Total Messages Loaded: 688
Post New Message

Terri -:- Social Security is Fine -:- Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 10:56:03 (EDT)

Terri -:- Bond Income -:- Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 10:50:07 (EDT)

Emma -:- Hunger-Based Lines Lengthen -:- Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 10:17:06 (EDT)

Emma -:- One Hundred Years of Uncertainty -:- Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 10:15:13 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Cheap rent on its way!! -:- Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 10:14:57 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Indian Call Center Employees Hack US Bank Accounts -:- Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 07:39:08 (EDT)

Yann -:- Barro and Social Security -:- Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 07:09:35 (EDT)
_
Jennifer -:- Social Security is Fine -:- Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 07:25:26 (EDT)

Terri -:- Caution -:- Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 05:49:40 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Realism -:- Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 06:30:28 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Re: Realism -:- Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 07:35:12 (EDT)

Terri -:- Speculation -:- Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 05:31:53 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Market Patterns -:- Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 05:41:05 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- History will not repeat will it?? -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 16:38:24 (EDT)
_
Setanta -:- Re: History will not repeat will it?? -:- Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 04:57:33 (EDT)
_ johnny5 -:- Hated Chinese Cotton -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 16:48:13 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Impossible trade wars -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 15:44:30 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Fed not BEHIND the curve? -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 15:49:53 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Pizza Inflation! BUMBER dude! -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 16:10:08 (EDT)
___ johnny5 -:- Imf says OIL shocked permanently! -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 17:05:06 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Soros-'belief alters facts' - dont cause worry! -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 15:10:19 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Realism -:- Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 07:27:10 (EDT)
_ Setanta -:- Re: Soros-'belief alters facts' -:- Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 04:39:15 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Great and wonderful -:- Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 07:38:36 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- I Remember -:- Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 05:15:36 (EDT)
_ Emma -:- Interesting Posts -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 20:45:05 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Interesting Posts -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 21:40:15 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- The pillar of our economy -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 15:06:37 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Trust? They wouldn't lie would they? -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 15:52:18 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Of course it's hard to argue... -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 22:21:34 (EDT)
_ Pancho Villa -:- OT: The seven pillars of wisdom -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 15:31:54 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: OT: The seven pillars of wisdom -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 22:26:59 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Lawrence on Negative Thinking -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 20:11:57 (EDT)

Emma -:- Economics and Ecology in Africa -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 14:23:30 (EDT)

Emma -:- A New Disposable Battery -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 14:20:41 (EDT)
_
Pancho Villa -:- Re: A New Disposable Battery -:- Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 06:42:55 (EDT)
_ johnny5 -:- Rayovacs I-C3 technology -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 20:00:14 (EDT)

Emma -:- Master of the Universe -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 10:51:24 (EDT)

Pete Weis -:- Rocket Science? -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 10:15:58 (EDT)

Emma -:- Costs Lure Peop to India for Medical Car -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 09:55:40 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- My relative on dialysis -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 19:40:02 (EDT)

Emma -:- Central Park: Imagine -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 06:09:07 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- That's the spirit Emma - how cute! -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 06:26:44 (EDT)
__ Pancho Villa -:- Re: Central Park or Central Perk? -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 15:24:19 (EDT)

Terri -:- Bond Values -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 04:42:34 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Realism -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 09:00:54 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- tell people to worry, you sink your investments -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 09:31:20 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Ulcers not valuable -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 09:23:08 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Ulcers are Bacterial Infections -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 09:50:19 (EDT)
_ johnny5 -:- What is worrying gonna achieve? -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 06:25:09 (EDT)

Terri -:- Our Treasury Debt -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 04:31:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- Bellow on Love, Art and Identity -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 19:36:36 (EDT)

Emma -:- Saul Bellow: On His Work and Himself -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 19:32:43 (EDT)

Emma -:- Taco Bell: A Side Order of Human Rights -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 18:35:01 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- My favorite fast food -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 21:05:00 (EDT)

Emma -:- Japanese Real Estate Investment -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 18:29:51 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Thanks for the article Emma - mom has passed -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 19:51:10 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Local boys stiff west palm beachers -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 18:29:24 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Illegals contribution to SS costing in other areas -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 17:21:39 (EDT)

Emma -:- Reality in the Creation of Fiction -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 12:44:00 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Incompetencia o mentira -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 11:39:18 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Am I the only Pkarchiver that cant read spanish? -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 17:13:45 (EDT)
__ Pancho Villa -:- Re: S...! -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 17:32:16 (EDT)
___ johnny5 -:- The Cisco Kid -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 17:59:54 (EDT)
____ Setanta -:- Re: The Cisco Kid -:- Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 09:22:34 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Greenspan: beware huge mortgage risk -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 11:08:43 (EDT)

Emma -:- Birth, Death and That Stuff in Between -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 10:52:57 (EDT)

Emma -:- Saul Bellow, Poet of Urban America's Men -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 10:29:59 (EDT)

Emma -:- Saul Bellow, Poet of Urban America's Men -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 10:29:35 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- Sorry -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 10:30:49 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Vangaurd didn't make the the top 10 - 10 yr list -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 09:02:58 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Top selling funds of 2000 deep in red -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 09:04:11 (EDT)

Poyetas -:- Social Security -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 08:54:40 (EDT)
_
Pancho Villa -:- Re: Social Security Part II -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 10:45:01 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Tank tread -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 16:18:57 (EDT)

Emma -:- Who We May Be -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 06:26:13 (EDT)

Emma -:- Saul Bellow -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 05:59:14 (EDT)

Terri -:- The Economy and Investing -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 21:43:19 (EDT)

Terri -:- National Index Returns -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 20:40:30 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Lower risk investing with.... -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 21:56:59 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Interesting -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 19:34:48 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- I am only in XOM -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 00:36:47 (EDT)
___ Terri -:- Please Be Careful -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 08:41:25 (EDT)
____ johnny5 -:- Mom is stubborn -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 08:48:25 (EDT)
_____ Terri -:- A Home is to Live In -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 09:01:30 (EDT)
______ Terri -:- Property is For Building -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 10:57:00 (EDT)
_______ johnny5 -:- She likes to travel -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 16:37:17 (EDT)
________ Terri -:- Re: She likes to travel -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 17:37:34 (EDT)
_________ johnny5 -:- Good questions -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 18:10:51 (EDT)
__________ Terri -:- Re: Good questions -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 18:25:33 (EDT)
______ johnny5 -:- Re: A Home is to Live In -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 09:35:20 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Lower risk investing with.... -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 22:08:24 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- My investment in..... -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 10:59:05 (EDT)
____ johnny5 -:- The deflation of Japan and Oil consumption -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 16:54:07 (EDT)
____ Terri -:- Re: My investment in..... -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 12:09:03 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Steadfastly Optimistic on Corporate Honesty? -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 20:20:26 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Ownership Society Mr. Bush? -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 19:20:46 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Impossbile - China giving us the cold shoulder? -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 19:17:52 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Please help me understand Terri -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 18:32:26 (EDT)

Terri -:- Low Volatility -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 17:22:35 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- What are the mexican military goals? -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 15:14:38 (EDT)

Terri -:- Investing in Precious Metal Stocks -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 12:21:22 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Vanguards decision to invest -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 15:24:35 (EDT)

Emma -:- Illegal Immigrants and Social Security -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 10:48:23 (EDT)
_
Pancho Villa -:- Re: Patrulla ciudadana en Arizona -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 11:28:41 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Citizens Patrol In Arizona -:- Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 15:59:23 (EDT)
_ johnny5 -:- Re: Illegal Immigrants and Social Security -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 14:58:07 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Scewing the legal and illegals -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 15:10:43 (EDT)

Terri -:- The Bond Market -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 10:27:45 (EDT)

Terri -:- Transparent Investing -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 06:29:57 (EDT)

Terri -:- Monetary Policy -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 06:23:21 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Re: Monetary Policy -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 08:26:36 (EDT)

Terri -:- Market Summary -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 06:18:35 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- biggest central bank heist in the history of the w -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 23:07:37 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- $100 laptop makes many new young Pkarchivers -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 22:39:27 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Systemic Risk in England? -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 22:01:28 (EDT)
_
Setanta -:- Re: Systemic Risk in England? -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 07:00:52 (EDT)

Terri -:- Vanguard Returns -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 20:21:05 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Sector Indexes -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 20:21:52 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Where is gold and precious metals Terri? -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 20:44:29 (EDT)
___ Jennifer -:- Careful Careful -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 11:44:07 (EDT)
____ johnny5 -:- Phoenix from the ashes Japanese Real Estate -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 14:27:18 (EDT)
_____ Ari -:- Japanese Real Estate? -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 17:30:40 (EDT)
______ johnny5 -:- Working for me -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 18:21:16 (EDT)
______ johnny5 -:- http://www.achamchen.com/phoenix_asia.htm -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 18:19:13 (EDT)
___ Jennifer -:- Simple and Clear Thinking -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 22:03:06 (EDT)
____ johnny5 -:- Financial Times recommending Gold? -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 22:05:47 (EDT)

Pancho Villa -:- Reconnecting Tax and Budget Policies -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 19:17:56 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Excellent Reading -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 20:20:07 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- American Brains a good asset? huh? -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 18:16:52 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Impossible Trade problems?? -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 17:19:35 (EDT)

Emma -:- Japan and China -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 14:50:29 (EDT)

Emma -:- Kenyan Village Set Against Poverty -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 12:47:42 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Bogle Dissapointed - where is the diversification? -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 14:46:52 (EDT)

Terri -:- The Dollar and the Euro -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 12:23:12 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- The Dollar and the Yen -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 12:28:28 (EDT)

Emma -:- ChevronTexaco Agrees to Acquire Unocal -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 11:43:47 (EDT)

Emma -:- Flood of Chinese Textile Imports -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 10:22:50 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Impossible! -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 15:28:09 (EDT)
_ Emma -:- Mapping System in China Blocked -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 10:32:09 (EDT)

Terri -:- Vanguard is Security -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 08:30:31 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Realism and Hope -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 08:48:33 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Thank You All -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 08:55:17 (EDT)

Emma -:- Japan's Slow Growth Problem -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 07:58:16 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Crushing loss of wealth -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 10:10:45 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Re: Crushing loss of wealth -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 11:10:27 (EDT)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: Crushing loss of wealth -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 18:32:40 (EDT)
___ James -:- Re: Crushing loss of wealth -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 16:32:49 (EDT)
____ johnny5 -:- Roach and rebalancing -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 17:47:54 (EDT)

poyetas -:- Greg Manikew critique -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 07:36:51 (EDT)
_
Paul G. Brown -:- Re: Greg Manikew critique -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 11:33:08 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Political will dominates economic reality -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 15:33:00 (EDT)
___ Poyetas -:- Re: Political will dominates economic reality -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 16:56:24 (EDT)
____ johnny5 -:- Spies like us -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 17:45:23 (EDT)
____ Emma -:- Complete Social Security Coverage -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 17:03:04 (EDT)
__ Pancho Villa -:- Re: Greg Myopia vs. Paul Hyperopia -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 14:28:51 (EDT)
___ johnny5 -:- FDI? -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 14:51:35 (EDT)
_ Emma -:- Preserving Social Security -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 08:33:26 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- Preserving Social Security [cont.] -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 14:58:58 (EDT)
_ johnny5 -:- Politics -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 07:51:41 (EDT)
__ poyetas -:- Re: Politics -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 09:18:16 (EDT)

Setanta -:- Relative costs -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 06:32:44 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Dog Water -:- Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 19:02:33 (EDT)
_ jimsum -:- Re: Relative costs -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 22:48:34 (EDT)
_ Emma -:- Re: Relative costs -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 11:45:08 (EDT)

Terri -:- Caution While Always Investing -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 06:25:25 (EDT)

Terri -:- Understanding Investing -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 06:14:56 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- Vanguard Exchange Traded Indexes -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 06:18:00 (EDT)

Terri -:- Vanguard -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 06:00:03 (EDT)
_
Jennifer -:- My Investment House -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 09:51:58 (EDT)
_ johnny5 -:- Arthur Anderson -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 07:30:36 (EDT)

Setanta -:- RIP Pope John Paul II -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 05:27:30 (EDT)
_
Terri -:- With Love -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 06:01:05 (EDT)
__ Poyetas -:- Re: With Love -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 07:46:13 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Vangaurd Advertising on local AM radio now -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 22:39:53 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Help stamp out aids so Johnny5 can have free love -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 22:21:10 (EDT)

Emma -:- Japan: Keeping Up Appearances -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 21:49:14 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- What Has Happened to Japan? -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 22:00:50 (EDT)
__ Pete Weis -:- Asset boom & bust plus.... -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 22:47:44 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Multi Generational 100 year mortgages -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 22:33:11 (EDT)

Terri -:- Labor Shortage in China -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 19:47:49 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Liquidity Concerns? Bernanke 2 save us all. -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 18:59:58 (EDT)

Emma -:- It's a Flat World, After All -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 18:17:36 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- He will be on Booktv on May 1 -:- Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 03:03:33 (EDT)
_ Emma -:- It's a Flat World, After All - 1 -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 18:36:11 (EDT)

Terri -:- Materials and Energy -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 17:03:26 (EDT)

Terri -:- Resource Prices -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 16:59:48 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Real Estate versus Commodities -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 19:14:22 (EDT)
_ James -:- Re: Resource Prices -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 17:41:15 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Growth in demand -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 19:03:02 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Canadian Grunt slams White West on Cspn2 -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 15:27:31 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- In Depth with Robert Kaplan - Negative thinking -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 14:53:50 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- On again tonight at midnight -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 15:38:38 (EDT)

Jennifer -:- New Yrok City Real Esate Prices -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 13:52:42 (EDT)

Emma -:- A.I.G.: Whiter Shade of Enron -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 11:02:09 (EDT)

Emma -:- In Any Language, Manhattan's Hot -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 10:17:53 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- In Any Language, Manhattan's Hot - 1 -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 10:18:43 (EDT)

Emma -:- My Big Fat C.E.O. Paycheck -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 09:39:50 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Dateline about to DESTROY the SEC -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 12:14:08 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Who does the SEC protect? -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 12:15:15 (EDT)
_ Emma -:- My Big Fat C.E.O. Paycheck - 1 -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 09:40:52 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Gordon Gecko on compensation -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 12:28:46 (EDT)
___ johnny5 -:- Connections -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 12:31:25 (EDT)
__ Emma -:- My Big Fat C.E.O. Paycheck - 2 -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 09:41:12 (EDT)

Emma -:- Do Taxes Thwart Growth? Prove It -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 09:32:05 (EDT)
_
johnny5 -:- Cato Institute Vehemetly Disagrees -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 11:59:27 (EDT)
__ Paul G. Brown -:- Re: Cato Institute Vehemetly Confused -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 16:03:47 (EDT)
___ johnny5 -:- Small minds -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 18:51:33 (EDT)

Emma -:- China Has a Labor Shortage -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 09:27:59 (EDT)
_
Emma -:- China Has a Labor Shortage - 1 -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 09:28:22 (EDT)
__ johnny5 -:- Re: China Has a Labor Shortage - 1 -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 11:50:33 (EDT)

Terri -:- Liquidity -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 09:25:46 (EDT)
_
Pete Weis -:- Long term liquidity & Inflation -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 13:57:29 (EDT)
__ Terri -:- Re: Long term liquidity & Inflation -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 14:58:19 (EDT)
_ johnny5 -:- Re: Liquidity -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 13:37:19 (EDT)
_ johnny5 -:- Absurdity! -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 13:24:49 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- For you my dear Homeowners - big HUG! -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 04:41:40 (EDT)

johnny5 -:- Pennies from Heaven Bernanke -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 00:08:28 (EST)
_
David E.. -:- Re: Pennies from Heaven Bernanke -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 03:57:55 (EDT)
_ Pete Weis -:- Our next Fed Chairman -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 01:43:27 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- $280 trillion - how much more can they pimp? -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 04:48:47 (EDT)

Terri -:- China's Currency Peg Against the Dollar -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 21:34:03 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Floating currencies -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 23:50:41 (EST)

Emma -:- Another Meaning of Debt -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 18:49:56 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Re: Another Meaning of Debt -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 21:17:25 (EST)
_ Emma -:- A Debt Surprise -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 19:42:25 (EST)

Emma -:- Before the Fall of the Dollar -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 18:46:31 (EST)

Emma -:- Pentagon Redirects Its Research Dollars -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 16:33:06 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Nena's 99 luftballons -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 21:10:18 (EST)

Emma -:- Imagining Multiple Perspectives -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 16:06:45 (EST)

Emma -:- The Art of Intelligence -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 16:06:01 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Resistance is Futile -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 21:04:28 (EST)

Terri -:- Full Employment -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 15:52:47 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Then and now -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 15:15:20 (EST)
_
David E.. -:- Re: Then and now -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 23:41:10 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- In argentina -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 00:03:16 (EST)
___ David E.. -:- Re: In argentina -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 04:00:06 (EDT)
_ Paul G. Brown -:- Re: Then and now -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 19:22:56 (EST)
__ Pete Weis -:- Re: Then and now -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 19:44:36 (EST)
___ Emma -:- Re: Then and now -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 19:53:44 (EST)
____ Paul G. Brown -:- Re: Then and now -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 21:36:40 (EST)
_____ Pete Weis -:- Well stated Paul and... -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 23:00:53 (EST)
_____ Paul G. Brown -:- Re: Then and now -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 21:37:33 (EST)
____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Then and now -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 21:08:31 (EST)
_ Emma -:- Re: Then and now -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 18:25:25 (EST)
_ Terri -:- Wonderful Comment -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 15:44:40 (EST)

Emma -:- A Morsel of Goat Meat -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 15:00:25 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- A shocking tale -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 20:56:25 (EST)

Emma -:- Hybrid-Car Tinkerers and No-Plug-In Rule -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 14:56:35 (EST)
_
jimsum -:- Re: Hybrid-Car Tinkerers and No-Plug-In Rule -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 21:54:28 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: Hybrid-Car Tinkerers and No-Plug-In Rule -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 10:27:32 (EDT)
___ jimsum -:- Re: Hybrid-Car Tinkerers and No-Plug-In Rule -:- Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 21:11:20 (EDT)

Emma -:- When Marriage Kills -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 14:40:11 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Cspn2 3:31pm - Roles Of Married Woman -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 14:44:50 (EST)

Emma -:- Another Kind of Racism -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 14:38:34 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Mortgage or property tax - take a pick -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 14:14:58 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Argentina collapse - cspn2 today 4:44 pm -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 12:04:57 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Rational Efficient Market Participants -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 11:34:36 (EST)

Emma -:- Interest Rates and Asset Prices -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 10:32:40 (EST)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Interest Rates and Asset Prices -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 12:42:02 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- Dukes Of Hazzard -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 13:35:12 (EST)

Emma -:- Born to Be a Foreigner In Japan -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 09:34:50 (EST)

Terri -:- Why Save -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 08:29:21 (EST)

Terri -:- Savings -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 07:04:41 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- House rich, cash poor -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 11:02:12 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- Re: House rich, cash poor -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 11:55:20 (EST)

Terri -:- Dividends -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 06:37:29 (EST)

Terri -:- The Weak Labor Market -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 06:02:00 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Cheer up Terri - this is Progress -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 10:20:01 (EST)

Terri -:- A Cautious Strategy -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 05:43:10 (EST)

Terri -:- Interest Rates -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 20:23:30 (EST)

Emma -:- A Parts Supplier to an Aging Population -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 19:16:42 (EST)

TalkieToaster -:- Bankruptcy Bill Solution -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 18:12:14 (EST)

Emma -:- The Growth of U.S. Executive Pay -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 14:12:49 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Where they stick that stolen boot -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 14:53:58 (EST)

David E. and Terri -:- Market Timing and Value Investing -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 10:53:51 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Conundrums -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 12:56:41 (EST)
__ David E.. -:- Re: Conundrums -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 16:15:53 (EST)

Emma -:- Insurance Regulator's Trails to Dublin -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 10:30:04 (EST)
_
Setanta -:- Re: Insurance Regulator's Trails to Dublin -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 10:57:00 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Thanks to Dublin -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 11:34:12 (EST)
___ johnny5 -:- Now on cspn2 corporate crooks -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 13:05:27 (EST)
____ johnny5 -:- Hume and Milton Friedman -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 14:19:30 (EST)

Emma -:- Shifting Car Buyer Trends in China -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 10:27:13 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Warren takes paycut - buys African Nets -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 10:13:04 (EST)

Emma -:- France and Germany Dogged by Joblessness -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 09:54:28 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Where are the NEW economic hit men? -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 07:22:38 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Japanese and Germans sink us AGAIN -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 07:14:30 (EST)
_
Jennifer -:- Demand is a Problem -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 09:03:55 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- Let's fix it - personally -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 09:11:59 (EST)

Emma -:- Too Much Capital -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 06:20:53 (EST)

Terri -:- Social Security -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 06:17:14 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Social Security [cont.] -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 06:18:37 (EST)
__ David E.. -:- Sounds Fair to me - -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 16:31:57 (EST)

Terri -:- Robert Shiller's on Stock Returns -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 06:04:55 (EST)

Terri -:- Why Hold So Much Cash? -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 05:47:43 (EST)

Terri -:- Share Buybacks -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 05:44:03 (EST)

Terri -:- Dividends and Share Buybacks -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 05:40:51 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Canada 2 bust 2 - so much for can trusts -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 01:50:10 (EST)
_
jimsum -:- Re: Canada 2 bust 2 - so much for can trusts -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 23:23:20 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Bolshevism - Collective Risk -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 22:44:38 (EST)
_
Setanta -:- Re: Bolshevism - Collective Risk -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 11:07:32 (EST)
__ Terri -:- Re: Bolshevism - Collective Risk -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 13:45:17 (EST)
___ johnny5 -:- Our Pain, Their Gain -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 14:32:32 (EST)

Terri -:- Suppose We Were to Time Markets -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 16:54:52 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Mid Cap Value and Bond Funds -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 06:27:11 (EST)
_ johnny5 -:- Flight to Quality -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 22:36:49 (EST)
_ Terri -:- Berkshire Hathaway -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 17:10:26 (EST)
__ David E.. -:- Evidence Of Market Timing -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 10:04:18 (EST)
___ Terri -:- Perfectly Described Timing -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 10:51:45 (EST)
____ David E.. -:- Re: Perfectly Described Timing -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 16:02:12 (EST)
_____ Terri -:- Re: Perfectly Described Timing -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 19:11:13 (EST)
__ Pete Weis -:- Permanent Portfolio -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 21:45:33 (EST)
___ Terri -:- Permanent Portfolio - Reviewing -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 06:06:07 (EST)
____ johnny5 -:- Who's your daddy Terri? -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 15:41:55 (EST)
_____ Pete Weis -:- Re: Who's your daddy Terri? -:- Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 21:31:02 (EST)
______ johnny5 -:- Re: Who's your daddy Terri? -:- Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 01:06:44 (EST)

Emma -:- Social Security, Growth, Stock Returns -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 15:59:18 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Warren and Human Capital -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 22:29:30 (EST)

Emma -:- Protecting Health Care Benefits -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 15:42:46 (EST)

Emma -:- Protecting Older Workers -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 15:40:11 (EST)

Terri -:- What if the Economy Slows? -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 15:22:53 (EST)

Emma -:- America and China -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 14:58:33 (EST)
_
Paul G. Brown -:- Re: America and China -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 15:19:23 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: America and China -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 15:25:23 (EST)
___ Paul G. Brown -:- Re: America and China -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 15:29:03 (EST)
____ Emma -:- Re: America and China -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 15:51:19 (EST)

Paul G. Brown -:- China, Geopolitics, and all that -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 13:41:59 (EST)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: China, Geopolitics, and all that -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 15:53:53 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- If only china could export houses -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 22:16:54 (EST)

Emma -:- Public Health Measures and Trade-Offs -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 11:34:06 (EST)

Pancho Villa -:- Thucydides: 'U Iraq, they Taiwan'? -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 08:40:25 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Freedom for Taiwan -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 10:26:53 (EST)
__ Pancho Villa alias Thomas Paine -:- Re: Freedom for Taiwan -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 15:27:40 (EST)

Terri -:- Market Timing -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 06:25:19 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Proper Investors? -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 10:15:59 (EST)
_ Terri -:- Earnings -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 07:27:37 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- Dividends -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 10:17:23 (EST)
___ Terri -:- Re: Dividends -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 17:12:25 (EST)

Terri -:- Earnings Danger -:- Wed, Mar 30, 2005 at 21:19:08 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Finally Worrying -:- Wed, Mar 30, 2005 at 21:59:16 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- Warrens Quotes -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 00:17:25 (EST)
___ johnny5 -:- Bear market timing -:- Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 00:20:52 (EST)

Terri -:- Earnings are Too High -:- Wed, Mar 30, 2005 at 19:48:24 (EST)

Auros -:- Democracy Now video with PK -:- Wed, Mar 30, 2005 at 15:17:57 (EST)

Emma -:- Technology: Fish Farming -:- Wed, Mar 30, 2005 at 14:56:05 (EST)

Terri -:- Window Dressing Stock Market Rally -:- Wed, Mar 30, 2005 at 14:13:53 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Window Dressing -:- Wed, Mar 30, 2005 at 16:24:00 (EST)

Terri -:- Suppose We Lose Economic Resiliency -:- Wed, Mar 30, 2005 at 12:57:42 (EST)

Terri -:- Resilience of Developed Economies -:- Wed, Mar 30, 2005 at 11:15:16 (EST)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Resilience of Developed Economies -:- Wed, Mar 30, 2005 at 11:50:15 (EST)

Terri -:- We are Grown More Resilient -:- Wed, Mar 30, 2005 at 11:04:41 (EST)
_
Pete Weis -:- Our economy has..... -:- Wed, Mar 30, 2005 at 11:38:11 (EST)

Terri -:- Stable Economic Growth -:- Wed, Mar 30, 2005 at 10:48:27 (EST)

Emma -:- Looking to Africa -:- Wed, Mar 30, 2005 at 09:59:24 (EST)

Terri -:- The Dollar Will Not Collapse -:- Wed, Mar 30, 2005 at 06:25:52 (EST)

Terri -:- Examining the Dollar Value Issue Again -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 21:57:52 (EST)

Terri -:- Bond Results -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 20:25:35 (EST)

Terri -:- Vanguard Returns -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 18:42:08 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Sector Indexes -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 18:45:27 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- Bad quarter -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 20:05:01 (EST)
___ Terri -:- Re: Bad quarter -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 20:22:22 (EST)

johnny5 -:- The china bashing has begun -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 17:14:17 (EST)

Emma -:- Brazil: Free Software -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 13:38:54 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- The battle for resources -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 11:19:27 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- More conundrums -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 11:48:18 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- Human Nature -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 12:22:25 (EST)
___ Pete Weis -:- So what's your point? -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 17:26:19 (EST)
____ johnny5 -:- Connections -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 17:57:14 (EST)
____ johnny5 -:- Human greed -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 17:42:35 (EST)
_____ Paul G. Brown -:- Re: Human greed -:- Wed, Mar 30, 2005 at 02:09:58 (EST)
______ Emma -:- Human decency -:- Wed, Mar 30, 2005 at 10:00:56 (EST)
_______ johnny5 -:- Statesmen -:- Wed, Mar 30, 2005 at 23:59:46 (EST)

Terri -:- Investing Happily -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 11:10:08 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Re: Investing Happily -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 19:25:06 (EST)
_ johnny5 -:- Pudding proof -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 11:25:29 (EST)

Terri -:- Simple and Effective Investing -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 06:08:13 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Always Simple and Effective Investing -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 06:30:23 (EST)
__ Terri -:- Where is Value? -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 07:27:35 (EST)
___ johnny5 -:- Roubini -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 10:05:13 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Altig Versus Roubini March 29 -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 00:36:33 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Important Debate! -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 21:54:08 (EST)

johnny5 -:- AEI slams greenspan -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 23:05:58 (EST)

johnny5 -:- She had fun til daddy took the tbird awy -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 22:41:18 (EST)

Emma -:- Brazilian Plan for Water Diversion -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 21:37:00 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Large scale central planning too slow -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 22:37:25 (EST)

Emma -:- Science vs. Culture and Mexico's Corn -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 21:34:43 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Re: Science vs. Culture and Mexico's Corn -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 22:33:26 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Bush's trade policy 8am Cspn2 -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 20:42:00 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Dividends in decline?? Why hold back? -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 14:25:20 (EST)

Angela B. -:- Bangkok seminar -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 12:58:26 (EST)

Terri -:- Bears and Bond Funds -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 10:46:22 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Empirical Evidence? -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 20:22:17 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- No see, no hear, no do -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 20:31:06 (EST)

Emma -:- Berkshire Hathaway Insurance -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 10:06:07 (EST)

Terri -:- Bond Funds as Income Security -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 10:04:18 (EST)

Emma -:- Africa Looks to Show Itself Off -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 09:53:49 (EST)

Terri -:- Why Bonds Funds? -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 08:31:32 (EST)

Terri -:- Why Bonds Funds -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 07:28:30 (EST)

Terri -:- Using Bond Funds for Balance -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 06:28:11 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- CFR congress -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 07:11:46 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- CEO's pressuring Bush and Snow for Decline -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 07:25:44 (EST)

Terri -:- Group Medical Insurance Access -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 06:18:07 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- New ad in Tampa for NASE -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 06:55:39 (EST)

Terri -:- There will be No Trade War -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 06:17:28 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- The root of all evil - love of what? -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 06:57:41 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Council on Foreign Relations slam dollar -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 23:12:03 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Elite Protectionists = who protects Pete -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 22:15:55 (EST)
_
Pete Weis -:- Scary stuff -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 23:37:45 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- Bhagwati on Corruption -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 05:11:19 (EST)
__ Pete Weis -:- No way to escape...... -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 00:16:21 (EST)
___ Pancho Villa -:- Re: No way to escape...... -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 17:30:35 (EST)
____ Pete Weis -:- Re: No way to escape...... -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 20:39:18 (EST)
_____ johnny5 -:- Another viewpoint -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 20:53:53 (EST)
______ johnny5 -:- In china -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 20:59:05 (EST)

Terri -:- Japanese Dollar Holdings -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 19:45:27 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- This is an irrelevant event? -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 20:49:09 (EST)
__ Terri -:- Re: This is an irrelevant event? -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 21:03:44 (EST)
___ johnny5 -:- Simple Explanations -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 21:13:00 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Consumption Limited by Production -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 19:05:33 (EST)

Terri -:- The Balance of Trade -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 13:59:32 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Private Japanese Bond Holders -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 18:14:26 (EST)
__ Terri -:- Re: Private Japanese Bond Holders -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 18:55:35 (EST)
___ johnny5 -:- Dollar Dumpage -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 19:26:51 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- 'The Party's Over' -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 12:40:08 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Re: 'The Party's Over' -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 19:37:19 (EST)

johnny5 -:- The Dead Kennedy's -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 10:47:24 (EST)
_
Terri -:- New York City -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 11:24:21 (EST)
__ Jennifer -:- Re: New York City -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 14:05:24 (EST)
___ johnny5 -:- Blind faith prosecutors -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 18:02:29 (EST)
____ Terri -:- Re: Blind faith prosecutors -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 19:05:15 (EST)
_____ johnny5 -:- Devilish Details -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 19:30:12 (EST)
______ johnny5 -:- Connections -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 19:32:49 (EST)
_____ johnny5 -:- Conundrums -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 19:14:46 (EST)

Terri -:- El Salvador and Lesotho: Regionalism -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 10:31:58 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Disperse the tower of Babel -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 17:56:07 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Is your professor on the take? -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 09:45:43 (EST)

Emma -:- If I Only Had a Hedge Fund -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 09:36:26 (EST)

Emma -:- A Malaria Success -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 09:35:06 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Watching cspn2 now on Glbl Poverty -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 10:51:22 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- Trump bitter with fortune Rankings -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 11:00:38 (EST)
___ johnny5 -:- Buffet kinda cheap -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 11:04:29 (EST)

Emma -:- Caring for Our New Deal Legacy -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 07:17:49 (EST)

Terri -:- Lesotho, El Salvador, America, China -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 19:40:26 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Lesotho -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 20:04:14 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- Be excellent to everyone -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 21:06:35 (EST)
___ Terri -:- Re: Be excellent to everyone -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 21:22:29 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Bagwhati - Krugman's Teacher -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 17:57:09 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Re: Bagwhati - Krugman's Teacher -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 18:25:09 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- Some can't swim in rising tides -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 18:28:07 (EST)
___ Terri -:- Some can't swim yet in rising tides -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 19:37:36 (EST)
____ johnny5 -:- Re: Some can't swim yet in rising tides -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 21:07:27 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Liberals hurt those they claim to help cspn2 -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 16:19:52 (EST)
_
Jennifer -:- Re: Liberals hurt those they claim to help cspn2 -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 16:42:22 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- Thought reinforcement -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 17:09:46 (EST)

Emma -:- China and America Related -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 16:16:49 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Refugee lessons of the past on Cspan2 -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 16:08:37 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Ending Poverty, tonight 9 Cspn2 -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 16:15:12 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- cspn2 corporate corruption of US colleges 9am sun -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 16:17:52 (EST)

Emma -:- Chinese Saving and Investment -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 15:39:56 (EST)

Emma -:- On Working -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 15:27:46 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- History of the PLOW -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 15:48:05 (EST)
__ Emma -:- History Teaches but Does not Repeat -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 15:55:15 (EST)

Emma -:- Trade and Saving and Investment -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 14:29:07 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Warren is betting against policy change -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 14:51:34 (EST)
__ jimsum -:- Re: Warren is betting against policy change -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 13:05:37 (EST)
___ johnny5 -:- Absolutely -:- Sun, Mar 27, 2005 at 17:52:37 (EST)
____ jimsum -:- Re: Absolutely -:- Mon, Mar 28, 2005 at 23:37:17 (EST)
_____ johnny5 -:- Canadian Trusts -:- Tues, Mar 29, 2005 at 12:41:25 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Policy Change -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 15:23:14 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Energy storage -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 13:15:43 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Words on deaf ears -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 14:23:59 (EST)

Emma -:- China's High Saving -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 11:25:05 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Watching Mr. China on Cspan2 Now -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 11:49:47 (EST)
_ johnny5 -:- Watching Mr. China on Cspan2 Now -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 11:48:48 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Avoiding Investing -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 13:45:03 (EST)
___ johnny5 -:- He is in it up close and personal -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 14:05:56 (EST)

johnny5 -:- financial demand exceed consumption demand? -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 11:03:54 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Multiple Equilibria -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 11:04:37 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- open or closed -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 11:21:28 (EST)

Emma -:- China's Success So Far -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 10:35:14 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- How much more of our soul can we send? -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 10:53:28 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: How much more of our soul can we send? -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 11:45:58 (EST)
___ Emma -:- We are Only Trading -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 11:48:14 (EST)
____ johnny5 -:- You didn't read Warren Emma -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 12:15:07 (EST)
____ johnny5 -:- Comparative advantage? -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 12:04:13 (EST)

Terri -:- Was Timing Easy or Justified? -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 10:01:44 (EST)

Emma -:- A Parts Supplier to an Aging Population -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 09:41:48 (EST)

Emma -:- Social Security and Productivity -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 09:37:18 (EST)

Emma -:- Strong and Weak Dollar Growth in China -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 09:23:13 (EST)

Emma -:- Development and a Weak Dollar -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 09:22:10 (EST)

Terri -:- Timing the Markets -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 08:38:23 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- 'Connections' -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 22:28:02 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- THe plow -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 10:42:14 (EST)
_ Dorian -:- A perfect storm -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 05:56:53 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Being Hopeful -:- Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 08:18:16 (EST)

johnny5 -:- You are in good hands with all state! -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 20:56:03 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Where's the bread? -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 20:53:55 (EST)

Emma -:- Understanding China Better -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 18:52:27 (EST)
_
Emma -:- Understanding China Better - 1 -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 19:03:45 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- Tomorrow On Cspan2 -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 19:50:35 (EST)
___ Terri -:- Re: Tomorrow On Cspan2 -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 20:10:19 (EST)

Terri -:- Resource Demand and Supply -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 18:11:51 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Resource Investment -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 18:12:33 (EST)
__ Pete Weis -:- Time, money & scarcity -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 20:44:33 (EST)
___ Terri -:- Excellent Critique -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 20:55:42 (EST)
____ Pete Weis -:- Interesting article -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 23:00:32 (EST)
____ Terri -:- Subsidies for Resource Development -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 20:59:36 (EST)

Terri -:- REITs and Earnings -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 17:10:30 (EST)

johnny5 -:- The best investment for you money Terri! -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 16:41:42 (EST)

Terri -:- Beker, DeLong, and Krugman: On Growth -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 15:04:27 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Paul Krugman on Social Security Outlook -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 15:07:28 (EST)

Terri -:- Productivity -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 14:39:39 (EST)

Emma -:- Too Much Capital -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 14:20:32 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Future SHOCK - coming on now - Cspan -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 13:08:26 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- GDP skyrocketing - Oprah Winfrey on the Net! -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 13:27:55 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- Attention GLUT -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 13:44:00 (EST)
___ johnny5 -:- Cell Phone call LOST -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 13:59:15 (EST)

Emma -:- Fraying of a Latin Textile Industry -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 12:11:53 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Food, Energy, Health, Sustainability -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 13:01:45 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: Food, Energy, Health, Sustainability -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 13:43:42 (EST)
___ johnny5 -:- Land indeed Emma! -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 13:53:42 (EST)
____ johnny5 -:- Raul Julia -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 13:57:45 (EST)

Emma -:- Trading Places: A Real Estate Craze -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 12:10:44 (EST)

Terri -:- Monetary Policy -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 11:32:35 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Bulls and Bears -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 12:06:31 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Hubbert's Peak -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 10:32:17 (EST)
_
Emma -:- Re: Hubbert's Peak -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 13:37:14 (EST)
_ johnny5 -:- What 3 books would you pick Pete? -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 11:27:55 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- Re: What 3 books would you pick Pete? -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 11:32:35 (EST)
___ johnny5 -:- Goliath Awaits -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 11:35:33 (EST)
____ johnny5 -:- In tv land -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 11:45:28 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Evidence Based Economics -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 09:52:24 (EST)

Terri -:- Liquidity -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 06:30:04 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Liquidity and Interest Rates -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 07:23:17 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- Higher interest rates won't help -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 09:54:21 (EST)

Terri -:- Little Volatility, Much Confidence -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 06:00:43 (EST)

Terri -:- Thank You All -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 22:33:04 (EST)
_
Emma -:- Me Too -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 00:13:26 (EST)
_ Terri -:- Lots More for Us -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 22:33:43 (EST)

Terri -:- Fiscal and Monetary Policy -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 22:02:18 (EST)
_
Paul G. Brown -:- Re: Fiscal and Monetary Policy -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 03:20:34 (EST)
__ Terri -:- Re: Fiscal and Monetary Policy -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 05:53:40 (EST)
___ Paul G. Brown -:- Re: Fiscal and Monetary Policy -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 14:52:16 (EST)

Terri -:- Economic Data -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 20:17:08 (EST)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: Economic Data -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 22:50:33 (EST)
__ Emma -:- Re: Economic Data -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 00:16:04 (EST)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: Economic Data -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 09:55:16 (EST)

Paul G. Brown -:- On the Austrian School... -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 13:20:31 (EST)
_
Pete Weis -:- Re: On the Austrian School... -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 15:06:01 (EST)
__ Terri -:- Re: On the Austrian School... -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 15:46:30 (EST)
___ Terri -:- Re: On the Austrian School... -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 15:50:37 (EST)
_ Bobby -:- Re: On the Austrian School... -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 14:47:14 (EST)
__ Paul G. Brown -:- Re: On the Austrian School... -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 15:48:22 (EST)
_ Terri -:- Reality and Fancy -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 14:04:15 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- Conundrums -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 14:41:18 (EST)
___ Terri -:- Re: Conundrums -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 15:12:31 (EST)
____ johnny5 -:- Double Counting -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 16:22:56 (EST)
_____ Emma -:- Re: Double Counting -:- Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 00:20:40 (EST)
_____ Jennifer -:- Always Interesting -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 21:49:33 (EST)

Emma -:- Japan's Ski Industry Stumbles -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 12:28:56 (EST)

Emma -:- A Takeover Roils Japan -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 11:43:03 (EST)

Emma -:- India Alters Law on Drug Patents -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 10:14:49 (EST)

Terri -:- The Puzzle of Japan -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 08:29:24 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Yen and Dollar -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 08:35:10 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- You are selling the japanese short Terri -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 12:04:21 (EST)
___ Terri -:- Deflation and Inflation -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 22:06:54 (EST)

Terri -:- Income and Consumption -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 08:21:34 (EST)

Terri -:- Federal Reserve Policy -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 06:21:33 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Jap bond buyers find new investments? -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 01:41:28 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Japan's Deflation -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 07:25:57 (EST)
_ Ari -:- Re: Jap bond buyers find new investments? -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 05:32:27 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- Re: Jap bond buyers find new investments? -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 11:40:19 (EST)
___ Ari -:- What is in a Name -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 15:42:36 (EST)
__ Ari -:- Please Be Careful -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 05:37:18 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Mogombo slams Krugman -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 01:08:12 (EST)
_
Terri -:- What is the Austrian School? -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 08:14:08 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- Don't let gold fool you Terri -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 11:20:22 (EST)
__ David E.. -:- Re: What is the Austrian School? -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 09:39:15 (EST)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: What is the Austrian School? -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 10:34:03 (EST)
____ David E.. -:- Re: What is the Austrian School? -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 14:47:06 (EST)
_ Ari -:- The Article is Wrong -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 05:40:03 (EST)

Emma -:- Older Workers Please Apply -:- Wed, Mar 23, 2005 at 21:30:28 (EST)

Terri -:- Thinking About Interest Rates -:- Wed, Mar 23, 2005 at 15:52:14 (EST)

Terri -:- To Buy or Sell TIPS -:- Wed, Mar 23, 2005 at 15:01:10 (EST)
_
David E.. -:- Food For Thought -:- Wed, Mar 23, 2005 at 17:51:56 (EST)
__ Terri -:- Re: Food For Thought -:- Wed, Mar 23, 2005 at 18:50:53 (EST)
___ Terri -:- Re: Food For Thought -:- Wed, Mar 23, 2005 at 21:33:33 (EST)
____ David E.. -:- Re: Food For Thought -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 00:02:32 (EST)
_____ Terri -:- Re: Food For Thought -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 06:12:51 (EST)
______ David E.. -:- Re: Food For Thought -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 09:48:08 (EST)
_______ Jennifer -:- Slight Internet Problems -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 10:07:43 (EST)
________ johnny5 -:- Dont worry, its all in your head anyways -:- Thurs, Mar 24, 2005 at 10:54:55 (EST)

Emma -:- Investment Bubble Builds New China -:- Wed, Mar 23, 2005 at 11:41:18 (EST)

Emma -:- San Francisco's Goldilocks Realty Market -:- Wed, Mar 23, 2005 at 11:29:32 (EST)

David E.. -:- Mogambo is back - -:- Wed, Mar 23, 2005 at 10:27:12 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Buy more housing Pete? -:- Wed, Mar 23, 2005 at 08:28:38 (EST)
_
Pete Weis -:- At the moment.............. -:- Wed, Mar 23, 2005 at 10:30:32 (EST)

Terri -:- Do Not Fight the Fed -:- Wed, Mar 23, 2005 at 07:27:35 (EST)

Terri -:- A Need for Caution -:- Wed, Mar 23, 2005 at 06:14:51 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Re: A Need for Caution -:- Wed, Mar 23, 2005 at 08:25:08 (EST)
__ Terri -:- Re: A Need for Caution -:- Wed, Mar 23, 2005 at 10:02:14 (EST)
___ johnny5 -:- Re: A Need for Caution -:- Wed, Mar 23, 2005 at 16:46:27 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Bubbles will inflate for a long time -:- Wed, Mar 23, 2005 at 00:49:12 (EST)

johnny5 -:- The west will be 'junk' status -:- Wed, Mar 23, 2005 at 00:39:36 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- The 'what can you do for me' club -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 22:15:18 (EST)

Pancho Villa -:- Keep on rocking in the 'free' Bank -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 20:15:55 (EST)

Terri -:- Now For the Fed Cycle -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 17:32:38 (EST)
_
Pancho Villa alias Woody Boyd -:- Re: Now For the Fed Cycle -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 19:17:20 (EST)
__ Pete Weis -:- If only we had a vote -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 22:17:37 (EST)

Pancho Villa -:- Social (In-) Security -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 14:07:07 (EST)

Setanta -:- God Returns -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 14:05:59 (EST)
_
Pancho Villa -:- Re: God(s) Return(s) -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 20:46:50 (EST)

Terri -:- What I do Not Know About Investing -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 13:50:06 (EST)
_
David E.. -:- Re: What I do Not Know About Investing -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 15:11:18 (EST)
__ Pancho Villa -:- Re: What I do Not Know About Investing -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 19:27:37 (EST)

Terri -:- Traditional Principles -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 13:22:52 (EST)

Emma -:- Battling Insects, Parasites and Politics -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 13:01:50 (EST)

Emma -:- Corruption Tarnishes China's Growth -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 13:00:29 (EST)

Emma -:- The Return of Latin America's Left -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 12:58:52 (EST)

Terri -:- Simplicity -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 10:50:08 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Long term unemployed -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 10:15:21 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Keep interest rates low -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 12:08:45 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Detailed look at warrens letter -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 08:17:00 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Excellent -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 08:44:04 (EST)

Terri -:- Safety and Bond Funds -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 06:26:50 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Vangaurd does not sell international bond funds? -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 08:34:28 (EST)
_ Terri -:- Duration -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 07:24:57 (EST)

Terri -:- Choices -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 06:02:29 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Limited Choices -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 08:31:32 (EST)

Terri -:- Consolidating Assets -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 05:53:53 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Vanguard versus Berkshire -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 07:31:46 (EST)
__ Terri -:- There is no Competition -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 08:41:44 (EST)
___ johnny5 -:- Re: There is no Competition -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 08:50:59 (EST)

Terri -:- Investing and Speculating -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 05:45:14 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Warren Buffet is a market Timer? -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 07:24:05 (EST)
__ Terri -:- Warren Buffet is Not a Market Timer -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 07:27:57 (EST)
___ johnny5 -:- Re: Warren Buffet is Not a Market Timer -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 07:38:29 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Cspan3 tonight 11:58 pm - British Fall -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 19:59:27 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Fed attempts to control asset prices? -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 09:38:34 (EST)
_
Jennifer -:- Re: Fed attempts to control asset prices? -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 10:51:29 (EST)
_ johnny5 -:- Re: Fed attempts to control asset prices? -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 10:28:50 (EST)
__ David E... -:- Re: Fed attempts to control asset prices? -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 13:46:44 (EST)
___ johnny5 -:- Index put options -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 17:04:18 (EST)
____ Pete Weis -:- I don't own BEARX -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 22:13:58 (EST)
_____ johnny5 -:- Benson on Everbank -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 03:52:57 (EST)
____ David E.. -:- Re: Index put options -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 21:53:25 (EST)
_____ johnny5 -:- Re: Index put options -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 04:10:50 (EST)
______ David E.. -:- Re: Index put options -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 15:47:33 (EST)
_______ Terri -:- Excellent Thoughts -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 17:36:07 (EST)
_____ Pete Weis -:- Thinking & Knowing -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 22:26:45 (EST)
______ David E.. -:- Re: Thinking & Knowing -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 02:36:01 (EST)
_______ Pete Weis -:- Re: Thinking & Knowing -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 09:45:44 (EST)
_______ johnny5 -:- How do you defend the dollar? -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 04:42:52 (EST)
________ David E.. -:- Re: How do you defend the dollar? -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 15:22:52 (EST)

Emma -:- A New Deal Legacy -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 08:41:24 (EST)
_
magistre -:- Re: A New Deal Legacy -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 18:12:43 (EST)
_ johnny5 -:- Failure of new deal promise by Krugman -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 09:42:34 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- Re: Failure of new deal promise by Krugman -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 09:55:22 (EST)
___ Pete Weis -:- Re: Failure of new deal promise by Krugman -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 22:37:53 (EST)
____ johnny5 -:- Re: Failure of new deal promise by Krugman -:- Tues, Mar 22, 2005 at 03:00:38 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Krugmans Ice Age -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 07:47:26 (EST)
_
Terri -:- Re: Krugmans Ice Age -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 08:33:03 (EST)
_ johnny5 -:- Krugmans Monetary Fable -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 07:53:05 (EST)

johnny5 -:- The fall of the baby sitting co-op -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 07:39:09 (EST)

johnny5 -:- No middle ground, soaring inflation, huge deflatio -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 07:03:43 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Money and bonds both going down? -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 07:12:28 (EST)
__ johnny5 -:- Re: Money and bonds both going down? -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 07:18:18 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Krugman on Crises & Multiple equilibria -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 06:34:42 (EST)

Terri -:- Thinking of a Dollar Problem -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 06:20:20 (EST)
_
johnny5 -:- Monetary Policy and Multiple Equilibria -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 06:42:36 (EST)
__ Terri -:- Re: Monetary Policy and Multiple Equilibria -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 07:28:30 (EST)

Terri -:- Social Security as Dramamine -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 05:54:53 (EST)

Terri -:- Paul Krugman on Present Cost -:- Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 05:44:03 (EST)

Terri -:- Stock Market Valuation -:- Sun, Mar 20, 2005 at 22:13:01 (EST)

Emma -:- Washington's Fiscal Meltdown -:- Sun, Mar 20, 2005 at 20:54:07 (EST)

Terri -:- Leaning to Value -:- Sun, Mar 20, 2005 at 20:26:57 (EST)

Terri -:- Bond Funds Adjust -:- Sun, Mar 20, 2005 at 19:55:40 (EST)

Emma -:- Toward a Unified Theory of Black America -:- Sun, Mar 20, 2005 at 16:11:59 (EST)
_
Emma -:- A Unified Theory of Black America - 1 -:- Sun, Mar 20, 2005 at 16:13:59 (EST)
__ Emma -:- A Unified Theory of Black America - 2 -:- Sun, Mar 20, 2005 at 16:14:38 (EST)

Emma -:- Sound Advice, Past the Shouting -:- Sun, Mar 20, 2005 at 15:31:01 (EST)

Terri -:- The Investing Problem -:- Sun, Mar 20, 2005 at 14:43:52 (EST)

Terri -:- The Dollar -:- Sun, Mar 20, 2005 at 14:33:33 (EST)

Pete Weis -:- Well north of 20 -:- Sun, Mar 20, 2005 at 13:51:49 (EST)

johnny5 -:- Time Out -:- Sun, Mar 20, 2005 at 13:39:25 (EST)
_
Emma -:- Re: Time Out -:- Sun, Mar 20, 2005 at 22:16:25 (EST)

Bobby -:- Message Board Cleaning -:- Sun, Mar 20, 2005 at 10:54:15 (EST)


Post New Message


Powerforum Plus+
Paradise Web Enhancements
Copyright 1997,1998



Subject: Social Security is Fine
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 10:56:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
An endowment that is growing, as our endowment for Social Security is growing, as the economy is growing will readily enable us to pay full Social Security benefits. At least for 2 generations there is no Social Security, likely far longer if economic growth is historically reasonable.

Subject: Bond Income
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 10:50:07 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Of course, the bonds I may own today are a saving and investment for tomorrow. Why ever else would I own bonds? And, we ought to wish Congress would allow bond interest the same tax treament as stock dividends. We had best worry about the fact that this year our international income, our return on saving and investment internationally, will finally be less than what we owe in income abroad. Yes; bond holders save and we had best be saving more.

Subject: Hunger-Based Lines Lengthen
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 10:17:06 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/08/opinion/08fri3.html Hunger-Based Lines Lengthen at the Faith-Based Soup Kitchens By FRANCIS X. CLINES The 1,130 soup kitchen guests, as they're respectfully called, began gathering outside the church doors an hour early, curling around the corner in a long line to await a free main meal - their safety-net highlight in another day of being down and out, part of the working poor, or surviving somewhere in between. The repast, at 2,500 calories a serving, steamed aromatically: chicken à la king, rice, buttered spinach, peaches. A staff member in the nave of the building, the Church of the Holy Apostles, cued dozens of volunteer helpers: 'Ladies and gentlemen, it's showtime. Thanks be to God.' And from Ninth Avenue in Manhattan, the diners flowed in. The sight of masses of Americans gratefully chowing down on free food is indeed a show, an amazingly discreet one that is classified not as outright hunger but as 'food insecurity' by government specialists who are busy measuring the growing lines at soup kitchens and food pantries across the nation. There were 25.5 million supplicants regularly lining up in 2002; they were joined by 1.1 million more the next year. And even more arrive as unemployment and other government programs run out. Much as the diners at Holy Apostles peered ahead to see what was being dished up at the steam tables, soup kitchen administrators across the country are currently eying governments' trilevel budget season and wincing at all the politicians' economizing vows. They know that 'budget tightening' eventually means longer lines outside their doors. 'It's a desperate thing,' said the Rev. Bill Greenlaw, director of the Holy Apostles charity, one of the largest among 1,298 kitchens and pantries regularly helping more than one million residents in New York City. 'Every level of government seems to have the same mantra, that these programs are vulnerable. 'We're bracing that all three levels of government are coming down at the same time.' Most immediately, food charities are pleading against further cuts in the federal emergency food and shelter program, which directly fights hunger. Last year, 48 soup kitchens closed in the city as supplies were exhausted, and hundreds of others reported to be making do by cutting back on daily portions. Beyond that, however, administrators know that the myriad of severe program cuts looming in Washington - for everything from low-income wage supplements to health care spending for poor people - can only lead to further cuts down the revenue food chain in statehouses and city halls and, finally, longer lines of people silently begging for food. The budget debate in the Republican-run Capitol presents a Hobson's choice between the House's five-year, $30 billion-plus in program cuts for the poor and the Senate's $2.8 billion in cuts - one-tenth the pain, but focused most heavily on nutrition programs. The compromise cuts are likely to lean toward the House, levying more than their fair budget share on the poor, even as President Bush and the G.O.P. leaders argue that still more upper-bracket tax cuts are somehow justifiable. So Father Greenlaw can only turn to pleading for even more charity from the city's better-off residents. According to a survey by the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, seven out of 10 of the city's pantries and kitchens are 'faith based,' using the terminology of the Bush administration. But their besieged directors overwhelmingly warn that government, not charities, must take the lead if poverty is to be properly confronted. 'We're faith-based by the old rules, not the new ones,' Father Greenlaw carefully noted. 'We'll be feeding more guests unless and until society decides we don't have to tolerate a huge underclass in our cities.' In the meantime, the pungent scene in the nave at Holy Apostles is unabashedly hunger-based. People are being fed, not proselytized, at dining tables where the pews used to be. A midday hubbub of satiation rises up, plain as the pipes of the church organ, as the line lengthens outside.

Subject: One Hundred Years of Uncertainty
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 10:15:13 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/08/opinion/08greene.html?pagewanted=all&position= One Hundred Years of Uncertainty By BRIAN GREENE JUST about a hundred years ago, Albert Einstein began writing a paper that secured his place in the pantheon of humankind's greatest thinkers. With his discovery of special relativity, Einstein upended the familiar, thousands-year-old conception of space and time. To be sure, even a century later, not everyone has fully embraced Einstein's discovery. Nevertheless, say 'Einstein' and most everyone thinks 'relativity.' What is less widely appreciated, however, is that physicists call 1905 Einstein's 'miracle year' not because of the discovery of relativity alone, but because in that year Einstein achieved the unimaginable, writing four papers that each resulted in deep and formative changes to our understanding of the universe. One of these papers - not on relativity - garnered him the 1921 Nobel Prize in physics. It also began a transformation in physics that Einstein found so disquieting that he spent the last 30 years of his life in a determined effort to repudiate it. Two of the four 1905 papers were indeed on relativity. The first, completed in June, laid out the foundations of his new view of space and time, showing that distances and durations are not absolute, as everyone since Newton had thought, but instead are affected by one's motion. Clocks moving relative to one another tick off time at different rates; yardsticks moving relative to one another measure different lengths. You don't perceive this because the speeds of everyday life are too slow for the effects to be noticeable. If you could move near the speed of light, the effects would be obvious. The second relativity paper, completed in September, is a three-page addendum to the first, which derived his most famous result, E = mc2, an equation as short as it is powerful. It told the world that matter can be converted into energy - and a lot of it - since the speed of light squared (c2) is a huge number. We've witnessed this equation's consequences in the devastating might of nuclear weapons and the tantalizing promise of nuclear energy. The third paper, completed in May, conclusively established the existence of atoms - an idea discussed in various forms for millenniums - by showing that the numerous microscopic collisions they'd generate would account for the observed, though previously unexplained, jittery motion of impurities suspended in liquids. With these three papers, our view of space, time and matter was permanently changed. Yet, it is the remaining 1905 paper, written in March, whose legacy is arguably the most profound. In this work, Einstein went against the grain of conventional wisdom and argued that light, at its most elementary level, is not a wave, as everyone had thought, but actually a stream of tiny packets or bundles of energy that have since come to be known as photons. This might sound like a largely technical advance, updating one description of light to another. But through subsequent research that amplified and extended Einstein's argument (see Figures 1 through 3), scientists revealed a mathematically precise and thoroughly startling picture of reality called quantum mechanics. Before the discovery of quantum mechanics, the framework of physics was this: If you tell me how things are now, I can then use the laws of physics to calculate, and hence predict, how things will be later. You tell me the velocity of a baseball as it leaves Derek Jeter's bat, and I can use the laws of physics to calculate where it will land a handful of seconds later. You tell me the height of a building from which a flowerpot has fallen, and I can use the laws of physics to calculate the speed of impact when it hits the ground. You tell me the positions of the Earth and the Moon, and I can use the laws of physics to calculate the date of the first solar eclipse in the 25th century. What's important is that in these and all other examples, the accuracy of my predictions depends solely on the accuracy of the information you give me. Even laws that differ substantially in detail - from the classical laws of Newton to the relativistic laws of Einstein - fit squarely within this framework. Quantum mechanics does not merely challenge the previous laws of physics. Quantum mechanics challenges this centuries-old framework of physics itself. According to quantum mechanics, physics cannot make definite predictions. Instead, even if you give me the most precise description possible of how things are now, we learn from quantum mechanics that the most physics can do is predict the probability that things will turn out one way, or another, or another way still. The reason we have for so long been unaware that the universe evolves probabilistically is that for the relatively large, everyday objects we typically encounter - baseballs, flowerpots, the Moon - quantum mechanics shows that the probabilities become highly skewed, hugely favoring one outcome and effectively suppressing all others. A typical quantum calculation reveals that if you tell me the velocity of something as large as a baseball, there is more than a 99.99999999999999 (or so) percent likelihood that it will land at the location I can figure out using the laws of Newton or, for even better accuracy, the laws of Einstein. With such a skewed probability, the quantum reasoning goes, we have long overlooked the tiny chance that the baseball can (and, on extraordinarily rare occasions, will) land somewhere completely different. When it comes to small objects like molecules, atoms and subatomic particles, though, the quantum probabilities are typically not skewed. For the motion of an electron zipping around the nucleus of an atom, for example, a quantum calculation lays out odds that are all roughly comparable that the electron will be in a variety of different locations - a 13 percent chance, say, that the electron will be here, a 19 percent chance that it will be there, an 11 percent chance that it will be in a third place, and so on. Crucially, these predictions can be tested. Take an enormous sample of identically prepared atoms, measure the electron's position in each, and tally up the number of times you find the electron at one location or another. According to the pre-quantum framework, identical starting conditions should yield identical outcomes; we should find the electron to be at the same place in each measurement. But if quantum mechanics is right, in 13 percent of our measurements we should find the electron here, in 19 percent we should find it there, in 11 percent we should find it in that third place. And, to fantastic precision, we do. Faced with a mountain of supporting data, Einstein couldn't argue with the success of quantum mechanics. But to him, even though his own Nobel Prize-winning work was a catalyst for the quantum revolution, the theory was anathema. Commentators over the decades have focused on Einstein's refusal to accept the probabilistic framework of quantum mechanics, a position summarized in his frequent comment that 'God does not play dice with the universe.' Einstein, radical thinker that he was, still believed in the sanctity of a universe that evolved in a fully definite, fully predictable manner. If, as quantum mechanics asserted, the best you can ever do is predict probabilities, Einstein countered that he'd 'rather be a cobbler, or even an employee in a gaming house, than a physicist.' This emphasis, however, partly obscures a larger point. It wasn't the mere reliance on probabilistic predictions that so troubled Einstein. Unlike many of his colleagues, Einstein believed that a fundamental physical theory was much more than the sum total of its predictions - it was a mathematical reflection of an underlying reality. And the reality entailed by quantum mechanics was a reality Einstein couldn't accept. An example: Imagine you shoot an electron from here and a few seconds later it's detected by your equipment over there. What path did the electron follow during the passage from you to the detector? The answer according to quantum mechanics? There is no answer. The very idea that an electron, or a photon, or any other particle, travels along a single, definite trajectory from here to there is a quaint version of reality that quantum mechanics declares outmoded. Instead, the proponents of quantum theory claimed, reality consists of a haze of all possibilities - all trajectories - mutually commingling and simultaneously unfolding. And why don't we see this? According to the quantum doctrine, when we make a measurement or perform an observation, we force the myriad possibilities to ante up, snap out of the haze and settle on a single outcome. But between observations - when we are not looking - reality consists entirely of jostling possibilities. Quantum reality, in other words, remains ambiguous until measured. The reality of common perception is thus merely a definitive-looking veneer obscuring the internal workings of a highly uncertain cosmos. Which is where Einstein drew a line in the sand. A universe of this sort offended him; he could not accept, as he put it, that 'the Old One' would so profoundly incorporate a hidden element of happenstance in the nature of reality. Einstein quipped to his quantum colleagues, 'Do you really think the Moon is not there when you're not looking?' and set himself the Herculean task of reworking the laws of physics to resurrect conventional reality. Einstein waged a two-front assault on the problem. He sought an internal chink in the quantum framework that would establish it as a mere steppingstone on the path to a deeper and more complete description of the universe. At the same time, he sought a grander synthesis of nature's laws - what he called a 'unified theory' - that he believed would reveal the probabilities of quantum mechanics to be no more profound than the probabilities offered in weather forecasts, probabilities that simply reflect an incomplete knowledge of an underlying, definite reality. In 1935, through a disarmingly simple mathematical analysis, Einstein (with two colleagues) established a beachhead on the first front. He proved that quantum mechanics is either an incomplete theory or, if it is complete, the universe is - in Einstein's words - 'spooky.' Why 'spooky?' Because the theory would allow certain widely separated particles to correlate their behaviors perfectly (somewhat as if a pair of widely separated dice would always come up the same number when tossed at distant casinos). Since such 'spooky' behavior would border on nuttiness, Einstein thought he'd made clear that quantum theory couldn't yet be considered a complete description of reality. The nimble quantum proponents, however, would have nothing of it. They insisted that quantum theory made predictions - albeit statistical predictions - that were consistently born out by experiment. By the precepts of the scientific method, they argued, the theory was established. They maintained that searching beyond the theory's predictions for a glimpse of a reality behind the quantum equations betrayed a foolhardy intellectual greediness. Nevertheless, for the remaining decades of his life, Einstein could not give up the quest, exclaiming at one point, 'I have thought a hundred times more about quantum problems than I have about relativity.' He turned exclusively to his second line of attack and became absorbed with the prospect of finding the unified theory, a preoccupation that resulted in his losing touch with mainstream physics. By the 1940's, the once dapper young iconoclast had grown into a wizened old man of science who was widely viewed as a revolutionary thinker of a bygone era. By the early 1950's, Einstein realized he was losing the battle. But the memories of his earlier success with relativity - 'the years of anxious searching in the dark, with their intense longing, their alternations of confidence and exhaustion and the final emergence into the light' - urged him onward. Maybe the intense light of discovery that had so brilliantly illuminated his path as a young man would shine once again. While lying in a bed in Princeton Hospital in mid-April 1955, Einstein asked for the pad of paper on which he had been scribbling equations in the desperate hope that in his final hours the truth would come to him. It didn't. Was Einstein misguided? Must we accept that there is a fuzzy, probabilistic quantum arena lying just beneath the definitive experiences of everyday reality? As of today, we still don't have a final answer. Fifty years after Einstein's death, however, the scales have certainly tipped farther in this direction. Decades of painstaking experimentation have confirmed quantum theory's predictions beyond the slightest doubt. Moreover, in a shocking scientific twist, some of the more recent of these experiments have shown that Einstein's 'spooky' processes do in fact take place (particles many miles apart have been shown capable of correlating their behavior). It's a stunning finding, and one that reaffirms Einstein's uncanny ability to unearth features of nature so mind-boggling that even he couldn't accept what he'd found. Finally, there has been tremendous progress over the last 20 years toward a unified theory with the discovery and development of superstring theory. So far, though, superstring theory embraces quantum theory without change, and has thus not revealed the definitive reality Einstein so passionately sought. With the passage of time and quantum mechanics' unassailable successes, debate about the theory's meaning has quieted. The majority of physicists have simply stopped worrying about quantum mechanics' meaning, even as they employ its mathematics to make the most precise predictions in the history of science. Others prefer reformulations of quantum mechanics that claim to restore some features of conventional reality at the expense of additional - and, some have argued, more troubling - deviations (like the notion that there are parallel universes). Yet others investigate hypothesized modifications to the theory's equations that don't spoil its successful predictions but try to bring it closer to common experience. Over the 25 years since I first learned quantum mechanics, I've at various times subscribed to each of these perspectives. My shifting attitude, however, reflects that I'm still unsettled. Were Einstein to interrogate me today about quantum reality, I'd have to admit that deep inside I harbor many of the doubts that gnawed at him for decades. Can it really be that the solid world of experience and perception, in which a single, definite reality appears to unfold with dependable certainty, rests on the shifting sands of quantum probabilities? Well, yes. Probably. The evidence is compelling and tangible. Although we have yet to fully lay bare quantum mechanics' grand lesson for the underlying nature of the universe, I like to think even Einstein would be impressed that in the 50 years since his death our facility with quantum mechanics has matured from a mathematical understanding of the subatomic realm to precision control. Today's technological wizardry (computers, M.R.I.'s, smart bombs) exists only because research in applied quantum physics has resulted in techniques for manipulating the motion of electrons - probabilities and all - through mazes of ultramicroscopic circuitry. Advances hovering on the horizon, like nanoscience and quantum computers, offer the promise of even more spectacular transformations. So the next time you use your cellphone or laptop, pause for a moment. Recognize that even these commonplace devices rely on our greatest, yet most puzzling, scientific achievement and - as things now stand - tap into humankind's most supreme assault on the idea that reality is what we think it is. Brian Greene, a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia, is the author of “The Elegant Universe,’’ and, most recently, “The Fabric of the Cosmos.”

Subject: Cheap rent on its way!!
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 10:14:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Raymond James must be losing out on annuity commissions and stock investing clients as the herd heads for real estate. Get along little doggies!! From the Miami Herald: Posted on Thu, Apr. 07, 2005 The specter of a South Florida real estate bust This has the making of a ghost story. As night snuffed out the last remnants of twilight in Fort Lauderdale, I looked up at the tall new residential tower by the New River and shuddered. It was a 31-story tower of darkness. Lights shone from no more than a dozen of the 315 condos. The rest were a study in black windows and empty balconies. As if the condo dwellers were phantoms. But are they spectral beings? Or just speculators? Speculation madness has gripped the real estate market in South Florida, particularly the high-rise condos going up along the beaches and in the old coastal urban centers. Real estate analysts estimate that anywhere from 50 to 75 per cent of our new luxury condos are being scarfed up by high stakes real estate gamblers. Last month, Raymond James & Associates warned that ''anecdotal reports'' indicated speculators and investors accounted for 85 per cent of Miami high-rise condo sales. No one actually knows, said Michael Y. Cannon, managing director of Integra Building Resources' Florida operation. Cannon, who predicted condo bust of the early '80s, said this time around the data is either sparse or a few months old and not of much use in market careening ahead at such reckless speed. But Cannon knows that we're in the midst of a speculation epidemic. He calls it ''hyper flipperism,'' as buyers put up their 20 percent for condos under construction and try to flip the contracts, at a profit, before the buildings are completed. There are reports of condos changing ownership two or three times without an actual human being ever moving in. OMINOUS WARNINGS Robert Shiller, the Yale economist who warned that the late 1990s tech-fueled stock market was overheated, overpriced and in for a brutal fall, said Wednesday on National Public Radio that the U.S. housing market was now nurturing that same reckless abandon. He said the danger was particularly acute in what he called the glamor markets -- like South Florida. And Shiller warned that this bubble, too, may burst. Such talk casts a peculiar light over the raging debate about new residential construction in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The Broward County Commission reacted with something like outrage last month when the city commission requested approval for another 13,000 new housing units in the urban core. The county reduced the number to 3,000. There were sharp words about so much traffic on the highways, so many more children in the schools and other stresses on the infrastructure if the city got another 13,000 units. But phantoms don't drive cars. Ghosts don't pack classrooms. If those 13,000 new units were to be built, along with the 45,000 new luxury units coming on line in Dade County, the big problem might be avoiding speculators as they hurled themselves from the balconies of their overpriced high-rise condos. HOUSING SOLUTION? If nothing else, when the bubble bursts, South Florida will have a ready-made solution to its affordable housing problem. After the big bust in the 1980s, a regular Joe could land himself a luxury high-rise condo on Miami's Brickell Avenue for 60 grand. I wonder if we're supposed to feel any sorrier for flippers snared in this real estate Ponzi scheme than, say, chumps who gamble away their paychecks at the Hard Rock Casino. But Shiller warns in his book Irrational Exuberance, updated to include the current real estate madness, that when they start abandoning their 20 percent deposits en masse, it could mean trouble for all of us. ``The bad outcome could be that eventual declines would result in a substantial increase in the rate of personal bankruptcies, which could lead to a secondary string of bankruptcies of financial institutions as well. ``Another long-run consequence could be a decline in consumer and business confidence, and another, possibly worldwide, recession.'' Suddenly, our little ghost story turns very, very scary.

Subject: Indian Call Center Employees Hack US Bank Accounts
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 07:39:08 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://slashdot.org/articles/05/04/08/061245.shtml?tid=98&tid=172 Posted by CowboyNeal on Friday April 08, @05:49AM from the easy-money dept. The Ascended One writes 'Call center employees working for an Indian software company, MSource, supposedly used confidential client information to transfer client funds to themselves. The alleged perpetrators used the personal information of four NY-based clients to transfer ~$350,000 (Rs. 1.5 crores) in their names, a large sum in Indian currency. They were caught after the victims alerted the bank officials in the US, who then traced the crime to the Indian city of Pune. While the name of the bank has not been revealed, the article indicates that the bank in question is Citibank.'

Subject: Barro and Social Security
From: Yann
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 07:09:35 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://post.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/barro/bw/bw05_04_04.pdf

Subject: Social Security is Fine
From: Jennifer
To: Yann
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 07:25:26 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The end of Social Security would be a tragedy, but this is what is wished for with privatizing plans. Social Security is wonderful and fine.

Subject: Caution
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 05:49:40 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Among analysts I trust there is more expression of caution than I can recall, sadly more caution than in 2000 from what I can tell. Possibly the difference is energy pricing. Possibly it is general valuation. But, where were the bears in 2000? I can not tell.

Subject: Realism
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 06:30:28 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Well, this is a time for caution. That is what realism dictates, and has nothing to do with worry or hope, for we cvan always be hopeful.

Subject: Re: Realism
From: johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 07:35:12 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Well spoken Terri, hope and optimism will always overcome the paralysis of worry.

Subject: Speculation
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 05:31:53 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
What is interesting month after month is the evident lack of volatility in any and every sector of stock, bond, and currency markets. In the currency market, though there must be huge private positions against the dollar, the dollar moved gently when it was weakening and is moving gently in strengthening. Where then are the speculators so many economists including Paul Krugman properly worried about?

Subject: Market Patterns
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 05:41:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Why is there so little evident speculation in markets that bearish analysts are so worried about? The stock and bond markets are about even for the year, while the dollar gradually strengthens against the Euro and Yen. Energy and materials and utilities sectors are strong. Health care look to be modestly strengthening. All else are about even to mildly negative. I have not known such an extended mild market period. REITs are much complained about, but even REITs are only mildly weak.

Subject: History will not repeat will it??
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 16:38:24 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsgs.aspx?subjectid=54696&msgnum=27090&batchsize=10&batchtype=Next Daily Reckoning compares World War I to our modern day economic war with China This past weekend marked an important anniversary. On April 2nd, 1917, Thomas Woodrow Wilson stood before a joint session of Congress. 'We must put excited feeling away,' said the president, and then launched into one of the greatest mob-inciting harangues ever delivered. Wilson was urging Congress to declare war against Germany. The Huns, he said, were governed by a 'selfish and autocratic power.' What they had done to justify trying to kill them was a matter of great dispute. Robert 'Fighting Bob' La Follette, senator from Wisconsin, thought they hadn't done much of anything. They were accused of bayoneting babies and cutting off the arms of boys in Belgium. But when a group of American journalists went on a fact-finding mission to get to the truth of the matter, they could find no evidence of it. Clarence Darrow, the lawyer who made a monkey out of William Jennings Bryan in the Scopes Trial, said he would offer a $1,000 reward to anyone who came forward whose arm had been cut off by the Germans. A thousand dollars was a lot of money back then... for this was when the Fed had barely settled down to work... equal to about $20,000 today. Still, no one claimed the money. The Germans had also sunk a few ships. But there was a war going on in Europe and Germany had tried to impose a blockade of English ports with the only weapon it had, submarines. You took a risk trying to sail into England, especially if your ship was carrying ammunition, and everyone knew it. The English were blockading German ports too. The difference was that the English had a bigger navy and were better at it. Try to run their blockade and you were almost certain to die; so few ships dared. It was a long and complicated story. In retrospect, the United States was better off minding its own business. Robert La Follette knew it. He told anyone who would listen that the struggle in Europe was best understood as a political and commercial rivalry. The Germans were challenging the English everywhere. The German economy was growing faster. While Britain seemed to be peaking out, the Germans were building new factories and developing new markets. In Africa, German colonialists were menacing English territories; in Europe, German manufacturers were taking market share from their English competitors. On the high sees, the German navy was growing more competent. And so, the English and the Germans were having it out. Leave them to it, said 'Fighting Bob.' But Woodrow Wilson had his own ideas. 'Civilization itself' seemed in the balance, he told the politicians. 'We shall fight for the things we have always carried in our hearts - for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, [he did not mention, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Nicaragua - countries to which he had already sent troops to meddle in internal political issues], for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free.' When he finished his speech, most of the yahoos rose to their feet and cheered. Tears streamed down many jowly faces. At last, the United States was going to war! Two million people had already died in the war. For what reason, no one quite knew. Wilson had to resort to bombast and balderdash to try to explain it. But now the happy moment had come. Now, Americans would get to die too. Hallelujah! No one recalled the weekend's anniversary in the papers. Too bad. It makes us think of America's situation today. Are we not in Britain's shoes? Are we not facing our own new rival - China? Market cycles... and historical cycles... are like women [and here, dear reader, you may want to write this down in order to quote us correctly]... they are all the same and yet completely different. When prices are high, we know they must get down - somehow, someway, some day. When a nation is riding high... it too must someday sit lower in the saddle. For all things age. All things change. All things go away, in the end. But how and when they get where they are going is as varied, charming and mysterious as every woman we have ever met. Just something to think about, dear reader... .

Subject: Re: History will not repeat will it??
From: Setanta
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 04:57:33 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Intruiging. History has proved, however, that the US was right to enter the war against the Axis. Would the US have be safer with Japanese hedgemony in the Pacific and Nazi hedgemony in Europe? It has to be remembered that Germany was not too far behind the US in developing the atomic bomb and all the Red Army tanks and troops could not have stopped it then. If history draws parallels then the US should start teaching its troops Chinese. Personally, being from a neutral country, I believe in the idea of the UN (founded precisely so the Great Powers never again march on eachother). If Bush stopped humiliating it and holding it in contempt, and in essence saying 'its my way or the highway' I think the UN would be more relevant in the real world today. At the moment its an object of ridicule and has no more power than a big charitable foundation. It should be more, it should be THE forum for discussing global matters.

Subject: Hated Chinese Cotton
From: johnny5
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 16:48:13 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsgs.aspx?subjectid=54696&msgnum=27090&batchsize=10&batchtype=Next West blocks China's cotton route BEIJING - Challenges loom over Chinese apparel exports as the United States and the European Union seem to be initiating steps to restrict this trade as demands from domestic producers get shriller. While the US government took the first step on Tuesday toward restricting imports of low-priced pants, shirts and underwear from China in response to pressure from its textile industry, the EU's executive commission is scheduled to present on Wednesday a framework for holding back the flood of Chinese textile imports. US trade officials said they would 'self-initiate' investigations to see whether to curb the runaway imports that have begun to gravely hurt the domestic industry. In a written statement, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said the move is the 'first step' toward determining whether the US market is indeed being disrupted, and whether the disruption can be attributed to Chinese imports. Gutierrez said the Bush administration 'is committed to enforcing trade agreements and to providing assistance to the domestic textile and apparent industry, consistent with our international rights and obligations'. European Commission spokeswoman Francoise Le Bail said EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson would unveil 'the way the safeguard clause could be activated' under WTO rules to protect the European textile industry from Chinese imports, but insiders said import blockades wouldn't be put up right away. European textile association Euratex has been lobbying with Brussels to use the temporary safeguard measures allowed under WTO rules as Chinese imports have surged since the beginning of the year. The EU had earlier assured China's textile firms that it would not follow Turkey's lead by imposing quotas on Chinese imports. Mandelson's spokeswoman, Claude Veron-Reville, had said such safeguards would only be used as a last resort. China's textile industry grew increasingly concerned that the EU might take such measures in light of the call from Euratex for action against China. There were reports that at a recent closed-door meeting, EU trade officials and politicians discussed whether Turkey's action against China should lead the EU to do likewise. Turkey decided in December to impose quotas on 42 categories of Chinese textile imports, just ahead of the lifting of global quotas. The US Commerce Department's push to cap Chinese textile imports was met with a sharp rebuke from the Chinese side. 'The United States has overprotectionist, irrational and unreasonable arrangements,' said Qin Gang, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry. 'This is unfair,' he said, and added that to simply blame exporting countries, especially China, for the problems of the American textile industry is unreasonable. American consumer groups are equally dismayed. They believe new quotas will lead to higher prices, imposing a hidden tax on consumers. Textile groups and their allies in US Congress have been pressuring the Bush administration to slap emergency curbs on China, which, they say, will overrun the US market following the end of the decades-old quota system on December 31, 2004. The Chinese government agreed when it joined the WTO in 2001 to let the US and other countries impose 'safeguard' restrictions on its clothing and textile exports when they surge to 'market-disrupting levels'. That provision, which expires at the end of 2008, allows countries to limit the growth in imports from China to just 7.5% above the previous year. Textile quotas had seriously limited the trade. China, always a big exporter of trousers, was severely handicapped by the quota system. The US set China a quota of 5.5 million square meters, compared to 7.82 million for Bangladesh and 10.18 million for Vietnam. When the quota system ended, it was predicted that China would be the principal beneficiary of freer trade. Textile imports from China were expected to surge following the expiration of quotas controlling worldwide trade in textile and apparel products. China itself had warned that a rise was inevitable and even imposed export tariffs in a bid to address international concerns. But the increase in export volumes in the first three months of the year has proved too sharp for the West to ignore. Compared with the first quarter of 2004, US data for January through March 2005 shows a 1,521% jump in Chinese cotton trouser imports and a 1,258% jump for knit shirts. Overall textile and apparel imports from China in the first three months of the year totaled 2.86 billion square meters, up 62.5% year-on-year. China exported nearly US$1 billion of jeans, sheets, fabric and other textile goods to the US in February alone, compared with $424 million a year ago, according to Columbia's Global Trade Information Services Inc. The 125% increase in February follows a jump of 75% in January. Predictably, this flood of Chinese cloth is reflected in the job-loss figures. Some 381,300 textile and apparel industry jobs are estimated to have been lost in the US since January 2001, according to the American Manufacturers Trade Action Council, as 17 textile mills closed down in the first quarter itself. Since 1990, more than 1 million US jobs have been lost in the textile and apparel industries, including about 700,000 apparel jobs. One beneficiary from the latest Western hurdles to Chinese apparel could be India. The US and the EU are India's biggest markets for textile exports, but Chinese competition has severely tied down Indian exports in most product categories ever since the global textile trade was opened up. Though many leading Western labels have been outsourcing from India after the lifting of the quotas, the Indian industry is still struggling to find a foothold in the international market amid the deluge of Chinese products. (Asia Pulse/XIC/PTI) http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/GD07Ad09.html

Subject: Impossible trade wars
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 15:44:30 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Some people like noam chomsky do not TRUST what we read or are told or led to believe, they critically think for themselves and invest accordingly - contrary to the herd. This is like Warren no? He missed the bubble profits of 2000 but missed the bust too. Other people read the NY TIMES or watch Bill O'reilly and follow what the current pundits say to form mass thought in society. Soros follows this HERD mentality and invests accordingly - how did he do with the boom and bust in 2000? From what I read he did better than warren, squeezing more money from Mr. Market with his timing strategis on mass mentality than warren. Now Terri just last month you are saying things like IMPOSSIBLE when relating to trade wars with china - but if mass psychology changes - I predict you will react - this makes you a reactionary investor riding the wave - more like Soros I think - not an individual critical thinker that has little trust like noam chomsky - while me and pete were saying very negative things you kept saying IMPOSSIBLE and I can only think you believed that because mass psychology thought it was IMPOSSIBLE - this can be profitable as is with Soros - but you must understand the nature of the beast - don't get caught trying to wake up from the lemmings when they are pushing you over the cliff my friend. Snow says China should allow market to value currency - Thursday, April 7, 2005 5:43:06 PM http://www.afxpress.com WASHINGTON (AFX) - China should allow the free market to set the value of its yuan currency, and end its peg to the dollar, Treasury Secretary John Snow said during a congressional hearing Thursday. 'I'd like to see them move to a market system,' Snow told senators during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on government-sponsored housing enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Snow was responding to criticism from Sen. Charles Schumer, R-N.Y., over the Bush administration's handling of economic relations with China. Schumer and Rep. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., introduced an amendment Wednesday to a State Department funding bill that would slap a 27.5% tariff on Chinese imports if China doesn't revalue its currency within 180 days. Snow said the U.S. trade deficit with China is 'far larger than we'd like to see it,' but argued that financial diplomacy with Beijing, not measures like Schumer's and Graham's, will prove effective. 'We're all waiting, Mr. Secretary,' Schumer responded. Meanwhile, Reps. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., and Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, were scheduled to introduce legislation Thursday that supporters said will use existing trade laws, compliant with World Trade Organization rules, to address China's currency peg. Critics have argued Schumer's proposal violates WTO rules.

Subject: Fed not BEHIND the curve?
From: johnny5
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 15:49:53 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
More on proactive versus reactive! Fed´s Santomero says Fed not behind the curve Thursday, April 7, 2005 6:24:04 PM http://www.afxpress.com Fed's Santomero says Fed not behind the curve WASHINGTON (AFX) -- The gradual pace of Fed tightening has not left the Fed behind the curve on inflation, said Anthony Santomero, president of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank. Speaking to reporters after a speech on Thursday, Santomero said the Fed has to be vigilant against inflation as the U.S. economy moves into the fourth year of its expansion, but it is too early to say that inflationary risks have clearly shifted to the upside. The U.S. labor market is improving at a moderate pace. The spike in oil prices has slowed consumer spending, but has not altered his view for robust economic growth in 2005.

Subject: Pizza Inflation! BUMBER dude!
From: johnny5
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 16:10:08 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Oh CRAP! This hurts me and all the college kids - we just got A LOT POORER - INFLATION indeed! 10% RISE http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A32846-2005Apr6.html At Your Door? A Dollar More By Caroline E. Mayer Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, April 7, 2005; Page E01 Free pizza delivery may soon amount to pie in the sky. Next week, local Domino's Pizza stores will begin charging a $1 delivery fee for any order. There's no other way to slice the rising costs the chain has to pay for fuel, rent, insurance and food, especially cheese, the prices of which are 'at record highs,' said David Carraway, president of Team Washington Inc., which owns 59 Domino's stores in the Washington area. 'Everything is going up. It's not a decision we're happy with, but it's the reality of what we're dealing with,' Carraway said. He added that some rivals are already charging the fee. 'I wouldn't be surprised if our competitors are not all doing it shortly.' Pizza Hut spokeswoman Patty Sullivan said Washington area stores have been charging a delivery fee, averaging about 75 cents, for a few years. Local Papa John's stores are not. However, some of the franchises in other areas are imposing a $1 to $1.50 delivery fee. 'If high fuel prices continue, more markets, including Washington, might consider it,' said Papa John's spokesman Chris Sternberg. Nationwide, about 45 percent of all Domino's stores charge a delivery fee, according to company spokeswoman Holly Ryan. Carraway said the current competitive pizza market makes it impossible to cover costs by raising the price of the pizza. 'Everybody's got deals, everybody's trying to outdo each other,' and consumers follow the lowest prices, he said. One Domino's store in Silver Spring started charging the dollar delivery fee on Tuesday, ahead of schedule, Carraway said. Government employee William Eck first learned of the surcharge when he ordered his usual Tuesday special: two large cheese pizzas for the price of one. He said he was surprised and angry when he learned why his order would cost $12.50 instead of $11.50. 'Their promotion was always for free delivery. I guess it's not free anymore.' Carraway said it has been about 12 years since the chain promised free delivery, or a discount if the order wasn't delivered within 30 minutes. 'Some people still think we have that, but that's gone too,' he said. From now on, Eck said, when it comes to his regular pizza order, 'I will be picking it up.'

Subject: Imf says OIL shocked permanently!
From: johnny5
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 17:05:06 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
My friends, where is the value? What will starving poor people value 10 years from now - or 20 years from now? What will rich fat people value 10 years from now or 20? http://news.ft.com/cms/s/a3b6a0c2-a792-11d9-9744-00000e2511c8.html IMF warns on risk of ‘permanent oil shock’ By Javier Blas in London Published: April 7 2005 20:02 | Last updated: April 7 2005 20:02 The world faces “a permanent oil shock” and will have to adjust to sustained high prices in the next two decades, the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday in the starkest official warning yet about the long-term outlook for energy supplies. Predicting surging demand from emerging countries and limited new supplies from outside the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries after 2010, Raghuram Rajan, IMF chief economist, said: “We should expect to live with high oil prices.” “Oil prices will continue to present a serious risk to the global economy,” he added. The IMF forecast in its World Economic Outlook that crude would cost $34 a barrel in 2010 in today's money and would rise to $39-$56 a barrel in 2030. The predicted prices are well above market and oil industry expectations. They are also much higher than the latest long-term forecast from the International Energy Agency, the oil watchdog, of real oil prices of $27 a barrel in 2010 and $34 a barrel in 2030. “The shock we see is a permanent shock that is going to continue... and countries need to adjust to that,” said David Robinson, deputy IMF chief economist. US warns of need for more Opec production Opec will need to increase production further to balance the oil market in the second half of the year, the US government said. The IMF called on emerging countries in Asia, which this year would account for 40 per cent of the increase in oil demand, to curb their fuel subsidies. Several countries in the region, including China, Indonesia and Malaysia, have recently increased petrol prices in an attempt to reduce consumption. The IMF based its forecast on a sharp rise in global oil demand, particularly from increased vehicle ownership in China, and non-Opec production reaching a plateau around 2010. It expects oil demand to grow at a yearly rate of 2.1m barrels a day above the 1.5m b/d the market considers sustainable to reach 138.5m b/d in 2030. Some analysts are sceptical about the IMF's demand and projections, pointing out that no other international energy body shares its view. But the IMF's report paints a gloomy picture for energy consumers: “With global dependence on oil production from Opec countries rising, much would depend on Opec supply response; most likely however, there would be growing upside risk to prices.” It estimates that the cartel, which controls 40 per cent of global oil production, would need to invest about $350bn to 2030 in new installations. The IMF warning came as the US Department of Energy on Thursday raised its oil price forecast in 2005 and 2006 to about $55 a barrel, up more than $6 from last month. US crude futures were flat in late afternoon trade on Thursday at $55 a barrel.

Subject: Soros-'belief alters facts' - dont cause worry!
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 15:10:19 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsgs.aspx?subjectid=54696&msgnum=27039&batchsize=10&batchtype=Next Where Buffett seeks to buy $1 for 40 or 50 cents, Soros is happy to pay $1, or even more, for $1 when he can see a change coming that will drive that dollar up to $2 or $3. To Soros, our distorted perceptions are a factor in shaping events. As he puts it, 'what beliefs do is alter facts' in a process he calls reflexivity, which he outlined in his book The Alchemy of Finance. For some, like the trader Paul Tudor Jones, the book was 'revolutionary'; it clarified events 'that appeared so complex and so overwhelming,' as he wrote in the foreword. Through the book Soros also met Stanley Druckenmiller who sought him out after reading it, and eventually took over from Soros as manager of the Quantum Fund. To most others, however, the book was impenetrable, even unreadable, and few people grasped the idea of reflexivity Soros was attempting to convey. Indeed, as Soros wrote in the preface of the paperback edition, 'Judging by the public reaction...I have not been successful in demonstrating the significance of reflexivity. Only the first part of my argument - that the prevailing bias affects market prices - seems to have registered. The second part - that the prevailing bias can in certain circumstances also affect the so-called fundamentals and changes in market prices cause changes in market prices - seems to have gone unnoticed.' Changes in market prices cause changes in market prices? Sounds ridiculous. But it's not. To give just one example, as stock prices go up, investors feel wealthier and spend more money. Company sales and profits rise as a result. Wall Street analysts point to these 'improving fundamentals,' and urge investors to buy. That sends stocks up further, making investors even wealthier, so they spend even more. And so on it goes. This is what Soros calls a 'reflexive process' - a feedback loop: a change in stock prices has caused a change in company fundamentals which, in turn, justifies a further rise in stock prices. And so on. You have no doubt heard of this particular reflexive process. Academics have written about it; even the Federal Reserve has issued a paper on it. It's known as 'The Wealth Effect.' Reflexivity is a feedback loop: perceptions change facts; and facts change perceptions. As happened when the Thai baht collapsed in 1997. In July 1997 the Central Bank of Thailand let its currency float. The bank expected devaluation of around 20%; but by December the baht collapsed from 26 to the U.S. dollar to over 50, a fall of more than 50%. The bank had figured out that the baht was 'really worth' around 32 to the dollar. Which it may well have been according to theoretical models of currency valuation. What the bank failed to take into account was that floating the baht set in motion a self-reinforcing process of reflexivity that sent the currency into free-fall. Thailand was one of the 'Asian Tigers,' a country that was developing rapidly and was seen to be following in Japan's footsteps. Fixed by the government to the U.S. dollar, the Thai baht was considered a stable currency. So international bankers were happy to lend Thai companies billions of U.S. dollars. And the Thais were happy to borrow them because U.S. dollar interest rates were lower. When the currency collapsed, the value of the U.S. dollar debts companies had to repay suddenly exploded...when measured in baht. The fundamentals had changed. Seeing this, investors dumped their Thai stocks. As they exited, foreigners converted their baht into dollars and took them home. The baht crumbled some more. More and more Thai companies looked like they would never be able to repay their debts. Both Thais and foreigners kept selling. Thai companies cut back and sacked workers. Unemployment skyrocketed; workers had less to spend - and those who still had money to spend held onto it from fear of uncertainty. The Thai economy tanked...and the outlook for many large Thai companies, even those with no significant dollar debts, began to look more and more precarious. As the baht fell, the Thai economy imploded - and the baht fell some more. A change in market prices had caused a change in market prices. For Soros, reflexivity is the key to understanding the cycle of boom followed by bust. Indeed, he writes, 'A boom/bust process occurs only when market prices...influence the so-called fundamentals that are supposed to be reflected in market prices.' His method is to look for situations where 'Mr. Market's' perceptions diverge widely from the underlying reality. On those occasions when Soros can see a reflexive process taking hold of the market, he can be confident that the developing trend will continue for longer, and prices will move far higher (or lower) than most people using a standard analytical framework expect. Soros applies his philosophy to identify a market trend in its early stages and position himself before the crowd catches on. In 1969 a new financial vehicle, real estate investment trusts (REITs), attracted his attention. He wrote an analysis - widely circulated at the time - in which he predicted a 'Four Act' reflexive boom/bust process that would send these new securities sky-high - before they collapsed. Act I: As bank interest rates were high, REITs offered an attractive alternative to traditional sources of mortgage finance. As they caught on, Soros foresaw a rapid expansion of the number of REITs coming to market. Act II: Soros expected that the creation of new REITs, and expansion of existing ones would pour floods of new money into the mortgage market, causing a housing boom. That would, in turn, increase the profitability of REITs and send the price of their trust units skyrocketing. Act III: To quote from his report, 'The self-reinforcing process will continue until mortgage trusts have captured a significant part of the construction loan market.' As the housing boom slackened, real estate prices would fall, REITs would hold an increasing number of uncollectible mortgages - 'and the banks will panic and demand that their lines of credit be paid off.' Act IV: As REIT earnings fall, there would be a shakeout in the industry...a collapse. Since 'the shakeout is a long time away,' Soros advised there was plenty of time to profit from the boom part of the cycle. The only real danger he foresaw 'is that the self-reinforcing process [Act II] would not get under way at all.' The cycle unfolded just as Soros had expected, and he made handsome profits as the boom progressed. Having turned his attention to other things, over a year later after REITs had already begun to decline, he came across his original report and 'I decided to sell the group short more or less indiscriminately.' His fund took another million dollars in profits out of the market. Soros had applied reflexivity to make money on the way up and the way down. To some, Soros's method may appear similar to trend-following. But trend-followers (especially chartists) normally wait for a trend to be confirmed before investing. When the trend-followers pile in (as in 'Act II' of the REIT cycle) Soros is already there. Sometimes he would add to his positions as the trend-following behavior of the market increased the certainty of his convictions about the trend. But how do you know when the trend is coming to an end? The average trend-follower can never be sure. Some get nervous as their profits build, often bailing out on a bull market correction. Others wait until a change in trend is confirmed - which only happens when prices have passed their highs and the bear market is under way. But Soros's investment philosophy provides a framework for analyzing how events will unfold. So he can stay with the trend longer, and take far greater profits from it than most other investors. And, as in the REIT example, profit from both the boom and the bust. Soros's theory of reflexivity is his explanation for Mr. Market's manic-depressive mood swings. In Soros's hands it becomes a method for identifying when the mood of the market is about to change, for enabling him to 'read the mind of the market.' Regards, Mark Tier for The Daily Reckoning

Subject: Realism
From: Terri
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 07:27:10 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Again, fine considered realistic posts.

Subject: Re: Soros-'belief alters facts'
From: Setanta
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 04:39:15 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The great PK himself has a few choice words to say about Soro's idea of Reflexivity...however he does agree that Soros has some important points that should be listened to. Published a long time ago in the NYT. SORO'S PLEA SYNOPSIS: The strange case of George Soros, a speculator who hates speculation. Ponders his case for restriction, arguing that overall benefits are worth some inefficency. Recently I found myself in not one but two meetings that also included George Soros, and I was inspired to furious intellectual effort. You see, I'm convinced it's possible to construct a terrific palindrome centering on the famous investor's reversible last name. Unfortunately, the best I've come up with so far is an imaginary conversation wherein I ask the great man what to make of the gyrations of Japan's exchange rate, and he tells me it means we must introduce a unified global currency: 'Yen omen, O Soros?'; 'One money!' Of course, that's not what Soros is really saying. His actual message--expounded in a series of articles and speeches over the past two years, and soon to be restated in his forthcoming book, The Crisis of Global Capitalism--might be described as 'Stop me before I speculate again!' And considering the source--a man whose funds have attacked currencies around the world, from the British pound to the Hong Kong dollar--it's a message that needs to be taken seriously. I'm not necessarily suggesting you read Soros in the original. It's not that he writes like a businessman; it's that he writes like a Central European intellectual, which is far worse. Someone should tell him it doesn't help his case to dress up fairly simple ideas in pretentious philosophical language. In particular, many people have argued that financial markets tend toward boom-and-bust cycles, that investors tend to engage in herd behavior, and that financial systems are subject to self-justifying panics. But such observations are not enough for Soros: For him they must serve as illustrations of the general principle of 'reflexivity,' whichI take to mean that human perceptions both affect events and are themselves affected by them. Gosh, I never thought of that! But if reading Soros isn't exactly a pleasure, he is nonetheless saying something important--namely, that the rules of the game under which he and others like him have prospered are dangerous for society as a whole. This is not what you'd expect to hear from a speculator, or for that matter anyone in the financial world. The typical view from Wall Street or London's City is that left to its own devices, the global capital market will always reward economic virtue and punish only vice. As one Wall Street Journal op-ed writer enthused, 'Foreign-exchange markets are a continuing, minute-by-minute election in which everyone with wealth at stake, including residents of the country, gets to vote, an election in which the winners are those countries whose governments have the most pro-growth policies.' Accordingly, if these days national economies seem to be falling like dominoes, it must be their own fault--or that of the IMF, which many conservatives see as having a demonic ability to wreak economic havoc with very little actual money. (Has anyone noticed just how small a player the IMF really is? That $18 billion U.S. contribution to the IMF, which has finally been agreed upon after countless Administration appeals and conservative denunciations, is about the same size as the short position that Soros single-handedly took against the British pound in 1992--and little more than half the position Soros' Quantum Fund, Julian Robertson's Tiger Fund, and a few others took against Hong Kong last August.) Soros, however, believes that financial markets are 'inherently unstable,' that left unregulated they inevitably produce recurrent crises. And he should know. What would a defender of free capital markets say in response to Soros? True believers would doubtless be unshaken. Never mind who Soros is and what he's done, they would claim that people who worry about destabilizing speculation just don't understand how markets work. Others, however, would agree that financial markets are inherently unstable, but argue that this is a price worth paying, that the presumed huge returns from free markets outweigh the risks. And indeed that was the position I myself took a year and a half ago, when Soros and I staged a fundraising debate on global capitalism for the Council on Foreign Relations. (Yes, I was pro, he was anti.) But events since May 1997 have certainly reinforced his position, and led those of us who still believe in the extraordinary merits of free markets in goods, services, and long-term capital to search for ways to protect those merits from the destructive effects of destabilizing hot money flows. Rather oddly, I can't quite figure out what Soros himself thinks we should do. In general, for a businessman his approach seems peculiarly abstract and philosophical: He seems far more concerned with denouncing laissez-faire ideology than with proposing workable ways to regulate markets without strangling them. (Maybe we need a super-IMF, big enough to take on the Soroi of this world. Or maybe, horrors, we actually need to control capital movements.) But if Soros doesn't have the answer, at least he asks the right question. Next time somebody tells you that the global capital market is our friend, that only economies that deserve it get punished, tell him to tell it to George Soros.

Subject: Great and wonderful
From: johnny5
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 07:38:36 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:

Subject: I Remember
From: Terri
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 05:15:36 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thank you, I had forgotten this.

Subject: Interesting Posts
From: Emma
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 20:45:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Interesting posts. Thanks.

Subject: Re: Interesting Posts
From: Terri
To: Emma
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 21:40:15 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Well done.

Subject: The pillar of our economy
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 15:06:37 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Real estate’s ‘dirty little secret’ ‘Appraisal inflation’ a worry for housing experts By Jane Wells Reporter CNBC Updated: 6:45 p.m. ET April 6, 2005 It is often referred to as “appraisal inflation” and it could be the dirty little secret of the housing industry. The practice — when real estate appraisers bend the numbers to satisfy clients and stay in business — is a growing problem, according to real estate experts. Appraisers say there is pressure on them to inflate home values, and there is concern that if people pay too much for their homes it could lead to more foreclosures if housing prices tumble. And banks could be left holding the bag. Data show the problem is widespread. A recent survey of 500 appraisers by the October Research Group, a provider of news and information to the real estate services industry, found that 55 percent of them personally feel pressured by sellers, agents, and even lenders to inflate home values by 10 percent. And one-third of the appraisers surveyed said they fear losing business if they don’t comply. Jonathan Miller, CEO of Miller Samuel, an appraisal company in Manhattan, said he thinks 75 percent of appraisals are inflated. And Miller thinks honest appraisers are leaving the business as a result. Congress recently introduced a bill to curb the appraiser issue. The Ney-Kanjorski bill would prohibit agents and other outsiders from pressuring appraisers through coercion, bribes or extortion. It would also force a physical inspection for higher-cost loans instead of just using computer appraisal software, which can be manipulated, and it would force a second appraisal of a property that has risen in value over the previous six months. However, Miller says the proposed bill does not address structural problems in the appraisal business, such as the fact that many lending institutions that hire appraisers profit from the outcome. The wall is eroding between the loan sales department and quality control, Miller contends, and no one is worried about potential defaults if the housing market takes a breather. So what if people start defaulting? “I don’t think there’s a general awareness or concern about that,” Miller said. “The sales function, the people who are paid on commission probably won’t be there when those problems come in the future.” The issue could evolve into the something similar to the savings-and-loan scandal of the late 1980s, Miller added, referring to the failed speculation and, in some cases, fraud that cost the U.S. taxpayer over $100 billion. In California, meanwhile, an investigation into title insurance — the protection you must buy to make sure there are no other claims to the property you plan to acquire — is underway. The state’s insurance commissioner is investigating alleged kickbacks by title insurance companies to realtors, lenders and builders.

Subject: Trust? They wouldn't lie would they?
From: johnny5
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 15:52:18 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsg.aspx?msgid=21202124 'My mother-in-law is an Appraiser. About six months ago she was contacted by a 'trainee' who wanted her to sign off on his appraisals. She has a couple of these trainees underneath her, and she agreed. California law used to require that a person take a minimum number of appraisal classes before they could even be a trainee. However, they changed the rule a few months ago. That means that ANYONE can be an appraiser. They still have to get a fully liscensed appraiser to sign off on the appraisal, but the lax requirements are becoming scary. Now back to the story. She was contacted about one month ago by another fully liscensed appraiser. He told her that he had been hired to review one of her appraisals. (Common practice by banks when they are suspicious of the appraisal or just sometimes done randomly). She asked for the address so she could forward him the comps and other data she used to come to the appraisal. After looking through her appraisals, she told him he must be mistaken, she hadn't done an appraisal at that address. Long story short, the 'trainee' had cut and pasted her signature from another report into MULTIPLE appraisals. Most of these appraisals were ones that she told him NOT to take because there was no way to get value on them. Not to mention that he was doing commercial appraisals under her name and she's not even liscensed for them. What a mess. He has begged her not to file criminal charges, but the only way to clear her name is to at least file a police report and let them decide if they will bring charges. It's just so sad. She went to school and worked as a trainee for YEARS. Now some guy who just decided to be an appraiser a few months ago, with nothing to loose, has created a disaster for her. She has no idea how many he did under her name. Luckily, she was out of the country when some of them were done, so she should be able to prove that at least some of them are fraudulent. The worst part about it is the BROKER's KNOW. They have access to look up comps just like I do, and just like appraisers do. They are fully aware that 'certain appraisers' will give more value (And trust me they have ample work available to them). My mother-in-law has reported that the amounts people are expecting to get for their appraisal are getting MORE ridiculous and not less. She had a re-finance just the other day. The couple had bought a $250k house in the ghetto 3 months ago. They got some kind of a risky 6 month interest only loan and need to re-finance. They were expecting the house to appraise at $310k (More than 20% in 3 months?) The lender they are working with told my mother-in-law that the previous lender had 'assured' the clients it would be worth 25% more by the time they re-financed. This has become a joke.'

Subject: Of course it's hard to argue...
From: Pete Weis
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 22:21:34 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
that something isn't worth (at least at that moment) what someone is willing to pay for it. But it's the refinancing where there is no buyer that that's brings the most concern!

Subject: OT: The seven pillars of wisdom
From: Pancho Villa
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 15:31:54 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
'This is the exciting and highly literate story of the real Lawrence of Arabia, as written by Lawrence himself, who helped unify Arab factions against the occupying Turkish army, circa World War I. Lawrence has a novelist's eye for detail, a poet's command of the language, an adventurer's heart, a soldier's great story, and his memory and intellect are at least as good as all those. Lawrence describes the famous guerrilla raids, and train bombings you know from the movie, but also tells of the Arab people and politics with great penetration. Moreover, he is witty, always aware of the ethical tightrope that the English walked in the Middle East and always willing to include himself in his own withering insight.'

Subject: Re: OT: The seven pillars of wisdom
From: Pete Weis
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 22:26:59 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
If only we could go back to those simple train bombings.

Subject: Lawrence on Negative Thinking
From: johnny5
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 20:11:57 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Yes I have that on audiobook - what a great listen. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056172/quotes Prince Feisal: Young men make wars, and the virtues of war are the virtues of young men: courage, and hope for the future. Then old men make the peace, and the vices of peace are the vices of old men: mistrust and caution. Lawrence on the rise and fall of civilization: Prince Feisal: But you know, Lieutenant, in the Arab city of Cordoba were two miles of public lighting in the streets when London was a village? T.E. Lawrence: Yes, you were great. Prince Feisal: Nine centuries ago. T.E. Lawrence: Time to be great again, my lord. Lawrence on why Bush and Co can never bring peace to the desert: T.E. Lawrence: A thousand Arabs means a thousand knives, delivered anywhere day or night. It means a thousand camels. That means a thousand packs of high explosives and a thousand crack rifles. We can cross Arabia while jolly Turkey is still turning round, and smash his railways. And while he's mending them, I'll smash them somewhere else. In thirteen weeks, I can have Arabia in chaos.

Subject: Economics and Ecology in Africa
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 14:23:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/07/international/africa/07nairobi.html?8hpib Flower of Africa: A Curse That's Blowing in the Wind By MARC LACEY NAIROBI, Kenya - Surrounded by all the asphalt and car fumes of this overgrown African capital, hidden among the tin-roof shacks in the sprawling slums and the forested parklands, there are some rather beautiful blooms. In and around overpopulated Nairobi, one can spot the tiny purple and white flowers of the knotweed, or the bright yellow blooms of the blackjack weed or the elongated appendages of the devil's horsewhip. 'The beauty and almost infinite variety of our wildflowers is one of the greatest pleasures for the traveler in East Africa,' Teresa Sapieha wrote in her 1989 book 'Wayside Flowers of East Africa.' But this is a story of a different kind of flower, which also comes in many colors but lacks the beauty of the many varieties discovered in nature by Ms. Sapieha. All over Nairobi, and all over Africa, are ugly artificial blooms that mar the landscape and that environmentalists want plucked up and removed. These flowers are cheap, thin plastic bags that are tossed to the ground by consumers. This kind of litter has reached a critical mass in Kenya - clogging streams, choking animals and piling up into little mountains of disease. These bags are different from the ones that Westerners carry their groceries in from the neighborhood supermarket; the Kenyan bags are so thin they barely hold a few mangoes or a few pounds of corn meal without tearing. Their delicate nature makes reuse impossible and leads to their frequent introduction into nature, where experts say they tend to remain without breaking down for somewhere around 1,000 years. The bags are so pervasive in this part of the world that many have taken to calling them 'African flowers,' as if they were local varieties of roses or bougainvillea. 'You can't miss these bags,' said Clive Mutunga, an environmental economist in Kenya who is seeking to clean up the mess. 'It's gotten to the point where it's almost become our national flower.' Wangari Maathai, the assistant environmental minister in Kenya and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner, says the sacks provide a breeding place for malarial mosquitoes, helping spread one of the continent's major killers. 'I'm not saying don't use plastics at all,' Dr. Maathai said recently as she extolled the virtues of more homegrown bags, like those made of sisal or cotton, or the traditional baskets, which were what people used before plastic came along. A recent study by the National Environmental Management Authority and the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis estimated that more than 100 million light polythene bags, many of them thinner than 30 microns, are handed out each year in Kenyan supermarkets, which is more than 4,000 tons of the bags every month. The study recommended banning the thin bags, which are believed to make up most of the litter. Other bags, it said, should be taxed to provide a financial incentive for bag manufacturers to come up with more environmentally friendly alternatives. The tax could then go to support recycling efforts, which are not common in Africa, says the report, which was financed by the United Nations Environment Program. The report notes that there would be some job losses if Kenya outlawed the manufacture of plastic bags, which is a booming industry here that supplies all of East Africa. But it notes that other jobs would probably be created among cotton bag manufacturers. Nairobi's street children and others might also earn some income from picking up plastics if a recycling program was started. Kenya, which profits from the many tourists who come to witness its pristine landscape, is not the first African country to try to clean up its act. Rwanda recently banned plastic bags that are less than 100 microns thick and it took such a tough enforcement stand that the police would dump out the goods on the road if they found shoppers with them. 'The black plastic bag has disappeared from Kigali,' the United Nations Environment Program said, referring to the capital of Rwanda in a recent statement on the issue. South Africa has also imposed a ban on bags thinner than 30 microns, which are so flimsy that one's finger can easily pierce them. Other more durable bags are taxed by South Africa, which gives some of the revenue to a plastic bag recycling company. Somaliland, a breakaway state in northwestern Somalia, outlawed plastic bags as well, although passing the law has not appeared to put much of a dent in the problem there. In local parlance, the plastic bags there are called 'Hargeisa flowers' because they pop up everywhere in and around Hargeisa, the Somaliland capital. 'The bags have not only become an environmental problem, but also an eyesore,' Abdillahi Duale, Somaliland's information minister, recently told the United Nations News Service. Eliminating the bags is regarded primarily as a task that falls on shopkeepers. Nakumatt Holdings, one of Kenya's largest supermarkets, has said it backs the effort to clean up the country's landscape. But the problem lies as well with the consumers throwing them into the wind. Kenya is considering an antilittering campaign not unlike its other public service campaigns - encouraging people to use condoms, pay their taxes, drive safely and seek a woman's consent before sex. To reach the next generation of potential litterers, the United Nations Environmental Program has produced a children's book in which a little boy named Theo alerts all the grown-ups around his town to the menace of discarded plastic bags by collecting them and rolling them into a ball that soon grows bigger than he is.

Subject: A New Disposable Battery
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 14:20:41 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/07/technology/circuits/07pogue.html?8hpib=&pagewanted=all&position= Can a New Disposable Battery Change Your Life? Parts of It, Maybe By David Pogue THIS June, Panasonic will introduce Oxyride batteries: AA and AAA disposable batteries that the company calls 'the most significant developments in primary battery technology in 40 years.' According to Panasonic, these batteries last up to twice as long as premium alkaline batteries like Duracell Ultra ($5 for four), yet cost the same as regular alkalines ($4 for four). Astounded yet? Then get this: Oxyride batteries are also supposed to deliver more power. The result, the company says, is that battery-operated toothbrushes spin faster, flashlights shine brighter, camera flashes are quicker to recharge and music players produce richer sound. Play your cards right, in other words, and these batteries might just clean out your gutters, wash the car and do your taxes. Those are pretty fantastic claims, but Panasonic is certainly right about one thing: the time is right for some technical improvement in batteries. Technology has marched on in just about every other corner of modern life, but people still tiptoe nervously through birthday parties and weddings with their digital cameras, anxiously rationing shots so they'll have juice left for the big moment. No wonder, then, that in Japan, the Oxyride batteries have captured 10 percent of the battery market in the one year they've been available. In fact, Panasonic predicts that Oxyride will eventually wipe out alkalines just the way alkalines blew regular 'heavy-duty' batteries off the map. Skeptics, however, are surely entitled to scoff, especially at that part about brighter flashlights, faster fans and better-sounding music. Aren't these gizmos somehow voltage-controlled so that they shine, spin or play at a certain rate, regardless of the battery? Armed with a stopwatch, I spent several exceedingly boring days conducting battery-drain tests with identical pairs of flashlights, screwdrivers, cameras, hand-held fans and swimming bathtub fishies. (Note to the neighbors: You can call off the nice men in the white jackets. It was all in the name of science.) As it turns out, the power-boosting effect is no marketing concoction; it's real. In identical flashlights, Oxyrides produce an obviously wider, whiter circle of light than Duracell Ultras. You can immediately tell the difference in portable fans, too, because the Oxyride fan hums at a higher pitch, a musical step higher than the Duracell one. The Oxyrides even make power screwdrivers spin faster: 364 r.p.m., compared with 316 r.p.m. for the Duracell Ultras. Then there's that bit about Oxyrides making MP3 players and CD players produce richer, fuller sound. Panasonic cited a test in Japan in which 80 percent of the players in an orchestra said they preferred the sound from an Oxyride-powered music player. (Panasonic doesn't include sound-quality claims in its official marketing, but it does say it's investigating.) This one's a tougher call. In blind tests, most people couldn't tell any difference between a CD player with Oxyrides and one with regular alkalines. A few identified the Oxyrides as maybe being a bit richer-sounding, but said that the difference was awfully subtle. All participants confessed, though, that they were not members of a Japanese orchestra. Amazingly, then, Panasonic Oxyrides do deliver more power, for the same price as ordinary alkalines. To be precise, they deliver 1.7 volts, which is 13 percent more juice than the 1.5 volts of alkalines. (In both cases, the voltage diminishes as the batteries empty.) According to Panasonic, Oxyrides get their power not only from an improved chemical makeup, but also from a vacuum-assembly machine that packs more ingredients into the same space. But what about the primary claim, that Oxyrides last longer than alkalines? Here, the answer is more complicated. In rundown tests (put the batteries in, run nonstop till they're dead), Duracell Ultras, and even regular alkaline Duracells, actually beat the Oxyrides. In a krypton-bulb flashlight, the Oxyrides ran for two and a half hours; Duracell Ultras lasted 35 minutes longer. An Oxyride hand-held fan died after an hour; Duracell Ultras had another 25 minutes in them. And in a really cute swimming fish bathtub toy, the Oxyride fish gave up the ghost after 8.5 hours; a pair of ordinary alkalines kept finding Nemo for an amazing 25 hours, nearly three times as long. Now, battery companies generally hate it when well-meaning journalists conduct rundown tests, for a very good reason: nobody uses batteries that way. In the real world, people play, pause and put aside their electronics for days or weeks. Properly conducted battery tests, experts say, are repetitive, expensive and computer-controlled. A battery that's designed to last a long time under real-world conditions may not do well in rundown tests. ('We'd be delighted to help you design valid tests,' a battery company representative once told me. 'And we'll look forward to reading the results around Christmas.') And sure enough, when the flashlight test was repeated in a more realistic regimen - one hour on, followed by 30 minutes off for good behavior - the Oxyrides lasted 4 hours 14 minutes. The Duracells still won, but this time by only 10 minutes, and the light produced during the flashlight's final 20 minutes was so feeble it probably shouldn't count. (The Oxyrides tend to die more suddenly than alkalines.) Panasonic further protested that the Oxyrides were designed to shine in high-drain gadgets (cameras, L.E.D. flashlights, remote-control toys, portable televisions and photo flash units) and moderate-drain gizmos (Game Boys, CD and music players, electric razors), not in low-drain devices like flashlights, fans, radios, clocks, remote controls and bathtub fishies. (So out came the Game Boy and the L.E.D. flashlight, and in went the Oxyrides. Test results: pending. After three days, both of them are still running strong.) All of this brings us to the World Series of battery competitions: the digital camera test. These days, most digital cameras come with rectangular, proprietary rechargeable battery packs. But if your camera takes disposables, you're already aware of their pathetic battery-consumption record. The challenge: See how many shots a pair of AA's can take in a digital camera. The test: 50 consecutive shots, alternating flash and nonflash, followed by 10 minutes turned off so the batteries could rest. Then another 50 shots, and so on until 'Change the batteries' appears on the camera's screen. (I set the camera to capture low-resolution images, so they'd all fit without having to change or erase the memory card.) Because this isn't a constant-drain test, you'd expect the Oxyrides to win - and this time, they do. The final score: Regular alkalines, 354 shots; premium alkalines, 566; Panasonic Oxyrides, 844. That's not exactly twice the longevity of premium alkalines, as Panasonic promises (and as PC World magazine found in its own Oxyride battery tests). But it's 2.4 times the life of regular alkalines, for the same price. Now, even Panasonic admits that Oxyrides aren't the most economical, environmentally friendly, powerful batteries you can buy. That honor goes to rechargeable nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, which cost under $15 including charger. You can recharge NiMH batteries hundreds of times, and each charge lasts longer than Oxyride or any sort of alkaline. But NiMHs aren't widely available in stores, they lose their charge quickly on the shelf, and the recharging and swapping process requires planning and discipline. Alas, not everybody has the patience; the road to the abandoned-gadgets drawer is paved with good intentions. (Another Oxyride rival is AA disposable lithium batteries, offered by Energizer in a four-pack for about $23. Five times the power of standard alkalines, at six times the price. You do the math.) The bottom line: Oxyride batteries may not quite live up to Panasonic's enthusiastic claims in all kinds of gadgets in every situation. But penny for penny, they deliver more power and, in power-hungry gadgets like digital cameras, last a lot longer than alkalines. Don't look now, but the Energizer bunny may soon be squashed by the Panasonic elephant.

Subject: Re: A New Disposable Battery
From: Pancho Villa
To: Emma
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 08, 2005 at 06:42:55 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Hitachi, Toshiba Show Portable Fuel Cells Devices to power to PDAs, cell phones, and laptops could be available next year. Paul Kallender, IDG News Service Wednesday, October 06, 2004 CHIBA, JAPAN -- Hitachi and Toshiba this week unveiled new fuel cell prototypes for a range of applications that could be commercialized as early as next year. The prototypes on display at Ceatec Japan 2004 show that fuel cells could become a widely adopted supplementary power source to conventional lithium ion batteries, and could start replacing them in some applications after 2007, according to developers. As well as showing its prototype fuel cell for PDAs that it announced last December, Hitachi also unveiled a prototype laptop PC fuel cell and a fuel cell-based battery recharger for mobile phones, both of which will be available in 2006, according to the company. In addition, Hitachi will make a lithium ion battery replacement fuel cell that it will put on sale in 2007, Mitsugu Nakabaru, senior engineer of Hitachi's fuel cell promotion and development group, says. All of the prototypes use direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) technology. The demonstration model PC fuel cell shown is designed to latch on the back of a laptop screen, and is about 10 inches wide, 8 inches long, and between .4 inches and .8 inches thick. This includes a cartridge containing methanol that is diluted to a 20 percent to 30 percent concentration to produce power in the fuel cell. Hitachi is not disclosing the exact specifications, but the demonstration model weighs less than 2.2 pounds, says Nakabaru. The prototype is designed to provide at least five hours of continuous operation for even the most power-hungry laptops while they are running multiple applications, Nakabaru says. 'Five hours, we think, is the minimum specification customers will accept, but we think it will provide five to seven hours at 10 watts for most laptops running the usual programs,' he says. The laptop version is nearly ready for commercialization, but Hitachi is working to improve specifications, including developing the fuel cell's capability to use higher concentrations of methanol up to 40 percent, Nakabaru says. The company declined to discuss potential prices. 'It's nearly ready,' he says. Hitachi's fuel cell for PDAs, which the company already announced, is on target for sale in the second half of 2005, Nakabaru said. That prototype fuel cell is a cartridge type around .4 inches in diameter and between 2.0 inches and 2.4 inches in length. Specifications for the commercial model 'are about the same,' he says. Going Mobile Both Hitachi and Toshiba are showing prototype fuel cell-based lithium-ion battery supplementary power sources for mobile phones designed for KDDI, Japan's number-two carrier. The number of major Japanese electronics companies that have announced fuel cell rechargers for this application currently stands at three. Last week, NTT DoCoMo and Fujitsu Laboratories said they developed a prototype DMFC technology recharger for commercialization in 2006. That version is a cradle-type design that uses a thumb-sized cartridge containing methanol at a concentration of 30 percent to provide an output of 5.4 volts at 700 milliamperes. The commercial version will be able to provide enough power to charge a lithium ion battery three times, to provide about 6-hours worth of continuous use, according to NTT DoCoMo. The Hitachi and Toshiba prototypes are stand-alone boxes with cords that plug into KDDI mobile phones. Both designs will be available before the end of March 2006, Youichi Iriuchijima, assistant manager of KDDI's IT development division, says. Hitachi's fuel cell recharger is smaller than Toshiba's, but Toshiba's design will provide power for longer, Iriuchijima says. The companies are not releasing details about size and weight, and the demonstration models were displayed under plastic. The Hitachi version uses 46 percent methanol concentration fuel to provide 700 milliwatts and 3.5 volts, that is capable of providing at least 5 hours of supplemental power when a lithium ion battery is exhausted, Iriuchijima says. The Toshiba prototype uses a 100 percent concentration methanol fuel that provides nearer 10 hours of power, he says. Power Hungry Devices Over the next few years, many of Japan's mobile phone makers will add power-hungry digital broadcast tuners to their mobile phone models. KDDI sees the fuel cell supplemental batteries as a useful way to reassure users that they will be able to watch TV on their mobile phones without worrying about the battery dying. 'When you are watching TV, and the battery is running out, you can plug these fuel cells in. That's what they are for,' Iriuchijima says. The fuel cells will be able to connect into all KDDI phone models, not just those made by Hitachi and Toshiba, he says. 'The Toshiba and Hitachi versions are for KDDI. Fujitsu's is for NTT DoCoMo. But we are encouraging other companies to join us,' Iriuchijima says. Like Fujitsu, Hitachi is working towards commercializing a fuel cell that will replace the lithium ion battery completely, and this will be commercially available in 2007, says Hitachi's Nakabaru. While Hitachi is not giving details about the battery version, the initial design will be between two and three times more bulky than conventional batteries, he says. 'It's going to take some time, and it's going to be a bit big,' he says. http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,118080,00.asp

Subject: Rayovacs I-C3 technology
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 20:00:14 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
'But NiMHs aren't widely available in stores, they lose their charge quickly on the shelf, and the recharging and swapping process requires planning and discipline. Alas, not everybody has the patience; the road to the abandoned-gadgets drawer is paved with good intentions. ' '(Another Oxyride rival is AA disposable lithium batteries, offered by Energizer in a four-pack for about $23. Five times the power of standard alkalines, at six times the price. You do the math.) ' Johnny5 has done the math, rayovacs new I-C3 batteries can stay fully charged while plugged into the charger - so no shelf life loss - they only take about 15 minutes to charge if fully drained unlike the older rechargeable batteries that took hours, and they power all of johnny's PDA's and MP3 players and Scanners and other such digital goodness and they are widely available in every k-mart, walmart, and radio shack that johnny5 has ever visited. http://www.rayovac.com/recharge/batteries.htm Rayovac's patent-pending I-C3 technology (In-Cell Charge Control) puts the control of the recharging into the battery, instead of the charger. This Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) technology offers fast, safe, reliable charging and provides you with power that lasts longer and is less expensive than constantly throwing away alkaline batteries.

Subject: Master of the Universe
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 10:51:24 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/07/opinion/07mcewan.html?pagewanted=all&position= Master of the Universe By IAN MCEWAN London WHEN a great writer dies - an unusual event, for this is a rare breed - we pay our respects by a visit to our bookshelves, library or bookshop; mourning and celebration merge honorably. It will be some time before we have the full measure of Saul Bellow's achievement, and there is no reason we should not start with a small thing, a phrase or sentence that has become part of our mental furniture, and a part of life's pleasures. After all, good readers, Nabokov advised his students, 'should notice and fondle details.' Bellow lovers often evoke a certain dog, barking forlornly in Bucharest during the long night of the Soviet domination of Romania. It is overheard by an American visitor, Dean Corde, the typically dreamy Bellovian hero of 'The Dean's December,' who imagines these sounds as a protest against the narrowness of canine understanding, and a plea: 'For God's sake, open the universe a little more!' We approve of that observation because we are, in a sense, that dog, and Saul Bellow, our master, heard us and obliged. In fact, the very freedom that Henry James claimed for the novelist in his essay 'The Art of Fiction' ('All life belongs to you') was generously embraced by Mr. Bellow; he set himself, and succeeding generations, free of the formal trappings of modernism, which by the mid-20th century had begun to seem a heavy constraint. He had no time for Virginia Woolf's assertion that in the modern novel character is dead. Mr. Bellow's world is as densely populated as Dickens's, but its citizens are neither caricatures nor grotesques. They sit in memory like people you could convince yourself you have met: the hopeless racketeer Lustgarten ('partly subtle, partly ill') in 'Mosby's Memoirs,' who brings financial ruin to his family by importing a Cadillac into postwar France; the excitable low-lifer, Cantabile, waving a gun in 'Humboldt's Gift' - in his agitation he suddenly needs to defecate, and forces his victim, Charlie Citrine ('a man of culture or intellectual attainments') into the stall with him. Citrine distracts himself with reflections on ape behavior while Cantabile 'crouched there with his hardened dagger brows.' And most vivid of all, for me at least, Moses Herzog, Mr. Bellow's most achieved dreamer, the least practical of men in an America of vigorous, material pursuits. In 'Herzog,' Mr. Bellow brought to perfection the art of fictional digression. When the hero goes to visit his lover, the lovely Ramona, he waits on the bed while she goes off to change into what Martin Amis would call her 'brothel wear.' In those moments Herzog reflects on the way the entire world presses in on him, and Mr. Bellow seems to set out a kind of manifesto, a ringing checklist of the challenges the novelist must confront, or the reality he must contain or describe. It also serves as a reader's guide to the raw material of Mr. Bellow's work. I came to know this passage by heart through re-reading, and borrowed it for the epigraph of a novel. It was a risk, because the pulse of this prose was likely to make my own sound puny. 'Well, for instance, what it means to be a man. In a city. In a century. In transition. In a mass. Transformed by science. Under organized power. Subject to tremendous controls. In a condition caused by mechanization. After the late failure of radical hopes. In a society that was no community and devalued the person. Owing to the multiplied power of numbers which made the self negligible. Which spent military billions against foreign enemies but would not pay for order at home. Which permitted savagery and barbarism in its own great cities. At the same time, the pressure of human millions who have discovered what concerted efforts and thoughts can do. As megatons of water shape organisms on the ocean floor. As tides polish stones. As winds hollow cliffs...' Mr. Bellow's city, of course, was Chicago, as vital to him, and as beautifully, teemingly evoked, as Joyce's Dublin; the novels are not simply set in the 20th century, they are about that century - its awesome transformations, its savagery, its new machines, the great battles of its thought systems, the resounding failure of totalitarian systems, the mixed blessings of the American way. These elements are not dealt with in abstract, but sifted through the vagaries of character, of an individual trying to figure where he stands in relation to the mass of which he is a part. And always, the past is pressing in, memories of childhood, the crowded streets and tenements, shared rooms, overbearing and eccentric relatives and neighbors - the immigrant poor, attending to the call to American identity. The American critic Lee Siegel wrote recently that every British writer with an intellectual or emotional connection to America wants to lay claim to Mr. Bellow, saying, 'He is their Plymouth Rock, or maybe their Rhodesia.' There is some truth to this. What is it we find in him that we cannot find here, amongst our own? I think what we admire is the generous inclusiveness of the work - not since the 19th century has a writer been able to render a whole society, without condescension, or self-conscious social anthropology. Seamlessly, Mr. Bellow can move between the poor and their mean streets, and the power elites of university and government, the privileged dreamer with the 'deep-sea thought.' His work is the embodiment of an American vision of plurality. In Britain we no longer seem able to write across the crass and subtle distortions of class - or rather, we can't do it gracefully, without seeming to strain or without caricature. Mr. Bellow appears larger, therefore, than any British writer can hope to be. Another reason: in a literary culture that has generally favored the whole scheme of a novel against the finely crafted sentence, we honor the musicality, the wit, the lovely beat of a good Bellovian line. An example, rightly favored by the critic James Wood, is the description of Behrens, the florist in the story 'Something to Remember Me By': 'Amid the flowers, he alone had no color - something like the price he paid for being human.' Another example, of special significance to me because I paid tribute to Bellow by making a variation on it: in 'Herzog,' we read of Gersbach with his wooden leg, 'bending and straightening gracefully like a gondolier.' It is not surprising then that some of the best celebrations of Mr. Bellow's writing have originated in Britain. Certain essays may already be on your shelves, and in this time of taking stock, it might be enlivening to reach for them. One of them is Martin Amis's magnificent advocacy of 'The Adventures of Augie March' as the definitive Great American Novel in the introduction to the Everyman edition; another is James Wood's introduction to Penguin's 'Collected Stories,' in which joy is a central element in his response to the work. Writers we admire and re-read are absorbed into the fine print of our consciousness, into the white noise of our thoughts, and in this sense, they can never die. Saul Bellow started publishing in the 1940's, and his work spreads across the century he helped to define. He also redefined the novel, broadened it, liberated it, made it warm with human sense and wit and grand purpose. Henry James once proposed an obvious but helpful truth: 'the deepest quality of a work of art will always be the quality of the mind of the producer.' We are saying farewell to a mind of unrivalled quality. He opened our universe a little more. We owe him everything.

Subject: Rocket Science?
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 10:15:58 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We have an economy which is foundationed on consumers to a higher degree than ever in history. We have consumers in greater debt than ever in history. We have a consumer primarily supported by a soaring housing market - not booming jobs numbers and rising wages relative to inflation. This is from Forbes: Fresh Pricks In Housing Bubble Dan Ackman, 03.02.05, 9:00 AM ET There is a sharp debate over whether there is a bubble in the U.S. housing market generally or in certain localities, or whether there is a bubble at all. But the past two days have brought fresh warnings that home prices are unsustainable. First, a new study by the National Association of Realtors shows that 23% of all homes purchased in 2004 were for investment, while another 13% were vacation homes. Traditionally, one of the bulwarks against a sharp decline in housing prices has been the fact (or belief) that most people live in their homes and would be unlikely to sell even if the market heads downward. But the same logic would not apply to investment homes or vacation homes. While there has long been anecdotal evidence that non-occupant buyers are fueling the rise in home prices, the NAR study claims to be the first to thoroughly analyze the phenomenon. The study, based on 2003 census data, says there are 43.8 million second homes in the U.S. While 6.6 million of these are vacation homes, far more, 37.2 million, are investment units. This compares with 72.1 million owner-occupied homes. About a quarter of last year's home sales were for investment homes, NAR says. Nearly 80% of investment buyers rent their homes. While an owner-occupant is unlikely to sell his or her home (except to buy a new one), for an investor, the decision to sell is much more purely economic: If rents can't sustain a mortgage, there is no point in owning an investment property, except for the hope that home prices will inevitably rise, as they have been. So far, there has been no problem. Since 2001, the median price of an investment home has risen 25.4%, from $118,000 to $146,900. (In most markets, the average price is much higher than the median.) But if prices start to fall or if mortgage rates start to rise, there could be a rush to sell and a crash. Otherwise, some investment buyers could find themselves unable to get renters at all, as rental vacancy rates are near historic highs. With many buyers putting down almost no cash, they could simply let their bank foreclose and walk away. Investment buyers could be made even more sensitive to interest rate increases than is normally the case. The reason is the increasing popularity of adjustable rate mortgages. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, more than 32% of mortgages are now adjustable. The popularity of ARMs is on the rise even though the spread between the so-called teaser rate and the fixed rate on a standard 30-year mortgage has narrowed. An adjustable mortgage is most attractive to a borrower who figures he won't own the house for long. That could be a person who figures he will move to a different area or will soon be able to afford a better home. Or it may be a person who figures he'll unload the place to a greater fool. All these trends are playing out against a larger trend of double-digit price increases for the average new home nationally, and 20% or more price jumps in many markets, including some of the most populous markets in the Northeast, Southern California and Las Vegas. At the same time, the share prices of home builders like Toll Brothers (nyse: TOL - news - people ), Centex (nyse: CTX - news - people ), D.R. Horton (nyse: DHI - news - people ) and Pulte Homes (nyse: PHM - news - people ) are all up by 25% to 100% in the last six months. Top mortgage lenders Countrywide Financial (nyse: CFC - news - people ) and Bank of America (nyse: BAC - news - people ) have increased their lending by 40% and 31%, respectively, in a year. Most studies of housing markets are conducted by people with a vested interest in keeping spirits high. As a result, even those who issue warnings tend to mute their gloom. For instance, a study reported in yesterday's Los Angeles Times warns that Southern California home prices 'could be at or near a peak,' noting they are likely to level but are unlikely to fall by much. That study is by Christopher Cagan, an economist for First American, a title insurer. Cagan notes that since 1998, prices in Los Angeles-Long Beach, Orange County, Riverside-San Bernardino and San Diego have been climbing by about 20% to 40% above their long-term average annual growth rate of 3.2% to 6.2%. He notes that in the last downturn, from 1995 to 1997, prices dipped 10% to 25% below their 'historical averages.' Cagan is quoted as saying, 'We won't be seeing 20%, 25% or 30% appreciation rates anymore,' and he's allowing for a 5% decline. As with all bubbles, it's fun to ride up and scary to get off while the roller coaster is still climbing. But if prices have doubled in four years, unfueled by income gains of anything close to that level, what's to stop, say, a 30% or 50% drop?

Subject: Costs Lure Peop to India for Medical Car
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 09:55:40 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/07/business/worldbusiness/07health.html?pagewanted=all&position= Low Costs Lure Foreigners to India for Medical Care By SARITHA RAI BANGALORE, India - Until recently, Robert Beeney, a 64-year-old real estate consultant from San Francisco, lived in pain. But when he finally decided to do something about the discomfort, he spurned all the usual choices. His doctors advised that he get his hip joint replaced, which his insurer would pay for, but after doing some research on the Internet, he decided to get a different procedure - joint resurfacing - not covered by his insurance. And instead of going to a nearby hospital, he chose to go to India and paid $6,600, a fraction of the $25,000 he would have paid at home for the surgery. This winter, Mr. Beeney flew to Hyderabad, in southern India, and had the surgery at Apollo Hospital by a specialist trained in London, Dr. Vijay Bose. Two weeks later, Mr. Beeney said that he was walking around the Taj Mahal 'just like any other tourist.' Mr. Beeney's story is becoming increasingly common, as Europeans and Americans, looking for world-class treatments at prices a fourth or fifth of what they would be at home, are traveling to India. Modern hospitals, skilled doctors and advanced treatments are helping foreigners overcome some of their qualms about getting medical treatments in India. Even as politicians and workers' groups are opposing the corporate practice of outsourcing, Mr. Beeney and patients like him are literally outsourcing themselves - not only to India but also to Thailand, Singapore and other places - for all kinds of medical services from cosmetic to critical surgeries. About 150,000 foreigners visited India for medical treatments in the year ending in March 2004, the Confederation of Indian Industry, a leading industry group, said. That number was projected to rise by 15 percent each year for the next several years. The consulting firm McKinsey & Company, a management consultant based in New York, said foreign visitors would help Indian hospitals earn 100 billion rupees (about $2.3 billion) by 2012. 'Health is an emotional issue; it's not like buying a toy or a shirt made abroad,' said a health care analyst for McKinsey, Gautam Kumra, who is based in New Delhi. 'Nevertheless, you cannot deny the power of economics.' For some foreigners, like George Marshall, a 73-year-old violin restorer from Yorkshire, England, India's hospitals also offer speedier treatments. Last year, Mr. Marshall said that he started having trouble finishing a round of golf. An angiogram showed two blocked arteries in his heart. With the British National Health Service, Mr. Marshall would have had to wait three weeks to see a specialist, and six more months for coronary bypass surgery. 'At 73, I don't have the time to wait,' Mr. Marshall said. 'Six months could be the rest of my life.' Nor could he afford the £20,000 ($38,000) for surgery at a private hospital. After an Internet search and a chance meeting with a businessman who had gone to India for surgery, Mr. Marshall traveled to the Wockhardt Hospital in Bangalore in southern India last winter. His surgeon, Vivek Jawali, had trained at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. The men chatted about British politics and Dr. Jawali gave Mr. Marshall his cellphone number and said that he was available 24 hours. A surprised Mr. Marshall said that in the British health system, 'you are just a number, but here you are a person.' Travel expenses included, the surgery cost him £4,500 ($8,400). While the number of patients from the West is still small in India, the trend is expected to grow as populations age and health costs balloon. In India, cardiac surgeries cost about one-fifth of what they would in the United States; orthopedic treatments cost about one-fourth as much and cataract surgeries are as low as one-tenth of their cost at American hospitals. Mr. Kumra, the McKinsey health consultant who also advises the auto industry, noted that a corporation like General Motors spends $5 billion on health care annually. 'When you buy a G.M. car, you are helping G.M. fund $2,000 or $3,000 towards health care costs of retired workers,' Mr. Kumra said. To curb spending, corporations are being forced to look at creative low-cost solutions. For instance, radiologists working for Wipro, a software and information technology company based in Bangalore, analyze X-rays and scans from United States hospitals for a fraction of the cost. A diagnostics firm, SRL Ranbaxy, based in New Delhi, tests blood serum and tissue samples from British hospitals. Health specialists say that sending patients to India for treatment is not as unthinkable as it was 20 years ago. 'India is well-positioned to expand into this area of outsourcing,' said John Lovelock, an analyst in Ontario on global industries for Gartner. 'India is equipped to provide long-term in-patient rehabilitation services, which are very labor intensive, require large facilities and are under serviced in North America,' he said. In the last four years, the Apollo Hospital chain, which has 18 hospitals throughout Asia, has treated 43,000 foreigners, mainly from nations in southern Asia and the Persian Gulf. Last year, 7 percent of its 5 billion rupees ($114.9 million) in revenue came from medical services provided to foreigners. Apollo's founder, Dr. Prathap C. Reddy, 73, a surgeon trained at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, said that health care in India had drastically changed from the time he returned to open his first hospital in 1983. 'Then, all rich Indians rushed overseas for medical help,' Dr. Reddy said. Now, he has 200 doctors on his staff who are qualified to work in the United States, and has many wealthy Indian expatriates as clients. Still, some hospitals in India are discovering that affordable costs and foreign-trained doctors may not be enough to make India a global health care destination. The country's dilapidated airports, garbage-strewn streets and overcrowded slums can put off even the hardiest foreigners. 'Some foreign patients arrived at the airport and took the next flight back,' said Dr. Reddy, who has been trying to persuade the local government in Chennai, formerly known as Madras, to clear a slum next to his hospital there. 'I can change the insides of my hospitals, but I cannot change the airports and roads,' Dr. Reddy said, The challenge, said Harpal Singh, chairman of Fortis Healthcare, a chain of hospitals based in New Delhi, is to get the world to understand that India is a complex country. Acknowledging that foreigners might feel more at home having surgery in sleek hospitals in Singapore or Thailand, which are competing to woo them, Mr. Singh said, 'We have to project that India is capable of delivering first-rate as well as shoddy work.' Fortis, part owned by the country's biggest drug firm, Ranbaxy Laboratories, has a chain of four hospitals in India and another six on the way. Indian hospitals are also working to ensure that they meet international standards. The Indian Healthcare Federation, a group of 50 hospitals led by Dr. Reddy, is developing accreditation standards for hospitals. One doctor in India held up as first rate is Dr. Naresh Trehan, a cardiac surgeon based in New Delhi and the executive director of Escorts Heart Institute and Research Center. Dr. Trehan, 58, who studied cardiac surgery at the New York University School of Medicine and worked there for a decade, returned to India in 1988 to open his own cardiac hospital in New Delhi. The hospital now conducts 4,000 heart surgeries a year with 0.8 percent mortality rates and 0.3 percent infection rates, on par with the best of the world's hospitals. Last October, Dr. Trehan performed surgery on Howard Staab, 53, an uninsured self-employed carpenter from Durham, N.C., to repair a leaking mitral heart valve. Mr. Staab paid $10,000 for his surgery, his round-trip fare to India and for a visit to the Taj Mahal. In the United States, his options included surgery costing $60,000 at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. To take advantage of patients like Mr. Staab, Indian hospitals are expanding. In the Gurgaon suburbs of New Delhi, Dr. Trehan is building a $250 million multispecialty hospital modeled after the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. In the same neighborhood will be Fortis Healthcare's Medicity, a 43-acre hospital complex for foreign patients, which will have special immigration and travel counters and interpreters, with the idea of branding itself the Johns Hopkins Hospital of the East. 'We're gearing up, and the doors of Indian hospitals are wide open to the Western world,' Dr. Trehan said.

Subject: My relative on dialysis
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 19:40:02 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Went to several doctors in florida for his kidneys - after determining he was too old to get on the kidney donor list here in America - he was told unofficially to go to india and he could buy some kidneys and the procedure for under 30K. But he couldn't get beyond all the moral issues of using young poor people for thier body parts for one, and for 2 the doctors telling him this never seemed to convince him that the procedure was a good invesment and would not fail - in the 3 dialysis clinics he has taken treatments in, everyone that has had the kidney replacement sugery had the kidneys fail within a year. He was shown literature to the contrary and that many peoples new kidneys did take, but he doesn't believe what he reads much - just what real people tell him about thier real life.

Subject: Central Park: Imagine
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 06:09:07 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://store1.yimg.com/I/palemale-store_1840_13265100 Hello, I am a Central Park screech owl who has just fledged 3 baby screech owls [screechlets?]. Imagine :)

Subject: That's the spirit Emma - how cute!
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 06:26:44 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:

Subject: Re: Central Park or Central Perk?
From: Pancho Villa
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 15:24:19 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:

Subject: Bond Values
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 04:42:34 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Bond holders, international and domestic, ought to worry. We experienced an extended loss of value in bonds from 1972 to 1982. I have wondered whether this loss slowed investment and productivity growth in America for far longer. Another such period ought to be unthinkable.

Subject: Realism
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 09:00:54 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The point of investing is always realism. That is how to be successful. Know how to judge where value is.

Subject: tell people to worry, you sink your investments
From: johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 09:31:20 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.corporatefinance.mckinsey.com/_downloads/knowledge/MOF/2005_no15/MoF15_behavior_finance.pdf Don't make people worry, PLEASE

Subject: Ulcers not valuable
From: johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 09:23:08 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
I read everywhere that trade sanction with china are on the way but you say that is impossible so I don't sweat it anymore and so what if it comes, do you really buy that much stuff made in china Terri? You got me to stop worrying dear Terri (big hug) and my ulcers went away now you say to worry again? Huh? Where is Value for you? Making my ulcers come back? Medical costs are going up - I can't afford more ulcer medicine. Reality is that money comes and goes, and in every life there is some trouble, but if you worry you make it double, so don't worry, be happy.

Subject: Ulcers are Bacterial Infections
From: Terri
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 09:50:19 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Ulcers are not caused by worry, they are bacterial infections and cured by antibiotics :) But, there is no need to worry just to be knowledgeable and realistic.

Subject: What is worrying gonna achieve?
From: johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 06:25:09 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
You are in the GNMA vanguard bond fund right - why worry - how does that stop what is coming? People are gonna need your optimism to get them through what is coming Terri, or they might jump off buildings, sing some bobby mcferrin. Dear Terri your gift is the joy in face of other's pain - share it - don't share worry.

Subject: Our Treasury Debt
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 04:31:29 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The repeated comment that the debt we have to Social Security is a mere fiction is worrisome, but the suggestions go father to belittle the notion that all our treasurt debt is of no particular account for we can inflate and devalue our way past the debt. The comments come from alarming sources beginning with the President. Possibly no one really takes the comments seriously, for interest rate stay low, but I increasingly worry we trap ourselves in the language we use.

Subject: Bellow on Love, Art and Identity
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 19:36:36 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/books/00/04/23/specials/bellow-onlove.html June 3, 1987 Bellow on Love, Art and Identity By MERVYN ROTHSTEIN In Saul Bellow's new novel, ''More Die of Heartbreak,'' a botanist is asked by a reporter about the problems of radiation levels, dioxin and harmful wastes. ''It's terribly serious, of course,'' the botanist says, ''but I think more people die of heartbreak than of radiation.'' ''I think that's true,'' Mr. Bellow said, sitting in the lobby of a quiet midtown hotel. Yet the botanist is ridiculed in the press for what he says, and in the novel Mr. Bellow presents the statement in a humorous way. ''Well, I learned from reading George Bernard Shaw years ago,'' he said, ''that you can get away with murder as long as you can make people laugh.'' ''One of the subjects of the book,'' he continued, ''is the difference between a fabricated person and a true person. All through the writing of this book I was reading a lot of Nietzsche, and he makes some curious statements. He says that in a free society people are more free to make themselves up. He says that in older, more stable societies people didn't mind being a part of the general plan of the society, that they were governed by some kind of architectural faith and that they took their proper places in life, sometimes as an inconspicuous part of the whole structure, but that in a modern society people are released from all such necessities, and he mentions America particularly. They make themselves up. They leave nature and go toward art, is the way Nietzsche puts it. Well, the art is often not very good. It starts out with the project of inventing yourself gloriously and it ends up with a kind of fizzing out of the whole impulse.'' 'Access to Your Own Soul' It all goes by a blueprint, Mr. Bellow said. ''For a while I was a devoted reader of Playboy. Not for sexual reasons - it didn't do much for me in that department - but you could see that Playboy existed in order to advise young people on the make how to dress, what sort of apartment to have, how to furnish, where to dine, how to make a salad dressing, how to get your hair cut, how to entertain, how to date. The magazine was a source of instruction to people who have come up very quickly and haven't had time to look into these matters, which they needed for a successful corporate career or just for getting by socially, or whatever. So they go by a lot of slogans, which have been inculcated into them, and what happens to the true person? Culture means having access to your own soul. That's a very old-fashioned notion, but I think a great many people understand it.'' The novel concerns the relationship between the botanist, Benn Crader, and his nephew, Kenneth, as well as their many problems with their wives, lovers and ex-lovers. It's clear in the book that Mr. Bellow feels that there are many difficulties in contemporary relations between men and women. ''At the beginning of modern times, women were promised love, as it were,'' he said. ''They were told, you're going to be free, you're going to be well, you're going to love and be loved, and this will help you to weather the difficulties of life. This is Rousseau's plan - these free societies based on enlightened principles were not going to work unless people were trained in love, educated for it. 'Wretchedness' ''And that was the whole subject of the novel for a couple of centuries, that people were in love, either faithful or unfaithful, and in the French novel I suppose adultery was the principal subject for a long time. And in America, as one should have expected, this was done on a big scale, through sentiment, romantic books, Tin Pan Alley, early movies and all the rest. Well, then there was a sort of feminine discovery that this was bunk, that you couldn't take it from your ma that if you're a good girl you're going to be lucky, Mr. Right will come along, you'll be happy, your husband will love you, you'll love him, you'll be a happy family. ''Suddenly this was snatched away, and it was replaced by the sexual revolution, which has a very different foundation - namely, that you were a creature, you were an animal, you had certain creaturely needs, sex was one of them, you have a right to gratify these for the sake of your health, your well-being, your complexion, your personality, or whatnot else. All right, so people gave this a fling. Well, no human being takes another human being all that seriously any more, and when you have that happening at the very core of a society, then you're looking at a lot of trouble, a great deal of wretchedness, because something in human nature demands a constancy of connection, emotional constancy. There's a secret voice in us which says, 'No, this is bad; this is wrong. I'm alone again, once more cast into outer darkness.' '' The Beleaguered Artist It is now a little more than 10 years since Mr. Bellow, who will be 72 years old next month, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. How has it affected his career? ''First of all,'' he said, ''I didn't start out to be successful. I started out to write. I didn't start scribbling at the age of 16 to win a prize. I would have been satisfied with much less. I didn't invent America's celebrity machinery, either, and I stay away from it as much as I can. In between books I have nothing at all to do with it.'' Mr. Bellow said he writes ''because this is my path into life. I don't know what I am without it. It's inconceivable for me to picture myself without it. I don't have a full explanation for it, any more than birds do for bird song.'' The artist in our society, though, is beleaguered, he said. In the novel, Kenneth says that the humanities -poetry, philosophy, painting - are ''the nursery games of humankind, which had to be left behind when the age of science began. The humanities would be called upon to choose a wallpaper for the crypt, as the end drew near.'' The artist's role, Mr. Bellow said, is one of resistance to these denaturing forces. ''William Blake is a wonderful guide to this,'' he said. ''First of all, you only know the truth of a poet or an artist when your heart rises up and says, 'Yes, yes, that's it, that's true. What he says is true. I've known it all along, only now it's clear to me because he has said it.' And the imagination to Blake is a divine power, and man is divine himself, insofar as he participates, as he enjoys the use of this power. It brings about a strength of personal vision. Not everybody sees the same world. Some people, when they see the sun in the sky, see something resembling a gold coin. Others see a chorus of angels crying 'Holy, holy, holy.' And as you see, so you are. That is a grade of human character - it's connected to the quality of perception of the external world.'' ''When I wrote 'The Dean's December,' '' he said, ''I tried to say in that book that even the power to experience is taken from us by our lack of development in art, in culture, so that we don't know how to interpret experience. So if you ask people to explain why they are what they are, why they do what they do, they're on the moon when they try to explain it to you. I know that and you know that.'' But, Mr. Bellow said, there is still hope. ''Our humanity is in so many ways intact. It's absolutely impossible for it to be destroyed in just one phase of human development. How do we know that? Well, ordinary people can still see 'King Lear' and weep.''

Subject: Saul Bellow: On His Work and Himself
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 19:32:43 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/books/00/04/23/specials/bellow-talk81.html December 13, 1981 A Talk With Saul Bellow: On His Work and Himself By MICHIKO KAKUTANI I sometimes enjoy saying that anybody's life can be encompassed in about 10 wonderful jokes. One of my favorites is about an American singer who makes his debut at La Scala. He sings his first aria to great applause. And the crowd calls 'Ancora, vita, vita.' He sings it a second time, and again they call for an encore. Then a third time and a fourth ... Finally, panting and exhausted, he asks, 'How many times must I sing this aria?' Then someone tells him, 'Until you get it right.' That's how it is with me - I always feel I haven't gotten it quite right, and so I go on singing.'' Saul Bellow tells this story with great relish. Sitting down in a black leather easy chair, he gazes out through the window of his high-rise apartment to the dark waters of Lake Michigan beyond, and throws his head back and laughs. His conversation, like his books, is at once colloquial and lofty, intellectual and passionate, filled with jokes heard on the Chicago streets and the high seriousness of Academe. The author himself bears a certain resemblance to his own heroes: earnest, elegantly dressed and deeply thoughtful, he too is ''a hungry observer'' of everything around him. At 66, Mr. Bellow has written nine novels - the latest, ''The Dean's December,'' will be published in January by Harper and Row - and created in his work a distinctive fictional world. It is a world animated by an acutely moral imagination and populated by assorted cranks, con men and fast-talking salesmen of reality who goad and challenge Mr. Bellow's now familiar heroes. Whether it is poor, putupon Moses Herzog or Eugene Henderson, that absurd seeker of higher qualities, or wise old Artur Sammler or Albert Corde in ''The Dean's December,'' they are men caught in the middle of a spiritual crisis, overwhelmed by the sheer ''muchness'' of the world and frightened by the stubborn fact of death. Rejecting both easy optimism and easy despair, they tend, like Corde, to wonder if their own problems are simply their share of ''the bigscale insanities of the 20th century.'' Like these characters who are continually searching for a way to apprehend reality, Mr. Bellow tends to regard fiction as a kind of tool for investigating the society around him; he sees the novelist as ''an imaginative historian, who is able to get closer to contemporary facts than social scientists possibly can.'' But while the madness of the modern world, manifested in everything from sexual profligacy to random violence, has always reverberated in his characters' lives - a phenomenon that became more pronounced in ''Mr. Sammler's Planet'' -specific public issues have remained largely in the background. With ''The Dean's December,'' such matters as oppression in Eastern Europe, the plight of the American ''underclass,'' student militancy and the deterioration of life in American cities are more directly addressed. What brought about this heightened focus on political and social issues? For one thing, Mr. Bellow says he realized after writing ''To Jerusalem and Back,'' an account of his 1975 trip to Israel, that ''it was as easy to write about great public matters as about private ones - all it required was more confidence and daring.'' The winning of the Nobel Prize in 1976 no doubt provided some of that necessary confidence, and he made plans to write a nonfiction book about Chicago. After making hundreds of pages of notes, however, he decided to abandon that approach and write a novel. ''I found a more congenial way to do it, my own way, developed over many decades,'' he says. ''But I think I've begun to write differently - I had never really attempted anything of this sort before, though I've been all my life an amateur student of history and politics. It became clear to me that no imagination whatsoever had been applied to the problems of demoralized cities. All the approaches have been technical, financial and bureaucratic, and no one has been able to take into account the sense of these lives.'' ''I thought I had to cut loose with this book,'' he goes on. ''It seems many of my contemporaries don't take many personal risks - they shoot fish in a barrel. They write about wounded adolescents - there's no problem there. Sexual adventures -there's no problem there. Wounded ethnicity. They appear occasionally to be bold, to challenge the powers that be, but they're generally pretty safe. I think I'm speaking out quite frankly about the deterioration of life in American cities (in this book), and I wouldn't be surprised if I drew some flack. But if you've told yourself all your life that you're a friend of the truth, there comes a time when you must put up or shut up. They're not going to be able to shrug this one off, though there are some very powerful shruggers around.'' By now, Mr. Bellow points out, he is somewhat accustomed to drawing flack - at least from certain quarters of the literary establishment. For all the honors he has received - a Pulitzer and three National Book Awards as well as the Nobel -he sees himself as going against the mainstream of contemporary literature. He has long rejected the fashionable nihilism of what he calls the ''wastelanders,'' those who believe - as he once put it in a 1966 speech -that it is ''enlightened to expose, to disenchant, to hate and to experience disgust.'' He is equally skeptical of willful estheticism. As far as Mr. Bellow is concerned, those writers who substitute analysis for imagination have estranged literature from the common world and removed one of its original and most important purposes: the raising of moral questions. Contemporary writers, he adds, are also easily tempted by the sensational, for they are faced with ''the Ancient Mariner problem'' - like Coleridge's seaman, ''they need something to buttonhole the wedding guests with, as they go from wedding to wedding or orgy to orgy; they need something that has the power to penetrate distraction.'' Such views, coupled with his attitudes toward more general social matters - most notably his skepticism about the 60's counterculture - have been delineated by Mr. Bellow in both his essays and his novels, and they have occasionally made for controversy. Touring universities in the 60's, Mr. Bellow was occasionally denounced by students during his lectures, and the critic Richard Poirier contended, in an essay written for Partisan Review, that ''Herzog'' and ''Mr. Sammler's Planet'' were ''efforts to test out, to substantiate, to vitalize, and ultimately to propagate a kind of cultural conservatism.'' It is an observation Mr. Bellow rejects. ''People who stick labels on you are in the gumming business,'' he says by way of reply. ''What good are these categories? They mean very little, especially when the people who apply them haven't had a new thought since they were undergraduates and now preside over a literary establishment that lectures to dentists and accountants who want to be filled in on the thrills. I think these are the reptiles of the literary establishment who are grazing on the last Mesozoic grasses of Romanticism. Americans in this respect are quite old-fashioned: they're quite willing to embrace stale European ideas - they should be on 10th Avenue where the rest of the old importers used to be. ''They think they know what writers should be and what writers should write, but who are these representatives who practice what Poirier preaches? They're, for the most part, spiritless, etiolated, and the liveliest of them are third-rate vaudevillians. Is this literary life? I'd rather inspect gas mains in Chicago.'' With their old-fashioned characters, their passion for big ideas and problems of the spirit, Mr. Bellow's own books clearly belong to a different tradition. The Old Testament, Shakespeare and the great 19th-century Russian novels - these were the books Bellow read as a boy, and these were the books which, in large measure, gave him a sense of what great literature ought to do. Indeed, his choice of vocation, he says, was animated by the traditional challenge ''to account for the mysterious circumstance of being.'' ''I don't think I was a very sophisticated person,'' he says, recalling his youth in Chicago as the son of an onion importer who had immigrated from Russia. ''Chicago is not a city that produces sophisticated people, but it was in Chicago where this child of Jewish immigrants got the idee fixe of becoming an American author, and he had to find a way to prove he wasn't hallucinated, that he could write English sentences and that he could hold the attention of a reader or two. In those days, the WASP establishment wouldn't listen till you established your credentials - there are people even now who don't.'' To establish his credentials, Mr. Bellow wrote two books that filled what he calls ''formal requirements'': ''Dangling Man,'' the story of a young Chicagoan awaiting induction into the war, was his B.A.; ''The Victim,'' a portrait of a journalist and his importunate, anti-Semitic alter ego, his Ph.D. Both these somber books won modest critical acclaim, but their author, who was living in Paris on a Guggenheim at the time, says he was already sinking ''into a depression by trying to do the wrong things.'' In a kind of manic reaction, he began another book, a book that he would write ''in a purple fever'' over the next three years. The book, of course, was the exuberantly picaresque ''Augie March.'' ''Augie March'' marked Mr. Bellow's discovery of his own voice. It was a supple voice, infused with the rhythms and idioms of Yiddish, a voice that was capable of articulating a moral vision and lofty philosophical speculation in the most colloquial of terms. ''I loosened up,'' Mr. Bellow recalls, ''and found I could flail my arms and express my impulses. I was unruly at first and didn't have things under control, but it was at least a kind of spontaneous event. It was my liberation.'' ''Augie March,'' Mr. Bellow said at the time, came easily -all he had to do ''was to be there with buckets to catch it'' - and it won the National Book Award in 1953. But, in retrospect, the experience was somewhat disconcerting as well, for it revealed to Mr. Bellow certain prejudices within the literary community that would last for many years. ''I began to discover,'' he says, ''that while I thought I was simply laying an offering on the altar like a faithful petitioner, other people thought I was trying to take over the church. It came at a strange point when I think the WASP establishment was losing confidence in itself, and it felt it was being challenged by Jews, blacks and ethnics, and some people were saying there was a Jewish mafia, and other people, who should have had more sense, spoke of - well, they didn't use the word conspiracy, but they saw it as an unwelcome eruption. I began to talk of Malamud, Roth and me as Hart, Shaffner & Marx, and there was a pathetic absurdity under it all - all we wanted was to add ourselves to the thriving enterprise we loved; no one wanted to take over. That's a motive worthy of the Mafia, and I don't think Hart, Shaffner & Marx were Mafiosi.' ''I think of myself as an American of Jewish heritage,'' he goes on. ''When most people call someone a 'Jewish writer,' it's a way of setting you aside. They don't talk about the powers of the 'Jewish writers' who wrote the Old Testament; they say to write novels you need to know something about manners, which is something you have to be raised in the South to know. I felt many writers (during the 50's and early 60's) treated their Jewish colleagues with unpardonable shabbiness, and anti-Semitism after the Holocaust is absolutely unforgivable.'' With the breakthrough in style achieved in ''Augie March,'' there also came a shift in tone. Whereas the first two books shared a certain depressive quality - underlined by the fact that their heroes did little to resolve the condition of their alienation - ''Augie March'' was a wildly extroverted work, ending with its hero looking forward to his next adventure. Later books such as ''Henderson, the Rain King'' and ''Herzog'' would go somewhat further: each ended with its protagonist taking the first step toward an affirmation of his life, and these books would also play, with greater facility, between what Mr. Bellow refers to as ''the two sides of my psyche'' -the brooding side and the exuberant. ''For many years,'' he explains, ''Mozart was a kind of idol to me - this rapturous singing for me that's always on the edge of sadness and melancholy and disappointment and heartbreak, but always ready for an outburst of the most delicious music. I found Mozart temperamentally so congenial. I'm not claiming the same range of talent, but I often feel an affinity with him.'' Certainly many of Mr. Bellow's characters have shared temperamental affinities with their author - a fact that Mr. Bellow acknowledges by quoting Alberto Moravia, who once told him, ''Every novel is some kind of higher autobiography.'' In ''The Dean's December,'' for instance, Albert Corde takes a trip to Bucharest to help his wife attend her dying mother - as Mr. Bellow himself did several years ago - and Corde shares, more or less, his creator's age, occupation and place of residence. Like many of Mr. Bellow's heroes, Corde is also something of a lapsed intellectual, who takes pride and pleasure in exercising his mind, but also worries about the inadequacy of all his theories. As Mr. Sammler puts it, ''Intellectual man had become an explaining creature. Fathers to children, wives to husbands, lecturers to listeners, colleagues to colleagues, doctors to patients, man to his own soul explained. ... For the most part, in one ear and out the other. The soul wanted what it wanted.'' Of course, Mr. Bellow himself has curiously ambivalent attitudes towards academia. He believes, on one hand, that ''it's in the university and only in the university that Americans can have a higher life,'' and yet he also contends that professors ''are so eager to live the life of society like everybody else that they're not always intellectually or spiritually as rigorous as they should be.'' By institutionalizing the avant-garde magazines and giving writers the security of tenure, he argues, universities effectively destroyed the independent literary culture that once existed in this country. Still, Mr. Bellow finds that an academic community provides him with people ''to talk to about the things that concern me most,'' and he has served, since 1964, on the prestigious Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. His decision to leave New York and return to Chicago in the early 60's, he says, was motivated, in part, by what he saw as the increased politicization of writers in New York. When he first arrived in New York during the 40's, a ''young hick'' bent on ''going to the big town and taking it,'' a sense of community existed among writers associated with the Partisan Review. Mr. Bellow became friends with such writers and critics as Meyer Schapiro, Dwight Macdonald, Delmore Schwartz and Clement Greenberg - ''they were not always friendly friends, but they were always stimulating friends'' -and he enjoyed the ''open spirit of easy fraternization'' that animated their discussions. Politics, generally in the form of Marxism, tended to be mostly theoretical. ''Then,'' Mr. Bellow recalls, ''a new generation turned up -a lot of people out of Columbia University, a lot of students of Lionel Trilling, who got into enterprises like Commentary -and suddenly the whole atmosphere in New York became far more political than it had been before. With the Vietnam War and other issues, people became organized in camps, and while I was opposed to the war, I just refused to line up with the new groups. I didn't like it, and it seemed to me a good time to leave New York, because I'd been drawn there in the first place by my literary interests, and there seemed to be no room for an independent writer in New York anymore. It became harder to find people to talk to, and it was harder to stay out of the draft - you were always being solicited for this cause or that, always being drafted for one thing or another. ''People have said in their memoirs that I was guarded, cautious, career-oriented, but I don't think that's so - after all, there was nothing easier in New York during those days than the life of the extremist, and that's continued to be so. I was not comfortable with the extremist life, and so I thought I might as well go back to the undiluted U.S.A., go back to Chicago. It's vulgar but it's vital and it's more American, more representative.'' Indeed, Mr. Bellow finds that in Chicago he is able to keep up with his old high school friends, as well as a cross-section of society including contractors, lawyers, doctors, physicists, historians, policemen and retired social workers - some of whom surface in his fiction. ''You meet people,'' he says, ''They reveal or conceal themselves, and you read them or try. They struggle with their souls or don't. They either generate interest or not. It forms a picture for you. The people who interest me the most do concern themselves with the formation of a soul. The others are what Hollywood used to call the cast of thousands.'' When he is working on a book, Mr. Bellow spends his mornings at an electric typewriter, set up by a window overlooking Lake Michigan. After nine novels, the craft has been mastered, but the magical aspect of the art remains. Mr. Bellow, in fact, has spoken in the past of ''a primitive prompter or commentator within, who from earliest years has been advising us, telling us what the real world is'' - a commentator not unlike Henderson's little voice that constantly cries, ''I want, I want'' - and he attributes his best writing to this unconscious source. ''I think a writer is on track when the door of his native and deeper intuitions is open,'' he says. ''You write a sentence that doesn't come from that source and you can't build around it - it makes the page seem somehow false. You have a gyroscope within that tells you whether what you're doing is right or wrong. I've always felt a writer is something of a medium, and when something is really working, he has a certain clairvoyant power; he has a sense of what's going on. Whenever I've published a book that's received wide attention, I've heard from thousands of people around the world who have been thinking the same thing - as though I'd anticipated things. I didn't mean to, but I've learned one does.'' Since he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976, of course, those letters from readers have increased, as have the demands on Mr. Bellow's time. He is asked to deliver speeches (he recently gave the celebrated Tanner lectures at Oxford) serve on committees and sign all mannner of petitions. As far as he is concerned, these responsibilities act as distractions from his true vocation. ''I could spend the rest of my life now functioning on committees,'' he says, ''standing up for all the right things and denouncing all the bad ones. What good this does your art, I leave to the expert guessers to guess at. I have yet to feel I've intimidated Brezhnev by signing protests.'' ''The Nobel changes things in different ways,'' he continues. ''For one thing, you feel that you have more authority, and if the Academy was mistaken in giving you the prize, you try to make the best of it, and recover your balance and your normal poise and not feel oppressed by the weight of this honor. I don't intend to let this laurel wreath of heavy metal sink me. I'm treading water very successfully, thank you. I know people like John Steinbeck thought it was the kiss of death, but I've decided to choose my own death kiss. No one's going to lay it on me.''

Subject: Taco Bell: A Side Order of Human Rights
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 18:35:01 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/06/opinion/06schlosser.html?pagewanted=all&position= A Side Order of Human Rights By ERIC SCHLOSSER Monterey, Calif. — AND now a word of good news from the world of fast food. Last month, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a group that represents farm workers in southern Florida, announced that it was ending a four-year boycott of Taco Bell. The most remarkable thing about the announcement was the reason behind it: Taco Bell had acceded to all of the coalition's demands. At a time of declining union membership, failed organizing drives and public apathy about poverty, a group of immigrant tomato pickers had persuaded an enormous fast food company - Yum Brands, which in addition to Taco Bell owns KFC, Pizza Hut, A&W All American Food Restaurants and Long John Silver's - to increase the wages of migrant workers and impose a tough code of conduct on Florida tomato suppliers. 'Human rights are universal,' said Jonathan Blum, a senior vice president of Yum, adding that under Taco Bell's new labor rules 'indentured servitude by suppliers is strictly forbidden.' The need for a corporate edict against slavery in the United States reveals just how bad things have become for farm workers. But it also suggests that the fast food companies now sitting atop America's food system can prevent the sort of abuses that state and federal officials seem unwilling to address. Migrant farm workers have long been the nation's poorest group of workers. Although wages and working conditions greatly improved during the 1970's, thanks to the efforts of Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers, the rise of illegal immigration and anti-union sentiment later eroded those gains. In California, where more than half of America's fruits and vegetables are grown (and mainly picked by hand), the hourly wages of some farm workers adjusted for inflation have fallen by more than 50 percent since 1980. Today the majority of America's farm workers are illegal immigrants. They often live in run-down trailers, sheds, garages and motels, where a dozen or so may share a room. Their status as black market labor makes them fearful of being deported, wary of union organizers and vulnerable to exploitation. The typical migrant farm worker is a young Mexican male who earns less than $8,000 a year. The working conditions in the fields of Florida are especially bad. According to a recent study by the Urban Institute, perhaps 80 percent of the migrants in Florida are illegal immigrants. They are usually employed by labor contractors, who charge them for food, housing, transportation - and, on occasion, smuggling fees. These charges are often deducted from workers' paychecks, trapping migrants in debt. Since 1996, six cases of involuntary servitude have resulted in convictions in Florida; many others have probably gone undetected. In one of these cases, hundreds of farm workers were held captive by labor contractors based in La Belle and Immokalee, Fla., forced to work without pay and warned that their tongues would be cut off if they tried to escape. The Florida legislature has done little to help migrants. Agriculture is the state's second-largest industry, after tourism, and many legislators have close ties with leading growers. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is one of the few organizations willing to fight for migrant workers in Florida. Founded in 1996 and based in the town of Immokalee, amid lush tomato fields and citrus groves, the group helped the United States Justice Department gain convictions in five of the six slavery cases. During the late 1990's members of the coalition learned that Taco Bell was a major purchaser of tomatoes grown in Immokalee, where the wages of migrants (adjusted for inflation) had fallen by as much as 60 percent during the previous two decades. The coalition asked the fast food chain to pressure its Florida suppliers, seeking a wage increase and guarantees that human rights would be respected. When Taco Bell failed to respond, the coalition started a nationwide boycott in April 2001, focusing its efforts at high schools and college campuses. 'Boot the Bell!' was the rallying cry, as students tried to close Taco Bells and block the opening of new ones. At first Taco Bell tried to ignore the protests and to deny responsibility for the behavior of its suppliers. 'We don't believe it's our place to get involved in another company's labor dispute,' Jonathan Blum, the Yum Brands executive, said in an interview with The New Yorker. Asked about the possible link between slavery in Florida and Taco Bell's food, Mr. Blum replied, 'It's heinous, but I don't think it has anything to do with us.' The company's attitude gradually changed as the boycott gained support not only from students, but also from the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the National Council of Churches, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights and former President Jimmy Carter, among others. (Disclosure: I supported the boycott, too, and spoke out on behalf of the coalition.) With coalition members conducting hunger strikes and staging demonstrations in front of Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine, Calif., it seemed increasingly unwise for the nation's leading purveyor of Mexican food to be publicly linked with the exploitation of poor Mexicans. And the coalition's wage demand was by no means outrageous. It was asking for a pay raise of one penny for every pound of tomatoes picked - the first major wage increase in Immokalee since the late 1970's. As part of the agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers last month, Taco Bell vowed to help 'improve working and pay conditions for farm workers in the Florida tomato fields.' It promised to give the penny per pound increase to its Florida suppliers, so that migrant wages could be raised by that amount. It invited the coalition to monitor the new labor policies. And it said it would reward those suppliers that treat farm workers well. The penny-per-pound supplement will nearly double the wages of migrants picking tomatoes for Taco Bell. And though there is some debate about the final cost to Yum Brands, the figure will most likely be a few hundred thousand dollars a year - not a huge sum for a fast food company with annual sales of about $9 billion worldwide. Over the past few years the fast food industry has introduced healthier foods in response to consumer demands. It has adopted tough animal welfare policies in the wake of criticism from animal rights activists. The Taco Bell agreement demonstrates, for the first time, an industry commitment to farm workers' rights in the United States. Only a small number of tomato pickers will enjoy a wage increase as a result of the Taco Bell deal, but it's a step on the right path. And what's the next step? Although farmers are often demonized in reports about migrant labor, it's important to point out that they are under tremendous pressure from the leading fast food chains to reduce costs. Food-service companies now purchase the majority of fresh produce in the United States - and farmers often believe that cutting wages is necessary to cut prices for their largest customers. Meaningful change, therefore, will have to come from the top. McDonald's seems an obvious target for the next boycott. It is one of the nation's leading purchasers of lettuce, tomatoes, apples and pickled cucumbers. It is far and away the industry giant. The failure of government to protect the weakest and most impoverished workers in the United States has left the job to corporations and consumers. Taco Bell deserves credit for acknowledging its responsibility on this issue. Now McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and Yum's other brands need to do the same.

Subject: My favorite fast food
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 21:05:00 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Great, now everyone go out and celebrate and reward thier good behavior and buy the johnny5 friday night special - 1 meximelt and 1 burrito supreme. Make sure you got a bottle of GASX handy too - hehe.

Subject: Japanese Real Estate Investment
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 18:29:51 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/26/business/26prop.html?ei=5070&en=8a256311af61f658&ex=1113451200&pagewanted=all&position= Echoes of the 80's: Japanese Return to U.S. Market By TERRY PRISTIN Japanese investment in United States real estate soared in the 1980's, as companies and financial institutions poured nearly $300 billion into high-profile properties like Rockefeller Center in New York and the Pebble Beach Golf Club in California. But the value of many of these assets plunged by as much as 50 percent in the early 90's, and for more than a decade, the Japanese have been sellers rather than buyers. After a 15-year hiatus, however, Japanese capital is re-entering the United States market, but much more quietly and cautiously this time. 'They have begun to test the waters again,' said Bill Collins, who runs the capital markets group at Cassidy & Pinkard, a real estate services firm in Washington. For the first time in years, for example, Mitsui Fudosan, Japan's largest real estate company and the owner since 1986 of 1251 Avenue of the Americas, the former Exxon Building, is searching for other buildings to buy in the two most competitive markets in the United States, said Michael W. McMahon, a senior vice president. 'We're targeting Midtown Manhattan and Washington, D.C.,' he said. A survey released this month by the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate, a trade group, found that most of its members expect the Japanese to lag only Germans and Australians as the most active foreign buyers of United States property. 'We have seen more activity from Japan in the past six months than we have in the past six years,' said James A. Fetgatter, the trade group's chief executive. 'I have Nikkei Shimbun coming in to talk to me today,' he said, referring to the Japanese newspaper. 'I've never met anyone from Nikkei Shimbun before.' So far, much of this Japanese money has been used to buy shares in publicly traded companies, rather than individual buildings. In October 2003, it became legal in Japan to sell portfolios of shares in real estate investment trusts, allowing special funds to be marketed specifically to Japanese investors. Some of these funds buy shares only in REIT's based in the United States, which largely own property in this country, while other funds own a portfolio of REIT shares from various countries, including the United States. Since these funds were first sold, investment in them has steadily increased, reaching $4.6 billion last month. Although this sum is just a fraction of the total $300 billion invested in United States REIT's, real estate specialists say it is significant nonetheless. 'It's not a huge number, but it's an encouraging number,' said Michael R. Grupe, a senior vice president of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, a trade group. 'It's been a fairly even growth path.' Takayuki Kiura, the managing director of a new Tokyo office that Heitman, a Chicago-based company that manages capital on behalf of pension funds and other investors, opened just this month, estimates that two-thirds of the $4.6 billion is invested in United States REIT's, with the rest in REIT's in other countries. A treaty that went into effect on July 1 gives Japanese investors in United States REIT's the same tax status as American investors, enhancing the appeal of these funds, said Tony Edwards, the general counsel of the REIT trade group. Heitman is just one of several American companies that have teamed with Japanese financial institutions to create REIT funds that are marketed to investors in Japan. Heitman manages about $270 million worth of assets for three funds with Nomura Asset Management and a fourth with Sumitomo Trust Bank. AEW Capital Management, a Boston company whose clients are mainly institutions, has a similar relationship with Nissay. And LaSalle Investment Management, part of the real estate services company Jones Lang LaSalle, manages a global REIT fund for Nikko that is aimed at Japanese investors. The American companies say they are focusing on Japan because it has an aging population with a long tradition of accumulating savings and a need for current income that cannot be met by low-yielding government bonds. REIT's, which pool money from investors to buy property, are required to return 90 percent of their taxable income to their investors, which means that they usually offer higher yields than most other types of securities. The Japanese have their own real estate investment trusts, but the industry is still relatively new, with only about 15 so-called J-REIT's in existence. The average dividend is about 3.5 to 4 percent, compared with an average of 6 percent for American companies. 'Besides that,' Jeroen Beimer, an analyst for Global Property Research, a company in Amsterdam that provides data for financial institutions, wrote in an e-mail message, 'J-REIT's primarily invest in Tokyo offices and to a lesser extent retail, so the spread of the portfolio in sector and geographical terms is limited. Another reason is that the underlying Japanese real estate market has faced tough times in the past 10 years, with declining prices and rising vacancy rates. The confidence in the market is therefore not that high.' Mark A. Grinis, a partner in Ernst & Young's real estate practice who recently moved back to New York after spending seven years in Tokyo, said that given their experiences of the past decade, Japanese investors would logically find more transparent and liquid investments in real estate attractive. 'You have a menu of options today that you didn't have in the late 1980's,' he said. The new focus on Japan is part of a growing globalization of the REIT industry. Mr. Grupe of the REIT trade group said that publicly traded real estate companies can be found in about 20 countries. 'They come in all different forms,' he said. 'Many of these countries tend to use the moniker 'REIT' to refer to that particular sector, but not all.' This trend is providing investors with a way to further diversify their real estate portfolios, said Michael J. Acton, the director of research for AEW Capital Management. 'Every city has its own cycles,' he said. Although the downturn in the United States real estate cycle in the early 1990's caused painful losses for many Japanese investors and banks, the Japanese continue to have significant holdings in this country. Mitsubishi Estate, for example, lost control of Rockefeller Center itself, but the company, through its wholly owned Rockefeller Group, still owns 7.7 million square feet of space there, including the Time & Life Building at 1271 Avenue of the Americas. Early last year, the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate reported that Japan was the leading source of foreign investment in American real estate, with a 26 percent share, the latest figure available. But Mr. Fetgatter cautioned that 'any statistics about foreign investment are always sketchy' since the countries do their own reporting. Sumitomo Life Realty (N.Y.) Inc., a subsidiary of the large Japanese insurance company (and a separate company from Sumitomo Trust), has a relatively new business strategy for geographically diversifying its United States portfolio in the hope of lowering its risk, said Norio Morimoto, the company president. Sumitomo Life Realty formed a partnership with Hines, the Houston-based real estate company, to invest in prime office buildings. The Japanese company subsequently sold four buildings to the fund: 499 Park Avenue, 425 Lexington Avenue and 600 Lexington Avenue in Midtown Manhattan and 1200 19th Street in Washington. About one-quarter of the investors in the Hines-Sumisei U.S. Core Office Fund, which now owns four more buildings in Houston and San Francisco, are Japanese, said Charles N. Hazen, the president. But other Japanese real estate companies are once again seeking to compete for buildings directly. Mr. Collins said that starting about six months ago, a 'handful of seasoned real estate companies' began looking for buildings priced around $100 million. Woody Heller, who heads the capital transactions group at Studley, the brokerage firm, said: 'We haven't seen any high-profile purchase, but we're all beginning to have conversations with them. Whether they will be competitive is unclear in my mind.' Mr. McMahon, the Mitsui Fudosan America executive, said his company was not looking for trophy buildings but rather for those that have potential for improvement. He acknowledged that bidding for properties in Washington and Midtown Manhattan, is challenging. 'We don't know at this point whether we're going to be successful,' he said. In the last decade, Japanese investors have become more sophisticated about market cycles, Mr. Morimoto said. 'We learned a lot from the experience,' he said. 'The best strategy is to diversify the location and timing of the investment, and by doing that we could have diversified our risk.'

Subject: Thanks for the article Emma - mom has passed
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 19:51:10 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Mom got this from her financial people today on the phoenix fund - so it looks like the japanese real estate plan is dead in the water for her: RE: 1031 exchange into japanese commercial Thanks for the interesting material. I am generally against investing in real estate unless you have some ability to manage it yourself or at a minimum 'keep an eye on it.' Back in the 80's brokerage firms were selling these limited partnerships all over the country. They had real pretty brochures and all, but most people had no idea where their money was invested. The Government of course changed the tax law and basicly destroyed the wealth that was being created in these programs. Many of them were created with tax benefits as a part of the success of the programs. The Government did their thing and hurt investors again just like they have done every time. So like I said in the first sentence of this email, you have to be able to control it, see it and be able to sell it if things don't work out as expected (dump it).

Subject: Local boys stiff west palm beachers
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 18:29:24 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
These guys were local good ole boys, 9 years building thier business and clients, trusted by most rich miserly greedy west palm beachers - and lost it all shorting GOOG at 160 - but japanese real estate is a better bet isn't it? If you can ensure that if everything else goes south you still have your real estate holdings - that is worth something no? http://www.palmbeachpost.com/business/content/business/epaper/2005/04/02/a2f_klfinancial_0402.html KL investors' recovery prospects bleak By David Sedore Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Saturday, April 02, 2005 It's been more than a month since KL Financial closed its doors one step ahead of the law, but the outlook for the hedge funds' 250 investors hoping to recover their money hasn't changed. In a word, it's grim. Michael Tein, the attorney working with KL Financial's court-appointed receiver, Guy Lewis, told investors Friday that about $2.5 million has been recovered from various accounts. Considering that investors lost as much as $250 million, that number is 'extremely disappointing,' Tein said. 'Right now, we are not optimistic that number will change by any degree of magnitude,' Tein said. 'You're looking at pennies on the dollar that we have been able to locate.' Tein discussed the latest updates in the case with investors via conference call and promised to keep them informed as matters progress. KL Financial, which maintained offices in West Palm Beach, Irvine, Calif., and San Francisco, was a hedge fund that offered high-risk, high-reward investments to the well-to-do — including some of Palm Beach's wealthiest. The firm shut down in late February in the wake of a Securities and Exchange Commission probe. The SEC sued KL and its principals, including Won S. Lee of Riviera Beach and John Kim of Jupiter, alleging that the operation was a fraud. Lee is now in South Korea. A third principal, John Kim's brother Yung Kim, is also named in the suit and is believed to be in South Korea. A federal grand jury is now investigating KL Financial, and Tein said the receiver's office is cooperating with the probe and providing the FBI with KL documents. Also Friday, Tein told investors that the office is hoping accountants and lawyers who worked for KL will assist in locating assets. Tein said John Kim will be held to a promise to cooperate that he made in court. Kim is to meet with the receiver's staff later this month. One investor asked Tein if he had any feeling for how much investors eventually will be able to collect. 'I don't,' Tein said. 'It's simply too early to tell. The receiver is not overly optimistic that you're going to see any considerable part of your assets back.'

Subject: Illegals contribution to SS costing in other areas
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 17:21:39 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsg.aspx?msgid=21202153 http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscalexec.html#Complex Social Security and Medicare. Although we find that the net effect of illegal households is negative at the federal level, the same is not true for Social Security and Medicare. We estimate that illegal households create a combined net benefit for these two programs in excess of $7 billion a year, accounting for about 4 percent of the total annual surplus in these two programs. However, they create a net deficit of $17.4 billion in the rest of the budget, for a total net loss of $10.4 billion. Nonetheless, their impact on Social Security and Medicare is unambiguously positive. Of course, if the Social Security totalization agreement with Mexico signed in June goes into effect, allowing illegals to collect Social Security, these calculations would change. http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscalcoverage.html U.S. households headed by illegal aliens used $26.3 billion in government services during 2002 but paid only $16 billion in taxes, an annual cost to taxpayers of $10 billion, says a report issued yesterday by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). The report, based on U.S. Census Bureau data, also said if illegal aliens now in the country — estimated at between 8 million and 12 million — received amnesty, paid taxes and used services similar to households headed by legal immigrants, the estimated net deficit would increase from $10 billion to more than $29 billion. En español: http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsg.aspx?msgid=21202153 http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscalexec.html#Complex Seguridad Social y Seguro de enfermedad. Aunque encontramos que el efecto neto de casas ilegales es negativo en el nivel federal, igual no es verdad para la Seguridad Social y Seguro de enfermedad. Estimamos que las casas ilegales crean una ventaja neta combinada para estos dos programas en el exceso de $7 mil millones al año, contabilidad para cerca de 4 por ciento del exceso anual total en estos dos programas. Sin embargo, crean un déficit neto de $17.4 mil millones en el resto del presupuesto, para una pérdida neta total de $10.4 mil millones. No obstante, su impacto en la Seguridad Social y Seguro de enfermedad es inequívoco positivo. Por supuesto, si el acuerdo del totalization de la Seguridad Social con México firmado en junio entra efecto, permitiendo que los illegals recojan la Seguridad Social, estos cálculos cambiarían. http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscalcoverage.html Las casas de ESTADOS UNIDOS dirigieron por los extranjeros ilegales utilizaron $26.3 mil millones en servicios de gobierno durante 2002 pero pagaron solamente $16 mil millones en impuestos, un coste anual a los contribuyentes de $10 mil millones, dicen un informe publicado ayer por el centro para los estudios de la inmigración (CIS). El informe, basado en los datos de la oficina de censo de ESTADOS UNIDOS, también dichos si los extranjeros ilegales ahora en el país - estimado en entre 8 millón de y 12 millones - amnistía recibida, los impuestos pagados y los servicios usados similares a las casas dirigidas por los inmigrantes legales, el déficit neto estimado aumentarían a partir de $10 mil millones a más de $29 mil millones.

Subject: Reality in the Creation of Fiction
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 12:44:00 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
February 11, 1962 http://www.nytimes.com/books/97/05/25/reviews/bellow-reality.html February 11, 1962 A Novelist-Critic Discusses the Role of Reality in the Creation of Fiction By SAUL BELLOW I have read somewhere that in the early days of the movies a miner in Alaska rushed at the screen to batter down the villain with his shovel. Probably he was drunk, but his action was significant nevertheless. This man had considered it a practical thing to travel thousands of miles into a frozen wilderness to dig for buried treasure. Money, land, furs, jewels, champagne, cigars, silk hats he must have accepted as legitimate objects of the imagination. Yet there was no place in his mind for this new sort of transaction. It must have seemed to him that if the fellow had taken the trouble to tie the kicking heroine to the tracks, he must mean business. His imagination could only conceive of real objects. Thus, with the self-same shovel he dug for gold and swung at shadows. Few people make this error in so primitive a form, but almost no one is altogether free from it. We understand, of course, that art does not copy experience but merely borrows it for its own peculiar purposes. Americans however do not find it always simple to maintain the distinction. For us the wonder of life is bound up with the literal fact, and our greatest ingenuity is devoted to the real; and this gives reality itself magical and even sacred properties and makes American realism very different from the European sort. With us the interest of the reader and often of the writer, too, is always escaping toward the fact. The non-factual imagination also returns to the fact. Ask a woman to describe her son, and she is likely to tell you with pride that he is 6 feet 2 or 3 inches and weighs 220 pounds, that his shoes are size 14 and that he eats four eggs at breakfast and two pounds of steak at a sitting. Her love in short, frequently takes a statistical form. Years ago, in Chicago, I used to listen to a Negro virtuoso, Facts-and-Figures Taylor, who entertained shouting crowds in Washington Park by reciting the statistics he had memorized in the Public Library. “You want to know what the steel industry exported in nineteen and twenty-one? You listen to this now.” “You tell ‘em, Facts-and-Figures. Give ‘em hell!” People who are not particularly friendly to art may be reconciled to it by factual interests, by descriptions of the stretching or priming of the canvas, the method of applying the paints or the dollar value of the picture. One thinks more kindly of a painting valued at $10,000, the original factory colors dripped from a six-inch brush, than of one which has not applied to the prevailing form of the imagination for consideration. The theatregoer may be pleased to learn that behind the living room represented on the stage are fully furnished bathrooms or kitchens that will never be seen but are there to give a reassuring sense of completeness of closure. The imitation will be absolutely genuine. Because we have a strong taste for the solid background, for documentation, for accuracy, for likeness, we are often confused about the borders between art and life, between social history and fiction, between gossip and satire, between the journalist’s news and the artist’s discovery. The demands, editorial and public, for certified realities in fiction sometimes appear barbarous to the writer. Why this terrible insistence on factual accuracy? “Our readers will want to know,” an editor will sometimes say, “whether your information is correct.” The research department will then make inquiries. How many stories does the Ansonia Hotel really have; and can one see its television antennae from the corner of West End Avenue and Seventy-second Street? What do drugstores charge for Librium? What sort of mustard is used at Nedick’s? Is it squeezed from a plastic bottle or applied with a wooden spoon? These cranky questions will be asked by readers, compulsively. Publishers know they must expect their errors to be detected. They will hear not only from the lunatic fringe and from pedants but from specialists, from scholars, from people with experience “in the field,” from protective organizations and public relations agencies, from people who have taken upon themselves the protection of the purity of facts. Archaeologists and historians are consulted by movie producers in the making of Roman spectaculars. As long as the chariots are faithful copies, the fire real Greek fire, it seems to make little difference that the dialogue makes you clutch your head, that the religious theme is trumped up with holy music and cunning lights. It presently becomes clear that the protagonist is not Ben-Hur, not Spartacus, but Knowhow Art based on simple illusion is art in one of its cruder forms, and it is this that Hollywood with its technical skills has brought to perfection. The realistic method made it possible to write with seriousness and dignity about the ordinary, common situations of life. In Balzac and Flaubert and the great Russian masters the realistic externals were intended to lead inward. I suppose one might say that now the two elements, the inward and the external, have come apart. In what we call the novel of sensibility the intent of the writer is to pull us into an all- sufficient consciousness which he, the writer, governs absolutely. In the realistic novel today the writer is satisfied with an art of externals. Either he assumes that by describing a man’s shoes he has told us all that we need to know about his soul, or he is more interested in the shoes than in the soul. Literalists who write to the editor are rather odd and amusing people who do not need to be taken too seriously, but the attitude of the writer himself toward externals is a serious matter. The facts may excite a writer deeply, and in America we have a poetry of fact--the details of labor in Walt Whitman, the knowledge of navigation in Mark Twain, the descriptions of process in Hemingway’s fishing stories. But in every case it is the writer’s excitement that counts. Without this excitement the facts are no more interesting than they would be in a manual of river navigation or a Sears, Roebuck catalogue. What is happening now is that the intrinsic excitement of the facts themselves has become intense, and the literary imagination must rival the power of the real. With us this rarely happens. The American desire for the real has created a journalistic sort of novel which has a thing excitement, a glamour of process; it specializes in information. It resembles the naturalistic novel of Zola and the social novel of Dreiser, but is without the theoretical interests of the first and is unlike the second in that it has no concern with justice and no view of fate. It merely satisfies the readers’ demand for knowledge. From this standpoint it may sometimes be called an improving or moral sort of book. However, it seldom has much independent human content, and it is more akin to popularized science or history than to the fiction of Balzac or Chekhov. It is not actively challenged by the “novel of sensibility.” The living heirs of Henry James and Virginia Woolf do not do very well, and I’m afraid that they largely deserve their neglect. They have receded altogether too far from externals, from observation, in their desire for mental independence and free sensibility. They give us very little information; and after we have visited them in their tree houses once or twice they lose their charm. The novel in America has taken two forms, neither satisfactory. Those writers who wish to meet the demand for information have perhaps been successful as social historians, but they have neglected the higher forms of the imagination. The novel of sensibility has failed to represent society and has become totally uninteresting. It seems hard for the American people to believe that anything can be more exciting than the times themselves and our common life. These modern facts perhaps have thrust imagined forms into the shadow. We are staggeringly rich in facts, in things, and perhaps like the nouveau riche of other ages we want our wealth faithfully reproduced by the artist. By now it is misleading to speak of the facts as if they were soluble, washable, disposable, knowable. The facts themselves are not what they once were and perhaps present themselves to the imagination of the artist in some new way. A. J. Liebling, in an uncommonly good article on Stephen Crane (The New Yorker, Aug. 5, 1961), writes, “We have seen in our time that the best writers as they mature become journalists--Sartre, Camus, Mauriac, Hemingway.” Are we to suppose therefore that the artistic imagination at its highest development must be drawn back into the world and its realities? Is the challenge of journalism higher than that of art itself in our time? Some of our novelists can scarcely help being better fact-bringers than artists. They are turning ground that has never been turned before--the Army, the laboratory, the modern corporation, the anarchic sexual life of “free spirits”: such phenomena in the raw state are not quickly assimilated into art. Moreover, it’s hard for writers to get on with their work if they are convinced that they owe a concrete debt to experience and cannot allow themselves the privilege of ranging freely through social classes and professional specialties. A certain pride in their own experience, perhaps a sense of the property rights of others in their experience, holds them back. The novelist, convinced that the novel is the result of his passionate will to suppose that he can know everything about the life of another human being, finds that he must get through the obstacles of the literal to come at his subject. Thus, he is prevented from doing the essential thing. Hard knowledge is demanded of him; to acquire this hard knowledge, he must at least temporarily transform himself into some sort of specialist. How then is the novelist to write about such questions as power--power which he has never experienced? Evidently he is asked to be reliable about the lower ranges of fact and is not expected to concern himself with the upper. He may be realistic but not about the things that matter, the arrangements that shape our destiny. In this smaller way to stick to the facts limits him to minor schemes of social history, to satire, to muckraking and leveling, or to the penny psychology of private worlds. To this sort of “objectivity” writers give all they’ve got. Strong on experience, they are much, much less strong on the truth. The greatest of the realists always believed that they owed a very special debt to truth. “The hero of my tale, whom I love with all the strength of my soul, whom I have tried to set forth in all his beauty, and who has always been, is, and always will be the most beautiful, is--the truth.” So wrote Tolstoy at the conclusion of “Sevastopol in May.” And Dostoevsky commenting on “Anna Karenina” tells us that he found the book at times very monotonous and “confined to a certain caste only” and that as long as it was merely a description of life in society it made no great claim to any deeper interest. Later, he says, “in the very center of that insolent and petty life there appeared a great and eternal living truth, at once illuminating everything. These petty, insignificant and deceitful beings suddenly became genuine and truthful people worthy of being called men.” That is, after all, what the novelist wants, isn’t it?

Subject: Incompetencia o mentira
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 11:39:18 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Incompetencia o mentira ¿QuÉ ES peor, la incompetencia o la mentira? Cuando se trata de un Gobierno, como el de Bush, que planteó una guerra preventiva contra Irak por unas armas de destrucción masiva que no existían, lo primero resulta casi más preocupante. Es lo que ha apuntado la comisión relativamente independiente que ha estudiado estos fallos de los servicios de inteligencia con una conclusión meridiana: estaban 'completamente equivocados' en casi todos sus juicios sobre el arsenal químico, bacteriológico y nuclear de Sadam Husein. Un año de trabajo ha producido escasos resultados por parte de ese órgano presidido por un juez retirado y un ex senador, incluidas 74 recomendaciones para mejorar la eficacia de los servicios de información. La Comisión del 11 -S ya vio fallos similares e hizo una labor mucho más meritoria. A falta del veredicto de la Comisión de Inteligencia del Senado, este último intento no ha encontrado manipulación o presiones políticas para que los servicios de inteligencia produjeran informes en la dirección que quería la Administración para justificar la invasión de Irak. Sin embargo, sí apunta que los servicios 'vendían' la información que a su juicio iba a interesar 'a sus clientes, o al menos a su cliente principal' (el presidente Bush). Ante lo que es, como poco, uno de los mayores fiascos de estos servicios en su historia, nadie asume la responsabilidad. El entonces director de la CÍA, George Tenet, ya dimitió en su día y el presidente, otorgó la Medalla Presidencial de la Libertad. Todos parecen lavarse las manos.(I cannot seem to lose the stains when I wash my hands?) Cabe preguntarse si esta incompetencia se ha mantenido, ahora que desde Washington se señala con el dedo a Irán y a Corea del Norte por sus programas de armas nucleares. La inteligencia estadounidense tardará en recuperar la credibilidad perdida en su país y en el resto del mundo. Si es que no se demuestra un día, en unos nuevos papeles del Pentágono, que algunos responsables políticos hicieron algo más que dejarse engañar por los servicios. Pues nada excluye que a la incompetencia confesa se sumara la mentira interesada. EL Pais, martes 5 de abril 2005

Subject: Am I the only Pkarchiver that cant read spanish?
From: johnny5
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 17:13:45 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Pancho perhaps I have not been here long enough but what is with this posting of spanish articles that I cannot read? My mexican grandfather is probably rolling in his grave, but translation takes time and there is so little it seems. If you are trying to make the spanish community feel welcome I applaud your efforts to bring a new ethic group to the wealth of our community - however the St Pete times already beat you to the punch - hehe: http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsg.aspx?msgid=21197311 South Florida went from English only to Spanish only in less than 15 years. What happened? http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsg.aspx?msgid=21197370 What happened? Here is a good long read from the St Pete times on the influx of illegals when we let culture come in too fast to be absorbed quickly. You can read it in english or espanol - hehe! http://www.stpetetimes.com/2004/webspecials04/francisco/ Editor’s note You are reading history. This is the first story also published in Spanish by the St. Petersburg Times. In this special report, we examine Clear-water’s immigrant Mexican community, how and why it grew to nearly 20,000 and what changes have occurred both here in Clearwater and in Hidalgo. As we prepared this story, we knew it would be important for the Spanish speaking community to have the opportunity to read it. So we are publishing this project in both English and in Spanish. Last year I went to mexico to get a feel for the invaders - I did not like my trip for the most part and did not get a sense of brotherly love from these people when in thier native land. http://world.altavista.com/tr In English: Incompetencia or lie What IS worse, the incompetencia or the lie? When one is a Government, like the one of Bush, that raised a preventive war against Iraq by arms of massive destruction which they did not exist, first it is almost more worrisome. It is what it has pointed the relatively independent commission that has studied these failures of the intelligence services with a dazzling conclusion: they were ' completely equivocados' in almost all its judgments on the chemical, bacteriological and nuclear arsenal of Sadam Husein. A year of work has produced little results on the part of that organ presided over by a distant judge and an ex- senator, including 74 recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the information services. The Commission of the 11 - S already saw similar failures and made a work much more commendable. To lack of the verdict of the Commission of Intelligence of the Senate, this last attempt has not found political manipulation or pressures so that the intelligence services produced information in the direction that loved the Administration to justify the invasion of Iraq. Nevertheless, yes it aims that the services ' vendían' the information that in his opinion was going to interest ' its clients, or at least at his client principal' (president Bush). Before which it is, like little, one of the greater fiascos of these services in its history, nobody assumes the responsibility. The then director of BACKS WATER it, George Tenet, already resigned in his day and the president, granted the Presidential Medal of the Freedom. All seem to wash manos.(I cannot seem to lose the stains when I wash my hands) It is possible to ask itself if this incompetencia has stayed, now that from Washington is indicated with the finger to Iran and Korea of the North by his programs of nuclear weapons. American intelligence will take in recovering the lost credibility in its country and the rest of the world. If it is that a day is not demonstrated, in new papers of the Pentagon, that some political people in charge did something more than to let itself deceive by the services. Then nothing excludes that to the confesa incompetencia the interested lie was added. The Pais, Tuesday 5 of April 2005

Subject: Re: S...!
From: Pancho Villa
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 17:32:16 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
(Shit!Clever Johnny5 unveiled my plan)Hat off to you dear Johnny5 ;)hehe

Subject: The Cisco Kid
From: johnny5
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 17:59:54 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
and Zorro were always favorites of mine and I seem to eat at taco bell almost daily, my grandfathers genes expressing themselves? Hehe - I just wish the mexicans in walmart would not feel so intimidated to talk to me while we fight over the ramen noodles and picante sauce. I was surprised to find out catherine zeta jones was Welsh and not latin http://www.visitwales.com/ Notice they have no spanish translation of thier website even though thier native daughter is often represented as such in the popular movies.

Subject: Re: The Cisco Kid
From: Setanta
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Thurs, Apr 07, 2005 at 09:22:34 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
isn't she of a welsh father and argentinian mother (or maybe vice versa!) the welsh and the spanish have a lot in common. they are both dark and swarthy (a slight generalisation i must agree!) and both use the ll in their language i.e. llueve for rain in spanish, llacrwydd for slackness in welsh. i'll be in cardiff in the next few weeks to a) watch the British and Irish Lions play Argentina in rugby before the Lions tour to New Zealand b) play against the Cardiff and Bristol offices in rugby. c) have one or two alcoholic beverages in line with the Lambay Rules for Rugby Tours.

Subject: Greenspan: beware huge mortgage risk
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 11:08:43 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Greenspan: beware huge mortgage risk Fed chairman says oversight alone won't reduce financial risks of government-sponsored enterprises. April 6, 2005: 10:08 AM EDT WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan Wednesday urged Congress to curb the rapid growth of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saying this was vital to cut the risks the mortgage finance giants pose to the nation's financial system. Fannie Mae and its sister government-sponsored housing enterprise, Freddie Mac, do not lend directly to home buyers. Instead, they buy mortgages from lenders and repackage them as securities for sale to investors. They also hold some mortgages in their own portfolios. The companies together account for nearly half of total residential mortgage debt outstanding, with portfolios of some $1.5 trillion. Greenspan previously has proposed those portfolios be cut to $200 billion for each company. Financial woes at the two companies -- whose enormously complex accounting has been under fire from regulators -- could put huge pressure on the mortgage market. Fannie and Freddie already face the possibility of tougher supervision. Congress is due to weigh legislation that could give their regulator more power over the companies, including authority to approve any new products or programs they want to launch. But in his testimony prepared for the Senate Banking Committee, Greenspan said that stiffer regulation alone was not enough to ease -- and could actually worsen -- the risks the two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) pose. 'World-class regulation, by itself, may not be sufficient and, indeed, might even worsen the potential for systemic risk if market participants inferred from such regulation that the government would be more likely to back GSE debt in the event of financial stress,' Greenspan said. 'This is the heart of a dilemma in designing regulation for GSEs.' But he proposed a solution. 'We at the Federal Reserve believe this dilemma would be resolved by placing limits on the GSEs' portfolios of assets, perhaps as a share of single-family home mortgages outstanding or some other variation of such a ratio,' the Fed chief said. Fannie Mae ousted its long-time CEO Franklin Raines last December after regulators found accounting problems at the giant mortgage company. Shares of Fannie Mae (up $1.03 to $53.31, Research) and Freddie Mac (up $0.73 to $62.49, Research) both rose in morning New York Stock trading. http://money.cnn.com/2005/04/06/news/economy/fed_gse.reut/index.htm

Subject: Birth, Death and That Stuff in Between
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 10:52:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/books/00/10/15/specials/bellow-connections.html May 13, 2000 Saul Bellow on Birth, Death and All That Stuff in Between By EDWARD ROTHSTEIN Sitting in the office that the art critic Harold Rosenberg once used (his poster of a beautiful Nautilus shell still hangs there), Saul Bellow is leaning back slightly, fingertips touching, pausing before beginning to speak. For a listener whose education was shaped in part by Augie March and Henderson and Mr. Sammler, Mr. Bellow's meditations can seem a creation of his characters' pungent imaginations. Now his surgically shaped phrases and dreamlike imagery make it sound as if he were reciting one of Herzog's letters to the famous dead. Tolstoy is the recipient of this one, or perhaps Mr. Bellow is addressing himself. In the office, whose fading light comes from the small Gothic leaded windows of the University of Chicago, Mr. Bellow asks what is to be made of Ivan Ilych's death. That was Tolstoy's project in his famous short story: to reveal how death, with all its ruthlessness, strips away the creaturely surface of life, as vain pleasures and social climbings give way to final things. But what, then, is a novelist to do? If material life is an illusion and a distraction, it is also where the writer dwells. The surface cannot be avoided; its sensuous transience is of the essence. The novelist honors it with meticulous description, straining to take note of the rush of human sensations. So doesn't the world-dwelling novelist resist the otherworldly insistence of the religious believer? Bellow's meditations returned to me while reading his new novel, ''Ravelstein,'' and not just because I was acquainted with the model for Ravelstein; he is, of course, the political philosopher Allan Bloom, who also taught seminars with Mr. Bellow in Chicago. Ivan Ilych is invoked in ''Ravelstein'' as well, for this too is a portrait of a man headed toward death. Ravelstein is a version of Ilych without the hypocrisy, possessing an almost rabid sensuality, a devotion to luxury, unsated erotic longings and nervously trembling fingers. Ravelstein relishes sensation and desire. ''A human soul devoid of longing,'' he suggests, ''was a soul deformed, deprived of its highest good, sick unto death.'' But what happens to these material tastes as death steals away his strength and mind? Ravelstein believes that ''nothing is more bourgeois than the fear of death'' and that nothing much exists after death. So the essence of things is to be found only in the material world, which, in Ravelstein's view, can lead to philosophic knowledge as well as to sensual pleasure. It is an answer that might have pleased Tolstoy the novelist but dismayed Tolstoy the Christian believer. Chick, the chronicler of Ravelstein's death, also relishes the texture of the material world, believing, in fact, that ''the heart of things is shown in the surface of those things.'' Chick is devoted to pictorial detail. Death, he says, is when the pictures come to an end, though he eventually wonders if there may be something to see after life's images fade. Such themes have often preoccupied Mr. Bellow, but Augie March, Henderson and Herzog test their desires against the wide world, wrestling against its bounds. Their ambition is American, their tragic sense, Jewish. Here possibilities have shrunk as the problems have grown: the world is the size of a man's soul. The desires are as great, but the natural limits greater. If death can strip away all surfaces and we are fated to live in death's shadow, then by what guidelines are we to live? How are we to shape our lives? ''The soul of another is a dark forest,'' says Ravelstein. There was a time when Mr. Bellow was called (along with Philip Roth and Bernard Malamud) an ''American Jewish novelist,'' a label he mocked as resembling a haberdashery, the writers as the Hart, Schaffner & Marx of literature. But the label also identified a temperament: the Jewish novelists of the 1950's and 60's were new inheritors of the American estate, intoxicated with its personalities and possibilities. Recently Mr. Roth was asked whether it was necessary for the main character of his 1997 novel ''American Pastoral,'' Swede Levov, to be Jewish. ''It was for me,'' he responded. It is through knowledge of the particular that the universal is perceived. But now, in this Bellow novel, and in Mr. Roth's new novel, ''The Human Stain,'' the particular is itself unreliable. Mr. Bellow wonders about the stability of the material world. Mr. Roth wonders about the stability of character and identity. Mr. Roth's alter mind, Nathan Zuckerman, like Mr. Bellow's Chick, is ailing and aging, trying to comprehend the life of a friend, Coleman Silk, after being shaken by his death.'' Mr. Roth's political canvas is large -- racial identity, the Vietnam War, political correctness -- but the focus is concentrated. How can a soul's dark forests be illuminated? Mr. Roth never forgets our animal being, the sensual habits and desires that are cloaked by our public selves. Still, what do we know of another or of ourselves? There is, of course, the public persona we put forward. (''Everyone Knows'' is the title of the first chapter.) But as Zuckerman learned in ''American Pastoral,'' interpreting appearances is an impossible task. He will always get it wrong, always misinterpret. However much he may be devoted to understanding the human, reality is always ready to ''slip a punch,'' showing that what was taken for surety is little more than illusion. ''The entanglement with life'' is never untangled. Silk presented himself as Jewish; but he was actually black. ''I don't know what to think about anything,'' Nathan concludes. Nothing is known because nothing can be. It is only in death, when all appearances are stripped away, that something is disclosed. It is after Levov's death that Nathan begins to learn the truth; it is after Silk's death that Nathan learns his secrets. Otherwise, appearances and identities are all we have. Mr. Bellow sees them as a code to be read; Mr. Roth sees them as a code to be misread. And both writers, in these late American Jewish novels, treat their fragile existence with melancholic tenderness.

Subject: Saul Bellow, Poet of Urban America's Men
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 10:29:59 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/07/books/05appr.html Saul Bellow, Poet of Urban America's Dangling Men By MICHIKO KAKUTANI His voice was instantly recognizable and inimitably his own: at once highbrow and streetwise, lofty and intimate - a voice equally at home ruminating on the great social and political ideas of the day, and chronicling the 'daily monkeyshines' of 'the cheapies, the stingies, the hypochondriacs, the family bores, humanoids' and bar-stool comedians who populate his cacophonous world. Indeed, Saul Bellow managed brilliantly, in the words of Philip Roth, 'to close the gap between Thomas Mann and Damon Runyon.' In doing so, he captured a huge slice of American life: the human comedy as played out - often in that raucous, quintessentially American city of Chicago - in the backrooms, bedrooms, boardrooms and barrooms of the second half of the 20th century. Mr. Bellow once told a reporter that 'for many years, Mozart was a kind of idol to me - this rapturous singing for me that's always on the edge of sadness and melancholy and disappointment and heartbreak, but always ready for an outburst of the most delicious music.' And his own writing embraced the exuberant and the depressive, the rapturous and the dispiriting. There were extroverted, ebullient performances like 'The Adventures of Augie March' (1953) and 'Henderson the Rain King' (1959), which end with their heroes taking giant steps toward an affirmation of their lives, and crotchety, more claustrophobic volumes like 'Seize the Day' (1956) and 'Mr. Sammler's Planet' (1970), infused with gripes and diatribes and desperate pleas for help. The novels, however, rarely stayed put on one side of the fence or the other: a dark preoccupation with mortality threaded its way through the comedy of 'Humboldt's Gift' (1975), and the best-selling 'Herzog' (1964) managed to be tragic and comic, cerebral and earthy, meditative and manic all at the same time. These novels were less plot-driven works than portraits of men trying to figure out their place in the world, what it means, as Mr. Bellow wrote in 'Herzog': 'to be a man. In a city. In a century. In transition. In a mass. Transformed by science. Under organized power. Subject to tremendous controls. In a condition caused by mechanization. After the late failure of radical hopes.' Cutting back and forth in time, while draping every manner of philosophical digression upon the armature of his characters' lives, Mr. Bellow conjured both the busy mental life of his heroes - men who live, quite willfully, in their heads - and their daily, creaturely existence, their hectic encounters with tempestuous women, fast-talking pitchmen, professional jokesters, bumblers, bureaucrats and poseurs. In many of the novels, his heroes are besieged by an importunate alter ego, someone eager to goad them out of their spiritual ruts, push them out into the rough-and-tumble world. Intellectuals, men deep in 'the profundity game,' find themselves facing off against street-smart thugs and business smoothies; Europeans Jews, burdened with a tragic sense of history, meet their American brethren, who have ardently embraced their country's ethos of instant gratification. These Bellovian men, like their creator, tend to be first-class 'noticers' - hungry observers of the world around them. And they tend to be overwhelmed by the sheer muchness of that world, with its dizzying material and sexual temptations; its calamities and con games; its capacity to continually shock, astonish and confound. Their struggle, chronicled in novel after novel, is to balance the equation between immersion in that 'moronic inferno' and retreat into the pristine realm of the self: the first proffering the dangers of shallowness and distraction; the second, the perils of solipsism and isolation. Like Charlie Citrine in 'Humboldt's Gift,' Mr. Bellow's dangling men suspect that 'all this human nonsense' in the real world 'keeps us from the large truth.' But many, like Harry Trellman in 'The Actual,' also realize that their judgmental intellects can cut them off from love and from humanity. For all the awards Mr. Bellow received in the course of his career, he saw himself as going against the mainstream of contemporary literature, skeptical of the willful aestheticism and postmodern pyrotechnics that had become increasingly fashionable, and equally dismissive of the trendy nihilism evinced by writers he called 'the wastelanders,' those who believe, in his words, that it is 'enlightened to expose, to disenchant, to hate and to experience disgust.' He believed that literature should hew to one of its original purposes - the raising of moral questions - and his own writing remained firmly indebted to the works he had studied as a boy: the Old Testament, Shakespeare's plays and the great 19th-century Russian novels. In his most powerful work, Mr. Bellow was able to draw from many literary traditions - the European existentialists, the Russian moralists and brawny, red-blooded Americans like Melville and Dreiser - to create his own utterly distinctive fictional world. Many of his earlier fictions feature older characters, looking back on the receding vistas of their lives, and this tendency became even more pronounced later on: reminiscence becomes a modus operandi for his people, a means of self-inventory and sometimes a mea culpa. In recent books like 'Ravelstein' (2000) and 'The Actual' (1997), an awareness of mortality, that perennial preoccupation of the Bellovian hero, also moved to the forefront, an awareness, as the years scroll by, that one is entering the final stretch, 'a period of 'mature' acceptance, reconciliation, openhandedness, general amnesty.'

Subject: Saul Bellow, Poet of Urban America's Men
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 10:29:35 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/07/books/05appr.html Saul Bellow, Poet of Urban America's Dangling Men By MICHIKO KAKUTANI His voice was instantly recognizable and inimitably his own: at once highbrow and streetwise, lofty and intimate - a voice equally at home ruminating on the great social and political ideas of the day, and chronicling the 'daily monkeyshines' of 'the cheapies, the stingies, the hypochondriacs, the family bores, humanoids' and bar-stool comedians who populate his cacophonous world. Indeed, Saul Bellow managed brilliantly, in the words of Philip Roth, 'to close the gap between Thomas Mann and Damon Runyon.' In doing so, he captured a huge slice of American life: the human comedy as played out - often in that raucous, quintessentially American city of Chicago - in the backrooms, bedrooms, boardrooms and barrooms of the second half of the 20th century. Mr. Bellow once told a reporter that 'for many years, Mozart was a kind of idol to me - this rapturous singing for me that's always on the edge of sadness and melancholy and disappointment and heartbreak, but always ready for an outburst of the most delicious music.' And his own writing embraced the exuberant and the depressive, the rapturous and the dispiriting. There were extroverted, ebullient performances like 'The Adventures of Augie March' (1953) and 'Henderson the Rain King' (1959), which end with their heroes taking giant steps toward an affirmation of their lives, and crotchety, more claustrophobic volumes like 'Seize the Day' (1956) and 'Mr. Sammler's Planet' (1970), infused with gripes and diatribes and desperate pleas for help. The novels, however, rarely stayed put on one side of the fence or the other: a dark preoccupation with mortality threaded its way through the comedy of 'Humboldt's Gift' (1975), and the best-selling 'Herzog' (1964) managed to be tragic and comic, cerebral and earthy, meditative and manic all at the same time. These novels were less plot-driven works than portraits of men trying to figure out their place in the world, what it means, as Mr. Bellow wrote in 'Herzog': 'to be a man. In a city. In a century. In transition. In a mass. Transformed by science. Under organized power. Subject to tremendous controls. In a condition caused by mechanization. After the late failure of radical hopes.' Cutting back and forth in time, while draping every manner of philosophical digression upon the armature of his characters' lives, Mr. Bellow conjured both the busy mental life of his heroes - men who live, quite willfully, in their heads - and their daily, creaturely existence, their hectic encounters with tempestuous women, fast-talking pitchmen, professional jokesters, bumblers, bureaucrats and poseurs. In many of the novels, his heroes are besieged by an importunate alter ego, someone eager to goad them out of their spiritual ruts, push them out into the rough-and-tumble world. Intellectuals, men deep in 'the profundity game,' find themselves facing off against street-smart thugs and business smoothies; Europeans Jews, burdened with a tragic sense of history, meet their American brethren, who have ardently embraced their country's ethos of instant gratification. These Bellovian men, like their creator, tend to be first-class 'noticers' - hungry observers of the world around them. And they tend to be overwhelmed by the sheer muchness of that world, with its dizzying material and sexual temptations; its calamities and con games; its capacity to continually shock, astonish and confound. Their struggle, chronicled in novel after novel, is to balance the equation between immersion in that 'moronic inferno' and retreat into the pristine realm of the self: the first proffering the dangers of shallowness and distraction; the second, the perils of solipsism and isolation. Like Charlie Citrine in 'Humboldt's Gift,' Mr. Bellow's dangling men suspect that 'all this human nonsense' in the real world 'keeps us from the large truth.' But many, like Harry Trellman in 'The Actual,' also realize that their judgmental intellects can cut them off from love and from humanity. For all the awards Mr. Bellow received in the course of his career, he saw himself as going against the mainstream of contemporary literature, skeptical of the willful aestheticism and postmodern pyrotechnics that had become increasingly fashionable, and equally dismissive of the trendy nihilism evinced by writers he called 'the wastelanders,' those who believe, in his words, that it is 'enlightened to expose, to disenchant, to hate and to experience disgust.' He believed that literature should hew to one of its original purposes - the raising of moral questions - and his own writing remained firmly indebted to the works he had studied as a boy: the Old Testament, Shakespeare's plays and the great 19th-century Russian novels. In his most powerful work, Mr. Bellow was able to draw from many literary traditions - the European existentialists, the Russian moralists and brawny, red-blooded Americans like Melville and Dreiser - to create his own utterly distinctive fictional world. Many of his earlier fictions feature older characters, looking back on the receding vistas of their lives, and this tendency became even more pronounced later on: reminiscence becomes a modus operandi for his people, a means of self-inventory and sometimes a mea culpa. In recent books like 'Ravelstein' (2000) and 'The Actual' (1997), an awareness of mortality, that perennial preoccupation of the Bellovian hero, also moved to the forefront, an awareness, as the years scroll by, that one is entering the final stretch, 'a period of 'mature' acceptance, reconciliation, openhandedness, general amnesty.'

Subject: Sorry
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 10:30:49 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Sorry for the double post.

Subject: Vangaurd didn't make the the top 10 - 10 yr list
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 09:02:58 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Who are these bridgeway and blackrock companies I have never heard of? http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/funds/2005-04-06-10yr-cht.htm 10 years' best, worst performers Winners Fund (type, see glossary) Total return1 10 yrs. 1st qtr. Bridgeway Ultra-Sm Co (SG) 829% -5.5% Calamos Growth A (XG) 653% -5.8% Bridgeway Aggr Inv 1 (XG) 650% 0.6% Alpine Eq US RE Y (RE) 582% 3.2% Bruce Fund (FX) 574% -4.2% BlackRock Aurora Inst (SC) 570% -3.3% Meridian Value Fund (MC) 550% -1.8% BlackRock Aurora IA (SC) 549% -3.3% BlackRock Gl Res IA (NR) 544% 14.3% CGM Tr Realty Fund (RE) 539% 0.6% Alpine Eq US RE B (RE) 520% 2.9% Vanguard Hlth Care Inv (H) 468% -0.1% Legg Mason Value Tr Inst (LC) 438% -5.7% Fidelity Sel Brokerage (FS) 423% -5.7% Managers I Fr Micro-Cp (SG) 413% -10.4% Wasatch Core Growth (SC) 406% -4.1% Baron Growth (SG) 401% 1.4% Keeley Small Cap Value (SC) 396% 0.2% Muhlenkamp Fund (XV) 395% -2.6% Fidelity Lw-Prcd Stk (MV) 394% -1.0% Fidelity New Millennium (XG) 394% -4.9% AIM Energy Inv (NR) 390% 17.8% DFA US Small Value II (SV) 387% -2.8% Neuberger Genesis Inv (SG) 383% 2.8% Salomon Bros Capital O (XV) 383% -0.6% DFA US Small Cap Value (SV) 382% -2.9% Fidelity Sel Enrgy Ser (NR) 381% 15.1% FPA Capital (MV) 381% 3.3% Vanguard Energy Inv (NR) 376% 14.5% Fidelity Sel Insurance (FS) 375% -3.1% Nich-App Inst I GO I 372% 3.6% Alger Inst MidCap Gr I (MG) 371% -2.6% Evergreen Special Vl A (SV) 371% 0.4% Eaton Vance Ww H{lcub}S{rcub}A (H) 369% -10.0% Weitz Value (XC) 369% -4.1% Morg Stan Inst US RE A (RE) 368% -5.6% H&W Small Cap Value I (SV) 366% -0.0% Janus Sm Cap Val Inst (SC) 366% -0.2% Weitz Partners Value (XC) 364% -3.9% Fidelity Exprt Mltnatl (XC) 363% -1.5% Mairs & Power Growth (XC) 362% -2.4% Fidelity Sel Defense (S) 361% 5.0% Legg Mason Spec Inv Inst (XC) 361% -5.2% Eaton Vance Grtr Ch C (CH) 6% 0.4% Centurion Mkt Neutrl C (FX) 5% 6.5% Putnam OTC Emerg Gro A (MG) 3% -2.9% Van Eck Intl Gold A (AU) 2% -4.6% Gabelli Mthrs Fund AAA (SE) 1% 0.2% J Hancock Intl A 1% -0.4% Seligman Gl Intl Gr A 1% -7.7% Losers Frontier Equity Fund (SC) -96% -11.1% American Heritage Fund (SE) -87% -16.7% Ameritor Investment (MC) -83% -27.3% Apex Mid Cap Gro (SG) -73% -27.9% US Glbl Gold Shares (AU) -62% -4.5% Comstock Cap Val A (SE) -60% -1.1% American Heritage Growth (XC) -51% -14.3% Rydex Ursa Fund Inv (SE) -50% 2.8% Commonwealth Japan (JA) -47% -1.9% American Growth D (LC) -41% -6.8% Midas Fund (AU) -39% -5.6% Ameritor Security Tr 1 (SC) -36% -11.4% Rydex Juno Fund Inv (FX) -35% -1.3% AllianBer All-Asia A (PC) -27% -2.3% DFA Japan Small Company (JA) -22% 7.6% Rydex Precious Metls Inv (AU) -18% -6.6% Morg Stan Pac Gro B (PC) -16% -0.9% Julius Baer Global Eq A -14% -1.3% Goldman Asia Gr A (XJ) -9% 1.4% Scudder Pac Optys S (XJ) -8% 0.6% Vanguard Pac Stk Inv (PC) -7% -1.8% PBHG Emerging Gro PBHG (SG) -6% -6.1% Midas Spec Equities (XC) -5% -5.4% T Rowe Price Int Japan (JA) -1% -0.2% J Hancock LgCp Gro A (LG) 0% -4.1% Avg. stock fund 165% -2.5% 1 — dividends, gains reinvested through March 31

Subject: Top selling funds of 2000 deep in red
From: johnny5
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 09:04:11 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/funds/2005-04-05-bear-usat_x.htm Top-selling funds of 2000 deep in red By John Waggoner, USA TODAY Never have so few lost so much for so many. The average stock fund has eked out a 1% gain the past five years. But investors who poured money into the 50 hottest-selling funds five years ago are down an average 42% since March 2000, according to Lipper, the mutual fund trackers. Q1 MUTUAL FUND RESULTS How fund categories fared. The 75 largest funds. First quarter's best, worst performers. 12 months' best, worst. 5 years' best, worst. 10 years' best, worst. These aren't just a bunch of tiny Internet funds. Consider Fidelity Aggressive Growth, which had $23 billion in assets in March 2000. Investors poured $15.1 billion into the fund the 12 months before the S&P 500 peaked that month. A $10,000 investment then would be worth $2,697 now — a 73% loss. Other big top-sellers that have fared badly: Janus Worldwide, then a $13 billion fund, has fallen 45% the past five years; Nasdaq 100 Trust, then a $10 billion fund, has fallen 67%; Janus Global Technology, a $10 billion fund in March 2000, has plunged 73%. All told, investors put $228 billion into the 50 best-selling stock funds in the 12 months before the market peaked. Only two of them have shown a gain the past five years: American Funds New Perspectives, up 2.3%, and Vanguard Capital Opportunity, up 1.5%. Technology stocks were the main culprit. Consider: Investors poured $2 billion into PBHG Technology & Communications the 12 months before the bear market began. Its largest holding on March 31, 2000, was InfoSpace, which sold at a split-adjusted price of $727 a share. The Internet search company now sells for $41.03. The fund has fallen 86%. Although most funds encourage investors to hang in for the long term, long-suffering investors in some funds will have a long time to wait. An investor who bought Fidelity Aggressive Growth in March 2000, for example, will have to gain 271% just to break even. The 50 largest funds five years ago also have suffered above-average losses since 2000: They're down an average 15%. Fidelity Magellan, then the largest fund, has fallen 23%. Janus, then fourth-largest, is down 45%. Investors who fled laggard funds have reason to kick themselves, too. The 50 funds that saw the most money flee in the 12 months ending March 2000 have gained an average 21.4%. Looking at what people bought before the bear market gives you some idea of the suffering that investors have endured the past five years — especially those who came late to the bull market of the 1990s. Should you ignore the average performance figures for stock funds? No. But you should take them with a grain of salt, says Don Cassidy, research analyst for Lipper. 'A straight average can be misleading,' he says. For example, in figuring the average performance of all funds, the same weight is given to the record of the Vanguard 500 Index fund, the nation's largest stock fund, and the Ameritor fund, one of the smallest — and worst — funds.

Subject: Social Security
From: Poyetas
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 08:54:40 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The cost of reforming Social Security By Jonathan Berk Published: April 4 2005 20:16 | Last updated: April 4 2005 20:16 At the foundation of modern finance lies the Modigliani-Miller Theorem. Named after the two economists - Franco Modigliani and Merton Miller - who developed it in the late 1950s (and subsequently won the Nobel Prize for their contribution), the theorem states that the return of any investment cannot depend on how the investment is financed. Economists do not debate the validity of this theorem any more than physicists debate the validity of the second law of thermodynamics. You cannot magically increase the return of an investment by choosing a different way to finance it any more than you can build yourself a perpetual motion machine. To argue otherwise requires finding a way to make something out of nothing. The implication of the Modigliani-Miller theorem for US Social Security reform is that the total amount of future wealth available to fund retirement does not depend on how George W. Bush, the president, chooses to finance future retirement. That is, whether the government invests on future retirees' behalf (the current system) or people invest for themselves in personal security accounts (the proposed system) cannot affect the overall return on investment in the economy. - Financial Times

Subject: Re: Social Security Part II
From: Pancho Villa
To: Poyetas
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 10:45:01 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
'...Of course, people might make different financing choices under a PSA system than the government makes for them in the Social Security System. But these choices do not affect the total amount of resources available to fund retirees. That depends on economic growth in the interim which, according to Messrs Modigliani (grazie per la tua risposta, RIP) and Miller, does not depend on how that growth is financed. So at the point of retirement the total amount of wealth available to fund that retirement is the same under either system. The difference is how this wealth is divided. And therein lies the rub. If people are allowed to make their own investment choices under a PSA system, some investors will invest responsibly and some will not. The net result is that some investors will have more money to retire on than others. In principle there is nothing wrong with this outcome - people make their own investment decisions so they should have to live with the consequences of those decisions. The problem arises only when we accept that the people will not be willing to live with the consequences of their investment choices. From both a moral and a political standpoint it is clear that society would never allow old people to starve. By 'starve' I do not mean just going without food. In the US the poverty level is well above subsistence. Even the poorest people still have a place to live, most receive some medical care, watch television, use transport and so on. That is, they live at about the level of a currently retired person who has no source of income other than Social Security. So under the proposed new system investors whose personal investments go so badly that their PSAs would only support them at a level below current Social Security supports would appeal for relief. And they would get it, not only for moral reasons but also because they are likely to be a sizeable voting minority. In effect, the PSA system allows individuals to keep their gains if their investments do well, but if their investments perform badly the government is on the hook to make up for the losses. In financial terms, under the PSA system the government would be giving away a valuable financial option for free. One would have thought legislators would be wary of giving away free options. The last time they did such a thing, it precipitated the savings and loan crisis; in a similar vein to investors in a PSA system, savings and loans institutions knew that if they made risky investments and the investments did well, they could keep the rewards, but if the investments did badly government insurance would repay their depositors. Apparently Mr Bush's father, who was president during the S&L crisis, did not pass on this lesson to his son. This administration appears to be on the verge of making the same mistake, except on a much larger scale. It is not hard to predict the effect of putting a PSA system in place. Because current levels of Social Security payments are effectively at the minimum level society is likely to tolerate, a PSA system would increase society's commitment to retired people. The extent of this increased commitment depends on how much risk people take on in their PSAs. The more risk they take the more valuable the guarantee (or equally, the more likely that the government has to step in) and thus the greater the wealth transfer to retirees. If the S&L experience is any guide, the size of the new commitment would be large - and, as in the lead-up to the S&L crisis, investors would react to these incentives by substantially increasing their risk exposure in order to take full advantage of the free option. There are many more retirees than there were savings and loans, so ultimately the cost of privatising Social Security is likely dwarf the cost of insuring savings and loans....' The writer is an associate professor of finance at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, where he holds the chair in management philosophy and values

Subject: Tank tread
From: johnny5
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 16:18:57 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
'From both a moral and a political standpoint it is clear that society would never allow old people to starve. By 'starve' I do not mean just going without food. ' I wonder what the war veterans a couple generations back thought of that as macarthur ran the tanks over them in washington DC? One of them being criticized by Patton - had saved his life in the battelfield years earlier. Pancho why are people so needy to believe things can never get ugly or horrible out in this rosy colored world? I met a hobo woman in texas who was starving because the churches and soup kitchens in arizona would not feed her anymore and she had to leave.

Subject: Who We May Be
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 06:26:13 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/05/books/0406wire-bellow.html?hp=&pagewanted=all&position= [Saul] Bellow grew up reading the Old Testament, Shakespeare and the great 19th century Russian novelists, and always looked with respect to the masters, even as he tried to recast himself in the American idiom. A scholar as well as teacher, he read deeply and quoted widely, often referring to Henry James, Marcel Proust and Gustave Flaubert. While others were ready to proclaim the death of the novel, he continued to think of it as a vital form. 'I never tire of reading the master novelists,' he said. 'Can anything as vivid as the characters in their books be dead?' Once, with reference to Flaubert, he wrote, 'I think novelists who take the bitterest view of our modern condition make the most of the art of the novel,' and added, 'The writer's art appears to seek a compensation for the hopelessness or meanness of existence.'

Subject: Saul Bellow
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 05:59:14 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/05/books/0406wire-bellow.html?hp=&pagewanted=all&position= Author Saul Bellow Dies at 89 By MEL GUSSOW and CHARLES McGRATH Saul Bellow, the Nobel laureate and self-proclaimed historian of society whose fictional heroes - and whose scathing, unrelenting and darkly comic examination of their struggle for meaning - gave new immediacy to the American novel in the second half of the 20th century, died today at his home in Brookline, Mass. He was 89. His death was announced by Walter Pozen, Mr. Bellow's lawyer and a longtime friend. 'I cannot exceed what I see,' Mr. Bellow once said. 'I am bound, in other words, as the historian is bound by the period he writes about, by the situation I live in.' But his was a history of a particular and idiosyncratic sort. The center of his fictional universe was Chicago, where he grew up and spent most of his life, and which he made into the first city of American letters. Many of his works are set there, and almost all of them have a Midwestern earthiness and brashness. Like their creator, Mr. Bellow's heroes were all head and all body both. They tended to be dreamers, questers or bookish intellectuals, but they lived in a lovingly depicted world of cranks, con men, fast-talking salesmen and wheeler-dealers. In works like 'The Adventures of Augie March,' his breakthrough novel in 1953, 'Henderson the Rain King' and 'Herzog,' Mr. Bellow laid a path for old-fashioned, supersized characters and equally big themes and ideas. As the English novelist Malcolm Bradbury said, 'His fame, literary, intellectual, moral, lay with his big books,' which were 'filled with their big, clever, flowing prose, and their big, more-than-life-size heroes - Augie Marches, Hendersons, Herzogs, Humboldts - who fought the battle for courage, intelligence, selfhood and a sense of human.' Mr. Bellow said that of all his characters, Eugene Henderson of 'Henderson the Rain King,' the quixotic violinist and pig farmer who vainly sought a higher truth and a moral purpose in life, was the one most like himself. But there were also elements of the author in the put-upon, twice-divorced but ever-hopeful Moses Herzog and in wise but embattled older figures like Artur Sammler of 'Mr. Sammler's Planet' and Albert Corde, the dean in 'The Dean's December.' They were all men trying to come to grips with what Corde called 'the big-scale insanities of the 20th century.' At the same time, some of his novellas and stories were regarded as more finely wrought. V.S. Pritchett said, 'I enjoy Saul Bellow in his spreading carnivals and wonder at his energy, but I still think he is finer in his shorter works.' Pritchett considered Mr. Bellow's 1947 book 'The Victim' 'the best novel to come out of America - or England - for a decade' and thought that 'Seize the Day,' another shorter book, was 'a small gray masterpiece.' All his work, long and short, was written in a distinctive, immediately recognizable style that blended high and low, colloquial and mandarin, wisecrack and aphorism, as in the introduction of the poet Humboldt at the beginning of 'Humboldt's Gift': 'He was a wonderful talker, a hectic nonstop monologist and improvisator, a champion detractor. To be loused up by Humboldt was really a kind of privilege. It was like being the subject of a two-nosed portrait by Picasso, or an eviscerated chicken by Soutine.' Mr. Bellow stuck to an individualistic path, and steered clear of cliques, fads and schools of writing. He was frequently lumped together with Philip Roth and Bernard Malamud as a Jewish-American writer, but he rejected the label, saying he had no wish to be part of the 'Hart, Schaffner & Marx' of American letters. In his younger days, he was loosely allied with the liberal and arty Partisan Review crowd, led by Philip Rahv and William Phillips, but he eventually broke with them saying, 'They want to cook their meals over Pater's hard gemlike flame and light their cigarettes at it.' He spoke his own mind, without regard for political correctness or fashion, and was often involved, at least at a literary distance, in fierce debates with feminists, black writers and postmodernists. Speaking about multiculturalism, he was once quoted as asking, 'Who is the Tolstoy of the Zulus? The Proust of the Papuans?' The remark caused a furor and was taken as proof, he said, ''that I was at best insensitive and at worst an elitist, a chauvinist, a reactionary and a racist - in a word, a monster.' He later said the controversy had been 'the result of misunderstanding that occurred (they always do occur) during an interview.' In his life as in his work, he was unpredictable. He was the most urban of writers and yet he spent much of his time at a farm in Vermont. He admired and befriended the Chicago machers - the deal-makers and real-estate men - and he dressed like one of them, in bespoke suits, Turnbull & Asser shirts and a Borsalino hat. He was a devoted, self-taught cook, as well as a gardener, a violinist and a sports fan. He was a great admirer of, among others, John Cheever, William Faulkner, Ralph Ellison (a close friend), Cormac McCarthy, Denis Johnson, Joyce Carol Oates and James Dickey. Mr. Bellow grew up reading the Old Testament, Shakespeare and the great 19th century Russian novelists, and always looked with respect to the masters, even as he tried to recast himself in the American idiom. A scholar as well as teacher, he read deeply and quoted widely, often referring to Henry James, Marcel Proust and Gustave Flaubert. While others were ready to proclaim the death of the novel, he continued to think of it as a vital form. 'I never tire of reading the master novelists,' he said. 'Can anything as vivid as the characters in their books be dead?' Once, with reference to Flaubert, he wrote, 'I think novelists who take the bitterest view of our modern condition make the most of the art of the novel,' and added, 'The writer's art appears to seek a compensation for the hopelessness or meanness of existence.' Saul Bellow was a kind of intellectual boulevardier, wearing a jaunty hat and a smile as he marched into literary battle. In spite of - or, perhaps, because of - his lofty position, he was criticized more than many of his peers. In reviews, his books were habitually weighed against one another. Was this one as full-bodied as 'Augie March'? Where was the Bellow of old? Norman Mailer said that 'Augie March,' Mr. Bellow's grand Bildungsroman, was unconvincing and overcooked; Elizabeth Hardwick thought that in 'Henderson,' he was trying too hard to be an important novelist. He was prickly about his reputation but also philosophical: 'Every time you're praised, there's a boot waiting for you. If you've been publishing books for 50 years or so, you're inured to misunderstanding and even abuse.' Years ago, when he was at the Breadloaf Writers Conference in Vermont, he spent a great deal of time with Robert Frost. 'I thought when I was his age,' he said, 'people would let me get away with murder, too. But I'm not allowed to get away with a thing.' Smiling, he vowed, 'My turn will come.' In a long and unusually productive career, Mr. Bellow dodged many of the snares that typically entangle American writers. He didn't drink much, and though he was analyzed four times, and even spent some time in an orgone box, his mental health was as robust as his physical health. His success came neither too early nor too late, and he took it more or less in stride. He never ran out of ideas and he never stopped writing. The Nobel Prize, which he won in 1976, was the cornerstone of a career that also included a Pulitzer Prize, three National Book Awards, a Presidential Medal and more honors than any other American writer. In contrast to some other winners, who were wary of the albatross of the Nobel, Mr. Bellow accepted it matter-of-factly. 'The child in me is delighted,' he said. 'The adult in me is skeptical.' He took the award, he said, 'on an even keel,' aware of 'the secret humiliation' that 'some of the very great writers of the century didn't get it.' This most American of writers was born in Lachine, Quebec, a poor immigrant suburb of Montreal. Named Solomon Bellow, his birthdate is listed as either June or July 10, 1915, though his lawyer, Mr. Pozen, said today that Mr. Bellow customarily celebrated in June. (Immigrant Jews at that time tended to be careless about the Christian calendar, and the records are inconclusive.) Mr. Bellow was the last of four children, but as he was always quick to point out, the first to be born in the New World. His parents emigrated from Russia two years before, though in Canada their luck was not much better. Solomon's father, Abram, failed at one enterprise after another. His mother, Liza, was deeply religious and wanted her youngest child, her favorite, to become either a rabbi or a concert violinist. But Mr. Bellow's fate was sealed, or so he later claimed, when at the age of 8 he spent six months in Ward H of the Royal Victoria Hospital, suffering from a respiratory infection and reading 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' and the funny papers. It was there, he said, that he discovered his sense of destiny - his certainty that he was 'meant for great things.' In 1924, when their son was 9, the Bellows moved to Chicago, where the family began to prosper a little as Abram picked up work in a bakery, delivering coal and even bootlegging. The family continued its old ways in the United States, and during his childhood, Saul was steeped in Jewish tradition, learning Hebrew and Yiddish. But eventually he rebelled against what he considered to be a 'suffocating orthodoxy,' and he found in Chicago not just a physical home but a spiritual one. Recalling his sense of discovery and of belonging, he later wrote, 'The children of Chicago bakers, tailors, peddlers, insurance agents, pressers, cutters, grocers, the sons of families on relief, were reading buckram-bound books from the public library and were in a state of enthusiasm, having found themselves on the shore of a novelistic land to which they really belonged, discovering their birthright...talking to one another about the mind, society, art, religion, epistemology, and doing all this in Chicago, of all places.' Eventually Chicago became for him what London was for Dickens and Dublin was for Joyce - the center of both his life and his work, and not just a place or a background but almost a character in its own right. He began writing in grammar school, alongside his childhood friend Sydney J. Harris, later a Chicago newspaper columnist: 'We would sit at the Harris's dining room table and write things to each other - any old thing.' His father was disapproving, and remained so for decades. 'You write and then you erase,' he said when Bellow was in his 20's. 'You call that a profession?' His mother was more supportive, but she died when he was 17, a tragedy that he found difficult to overcome. With her death and his father's remarriage, he said, 'I was turned loose - freed, in a sense: free but also stunned, like someone who survives an explosion but hasn't yet grasped what has happened.' He added, 'It was disabling for me for a couple of years.' In 1933, he began college at the University of Chicago, but two years later transferred to Northwestern, because it was cheaper. He had hoped to study literature but was put off by what he saw as the tweedy anti-Semitism of the English Department, and graduated in 1937 with honors in anthropology and sociology, subjects that were later to instill his novels. But he was still obsessed by fiction. While doing graduate work in anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, he found that 'every time I worked on my thesis, it turned out to be a story.' He added: 'I sometimes think the Depression was a great help. It was no use studying for any other profession.' After graduation, he participated in the W.P.A. Writers' Project in Chicago, preparing biographies of Midwestern novelists, and later joined the editorial department of the Encyclopedia Britannica, where he worked on Mortimer Adler's 'Great Books' series. He came to New York 'toward the end of the 30's, muddled in the head but keen to educate myself.' While living in Greenwich Village and trying writing fiction, aimlessly and with little success at first, he also reviewed books. When World War II began he was rejected by the Army because he had a hernia; he later joined the Merchant Marine and was in training when the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. During his service, he finished writing 'Dangling Man,' about the alienation of a young Chicagoan waiting to be drafted. It was published in 1944, before the author was 30, and was followed by 'The Victim,' a novel about anti-Semitism that was written, he said, under the influence of Dostoyevsky. Mr. Bellow later called those novels his 'M.A. and PhD.' They were apprentice work, he believed, finely written but weak in plot and too much in thrall to European models. In 1948, financed by a Guggenheim fellowship, Mr. Bellow went to Paris where, walking the streets and thinking about his future, he had a kind of epiphany. He remembered a friend from his childhood named Chucky, 'a wild talker who was always announcing cheerfully that he had a super scheme,' and he began to wonder what a novel in Chucky's voice would sound like. 'The book just came to me,' he said later. 'All I had to do was be there with buckets to catch it.' The resulting novel, 'The Adventures of Augie March,' was published in 1953, and it became Mr. Bellow's breakthrough, his first best-seller and the book that firmly established him as a writer of consequence. The beginning of the novel was as striking and as unforgettable as the beginning of 'Huckleberry Finn,' and it announced a voice brand new in American fiction -, jazzy, brash exuberant, with accents that were both Yiddish and Whitmanian: 'I am an American, Chicago born - Chicago, that somber city - and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way: first to knock, first admitted; sometimes an innocent knock, sometimes a not so innocent.' 'Fiction is the higher autobiography,' Mr. Bellow once said, and in his subsequent novels, he often adapted facts from his own life and the lives of people he knew. Humboldt was a version of the poet Delmore Schwartz; Henderson was based on Chandler Chapman, a son of the writer John Jay Chapman; Gersbach, the cuckolder in 'Herzog,' was a Bard professor named Jack Ludwig, who did indeed seduce Mr. Bellow's wife at the time; and in one guise or another most of Bellow's many girlfriends all turned up. 'What a woman-filled life I always led,' says Charlie Citrine. Those are words that could have been echoed by the author himself - he had almost innumerable affairs and was married five times. His wives were Anita Goshkin, Alexandra Tsachacbasov, Susan Glassman, Alexandra Ionescu Tuleca and Janis Freedman. All of Mr. Bellow's marriages but his last ended in divorce. In addition to his wife, Janis, he is survived by three sons, Gregory, Adam and Daniel, a daughter, Naomi Rose, and six grandchildren. With 'Henderson the Rain King' in 1959, Mr. Bellow envisioned an even more ambitious canvas than that of 'Augie March,' with the story of an American millionaire who travels in Africa in search of regeneration. Mr. Bellow, who had never been to Africa, regarded that novel as a turning point. 'Augie March,' he said later, was a little unruly and out of control; with 'Henderson' he had full command of his creative powers. 'Henderson' was followed in 1964 by 'Herzog,' with the title character a Jewish Everyman who is cuckolded by his wife and his best friend. 'He is taken by an epistolary fit,' said the author, 'and writes grieving, biting, ironic and rambunctious letters not only to his friends and acquaintances, but also to the great men, the giants of thought, who formed his mind.' Looking back on the writing of that book, he said: 'Herzog' was just a brainstorm. One day I found myself writing letters - all over the place. Then it occurred to me that it was a very good idea for writing a book about the mental condition of the country and of its educated class.' The novel won a National Book Award. In contrast, that same year 'The Last Analysis'' (one of several plays by Mr. Bellow) opened on Broadway in a production starring Sam Levene, and was a quick failure. 'It started as a lark,' he said, 'but it ended as an ostrich.' With 'Mr. Sammler's Planet' in 1969, a novel about a survivor of the Holocaust living - and ruminating - in New York, Mr. Bellow won his third National Book Award. 'Humboldt's Gift,' in 1975, proved to be one of his greatest successes. In it, the protagonist, Charlie Citrine, a Pulitzer Prize- winning writer, has to come to terms with the death of his mentor, the poet Von Humboldt Fleischer. Life imitated art in this case, and 'Humboldt' won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The Nobel Prize for literature soon followed, with the Swedish academy citing his 'exuberant ideas, flashing irony, hilarious comedy and burning compassion,' and Mr. Bellow was now placed in a class with his American predecessors Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner. 'After I won the Nobel Prize,' he said, 'I found myself thrust in the position of a public servant in the world of culture. I was supposed to seem benevolent and to pontificate and bless with my presence - elder statesman whether I liked it or not. The price you have to pay.' His first book following the Nobel was 'To Jerusalem and Back,' a nonfiction memoir about his trip to Israel. That was followed by 'The Dean's December,' a novel about the decay of the American city; the short-story collection 'Him with His Foot in His Mouth' and, in 1986, the novel 'More Die of Heartbreak.' From then on, through 'The Bellarosa Connection' and 'The Actual,' his books became shorter and shorter, a case of Mr. Bellow sending out what he called 'a briefer signal.' With 'Ravelstein' (in 2000), he returned to longer fiction. Inspired by the life of his close friend Allan Bloom, the author of 'The Closing of the American Mind,' the book dealt with a celebrated professor dying of AIDS. In his review in The New York Times Book Review, Jonathan Wilson said it was 'a great novel of that much-maligned item, American male friendship.' In 1993, after many years of living in Chicago and teaching at the University of Chicago, he left his adopted city. The reasons for his departure were complex. Several of his close Chicago friends had died, among them Allan Bloom, and Mr. Bellow said he 'got tired of passing the houses of my dead friends.' He was also upset by the ugly racial climate in Chicago at the time. A few people in the radical black community tried to spread a story that Jewish doctors were deliberately infecting black children with AIDS, and Mr. Bellow expressed his anger at this 'blood libel' in an article he wrote for The Chicago Tribune. He moved to Boston and, at the invitation of the chancellor, John Silber, began teaching at Boston University. Explaining why he continued to teach, even though he was one of the most financially successful of serious American novelists, he said: 'You're all alone when you're a writer. Sometimes you just feel you need a humanity bath. Even a ride on the subway will do that. But it's much more interesting to talk about books. After all, that's what life used to be for writers: they talk books, politics, history, America. Nothing has replaced that.' In 1994, while on a Caribbean vacation with his wife in St. Martin, Mr. Bellow became sick after eating a toxic fish and almost died - an incident that is also recounted in 'Ravelstein.' After a long recovery process, he returned to his writing, with 'By the St. Lawrence,' a story evoking a traumatic memory of his childhood. In 'It All Adds Up,' a 1994 collection of nonfiction pieces, Mr. Bellow looked back on his writings and, by inference, on his life. 'I can see now where I went wrong,' he said. 'The 'road not taken' was taken, taken a hundred times. By now I have gone many miles toward the promise of sleep, but I reach my destination blindingly wide awake. My state therefore is something like a state of insomniac illumination.' Throughout Mr. Bellow's life, his approach to his art was that of an alien newly arrived on earth: 'I've never seen the world before. Now I was seeing it, and it's a beautiful, marvelous gift. Enchanting reality! And when the end came, I was told by the cleverest people I knew that it would all vanish. I'm not absolutely convinced of that. If you asked me if I believed in life after death, I would say I was an agnostic. There are more things between heaven and earth, Horatio, etc.'

Subject: The Economy and Investing
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 21:43:19 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The prime economic problems for America are not market inefficiencies here and there, for that is always the nature of markets and can easily be resolved. Rather we have a serious government budget deficit, coupled with very low household savings. These combined problems are fiscal in nature and can not be dealt with adequately by monetary policy. The problem we have is finding intelligent ways to protect and increase assets through a period of such difficulty. I have no doubt that simple investment techniques, such as have been employed for decades, will allow this. Nor do I doubt the deficit problems can be solved.

Subject: National Index Returns
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 20:40:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.msci.com/equity/index2.html National Index Returns [Dollars] 12/31/04 - 4/05/05 Australia 2.0 Canada 2.9 Denmark 7.6 France 1.1 Germany -3.1 Hong Kong -3.6 Japan -2.9 Netherlands 1.7 Norway 6.3 Sweden -2.0 Switzerland -1.8 UK 1.6

Subject: Lower risk investing with....
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 21:56:59 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
decent returns is hard to find. It is very hard to beat Vanguard's funds when it comes low expense ratios and low overall costs. However, I'm not sure that Vanguard offers a fund which has a combination of uncorrelated investments providing low risk while focusing on what is going on in the global economy - falling dollar, rising demand for natural resources, etc. In fact there are very few of these kinds of funds. Johnny5 is recommending (or seems to be) Vanguard Precious Metals fund. This fund is perhaps the best precious metals fund out there with the best performance and as he points out low expenses. My wife and I have some investment in this fund. The truth - I'm speculating that the dollar will continue to fall for some time, the Fed is in a pickle and can not raise rates as much as it would like because of asset bubbles (real estate), the government has more obligations than tax revenue and will create money as necessary to meet obligations, and foreign demand for dollar assets will generally decline. Furthermore the 70's showed us that when the public gets exited about precious metals like gold it can run it skyward. I went back in time to the 70's and discovered that about 5% of total investment (stocks, bonds, commodities) ended up in the gold markets at the height of the craze. I believe that total worldwide investment in stocks and bonds is now about 60-70 trillion. Total cap for the precious metals market (including available bullion and mining stocks) is extremely tiny in comparison presently. Asians especially seem to be quite fond of precious metals and their purchasing power is growing while their paper currencies are not doing very well. So this is very much a speculative investment in a very volatile area. You have to stick to one's convictions and not let oneself become deterred regardless of the big swings. This is not for an investor who is not totally convinced and committed. Vanguard requires a minimum $10,000 investment for this fund. Another fund, Permanent Portfolio (PRPFX), is one of a very few funds which has made gains every year of the last 10 and is another of our investments and is conservative - not speculative. The following is an interview by Business Week with Michael Cuggino PRPFX fund manager. This fund has been in existance for more than 20 years. By the way I have no connection to this fund if I seem to be 'pushing' it. MARCH 8, 2005 INVESTING Q&A Balancing Assets for Lower Risks Michael Cuggino's Permanent Portfolio fund invests across a broad range, from gold and Swiss francs to T-bills and growth stocks With the numerous uncertainties in today's investing world, it pays to be defensive. Michael Cuggino, president and portfolio manager of the Permanent Portfolio Funds (PRPFX ), has a formula for just that: a fund invested in a variety of asset classes such as gold, Swiss francs, U.S. Treasury bills, and growth stocks -- designed so that if one type of investment is declining, another is rising to offset it, in hopes that the fund as a whole will increase in value. TWO PROMISING AREAS. By balancing assets to minimize risk, 'we take the prediction and forecasting game out of the equation,' says Cuggino. Because of the variety of its assets, no one benchmark gauges the the fund's performance, but Cuggino reports that in the year ended last Dec. 31, it returned 12.05%, vs. 10.85% for the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index and 1.24% for the T-bill index. On the stock front, Cuggino points to homebuilding and software as interesting sectors now. He cites homebuilder Ryland Group (RYL ) as an example of the kind of growth stocks he likes. Cuggino runs three other funds in addition to the Permanent Portfolio: the Permanent Treasury Bill Fund (PRTBX ), Permanent Aggressive Growth Fund (PAGRX ), and Permanent Versatile Bond Fund, which invests in high-grade corporate bonds. These were among the points Cuggino made in response to questions from the audience and BusinessWeek Online's Jack Dierdorff and June Kim during a BW Online investing chat presented Mar. 3 on America Online. Following are edited excerpts from this chat. AOL subscribers can find a full transcript at keyword: BW. Q: Michael, what's the big picture you see for the markets now? A: I think right now, there's uncertainty in multiple layers in the market -- not only equities but also fixed income, commodities, the bond market. If you look at equities, they're basically treading water, and the bond market, anticipating high rates, has not had much of a return. Gold is down a little bit for the year, commodities and energy prices are up a little bit. Government statistics on the economy are going in different directions, and corporate forecasts for 2005 are mixed. Q: So do you have anything in your portfolio that you think will do well, despite all the uncertainty? A: We do. Our strategy is based on the fact that the markets are uncertain as a general rule, and only investors who are able to embrace a high degree of risk, subject to forecasts and predictions, etc., should expose that core part of their portfolio to such predictions and speculative investing. What we do is take the prediction and forecasting game out of the equation by allowing investors to invest in an array of noncorrelated asset classes that should minimize the risks out there due to the economic and geopolitical events. So we try to produce growth by accepting a very low level of risk. The variety of assets we invest in -- gold and silver, Swiss francs, government bonds, aggressive growth stocks, and Treasury bonds -- are all material asset classes the investor needs to be exposed to at all times to provide for that appropriate diversification. Q: You mentioned noncorrelated asset classes. Could you give us some examples? A: Yes. Correlation is a term that describes the way assets react in relation to one another given a set of economic conditions and geopolitical situations. For example, some of the factors that cause an asset class like stocks to go up -- if they also cause another asset to go up -- that would be called a high correlation. Noncorrelation means they move in opposite directions. For example, the factors that cause a rise in equities may be the types of conditions that drive down the price of gold. By using noncorrelated assets for allocation, you're balancing yourself. Some of your assets are guaranteed to be increasing in value, while others may decrease. But the theory is that the outperformance should outweigh the underperformance. I mentioned gold and equities. Generally, gold is considered a noncorrelated asset class to dollar-based assets like stocks and bonds. Q: Are all the types of assets you listed included in your fund? A: Yes, they are. The Permanent Portfolio fund holds 20% in gold; 5% in silver; 10% in Swiss government bonds; 15% in real estate investment trusts and natural-resource and commodity stocks, things like energy, timber, raw land, gas and oil production, and commodity metals like nickel and copper; 15% in aggressive growth stocks; and 35% in U.S. Treasuries and high-grade corporate bonds. We believe an investor has to be exposed, regardless of market conditions, to these differing asset classes to be properly diversified. Q: And what about the fund's performance? A: Ah! Well, given the diversity of assets in the Permanent Portfolio Fund, it doesn't have a true benchmark. We typically measure it against the cost of money, represented by a short three-month Treasury-bill index or the consumer price index. Others have compared it to the S&P 500. That's an unfair comparison, given we're about a third invested in stocks. Be that as it may, we've compared favorably to all those indexes over a period of time. For the one-year period ending Dec. 31, 2004, we returned 12.05%, compared to the Treasury-bill index of 1.24% and the S&P 500 of 10.85%. For the three years, we returned 15.54%, vs. 1.34% for the Treasury-bill index and 3.53% for the S&P 500. For the five years, we returned 11.12%, vs. the Treasury-bill index of 2.80% and the S&P 500 of -2.32%. For the 10 years, 8.16% for us, 4% for the Treasury index, and 10.3% for the S&P 500. Q: You also invest in growth stocks. What's your stock-picking strategy for that asset class? A: We manage this part of the portfolio in the same fashion we manage our Aggressive Growth portfolio, which is an all-cap fully invested U.S. stock fund. We're looking to beat the broad market. We're diversified between 12 to 15 industry groups and have the ability to invest in companies of all capitalizations. What we're doing is looking for long-term winners. We'll first identify industries that we think are going to outperform the broad market. Within those, we look for companies we believe will outperform with good growth stories. New products and services, companies with strong and experienced management teams, strong balance sheets and operating models, companies with a history of bringing products from R&D to profitability -- all these characteristics are indicative of good long-term growth stories. We look to hold these stocks for long periods of time. Q: So, what are some of the top holdings among these growth stocks? A: A good example of our stock selection methodology would be Ryland Group. Ryland is a homebuilder based in Southern California. The homebuilding industry, despite gradually rising short-term rates, has been a hot sector over the last few years. Home buyers are still taking advantage of low rates by buying rather than renting. The sector has even been a good performer last year, when short-term rates went up. Longer-term rates didn't increase to that extent, though, so the homebuilding market remains strong. Ryland is a strong performer in a hot sector. They basically have consistent and ever-growing earnings. Their backlog remains very healthy. Their real estate contracts are in the right parts of the country -- Southwest, D.C., etc. Their management team has been around for quite a while and has exhibited a knack for not overpaying. They've demonstrated ability to increase their capacity at reasonable rates and deal out healthy dividends when the right prospects aren't out there. Q: Besides homebuilders, what other industry groups do you think will outperform the broad market? A: Another area that I think has been beaten down a little bit is computer software. For the most part, economic growth has been driven by consumer demand. Businesses are just beginning to spend more on capital improvements. Recently the jobs picture has gotten a little brighter. I expect an increase in info-tech spending as well, so a lot of the computer software stocks (which have been beaten down, though with good reason) are in a good position. We expect to see the software market experience pretty rapid growth. Q: To clarify, is Permanent Portfolio just one fund? You spoke as if Aggressive Growth were separate. A: The Permanent Portfolio family of funds is a collection of separate and unique funds. The Permanent Portfolio is our flagship fund -- that's the one we've been primarily talking about. We also have three other no-load portfolios. The Permanent Treasury Bill portfolio invests in short-term Treasuries. We also have an ultrahigh-grade corporate bond fund, the Permanent Versatile Bond Fund. Both of these funds are designed for fixed-income investors. The Treasury fund is managed like a money-market fund but has a variable price like a bond fund -- it does not maintain a dollar-per-share price. Our Versatile Bond fund goes out a little further -- it takes on a small additional degree of credit risk. The T-bill fund only goes out 90 days. The corporate bond fund can go out about two years. The final fund that I alluded to a little earlier, the Aggressive Growth Portfolio, maintains positions in a variety of industry groups and invests in any cap size. Q: What about crude oil prices? How do they affect your portfolio holdings? A: Well, we think exposure to energy and natural resources, including commodity metals, etc., is essential for investors. Clearly, we believe it's an area investors need to be in -- we've been invested there for a long time and hold several names in the energy sector. We hold ChevronTexaco (CVX ), we own BP (BP ), and we own Forest Oil (FST ), and smaller companies like them. High energy prices have implications in the economy, both favorable and nonfavorable. If you're an investor in commodity stocks in general, you've benefited from a worldwide mismatch of short supplies and increasing demand. This, combined with an accommodative Fed policy and a glut of dollars in the market, has caused commodity prices to boom, and they'll continue to remain high until these mismatches have been resolved. Clearly, we think it's an area to be in -- we own quite a few companies in all these areas. The negative implications, though, are that companies are having trouble passing along the higher costs of commodities to consumers. As long as these costs can be passed on, companies will do well. Oil companies spend more for a barrel of oil, but they still pass on the gasoline at a higher price. However, the auto industry, for example, cannot. The auto industry has higher material costs but cannot raise prices. The higher costs of components drive up the price of inventory, reducing cash flow and margins and ultimately reducing the margin. In the equity market, you want to find companies that are able to pass along these price increases with higher prices to consumers. Q: In what form do you invest in gold and silver? The metals themselves? Mining stocks? A: With respect to our gold and silver, we invest in gold bullion and coins, not the mining companies. We use gold and silver as part of an overall diversification strategy. It's important for investors to remember that [metals] stocks behave like stocks first. They have management teams, analysts, and others who may do things to move the business that could be independent of the movement of the metal. Q: Michael, for the typical long-term investor, what role do you think your defensive funds should play in a portfolio? How much weight? A: Well, again it goes back to expectations, acceptance of risk, etc. But I think all investors have that core part of their portfolio that they don't want to lose or expose to unnecessary risk, and need for a rainy day -- retirement, the kids' education, etc. I think this is a part of everyone's portfolio, to some degree. This chunk grows, but grows with low risk. I think our funds have application in just about everyone's portfolio. Many people use us as a core holding and scratch their speculative itch using other, more risky areas around this core. We've seen many people use this as their only investment, and we've seen it used in both taxable and tax-deferred accounts.

Subject: Interesting
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 19:34:48 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Another fine post.

Subject: I am only in XOM
From: johnny5
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 00:36:47 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Most of this is academic for me and a way to make great friends like you and terri Pete. I hold XOM, I buy it through scottrade once a quarter to keep the trades to only 4 times a year and always keep about 10% of my money in cash for whatever. I used to own a lot of INTC, IBM and MSFT, but decided oil and XOM might outlast them 2 years ago. In the future I may switch to energy index funds or etf's to diversify away from ONE company, but I never expect to have my core holding outside of oil or the energy sector in my time horizon. The only sectors that may even interest me slightly in the next 10 years will be nanotech or biotech related and in the future I may buy index funds of those. I expect gold and oil both to go down and go up over the next 30 years which is my investment horizon, the direction is irrelevant to me. I expect in 30 years no matter with wars, trade restrictions, corporate corruption, government collapse, currency debasement - etc etc that oil and gold will have future VALUE but I have several currencies and stock certificates on my wall that have no value other than sentimental. My uncle is going to invest with a financial planner that will earn a 1% fee and will put him into a few index funds with lots of dividends through fidelity it seems - he also has a military pension. My father has a military pension and most of his wealth is in residential and commercial real estate in georgia and florida. My mother's wealth is in her west palm real estate that I am talking to her and her real estate attorney about 1031 exchanging into japanese commercial real estate. I live very miserly in an old trailer in west central florida and eat the dollar taco's at taco bell most days or sweet potatoes from the local market. I take greyhound when I travel which I try to do several times a year. Wireless technology has become so ubiquitous I am even considering going on the road full time and foregoing my trailer. An old friend sent me some emails last week about buying iraqi dinars because the president of his bank is buying them and telling him what a great investment next to western currencies they are and I sent him this http://www.millionbill.com/ and told him to tell this Nations Bank president to buy these too - that taco bell won't take either currency or the silver coins he begs me to buy when I get hungry for a taco. After several expletives sp? he got very emotional and bought more dinars - these are the types of people making up our world - emotions and behavior drive markets - often irrational and shortsighted - if ease is the real goal - warren has done a great job with berkshire no? Regardless, people will value energy and food even if they don't have currencies or governments - this is my thinking and how I invest. I keep a good selection of wines in my kitchen, money no object my dream would be to own a great vineyard with huge underground cellars in a nice part of france. I plan to go there in a few years and see how to accomplish that by the time I am 60.

Subject: Please Be Careful
From: Terri
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 08:41:25 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Forgive me, but the idea of selling a wonderful home to invest in a Cayman Islands Japanese real estate plan seems more risky than we might ever begin to suspect. Please please please be careful for yourself and your family. Diversify a bit. All your relative would need is Vanguard.

Subject: Mom is stubborn
From: johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 08:48:25 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
My family never listens to me Terri, I am the black sheep. If mom's real estate attorney and CPA doesn't think it is a good deal she won't do it, last time she talked to them they told her not to sell her west palm house that it will ALWAYS GO UP. It has went from 89K to 239K in just a few years now - doesn't feel right to me to stay in it, but what do I know - the real estate attorney and CPA are paid experts.

Subject: A Home is to Live In
From: Terri
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 09:01:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
A home is to live in and deeply and truly enjoy always.

Subject: Property is For Building
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 10:57:00 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I would hold the property forever, and build on it and be forever grateful.

Subject: She likes to travel
From: johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 16:37:17 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Sweet dear Terri, I do appreciate your interest - let us go further into the rabbit hole and see if you share the same convictions for I do value your insight: The property is in a pretty run down part of west palm now and only by the grace of god has not been blown away by a hurricane - which she has not insured against because with that added cost she would no longer make much profit after taxes, management fees and maintenance. Her tenant has stopped paying rent and she is having the tenant evicted - six months no rent and basically destroyed the house - holes in the walls, the roof, damage everywhere - the stove has been stolen - mom is definitely getting out of residential and going to commercial property if she stays in property at all - at the advice of her real estate attorney. The tenants will have less impact on commercial property then and it will probably survive a hurricane better if she buys in florida. But there is another goal Terri, having property in Japan would allow her to travel there and take it off her taxes as a real estate investor business expense - she did europe with hubby and usa with grandfather - but she always wanted to see tokyo and the military never provided. This would give her a way to save money on her asian journey. The real estate attorney recommended commercial, I am trying to get him to figure out with japanese commercial is better than american commercial - looking at graphs of commercial american versus commercial japanese - it does seem they are at the bottom of thier 20 year cycle and we are at the top - time to re-allocate no?

Subject: Re: She likes to travel
From: Terri
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 17:37:34 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This makes more sense, but the need may be to make sure a person can live a comfortable life in America initially. Then, a person has to figure out how to buy property thousands of miles away in a country in which English is not spoken. Then, even if property is well valued, how does a person buy intelligently?

Subject: Good questions
From: johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 18:10:51 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
'but the need may be to make sure a person can live a comfortable life in America initially.' She has grown tired of her time here in the USA, she is not the spring chicken she once was and wants to travel before she grows too old for the journeys. She wanted to see Egypt too, but feels it is safe to travel to tokyo but not there. ' Then, a person has to figure out how to buy property thousands of miles away in a country in which English is not spoken.' She did this several times when she lived in germany and many other non english speaking parts of europe for 16 years. It's not so complicated to her I guess. She still has lots of pocket translation dictionaries that seemed to serve her well. ' Then, even if property is well valued, how does a person buy intelligently?' Ah there is the rub, is the Phoenix Fund some fly by night cayman islands offshore shell scam group that will milk her wealth dry and dissapear into the shadows of night as the LOCAL KL financial people did with 300 million in west palm beachers hedge fund money? Or are they jam up good people who are honest and ethical and have a safe strategy unliked shorting GOOG at 160? Like Munger and Buffet says - you got to find good PEOPLE and MANAGEMENT and invest in them and the value will come back to you 10 fold! So it all comes down too are these guys running the phoenix fund making smart low risk investments - can the be trusted - and is there lots of trasnparency and accountability?

Subject: Re: Good questions
From: Terri
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 18:25:33 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Well, she seems like a capable person. Will she be able to live comfortably here however no matter an international investment? How a Cayman Islands real estate venture is to be checked out is beyond me.

Subject: Re: A Home is to Live In
From: johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 09:35:20 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
You must not have read my previous posts here at PKarchive - mom has not lived in the house for many many years now - it is a RENTAL property in section 8 housing and in very bad shape from the last inspection report - not her house that she lives in. She lives in an old beatup RV and travels all over florida mostly now parking in walmart - she loves that life. Like the old saturday night live skit - the van down by the river with chris farley. Do you travel much Terri or does wanderlust never possess you and you want to plant roots? My family has always travelled - she travelled with her grandfather all over the USA working farms as a child and teenager - and then travelled with my dad all over the world in the army, she can't stand staying in one place for more than a few months.

Subject: Re: Lower risk investing with....
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 22:08:24 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The dollar will fall for some time, some time, though in zig zag pattern. I agree.

Subject: My investment in.....
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 10:59:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
precious metals is not a long term investment since I see it as more speculative than one based on fundamentals. The trick will be figuring when to get out. I like Permanent Portfolio for the longer term and I need to find more funds which are similar. I think, like Charles Munger seems to believe, that most stock index funds are too broad and therefore the mediocre to poor stocks in the index drag down the good ones especially in a bearish environment. With a falling dollar eroding mediocre gains or adding to losses of broad index funds, our retirements will erode with the dollar. While Johnny's strategy is riskier than many of the rest of us would want (including myself), he probably will do better than most of us who spread out the risk over the next 10-15 years, but that probability comes with the risk that XOM might become a target of terrorists, they're severely overstating proven reserves, or a very severe worldwide recession substantially reduces world consumption of oil, etc. etc. I think the latter is most possible. I think the older we get and the bigger the retirement piggy bank the more we think of diversity to protect what we have.

Subject: The deflation of Japan and Oil consumption
From: johnny5
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 16:54:07 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
I know thier real estate went down 80%, also thier stock market went down to 25% of what it was, did thier consumption of oil go down in the same time frame and the same relation? You may pleasantly surprise me with data contrary to my beliefs. http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/japan.html ENERGY Japan lacks significant domestic sources of energy and must import substantial amounts of crude oil, natural gas, and other energy resources, including uranium for its nuclear power plants. In 2002, the country's dependence on fossil fuel imports for primary energy stood at more than 80%. Oil provided Japan with 49.7% of its total energy needs, coal 18.9%, nuclear power 13.7%, natural gas 12.7%, hydroelectric power 3.7%, and renewable sources 1.1%. About half of Japan's energy is used by industry and about one-fourth by transportation, with nearly all the rest used by the residential, agricultural, and service sectors. Japan's energy intensity (energy use per unit of GDP) is among the lowest in the developed world. OIL Japan contains almost no oil reserves of its own (59 million barrels of proven oil reserves), but it is the world's third largest oil consumer (after the United States and China). Japan consumed an estimated 5.57 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil in 2003, up from 5.30 million bbl/d in 2002. Part of the increase in oil consumption was attributable to the shutdown of a large number of nuclear power plants in 2003, which caused utilities to maximize use of oil-fired generating capacity. Most (75%-80%) of this oil came from OPEC, particularly Persian Gulf countries like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and Iran. Japan has worked -- with relatively little success -- to diversify its oil import sources away from the Middle East. Until 1996, when Japan's oil consumption peaked at nearly 5.9 million bbl/d, Japanese oil consumption (and imports) had been growing steadily for years. From 1997 through 2002, Japan's oil consumption declined as its economic slump caused demand by industrial and other users to decline. With nuclear electricity generating capacity restored, Japan's oil demand is likely to dip slightly in 2004, despite relatively strong economic growth. So yes it seems their oil consumption went down, but no where NEAR the levels that thier demand for stocks or real estate fell or am I confused again?

Subject: Re: My investment in.....
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 12:09:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Nicely stated as always. I am thoroughly impressed by the concept of Permanent Portfolio, but believe this is readily done in a more transparent way with a few funds at Vanguard. The guess is that precious metals trades at least with the market till it becomes clear how our balance of trade adjustment will play out.

Subject: Steadfastly Optimistic on Corporate Honesty?
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 20:20:26 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
From mish on silicon investor http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=12039 Bringing Business Back Ashore Buenos Aires issues world's first ban on offshore shell companies by By Lucy Komisar, Special to CorpWatch April 4th, 2005 In December of 2004, there was a horrific fire in a Buenos Aires disco called the Cromagnon Republic. Three rock fans shot off flares that set fire to the ceiling and engulfed the overcrowded discotheque in flames and smoke. In the rush to get out, 200 people were killed and 700 injured, most from trampling and smoke inhalation. The main entrance had been wired shut, and some of the emergency exits were locked, blocking escape. In the days that followed, thousands of the victims' parents and friends marched in the streets and demanded justice. A judge started proceedings for manslaughter and froze $20 million belonging to the 'owner,' Omar Chaban. However, investigators soon discovered that Chaban appeared in no official disco documents; he was just the 'administrator.' The legal owners of the property and the disco company were offshore shell corporations registered in the tax haven of Uruguay, the neighboring country. The listed 'owner' of the enterprise was a Uruguayan 'straw man' in his 70s who had no money. The tragedy gave political space to a deceptively unassuming lawyer named Ricardo Nissen, Inspector General of Justice for Buenos Aires, who is committed to fighting the system of tax haven shell companies that is the underbelly of illegal global finance. He told CorpWatch, 'We think the owner of the discotheque is a single owner who divided it into offshore companies.' In response, Nissen has taken a step that is the first of its kind, anywhere in the world. Six weeks after the deadly fire, he banned offshore shell companies from doing business in the capital district of Buenos Aires. The Inspector General's directives, issued in February and March, build on two resolutions he issued in 2003 and ban offshore companies that cannot prove they have real business activity in their places of registration. The new rules apply only to the capital district of Buenos Aires, the sphere of Nissen's authority. 'After the tragedy of Cromagnon,' Nissen says, 'It seemed that the legislation had to become stronger.' There are around three million shell companies in the world. The term 'shell' is used to mean front or 'mailbox' companies. They are also sometimes called International Business Corporations (IBCs) or Personal Investment Companies (PICs). They are set up with secret beneficiaries to own bank accounts or property, to effect phony transactions, to hide or launder funds, and to evade legal responsibility. Nissen's directive is a shot across the bow of the world financial system, which relies on offshore shell companies and bank accounts to move money seamlessly around the globe. But it is not an isolated act. Rather, it is one in a series of indications of the confidence of the new Argentine government, following their success in defying international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The New Argentina The current government of President Néstor Kirchner came to power in late 2001, after street protests against the IMF caused the previous government to collapse. It has since brought about a series of a small economic miracles -- including the reduction of unemployment from 20 percent to around 13 percent and lowering the poverty level nearly 10 points in the last three years by encouraging cooperatives and worker-owned factories. With the backing of the protestors, who blamed the high rates of poverty and unemployment on the strict debt repayment program imposed by the IMF and other major bank creditors, Kirchner refused to repay the country's crushing $81.8 billion debt owed to bond holders. When the lenders were forced to negotiate (with the added bonus of a rebounding economy that repudiated the IMF's policies) Kirchner struck an agreement that forced creditors holding $62.2 billion of the debt to write off about 70 percent of the value. Much of the debt that Argentina has been saddled with (around $155 billion in all) is the direct result of the offshore banking system. It began under the dictator General Videla, who came to power in 1978. A judicial inquiry by the Argentine Federal Court in 2000 showed that many of the loans granted to the nation at the time -- by banks like Citibank, Chase Manhattan Bank, Deutsche Bank and Hannover Bank -- were diverted directly to front-companies set up in offshore tax havens. Some of the money was simply stolen and some was spent on weapons. None could be paid back. Profiting Offshore There are offshore shell companies registered in as many as 70 jurisdictions around the world -- places such as Grand Cayman, the British Virgin Islands, Jersey (the Channel Islands), Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Switzerland. They are used by corporate fraudsters and tax cheaters, dictators and corrupt officials, drug traffickers and other criminals. Enron Enron's use of offshore shells was essential to its fraud. It had almost 3,000 corporate subsidiaries and partnerships, a fourth of them registered offshore, including 692 in the Cayman Islands, 119 in the Turks and Caicos Islands, 43 in Mauritius, eight in Bermuda, six in Barbados, four in Puerto Rico, two in Hong Kong, two in Panama, and one each in Aruba, the British Virgin Islands, Guam, Guernsey, and Singapore. Regulatory authorities, investment analysts and stockholders couldn't readily know who the owners were, and couldn't see that partnerships were secretly owned by Enron managers or associates. They couldn't check the books to see if the offshore company was dealing with another insider-owned company which was siphoning off its wealth. Significant offshore deals involved Enron's biggest bankers, Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase, which set up offshore companies which they controlled, to serve as sham trading partners in order to allow Enron to disguise multi-million dollar loans as trades, thereby shifting billions of dollars of debt off its balance sheets. Tyco Tyco International CEO L. Dennis Kozlowski moved the company's registration to Bermuda, then went on to set up 115 subsidiaries in tax haven countries, including eight in the Bahamas, 17 in Barbados, 55 in Bermuda, and five in the Cayman Islands. Most of these companies had nothing to do with real business, but were shells used in accounting games to shield Tyco interest, dividends, royalties, and other income from U.S. taxes and to allow it to issue phony accounting reports that hid bad debts and misreported assets. Stock prices shot up, investors bought, Tyco executive made a bundle, and investors lost their shirts when the truth came out. Tyco's former top executives were charged with looting the company of $600 million. AIG AIG, the global insurance conglomerate, used offshore jurisdictions such as Barbados, Bermuda and Luxembourg to help the company move debt off its books, launder profits to evade U.S. taxes and hide insider connections in supposedly 'arms-length' deals. Goldman Sachs helped it set up Coral Re, an offshore Barbados reinsurance company, which AIG secretly owned, and when state insurance departments found out about it, AIG stonewalled and bullied the agencies into declining to take action against the company. AIG's luck changed when New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer discovered some similar current cases. Worldcom Worldcom had ten tax haven subsidiaries, including four in Panama, three in Bermuda, and one in the Cayman Islands. It used these subsidiaries to manipulate financial results to hide expenses and inflate revenues in a $11 billion accounting fraud, the largest in US history, all aimed at protecting the company's share price and CEO Bernie Ebber's personal wealth. They consisted of $3.8 billion of operating expenses being incorrectly reflected as capital expenditure, which hugely inflated profits to deceive investors and the markets. These expenses were deliberately distributed across a host of accounts for capital expenses to escape detection. The scam also cheated the Internal Revenue Service of hundreds of millions of dollars, and the collapse of the company cost shareholders about $180 billion; this includes state pension funds --New York State lost $300 million, Michigan lost $116 million, and Florida $85-90 million. And 20,000 workers lost their jobs. Another large chunk of debt was acquired by the Carlos Menem government in the 1990s, which privatized government industries such as telecommunications and the airline industry, and sold them to companies who bought them with discounted debt bonds from the banks, paying fire-sale prices. At the same time, companies that borrowed money did not pay their own debts, and the corporate-friendly Menem government 'nationalized' the private debt. And, like the regime before it, the Menem government also stole billions, which it shipped to offshore secret accounts. Kirchner's refusal to play by the rules of creditors, who for years had turned a blind eye to the wholesale robbery of the government coffers, is a challenge to the international financial system. Ricardo Nissen's ban on offshore companies is a second, more direct challenge to the system. Nissen's Rules Nissen is a soft-spoken man who wears oval, rimless glasses and a mild expression. His demeanor is belied by his passion to end the offshore system. He explains that he arrived at this position after 25 years as a business lawyer. 'It always appeared that ghost companies bought a majority of the stocks in companies,' Nissen says, noting that many companies privatized during the Menem era of the 90s moved their registrations offshore. He started asking himself, 'Isn't it strange that a Barbados or Cayman Island company is the owner of a furniture store, a restaurant, or a kiosk that sells newspapers?' One of the most creative loopholes, Nissen explains, was the acto aislado ('isolated act'). In Buenos Aires, 15,000 properties in the name of offshore companies have taken advantage of a clause in the national law that allows foreign companies to come to Argentina without registering, if they are doing so in a single incidence. This loophole led to a proliferation of tiny, fake businesses. Even ex-President Menem once admitted to avoiding the potential taxes on his home because it was the official property of a company in a tax haven. 'I don't have anything; a company lends it to me,' he says. (Incidentally, Menem is also currently under investigation for illegally selling arms to Croatia and Ecuador in the early 1990s and stashing tens of millions of dollars in 'commissions' in offshore Swiss accounts.) Nissen has issued four regulations over the last two years in an effort to create a watertight system to prevent such offshore scams. First, he ordered that all foreign companies had to prove activities in their original country or in another part of the world (resolution 2/03), then he created another one that closed the 'acto aislado' loophole (resolution 8/03). Then, this February, he strengthened the first resolution with another (general resolution 2/05) by banning offshore companies that are not authorized to carry out economic activities in their countries of origin. Finally, in March of 2005, Nissen required that anonymous and limited-responsibility companies, whose stocks are not traded in the local stock market, must identify their shareholders. The last resolution is the most stringent - all companies seeking to do business in Buenos Aires must provide a name, address, and passport or identification number. They must also disclose the amount of their stocks. If intermediaries hold the stocks, companies must name the ultimate owners. If the company is registered in a territory deemed non-cooperative in dealing with money-laundering investigations by foreign law enforcement, then Argentine authorities are allowed to require even more information. As a result of the first two orders, Nissen says, the number of foreign companies registered in 2004 was a third of that of previous years. Meanwhile, enforcing the resolutions will be the most difficult aspect of his job to come. He describes one aspect of the process: 'We send inspectors into the street. They ring the bell and ask the porter, 'Who lives here?' He says 'family so-and-so.' We know this family sold property to an offshore company, but continues living there. It's a fraud. When you sell a property, you don't stay there. There were three properties in this house. In each one it was the same: 'We sold property to a Virgin Island company, but for a year the company lent it to me, my mother and my daughter-in-law.' What a generous company!' Today, Nissen has some other targets, such as the offshore subsidiaries of international banks, that come to Argentina. Then, he wants to end a tax-evasion scheme under which people create foundations that carry out commercial activities, but don't pay taxes because of their status as foundations. Others have taken up Nissen's example. Mario Cafiero, a deputy in the Argentine Congress and longtime critic of the way the offshore system has been used to facilitate tax evasion and balloon the national debt, is developing legislation to extend Nissen's orders to the entire country. Important Precedent or Bad for Business? David Spencer, a lawyer who writes about international tax regulation for 'The Journal of International Taxation,' says that legislature that takes on these issues, normally does so on an information-gathering level. Therefore, it's significant that Nissen attempts to actually regulate the activities of a company. Jack Blum, a lawyer and international expert on money-laundering, calls the efforts 'fabulous.' He says he's been 'making the same arguments for years.' Blum, who ran the Senate investigations on the BCCI Affair and Iran Contra, also hopes the U.S. will refuse recognize corporate shells. 'We don't owe anything to the countries that charter them,' he adds. Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a liberal Washington think tank also agrees with the move, as it will pose a barrier to dishonest accounting. The use of shell companies, he says, 'disrupts capital markets; it makes it easier to have more dishonest practices across the board. I don't see why any country shouldn't adopt comparable legislation.' Even the most conservative economists, he feels, should advocate for a system that is 'simple and transparent.' Ted Truman of the Institute for International Economics and coauthor of 'Chasing Dirty Money,' says, 'In the context of Argentina, it is noteworthy because there is a huge history of tax evasion.' He adds that, 'In principle, it's a good idea. You should be able to track the owners of assets; that would help in the context of taxation and money laundering. It would be easier if it was common practice throughout the world.' 'In the U.S. context, it would be a little extreme,' says Dan Shaviro, a visiting scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute who sees the fact that the US economy is larger that Argentina's as an important factor. 'There are a lot of major companies incorporated in the Caymans,' he adds. 'I suspect, in the U.S., it would be politically unwise for people who want to restrict tax shelters to restrict it in this form. But it would be sensible to have a proposal to say 'if they fit the definition of a tax haven where we don't do business, they are treated as U.S. companies for federal income tax purposes.' Dan Mitchell of Washington's Heritage Foundation sees such restrictions as bad for big business. 'The Argentinians who don't want to pay confiscatory taxes are going to invest out of the country,' he says. He believes this is only natural, when a country has an economic system that's so 'oppressive.' In cases where there's criminal negligence, such as the Cromagnon fire case, Mitchell says, 'I assume somewhere there must be some sort of documentation of who the real owner is. That's the solution where there's criminal liability... [countries like] Uruguay would agree to share information.' But tax havens do not generally share information, so such getting documentation would be virtually impossible under the current system. The new rules don't appear to have roiled Argentine big business, at least not publicly. Andrea Canónica, spokesperson for the Argentine Management Association (Asociacion Empresaria Argentina), the nation's chief businessmen's organization, declined to make an official comment, saying, 'It's not a theme the association gives opinions about. We speak about things that affect the Argentine entrepreneur.' The news has forced some public figures to come out in support of offshore business. In the daily La Nación, one lawyer, from the firm owned by Martinez De Hoz Jr., son of the economic czar of the 1976-1983 Argentine dictatorship, described offshore companies as 'efficient' for investment. Nissen's resolutions have also elicited disapproval from the real estate agency, Cushman & Wakefield Semco, which specializes in dealing with foreign investment. The company manager told the newspaper that Nissen's orders were a symptom of 'legal insecurity.' Indeed, making tax evaders and money-launderers 'legally insecure' is just what Ricardo Nissen had in mind. Lucy Komisar is writing a book about offshore banks and corporate secrecy.

Subject: Ownership Society Mr. Bush?
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 19:20:46 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Bush to Back Curbs on Fannie, Freddie Tue Apr 5, 2005 11:41 AM ET WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration will back curbs on mortgage portfolios held by home loan finance giants Fannie Mae (FNM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Freddie Mac (FRE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) to ward off potential risks to the U.S. financial system, a senior administration official said on Tuesday. 'We believe that our capital markets could adjust to a significant reduction in the presence of the housing GSEs (government-sponsored enterprises) as mortgage investors,' said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. Both companies have rattled markets and regulators with multibillion-dollar accounting problems in recent years. Treasury Secretary John Snow is due to describe the administration's views on how to improve oversight of the companies on Thursday in congressional testimony. According to the official familiar with the proposal Snow will discuss Thursday, the Treasury secretary will tell Congress that the companies' regulator should have the ability to set minimum and risk-based capital standards, as well as the power to place a failed GSE in receivership if needed. He will say the lines of credit that government-sponsored enterprises enjoy should not be interpreted by the market as an 'implicit guarantee' that signals the federal government would back the companies' debt obligations. Rather, the official said, the administration would only seek to exercise the line of credit in the event that a GSE was in 'significant financial distress and needed the capital to emerge successfully through the receivership process.' Snow's testimony will come amid a hectic week of GSE-related events on Capitol Hill. On Tuesday, Republican leaders in the House Financial Services Committee will offer a bill to substantially stiffen oversight of Fannie, Freddie and the Federal Home Loan Banks. Later in the week, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan will discuss GSEs at the Senate Banking Committee. Other Bush administration officials are also due to testify. According to the senior administration official, the White House remains troubled that Fannie and Freddie have not filed reliable financial statements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the official said. The administration also believes that the Federal Home Loan Banks should be placed under the same regulator as Fannie and Freddie, but that the new regulatory regime should be structured to take into account the differences between the housing GSEs.
---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---
-- All rights reserved. © Reuters 2005

Subject: Impossbile - China giving us the cold shoulder?
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 19:17:52 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Two top Chinese officials won´t attend G7/IMF meetings Tuesday, April 5, 2005 4:06:31 PM http://www.afxpress.com Two top Chinese officials won't attend G7/IMF meetings WASHINGTON (AFX) -- China's two senior economic policy makers will not be coming to Washington later this month to discuss the country's fixed exchange rate with U.S. Treasury officials and their G7 counterparts, U.S. and Chinese officials said Tuesday. China's central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan and Finance Minister Jin Renqing won't attend the G7 meeting or the spring meeting of the IMF and World Bank. Deputy central bank governor Li Ruogu and vice finance minister Li Yong will instead represent China at the IMF meetings that take place over the weekend of April 16, according to a Chinese official.

Subject: Please help me understand Terri
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 18:32:26 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/050405/wall_street.html?.v=23 Associated Press Stocks End Up on Greenspan's Reassurance Tuesday April 5, 6:07 pm ET By Michael J. Martinez, AP Business Writer Stocks Close Higher As Greenspan Downplays Oil's Effect on Economy; Dow Ends Up 37, Nasdaq Up 8 NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks got a lift from Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan Tuesday, rising modestly after he said the recent climb in oil prices was already curbing demand for crude. Oil futures dropped sharply on the news. Terri you state you are a 100% believer in the EMH, how ROBUST are our markets if the utterance of one japanese prime minister or one Alan Greenspan can have such HUGE effects on the global financial universe - not what these guys actually DO - but just WORDS they utter out of their mouth - that is an efficient robust market - not a jittery house of cards held together by scaredy cats? Huh? Make me understand how the people at this GREAT news site who are your government and financial representatives deserve the 100% trust you give them? http://www.newsoftheweird.com/archive/index.html Government in Action Public Servants in Action: (1) New Hampshire state Rep. Christopher Doyle, 26, was arrested in March and charged with slapping elections supervisor Gail Webster, 61, to the floor on election night after learning that he had lost his race for town selectman in Windham. (2) Shirley Martin, a member of the school board in West Orange, Texas, was convicted in February of disorderly conduct for threats against colleague Beth Wheeler. At a meeting, Martin had continued speaking after her colleagues had ruled her out of order, and subsequently Martin angrily told Wheeler, 'I'm going to stomp a mud hole in your ass.' [The Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.), 3-11-05, 3-18-05] [Beaumont Enterprise, 2-25-05] Despite state funding problems in health care and other areas, New York's Department of Transportation completed a $3.3 million beautification project in January in which intricately decorated 'flora and fauna' designs of bronze were inlaid in two 2,400-square-foot granite wall coverings whose purpose was merely to decorate an underpass below New York City's Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. According to the New York Sun, the walls are beside an off-ramp that's across a pedestrian-unfriendly street from a Burger King, and the site was selected primarily because it is at the intersection of the jurisdictions of three community boards (thus making possible a seemingly always-desirable joint petition for funds). [New York Sun, 1-10-05] The St. Petersburg Times, profiling retired pro basketball player Matt Geiger in February, described his $13 million, 28,000-square-foot, custom-built suburban mansion (whose 40 satellite-equipped TV sets include 18 wired together so he can play video games with his high school friends) and mentioned his 27 exotic animals that roam the grounds, earning him an unspecified 'tax break' (although he told the Times he loves animals and would have them anyway). [St. Petersburg Times, 2-27-05] According to a February Cox News Service dispatch from Mexico City, the government nearly killed its export market for the fabled mezcal, a liquor (similar to tequila) traditionally sold with a worm floating in the bottle. Bureaucrats had recently proposed to ban the worm because of its high fat content, even though as much as 70 percent of mezcal sales are based on the worm (with alleged sexual or hallucinatory powers), but changed their minds. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer-Cox News Service, 2-9-05] Surreality Tennessee state Sen. John Ford testified in a juvenile court hearing in January that his child support payments should be reduced, in accordance with a state law that he had introduced on behalf of fathers with many children. Ford owns two homes, lives part-time in one with his ex-wife and their three children (with another on the way), and lives part-time in the other with an ex-girlfriend and their two children. Hence, he said, he should have lesser payments to a third woman, who is the mother of his 10-year-old daughter. [Associated Press, 1-23-05] Least Competent Criminals In March, accused U.S. fugitive securities-swindler Frederick Gilliland, living on the lam in Canada, was tricked into coming back across the border, just for a free meal. A vengeful private investigator offered to buy Gilliland lunch at Brewster's in Point Roberts, Wash., and then alerted authorities, who intercepted the super-hungry Gilliland as he approached the restaurant. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 3-15-05]

Subject: Low Volatility
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 17:22:35 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
What continues to be most nteresting about stock and bond markets here and abroad is the lack of volatility. Trading ranges are remarkably limited, sector by sector the ranges are minor. Also, despite a general nervousness markets have have held. REITs which might have been expected to be weak have given up only 7.5% of the gains of the last 5 years. The longer the stock market trades in a narrow range the less expensive it becomes as earnings rise. Again, long term bonds continue to hold.

Subject: What are the mexican military goals?
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 15:14:38 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2005/3/31/134212.shtml Thursday, March 31, 2005 9:37 a.m. EST Mexican Military on Standby in Response to Minutemen Mexico's President Vicente Fox is preparing to respond militarily to a group of U.S volunteers who plan to patrol the U.S.-Mexican border starting tomorrow, positioning more than a thousand troops nearby, according to an Arizona TV station. 'The Mexican military is on standby,' reports NBC's Tucson affiliate KVOA. 'One unit has about a thousand soldiers. They're located just across the border.' Over the last week spokesmen for the border patrol volunteers, who dub themselves Minutemen, have said they will not attempt to detain Mexican illegals, but rather report them to the Border Patrol and track them till they're apprehended. Despite the assurances, Mexican officials met with the mayor of Douglas, Ariz., on Tuesday to discuss how they will handle potential violence, KVOA said. Last week President Fox warned at a Mexico City press conference: 'We totally reject the idea of these migrant-hunting groups. We will use the law, international law and even U.S. law to make sure these types of groups, which are a minority, will not have any opportunity to progress.' Huh? Legal US citizens trying to enforce the LEGAL laws of the USA by reporting ILLEGALS to the proper authorities to be challenged by mexico's military - my eyes are rolling with confusion!

Subject: Investing in Precious Metal Stocks
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 12:21:22 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The problem with investing in precious metals company stocks has been both trying to determine when the stocks are reasonably valued and trying to gauge a crisis move. Over extended periods of time precious metals stocks have performed poorly, but the stocks are wildly volatile and can move 25% to 50% in a few weeks time. Since I do not know how to find proper entry points, I have stayed away from the stocks, but since they have trailed other sector stocks I have never felt a need for precious metals. Generally, when the Fed is in a tightening cycle these stocks have done poorly but that is the past....

Subject: Vanguards decision to invest
From: johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 15:24:35 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
You rebalance stocks and bonds - but feel physical assets like precious metals should not be part of the theory? Over extended periods of time *say 200 years* the physical stuff has done quite well - the standard oil and webvan stock certificates I have on my wall don't have much value but that 80 year old gold watch from my grandfather sure does. I cannot understand why bogle would allow such a fund if he thought it not prudent to some part of his clients portfolio. http://flagship3.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsPerformance?FundId=0053&FundIntExt=INT&DisplayBarChart=false It seems all you had to do was listen to Warren and not disregard his advice Terri, he said 2002 was the year to leave the dollar and he did so with his money, from the chart here at Vangaurd precious metals and mining, you would have done well to diversify into some precious metals starting 2002. Make it simple Terri, too complicated out there to try and outguess Warren - he says it's still a good idea to expect the dollar to drop more and now I read other currencies like the euro and yen might too - and now the Financial Times are recommending gold related assets as part of a good investment strategy.

Subject: Illegal Immigrants and Social Security
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 10:48:23 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/05/business/05immigration.html?pagewanted=all&position= Illegal Immigrants Are Bolstering Social Security With Billions By EDUARDO PORTER STOCKTON, Calif. - Since illegally crossing the Mexican border into the United States six years ago, Ángel Martínez has done backbreaking work, harvesting asparagus, pruning grapevines and picking the ripe fruit. More recently, he has also washed trucks, often working as much as 70 hours a week, earning $8.50 to $12.75 an hour. Not surprisingly, Mr. Martínez, 28, has not given much thought to Social Security's long-term financial problems. But Mr. Martínez - who comes from the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico and hiked for two days through the desert to enter the United States near Tecate, some 20 miles east of Tijuana - contributes more than most Americans to the solvency of the nation's public retirement system. Last year, Mr. Martínez paid about $2,000 toward Social Security and $450 for Medicare through payroll taxes withheld from his wages. Yet unlike most Americans, who will receive some form of a public pension in retirement and will be eligible for Medicare as soon as they turn 65, Mr. Martínez is not entitled to benefits. He belongs to a big club. As the debate over Social Security heats up, the estimated seven million or so illegal immigrant workers in the United States are now providing the system with a subsidy of as much as $7 billion a year. While it has been evident for years that illegal immigrants pay a variety of taxes, the extent of their contributions to Social Security is striking: the money added up to about 10 percent of last year's surplus - the difference between what the system currently receives in payroll taxes and what it doles out in pension benefits. Moreover, the money paid by illegal workers and their employers is factored into all the Social Security Administration's projections. Illegal immigration, Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, co-director of immigration studies at New York University, noted sardonically, could provide 'the fastest way to shore up the long-term finances of Social Security.' It is impossible to know exactly how many illegal immigrant workers pay taxes. But according to specialists, most of them do. Since 1986, when the Immigration Reform and Control Act set penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, most such workers have been forced to buy fake ID's to get a job. Currently available for about $150 on street corners in just about any immigrant neighborhood in California, a typical fake ID package includes a green card and a Social Security card. It provides cover for employers, who, if asked, can plausibly assert that they believe all their workers are legal. It also means that workers must be paid by the book - with payroll tax deductions. IRCA, as the immigration act is known, did little to deter employers from hiring illegal immigrants or to discourage them from working. But for Social Security's finances, it was a great piece of legislation. Starting in the late 1980's, the Social Security Administration received a flood of W-2 earnings reports with incorrect - sometimes simply fictitious - Social Security numbers. It stashed them in what it calls the 'earnings suspense file' in the hope that someday it would figure out whom they belonged to. The file has been mushrooming ever since: $189 billion worth of wages ended up recorded in the suspense file over the 1990's, two and a half times the amount of the 1980's. In the current decade, the file is growing, on average, by more than $50 billion a year, generating $6 billion to $7 billion in Social Security tax revenue and about $1.5 billion in Medicare taxes. In 2002 alone, the last year with figures released by the Social Security Administration, nine million W-2's with incorrect Social Security numbers landed in the suspense file, accounting for $56 billion in earnings, or about 1.5 percent of total reported wages. Social Security officials do not know what fraction of the suspense file corresponds to the earnings of illegal immigrants. But they suspect that the portion is significant. 'Our assumption is that about three-quarters of other-than-legal immigrants pay payroll taxes,' said Stephen C. Goss, Social Security's chief actuary, using the agency's term for illegal immigration. Other researchers say illegal immigrants are the main contributors to the suspense file. 'Illegal immigrants account for the vast majority of the suspense file,' said Nick Theodore, the director of the Center for Urban Economic Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago. 'Especially its growth over the 1990's, as more and more undocumented immigrants entered the work force.' Using data from the Census Bureau's current population survey, Steven Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, an advocacy group in Washington that favors more limits on immigration, estimated that 3.8 million households headed by illegal immigrants generated $6.4 billion in Social Security taxes in 2002. A comparative handful of former illegal immigrant workers who have obtained legal residence have been able to accredit their previous earnings to their new legal Social Security numbers. Mr. Camarota is among those opposed to granting a broad amnesty to illegal immigrants, arguing that, among other things, they might claim Social Security benefits and put further financial stress on the system. The mismatched W-2's fit like a glove on illegal immigrants' known geographic distribution and the patchwork of jobs they typically hold. An audit found that more than half of the 100 employers filing the most earnings reports with false Social Security numbers from 1997 through 2001 came from just three states: California, Texas and Illinois. According to an analysis by the Government Accountability Office, about 17 percent of the businesses with inaccurate W-2's were restaurants, 10 percent were construction companies and 7 percent were farm operations. Most immigration helps Social Security's finances, because new immigrants tend to be of working age and contribute more than they take from the system. A simulation by Social Security's actuaries found that if net immigration ran at 1.3 million a year instead of the 900,000 in their central assumption, the system's 75-year funding gap would narrow to 1.67 percent of total payroll, from 1.92 percent - savings that come out to half a trillion dollars, valued in today's money. Illegal immigrants help even more because they will never collect benefits. According to Mr. Goss, without the flow of payroll taxes from wages in the suspense file, the system's long-term funding hole over 75 years would be 10 percent deeper. Yet to immigrants, the lack of retirement benefits is just part of the package of hardship they took on when they decided to make the trek north. Tying vines in a vineyard some 30 miles north of Stockton, Florencio Tapia, 20, from Guerrero, along Mexico's Pacific coast, has no idea what the money being withheld from his paycheck is for. 'I haven't asked,' Mr. Tapia said. For illegal immigrants, Social Security numbers are simply a tool needed to work on this side of the border. Retirement does not enter the picture. 'There will be a moment when I won't be able to continue working,' Mr. Martínez acknowledges. 'But that's many years off.' Mario Avalos, a naturalized Nicaraguan immigrant who prepares income tax returns for many workers in the area, including immigrants without legal papers, observes that many older workers return home to Mexico. 'Among my clients,' he said, 'I can't recall anybody over 60 without papers.' No doubt most illegal immigrants would prefer to avoid Social Security altogether. As part of its efforts to properly assign the growing pile of unassigned wages, Social Security sends about 130,000 letters a year to employers with large numbers of mismatched pay statements. Though not an intended consequence of these so-called no-match letters, in many cases employers who get them dismiss the workers affected. Or the workers - fearing that immigration authorities might be on their trail - just leave. Last February, for instance, discrepancies in Social Security numbers put an end to the job of Minerva Ortega, 25, from Zacatecas, in northern Mexico, who worked in the cheese department at a warehouse for Mike Campbell & Associates, a distributor for Trader Joe's, a popular discount food retailer with a large operation in California. The company asked dozens of workers to prove that they had cleared up or were in the process of clearing up the 'discrepancy between the information on our payroll related to your employment and the S.S.A.'s records.' Most could not. Ms. Ortega said about 150 workers lost their jobs. In a statement, Mike Campbell said that it did not fire any of the workers, but Robert Camarena, a company official, acknowledged that many left. Ms. Ortega is now looking for work again. She does not want to go back to the fields, so she is holding out for a better-paid factory job. Whatever work she finds, though, she intends to go on the payroll with the same Social Security number she has now, a number that will not jibe with federal records. With this number, she will continue paying taxes. Last year she paid about $1,200 in Social Security taxes, matched by her employer, on an income of $19,000. She will never see the money again, she realizes, but at least she will have a job in the United States. 'I don't pay much attention,' Ms. Ortega said. 'I know I don't get any benefit.'

Subject: Re: Patrulla ciudadana en Arizona
From: Pancho Villa
To: Emma
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 11:28:41 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Patrulla ciudadana en Arizona Dos centenares de voluntarios se dan cita en la frontera para frenar a los indocumentados CARLOS RAMOS Los Ángeles Han llegado al suroeste de Arizona desde distintos rincones de Estados Unidos. Desde Bufalo, Nueva York, desde el condado de Orange en el sur de California, o de ahí cerca en la ciudad de Phoenix. Algunos fueron soldados o policías, otros son funcionarios, directores de periódicos o gente ya retirada. Todos dicen ser cien por cien americanos, patriotas hasta la médula y estar haciendo una labor necesaria en la que el Gobierno y los políticos de Washington han fallado. 'Al reunirnos aquí pacíficamente estamos expresando nuestro malestar con el Gobierno y los funcionarios locales, quienes tienen la obligación de hacer cumplir las leyes de inmigración, y que al no hacerlo han dejado la puerta abierta para un ataque terrorista', señaló James Gilchrist, de 56 años de edad y uno de los organizadores del llamado Proyecto Minutemen, o Patrulla Fronteriza Ciudadana. Gilchrist, un ex infante de marina residente en California, no terminaba de creer lo que ha sucedido en los últimos días en varios de los pueblos perdidos del desierto de Arizona que hacen frontera con México. Los más de doscientos voluntarios que logró reunir consiguieron tal atención de la prensa que el tema de la inmigración ilegal ha sido catapultado a las primeras planas de la discusión pública. No es la primera ocasión que Gilchrist y Chris Simcox —el otro líder del grupo y también de California— organizan voluntarios para patrullar la frontera. Es la primera vez, sin embargo, que tanta gente se apunta para, en efecto, patrullar por todo un mes. Según Simcox, que publica el periódico Tombstone Tumbleweed, en el pueblo de Tombstone, justo a unos pasos del borde fronterizo, hay cerca de mil voluntarios en lista de espera. 'No importa lo que cueste, así es como debería ser la seguridad interna', explicó Simcox, citado por el diario Los Angeles Times, durante una de sus rondas en vehículos todoterreno junto a un grupo de voluntarios por el llamado Corredor de Naco, la franja de unos 40 kilómetros en el sureste de Arizona escogida por los minutemen para el patrullaje. Por esta zona cruzan la frontera decenas de miles de inmigrantes, en su gran mayoría mexicanos. Según estimaciones de la propia Patrulla Fronteriza estadounidense, aunque cada año se detiene a cerca de un millón de inmigrantes frustrados, por lo menos otro medio millón logra entrar con éxito a Estados Unidos. El desierto de Arizona se ha convertido en el principal punto de cruce debido a que en sitios como California y Tejas el Gobierno ha construido barreras, vallas, y utilizado todo un aparataje tecnológico para detectar seres humanos que hace muy difícil cruzar. Lo de los voluntarios no es exclusivo de Arizona. El pasado noviembre los votantes aprobaron una ley mediante la cual se prohibe dar beneficios públicos (sanitarios, por ejemplo) a los inmigrantes indocumentados. Según los expertos, ambos fenómenos son debidos a la frustración del ciudadano común con lo que percibe como una crisis del sistema migratorio. 'Lo que el presidente Bush está haciendo en Irak es magnífico, pero en esto ha fallado', señaló Jack Treese, otro de los voluntarios. 'Si no se hace nada, pos inmigrantes] seguirán llegando', advierte. EL PAIS, martes 5 de abril de 2005

Subject: Citizens Patrol In Arizona
From: johnny5
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 15:59:23 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
In English: Citizen patrol in Arizona Two hundreds of volunteers meet in the border to restrain to the undocumented people CARLOS BRANCHES the Angels have arrived at the southwest of Arizona from different corners from the United States. From Bufalo, New York, from the county of Orange in the south of California, or there close in the city of Phoenix. Some were welded or police, others are newspaper civil employees, directors or people already retired. All claim to be one hundred American, patriotic percents until the marrow and to be making a work necessary in which the Government and the politicians of Washington have failed. ' When reuniting to us pacifically we are expressing our malaise with the local Government and civil employees here, who have the obligation to enforce the immigration laws, and who when not doing have left it to the door opened for an attack terroristá, he indicated James Gilchrist, of 56 years of age and one of the organizers of the call Project Minutemen, or Citizen Border Patrol. Gilchrist, an ex- infant of resident navy in California, did not finish thinking what it has in the last happened days in several of the lost towns of the desert of Arizona that make border with Mexico. More than two hundred volunteers than it managed to reunite obtained such attention of the press that the subject of illegal immigration has been catapult to the first flat ones of the public discussion. It is not the first occasion that Gilchrist and Chris Simcox - the other leader of the group and also of California organizes volunteers to patrol the border. It is the first time, nevertheless, that as much people score for, in effect, to patrol by everything a month. According to Simcox, that publishes the newspaper Tombstone Tumbleweed, in the town of Tombstone, right to passages of the border edge, he has near thousand volunteers in waiting list. ' it does not matter what costs, thus is as interná would have to be the security, explained Simcox, mentioned by the newspaper Los Angeles Times, during one of its rounds in vehicles todoterreno next to a group of volunteers by the Running call of Naco, the strip of about 40 kilometers in the Southeastern of Arizona chosen by minutemen them for the patrolling. By this zone they cross the border tens of thousands of immigrants, in its great majority Mexican. According to estimations of the own American Border Patrol, although every year stops to close of million immigrants frustrated, by except another means million manages to enter with success United States. The desert of Arizona has become the main point of crossing because in sites as Californian and Tejas the Government has constructed to barriers, fences, and used everything a technological aparataje to detect human beings that it does very difficult to cross. The one of the volunteers is not exclusive of Arizona. The past November the voters approved a law by means of which prohibe to occur to benefits public (sanitary, for example) to the undocumented immigrants. According to the experts, both phenomena must to the frustration of the common citizen with which it perceives like a crisis of the migratory system. ' What president Bush is doing in Iraq is magnificent, but in this there is falladó, indicated Jack Treese, another one of the volunteers. ' If nothing becomes, pos immigrants ] will follow llegandó, warns.

Subject: Re: Illegal Immigrants and Social Security
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 14:58:07 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
'Ms. Ortega is now looking for work again. She does not want to go back to the fields, so she is holding out for a better-paid factory job.' Just like the article of the seamstress in south america you posted Emma, they are going to starve standing in the welfare line because no one wants to do that hard back breaking FARM work. Someone has to do it, I did it for 12 years. America pawned it off to latino's - who are they to pawn it off too? Anyways when I went to mexico last year I met the dispatcher for a trucking company in texas, he was on the greyhound bus with me and I guess since he and I were the only 2 non mexicans on the bus he wanted to talk to me. His company had been specifically instructed by the local government officials in texas how they needed to hire many illegal mexican truck drivers for the company because the government needed people to pay social security who would never collect, and this brought this man to bitter contention with his company because several of his american friends were layed off and replaced with illegal mexican immigrants. So this is the policy of the government to serve me and you and other legal citizens of this country, throw us to the curb and give our jobs to illegal citizens so they can make SS WORK? Huh? This does not sit well with me at all.

Subject: Scewing the legal and illegals
From: johnny5
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 15:10:43 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
This does not serve current legals job or retirement needs, this also does not serve illegal retirement needs - basically the gubbment is getting a bunch of people to do work to cheat both us and them in the future - way to go US GUBBMENT. Niether me nor pedro is going to have much of a life beyond our working years. Retirement will be a word relinquished to the pages of history.

Subject: The Bond Market
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 10:27:45 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There is so little understanding of the bond market, and the market is so important for us. The bond market tells us the health of the economy, not the stock market, though stocks are revealing as well. The Federal reserve does not control interest rates, rather the Fed set a very short term bank lending rate as a guide to investors and investors do the rest. The Fed balances between fostering growth and limiting inflation, and for 25 years the Fed has been most successful at this balance. Growth has generally trended up and inflation trended down. There have been 3 recessions, the last 2 shallow and short lived. Crises have come and quickly been resolved. The bond market has returned over 9% a year to investors for 25 years. What is needed is to gain an appreciation of the bond market, a sense of how bond funds can add to a portfolio especially as our assets grow substantial, and how to properly use bond funds which have many advantages over individual bonds. Ask whether duration is known and understood, for that is critical in understanding bond funds and the way to gain confidence.

Subject: Transparent Investing
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 06:29:57 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Transparency is important in investing. We should be able to find what we are invested in at a glance. I am struck in this day of the Internet how difficult this can be with mutual fund families. Vanguard funds are transparent, and information on the Internet is readily available for each Vanguard mutual and exchange traded fund. This is a prime source of confidence.

Subject: Monetary Policy
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 06:23:21 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/speeches/2005/20050330/default.htm March 30, 2005 Implementing Monetary Policy Remarks by Governor Ben S. Bernanke Among the most important of my duties at the Federal Reserve is serving on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the body that makes U.S. monetary policy. Nineteen men and women--the seven members of the Board of Governors and the Presidents of the twelve Reserve Banks--gather in Washington eight times each year to participate in FOMC deliberations on the course of monetary policy.1 If necessary, the FOMC can also convene by conference call between regularly scheduled meetings. The FOMC's decisions are guided by the dual mandate given to the Federal Reserve by the Congress, which enjoins the Committee to use its powers to pursue both price stability and maximum sustainable employment. To achieve its mandated objectives, the FOMC must influence the course of the U.S. economy, helping it to grow rapidly enough to make full use of available resources but not so rapidly as to stoke inflation. How, specifically, does the Committee exert this influence? The person in the street might tell you that the Fed 'controls interest rates.' That statement is not literally accurate. In fact, the Fed has little or no direct influence over the interest rates that matter most for the economy, such as mortgage rates, corporate bond rates, or the rates on Treasury securities. Instead, the Fed affects these key rates, as well as the prices of financial assets such as stocks, only indirectly. Since many of you plan to work in the financial markets, I thought that you might find it interesting to hear some of the details of how U.S. monetary policy is actually implemented and how policy decisions affect asset prices and yields....

Subject: Re: Monetary Policy
From: johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 08:26:36 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
From the diehards board: 30. Mel, comments? mellindauer| 04-04-05 | 11:13 PM Hello Everyone: I'm not really sure what this all means, but I'll have to go on the assumption that it's not good for investors. It appeared that EE Bonds were finally going to do their thing and start outperforming I Bonds after years of underperforming them, and now they go and change the game. Anytime the government, as opposed to market forces, starts messing with interest rates and setting them 'administratively', that most likely won't be good for investors. We've seen what can happen to rates that are set arbitrarily by the government when we look at the steady downtrend in the I Bond fixed rate. It would appear that one would have to make individual decisions each time the rate is announced as to whether the announced rate makes sense for one to five years, considering the effect of the penalty. If so, then one could probably consider them to be nothing more than a CD. I certainly wouldn't recommend them for younger investors, because they can really only be considered to be a 20-year bond now, since the Treasury states that it can change the rate for the 10-year extended maturity, and that rate may not be competitive with other options. One certainly doesn't want to have to cash in bonds with lots of accumulated interest when they're in their prime earning years (read high tax bracket). While they still will retain the guaranteed minimum return of 3.5265%, in a rising interest rate environment, that really isn't much of a guarantee. All the other options they offer (tax-deferral, freedom from state and local taxes, and possible use for qualifying educational expenses) are also available with I Bonds, which offer inflation adjustments every six months. Which means that the I Bond fixed rate may well be reduced even further as inflation picks up, so the total yield on I Bonds isn't too far out of line with the EE Bonds with the new fixed rate. All in all, I'd probably buy EE Bonds prior to May, and if the new rates ever become more attractive, then sell the lower-yielding ones and buy the new ones, thereby locking in a high rate for 20-years. Basically, it's going to be very similar to buying CDs; you have to decide when's the best time to lock in the long-term (20-year) rate. Somehow I don't feel the average investor is going to benefit from this. However, perhaps those who stay on top of things (like the Diehards) may be able to pick their spots and lock in decent rates they're happy with for 20-years, just as we were able to lock in those 3.4 and 3.6% fixed rates on the I Bonds. We'll just have to wait and see how this plays out. Somehow I have a sinking feeling that this could also spell the end of I Bonds. Wish I had something a bit more encouraging or billiant to say, but I really don't at this point in time. Best regards to all, Mel

Subject: Market Summary
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 06:18:35 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The trend in the American stock market so far this year is a mildly negative bent, with value ahead of growth and large cap ahead of small cap. Mid cap value continues to be strongest. Energy, materials, utilities, and health care are the strongest sectors. Europe and the Pacific are midly negative in dollar terms. International value is stronger than growth. Long term bonds continue to be positive. GNMA issues are holding nicely. There is strikingly little volatility in stock and bonds.

Subject: biggest central bank heist in the history of the w
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 23:07:37 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://321energy.com/editorials/benson/benson040405.html AMERICA’S TRIBUTE BENSON’S ECONOMIC & MARKET TRENDS Written and published by Richard Benson, www.sfgroup.org April 5th, 2005 The Asians remain shocked and in disbelief. Just when Japan, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong had accumulated enough dollars to buy oil to keep them warm for many winters, it’s all over. In broad daylight, the Americans and OPEC cheered as the price of oil popped up from $30 a barrel to over $50 a barrel. Indeed, this jump in the price of oil increases the world’s daily oil consumption bill of 84 million barrels a day to $4.2 billion, from $2.5 billion (or $1.5 Trillion a year from $900 billion). The world now has to shell out an additional $600 billion a year of “lucky bucks” to the oil producing countries just to stay in motion. That’s quite a tribute to pay! The bigger shock, however, is in the devaluation of dollar holdings of United States’ Treasury debt. The rise in oil prices guarantees that the value of the dollar will be pushed down even further and stay down! Now that China is the number 2 oil importer and Japan is number 3 – with the rest of Asia very thirsty for oil as well – you can understand why the Asians must find a way to protect themselves. The American strategy for using oil to finance our deficit is, of course, brilliant. Our elected officials knew that at some point those independent foreign central banks would start getting edgy about buying more dollars to pay for America’s war and deficits. (The $650 Billion trade deficit is threatening the dollar.) So, which central banks can America continue to use as the fall guys to buy the dollar? Why not the Gulf Oil states, but where would they get the dollars to buy U.S. Treasuries? Well, with the Chinese piling up dollars and growing like crazy, at some point the oil market had to tighten. It was only a matter of time before the Chinese would start bidding up the price of oil. The Asians, therefore, are hung out to dry when the price of oil rises because they have to spend more of their dollars on oil. As the price of oil goes up, extra money floods into the Gulf Oil Kingdoms. With our Secretary of Defense putting troops all over the ground in the Middle East, and those nimble aircraft carriers are near by and ready to deliver the “shock and awe of sudden democracy” to the Gulf Monarchs, it’s a sure bet that America’s OPEC buddies will stash their newly found Asian lucky bucks into good old American Treasury Notes. With such a simple policy to fund our deficit for another year, it’s no wonder America can get by without any brain power at the Treasury Department. In effect, America and our Gulf Arab allies just pulled off the biggest central bank heist in the history of the world. The price of oil just went up 60 percent or more, which really cuts down to size those $3.4 trillion of net foreign holdings of U.S. financial assets. As a loyal American, we would like to cheer our government’s deft move to pick the pockets of our trading and financing partners. Moreover, America gets the Arabs to fund a large share of our deficit, subsidize our interest rates, and help keep our taxes low for another year! Surely, I can afford to buy another gas-guzzling Sport Ute, get a rifle, and wave a flag! America is extracting Tribute on oil from the world. If the world wants Middle Eastern oil, they can pay for it through the Saudi branch of the United States Treasury. Why do the heads of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Qatar, etc., hold dollars? Because they want to keep the money and the power! (The ruling family of Saudi Arabia controls 25 percent of the world oil reserves and is completely dependent on oil revenues for its survival. Tens of thousands of Saudi princes live off lavish royal stipends). Think of Arabia as a family firm. If the dollar goes down in value, the Saudi Royal Family still gets to personally keep hundreds of billions of dollars. But, if they don’t buy dollars, why would America keep them in power? It would simply not be in our interests to do so. Remember when Saddam Hussein talked about pricing Iraq’s oil in Euros? “Shock and Awe” quietly followed. This program of oil for dollars and dollars for the U.S. Treasury deficit is the simple tribute that we, as the Super Power, can expect. America is well paid for keeping the world’s supply of “black gold” safe and available to all. Unlike Vietnam – when America was trying to finance guns and butter – getting others to pay now for our guns, allows us to milk the oil out of the sand and turn it into butter! The next question will be how the Asians respond to a 60 percent hike in the price of oil? Please, stay tuned. Notice in the chart below there are some big, smart, anonymous dollar holders (such as hedge funds) located in the Caribbean. No one knows who they really are. Written and published by Richard Benson, www.sfgroup.org April 5th, 2005

Subject: $100 laptop makes many new young Pkarchivers
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 22:39:27 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
It warms johnny5's heart that many children all over the world will soon be able to download 'short circuit' and tap into the matrix. http://laptop.media.mit.edu/ http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/ptech/04/04/hundred.dollar.laptops.ap/index.html (AP) -- In a rural Cambodian village where the homes lack electricity, the nighttime darkness is pierced by the glow from laptops that children bring from school. The students were equipped with notebook computers by a foundation run by MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte and his wife Elaine. 'When the kids bring them home and open them up, it's the brightest light source in the home,' said Negroponte. 'Parents love it.' Negroponte and some MIT colleagues are hard at work on a project they hope will brighten the lives and prospects of hundreds of millions of developing world kids. It's a grand idea and a daunting challenge: to create rugged, Internet- and multimedia-capable laptop computers at a cost of $100 apiece. The laptops would be mass-produced in orders of no smaller than 1 million units and bought by governments, which would distribute them. Ambitious projects to bridge the digital divide in the developing world at low cost have had a shaky track record. Perhaps the best example is the Simputer, a $220 handheld device developed by Indian scientists in 2001 that only last year became available and isn't selling well. But Negroponte and MIT colleagues Joe Jacobson and Seymour Papert aren't deterred. For one, three corporate partners have committed an initial $2 million apiece to the initiative and pledged to serve as suppliers for the 'one laptop per child' project: Sunnyvale, California-based Advanced Micro Devices Inc., which will bring expertise in processors; 'Do No Evil' search engine king Google; and News Corp., Rupert Murdoch's media company with global satellite capabilities. The mission: to make laptops as ubiquitous as cell phones in technology-deprived regions. Negroponte's pitch: The cost of a laptop comes in far lower than a child's textbook expenses for the computer's lifespan. 'It's a way of having the children be the agents of change,' Negroponte told The Associated Press. 'They bring the device home, and then the parents look over their shoulder.' He thinks it's extremely important that individual children own laptops; it will ensure they'll be well-maintained. In design and function, Negroponte wants the $100 laptop to 'be so close to the current laptops as to be nearly indistinguishable,' but acknowledges that the machine will have a relatively slow processor and modest storage capacity paired with barebones software. The biggest challenge, he says, is designing a display that doesn't put the price out of reach or drain the battery too quickly. Details are still being worked out, but here's the MIT team's current recipe: Put the laptop on a software diet; use the freely distributed Linux operating system; design a battery capable of being recharged with a hand crank; and use newly developed 'electronic ink' or a novel rear-projected image display with a 12-inch screen. Then, give it Wi-Fi access, and add USB ports to hook up peripheral devices. Most importantly, take profits, sales costs and marketing expenses out of the picture. 'The technology challenge is real, and you need to make some breakthroughs, but most of the money is saved in other ways,' said Negroponte, who pitched the project in January at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, the annual confab of global powerbrokers. Negroponte has also met with Chinese and Brazilian officials to discuss expected orders and production in those countries, which would create local jobs. Two prototypes have been built, and test units could be shipped by the middle of next year. The project would essentially be nonprofit, with about $90 covering hardware for each computer and an extra $10 for contingencies or a small profit margin depending on how each government's order is structured. Yet even if all those hurdles are surmounted, some question whether a $100 laptop project is the answer to bridging the global digital divide. 'Even if you give the laptops out for free, Internet access and even electricity are huge problems,' said Marc Einstein, an analyst with Pyramid Research Inc., a Cambridge-based telecommunications consulting firm. Negroponte and Co. have part of that solved, at least in theory: Out of the box, the $100 laptops will be able to communicate with one another using peer-to-peer mesh networking. That doesn't directly solve the Internet or electricity problem, though. Al Hammond, director for the nonprofit World Resources Institute's Digital Dividend project in Washington D.C., worries about customer support in poor, rural areas. 'The key is to create something affordable and sufficiently robust to protect against voltage surges, against dust, and against being dropped, and against all the perils of the Internet,' Hammond said. 'Those things are more important if the nearest computer tech is three villages away and you don't have an air-conditioned office to work in.' Like Hammond, Andy Carvin, director of the Newton-based nonprofit Digital Divide Network, applauds the project's goals, calling an extremely low-cost, durable laptop 'one of the holy grails of bridging the digital divide.' But he said increasingly sophisticated and versatile wireless handhelds may gain favor over laptops as the developing world's online tools of choice. 'That's not to suggest we should not have an inexpensive laptop,' Carvin said. 'They're parallel tracks, and it's probably a healthy competition to have both.' The digital divide remains vast: The technology research firm IDC examined 53 countries and determined that a household in Canada was 131 times more likely to own a personal computer than one in Indonesia - hardly the world's least tech-oriented country. The United States trailed Canada at No. 2 by that measure in rankings that examined computer use in countries that fall in the top third for advanced technology use. Negroponte says his promotion of the $100 laptop project at the World Economic Forum meeting has helped it gain momentum. 'People are now calling me saying, 'We'd like to participate, and not only can we participate, but we can do it cheaper, or we can create better performance in this laptop,'' he said. 'People are saying, 'My God, this is real.''

Subject: Systemic Risk in England?
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 22:01:28 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Debt juggling, the new middle-class addiction Rosie Millard owes £40,000 on her credit cards – being an Impoverished Professional has become a way of life, she says My husband and I decide to go and see the latest Woody Allen; as couples do, we have supper before the movie in a noodle bar. At the end of the meal we realise that between us we have no cash, and so have to pay with a credit card. “I’ve brought all the cards,” says my husband cheerfully, riffling through about nine pieces of plastic. “Trouble is, I can’t remember which ones are up to their limit.” Go to a cash machine? Forget it. Both our current accounts have been frozen. Welcome to the world of middle-class debt. Last week it was announced there are more credit cards than people in the UK (67m, to be precise), and that personal debt is so huge Britain is more indebted than Argentina. If interest rates go up, the experts warn, the effect on ordinary people could be like a “time bomb”. Credit card debt accounts for £2 billion and Britain has in total a £1 trillion debt mountain. In our case, the time bomb has just exploded. On paper, my husband and I are what is known in polite parlance as “comfortably off”. In reality, we have no money. Anything that comes into Chez Millard goes out pretty much immediately on debt repayment. That, and paying the nanny so we can both go out to work and earn more money. For more debt repayment. An Impoverished Professional, I call myself. And there are plenty of us out there. My voyage into debt started, as these things do, with an almost unnoticeable, but incremental, downward curve. After the wedding (paid for by my father), we bought a house. “Extend yourselves as much as you can,” advised our friends. This seemed a great idea, particularly when house prices in Hackney started to rocket. So we bought a big house and signed up for an endowment policy. A couple of years down the line, when we had two nippers in tow, the value of the house had gone up, a lot. We borrowed against the booming equity in our home and bought a couple of flats, which we let. Avid readers of The Sunday Times may know thus was created a penchant for buy to let, which can make you quite a nice income. On paper. After we had finished charging around Ikea and furnishing two flats, we had another baby (and each extra child necessitates a pay rise to the nanny). It was at this point, I believe, that the great invention of the £10,000 interest-free card arrived. Flyers advertising funkily desirable credit cards with amusing names such as Goldfish, Mint or Rainbow suddenly started dropping through the front door, flagging up the fabulous notion of six months’ interest-free cash. So we siphoned some of our overdrafts onto a card, or two. Actually, we signed up for four. Of course, we are not alone: nearly everyone I know is playing the plastic game; a senior news editor at the BBC has so many cards — each bearing a £10,000 millstone — that he has actually achieved circularity and is having to now take them out in his wife’s name. “We have completely reached our limit of debt and are awaiting money from remortgaging our house,” says Jessica, one of my girl friends. “The bank says we have ‘reached the end of our borrowing possibilities’.” Which just means they will have to find another pot to borrow from: because banks know that the state of the Impoverished Professional is not at all the same as the state of people who are really, desperately and incurably skint. Jessica admits her financial nadir is the result of a recent skiing holiday. “And it’s the price of me not working,” she says. Jessica, mother of three, is a former accountant and like a true Impoverished Professional, still operates as if she were coining it within the Square Mile. “I have no money but I still had a £190 haircut last week,” she says. Am I curtailing my lifestyle? Well, I have dramatically curbed my addiction to black cabs, but can’t live without a decent haircut every eight weeks, vaguely designery suits, Stila makeup and The New Yorker. As I say to my bank manager (whose mobile number is naturally on my direct dial), if you want to keep working, you have to keep looking the part. And the only way to do that is to put everything on the interest-free card and count the days until the period of grace is up. As each interest-free period draws to a close, my husband and I spend a flurried few days furiously washing debt from all the old cards and finding new ones to plonk it onto. We have to be very careful not to leave the sum even a week over the six-month limit, for fear of monumental amounts of interest repayments. To make our lives even more, well, lively, we recently had another baby, while at the top of the family, our eldest has started seriously campaigning for not only a dog, but riding lessons. “Thank God they’re not at private school,” says my husband, with feeling. In 2002, in the belief that to make money one needs to actually spend it, I decided to splash out on a fabulously chic flat in Paris. I now avoid answering any incoming call with the prefix 33, because I dread speaking to my French bank manager as my French mortgage is in almost permanent arrears. I am letting my flat to tourists — it’s just that there are never quite enough of them. And French bank managers are far less lenient than British ones. Indeed, the whole French attitude to debt is far stricter. Compared with our 67m credit cards there are only 2.8m swishing around in France, a country with a similar population. “Maybe we could have a fire sale,” says my husband gloomily. We look around our lovely house, into which we have just moved after the arrival of baby No 4. There is nothing to sell apart from our buy-to-let flats, and what is the point of buying them as an investment if you are going to sell them five years later? My mother, bless her, has given us the wherewithal to buy a new car. So we put our four-year-old Skoda for sale on the internet and hope we will make a couple of thou. Surprise, surprise, nobody wants it. Anyone who could use a new-ish family-size Skoda is presumably also in hock to small pieces of plastic from John Lewis, Sainsbury’s, Mint and Uncle Tom Cobbleigh. No wonder a consumer credit bill is going through parliament, which will mean stricter controls on lending. Is there hope? “Well, to get us out of this, one or both of our incomes has to rise dramatically,” says my dear spouse, who works for the BBC, which is about to get going with massive redundancies. So, not much hope from TV Centre, I fear. “Plus, we have to dramatically rein in our spending.” We start as we mean to go on. High tea with the kids. A night in with Doctor Who instead of a night out at the theatre. Bracing walks on Hampstead Heath. It’s fun, in a Shaker-style, Amish work-ethic sort of way. But habits are hard to break. By Thursday I find myself trundling around Mothercare, picking up clothes for the children, before chugging into Soho to watch a play and crack open a bottle of chablis over dinner. “Plunge into your savings,” someone says, but who has savings any more? There are people in our family with savings, but they are all under the age of eight. Apparently, the supermodel Caprice Bourret saves £7 out of every £10 that she earns. When I find this out, I feel like staying in bed all day. “Well, she doesn’t have children, does she,” says my husband reassuringly. At least we don’t run a shop; consumer spending is so down that many commercial enterprises are looking into a black hole that will be assuaged only when the debt-stricken populace gets on top of its finances and starts going shopping again. Which we will, we will. http://business.timesonline.co.uk/ printFriendly/0,,2020-525-1551813-9559,00.html

Subject: Re: Systemic Risk in England?
From: Setanta
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 07:00:52 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
god.... while not nearly as bad, i was the same. i spent a year paying Eur1500 a month to clear all of my debts so i could be in the financial position to purchase a house. it was so hard that i said never again. my credit card is in my room, never to see light of day again! i also have given up drinking in the pub and cigarettes. i want to spend whatever pennies i have at the end of the month on important things and not Eur5 pints!

Subject: Vanguard Returns
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 20:21:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship5.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsByName Vanguard Returns 12/31/04 to 4/04/05 S&P Index is -2.5 Large Cap Growth Index is -3.9 Large Cap Value Index is -0.8 Mid Cap Index is -0.7 Small Cap Index is -3.9 Small Cap Value Index is -3.4 Europe Index is -0.7 Pacific Index is -2.5 Energy is 16.2 Health Care is -0.7 REIT Index is -7.7 High Yield Corporate Bond Fund is -1.6 Long Term Corporate Bond Fund is 1.0

Subject: Sector Indexes
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 20:21:52 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship2.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsVIPERByName Sector Indexes 12/31/04 - 4/04/05 Energy 19.4 Financials -7.3 Health Care -1.2 Info Tech -8.2 Materials 0.8 REITs -7.7 Telecoms -6.1 Utilities 5.0

Subject: Where is gold and precious metals Terri?
From: johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 20:44:29 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
I have read your updates for many months now - thanks bunches dear sweet Terri, but what of the yellow stuff? Vanguard has a fund no? How often do you re-allocate your assets? Are you still 80% in the Vanguard GSE bond fund and not in vangaurd stocks or precious metals? I am still mostly XOM with scottrade and trying to get my mom to 1031 her house in west palm to buy some other real estate - japanese commercial real estate maybe. My Uncle should be getting money back from Raymond James any day now on that annuity and has found a fee based financial planner that is going to put him into ishares DVY and a few other index funds through a fidelity account - I protested and tried to get him to read bogle and the four pillars of investment - but he is old and wants to watch WWF - he does not want to spend time learning about his world - some of the money he says he will put in vanguard, we shall see, I am still able to bend his ear between beers - HAHA.

Subject: Careful Careful
From: Jennifer
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 11:44:07 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Please be careful investing. How does a person here go about buying Japanese commercial real estate? What is wrong with living in a house you enjoy, no matter the market. Vanguard literature does not have to be studied intently by each investor. Call and talk to the representatives or a Vanguard advisor. A single fund such as Wellesley or Wellington or Balanced Index might be just right. The Vanguard GNMA Fund discussion was just for understanding as I recall, not for a particular percent of a portfolio. Please be careful investing.

Subject: Phoenix from the ashes Japanese Real Estate
From: johnny5
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 14:27:18 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.accutonehk.com/~phoenixasia/PARE_presentation.pdf What do you think of page 34 of this presentation sweet dear Jennifer?

Subject: Japanese Real Estate?
From: Ari
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 17:30:40 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The website will not open.

Subject: Working for me
From: johnny5
To: Ari
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 18:21:16 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Do you have the right software installed to view it? I think you need adobe acrobat reader 6.0 or newer to view it - it just opened for me.

Subject: http://www.achamchen.com/phoenix_asia.htm
From: johnny5
To: Ari
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 18:19:13 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.achamchen.com/phoenix_asia.htm

Subject: Simple and Clear Thinking
From: Jennifer
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 22:03:06 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Think simply and clearly about investing. Vanguard has investment advisers.

Subject: Financial Times recommending Gold?
From: johnny5
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 22:05:47 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsgs.aspx?subjectid=54034&msgnum=30047&batchsize=10&batchtype=Next From the Financial Times via Richard Russell's site. Fleck also commented tonight on this article. The FT has been anti-gold in the past. It appears they're changing their minds Cross-currents make currencies choppy Published: April 2 2005 03:00. We live in a world of currency weaklings. The dollar has the giant US trade deficit. But other big currencies have their troubles too. While most experts predicted the dollar to fall this year, it rose against the euro and the yen in the first quarter. The culprit: economic weakness in Europe and Japan, which weighs on interest rates. These contrary forces ensure that currencies are not a one-way bet. There is an important difference between them. Europe and Japan could solve their problems without a currency decline. Solving the US problem almost certainly requires the dollar to weaken further on a trade-weighted basis. But what is not 100 per cent certain is whether it needs to fall further against the euro and the yen to achieve this. The euro does not have much to recommend it, other than not being the dollar. The eurozone economy remains sluggish. The European Central Bank is waiting for European politicians to reform their economies. Germany apart, little progress has been made. Meanwhile, the markets have had to consider the weakening of the growth and stability pact and the possibility of a No vote in the French referendum on the European constitution. While most investors considered the pact to be flawed and few give two figs for the EU constitution, the sense that the authorities are not in control is alarming. Meanwhile, investors are still waiting for the Japanese economy to develop a self-sustaining recovery. Late last year, Japan again flirted with recession. While recent data have not all been bad (there was a rise in the purchasing managers' index this week), yesterday's Tankan survey shows sentiment to be weak. In so far as economic growth drives currency movements, the dollar looks a better bet. With expansion firmly entrenched, the Federal Reserve is in tightening mode. US short rates are now three-quarters of a percentage point above eurozone rates while Japanese rates remain around zero. The gap is expected to widen. The choppiness of the currency markets reflects investors being torn between three factors; the trade deficit (negative for the dollar) and growth and rate prospects (positive). In truth, there are good reasons for selling all three of the world's main currencies. But could they all fall? Yes, against either gold or the Chinese renminbi. In recent years, gold has been a useful hedge against the dollar, but not against the euro or yen. Meanwhile, the US, Japan and the EU would all like to see the renmimbi revalue, but so far the Chinese are not playing. Chinese exports create jobs, inflation remains moderate and Beijing has no desire to do anything that might expose the fragility of its banking system. Yet a token revaluation would do little to reduce the US deficit and would spur hot money inflows. The Chinese might echo the former US Treasury secretary who said: 'It's our currency. But it's your problem.' Russell Comment -- My one complaint with the Financial Times have been gold-haters. Thus, I was amazed to see the FT even hint that gold could be a substitute for paper 'junk' money. You see, even a newspaper can change!

Subject: Reconnecting Tax and Budget Policies
From: Pancho Villa
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 19:17:56 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
Reconnecting Tax and Budget Policies by John S. Irons April 1, 2005 For decades, right-wing anti-government forces have waged a deliberate and largely successful attempt to separate perceptions of tax policy from the rest of the government's budget, including the deficit. However, the current budget debate in Congress shows with crystal clarity the tradeoff between additional tax cuts for the rich and reductions in vital domestic services. Congress wrapped up the first stage of budget work last week, with each chamber of Congress passing similar (but different) budget blueprints (see Sticking Points in the Budget). Over the next five years, the budgets call for tax changes which would reduce revenue by over $100 billion, as well as for cuts to domestic discretionary programs of over $200 billion. In addition, there are additional proposed cuts to Medicaid and other entitlement programs. Contrast the cost of just the tax cuts for dividends and capital gains—$23 billion over 10 years—with proposed cuts of up to $20 billion for Medicaid. Over half of the benefits from the dividend and capital gains tax rate reduction would go to those with incomes of over $1 million. Average taxpayers would hardly see any change, but those making more than $1 million would get, on average, a $35,000 cut.[1] On the spending side, the cuts to Medicaid will cost states billions in funding from the federal government and will threaten health benefits for the most vulnerable Americans.[2] The House and Senate will soon begin to attempt to work out the differences between the two budget versions, with the hope of finding something acceptable to both sides. However the details are worked out, it appears that the budget proposal will include both cuts to domestic services and investments, as well as tax changes that will reduce revenue. Each of the Congressional budgets, as well as the president's proposal, would also dramatically increase the deficit. Rhetoric versus reality For most Americans, it would seem natural to think that if we don't have the revenue base to fund vital domestic services and investments—like education for our kids, health care for our veterans, or support for the elderly—then these services will suffer. However, anti-government conservatives, knowing that these programs are popular, must find some way rhetorically to create the impression that revenue can be cut without causing any harm. How do they do this? By employing a handy three-part strategy: 1. Claim that tax rate reductions will spur the economy and actually increase revenue—so the government would have more revenue, not less; 2. Claim that there is plenty of waste, fraud, and abuse so that spending and taxes can be cut without harming anyone; 3. Claim that the government harms people anyway, so it needs to be cut. Laid out like this, it's easy to see the inconsistencies in the arguments; but no matter, they all seem to have the same implication: taxes should be cut. For the record, there is ample evidence that the old supply-side argument in claim #1 is theoretically possible, but empirically false. For claim #2, while there is inevitably some degree of 'waste, fraud and abuse' in the system, the right approach is to attack this directly by improving the efficiency of service provision, not by bluntly slashing funding. The contention in claim #3 is that the government gets in the way of national and individual success. However, there are many instances in which government has successfully stepped in to solve pressing national problems, to protect the most vulnerable, create economic opportunity, or to rebuild and invest in our communities. And the American public has embraced such efforts. The enduring success and popularity of the Social Security program is just one obvious example. The anti-government philosophy has been summed up in the bumper sticker version: 'It's your money, you should keep it.' But we need not accept the right wing's negative, pessimistic vision of what America can accomplish. Yes, indeed it is our money—every American pays some taxes—and we together decide what we can accomplish as a nation. If we want to spend it on education, scientific research, and the national highway system, or on national parks and health care for the elderly and low-income Americans, that should be our choice. And we should not be thwarted by a right-wing tax policy designed to starve the federal government of the revenue base needed to effectuate those choices. Those in Congress who support the current budget need to realize this and not stand in the way of progress. John S. Irons, Ph.D., is the director of tax and budget policy at the Center for American Progress. http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=489159

Subject: Excellent Reading
From: johnny5
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 20:20:07 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Wonderful, great great great, too bad the reds are sucking up thier coors watching the undertaker on WWE to understand they are being LIED too by thier fellow christian Bush.

Subject: American Brains a good asset? huh?
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 18:16:52 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsg.aspx?msgid=21197447 >>The US has never taken a real punch<< Marcos, we get invaded all the time. Especially by your compadres from México. But this time they've gone too far, with a direct assault on our top flight research and engineering jobs! It's really outrageous when a few poor undocumented immigrant high school kids can defeat our best college teams like this. The U.S. Commerce Department should slap on hefty tariffs anti-dumping penalties to compensate the affected Americans against this kind of totally unfair competition... ;) La Vida Robot: How four underdogs from the mean streets of Phoenix took on the best from M.I.T. in the national underwater bot championship. By Joshua DavisPage http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsg.aspx?msgid=21194564 P.S. Presidente Lula should hire these guys for his Brazilian sub project! ROFL

Subject: Impossible Trade problems??
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 17:19:35 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
U.S. Launches China Trade Investigation 04/04/2005 15:24 http://cnn.netscape.cnn.com/ns/news/story.jsp?id=2005040415240001833401&dt=20050404152400&w=... WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States will bring trade cases against China to determine whether quotas should be re-imposed to protect textile and clothing manufacturers against a surge in Chinese imports, the Bush administration said Monday. The decision represents a major victory for U.S. manufacturers, who had been pressing the administration to bring these cases on its own rather than waiting for the industry to petition the government for relief, a process that could take a longer period of time. ``The decision is the first step in a process to determine whether the U.S. market for these products is being disrupted and whether China is playing a role in that disruption,'' Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said in a statement announcing the action.

Subject: Japan and China
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 14:50:29 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/17/business/worldbusiness/17yen.html?ei=5007&en=216dd8c2dd1a1f97&ex=1392354000&partner=USERLAND&pagewanted=all&position= Japanese Capital and Jobs Flowing to China By KEN BELSON HANGHAI - The qualms are gone. Now even Japan's pride and joy, its top-end electronics manufacturers, are coming to China. They are building immense new plants and research centers here to take advantage of abundant Chinese labor, doing nearly every kind of job their Japanese work force does. Cost pressures are driving them to forget old fears of having their best technology stolen or of harsh publicity at home from moving high-paying jobs out of the country. 'We hesitated in the past, but we cannot say that any more,' said Hiroyuki Mineta, chairman of the Pioneer Corporation's Shanghai subsidiary, as he stood on the factory floor where hundreds of Chinese workers were building 11 types of DVD recorders. 'We have to overcome our fear or we won't be able to survive in the market.' Unlike the first generation of Japanese factories in China, which cranked out routine products like washing machines, air-conditioners and stereos for sale mainly in China and neighboring countries, the Pioneer plant in the Comprehensive Industrial Development Zone, an hour's drive south of central Shanghai, assembles the company's most advanced consumer products and ships them to Europe, North America and even to Japan. In an office tower across the river from the city center in the Pudong new area, Hiroshi Matsuo of Sharp says that his company, too, is getting over its squeamishness. Like NEC, Toshiba and others, Sharp is actively recruiting Chinese engineers for its newly opened research and development laboratories here. For the moment, they will work only on goods intended for sale locally. Mr. Matsuo said that the company's Japanese engineers are still better at designing the main components that distinguish electronic products. But Sharp's Chinese engineers, who are paid only one-quarter of what Japanese make, are closing the talent gap. 'Our top management is afraid of exporting brain jobs to China,' Mr. Matsuo said. 'But comparing Chinese and Japanese engineers on a cost-performance basis, Chinese are superior. They are hungrier. Most Japanese are no longer hungry.' For a Japanese manager to say such a thing would have been unthinkable a few years ago. The Japanese electronics giants have for decades been national symbols of know-how and corporate might, with globally famous brands, well-paid work forces and sales in the billions. But with the bursting of the technology bubble and the commoditization of even many sophisticated digital products, companies from Sony and Matsushita on down find themselves under growing pressure from lower-cost rivals like Samsung in South Korea and Dell, which relies on contractors across Asia to build many of its products. To compete effectively, the Japanese companies say, they must cut costs and move even more production to China. Japan poured some $4.2 billion directly into factories and other operations in China in 2002, according to the Japan External Trade Organization, and the electronics industry accounted for more than 40 percent of manufacturers' capital. A new Japanese factory seems to open in China almost every week, while another closes at home, reshaping Japanese marquee industries. The pace is unlikely to slacken anytime soon, Japanese executives and industry experts say, not least because Japan has come relatively late to the overseas manufacturing trend. Counting all industries, Japanese companies now do about one-sixth of their manufacturing abroad, compared with 27 percent by American manufacturers. And China will remain the focus of such work, the experts say. This is particularly true of electronics, an industry where prices can fall rapidly and the pressure to cut costs is constant. Pioneer, for example, will build 28 percent of its products in China this year, up from 22 percent last year. 'Japanese manufacturers are only doing what's rational' by moving to China, said Masaki Yabuuchi, who tracks Japanese manufacturers in Asia for the external trade organization. The move into China is not coming just at the expense of factories and workers in Japan but also in Southeast Asia, where many Japanese manufacturers turned in the 1980's and early 90's during a more modest wave of foreign expansion. Matsushita, Japan's largest electronics maker, has said it intends to eliminate 40 percent of its production and sales subsidiaries in Southeast Asian countries by 2006, because costs there are higher than in China. 'It's only a question of time that production on a competitive scale will not be able to survive' in Southeast Asia, said Yukio Shohtoku, Matsushita's executive vice president for global operations. Matsushita will not abandon Southeast Asia, because keeping some factories there is a useful hedge against the risk of turmoil in China, Mr. Shohtoku said, and because it will need a continuing presence to meet estimated sales growth of 26 percent by 2006, to 660 billion yen - $6.26 billion at current exchange rates. But over the same period, Matsushita expects its sales in China to more than triple, to 1 trillion yen - almost $9.5 billion. As they rush into China, Matsushita and its rivals have shut down dozens of factories in Japan, pushed tens of thousands of workers to retire early, and cut back on the number of Japanese university graduates they recruit, reinforcing fears of a permanent loss of premium jobs. And since 1991, 2.5 million manufacturing jobs have disappeared in Japan, a decline of 25 percent. In the United States, where the exodus of manufacturing jobs is an old story, permissive labor laws and an entrepreneur-friendly financial system foster the creation of new businesses. But Japanese policy makers have been slow to loosen their tight grip on the economy, making the country one of the most expensive places in the world to do business. A heavy emphasis on preserving jobs rather than creating them has also stunted worker mobility. 'Germany and the U.S. have gone through the same thing already,'' said Tomoko Fujii, an economist at Nikko Citigroup. 'But they have created new industries to compensate. Job creation via deregulation is key.' The relationship between Japan and China, fraught as it is with historic antipathy and grievances, remains uneasy. Nationalist commentators and labor unions in Japan make China out to be a job-eating bogeyman; still, Japanese consumers are able to stretch their stagnant or falling incomes further because of cheap Chinese textiles, food products and other goods. The new factories that blue-chip brands like Hitachi and Fuji Film are opening in China make their Japanese parent companies that much better able to survive in the global marketplace. And China's rapidly growing and modernizing industries are big customers for Japanese steel, machinery and controls, providing a growing market for capital goods. In all, trade between China and Japan trade increased 34 percent in the first six months of 2003, to $60.4 billion, a record. Without its China trade, economists reckon, the Japanese economy might not have grown at all in 2002. Of the manufactured goods that China ships to Japan, about a third are made by Japanese companies and may not seem Chinese to this country's consumers. But increasingly, manufacturers with a distinct Chinese identity are making themselves felt in the Japanese marketplace. China's best-known electronics and appliance company, Haier, now sells washing machines and refrigerators in Japan, and has even rented one of the giant neon billboards in the Ginza, Tokyo's equivalent of Times Square, to promote its brand. 'I want to reach the hearts of Japan's consumers,' Yang Mianmian, Haier's president, told executives at a Ginza restaurant last August after the billboard was lighted up. Increasingly, they are doing so, giving Pioneer and other Japanese manufacturers even more reason to move operations to China. And if they do not cut production costs, the Japanese brands may price themselves even out of their home market. This possibility, however distant, is not lost on Mr. Mineta, who oversees 3,550 workers at the Pioneer plant here, which runs around the clock and has expanded more or less continually since it opened in 2001. Pioneer is hiring workers by the hundreds to fill jobs on the line that pay about $95 a month, above average for the region. Spread across the spotless factory floor, teams of employees in gray work smocks and pink hats do everything from soldering components and plugging in circuit boards to running quality-control tests and packing completed DVD players in boxes along with instruction manuals in French, German and other languages. In China, paying workers, most of them women, to do rote tasks like hunching over tiny chip assemblies and affixing pinhead-size pieces is cheaper than installing the industrial robots that would typically be used to do the same work in Japan. As Japanese manufacturers develop China as a market as well as a manufacturing site, many are setting up design centers too, and not just because Chinese engineers work cheap. 'We used to sell one kind of product, including in China,' Mr. Matsuo of Sharp said, but now the company has Chinese designers developing models to suit local tastes, requirements and budgets. 'If we sell conventional products' designed for Japan, he said, 'we can't compete with Chinese producers.' Japanese companies say the crucial technologies at the heart of most electronic goods continue to be developed in Japan, and then sent to the Chinese plants as a 'black box' for finished products to be built around. But to recoup their development investment, many Japanese companies are now licensing even core technologies to Chinese manufacturers, including direct competitors - a practice that Mr. Shohtoku of Matsushita and other executives acknowledge can be a double-edged sword. The interweaving of East Asia's two giants shows no sign of slowing. At the back of Pioneer's factory, Mr. Mineta takes visitors to the loading docks. From there, beyond the parking lot filled with hundreds of workers' bicycles, the view is of flat, mud-caked fields and a few rough-hewn huts that seem lost in time. For now, farmers still work that land, but Pioneer has an option to lease it and nearly double its production space. Though headquarters has not given a final go-ahead, Mr. Mineta said it was only a matter of time. 'We want to expand as quickly as possible,' he said.

Subject: Kenyan Village Set Against Poverty
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 12:47:42 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/04/international/africa/04village.html?pagewanted=all&position= Kenyan Village Serves as Test Case in Fight on Poverty By MARC LACEY SAURI, Kenya - Patricia Awino Odera had her handmade hoe cocked over her head the other day, her face scrunched up into a scowl, sweat pouring from her brow, her labors the very image of futility. Then hope descended onto her cornfield. 'No, no, no, no!' cried Herine Okoth, an agricultural extension worker, as she marched over the freshly tilled land. 'Stop!' Ms. Odera, a frail-looking 54-year-old grandmother who had never had a day of schooling in her life, had thrown fertilizer in with her corn seeds and spaced her holes too closely, both of which would reduce the harvest she and her children would get. 'We agreed that you'd put the fertilizer in first, separate from the maize,' Ms. Okoth said. 'It's not so difficult. It's like this. Fertilizer first. Then cover it with some dirt. Then throw in the seeds. Then cover those. It's not hard at all.' This settlement in western Kenya, where Ms. Odera lives, has become a giant test tube, and Ms. Okoth's instruction is one part of that experiment. Eventually there will be 10 such test villages, scattered across the world's poorest continent. Led by Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute of Columbia University, the project aims to fight poverty in all its aspects - from health and education to agriculture and energy in one focused area - to prove that conditions for millions of people like Ms. Odera and her neighbors can be improved in just five years. It is an important and uncertain gambit. If it fails, initiatives like that pushed recently by Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain to greatly increase foreign aid to Africa may seem foolhardy. If a single village cannot be turned around with focused attention, how can whole communities and even countries be revitalized? The project led by Mr. Sachs grew out of the Millennium Development Goals, benchmarks created by the United Nations in 2000 aimed at prodding the world into reducing hunger and sickness by half, increasing school enrollment, and generally improving the lives of the poorest of the poor. Kofi Annan, the secretary general of the United Nations, appointed Mr. Sachs to oversee its poverty reduction efforts. But setting the millennium goals - and putting in place a deadline of 2015 for seeing them through - has so far not meant much to people like Ms. Odera. Today the projections for reaching those goals keep slipping further and further into the future. It is now estimated that many of those goals will be reached decades late. By then, Ms. Odera will be long gone. Her children may be dead, too. Her grandchildren, many of whom have already lost their parents to disease, will be well along in poverty-stricken lives of their own. That looming failure is what spurred Mr. Sachs and his colleagues to select a particular village with dismal social indicators - this one - where they would apply a more focused antipoverty strategy to prove that, with enough attention, the goals could be reached quicker than people think. Sauri's remoteness is one of the factors that has allowed poverty to get such a foothold here. It is a forgotten place in a country that has seen corruption devastate its national economy. Ms. Okoth, who interrupted Ms. Odera's planting, is one of dozens of experts working to make sure that this Millennium Village Project does not become another pie-in-the-sky effort. The researchers behind the program are keeping track of every penny they spend, trying to demonstrate that for a modest amount, somewhere around $110 per person, a village can be tugged out of poverty. They have tried to measure exactly how bad Sauri was at the start of the project last fall. Every home was surveyed to get an accurate portrait of the population. Blood tests were taken among a smaller group for a nutritional analysis, because many villagers eat only once a day, and show it. Blood will also be tested to determine how widespread the malaria parasite is, and then again later, to see whether the mosquito bed nets given to every villager help keep more people, especially children, alive. A new health clinic has gone up in Sauri. Villagers did the labor, and the project pitched in the sacks of cement, the sheets of tin and the white and blue paint. The Kenyan government must provide the drugs, one of many contributions required of the government to make the project fly. Before the arrival of the health clinic, villagers relied on the district hospital, which got its first government doctor recently as part of the project. It had been without one since 1994. At the hospital, there is an ambulance up on blocks; it has not moved for five years. The villagers will receive a free truck to share, which will double as an ambulance and a way for farmers to get their produce to market. Those gifts aside, the project is not aimed at bringing about prosperity by writing big checks. Nonetheless, the arrival of so many Westerners in a remote village inevitably brings big expectations among the locals. 'Projects come and go in this part of the world,' said Patrick Mutuo, a Kenyan soil scientist who is the project director. 'Some people participate in order to get a free lunch. They see the immediate benefits and not necessarily the long-term benefits. This project is not about free this and free that. The attitude of the people will ultimately determine whether it succeeds. People need to get involved and stay involved long after the experts go home.' Most of the aid in fact will come in the form of shared knowledge from some of the foremost experts in the world in subjects as varied as health, agriculture, energy and economics. Residents, project officials say, will lift themselves out of poverty. Pedro A. Sanchez, a top soil scientist at Columbia, is advising the people of Sauri on how to revive their badly damaged fields and how to plant trees as a way of fertilizing the soil for free. Officials estimate that villagers' dismal yields could double or triple as a result. Not all the new food the farmers produce will remain theirs. This project is devised to create a community spirit and so, in exchange for their free fertilizer and seeds, farmers had to agree to give 10 percent of their yields to local schools. The schools will then start a feeding program that will feed children at noontime and, the advisers hope, lure more of them, especially underrepresented girls, into class. The project also plans to bring electricity to Sauri by extending the power grid that came close to the villagers here, as part an old World Bank project, but never actually reached them. Researchers are also working to rehabilitate water pipes that were set up years ago in yet another development project that went awry. It is too early to say whether this effort goes the way of other failed ventures, such as the 'integrated rural development' approach that never took root in Africa in the 1970's, despite much talk of wiping out poverty. Although the project is just getting off the ground, organizers are already learning how much more complicated poverty reduction is the closer one gets to those mired in it. It is easy, for instance, to talk of the importance of bed nets. But how does one ensure that villagers use them and do not sell them in the market instead? Already, village leaders have persuaded one farmer not to sell his free fertilizer, as he had planned. Not least, tackling AIDS will be a challenge. Although an estimated one-fifth to one-third of the people here are H.I.V. positive, many fear the stigma if others find out they have the disease. How, then, does one treat those who have it? Ms. Odera herself was mulling whether to undergo an AIDS test. Some volunteers unaffiliated with the millennium project had come by the village to encourage more people to have their blood checked. The reward was a free bed net and a free paper visor to shield one's face from the sun. Ms. Okoth, who has seen poverty reduction efforts come and go in Kenya, was leaning toward taking the test. After all, she figured she could sell this net, and keep the other free one. 'We need to do what we can,' she said, 'or we'll always be poor.'

Subject: Bogle Dissapointed - where is the diversification?
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 14:46:52 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
'We agreed that you'd put the fertilizer in first, separate from the maize,' Ms. Okoth said. 'It's not so difficult. It's like this. Fertilizer first. Then cover it with some dirt. Then throw in the seeds. Then cover those. It's not hard at all.' Now I posted some jeff sachs stuff myself and highly regard the guy, but how many times do people have to screw up before you stop helping them? The hope is the woman will understand after being told numerous times why she can't throw the fertilizer in with the corn, but she was already told once and apparently didn't get it - why was that so hard for her to understand? Can you make me understand why she did not get what I consider very easy instructions Emma? I worked with a project in my old city to help the retirees get on the web, it succeded in some regards - failed in most, the reason it failed is because the local librarians and college professors and volunteers got tired of teaching the retirees over and over and over again the same concepts about basic computer use that they would NEVER grasp - after about a year most of the teachers of the classes felt frustration and despair that really broke their will to continue inputting energy. Their steadfast optimism turned into redundant frustration. Maybe they needed some terri's and emma's to keep steadfastly optimistic, but after 1 year of thier time and effort with no change they found other uses of their volunteer time that seemed more productive to them than on rehashing the same basic concepts over and over that were never gonna be grasped with any amount of time. Now to follow Kaplan and 'think tragically to avoid tragedy' I thought sachs was too SMART to throw all his eggs in one basket - for blair and the rest to lose public support if this one town does not succeed is DANGEROUS. Perhaps there will be a natural disaster in this one spot, or a military disaster, perhaps a biological one, some new disease or bacteria or plague that infects the people or crops just in this one place. Perhaps corrupt people will come in and burn the crops or steal the nets - there are SO MANY reasons not to put all the eggs in one basket - Terri preaches diversification - how have so many smart people failed with this fundamental? Human lives dying because warren won't come off the money are FAR TOO IMPORTANT to risk one ONE BASKET no?

Subject: The Dollar and the Euro
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 12:23:12 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Economic growth in Europe is declining. The decline of the dollar with regard to the Euro may have come to an end. A German warning that America must maintain healthy growth, which we would much prefer in any event, is surely a call to the European central bank to limit any further decline in the value of the dollar.

Subject: The Dollar and the Yen
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 12:28:28 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Similarly with Japan faltering, it is hard to imagine the Bank of Japan allowing much of an appreciation of the Yen against the dollar. Though the Bank of Japan has not been buying much American debt as our trade deficit with Japan grows, the dollar has held value against the Yen. The guess is that foreign currency traders are not willing to go against what they consider the intent for a stable dollar by the Bank of Japan.

Subject: ChevronTexaco Agrees to Acquire Unocal
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 11:43:47 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/04/business/04cnd-deal.html ChevronTexaco Agrees to Acquire Unocal for $16.4 Billion By ANDREW ROSS SORKIN and CHRISTINE HAUSER Chevron Texaco will acquire Unocal, one of the largest independent oil companies, in a stock and cash transaction valued at approximately $18 billion, including net debt, the two companies said today. A takeover of Unocal, which is based in El Segundo, Calif., represents the biggest acquisition in the industry since the consolidation wave of the late 1990's, when Exxon bought Mobil for $80 billion and BP acquired Amoco for $48 billion. The Chevron Texaco-Unocal acquisition was announced today in a joint statement. Chevron Texaco said the acquisition was subject to approval by Unocal's shareholders and regulatory agencies. Chevron Texaco, the second-largest American oil company, said the deal would significantly enhance its position as a leading global energy provider. It would help it meet long term strategies including growth in core upstream areas and commercializing its undeveloped natural gas resource base, the ChevronTexaco chairman and chief executive officer, Dave O'Reilly, in the statement. 'It is an attractive transaction that provides value in both the near- and long-term,' Mr. O'Reilly said. The takeover negotiations came after months of speculation over which company would end up buying Unocal, the eighth-largest oil company in the United States. The interest generated by the sale comes at a time when global energy companies are flush with cash but short of fresh opportunities to develop new fields as many oil-rich areas of the world remain closed to foreign companies. At the same time, the world's 10 largest oil companies made over $100 billion in profit last year thanks to crude oil that averaged $41 a barrel in 2004. The boom is expected to grow this year. Futures in crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange set a record last week, rising above $57 a barrel. Acquiring Unocal would give the buyer a portfolio of attractive fields in Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Thailand and Indonesia, as well as in the Gulf of Mexico, which are all expected to start producing this year. These projects, if successful, are expected to increase Unocal's production as much as 10 percent a year through 2010 - making it one of the industry's best performers. ChevronTexaco said in the statement that it expects oil-equivalent production from the combined portfolios during 2006 to average about 3 million barrels per day. Unocal's 1.75 billion barrels of oil-equivalent proved reserves would increase ChevronTexaco's reserve base as of the end of 2004 by about 15 percent, it said. Unocal was talking intensely last night with Chevron Texaco and another potential bidder, Eni of Italy, in a deal that executives involved in the discussions said could be worth about $17.4 billion. The executives said the board of Eni, ranked fourth in Europe, was meeting this morning in Italy to discuss the final details of the offer. CNOOC, a state-owned Chinese oil company, which had been part of the bidding, dropped out of the auction. Interest in Unocal started earlier this year when CNOOC first expressed interest in the company. That sparked a discreet bidding war that sent the company's shares soaring 49 percent since the beginning of the year, compared with a 20 percent gain on the Standard & Poor's 500-energy index. Its stock closed Friday at $64.35, up $2.66. Unocal has refocused its attention on exploration and production, particularly in North America and Asia, after selling its marketing and refining businesses in the United States. Chevron Texaco said the combination of the two companies will place it in the top tier of natural gas producers and marketers in the expanding and strategically important Asia Pacific region. Many analysts have long considered Unocal to be a candidate for a takeover. They said that it frustrated investors in recent years, repeatedly failing to meet its growth forecasts and also because of its knack for courting controversy. In 1998, Unocal was forced to abandon plans to build a gas pipeline through Afghanistan, which was then under the control of the Taliban, after the United States started bombing in an effort to destroy training camps of Osama bin Laden. Unocal was founded in 1890 as the Union Oil Company of California. It has about $3 billion of debt.

Subject: Flood of Chinese Textile Imports
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 10:22:50 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/04/business/worldbusiness/04textiles.html Stream of Chinese Textile Imports Is Becoming a Flood By DAVID BARBOZA SHANGHAI - Imports of Chinese textile and apparel products into the United States soared in the first quarter, offering fresh evidence that the world's clothing trade is being drastically reshaped by the abolition of global quotas in January. The United States Commerce Department said Friday that in the first three months of the year, preliminary data showed that United States imports of textile and apparel products from China rose more than 63 percent from a year ago. In some crucial categories previously governed by the old system of country-by-country quotas, like underwear, cotton trousers and cotton knit shirts, the increases were even more stark - jumps of as much as 2,000 percent. The figures are certain to heighten trade tensions between the countries and also to renew calls for the United States government to place restrictions on some Chinese imports to protect American manufacturing jobs. The Bush administration said last week that it was closely monitoring textile and apparel imports from China to better assess the effect on the nation's textile and apparel industry. Trade relations between the two countries are already tense, partly because the United States trade deficit with China reached a record $162 billion last year, making it the largest trade imbalance ever recorded by the United States with a single country. European officials are also weighing some form of trade restriction to stem the equally large flood of Chinese textile and apparel imports into the European Union. In China, textile officials are trying to play down the significance of recent trade data, saying that it could be distorted because factories ramped up production early in the year out of fears that import restrictions could be put in place later in the year. 'Last year, when foreign buyers and Chinese producers made deals, the orders were mostly for half a year, different from before when the orders were always for a complete year,' Cao Xinyu, deputy director for the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Textiles, said in a telephone interview Friday. 'This was because foreign buyers as well as Chinese textile companies are uncertain about the future.' Trade specialists have long predicted that once quotas ended, China's efficient, low-cost manufacturing operations would dominate the world's $495 billion textile and apparel trade, wiping out manufacturing operations in the United States, Europe and elsewhere. Last year, Chinese textile and apparel imports into the United States were valued at about $17 billion, accounting for about 20 percent of all American clothing imports. Analysts are now predicting a surge in Chinese textile and apparel exports to the rest of the world that could wipe out production in some poorer countries, like Bangladesh and Cambodia. Some analysts believe Chinese imports could eventually account for as much as 70 percent of America's textile and apparel imports. Hoping to reposition themselves in this new world, American and European retailers and clothing makers have already begun buying a growing share of their textile and apparel goods directly from Chinese factories at reduced costs. Consumers in the West are beginning to see cheaper prices for some clothing like jeans and leather jackets. Many American and European apparel makers say they are also outsourcing to other poor countries just in case the United States or Europe place trade restrictions on China. But eventually, they say, China will dominate the clothing trade. 'We will always go to the least expensive place,' said Roger Williams, president of Warnaco Swimwear, a division of Warnaco, one of the world's biggest apparel makers. 'Once the issue of safeguards is settled, our comfort level will go up. There will be a shift to China over time.' The Commerce Department's statistics are the latest in a series of government data showing a shift already under way. Last week, the Chinese government also released figures showing that in the first two months of the year, its global textile and apparel exports rose 31 percent to nearly $14 billion, up from $10.5 billion in 2004. The bulk of those gains came from rising exports to the United States and Europe, which, in the first two months of the year have soared 56 percent over the same period in 2003, to $4.8 billion this year. Among the early losers in the textile trade so far are Mexico and several Central American nations, which have begun to see their share of textile and apparel trade with the United States eroded by China, according to Commerce Department figures. There are still about 665,000 textile and apparel manufacturing jobs in America, according to textile officials. But most specialists say they think those jobs are likely to vanish within a few years. Last week, the National Council of Textile Organizations said that 17,000 American jobs had already been lost this year after 11 textile and apparel plants were closed because they could not compete. Trade groups representing American workers want the federal government to step in because they think Chinese manufactures unfairly dominate the textile trade by using cheap labor and relying on government subsidies. 'These numbers are as bad as we feared,' said Cass Johnson, a spokesman for the National Council of Textile Organizations in Washington. 'The government needs to initiate safeguard action now or we could lose tens of thousands of jobs.'

Subject: Impossible!
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 15:28:09 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Trade groups want the government to step in? Huh? I was assured by a few on this list that trade wars with China are IMPOSSIBLE and ABSURD. That it's different this time. Didn't warren said a countries consumption is limited by their production - what do we make anymore? Debt?

Subject: Mapping System in China Blocked
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 10:32:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/04/technology/04map.html U.S. Blocks Use of Mapping System in China By WAYNE ARNOLD The Australian mining company BHP Billiton said Friday that the United States Defense Department was blocking it from using an advanced mapping technology to search for mineral deposits in China. BHP Billiton has a license to use the so-called Falcon system, which was originally intended for use on United States nuclear submarines. BHP Billiton has been using the system around the world since 1999 to help find underground deposits of minerals from aluminum to zinc. But in a meeting this week with analysts in Australia, the head of BHP Billiton's business in China, Clinton Dines, said plans to use Falcon technology in China had been rejected by the United States Navy, according to a report published in The Australian, which was confirmed Friday by BHP Billiton in Melbourne. Under the terms of BHP Billiton's license to use Falcon, a spokeswoman for the company said, 'They can dictate where we can and can't use it.' A Pentagon spokeswoman in Washington, Lt. Col. Tracy O'Grady-Walsh, said Friday that the Falcon system was on a list of American munitions banned from export to China without a presidential waiver. The ban results from sanctions imposed after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. The disclosure that Washington is seeking to block the export of geological survey technology to China comes as the United States is seeking to prevent Europe from lifting an arms embargo against China - something Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of Germany vowed anew on Thursday to do. Whether or not the Falcon technology could be used by Beijing for military purposes, its commercial potential for the country is clear. China is in the midst of an aggressive drive to secure raw materials for its fast-growing economy, including copper, iron ore and oil, risking territorial disputes with Japan and other neighbors in its quest. China's hunger for raw materials has also made it increasingly important to BHP Billiton. Sales to China account for 10 percent of BHP Billiton's total revenue. The Falcon technology was designed by Lockheed Martin as a navigation system for United States submarines to avoid undersea mountains. In the late 1980's, it was adapted for use by aircraft and used by the United States Air Force, reportedly to search for nuclear warheads. In the early 1990's, this system, called an airborne gravity gradiometer, was identified by BHP, which merged with the British company Billiton in 2001, as having potential uses for mining. By 1999, it had secured an exclusive license to use the system for exploration. The license for oil and gas exploration expires in October 2009, while a separate license for mineral exploration lapses in April 2010. When the company introduced the system in 2000, one BHP Billiton executive called Falcon 'the holy grail of the exploration industry,' enabling it to survey previously inaccessible areas. The system, which weighing about 1,000 pounds, is loaded onto light aircraft and flown over prospective mining areas. It produces colored maps indicating changes in the earth's density that can give geologists clues to the whereabouts of valuable ore bodies. BHP Billiton has used Falcon around Australia and Canada, as well as in South America and Africa. It also conducts survey flights for other companies around the world. 'It's very good at finding diamond pipes,' said Neil Goodwill, an analyst at Goldman Sachs JBWere in Melbourne. BHP Billiton has said Falcon helped it find potential diamond deposits at its Ekati mine in Canada, which produces roughly 4 percent of the world's diamond supply. BHP Billiton declined to say what it had intended to search for in China using Falcon. Analysts said most of China had been mined so extensively over the centuries that it was hard to imagine that any significant deposits could have been overlooked. Where Falcon may be useful, they said, was in the remote areas of western China, or in shallow coastal waters in the search for natural gas. Beijing is also eagerly searching for more efficient ways to exploit domestic coal deposits. 'They're moving first into oil, and then they're trying to go into gas as quickly as they can,' said Bob Broadfoot, managing director of the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy in Hong Kong, who counts BHP Billiton as a client. 'But ultimately they don't want to be dependent on this imported fuel, period.'

Subject: Vanguard is Security
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 08:30:31 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The millions of fortunate investors who have had accounts at Vanguard own thousands and thousands of international securities. The securities are our safety, and each account in turn is insured to millions of dollars. Investors do not own Vanguard shares, but international bonds and stocks. Holding shares in the American stock market as a whole, is the essence of stock market diversity. Many wonderful bond funds accounts at Vanguard are government insured in addition to privately insured. Vanguard investors deserve to be wonderfully optimistic. Still, there are always other companies. I however have mine. Vanguard is security.

Subject: Realism and Hope
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 08:48:33 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
What I wish is that we may all in sharing ideas find ways to save and invest profitable and safely for our futures. I believe pessimism or cynicism can only harm me, so I try to think realistically and even hopefully.

Subject: Thank You All
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 08:55:17 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thank you all for the wondeful exchanges of ideas. I learn each day because of you.

Subject: Japan's Slow Growth Problem
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 07:58:16 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The question about the problem of generating a sustained period of healthy economic growth in Japan is important for Japan and every other developed country. But, I have trouble thinking the problem lies in the work ethic of the Japanese. Americans work as hard and long as the Japanese, and far more hours than Europeans. Why should Japan be different than Australia or Canada or Sweden or France? Is the problem slow population growth? Is the problem rigid local economic structures? Is the problem as I suspect application of monetary and fiscal policy?

Subject: Crushing loss of wealth
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 10:10:45 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There is really no mystery to why Japan is having trouble. At the end of 1989 the Nikkei closed at 38,915 and at the end of 2004, the Nikkei closed at 11,488 - a little over 70% drop. I have a chart here that shows Japanese residential real estate rising 110% between 1980 and 1991 with the steepest run-up between 1986 and 1991. It plateaus for about a year (a little less) and begins to decline giving up almost all the gains of the 80's - today residential housing in Japan sits at about where it was in 1980 ( a little higher but still dropping). Now imagine that you are Japanese and lived through this. You bought a house during the last 5 years of the run-up for $200,000 and now 18 years later it's worth $120,000 and the mortgage you are still paying off is $165,000. Furthermore, you had a life savings of $300,000 (the Japanese have been historically good savers) in 1988. You see the Nikkei soaring and you are convinced you are missing out on a chance to become rich like many of your fellow Japanese. So you don't want to be left behind and like millions of other Japanese you put most if not all that $300,000 in the a Nikkei index fund because you have been told this is a good way to spread out the risk. If you didn't put all of it in there at first, you do so over the next year or two because the Nikkei rises steeply for the next year and a half or so - you might become worth millions. By 1989 the $300,000 becomes $350,000 - but today that $350,000 is now worth only about $105,000. Now, as if to rub salt in the wounds, Japanese are losing jobs to their fellow Asians. And energy costs are further depleting profits and pocketbooks. There is only so much you can do with fiscal and monetary policies, as we're discovering with Japan. Think we've seen this before.

Subject: Re: Crushing loss of wealth
From: Emma
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 11:10:27 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I do agree, but Japanese household saving is and has been almost entirely in bonds. There was always little household stock market investment. Little was lost in the stock market downturn. Also, Japan is highly energy efficient and energy costs have been well contained. Also, there is little unemployment in Japan. The problem of deflation is there, and property price deflation is a prime problem but Japan while hurting is hurting far less than might be the case were unemployment or energy prices or the stock market crash more harmful to households.

Subject: Re: Crushing loss of wealth
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 18:32:40 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'The Japanese are so good at keeping up appearances that few signs are ever evident of the series of recent recessions. But over the years, I have seen poor Mrs. Hirata's husband (the store's manager) open his doors around the clock and take the graveyard shift himself. The place started to stock tequila-sunrise cocktails in a can, and little bottles of wine. Soon even the Hiratas' two high-school-age sons were being pressed into service (unpaid, I'm sure).' This is part of your post entitled 'Keeping up appearances'. It seems to point to employment problems in Japan and echoes what I have read about employment in Japan. There certainly is more unemployment there now than there has been in a long time. In addition there is underemployment with fewer hours for many workers. Japan is much better than the US at conserving energy, nearly all of which it must import. However, you can only get so much out of conservation and when energy costs and raw material costs still rise because of higher worldwide demand for limited resources, then it begins to have a negative effect on one's economy no matter who it is. It is hard to believe with such a big run-up in the Nikkei that the Japanese themselves didn't participate very much. Do you have articles to show this? Not saying that you are wrong but it would seem very unusual for a nation's major stock index to go through the roof with little to no help from investors from that particular country. It's possible that foreign investors outside of Japan took nearly all the losses, but I have never heard or read that. Thanks Emma. I enjoy and find your postings very informative.

Subject: Re: Crushing loss of wealth
From: James
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 16:32:49 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I might be wrong here.... I believe Japan is experiencing slow growth due to steep competition from other Asian countries.Looking at the present moement in China , Corea , Taiwan and Malaysia. All the neighbouring countries are comming up . In term of goods production , neighbouring countries are practicing mass production and it is flooding the market with cheap stuff. I dont see any potential in the uprising of Japan's growth.

Subject: Roach and rebalancing
From: johnny5
To: James
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 17:47:54 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Roach and other bears say there is still a VERY SIGNIFICANT rebalancing required before all this volatility is shaken off the west's back - but some people can't accept that jumping out of a big safe titanic is smart and jumping down into a little small life raft is the prudent thing to do in those shark infested waters - it does not make common sense to some people. WHy leave a nice big boat with food and dance halls and beds for a little raft in the freezing cold?

Subject: Greg Manikew critique
From: poyetas
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 07:36:51 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'I would like them to answer the following question: Suppose that next week, the stock market falls by 50 percent, so dividend and earnings yields double. Would Baker, DeLong, and Krugman suddenly be in favor of President Bush’s proposal for Social Security reform?' -Greg Manikew Why does Manikew look for such a ridiculous assumption? The fact of the matter is that the stock market will not lose 50% of its value, 'cause if it did, the demands of Social Security would explode due to all the new unemployed, and with it, the cost of borrowing to pay for them under a privat-accounts system. Secondly we all know that if returns on stocks increase by 50%, it will not last if the GDP and thus demand continue to increase, eventually, in the long term, they will erode away and we will be back to the original 3% yield. How can an economist make such a comment?

Subject: Re: Greg Manikew critique
From: Paul G. Brown
To: poyetas
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 11:33:08 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Actually, I thought Mankiw's point wasn't that bad. Many of the responses we've come up with -- oh but it was just politics, etc -- work just as well as an argument on the other side. The Baker-DeLong-Krugman Analysis does rest one flank on the point that the historical 'Equity Premium' may not be as large looking ahead, and they take the historically high price/earnings ratio as empirical evidence in their favor (Sections IV and VII). Then having dispensed with the idea that future returns will approach historical results they do a mess-of-sums to show that slow growth produces lower returns, and therefore a) growth at the lower end of the SS Administration's estimates cannot b) be accompanied by economic growth sufficient to give private equity accounts significantly higher rates of return than what SS is currently counting on. Oh. And Social Security is not an unemployment program. Additional unemployed won't directly impact SS -- although the additional strain on the fiscal side would be telling. DeLong himself has made a similar point: that the combination of low growth and high returns might imply a 50% fall in equity prices (without any fall in earnings). FWIW, my own response is that I have always been attracted in principle to the idea of putting some portion of the SS trust fund into the equities market, and that a 50% fall in P/E would make a pretty good 'value' case. The problems are entirely practical: that much money hitting the market at once would push prices up, there would still be volatility (and the SS trust fund as an index is not the plan the Bushies are proposing), and the trump card -- this administration can barely be trusted to find their pants each morning so I do not want them in charge of such a large, complex and vital an undertaking. The other response is to point out that Mankiw's response essentially buys the entire Baker-DeLong-Krugman argument. That is, Mankiw seems to accept that the only way to marry the administration's low growth / high return scenerio is to assume the equity price adjustment he described. And if that does happen, selling SS privatization to the US public will be politically very, very hard..

Subject: Political will dominates economic reality
From: johnny5
To: Paul G. Brown
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 15:33:00 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Starve the beast for the benefit of the people! Huh? ' this administration can barely be trusted to find their pants each morning so I do not want them in charge of such a large, complex and vital an undertaking. ' You underestimate the ENEMY my friend, he has the congressional, the judicial, the military, the executive, the hearts and minds, yet you call him stupid and not being able to find his pants - hmmm - very stupid to have the might while you complain he is an idiot - I wonder while Hitler took over if the academia comaplained what an inconsequential idiot he was or while the smarties in russia were murdered did they complain what a fool stalin was?? Huh? http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsgs.aspx?subjectid=51347&msgnum=28721&batchsize=10&batchtype=Next Yes, I posted Paul Krugman's interesting article when it was published in the New York Times. He points out that many prominent supply-side supporters did not see any sound economic basis in the theory - as indeed there is none. But for the groupies further down the food chain in the supply-side cult - supply-side 'economics' was gospel truth. You may even qualify as an example of this. Irving Kristol, in his role as co-editor of The Public Interest, was arguably the single most important proponent of supply-side economics. But years later, he suggested that he himself wasn't all that persuaded by the doctrine: ''I was not certain of its economic merits but quickly saw its political possibilities.'' Writing in 1995, he explained that his real aim was to shrink the government and that tax cuts were a means to that end: ''The task, as I saw it, was to create a new majority, which evidently would mean a conservative majority, which came to mean, in turn, a Republican majority -- so political effectiveness was the priority, not the accounting deficiencies of government.'' In effect, what Kristol said in 1995 was that he and his associates set out to deceive the American public. They sold tax cuts on the pretense that they would be painless, when they themselves believed that it would be necessary to slash public spending in order to make room for those cuts.

Subject: Re: Political will dominates economic reality
From: Poyetas
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 16:56:24 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
OK, If you have been working for say 10-15 years and suddenly you lose your job either do to accident or get laid off 'cause the company goes under. Can you still get covered by social security or can you only qualify after a certain age? Thanx..

Subject: Spies like us
From: johnny5
To: Poyetas
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 17:45:23 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Great movie with chevy chase and dan akroyd - the general in the movie says he will blow up the world with nukes to preserve the american way of life - HUH? Starve the beast to save the people Huh? I worked at IBM for a few years, not the 40 quarters required for SS, I saw good smart OLDER people get laid off in 1995 just before their 20 year retirement, they bitched to me how they had wasted 18 years of thier life for NOTHING! I saw 2 buildings over at the IBM complex in RTP, NC there were all these indians working and being trained by IBM for 5 bucks an hour - I was making 25. They were as smart as me and my mates. My bank of america friend who was head honcho at one of the branches said SS dead for you Johnny5, india, china, gonna take your job and do it better for cheaper and just like IBM sold out these good long term hard working BLUE boys the US gubbment will SELL YOU OUT too - this was 1995, I quit from disgust how the older workers got the SHAFT at IBM and vowed to make sure that would not happen to me. I moved to clearwater, rented a place owned by an IBM manager in Tampa, she told me she would help me get on at IBM tampa in good 80K a year plus position after we talked awhile - I said no thanks - I know the future there. 2 months after moving in she told me they had laid her off and sent the job to india - BWAHAHA! Optimistic people never cease to amaze me my friend - I want you to watch the SCARY MOVIE series of comedies - in one part of one of those movies a knife welding psychopath is slashing this prom queen left and right and chops her head off and she looks at him and says is that all you got - I am really scared and then dies the next breath - reminds me of the manager at IBM that lost her job 2 months after trying to get me to buy into her psychosis.

Subject: Complete Social Security Coverage
From: Emma
To: Poyetas
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 17:03:04 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Complete Social Security coverage begins with 40 quarters of work. The collection ages however are 62 or 65 or 69 depending on your choice. Disability coverage is at any age. Survivor coverage is for children.

Subject: Re: Greg Myopia vs. Paul Hyperopia
From: Pancho Villa
To: Paul G. Brown
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 14:28:51 (EDT)
Email Address: nma@hotmail.com

Message:
'Here is one scenario that seems plausible. With the rest of the world, such as China and India, growing so rapidly, U.S. companies will increasingly find profitable opportunities abroad. At the same time, foreigners will increasingly invest in U.S. companies, which will be among the driving forces behind global growth. Under this scenario, an incresing share of the earnings of U.S. corporations could come from abroad, without any obvious implications for the U.S. current account.'

Subject: FDI?
From: johnny5
To: Pancho Villa
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 14:51:35 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
You have read the recent posts how America is LOSING FDI - not gaining it right? If you are in AMERICA you have already lost 40% of the value of your wealth in the decline of the dollar and more if you were invested march 2000 in stocks - how so many have already lost so much and twiddle thier thumbs about steadfast optimism amazes me. http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/04/03/1851241&tid=215&tid=137 Chinese Huawei Takes on U.S. Telecom Market Posted by timothy on Sunday April 03, @02:49PM from the thattawei dept. ChipGuy writes 'With funds on loan from the Chinese government, Chinese equipment giant, Huawei is undercutting big rivals like Cisco and Nortel, and is using money to buy its way into the U.S. market. Overseas in Europe and Asia it already has become a major force. There are parallels with auto industry and home appliances. It took a little while before prices became a determining factor and shifted growth away from North American vendors. Telecom will go through the same curve. Huawei is curently selling EVDO phones for about $130 and WCDMA phones about $250 which is about 30% than everyone else on the market. Huawei's agenda is pretty clear - get business and sales at any cost. And that means bad news for already struggling telecom industry.'

Subject: Preserving Social Security
From: Emma
To: poyetas
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 08:33:26 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Greg Manikw wishes to end Social Securit, while DeLong and Krugman and Baker wish to preserve the system. The value of stocks is not the problem, the problem is reducing benefits for private accounts and so in effect ending Social Security. Thank you for the comment.

Subject: Preserving Social Security [cont.]
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 14:58:58 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There is every reaosn to have Social Security administrators invest part of the surplus revenue in a total stock market index of non-voting shares. But, what the privatizers wish is to end Social Security not to strengthen the program.

Subject: Politics
From: johnny5
To: poyetas
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 07:51:41 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
U must understand, it has already been posted several times - people do not live in economic reality if it does not advance the political reality - learn the pecking order and these 'conundrums' won't confuse you so and you can live stress free in this crazy world.

Subject: Re: Politics
From: poyetas
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 09:18:16 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Yes Johnny, Economics is only a tool of policy makers, but until now, I see no better tool. I guess the point is that privatising makes no dollars and no sense. Just a quick response to the concept that social security is not unemployment security, I would argue that for anyone working over 10 years, its the same thing. Unemployed professionals are essentially adding to the coming social security deficit because their contributions cannot be invested today, and they will definetely be collecting (assuming they've put in their 40 quarters). If the stock market crashed imagine how much revenue would be lost due to the massive loss in jobs.

Subject: Relative costs
From: Setanta
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 06:32:44 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Will someone who actually knows, please tell me how crude oil can be taken from many hundreds of feet beneath the sea bed or from the sands of Saudi Arabia; transported over the seas in vast and expensive tankers, refined into various products, of which petrol is one; how that petrol can be shipped in huge tanker lorries to the petrol station where I will purchase it from a pump which must have cost a lot of money to install; how so many people from oil rig workers to sailors to petrol pump attendants can be paid a living wage; and how the government can take more than 50 per cent of the price in tax and it still costs half as much per litre as a bottle of water of dubious provenance?

Subject: Dog Water
From: johnny5
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Tues, Apr 05, 2005 at 19:02:33 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.newsoftheweird.com/archive/nw050327.html LEAD STORY Sales of bottled water for dogs (with prices similar to that for people) are growing, according to a March Wall Street Journal report, spurred not only by sudden concern about vitamin deficiency but apparent certainty among some owners that their pets find tap water disagreeable and thus are dangerously at risk of dehydration. Of course, veterinarians cited by the Journal are puzzled by this recent rejection of municipal water and suggest it might be a food-bowl-smell problem rather than a new dog generation's preference for fine beverages. (Also, some vets believe dogs prefer the cooler temperature of, say, toilet-bowl water to that of food-bowl water.) [Wall Street Journal, 3-11-05]

Subject: Re: Relative costs
From: jimsum
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 22:48:34 (EDT)
Email Address: jim.summers@rogers.com

Message:
You can't compare a nicely packaged and expensively refrigerated bottle of water to a bulk-served generic product. In most places you pump your own gas and even swipe your own credit card. If you are filling your own container, you can get water for $.50 a gallon in grocery stores; not to mention drinking for free at public fountains! The low price of gas shows the returns-to-scale of buying in volume. If you are going to buy your water in expensive little bottles, one at a time, you're going to pay for the privilege.

Subject: Re: Relative costs
From: Emma
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 11:45:08 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
How would you answer such a question, for I cannot?

Subject: Caution While Always Investing
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 06:25:25 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The need in investing going forward will be how to be sufficiently cautious while always being invested. Diversity and understanding value, sector offerings, and always understanding bond funds will be critical. I find people seldom understand bond funds, and this includes analysts.

Subject: Understanding Investing
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 06:14:56 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship5.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsByName What I try to do is study and understand what all the possible Vanguard choices are from the mutual funds offered to the brokerage choices of exchange traded indexes and individual stocks and bonds. The teaching materials at Vanguard have proven superb. Also, Vanguard has been completely investor oriented in making sure fund managers perform well. I am quite grateful. Right now, I am continuing how to further find investment value and protect a portfolio in a challenging economic climate that may well grow more difficult. However, I feel completely secure with the traditional value approach I am forever learning to use.

Subject: Vanguard Exchange Traded Indexes
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 06:18:00 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://flagship2.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsVIPERByName The exchange traded indexes add to Vanguard's other index and managed fund choices. Notice how simple the website is to use, and the ease of information.

Subject: Vanguard
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 06:00:03 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Vanguard has been my family's investment company for more than 25 years. We have never found a reason to be less than pleased and grateful for the quality of funds, choices, easy access to detailed information, service, cost, security... When other company's are suggested, I generally find getting simple information about the alternate company a serious problem. Vanguard has been the conscience of the industry. I have never even thought of switching. The company has advertised appropriately for decades, and should continue to do so for continued beneficial growth.

Subject: My Investment House
From: Jennifer
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 09:51:58 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Negative thinking I truly believe is harmful. We must be realistic, and Vanguard is simply terrific. I too love Vanguard.

Subject: Arthur Anderson
From: johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 07:30:36 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Remember what Kaplan said about negative thinking being your best friend and helping you avoid bad things - my dad used arthur anderson in his company, trusted them completely, well what happened to them? They had a 100 year history of trust no? Eternal Vigilance, sacred cows sometimes need slaughter - hehe. Bogle seems to have been a great influence in his company, but things change. Stockgate may even make vanguard funds go down.

Subject: RIP Pope John Paul II
From: Setanta
To: All
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 05:27:30 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
As Pope John Paul II carries his cross into eternity it is time to examine the footprints he left. Comment from BBC on Sat 2 April 2005. The world is worse off from losing this great man. He was the champion of the poor, of the oppressed and of the dignity of the human spirit. While I did not agree with some of his pronouncements on marriage, gays and birth control I applaud the strength of conviction he displayed and the strength of his faith that he was doing the right thing. His influence in the fall of the totalitarian regimes in Eastern Europe in the 1980's cannot be forgotten. I express my sadness at his departure from this mortal coil but am glad that the suffering he beared with such dignity has ended. Godspeed Karol...

Subject: With Love
From: Terri
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 06:01:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
With love.

Subject: Re: With Love
From: Poyetas
To: Terri
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 07:46:13 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
In Northern Germany people were celebrating the death of the Pope. Its sickening to think of a party celebrating the death of someone, I am a removed Catholic and I believe the late Pope was a good and honest man. Nevertheless it does mark an important moment for the church. It needs a serious case of philosophical reevaluation. The entire institution is still stuck in the stone ages and I am of the belief that as long as they continue to support an anti-contraception stance, they are only helping to increase the extermination of our species.

Subject: Vangaurd Advertising on local AM radio now
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 22:39:53 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
What is up Terri? I thought Bogle always said they don't have expensive marketing fees and that made them good and cheap - but today I hear Vangaurd advertising on the local AM talk radio station in the clearwater area for clients - I have never heard them advertise before.

Subject: Help stamp out aids so Johnny5 can have free love
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 22:21:10 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
like in the 60's without death hanging over him - peace brother.... Warren singlehandedly could take care of most of this, but 12 million a year in donations won't cut it. http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentaries/commentary_text.php4?id=1902&lang=1&m=series The Time is Now to Fight Disease by Mabel van Oranje and Zackie Achmat It is possible for a child born just ten years from now to live in a world where AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria are on the wane. But this can only happen with considerable investment. Now. Otherwise, today’s grim picture will only get worse. Each day, these diseases kill 16,000 people—devastating entire communities and plummeting countries deeper into poverty. Upping the ante could turn the tables. Recent successes in Brazil against AIDS, in Mozambique against malaria, and in China against TB, show what can be achieved on a global scale with more resources. There are new ways of directing aid to where it is most needed. A key instrument is the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Created in 2002 as a partnership between governments and civil society, the Global Fund is unique in the way it aims to deliver assistance. Driven by real needs on the ground, projects are designed and implemented by recipients, and its procedures and operations are transparent. Of late there has been much talk about intensifying efforts to eradicate poverty. Ahead of the G8 summit in Scotland in July, a coalition of non-governmental organizations has launched the “Global Call to Action Against Poverty,” and the UK host has made Africa a top priority. Building on this momentum, the campaigns for debt relief, trade reform, and increasing aid to poor countries have gained traction. Yet, while pledges to increase development assistance have soared, short-term funding is woefully inadequate. Any strategy for raising living standards must include urgent measures that address AIDS, TB and malaria. Stemming the spread of this deadly trio of diseases is the linchpin in the global fight against poverty. Unchecked, these diseases not only sap the strength of national economies, but jeopardize peace and security. Teachers and nurses are dying; police and security forces are being hard hit, and 14 million children have already been orphaned by AIDS. We now risk failing to meet the Millennium Development GOAL, set out by the United Nations, of reversing the spread of AIDS, TB and malaria by 2015. This failure will make remote any hope of reaching the other Millennium goals in the fight against poverty. A comprehensive response to AIDS, TB and malaria is needed. Acting now means less spending in the long run. Investments in effective prevention, treatment and research in 2005 and 2006 will save millions of lives, lessen the socio-economic impact of the diseases in poorer countries, and remove the need for increased spending on these chronic crises in the future. The Global Fund plays an important role in this funding environment, providing approximately 66% of all current external funds in the fight against TB, 45% in the fight against malaria, and 20% of all external support to combat HIV/AIDS. Since the Global Fund was founded three years ago, it has built an impressive track record: approving 310 grants totaling $3.1 billion in 127 countries and disbursing $920 million since 2002. Despite the scope of its mission, it has a minimal bureaucracy, which allows for a flexible response to changing needs. The Global Fund is not perfect; as with all new organizations, it is experiencing growing pains. Yet, issues such as procurement policies, trade-offs between efficiency and ownership, and the balance between government and non-governmental organizations as implementing partners are being addressed through the Fund’s open and inclusive governance systems. If the Fund is to live up to its potential it will need $2.3 billion to continue its work effectively in 2005. The first of two replenishment conferences for the Global Fund is taking place this week in Stockholm, with the aim of securing financial pledges to cover grant commitments in 2006-2007, as well as to fill the gap for this year. Donors have long preached the importance of a funding vehicle such as the Global Fund—one that is needs-driven, relies on local input, and promotes donor coordination. They now have a chance to make good on their word. With many battles ahead in the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria, it would be a disgrace if this opportunity is squandered. Zackie Achmat is Chairperson of the Treatment Action Campaign (South Africa) and Mabel van Oranje is Director for EU Affairs of the Open Society Institute.

Subject: Japan: Keeping Up Appearances
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 21:49:14 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
An interesting passage: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/03/magazine/03EAT.html?pagewanted=all&position= Eat, Memory: Our Lady of Lawson By PICO IYER ... The Japanese are so good at keeping up appearances that few signs are ever evident of the series of recent recessions. But over the years, I have seen poor Mrs. Hirata's husband (the store's manager) open his doors around the clock and take the graveyard shift himself. The place started to stock tequila-sunrise cocktails in a can, and little bottles of wine. Soon even the Hiratas' two high-school-age sons were being pressed into service (unpaid, I'm sure).

Subject: What Has Happened to Japan?
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 22:00:50 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
What has happened to Japan? How has economic growth been so poor for so long given the education and technical proficiency and innovation that is Japan? What has happened?

Subject: Asset boom & bust plus....
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 22:47:44 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
competition from cheaper Asian labor markets have sapped the spending ability of the Japanese middle-class which was riding high in the 80's. If it wasn't for the US consumer things would be much worse in Japan. The US consumer has thus far given Japan a long, slow, soft landing. But tougher times for Japan are ahead as the support from US consumers begins to wane. Who will provide a soft landing for America and Europe?

Subject: Multi Generational 100 year mortgages
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 22:33:11 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsgs.aspx?subjectid=54034&msgnum=29963&batchsize=10&batchtype=Next BUT didnt bernanke say in that famous heliocopter speech that the fed did and could once again monetise bonds? is this not, unless im mistaken, equivilent to the fed printing money (not credit) to buy its own credit (treasury bonds). Pray tell, how does this then end in deflation? In theory they COULD. In practice it will not happen. Hyperinflation would bail out debtors (the mass public) at the expense of creditors (banks, financial institutions, and the wealthy). In other words, it is an unloaded gun. Finally, even IF they did try there is no guarantee of success. Japan tried for 18 years to defeat deflation with masive public spending on totally useless projects. All it got them was as federal debt of 300% of GDP and still no inflation. True but they do have a good infrastructure now where some say the US has a need for road and bridge repair and aged water and sewer systems repair here. As i recall, some Japanese buyers were using 100 year, multi-generation mortgages (i.e. father and son both signed on.)

Subject: Labor Shortage in China
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 19:47:49 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The New York Times article on a labor shortage in China strikes me as especially interesting. There is a sense in the midst of limited job creation that work is intrinsically limited, but it is economic policy of short and long term consequences that should allow for an ever expanding job market. Then, are we stimulating job creation properly and preparing a well educated imaginative work force with policy?

Subject: Liquidity Concerns? Bernanke 2 save us all.
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 18:59:58 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsgs.aspx?subjectid=54034&msgnum=29938&batchsize=10&batchtype=Next That's great. Bob Hoye understands the situation clearly. A view which is quite atypical today. Expanded credit should never be counted as an increase in the 'money supply' as the Fed does. It is merely an increase in monetary velocity. This has long been known. Henry Thornton, in his 1802 book, 'An Enquiry into the Nature and Effects of the Paper Credit of Great Britain' correctly described an increase in credit issued as an increase in the velocity of circulation of existing money, not an increase in money as monetarists mistakenly claim. Monetarist economists like Ben Bernanke and Milton Friedman believe the problems created by excessive credit issuance and fiat money creation can be solved with an even greater expansion of credit and fiat money issuance. The futility of this concept can be quickly grasped, even by small children. http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsg.aspx?msgid=21194261 Once the animal spirits and strong prices come out of the speculations, then the 'margin clerks' take over, and credit expansion subsides. However, when the Bubble credit expansion is still on going, then I feel the changes at the margin in Fed 'liquidity' and rates, strongly influences speculative behavior by encouraging or signaling more leveraging. What I see at present is a little different for this cycle, in that Fed injections and accommodation have changed at the margins from frantic to normal. That's why I focus on that. You can see that there are plenty of takers for the injections that are made available, as Fed funds and T-bill rates quickly move to higher levels after each rate increase. Every TIO and repo offering has an abundance of bidders. It still has the look of considerable demand for new credit (no pushing on a string yet), although from a less accommodative Fed. The thirst for leveraged speculations still appears amazingly strong, even if returns are a lot more choppy of late. You can see it in the stock market daily, as the Pig Men try to ramp one sector, see it fade, then do it again somewhere else.

Subject: It's a Flat World, After All
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 18:17:36 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Excerpt: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/03/magazine/03DOMINANCE.html?pagewanted=all&position= It's a Flat World, After All By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN In 1492 Christopher Columbus set sail for India, going west. He had the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. He never did find India, but he called the people he met ''Indians'' and came home and reported to his king and queen: ''The world is round.'' I set off for India 512 years later. I knew just which direction I was going. I went east. I had Lufthansa business class, and I came home and reported only to my wife and only in a whisper: ''The world is flat.'' And therein lies a tale of technology and geoeconomics that is fundamentally reshaping our lives -- much, much more quickly than many people realize. It all happened while we were sleeping, or rather while we were focused on 9/11, the dot-com bust and Enron -- which even prompted some to wonder whether globalization was over. Actually, just the opposite was true, which is why it's time to wake up and prepare ourselves for this flat world, because others already are, and there is no time to waste. I wish I could say I saw it all coming. Alas, I encountered the flattening of the world quite by accident. It was in late February of last year, and I was visiting the Indian high-tech capital, Bangalore, working on a documentary for the Discovery Times channel about outsourcing. In short order, I interviewed Indian entrepreneurs who wanted to prepare my taxes from Bangalore, read my X-rays from Bangalore, trace my lost luggage from Bangalore and write my new software from Bangalore....

Subject: He will be on Booktv on May 1
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Mon, Apr 04, 2005 at 03:03:33 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Live Sunday May 1, Noon Eastern - In depth on Booktv with Mr. Friedman will take your calls. http://www.booktv.org/ cspan2

Subject: It's a Flat World, After All - 1
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 18:36:11 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
It is this convergence -- of new players, on a new playing field, developing new processes for horizontal collaboration -- that I believe is the most important force shaping global economics and politics in the early 21st century. Sure, not all three billion can collaborate and compete. In fact, for most people the world is not yet flat at all. But even if we're talking about only 10 percent, that's 300 million people -- about twice the size of the American work force. And be advised: the Indians and Chinese are not racing us to the bottom. They are racing us to the top. What China's leaders really want is that the next generation of underwear and airplane wings not just be ''made in China'' but also be ''designed in China.'' And that is where things are heading. So in 30 years we will have gone from ''sold in China'' to ''made in China'' to ''designed in China'' to ''dreamed up in China'' -- or from China as collaborator with the worldwide manufacturers on nothing to China as a low-cost, high-quality, hyperefficient collaborator with worldwide manufacturers on everything. Ditto India. Said Craig Barrett, the C.E.O. of Intel, ''You don't bring three billion people into the world economy overnight without huge consequences, especially from three societies'' -- like India, China and Russia -- ''with rich educational heritages.''

Subject: Materials and Energy
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 17:03:26 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Well, a fine time to have owned energy and materials companies or rather the indexes. Interestingly though materials have only recently fared well in price terms. The preferred long term investment has been energy these 20 years. In 1980, energy companies made up more than 20% of the S&P. Now, energy is about 8%. The impact of rising energy prices is less, given the economic mix we have, but not pleasing. The materials mix for the S&P has gone from 13% to 4% from 1980 to now.

Subject: Resource Prices
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 16:59:48 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Some years ago, an engineering professor told me he was quite convinced resource commodity prices would not again rise to the real prices of 1980. Technology would allow supply to stay beyond demand. Well, I will flag him down and remind him of our talk and find whether his position has changed. I simply wonder.

Subject: Real Estate versus Commodities
From: johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 19:14:22 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsg.aspx?msgid=21193848 ...Recent memory aside, home prices do not climb much faster than inflation over time. There is a sound economic reason for this – homes can be built out of materials that are highly correlated to inflation. Even the cost of labor used to build a home is closely tied to inflation. Home prices are capped at a slim margin over the cost of building a new home, and the cost of building a home tends to move with commodity prices and labor costs. This is not to say fortunes can’t be made in real estate - notably with coastal homes that are in limited supply or from buying in an out-of-favor neighborhood before it becomes popular. But for many, homes are the ultimate commodity investment - it works mostly because so much money is plowed into it (divert 30% of your income each month into anything and it will be worth a small fortune someday). The reason we recommend real estate in general as an asset class over real commodities is that real estate can be rented for income, and income producing ability (now or in the future) is the true definition of an investment over a mere speculation like hoarding copper. Investors often look to real estate when stocks let them down. The last true real estate bubble in America took place in the early to mid 1920s – the great Florida land grab. What really kicked off the rampant speculation by individuals was a sour stock market. From peak to trough in 1919 to 1920, the Dow suffered a 47% drop – one of the fastest and most furious in history. Early gains made by speculators in Florida’s development led to wild stories of easy riches that sucked in more and more money – into dumber and dumber investments (sound like the tech boom to anyone?). Before long, hucksters were selling underwater land as the next multimillion dollar hotel location to greedy investors looking to flip their way to instant wealth. The expression, “If you believe that, I’ve got some swampland in Florida for you” lives on to this day. Investors also like leverage. Borrowing makes the relatively low risk world or real estate investing as exciting as . . . well, tech stocks. Today it is not uncommon for someone with very average credit and only a moderately stable income to plunk down $25,000 on a $500,000 home. If the home climbs 20% to $600,000 (which it has been doing for years now, so why should it stop...) the investor turns $25,000 down into $125,000 safely. Try doing that in stocks! On the other hand, somebody who borrows $475,000 (to buy a $500,000 house that cost $300,000 a few years ago, and could be worth that much again) could lose his job and be unable to make the payments—that will climb if interest rates go up. It’s pretty hard to turn $25,000 into a negative $175,000 with stocks. A recent real estate broker’s guidebook on New York and Florida (that looks like a stock analyst’s report) noted some startling price trends: 2-4 family townhouses in Brooklyn were up 174%, studios in New York City up 20%, lofts up 35%. More startling was the time frame of the big returns: 1 year. Everyone is so sure that real estate will continue to move onward and upward that the cost of buying a home is now at record highs in relation to the cost of renting the same property. In some hot markets it costs just 50% or less of what it would cost per month to buy to simply rent. It is entirely possible that an investor would do better renting the house they want to buy, and parking the difference each month in an index fund – at least for shorter periods of time of 1 – 7 years. More sobering is the thought that the relationship between renting and buying could become exaggerated quickly if rates rise (which increases the costs of home buying) or if rents fall (which could happen in a recession). Suddenly homes may not be just 25% overpriced, but perhaps 40%. Is 25% overpriced a bubble? It is when the average home only has about 50% equity on the books. In other words, if homes fell 50% in price, there would be no equity left in residential real estate, and the outstanding mortgage debt would exceed the market value of the property. This is startling because homes are now our greatest asset. Today, total household wealth is higher than ever, largely because appreciating home prices have made up for any losses in stocks. Saying that only some regional markets are overpriced is like saying only some stocks were overpriced in the 2000 stock bubble. Therefore, buying – even on margin – is safe. Florida, New York, California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Las Vegas represent more than 50% of the total market cap of all U.S. property, so it’s hard to say the bubble is only localized. Exxon Mobil (XOM) wasn’t overpriced in 2000, but Cisco (CSCO) was. Brokers used to let customers buy stocks on up to 90% margin because stocks were a sure thing. After the crash of ’29 people realized the error in their logic. Maybe real estate won’t crash. Maybe prices will just stay at the current levels until fundamentals catch up. Maybe we’ll never learn the risks of 5% down. Let’s hope so – an economy partially fueled by home equity loans can’t take a bear market in home prices. Better if we think a bear market in real estate is something that doesn’t exist.

Subject: Re: Resource Prices
From: James
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 17:41:15 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Yeap i read that somewhere years ago. However i would disagree with the article looking at our present situation. I would say resources are scarce and limited. We are consuming it exponentially proportional to the population. Undeniably technology improves from each year but the efficiency is uncomparable to the avaialable natural resources and the cost of the implementation is not cheap. I would have to conclude the engineering professor do not really understand economics.

Subject: Growth in demand
From: johnny5
To: James
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 19:03:02 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Do our resources grow faster than the demands placed on them? There is only so much MATTER to get ahold of quickly and cheaply, but human populations have skyrocketed the past 50 years - there are only so many bentley's and California seaside mansions to go around.

Subject: Canadian Grunt slams White West on Cspn2
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 15:27:31 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
This guy SLAMS rich western whitey pretty hard - he is VERY critical of why we let 800,000 die so tragically. 03:02 pm 0:44 (est.) Speech Shake Hands with the Devil: Rwanda Barnes & Noble Booksellers Romeo A. Dallaire , Canada Speech Shake Hands with the Devil: Rwanda Barnes & Noble Booksellers New York, New York (United States) ID: 184312 - 01/19/2005 - 0:44 - $29.95 Dallaire, Romeo A., Special Adviser, Canada Lt. General Dallaire (Ret.) talked about his book Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, Carroll and Graf. He was the Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda. While in his U.N. post in Rwanda in 1994, Lt. Gen. Dallaire and his limited number of troops witnessed the killing of more than 800,000 Rwandans in a period of a little over three months. The author talks about the under-equipped army he had with him and about how he had originally requested 5,000 troops in order to ensure order during the elections and oversee the safe return of Tutsi refugees. Upon returning to his native Canada, Lt. Gen. Dallaire served in various posts including assistant deputy minister in the Canadian Ministry of Defence. He also spent a great deal of time battling post-traumatic stress disorder and spoke openly about these battles. Following his remarks he answered questions from the audience.

Subject: In Depth with Robert Kaplan - Negative thinking
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 14:53:50 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://inside.c-spanarchives.org:8080/cspan/cspan.csp?command=dprogram&record=137771832 He said you have to think tragically to avoid trajedy - steadfast optimism won't cut it. He specifically attributes this attitude to the Iraq War - we thought in worst case scenario of the initial war - so it went well, but we were far too optimistic of the exit strategy and that is why we are stuck.

Subject: On again tonight at midnight
From: johnny5
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 15:38:38 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
He had some interesting things to say about history and what happens with increases in the gap of rich and poor and how that will apply today. Will post more later.

Subject: New Yrok City Real Esate Prices
From: Jennifer
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 13:52:42 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
That New York City is attracting foreign buyers of real estate is a promising sign that there may be no large decrease in real estate prices from here as opposed to level prices for a period of time. I wonder how real estate prices are holding in London or Paris?

Subject: A.I.G.: Whiter Shade of Enron
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 11:02:09 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/03/business/yourmoney/03gret.html A.I.G.: Whiter Shade of Enron By Gretchen Morgenson THE American International Group is no Enron. Of that we can be sure. A.I.G., after all, is a real company with global operations, generating genuine profits from a variety of financial enterprises. As companies go, Enron was all smoke and mirrors; A.I.G. is substance. Moreover, until five minutes ago, A.I.G. was run by Maurice R. Greenberg, a brilliant man who was both visionary and micromanager, a far cry from the know-nothing that Ken Lay, Enron's former chief executive, claims to be, now that his trial looms. There are, however, some disturbing similarities between A.I.G. and Enron: Asleep-at-the-switch auditors. Secretive off-balance-sheet entities that should have been included on the company's financial statements but weren't. A management team willing to try any number of accounting tricks to make the company's results appear better than they actually were. And one more likeness: As A.I.G.'s shares have plummeted, the financial position of one of the company's insurance subsidiaries has taken a big hit. Enron, remember, had ownership stakes in off-the-books entities in which its shares were pledged as collateral. As long as the company's stock remained above a certain level, those pledges were fine. But when the shares started to slide, Enron had to cough up more collateral to shore up those interests. The unwinding was ugly, and the need to shore up the entities hastened the company's demise. Unlike Enron, the situation at A.I.G. is not remotely as dire. But the ownership stake by its subsidiary, the American Life Insurance Company, illustrates the problems that can result when a company has too much of its capital tied to its parent company's stock price. American Life is a life and health insurance subsidiary based in Delaware that has operated since 1921. The company, which writes insurance solely overseas, is A.I.G.'s sixth-largest stockholder. According to state regulatory filings, at the end of 2004 American Life's capital structure included a net position of 61 million A.I.G. shares. That stake was worth $3.9 billion then; American Life's surplus at the end of last year was $4.2 billion. Back then, the A.I.G. shares held by its subsidiary were valued at approximately $63.50 each. But now A.I.G. shares are trading at $50.95, down 19.8 percent. American Life's stockholding in its parent company has declined by $750 million. As a result, so have its capital and surplus. After taxes, assuming a 35 percent rate, American Life's surplus has fallen by about $500 million on a mark-to-market basis. That drop is the equivalent of 12 percent of its surplus. The problem is that regulators could decide that American Life Insurance's capital base needs to be shored up, and they could ask A.I.G. to replenish the money lost in the company's shares in recent days. That is extra pressure that A.I.G. does not need when it is facing credit downgrades, executive turnover and market turmoil. State insurance filings also indicate that American Life holds large equity stakes in private A.I.G. subsidiaries. Among its biggest stakes are those in AIG Financial Assurance Japan, AIG Life Ireland Ltd., Amplico Life, First American-Polish Life Insurance and Reinsurance Company S.A., and Unibanco Seguros S.A. Because these are private companies, American Life does not have to value the stakes at market prices. But if the continuing investigation into A.I.G.'s accounting results in restatements at any of these entities, the equity stakes held in them by American Life could decline. For now, Delaware insurance regulators are monitoring the situation at American Life. Michael L. Vild, the state's deputy insurance commissioner, said: 'Its reserve and other regulatory oversight is done in the countries in which it does business. But we do monitor its financial solvency. If the erosion in the value of A.I.G. stock has an effect on the company's overall solvency, we'll take whatever steps are necessary.' The steps could include requiring an infusion of capital to the subsidiary or requiring it to change its underwriting standards. A spokesman for A.I.G. did not return a phone call seeking comment. At the moment, the A.I.G. stock held by American Life is not included in the parent company's 2.64 billion shares outstanding. Instead, the shares are held in its treasury. Regulators, or for that matter the A.I.G. board, might also rethink the soundness of allowing American Life to tie up so much capital in the parent company's stock. If so, the shares could be liquidated, increasing A.I.G.'s share count by 2 percent. The decline in A.I.G.'s stock could be temporary, of course. A rebound could bring American Life's surplus back to previous levels. But the unfortunate fact remains: The aftershocks from the A.I.G. tremor are not likely to stop anytime soon.

Subject: In Any Language, Manhattan's Hot
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 10:17:53 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/03/realestate/03cov.html?pagewanted=all&position= In Any Language, Manhattan's Hot By TERI KARUSH ROGERS The dollar is hyperventilating, mortgage rates are still attractively low and international buyers - drawn by outsized real estate gains as well as the city's burnished image of livability - are barreling straight for Manhattan. But it's not exactly a takeover. Yet. 'I find it slightly exaggerated that everyone's jumping across the ocean with their wallets open,' said Patricia Warburg Cliff, a senior vice president and director of European sales at the Corcoran Group. 'Everybody thinks Manhattan is going to be taken over by them. It isn't really that everybody from Europe is on a direct flight to New York. But yes, there is a lot more of this than a year or two ago. In terms of actual buyers, maybe 10 to 15 percent more.' Remarkably little data exists to quantify the trend. According to HomeBridge Mortgage Bankers in New York, which specializes in mega-jumbo mortgages, about 25 percent more loans are going to international buyers so far this year, with pieds-à-terre gaining ground and straight investments holding steadier. Whatever its exact dimensions, the wave of interest from overseas has cast a decidedly lopsided shadow over the map of Manhattan real estate. It is shaped as much by the practical constraints imposed on a noncitizen (condo not co-op, move-in not fixer-upper) as well as the preconceptions of buyers who may have experienced New York primarily from the berths of their Midtown hotel rooms, in the pages of celebrity publications or through 'Sex and the City' syndications. Foreigners' abridged views of New York play out most noticeably in their choice of neighborhood. Many consider the Upper East and Upper West Sides little more than becalmed back lots too divorced from the city's commerce and entertainment, with the areas' schools and playgrounds of little value to someone in residence only a couple of months a year. Midtown, on the other hand, is hot. 'I really liked the 50's and 60's the best,' said Helen Cannon-Brookes, an Australian empty-nester who, along with her husband, Michael, recently settled - pending approval of the condo board - on a 33rd-floor two-bedroom pied-à-terre at Trump World Tower at 845 United Nations Plaza, in the upper 40's. They found the apartment with the help of Holly S. Hunt, an agent at Halstead Property. The blocks in Midtown East 'had more of a city feel about them,' she said. 'You could go around the corner for a cappuccino. Once you got into the 70's, I found that it's more one residential block after another.' Another fan of Midtown is Daniel Amouyal, 63, a French citizen working with his agent, Charlie Attias of Corcoran, to buy four to six apartments in the Orion, a condominium development under construction at 350 West 42nd Street. The 60-story luxury building in Hell's Kitchen - where apartments range from $435,000 to $490,000 for an alcove studio and start at $1.65 million for a three-bedroom - will share a block with the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Mr. Amouyal plans to combine two or more of the units into a three-bedroom pied-à-terre for himself, his wife, Martine, and three teenagers, and for possible use as off-campus housing if his children attend college here. The other apartments will be rented out as investments. In a recent conversation from his home in Tahiti, Mr. Amouyal, a building contractor, said that along with the cheaper-than-uptown preconstruction price point, he viewed the building's proximity to the bus terminal and Times Square as an asset along with its central Manhattan location. He said he was confident that the building would appreciate at the same rate as other properties around the city. But other overseas buyers are attuned to the nuances of status conveyed by a particular building or neighborhood. For this group, 'the address speaks louder than the space,' said Rowena Villaruel, an agent with Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Denied entrance into the many co-op buildings lining Central Park West and Fifth Avenue, the status-conscious international buyer is likely to stalk the white-hot 59th Street corridor. With bookends on the west of the Time Warner Center and on the east of One Beacon Court, a perfume-counter sneeze from Bloomingdale's, the area includes Central Park South and teems with full-service condominiums, iconic views of the park and recognizable addresses. 'Central Park South is a city in itself,' said Marcos G. Cohen, a senior vice president at Douglas Elliman. With last year's opening of the shops at Time Warner Center, 'everything you need is there.' Mark Menendes, a 32-year-old investor from Madrid, is buying a part-time residence at Trump International Hotel and Tower, at Columbus Circle. 'I'm buying location, location, location,' he said.

Subject: In Any Language, Manhattan's Hot - 1
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 10:18:43 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Mr. Menendes found the one-bedroom, 700-square-foot furnished unit last September with the help of Douglas Russell, a vice president and director at Brown Harris Stevens, paying in the mid-$600,000's for the privilege of living in the apartment up to six months a year. The rest of the time, the abode will be made available as a hotel room. The proceeds, which Mr. Menendes estimates at 5 percent to 6 percent return per year, will accrue toward the apartment's carrying costs. Mr. Menendes added that he expects the dollar to regain its standing against the euro. 'I know that it will end up reversing itself,' he said. 'When it gets to one-one, I'll make 30 percent appreciation.' Some foreign buyers have enthusiastically embraced the marketers' notion that Central Park South is more a state of mind than a street. Garry Burke, an Irish businessman in his late-40's, said he is considering an investment in Windsor Park, formerly known as the Windsor Hotel, at 100 West 58th Street, a block south of Central Park. Preconstruction prices in the building range from $1,500 to $1,800 a square foot, according to Mr. Burke's agent, Max Dobens of Douglas Elliman. Calling the building 'very attractive because of its location between the Essex House and the Plaza,' Mr. Burke added: 'It's on the park, near restaurants, close to the museums. It's got pretty much everything going for it in terms of what's going on around it.' Other international apartment hunters echo his sentiments. For the first time since the residences at Time Warner Center went on the market in the fall of 2001, the number of overseas buyers equaled domestic buyers in 2004, according to Susan M. deFranca, president of Related Residential Sales. The redevelopers of the Plaza Hotel are preparing for a similar wave. 'We have a long list of Europeans, South Americans and Australians who want to get into the Plaza,' said Barbara Evans-Butler, a vice president at the real estate brokerage firm Stribling & Associates, which is marketing the Plaza redevelopment. 'A lot of people, especially 40 and over, want some of that Old World charm but also all the services and amenities.' That may be true for some foreign buyers, but plenty of others - surrounded by Old World charm all their lives - eschew it on the shores of the New World. 'I'm a very contemporary person when it comes to decoration and so on, and I was really depressed in Paris with those old buildings,' said Carola Weisz, 56, an Argentine who seven years ago moved to New York by way of Paris. She and her husband, Claudio, 58, bought a new condominium with the help of Beverly H. Feingold, a vice president at Halstead. Sometimes, the presence or absence of bold-faced names can influence others in their choice of dwelling. 'Overseas, they read the tabloids or the glamour magazines,' said Jacky Teplitzky, an executive vice president at Douglas Elliman whose clients include many South Americans. She said that a wealthy male socialite told her: 'I cannot tell you the areas but I'll tell you the buildings where I want to live. Where Nicole Kidman lives, where Beyoncé just bought an apartment, Penélope Cruz, Ricky Martin.' Ms. Teplitzky said she answered: 'Well, you just mentioned four people who bought in four different areas. Kidman bought in the Meier building in the meatpacking district, Cruz at the Chelsea Mercantile, Beyoncé at Beacon Court, Ricky Martin at Time Warner.' She showed her client each building, Ms. Teplitsky said, and he is now assessing whether the meatpacking district's trendiness may prove ephemeral, especially measured against the established neighborhood encompassing Time Warner Center and One Beacon Court. Besides Midtown and the 59th Street corridor, downtown is said to be the third major magnet for international buyers. Among them are the usual suspects, 20- to 30-something buyers without children who 'want that whole New York story, either a loft or something in the West Village,' said Trina Cooper, an agent at Corcoran, whose youngish clients hail from France, England and Ireland. But increasingly, another demographic is gravitating below 14th Street. 'You expect young people to be interested in downtown,' said Ms. Evans-Butler of Stribling. 'For me it's really quite interesting to see people in their 50's who want to be downtown not so much because of nightlife but because of culture life and because it's the new New York.' She added: 'People who used to wear suits all their lives, they want to come into New York and do all the culture things and have the lifestyle that is more 21st-century downtown. And so you had them buying into things like Richard Meier buildings, completely different from anything you would have in Europe.' Of course, there's good-different, and there's bad-different. For overseas buyers navigating the already treacherous terrain of Manhattan's real estate, certain distinctions fall into the latter category. One of the first and hardest lessons swallowed by international shoppers is that co-ops, which make up around two-thirds of the available housing stock, are effectively off limits. Boards turn a notoriously dour eye on applications bearing the slightest whiff of investment-related intent. They also tend to balk at liquid assets located overseas and will not allow investments to be made in a corporate name, as many foreign buyers prefer to do for financial and privacy reasons. 'The difference between co-ops and condos is the big, big, big issue,' Ms. Feingold of Halstead said. With co-ops out of the picture, condos are seeing a glut of foreigners. 'We just sold the Lumière on West 53rd between Eighth and Ninth,' said Michael Shvo, president of the Shvo Group, which markets and sells luxury condominium developments. 'We probably sold 30 to 35 percent to foreigners. It was 0 to 5 percent a year and a half ago.' The developers he works with are taking notice. 'The main thing we're doing to accommodate them is concierge service,' Mr. Shvo said, explaining that talks are in the works to hire an international concierge service in developments at 20 Pine Street, Bryant Park Tower and another slated for 19th Street and 10th Avenue in Chelsea. A concierge would make restaurant reservations, book airline tickets, stock refrigerators and hire baby sitters, among other services desired by part-time foreign residents. In addition, some of the apartments are being tweaked to convey the feel of a hotel suite. 'We're really trying to give people an experience that even though it's their home, they're away on vacation,' Mr. Shvo said. Some bathrooms will have bidets, he said, and kitchens will feature a more minimalist, European approach, employing discreetly sized appliances and other finishes that 'make it not pop out so much as a kitchen but more as a piece of furniture.' He added that in the Chelsea building, an effort is under way to put studio apartments next door to one-bedrooms, to enable easy combinations and endear the units to international buyers accustomed to reserving adjoining suites in a hotel. Pricey apartments are often paired with pricey common charges, which can be a shock to the equilibrium of the international buyer. Carrying charges in Europe are around $300 a month, said Ms. Cliff of Corcoran. 'Here they're $3,000 a month. If you're only using an apartment three months in a year, that's a big chunk of carrying charges.' Nancy Candib, a vice president at Brown Harris Stevens, said, 'They have to be very wealthy where it doesn't matter and they appreciate the services, or buy a town house, or go to Chelsea and downtown where a lot of the condos don't have doormen and charges can be much less.' Pure investors - those seeking income from tenants - can usually cover the carrying charges with rental income. Others, like Mr. Menendes of Madrid, are turning to the condo-hotel. Overseas buyers also report being surprised by the bad condition of some of the apartments they view. 'You see apartments which are really in terrible, terrible, terrible shape,' said Ms. Weisz, the Argentine who relocated to New York seven years ago. 'A very important issue if you are a newcomer to no matter where is that you find an apartment where you can really move in.' And then there's the cultural quicksand of negotiation. 'In no other place in the world does anybody want to know anything but is the bank going to give you a mortgage and are you willing to pay my price,' said Ms. Feingold of Halstead. 'They're used to negotiating more than we are as a culture,' said Hall F. Willkie, president of Brown Harris Stevens. In a market where low ball equals foul ball, 'they learn very quickly they've got to pay up,' he said. As for bidding wars, while foreigners are said to be more willing to participate than in years past, 'You're talking about second residences, and sometimes people don't want to fight for second residences,' said Mr. Cohen of Douglas Elliman. 'It's a luxury they can afford to wait for.' Or not. 'It's always a new chapter in a foreigner's life to have an apartment here,' he observed. 'Sometimes they come out of divorce. Sometimes they are widows. In some countries in South America, a woman over 45 is done. New York is very receptive, especially to middle age, especially for romance.' He added: 'It's the best place in the world for finding romance and finding a second chance in life.'

Subject: My Big Fat C.E.O. Paycheck
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 09:39:50 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/03/business/yourmoney/03pay.html?pagewanted=all&position= My Big Fat C.E.O. Paycheck By CLAUDIA H. DEUTSCH THE spectacle of once-respected corporate titans doing perp walks - Martha Stewart, Bernard J. Ebbers, Richard M. Scrushy, the list seems endless - has pretty well tarnished the title of chief executive. But it has done little, it seems, to scratch the gilt from the corner office. In fact, the boss enjoyed a hefty raise last year. The chief executives at 179 large companies that had filed proxies by last Tuesday - and had not changed leaders since last year - were paid about $9.84 million, on average, up 12 percent from 2003, according to Pearl Meyer & Partners, the compensation consultants. Surely, chief executives must have done something spectacular to justify all that, right? Well, that's not so clear. The link between rising pay and performance remained muddy - at best. Profits and stock prices are up, but at many companies they seem to reflect an improving economy rather than managerial expertise. Regardless, the better numbers set off sizable incentive payouts for bosses. With investors still smarting from the bursting of the tech bubble, the swift rebound in executive pay is touching some nerves. 'The disconnect between pay and performance keeps getting worse,' said Christianna Wood, senior investment officer for global equity at Calpers, the California pension fund. 'Investors were really mad when pay did not come down during the three-year bear market, and we are not happy now, when companies reward executives when the stock goes up $2.' Even when companies reported modest increases in executive pay, it was often because they shifted from stock options, which are listed as compensation as soon as they are doled out, to outright stock grants to be paid - and accounted for - down the road. Of course, corporations have been wrestling for decades with ways to link pay to performance, with little success. In the 1980's, they tried tying cash bonuses to rising sales or earnings, only to find that the payouts encouraged executives to make decisions that yielded short-term results - and, often, longer-term disasters. In the 1990's, companies tried stock options, figuring that they would be the best way to tie the executives' fortunes to those of shareholders. Instead, they prompted some managers to time decisions to pump up the stock just when their options vested. Bonuses and options at Tyco and Enron, for example, did little to prevent widespread accounting frauds at either company. The secret to linking pay to performance remains elusive. Net income at Eli Lilly fell 29 percent and its return to shareholders dropped 17 percent last year, but its chief executive, Sidney Taurel, saw his pay go up 41 percent, to $12.5 million. Similarly, Sanmina-SCI, the electronics contract manufacturer, has lost money in each of the last three years, and its shareholders' total return fell 27 percent last year, but the pay of its chief executive, Jure Sola, jumped to $15 million from $1.2 million in 2003. SOME paychecks remained robust even if at first blush they looked reduced. Net income at Merck fell 15 percent last year, and total shareholder return dropped 28 percent. The summary compensation tables in the proxy show the pay of the chief executive, Raymond V. Gilmartin, dropping 39 percent, to $5.9 million from $9.6 million. But Mr. Gilmartin may find it easy to recoup the perceived loss. He got far fewer options last year, but he is participating in a new long-term performance plan that will give him $2.7 million worth of shares next year if he meets earnings targets - and double that amount if he exceeds them by a set amount. He gets the shares even if the stock price does not rise by a dime. And the payments won't show up until the 2007 proxy. Conversely, Apple Computer had a stellar 2004, yet Steven P. Jobs, its chief executive, was paid exactly $1 for his efforts. Why? Apple paid him in advance - in 2003, it gave him $75 million worth of stock. Shareholders are not giving up on tying pay to performance. But now they seem less focused on how executives are paid and more concerned about exactly what they do to earn it. 'It's easy to manipulate stock price. It's even easier to manipulate earnings,' said Paul Hodgson, a senior research associate at the Corporate Library, an investment research firm specializing in corporate governance. He, like others, is pressing companies to set pay based on measures that are harder to fudge, like return on capital employed.

Subject: Dateline about to DESTROY the SEC
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 12:14:08 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsg.aspx?msgid=21190775 Author: Kirk Discussion: Stockgate - Naked Shorting Scandal Date: March 29, 2005 7:37 AM Subject: Dateline to Air Stockgate Segment April 10th . Mar 28, 2005 - FINALLY! - Dateline to Air Stockgate Segment April 10th by Mark Faulk http://www.faulkingtruth.com/Articles/Investing101/1022.html After over a year of promises, postponements, and delays, Dateline finally confirmed today that they will air their report on the stock market scandal on Sunday, April 10th, at 7 pm ET. The segment, dealing with the scandal dubbed 'Stockgate', has long been anticipated by advocates pushing for reform in the stock market, and was first confirmed by The Faulking Truth last June. This is an excerpt from that article: 'It's been called the biggest financial scandal in the history of the world, with incurred losses estimated by some experts at well over $1 trillion dollars. It's a scandal that involves over 1,200 offshore hedge funds, over 150 US brokers, and has already bankrupted over 7,000 US companies in the past six years. According to many of the lawsuits filed to date, the crooks include terrorist groups and organized crime syndicates. Sources say that this scandal, which involves an intricate system of selling electronic counterfeit shares of stock in an effort to destroy the market value of small publically traded companies by utilizing a method known as 'naked short selling', will eventually implicate almost every major broker in America, all of the governing bodies that oversee trading, and will extend into Canada and Europe.' Sources at the time told us that the Dateline story contained information that would 'blow the roof off of this scandal', and that Dateline had already filmed over 100 hours of explosive footage, with interviews from class action attorneys John O'Quinn (of the Houston law firm of O’Quinn, Laminack and Pirtle), and Wes Christian (of Christian, Smith, Wukoson and Jewell), who along with the law firm of Heard, Robins, Cloud, Lubel & Greenwood, who are representing clients in dozens of lawsuits filed against the SEC, the DTCC, and several of the country's largest brokerage firms. 'What's Up With The SEC?' Since that time, we have learned that officials from both the SEC and DTCC have been interviewed by Dateline, and numerous other recent developments have (at long last) triggered a frenzy of media coverage over the past few weeks. In addition to that, ads have been taken out in several major newspapers, and the roles of hedge funds, who specialize in shorting stocks, have been brought into question in other fraudulent schemes as well. In fact, in an ad in today's op-ed section of the New York Times (March 28, 2005), in an editorial entitled 'What's Up With The SEC?' the conservative Washington Legal Foundation ( http://www.wlf.org/ ), blasts the SEC for 'sitting on several complaints of misconduct filed by the Washington Legal Foundation, and supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, detailing examples of questionable stock manipulation by short sellers and class action attorneys'. According to WLF Chairman Daniel J. Popeo, in one case, information about a class action lawsuit was leaked to short sellers who, in turn, made a huge profit by shorting the stock before the information was made public. Popeo also claims that 'in other cases, short sellers and trial lawyers dish dirt about a targeted company to financial reporters, analysts, and regulators, and the damaging news sends the stock price plummeting, thereby forcing the company to settle. Short sellers then reap the profit when the stock drops.' 'If I Only Had a Hedge Fund' In a related development today, the New York Times online edition ran an article about the incredible proliferation of hedge funds today entitled 'If I Only Had a Hedge Fund', in which they said that the number of hedge funds created since 1999 has increased by 209%, with 1,406 new hedge funds introduced in 2004 alone. A recent study released by Credit Suisse Boston said that hedge funds now account for half of all stock market activity, and that they now manage a staggering $1 trillion in funds. Why are managers tripping over each other to start new hedge funds? Because instead of the small fixed percentage that they get by managing traditional funds (sometimes as low as 1%), they instead 1% plus 20% of any profit the hedge fund generates, which has made many of the hedge fund managers instant multi-millionaires. In fact, according to a survey in Institutional Investor magazine, the 25 highest paid hedge fund managers earned an average of $250 million in 2003. To read the New York Times article, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/auth/login?URI=http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/27/business/yourmoney/27hedge.h... With those kinds of profits to be made, it is any wonder that the SEC, the DTCC, brokers, and hedge fund managers have begun to circle the wagons? Every time a share trades hands, every one of them gets a piece of the action. Even legitimate hedge funds, those who don't engage in naked short selling, profit when their corrupt counterparts drive down the price of stocks through illegal naked short selling. And the SEC, NASD, and DTCC take their cut for every share that is bought and sold, whether that share is real or counterfeit. If the SEC needs a smoking gun, they need only to take a close look at Global Links Corp (OTCBB: GLKCE), where one investor recently bought 100% of the issued stock AND another investor bought 15% of the same stock, only to watch hundreds of millions of phantom shares continue to be bought and sold. While the SEC has ignored this curious case, Congress hasn't. Senator Robert Bennett cited the Global Links story (as first reported by Financial Wire) on March 9th when he grilled SEC Chairman William Donaldson about the naked short selling scandal, 'this article just last Friday in a national publication indicates that people are still selling short shares that they don't have and clearly are never gonna acquire.' This stock is merely a microcosm of the larger problem that pervades the stock market system, and serves to illustrate how pervasive the fraud really is. It is vitally important that the Dateline story gets the attention it deserves. We can only hope that their report tells the real story of this scandal, and that Congress and the major media will join us in our mission to, at long last, restore trust and credibility to our stock markets, so that honest investors can once again invest their hard-earned money and have a chance to achieve the American Dream. To contact members of the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, go here and click on the members' names: http://banking.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Information.Membership To contact members of the Senate Finance Committee, go here and click on the members' names: http://finance.senate.gov/sitepages/committee.htm Sign the petition at http://www.investigatethesec.com

Subject: Who does the SEC protect?
From: johnny5
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 12:15:15 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsg.aspx?msgid=21186046&srchtxt=DATELINE STOCKGATE TODAY- SEC Admits to Fraud and Enacts Scheme to Cover-Up – March 30, 2005 - An online newspaper reporting the issues of Securities Fraud David Patch In the April 2005 publication of Euromoney, the Magazine places it focus squarely on the issue of naked shorting. In three separate articles, European authors Helen Avery and Peter Koh attempt to dig into the US Financial Market scandal to uncover what “Stockgate” is truly about. Their efforts only raise greater doubts about the SEC’s objectivity to this issue. Case in point. In June 2004 when the SEC released Regulation SHO they imposed a clause that seemed bizarre. They put a clause in the language that ultimately “grandfathered” all prior open fails from mandatory closeout provisions. If the fails represented illegal trading that was not to be corrected by this reform. Questioned about this clause by the authors, SEC Asst. Director of Market Regulation James Brigagliano had this to say, “We were concerned about generating volatility where there were large pre-existing open positions, and we wanted to start afresh with new regulation, not re-write history” Lets analyze this statement. Since the inception of SHO in January, many stocks have seen huge volatility unseen prior to January 7, 2005 when the first threshold lists were released. Unlike volatility created due to upward buying pressures we have seen volatility swings of 20% or more in “bear raid” like selling tactics. So while upside volatility and short selling profitability has been protected, longs shareholders continue to be abused by the manipulation that has abused them in the past. I guess the SEC underestimated the integrity of the markets. The volatility we see on these stocks, unparallel to the rest of the markets, should certainly be cause for concern. Mr. Brigagliano also references the existence of “large pre-existing open positions”. I gather Mr. Brigagliano, speaking for the SEC, never considered that those large open positions might be impacting the markets in these stocks? How exactly a large open position is created and how it may not be good for the markets appears to be puzzling to the Asst. Director. Ironically, the Securities Act of 1934 states unequivocally that settlement fails are in fact harmful to the markets and investors. I would almost suggest the Division of Market Regulation may benefit from taking a day and reading the Securities Act once again. What also must be considered regarding Regulation SHO is that the SEC allowed six months for the industry to prepare for the compliance to the new rules. Rules by the way that mimicked pre-existing SRO rules in place. So I guess the statement of “start fresh” by Mr. Brigagliano meant with respect to recording failures since the rules themselves are actually old. Logically, if these fails were legitimate in the first place six months would be more than ample time to cover the large open positions in these securities. Any that exists after the six months are problem trades that need immediate attention, as there are no legal grounds for fails to persist for six months. Not even with exemptions. The Congressional agenda of the SEC is to protect all investors. Instead of Investor protection the SEC pardoned the open positions from being closed any time soon. They must have some VERY LARGE open positions to justify such a policy as it goes against every theory of investor protection according to the Securities Act of 1934 (Section 17A). Mr. Brigagliano followed up his justifications by saying 'When you look at some of the complaints from issuers, you have to ask yourself is naked shorting really the problem here? Some of these companies have had serious financial and regulatory issues that may have been the cause for their stock price falling.' Unfortunately this tact of “blame the issuer” only works if there is no large open position on the issuer’s stock. It is an easy out for the SEC to look at a company’s financials and justify a stock valuation because of it. Unfortunately it is not the SEC’s role to review a company’s financials; their role is to make sure the trading on the security has taken place in a legal manner. If there are large open positions, regardless of the financial qualifications of the issuer, the fails must be evaluated for manipulation. Manipulating a financially troubled company is no more legal than manipulating General Electric I don’t think. Maybe I should quiz Mr. Brigagliano on this. I am sure he has a rational justification to pull out of the SEC Q & A handbook. Ultimately the markets are what will dictate stock valuations assuming the markets are traded fairly. Again, case in point. In September of 2004 Mr. Brigagliano directed a response to an inquiry by Senator Paul Sarbanes about possible naked shorting abuses. The Senator was specific in his request to the SEC even providing e-mail evidence by Broker/Dealers and the Canadian Depository discussing their inability to settle the trades of a particular “complaining issuer”. The response from Mr. Brigagliano was simple. The April 2003 Broker/Dealer e-mail acknowledgements of large open positions were to be attributed to a June 2004 corporate action taken by the company. No my dates are not messed up, Mr. Brigagliano tried to blame the fails on a corporate action that happened 14 months after the e-mails were written. The SEC never did officially review the cause for the fails as they continue placing all the blame on the issuer. As for those fails, they were acknowledged to be real by the Wall Street firms themselves. Those were the “Red Flag” e-mails the SEC promised not to ignore in prior Senate Hearings. Apparently Mr. Brigagliano was sleeping in his office during those hearings and missed the Chairman’s promises not to ignore them again. So let’s take Mr. Brigagliano to task even further, as he apparently wants to represent the SEC’s position here. In a December 13, 2004 Bear Stearns Conference Call the General Counsel had this to say about Regulation SHO. “To give you that brief introduction in Reg SHO, the history how we got to where we are today. For the past several years we have been hearing from many different regulators regarding their concerns about the increase in the level of fails that they are seeing. They believe, and they have stated on numerous occasions, that one of the primary causes of the high level of fails was that various participants in the short sale process, prime brokers, executing brokers, clients, were not following already established rules.” By this statement the SEC has not only been aware that the large open positions have existed for years, they acknowledge that these large open positions were conducted under trading practices that were not in sync with established laws. Regulators were so brash as to tell firms they were in violation yet did nothing about it. By protecting these large open positions with Regulation SHO the SEC was in fact protecting the fraudulent actions of the markets. How exactly do the regulators expect credibility over those they regulate if they acknowledge securities fraud yet take no action? Are these the open positions James Brigagliano was defending? Finally, before I let Mr. Brigagliano off the hook we can review a report that came out of a visiting economic scholar at the SEC. The report by visiting University of New Mexico Professor Leslie Boni was referenced as a key document used in the determination of Regulation SHO guidelines. The report by the professor claims that the large open positions are in fact Strategic Fails created by Wall Street for economic purposes. When compliance ran up against margins, margins won and the professor laid it all out for the SEC. The SEC conducts their own study, determines one of the causes for the fails in the system are financially driven to benefit Wall Street Institutions and the SEC elects to protect these fails. Are these the actions of an Agency looking out for the best interests of the investor? Volatility in forcing an Industry correction to be in compliance would be a bad thing Jimmie? Okay, so enough with Mr. Brigagliano and his ill-equipped comments. Let’s step over to another SEC Market Regulation Attorney and see how we can analyze her comments. Again in one of the three Euromoney articles released, the issue as to why the SEC does not publish the fail positions in the reported threshold companies was asked of the SEC. In response, “Susan Petersen, a special counsel in the SEC's division of market regulation, says that it does not make public the exact amount of fails-to-deliver, as it would potentially have negative effects on investors and broker/dealers by revealing trading strategies.” Ms. Petersen clearly appears confused over who it is the agency is supposed to protect. Investors and Broker/Dealers have no rights to trading strategies if they are the ones generating the excessive fails. To generate a fail means you are not trading real shares and thus trading counterfeit stocks. The only possible trading strategy in this case would be to manipulate the stock with excess supply beyond reasonable and legal means. Is that the strategy the SEC is protecting? For the record, market makers are given an exemption to conduct bona fide market making but if they are the ones generating “large open positions” I would beg to differ on this being bona fide market making strategies. These exemptions provided to market makers are intended to be short term and to knock down the stock volatility created due to sudden spikes in liquidity. For their positions to grow to the point of large open positions and extended for large durations of time would mean that temporary volatility is no longer the trading strategy of the investing public. If there is that much buying volume that requires large amounts of naked shorting to diffuse growth, the demand is dictating a new stock valuation level is required and does not require excessive market making corrections. It is clear by the comments of Ms. Petersen that the negative effects of the long investors are not the primary concern of the SEC. The SEC is more concerned about the protection of those market participants that have created this alternate market by trading counterfeit securities to manipulate valuations. Dare I say – Hedge Funds? Who else has enough financial leverage in the markets and political leverage in Washington to trade counterfeit shares in excessive of what exists and is available and never be forced to deliver? To review the actions of the SEC with regards to naked shorting, the SEC has done the equivalent of erasing the past of all research analysts’ conflicts, all past mutual fund late trading activities, and all prior IPO allocations issues. On those acts of fraud the SEC did not grandfather in the past and start fresh as Mr. Brigagliano put it, they fined Wall Street tens of billions of dollars. They did so because it was right even if it was only a fraction of what was lost. In this case the stakes are higher, premiums will be paid and investor losses would be restored. Not at a fraction of the cost but at full value. The SEC is afraid of imposing such penalties upon Wall Street and thus grandfathered in their fraud. The ultimate question at the end of the day is simple. What was the SEC thinking in trying to cover-up the fraud of illegal and abusive naked shorting? They have admitted it exists with every reference made to large open positions. With decades of complaints, an environment of public distrust, and dozens of present state and federal lawsuits pending did the SEC really think the data would never be disclosed? The arrogance exposed by these SEC officials in the Euromoney articles continues to highlight the denial the SEC is in. They really still hold down the belief that Wall Street will monitor and correct itself. Guess again. For a full expose on the illegal practice watch NBC’s DATELINE Sunday April 10, 2005 @ 7:00 EST. Decide for yourself what side of the fence the SEC calls their home. For more on this issue please visit the Host site at www.investigatethesec.com . Copyright 2005

Subject: My Big Fat C.E.O. Paycheck - 1
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 09:40:52 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Directors, meanwhile, are spending more time scrutinizing auditor reports and management strategies, looking for just such fudging. And for that, they've been rewarded. Pearl Meyer's data show that average total compensation of directors at 200 large companies probably topped $200,000, up from an average of $176,000 the previous year. 'Directors are meeting more often, so their meeting fees are up,' said Jannice L. Koors, a Pearl Meyer managing director, 'and there's clearly a sense that the liability they face, both personally and professionally, has increased, and thus warrants more pay.' Inflated pay for deflated performance has become ever more rankling to shareholders, many of whom are still scrambling to recoup the losses they suffered after the stock market imploded in 2000. Few begrudge Daniel A. Carp, the chief executive of a newly revitalized Eastman Kodak, his $2,172,988 bonus this year, which brought his total compensation to about $4.4 million. But they are likely to squawk about the rich pay package - $7 million in salary and bonus, 5 million options and nearly $27 million worth of restricted stock - that Blockbuster awarded to John F. Antioco, its chief executive. After all, Blockbuster lost $1.25 billion last year. Pay inflation will not end soon because companies are afraid to lose talent, said Ira Kay, who runs the executive pay practice at the consulting firm Watson Wyatt Worldwide. Still, companies are rethinking the different pieces that make up a pay package. Many, for example, are reigning in common safety nets for chief executives - like contractual promises of huge severance if the company is acquired, or even if the C.E.O. is fired for incompetence. They are also increasingly trying to link pay packages - most specifically, the size of bonuses, or the conditions attached to the vesting of restricted shares - to actual corporate performance, particularly total return to shareholders. 'Finally, companies are focusing on the performance part of the pay-for-performance equation,' Ms. Koors said. Examples are easy to find. When net income at Aramark, a food services company, slid 13 percent, total pay for Joseph Neubauer, its chairman and chief executive, fell 20 percent - and his bonus shrank 47 percent. When net income at Unisys, the computer maker, plunged 85 percent last year, Lawrence A. Weinbach, then its C.E.O., got no bonus and saw his overall pay drop by 17 percent. An even starker example is the arrangement for John R. Alm, who became chief executive of Coca-Cola Enterprises, the soft-drink bottler, in January 2004. His contract stipulates that he will lose all his restricted stock if he is no longer at the company when his shares vest in five years. More significantly, he will forfeit all the shares if the stock price has not climbed 10 percent at vesting time, and he will lose half of them if it has not increased by 20 percent. Still, many shareholders are not satisfied. Reviewing C.E.O.'s pay - and how company boards' compensation committees set it - is at the top of the to-do list for many institutional investors and shareholder activist groups, now that they have succeeded in making companies more forthcoming about revenue, profits and other financial results. 'Whether compensation committees are effectively linking pay to performance is now a major corporate governance concern,' said Martha L. Carter, a senior vice president of Institutional Shareholder Services, which advises big investors. Only one concern - the proliferation of stock options - has abated. A new regulatory requirement to expense options, combined with a sluggish stock market that made many of them valueless in 2000 through 2003, has caused a stampede away from options. Several compensation consultants say they expect that options will soon represent less than 30 percent of total compensation, down from more than 60 percent today. Not all alternatives are being warmly received. Shareholders decry plans that do not use 'hard' measures of performance, such as total return to shareholders. For example, few are applauding Microsoft's two-year-old decision to grant restricted stock on the basis of customer satisfaction and market share, or Disney's plan to tie compensation to performance against the Standard & Poor's 500 index. Shareholders do want companies to adopt 'claw back' provisions that force executives to repay bonuses paid for results that later must be restated, a situation that has kept Qwest, for one, in the news this year. They are also resisting rich change-of-control clauses that provide windfalls to any C.E.O. whose company is acquired, even if that chief gets a high-ranking job at the new company. The $95 million or so that James M. Kilts will probably receive as a result of selling Gillette to Procter & Gamble is raising ire even among those who laud his performance as Gillette's leader. They also decry 'pay for failure' contracts that heap riches on dismissed chiefs. Carlton S. Fiorina, for instance, left Hewlett-Packard with a severance package that included $14 million in pay, a $7.38 million bonus and $21.1 million in additional compensation from restricted stock holdings and pension payments.

Subject: Gordon Gecko on compensation
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 12:28:46 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
'Directors, meanwhile, are spending more time scrutinizing auditor reports and management strategies, looking for just such fudging. And for that, they've been rewarded. Pearl Meyer's data show that average total compensation of directors at 200 large companies probably topped $200,000, up from an average of $176,000 the previous year.' ....Well, ladies and gentlemen, we're not here to indulge in fantasy, but in political and economic reality. America -- America has become a second-rate power. Its trade deficit and its fiscal deficit are at nightmare proportions. .... Gekko: Teldar Paper, Mr. Cromwell, Teldar Paper has 33 different vice presidents, each earning over 200 thousand dollars a year. Now, I have spent the last two months analyzing what all these guys do, and I still can't figure it out. One thing I do know is that our paper company lost 110 million dollars last year, and I'll bet that half of that was spent in all the paperwork going back and forth between all these vice presidents.

Subject: Connections
From: johnny5
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 12:31:25 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Oliver Stone a prophet? http://www.americanrhetoric.com/MovieSpeeches/moviespeechwallstreet.html

Subject: My Big Fat C.E.O. Paycheck - 2
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 09:41:12 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Shareholders complain about how difficult it is for outsiders to glean such things as the tax implications of deferring executive compensation or the worth of supplemental retirement plans and other forms of 'stealth compensation' that do not readily leap off the proxy. 'The way the proxies are now, you can't really figure out how anyone, even Carly, got paid,' Ms. Wood of Calpers said, referring to Ms. Fiorina. Ms. Carter of Institutional Shareholder Services concurred. 'Companies have simply got to do a better job of disclosing total pay packages, and how they play out in different scenarios, such as the C.E.O. being fired or the company being acquired,' she said. In January, for the first time, institutional shareholders, led by Calpers, invited top compensation consultants to a meeting in New York to discuss their concerns - and to persuade the consultants that they were part of the problem. A TOP complaint was that the consultants feed data to compensation committees piecemeal, reporting what other companies are offering in supplementary pensions one day, the trend on bonuses a few days later, the value of stock options a week after that. The directors, in turn, set the different components of their own chief executive's pay package in equally disjointed fashion. Consultants acknowledge the problem, and larger firms have begun to add up total compensation, both for peer-group companies and for the client's proposed pay package. 'They used to only ask us for information about direct pay, because they got data about benefits and perks from others,' said Pearl Meyer, chairwoman of Pearl Meyer & Partners. 'But compensation committees are now taking a more holistic approach to executive pay, so we are now giving them all of the information.' Governance experts say the full board increasingly wants a better handle on compensation committee deliberations. Many directors fear that they will all be held accountable for egregious pay packages. 'The Dick Grasso situation has made a lot of directors more cognizant of the need to get the total picture, see how all the pieces - the base salary, restricted stock, options, perks, retirement benefits - add up,' said Eleanor Bloxham, president of the Corporate Governance Alliance, a consulting firm in Westerville, Ohio. She was referring, of course, to the brouhaha that arose when directors at the New York Stock Exchange said they were ignorant of the full extent of the pay package they had approved for the exchange's former chairman, Richard A. Grasso. Several companies are voluntarily disclosing much more pay information to their shareholders. These companies have replaced what Ms. Koors called 'the standard proxy boilerplate' - a statement that pay was set competitively - with fuller descriptions of how boards derived the packages they awarded. The proxy for Becton Dickinson, for example, included a summary table that laid out the value of total compensation. Honeywell's proxy listed the value of perks like legal fees and personal use of corporate planes and cars. Siebel Systems has promised investors that next year it will begin disclosing the operational and stock-price hurdles that management must scale for restricted shares to vest. 'The companies know that new disclosure rules are coming, so they want an 'attaboy' from shareholders for being ahead of the curve and doing it voluntarily,' Ms. Koors said. Slowly but steadily, companies are responding to shareholders' clamor for pay packages to reward long-term thinking, too. This year's proxies show that companies increasingly insist that executives and directors hold about five times their pay in stock, thus making it harder for them to cash in on any short-term lift in the company's fortunes. Cardinal Health, for the first time, is requiring its chief executive to hold shares equal in value to five times his salary, and its directors to hold the equivalent in shares of four times their annual retainer. Cendant this year increased its ownership rule for its chief executive to six times salary, from five. 'Companies are basically saying to their chiefs, 'We want to keep you on the hook, to make sure that you are not benefiting from a short-term gain that is not sustainable,' ' Ms. Koors said. EXECUTIVES who do not lead the company down a profitable path may find it harder to develop other ways to cash in. Thomas J. Neff, the chairman of American operations at the executive recruiting firm Spencer Stuart, says he has seen a move away from grants of restricted shares that automatically vest after three or five years. In their place, companies are giving shares that vest only if the company hits preset goals for book value, total return or other measures the board deems crucial to success. Mr. Neff says that fewer companies are agreeing to automatically vest all options or restricted shares if the chief leaves and that many now offer one or two years of compensation, maximum, upon departure, a sharp drop from the three to five years of pay that used to be routine. 'Boards are no longer routinely letting the C.E.O.'s lawyer draft the contract,' he said. Several companies have clearly learned from past mistakes. The contract of L. Dennis Kozlowski at Tyco International called for an immediate payout of about $135 million if he was dismissed, and a retainer of $3.4 million annually for the rest of his life. His voluntary resignation released Tyco from the terms of the agreement, but directors clearly are cognizant of how expensive fulfilling the contract terms could have been. Tyco's new severance policy limits compensation to twice the executive's base salary and bonuses at the time of termination. In a merger or change-of-control situation, departing executives would receive up to 2.99 times their base salary and bonus. And Tyco now awards stock options that are priced higher than the share price on the day of issue. Directors are less likely to clamp down on the pay of newly recruited bosses. Consider the package for C. John Wilder in his first year as the TXU Corporation's chief executive: $1 million in salary, a $16 million bonus and $37 million in long-term incentives. Newcomers have boards at a negotiating disadvantage, compensation experts say. Because they took a gamble by switching jobs, most successfully insist on either a hefty sign-on bonus in cash and stock, or a soft landing - that is, rich severance - in case they fail. Both eventualities get shareholders' dander up, but experts say the boards have little choice. 'You need to supercharge the offer,' Mr. Neff said, 'to create an incentive for a person to come in.'

Subject: Do Taxes Thwart Growth? Prove It
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 09:32:05 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/03/business/yourmoney/03view.html Do Taxes Thwart Growth? Prove It By ANNA BERNASEK TAX reform, like a second marriage, is the triumph of hope over experience. The United States has just gone through the most sweeping tax cuts since the 1980's, but hardly anybody is satisfied. President Bush contends that we need still-lower taxes in order to prosper. Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve chairman, is suggesting a radical shift to a consumption tax. And the Republican Party has taken aim at the entire tax system. At the heart of such antitax sentiment is this belief: Taxes are bad for the economy. And who would disagree, especially as April 15 nears? There's just one problem, though. Despite the widespread notion that taxes harm the economy, no one has actually been able to back that up. It's not that taxes have no effect; they are a major part of the American economic system and affect planning and behavior in many ways. Taxes influence who wins and who loses in a competitive society. But over all, there is surprisingly little evidence that tax rates are an important factor in determining the nation's economic prosperity. In theory, the issue seems simple enough. According to basic economic principles, a tax can have a negative effect on behavior by reducing the incentive to do whatever is taxed. Impose a tax on wages, and people may decide to work less. That's the theory, anyway. In practice, how many Americans will work less if their taxes rise? With mortgage bills, college tuition and car payments looming, who can afford to work less? Relatively few have the option of cutting back without risking the loss of their jobs. So just because taxes can discourage productive behavior doesn't mean that they do. Too many other factors are involved - like social pressures, financial needs and a job market that isn't entirely flexible. And then there's the evidence. Over the last 30 years, economists have undertaken hundreds of studies to determine whether taxes hurt the economy. So far, they've turned up little to convict taxes of the charge. After reviewing the literature on the topic in 1993, two economists, William Easterly of New York University and Sergio Rebelo of Northwestern, concluded in a joint paper that 'the evidence that tax rates matter for growth is disturbingly fragile.' A leading tax specialist today, Joel B. Slemrod of the University of Michigan, would agree. He notes that in the 20th century, a rising tax burden in the United States and other developed countries went hand in hand with rising prosperity. In the book 'Taxing Ourselves: A Citizen's Guide to the Debate Over Taxes,' Professor Slemrod and Jon Bakija examine the relationship between the marginal income tax rate - the rate imposed on additional income in a progressive tax system - and productivity. After all, if you reduce the rate of taxation on income, people should work harder. But the opposite turned out to be true. Looking at the data from 1950 to 2002, the authors found that periods of strong productivity growth actually occurred when the top tax rates were the highest. And they showed that, on average, high-tax countries are the most affluent countries. That is not to suggest that high tax rates lead to growth. No economist will make that case, although many will say that some things financed by taxes, like education, research, health and infrastructure projects, can contribute to growth. But it does call into question why, if taxes are so bad for growth, their effect doesn't show up more prominently. Researchers have tried different approaches to answer this question. Instead of taking a macro view, they have examined the impact of individual taxes on the labor supply, saving and investment. But even in isolated cases, the evidence that taxes discourage growth can be thin. One important area of economic activity that does seem fairly responsive to tax rates is business investment. Some of that responsiveness may have more to do with changes in the timing of decisions than in shifts in the level of investment over the long haul. Consider the recent accelerated depreciation allowance. Economists noted a short-term uptick in spending in affected categories, but companies will ultimately need to see an increase in customer demand to continue investing. In the case of individual savings and work, economists are closer to a consensus. After study of the tax cuts of the Reagan years, most economists agree that taxes don't play a big part in how hard Americans work. While the study of savings is less precise, large effects from tax incentives haven't been measured. That's worth recalling when considering proposals like a flat tax or a consumption tax. With so much energy focused on minimizing rates, it's important to keep in mind that taxes are not antithetical to prosperity. None of this should suggest that change is unnecessary. Current tax laws have real problems, including unreasonable complexity. But reform based on a notion that taxes are bad for the economy is just that: a notion not backed by strong evidence. And the costs of ignoring experience in favor of hope can be high: mounting deficits, decaying infrastructure, inadequate investment in public education and research. So the next time that some proponent of tax reform promises king-size economic benefits, there's reason to be skeptical. Like a second marriage, a new tax system can't work miracles.

Subject: Cato Institute Vehemetly Disagrees
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 11:59:27 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
I side with CATO - after reading another post of yours Emma how africans would welcome white racist rule rather than starve to death - read this: http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cache:iGOkW6IxQdQJ:www.cato.org/pubs/journal/cjv14n2-7.html cato fall of rome&hl=en HOW EXCESSIVE GOVERNMENT KILLED ANCIENT ROME Bruce Bartlett Beginning with the third century B.C. Roman economic policy started to contrast more and more sharply with that in the Hellenistic world, especially Egypt. In Greece and Egypt economic policy had gradually become highly regimented, depriving individuals of the freedom to pursue personal profit in production or trade, crushing them under a heavy burden of oppressive taxation, and forcing workers into vast collectives where they were little better than bees in a great hive. The later Hellenistic period was also one of almost constant warfare, which, together with rampant piracy, closed the seas to trade. The result, predictably, was stagnation. Stagnation bred weakness in the states of the Mediterranean, which partially explains the ease with which Rome was able to steadily expand its reach beginning in the 3rd century B.C. By the first century B.C., Rome was the undisputed master of the Mediterranean. However, peace did not follow Rome's victory, for civil wars sapped its strength. Free-Market Policies under Augustus Following the murder of Caesar in 44 B.C., his adopted son Octavian finally brought an end to internal strife with his defeat of Mark Antony in the battle of Actium in 31 B.C. Octavian's victory was due in no small part to his championing of Roman economic freedom against the Oriental despotism of Egypt represented by Antony, who had fled to Egypt and married Cleopatra in 36 B.C. As Oertel (1934: 386) put it, 'The victory of Augustus and of the West meant . . . a repulse of the tendencies towards State capitalism and State socialism which might have come to fruition . . . had Antony and Cleopatra been victorious.' The long years of war, however, had taken a heavy toll on the Roman economy. Steep taxes and requisitions of supplies by the army, as well as rampant inflation and the closing of trade routes, severely depressed economic growth. Above all, businessmen and traders craved peace and stability in order to rebuild their wealth. Increasingly, they came to believe that peace and stability could only be maintained if political power were centralized in one man. This man was Octavian, who took the name Augustus and became the first emperor of Rome in 27 B.C., serving until 14 A.D. Although the establishment of the Roman principate represented a diminution of political freedom, it led to an expansion of economic freedom. [1] Augustus clearly favored private enterprise, private property, and free trade (Oertel 1934: 386; Walbank 1969: 23). The burden of taxation was significantly lifted by the abolition of tax farming and the regularization of taxation (Rostovtzeff 1957: 48). Peace brought a revival of trade and commerce, further encouraged by Roman investments in good roads and harbors. Except for modest customs duties (estimated at 5 percent), free trade ruled throughout the Empire. It was, in Michael Rostovtzeff's words, a period of 'almost complete freedom for trade and of splendid opportunities for private initiative' (Rostovtzeff 1957: 54). Tiberius, Rome's second emperor (14-37 A.D.), extended the policies of Augustus well into the first century A.D. It was his strong desire to encourage growth and establish a solid middle class (bourgeoisie), which he saw as the backbone of the Empire. Oertel (1939: 232) describes the situation: The first century of our era witnessed a definitely high level of economic prosperity, made possible by exceptionally favorable conditions. Within the framework of the Empire, embracing vast territories in which peace was established and communications were secure, it was possible for a bourgeoisie to come into being whose chief interests were economic, which maintained a form of economy resting on the old city culture and characterized by individualism and private enterprise, and which reaped all the benefits inherent in such a system. The State deliberately encouraged this activity of the bourgeoisie, both directly through government protection and its liberal economic policy, which guaranteed freedom of action and an organic growth on the lines of 'laissez faire, laissez aller,' and directly through measures encouraging economic activity. Of course, economic freedom was not universal. Egypt, which was the personal property of the Roman emperor, largely retained its socialist economic system (Rostovtzeff 1929, Milne 1927). However, even here some liberalization did occur. Banking was deregulated, leading to the creation of many private banks (Westermann 1930: 52). Some land was privatized and the state monopolies were weakened, thus giving encouragement to private enterprise even though the economy remained largely nationalized. [2] Food Subsidies The reason why Egypt retained its special economic system and was not allowed to share in the general economic freedom of the Roman Empire is that it was the main source of Rome's grain supply. Maintenance of this supply was critical to Rome's survival, especially due to the policy of distributing free grain (later bread) to all Rome's citizens which began in 58 B.C. By the time of Augustus, this dole was providing free food for some 200,000 Romans. The emperor paid the cost of this dole out of his own pocket, as well as the cost of games for entertainment, principally from his personal holdings in Egypt. The preservation of uninterrupted grain flows from Egypt to Rome was, therefore, a major task for all Roman emperors and an important base of their power (Rostovtzeff 1957: 145). The free grain policy evolved gradually over a long period of time and went through periodic adjustment. [3] The genesis of this practice dates from Gaius Gracchus, who in 123 B.C. established the policy that all citizens of Rome were entitled to buy a monthly ration of corn at a fixed price. The purpose was not so much to provide a subsidy as to smooth out the seasonal fluctuations in the price of corn by allowing people to pay the same price throughout the year. Under the dictatorship of Sulla, the grain distributions were ended in approximately 90 B.C. By 73 B.C., however, the state was once again providing corn to the citizens of Rome at the same price. In 58 B.C., Clodius abolished the charge and began distributing the grain for free. The result was a sharp increase in the influx of rural poor into Rome, as well as the freeing of many slaves so that they too would qualify for the dole. By the time of Julius Caesar, some 320,000 people were receiving free grain, a number Caesar cut down to about 150,000, probably by being more careful about checking proof of citizenship rather than by restricting traditional eligibility. [4] Under Augustus, the number of people eligible for free grain increased again to 320,000. In 5 B.C., however, Augustus began restricting the distribution. Eventually the number of people receiving grain stabilized at about 200,000. Apparently, this was an absolute limit and corn distribution was henceforth limited to those with a ticket entitling them to grain. Although subsequent emperors would occasionally extend eligibility for grain to particular groups, such as Nero's inclusion of the Praetorian guard in 65 A.D., the overall number of people receiving grain remained basically fixed. The distribution of free grain in Rome remained in effect until the end of the Empire, although baked bread replaced corn in the 3rd century. Under Septimius Severus (193-211 A.D.) free oil was also distributed. Subsequent emperors added, on occasion, free pork and wine. Eventually, other cities of the Empire also began providing similar benefits, including Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch (Jones 1986: 696-97). Nevertheless, despite the free grain policy, the vast bulk of Rome's grain supply was distributed through the free market. There are two main reasons for this. First, the allotment of free grain was insufficient to live on. Second, grain was available only to adult male Roman citizens, thus excluding the large number of women, children, slaves, foreigners, and other non-citizens living in Rome. Government officials were also excluded from the dole for the most part. Consequently, there remained a large private market for grain which was supplied by independent traders (Casson 1980). Taxation in the Republic and Early Empire The expansion of the dole is an important reason for the rise of Roman taxes. In the earliest days of the Republic Rome's taxes were quite modest, consisting mainly of a wealth tax on all forms of property, including land, houses, slaves, animals, money and personal effects. The basic rate was just .01 percent, although occasionally rising to .03 percent. It was assessed principally to pay the army during war. In fact, afterwards the tax was often rebated (Jones 1974: 161). It was levied directly on individuals, who were counted at periodic censuses. As Rome expanded after the unification of Italy in 272 B.C., so did Roman taxes. In the provinces, however, the main form of tax was a tithe levied on communities, rather than directly on individuals. [5] This was partly because censuses were seldom conducted, thus making direct taxation impossible, and also because it was easier to administer. Local communities would decide for themselves how to divide up the tax burden among their citizens (Goffart 1974: 11). Tax farmers were often utilized to collect provincial taxes. They would pay in advance for the right to collect taxes in particular areas. Every few years these rights were put out to bid, thus capturing for the Roman treasury any increase in taxable capacity. In effect, tax farmers were loaning money to the state in advance of tax collections. They also had the responsibility of converting provincial taxes, which were often collected in-kind, into hard cash. [6] Thus the collections by tax farmers had to provide sufficient revenues to repay their advance to the state plus enough to cover the opportunity cost of the funds (i.e., interest), the transactions cost of converting collections into cash, and a profit as well. In fact, tax farming was quite profitable and was a major investment vehicle for wealthy citizens of Rome (Levi 1988: 71-94). Augustus ended tax farming, however, due to complaints from the provinces. Interestingly, their protests not only had to do with excessive assessments by the tax farmers, as one would expect, but were also due to the fact that the provinces were becoming deeply indebted. A.H.M. Jones (1968: 11) describes the problems with tax farmers: Oppression and extortion began very early in the provinces and reached fantastic proportions in the later republic. Most governors were primarily interested in acquiring military glory and in making money during their year in office, and the companies which farmed the taxes expected to make ample profits. There was usually collusion between the governor and the tax contractors and the senate was too far away to exercise any effective control over either. The other great abuse of the provinces was extensive moneylending at exorbitant rates of interest to the provincial communities, which could not raise enough ready cash to satisfy both the exorbitant demands of the tax contractors and the blackmail levied by the governors. As a result of such abuses, tax farming was replaced by direct taxation early in the Empire (Hammond 1946: 85). The provinces now paid a wealth tax of about 1 percent and a flat poll or head tax on each adult. This obviously required regular censuses in order to count the taxable population and assess taxable property. It also led to a major shift in the basis of taxation (Jones 1974: 164-66). Under the tax farmers, taxation was largely based on current income. Consequently, the yield varied according to economic and climactic conditions. Since tax farmers had only a limited time to collect the revenue to which they were entitled, they obviously had to concentrate on collecting such revenue where it was most easily available. Because assets such as land were difficult to convert into cash, this meant that income necessarily was the basic base of taxation. And since tax farmers were essentially bidding against a community's income potential, this meant that a large portion of any increase in income accrued to the tax farmers. By contrast, the Augustinian system was far less progressive. The shift to flat assessments based on wealth and population both regularized the yield of the tax system and greatly reduced its 'progressivity.' This is because any growth in taxable capacity led to higher taxes under the tax farming system, while under the Augustinian system communities were only liable for a fixed payment. Thus any increase in income accrued entirely to the people and did not have to be shared with Rome. Individuals knew in advance the exact amount of their tax bill and that any income over and above that amount was entirely theirs. This was obviously a great incentive to produce, since the marginal tax rate above the tax assessment was zero. In economic terms, one can say that there was virtually no excess burden (Musgrave 1959: 140-59). Of course, to the extent that higher incomes increased wealth, some of this gain would be captured through reassessments. But in the short run, the tax system was very pro-growth. The Rise and Fall of Economic Growth Rome's pro-growth policies, including the creation of a large common market encompassing the entire Mediterranean, a stable currency, and moderate taxes, had a positive impact on trade. Keith Hopkins finds empirical support for this proposition by noting the sharp increase in the number of known shipwrecks dating from the late Republic and early Empire as compared to earlier periods (Hopkins 1980: 105-06). The increase in trade led to an increase in shipping, thus increasing the likelihood that any surviving wrecks would date from this period. Rostovtzeff (1957: 172) indicates that 'commerce, and especially foreign and inter-provincial maritime commerce, provided the main sources of wealth in the Roman Empire.' Hopkins (1980: 106-12) also notes that there was a sharp increase in the Roman money supply which accompanied the expansion of trade. He further notes that this expansion of the money supply did not lead to higher prices. Interest rates also fell to the lowest levels in Roman history in the early part of Augustus's reign (Homer 1977: 53). This strongly suggests that the supply of goods and services grew roughly in line with the increase in the money supply. There was probably also an increase in the demand for cash balances to pay taxes and rents, which would further explain why the increased money supply was non-inflationary. During the early Empire revenues were so abundant that the state was able to undertake a massive public works program. Augustus repaired all the roads of Italy and Rome, restored the temples and built many new ones, and built many aqueducts, baths and other public buildings. Tiberius, however, cut back on the building program and hoarded large sums of cash. This led to a financial crisis in 33 A.D. in which there was a severe shortage of money. This shortage may have been triggered by a usury law which had not been applied for some years but was again enforced by the courts at this time (Frank 1935). The shortage of money and the curtailment of state expenditures led to a sharp downturn in economic activity which was only relieved when the state made large loans at zero interest in order to provide liquidity (Thornton and Thornton 1990). [7] Under Claudius (41-54 A.D.) the Roman Empire added its last major territory with the conquest of Britain. Not long thereafter, under Trajan (98-117 A.D.), the Empire achieved its greatest geographic expansion. Consequently, the state would no longer receive additional revenue from provincial tribute and any increase in revenues would now have to come from within the Empire itself. Although Rostovtzeff (1957: 91) credits the Julio-Claudian emperors with maintaining the Augustinian policy of laissez faire, the demand for revenue was already beginning to undermine the strength of the Roman economy. An example of this from the time of Caligula (37-41 A.D.) is recorded by Philo (20 B.C-50 A.D.): Not long ago a certain man who had been appointed a collector of taxes in our country, when some of those who appeared to owe such tribute fled out of poverty, from a fear of intolerable punishment if they remained without paying, carried off their wives, and their children, and their parents, and their whole families by force, beating and insulting them, and heaping every kind of contumely and ill treatment upon them, to make them either give information as to where the fugitives had concealed themselves, or pay the money instead of them, though they could not do either the one thing or the other; in the first place, because they did not know where they were, and secondly, because they were in still greater poverty than the men who had fled [Yonge 1993: 610]. Inflation and Taxation As early as the rule of Nero (54-68 A.D.) there is evidence that the demand for revenue led to debasement of the coinage. Revenue was needed to pay the increasing costs of defense and a growing bureaucracy. However, rather than raise taxes, Nero and subsequent emperors preferred to debase the currency by reducing the precious metal content of coins. This was, of course, a form of taxation; in this case, a tax on cash balances (Bailey 1956). Throughout most of the Empire, the basic units of Roman coinage were the gold aureus, the silver denarius, and the copper or bronze sesterce. [8] The aureus was minted at 40-42 to the pound, the denarius at 84 to the pound, and a sesterce was equivalent to one-quarter of a denarius. Twenty-five denarii equaled one aureus and the denarius was considered the basic coin and unit of account. The aureus did not circulate widely. Consequently, debasement was mainly limited to the denarius. Nero reduced the silver content of the denarius to 90 percent and slightly reduced the size of the aureus in order to maintain the 25 to 1 ratio. Trajan (98-117 A.D.) reduced the silver content to 85 percent, but was able to maintain the ratio because of a large influx of gold. In fact, some historians suggest that he deliberately devalued the denarius precisely in order to maintain the historic ratio. Debasement continued under the reign of Marcus Aurelius (161-180 A.D.), who reduced the silver content of the denarius to 75 percent, further reduced by Septimius Severus to 50 percent. By the middle of the third century A.D., the denarius had a silver content of just 5 percent. Interestingly, the continual debasements did not improve the Empire's fiscal position. This is because of Gresham's Law ('bad money drives out good'). People would hoard older, high silver content coins and pay their taxes in those with the least silver. Thus the government's 'real' revenues may have actually fallen. As Aurelio Bernardi explains: At the beginning the debasement proved undoubtedly profitable for the state. Nevertheless, in the course of years, this expedient was abused and the [fn2]century of inflation which had been thus brought about was greatly to the disadvantage of the State's finances. Prices were rising too rapidly and it became impossible to count on an immediate proportional increase in the fiscal revenue, because of the rigidity of the apparatus of tax collection. [9] At first, the government could raise additional revenue from the sale of state property. Later, more unscrupulous emperors like Domitian (81-96 A.D.) would use trumped-up charges to confiscate the assets of the wealthy. They would also invent excuses to demand tribute from the provinces and the wealthy. Such tribute, called the aurum corinarium, was nominally voluntary and paid in gold to commemorate special occasions, such as the accession of a new emperor or a great military victory. Caracalla (198-217 A.D.) often reported such dubious 'victories' as a way of raising revenue. Rostovtzeff (1957: 417) calls these levies 'pure robbery.' Although taxes on ordinary Romans were not raised, citizenship was greatly expanded in order to bring more people into the tax net. Taxes on the wealthy, however, were sharply increased, especially those on inheritances and manumissions (freeing of slaves). Occasionally, the tax burden would be moderated by a cancellation of back taxes or other measures. One such occasion occurred under the brief reign of Pertinax (193 A.D.), who replaced the rapacious Commodus (A.D. 176-192). As Edward Gibbon (1932: 88) tells us: Though every measure of injustice and extortion had been adopted, which could collect the property of the subject into the coffers of the prince; the rapaciousness of Commodus had been so very inadequate to his extravagance, that, upon his death, no more than eight thousand pounds were found in the exhausted treasury, to defray the current expenses of government, and to discharge the pressing demand of a liberal donative, which the new emperor had been obliged to promise to the Praetorian guards. Yet under these distressed circumstances, Pertinax had the generous firmness to remit all the oppressive taxes invented by Commodus, and to cancel all the unjust claims of the treasury; declaring in a decree to the senate, 'that he was better satisfied to administer a poor republic with innocence, than to acquire riches by the ways of tyranny and dishonor.' State Socialism Unfortunately, Pertinax was an exception. Most emperors continued the policies of debasement and increasingly heavy taxes, levied mainly on the wealthy. The war against wealth was not simply due to purely fiscal requirements, but was also part of a conscious policy of exterminating the Senatorial class, which had ruled Rome since ancient times, in order to eliminate any potential rivals to the emperor. Increasingly, emperors came to believe that the army was the sole source of power and they concentrated their efforts on sustaining the army at all cost. As the private wealth of the Empire was gradually confiscated or taxed away, driven away or hidden, economic growth slowed to a virtual standstill. Moreover, once the wealthy were no longer able to pay the state's bills, the burden inexorably fell onto the lower classes, so that average people suffered as well from the deteriorating economic conditions. In Rostovtzeff's words, 'The heavier the pressure of the state on the upper classes, the more intolerable became the condition of the lower' (Rostovtzeff 1957: 430). At this point, in the third century A.D., the money economy completely broke down. Yet the military demands of the state remained high. Rome's borders were under continual pressure from Germanic tribes in the North and from the Persians in the East. Moreover, it was now explicitly understood by everyone that the emperor's power and position depended entirely on the support of the army. Thus, the army's needs required satisfaction above all else, regardless of the consequences to the private economy. With the collapse of the money economy, the normal system of taxation also broke down. This forced the state to directly appropriate whatever resources it needed wherever they could be found. Food and cattle, for example, were requisitioned directly from farmers. Other producers were similarly liable for whatever the army might need. The result, of course, was chaos, dubbed 'permanent terrorism' by Rostovtzeff (1957: 449). Eventually, the state was forced to compel individuals to continue working and producing. The result was a system in which individuals were forced to work at their given place of employment and remain in the same occupation, with little freedom to move or change jobs. Farmers were tied to the land, as were their children, and similar demands were made on all other workers, producers, and artisans as well. Even soldiers were required to remain soldiers for life, and their sons compelled to follow them. The remaining members of the upper classes were pressed into providing municipal services, such as tax collection, without pay. And should tax collections fall short of the state's demands, they were required to make up the difference themselves. This led to further efforts to hide whatever wealth remained in the Empire, especially among those who still found ways of becoming rich. Ordinarily, they would have celebrated their new-found wealth; now they made every effort to appear as poor as everyone else, lest they become responsible for providing municipal services out of their own pocket. The steady encroachment of the state into the intimate workings of the economy also eroded growth. The result was increasing feudalization of the economy and a total breakdown of the division of labor. People fled to the countryside and took up subsistence farming or attached themselves to the estates of the wealthy, which operated as much as possible as closed systems, providing for all their own needs and not engaging in trade at all. Meanwhile, much land was abandoned and remained fallow or fell into the hands of the state, whose mismanagement generally led to a decline in production. Emperor Diocletian's Reforms By the end of the third century, Rome had clearly reached a crisis. The state could no longer obtain sufficient resources even through compulsion and was forced to rely ever more heavily on debasement of the currency to raise revenue. By the reign of Claudius II Gothicus (268-270 A.D.) the silver content of the denarius was down to just .02 percent (Michell 1947: 2). As a consequence, prices skyrocketed. A measure of Egyptian wheat, for example, which sold for seven to eight drachmaes in the second century now cost 120,000 drachmaes. This suggests an inflation of 15,000 percent during the third century (Rostovtzeff 1957: 471). Finally, the very survival of the state was at stake. At this point, the Emperor Diocletian (284-305 A.D.) took action. He attempted to stop the inflation with a far-reaching system of price controls on all services and commodities. [10] These controls were justified by Diocletian's belief that the inflation was due mainly to speculation and hoarding, rather than debasement of the currency. As he stated in the preamble to his edict of 301 A.D.: For who is so hard and so devoid of human feeling that he cannot, or rather has not perceived, that in the commerce carried on in the markets or involved in the daily life of cities immoderate prices are so widespread that the unbridled passion for gain is lessened neither by abundant supplies nor by fruitful years; so that without a doubt men who are busied in these affairs constantly plan to control the very winds and weather from the movements of the stars, and, evil that they are, they cannot endure the watering of the fertile fields by the rains from above which bring the hope of future harvests, since they reckon it their own loss if abundance comes through the moderation of the weather [Jones 1970: 310]. Despite the fact that the death penalty applied to violations of the price controls, they were a total failure. Lactantius (1984: 11), a contemporary of Diocletian's, tells us that much blood was shed over 'small and cheap items' and that goods disappeared from sale. Yet, 'the rise in price got much worse.' Finally, 'after many had met their deaths, sheer necessity led to the repeal of the law.' Diocletian's other reforms, however, were more successful. The cornerstone of Diocletian's economic policy was to turn the existing ad hoc policy of requisitions to obtain resources for the state into a regular system. [11] Since money was worthless, the new system was based on collecting taxes in the form of actual goods and services, but regularized into a budget so that the state knew exactly what it needed and taxpayers knew exactly how much they had to pay. Careful calculations were made of precisely how much grain, cloth, oil, weapons or other goods were necessary to sustain a single Roman soldier. Thus, working backwards from the state's military requirements, a calculation was made for the total amount of goods and services the state would need in a given year. On the other side of the coin, it was also necessary to calculate what the taxpayers were able to provide in terms of the necessary goods and services. This required a massive census, not only of people but of resources, especially cultivated land. Land was graded according to its productivity. As Lactantius (1984: 37) put it, 'Fields were measured out clod by clod, vines and trees were counted, every kind of animal was registered, and note taken of every member of the population.' Taxable capacity was measured in terms of the caput, which stood for a single man, his family, his land and what they could produce. [12] The state's needs were measured in terms of the annona, which represented the cost of maintaining a single soldier for a year. With these two measures calculated in precision, it was now possible to have a real budget and tax system based entirely on actual goods and services. Assessments were made and resources collected, transported and stored for state use. Although an army on the move might still requisition goods or services when needed, the overall result of Diocletian's reform was generally positive. Taxpayers at least knew in advance what they were required to pay, rather than suffer from ad hoc confiscations. Also, the tax burden was spread more widely, instead of simply falling on the unlucky, thus lowering the burden for many Romans. At the same time, with the improved availability of resources, the state could now better plan and conduct its military operations. In order to maintain this system where people were tied to their land, home, jobs, and places of employment, Diocletian transformed the previous ad hoc practice. Workers were organized into guilds and businesses into corporations called collegia. Both became de facto organs of the state, controlling and directing their members to work and produce for the state. The Fall of Rome Constantine (308-37 A.D.) continued Diocletian's policies of regimenting the economy, by tying workers and their descendants even more tightly to the land or their place of employment (Jones 1958). For example, in 332 he issued the following order: Any person in whose possession a tenant that belongs to another is found not only shall restore the aforesaid tenant to his place of origin but also shall assume the capitation tax for this man for the time that he was with him. Tenants also who meditate flight may be bound with chains and reduced to a servile condition, so that by virtue of a servile condemnation they shall be compelled to fulfill the duties that befit free men [Jones 1970: 312]. Despite such efforts, land continued to be abandoned and trade, for the most part, ceased (Rostovtzeff 1926). Industry moved to the provinces, basically leaving Rome as an economic empty shell; still in receipt of taxes, grain and other goods produced in the provinces, but producing nothing itself. The mob of Rome and the palace favorites produced nothing, yet continually demanded more, leading to an intolerable tax burden on the productive classes. [13] In the fifty years after Diocletian the Roman tax burden roughly doubled, making it impossible for small farmers to live on their production (Bernardi 1970: 55). [14] This is what led to the final breakdown of the economy (Jones 1959). As Lactantius (1984: 13) put it: The number of recipients began to exceed the number of contributors by so much that, with farmers' resources exhausted by the enormous size of the requisitions, fields became deserted and cultivated land was turned into forest. Although Constantine made an effort to restore the currency, subsequent emperors resumed the debasement, resulting in renewed price inflation (West 1951). Apparently, Emperor Julian (360-63 A.D.) also refused to believe that the inflation was due to debasement, but rather was caused by merchants hoarding their stores. To prove his point, he sent his own grain reserves into the market at Antioch. According to Gibbon (1932: 801), The consequences might have been foreseen, and were soon felt. The Imperial wheat was purchased by the rich merchants; the proprietors of land or of corn withheld from the city the accustomed supply; and the small quantities that appeared in the market were secretly sold at an advanced and illegal price. Although he had been warned that his policies would not lower prices, but rather would exacerbate the shortage, Julian nevertheless continued to believe that his policy worked, and blamed complaints of its failure on the ingratitude of the people (Downey 1951). In other respects, however, Julian was more enlightened. In the area of tax policy, he showed sensitivity and perception. He understood that the main reason for the state's fiscal problem was the excessive burden of taxation, which fell unequally on the population. The wealthy effectively were able to evade taxation through legal and illegal measures, such as bribery. By contrast, the ordinary citizen was helpless against the demands of the increasingly brutal tax collectors. Previous measures to ease the tax burden, however, were ineffective because they only relieved the wealthy. Constantine, for example, had sought to ease the burden by reducing the number of tax units--caputs--for which a given district was responsible. In practice, this meant that only the wealthy had any reduction in their taxes. Julian, however, by cutting the tax rate, ensured that his tax reduction was realized by all the people. He also sought to broaden the tax base by abolishing some of the tax exemptions which many groups, especially the wealthy, had been granted by previous emperors (Bernardi 1970: 59, 66). Nevertheless, the revenues of the state remained inadequate to maintain the national defense. This led to further tax increases, such as the increase in the sales tax from 1 percent to 4.5 percent in 444 A.D. (Bernardi 1970: 75). However, state revenues continued to shrink, as taxpayers invested increasing amounts of time, effort and money in tax evasion schemes. Thus even as tax rates rose, tax revenues fell, hastening the decline of the Roman state (Bernardi 1970: 81-3). In short, taxpayers evaded taxation by withdrawing from society altogether. Large, powerful landowners, able to avoid taxation through legal or illegal means, began to organize small communities around them. Small landowners, crushed into bankruptcy by the heavy burden of taxation, threw themselves at the mercy of the large landowners, signing on as tenants or even as slaves. (Slaves, of course, paid no taxes.) The latter phenomenon was so widespread and so injurious to the state's revenues, in fact, that in 368 A.D. Emperor Valens declared it illegal to renounce one's liberty in order to place oneself under the protection of a great landlord (Bernardi 1970: 49). In the end, there was no money left to pay the army, build forts or ships, or protect the frontier. The barbarian invasions, which were the final blow to the Roman state in the fifth century, were simply the culmination of three centuries of deterioration in the fiscal capacity of the state to defend itself. Indeed, many Romans welcomed the barbarians as saviors from the onerous tax burden. [15] Although the fall of Rome appears as a cataclysmic event in history, for the bulk of Roman citizens it had little impact on their way of life. As Henri Pirenne (1939: 33-62) has pointed out, once the invaders effectively had displaced the Roman government they settled into governing themselves. At this point, they no longer had any incentive to pillage, but rather sought to provide peace and stability in the areas they controlled. After all, the wealthier their subjects the greater their taxpaying capacity. In conclusion, the fall of Rome was fundamentally due to economic deterioration resulting from excessive taxation, inflation, and over-regulation. Higher and higher taxes failed to raise additional revenues because wealthier taxpayers could evade such taxes while the middle class--and its taxpaying capacity--were exterminated. Although the final demise of the Roman Empire in the West (its Eastern half continued on as the Byzantine Empire) was an event of great historical importance, for most Romans it was a relief. __________________________________ The author is a Senior Fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis. References Bailey, M.J. (1956) 'The Welfare Cost of Inflationary Finance.' Journal of Political Economy 64(2): 93-110. Bernardi, A. (1970) 'The Economic Problems of the Roman Empire at the Time of Its Decline.' In Cipolla, C. (ed.) The Economic Decline of Empires, 16-83. London: Methuen. Brown, W.A. (1887) 'State Control of Industry in the Fourth Century.' Political Science Quarterly 2(3): 494-513. Brunt, P.A. (1966) 'The Roman Mob.' Past and Present (December): 3-27. Brunt, P.A. (1981) 'The Revenues of Rome.' Journal of Roman Studies 71: 161-72. Casson, L. (1980) 'The Role of the State in Rome's Grain Trade.' Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 36: 21-29. Downey, G. (1951) 'The Economic Crisis at Antioch Under Julian the Apostate.' In Coleman-Norton, P.R. (ed.) Studies in Roman Economic and Social History in Honor of Allan Chester Johnson, 312-21. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. Duncan-Jones, R. (1990) Structure and Scale in the Roman Economy. New York: Cambridge University Press. Frank, T. (1935) 'The Financial Crisis of 33 A.D.' American Journal of Philology 56(4): 336-41. Gibbon, E. (1932) The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. 1. New York: Modern Library. Goffart, W. (1974) Caput and Colonate: Towards a History of Late Roman Taxation. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Graser, E.R. (1940) 'The Edict of Diocletian on Maximum Prices.' In Frank, T. (ed.) An Economic Survey of Ancient Rome, Vol. 5, 310-421. Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins Press. Gunderson, G. (1976) 'Economic Change and the Demise of the Roman Empire.' Explorations in Economic History 13(1): 43-68. Hammond, M. (1946) 'Economic Stagnation in the Early Roman Empire.' Journal of Economic History, suppl.6: 63-90. Homer, S. (1977) A History of Interest Rates, 2nd ed. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. Hopkins, K. (1980) 'Taxes and Trade in the Roman Empire (200 B.C-AD. 400).' Journal of Roman Studies 70: 101-25. Jones, A.H.M. (1953) 'Inflation Under the Roman Empire.' Economic His-tory Review, 2nd series, 5(3): 293-318. Jones, A.H.M. (1958) 'The Roman Colonate.' Past and Present (April): 1-13. Jones, A.H.M. (1959) 'Over-Taxation and the Decline of the Roman Empire.' Antiquity 33: 39-43. Jones, A.H.M. (1968) A History of Rome Through the Fifth Century. Vol. 1, The Republic. New York: Harper & Row. Jones, A.H.M. (1970) A History of Rome Through the Ffth Century. Vol. 2, The Empire. New York: Harper & Row. Jones, A.H.M. (1974) 'Taxation in Antiquity.' In Brunt, PA. (ed.) The Roman Economy: Studies in Ancient Economic and Administrative History, 151-85. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Jones, A.H.M. (1986) The Later Roman Empire, 2 vols. Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins Press. Kent, R.G. (1920) 'The Edict of Diocletian Fixing Maximum Prices.' Univer-sity of Pennsylvania Latv Review 69(1): 35-47. Lactantius (1984) De Mortibus Persecutorum. Edited and translated by J.L. Creed. New York: Oxford University Press. Levi, M. (1988) Of Rule and Revenue. Berkeley: Univ ersity of California Press. Luzzatto, C. (1961) An Economic History of Italy From the Fall of the Roman Empire to the Beginning of the 16th Century. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Milne, J.C. (1927) 'The Ruin of Egypt by Roman Mismanagement.' Journal of Roman Studies 17: 1-13. Moss, L.B. (1935) The Birth of the Middle Ages, 395-814. New York: Oxford University Press. Musgrave, R.A. (1959) The Theory of Public Finance. New York: McGraw-Hill. Muth, R. (1994) “Real Land Rentals in Early Roman Egypt.” Explorations in Economic History 31(2): 210—24. Oertel, F. (1934) “The Economic Unil3cation of the Mediterranean Region: Industry, Trade, and Commerce.” Cambridge Ancient History 10: 382—424. London: Cambridge University Press. Oertel, F. (1939) “The Economic Life of the Empire.” Cambridge Ancient History 12: 232—81. London: Cambridge University Press. Pirenne, H. (1939) Mohammed and Charlemagne. London: George Allen and Unwin. Rickman, G. (1980) The Corn Supply of Ancient Rome. New York: Oxford University Press. Rostovtzeff, M. (1926) “The Problem of the Origin of Serfdom in the Roman Empire.” Journal of Land and Public Utility Economics 2(2): 198—207. Rostovtzeff, M. (1929) “Roman Exploitation of Egypt in the First Century A.D.” Journal of Economic and Business History 1(3): 337—64. Rostovtzeff, M. (1957) The Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire, 2nd ed., 2 vols. London: Oxford University Press. Tanzi, V. (1977) “Inflation, Lags in Collection, and the Real Value of Tax Revenue.” IMP Staff Papers 24(1): 154—67. Thornton, M.K., and Thornton, R.L. (1990) “The Financial Crisis of A.D. 33: A Keynesian Depression?” Journal of Economic History 50(3): 655—62. Veyne, P. (1990) Bread and Circuses. New York: Viking Penguin. Walbank, F.W. (1969) The Awful Revolution. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Walbank, F.W. (1987) “Trade and Industry under the Later Roman Empire of the West.” Cambridge Economic History of Europe 2, 2nd ed., 71—131. London: Cambridge University Press. West, L.C. (1951) “The Coinage of Diocletian and the Edict on Prices.” In Coleman-Norton, P.R. (ed.) Studies in Roman Economic and Social History in Honor of Allan Chester Johnson , 290—30 1. Princeton: Princeton Univer-sity Press. Westermann, W.L. (1930) “Warehousing and Trapezite Banking in Antiq-uity.” Journal of Economic and Business History 3(1): 30—54. Williams, 5. (1985) Diocletian and the Roman Recovery. New York: Methuen. Yonge, CD. (1993) The Works of Philo. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers. The Cato Journal is published in the spring/summer, fall, and winter by the Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20001-5403. The Views expressed by the authors of the articles are their own and are not attributable to the editor, editorial board, or the Cato Institute. Printed copies of the Cato Journal may be ordered by calling 1-800-767-1241. Back issues are also available on the Cato Institute Web site: http://www.cato.org. Email comments or suggestions to webmaster@cato.org.

Subject: Re: Cato Institute Vehemetly Confused
From: Paul G. Brown
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 16:03:47 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I've read this. At length. In some detail. Shorter Bartlett: a) The Empirium ran up huge debts as it tried to maintain both games at home and a standing army on the frontier. b) The way the Empirium managed the debt at first was to 'print more money' (coinage debasement). Consequently, rampant inflation. (Bartlet suggests that this happened once. Actually it happened many times.) c) There was a period of 'reform' (What Bartlet doesn't explain is that there were several periods of reform -- under Aurelius before and Constantine after.) under Diocletian (r.284-305) and it was another hundred and seventy-odd years before the 'fall of Rome'. During that time the Empire split into Eastern (Byzantium) and Western parts, and the Eastern half was to endure, ruinous tax policies and all, for another thousand years. d) The 'fall of Rome' had many causes. Economic missmanagement was one of them. But the population of the empire had been declining for multiple reasons -- plague (5,000 Romans a day at some stages), smallpox, emmigration to the provinces -- for hundreds of years (Augustus passed anti-contraception and anti-abortion laws three hundred years prior) and by the time it ceased to be a capital Rome had a few tens of thousands of inhabitants. Besides - the structure of the economy and the nature of law and governance in Roman times was so alien as to be almost unrecognizable to us today. Bartlet's piece makes interesting reading but I'm not sure what relevance it has for contemporary policy. Many of the features of the Roman tax system -- confiscatory taxation on peasants and small landholders, 'regulation' which prevented the movement of labor and capital -- were present during the more than 1000 years during which feudalism held sway in Europe, and that was a period of remarkable social and political stability (although life was nasty, brutal and short). So it's not scholarship, this piece by Bartlet. It's mythologizing: making up a simple story to explain something inherently quite complex, and doing so in a way that satisfies some psychological or ideological need.

Subject: Small minds
From: johnny5
To: Paul G. Brown
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 18:51:33 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Very good points, I agree with the contention that many people need to whittle down this complex world to something simple and manageable but that is often wrong for the devil is always the details no one sees. Surely all the dismal scientists are guilty of this same problem - when do we reach the limits of human capability of managing complexity?

Subject: China Has a Labor Shortage
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 09:27:59 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/03/international/asia/03china.html?pagewanted=all&position= Help Wanted: China Finds Itself With a Labor Shortage By JIM YARDLEY and DAVID BARBOZA NINGXIANG, China - The pipeline that pours young, eager workers into China's manufacturing juggernaut begins in the country's interior at vocational schools like Hunan Top Software. So it is here in Ningxiang, a 10-hour drive from the factories on the southern coast, that clues can be found to a problem once thought inconceivable: The world's most populous nation, which has powered its stunning economic rise with a cheap and supposedly bottomless pool of migrant labor, is experiencing shortages of about two million workers in Guangdong and Fujian, the two provinces at the heart of China's export-driven economy. For Wu Dongshan, the job placement coordinator at Hunan Top, the most obvious sign of change is that factory recruiters now come to him, a reversal from three years ago, when he would make the long drive to Guangdong with busloads of students desperate for work. 'We were begging the factories to hire our students,' Mr. Wu said. 'We had too many students and not enough jobs.' No one thinks China is running out of workers. But young migrant workers coveted by factories are gaining bargaining power and many are choosing to leave the low pay and often miserable conditions in Guangdong. In a nondemocratic China, it is the equivalent of 'voting with their feet.' March is one of the most important hiring months for China's factories, yet some analysts believe that the current shortfalls are the beginning of a long-term trend that is already bringing wage pressures and could eventually erode China's position as the world's dominant low-cost producer. 'It's not the end of the great China manufacturing story,' said Jonathan Anderson, the chief Asia-Pacific economist for UBS. 'But you're no longer going to be talking about China having labor so radically cheap that it will capture all the investment flows. This is an opening for Vietnam, it's an opening for India and Cambodia.' The shift, which experts say will happen gradually, began last year and is a result of two decades of strict family planning, which has made China one of the most rapidly aging countries in the world. 'The number of people in the labor force is going to be going down for the next 15 years,' said Dali Yang, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago. 'This is a shift in demographics that is really good, not just for salaries but for work conditions.' China remains a country where migrant workers are routinely exploited. But after a decade of stagnant wages, these workers are showing more willingness to demand their rights. Last year, factory workers rioted and held strikes in Guangdong. Other workers just left. They can do that because economic growth in other regions has created increasing competition for workers. Many are leaving Guangdong for the rival Yangtze River Delta region near Shanghai, where many factories offer higher salaries. Others are starting to find work in larger cities in interior provinces. Some are simply returning to the farm. 'If we go to work in Guangdong, we work hard all year round but we can't save much money,' said Tang Xiaoliang, a migrant worker who toiled in Guangdong factories but has returned to his village near Hunan Top. 'The pay is too low. Whoever pays higher, I will go there.' The choices made by workers like Mr. Tang can influence the world's global trading network, because every decision about factory building, jobs and wages in China can alter the price of a toy at Toys R Us or socks at Wal-Mart. Here in Ningxiang, a growing city in Hunan Province, workers began migrating south to Guangdong and the surrounding Pearl River Delta for jobs in the 1980's. At the Hunan Top Software vocational school, a recruiter from one of Guangdong's biggest electronics plants visited in December and signed 197 students up for jobs. But right now, it is unclear how many will go. For many of the teenage students, who start working as young as 16, migrating to Guangdong often begins as a great adventure, a chance for farmers' children to see the outside world. But students like Ruan Xihua, 17, have not decided if they will take the promised job. Ms. Ruan is a tiny, cheery young woman whose parents were among the first generation of migrant workers to go to Guangdong in the 1980's. 'They told me it was pretty hard,' she said. 'They told me they wanted me to study hard.' Ms. Ruan is also an only child who says she wants to find work closer to home in case she needs to care for her parents. 'Most of these families have only one child because of family planning,' Mr. Wu said. 'They don't want their child to be far away from home.'

Subject: China Has a Labor Shortage - 1
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 09:28:22 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
That is one reason that Hunan's fast-growing provincial capital, Changsha, is beginning to siphon some workers back from Guangdong. Zu Xian, 22, quit a factory job in Guangdong because the high cost of living prevented her from saving money. She now matches her old factory wage by selling cosmetics at a new shopping mall in Changsha, a job that allows her far more free time and far less stress. 'Many people come back,' she said. 'They had stayed for too long and didn't have a better future. It's boring work. And there is not time to study or improve yourself.' Changsha is far from the only urban center competing with Guangdong for labor. Many workers are going to the booming Yangtze River Delta region, a hotbed of entrepreneurship powered by thousands of textile, electronics, software and automobile manufacturers. Economists say the Yangtze Delta region, which encompasses coastal Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces, as well as Shanghai, is already beginning to rival Guangdong and the Pearl River Delta for manufacturing supremacy in China. Factory life can be bleak in the Yangtze Delta, but many manufacturers are raising pay and improving conditions. At Zhongce Rubber, one of China's largest tire makers with about 5,000 employees, the company has begun construction of a new factory building. It will have free or subsidized food and housing for workers. The company also has raised the average worker's salary to $150 a month - above what most factories pay before overtime in Guangdong. 'Our company is doing very well, so we have to pay better,' said Jiang Sheng Nian, a manager. 'We feel that increasing salaries are inevitable.' Guo Ren, a rosy-cheeked 21-year-old woman from rural Anhui Province who now works at the tire company, first worked in an electronics factory in the city of Dongguan, in Guangdong. She earned about $50 a month, making chips that operate computer mouses, and lived in cramped dorms with strict curfews because of rising crime rates. 'I left Dongguan because it wasn't very safe and the living standards were not high,' said Ms. Guo, who now earns close to $150 a month doing odd jobs at Zhongce. Despite its problems, Guangdong is still a manufacturing powerhouse. In Guangdong and Fujian, the combined shortfall represents about 10 percent of the total migrant work force in those provinces. Even so, the local authorities are taking action. Officials in different Guangdong cities, as well as the adjacent special economic zone of Shenzhen, are competing with one another to raise their local minimum wage. In early March, Shenzhen announced that it would raise its minimum to $83 a month from $74. Factory operators, who have been experiencing worker shortages for more than six months, are also worried. Some withheld wages from migrant workers who went home for the Lunar New Year holiday in an effort to ensure they returned by March. In early March at the Sanhe Employment Center, a job fair in the manufacturing city of Baoan, billboards were filled with leaflets advertising thousands of openings at local factories. 'Some companies can't find workers for days,' said Li Biyang, a recruiter at the job fair, who said smaller factories faced the worst problems. 'Many small factories have bad management and bad working conditions. They aren't attentive to workers.' But many of the larger factories are scarcely better. Sheng Kehua, 22, plans to quit her job at a sprawling electronics factory in Baoan at the end of March. She works six days a week, 11 hours a day and earns, with overtime, about $118 a month. She lives in company dorm with 13 other workers. 'The boss always says we will try to work on that,' Ms. Sheng said of requests for improvements. 'But every time, nothing happens.' Factories covet young, female workers like Ms. Sheng because they are considered better at assembly line work and more docile than young men. In the past, these workers were largely cut off from the outside world, but now they use text messages or e-mail to check with friends at other factories about wages and treatment. 'I checked the Internet and learned that the pay level in Shanghai is better than here,' Ms. Sheng said. Of the 30 workers who arrived with her three years ago, only 7 or 8 remain at the factory. Zhao Weinan, who heads an association of Taiwanese-owned manufacturers in Dongguan, said factories once were very picky, setting age limits for new hires and often prohibiting workers from being married. 'In the old days, a company would just put a poster up, and you needed security to stop people from pouring in,' Mr. Zhao said. 'Now, you can post 100 notices and not find enough people.' He said Guangdong manufacturers operated on thin profit margins and could not raise salaries too high. 'If you raise salary, you raise production costs,' he said. And if wages keep rising, he said, some companies could face a fate familiar to many manufacturers in the United States - they would have to move to a country with cheaper workers.

Subject: Re: China Has a Labor Shortage - 1
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 11:50:33 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
'Some are simply returning to the farm.' I don't think they suffer they same cultural pressure that farm work is a sign of failure like here in the states - why is that Emma? 'Zu Xian, 22, quit a factory job in Guangdong because the high cost of living prevented her from saving money.' Haha, doesn't she have credit cards and sucker men to borrow from like my sister? Visa and mastercard have a huge untapped market over there don't they? 'In the past, these workers were largely cut off from the outside world, but now they use text messages or e-mail to check with friends at other factories about wages and treatment.' Yes the internet, the great equalizer of the downtrodden - this article seems mostly about young women being abused and exploited and now wanting better pay and easier work - where is china going to find the surplus cheap labor? Africa?

Subject: Liquidity
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 09:25:46 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Since America happily left the gold standard and fixed exchange rates there has been complaint on complaint from fringe analysts about liquidity. Too much liquidity, too many dollars. All we have to do is take away all the dollars in the world and my we will be happy. Absurd. The bond market has always told us when there is too much liquidity, and the bond market is telling us there is reasonable liquidity and contained long term inflation. The liquidity mongers would have a depression with the limits they would have on money supply. There are economic problems, but these problems do not include too much liquidity forever. Inflation has declined for 25 years.

Subject: Long term liquidity & Inflation
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 13:57:29 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
It's one thing to provide short term liquidity to overcome minor economic downturns. But when you lower rates and loosen lending practices for extended periods of time after a large imbalance between income and debt has already accrued you are merely posponing the inevitable. This is partly what happened in the 20's - lending requirements were loosened and rates were lowered to induce borrowing in an effort to fill the gap of inadequate wage increases. However, now that we are totally free of the gold standard there is no limitation on the creation of money. So it's possible we could have an inflationary depression instead of the deflationary one similar to that of the 30's. I think Argentina is a good example of this. However, Argentina has been able to improve its situation with the help of the rest of the world. They experienced super inflation and a steeply declining economy with high unemployment. Since we represent so much of the world's consumption, if and when things begin to unravel we will drag down other major world economies. There will be no one to help us or them out of our mutual predicament. Already Japan, with the lowest rates in the world, and Germany have declining economies. I think the basic premise here is that 'you can't get something for nothing'. If you are going to pump liquidity for long periods of time you are going to get inflation and as we are finding out - you will create asset bubbles which will make it difficult to reverse course (a trap). Our economy is not based on the paper and electronic money we create, it is based on jobs and wages supported by the goods and services we produce and provide. That is what our dollar represents and increasing the number of dollars out there, as we are finding out, does not change the underlying fundamentals. I'm not saying we should necessarily go back on the gold standard or that monetary stimulus doesn't have its place. I'm just saying that we are discovering, IMO, that monetary stimulus has its limitations. Presently monetary stimulus in the US is driving heated (maybe overheated, especially in China's case) economies like China and India. This is helping to drive oil, natural gas and raw materials costs higher nad higher. There is no way that this will not lead to significant inflation in the near term. In my view, we are headed for a deep, prolonged recession - call it a depression if you will. Whether it becomes an inflationary or deflationary recession/depression depends on the actions of our Fed and our government. Either way it will result in higher worldwide unemployment and dropping asset values and higher interest rates to keep inflation from going supernova. The following article from the Financial Times provides support to the inflation-is-very-much-on-the-way view: Bank warns of ‘1970s’ oil prices >By Kevin Morrison >Published: March 31 2005 21:47 | Last updated: March 31 2005 21:47 >> Oil markets have entered a ‘super-spike’ period that could see 1970s-style price surges as high as $105 a barrel, Goldman Sachs has forecast. The warning comes as high commodity prices force investment banks to keep raising their price forecasts for oil, gas and metals to lofty heights. With the balance of supply and demand extremely tight, some analysts have pencilled in a wide range of potentially high prices levels to reflect the risk of an unexpected threat to oil production or surge in demand. The escalation in forecasts has been reminiscent of the ratcheting up of price targets for telecommunications, media and internet stocks in the dotcom boom. But Goldman Sachs has gone further than many of its rivals. It said in a report yesterday that oil markets had entered a period of super-spikes as spare capacity throughout the energy supply chain was limited and new production capacity would take a long time to complete. “Only a sharp sustained increase in energy commodity prices will meaningfully reduce energy consumption and recreate the kind of spare cushion that existed through much of the 1980s and 1990s,” the investment bank’s oil team said. The bank raised its super-spike trading band for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude to $50-$105 a barrel from $50-$80 previously. Goldman Sachs also raised its annual average price forecasts for the WTI crude futures contract traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange to $50 and $55 for 2005 and 2006 respectively, from $41 and $40 perviously. This forecast pulls Goldman Sachs closer to the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the US energy department and PFC Energy, the Washington-based energy consultants, which are both predicting WTI to average close to $50 until the end of next year. So far this year, the front-month WTI contract on Nymex has averaged about $50 a barrel. May Nymex WTI gained $1.41 to $55.35 a barrel yesterday. Goldman Sachs said the current oil market environment looked more like that seen in the 1970s – when oil prices spiked dramatically following the Arab oil embargo to Western consumers in 1973 in reaction to the Israel-Egypt war, and again in 1979/1980, after the Islamic revolution in Iran, which was followed by the Iran-Iraq war and led to sharp falls in Iranian and Iraqi oil output. Goldman also raised its forecast for US natural gas prices. Meanwhile, Merrill Lynch raised its price forecasts for copper, aluminium, nickel and zinc over the next three years. “Current low metal inventories combined with still robust demand and delays to start-up of new supply have improved our view of the medium term fundamentals,” Merrill Lynch said.

Subject: Re: Long term liquidity & Inflation
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 14:58:19 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Permanent Portfolio is quite interesting and useful, and gives me more of a model to work from in difficult times. The investment objective makes sense, and should continue to allow for success.

Subject: Re: Liquidity
From: johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 13:37:19 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Is the Housing Market Going to Crash? by Fred Cederholm Cheap money and refinancing have fueled an unparalleled boom/inflation of real estate prices across the nation. Most gains have been cashed out via the equity loans that have provided a supplemental 'income' for households to keep this economy spending. It’s the costly S&L tragedy all over again. I’ve been thinking about real estate, equity, liquidity, CMO’s, GSE’s, and bubbles. Home ownership was a central component of the American dream. It was the foundation of community, security, accomplishment, and family. However... all that has been eclipsed because 'renting' from lenders is NOT ownership. You see, real estate has evolved from being more than home and hearth and a family’s largest single asset. It is now viewed as THE hot investment vehicle (an 'equity cow,' if you will) to be tapped as an evergreen source of collateral/cash. When that Italian monk invented double-entry bookkeeping (with debits equaling credits), assets equaled liabilities plus/ minus equity. If assets exceed liabilities, equity is positive and can be used to secure more credit. In simpler times, loans were financed by deposits. Lending more required liquidity--an ongoing flow of new/additional money. In the post-WWII era, the Federal Reserve functioned as a broker, matching institutions having excess deposits with institutions having excess demand for loans. There were also the Savings and Loans, which specialized in real estate lending. To improve things, the 1970’s/1980’s saw a deregulation/blurring of financial service. However...when the cost of funds suddenly rose to exceed the 'locked in' longer-term rates on loans, we saw the death of the Savings and Loan industry and a slew of major bank failures to boot. Read on. To accelerate the lending cycle, and to spread the interest rate differential risk, we saw the birth of the real estate investment derivatives called CMO’s--collateralized mortgage obligations. To get a fresh supply of cash to fund more credit, the lenders pooled the mortgage loans and sold them to investment bankers who in-turn packaged and resold them to investors. The dollars were huge, and so were the fees. Uncle $ugar entered the game by authorizing the creation of the GSE’s (Government Sponsored Enterprises) called Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, the cost of funds suddenly rose to exceed the 'locked in' longer-term rates on loans. That's when we saw the death of the Savings and Loan industry and a slew of major bank failures to boot. See a parallel here? The process accelerated, with more loans being packaged and sold (and repackaged and resold) in a manner not unlike publicly traded stocks and bonds. These CMO’s were seen as safe investments since their value was 'derived' from underlying mortgages that were collateralized by the real property itself. These were snapped up and traded by pension funds, insurance companies and banks as well as by corporations and wealthy individuals--domestic and foreign. Refinancing became common. (It’s 10 PM; do you know where your mortgage is tonight?) Fannie and Freddie had the extra advantage of a multi-TRILLION dollar line of credit from the US Treasury. There is the 'perception' that their CMO’s are as good as US Treasury securities themselves, even though they do NOT have the 'full faith and credit of the US Government' behind them. (SOURCE: US Code, Title 12 - Banks and Banking, Chapter 46 - GSE’s, Section 4503 - Protection of Taxpayers against Liability). As interest rates rose in the 1990’s to challenge the 'irrational exuberance' of a dot-com stock bubble run amok, all markets dropped. (You can’t blame this only on the 9/11 attacks, as the market indexes were headed south well before the terrorists hit.) We then saw the PPT (Plunge Protection Team, AKA the Fed) cut rates to practically zero to swing the pendulum back again. However...the cheaper interest rates 'compounded' by an investing public mourning the 'loss' of their paper stock fortunes focused attention on homes and real estate. The Fed now lost control of the money creation process and this next bubble was on its way. These past two Februarys saw Chairman Greenspan beseeching Congress to rein in both Fannie and Freddie. Cheap money and refinancing fueled an unparalleled boom/inflation of real estate prices across the nation. It would be one thing if the so-called paper equity gains stayed in the property for the occupants. However...most gains were cashed out via the equity loans that provided a supplemental 'income' for households to keep this economy spending! It’s the costly S&L tragedy all over again--only bigger; the characters may be different, but I fear the plot and outcome are the same. I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too. Copyright 2005 Fred Cederholm. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer who contributes the column 'TH*NK*NG' to The Weekly Observer in Creston, (Ogle County) Illinois. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at asklet@rochelle.net. http://www.baltimorechronicle.com/033105Cederholm.shtml

Subject: Absurdity!
From: johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 13:24:49 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
I hear you use words like impossible, absurd, 100% certain - your steadfast optimism and absolute positions frighten me sometimes Terri. http://www.howestreet.com/story.php?ArticleId=1088 HOYE: The carry trade has been around since at least 1720. It is usually described as borrowing short and lending long (I call it the BSLL factor). And there is a compulsion in any speculative boom to borrow short and lend out long. Either to buy junk bonds or the stock market or whatever. The symptom of that is the flattening yield curve. And the game is over when the yield curve reverses to steepening. Elsewhere: HOYE: Oh yes. January’s sharp drop in the stock market and widening credit spreads suggests a sudden loss of liquidity. The concept of liquidity is badly abused. For example, in the summer of 2000, the street was fully bullish because there was so much liquidity to buy the stock market. They didn’t grasp the importance that it was stock prices rising that permitted all speculators to leverage up their positions. But that is borrowed money. That isn’t liquidity. While an asset price is going up it gives the appearance of liquidity and then when that asset price heads down, all of a sudden liquidity disappears. So that is what we are dealing with now. And in different part of the interview: HOYE: Well, I think the market will disappoint even the most ambitious of today’s central bankers. And the thing to understand is that unless they go to a pure paper inflation—which would require them to chew through the whole credit market—that would provoke such an uproar that it would force them to quit it. So here we are: it’s a credit inflation, which depends on margin. As long as the prices are going up, everything is fine and it doesn’t matter that short rates are going up. The cost of money doesn’t matter if you know you can double your money every six months. And once the contraction starts, I suggest that it overwhelms the ability of the Fed to pursue its portion of credit creation. I’m not saying that the Fed is going to suddenly tighten. No bloody way—not willingly! But the whole system is going to tighten as all the leveraged “liquidity” disappears. TAYLOR: Because the private sector or the economics don’t allow it to generate returns any longer. So, out of economic necessities, start to turn their non essential items into cash and repay debts? HOYE: As prices start going down, it gives undeniable power to the margin clerks. And their job description is vastly different to that of your typical central banker. TAYLOR: The margin clerks and I would guess it also will involve the fractional reserve banking system overall? HOYE: Yes. TAYLOR: Let me understand. As prices drop, the loan officers and margin clerks at brokerage houses and in banks begin to worry that their clients won’t be able to repay their loans, so they ask for more and more margin—which then triggers further liquidation because people have to sell non essential items to raise cash to meet margin requirements. That then results in a collapse in the value of less liquid assets relative to cash and the ultimate liquidity, namely gold? HOYE: That’s happened many times but, at the top, the street ardently believes that “this time it’s different.” TAYLOR: But the argument is that the Fed can always expand the money supply, as Ben Bernanke suggested when he said if need be, the Fed could use its magnificent digital technology to create as much money as was needed to escape deflation. He even said we could drop money from helicopters if need be! HOYE: That’s credit, not money. It’s a misnomer to call M-1, M-2, and M-3 money. And so once the prices of the assets being speculated turn down, then the margin clerk takes over. TAYLOR: One of the economic dynamics I talk frequently about in my letter, but which is almost never talked about in the mainstream press, is the almost exponential growth in debt compared to income, as measured by GDP and that in fact economic returns are simp ly not sufficient to generate enough cash to service the debt. And when the debt can’t be paid the loans are called by as you say, the margin clerks and then the debt repudiation process gets underway. HOYE: That is what happened in every bubble. Credit is taken on because of soaring asset prices. As the prices stop going up, you are left with the debt. That kills the ability to promote any story. As we have seen in so many promotions, so long as the trend is up the street will believe the most preposterous of touts.

Subject: For you my dear Homeowners - big HUG!
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 04:41:40 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
www.christianmortgageusa.com When you can't count on Greenspan to make you feel safe - God himself will back your house. Where's the snakes I am ready to dance!! BWAHAHA! What in the heck? I got this in my email - BWAHAHAHA! I can't stop laughing!!! http://www.horizonsnet.org/sermons/sm27.html 'For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life's span? And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? Do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?' For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.' -(Matthew 6:25-34)

Subject: Pennies from Heaven Bernanke
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 00:08:28 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/04/20050401-7.html April 1, 2005 Personnel Announcement President George W. Bush today announced his intention to nominate three individuals, designate two individuals, and appoint fourteen individuals to serve in his Administration: The President intends to nominate Ben S. Bernanke, of New Jersey, to be a Member of the Council of Economic Advisers. Upon confirmation, the President will also designate him Chairman. Dr. Bernanke currently serves on the Federal Reserve System's Board of Governors. In addition, he also serves as Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University, a position he has held for twenty years. Dr. Bernanke previously taught at Stanford University, New York University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He earned his bachelor's degree from Harvard University and his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. April FOOLS! Oh wait, this is no joke - copter money man is 4 real!

Subject: Re: Pennies from Heaven Bernanke
From: David E..
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 03:57:55 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
They need a heavy hitter to back up Snow on the SS pitching. We will find out soon if he is a trick pony.

Subject: Our next Fed Chairman
From: Pete Weis
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 01:43:27 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
He would not have accepted the philly fed governorship if he didn't think it would possibly lead to the Fed Chairmanship. He wouldn't have been appointed by this administration to the philly post unless they had been considering him for the Fed Chair. He fits in rather well with the conservative and this administration's views regarding a lack of concern about the erosion of the middle-class and rising personal debt. He's a proponent of Milton Friedman's money supply ideas which counter Keynsian demand side theories. He may not be a believer in supply-side-reduce-the-tax on-the-wealthy, but he's pretty quiet about it if he opposes it. Perhaps he'll strongly recommend changes in fiscal policy, in his new position, between now and Greenspan's retirement - or will he?

Subject: $280 trillion - how much more can they pimp?
From: johnny5
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 04:48:47 (EDT)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsg.aspx?msgid=21193164 'except in our case I expect a derivative meltdown somewhere' http://www.contraryinvestor.com/mo.htm As you may recall, 1979 can be characterized as a period where there was no structured finance market. There was no derivatives market. My how times have changed. Could anyone even have imagined in 1979 that in 25 short years the US banking system singularly would be exposed to almost $88 trillion in notional value of derivatives contracts? http://www.bis.org/publ/qtrpdf/r_qt0503.pdf In the last quarter of 2004 the combined value of trading in interest rate, stock index and currency contracts on organised exchanges fell by 3%, to $279 trillion. What did it take for LTCM to go BOOM? http://www.financialpolicy.org/dscprimer.htm As an indication of the dangers they pose, it is worthwhile recalling a shortened list of recent disasters. Long-Term Capital Management collapsed with $1.4 trillion in derivatives on their books. Sumitomo Bank in Japan used derivatives their manipulation of the global copper market for years prior to 1996. Barings bank, one of the oldest in Europe, was quickly brought to bankruptcy by over a billion dollars in losses from derivatives trading. Both the Mexican financial crisis in 1994 and the East Asian financial crisis of 1997 were exacerbated by the use of derivatives to take large positions on the exchange rate. Most recently, the collapse of a major commodity derivatives dealer Enron Corporation has lead to the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. The first public interest concerns posed by derivatives comes from the leverage they provide to both hedgers and speculators. Derivatives transactions allow investors to take a large price position in the market while committing only a small amount of capital – thus the use of their capital is leveraged. Derivatives traded in over-the-counter markets have no margin or collateral requirements, and the industry standard has shown to be deeply flawed by recent failures. Leverage makes it cheaper for hedgers to hedge, but it also makes it cheaper to speculate. Instead of buying $1 million of Treasury bonds or $1 million of stock, an investor can buy futures contracts on $1 million of the bonds or stocks with only a few thousand dollars of capital committed as margin (the capital commitment is even smaller in the over-the-counter derivatives markets). The returns from holding the stocks or bonds will be the same as holding the futures on the stocks or bonds. This allows an investor to earn a much higher rate of return on their capital by taking on a much larger amount of risk. Taking on these greater risks raises the likelihood that an investor, even a major financial institution, suffers large losses. If they suffer large losses, then they are threatened with bankruptcy. If they go bankrupt, then the people, banks and other institutions that invested in them or lent money to them will face losses and in turn might face bankruptcy themselves. This spreading of the losses and failures gives rise to systemic risk, and it is an economy wide problem that is made worse by leverage and leveraging instruments such as derivatives. When people suffer damages, even though they were not counterparties or did any business with a failed investor or financial institution, then individual incentives and rules of caveat emptor are not sufficient to protect the public good. In this case, prudential regulation is needed – not to protect fools from themselves, but to protect others from the fools. Another public interest concern involves transparency. Some derivatives are traded on formal futures and options exchanges which are closely regulated. Other derivatives are traded over-the-counter in markets that are almost entirely unregulated. In these non-transparent markets there is very little information provided by either the private market participants or collected by government regulators. Prices and other trading information in these markets is not readily available as is the case with futures and options exchanges. Instead that information is hoarded by each of the market participants. While standard theories of financial markets agree that more transparent markets are more efficient, it requires a public entity to require information be reported and disseminated to the market. As a result of this lack of information in over-the-counter markets, it substantially reduces the ability of the government and other market participants to anticipate and possibly preempt building market pressures, major market failures, or manipulation efforts. Yet another danger involves the use of derivatives to evade, avoid, dodge or out-flank financial market regulations designed to improve economic stability. In the cases of this decade’s financial crises in Mexico and East Asian, the financial institutions in those countries used derivatives to out-flank financial regulations limiting those institutions exposure to foreign exchange risk. Derivatives can also be used to avoid taxation and manipulate accounting rules my restructuring the flow of payments so that earning are reported in one period instead of another. In sum, the enormous derivatives markets are both useful and dangerous. Current method of regulating these markets is not adequate to assure that the markets are safe and sound and that disruptions from these markets do not spill-over into the broader economy. Now if $1.4 trillion of LTCM derivatives blowing up almost sunk us - how much do you think is going to blow up out of the roughly $280 trillion out there right now? 1% 5% 50%? Let's say only 5% blow up - what then?

Subject: China's Currency Peg Against the Dollar
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 21:34:03 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
China will come, may have already come, to view the dollar peg as inherently and needlessly destabilizing. I think we will find China moving to a peg against several currencies. What China's leaders are after is an infrastructure and advanced industrial base that increasingly insulates her from dependence on specific technology laden imports. I suspect she is feeling this is sufficiently accomplished. There is no need to monopolize production of textiles and such.

Subject: Floating currencies
From: johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 23:50:41 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
As has been posted before, lack of freely floating currency is what several speculate helped save china in 97, also after watching the Argentina speech on C-span today the author of that book said thier currency peg and tax collection issues were major contributors to thier collapse and default. China has us by the chain - we DESPERATELY need for them to let their currency rise. The peg was a fatal part of argentinian demise - but it can't happen here can it?

Subject: Another Meaning of Debt
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 18:49:56 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Another consequence of debt is that soon there will be a reversal of the historical pattern of more investment income coming to America than going abroad. Again, there will soon be an added balance of payments burden of a flow of income to international investors that is greater than the flow to American investors.

Subject: Re: Another Meaning of Debt
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 21:17:25 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsg.aspx?msgid=21171958 China overtakes US as top investment destination Foreign investment in the United States, traditionally the largest recipient of such money, plunged by 53 percent last year to reach US$30 billion http://tokyo.usembassy.gov/e/p/tp-20040629-31.html China Overtakes U.S. as Largest Investment Recipient, OECD Says China became the largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2003, surpassing the United States, which has previously enjoyed the biggest inflows of FDI, according to a new report. In a June 28 news release announcing the publication of the report on worldwide FDI, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said China attracted $53 billion in 2003 compared to $40 billion for the U.S. economy. The United States registered the largest fall of FDI inflows among OECD countries with the 2003 level 44 percent below the 2002 level and 76 percent below that in 2001, according to the report

Subject: A Debt Surprise
From: Emma
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 19:42:25 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Again, if I understand no matter interest rates the more we borrow the more we will of course owe and this has finally countered the high paying investments we made through several decades from 1945 on. The more I say this to myself the sadder it becomes. Well, I knew what to expect, yet I am surprised.

Subject: Before the Fall of the Dollar
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 18:46:31 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/02/opinion/02sat1.html?ex=1113109200&en=97ed6a7b8a14e245&ei=5070 Before the Fall The recent rally of the United States dollar notwithstanding, the greenback has nowhere to go but down. But the Bush administration is betting that foreign investors will continue to invest huge sums in this depreciating currency. How huge? Last month, the government reported that the United States' deficit in international transactions, mainly trade, reached an unprecedented $666 billion in 2004, a 24 percent increase from the 2003 level and, at 5.7 percent of the economy, about two to three times what most economists consider sustainable. The administration expects foreigners, mainly Asian central bankers, to keep plugging the trade gap because buying American securities increases their exports. It is also assuming that foreign central banks won't risk the losses in their dollar reserves that would occur if they started shunning dollar-based investments. In brief, the United States is betting that it's too big - in other countries' eyes - to fail. The dollar's current uptick is just a breather in its overall downward trajectory. It's due largely to the United States' higher interest rates, which lure foreign investors away from euros and into dollar-based investments. But what will happen when the Federal Reserve stops raising rates? Here's a hint: When one Federal Reserve governor suggested recently that rates might peak at a lower level than analysts expected, the dollar promptly slid. The dollar also drew some of its recent momentum from a government report last month that showed the United States attracted $91.5 billion in net foreign capital in January, easily covering that month's near-record trade deficit, $58.3 billion. That allayed concerns, at least temporarily, about the United States' continued ability to finance its debt on favorable terms. But hedge funds were responsible for much of January's investment, and that clouds the picture. In general, private investment - as opposed to investment by foreign governments - is an encouraging sign because private investors seek out the best opportunities, while foreign governments often pour money in simply to prop up the dollar. But hedge funds are different; they are often short-term investors that can move out of dollars as quickly as they move in. Given the unreliability of those inflows, and the enormous borrowing needs of the United States, the country will be dependent on foreign government lenders for a long time. That's a precarious position. To close its trade gap, which must be financed by foreigners, and its budget gap, most of which is covered by foreign investors, the United States will need to attract a projected $1 trillion in 2005 alone - an unprecedented sum. At the same time, however, the Bush administration is relying on a cheap dollar to correct the nation's trade imbalance. So far, the trade deficit has only grown, even as the dollar has fallen. A further decline this year of about 20 percent would probably be needed to begin to have a real impact. There is gathering evidence that foreign central bankers are seeking to avoid the losses that future dollar investments seem to threaten. Recently, financial markets have been unsettled by comments from Japan, South Korea, India and Russia about diversifying away from dollars. And this week, a tough-talking China vowed not to allow its economic decisions to be dictated by any other country, a statement that was a rebuff to the United States. If the world's central bankers accumulate fewer dollars, the result would be an unrelenting American need to borrow in the face of an ever weaker dollar - a recipe for higher interest rates and higher prices. The economic repercussions could unfold gradually, resulting in a long, slow decline in living standards. Or there could be a quick unraveling, with the hallmarks of an uncontrolled fiscal crisis. Or the pain could fall somewhere in between. If foreign reluctance to buy Treasury bonds pushed up long-term interest rates, mortgage rates would follow. If the economy is in a housing bubble, as many analysts believe, higher mortgage rates would pop it, with dire results for homeowners' balance sheets and the overall health of the economy. The dollar is heading down, no matter what. To mitigate the potential harm, the administration and Congress should deliver on budget discipline - far beyond the lip service that's been offered so far - to limit the amounts the United States needs to attract in loans and pay in interest. The administration should also try to forge cooperation among America's trading partners to manage the dollar's decline. Unfortunately, government leaders aren't poised to do either of those things, though action, not attitude, is what the country needs.

Subject: Pentagon Redirects Its Research Dollars
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 16:33:06 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/02/technology/02darpa.html?pagewanted=all&position= Pentagon Redirects Its Research Dollars By JOHN MARKOFF SAN FRANCISCO - The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency at the Pentagon - which has long underwritten open-ended 'blue sky' research by the nation's best computer scientists - is sharply cutting such spending at universities, researchers say, in favor of financing more classified work and narrowly defined projects that promise a more immediate payoff. Hundreds of research projects supported by the agency, known as Darpa, have paid off handsomely in recent decades, leading not only to new weapons, but to commercial technologies from the personal computer to the Internet. The agency has devoted hundreds of millions of dollars to basic software research, too, including work that led to such recent advances as the Web search technologies that Google and others have introduced. The shift away from basic research is alarming many leading computer scientists and electrical engineers, who warn that there will be long-term consequences for the nation's economy. They are accusing the Pentagon of reining in an agency that has played a crucial role in fostering America's lead in computer and communications technologies. 'I'm worried and depressed,' said David Patterson, a computer scientist at the University of California, Berkeley who is president of the Association of Computing Machinery, an industry and academic trade group. 'I think there will be great technologies that won't be there down the road when we need them.' University researchers, usually reluctant to speak out, have started quietly challenging the agency's new approach. They assert that Darpa has shifted a lot more work in recent years to military contractors, adopted a focus on short-term projects while cutting support for basic research, classified formerly open projects as secret and placed new restrictions on sharing information. This week, in responding to a query from the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Darpa officials acknowledged for the first time a shift in focus. They revealed that within a relatively steady budget for computer science research that rose slightly from $546 million in 2001 to $583 million last year, the portion going to university researchers has fallen from $214 million to $123 million. The agency cited a number of reasons for the decline: increased reliance on corporate research; a need for more classified projects since 9/11; Congress's decision to end controversial projects like Total Information Awareness because of privacy fears; and the shift of some basic research to advanced weapons systems development. In Silicon Valley, executives are also starting to worry about the consequences of Darpa's stinting on basic research in computer science. 'This has been a phenomenal system for harnessing intellectual horsepower for the country,' said David L. Tennenhouse, a former Darpa official who is now director of research for Intel. 'We should be careful how we tinker with it.' University scientists assert that the changes go even further than what Darpa has disclosed. As financing has dipped, the remaining research grants come with yet more restrictions, they say, often tightly linked to specific 'deliverables' that discourage exploration and serendipitous discoveries. Many grants also limit the use of graduate students to those who hold American citizenship, a rule that hits hard in computer science, where many researchers are foreign. The shift at Darpa has been noted not just by those researchers directly involved in computing technologies, but by those in other fields supported by the agency. 'I can see they are after deliverables, but the unfortunate thing is that basic research gets squeezed out in the process,' said Wolfgang Porod, director of the Center for Nano Science and Technology at the University of Notre Dame. The concerns are highlighted in a report on the state of the nation's cybersecurity that was released with little fanfare in March by the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee. Darpa has long focused on long-term basic research projects with time horizons that exceed five years, the report notes, but by last year, very little of Darpa's financing was being directed toward fundamental research in the field. 'Virtually every aspect of information technology upon which we rely today bears the stamp of federally sponsored university research,' said Ed Lazowska, a computer scientist at the University of Washington and co-chairman of the advisory panel. 'The federal government is walking away from this role, killing the goose that laid the golden egg.' As a result of the new restrictions, a number of computer scientists said they had chosen not to work with Darpa any longer. Last year, the agency offered to support research by Leonard Kleinrock, a computer scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles who was one of the small group of researchers who developed the Arpanet, the 1960's predecessor to today's Internet. Dr. Kleinrock said that he decided that he was not interested in the project when he learned that the agency was insisting that he employ only graduate assistants with American citizenship. Darpa officials, who declined repeated requests for interviews, disputed the university researchers. The agency, which responded only in writing to questions, contended that the criticisms leveled by the advisory committee and other researchers were not accurate and that it had always supported a mix of longer- and shorter-term research. 'The key is a focus on high-risk, high-payoff research,' Jan Walker, a Darpa spokeswoman, stated in an e-mail message. Given the threat from terrorism and the demands on troops in Iraq, she wrote, Darpa is rightly devoting more attention to 'quick reaction' projects that draw on the fruits of earlier science and technology to produce useful prototypes as soon as possible. The Pentagon shift has put added pressure on the other federal agencies that support basic information technology research. At the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering of the National Science Foundation, the number of research proposals has soared from 2,000 in 1999 to 6,500 last year. Peter A. Freeman, its director, said that the sharp rise was partly attributable to declines in Pentagon support. 'Darpa has moved away from direct funding to universities,' Mr. Freeman said. 'Even when they do directly fund, some of the conditions and constraints seem to be pretty onerous. There is no question that the community doesn't like what the head of Darpa has been doing, but he has his reasons and his prerogatives.' The transformation of Darpa has been led by Anthony J. Tether, a Stanford-educated electrical engineer who has had a long career moving between executive positions at military contractors and the Pentagon. Last year, Dr. Tether's new approach led to a series of cutbacks at a number of computer science departments. Program financing for a Darpa project known as Network Embedded Sensor Technology - intended to develop networks of sensors that could potentially be deployed on battlefields to locate and track enemy tanks and soldiers - has been cut back or ended on as many as five university campuses and shifted instead to traditional military contractors. 'The network has now become as vital as the weapons themselves,' Dr. Tether said in an appearance before the advisory committee last year, testifying that secrecy had become more essential for a significant part of the agency's work. That has created problems for university researchers. Several scientists have been instructed, for example, to remove previously published results from Web sites. And at U.C.L.A. and Berkeley, Darpa officials tried to classify software research done under a contract that specified that the results would be distributed under so-called open-source licensing terms. 'We were requested to remove all publicly accessible pointers to software developed under the program,' said Deborah Estrin, director of embedded network sensing at U.C.L.A. 'This is the first time in 15 years that I have no Darpa funding.' At Berkeley, Edward A. Lee, who was recently named chairman of the computer science department, agreed not to publish a final report at Darpa's request, even though he told officials the data had already become widely available. Despite the complaints, some pioneering researchers support the changes being driven by Dr. Tether and say they are necessary to prepare the nation for a long battle against elusive enemies. 'There are pressures and demands on Darpa to be relevant,' said Robert Kahn, a former Darpa administrator who is now president of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives in Reston, Va. 'People think it should stay the same, but times have changed.' Still, a number of top scientists argue that the Pentagon's shift in priorities could not have come at a worse time. Most American companies have largely ended basic research and have begun to outsource product research and development extensively even as investments in Asia and Europe are rising quickly. And many computer scientists dispute Darpa's reasoning that fighting wars demands a shift away from basic research. During the Vietnam War, they say, Darpa kept its commitment to open-ended computer research, supporting things like a laboratory in the hills behind Stanford University dedicated to the far-out idea of building computing machines to mimic human capabilities. John McCarthy founded the Stanford artificial research lab in 1964, helping to turn it into a wellspring for some of Silicon Valley's most important companies, from Xerox Parc to Apple to Intel. 'American leadership in computer science and in applications has benefited more from the longer-term work,' Mr. McCarthy said, 'than from the deliverables.'

Subject: Nena's 99 luftballons
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 21:10:18 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
I was at a conference for the space elevator and they had someone from NASA talking about carbon nanotubes and how there was all this sharing of ideas and research, then the military got involved and suddenly everything became classified and hush hush. Why does society still tolerate these power mongers Emma?

Subject: Imagining Multiple Perspectives
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 16:06:45 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Data analysis in economics can be curiously deceptive if we are not careful, for we must try to analyze with imagine. After all, we are dealing with multiple perspectives where data tends to an average perspective fitting a model maker. I found the following article most interesting, considering or imagining various perspectives.

Subject: The Art of Intelligence
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 16:06:01 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/02/opinion/02brooks.html?ex=1112590800&en=fe29a88bbebeda40&ei=5070 The Art of Intelligence By DAVID BROOKS he years between 1950 and 1965 were the golden age of American nonfiction. Writers like Jane Jacobs, Louis Hartz, Daniel Bell and David Riesman produced sweeping books on American society and global affairs. They relied on their knowledge of history, literature, philosophy and theology to recognize social patterns and grasp emerging trends. But even as their books hit the stores, their method was being undermined. A different group rejected this generalist/humanist approach and sought to turn social analysis into a science. For example, the father of the U.S. intelligence community, Sherman Kent, argued that social science and intelligence analysis needed a systematic method, 'much like the method of the physical sciences.' Social research - in urban planning, sociology and intelligence analysis - began to mimic the hard sciences. A new paper by a Yale undergraduate, Sulmaan Wasif Khan, contrasts these two ways of looking at the world. Khan compares the C.I.A.'s 1960's-era National Intelligence Estimates on China, which have been recently declassified, with the work of generalist scholars like Donald Zagoria. The C.I.A.'s intelligence estimates are what you'd expect: bloodless compilations of data by anonymous technicians. They do not draw patterns based on an understanding of Chinese history or make generalizations about the ethos of the Chinese elite. Zagoria's approach was quite different. Relying on a deep understanding of Chinese history and society, he made novelistic judgments about the Chinese leadership's hopes and fears. He imagined how we must appear to the Chinese, and how different American moves would be interpreted. The C.I.A. analysts concluded on Nov. 12, 1970, that there was little prospect of improvement in Sino-American relations. Zagoria said China would be open to a rapprochement. Zagoria was right. Henry Kissinger was in China within months of the C.I.A. report But the scientific method used by the C.I.A., and its technical jargon, can seem to have more authority (used to justify bigger budgets). Academic analyses of society and world affairs are now often quantitative, jargon-laden and hyperspecialized. Historical works have gigantic titles and minuscule subjects - think 'Power and Passion: Walloon Shovel Making, 1723-1724.' So we get decades of calamitous intelligence failures. This week the presidential panel on intelligence pointed to the same failings found by other reports. It said intelligence analysts 'displayed a lack of imagination.' They created artificial specialties - separating regional, technical and terrorism analyses. They built layers of hard analysis on fuzzy and impressionistic information. This commission does what so many others have done. It tries to reorganize the bureaucratic flow charts to produce better results. But the problem is not bureaucratic. It's epistemological. Individuals are good at using intuition and imagination to understand other humans. We know from recent advances in neuroscience, popularized in Malcolm Gladwell's 'Blink,' that the human mind can perform fantastically complicated feats of subconscious pattern recognition. There is a powerful backstage process we use to interpret the world and the people around us. When you try to analyze human affairs using a process that is systematic, codified and bureaucratic, as the C.I.A. does, you anesthetize all of these tools. You don't produce reason - you produce what Irving Kristol called the elephantiasis of reason. The capping irony is that Sherman Kent and the other pseudoscientists thought they were replacing the fuzzy old generalists with something modern and rigorous. But, in reality, intuitive generalists like Jane Jacobs and Donald Zagoria were more modern and rigorous than the pseudoscientific technicians who replaced them. I'll believe the intelligence community has really changed when I see analysts being sent to training academies where they study Thucydides, Tolstoy and Churchill to get a broad understanding of the full range of human behavior. I'll believe the system has been reformed when policy makers are presented with competing reports, signed by individual thinkers, and are no longer presented with anonymous, bureaucratically homogenized, bulleted points that pretend to be the product of scientific consensus. I'll believe it's been reformed when there's a big sign in front of C.I.A. headquarters that reads: Individuals think better than groups.

Subject: Resistance is Futile
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 21:04:28 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
But we have the info posted earlier how several academic studies back the wisdom of crowds. The borg always are gonna be ahead of Captain Picard - he got assimilated.

Subject: Full Employment
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 15:52:47 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We ought not to think there is a given amount of work to be done, or any particular work limit for the American economy. The point of proper fiscal and monetary policy is precisely to make sure there is work enough to assure absorption of an ever growing potential labor force and wage and benefits gains as business competes for labor that are a little short of inflationary. The last 5 years of the 1990s showed us just how fine economic policy can provide for a most healthy labor market at no general inflationary expense.

Subject: Then and now
From: Pete Weis
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 15:15:20 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We are, IMO, almost certainly witnessing the death of atleast one school of economic theory - supply-side/trickle down economic theory. The fact remains that job and wage growth and associated tax revenues have not improved much despite the reduction in taxes for US corporations and the wealthiest Americans. So the 'voodoo economics' tag looks like it will stick. The verdict on monetarist theory is a more complex one. There is little doubt that monetary stimulus has caused asset bubbles, the unwinding of which can cause very severe economic consequences. Furthermore it seems to have done little for the job and wage picture (atleast not enough) while personal debt has gone to record levels. I suppose that monetarists can lay the blame on Greenspan for not applying their theory properly (not enough reduction in money supply in the 90's when things were begining to get out of hand). They might argue that their methods were meant for more minor adjustments, not long term major influxes of monetary stimulus to an economy that had gotten way out of balance between debt and income - I don't know. At this time, I think it is usefull to take a look back in time. It's interesting to note that although many of the conditions of the late 20's and early 30's are in play once again, the roles are reversed. The US is the debtor and foreigners (mostly Asian) are the creditors. We have an additional problem of energy and natural resource supplies becoming scarcer and more expensive. We have a greater problem with the US dollar because of our debt problems. But other problems are remarkably similar. Since the repeal of Glass-Steagle many of the world's largest banks have become quite dependent on income from stock market investment activities. With the very large run-up of housing worldwide they have become dependent on the solvency of mortgages and the consumer credit side of their business. Our largest commercial banks have management which has been involved in corrupt practices involving assisting in fraudulant reporting of corporate earnings when any bank's main asset is its reputation. FDIC has become an ancient relic since most Americans save little and what wealth they do have is invested in the stock market through 401k's and in their homes. Overall consumer debt has now gone well beyond that of the previous high of the early 30's - thanks to the credit card and poor wage growth. The following is from Encarta online regarding the causes of the Great Depression. It contrasts with a monetarist view which lays the blame on governmental policies of the early 30's. But we have lived with Milton Friedman's and Ben Bernanke's 'printing press' methods now for some years and wages still lag real inflation and we're still waiting on the job creation phase. Causes of the Depression Print Preview of Section It is a common misconception that the stock market crash of October 1929 was the cause of the Great Depression. The two events were closely related, but both were the results of deep problems in the modern economy that were building up through the “prosperity decade” of the 1920s. As is typical of post-war periods, Americans in the Roaring Twenties turned inward, away from international issues and social concerns and toward greater individualism. The emphasis was on getting rich and enjoying new fads, new inventions, and new ideas. The traditional values of rural America were being challenged by the city-oriented Jazz Age, symbolized by what many considered the shocking behavior of young women who wore short skirts and makeup, smoked, and drank. The self-centered attitudes of the 1920s seemed to fit nicely with the needs of the economy. Modern industry had the capacity to produce vast quantities of consumer goods, but this created a fundamental problem: Prosperity could continue only if demand was made to grow as rapidly as supply. Accordingly, people had to be persuaded to abandon such traditional values as saving, postponing pleasures and purchases, and buying only what they needed. “The key to economic prosperity,” a General Motors executive declared in 1929, “is the organized creation of dissatisfaction.” Advertising methods that had been developed to build support for World War I were used to persuade people to buy such relatively new products as automobiles and such completely new ones as radios and household appliances. The resulting mass consumption kept the economy going through most of the 1920s. But there was an underlying economic problem. Income was distributed very unevenly, and the portion going to the wealthiest Americans grew larger as the decade proceeded. This was due largely to two factors: While businesses showed remarkable gains in productivity during the 1920s, workers got a relatively small share of the wealth this produced. At the same time, huge cuts were made in the top income-tax rates. Between 1923 and 1929, manufacturing output per person-hour increased by 32 percent, but workers’ wages grew by only 8 percent. Corporate profits shot up by 65 percent in the same period, and the government let the wealthy keep more of those profits. The Revenue Act of 1926 cut the taxes of those making $1 million or more by more than two-thirds. As a result of these trends, in 1929 the top 0.1 percent of American families had a total income equal to that of the bottom 42 percent. This meant that many people who were willing to listen to the advertisers and purchase new products did not have enough money to do so. To get around this difficulty, the 1920s produced another innovation—”credit,” an attractive name for consumer debt. People were allowed to “buy now, pay later.” But this only put off the day when consumers accumulated so much debt that they could not keep buying up all the products coming off assembly lines. That day came in 1929. American farmers—who represented one-quarter of the economy—were already in an economic depression during the 1920s, which made it difficult for them to take part in the consumer buying spree. Farmers had expanded their output during World War I, when demand for farm goods was high and production in Europe was cut sharply. But after the war, farmers found themselves competing in an over-supplied international market. Prices fell, and farmers were often unable to sell their products for a profit. International problems also weakened the economy. After World War I the United States became the world’s chief creditor as European countries struggled to pay war debts and reparations. Many American bankers were not ready for this new role. They lent heavily and unwisely to borrowers in Europe, especially Germany, who would have difficulty repaying the loans, particularly if there was a serious economic downturn. These huge debts made the international banking structure extremely unstable by the late 1920s. In addition, the United States maintained high tariffs on goods imported from other countries, at the same time that it was making foreign loans and trying to export products. This combination could not be sustained: If other nations could not sell their goods in the United States, they could not make enough money to buy American products or repay American loans. All major industrial countries pursued similar policies of trying to advance their own interests without regard to the international economic consequences. The rising incomes of the wealthiest Americans fueled rapid growth in the stock market, especially between 1927 and 1929. Soon the prices of stocks were rising far beyond the worth of the shares of the companies they represented. People were willing to pay inflated prices because they believed the stock prices would continue to rise and they could soon sell their stocks at a profit. The widespread belief that anyone could get rich led many less affluent Americans into the market as well. Investors bought millions of shares of stock “on margin,” a risky practice similar to buying products on credit. They paid only a small part of the price and borrowed the rest, gambling that they could sell the stock at a high enough price to repay the loan and make a profit. For a time this was true: In 1928 the price of stock in the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) multiplied by nearly five times. The Dow Jones industrial average—an index that tracks the stock prices of key industrial companies—doubled in value in less than two years. But the stock boom could not last. The great bull market of the late 1920s was a classic example of a speculative “bubble” scheme, so called because it expands until it bursts. In the fall of 1929 confidence that prices would keep rising faltered, then failed. Starting in late October the market plummeted as investors began selling stocks. On October 29, in the worst day of the panic, stocks lost $10 billion to $15 billion in value. By mid-November almost all of the gains of the previous two years had been wiped out, with losses estimated at $30 billion. The stock market crash announced the beginning of the Great Depression, but the deep economic problems of the 1920s had already converged a few months earlier to start the downward spiral. The credit of a large portion of the nation’s consumers had been exhausted, and they were spending much of their current income to pay for past, rather than new, purchases. Unsold inventories had begun to pile up in warehouses during the summer of 1929. The crash affected the economy the way exposure to cold affects the human body, lowering the body’s resistance to infectious agents that are already present. The crash reduced the ability of the economy to fight off the underlying sicknesses of unevenly distributed wealth, agricultural depression, and banking problems.

Subject: Re: Then and now
From: David E..
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 23:41:10 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thanks for your challenging statements. And for the Encarta reference, I took economics 101/102 in the early 60's. I thought I knew something but the encarta reference has, a new for me, cause for the depression. Inequality in income causing demand to fall. Our situation in 2005 is strongly similar to the 1929 situation in at least 5 respects. 1. Productivity increases are not being shared with workers 2. Demand has been propped up with every increasing debt. 3. Efficient advertising driving demand despite financial risk. 4. A huge tax cut for the very rich 5. A troubled world economy All of these are troubling enough - but the middle class is under huge pricing pressure from global competition. Our diminished middle class wont be able to support previous levels of demand. I wish that the debate about economic solutions will be a fair one. It is very disconcerting to see how easily unnecessary wars, torture, and curtailment of civil rights is accepted even applauded. Paul G. Brown is right about Laffer not going away. President Clinton's tax increase and subsequent economic boom cause no difficulties for the Laffer advocates. The tax cuts for the rich have been wasted, the rich don't consume, they invest in hedge funds. Hopefully the economy has enough muscle to muddle through this. If not, we would prefer the post Vietnam type of recession where most of the damage was to return on capital. High unemployment like in 1929 is the worst outcome and hopefully demand can be boosted enough.

Subject: In argentina
From: johnny5
To: David E..
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 00:03:16 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
The middle class went from nice luxury cars to 5 people squeezing into a small 1980's model fiat. From spending time shopping the nice malls to find bargains - to digging through garbage to find cardboard - why I do not know - but these were the comments of people from the cspan2 argentinian speech today who just recently visited there and saw the crash of the middle class. The wealthy have given a senate job back to the argentinian that got them there - Carlos Menem - him and clinton were the only 2 heads of state to give talks at some IMF conference I believe. Where is the defender of the little guy in argentina? I read in cuba the middle class have went from nice big cars to everyone riding bicycles? http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cache:LTYzXSkf2HgJ:www.coha.org/Press%20Release%20Archives/1997/97.14.pdf Carlos Menem senate&hl=en Clinton's Amnesia on Argentine Realities Matches That of His Tawdry Host President Clinton praises Argentine President Menem for democratic achievements and human rights advances, while, in fact, the Argentine president has obstructed true advances in those directions i President Clinton, whose superficial understanding of Latin American realities is burdened by no historical perspective or true sense of the region's recent travail, is bestowing praise on one of the hemisphere's most tawdry and controversial political figures, Argentine President Carlos Menem. In a one-week trip to three Latin American countries--none of whose democratic bona fides are all that secure--President Clinton has been unfortunately playing the role of a Babbitt engaged in commercial hustling. His one-dimensional emphasis on trade in a region which has repeatedly been gulled by foreigners selling snake oil which eventually turned to economic poison, have been inspired more by President Coolidge's words, 'the business of America is business,' than the high-minded vision of F.D.R. or President Kennedy. References to such abiding hemispheric problems as poverty and the concentration of wealth are dealt with by pro-forma one-liners that do not deserve to be taken seriously, since they are meant to cover bases rather than advance a great humanistic campaign. Democratic Stalwart? The U.S. President also has lauded the Argentine authorities (the heirs of those who coddled Nazi war criminals for decades) for overseeing democratic advances and the great strides the country has taken in the area of human rights. In fact, Menem has been a foe of democratic consolidation, disgracing its institutions by the non-stop scandals that have afflicted his tenure in office. Rather than the second San Martin that the White House portrays, Menem is little more than a self-serving hustler and manipulator who repeatedly lies and engages in acts of cover up in order to fend off accusations of corruption, feather his own nest, and defend the military against human rights accountability. hlenem's callous and raucous nature is epitomized by his larger-than-life personal situation. Tipping his hat to political expediency, Menem was reunited with his wife, Zulema Yomas, just in time for the 1988 Peronist presidential primary. However, after Yomas repeatedly criticized her husband for his social policies, Menem had her expelled from the presidential palace. Relations between the two further deteriorated in March 1995, when their son died in a helicopter crash; Yomas insists her son was murdered and that her ex-husband is covering it up. Political or judicial opposition has proved no barrier to Menem's self-absorbing plans. Shortly after being elected president, Menern circumnavigated a resistant Supreme Court by enlarging it from 5 to 9 judges, and packing it with his supporters. Likewise, Congress has , been effectively enasculated by the President's propensities to govern by decree, completely disregarding the Argentine electorate. It is universally believed that Menem is setting himself up to run for President again in 1999, with the Peronists pushing to once again amend the constitution to allow a president to serve three terms. Cld Traditions Continued Demonstrating a massive indifference to his country's widespread unemployment and poverty as well as ethical sensibilities, Menem, a man of relatively humble origins and modest wealth, has transformed himself into being the lord of a stately manor. He has built a golf course so secluded that it is visible only from the air, and an international airport for his home-town of Anillaco (population 900) so he can fly his private jet to his new, palatial home--complete with sauna, gym, swimming pool and tennis court. As one Argentine journalist said, 'Menem is building himself a private Disneyland in Anillaco.' Making the Clinton soft-money campaign scandal appear an insignificant blip on the scale for public rectitude, after news of the facility was disclosed, Menem insisted that his house and airport were financed with private donations, mostly from the ranks of Argentina's business community. Ruling With An Iron Hand Menem's 'Disneyland' also serves to further highlight the President's undemocratic psychology of attempting to control the press. While he was unable to block the broadcast of the investigative report detailing his desert empire, he did receive the satisfaction of seeing all four of the journalists responsible for it fired and the program cancelled. Only a month ago, a New York Times editorial said: 'President Carlos Menem seems to be encouraging violence ... he publicly called for physical assaults against journalists who offend.' The Argentine President's modus operandi, without question, appears to be to strike first, and strike hard. Shortly after being fired for a disagreement over economic policy, his highly regarded former finance minister, Domingo Cavallo, charged that since 1990, cabinet members repeatedly gave judges instructions on how to handle important cases. As Cavallo said in a 1996 New York Times article, 'In Argentina there is no security or justice.' Menem's response was to attack the former minister's credibility, accusing him of being motivated by revenge, and seeing to it that he was expelled from the Peronist party. Yet, allegations of a skewed and corrupt justice system have been a persistent theme throughout Menem's reign. In 1992 there was a a bombing attack on the Israeli embassy, followed by the bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish community center in 1994, causing a total death toll of almost 100 innocent victims. The failure of the authorities to act quickly and decisively to resolve these cases, which have been widely viewed in Argentina as a result of collusion by the police (who allegedly helped stage the bombing), has been seen as being sufficiently scandalous to prompt a U.S. Senate resolution condemning Menem's inaction. When former Lt. Commander Adolfo Scilingo recently went public, cataloging his role in throwing desaparecidos into the South Atlantic
---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---
-- Page 2 President Carlos Menem Page 2 of 2 from airplanes during Argentina's 'dirty war,' Menem failed to use the opportunity to morally condemn the operations and hold the - military responsible for its actions. Indeed, rather than seeking to redress the heinious excesses of the military dictatorship and advance ) human rights, Menem has been tireless in trying to deflect public media attention from the subject, insisting that the period of military rule must remain a matter of crime without punishment. Through a series of actions he has taken or directly supported, the entire officer corps of 1,000 has been exonerated from blame for atrocities conducted in the period of the 'dirty war' from 1976 into the 1980s, and all of those involved in the murder of upwards of 18,000 civilians have been absolved. It is this military that now will txa candidate for high-tech weapons sales, due to Clinton's lifting of the Carter era arms ban, and whose sinister history has provided the basis for the outrageous White House offer to designate Argentina as 'a non-NATO military ally,' one of the most embarrassing and bizarre designations that as yet have been devised by the State Department. No Friend Of Press Freedom The recent murder of crusading photo-journalist Jose Luis Cabezas has raised more questions about the nefarious nature of Menem's government. A key suspect in the judicial investigation into this crime is the mega-business magnate and political power broker, Alfredo Yabran. A shadowy figure in Argentine life, Yabran has appeared in the country's media at the center of a corruption firestorm. In 1995, he was specifically identified by Cavallo as public enemy number one, the ultimate embodiment of the mafia in Argentine politics. Since it took office, the Clinton Administration has supported Menem's policy of amnesia when it comes to human rights abuses. At the same time, the White House has followed a policy of selective indignation, insisting that war criminals indicted for crimes against the citizens of the fomier Yugoslavia and those involved in the killing of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents in Waco, be brought to justice. In its September 16, 1997 editorial, the New York Times flatly charged that Menem had 'stunted its [Argentina's] democratic growth.' Clinton has been touring South America in what is, ostensibly, a celebration of democracy. Yet if democracy is so important to his administration, why is Menem's Argentina--the perversion of democracy--being drawn closer to the U.S., and on the verge of receiving major 'non-NATO ally' status? The President and his wife are scheduled to spend their last night in the country at the Argentine resort city of Bariloche. The fact that no Argentine community harbored more exiles apparently was not enough to persuade the US. president to do what is right by deciding not to enjoy its hospitality. Authored by Semi W. Burges, a Research Associate at the Washington, DC-based Council on Hemispheric Affnws 1 10M 1- 1 Press Release

Subject: Re: In argentina
From: David E..
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 04:00:06 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
What is most interesting is they recovered despite not following IMF orders.

Subject: Re: Then and now
From: Paul G. Brown
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 19:22:56 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
> > We are, IMO, almost certainly witnessing the death of atleast one > school of economic theory - supply-side/trickle down economic > theory. > As much as I would like to think so, I have my doubts. Over the years we have accumulated plenty of evidence that the only way the government can stimulate an economy is through demand management: the factors which determine investment and savings aren't things which can be 'managed' by direct policy means. Never-the-less I predict we will never be entirely rid of the ideas of Mr Laffer et al. They are too conveniently aligned with the interests of the powerful and the privileged.

Subject: Re: Then and now
From: Pete Weis
To: Paul G. Brown
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 19:44:36 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I believe we are near the point of a 'revolution' in political and economic thought. I'm not certain, though, how far or exactly where that revolution will take us. The economic events of the 30's created such a revolution. Unfortunately old ideas which get their support from powerful interests don't die without a lot of suffering and a consequential hunt for the 'guilty'.

Subject: Re: Then and now
From: Emma
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 19:53:44 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Why is there no way for policy to create saving or investment? Think a moment beyond Chicago School theory in which all governed economic policy cancels out. Public schooling must surely be investment. Conservation meansures must surely be saving. Beyond the theory...

Subject: Re: Then and now
From: Paul G. Brown
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 21:36:40 (EST)
Email Address: paul_geoffrey_brown@yahoo.com

Message:
I think there is evidence that you can affect savings and investment, but in terms of stimulus, these effects are, well pretty effective. High interest rates, for example, can be used to stifle investment and modify inflationary expectations. But in times of low growth low interest rates a) don't encourage investment if the investing class doesn't see any evidence that it is going to get any return, b) can create the opportunity for speculative bubbles (Hello Florida/California/Sydney Real Estate) and c) disuades us from saving. Monetary policy (I think it was Galbraith said this) is like a string: you can't push on a string. You can do micro things to promote savings and investment: tax credits, etc. But in terms of evidence that it helps much. . .

Subject: Well stated Paul and...
From: Pete Weis
To: Paul G. Brown
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 23:00:53 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
better formulated to answer Emma's question.

Subject: Re: Then and now
From: Paul G. Brown
To: Paul G. Brown
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 21:37:33 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Not 'I think there is evidence that you can affect savings and investment, but in terms of stimulus, these effects are, well pretty effective.' Rather 'I think there is evidence that you can affect savings and investment, but in terms of stimulus, these effects are, well pretty ineffective.'

Subject: Re: Then and now
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 21:08:31 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
If you believe that jobs and wages will not get much better in the near future then you must accept the notion that growing personal debt will begin to take an ever higher toll on paychecks and consumption. If you believe that, given the present, economic environment of high debt, rising energy and raw material costs, that the present stock market and housing markets are overpriced and set to begin eroding then you must also accept that this also will reduce consumption. There is lots of talk about soft landings vs. hard landings. Any soft landings such as we experienced in the late 80's (after the 87 market crash) and early 90's (during that mild recession) were followed by strong job markets and rising wages and in both those periods we enjoyed some of the cheapest energy relative to inflation in history. Personal debt was, in those years, still well short of where it is now. Even the difficult times of the 70's were rescued by the hightech boom that boosted both the stock and job markets. Furthermore a very large drop in energy costs and gradual drop in interest rates further contributed to 20 years of apparent prosperity. I might add to this that the 70's were not preceded by irrational exuberance and bug run-ups in stocks and housing. In the 70's credit cards were just emerging. This time around it is much more similar to the early 30's which involved a very hard landing. Remember that the further development of economic theory since WWII which was mainly aimed at avoiding another 30's style depression has not been tested until now. If you look at our situation now it's difficult to make a case that we will avoid a hard landing despite all the advances in economic theory. So two possibilities arise - either (1) present economic theory is heavily flawed or (2) it has not been implimented properly. Perhaps it's a combination of the two. Anyway, things have gotten to the point, IMO, where no amount of fiscal and monetary policy by the US alone will turn the tide from a hard landing. The eerie similarities to the 30's is hard to miss. Whether this is a perfect storm or 'economic armegedon' per Stephen Roach's description, we've got some very difficult times ahead. Someone has got to demonstrate to me that a significant improvement in jobs and wage increases here in the US, Japan, and Europe is just around the corner for me to believe we won't have a very hard landing in the near future.

Subject: Re: Then and now
From: Emma
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 18:25:25 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Pete, I have read this remarkable commentary several times. What you appear to be getting at is a failure of traditional economic policy to allow for the continuation of the sort of modest movement to an equality of opportunity we experienced from the New Deal through the 1970s. So, then, why not question are economic theories and structures. Interesting and most thoughtful. I will think about the problem you have presented us. Thank you.

Subject: Wonderful Comment
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 15:44:40 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This is perfectly done and most convincing. Wonderful.

Subject: A Morsel of Goat Meat
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 15:00:25 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/23/opinion/23kristof.html?ex=1113109200&en=a7d363e1937cfb20&ei=5070 A Morsel of Goat Meat By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF Binga, Zimbabwe The hungry children and the families dying of AIDS here are gut-wrenching, but somehow what I find even more depressing is this: Many, many ordinary black Zimbabweans wish that they could get back the white racist government that oppressed them in the 1970's. 'If we had the chance to go back to white rule, we'd do it,' said Solomon Dube, a peasant whose child was crying with hunger when I arrived in his village. 'Life was easier then, and at least you could get food and a job.' Mr. Dube acknowledged that the white regime of Ian Smith was awful. But now he worries that his 3-year-old son will die of starvation, and he would rather put up with any indignity than witness that. An elderly peasant in another village, Makupila Muzamba, said that hunger today is worse than ever before in his seven decades or so, and said: 'I want the white man's government to come back. ... Even if whites were oppressing us, we could get jobs and things were cheap compared to today.' His wife, Mugombo Mudenda, remembered that as a younger woman she used to eat meat, drink tea, use sugar and buy soap. But now she cannot even afford corn gruel. 'I miss the days of white rule,' she said. Nearly every peasant I've spoken to in Zimbabwe echoed those thoughts, although it's also clear that some still hail President Robert Mugabe as a liberator. This is a difficult place to gauge the mood in, because foreign reporters are barred from Zimbabwe and promised a prison sentence of up to two years if caught. I sneaked in at Victoria Falls and traveled around the country pretending to be a tourist. The human consequences of the economic collapse are heartbreaking. I visited a hospital and a clinic that lacked both medicines and doctors. Children die routinely for want of malaria medication that costs just a few dollars. At one maternity ward, 21 women were sitting outside, waiting to give birth. No nurse or doctor was in sight, and I asked the women when they had last eaten meat, eggs or other protein. They laughed uproariously. Lilian Dube, a 24-year-old who had hiked 11 miles to get to the hospital, said that she had celebrated Christmas with a morsel of goat meat. 'Before that, the last time I had meat was Christmas the year before,' she said. 'I just eat corn porridge and mnyi,' a kind of wild fruit. An elementary school I visited had its fifth graders meeting outside, because it doesn't have enough classrooms. Like other schools, it raises money by charging fees for all students - driving pupils away. 'Only a few of the kids who started in grade one are still with me in school,' Charity Sibanda, a fifth-grader, told me. 'Some dropped out because they couldn't pay school fees. And some died of AIDS.' As many as a third of working-age Zimbabweans have AIDS or H.I.V., and every 15 minutes a Zimbabwean child dies of AIDS. Partly because of AIDS, life expectancy has dropped over the last 15 years from 61 to 34, and 160,000 Zimbabwean children will lose a parent this year. AIDS is not President Mugabe's fault, but the collapse of the health system has made the problem far worse. The West has often focused its outrage at Mr. Mugabe's seizure of farms from white landowners, but that is tribalism on our part. The greatest suffering by far is among black Zimbabweans. I can't put Isaac Mungombe out of my mind. He's sick, probably dying of AIDS, and his family is down to one meal a day. His wife, Jane, gave birth to their third child, Amos, six months ago at home because she couldn't afford $2 to give birth in the hospital. No one in the family has shoes, and the children can't afford to attend school. They're a wonderful, loving family, and we chatted for a long time - but Isaac and Jane will probably soon die of AIDS, and the children will join the many other orphans in the village. When a white racist government was oppressing Zimbabwe, the international community united to demand change. These days, a black racist government is harming the people of Zimbabwe more than ever, and the international community is letting Mr. Mugabe get away with it. Our hypocrisy is costing hundreds of Zimbabwean lives every day.

Subject: A shocking tale
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 20:56:25 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Before Freedom, people seem to want a full belly, what would the founding fathers think of this Emma? This is so sad.

Subject: Hybrid-Car Tinkerers and No-Plug-In Rule
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 14:56:35 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/02/business/02plug.html?8hpib=&pagewanted=all&position= Hybrid-Car Tinkerers Scoff at No-Plug-In Rule By DANNY HAKIM DETROIT - Ron Gremban and Felix Kramer have modified a Toyota Prius so it can be plugged into a wall outlet. This does not make Toyota happy. The company has spent millions of dollars persuading people that hybrid electric cars like the Prius never need to be plugged in and work just like normal cars. So has Honda, which even ran a commercial that showed a guy wandering around his Civic hybrid fruitlessly searching for a plug. But the idea of making hybrid cars that have the option of being plugged in is supported by a diverse group of interests, from neoconservatives who support greater fuel efficiency to utilities salivating at the chance to supplant oil with electricity. If you were able to plug a hybrid in overnight, you could potentially use a lot less gas by cruising for long stretches on battery power only. But unlike purely electric cars, which take hours to charge and need frequent recharging, you would not have to plug in if you did not want to. 'I've gotten anywhere from 65 to over 100 miles per gallon,' said Mr. Gremban, an engineer at CalCars, a small nonprofit group based in Palo Alto, Calif. He gets 40 to 45 miles per gallon driving his normal Prius. And EnergyCS, a small company that has collaborated with CalCars, has modified another Prius with more sophisticated batteries; they claim their Prius gets up to 180 m.p.g. and can travel more than 30 miles on battery power. 'If you cover people's daily commute, maybe they'll go to the gas station once a month,' said Mr. Kramer, the founder of CalCars. 'That's the whole idea.' Conventional hybrid electric cars already save gas. But if one looks at growth projections for oil consumption, hybrids will slow the growth rate of oil imports only marginally, at best, with the amount depending on how many hybrids are sold. To actually stop the growth of oil imports and potentially even reduce consumption, automakers have focused on developing cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells. But fuel cells would require a complete reinvention of the automobile, not to mention the nation's gas stations, and the technology to put them on the road is still a long way from fruition. Advocates of plug-in hybrids say the technology for these vehicles is available now to the point that people are building them in garages. 'All of the relevant technology is at hand,' said Frank Gaffney, founder of the Center for Security Policy and an assistant defense secretary in the Reagan administration. His group was among a coalition of right-leaning organizations that released an energy plan this year promoting plug-ins as one way to increase fuel efficiency in light of the instability of the Middle East. 'If you're thinking about this as an environmental issue first and foremost, you're missing the point,' Mr. Gaffney said. Curbing dependence on foreign oil, he added, 'is a national security emergency.' Toyota, however, says the plug-in is not ready for prime time. 'They say this is the next great thing, but it just isn't,' said David Hermance, an executive engineer at Toyota. 'The electric utilities really want to sell electricity and they want to sell it to the transportation sector because that expands their market. They have an agenda.' But the plug-in hybrid is not just coming out of the garages of enthusiasts in California. DaimlerChrysler has developed several dozen plug-in hybrid vans in cooperation with the Electric Power Research Institute, a group financed by more than 300 utilities, including the New York Power Authority and Southern California Edison. Testing of the vans will start this year, and one will be used by The New York Times on a newspaper delivery route in Manhattan. Several small companies are also developing or have developed plug-in hybrid prototypes. 'We think it's the only way to rekindle interest in electric transportation,' said Robert Graham, who manages research into electric vehicles for the Research Institute. 'There are no technology hurdles at all. It's simply a matter of getting the vehicle built out on the street and getting people to recognize its value.' For power companies, the notion of people plugging in cars overnight represents not only a new way to make money, but the vehicles would also draw power mostly during off hours which would improve efficiency, because power plants cannot simply shut down at night as demand diminishes. As it stands, though, modifying a hybrid like the Prius to enable it to plug in would add perhaps $2,000 to $3,000 to the cost of a car that is already roughly $3,000 more expensive than conventional gas cars. Advocates say the costs would be much lower if such cars were mass-produced by a major automaker. But Nick Cappa, a spokesman for DaimlerChrysler, was cautious, calling the technology one of many the company was exploring. Among its current drawbacks is that the added batteries take up space and make the company's Sprinter van several hundred pounds heavier. 'This is part of a small program investigating these technologies,' Mr. Cappa said. And Mr. Hermance of Toyota said that batteries today were not durable enough to handle the wide range of charging up and charging down that a plug-in hybrid would need, calling that the most damaging thing you can do to a battery. Edward Furia, the chief executive of AFS Trinity Power, a privately held company in Bellevue, Wash., that develops mechanical batteries called flywheels, agreed with Mr. Hermance, but said that a secondary energy storage technology like a flywheel could solve the problem. 'If you've got a flywheel with your chemical battery, you can draw down the chemical battery, but when it's time to do a heavy lift, to accelerate or absorb energy, the flywheel is doing the acceleration or the absorption, not the chemical battery,' said Mr. Furia, whose company is developing its own plug-in hybrid that it says will get several hundred miles per gallon. While many environmentalists support the technology, some say in terms of emissions, electric cars would only be as good as the power plants that produce electricity. 'The concern on plug-in hybrids is that we not substitute addiction to one polluting fuel for addiction to a more polluting fuel,' said Dan Becker, the head of the Sierra Club's global warming and energy program. 'Coal is more polluting than gasoline, and nearly 60 percent of U.S. electricity is generated by burning coal.' Roger Duncan, a deputy general manager of Austin Energy, a utility owned by the City of Austin, Tex., said that 'it's hard to say what impact it will have on the nation as a whole,' but that in regions that use cleaner-than-average power sources, like Austin or California, it would provide a clear emissions benefit. Mr. Duncan even imagines a day when drivers could be paid to return energy to the grid during times of excessive demand. Plug-in hybrid prototypes have been around for several years, but the idea of modifying a Prius stemmed from the curiosity of some Prius owners in the United States, Mr. Kramer said. They were aroused by a mysterious unmarked button on their Prius and discovered that in Priuses sold in Europe and Japan, the button allows the car to drive for a mile in electric-only mode. Mr. Hermance said the feature was disabled in Priuses sold in the United States because of complications it would have created in emissions-testing rules. Mr. Kramer said 'a bunch of engineers reverse-engineered it in the United States and figured out how to hack it.' But they soon wanted to travel on batteries for more than a mile and began to collaborate through CalCars on adding batteries to the Prius that would allow for longer pure electric travel. With the help of dozens of volunteer engineers collaborating online, the group retrofitted a Prius in Mr. Gremban's garage to travel about 10 miles on nothing but battery power. Mr. Duncan said the plug-in hybrid was 'very realistic, because it's not that big a leap in technology.' 'Look what Felix has done with Prius off the street,' he added. 'This isn't rocket science.'

Subject: Re: Hybrid-Car Tinkerers and No-Plug-In Rule
From: jimsum
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 21:54:28 (EST)
Email Address: jim.summers@rogers.com

Message:
I own a Prius and I really want a plug-in option. I have a 3 km commute, and surely it wouldn't take too much battery power to go that distance and back. However, the Toyota engineer has pretty much talked me out of it. His job depends on the batteries in the Prius lasting the life of the car; they guarantee it for 8 years. If plug-in batteries only last three years; they won't be worth $3000. And worse for the Toyota engineer, all hybrid car batteries will be given a bad reputation.

Subject: Re: Hybrid-Car Tinkerers and No-Plug-In Rule
From: Emma
To: jimsum
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 10:27:32 (EDT)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Thanks, Jim. Then what is your conclusion. Should there be an option of battery type? Are you pleased with the Prius.

Subject: Re: Hybrid-Car Tinkerers and No-Plug-In Rule
From: jimsum
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sun, Apr 03, 2005 at 21:11:20 (EDT)
Email Address: jim.summers@rogers.com

Message:
I am really happy with the car, I can't think of much that can be improved. I bought it about a year and a half ago, and like most people, I never saw one let alone have a test drive. So I was really happy when I didn't find anything wrong with it. The car is bigger than I expected, about the size of an Accord or Camry, and it has a huge amount of legroom in the rear. The car has a very high-tech design. There really isn't a dashboard; the digital speedometer is just below the windshield, where it is very easy to see. The touch screen is used for just about everything else, like the climate controls and the CD player. They stuck buttons on the steering wheel for things like volume and temperature control. The car is very quiet. You can't really feel it when the gas engine starts up or stops. The slower you go, the better the mileage you get, so I get the best mileage in traffic jams! I find it has changed my attitude towards heavy traffic a bit; I'm still annoyed at the delay, but I get the compensation of better mileage and of a nearly silent car. The mileage is good, but not magical. The faster you go, the more gas you burn. I find I get about 20% better mileage than I did in my previous car, a 1992 Honda Civic hatchback; even though the Prius is a bigger car. My overall average after 24000 km is about 5.8 l/100km or 42 mpg (U.S. gallons). The mileage is much better when temperatures are above freezing; I get closer to 5.0 in the summer (49 mpg). The car is pretty expensive, but I think it is likely worth the cost. Gas prices are not going down, and traffic is getting more congested; both of these factors favour hybrids over regular cars. Now onto my wish list :-) I wish the car were more open to tinkering. It would be great to use the touch screen with a PDA; I keep a log book to record my gas purchases, I'd love to use the screen instead. The same goes for the electricity. Why not have a way to feed electricity into the system? I believe the Toyota engineer when he says the existing batteries would be ruined by plug charging; but I'm sure different batteries could be designed that can stand up to it. I just want to be able to add aftermarket parts, like you can add turbochargers and nitrous systems to regular cars. I'd love to replace the roof and hood with solar cells, and not even have to pay for the electricity. At any rate, I am really happy that Toyota is selling the Prius, even if it can be improved a bit.

Subject: When Marriage Kills
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 14:40:11 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/30/opinion/30kristof.html?ex=1113109200&en=a941cc4cfd221b5c&ei=5070 When Marriage Kills By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF Livingstone, Zambia — Sex kills all the time, particularly here in Africa. But prudishness can be just as lethal. President Bush is focusing his program against AIDS in Africa on sexual abstinence and marital fidelity, relegating condoms to a distant third. It's the kind of well-meaning policy that bubbles up out of a White House prayer meeting but that will mean a lot of unnecessary deaths on the ground in Africa. The stark reality is that what kills young women here is often not promiscuity, but marriage. Indeed, just about the deadliest thing a woman in southern Africa can do is get married. Take Kero Sibanda, a woman I met in a village in Zimbabwe. Mrs. Sibanda is an educated woman and lovely English-speaker who married a man who could find a job only in another city. She suspected that he had a girlfriend there, but he would return to the village every couple of months to visit her. 'I asked him to use a condom,' she said, 'but he refused. There was nothing I could do.' He died two years ago, apparently of AIDS. Now Mrs. Sibanda worries that she and her beautiful 2-year-old daughter, Amanda, have H.I.V. as well. Encouraging more use of male and female condoms might reduce such tragedies, for there's a disdain for condoms in many countries that social marketing might change (there's an African saying: 'Who wants a sweet with the wrapper still on?'). The fact is that condoms have played a crucial role in the campaigns against AIDS that have been relatively successful, from Thailand's '100 percent condom program' to the efforts in Uganda, Cambodia and Senegal. And condoms don't cause sex any more than umbrellas cause rain. In theory, everybody agrees on how to prevent AIDS: the ABC method, which stands for abstinence, being faithful and condoms. But the Bush administration interprets this as ABc. New administration guidelines stipulate that U.S.-financed AIDS programs for young people must focus on abstinence or, for those who are already sexually active, 'returning to abstinence.' Here in Livingstone, Zambia, I visited Corridors of Hope, a U.S.-financed center for young people that has proved cheap and effective in reducing H.I.V. among prostitutes and long-distance truck drivers. One prostitute in the program is Mavis Sitwala, an orphan (probably because of AIDS) who is supporting her five siblings and one child. She says that truck drivers pay $1 for sex with a condom or $4 for sex without. 'At times, you need food or money to pay the rent,' she said, 'and so even if he won't use a condom, you agree.' Encouraging Ms. Sitwala to 'return to abstinence' isn't likely to get far, but encouraging more use of condoms might save her life, the lives of her clients and the lives of her clients' wives. Indeed, the Bush administration recognizes that, allowing condoms to be handed out to prostitutes in programs like Corridors of Hope - but not to society as a whole. There's a bit of wiggle room in the administration guidelines. But the U.S. Center for Health and Gender Equity reports that in several countries, the U.S. is already backing away from effective programs that involve condoms. The irony is that President Bush's plan to tackle AIDS in Africa - spending far more than any previous administration - could be one of his best and most important legacies. It tackles one of the most important humanitarian challenges in the world today: at present infection rates in Zimbabwe, 85 percent of today's 15-year-olds will die of AIDS. So I wish Mr. Bush would reach out beyond the ideologues to a real expert, like Loveness Sibanda. I met Mrs. Sibanda (no relation to the other Mrs. Sibanda) and her child in her village in Zimbabwe. She is 26, and her husband works in the city of Bulawayo, where she has heard that he has a girlfriend. Every few months he comes back to the village and insists on sleeping with her, without a condom. She now dreads these visits. Perhaps the White House thinks it has the moral high ground when it preaches, completely irrelevantly, to women like Mrs. Sibanda about the need to be faithful. But it strikes me as hypocritical to pontificate about virtue while pursuing an ideological squeamishness about condoms that risks condemning Mrs. Sibanda and millions like her to die of AIDS.

Subject: Cspn2 3:31pm - Roles Of Married Woman
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 14:44:50 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
03:31 pm 1:09 (est.) Forum Roles of Married Women Virginia Festival of the Book Forum Roles of Married Women Virginia Festival of the Book Charlottesville, Virginia (United States) ID: 185910 - 3 - 03/19/2005 - 1:14 - $29.95 A panel discussion of the role of the wife in American society was held in the Charlottesville City Council Chambers Panelists include: Meredith Broussard, author of The Dictionary of Failed Relationships: 26 Tales of Love Gone Wrong; Karen Houppert, author of Home Fires Burning: Married to the Military-for Better or Worse; Anne Kingston, author of The Meaning of Wife: A Provocative Look at Women and Marriage in the Twenty-first Century; and Meg Wolitzer, author of The Position and The Wife. The moderator is Bella Stander, Book Promotions Consultant

Subject: Another Kind of Racism
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 14:38:34 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/02/opinion/02kristof.html Another Kind of Racism By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF LUBIMBI, Zimbabwe The hardest place in the world to be an optimist is Africa. Much of Africa is a mess, and no country more so than Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe. The continent has been held back by everything from malaria to its nonsensical colonial boundaries, but the two biggest problems have been lousy leaders and lousy economic policies - and Zimbabwe epitomizes both. What makes Robert Mugabe a worse oppressor of ordinary Zimbabweans than the white racist rulers who preceded him is not just the way he turned a breadbasket of Africa into a basket case in which half the population is undernourished. It's also the fact that he's refusing to let aid organizations provide food to most of his people. He prefers to let them starve. In one western Zimbabwean village, I found a woman, Thandiwe Sibanda, who is trying desperately to keep her family alive. 'I'm the only one left to care for the children,' she said. 'My husband died, along with his other wife.' So now she is trying to provide for her own four rail-thin children as well as the two children of the other wife (who presumably died of AIDS along with the husband - so Mrs. Sibanda will very likely die of it as well). 'All we can eat is corn porridge,' she said, 'and there isn't nearly enough even of that.' Mrs. Sibanda is adopting the same survival strategies as nearly every other peasant family I spoke to - they are down to one or two meals a day. She pulled her children out of school last fall to save the $2.25 in annual school fees, as are many other families. Her daughter just had a baby a few days ago but has no milk to feed it. The infant may be the first to die. Jealous Sansole, a member of Parliament who opposes Mr. Mugabe, told me that in his district, people are already beginning to die of hunger. I didn't see that, but malnutrition is probably speeding up deaths from malaria, diarrhea and certainly AIDS. The only reason more haven't died is food aid. Mrs. Sibanda's village, for example, until recently received regular food distributions from the World Food Program and the Save the Children Federation. But last year, President Mugabe declared that Zimbabwe did not need food assistance. This was a lie, but Mr. Mugabe ordered the World Food Program and the aid groups it works with to stop handing out food to the general population. Some groups continued to distribute food that was in the pipeline, and I visited some villages that received food until January. But now the food aid has all ended. At an elementary school I visited, the principal said that three-quarters of the pupils could not afford breakfast and came to school hungry. Along the border with Mozambique, poor families are marrying off their daughters at very young ages so they will no longer have to feed them. If the old white regime here was deliberately starving its people, the world would be in an uproar. And while President Bush should be more forceful in opposing Mr. Mugabe's tyranny, it's the neighboring countries that are most shameful in looking the other way. There's a liberal tendency in America to blame ourselves for Africa's problems, and surely there's far more that we should do to help. We should encourage trade, forgive debts, do research on tropical diseases and distribute mosquito nets that protect against malaria. But some problems, such as Mr. Mugabe, are homegrown and need local solutions, like an effort by South Africa to nudge him into retirement. One of Africa's biggest problems is the perception that the entire continent is a hopeless cesspool of corruption and decline. Africa's leaders need to lead the way in pushing aside the clowns and thugs so their continent can be defined by its many successes - in Ghana, Mali, Cape Verde, Mauritius, Uganda and Botswana - rather than by the likes of Idi Amin, Emperor Bokassa and Robert Mugabe. There's a twinkle of hope, for Nigeria and other West African countries have shown the gumption to denounce seizures of power in Togo and São Tomé. But South Africa is still allowing Mr. Mugabe to cast a pall over the entire continent out of deference for his past fight against white oppression. Frankly, Zimbabweans have already suffered so much from racism over the last century that the last thing they need is excuses for Mr. Mugabe's misrule because of the color of his skin.

Subject: Mortgage or property tax - take a pick
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 14:14:58 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.sptimes.com/2005/03/25/Citytimes/No__for_sale__sign_Bu.shtml No 'for sale' sign? Buyers don't care Residents in neighborhoods near downtown Tampa are being asked to sell as real estate prices climb. By SHERRI DAY Published March 25, 2005
---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---

---
-- TAMPA - Ora Lee Scott sees it all from her front porch. Sometimes they come by mail, carefully worded letters from speculators asking to buy her house in Tampa Heights. Real estate brokers or would-be home buyers slowly cruise her block examining houses from their cars. On Sundays, bicyclists stop and snap pictures of bungalows and Victorians. The bold come to Scott's front door and pose a series of questions. Invariably, they always start with, 'Do you own your house?' Scott said. Then comes the hammer. 'Do you want to sell?' For Scott, 75, the answer is always no. 'They can just stop because I'm not going to do that,' said Scott, a retired nanny who lives in a bungalow on E Amelia Avenue. 'My mama died and left me this house. And I'm going to try to stay until I die and leave it to somebody else.' Scott, who has lived in Tampa Heights for most of her life, finds herself the recipient of a curious fortune. As the quality of life in her historic neighborhood increases, so, too, do requests to buy her 80-year-old house. Scott usually asks those who inquire what makes her house so special. 'They never give you an answer or they say, 'We just thought we'd like to live over here,'' she said. 'But I know it's more than that. I'm not stupid, not by a long shot.' Area real estate agents say Scott's case is a scenario that plays out every day in underdeveloped areas around downtown Tampa. As real estate prices in South Tampa's core neighborhoods climb, fringe areas look a lot more appealing. Suburban commutes and daily battles with gridlock also prompt homeowners to seek housing closer to their jobs. Now, neighborhoods shunned years ago by upwardly mobile professionals headed to suburbia are being courted again. Along with Tampa Heights, communities such as East Ybor City, Carver City, Palmetto Beach and Riverside Heights are on the brink of renaissance, agents and developers said. Homeowners in those neighborhoods increasingly find themselves the target of sales pitches. It's the price the residents pay for being in the next hot neighborhood. 'The prices have gotten to the point where it's exhausting some people and they just can't afford to get into South Tampa,' Tampa developer Dennis Johnson said. 'People see that I can go to Palmetto Beach or Forest Hills and get something for a lot less money. You can't have South Tampa, but you don't want to go out to Cross Creek.' Marie Preston, a real estate agent with Preston & Farley, said Tampa's burgeoning residential communities include Riverside Heights, Gandy/Sun Bay South and Palmetto Beach. She's got big predictions for Palmetto Beach. 'That's going to really blossom,' Preston said. 'We talk about that all time. It's certainly underpriced.' Lindsey Harris, president of the Palmetto Beach Community Association, agrees. He plans to use his day job in Caldwell Banker's South Tampa office to publicize his neighborhood. 'I should have been working this community,' Harris said. 'I'm getting ready to do some things through Caldwell Banker to really help put this community on the map.' Harris lapses into real-estate speak and touts the attributes of the neighborhood, which borders McKay Bay: 'Affordable housing. A-plus elementary school. Waterfront housing.' Young professionals and young families make up his target audience. For some Palmetto Beach residents, increased attention is a mixed bag. On one hand, the neighborhood has more services, including an improved DeSoto Park, a new pool and a bike path. But the fear of higher property taxes looms large. 'Some of us are on fixed incomes,' said Irene Rodriguez, a retired social worker who owns a house on Bermuda Boulevard along McKay Bay. 'If the property values go up, they can tax you out of your homes. I might have to go back to work to pay the taxes. 'Some of us don't want to be discovered.' Property owners with homestead exemptions can only receive a maximum 3 percent property tax increase each year. Still, some homeowners worry that the cumulative effect of higher property values over several years could overwhelm longtime homeowners, particularly the elderly. In Palmetto Beach, the median home value in 2000 was $60,000, according to the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser's Office. Four years later, the median value jumped to $85,750, a 43 percent increase. Other developing neighborhoods also showed a similar increase in median values, property records show. In the same period, the median value of homes in Carver City rose 39.4 percent. Likewise, median home values in Tampa Heights jumped 36.1 percent. The rise in value prompted Carver City/Lincoln Gardens homeowners association president Lorraine Wiley to encourage her members to hold on to their properties. At the association's March 3 meeting, the word to hold out came from an unlikely source. 'Nobody should be selling,' said Tampa developer James R. Mikes, who plans to build two townhome projects in the neighborhood. 'You're getting all the letters. If you're going to sell, sell when the prices are at their highest. Don't anybody sell right now.' But some Carver City residents aren't listening. Nadie Spivey, 82, has been trying to sell his home on Chestnut Street behind a Jefferson High School practice field for several years. 'I want to sell, but no buyers have come along yet,' said Spivey, who paid $500 for his lot in the 1960s. He said he built his house for $10,000. 'I lost my wife, and I don't have any business with this now. It's expensive. You can see now, my grass needs cutting.' Many of the houses on Spivey's block have for-sale signs in their front yards. That's because more than a year ago, a real estate agent told the residents he could get them top dollar for their property. Word on the street was that a developer was eyeing the property and planned to erect a hotel. But so far, few of the houses have actually sold. Frustrated, Spivey eventually removed the sign. Johnnie Mae Lane and her husband never put one up. But they have been expecting commercial development on the block for more than 40 years. Back then, the landowner told the Lanes that schools would come to the area as would a shopping center and hotels. So far, all of that has happened, Lane said. With their children long grown, the Lanes are prepared to move whenever the eager developers come - if the money is right. 'I let them know in the beginning, 'You're going to have to make me an offer that I can't refuse,'' she said. 'When that offer comes around, we'll know what it is. So far nobody has made us an offer that we can't refuse.' The Lanes' price? $200,000. Not everyone is willing to move. Some wonder where they would be able to afford to buy. Many already feel defeated, figuring that gentrification will eventually force them beyond city limits. Some longtime residents in those neighborhoods view their new neighbors with suspicion. Earlier this week in Tampa Heights, Jimmy Jones, a 37-year-old truck driver, spoke of 'they' and 'them,' meaning the whites and Latinos who are moving into the mostly black neighborhood. 'When we first moved here, most of them moved up to Carrollwood and Lutz,' Jones said. 'Now they're trying to push us out and come back in. A lot of people are pretty upset about it, but they feel there's nothing they can do.' Jones, sitting on a friend's front porch, bemoaned the unraveling of his neighborhood's once close-knit community. His friend, an elderly woman who owns a Tampa Heights house, echoed his concerns. Recently, Tampa's code enforcement officers cited her for having a chain-link fence. Although she owns her home, she fears costs will keep mounting now that home values are rising. Palmetto Beach's Joe Villa, 60, does not share her concerns. He lives across the street from DeSoto Park and said that all his neighborhood has lost in recent years are run-down mobile home parks, crime and drugs. He frequently gets offers to buy his house. But now that things are looking up in the neighborhood, he's renovating with no plans to sell. 'This house has been paid for, for the last 15 years,' said Villa, a machinist at the Port of Tampa. 'I'm sure property taxes will go up sooner or later. Still, it can't be as bad as paying a mortgage payment.' Sherri Day can be reached at 226-3405 or sday@sptimes.com [Last modified March 24, 2005, 08:29:25]

Subject: Argentina collapse - cspn2 today 4:44 pm
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 12:04:57 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
You can watch it on the webcast if you don't have cable. http://inside.c-spanarchives.org:8080/cspan/schedule.csp 04:44 pm 1:12 (est.) Speech And the Money Kept Rolling In (and Out): Argentina Politics and Prose Bookstore Paul Blustein , Washington Post Speech And the Money Kept Rolling In (and Out): Argentina Politics and Prose Bookstore Washington, District of Columbia (United States) ID: 185857 - 03/04/2005 - 1:12 - $29.95 Blustein, Paul, Correspondent, [Washington Post], Business Mr. Blustein talks about his book And the Money Kept Rolling In (and Out): Wall Street, the IMF, and the Bankrupting of Argentina, published by PublicAffairs. The book details the economic collapse of Argentina in 2001. The author contends that in the late 1990s Argentina employed new policies that were in keeping with the ideologies of the IMF, Wall Street financial institutions, and the World Bank. When Argentina failed to successfully implement these policies, the result was a complete collapse of not only the economic infrastructure but the government as well, leaving millions in financial ruin.

Subject: Rational Efficient Market Participants
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 11:34:36 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Sorry Terri, I can't share your optimism on the rational efficiency of the masses. Miss Cleo made how much off of suckers? http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/aprilfool/ www.snopes.com Don't forget all the people buying that holy mary grilled chese frying pan link from EBAY I sent you earlier.

Subject: Interest Rates and Asset Prices
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 10:32:40 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Though I am sympathetic to worry about rapidly rising real estate prices, nonetheless prices fixing by interest rate changes would presume we know what housing prices ought to be and this is a tricky tricky problem at best. Long term interest rates are still remarkably low because institutional demand for such debt is high and supply somewhat limited. Investors are confident there will not be a long term inflation problems. I suspect that Alan Greenspan will ask for a 50 or even 75 basis point increase in rates as he has done before, if he feels the bond market is anticipating to many 25 basis point moves to allow for stability of prices for various asset classes. Trying to lower real estate prices is simply too dangerous; notice Japan.

Subject: Re: Interest Rates and Asset Prices
From: Pete Weis
To: Emma
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 12:42:02 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'Trying to lower real estate prices is simply too dangerous; notice Japan.' At this point I would have to agree with you. The fed will only raise rates steeply if a more severe dollar crisis occurs. Right now our economy balances atop a steep sided real estate mountain. Rising oil is an additional problem as we must borrow more of the world's savings to import more costly oil. As Stephen Roach states - 'the US absorbs about 80% of the world's savings'. When you mention Japan, it's interesting to note that they maintained low interest rates, a trade surplus, and oil remained cheap through about mid 2003 and still their real estate dropped considerably from the 'bubble' it experienced during the late 80's and early 90's. You have to wonder why or how we would avoid a fairly severe real estate correction if Japan failed in this.

Subject: Dukes Of Hazzard
From: johnny5
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 13:35:12 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.demos-usa.org/pubs/home_insecurity_v3.pdf While many U.S. households have benefited from the recent rise in real estate prices, homeowners who have bought at record high prices are vulnerable to a fall in property values that could leave them owing more on their mortgage than their home is worth. This risk is aggravated by the fact that many Americans have reduced the equity in their home to pay off credit card debts and cover day-to-day expenses. More troubling still is evidence that many appraisers fraudulently inflate property values during the buying or refinancing of homes. This paper explores the implications of appraisal fraud. A few properties my father had in south georgia had this problem as he discovered when he tried to sell recently, the appraiser jacked the valuation, the bank officer made a bigger loan, the insurance man made a bigger insurance contract, the property tax lady boosted the property tax - the woman at the tax office was the wife of the lawyer/appraiser who was the brother of the bank officer who were the uncles of the insurance agent. Systemic risk indeed! Granted this was no MIAMI and a smaller south georgia town - Valdosta. But the good ole boy system is well in place to milk what they consider the outside investor and let him bear the risk of LIES.

Subject: Born to Be a Foreigner In Japan
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 09:34:50 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/02/international/asia/02gyun.html?pagewanted=all&position= Born to Be a Foreigner in Her Motherland By NORIMITSU ONISHI TOKYO CHUNG HYANG GYUN'S news conference was a sight seldom seen in Japan, the raw anger written across her face, the fury in her voice and words, the palpable feeling that these last words would somehow redeem the futility of her actions. 'I want to tell people all over the world that they shouldn't come to Japan to work,' Ms. Chung said in the perfect Japanese befitting someone who has lived nowhere else but Japan. 'Being a worker in Japan is no different from being a robot.' After a decade-long battle, the Supreme Court ruled recently that Ms. Chung, the daughter of a Japanese woman and a South Korean man, who was born in Japan and has lived all her life here, could not take the test to become a supervisor at her public health center because she is a foreigner. 'I have no tears to shed,' said Ms. Chung, a 55-year-old nurse. 'I can only laugh.' Ms. Chung is what the Japanese call a Zainichi, a term that literally means 'to stay in Japan,' but that is usually shorthand for Koreans who came here during Japan's colonial rule, and their descendants. Considered outsiders both in Japan and on the Korean peninsula, they have, over the years, adopted different ways of living in Japan. In a Japan that has softened its attitudes toward the Zainichi, many have become citizens and taken Japanese names, melding into the larger population. Others have taken citizenship, but kept their Korean names. Others still, like Ms. Chung, have taken neither citizenship nor name. Disagreements exist, even within the same family, including Ms. Chung's. Reaction to the court's ruling - that local governments can bar 'foreigners' from holding official positions where they exercise 'government power' - was split along political lines. Liberals said an aging Japan with a shrinking workforce would lose by shutting out people like Ms. Chung, who could hardly be considered a true foreigner. Conservatives said foreigners like Ms. Chung should simply become Japanese citizens. The morning after Ms. Chung's news conference, her boss asked her whether she regretted her words, she recalled in an interview, one recent evening after work, at her apartment here. 'No way,' was her answer. 'I didn't say enough.' Ms. Chung's story begins, as do all the stories of the Zainichi of her generation, with her parents. Her father, Chung Yeon Gyu, an author and Korean nationalist who opposed Japanese colonial rule, arrived in Japan in the 1920's. According to Toshio Takayanagi, a historian at Hosei University here who researched Mr. Chung's life, Mr. Chung published novels and essays critical of the Japanese government through the end of World War II; his writings were often censored here, and in 1944 he was put on a watch list by a special police unit. DURING Japan's colonial rule, from 1910 to 1945, some Koreans came here seeking economic opportunities while others were brought as forced laborers. By 1944, nearly two million Koreans lived in Japan, though most were repatriated after Japan's defeat, and the number fell to under 600,000 by 1947. In 1952, the Zainichi here were made to choose between South or North Korean citizenship, and were recognized as permanent residents of Japan. Ms. Chung's father and mother settled in Iwate Prefecture in northern Japan. Growing up there, Ms. Chung remembers, most of her classmates were told by their parents not to associate with her; a few, though, who came to play at her house are still friends. When she entered junior high school, a teacher ordered her to adopt a Japanese name, complaining that she could not read her Korean one. Other Zainichi in her class, who used Japanese names and hid their real ethnic background, faced anguish at graduation ceremonies when certificates were handed out in their Korean names. Unwanted in Japan, she had dreamed of finding acceptance in South Korea, where she headed to study after graduating from college in Japan. 'But what I faced was terrible discrimination,' she said. South Korea, under the military rule of Park Chung Hee from 1961 to 1979, was fiercely suspicious of Zainichi, many of whom were pro-North Korea. (A Zainichi would, in fact, later try to assassinate Park in Seoul, killing his wife instead.) What is more, Zainichi like Ms. Chung, who barely spoke Korean, were not considered Korean at all, she found. 'I was told that Zainichi are the people who did not come back to Korea because they did not want to spend money,' she said, recalling what would be her first and last trip to South Korea. 'If I said my mother was Japanese, they looked at me as if they were looking at a dirty thing.' Eventually, Ms. Chung became a public health nurse and in 1988 was hired by the Tokyo metropolitan government. Given the traditional Japanese respect for civil servants, her daily life became easier. For once, she faced no discrimination and even considered getting Japanese citizenship. But everything changed in 1994 when she applied to take a test for a managerial post. After she was told that managers had to be Japanese, she filed the lawsuit that was recently rejected by the Supreme Court. In recent years, general civil service positions have been opened to non-Japanese, including in 11 out of 47 prefectures and most big cities. But only a few municipalities, like Kawasaki City near here, have opened management-level positions to non-Japanese, and the Supreme Court ruling now makes it less likely that other municipalities will follow suit. THE easiest route toward the managerial posts is, of course, to acquire Japanese citizenship, a choice more and more Zainichi are making. In 2003, there were only 470,000 officially recognized Zainichi, a drop of about 100,000 since 1993. Most became naturalized Japanese, no longer counted as Zainichi. One of them is Ms. Chung's older brother, Tei Taikin, a professor at Tokyo Metropolitan University specializing in Japan-Korean relations and Zainichi issues. He became a naturalized Japanese in 2004 and changed his name. He has written about his agonizing choice and urged his sister to do the same. A Zainichi is confined to an uncertain existence, he wrote in Chuo Koron, a conservative monthly. 'In order to remove such uncertainty, you need to get your nationality closer to your identity - that is, acquire Japanese nationality and, hopefully, you can live as a Korean-Japanese.' After getting citizenship, he said, he felt as if he had passed through a tunnel. He did not feel as if he had sprung 'suddenly into the bright world when I got out of the tunnel.' 'But, nonetheless,' he said, 'I feel a kind of relief or lifting of burden.' Ms. Chung said she had not read her brother's essays. 'Zainichi who get Japanese nationality do so feeling, 'What else can I do?' ' she said. 'They do so because they do not want to be discriminated against.'

Subject: Why Save
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 08:29:21 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We might continually emphasize saving now, for with economic conditions and valuations that suggest lower investment returns in future saving becomes all the more important. There are people well able to save who do not do so because return prospects seem low or who believe that a home will be saving enough. Well, real estate beyond a home at reasonable values is a fine investment. Real estate however is richly valued in market after market, and a home is nice to live in without concern for continual price appreciation, and mortgages in time will generally have to be paid with other investments. The sense again is of a time for caution and caution means more saving not less, though we seem to be saving less.

Subject: Savings
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 07:04:41 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The problem we have looking ahead is that reasonably high stock values with very high earnings and low dividends less room for robust stock market returns than we would prefer. Low long term bond yields mean lower long term bond returns that we would prefer. These are difficult investment conditions for American households, and we had better be saving far more than we are. Saving is critical however much equity we may have in our own homes.

Subject: House rich, cash poor
From: johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 11:02:12 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
You can't eat a house, but they sure cost a lot to maintain and pay taxes and insurance on and to heat and cool. http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readreplies.aspx?msgid=21181978 To: John Vosilla who wrote (28918) 3/30/2005 2:22:52 PM From: Grace A. Zaccardi Read Replies (1) | Respond to of 29024 I can't talk my Boomer clients in these over priced bubble areas to even think about selling and moving somewhere cheaper. I have clients, friends and family members whose family incomes are in the 50-60k range living in 700k to million dollar houses with 100k mortgages who refuse to even think about selling. If they do take out equity it is usually to make some improvement in the house itself. It makes me crazy that people want to keep that much of their net worth in a house. They may change their minds as they get older, especially if they do wind up cash poor. I find that the older people get the less amenable to change they become. http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readreplies.aspx?msgid=21184476 To: John Vosilla who wrote (28952) 3/31/2005 3:33:22 PM From: Grace A. Zaccardi Respond to of 29024 I heard today that only 7% of boomers have $150K available cash for retirement Half of the retirees in any given year retire with no cash assets, only their SS benefits for income.

Subject: Re: House rich, cash poor
From: johnny5
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 11:55:20 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.contraryinvestor.com/mo.htm Look at the chart near the bottom - real estate as % of net worth versus equities as a % of net worth from 45 - 2005

Subject: Dividends
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 06:37:29 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The dividend on the S&P Stock Index is about 1.6% after Vanguard costs. This dividend is too low but completely secure for the index as a whole and increases possibly 4% a year. Dividends are favored with a 15% tax. The Value Index has a dividend about 2.4%. Though analysts are always telling us dividends are being raised, investors are not demanding better dividends and companies are not paying them though they could easily do so. I would expect corporate savings to be used increasingly for mergers of various sorts.

Subject: The Weak Labor Market
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 06:02:00 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
A healthy labor market for America would mean a steady creation of 200,000 and more jobs each month. The low job creation number this month was made weaker because the last 2 months job creation numbers were lowered. There is a problem with little wage or benefit gain that reflects a weak labor market. A sigh is warranted.

Subject: Cheer up Terri - this is Progress
From: johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 10:20:01 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Old jobs and models and paradigms and economies will die so that fresh new ones are birthed, what a great opportunity for people to retrain into newer more advanced fields the world needs to progress our science and workforce and living standards.

Subject: A Cautious Strategy
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 05:43:10 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Earnings quality appears to be deteriorating. Also, the price earning ratio for the S&P Index is high and the price dividend ratio is very high. Stock buyback levels, beyond what is needed to cover options exercise, do not compensate for low dividends. So, there is cause to worry. However, as in 2000, earnings levels are at record highs after allowing for quality issues then and now. The problem is the record level of earnings should not be cause for much confidence. Earnings have come at the expense of labor, earnings have come in a very low interest rate and high growth environment. Sustaining the level of growth of earnings will be most difficult, as in 2000, and it is sutaining the level of earnings that will likely determine whether the stock market can continue to trade at current levels. A cautious strategy then as in 2004 would seem to be much in order. I keep asking myself where is there relative value.

Subject: Interest Rates
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 20:23:30 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There are 2 near term problems that persist in the economy, too little job creation and increasing energy prices. The different nature of the problems may present a problem for the Federal Reserve. Energy price increases may increase near term inflation, so the Fed will wish to keep increasing interest rates. The weak job market will dictate that the Fed be careful in raising rates for fear of further stifling job creation. The guess then from the bond market is continued slow movement by the Fed.

Subject: A Parts Supplier to an Aging Population
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 19:16:42 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/26/business/26stryker.html?pagewanted=all&position= A Parts Supplier to an Aging Population By BARNABY J. FEDER On a Friday morning not long ago, a surgical team at the New York Hospital for Joint Diseases sliced, drilled, probed, sawed and hammered its way through a two-hour operation to replace the left knee of Joseph Madden, a retired policeman, with a metal and plastic substitute. Hovering in the background, when he was not scurrying off to two neighboring operating rooms to peek in on knee operations there, was Dan Driesse, a sales representative for the Stryker Corporation. Stryker, based in Kalamazoo, Mich., manufactured all three artificial knees being implanted that morning. Mr. Driesse was on hand to answer any questions that came up or to substitute devices quickly if the doctors decided that a slightly different size was needed. But that is just scratching the surface of Stryker's involvement. Stryker also made the new surgical navigation system that Mr. Madden's surgeon, Dr. Patrick Meere, was testing that morning. Dr. Meere wore Stryker's Steri-Shield gown and surgical hood to protect himself as he worked. He used its cutting guides and power tools to saw off the ends of Mr. Madden's thigh and shin bones and to drill the holes into which Stryker screws were inserted to hold the pieces of the artificial knee. And when it came time to apply bone cement to hold the new knee in place, Dr. Meere reached for Stryker's Mixivac mixing unit and whipped up a batch of Simplex P, a Stryker product that leads the orthopedic adhesives market. Like a major supplier of parts to an auto assembly line, Stryker offers countless devices and accessories to hospitals worldwide, some on a just-in-time basis. But automakers can only dream of the kind of growth prospects that Stryker has. Ever-increasing numbers of aging baby boomers will be driving demand for Stryker's hips, knees and spinal implants - and the tools to install them - for years to come. Investors like what they see. Although the company is still not widely known by patients, its shares are now worth $18.6 billion, roughly the same value investors put on longtime heavyweights like International Paper, Volkswagen and General Mills. Wall Street's view reflects not just Stryker's prospects but respect for its track record under John W. Brown, an unassuming workaholic who ran Stryker for 27 years. During that time, earnings grew by more than 20 percent every year but one. Mr. Brown, 70, now Stryker's chairman, gave up his job as chief executive on Jan. 1. The successor Mr. Brown recruited, Stephen P. MacMillan, 43, now has Wall Street wondering how long he can keep up the blistering growth pace. 'MacMillan is in a honeymoon period,' said Dr. Mark Landy, an analyst who follows device companies for the Susquehanna International Group of Companies. ' 'Show me' is coming.' Mr. Brown, a Tennessee native and engineer by training, transformed Stryker from a family-owned business with $70 million in annual sales of hospital beds and surgical tools into a diversified health care giant with $4.2 billion in revenue last year. In orthopedics, its biggest business, it runs neck and neck with Johnson & Johnson for market leadership, slightly ahead of Zimmer Holdings, based in Warsaw, Ind. Stryker's intense culture is on display at its large orthopedics factory in Mahwah, N.J., where each manufacturing station tracks and posts on its bulletin board not just standard production records but even details like employee sick days. As Stryker sees it, sick days are a measure of morale because motivated workers show up even when they are ill. Mr. MacMillan is well aware that pressure to hit high growth targets has seduced many companies into misguided investments and accounting shenanigans. 'Actually, 20 percent earnings per share growth is our second most important metric,' Mr. MacMillan said. 'The most important thing we need to do is to make sure we continue to run the company in an ethical manner where we don't bend the rules to meet our goals.' Stryker's attention was focused on such issues late in 2003 when the Justice Department subpoenaed records of Physiological Associates, a subsidiary that provides physical therapy services. Stryker says the unit's top management has been replaced and that it is cooperating with the government's investigation into whether the unit, the only part of the company that does not make a product, fraudulently overcharged for services. Mr. Brown fashioned Stryker into a highly decentralized sales-driven company - so Stryker might seem especially vulnerable to such misconduct. The company, for instance, has developed an extensive screening program with the Gallup Group to spotlight attributes like competitiveness in job applicants. But Mr. Brown was also wary enough of the competitive personalities Stryker recruited to demand strict financial monitoring practices at the operating divisions. Mr. Brown said in an interview recently at a New York sales meeting that one division fired its top salesman for pushing more product into a hospital's inventory than the hospital ordered at the end of last year. 'Our management pounced on it,' he said proudly of the division leaders, whom he declined to identify. Mr. MacMillan's background includes marketing consumer products like Tylenol at Johnson & Johnson and running a group of human and animal health companies with $2 billion in revenue at Pharmacia. He joined Stryker as president and chief executive in 2003. Even before Mr. MacMillan took over, better marketing had become a priority for Stryker. Stryker's advertising to consumers of its ceramic hip replacements, featuring the golfer Jack Nicklaus, has been an eye-opening success in an industry used to thinking of surgeons, not patients, as its customers. But Stryker concedes it stumbled onto that opportunity when Mr. Nicklaus participated in a clinical trial and was delighted with the results. Now, it is trying to build its brand actively rather than simply reacting to a lucky break. 'Steve is going to make Stryker better known on Main Street and around the world,' Mr. Brown said. Mr. MacMillan also wants Stryker to move faster to marry biotechnology and orthopedics. The long-range dream is to develop protein products that grow or restore bones and can be injected, with none of the trauma involved in inserting today's metal or ceramic substitutes. Mr. Brown began investing in such innovations in 1985, but, $300 million later, the only uses approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the Stryker protein are limited to humanitarian cases where other bone-healing procedures have failed. Meanwhile, Medtronic, which did a better job of analyzing the market and demonstrating its product to the F.D.A., is raking in huge profits from Infuse, a protein compound used to grow bone in spinal fusion procedures. The race to develop bone protein products is one of many signs that even as the orthopedics business grows to meet the needs of an aging population, it may be split among several competing technologies, all of them requiring heavy investment to develop. Last fall, Stryker bought SpineCore, a start-up company in Summit, N.J., to gain access to its designs for artificial disks that could be implanted in the lower back and neck. The investment, which will cost up to $360 million depending on progress in developing the disks, brought the total invested in start-up disk companies by Stryker and three large rivals to more than $1 billion. Stryker, which does not expect SpineCore's first product to be approved before 2008 at the earliest, is betting that its design will be a big enough improvement to overcome the disadvantage of being among the last to market. In the shorter term, Stryker looks well positioned to hit its 20 percent earnings growth goal this year. In the longer run, though, Mr. MacMillan's challenge may be to convince Wall Street that Stryker can become stronger by recalibrating its growth goals. 'His legacy,' said Dr. Landy, the analyst, 'could be to lead a diversification that would lay the basis for somewhat slower growth over a longer period of time.'

Subject: Bankruptcy Bill Solution
From: TalkieToaster
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 18:12:14 (EST)
Email Address: aitoaster@yahoo.com

Message:
I put up a site called Plastic Revolution This is a response to the bankruptcy bill passed with not so much as a wimper in the senate. I want to turn it into a scream! so sign up start sending back their letters. I have a stats site set up so you can keep track of your progress! also... I've now put a list of states showing the ones who've joined the effort on the site to kill the Bankruptcy Bill When you join from your state I will turn it purple on the page! plasticrevolution.org Let's chip away at these guys Plastic Revolution plasticrevolution.org

Subject: The Growth of U.S. Executive Pay
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 14:12:49 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=648682 The Growth of U.S. Executive Pay LUCIAN ARYE BEBCHUK Harvard University YANIV GRINSTEIN Cornell University Abstract: This paper examines both empirically and theoretically the growth of U.S. executive pay during the period 1993-2003. During this period, pay has grown much beyond the increase that could be explained by changes in firm size, performance and industry classification. Had the relationship of compensation to size, performance and industry classification remained the same in 2003 as it was in 1993, mean compensation in 2003 would have been only about half of its actual size. During the 1993-2003 period, equity-based compensation has increased considerably in both new economy and old economy firms, but this growth has not been accompanied by a substitution effect, i.e., a reduction in non-equity compensation. The aggregate compensation paid by public companies to their top-five executives during the considered period has added up to about $290 billion, and the ratio of aggregate top-five compensation to profits increased from 4.8% in 1993-1995 to 10.3% in 2001-2003. After presenting evidence about the growth of pay, we discuss alternative explanations for it. We examine how this growth could be explained under either the arm’s length bargaining model of executive compensation or the managerial power model. Among other things, we discuss the relevance of the parallel rise in market capitalizations and in the use of equity-based compensation.

Subject: Where they stick that stolen boot
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 14:53:58 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.e-offshore.net/incorporate.asp http://www.e-offshore.net/faq.asp#4 Q: Who are you main type of clients? A: The majority of our clients are qualified professionals such as accountants, lawyers, Trust Companies, Investment Advisors and Management consultants. However, we do also provide services to the general public. Q: In which jurisdiction must the beneficial owner be disclosed to the authorities? A: The beneficial owner must be disclosed in jurisdictions such as Jersey, Bermuda and Labuan. Double click on the icon 'Information' for all other jurisdictions in which the beneficial owner is disclosed to authorities and also jurisdictions in which the beneficial owner is not disclosed to the authorities. It is important to note that in some jurisdictions the beneficial owner is not disclosed to the authorities, but to banks and to Registered Agents. In the Bahamas the beneficial owner is disclosed to the Registered Agent. In Switzerland the beneficial owner is to be disclosed to the bank for the opening of corporate bank accounts. Q: Is it worth my/our while to become an affiliate if I/ we incorporate as the following is my requirement for incorporation 2, 6, 10, 50, 500, 1000 A: It is definitely worthwhile to become an affiliate member. As an affiliate member you will automatically benefit from a 15% discount of standard prices on all your incorporations. There after there are more substantial discounts for volume users as denoted in the following table: Number of Companies EFS Discounts Up to 1,000 15% off standard price 1001 to 1700 17.5 % off standard price 1701 and over 20% off standard price Q: How secure is your site? How can you ensure no third party interference? A: Our website incorporateacompany.com uses the latest 128bit encryption technology for its security system (the first non-banking offshore website to do so.) This extremely high level encryption secures our data travelling over the Internet. We host our own server, therefore no third party is involved and that is another guarantee for security. Our data is transmitted and stored safely offshore. We ensure that we retain information on a country or jurisdiction which has strict legislation that supports the confidentiality of our affiliates’ information. Further more World Pay Plc process all credit card payments. Electronic Financial Services Limited has created a Privacy Statement that demonstrates that our firm is committed to privacy. The Privacy Statement discloses our information and dissemination practices for our website. Q: I wish to incorporate in Andorra. However, I am aware that the shareholder has to be Andorran? How can I as a foreign investor retain control and power of the company as a shareholder? A: As a foreign investor who wishes to retain control and power of your company a Usufruct Contract is drafted. This allows the transfer of the Andorran Shareholders power back to the Offshore Investor to enable the Offshore Investor full control of the company incorporated. Therefore, using the Usufruct contract the offshore investor is the owner of the company and not the Andorran Shareholder. Q: What is an IBC Company? A: An IBC is an international Business Company, designed to provide maximum privacy and is not subject to local taxation. This type of company is owned by non-residents and is not permitted to trade within the jurisdiction where it is incorporated. Q: Where is my personal information that I input into your computer being held? A: All personal information on clients is held offshore in order to maximise security. Back to top Q: What is the advantage of my personal information being held offshore? A: So that personal confidential information is only retained in a country or jurisdiction which enjoys strict legislation that supports client confidentiality.

Subject: Market Timing and Value Investing
From: David E. and Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 10:53:51 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Hi Terri, let me take a different tack on this, and find out what you think. Warren Buffet has never been a market timer or a follower of MPT. His plan has been to buy low, his dilemna has been that everything is high. You can argue that Buffett has stuck with his plan - to buy low. But I don't think you can call him a market timer unless you want to call value investing market timing. In my opinion, its not market timing unless there is an element of 'I know what the market is going to do'. Value investing doesnt care about the market, the first and only directive is to buy value. When probable returns are very close to the bond market, there is no value. Exactly, and this is what I have tried repeatedly to explain but you have done it better. Exactly. Warren Buffett must buy in the billions, and that is harder than our buying for there are far fewer possibilities. All I hope for is an idea every month or so, and idea of value, and there usually comes such an idea and I buy. This has proven successful for me, but this is what buying value is really about. Exactly.

Subject: Conundrums
From: johnny5
To: David E. and Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 12:56:41 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
'its not market timing unless there is an element of 'I know what the market is going to do'. I don't understand - hasn't he made it very very clear he expects the US markets and the US dollar to go down soon? He does not merely expect it to just FLUCTUATE as was a famous quote in investing history, but he expects it to go down no? He has also said a soft landing or gradual slide of the dollar will not fix what he thinks is wrong - so not only does he say it will go down - but it will be HARD when it goes down - that is value investing and not market timing? It is getting blurry to me.

Subject: Re: Conundrums
From: David E..
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 16:15:53 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Johnny5 good points - but I don't think Warren Buffet has violated his prime directive - which is to value invest. And he has come to a point where his actions look very much like 'macro' economic forecasts. Warren Buffet is unable to find any 'value' investments so what is left for him to do. Just one thing 'value' invest his money, and I think you can say, he is value investing when he chooses some foreign currencies over the dollar. I did the same thing, but I did it using MPT. I am overweighted foreign. But (hopefully) not being a market timer, I am not 100% foreign. In the 25 year period that this mix will cover I will do an average of what the US does and the rest of the world does. If I was a market timer I would bet the ranch against the dollar.

Subject: Insurance Regulator's Trails to Dublin
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 10:30:04 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/01/business/worldbusiness/01irish.html?pagewanted=all&position= For Insurance Regulators, Trails Lead to Dublin By BRIAN LAVERY and TIMOTHY L. O'BRIEN DUBLIN - Inside a sprawling complex of emerald-green glass towers, where derelict shipyards once lined the River Liffey, financiers have helped transform this city into one of the world's most innovative insurance providers. They have also turned Dublin into an unlikely hot spot in a growing insurance scandal that has toppled chief executives and even pulled the investing legend Warren E. Buffett into its orbit. Regulators around the world have followed several trails of suspect financial transactions back to Ireland, which more than a decade ago instituted accommodating tax and regulatory standards aimed at encouraging insurers to set up shop here. At the center of those investigations is the General Re Corporation, a unit of Berkshire Hathaway, a holding company that includes Mr. Buffett's insurance operations. Investigators are exploring General Re in connection with possible financial manipulation at some of the world's largest and most prestigious insurers. General Re, which has a substantial presence here, is just one among dozens of companies that have enjoyed a surge in business since first venturing to Dublin in the early 1990's. Dublin's insurance boom came on the heels of a natural disaster. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew ravaged southern Florida and Louisiana, causing more than $25 billion in damage and forcing insurers to pay a host of claims. Some insurers, battered by the losses, were hesitant to take on large risks after that disaster. That spawned a new breed of competitors in Bermuda willing to fill the gap. Another crop of insurers chose to hopscotch past the Caribbean and locate here. The city's insurance industry is based in a 40-acre self-contained business park, the International Financial Services Center, where the Irish government offers a corporate tax rate far below the rates other large European Union members impose on companies. The center is home to hundreds of concerns that employ about 16,000 people. Aided by what even members of the Irish Parliament fondly call the 'light touch' of the country's financial regulators, Dublin has promoted an entrepreneurial culture that allows billion-dollar insurance companies to open their doors and begin selling policies in a matter of weeks. In 2003, the most recent year with data available, 56 international insurance and reinsurance companies in Dublin wrote gross premiums worth at least 14 billion euros ($18 billion), and held around 45 billion euros ($58 billion) in assets, according to the industry's lobbying arm, the Dublin International Insurance and Management Association. Despite handsome compensation, Dublin's insurance executives tend to keep a low profile and disdain ostentatious displays of wealth. 'People are working too hard to be caring about their egos,' said Sarah Goddard, head of the insurance association. An educated work force, a good family environment and Dublin's cosmopolitan attractions have also drawn insurers. Despite its wet weather, Dublin has other pluses compared with balmier insurance locales like Bermuda, including more available housing, parking spaces and long-term visas. But along with its reputation for innovation, Dublin has become known in the insurance industry as something of the Wild West of European finance, a perception that helped prompt the creation of the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority two years ago. Despite its mandate for stricter oversight, the agency has yet to impose major sanctions on any Irish institution, even though Ireland has recently experienced several major banking scandals. But industry representatives dispute the idea that Ireland may be home to unchecked financial frauds. 'I don't regard this regime as being in any way lax,' said Aileen O'Donoghue, director of Financial Services Ireland, a trade group. 'We certainly wouldn't be selling ourselves as fast and loose.' Even so, investigators and regulators in the United States, Australia and Europe are examining General Re's role in selling policies that, in some cases, may have helped paper over weaknesses at insurers and other companies. In at least one case, such policies may have contributed to a major financial collapse. In many instances, financial technicians working for a General Re unit here known as the 'alternative solutions group' devised complex, newfangled insurance products that have drawn investigative scrutiny and have come back to haunt Berkshire and other major insurance companies. 'The vast majority of the world doesn't regulate reinsurance because it's a business-to-business operation,' Ms. Goddard said. 'These are all big boys playing the same game together.' The centerpiece of the current round of inquiries is an arcane product called finite reinsurance. Insurers buy reinsurance to limit their own exposure to catastrophic claims. Finite reinsurance is used to soften the impact of claims paid out over a long period. While finite products are at the center of current inquiries, analysts say that the entire reinsurance business, much of it in offshore locales like Ireland and Bermuda, is plagued by poor documentation and weak regulation. 'They are very much handshake, frenzied types of transactions; that has always been the culture of the business,' said Keith Buckley, a managing director and head of the insurance group at Fitch Ratings. 'It's been something of the good-old-boy type of network, with a somewhat lackadaisical approach to documentation and other things that still exists in the reinsurance departments of too many companies.' Dublin has attracted numerous reinsurers enamored of Ireland's advantages, particularly affiliates of American and German companies. Henning Ludolphs, managing director of the Irish division of Hannover Re of Germany, said that a low cost base was a significant reason reinsurance companies, among other financial institutions, initially set up operations here. 'In the early days of '92 or '93, it was a reasonably affordable place to do business,' and an easy place to start a company because of the accommodating stance of the Irish government, Mr. Ludolphs said. The strong euro and Ireland's soaring inflation rate in the late 1990's have eroded those cost advantages, but Dublin is cheaper - 'a couple of times' so - than Bermuda as a place to do business, he added. Cologne Re, another German reinsurer, was among the pioneers of the Irish industry in the early 1990's. General Re acquired a controlling stake in Cologne Re in 1994, and Berkshire, in turn, acquired General Re in June 1998. A Cologne Re executive, John Houldsworth, oversaw the company's business here in the early 1990's and he later became a senior member of General Re's alternative solutions group. Regulators and investigators said that the group was at the center of two high-profile finite reinsurance investigations, one in Australia and the other in the United States. Australian regulators said that a troubled insurer named FAI used finite products to feign profitability shortly before HIH Insurance Ltd., a fast-growing Australian conglomerate, bought it in 1998. HIH collapsed four years ago beneath the weight of ill-considered acquisitions like FAI and other problems. Mr. Houldsworth and five other General Re executives were involved in improprieties related to the FAI transactions, Australian regulators said. In October, the regulators permanently barred all the executives from Australia's insurance industry. Regulators say that Mr. Houldsworth and another executive, Tore Ellingsen, continue to work for another General Re unit in Dublin, where Mr. Houldsworth oversees finite reinsurance operations. In December, Australian regulators barred another General Re executive, Milan Vukelic, for the FAI deal, but reinstated him on appeal. Mr. Vukelic is now the chief executive of the Faraday Group, a General Re unit based in London. Mr. Houldsworth, Mr. Ellingsen and Mr. Vukelic declined to comment. In the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission and Eliot Spitzer, the attorney general of New York, are investigating a questionable finite transaction between General Re and the American International Group that originated in Dublin in late 2000 and involved Ronald E. Ferguson, General Re's chief executive at the time. Regulators say the transaction artificially increased A.I.G.'s premium reserves, ultimately helping its stock price and its ability to acquire another company. Mr. Buffett will be meeting with American regulators and law enforcement officials on April 11 to discuss that transaction. Mr. Spitzer's office considers Mr. Buffett to be a witness in the investigation, not a target, according to a person briefed on the inquiry. Berkshire has said repeatedly that its chairman had no knowledge of improprieties related to the transaction and that his subordinates are responsible for decisions made by units like General Re. Regardless of whether the perception of lax regulation is justified in Ireland, the rules governing reinsurance in Europe are due to change soon. A European Union directive currently under discussion and scheduled to take effect next year will establish a regulatory framework spanning the 25-country union. It will mandate closer scrutiny than that provided by the current Irish system, in which one of the chief regulatory requirements is that an insurer notify authorities whenever there is a change on its board.

Subject: Re: Insurance Regulator's Trails to Dublin
From: Setanta
To: Emma
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 10:57:00 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
interesting article. wonderfully biaised though. as a financial services auditor i can attest that the image portrayed of the regulatory environment is not correct. we have problems with corporate governance as with all other juristictions but the problem with finite insurance lies soley with US accounting standards. I have long advocated the adoption of 'substance over form' standards as they exist in the UK and Ireland. in essence a finite policy (used for income smoothing purposes) is a loan by any other name. US GAAP permits this to be accounted for as an insurance premium, and as such, is exempt of tax. this is due to the legal form of the transaction being an insurance policy. In the UK and Ireland this would be considered a loan (the substance of the transaction determines the treatment not the form) and no tax implications arise. we would not ask the US to change its regulatory environment because a few english or irish companies avail of conflicts with domestic accounting standards and it is not fair that ireland is criticised for its regulatory environment. (the banking scandal which was for a period of 5 years, while unpleasant, amounted to a change of 3-4% of the relevant bank's profits for 2004, which pales in significance to corporate governance problems in other countries.) the greatest regulatory change will be the adoption of IFRS throughout the EU next year. this will ensure a cross border standard that will enable investors to compare companies throughout the union. a nightmare for us who will have the ineviable task of trying to explain to companies why they cannot account to goodwill and bad debt provisions as they did in the past! furthermore it will end accrual accounting for hedges as we know it. from now on all hedges will be marked to market and there will be no unpleasant surprises off balance sheet.

Subject: Thanks to Dublin
From: Emma
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 11:34:12 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
I was hoping you would at once comment, and hope for more of your Dublinesque perspective.

Subject: Now on cspn2 corporate crooks
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 13:05:27 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
News Conference Corporate Trust Study American Academy of Arts and Sciences National Press Club, Morning Newsmaker Washington, District of Columbia (United States) ID: 186026 - 03/23/2005 - 1:11 - $45.00 Overholser, Geneva, Professor, University of Missouri, School of Journalism Silvers, Damon, Associate General Counsel, AFL-CIO Berlowitz, Leslie C., Executive Director, American Academy of Arts and Sciences Rosenfeld, Gerald, Chief Executive Officer, Rothschild North America The American Academy of Arts and Sciences released its new report titled “Restoring Trust in American Business.” The report examined the recent corporate scandals and includes steps for improving corporate conduct and restoring confidence in American business. They talked about improving enforcement of regulations and standards of conduct, monitoring corporate accounting, and preserving business integrity. Following their remarks they answered questions from the audience.

Subject: Hume and Milton Friedman
From: johnny5
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 14:19:30 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Technological Lock in - they talk about how 30 years ago milton friedman and chicago friends helped reshape the paradigm that individual market participants trying to maximize thier personal economics would benefit the whole and that the courts adapted this when thinking of corporate culture and this all needs to be unwound - but it could take decades :(. They attacked the NY times with others and how the small families still have so much voting power in the few large newspapers. They said large media used to be objective but no longer and this fuels the fire of lacking corporate governance, but I read posts here from the NY times that people present daily.
---
Today I read articles here from the NY TIMES with attacks on japan, germany, and Dublin, but what of self reflection? They talk of nets in africa, but would not dare slam Warren and his 12 million generosity no? Hypocrisy my NY TIMES friends? They said we are no longer in a culture that supports long term decisions, but short term ones with short term traders, short term media attention, short term analysts and short term quick profit seeking CEO's. They said Ceo's were the heroes of america and police and firemen were scum until 9/11 and people wanted to worship firemen then, huh? Anyways, multinationals learned a long time ago how to escape the long arm of the law and how to escape culture and environment concerns when profit are in the midst! This group fools themselves that changes in America can change the world. People given the control of resources of our society see everything in terms of a balance sheet - human lives are lost in the equations. Ferengi Rules of Acquisition: http://www.dmwright.com/html/ferengi.htm Rule 001 » Once you have their money, you never give it back. Rule 020 » Only give money to people you know you can steal from.

Subject: Shifting Car Buyer Trends in China
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 10:27:13 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/01/business/worldbusiness/01auto.html?pagewanted=all&position= Shifting Buyer Trends Set Back Western Carmakers in China By KEITH BRADSHER HONG KONG - In the first months of the year, the Chinese slowed their purchases of automobiles, and the cars they did buy tended to be small and inexpensive - trends that are hurting Western manufacturers like General Motors and Volkswagen. The Chinese auto market has been the best source of growth and profits in recent years for American and European manufacturers. But total vehicle shipments from manufacturers to dealers in China slowed by 10 percent in January and February compared with those months last year. Sales of large cars are falling, mainly because of government restrictions on corporate and government purchases of fleets, but also because of higher gasoline prices. In their place, dealers are selling many more bare-bones subcompacts and tiny minivans that sell for less than $5,000 because they have flimsy seats and engines no more powerful than those on some motorcycles. These very small vehicles carry minimal profits for manufacturers. At the same time, Korean and Japanese automakers are rapidly increasing their shares of the Chinese market by expanding production in China and by entering segments of the market, like large cars, they had largely avoided. Buyers like Li Feng, a 29-year-old airport worker who was shopping for a black $14,500 Hyundai Elantra in Shanghai on Thursday afternoon, say that they find Asian manufacturers' cars increasingly comfortable and affordable. 'Cars from Korea and Japan seem popular these days; a lot of my friends and relatives bought Korean and Japanese cars,' Mr. Li said. Such shifting sentiments have dealt a setback to Western manufacturers, although the extent of the setback is still emerging because of difficulties in obtaining accurate sales data in China. Foreign and domestic automakers in China report to the government their wholesale shipments to independent dealers each month. But in contrast to the practice in the United States, automakers seldom announce retail sales by their dealers. Further complicating the picture, the multinationals are allowed to operate in China only through joint ventures with local manufacturers, while domestic Chinese companies claim less than a fifth of the market. The latest wholesale figures show several troubling trends for Western manufacturers, however. General Motors and Volkswagen, the market leaders last year, each halved their shipments of new cars to dealerships in the first two months of this year compared with a year earlier, according to company filings with the Chinese government that have been separately compiled by two consulting firms in China. DaimlerChrysler took even more drastic action, reducing Jeep shipments to dealers by more than 80 percent. G.M. and DaimlerChrysler officials confirmed that they had sharply cut back car shipments to dealerships to reduce inventories of unsold vehicles. But they said that retail sales, which neither company reports monthly in China, had fared better. Daphne Zheng, a G.M. spokeswoman, said that retail sales of cars were up slightly from a year ago, and that the decline in shipments of new cars partly reflected the discontinuation of the subcompact Buick Sail. But shipments of the Buick Regal sedan, once G.M.'s mainstay in the Chinese market, were also down 62 percent. Retail sales of Jeeps were down 42 percent in the first two months of this year, said Trevor Hale, a DaimlerChrysler spokesman. But these sales should be stronger in March, while Mercedes sales are actually up slightly, he added. Volkswagen officials declined to comment on Wednesday and Thursday. Company officials have already warned that the profit this year from China is likely to be lower than last year's, which in turn was half that of 2003. G.M. announced on Thursday that Kevin E. Wale, the chairman of its Vauxhall subsidiary in Britain, would succeed Philip F. Murtaugh, who resigned this week as chairman and chief executive of G.M. China. The company has said that Mr. Murtaugh, 51, resigned for personal reasons. After dominating the operation for nearly a decade, Mr. Murtaugh lost much of his autonomy in the last year as G.M. moved the headquarters of its Asian and Pacific operations to Shanghai from Singapore and named several executives in Detroit to take greater control over overseas divisions in areas like vehicle design. One Western automaker that has not shared the difficulties of G.M. and Volkswagen is the Ford Motor Company, which had been an also-ran in China until now, expanding slowly and cautiously. Ford's shipments to dealers were up 14 percent in the first two months of this year, compared with a year ago, although rising from a low base, with less than 2 percent of the market, according to statistics compiled by Automotive Resources Asia, a Beijing consulting firm, and the Shanghai office of CSM Worldwide, another automotive consulting firm. But while most Western automakers struggle, Hyundai, Honda and Toyota are thriving and rapidly increasing their shipments to dealers. Hyundai has been the biggest winner thanks to the introduction of the Elantra, which offers the roominess of a midsize car at a compact car price. Taxi fleets have been snapping up Elantras, while affluent Chinese families have been paying $18,000 for fully loaded models that include two front air bags and two side air bags. As a result, dealers have been ordering more Elantras than any other model this year, allowing the Elantra to overtake the Volkswagen Santana, long the best-selling car in China, and G.M.'s popular Buick Excelle and Buick Regal. The Toyota Corolla, which Toyota began manufacturing a year ago in China, has also overtaken the Excelle, while Toyota is laying plans to start selling the Camry in China next year. Honda has increased shipments of midsize Accords to dealers by 49 percent this year even as overall shipments of large and midsize cars have plunged by 16 percent. 'Hyundai and Honda, they're picking up the slack from the rest of the market,' said Tim Dunne, the China director for Automotive Resources Asia, a Beijing consulting firm. Hardest hit of all is the luxury car market. Beijing authorities have restricted bank loans in an attempt to restrain steep increases in investment spending, and this has discouraged many companies and governments from adding to their fleets, the main market for luxury cars. Volkswagen's shipments of the once-popular Audi A6 plunged by 73 percent in the first two months of this year compared with the period last year, as the overall wholesale market for luxury cars has shrunk by 63 percent. There is little sign soon of a recovery: senior Chinese officials vowed again on Wednesday and Thursday to redouble their efforts to curb investment spending, according to the official New China News Agency. Sales of less expensive cars have been hurt by restrictions on car loans; only 5 percent of sales are financed now, down from 20 percent a year ago, said Yale Zhang, the emerging markets forecast director in the Shanghai office of CSM Worldwide. Mr. Zhang said monthly sales were likely to remain below year-ago levels for quite a while, until sales start to be compared with the somewhat weak autumn of last year. 'If you really want to see some good numbers,' he said, 'wait until the second half of this year.'

Subject: Warren takes paycut - buys African Nets
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 10:13:04 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Fund Spy Six Investing Headlines for April Fool's Day by Kunal Kapoor, CFA | 03-31-05 | 06:00 AM With April Fool's Day just around the corner, my colleague Gregg Wolper compiled a list earlier this week of 'Seven New Fund Ideas We Hope Not To See'. In keeping with that theme, here are six mutual fund headlines you're unlikely to see anytime soon. Fidelity to Liquidate 43 'Unnecessary' Funds Boston-based Fidelity investments today announced that it is taking a knife to its sprawling fund lineup. According to executive vice president Klaus Shave, the firm has come to the conclusion that it simply offers too many funds. In an interview Shave said, 'A Nordic Fund? What were we thinking? It's much easier to gather assets in a $30-billion small-cap fund.' Shave also sought to debunk rumors that the firm was set to launch a series of funds modeled after the popular 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy. 'There is not going to be a Fidelity Mordor Fund. I don't know how that story got started. It's just not true,' he said. Vanguard Launches Retirement Funds for Future Centuries In a bid to literally consign the competition to the dustbin of history, Vanguard's head of strategic planning Xavier Moolah revealed that the firm was launching new retirement offerings with target dates of 2100, 2180, 2225, and 2310. 'With life expectancies increasing, your descendants need to plan far ahead,' Moolah observed. He added that the compounding effects from investing before you are conceived are even greater than if you were to invest in your childhood. 'We believe this new suite of funds demonstrates our commitment to not only young investors, but also hypothetical children,' said Moolah. Ordinary Investor Understands Fund Prospectus In a startling development, Ira Smolensky of Monmouth, Ill., today became the first person to fully comprehend the language published in a mutual fund's prospectus. 'It's better than winning the lottery,' said Smolensky, who officials confirmed has not previously been institutionalized. The Monmouth resident, who is slated to be honored at the town's annual Prime Beef Festival, expressed surprise at the discovery of the fund's board of directors. Said Smolensky, 'A group of individuals who represent my interests? Who knew?' Meanwhile, fund company lawyers were reportedly meeting to devise ways to ensure nobody would duplicate Smolensky's feat. Gabelli: 'I'm Making Too Much' Legendary investor Mario Gabelli said this week that he's simply 'making too much money.' Gabelli, whose annual compensation for the various duties he provides to his firm has been close to $40 million in recent years, says he's going to take a $1 million pay cut and distribute the savings to shareholders of the firm's mutual funds because 'they really deserve it.' However, Gabelli was quick to dismiss the notion that his compensation was still too high, saying, 'It's what the market will bear.' American Funds Dumps Portfolio Counselor System in Favor of Star Managers Los Angeles-based American Funds today announced that it was doing away with its system of running funds with multiple portfolio counselors, opting instead for high-profile 'star' portfolio managers who oversee funds individually. To get the effort underway, spokesman Russell Sprout disclosed the hiring of fund management wunderkind Chris Lahiji. Lahiji, the 21-year-old former manager of Frontier Equity FEFPX, recently stepped down at his former charge. 'Lahiji is a great fit for us,' said Sprout. 'We've already got too many people with too much experience.' Bill Gross Gives Up: 'The Competition Is Too Tough' With tears in her eyes, PIMCO spokeswoman Tia Dropps announced today that Bill Gross, the legendary manager of PIMCO Total Return PTTRX and other bond funds, has called it quits. 'The brutality of the bond market and the cacophony of voices claiming their superiority have finally had an impact,' said Dropps. Apparently, Gross has come to the conclusion that it’s just not healthy to spend so much time worrying about whether PIMCO is on top. 'Besides,' added Dropps, 'with all his competitors comparing themselves to Gross, telling everyone how much better they are, it just wears you out after awhile.' She also mentioned the frequent media references to Gross being the Bond King as a factor in the decision. 'It's not easy being king,' she noted. 'He wants to just be a duke or an earl for a while.' I Couldn't Make This Up If I Wanted To And finally, an item that, sadly, is actually true. Upon returning to Dreyfus after a three-year stint at Scudder, Thomas Eggers stated in interviews that one of his key goals as the new Dreyfus chief is to 'aggressively' increase the firm's assets. Not that the message needed emphasizing: The 520-word press release heralding Eggers' arrival mentioned the term 'distribution' no fewer than six times. The words 'fund shareholder' were conspicuous by their absence. Kunal Kapoor, CFA, is Morningstar's director of fund analysis. He would love to hear from you, but he cannot provide specific portfolio advice. He can be reached at kunal_kapoor@morningstar.com. APRIL FOOLS

Subject: France and Germany Dogged by Joblessness
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 09:54:28 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/01/business/worldbusiness/01jobless.html France and Germany Dogged by Joblessness By MARK LANDLER FRANKFURT - As Germany and France released a fresh batch of dismal employment numbers on Thursday, the specter of seemingly ineradicable joblessness hung over both Europe's economic recovery and the fortunes of its political leaders. Unemployment in Germany rose to 12 percent in March, a post-World War II record, while in France, the rate remained 10.1 percent in February, its highest level in five years. Economists and public officials struggled to find a silver lining in the statistical clouds, but political analysts said the trends were only negative for the German chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, and the French president, Jacques Chirac, who each face difficult ballots in May. Support for Mr. Schröder's Social Democratic Party is eroding, as it faces a potentially damaging defeat in a state election on May 22 in North Rhine-Westphalia, the industrial region that is its bedrock. In France, chronic high unemployment may undermine Mr. Chirac as he tries to rally support behind the European Union's Constitution, which faces a referendum on May 29. France's economy had outperformed those of its neighbors in recent months, but now there are signs that it is faltering. 'Economically and politically, these are not good numbers,' said Hans-Werner Sinn, the president of the Ifo Institute in Munich. 'There is a risk that the upswing we had hoped for is breaking down.' The latest survey of the European Commission showed declines in both consumer and business confidence in March. Last week, Ifo's influential survey reported that business confidence in Germany fell to an 18-month low, suggesting that the job market would remain torpid. Still, economists found some signs of hope, noting that Germany's labor market seems to have stabilized. The number of people out of work actually fell by 40,000, to 5.17 million. The jobless rate rose slightly because of adjustments for seasonal variations in employment. And the statistics continued to reflect a one-time spike from Germany's labor-market changes, under which people receiving social welfare were reclassified as long-term unemployed. On the other hand, the drop in the number of jobless was less than usual for March, when employment typically picks up with the spring thaw. The long winter this year was the culprit for that, analysts said. With all these seasonal blips and one-time effects, Lorenzo Codogno, a European economist at Bank of America in London, said: 'It's getting very, very difficult to understand the underlying trend. The situation is probably less negative than the headline numbers suggest.' German officials certainly took that view. Wolfgang Clement, the minister for economics and labor, declared that unemployment had peaked and that the economy would begin to generate jobs. 'I believe that we will get below the 5 million mark this spring, and that we will not reach it again in the future,' he said. The trouble for the government is that this is not likely to happen before the election in North Rhine-Westphalia. Polls show the Social Democrats, which have controlled the state for 39 years, are trailing the opposition Christian Democrats by nearly 10 percentage points. 'Unless something extraordinary happens, there is a high probability that the party will lose power,' said Reinhard Schlinkert, the chairman of Dimap, a polling firm in Bonn. 'There is widespread disappointment with the S.P.D., especially among its own members.' On the factory floors of the depressed Ruhr Valley, unemployment is Topic A. Employers like Opel, the carmaker owned by General Motors, announced deep job cuts at plants there, while the industrial giant Siemens used the threat of cuts to negotiate a tough new labor contract. More than a million people are out of work in North Rhine-Westphalia alone. The state's unemployment rate of 12.4 percent is roughly the same as the national rate, and it worsened slightly in March. 'The political debate has been dominated by these unemployment numbers,' said Martin W. Hüfner, an economist at HVB in Munich. 'The economy is in transition. But there is a separation between the economic reality and the political agenda.' Analysts say Chancellor Schröder has few levers at his disposal to change the tenor of the debate between now and the vote, as he has already proposed measures like a reduction in corporate taxes. 'He can always hope for another flood,' said Mr. Hüfner, referring to the floods in the summer of 2002 that turned around Mr. Schröder's fortunes in his last battle for re-election. President Chirac is also known for political resilience, which he may need to surmount the negative turn in France. The stubbornly high jobless rate there is, in some ways, even more worrisome than in Germany, economists said, because French consumers have been largely responsible for their country's robust performance, with their free-spending ways. As French companies start to follow their German rivals in cutting jobs, these consumers will become more parsimonious. While analysts said French voters were likely to blame their own leaders first, especially Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, who pledged to cut the unemployment rate by 10 percent this year, they said it might also weaken support for the European Constitution. 'It's another sign of failure that the European Union was supposed to bring us prosperity, and it didn't,' said Nicolas Sobczak, an economist at Goldman Sachs in Paris.

Subject: Where are the NEW economic hit men?
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 07:22:38 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Nor have the US and Britain used their power in Iraq to promote transparency in the oil sector. Let us hope that the new Iraqi government does better. It is difficult to see how democracy can take root if the country’s most important source of income remains as veiled in secrecy as it was under Saddam. BWAHAHA! Shhh - loose lips sink ships! http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentaries/commentary_text.php4?id=1900&lang=1&m=series Lifting the Resource Curse by George Soros Countries that are rich in natural resources are often poor, because exploiting those resources has taken precedence over good government. Competing oil and mining companies, backed by their governments, are often willing to deal with anyone who can assure them of a concession. This has bred corrupt and repressive governments and armed conflict. In Africa, resource-rich countries like Congo, Angola, and Sudan have been devastated by civil wars. In the Middle East, democratic development has been lagging. Curing this “resource curse” could make a major contribution to alleviating poverty and misery in the world, and there is an international movement afoot to do just that. The first step is transparency; the second is accountability. The movement started a few years ago with the Publish What You Pay campaign, which urged oil and mining companies to disclose payments to governments. In response, the British government launched the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Yesterday, three years into the process, the UK convened an important EITI conference in London attended by representatives of governments, business, and civil society. Much has already been accomplished. On the business side, the major international extractive companies have started to acknowledge the value and necessity of greater transparency. British Petroleum has undertaken to disclose disaggregated payment information on its operations in Azerbaijan, and Royal Dutch Shell is doing the same in Nigeria. ChevronTexaco recently negotiated an agreement with Nigeria and Sao Tome that includes a transparency clause requiring publication of company payments in the joint production zone. Most encouraging is that producing countries themselves are beginning to seize the initiative. Nigeria is reorganizing its state oil company, introducing transparency legislation, and launching sweeping audits of the oil and gas sector. It plans to begin publishing details of company payments to the state this summer. The Kyrgyz Republic became the first country to report under EITI, for a large gold- mining project. Azerbaijan will report oil revenues later this month. Ghana and Trinidad and Tobago have also signed on. Peru, Sao Tome and Principe, and East Timor are currently in negotiations to implement the initiative. Equally important, local activists in many of these countries are starting to use EITI as an opening to demand greater public accountability for government spending. My own foundation, the Open Society Institute, has established Revenue Watch programs in producing countries such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia and Iraq. But there is a lot more to be done. Two-thirds of the world’s most impoverished people live in about 60 developing or transition countries that depend on oil, mining, or gas revenues. The recently published transparency index from Save the Children UK shows that transparency is the exception, not the rule. Many important producing countries have yet to make even a gesture toward disclosure. There is no reason the major Middle Eastern producers should not be part of this transparency push, and Indonesia should join its neighbor Timor in embracing the EITI. It is also critical that state-owned companies, which account for the bulk of global oil and gas production, be subject to full disclosure. Other governments need to follow the UK’s lead and become involved politically and financially in expanding the EITI. France appears to have done little to encourage countries within its sphere of influence, much less to ensure that its own companies begin disclosing. The Bush Administration’s recent decision to initiate a parallel anti-corruption process through the G-8 leaves the United States outside the premier international forum for addressing transparency in resource revenues while unnecessarily reinventing the wheel in the process. Nor have the US and Britain used their power in Iraq to promote transparency in the oil sector. Let us hope that the new Iraqi government does better. It is difficult to see how democracy can take root if the country’s most important source of income remains as veiled in secrecy as it was under Saddam. The EITI still has a long way to go, but it is one of the most effective vehicles available for achieving a global standard of disclosure and accountability. This week’s summit is an opportunity to assess progress and to define more precisely what it means to implement the EITI by establishing some basic minimum requirements on host countries. Those committed to seeing the wealth generated by energy and mining finally result in better lives for ordinary people would do well to invest in the initiative during this critical stage. The EITI may not be a catchy acronym, but in concert with civil society efforts such as Publish What You Pay, it promises to do a lot more good in the world than most. George Soros is President of Soros Fund Management and Chairman of the Open Society Institute.

Subject: Japanese and Germans sink us AGAIN
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 07:14:30 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
WWII repeat, now all we need is Italy to join the war. http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentaries/commentary_text.php4?id=1893&lang=1&m=series In Search of Global Demand by J. Bradford DeLong Once again, Germany and Japan have slipped into recession. Once again, the second and third largest of the world’s major industrial economies are subtracting from, not adding to, growth in the world’s aggregate demand. From the standpoint of German and Japanese citizens, this is bad news. Rapidly improving global technologies should make it relatively easy to deliver rising levels of output and living standards. Yet the German and the Japanese economies have had a hard time doing so for the past decade and a half. Certainly, everyone anticipated fifteen years ago that the current state of both economies would be much better. From the standpoint of global political stability, recession and stagnation in Germany and Japan is potentially even worse news. Democratic governments make a bargain with their people, gaining their long-run legitimacy from their ability to deliver rising living standards and high employment. Crisis, depression, and stagnation make people’s thoughts turn to the fecklessness and corruption of mainstream politicians, the illegitimate powers of special interests, and the cretinism of parliaments. The thoughts people think in times of crisis and depression are not false. Mainstream politicians are often feckless and corrupt (morally if not legally), special interests do have mighty and illegitimate powers, and legislatures are often cretinous. But there is no country in which attempts to draw political conclusions from these popular sentiments have not ended in disaster. From the standpoint of global economic stability, the failure of growth in Germany and Japan is perhaps the worst news of all. Six or seven years ago, there were vague worries that the world economy’s developed core could not run indefinitely on one locomotive, the United States, alone. Now, due to appalling fiscal policy on the part of George W. Bush’s administration and some bad luck, the US economy has wedged itself into a very uncomfortable position, hemmed in by its huge budget and trade deficits. Un-wedging America without a crisis – attaining the economists’ grail of a “soft landing” – requires that a great many people and institutions with enormous holdings of dollar-denominated assets passively stand by and take no action while those dollar-denominated assets lose a third or more of their value against other currencies. There is a recent precedent for this: from 1985 to 1987, holders of dollar-denominated assets took a similar, but much smaller, bath. But can you step into the same river twice? Moreover, achieving a successful soft landing requires more than that holders of dollar-denominated assets be tranquilized into catatonia while they lose their shirts. It also requires that at least eight million American workers who are now employed in construction, consumer services, and related industries find new jobs in export and import-competing industries. That’s not all. At least sixteen million workers outside America who are now employed making exports to America would have to find jobs in other sectors as well. These jobs will have to fulfill demand coming from outside the US, because as a falling dollar and possibly a domestic recession shrinks the gap between American demand and American production, there must be a countervailing boost to demand relative to production outside the US. When the rebalancing comes – and it has already been delayed longer than I would have thought likely – it is important that, as former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers used to say, the world economy balance up rather than down. Without a rapidly growing Germany and Japan, where will the demand needed to “balance up” the world economy come from in the next several years? A generation from now, we will probably be able to point to China and India as rapidly growing capital-hungry markets capable of filling gaps in global demand. But not yet. While China and India are enormous in terms of workers, they are still small in terms of output and demand. Without rapid demand growth somewhere in the developed world outside the US – and Germany and Japan are the best places to look – it is hard to see how the global economy can balance itself at a high level over the next few years. J. Bradford DeLong is Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley and was Assistant US Treasury Secretary during the Clinton Presidency.

Subject: Demand is a Problem
From: Jennifer
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 09:03:55 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
We need more world demand for goods and services.

Subject: Let's fix it - personally
From: johnny5
To: Jennifer
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 09:11:59 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
I am all for making babies in the developed world and teaching them about our western demands - when you want to get started sweet sweet Jennifer? Ask NOT what your country can do for you, but what YOU can do for your country - hehe :)

Subject: Too Much Capital
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 06:20:53 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/25/business/25norris.html Too Much Capital: Why It Is Getting Harder to Find a Good Investment THERE is too much capital in the world. And that means that those who own the capital - investors - are in for some unhappy times. That thesis may sound inherently unlikely, but it explains a lot. Those with capital find they must pay high prices for investments that are likely to produce only a little income. The relative importance of things other than capital, like commodities and cheap labor, has grown. Evidence of the capital glut can be seen in interest rates. Market rates are low, and even when central banks set out to raise short-term rates, longer-term rates are slow to move. Little additional yield is available to those who buy very risky bonds. For the same reason, stock prices are high. Profit disappointments may not cause the stock market to plunge, since the capital will have to go somewhere. But the return on the underlying investments is likely to be below what investors have expected. With capital in a weakening position, returns that once would have gone to owners of capital have gradually been redirected. That is one way to explain the surge in management compensation in the last two decades. In the early 1980's, when interest rates were high and stock prices low, the average chief executive received no stock options in any given year. Now nearly all get sizable grants, and one study found that chief executive pay rose faster than that of any group save for professional athletes and movie stars. Those who provided the capital had less power to demand the profits from the enterprises they financed. Another sign of excess capital can be seen in what Argentina did to its creditors - and in how they reacted. When Argentina defaulted on its debt in December 2001, many thought it would eventually negotiate a deal with creditors that was similar to previous arrangements made by countries in default. Instead, this year it imposed far harsher terms and refused to talk about them. The vast majority of the bondholders meekly went along and bonds of other emerging markets have not suffered. Emboldened, Argentina's government is sounding an uncompromising note regarding foreign-owned utilities and oil companies. It is betting that it can get away with treating the owners of capital badly and it may be right. Why is there too much capital? One answer is that central banks reacted to the bursting of the technology bubble by cutting interest rates by too much for too long. The resulting liquidity might in other times have sent inflation soaring, but now China's emergence has placed offsetting deflationary pressures on consumer goods prices. The excess liquidity is sloshing around world capital markets. At the same time, China's emergence is spurring investment that the world may not need. The world automobile industry is plagued by overcapacity, but every car company believes it must have plants in China. We have seen too much capital before, but not on a worldwide basis. It flooded into Japan in the 1980's when money there was cheap and the success of the Japanese economy obvious. Japanese business still suffers from excess capacity. Excessive investment in telecommunications in the late 1990's left a lot of unused fiber optic cable. The excess of capital is bad news for wealthy economies, especially as it is happening when aging populations in Japan, Europe and the United States need good investments to finance retirement. But it should be good news for economies that need capital to develop. Capital will not remain in excess forever. Money will be spent on consumption rather than investment, and new technologies and rising demand will eventually create more uses for a supply of capital that will have been depleted as low returns discourage saving. But for those with capital, that could be a slow and painful process.

Subject: Social Security
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 06:17:14 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Indeed Social Security benefits to those over 55 are threatened. There is an increasing cost in Social Security benefits to cover Medicare benefits. The cost of living increase is gobbled up by Medicare costs. Social Security is indeed under threat, and we must be concerned.

Subject: Social Security [cont.]
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 06:18:37 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
The Senate has passed a tax cut on Scoial Security benefits for wealthy retirees. If this tax cut is passed by the House, there will be a significant loss of Medicare revenue for the tax is used by Medicare. This loss in revenue in turn will add to the costs of all who receive Social Security benefits. Social Security is surely and sadly under threat.

Subject: Sounds Fair to me -
From: David E..
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 16:31:57 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This is not a tax on wealthy persons, other income(including retirement pay, IRA w/d, and interest) as low as $14,000 a year can cause some of your social security income to be taxable. I would say this tax reaches into the lower middle class. The income limits that drive the calculations of tax on social security were set in 1983. At that point, I looked at the limits and thought I never would have to pay those taxes. Big surprise, the limits haven't been adjusted for inflation since 1983, and I am paying taxes on all of my social security. This is a major pain in the but, because a $10,000 IRA withdrawal causes me to pay taxes on $8500 of SS for a total of $18,500. So instead of having a marginal tax rate of 15% - I am forced into a marginal rate of 28%. When I was doing my pre-retirement planning I assumed that tax rates in retirement would be low. Big mistake, for me, the tax rate is higher post retirement. I should have maxed out Roth IRA's rather than maxing out my 401K. This situation applies to a small slice of the populace. A lot of folks have enough retirement income that they shoot right pass the SS trigger points. And there a lot of folks who don't have enough income to hit the SS trigger points. Do your own research to understand how this affects you.

Subject: Robert Shiller's on Stock Returns
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 06:04:55 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.irrationalexuberance.com/index.htm Robert Shiller: · I have a new, March 2005, study 'The Life-Cycle Personal Accounts Proposal for Social Security: An Evaluation' that uses historical data to assess the returns to investments in the life-cycle personal accounts. These personal accounts would invest heavily in the stock market for young workers, and gradually reduce exposure to stocks as the worker ages. · One can access an Excel file with the data set (used and described in the book) on stock prices, earnings, dividends and interest rates since 1871, updated.

Subject: Why Hold So Much Cash?
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 05:47:43 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
There is enough capital about that we must question how it is being used. Berkshire Hathaway has 47 billion dollars in cash for total assets of 188 billion dollars.

Subject: Share Buybacks
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 05:44:03 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Remember that share buybacks must be in excess of options covering to make a significant difference to shareholders. How much are share buybacks worth in comparison to dividends, is the question we must ask?

Subject: Dividends and Share Buybacks
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 05:40:51 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Dividends are 1.6% for the S&P Stock Index. This is an absurdly low figure. Corporations are hoarding cash rather than returning it to shareholders or investing it. Possibly share buybacks make up to an extent for the low low dividends, but we should still be skeptical. This is not a time when share holders are being well treated though corporations have record earnings, and this is worrying. This is not a time when investment is as high as warranted by corporate saving, and this is as worrying.

Subject: Canada 2 bust 2 - so much for can trusts
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 01:50:10 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north356.html ...The decisions of millions of consumers, all over the world, to raise their level of debt has created what the Griffiths Committee calls time-bomb conditions. England is not alone. Consider this report from Canada. Some finance experts are warning Canadians must wean themselves off debt, otherwise they face a major shock if interest rates rise. 'It could be catastrophic in terms of the whole economy,' says financial counselor Allen MacLeod. Interest rates have been quite low in Canada for the past several years. But Canadian paycheques have grown very slowly. To prop up their standard of living, many Canadians have resorted to cheap credit and stopped saving money. Lines of credit have grown at a record pace in Canada, up 30 per in 2004 alone. Holly McIntosh and Frank Lestage’s bank offered them a line of credit a few years ago. 'They just give you the money and people spend and spend,' Lestage said. 'It doesn’t take long to get it under control, but you have to realize what you’re doing and that takes a while. You have to get in trouble to realize what’s going on.' . . . 'I think as things have gotten more expensive, we’ve (become) a need-to-have-now generation,' says Cindy Cassidy. And that’s part of the problem, says consumer advocate Mel Fruitman: 'Consumer debt as a whole in Canada exceeds consumer assets. That means we’re on the brink.' MacLeod says personal bankruptcies are up more than 10 per cent since January.

Subject: Re: Canada 2 bust 2 - so much for can trusts
From: jimsum
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 23:23:20 (EST)
Email Address: jim.summers@rogers.com

Message:
Canadian consumers are in the same boat as American ones; but government finances are under control and the balance of trade is much better. Also, asset prices have not risen as fast as in the U.S. It should be interesting to compare the outcomes for the two countries, and see which factors are the most important.

Subject: Bolshevism - Collective Risk
From: johnny5
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 22:44:38 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsg.aspx?msgid=20975651 Standing Solo In The Crowd http://www.gold-eagle.com/gold_digest_05/bonner012205.html Bill Bonner Ek aur ek guyazah A Hindi saying, meaning '1 1 = 11' When we picked up James Surowiecki's new book, The Wisdom of Crowds, we not only expected to be appalled; we counted on it. It is much easier to write a review of a man's errors than it is to praise his merits. Beyond that, we had reason to expect little. We have come to believe that crowds are full of dumbbells and psychopaths; it would be a nuisance to alter such a strongly held opinion at this stage in life. What's more, we felt that the book would probably provide encouragement to communists. No one takes Bolshevism seriously any more. But unseriously, comically, almost accidentally, it has taken over most of the world - including the United States. The cost of paying retirements has been collectivized. health care has been largely collectivized - both by government force and by the insurance industry. Risk of all sorts - including financial risk - have been spread out so much, no one knows exactly how far they reach. If a man defaults on his mortgage in San Diego, who will be the ultimate loser? It is hard to know. Risk is collectivized. And modern corporations are hardly the exploiters and despoilers of Marxist imagination. Au contraire, public companies are now owned by 'the people' - through millions of small shareholdings and mutual funds. And they are managed in such a way that almost guarantees that the capitalists will never make money. Dividend yields are below 2% - while the inflation rate is 3.3%. Investors take on the dividend...even though it represents (assuming the share price remains constant) a net annual loss of 1.3%. The capitalists no longer exploit the proletariat, in other words. Instead, the workers exploit the little capitalists.

Subject: Re: Bolshevism - Collective Risk
From: Setanta
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 11:07:32 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
'modern corporations are hardly the exploiters and despoilers of Marxist imagination. Au contraire, public companies are now owned by 'the people' - through millions of small shareholdings and mutual funds. And they are managed in such a way that almost guarantees that the capitalists will never make money. Dividend yields are below 2% - while the inflation rate is 3.3%. Investors take on the dividend...even though it represents (assuming the share price remains constant) a net annual loss of 1.3%. The capitalists no longer exploit the proletariat, in other words. Instead, the workers exploit the little capitalists.' ah, so thats what happening in walmart. the workers are exploiting the owners. sounds fair.

Subject: Re: Bolshevism - Collective Risk
From: Terri
To: Setanta
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 13:45:17 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Pleeease :)

Subject: Our Pain, Their Gain
From: johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 14:32:32 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
How about the shareholders, workers, and taxpayers take the pain and a few ceo's and high risk taking leaders take the gain?

Subject: Suppose We Were to Time Markets
From: Terri
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 16:54:52 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Suppose we were to time markets. Just how are we to do so? When do we sell stocks. All stocks or only some sectors. Do we simply go to money market funds or bonds? How do we time bonds? Where should we be now and for how long? When do we know it is time to return to the market? These are tough questions.

Subject: Mid Cap Value and Bond Funds
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 06:27:11 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Permanent Portfolio is an interesting and useful idea. There are several portfolios. The prime portfolio carries a mix of asset classes that behave well in different markets and tries to move in line with expected shifts in market emphasis. I will pay attention closely, but I do just this at Vanguard and I prefer more flexibility or choice. And I especially prefer the bond fund selection. A mix of Vanguard Select Value and Intermediate Term Investment Grade Bond funds would equal the portfolio. Middle cap value and bonds to balance is a fine idea. Interesting.

Subject: Flight to Quality
From: johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 22:36:49 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
http://www.geocities.com/WallStreet/Exchange/9807/Charts/SP500/Outlook.htm The bond market reached an all-time peak several years before the stock market peaked. Similar to our 1990's, stock prices appreciated so quickly that investors moved out of safer bonds into high-flying, speculative stocks. Once the stock market crashed in 1929, U.S. Bonds took over the role as the investment of choice in a flight to quality. This continued until late-1930. The chart shows what happened when the depression-era financial crisis gripped major banks and forced massive failures. Bonds very quickly lost favor and were dumped enmasse. Please note the unsuccessful recovery rally following the stock market peaks. Both eras show a clear 3-wave structure of which the A and C waves are nearly the same length. This was followed by a secondary peak and then a subsequent, and sharp, nasty sell-off. Another recovery occurred, but at an even lower level. And then, the crash unfolded. Our current bond environment is still trying to shakeout and recover from last months abrupt sell-off. So to follow the same 1930's path, the current U.S. Bond chart should rally for several months, but to a lower peak level, and then begin to weaken again. Compare the two charts and draw your own conclusions for what may happen next. If the bond market continues to play out as in our original discussion from last year, then bonds should continue to fall, with rising interest rates (inverse relationship to bond prices), and a break below the lower red line should at least raise the likelihood of a substantial crash scenario to another notch. Using the analogy of the security warning alerts, this should raise the warning from a yellow to orange status. Since the Fed has already said that higher rates will eventually come - although no mention of when - we know that a break of the lower red line is inevitable... it is all a simple matter of 'when'.

Subject: Berkshire Hathaway
From: Terri
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 17:10:26 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Berkshire Hathaway has assets of about 188 billion dollars, and 47 billion dollars in liquid assets. International currency liquid asset holding are more than 20 billion dollars. So, I have to agree, this is market timing.

Subject: Evidence Of Market Timing
From: David E..
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 10:04:18 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Hi Terri, let me take a different tack on this, and find out what you think. Warren Buffet has never been a market timer or a follower of MPT. His plan has been to buy low, his dilemna has been that everything is high. You can argue that Buffett has stuck with his plan - to buy low. But I don't think you can call him a market timer unless you want to call value investing market timing. In my opinion, its not market timing unless there is an element of 'I know what the market is going to do'. Value investing doesnt care about the market, the first and only directive is to buy value. When probable returns are very close to the bond market, there is no value.

Subject: Perfectly Described Timing
From: Terri
To: David E..
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 10:51:45 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Exactly, and this is what I have tried repeatedly to explain but you have done it better. Exactly. Warren Buffett must buy in the billions, and that is harder than our buying for there are far fewer possibilities. All I hope for is an idea every month or so, and idea of value, and there usually comes such an idea and I buy. This has proven successful for me, but this is what buying value is really about. Exactly.

Subject: Re: Perfectly Described Timing
From: David E..
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 16:02:12 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
An investing idea every month is pretty good. I have a new idea, uninvestigated, but here it is. Invest in a closed end fund that holds adjustable rate notes. The good thing is that your principal will stay relatively the same because there is little interest rate risk. As interest rate benchmarks move the yield goes up and the NAV stays steady.

Subject: Re: Perfectly Described Timing
From: Terri
To: David E..
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 19:11:13 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Clever, use a fund that holds a large portfolio of adjustable rate mortgages. Remember to think about credit risk, but I like this idea. My idea has been prime international drug and medical equipment makers, or health care.

Subject: Permanent Portfolio
From: Pete Weis
To: Terri
Date Posted: Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 21:45:33 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Terri. Take a look at Permanent Portfolio which is a conservative fund - one of relatively few funds in existance which made gains in each of the last 10 years. Last year it gained around 13% I believe. It is designed to withstand shocks such as the 2000-2002 stock market crash. It has also done well to defend against the dollar meltdown. Do a search in Google to read a variety of articles regarding this fund. Other similar funds will be mentioned in these articles. It has been around for more than 20 years. The problem for so many of us - fixed income, government bonds yield such low rates. So we're tempted to place bets on a risky stock market. In times like these funds such as Permanent Portfolio provide relatively low risk (there is no such thing as no risk) and provide returns that are fairly decent and have done a good job of 'hedging' against the market turbulence. By the way Permanent Portfolio is not a hedge fund (involved in derivatives), nor does it short the market. It's based mostly in government securities including US and Swiss, some precious metals and some natural resource companies, etc. When you look at its long term record it's obvious that it has been a well managed fund. Tax consequences are low since it has a low turnover rate.

Subject: Permanent Portfolio - Reviewing
From: Terri
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 06:06:07 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
This day, I will thoroughly review the portfolios and comment. Thank you so much.

Subject: Who's your daddy Terri?
From: johnny5
To: Terri
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 15:41:55 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Watch stargate - Teal'c says not to worship false gods? http://flagship2.vanguard.com/VGApp/hnw/FundsCompareResult?entryPoint=null&step=fundCompare&FundIntExt1=INT&FundIntExt2=EXT&fundFamilyId1=286&fundFamilyId2=228&FundId1=0053&FundId2=1476 Vanguard Precious Metals Versus Permanent Portfolio Precious Metals & Mining Permanent Port Expense Ratio 0.48% 1.58%* 12b-1 Fee None — FundAccess® TransactionFee — None** Purchase Fee None None Redemption Fee Yes Yes Load Fund None None Precious Metals & Mining Permanent Port Year To Date 8.51% 0.52% 1 Year* 21.68% 10.68% 3 Year* 28.67% 14.70% 5 Year* 26.57% 11.13% 10 Year* 8.52% 8.08% Since Inception* 6.35% 6.15% Inception Date 05/23/1984 12/01/1982

Subject: Re: Who's your daddy Terri?
From: Pete Weis
To: johnny5
Date Posted: Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 21:31:02 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
Johnny. I'm not sure where you are going with this 'whose your daddy stuff' and 'false gods', but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. It's has got to be pretty obvious that Vanguard Precious Metals VGPMX and Permanent Portfolio PRPFX are about as comparable as a chihuahua and a labrador. In the first place, while I believe precious metals have very good potential upside at this time they are also quite risky. Over the last 10 years VGPMX has been up 5 years and down 5 years - it has been up as much as 93% (1993) and down as much as 39% in 1997 - the last 3 it has been up big time. When you invest in a fund which is strictly a precious metals fund which invests 90% of its fund in mining company stocks it's a 'leveraged' investment which stands to gain more than the precious metal itself when the metal is rising but stands to lose more than the metal when the metal is falling - truely great volatility. Mining companies typically have very poor earnings and so if you are pumping money into a strictly precious metals fund you are making a bet on human psychology. You believe in the investment not from a fundamentals point of view but from the viewpoint that there will not only be a loss of confidence in currency but that you intend to ride a tide of investor irrational exuberance in mining companies the way some did the dot.com craze of the late 90's. If you don't realize this you will be like those 'who thought they could ride the back of the tiger only to be eaten by the tiger'. Permanent Portfolio has made gains every year of the last 10 and has averaged 11.13% over the last 5 years (which includes the 2000-2002 crash) which is IMO, remarkable. It invests 20% in gold, 5% in silver, 10% in Swiss franc assets, 15% in in stocks of US and foreign real estate and natural resource companies and 35% in cash, Treasury bills, and notes. Vanguard Precious Metals fund invests 90% of its fund in mining companies. Why compare the two? Johnny. You seem to have a Jekyll & Hyde personality.

Subject: Re: Who's your daddy Terri?
From: johnny5
To: Pete Weis
Date Posted: Sat, Apr 02, 2005 at 01:06:44 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
Never give me the benefit Pete - hell half the time I have posted here I am buzzing from too much wine - 'Permanent Portfolio has made gains every year of the last 10 and has averaged 11.13% over the last 5 years (which includes the 2000-2002 crash) which is IMO, remarkable.' Great, but the expense ratio of terri's daddy Bogle is cheaper and they have done better the past 3. I say this with complete objectivity, I am not invested in either, I hold XOM, a lot of it - I expect it to go down, where I will add, and go up where I will add, and in 30 years I expect all my XOM or whatever it morphs into to make me fat and happy. Who has time for all this asset allocation - I am like Terri - as simple as possible. Scottrade buys of XOM every quarter. 'Johnny. You seem to have a Jekyll & Hyde personality.' Haha my friend, every good scientist becomes his own worst critic and harsh enemy. Be true to yourself and none can bear false witness of you. I am long XOM, have been for awhile, expect to be for a good while longer, in fact I don't ever expect to put a large part of my wealth outside of energy, it is the FUNDAMENTAL we all need.

Subject: Social Security, Growth, Stock Returns
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 15:59:18 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/31/politics/31social.html?pagewanted=all&position= Social Security, Growth and Stock Returns By EDMUND L. ANDREWS WASHINGTON - In barnstorming the country over Social Security, administration officials predict that American economic growth will slow to an anemic rate of 1.9 percent as baby boomers reach retirement. Yet as they extol the rewards of letting people invest some of their payroll taxes in personal retirement accounts, President Bush and his allies assume that stock returns will be almost as high as ever, about 6.5 percent a year after inflation. 'For the life of me, I can't imagine why anybody would argue against young workers having the ability to invest and build a better retirement for their future,' Treasury Secretary John W. Snow said Wednesday in a speech in Bozeman, Mont. A growing number of economists, however, including many who favor personal accounts, say Mr. Bush's assumptions are optimistic. Many believe that stock returns will be lower than they have been in the past, closer to 5 percent than 6.5 percent, and that returns on a balanced mix of stocks and bonds will be much lower than that. 'Most economists would argue that, over a long period of time, there is a linkage between what the stock market will return and how well the economy does,' said David Blitzer, chairman of the Standard & Poor's index committee, which oversees the S.&P. 500 stock index. The statistical battle is politically important. If investment returns are just one percentage point lower each year than predicted, a person would end up with 35 percent less money than she expected after 30 years of saving. Under Mr. Bush's plan, moreover, people would need to earn at least 3 percent a year after inflation just to make up for automatic cuts in traditional Social Security benefits. In a paper to be presented on Thursday at the Brookings Institution, three economists who are longtime critics of Mr. Bush argue that stock returns are likely to be about 4.5 percent if economic growth slows as much as the administration predicts. 'We find it arithmetically very difficult to construct scenarios in which asset returns are at their historic average values and real G.D.P. growth is markedly slowed,' wrote the economists, Paul Krugman of Princeton University, whose Op-Ed columns in The New York Times have long been sharply critical of Mr. Bush's plan; J. Bradford DeLong of the University of California, Berkeley; and Dean Baker of the Center for Economic Policy and Research, a liberal research organization in Washington. To make the numbers work, the economists contended in their paper, domestic profits would have to grow far more rapidly than they have in the past, or American companies would have to become huge exporters of capital to faster-growing countries. At the moment, the United States is a huge net importer of foreign capital. Administration officials and many independent analysts disagree, saying the link between overall economic growth and investment returns is weak. But many Wall Street analysts warn that stock returns are likely to be significantly lower in the future for a separate reason: stock valuations are high relative to expected earnings, and they are likely to remain that way. The S.&P. 500 index is currently valued at about 20 times earnings, which translates to an expected return of about 5 percent a year. The historical average is about 15 times earnings, or an expected return of more than 7 percent. William C. Dudley, chief United States economist at Goldman Sachs, estimates that stock returns are likely to be about 5 percent in the future, because investors are accepting lower 'risk premiums.' Other experts agree. 'My view is that stocks really can't deliver the same returns in the future as in the past, unless we have a major decline in stock prices,' said John Y. Campbell, a professor of economics at Harvard University and an adviser to the Social Security trustees on the issue in 2001. 'But what we see is valuations bouncing around 20 times earnings, which is higher than historical levels.' Two recent computer simulations, one by Robert J. Shiller at Yale University and one by the Congressional Budget Office, suggest that even historical stock returns are no guarantee against losing money. Under Mr. Bush's plan, workers would be allowed to divert up to 4 percent of their payroll taxes to personal retirement accounts. But people would have to earn at least 3 percent a year after inflation to break even, because their traditional benefits would be reduced by the amount of their contributions, plus 3 percent a year in interest. To protect people from stock market volatility, the government would also offer a 'life cycle' investment account that would gradually reduce the share of stocks relative to conservative Treasury bonds as they neared retirement. Mr. Shiller, using financial data going back to 1871, found that people who enrolled in life-cycle accounts would have lost money 32 percent of the time. The median annual return was 3.4 percent, barely above the break-even point in Mr. Bush's plan. The results highlighted the inherent trade-off: higher returns come with higher risks. The Congressional Budget Office recently ran similar computer simulations. Analysts there took historical stock returns and average volatilities and simulated stock returns for thousands of artificial 20-year periods. The result was that stocks earned less than Treasury bonds about 20 percent of the time. Stephen Goss, chief actuary for the Social Security program, defended the administration's assumptions. 'Keep in mind that we are trying to make projections over a very long time, 75 years,' Mr. Goss said. 'I would suggest that 5 percent at the moment makes perfect sense. But if you buy at another time, when the price-earnings ratio is 10, you would expect a higher return over time.' Many experts agree that slower economic growth in the United States does not mean lower rates of return. Confronted with lower demand in the United States, companies can spend less money on expansion and more on dividends. Or they can invest more heavily in countries with faster-growing populations. 'Growth might slow in developed countries, but it's not clear to me that world growth is going to slow down at all,' said Jeremy J. Siegel, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a leading analyst of long-term stock trends. 'I think world growth will go up.' But White House officials may be revising their assumptions. N. Gregory Mankiw, who recently stepped down as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said Mr. Bush's proposed break-even rate of 3 percent on personal accounts may be too high. The yield on inflation-protected Treasury bonds is about 2 percent. White House officials say they are open to proposals for changing the break-even point, which would raise the plan's cost, but Democratic lawmakers remain fundamentally opposed to Mr. Bush's plans. 'The basic arguments are over the extent to which people ought to be given more freedom over their risk and return choices,' Mr. Mankiw said. 'Returns on the stock market may affect the choice people make, but the question of whether they should be given a choice is broader than the issue of returns.'

Subject: Warren and Human Capital
From: johnny5
To: Emma
Date Posted: Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 22:29:30 (EST)
Email Address: johnny5@yahoo.com

Message:
'Confronted with lower demand in the United States, companies can spend less money on expansion and more on dividends. Or they can invest more heavily in countries with faster-growing populations.' Dividends are at historic LOWS and Warren is NOT investing in foreigners where birth rates are high - he is holding his cash - not giving it to nets in africa where people still like sex and breeding.

Subject: Protecting Health Care Benefits
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 15:42:46 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/31/politics/31retire.html Judge Blocks Rule Allowing Companies to Cut Benefits When Retirees Reach Medicare Age By ROBERT PEAR WASHINGTON - A federal district judge on Wednesday blocked a Bush administration rule that would have allowed employers to reduce or eliminate health benefits for retirees when they reach age 65 and become eligible for Medicare. Ten million retirees could have had benefits cut under the rule, which was adopted last April by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The judge, Anita B. Brody of the Federal District Court in Philadelphia, struck down the rule and issued a permanent injunction that prohibits federal officials from enforcing it. The rule 'is contrary to Congressional intent and the plain language of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act,' the 1967 law that bans most forms of age discrimination in the workplace, Judge Brody wrote. The erosion of retiree health benefits is an explosive political issue. Before issuing the rule, the commission was deluged with letters opposing it. The rule would have created an explicit exemption to the age discrimination law, allowing employers to reduce health benefits for retirees when they became eligible for Medicare. Under the rule, Judge Brody said, employers could have given older retirees 'health benefits that are inferior' to those given retirees younger than 65. The commission argued that employers were more likely to continue providing health benefits to retirees under 65 if they were allowed to reduce or eliminate benefits for those 65 and older. AARP, the main plaintiff in the case, rejected that argument. It said the rule would accelerate the erosion of retiree health benefits, a trend that has been evident for more than a decade. Christopher G. Mackaronis, a Washington lawyer for AARP, said Wednesday: 'The rule was an example of executive arrogance. Federal agencies have no authority to rewrite laws passed by Congress. The rule was adopted in April 2004, but officials tucked it in their back pocket while they courted older voters last year. After the election, they moved forward with the regulation.' The rule, written by the commission, was reviewed and cleared by other agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services. Cari M. Dominguez, the chairwoman of the commission, said her agency would ask the Justice Department to appeal the ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Philadelphia. The appeals court ruled on the same legal issue five years ago, in a case involving retirees who had worked for Erie County, Pa. Judge Brody closely followed the precedent laid down by the appeals court. The commission's rule would allow employers to engage in 'the exact same behavior' prohibited in the Erie County case, Judge Brody said. In that case, the appeals court found that Congress had intended the age discrimination law to apply 'when an employer reduces health benefits based on Medicare eligibility.' In the district court, the commission argued that it had the power to exempt certain conduct from the age discrimination law as long as the exemption was reasonable, 'necessary and proper in the public interest.' Judge Brody rejected that contention. The commission, she said, was trying to 'issue a blanket exemption for illegal behavior,' not confined to a few individual cases. 'An administrative agency, including the E.E.O.C., may not issue regulations, rules or exemptions that go against the intent of Congress,' she added. The law clearly forbids employers to discriminate on the basis of age in setting pay and employee benefits, Judge Brody said. And the law, as interpreted by the appeals court, 'prohibits the practice of coordinating retiree benefits with Medicare eligibility,' she said. No law requires employers to provide health benefits to workers or retirees. Employers can legally provide benefits to active workers and not to retirees. Many employers have eliminated retiree health benefits. But, Judge Brody said, if an employer provides benefits to retirees, it cannot discriminate among them on the basis of age. Lawyers said the ruling would apply to companies that give health benefits to early retirees and want to reduce coverage when the retirees reach 65 and become eligible for Medicare. Employer-provided health benefits do not duplicate Medicare. Rather, they help retirees pay medical expenses not covered by Medicare. Those expenses could include co-payments and deductibles and prescription drug costs, beyond what Medicare might pay. Michele Pollak, a lawyer at AARP, said, 'It is less expensive for employers to purchase a health plan that supplements Medicare than it is to purchase health benefits for younger retirees not eligible for Medicare.' The American Benefits Council, a trade group for large employers, and the HR Policy Association, which represents human resource executives at 250 large companies, said they were disappointed with Judge Brody's decision. Daniel V. Yager, senior vice president of the association, said the ruling was 'a major setback for many employers that are trying to maintain employer-provided benefits for pre-65 retirees.'

Subject: Protecting Older Workers
From: Emma
To: All
Date Posted: Thurs, Mar 31, 2005 at 15:40:11 (EST)
Email Address: Not Provided

Message:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/31/politics/31scotus.html?pagewanted=all&position= Supreme Court Removes Hurdle to Age Bias Suits By LINDA GREENHOUSE WASHINGTON - Workers who sue their employers for age discrimination need not prove that the discrimination was intentional, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday. Adopting a pro-worker interpretation of the federal law that prohibits age discrimination in employment, the 5-to-3 decision held that employees can prevail by showing that a policy has a discriminatory impact on older workers, regardless of the employer's motivation. The decision removed the requirement, imposed by a number of lower federal courts, that employees produce the equivalent of a smoking gun in order to win an age discrimination suit. Since discrimination on the job is often subtle, and proof of motivation often elusive, the need to demonstrate intentional discrimination has led to the dismissal of many lawsuits before trial. But the Supreme Court's decision, in an opinion by Justice John Paul Stevens, did not leave employers defenseless. They will be able to defend themselves by proving that a challenged policy was based on 'reasonable factors other than age.' In fact, the court accepted that defense in the case at hand, a lawsuit brought by a group of older police officers in Jackson, Miss., who challenged the city's decision to give proportionately more generous raises to officers with less than five years on the force, most of whom were younger. In another case involving age discrimination in the workplace, a federal district judge on Wednesday blocked a Bush administration rule that would have allowed employers to reduce or eliminate health benefits for retirees when they reach age 65. The appeal by the officers in Jackson reached the Supreme Court after two lower courts - the federal district court in Jackson and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans - ruled that the law required them to prove intentional discrimination and that claims of a discriminatory impact were categorically unavailable. In rejecting that interpretation of the statute, the Supreme Court nonetheless found that the city's rationale for the differential raises was 'unquestionably reasonable.' The city had said it needed to raise salaries in the junior ranks in order to become more competitive with other police departments in the region in recruiting and retaining officers. 'While there may have been other reasonable ways for the city to achieve its goals, the one selected was not unreasonable,' Justice Stevens said. While the plaintiffs did not win their case, the result of their Supreme Court appeal, Smith v. City of Jackson, No. 03-1160, was to remove a significant ambiguity from a statute that is of growing importance to an aging American workforce. Within five years, half the labor force will be at least 40 years old, the age at which