of harm is uncertain. F.D.A. officials said that there were reports of strokes and heart problems among people taking the stimulants in recent years, and 25 sudden deaths. That is not a very high number, but such reports are notoriously incomplete and the stimulants have long been known to increase blood pressure and heart rates, posing potential risks to some patients. A biostatistician on the panel suggested that the stimulants might be more dangerous to the heart than the painkiller Vioxx, which was withdrawn from the market because of its cardiovascular risk. The panel's action is best understood as a response to an alarming upsurge in use of stimulants that many have deemed unwarranted. Some 2.5 million children and 1.5 million adults take the stimulants, mostly to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Adult use has jumped sharply in recent years, and panelists were particularly disturbed to learn that some 10 percent of all 10-year-old boys in this country are on attention deficit drugs, a number they deemed far beyond need. Top F.D.A. officials expressed reluctance to issue too strong a warning based on uncertain evidence, lest they scare people away from potentially beneficial therapy. Some leading psychiatrists voiced the same worry. But the prime function of a strong warning label is to force doctors to think twice before prescribing. That is presumably salutary even if it does depress drug sales a bit. Many experts believe that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is overdiagnosed and that the stimulants to treat it are overprescribed, thanks mostly to the marketing muscle of the drug industry and prescribing fads in the medical profession. The renegade advisory panel was right to throw its weight against this trend.

Subject: Capture the Flag
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 07:15:14 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/12/opinion/12burcharth.html?ex=1297400400&en=dd88af50e2d245d7&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 12, 2006 Capture the Flag By MARTIN BURCHARTH THERE seems to be some surprise that the Danish people and their government are standing behind the Jyllands-Posten newspaper and its decision to publish drawings of the Prophet Muhammad last fall. Aren't Danes supposed to be unusually tolerant and respectful of others? Not entirely. Denmark's reputation as a nation with a long tradition of tolerance toward others — one solidified by its rescue of Danish Jews from deportation to Nazi concentration camps in 1943 and by the high levels of humanitarian aid it provides today — is something of a myth. What foreigners have failed to recognize is that we Danes have grown increasingly xenophobic over the years. To my mind, the publication of the cartoons had little to do with generating a debate about self-censorship and freedom of expression. It can be seen only in the context of a climate of pervasive hostility toward anything Muslim in Denmark. There are more than 200,000 Muslims in Denmark, a country with a population of 5.4 million. A few decades ago, Denmark had no Muslims at all. Not surprisingly, Islam has come to be viewed by many as a threat to the survival of Danish culture. For 20 years, Muslims in Denmark have been denied a permit to build mosques in Copenhagen. What's more, there are no Muslim cemeteries in Denmark, which means that the bodies of Muslims who die here have to be flown back to their home countries for proper burial. Recently the minister for cultural affairs, Brian Mikkelsen of the Conservative People's Party, asked scholars, artists and writers to create a canon of Danish art, music, literature and film. The ostensible purpose was to preserve our homegrown classics. But before the release of the canon last month, Mr. Mikkelsen revealed what may have been the real purpose of the exercise: To create a last line of defense against the influence of Islam in Denmark. 'In Denmark we have seen the appearance of a parallel society in which minorities practice their own medieval values and undemocratic views,' he told fellow conservatives at a party conference last summer. 'This is the new front in our cultural war.' Were it not that a majority of Danes actually believe in this Islamic threat it would seem to be an outlandish pretext. But they do. When the Danish flag was burned on the streets in Arab countries, the reaction here was outrage and calls for standing even more firmly behind Jyllands-Posten. The center-right government gained support in polls, as did the anti-immigrant Danish People's Party, without which the government would not have a majority in Parliament. Now, the general view, expressed in the press and among a majority of Danes, is that the Muslim leaders who led the protests in Denmark should have their status as citizens examined because they betrayed their fellow Danes by failing to keep the controversy within the country. But the real story is that they and their followers ran out of options. They tried to get Jyllands-Posten to recognize its offense. They tried to enlist the support of the government and the opposition. They asked a local prosecutor to file suit under the country's blasphemy law. And they asked ambassadors in Denmark from Muslim countries to meet with Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen. They were rebuffed on all counts, though a state prosecutor is currently reviewing the case. But, really, what choice did they have? This is not the only example of Denmark's new magical thinking. After the flag burnings, the Danish news media began to refer to the white cross on the flag's red background as a Christian symbol. There was something discordant about this, for we've come to connect the flag less and less to religion. Denmark, after all, is one of the most secular countries in Europe. Only 3 percent of Danes attend church once a week. Still, the news media were right. Up to a point. Legend has it that the flag fell from heaven during a battle between the Danes and the Estonians nearly 800 years ago. It was a sign from God, and it led the Danes to victory. Now that flag has become a symbol around the world of Denmark's contempt for another world religion.

Subject: According to Webster
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 07:09:53 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/12/opinion/12sun3.html?ex=1297400400&en=48fd62e8bf2712ca&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 12, 2006 According to Webster: One Man's Attempt to Define 'America' By ADAM COHEN When Noah Webster published 'A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language,' purists were horrified. Webster Americanized the British spellings in Samuel Johnson's famous dictionary, turning 'defence' and 'honour' into 'defense' and 'honor,' and dropping the 'k' from 'musick.' Webster included new American words like 'subsidize' and 'caucus,' and left out hoary Britishisms like 'fishefy.' John Quincy Adams, the future president, was shocked by the 'local vulgarisms,' and doubted that Harvard, of which he was a trustee, would ever endorse such a radical 'departure from the English language.' Webster's 'Compendious Dictionary,' which was published 200 years ago this month, defied the skeptics to become a success, and it was the forerunner to his much larger, and classic, 1828 'American Dictionary of the English Language.' Webster is remembered today almost exclusively as America's great lexicographer, but he was also a founding father of the first rank. The dictionaries he wrote were actually an attempt to help shape the kind of nation America would become. Webster was a brilliant polymath, in the style of Ben Franklin. He is called 'the father of American copyright law' for his successful campaign to win protection for his writings; 'the first historian of epidemic disease' for his pioneering research on yellow fever; and 'schoolmaster to America' — the title of a 1936 biography — for his enormously influential spelling and reading books. His great passion, though, was politics, and he held many views that now seem surprisingly modern. He kept religion and God out of his spelling books. He argued that the Constitution should include universal compulsory education and abolish slavery. And he helped create, in Connecticut, one of the earliest worker's compensation systems. When the new nation formed, British culture was still dominant, and it was not yet clear what it meant to be American. Webster thought it was vital to shake off 'foreign manners' and build an independent national culture. 'Nothing can be more ridiculous,' he wrote, 'than a servile imitation of the manners, the language and the vices of foreigners.' He believed that his dictionaries could contribute to this homegrown culture by reflecting the language that Americans were actually speaking. It was especially important, he thought, for America to define its own institutions. 'No person in this country will be satisfied with the English definitions of the words congress, senate and assembly, court, &c,' he wrote in the preface to the 1828 dictionary. Webster's other political purpose in writing his dictionaries was promoting national unity. He was disturbed to find, in his travels, that Southern whites, blacks, old-line Yankees and newly arrived immigrants were in many cases literally unable to talk to each other. He believed a 'federal language' could be a 'band of national union.' But he also knew that linguistic efforts would not be enough. He was troubled by the sharp political divisions he saw: North vs. South, rural areas vs. cities and, above all, his Federalist Party vs. Thomas Jefferson's Democratic-Republicans. During the bitter battles over the Embargo Act of 1807, Webster called on the parties to 'renounce their present warfare, and unite on some general points of policy.' The United States has more than achieved the cultural independence Webster dreamed of. He would be amazed to see that it now not only controls its own culture, but also exports it to the world — including Britain. His hopes for national unity have proven more elusive, even though America now has the 'federal language' that his dictionaries played such a large role in creating. Today's red-state-blue-state divide, and Washington's vicious partisan battles, are an uncanny parallel of the war over the 1807 embargo. If Webster were here, he would be clamoring, as many Americans now are, for leaders willing to look beyond party affiliation. The great wordsmith was never more eloquent than in his screeds against excessive partisanship. 'The party which, while in a minority, will lick the dust to gain the ascendancy,' he warned, 'becomes, in power, insolvent, vindictive and tyrannical.'

Subject: Current Economic Outlook
From: Patricia Chang
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 02:25:14 (EST)
Email Address: tpc1133@aol.com

Message:
Investors, CEOs,Oil Companies, and Real Estate Developers, among other wealthy people and enterprises seem to be feeding at the trough. The Budget Deficit grows ever larger, as does the Trade Deficit. Credit Card debt is at an all-time high. What I want to know is this: How long can this house of cards, otherwise known as our economy, continue to stand? Are there any reliable indicators of am impending collapse? Russia's economy went south over Afghanistan, but there were surely longtime deep cracks in the foundation. Bush insists on keeping tax cuts and lifting the Inheritance Tax. He insists on continuing the money pit in Iraq. What is keeping this ship afloat? Until a majority of people are adversely affected, personally affected, by the economy, they will continue to support Dubya. I want to know when this is going to happen.

Subject: Re: Current Economic Outlook
From: Pete Weis
To: Patricia Chang
Date Posted: Sun, Feb 12, 2006 at 17:06:25 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
What causes the 'house of cards' to collapse could be a number of things, but a 'hard landing' for the housing market would most likely be the trigger. Of course, not many think it's a 'house of cards'. But when you are completely dependent on central banks from just two nations (China & Japan) to continue purchasing US treasuries or its over for low, long term interest rates and the US consumer's ability to deal with his record debt, then you can be certain that we have anything but a strong and fundamentally sound economy. Still, the illusion continues for many.

Subject: Iraq Data
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Feb 11, 2006 at 09:22:48 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/11/international/middleeast/11intel.html?ex=1297314000&en=babfdb0d2c3bb78d&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 11, 2006 Ex-C.I.A. Official Says Iraq Data Was Distorted By SCOTT SHANE WASHINGTON — A C.I.A. veteran who oversaw intelligence assessments about the Middle East from 2000 to 2005 on Friday accused the Bush administration of ignoring or distorting the prewar evidence on a broad range of issues related to Iraq in its effort to justify the American invasion of 2003. The views of Paul R. Pillar, who retired in October as national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia, echoed previous criticism from Democrats and from some administration officials, including Richard A. Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism adviser, and Paul H. O'Neill, the former treasury secretary. But Mr. Pillar is the first high-level C.I.A. insider to speak out by name on the use of prewar intelligence. His article for the March-April issue of Foreign Affairs, which charges the administration with the selective use of intelligence about Iraq's unconventional weapons and the chances of postwar chaos in Iraq, was posted Friday on the journal's Web site after it was reported in The Washington Post. 'If the entire body of official intelligence on Iraq had a policy implication, it was to avoid war — or, if war was going to be launched, to prepare for a messy aftermath,' Mr. Pillar wrote. 'What is most remarkable about prewar U.S. intelligence on Iraq is not that it got things wrong and thereby misled policymakers; it is that it played so small a role in one of the most important U.S. policy decisions in decades.' In an interview on Friday, Mr. Pillar said he recognized that his views would become part of the highly partisan, three-year-old battle over the administration's reasons for going to war. But he said his goal in speaking publicly was to help repair what he called a 'broken' relationship between the intelligence produced by the nation's spies and the way it is used by its leaders. 'There is ground to be replowed on Iraq,' said Mr. Pillar, now a professor at Georgetown University. 'But what is more important is to look at the whole intelligence-policy relationship and get a discussion and debate going to make sure what happened on Iraq doesn't happen again.' President Bush and his aides have denied that the Iraq intelligence was politicized. Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, said in November, 'Our statements about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein were based on the aggregation of intelligence from a number of sources, and represented the collective view of the intelligence community. Those judgments were shared by Republicans and Democrats alike.' Reports by the Senate Intelligence Committee and the presidential commission on weapons intelligence headed by Laurence H. Silberman, a senior federal judge, and Charles S. Robb, the former Virginia governor and senator, found that C.I.A. analysts had not been pressed to change their views. A second phase of the Senate committee review, on how administration officials used intelligence, has not been completed. Mr. Pillar alleged that the earlier studies had considered only 'the crudest attempts at politicization' and that the real pressures were far more subtle. 'Intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions that had already been made,' chiefly to topple Mr. Hussein in order to 'shake up the sclerotic power structures of the Middle East,' he wrote. According to Mr. Pillar's account, the administration shaped the answers it got in part by repeatedly asking the same questions, about the threat posed by Iraqi weapons and about ties between Mr. Hussein and Al Qaeda. When intelligence analysts resisted, he wrote, some of the administration's allies accused Mr. Pillar and others of 'trying to sabotage the president's policies.' In light of such accusations, he wrote, analysts began to 'sugarcoat' their conclusions. Mr. Pillar called for a formal declaration by Congress and the White House that intelligence should be clearly separated from policy. He proposed the creation of an independent office, modeled on the Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Budget Office, to assess the use of intelligence at the request of members of Congress. Mr. Pillar suggested that the root of the problem might be that top intelligence officials serve at the pleasure of the president. A C.I.A. spokeswoman, Jennifer Millerwise Dyck, said the agency had no comment. Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said that the C.I.A. had long resisted intervention in Iraq, and that internal pressure on analysts to resist war was greater than any external pressure. 'If the C.I.A. had spent less time leaking its opinions, throughout the 1990's, opposed to any conflict with Iraq, and more time developing assets inside Iraq, the agency would have more credibility and better intelligence,' said Ms. Pletka, who served for a decade, until 2002, as a Republican staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Subject: Work vs. Family, Complicated by Race
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Feb 11, 2006 at 08:15:00 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/09/fashion/thursdaystyles/09MOMS.html?ex=1297141200&en=7f020290abee24a9&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss February 9, 2006 Work vs. Family, Complicated by Race By LYNETTE CLEMETSON Mitchellville, Md. THE subject, yet again, was motherhood and work. Over tea and hors d'oeuvres in this affluent Washington suburb, a cluster of well-educated women gathered to discuss the work-life debate. Most in the roomful of lawyers, technology experts, corporate managers and entrepreneurs had read dispatches from the so-called 'mommy wars,' the books and articles grounded in the gulch between working and stay-at-home mothers. But for the women in attendance — all of them black — those discussions inevitably fell short. 'They don't speak to my reality,' said Robin Rucker Gaillard, 41, a lawyer and mother of two. 'We don't generally have the time or luxury for the guilt and competition that some white mothers engage in.' Around the country black women are opting out of the 'opt-out' debate, the often-heated exchange about the compatibility of motherhood and work. Steeped in issues like working versus staying at home, nannies versus day care, and the benefits or garish excess of $800 strollers, the discussion has become a hot topic online, in newspapers and in book publishing. It is not that black mothers do not wrestle with some of the same considerations as white mothers. But interviews with more than two dozen women suggest that the discussions as portrayed in books and the news media often lack the nuances and complexities particular to their experience. For professional black women, debates about self-fulfillment can seem incomprehensibly narrow against the need to build sustainable wealth and security for their families. The discussions also pale in comparison to worries about shielding sons and daughters from the perils that black children face growing up, and overlook the practical pull of extended families in need of financial support. Ms. Gaillard and others had gathered to broaden the working-mother debate by discussing a new book, 'I'm Every Woman: Remixed Stories of Marriage, Motherhood and Work.' Equal parts memoir, history lesson and cultural critique, the book, by Lonnae O'Neal Parker, a reporter for The Washington Post and a mother of three, celebrates the balancing act practiced by black women. Published in November by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins, it takes a sometimes wrenching, sometimes joyful look at black motherhood from slavery and the great migration to suburbia, the corporate workplace and the ascendancy of hip-hop. And since it came out, Ms. O'Neal Parker has been invited to gatherings around the country by black women eager to talk about motherhood on their own terms. 'It was a breath of fresh air to have a conversation that resonated with me,' said Pamela Walker, 41, a professor at Northwestern Business College in Chicago. A married mother of six, she attended a reading of 'I'm Every Woman' at Sensual Steps, a shoe boutique in the predominantly black Bronzeville section on the South Side of Chicago. 'My family can afford expensive things, but why would I think about spending hundreds on a stroller when I could help a cousin buy textbooks for college? That is not my world.' Black mothers have traditionally worked in higher percentages than white women. And educated black mothers are still more likely to work than their white counterparts. According to census data from March 2005, 83.7 percent of college-educated black women with children under 18 are in the labor force, compared to 74 percent of college-educated white mothers. Census figures from 2005 also show that college-educated black women earn slightly more than their white counterparts, largely because they are more likely to stay in the work force and work longer hours than white women after having children. The commitment of black women to work is in large part economically driven. They have lower marriage rates than white women, meaning they are more likely to be single parents. Those who are married are more likely than their white counterparts to earn more than their husbands, census figures show. But for black middle-class women from Mary Church Terrell, a charter member of the N.A.A.C.P., to Coretta Scott King, working has also been a matter of choice. For generations black women have viewed work as a means for elevating not only their own status as women, but also as a crucial force in elevating their family, extended family and their entire race. Black women are not the only women feeling airbrushed out of today's images of motherhood as represented in the literature of the opt-out debate, which includes articles like one in The New York Times last year reporting that many women at Ivy League colleges plan to drop their careers, at least temporarily, once they start having children. Another article, by Linda R. Hirshman in the December issue of The American Prospect, a magazine devoted to liberal ideas, provoked sharp debate by arguing that women who stay home with children are in for a letdown, and that the workplace is the only realm where women find true fulfillment. This is, Ms. Hirshman acknowledged, not a new idea. It was the theme of 'The Feminist Mystique' written more than 40 years ago by Betty Friedan. Some white working-class and middle- class women have complained that both sides of the opt-out debate have an elitist tone. Recently members of a group called Latina Mami in Austin, Tex., vented about the lack of perspective in many of the motherhood books in bookstores. Some insiders in the battles have acknowledged the narrowness of public discourse. 'The conflict seems to be pretty much driven by white upper-middle-class angst, and the debate has been taken over by that,' said Leslie Morgan Steiner, a white mother of three and the editor of 'Mommy Wars,' an anthology of essays to be published by Random House next month. Ms. Steiner's book includes essays from Ms. O'Neal Parker and two other black writers, as well as a Pakistani mother who writes of her struggles with child care, and a Latina who was introduced to stay-at-home mothering through a bout with cancer. Tension between working and stay-at-home black mothers — friction that seems less prevalent and intense than among their white peers, many women said — is often driven by a pressure for persistent racial striving. Smiling at the circle of friends gathered in her Mitchellville living room, Frances Luckett, the principal at a private, predominantly black elementary school, welcomed her guests with an exhortation. 'Your journey is not just about you,' Ms. Luckett said to the two dozen women, aged 19 to 85. 'It's about adding to the journey of those who came before you and paving a way for the journeys after yours.' There were knowing groans as Ms. O'Neal Parker read aloud from 'I'm Every Woman' about 'bone memory' and the specter of a weary but resolute slave woman, who 'sticks a knee in my back and squares up my shoulders' when life feels unfair. There was empathetic laughter when she lovingly discussed the 'kink coefficient,' a term she coined to describe the extra hours black mothers build into their packed schedules to groom daughters whose kinky hair 'grows out instead of down.' The personal motherhood struggles that black women face are often complicated variations on more broadly voiced themes. Some professional women have mixed emotions about hiring nannies when they can recall women in their own families who cared for other women's children and cleaned their homes. Some of those who consider leaving jobs to raise children worry that it will be more difficult for them to resume their careers than for white peers. 'As black women who still have a hard time moving up, there is a fear that opting out will be one more strike against you,' said Linda Burke, the owner of an executive search firm and a founder of a Washington group called Sistermoms that invited Ms. O'Neal Parker for a book reading last month. Linda McGhee, a lawyer and member of Sistermoms, got her son into a private elementary school in Northwest Washington but decided against sending him, in part because she wanted to help her parents, who raised 12 children on meager resources, with health care. Her neighborhood public school did not meet her standards, so Ms. McGhee and her husband, a computer specialist for the federal government, pushed to get him into a high-performing public school in the same neighborhood as the private school they turned down. 'I grew up in a housing project, and without my parents always pushing I wouldn't have three degrees,' said Ms. McGhee, 44, who just completed a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. 'We just decided that, in the scheme of things, we didn't want to spend $20,000 on kindergarten.' Some concerns are more social than personal. Cheryl Roberts, a college administrator in Seattle, was the host at a private reading featuring Ms. O'Neal Parker on Martin Luther King Day. The guests at the catered affair included several federal judges and banking and aerospace executives whose successes eased worries about outcomes for their children. But as the discussion opened up, the women engaged in a passionate exchange on the lingering effects of a ballot initiative that ended the state's affirmative action programs. 'Our discussions have to move to a socially conscious place,' said Ms. Roberts, 48. 'It is part of the ethos of being an African-American woman. We understand there but for the grace of God go I.' Like their white counterparts, black mothers who leave careers to raise their children do sometimes face disapproval from working mothers. But even that judgment is driven less by gender politics than racial sensibilities, some women say. Tracie Miller-Mitchell, the daughter of Frances Luckett, was the only stay-at-home mother at her mother's afternoon function. Ms. Miller-Mitchell, who belongs to Mocha Moms, a national support group for black at-home mothers, said her mother was the person who most disapproved of her choice. 'A lot of financial sacrifice went into helping her get two degrees,' said Ms